Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods, Pediatrics, UCSD / 17.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50286" align="alignleft" width="200"]Lorraine Kelley-Quon, MD, MSHS, FAAP Assistant Professor | Division of Pediatric Surgery Children's Hospital Los Angeles Department of Surgery & Preventive Medicine Keck School of Medicine of USC Dr. Kelley-Quon[/caption] Lorraine Kelley-Quon, MD, MSHS, FAAP Assistant Professor | Division of Pediatric Surgery Children's Hospital Los Angeles Department of Surgery & Preventive Medicine Keck School of Medicine of USC  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Prescription opioids are pharmacologically similar to heroin, and previous research has shown an association between nonmedical opioid use and heroin use. This is the first study to follow a group of teenagers through all 4 years of high school and identify an association between nonmedical prescription opioid use and later heroin use.
Addiction, Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Tobacco Research, UCSD / 25.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49370" align="alignleft" width="169"]Davide Dulcis, PhDAssociate ProfessorDepartment of Psychiatry, UCSD School of MedicineUniversity of California, San DiegoLa Jolla, CA 92093-0603 Dr. Dulcis[/caption] Davide Dulcis, PhD Associate Professor Department of Psychiatry, UCSD School of Medicine University of California, San Diego La Jolla, CA 92093-0603 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Previous studies in humans have shown that pre-natal and early life exposure to nicotine can lead to altered children behavior and propensity for drug abuse, but the precise mechanisms involved are still unclear. In this pre-clinical study we showed how nicotine “primes” neurons of the mouse brain’s reward center for a fate they normally would not have taken, making them more susceptible to the effects of nicotine when the animals are again exposed to nicotine later in life, said Dr. Benedetto Romoli, first author of the research article.  
Author Interviews, Medical Imaging, Mental Health Research, UCSD / 13.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49143" align="alignleft" width="150"]Dr. Mingxiong Huang, PhDProfessor, Electrical and Computer EngineeringUniversity of California, San Diego Dr. Huang[/caption] Dr. Mingxiong Huang, PhD Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering University of California, San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Combat-related mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a leading cause of sustained impairments in military service members and Veterans. Yet, conventional neuroimaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) are typically insensitive to physiological alterations caused by mild and some moderate TBIs. With funding from the VA, we have pursued in developing sensitive imaging markers based on magnetoencephalography (MEG) for mTBI. This paper reflects the news MEG findings in this research field. 
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Microbiome, Pediatrics, UCSD / 30.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48942" align="alignleft" width="175"]Dr. Jusleen Ahluwalia MDSecond-year Dermatology residentUniversity of California, San Diego Dr. Ahluwalia[/caption] Dr. Jusleen Ahluwalia MD Second-year Dermatology resident University of California, San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Preadolescence is an interesting stage during which changes in microbial diversity can coincide with the development of acne. This study is the largest assessment of preadolescent acne microbiome in the literature to date. In this study, we found that early acne in preadolescent females is characterized by an abundance of Streptococcus mitis, while later stages are characterized by a predominance of Cutibacterium acnes (formerly known as Propionibacterium acnes).  
UCSD / 25.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48814" align="alignleft" width="160"] Dr. Zarrinpar[/caption] Amir Zarrinpar, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Division of Gastroenterology University of California, San Diego  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Over the last decade, physicians are beginning to recognize obesity as a disease that requires specific attention; they are more engaged with treating obesity itself rather than its metabolic consequences (such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, and/or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). However, treating obesity is very difficult and many patients don’t succeed in getting the minimum weight loss (approximately 5%) needed to get beneficial health effects. Recent obesity treatment guidelines recommend avoiding placing patients who are obese on obesogenic medication, or medication that have weight gain as a significant side effect. Despite this recommendation, we noticed many patients who seek treatment for obesity in our clinics are on obesogenic medications. We first noticed that about 40% of patients who are undergoing bariatric surgery at UCSD were prescribed an obesogenic medication. These patients had worse weight loss outcomes compared to patients who did not have any obesogenic medications published that study recently in the International Journal of Obesity. We wondered whether these findings were specific to bariatric surgery or if patients who were undergoing behavioral treatment (that is, diet and exercise) also had poor weight loss outcomes if they were on obesogenic medications. 
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease, UCSD / 28.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48235" align="alignleft" width="200"]H. Kirk Hammond, MDProfessor of Medicine at University of California, San DiegoBasic research scientist and cardiologistSan Diego Veterans' Affairs Healthcare System Dr. Hammond[/caption] H. Kirk Hammond, MD Professor of Medicine at University of California San Diego Basic research scientist and cardiologist San Diego Veterans' Affairs Healthcare System Dr. Hammond is winner of the 2017 William S. Middleton Award – the highest research honor in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Worldwide, 9% of adults have diabetes, predominantly due to insulin resistance, known as Type 2 diabetes. It is associated with obesity and diets high in fat and carbohydrates. In this gene transfer study we showed that a single injection of a vector encoding a natural hormone (urocortin 2, Ucn2) increased glucose disposal and improved heart function in a model of diet-induced Type 2 diabetes in mice. 
Author Interviews, JAMA, Smoking, Social Issues, Tobacco Research, UCSD / 11.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_46797" align="alignleft" width="128"]Eric Leas PhD, MPH Stanford Prevention Research Center University of California, San Diego Dr. Leas[/caption] Eric Leas PhD, MPH Stanford Prevention Research Center University of California, San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Recent research has demonstrated the importance that neighborhood context has on life opportunity, health and well-being that can perpetuate across generations. A strongly defining factor that leads to differences in health outcomes across neighborhoods, such as differences in chronic disease, is the concurrent-uneven distribution of modifiable risk factors for chronic disease. The main goal of our study was to characterize inequities in smoking, the leading risk factor for chronic disease, between neighborhoods in America's 500 largest cities. To accomplish this aim we used first-of-its-kind data generated from the 500 Cities Project—a collaboration between Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—representing the largest effort to provide small-area estimates of modifiable risk factors for chronic disease. We found that inequities in smoking prevalence are greater within cities than between cities, are highest in the nation’s capital, and are linked to inequities in chronic disease outcomes. We also found that inequities in smoking were associated to inequities in neighborhood characteristics, including race, median household income and the number of tobacco retailers. 
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, JAMA, Sexual Health, UCSD / 26.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_46663" align="alignleft" width="146"]John W. Ayers, PhD, MA Vice Chief of Innovation | Assoc. Professor Div. Infectious Disease & Global Public Health University of California San Diego Dr. Ayers[/caption] John W. Ayers, PhD, MA Vice Chief of Innovation | Assoc. Professor Div. Infectious Disease & Global Public Health University of California San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: The greatest barrier to understanding trends around sexual violence is they are largely hidden because victims are unable speak up publicly. Moreover, ongoing monitoring relies on proxies that underreport the scale of the problem such as police or medical records where only the most severe instances or a fraction of all instances of sexual violence are represented. As a result, we know very little about the scale of America's sexual violence problem. It was this backdrop that inspired #MeToo to call on victims to publicly voice their stories thereby revealing the scale of the problem. Our goal was to, for the first time, assess how this change inspired the public to engage with sexual violence issues. By tracking private aggregate internet search query trends we can begin to understand the scale of public engagement with issues around sexual violence including the precise motivation for a search, such as reporting episodes of sexual violence or learning how to prevent sexual violence.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, UCSD / 27.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40908" align="alignleft" width="200"]“Cannabis sativa” by Manuel is licensed under CC BY 2.0 cannabis[/caption] Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH Principal investigator Professor in the Department of Pediatrics UC San Diego School of Medicine Drector of clinical research at Rady Children's Hospital San Diego  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although cannabis is one of the most common recreational drugs used by pregnant and breastfeeding women, there is little current research regarding potential exposure of the breastfed infant.  As a result, pediatricians are lacking concrete evidence to help support advice to breastfeeding mothers who use cannabis.  This is particularly important as cannabis products available today are substantially more potent than products available in years past. Our group in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Center for Better Beginnings was interested in first determining how much if any of the ingredients in cannabis actually transfer into breastmilk and how long these metabolites might stay in the milk after the mom’s last use.  We invited mothers who are participating in our UCSD Human Milk Research Biorepository from across the U.S. and Canada to respond to questions about use of cannabis products over the previous 14 days and to provide a breast milk sample. Fifty mothers participated in the study.  Samples were analyzed by investigators from the UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy. Our major finding was that low, but measurable levels of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, were found in about 2/3 of the samples.  Although the number of hours after mother’s last use of cannabis that THC was still measurable varied widely, the longest time since mother’s last use that THC was still present was about 6 days. 
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, JAMA, UCSD / 15.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with [caption id="attachment_42338" align="alignleft" width="120"]Aaron Goodman, MD Hematologist/Medical Oncologist Assistant Professor of Medicine UC San Diego Health Dr. Goodman[/caption] Aaron Goodman, MD Hematologist/Medical Oncologist Assistant Professor of Medicine UC San Diego Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Response rates to PD-1/PD-L1 blockade in solid tumors are reported at 10-20%.  Remarkably, response rates of 65% to 87% have been reported in patients with refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma treated with checkpoint inhibitors. In nodular sclerosing Hodgkin lymphoma, amplification of the chromosomal region 9p24.1, which contains the genes PD-L1 (CD274)PDCD1LG2 (PD-L2)and JAK2, is directly correlated with increased expression of these proteins on Reed–Sternberg cells. Overall, 105 of 108 (97%) biopsies from patients with newly diagnosed classical Hodgkin lymphoma have increased PD-L1 and PDCD1LG2 copy numbers.  The prevalence and utility of PD-L1amplification as a response biomarker to PD-1/PD-L1 blockade is unknown in other tumors. We sought to determine the prevalence and utility of PD-L1 amplification as a response biomarker to PD-1/PD-L1 blockade in solid tumors. 
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Schizophrenia, UCSD / 12.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marcelo Pablo Coba PhD Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute Keck School of Medicine of USC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia (SCZ) are complex brain disorders where a multitude or risk factors have been implicated in contributing to the disease, with a low number of genes that have been strongly implicated in a very low number of cases. One of these genes is Disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1), which was first described in 2000 as a balanced translocation that segregates with schizophrenia and related psychiatric disorders in a large Scottish family. Because DISC1 does not have an identified protein function such as enzymatic, channel, transporter, etc… the field moved to try to understand what proteins are associated (physically connected) to DISC1 and to try to explain DISC1 function through the function of its protein interactors. This means that if DISC1 binds proteins X, Y and Z, then mutations in the DISC1 gene should affect the functions of   these proteins. Therefore, there has been much effort in trying to identify DISC1 protein interactors. However this task has not been straightforward.
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, BMJ, Genetic Research, Prostate Cancer, UCSD / 29.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “DNA” by Caroline Davis2010 is licensed under CC BY 2.0Tyler Seibert, MD, PhD Radiation Oncology Center for Multimodal Imaging & Genetics UC San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Prostate cancer is an extremely common condition in men. Many die from it each year, and many others live with debilitating pain caused by prostate cancer. Screening for prostate cancer with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing can be effective, but there are concerns with the test.
  • First, screening everyone gives a large proportion of false-positive results, and those men end up undergoing unnecessary procedures such as prostate biopsy. S
  • econd, a significant portion of men who develop prostate cancer will develop a slow-growing form of the disease that is likely not life-threatening and may not require treatment. These concerns have led to a drop in prostate cancer screening. But avoiding screening leaves a large number of men vulnerable to diagnosis of an aggressive prostate cancer at a later stage, when it is more difficult—or impossible—to be cured. Doctors are left to guess which of their patients are at risk of aggressive disease and at which age they need to start screening those patients.
Our study sought to develop a tool to provide men and their doctors with objective, personalized information about each man’s risk of prostate cancer. Based on the man’s genetics, we wanted to predict the risk of aggressive prostate cancer and at what age in his life that risk becomes elevated.
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, JCEM, OBGYNE, Testosterone, UCSD / 24.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39566" align="alignleft" width="133"]Varykina Thackray, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Reproductive Medicine University of California, San Diego Dr. Thackray[/caption] Varykina Thackray, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Reproductive Medicine University of California, San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies have shown that changes in the composition of intestinal microbes (gut microbiome) are associated with metabolic diseases. Since many women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have metabolic dysregulation that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, we wondered whether PCOS was associated with changes in the gut microbiome and if these changes were linked to any clinical features of PCOS. We collaborated with Beata Banaszewska and her colleagues at the Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poznan, Poland to obtain clinical data and fecal samples from 163 premenopausal women recruited for the study. In collaboration with Scott Kelley at San Diego State University, we used 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing and bioinformatics analyses to show that the diversity of the gut microbiome was reduced in Polish women with PCOS compared to healthy women and women with polycystic ovaries but no other symptoms of PCOS. The study confirmed findings reported in two other recent studies with smaller cohorts of Caucasian and Han Chinese women. Since many factors could affect the gut microbiome in women with PCOS, regression analysis was used to identify clinical hallmarks that correlated with changes in the gut microbiome. In contrast to body mass index or insulin resistance, hyperandrogenism was associated with changes in the gut microbiome in this cohort of women, suggesting that elevated testosterone may be an important factor in shaping the gut microbiome in women.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Pediatrics, Surgical Research, UCSD / 04.01.2018

[caption id="attachment_39174" align="alignleft" width="300"]This file was derived from Blausen 0165 Cardiomyopathy Dilated.png Structural categories of cardiomyopathy Wikipedia image[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rakesh K. Singh MD, MS Department of Pediatrics, University of California–San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, California Steven E. Lipshultz MD Department of Pediatrics Wayne State University School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Michigan Detroit, Michigan  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease characterized by dilation and dysfunction of the left ventricle of the heart. While DCM is a relatively rare disease in children, nearly 40% of children with DCM require a heart transplant or die within 2 years of diagnosis. Heart transplantation has improved the outcomes of children with DCM over the last 3 decades, but is limited by donor heart availability. Newer therapies, including advanced ICU care and artificial heart machines, are now being used to treat children with DCM. This study published in the November 28, 2017 issue of the Journal of American College of Cardiology (JACC) sought to determine whether more children with DCM were surviving longer in the more recent era. Specifically, it investigated whether children with DCM were surviving longer without the need for heart transplantation. Rakesh Singh, MD is the first author and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at UC San Diego/Rady Children’s Hospital, while the senior author is Steven Lipshultz, MD, Professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine/Detroit Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital of Michigan and Director of Children’s Research Center of Michigan. The Pediatric Cardiomyopathy Registry (PCMR) is a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) sponsored registry from 98 pediatric centers in United States and Canada created to study the outcomes of children with various heart muscle disorders known as cardiomyopathies. For this study, outcomes of 1,199 children diagnosed with DCM from 1990-1999 were compared with 754 children diagnosed with DCM from 2000-2009.
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Pain Research, UCSD / 19.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37597" align="alignleft" width="130"]Erik Groessl PhD Associate Adjunct Professor Family Medicine and Public Health University of California, San Diego Dr. Groessl[/caption] Erik Groessl PhD Associate Adjunct Professor Family Medicine and Public Health University of California, San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Chronic low back pain (cLBP) is prevalent among military veterans, but cLBP treatment options have limited benefits and side effects. This has resulted in efforts to reduce opioid use and embrace nonpharmacological pain treatments. Yoga has been shown to improve health outcomes and have few side effects in non-veteran community samples. Our objective was to study the effectiveness and safety of yoga for military veterans with chronic low back pain. In a study of 150 veterans with cLBP, we found that yoga participants had greater reductions in disability and pain than those receiving usual. Opioid medication use declined among all participants, and no serious side effects occurred.
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Immunotherapy, NEJM, UCSD / 04.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_34246" align="alignleft" width="133"]William J. Sandborn, MD Professor of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Surgery Chief, Division of Gastroenterology Vice Chair for Clinical Operations, Department of Medicine Director, UCSD IBD Center University of California San Diego and UC San Diego Health System Dr. Sandborn[/caption] William J. Sandborn, MD Professor of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Surgery Chief, Division of Gastroenterology Vice Chair for Clinical Operations, Department of Medicine Director, UCSD IBD Center University of California San Diego and UC San Diego Health System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is still a substantial unmet need for new treatments for patients with ulcerative colitis. A previous Phase II study had suggested that tofacitinib might be effective for short term therapy of ulcerative colitis. The patients in that study for the most part had not failed anti-TNF therapy. Now we report the findings from 3 large Phase III trials, two short term trials and one long term trial, demonstrating that tofacitinib 10 mg twice daily is effective for short term therapy, and that both 5 mg and 10 mg twice daily is effective for long term therapy. We also demonstrated that tofacitinib is effective both in patients who have not failed anti-TNF therapy and patients who have failed anti-TNF therapy. The study demonstrated induction of clinical remission, clinical response and mucosal healing (flexible sigmoidoscopy improvement) over the short term, and maintenance of clinical remission, clinical response, and mucosal healing over the long term.
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Nature, UCSD / 07.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_32737" align="alignleft" width="153"]Kun Zhang, PhD Professor UCSD Department of Bioengineering La Jolla, CA 92093-0412 Dr. Kun Zhang[/caption] Kun Zhang, PhD Professor UCSD Department of Bioengineering La Jolla, CA 92093-0412 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We have been interested in a type of chemical modification on the DNA, called CpG methylation, for years. This is like a decoration of DNA molecules that is specific to the cell type or tissue type. We were particularly interested in studying how such decoration spread along the DNA molecules. In this study, we did a very comprehensive search of the entire human genome for various human cell types and tissue types, and found close to 150,000 regions (called MHB in this study) in which adjacent CpG share the same decoration. We then went on to find out how many of such regions are unique to each normal cell/tissue type, and how many are specific to cancers. Then we took some of these highly informative regions as “biomarkers”, and showed that we can detect the absence or presence of cancer, and, in the latter case, where the tumor grow, in a patient’s blood.
Abuse and Neglect, Genetic Research, Schizophrenia, UCSD / 06.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31016" align="alignleft" width="200"]Brian P. Head, MS, PhD Associate Professor, UCSD Research Scientist, VASDHS Department of Anesthesiology VA San Diego Healthcare System San Diego, CA 92161-9125 Dr. Brian Head[/caption] Brian P. Head, MS, PhD Associate Professor, UCSD Research Scientist, VASDHS Department of Anesthesiology VA San Diego Healthcare System San Diego, CA 92161-9125 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: DISC1 is a schizophrenia associated gene originally identified in a Scottish family. DISC1 protein is highly expressed in the developing brain and in the dentate gyrus of the adult hippocampus, and is involved in neuritogenesis and neuronal signaling. DISC1 is located in multiple intracellular locations including axons and synapses, and loss of DISC1 function causes deficits in neural development, neuronal proliferation, axonal growth, and cytoskeleton modulation, which are consistent with abnormal neural development in schizophrenia. SynCav1 means synapsin-driven caveolin construct. Synapsin promoter is neuronal specific which allows us to increase caveolin expression-specifically in neurons. We have previously shown that SynCav1 increases neuronal signaling and dendritic growth and arborization in vitro (Head BP JBC 2011), and when delivered in vivo augments functional neuroplasticity and improves learning and memory in adult and aged mice (Mandyam CD Biol Psych 2015). Since loss of DISC1 function equates to schizophrenic-like symptoms, then decreased DISC1 expression in Cav-1 KO mice agrees with this premise. Thus, loss of Cav-1 increases their likelihood of developing schizophrenia-like symptoms. Because re-espression of Cav-1 restored DISC1 expression as well as expression of key synaptic proteins, this proof-of-concept findings not only builds upon our previously results demonstrating that Cav-1 is critical for neuronal signaling and functional synaptic plasticity but also strongly links Cav-1 with maintaining normal DISC1 expression levels and potentially attenuating schizophrenia-like symptoms.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, UCSD / 22.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_25417" align="alignleft" width="120"]Jonathan Hsu, MD, MAS, FACC, FAHA, FHRS Assistant Professor Cardiac Electrophysiology, Division of Cardiology University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Dr. Jonathan Hsu[/caption] Jonathan Hsu, MD, MAS, FACC, FAHA, FHRS Assistant Professor Cardiac Electrophysiology, Division of Cardiology University of California, San Diego (UCSD) MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia worldwide and imparts significant stroke risk. In patients with AF determined to be at intermediate to high risk for thromboembolism, anticoagulation with warfarin (a vitamin K antagonist) or the newer non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants clearly reduces morbidity and mortality compared to aspirin. We sought to evaluate practice patterns of cardiovascular specialists in the United states to determine how often AF patients at risk for stroke are prescribed aspirin over oral anticoagulation, and predictors of this practice.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pharmacology, UCSD, Weight Research / 15.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_25205" align="alignleft" width="133"]Siddharth Singh, MD, MS Postdoctoral Fellow, NLM/NIH Clinical Informatics Fellowship Division of Biomedical Informatics Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla Dr Siddharth Singh[/caption] Siddharth Singh, MD, MS Postdoctoral Fellow, NLM/NIH Clinical Informatics Fellowship Division of Biomedical Informatics Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Singh: Over the last 4 years, four new medications have been approved for long-term use for weight loss by the FDA. We sought to evaluate the comparative effectiveness and tolerability of these medications through a systematic review and network meta-analysis. Based on 28 trials in over 29,000 overweight or obese patients, we observed that magnitude of weight loss achieved with these agents is variable, ranging from 2.6kg with orlistat to 8.8kg with phentermine-topiramate. Over 44-75% of patients are estimated to lose at least 5% body weight, and 20-54% may lose more than 10% of body weight; phentermine-topiramate was the most efficacious, whereas lorcaserin was the best tolerated.
ASCO, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Personalized Medicine, UCSD / 07.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_24655" align="alignleft" width="200"]Maria Schwaederle PharmD Clinical Research Scientist Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy UCSD Moores Cancer Center La Jolla, CA 92093 Dr. Maria Schwaederle[/caption] Maria Schwaederle PharmD Clinical Research Scientist Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy UCSD Moores Cancer Center La Jolla, CA 92093 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Schwaederle: We performed this analysis with experts in the field, including but not limited to Drs Schilsky, Lee, Mendelsohn and Kurzrock, all known for their experience in the area of precision/personalized medicine. Historically, phase I trials (which are often first in human or highly experimental in other ways) were believed to be examining only toxicity. Our meta-analysis of 13,203 patients shows that in the era of precision medicine, this historical belief needs to be discarded. Second, it is the use of precision medicine that makes this belief outdated. Indeed, Phase I trials that utilized a biomarker-driven approach that is the essence of precision medicine had a median response rate of about 31%, which is higher than many FDA approved drugs, and this is in spite of the fact that phase I patients are a highly refractory group having failed multiple lines of conventional therapy. Importantly, however, it was not the use of targeted agents alone that was important. It was the biomarker-based approach where patients are matched to drugs. Without matching, response rates were dismal—about 5%.
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Exercise - Fitness, UCSD / 12.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_23387" align="alignleft" width="180"]Britta Larsen, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Family Medicine & Public Health University of California, San Diego Medical Teaching Facility La Jolla, CA 92093-0628 Dr. Britta Larsen[/caption] Britta Larsen, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Family Medicine & Public Health University of California, San Diego Medical Teaching Facility La Jolla, CA 92093-0628  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Larsen: We know that muscle is important for metabolic processes, but there has been very little research on the role muscle may play in the development of metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes. While excess fat can increase the risk of metabolic disease, there are people who are normal weight who still develop diabetes, and it’s possible that this could be due to low muscle mass. Our main findings were that, in normal weight women, women with more abdominal, thigh, and overall muscle were less likely to develop diabetes over a 13-year period. 
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Nutrition, UCSD / 05.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_23016" align="alignleft" width="130"]Ruth E. Patterson, PhD Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Associate Director, Population Sciences Program Leader, Cancer Prevention Moores Cancer Center UC San Diego La Jolla, CA Dr. Ruth Patterson[/caption] Ruth E. Patterson, PhD Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Associate Director, Population Sciences Program Leader, Cancer Prevention Moores Cancer Center UC San Diego La Jolla, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Patterson: Our research team was intrigued with studies in mice showing that even when eating a high-fat diet, mice who were subjected to a 16-hour fasting regimen during the sleep phase were protected against abnormal glucose metabolism, inflammation and weight gain; all of which are associated with poor cancer outcomes. We had access to a study conducted in breast cancer survivors called the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living Study (WHEL).  Participants in this study completed food records, which give the time of eating meals and snacks.  We used the food records to estimate the average nightly fasting interval in 2413 breast cancer survivors.  Overall, we found that women who had a nightly fasting interval of less than 13 hours had a 36% increased risk of breast cancer recurrence and a nonsignificant increase in mortality.  We also found that women with a short nightly fast had poorer glucoregulation and worse sleep, both of which might explain the link to breast cancer.
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, JAMA, UCSD / 01.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_22968" align="alignleft" width="200"]H Kirk Hammond, MD Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) University of California San Diego Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System San Diego, CA 92161 Dr. H. Kirk Hammond[/caption] H Kirk Hammond, MD Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) University of California San Diego Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System San Diego, CA 92161  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Hammond: Heart failure affects >28 million patients worldwide and is the only cardiovascular disease that is increasing in prevalence. Despite steady improvement in drug therapy for heart failure, recent hospitalization rates and mortality have changed little. New therapies are needed. Adenylyl cyclase type 6 (AC6), is a protein that catalyzes the conversion of ATP to cAMP and is an important determinant of heart function. The amount and function of AC6 are reduced in failing hearts, and preclinical studies have shown benefits of increased cardiac AC6 content on the heart. The aim of the trial was to determine safety and heart function gene transfer of AC6, achieved by intracoronary delivery of an inactivated virus carrying the gene for AC6 (Ad5hAC6) in patients with symptomatic heart failure and reduced ejection fraction. Our hypothesis was that AC6 gene transfer would safely increase function of the failing hearts of patients with heart failure.
Author Interviews, HPV, JAMA, OBGYNE, Sexual Health, UCSD / 24.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_22854" align="alignleft" width="200"]Ryan K. Orosco, MD Division of Head and Neck Surgery Department of Surgery University of California, San Diego Dr. Ryan Orosco[/caption] Ryan K. Orosco, MD Division of Head and Neck Surgery Department of Surgery University of California, San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Orosco: Our group at UC San Diego is interested in HPV as it relates to diseases of the head and neck.  HPV is a well-publicized cause of cervical cancer, and awareness about its link to throat (oropharynx) cancer is rapidly increasing. Less well-known, is the relationship between HPV and benign (non-cancerous) diseases such as genital warts and papilloma of the throat.  As we strive to understand how to best care for patients with HPV-related disorders, it is important to understand the entire process of disease progression, which begins with HPV infection. Our group wanted to explore the relationship between HPV infection in the two most commonly infected body sites: oral and vaginal.
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, UCSD, Weight Research / 17.12.2015

[caption id="attachment_20165" align="alignleft" width="120"]Geert W. Schmid-Schonbein, Ph.D. Distinguished Professor and Chairman Department of Bioengineering Adjunct Professor in Medicine University of California San Diego Prof. Schmid-Schonbein[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Geert W. Schmid-Schonbein, Ph.D. Distinguished Professor and Chairman Department of Bioengineering Adjunct Professor in Medicine University of California San Diego Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Schmid-Schonbein: Most approaches to control/reduce body weight focus on reducing food quantity, improving quality and promoting daily activity. These approaches, effective in the short term, only yield modest weight control. Weight management strategies recommended in the past have not significantly diminished the current trend towards childhood and adolescence obesity. We developed and tested an alternative approach to control weight gain in healthy individuals to reduce the risk for development of obesity and diabetes complications. The essence is to: “Eat deliberately slow AND stop eating when you feel no longer hungry”. The approach avoids any form of special diet, uses no drugs, can be adopted for a lifetime and used in any ethnic environment. Children in a Mexican School in Durango were instructed by a pediatrician to learn to eat deliberately slow and to stop eating when the satiety reflex sets in, i.e. the moment when the feeling of hunger has disappeared. They were instructed to:
  • quench the thirst at the beginning of a meal with water,
  • use a portable 30 second hourglass sand timer,
  • take a bite only when the sand timer was turned, and
  • stop eating when they were no longer hungry (as compared to feeling of fullness), and
  • limit food consumption after the point of satiety.
Over a one-year period, children not using the hourglass excessively increased their body-mass index, while in contrast children using the hourglass grew normally their body-mass index. Body surface area and waist hip ratio followed the same trend. The study shows feasibility of regulating food intake by education that is directed at developing slow eating habits and cessation of eating at satiety. A combination of behavioral training and focused eating monitoring may constitute a weight control method that may serve a life-time and can be promoted for children and adolescents at moderate costs, on a national basis.
Author Interviews, Compliance, Cost of Health Care, Emergency Care, Primary Care, UCSD / 15.07.2015

Nadereh Pourat, PhD Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Adjunct Professor, UCLA School of Dentistry Director of Research, UCLA Center for Health Policy ResearchMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nadereh Pourat, PhD Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Adjunct Professor, UCLA School of Dentistry Director of Research, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Pourat: We have succeeded to insure most of the uninsured population in the U.S., but now have to figure out how to reduce costs while improving health. We had the opportunity to examine the role of continuity with a primary care provider, which is one of the pathways that looked promising in improving health and reducing costs. We were evaluating a major demonstration program in California called the Health Care Coverage Initiative (HCCI) and one of the participating counties implemented a policy to increase adherence by only paying for visits if patients went to their assigned providers. We examined what happened to patients who always or sometimes adhered to their provider versus those who never adhered. We found that adherence or continuity reduced emergency department use and hospitalizations. This would lead to savings because of the high costs of these services. Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Pourat: The study shows that both patients and clinicians would benefit from continuity with the primary care provider. Clinicians can actually make a difference in helping patients: they can teach patients about self-care and help them manage their conditions better. Patients would benefit from following through with treatment plans and experience less medical error and duplication of services which are potentially harmful. Continuity fosters rapport and trust between patients and providers and can be beneficial to both.
Author Interviews, HIV, Sexual Health, UCSD / 05.06.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Martin Hoenigl Center for AIDS Research University of California, San Diego Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Hoenigl: Although men who have sex with men (MSM) represent a dominant risk group for human immunodeficiency Virus, the risk of HIV infection within this population is not uniform. Characterizing and identifying the MSM at greatest risk for incident HIV infection might permit more focused delivery of both prevention resources and selection of appropriate interventions, such as intensive counseling, regular HIV screening with methods that detect acute infection (ie, nucleic acid amplification test), and antiretroviral preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP). By using data collected at a single HIV testing encounter from 8326 unique MSM were analyzed, including 200 with AEH (2.4%), we were able to create the San Diego Early Test (SDET) risk score. The SDET score consist of four risk behavior variables which were significantly associated with an AEH diagnosis (ie, incident infection) in multivariable: condomless receptive anal intercourse (CRAI) with an HIV-positive MSM (3 points), the combination of CRAI plus 5 or more male partners (3 points), 10 or more male partners (2 points), and diagnosis of bacterial sexually transmitted infection (2 points), all as reported for the prior 12 months. The SDET risk score is deployed as a freely available tool at http://sdet.ucsd.edu.
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, UCSD, Weight Research / 28.04.2015

Mark D. DeBoer, MD, MSc, MCR Associate Professor of Pediatrics Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, University of VirMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mark D. DeBoer, MD, MSc, MCR Associate Professor of Pediatrics Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, University of Virginia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. DeBoer: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children watch no more than 2 hours of TV daily. We wanted to see if children watching shorter amounts of TV were more likely to have higher weight status. We found that children in kindergarten who watched 1-2 hours a day were more than 40% more likely to be overweight and obese and gained more unhealthy weight over the next year.