Author Interviews, Lifestyle & Health, PNAS, Psychological Science, University Texas / 31.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50498" align="alignleft" width="190"]John M. Griffin PhD James A. Elkins Centennial Chair in Finance McCombs School of Business The University of Texas Dr. Griffin[/caption] John M. Griffin PhD James A. Elkins Centennial Chair in Finance McCombs School of Business The University of Texas  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The importance of personal traits compared to context for predicting behavior is a long-standing issue in psychology. Yet, we have limited evidence of how predictive personal conduct, such as marital infidelity, is for professional conduct. We use data on usage of a marital infidelity website as a measure of marital infidelity and find that it is strongly correlated with professional conduct in four different professional settings.
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, University Texas / 24.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49930" align="alignleft" width="175"]Kevin F. Bieniek, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine Director, Biggs Institute Brain Bank Core Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s & Neurodegenerative Diseases University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio San Antonio, Texas 78229 Dr. Bieniek[/caption] Kevin F. Bieniek, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine Director, Biggs Institute Brain Bank Core Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s & Neurodegenerative Diseases University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio San Antonio, Texas 78229 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by CTE?   Response: CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that is linked to prior exposure to repetitive traumatic brain injuries.  CTE pathology, characterized by a distinct deposition pattern of the protein ‘tau’, is most often observed in the brains former contact sport athletes and military veterans.  The public health impacts of this disorder are largely unknown, as this disease is often studied in individuals which advanced levels of exposure, particularly professional American football player. This study aimed to understand what the presence of this disorder might be in the general population by studying athletes and non-athletes, a number of different sports, different levels of participation, and both males and females.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Environmental Risks, University Texas, Urology / 08.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49064" align="alignleft" width="132"]Stephen B. Williams, MD, FACSChief, Division of UrologyAssociate Professor, Urology and RadiologyRobert Earl Cone ProfessorshipDirector of Urologic OncologyDirector of Urologic ResearchCo-Director Department of Surgery Clinical Outcomes Research ProgramUniversity of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston Dr. Williams[/caption] Stephen B. Williams, MD, FACS Chief, Division of Urology Associate Professor, Urology and Radiology Robert Earl Cone Professorship Director of Urologic Oncology Director of Urologic Research Co-Director Department of Surgery Clinical Outcomes Research Program University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Despite prior studies evaluating cancer in those living near and working in oil refineries, there remains a gap in knowledge regarding proximity to oil refineries and risk of bladder cancer. Aromatic amines have been associated with increased risk of various cancers including bladder cancer. Texas is a home to the largest numbers of oil refineries in the US. Our goal was to evaluate if there was a link between bladder cancer and living in close proximity to an oil refinery in Texas. Our data did suggest that living within 10 miles of an oil refinery was associated with a small increase in risk of bladder cancer. These data support further research to validate these findings.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Memory, University Texas / 16.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48608" align="alignleft" width="160"]Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman PhDFounder and Chief Director, Center for BrainHealth,Co-Leader, The BrainHealth ProjectUniversity of Texas, Dallas Dr. Chapman[/caption] Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman PhD Founder and Chief Director, Center for BrainHealth, Co-Leader, The BrainHealth Project University of Texas, Dallas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Finding effective treatments to reverse or slow rates of cognitive decline for those at risk for developing dementia is one of the most important and urgent challenges of the 21st century. Brain stimulation is gaining attention as a viable intervention to increase neuroplasticity when used in isolation or when combined with cognitive training regimens. Given the growing evidence that certain cognitive training protocols, such as SMART, benefit people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), a population that is vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease, we were interested in exploring whether we could further increase the gains from cognitive training (i.e., SMART) when the training was preceded by brain stimulation using tDCS. 
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Emergency Care, NEJM, University Texas / 27.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48175" align="alignleft" width="200"]Jeffrey Howard, PhDAssistant ProfessorDepartment of Kinesiology, Health and NutritionUniversity of Texas at San AntonioSan Antonio, TX 78249 Dr. Howard[/caption] Jeffrey Howard, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Kinesiology, Health and Nutrition University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio, TX 78249 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response:  There is a saying that “the only winner in war is medicine”, which is the first sentence in the article.  The point of that quote is that many medical advances over the last 500 years or more have been learned or propagated as a result of war. With that as the backdrop, the purpose of our study was to provide a more comprehensive assessment of the trauma system than previous work.  We accomplished this by compiling the most complete data to-date on the conflicts, using data from both Afghanistan and Iraq, and analyzing multiple interventions/policy changes simultaneously rather than in isolation.  Previous work had focused primarily on single interventions and within more narrow timeframes.  We wanted to expand the scope to include multiple interventions and encompass the entirety of the conflicts through the end of 2017. 
Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, JAMA, Stroke, University Texas / 11.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47423" align="alignleft" width="139"]Amrou Sarraj, MD, Associate Professor Department of Neurology Dr. Sarraj[/caption] Amrou Sarraj, MD, Associate Professor Department of Neurology McGovern Medical School The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Secondary analyses of trials showing efficacy and safety of thrombectomy within 6-8 hours of stroke onset showed that patients who were transferred to centers performing thrombectomy from another hospital had worse outcomes than patients who presented directly to the thrombectomy centers. We wanted to assess if the thrombectomy outcomes differ between transferred patients and patients directly coming to the thrombectomy centers when patients are selected with advanced perfusion imaging. We found that thrombectomy outcome rates were similar between patients who presented directly vs transferred from another hospital, including functional independence and safety outcomes. 
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, University Texas / 18.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45340" align="alignleft" width="144"]Dr. Ewing-Cobbs PhD Professor in the Department of Pediatrics McGovern Medical School University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Harriet and Joe Foster Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience Dr. Ewing-Cobbs[/caption] Dr. Linda Ewing-Cobbs PhD Professor in the Department of Pediatrics McGovern Medical School University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Harriet and Joe Foster Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Children may have long-lasting psychological and physical symptoms after an injury. Post-concussive symptoms (PCS) are nonspecific cognitive, physical, and mood symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, headache, and irritability. These symptoms occur in approximately 15 to 30% children after mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). Although PCS often resolve within one month, some children experience symptoms for longer periods of time.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, Genetic Research, University Texas / 10.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45179" align="alignleft" width="200"]Mohammad Bilal, MD University of Texas Medical Branc Dr. Bilal[/caption] Mohammad Bilal, MD University of Texas Medical Branch MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer among adults in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer related deaths. Recent studies have shown an increasing incidence of CRC in younger patients. This has led to increasing interests in identifying patient populations who might be at increased risk of developing CRC. The U.S. Multi-Society Task Force of Colorectal Cancer (MSTF) recommends that CRC screening should begin at age 50 in average-risk persons. However, recently the American Cancer Society (ACS) have published recommendations to begin CRC screening at age 45 years in average risk patient population. These recommendations were primarily based of modeling studies since there is little outcomes data in younger age groups in regards to prevention and detection of CRC. Despite these new recommendations from the ACS, there is limited direct evidence to support CRC screening at a younger age. In our study, we have evaluated the predictors of increased prevalence of adenomas in the 40 to 49-year-old individuals undergoing colonoscopy. 
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, MD Anderson, University Texas / 01.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44913" align="alignleft" width="120"]Filip Janku, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Investigational Cancer Therapeutics (Phase I Clinical Trials Program) Center Medical Director, Clinical and Translational Research Center The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX 77030 Dr. Janku[/caption] Filip Janku, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Investigational Cancer Therapeutics (Phase I Clinical Trials Program) Center Medical Director, Clinical and Translational Research Center The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX 77030 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Clostridium novyi-NT is an attenuated strain of bacteria Clostridium, which induced a microscopically precise, tumor-localized response in a rat brain tumor model and in companion dogs bearing spontaneous cancers. Clostridium novyi-NT can only grow in hypoxic (low-oxygen) tumor environment and destroys cancer cells by secreting lipases, proteases, and other hydrolytic enzymes; recruiting inflammatory cells to tumors eliciting anti-tumor immune responses in animals. Furthermore, intratumoral injection can plausibly induce an immune mediated abscopal effect in non-injected tumor sites. Therefore, we designed a phase I dose-finding study to test for safety and tolerability of the single intratumoral injection of Clostridium novyi-NT in 24 patients with advanced cancers with no available standard therapies. We also designed experiments to study activation of antitumor immune response in blood and tumor samples from patients undergoing the therapy. We demonstrated that single dose of intratumoral injection of Clostridium novyi-NT is feasible and has led to significant destruction of injected tumor masses. Adverse events, which were often related to the tumor destruction at the infected site, could have been significant but mostly manageable. Correlative studies of pre-treatment and post-treatment tumor and blood samples suggested immune response to therapy.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Neurology, University Texas / 17.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44588" align="alignleft" width="149"]Dr. Francesca M. Filbey PhD Professor Program Head, Cognition and Neuroscience PhD Bert Moore Chair in BrainHealth UT Dallas Dr. Filbey[/caption] Dr. Francesca M. Filbey PhD Professor Program Head, Cognition and Neuroscience PhD Bert Moore Chair in BrainHealth UT Dallas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The cannabis literature has generally focused on changes in brain function when engaged in a task. We were interested in examining whether these differences are present when not engaged in a task (i.e., during resting state) to understand baseline functional organization of the brain. Changes to baseline functional organization may reflect changes in brain networks underlying cognition. We also wanted to investigate whether specific brain waves, as measured by electroencephalography (EEG), are associated with measures of cannabis use, such as craving.
Author Interviews, JAMA, NEJM, OBGYNE, University Texas / 09.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_43800" align="alignleft" width="150"]George R. Saade, MD Professor Jennie Sealy Smith Distinguished Chair Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Cell Biology Chief of Obstetrics and Maternal Fetal Medicine Director, Perinatal Research Division Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine UTMB at Galveston Dr. Saade[/caption] George R. Saade, MD Professor Jennie Sealy Smith Distinguished Chair Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Cell Biology Chief of Obstetrics and Maternal Fetal Medicine Director, Perinatal Research Division Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine UTMB at Galveston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Several analyses show that the lowest risk to the baby is if delivered at 39 weeks. As pregnancy goes beyond 39 weeks, the risk to the baby increases. On the other hand, the general belief was that induction of labor at 39 increases the risk of cesarean and may not be good for the baby. The guideline were that induction without medical indication, or what we call elective induction of labor, should not be done. However, the studies on which this belief was based were not appropriately designed or analyzed. These studies compared women who were induced at 39 weeks to those who had spontaneous labor at 39 weeks. This comparison is not appropriate. While induction is a choice, having spontaneous labor at 39 weeks is not by choice.  So the correct comparison should be between women who were induced at 39 weeks to those who were not induced and continued their pregnancy beyond 39 weeks. In other words, they continued until they had spontaneous labor or developed an indication to be delivered (expectantly managed). That is how the study was done. First time pregnant women were randomized between these 2 options. The reason the study was done in first time mothers is that they have the highest risk of cesarean compared with women who had delivered vaginally before.
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Smoking, Tobacco, Tobacco Research, University Texas / 10.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “hookah” by Ksenia M is licensed under CC BY 2.0Cheryl L. Perry, Ph.D. Professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences The Rockwell Distinguished Chair in Society and Health University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health, Austin, Texas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There have been large changes in the social environment over the past 10 years that have affected tobacco use among youth and young adults. These include social media, e-cigarettes, and new regulations aimed at preventing use among youth. Historically, nearly all onset of tobacco use, particularly cigarettes, occurred prior to high school graduation by age 18. Some recent national cross-sectional data suggested that onset might be occurring among young adults. We decided to explore, with national and Texas data, whether onset of tobacco use was more likely to occur among young adults. We did this by analyzing data from 3 studies over one year.
Author Interviews, NEJM, Stroke, University Texas / 16.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41746" align="alignleft" width="151"]Dr. S. Claiborne "Clay" Johnston MD, PhD Dean Vice President for Medical Affairs Frank and Charmaine Denius Distinguished Dean’s Chair Dell Medical School The University of Texas at Austin Dr. Johnston[/caption] Dr. S. Claiborne "Clay" Johnston MD, PhD Dean Vice President for Medical Affairs Frank and Charmaine Denius Distinguished Dean’s Chair Dell Medical School The University of Texas at Austin MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prior studies have shown that the risk of a stroke or other ischemic events is high in the days to weeks after a TIA or minor stroke. We sought to test whether blocking platelet aggregation more effectively with clopidogrel plus aspirin could reduce this risk compared to aspirin alone.  We found that the combination did reduce risk of major ischemic events.  It also showed a small increase in risk of major hemorrhage, but for most people the benefits would outweigh the potential risk.
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Neurological Disorders, University Texas, Zika / 07.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40401" align="alignleft" width="177"]Slobodan Paessler, D.V.M., Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Pathology; Director, Galveston National Laboratory Preclinical Studies Core;  Director, Animal Biosafety Level 3, Institute for Human Infections and Immunity; Member, Center for Biodefense & Emerging Infectious Diseases University of Texas Medical Branch  Galveston, TX Dr. Paessler[/caption] Slobodan Paessler, D.V.M., Ph.D. Professor, Department of Pathology; Director, Galveston National Laboratory Preclinical Studies Core; Director, Animal Biosafety Level 3, Institute for Human Infections and Immunity; Member, Center for Biodefense & Emerging Infectious Diseases University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston, TX MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Zika virus infection is associated with various developmental issues for human embryos such as reduced head growth, reduced brain tissue growth, and damage to brain or eyes. We wanted to better understand if some of these birth defects are caused directly by the Zika virus or maybe by the host response to infection. In our study we demonstrate that the Zika virus infection induces autoimmune response against the C1q protein. This protein is a very important immune protein as well as one of the essential proteins for healthy brain development. Attacking the C1q protein upon exposure with the Zika virus could contribute to the development of autoimmune disorders and birth defects. 
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Electronic Records, University Texas / 29.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ali Haider, MBBS MD Assistant Professor, Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine Division of Cancer Medicine The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patients with chronic and serious illnesses such as cancer often experience high physical and psychosocial symptoms. Recent studies have reported association of physicians' examination room computer use with less face to face interactions and eye contact. It's important for the clinicians to look for certain physical cues to better understand the well being of their patients. Therefore we conducted this randomized clinical trial to understand patients perception of physicians compassion, communication skills and professionalism with and without the use of examination room computer.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, HPV, University Texas / 25.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36569" align="alignleft" width="153"]David R. Lairson, PhD Professor of Health Economics Division of Management Policy and Community Health Co-Director, Center for Health Services Research School of Public Health The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Dr. Lairson[/caption] David R. Lairson, PhD Professor of health economics Department of Management, Policy, and Community Health The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The study of oropharyngeal cancer treatment cost was initiated by the Head and Neck Cancer Surgery Department at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center as part of a larger study of the economic and health consequences of human papillomavirus (HPV) related conditions in Texas.  State specific information is required for policy-makers to consider future investments in cancer prevention based on HPV immunization and cancer screening.  The cost estimates at $140,000 per case for the first two years of treatment are substantially higher than previous estimates.  They indicate the potential savings associated with cancer prevention and partially justify increased investment in immunization efforts.
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Ophthalmology, University Texas / 07.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_35769" align="alignleft" width="158"]Stephen P. Daiger, PhD TS Matney Professor of Environmental and Genetic Sciences Human Genetics Center, School of Public Health and Mary Farish Johnston Distinguished Chair of Ophthalmology Ruiz Dept. of Ophthalmology and Visual Science The Univ. of Texas HSC at Houston Dr. Daiger[/caption] Stephen P. Daiger, PhD Professor, Human Genetics Center Thomas Stull Matney, Ph.D. Professor in Environmental and Genetic Sciences Mary Farish Johnston Distinguished Chair in Ophthalmology The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Thanks for your questions about our research.  My research group and I have a long-term interest in finding genes and mutations causing inherited retinal diseases.  Our main focus is on retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and, more specifically, the autosomal dominant form of RP. Inherited retinal diseases are progressive, degenerative diseases of the retina.  Onset can be very early in life, even at birth, or much later in life.  As the degeneration develops an affected person may first experienced limited loss of vision, progressing to severe loss of vision, ending, in many cases, in legal or complete blindness.  About 300,000 Americans are affected by inherited retinal disease and 50% of these have RP.  RP, like most hereditary conditions, can be inherited in an autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive or X-linked fashion. One of the surprising, and in some sense, disturbing findings in studying  retinitis pigmentosa is that mutations in many different genes can cause this disease.  We now know that mutations in more than 80 genes can cause RP and thousands of different mutations have been found in these genes.  With next-generations sequencing it is possible to find the cause of RP in from 50% to 80% of cases, depending on the underlying mode of inheritance.For example, in our research we can find the disease-causing mutation in about 75% of families with autosomal dominant RP.  Needless to say, a primary aim of our research is to find the cause in the remaining 25%. In looking for the cause of retinitis pigmentosa in the remaining 25%, that is, those in whom mutations were not detected by earlier methods, we found a potential dominant-acting mutation in the arrestin-1 gene (gene symbol “SAG”) using whole-genome sequencing.  Molecular modeling suggests this mutation is damaging.  This was unexpected because previously-reported mutations in this gene were associated with Oguchi disease, a recessive retinal disease with symptoms distinct from RP.  On further testing our cohort of patients with autosomal dominant RP, we found this mutation in nearly 4% of families.  Even more surprisingly, when we looked closely at the affected families, and worked with our collaborators to test other patients, we discovered that all of the families with the dominant-acting SAG mutation -- 12 total -- were of Hispanic origin.  By interviewing informative family members we learned that these families have their roots in the Southwestern United States.  Historically, the mutation may have arisen hundreds of years ago, consistent with genetic variation tracking with the mutation.
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Compliance, Cost of Health Care, University Texas / 31.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_34954" align="alignleft" width="199"]Kalyani B. Sonawane, PhD Assistant Professor/ PhD Program Director Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy College of Public Health and Health Professions University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32610 Dr. Sonawane[/caption] Kalyani B. Sonawane, PhD Assistant Professor/ PhD Program Director Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy College of Public Health and Health Professions University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32610 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Almost one-third of Americans have high blood pressure. Of those patients who are prescribed medication to control their blood pressure, about 30 percent have problems with side effects and nearly 50 percent will not have their blood pressure controlled within the first year of taking medication. In such scenarios, physicians have the option to either add a medication, such as fixed-dose combination, to the patient’s regimen or gradually increase a patient’s dose of their current drug to achieve blood pressure control; and gradually decrease the dose of their current drug or switch to a different drug to resolve side effects. Using healthcare claims data, we compared the economic impact of these alternative treatment modification strategies.
Author Interviews, Opiods, Pharmacology, University Texas / 11.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christina R. Merritt and Kathryn A. Cunningham Center for Addiction Research University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston, TX 77555 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Opioid use disorder (OUD) is one of the top public health problems in the United States. Overdoses on prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl accounted for 33,091 deaths in the U.S. in 2015 (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm655051e1.htm); each day, 91 Americans die from an opioid overdose (https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/). The first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health (https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/ ) observed that more people used prescription opioids than tobacco in 2015. Furthermore, individuals with OUD, the most problematic pattern of opioid abuse, often relapse, particularly in environments associated with past drug use, and new means to help maintain abstinence are needed. Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) function in the brain, particularly through its cognate 5-HT2C receptor, is an important regulator of the abuse liability of cocaine and other psychostimulants. Previous studies suggested that the weight loss medication and selective 5-HT2C receptor agonist lorcaserin (Belviq®) can curb cocaine- and nicotine-seeking in preclinical models, even when tested in tempting environments. We administered lorcaserin to rats who were trained to take the powerful painkiller oxycodone (OxyContin®), a prescription opioid currently approved for treatment of acute and chronic pain with characteristically high abuse potential. Lorcaserin suppressed oxycodone intake as well as the drug-seeking behaviors observed when rats were exposed to cues such as the lights and sounds previously associated with drug intake. Taken together, these findings highlights the therapeutic potential for lorcaserin to extend abstinence and enhance recovery from OUD.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research, University Texas / 24.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_33272" align="alignleft" width="133"]Fangjian Guo, MD, PhD Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston TX Dr. Fangjian Guo[/caption] Fangjian Guo, MD, PhD Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston TX MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: BRCA testing in patients diagnosed with early-onset breast or ovarian cancer can identify women with high-risk mutations, which can guide treatment. Women who learn they have a high-risk mutation may also want to inform family members that they may also carry a high-risk mutation. Additionally, BRCA testing can be used to identify high-risk mutation carriers before they develop breast or ovarian cancer. Carriers can then manage their cancer risks with screening (MRI/mammogram), chemoprevention, or prophylactic surgery. Current guidelines recommend BRCA testing for individuals who are considered high-risk for breast or ovarian cancer based on personal or family history.  However, this practice fails to identify most BRCA mutation carriers. It is estimated that more than 90% of mutation carriers have not been identified. One of the issues is that many women who do get tested are actually low-risk and do not have any personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer. This study assessed how BRCA testing was used in the US health care system during the past decade. We found that in 2004 most of the tests (75.7%) were performed in patients who had been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer. Only 24.3% of tests were performed in unaffected women. However, since 2006, the proportion of BRCA tests performed in unaffected women has increased sharply, with over 60% of the tests performed in unaffected women in 2014.
Author Interviews, Immunotherapy, Multiple Sclerosis, NEJM, University Texas / 22.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_30711" align="alignleft" width="160"]Jerry S. Wolinsky, MD Emeritus Professor in Neurology McGovern Medical School part of UTHealth | The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Houston’s Health University Department of Neurology Houston, Texas 77030 Dr. Jerry Wolinsky,[/caption] Jerry S. Wolinsky, MD Emeritus Professor in Neurology McGovern Medical School The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Houston’s Health University Department of Neurology Houston, Texas 77030 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Multiple sclerosis (MS) clinically is a very heterogeneous disease. It presents in considerably different ways and has a very poorly predictable clinical course. In an attempt to better communicate between experts in the field, there have been multiple attempts to categorize “typical” courses of the disease. How we think about the disease is in part driven by these somewhat artificial categories that lump our patients into those with relapsing forms of the disease (relapsing remitting with or without accumulating clinical disability, and secondary progressive with accumulating disability eventually occurring even in the absence of apparent clinical episodes of the disease), and primary progressive MS, where patients are slowly or sometimes rather rapidly accumulating disability in the absence of prior clinical relapses. However, the distinctions between multiple sclerosis patients are not always as clear as the definitions would suggest, and it is certain that patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis sometimes have clinical relapses after years of never having had relapses, and show MRI evidence of having accumulated many lesions in the brain over the course of their disease. Until now, none of the drugs that have shown benefit for relapsing disease have been able to convincingly show clinical benefit for patients with primary progressive disease, and for that matter have shown variable results when attempted in patients categorized as having secondary progressive courses. While some of our currently approved drugs have shown hints of benefit when tried in major clinical trials in primary progressive MS, the results were not been robust enough to seek regulatory approval. The Oratorio study design was based on lessons learned from prior trials in primary progressive and relapsing forms of MS, as well as the recognition that B cells might play an important role in the immunopathogenesis of disease based on a considerable amount of preclinical work and observations in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Addiction, Author Interviews, Memory, University Texas, Weight Research / 27.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_28356" align="alignleft" width="132"]U. H. Winzer-Serhan Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics Texas A&M Health Science Center Dr. Ursula H. Winzer-Serhan[/caption] Ursala. H. Winzer-Serhan Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics Texas A&M Health Science Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Nicotine is a plant alkaloid that is naturally occurring in the tobacco plant. Smoking delivers nicotine to the brain where it acts as a stimulant. Tobacco and electronic cigarette smoking delivers many other chemicals to the body, which are harmful and can cause cancer. However, the drug nicotine by itself is relatively benign and poses few health risks for most people. Nicotine acts in the brain on nicotinic receptors, which are ion channels that are widely expressed in the brain. They play an important role in cognitive functions. Research with rodents and in humans has shown that nicotine can enhance learning and memory, and furthermore, can protect neurons during injuries and in the aging brain. With the increasingly older population, it becomes more and more important to delay cognitive decline in the elderly. Right now, there is no drug available that could delay aging of the brain.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, OBGYNE, Outcomes & Safety, University Texas / 17.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_28034" align="alignleft" width="200"]Fangjian Guo, MD, PhD Assistant Professor BIRCWH Scholar Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health The University of Texas Medical Branch Dr. Fangjian Guo[/caption] Fangjian Guo, MD, PhD Assistant Professor BIRCWH Scholar Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health The University of Texas Medical Branch MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: National guidelines consistently recommend against cervical cancer screening among women with a history of a total hysterectomy for a benign condition. These women are unlikely to develop high-grade cervical lesions. The goal of our study was to assess whether these guidelines are being followed. We examined the use of Pap testing among US adult women with a history of total hysterectomy for a benign condition and the roles of health care providers and patients in the initiation of Pap test use. We found that in 2013, 32% of women who have had a hysterectomy received an unnecessary recommendation for cervical cancer screening from a health care provider in the past year; 22.1% of women with hysterectomy received unnecessary Pap testing. Although the majority of Pap tests were performed at a clinician’s recommendation, approximately one fourth were initiated by patients without clinician recommendations. According to standard 2010 US Census population figures, about 4.9 million unnecessary Pap tests are performed annually among women who have had a total hysterectomy for a benign condition. At approximately $30 per test, $150 million in direct medical costs could be saved annually if screening guidelines were followed for these women.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Memory, University Texas / 28.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_25624" align="alignleft" width="83"]Timothy Q. Duong, Ph.D Stanley I. Glickman MD Professor of Ophthalmology, Radiology, and Physiology South Texas Veterans Health Care System, VA Southwest National Primate Research Center University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, Texas Dr. Timothy Duong[/caption] Timothy Q. Duong, Ph.D Stanley I. Glickman MD Professor of Ophthalmology, Radiology, and Physiology South Texas Veterans Health Care System, VA Southwest National Primate Research Center University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, Texas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A single oral dose of methylene blue increased fMRI response in the bilateral insular cortex during a task that measured reaction time to a visual stimulus. The fMRI results also showed an increased response during short-term memory tasks involving the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which controls processing of memories. Methylene blue was also associated with a 7 percent increase in correct responses during memory retrieval. The findings suggest that methylene blue can regulate certain brain networks related to sustained attention and short-term memory after a single oral low dose.
Author Interviews, NEJM, OBGYNE, University Texas, Zika / 26.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_25543" align="alignleft" width="129"]Abigail R.A. Aiken, MD, MPH, PhD Assistant Professor LBJ School of Public Affairs University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX, 78713 Dr. Abigail Aiken[/caption] Abigail R.A. Aiken, MD, MPH, PhD Assistant Professor LBJ School of Public Affairs University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX, 78713 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As Zika began to emerge as an epidemic in Latin America and its links with microcephaly began to be realized, we were aware that women in the region who were already pregnant or who would become pregnant would have a very limited set of reproductive options. Research and media attention about the possible biological effects of Zika in pregnancy began to appear rapidly. But much less attention was been paid to the impacts of Zika on women. We followed the responses of governments and health organizations and when they began to issue advisories warning women to avoid pregnancy, we knew it would be important to investigate the impacts of those advisories. A country-wide policy that is impossible to follow if you are pregnant or cannot avoid pregnancy is an unusual and important public issue. Accurate data on abortion are very difficult to obtain in Latin America because in most countries, abortion is highly restricted. We wanted to provide a window on the issue of how women were responding to the risks of Zika and its associated advisories, so we worked with Women on Web (WoW), an online non-profit telemedicine initiative that provides safe medical abortion to women in countries where safe, legal abortion is not universally available.
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Science, University Texas / 25.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_25521" align="alignleft" width="200"]Jared Ellefson, PhD Postdoctoral fellow University of Texas Austin's Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology Dr. Jared Ellefson[/caption] Jared Ellefson, PhD Postdoctoral fellow University of Texas Austin's Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Reverse transcriptases (RT) have revolutionized the field of biology - enabling the conversion of RNA into DNA. This initially allowed the cloning of mature messenger RNA into cDNA libraries (e.g. cloning human genes), but has since been finding a more modern role in high throughput RNA-seq which can accurately depict the physiological status of a cell. Despite its critical role, an inherent flaw exists in all known reverse transcriptases. They make many errors while copying RNA - due to the lack of an error-checking (proofreading) domain. Consequently, the errors produced in reverse transcription are propagated into RNA sequencing potentially leading to corrupted data. The reason for the low fidelity of reverse transcriptases is due to their evolutionary heritage. All RTs are evolved from polymerase enzymes which lack the proofreading domain. This is in stark contrast to certain DNA polymerases which have extreme fidelity. The idea was, what if you could take a high fidelity DNA polymerase and transform it into a high fidelity RT. To do this we developed directed evolution techniques that would enrich these DNA polymerases for reverse transcriptase activity. After a monumental engineering effort, we were left with the world's first reverse transcriptase that could error-check during polymerization. We found that this increased the fidelity of RNA sequencing, in addition to a number of other interesting properties (for instance this single enzyme can do both reverse transcription and PCR).
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Nature, University Texas, Weight Research / 21.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_25360" align="alignleft" width="183"]Mikhail Kolonin, PhD, Associate Professor Director, Center for Metabolic and Degenerative Diseases Harry E. Bovay, Jr. Distinguished University Chair in Metabolic Disease Research The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Houston, TX 77030 Dr. Mikhail Kolonin[/caption] Mikhail Kolonin, PhD, Associate Professor Director, Center for Metabolic and Degenerative Diseases Harry E. Bovay, Jr. Distinguished University Chair in Metabolic Disease Research The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Houston, TX 77030 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Epidemiology studies have indicated that in obese patients progression of prostate, breast, colorectal, and other cancers is more aggressive. Adipose (fat) tissue, expanding and undergoing inflammation in obesity, directly fuels tumor growth. Adipose tissue is composed by adipocytes and stromal/vascular cells, which secrete tumor-trophic factors. Previous studies by our group have demonstrated that adipose stromal cells, which support blood vessels and serve as adipocyte progenitors, are recruited by tumors and contribute to cancer progression. Mechanisms underlying stromal cell trafficking from fat tissue to tumors have remained obscure. We discovered that in obesity a chemokine CXCL1, expressed by cancer cells, attracts adipose stromal cells to tumors.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, University Texas, Weight Research / 11.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sanghamitra Mohanty, MD MS FHRS Director, translational research, Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute and Associate Professor (affiliate) Dell Medical School What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mohanty:  In the last few years, several trials from a research group in Australia have generated tremendous interest in life-style modifications to manage AF more effectively. These studies reported significant decrease in arrhythmia burden and symptom severity and improvement in ablation outcome in patients with paroxysmal and persistent atrial fibrillation. We investigated the impact of weight-loss on procedure outcome in terms of arrhythmia burden, quality of life and arrhythmia-free survival in long-standing persistent (LSPAF) patients undergoing catheter ablation. Our main findings were the following;
  1. In patients with long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation, weight loss improved quality of life but had no impact on symptom burden and long-term ablation outcome
  2. No change in AF type or status was detected after the weight loss
  3. Extensive ablation including pulmonary vein (PV) isolation plus ablation of posterior wall and non-PV triggers resulted in comparable outcome in both groups at 1-year follow-up, irrespective of weight-loss interventions (63.8% vs 59.3%, p=0.68).
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Technology, University Texas / 11.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sanghamitra Mohanty, MD MS FHRS Director, translational research, Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute and Associate Professor (affiliate) Dell Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Mohanty: In patients with atrial fibrillation, Focal Impulse and Rotor Modulation (FIRM)-ablation alone or in combination with pulmonary vein (PV) isolation has been documented to possibly be a better alternative to PV isolation only. However, none of those trials had a randomized study design. The current study was the first attempt to compare 3 ablation strategies namely FIRM ablation alone (group 1), FIRM +PV isolation (group 2) and PV isolation combined with ablation of non-PV triggers (group 3) in a randomized controlled trial in persistent and long-standing persistent AF. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Dr. Mohanty: Our main findings were the following: 1)      Procedure time was significantly shorter in group 3 (no FIRM ablation) compared to group 1 and 2 (with FIRM ablation) 2)      FIRM-ablation alone had very poor outcome in terms of arrhythmia recurrence (86%) 3)      FIRM ablation plus PV isolation had significantly longer procedure time and lower efficacy than PV isolation + non-PV trigger-ablation (52.4% vs 76%, p=0.02).