Elective Induction at 39 Weeks May Reduce Need for Cesarean Section

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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

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.

Continue reading

Which Group Is at Highest Risk for Tobacco Use Onset? Youth or Young Adults?

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. Continue reading

Benefits of Clopidogrel and Aspirin In Minor Stroke and High-Risk TIA

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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

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.

Continue reading

Autoantibodies Generated By Zika Virus May Explain Some Consequences of Infection

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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

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.  Continue reading

Patients Prefer Doctors Who Face Them Rather Than Computer Screen

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.

Continue reading

Oropharyngeal Cancer Rising In Incidence and Costs to Over $140,000

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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

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.

Continue reading

New Gene Mutation Found to Cause Retinitis Pigmentosa in SW USA Hispanics

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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

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.

Continue reading

Fixed-Dose Blood Pressure Medications Save Money In The Long Run

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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

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.

Continue reading

Animal Study Suggests Lorcaserin (Belviq®) May be Useful to Reduce Opioid Intake

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.

Continue reading

BRCA Testing Shifts From Cancer Patients to Unaffected Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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

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.

Continue reading

Mutliple Sclerosis: Ocrelizumab Lowers Rate of Disease Progression and Disability

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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,

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.

Continue reading

Can Low Dose Oral Nicotine Have Beneficial Health Effects?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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

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.

Continue reading

Almost 5 Million Unnecessary Pap Smears Done Annually In Women With Hysterectomy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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

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.

Continue reading

Statin Users Have Lower Incidence of Uterine Fibroids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mostafa Borahay, MD, PhD, FACOG Assistant Professor Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Galveston, TX

Dr. Mostafa Borahay

Mostafa Borahay, MD, PhD, FACOG
Assistant Professor
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Galveston, TX

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Uterine fibroids are the commonest tumors of the female reproductive system. More than 50% of women are estimated to have uterine fibroids. In fact, 1 out of 4 women undergo a hysterectomy in the United States and half of these hysterectomies are due to fibroids.
Recently we demonstrated that statins, drugs used to fight high cholesterol, have anti-tumor effects on uterine fibroids as shown in cells and animal models.

In this current study, we examined the incidence of uterine fibroids and fibroid-associated symptoms in women taking statins for high cholesterol. We performed this using large national patient database.
We found that compared to non-users, statin users have lower incidence of uterine fibroids. Furthermore, they have less heavy bleeding, pelvic pain and other fibroid-associated symptoms. Also, they needed less surgeries to remove tumors (myomectomy).

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Currently, we don’t have a successful, safe long term medical treatment for uterine fibroids. Surgeries, typically a hysterectomy, is commonly performed for fibroids. This study provide some evidence that a safe long term medical treatment can be available for treating these tumors. This provides hope for many women, especially those interested in preserving their childbearing potential.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: After finding strong evidence from cellular and animal experiments and using patient databases, our next step is clinical trials. We plan to start a clinical trial for statins in women with fibroids in the near future. The established safety of statins represents a huge advantage.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The successful work over the last few years stresses the huge benefits from and the critical need for a multidisciplinary teams in medical research. Our team included clinicians, basic scientists and biostatisticians and epidemiologists.

Also, there is a need for more funding for medical research. Scientific research to discover innovative treatments requires funding and therefore the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other funding bodies have a large responsibility to fulfil.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Jun 28. pii: S0002-9378(16)30381-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2016.06.036. [Epub ahead of print]
Statin Use and Uterine Fibroid Risk in Hyperlipidemia Patients: A Nested Case-Control Study.
Borahay MA1, Fang X2, Baillargeon JG2, Kilic GS3, Boehning DF4, Kuo YF2.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on MedicalResearch.com

Could Methylene Blue Improve Memory in Patients With Cognitive Impairment?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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

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.

Continue reading

Requests for Abortions in South American Rise Dramatically Since Zika, Especially in Brazil

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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

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.

Continue reading

Fixing An Evolutionary Omission: Adding Proof-Reading to Reverse

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jared Ellefson, PhD Postdoctoral fellow University of Texas Austin's Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology

Dr. Jared Ellefson

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).

Continue reading

Fat Cells Signal Cancer to Become More Aggressive

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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

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.

Continue reading

Weight Loss Improves Quality of Life But Not Atrial Fibrillation Ablation Outcomes

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).

Continue reading

Poor Outcomes with FIRM-ablation Alone in Non-Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation

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).

Continue reading

High Fructose Diet During Pregnancy Predisposes Children to Obesity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Antonio Saad, MD Fellow in Maternal Fetal Medicine University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Dr. Antonio Saad

Antonio Saad, MD
Fellow in Maternal Fetal Medicine & Critical Care Medicine
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Saad: Recently the WHO announced an alarming news, the prevalence of diabetes has increased four fold in the past quarter-century. The major factors attributed for this increase included excessive weight, and obesity. In the US alone, two thirds of people are either overweight or obese. There are shocking numbers that should alert physicians, patients and government officials for awareness and interventions that we can alter the path away from this drastic epidemic.

In light of recent events, our group strongly believes that poor diet during pregnancy predisposes offspring in adult life to develop obesity and diabetes through fetal programming. High fructose introduction into our food chain has coincided with the obesity and diabetes epidemics. Hence, we designed an animal study where we fed pregnant mice with either regular diet or high fructose diet until delivery. Then we looked at the offspring, at 12 months of age. We looked at  their blood pressure, glucose tolerance tests, insulin resistance,  and weights. We also tested for serum marker of metabolic dysfunction and used computed tomography imaging to assess for liver fat infiltration and percent visceral adipose tissue. To our surprise, these offspring (mothers were fed high fructose diet) developed several features of metabolic syndrome.  Female offspring’s cardiovascular and metabolic function at one year of age (adulthood) had increased weight, blood pressure, visceral adiposity, liver fat infiltrates and  insulin resistance with impaired glucose tolerance).  The  male counterparts were limited to high blood pressure  and glucose intolerance. Keeping in mind that the amount of fructose given to these animals were equivalent to daily soda cans consumption in humans.

Continue reading

Epidemic of Burnout Among Physicians, Especially Surgeons, Is Increasing

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Francesca M Dimou, MD Research Fellow University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston, TX

Dr. Francesca Dimou

Francesca M Dimou, MD
Research Fellow University of Texas Medical Branch
Galveston, TX

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Dimou: Burnout is a syndrome defined by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a low sense of personal accomplishment. Over the past decade the problem of physician and surgeon burnout has come to the forefront. The demands on physicians at academic healthcare institutions are expanding rapidly and include increasing regulation, increased demands on clinical productivity, difficulty funding research efforts, medicolegal liability, inefficient systems, loss of autonomy, rising student debt, and difficulty balancing professional and personal lives. This challenges the wellbeing of everyone in the organization, including the physicians and the patients they treat.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Dr. Dimou: Our systematic review identified a significant number of studies reporting on surgeon burnout with rates exceeding 50% in some surgical specialties. Even more striking, is that the incidence of burnout among surgeons is increasing steadily and the consequences of burnout impact all aspects of their professional and personal lives. Review of the literature demonstrates that surgeons meeting criteria for burnout had an increased probability of committing and reporting medical errors, increased depression, and increased suicidal ideation. Most importantly, despite the strong data highlighting that magnitude, acuity, and consequences of the burnout problem, we could not find definitive, reproducible intervention programs for surgeons dealing with burnout, nor could we identify prevention programs.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Dimou:    The epidemic of burnout among physicians, and surgeons in particular is increasing. The unique surgical culture adds additional challenges. Surgeons are perfectly capable of “running on empty”, continuing to see patients and meet other expectations long after they are completely drained and exhausted. In fact, their ability to do this is a core component of their medical education and training. The surgical environment is one that discourages “weakness”; it is an environment that teaches surgeons to feel guilty if they take care of themselves. There are many system and culture issues in surgery and medicine that need to be addressed. The article highlights the need to design interventions to both help physicians who are already burned out as well as develop interventions to improve physician wellbeing at the individual level while working to make needed changes in the system as a whole.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Dimou:    Research has already significantly raised awareness around burnout and its consequences. The next step is to identify intervention and prevention programs for physicians to promote physician wellbeing and resiliency – teaching surgeons to respond to their stressful environment in a way that promotes their wellbeing. Several programs throughout the country are beginning to promote physician wellbeing, such as the Balance in Life Program at Stanford and the Physician Well-being Program at Mayo Clinic. Such programs need to be designed and studied systematically to identify effective, reproducible, and scalable interventions to allow for widespread adoptability.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Dr. Dimou:    A career in surgery can be an unparalleled privilege. Being a surgeon truly gives you the ability to change someone’s life and a surgical career will always require time, hard work, and sacrifices; we teach surgeons to operate and teach them to take care of patients, but we don’t teach them to respond to their environment effectively. The ramifications of continuing on the current path are potentially profound. If we do not change the system and create a surgical culture that promotes wellbeing we are at the risk of losing not only our current surgeon workforce, but also the best and brightest of the next generation. Systematic efforts to improve physician wellbeing at the individual level and change surgical culture to support this change are essential. 

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Surgeon Burnout: A Systematic Review
Dimou, Francesca M. et al.
Journal of the American College of Surgeons , Volume 0 , Issue 0 ,
Published Online:March 25, 2016

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2016.03.022

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on MedicalResearch.com

 

 

 

Signaling Pathway Could Be Target of New Triple Negative Breast Cancer Treatment

Click Here for More Articles Related To Breast Cancer on MedicalResearch.com.

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Chunru Lin PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology,
Division of Basic Science Research and
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Lin: Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) continues to be a serious healthcare problem despite improvements in early detection and treatment; lncRNAs are one of the emerging elements that make the process of understanding breast cancer development and progression so complex yet thorough. Thus, it is imperative to include an examination of lncRNAs when studying breast cancer, especially when researching challenging questions related to relapses and recurrences of breast cancer that occur after targeted therapeutic treatments. A perspective that incorporates lncRNAs into the discussion of breast cancer biology could be the conceptual advance that is necessary to encourage further breakthroughs.

Our research reveals the biological functional roles of cytoplasmic lncRNAs as signaling pathway mediators and catalysts that serve as indispensable components of signal transduction cascades and gene networks. This understanding could transform the prevailing dogma of the field of signal transduction. This study has identified a previously unknown mechanism for HIF stabilization and signal transduction, which is triggered by the HB-EGF bound EGFR/GPNMB heterodimer and is mediated by LINK-A-dependent recruitment of two kinases, BRK and LRRK2, to phosphorylate HIF1α at two new sites, leading to HIF1α stabilization and interaction with p300 for transcriptional activation; this further results in cancer glycolytic reprogramming under normoxic conditions. LINK-A is the first demonstrated lncRNA that acts as a key mediator of biological signaling pathways, which suggests the potential for the involvement of other lncRNAs as mediators of numerous signaling pathways.

Importantly, expression of LINK-A and activation of the LINK-A mediated signaling pathway are both correlated with TNBC. Targeting LINK-A with LNAs (Locked Nucleic Acids) serves as an encouraging strategy to block reprogramming of glucose metabolism in TNBC with therapeutic potential.  Continue reading

Delaying Chemotherapy After Breast Cancer Surgery Can Decrease Survival

Mariana Chavez Mac Gregor, MD, MSC Assistant Professor, Tenure track Department of Health Services Research Division of Cancer Prevention The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX

Dr. Chavez-MacGregor

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Mariana Chavez Mac Gregor, MD, MSC
Assistant Professor
Breast Medical Oncology Department
Health Services Research Department
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Chavez Mac Gregor: Adjuvant chemotherapy has proven to significantly decrease the risk of recurrence among breast cancer patients, however the optimal time to start adjuvant chemotherpay remains unknown. There are biological resasons to believe that a delay in the initiation of systemic therapy can be associated with adverse outcomes. In this large study we evaluated the impact of a delay in the initiation of time to chemotherapy (TTC).  We analyzed data from 24,843 patients with invasive breast cancer (stages I to III) from the California Cancer Registry and observed that compared with patients who received chemotherapy within 31 days of surgery,  no adverse outcomes were associated with time to chemotherapy of 31 to 90 days of surgery. However, there was  a 34 % increase in the risk of death and a 27% increase in the risk of breast cancer specific death  among patients who started  chemotherapy 91 or more days after surgery. In a stratified analysis according to breast cancer subtype, patients with triple-negative breast cancer, a TTC greater than 91 days  was  significantly  associated with worse overall and breast cancer-specific survival.

In addition we evaluated factors associated with delays in  time to chemotherapy (defined as > or = 91 days) and observed that many of the factors are sociodemographic in nature including low socioeconomic status, non-private insurance, and being Hispanic or African American.

Continue reading

White Coat Hypertension Is Not Benign and Should Not Be Ignored

Dr. Wanpen Vongpatanasin MD Program Director, Hypertension Fellowship Program Professor of Internal Medicine Director of the University of Texas Southwestern Hypertension ProgramMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Wanpen Vongpatanasin MD
Program Director, Hypertension Fellowship Program
Professor of Internal Medicine
Director of the University of Texas Southwestern Hypertension Program

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Vongpatanasin: Home blood pressure measurement may reveal very different number when compared to clinic blood pressure in hypertensive patients.  This difference can manifest as white coat hypertension (White Coat Hypertension; elevated office blood pressure with normal ambulatory or home blood pressure), or masked hypertension (MH; elevated ambulatory or home BP with normal office blood pressure).  Although numerous epidemiological studies from Europe and Asia have shown increased cardiovascular risks associated with White Coat Hypertension and masked hypertension, previous studies have not addressed cardiovascular outcomes associated with White Coat Hypertension and masked hypertension in the general population in the United States.

We found that  participants in the Dallas Heart Study, a multiethnic populational-based study in the Dallas County, both White Coat Hypertension and MH are associated with increased aortic stiffness and markers of kidney damage when compared to the group with normal blood pressure both at home and in the clinic. Furthermore, both white coat hypertension and masked hypertension are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events, including coronary heart disease, stroke, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, and cardiovascular death over a median follow-up period of 9 years.

Continue reading