Maternal Cell Phone Use Did Not Adversely Affect Children’s Language or Motor Skills At Age 5

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jan Alexander, MD,PhD Norwegian Institute of Public Health Oslo Norway

Dr. Alexander

Jan Alexander, MD,PhD
Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Oslo Norway 

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

Response: The background for this study was the widespread uncertainty and general concern among the public about increasing exposure to weak radio frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF-RF). The concern on whether using your cell phone while pregnant can harm your foetus are mainly due to the extensive use of cell phones, that emit EMF-RF. Even though the RF-EMF exposure that may reach the foetus is very low, evidence from previous epidemiological studies with mothers and children are inconsistent as to whether EMF-RF emission from cell phone might harm the developing brain of the foetus. This includes also animal experiments where the exposure may be very different from that in humans.

We therefore studied the association between maternal cell phone use during pregnancy and child’s neurodevelopment at 3 and 5 years. We included around 45,000 mother and their children from all over Norway from the Norwegian Mother and Child Study (MoBa study) and used language development as the outcome because we in previous studies found this parameter to be sensitive to exposure to neurotoxicants. T

here was no evidence of a harmful effect of the mother using her cell phone during pregnancy on her child’s neurodevelopment at 3 and 5 years. Surprisingly, we even found that the more the mother was using her cell phone during pregnancy the better language and motor skills her child had at 3 years of age. We observed no associations when the child was 5 years old.

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Early Breast Cancer: Radiation Before Surgery Reduce Risk of Second Tumors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Heiko Enderling, Ph.D. Associate Member & Director for Education and Outreach Dept. of Integrated Mathematical Oncology Dept. of Radiation Oncology H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute Tampa, FL 33612

Dr.Enderling

Heiko Enderling, Ph.D.
Associate Member & Director for Education and Outreach
Dept. of Integrated Mathematical Oncology
Dept. of Radiation Oncology
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
Tampa, FL 33612

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

Response: Although radiation therapy after breast-conserving surgery for early-stage breast cancer has significantly improved patient prognosis, many patients will face a second cancer diagnosis within 20 years of primary treatment. Experimental and clinical studies have shown that local radiation therapy can activate an immune response that can propagate systemically to attack distant untreated metastases. However, current radiotherapy practice has not specifically focused on enhancing immune responses.

We asked the question if pre-operative irradiation, when applied to the bulk of disease, could have potentially higher immune stimulatory effects. To study this, we analyzed historic outcomes of breast cancer patients treated with either adjuvant (radiation after surgery) or neoadjuvant (radiation before surgery) radiotherapies.

Our analysis showed that the risk of developing a second tumor after neoadjuvant compared with adjuvant RT was significantly lower, especially for estrogen receptor-positive women who underwent breast conserving surgery or mastectomy. Historic data revealed an increase in disease-free survival of 12% over 20 years after treatment of the original tumor.

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Overweight, Tall Men Have Greater Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Aurora Perez-Cornago, PhD Cancer Epidemiology Unit Nuffield Department of Population Health University of Oxford

Dr. Perez-Cornago

Aurora Perez-Cornago, PhD
Cancer Epidemiology Unit
Nuffield Department of Population Health
University of Oxford

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

Response: Greater height and adiposity have been suggested as possible prostate cancer risk factors, but these associations are not clear, probably
because most previous studies have not looked separately at different tumour subtypes.

For this reason, we wanted to look at these associations splitting tumours into subtypes according to tumour stage and histological grade, looking as well at death from prostate cancer.

We found a marked difference in risks looking at low and high risk tumours. Taller men and men with greater adiposity had an elevated of high-grade prostate cancer and prostate cancer death.

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Which Patients With Advanced Respiratory Disease Die in the Hospital?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Sabrina Bajwah MBChB MRCGP MSc MA PhD Consultant Palliative Medicine, King’s College NHS Foundation Trust Honorary Senior Lecturer King's College London Cicely Saunders Institute, Department of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation London, UK

Dr Sabrina Bajwah

Dr Sabrina Bajwah
MBChB MRCGP MSc MA PhD
Consultant Palliative Medicine, King’s College NHS Foundation Trust
Honorary Senior Lecturer
King’s College London
Cicely Saunders Institute, Department of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation
London, UK 

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

Response: Where people die is often important to them and their families, as well as being important for planning health care services. Most people want to die at home, but instead most die in hospital. While the trends have been studied in cancer, other diseases, such as respiratory, are rarely looked at even though they are common and increasing causes of death.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Interstitial Pulmonary Diseases (IPD) are common respiratory conditions. Both conditions result in a high use of hospital services, especially among people in advanced stages. This leads to high healthcare costs.1 In the UK in 2010, it is estimated that IPD costs £16.2 million per year in hospitalisations.2 The NHS spends more than £810 million annually managing COPD, with inpatient stays accounting for around £250 million annually.

Understanding which factors affect place of death is vital for planning services and improving care, especially given our ageing population, rising chronic diseases and the high costs of hospital admissions. Strategies in many countries have sought to improve palliative care and reduce hospital deaths for non-cancer patients, but their effects are not evaluated.

We aimed to determine the trends and factors associated with dying in hospital in COPD and IPD, and the impact of a national end of life care (EoLC) strategy3 to reduce deaths in hospital. This study analysed a national data set of all deaths for COPD and IPD, covering 380,232 people over 14 years.

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Inverse Association Between Mediterranean Diet and Cardiovascular Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Nita Forouhi, MRCP, PhD, FFPHM
Programme Leader
MRC Epidemiology Unit
University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine
Institute of Metabolic Science
Cambridge Biomedical Campus

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

Response: The benefits of the Mediterranean diet for cardiovascular health are well documented in countries of the Mediterranean region and some other countries, but there is little such evidence in the UK general population. Our work fills this research gap.

In our study we followed up 23,902 initially healthy Britons living in Norfolk (Eastern England) for an average of 12 to 17 years, and determined the occurrence of new cases of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and deaths due to CVD during that time period. Our results showed that those adults who adhered to a Mediterranean diet had 6% to 16% lower risk of developing CVD, compared to those who had dietary habits further away from the Mediterranean-type diet pattern. This was the case even when we accounted for several important risk factors and correlates of CVD, including as age, sex, body mass index, lifestyle habits such as smoking, alcohol intake and physical activity, and socio-economic factors.

We also modelled what would happen in the study population if all the participants increased their adherence to the Mediterranean-type diet. From this we estimated that nearly 4% of all new cardiovascular disease cases, or 12.5% of cardiovascular deaths in the population could potentially be avoided. This is novel information about the potential health benefit of a Mediterranean-type diet in a UK context. However, we should remember that our study was an observational study, not a clinical trial with a dietary intervention, and thus we cannot imply a cause and effect relationship between increasing adherence to the Mediterranean diet and reduction in cardiovascular disease.

We defined the Mediterranean diet using a 15 point score based on guideline recommendations from a Mediterranean dietary pyramid published by the Mediterranean Diet Foundation. The recommendations had not previously been specifically tested for their associations with health, so our findings, for the first time, show the utility of the Mediterranean dietary pyramid.

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Higher Expression of Stem Cell Genes In Young Breast Cancer Patients

Hatem A. Azim MD PhD Breast Cancer Translational Research Laboratory Institut Jules Bordet Université Libre de Bruxelles Brussels, Belgium

Dr. Azim

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Hatem A. Azim MD PhD
Breast Cancer Translational Research Laboratory
Institut Jules Bordet
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Brussels, Belgium

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

Dr. Azim: As at breast cancer diagnosis is known to impact prognosis, with young patients having worse outcome. On the other hand, elderly patients are less studies in general and little is known on their tumor characteristics.

In this study, we aimed to define the pattern of genomic aberrations in different age groups. This can result in identifying if key potentially targetable genomic alterations are more specific to particular age groups and thus could open the door to design particular studies targeting these aberrations in these age groups. We found that  age is associated with unique biological features at the DNA level, independent of tumor stage, histology and breast cancer molecular subtype.

Of particular mention, the higher prevalence of GATA3 mutation in younger patient, a known driver mutation associated with endocrine resistance. In addition, age at diagnosis appears to impact the tumor transcriptome confirming previous observations, but also highlighting novel findings, of particular relevance the higher expression of stem cell related genes in young patients.

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Gut Microbiome May Drive Colon Cancer

Michael B. Burns, Ph.D. HHMI Post-Doctoral Fellow Dept. of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development Dept. of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Masonic Cancer Center Dept. of Biology Teaching and Learning University of Minnesota, Twin Cities St. Paul, MN 55108MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michael B. Burns, Ph.D.
HHMI Post-Doctoral Fellow
Dept. of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development
Dept. of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior
Masonic Cancer Center
Dept. of Biology Teaching and Learning
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
St. Paul, MN 55108


Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Burns: Recent technological advances have made it possible to survey all the of microbes that are in, on, and around us. One of the surprising things is the sheer quantity and diversity of the bacteria in our environments and our microbiomes. Many researchers have begun the systematic characterization of the microbes that are associated with specific disease states, including cancer. With regard to colorectal cancer, there have been numerous studies that have identified specific bacteria that are linked to the presence of the disease. There have been many reports that have identified particular potentially important microbes that may be causing the cancer, driving the cancer, or some combination of the two. Among these microbes, one of the best studied so far is a group of bacteria called Fusobacterium.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Burns: In our work, we set out to perform another characterization of the bacteria in the gut microbiome that are specifically associated with colorectal tumors. We used samples of normal colon tissue from the same individuals as controls, which allowed us to account for much of the variability in the different bacteria we found that might have been simply the result of, for instance, diet. In our analysis, we confirmed the previous results related to Fusobacterium, and additionally discovered a new potential culprit in colorectal cancer, a group of bacteria named Providencia.

The finding of another new set of microbes that might be causing or driving cancer is not surprising. As indicated above, there are many groups who have found other potential candidate microbes that could be implicated in the disease. Our next question was to determine if there was some reason why there might be so many different bacteria that are linked with the disease and what it might be able to tell us about what these bacteria are doing. To that end, we used computational approaches to assess what these two groups of bacteria might be doing at a functional level and if there were any similarities. We found that there was a great deal in common between Fusobacterium and Providencia, including a finding that one of the common functions was related to a large group of virulence genes.

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Study Links Whole Grains With Longer Life and Improved Health

Prof. Lu Qi, Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition Harvard School of Public Health and Channing Division of Network Medicine Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MAMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lu Qi, MD, PhD, FAHA
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Assistant Professor of Nutrition
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

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

Dr. Lu Qi: The previous data from population and animal studies have suggested intakes of whole grain or its fiber (cereal fiber) might benefit improvement of metabolic status such as lipids, inflammation, body weight, and blood pressure. Epidemiological studies have shown high whole grain consumption lower risk of various diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Lu Qi: The study clearly supports to increase consumption of whole grain products to longer life and improve health.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Lu Qi: The supportive evidence for the protective effect of whole grain and cereal fiber on human health from large prospective cohort are accumulating; however, data from clinical trials are still lacking but highly needed to move one step closer to the final conclusion. In addition, experimental studies are also essential to clarify the mechanisms.

Citation:

Consumption of whole grains and cereal fiber and total and cause-specific mortality: prospective analysis of 367,442 individuals
Tao Huang, Min Xu, Albert Lee, Susan Cho and Lu Qi
Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Ave, Boston 02115, MA
BMC Medicine 2015, 13:59  doi:10.1186/s12916-015-0294-7

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lu Qi MD PhD (2015). Study Links Whole Grains With Longer Life and Improved Health 

Genetics and Common Bacteria Affect Atherosclerosis Progression

Caroline Attardo Genco, PhD Professor Department of Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases Department of Microbiology Boston University School of Medicine Boston MA 02118MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Caroline Attardo Genco, PhD

Professor Department of Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases Department of Microbiology
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston MA

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

Dr. Genco: Atherosclerosis is a common cardiovascular disease associated with heart attack and stroke. Although it has been shown that a diet high in fat as well as exposure to certain bacteria can cause atherosclerosis (the buildup of fats, cholesterol, and other substances on artery walls which can restrict blood flow), we have for the first time identified distinct gene pathways that are altered by these different stimuli. One of these bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis, is found in the mouth of humans with periodontal disease. Another is the bacteria Chlamydia pneumoniae, which causes pneumonia. We found that even though these three different stimuli all cause atherosclerosis, the gene pathways are distinct depending upon stimulus. This is the first study that has performed side-by-side comparison of genome-wide gene expression changes to address this issue.

In this study, we used four experimental groups to compare genome-wide expression changes in vascular tissue. The first group was subjected to Porphyromonas gingivalis, while the second group received Chlamydia pneumoniae. The third group was placed on a high-fat Western style diet, while the fourth group was the control group. In collaboration with the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at Boston University, we performed genome-wide microarray profiling and analysis of vascular tissue from all groups to reveal gene pathways altered in vascular tissue by each treatment group.

These findings may explain how specific infections or high-fat diet may cause atherosclerotic plaques to undergo changes that affect their size and stability and may ultimately lead to a heart attack.

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Yogurt May Lower Risk of Diabetes

Prof. Frank B Hu Department of Nutrition Department of Epidemiology Harvard School of Public HealthMedicalresearch.com with:
Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD

Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology
Harvard School of Public Health
Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02115

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Hu: Type 2 diabetes (T2D) affects approximately 26 million people in the United States and 366 million people worldwide, and thus primary prevention of T2D has become a public health imperative. The relation between consumption of different types of dairy and risk of type 2 diabetes remains uncertain.  Continue reading