Maternal Obesity Linked To Increased Risk of Congenital Malformations in Offspring Interview with:
Dr. Martina Persson

Clinical Epidemiology Unit
Department of Medicine Solna
Karolinska University Hospita What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: It is well known that obesity increases risks of several maternal, fetal and neonatal complications including congenital malformations. However, it has not been clear if risks of malformations are increased also in offspring of normal weight mothers or if risks increase with degree of maternal obesity.

In this study, we found progressively increasing risks of major congenital malformations in the offspring with a mother’s overweight and obesity severity. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The most sensitive period of fetal organ development is the first eight weeks of gestation and it is during this time a mother´s BMI may influence risks of malformations. Thus, it is important to try to obtain a normal bodyweight before conception. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our results should be confirmed in other populations and mechanisms behind the increased risks of malformations associated with maternal obesity should be further explored. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Obesity is a major health problem in many countries in the world. Preventive measures to halt the obesity epidemic should be implemented at all levels of society. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


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

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Patients With Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation Less Likely To Receive Anticoagulants Interview with:

Dr Nicola Adderley BA, MSci (Cantab), MA, MPhil, PhD Institute of Applied Health Research Research Fellow University of Birmingham

Dr. Adderley

Dr Nicola Adderley BA, MSci (Cantab), MA, MPhil, PhD
Institute of Applied Health Research
Research Fellow
University of Birmingham What is the background for this study?

Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia and a major global public health problem. It is associated with a five-fold increase in risk of stroke.

There are three types of AF – paroxysmal, persistent or permanent. In paroxysmal AF, episodes come and go, and usually stop without any treatment. With persistent AF episodes can last for periods of more than seven days and are treated with medication or a medical procedure called cardioversion. In permanent AF, the irregular heartbeat is present all the time and cardioversion has failed to restore a normal heart rhythm.

All patients with AF, including paroxysmal AF, are at an increased risk of stroke. UK guidelines recommend anticoagulant treatment, such as the blood-thinning drug warfarin, for patients with all types of AF in order to reduce the risk of stroke.

Our study aimed to determine whether patients with paroxysmal AF are less likely to be treated with anticoagulants than patients with persistent or permanent AF and to investigate trends in treatment between 2000 and 2015.

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Regular Adolescent Cannabis Users More Likely To Have Later Problems with Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco Interview with:
Dr Michelle Taylor PhD
Senior Research Associate in Epidemiology
MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU)
School of Social and Community Medicine
University of Bristol
Bristol UK What is the background for this study?

Response: Many previous studies have looked at adolescent cannabis use, however most of these look at use at a single time point, for example whether an individual has ever used cannabis at age 16 years, or how regularly a person uses cannabis at age 18. However, as young people do not initiate use at the same time or follow the same pattern of use, using measures at a single time point does not always tell the whole story.
We used a form of statistical modelling using data taken over the course of adolescence to try and characterise underlying patterns of cannabis use across adolescence. We used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children which had information on cannabis use at six time points between the ages of 13 and 18 years.

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Pharmaceutical Grade Chondroitin Sulfate As First-Line Treatment of Osteoarthritis Interview with:

Jean-Yves Reginster M.D.,PH.D. Professor of Epidemiology, Public Health and Health Economics Head of the Bone and Cartilage Metabolism Unit University of Liège

Dr. Reginster

Jean-Yves Reginster M.D.,PH.D.
Professor of Epidemiology, Public Health and Health Economics
Head of the Bone and Cartilage Metabolism Unit
University of Liège What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Whereas several recommendations, issued by scientific societies, recommend to use Symptom-Modifying Slow Acting Drugs (SYSADOAs) for the symptomatic and structural management of osteoarthritis, no medication is currently registered, in this particular indication, by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This study is the first study, conducted, with a SYSADOA which fully complies with the requirements of the EMA for the assessment of drugs to be used in the treatment of osteoarthritis, i.e. a six-month duration, two co-primary endpoints (pain and function) and a three-arm design, with a placebo and an active comparator. The main findings are that pharmaceutical grade chondroitin sulfate provides an improvement in pain and function, which is greater than placebo and not distinguishable from celecoxib, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug currently licensed for the symptomatic management of osteoarthritis.

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Whose Patients Have Lower 30-Day Mortality? Younger or Older Doctors? Interview with:

Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD</strong> Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management Cambridge, MA 02138

Dr. Tsugawa

Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
Department of Health Policy and Management
Cambridge, MA 02138 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Although evidence has suggested that older physicians may experience a
decline in medical knowledge and are less likely to adhere to standard care, patients in general had a perception that older doctors are more
experienced and therefore provide superior care.

Using a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries who were hospitalized
for medical conditions in 2011-2014, we found that patients treated by
younger doctors have lower 30-day mortality compared to those cared
for by older doctors, after adjusting for patient, physician, and
hospital characteristics.

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All NSAIDS Raise Risk of Heart Attack, Even When Taken For Short Period of Time Interview with:
Michèle Bally, BPharm, MSc, PhD

Epidemiologist, Department of Pharmacy, CHUM
Researcher, Health Innovation and Evaluation Hub, CRCHUM What is the background for this study?

Response: The objective of this study was to better understand the risk of heart attack associated with using oral prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (ibuprofen, diclofenac, celecoxib, and naproxen) the way people usually do to treat pain and inflammation in real life circumstances.

In clinical trials, NSAIDs were typically taken on a continuous basis in high standardized doses, as assigned by the trial protocol. However, the dosages and the treatment durations studied in trials may not represent the reality of many patients who use NSAIDs in low or varying doses, use these drugs on and off, or switch between NSAID medications.

We were particularly interested in determining the onset of the risk, that is how soon does the risk of heart attack start increasing? Also, we wanted to investigate the effect of dose and duration of treatment. To do this, we studied the use of a low or high dose level of NSAIDs over certain set periods of time, including taking these medications only for 1 to 7 days.

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Over 50? Exercise Linked To Improved Cognitive Function Interview with:
Dr. Joseph Michael Northey
UC Research Institute for Sport and Exercise (UCRISE),
Discipline of Sport and Exercise Science, Faculty of Health
University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Physical exercise has an important role to play in maintaining cognitive function across the lifecycle. However, the benefits of implementing a physical exercise intervention were not clear. To address these issues which prevented evidence-based prescription of exercise for cognitive function, a systematic review of all the available literature up to November of 2016 in adults older than 50 was conducted.

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Submission and Publication Bias Against Studies With Negative Results Declining Interview with:
Gary Evoniuk, PhD

Director of Publication Practices, Medical Communications Quality & Practices
GlaxoSmithKline Research and Development, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 What is the background for this study?

Response: In recent years, industry, and to a lesser extent academia, have been criticised for failing to submit clinical trial data for publication, especially when the data are perceived to be “negative”, (i.e. unfavourable to the drug under study) leading to publication bias. We felt it was important to determine whether this criticism is based on perception or reality and so we conducted what is, to our knowledge the only study to systematically address the issue of submission and publication bias based on study outcome.

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Childhood Adversities Linked To Increased Suicide Risk in Adolescents and Young Adults Interview with:
Charlotte Björkenstam PhD

Dept of Clinical Neuroscience
Karolinska Institutet
Division of Insurance Medicine
Stockholm What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In a prior study we revealed that exposure to childhood adversities were associated with a substantial risk increase for self-harm. The risk was even higher for those exposed to accumulated childhood adversities. This finding together with the fact that the suicide rate among young adults is increasing (as opposed to decreasing in the general population) lead us to want to examine the relationship between childhood adversities and death by suicide.

We investigated 7 different childhood adversities, including familial death (suicide analyzed separately), parental substance abuse, parental psychiatric disorder, substantial parental criminality, parental separation/single-parent household, public assistance recipiency, and residential instability occurring between birth and age 14. We then followed the individuals up until age 24 at most. All adversities were entailed with an increased suicide risk from IRR: 1.6 (95% CI: 1.1 to 2.4) for residential instability to IRR: 2.9 (95% CI; 1.4 to 5.9) for familial suicide. We also found a dose-response relationship between accumulating CA and suicide risk where IRR ranged between 1.1 (95% CI: 0.9 to 1.4) for those exposed to 1 CA, to 2.6 (95% CI: 1.9 to 3.4) for those exposed to 3 or more adversities.

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Inhaling Poppers Associated With Visual Toxicity Interview with:
Dr. Rebecca Rewbury
Sussex Eye Hospital
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust
Brighton, UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: ‘Poppers’ are recreational drugs which are illegal to sell for human ingestion, but are sold under the guise of household cleaning products. Inhalation leads to a brief sense of euphoria, enhanced sexual arousal and smooth muscle relaxation. The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 was due to outlaw poppers, but they were excluded on the basis that they do not act directly on the central nervous system.

The main constituent of poppers, isopropyl nitrite, replaced isobutyl nitrite when the latter was classified as a carcinogen in 2006. Since then, there have been several case reports of ‘poppers maculopathy.’

We noted an increase in patients presenting with central visual disturbances after using poppers and describe 12 such cases. They all demonstrated similar disruption of the photoreceptor layer on retinal imaging. Onset of symptoms was frequently linked to specific brands of poppers, with 3 people having used poppers for many years and only developing side effects on changing brand. Chemical analysis showed that these products contained isopropyl nitrite. One brand of poppers, used without side effects by one patient, contained amyl nitrite, 2-methyl butyl nitrite and isobutyl alcohol, but no isopropyl nitrite.

The outcome of poppers maculopathy varied, but following abstention, visual disturbances and retinal damage tended to improve over months, if not fully resolve. Although in some cases, symptoms and/or imaging findings were prolonged. Ongoing use of implicated brands led to persistent, but not worsening maculopathy, whereas one patient that switched back to another brand showed full recovery.

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