Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Opiods, Pediatrics / 04.08.2017 Interview with: Krista F. Huybrechts, MS PhD Assistant Professor of Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02120 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Neonatal drug withdrawal is common; in the U.S. about 1 infant is born every 25 minutes with signs of drug withdrawal. Neonatal drug withdrawal is a well-recognized complication of intrauterine exposure to illicit or prescription opioids, but other psychotropic medications can also cause signs of withdrawal. Psychotropic medications are frequently co-prescribed with opioids in pregnancy, and the use of both has increased significantly, raising concerns about an increase in the incidence and severity of neonatal drug withdrawal due to potential drug-drug interactions, but these risks are not well understood. In this study, we found a 30-60% increase in the risk of neonatal drug withdrawal associated with co-exposure to antidepressants, benzodiazepines and gabapentin, compared to opioids alone; no significant increase in risk was observed for atypical antipsychotics and Z-drugs. Exposure to psychotropic polypharmacy along with opioids was associated with a two-fold increased risk of withdrawal. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Exercise - Fitness, OBGYNE, Weight Research / 20.07.2017 Interview with: Shakila Thangaratinam Professor of Maternal and Perinatal Health Joint Director of BARC (Barts Research Centre for Women's Health) Women's Health Research Unit | Multidisciplinary Evidence Synthesis Hub (MESH) Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry R & D Director for Women's Health Queen Mary University of London What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Pregnant women who are overweight or obese, or who gain excess weight gain in pregnancy are at high risk of complications. We wanted to find
  1. If healthy diet and physical activity in pregnancy reduced weight gain, and improved outcomes for the mother and baby
  2. If the effects of the interventions differed according to the characteristics of the mother such as body mass index, parity, ethnicity, and underlying medical condition
We established a network (International Weight Management in Pregnancy i-WIP) of researchers from 16 countries, and 41 institutions to answer the above. We found that women who followed a healthy diet and moderate physical activity gained less weight in pregnancy than other women; this beneficial effect was observed irrespective of mother's body mass index, parity, ethnicity, and underlying medical condition. Diet and physical activity in pregnancy has a beneficial effect on weight gain in pregnancy, and lowers the odds of caesarean section, and gestational diabetes. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Gastrointestinal Disease / 09.07.2017 Interview with: Ziyad Al-Aly MD FASN Assistant Professor of Medicine Co-director for Clinical Epidemiology Center Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine Saint Louis, Missouri Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Education Veterans Affairs Saint Louis Health Care System What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI) are commonly used, and they are associated with adverse events including kidney disease, dementia, fractures, cardiovascular disease, and pneumonia. We asked the question of whether this translates to increased risk of death. We conducted this large cohort study to specifically examine the association between PPI use and risk of death. The results consistently showed an association between use of PPI and increased mortality risk. Moreover, there was a graded relationship between duration of PPI use and risk of death in that longer duration of use was associated with incrementally higher risk of death. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Dermatology / 03.07.2017 Interview with: Joann G. Elmore M.D., M.P.H. Professor of Medicine, Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology, University of Washington School of Medicine Harborview Medical Center Seattle, WA 98104-2499 What is the background for this study? JE: Previous studies on diagnostic accuracy in interpreting melanocytic lesions exist but have small sample size, inclusion of experts only, or small numbers of specimens. We sought to examine accuracy and reproducibility in melanocytic skin lesions by improving upon the methodological limitations of previous studies. Specifically, we recruited a large national sample of practicing community and academic pathologists with a wide range of experience, and we utilized a large sample of biopsy cases that were carefully selected. Given that diagnostic errors can lead to patient deaths and invasive melanoma kills more than 9,000 Americans each year, we wanted to study the issue of diagnostic accuracy in interpreting melanocytic skin lesions in a very robust fashion. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease / 14.06.2017 Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cannabis, Pediatrics / 12.06.2017 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Osteoporosis / 23.05.2017 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 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Outcomes & Safety / 21.05.2017 Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease, Pain Research, Pharmacology / 10.05.2017 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. A lot of people take medication, but they do not understand that some can be more harmful than beneficial, especially with consistent use. Unfortunately, something like a heart attack can happen anywhere. You could be at work and show signs of an attack. If this does happen, hopefully you have someone who is first aid trained to at least help you deal with these symptoms, until you get to the hospital. This is why having someone who knows that they are doing is beneficial in any environment. If it wasn't for companies like Coast2Coast in Ottawa, the chances of someone who was suffering from a heart attack may not have made it to the hospital if it wasn't for the assistance of someone who was first aid trained. 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. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, BMJ, Cognitive Issues, Exercise - Fitness / 26.04.2017 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ / 25.04.2017 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Karolinski Institute, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 22.04.2017 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. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, BMJ, Ophthalmology / 17.04.2017 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. (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, Author Interviews, BMJ, Exercise - Fitness, Mental Health Research / 02.04.2017 Interview with: Tine Vertommen, Criminologist Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Universiteitsplein 1 Antwerp, Belgium What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A recent prevalence study into interpersonal violence against child athletes in the Netherlands and Belgium showed that 6% experienced severe sexual violence, 8% experienced severe physical violence, and 9% of respondents experienced severe psychological violence in sport (Vertommen et al., 2016). While general literature has repeatedly shown that exposure to interpersonal violence during childhood is associated with mental health problems in adulthood, this relationship has not yet been demonstrated in (former) athletes. Thus, the objective of the current study is to assess the long-term consequences of these experiences on adult mental health and quality of life. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cost of Health Care, Orthopedics / 29.03.2017 Interview with: Bart S Ferket, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Population Health Science and Policy Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai What is the background for this study? Response: The annual rate of total knee replacement in the US has doubled since 2000, and especially in those aged 45-65 utilization of this procedure has increased. The increase in practice cannot fully be explained by an increase in the prevalence of osteoarthritis and population growth, and has been partly attributed to expansion to people with less severe symptoms. The total number of procedures performed each year now exceeds 640,000. The evidence for the benefit of total knee replacement has been based on studies without a comparison group of no total knee replacement, and so far only one randomized clinical trial has been published. Although the published literature shows large improvements of pain, physical functioning and overall quality of life following the procedure, patients included in these studies generally had severe preoperative symptoms. A number of studies have suggested, however, that up to a third of recipients of total knee replacement show no benefit, and that those with poor physical functioning before surgery may show larger improvements. Therefore, the current US patient population undergoing total knee replacement might show less significant improvement in symptoms on average as compared with a hypothetical scenario in which eligibility is limited to those with more severe symptoms.   (more…)
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, BMJ, Opiods, Stanford / 15.03.2017 Interview with: Eric C Sun MD PhD, assistant professor Department of Anesthesiology Perioperative and Pain Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, CA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There have been large increases in opioid-related adverse events over the past decade. The goal of our study was to examine the extent to which these increases may have been driven by combined use of opioids and benzodiazepines, a combination that is known to be potentially risky. Overall, we found that the combined use of opioids and benzodiazepines nearly doubled (80% increase) between 2001 and 2013, and that opioid users who also used benzodiazepines were at a higher risk of an opioid-related adverse event. Indeed, our results suggest eliminating the combined use of opioids and benzodiazepines could have reduced the population risk of an opioid-related adverse event by 15%. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Environmental Risks, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Toxin Research / 02.03.2017 Interview with: Professor Jean-Francois Viel Department of Epidemiology and Public Health University Hospital Rennes, France What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The use of pyrethroid insecticides has increased substantially throughout the world over the past several decades, replacing organophosphate and carbamate insecticides, because of their chemical potency against many pests, their relatively low mammalian toxicity and their favorable environmental profiles. However, despite the neurotoxicity of these insecticides at high doses, the potential impact of environmental exposure to pyrethroid insecticides on child neurodevelopment has only just started to receive attention. Using a longitudinal design (PELAGIE mother-child cohort), we were able to assess pyrethroid exposure (trough urine concentrations) both prenatally and during childhood (at 6 years of age). We showed that increased prenatal concentrations of one pyrethroid metabolite (cis-DCCA, a metabolite of permethrin, cypermethrin and cyfluthrin) were associated with internalising difficulties (children showing behaviours that are inhibited and over-controlled). Moreover, for childhood 3-PBA (a common metabolite of up to 20 synthetic pyrethroid insecticides) concentrations, a positive association was observed with externalising difficulties (children showing behaviours that are under-controlled and having generally a more challenging temperament). (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cancer Research, Imperial College, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 01.03.2017 Interview with: Dr Maria Kyrgiou MSc, PhD, MRCOG Clinical Senior Lecturer & Consultant in Gynaecologic Oncology IRDB - Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London West London Gynaecological Cancer Centre, Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea-Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Obesity has become a major public health challenge and it's prevalence worldwide has more than doubled amongst women n the last four decadesExcess body weight has been associated with an increased risk of developing and dying from numerous cancers. Although the reported associations may be potentially causal, some of the associations may be flawed due to inherent study biases such as residual confounding and selective reporting of positive results. We included 204 meta-analyses investigating associations between adiposity and the development or death from 36 primary cancers and their sub-types. Adiposity was associated with a higher risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma, gastric cardia, colon and rectal cancer in men, biliary tract system, pancreatic, postmenopausal breast among HRT non-users, endometrial, ovarian, and kidney cancer and multiple myeloma. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Flu - Influenza, Karolinski Institute, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Pharmacology / 01.03.2017 Interview with: Dr. Sophie Graner Department of Women's and Childrens Health Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Pregnant women are at increased risks of severe disease and death due to influensa infection, as well as hospitalization. Also influenza and fever increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes for their infants such as intrauterine death and preterm birth. Due to this, the regulatory agencies in Europe and the US recommended post exposure prophylaxis and treatment for pregnant women with neuraminidase inhibitors during the last influenza pandemic 2009-10. Despite the recommendations, the knowledge on the effect of neuraminidase inhibitors on the infant has been limited. Previously published studies have not shown any increased risk, but they have had limited power to assess specific neonatal outcomes such as stillbirth, neonatal mortality, preterm birth, low Agar score, neonatal morbidity and congenital malformations. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Orthopedics, Pain Research, Surgical Research / 08.02.2017 Interview with: Jonas Bloch Thorlund Associate Professor (MSc, PhD) Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics Research Unit for Musculoskeletal Function and Physiotherapy University of Southern Denmark What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy is a very common knee surgery. Research evidence has seriously questioned the effect of this type of surgery for degenerative meniscal tears in middle-aged and older patients. Most young patients with traumatic meniscal injury (from sports or similar) also undergo this type of surgery. There is a general understanding that young patients with traumatic tears experience larger improvements in patient reported pain, function and quality of life. However, evidence for this presumption is sparse. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Pain Research, Pharmacology / 07.02.2017 Interview with: Dr. Gustavo Machado BPhty (Hons) Cert.MDT The George Institute for Global Health Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney Sydney, New South Wales, Australia What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: People with back pain are usually told by their health care practitioners to take analgesic medications to relieve their pain. But our previous research published in the BMJ showed that paracetamol does not have a measurable impact on patient’s symptoms. This resulted in recent changes in guidelines' recommendations. The 2017 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines/UK no longer recommend paracetamol as a stand-alone intervention for back pain. So now non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are recommended as the analgesic of first choice. However, our results show that compared to placebo, commonly used NSAIDs, such as Ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen) and Diclofenac (e.g. Voltaren), provide only small benefits for people with back pain while increasing the risk of gastrointestinal adverse effects by 2.5 times. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Education, Outcomes & Safety / 06.02.2017 Interview with: Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD Research Associate at Department of Health Policy and Management Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prior evidence has been mixed as to whether or not patient outcomes differ between U.S. and foreign medical graduates. However, previous studies used small sample sizes or data from a small number of states. Therefore, it was largely unknown how international medical graduates perform compared with US medical graduates. To answer this question, we analyzed a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries admitted to hospitals with a medical condition in 2011-2014. Our sample included approximately 1.2 million hospitalizations treated by 40,000 physicians. After adjusting for severity of illness of patients and hospitals (we compared physicians within the same hospital), we found that patient treated by international medical graduates had lower mortality than patients cared for by US medical graduates (adjusted 30-day mortality rate 11.2% vs 11.6%, p<0.001). We observed no difference in readmissions, whereas costs of care was slightly higher for international medical graduates. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Occupational Health / 27.01.2017 Interview with: Prof. Dr. Regina Kunz Professorin für Versicherungsmedizin Evidence-based Insurance Medicine I Departement Klinische Forschung Universitätsspital Basel Basel Switzerland What is the background for this study? Response: Many workers seek wage replacement benefits due to a disabling illness or injury. Public and private insurance systems provide wage replacement benefits for such employees, as long as eligibility criteria are met. Insurers often arrange for evaluation of eligibility by medical professionals, but there are concerns regarding low quality evaluations and poor reliability between medical experts assessing the same claimant. In order to better understand this situation, we performed a systematic review of reproducibility studies on the inter-rater agreement in evaluation of disability. We carried out a systematic review of 23 studies, conducted between 1992-2016, from 12 countries in Europe, North America, Australia, the Middle East, and Northeast Asia. The studies include those carried out in an insurance setting, with medical experts assessing claimants for work disability benefits, and in a research setting, where evaluation of patients took place outside of actual assessments, for example, for rehabilitation. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Endocrinology, Mayo Clinic, OBGYNE, Thyroid Disease / 27.01.2017 Interview with: Dr. Spyridoula Maraka Assistant professor of medicine Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism Center for Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Central Arkansas Veterans Health Care System Little Rock Arkansas What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Subclinical hypothyroidism, a mild thyroid dysfunction, has been associated in pregnancy with multiple adverse outcomes. Our aim was to estimate the effectiveness and safety of thyroid hormone treatment among pregnant women with subclinical hypothyroidism. Using a large national US dataset, we identified 5,405 pregnant women diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism. Of these, 843 women, with an average pretreatment TSH concentration of 4.8 milli-international units per liter, were treated with thyroid hormone. The remaining 4,562, with an average pretreatment TSH concentration of 3.3 milli-international units per liter, were not treated. Compared with the untreated group, treated women were 38 percent less likely to experience pregnancy loss. However, they were more likely to experience a preterm delivery, gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. Moreover, the benefit of thyroid hormone treatment on pregnancy loss was seen only among women with higher TSH levels (4.1 to 10 mIU/L) before treatment. We also found that for women with lower levels of TSH (2.5–4.0 mIU/L), the risk of gestational hypertension was significantly higher for treated women than for untreated women. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cost of Health Care, Kidney Disease / 23.01.2017 Interview with: Talar W. Markossian PhD MPH Assistant Professor of Health Policy Loyola University Chicago 2160 S. First Ave, CTRE 554 Maywood, IL 60153 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Approximately 10% of U.S. adults currently have non-dialysis dependent chronic kidney disease (CKD), while dialysis dependent CKD accounts for only 0.5% of the U.S. population. The escalation in healthcare expenditures associated with CKD starts prior to requirement for dialysis, and treatment costs escalate as non-dialysis dependent CKD progresses. We examined the total healthcare expenditures including out-of-pocket costs for non-dialysis dependent chronic kidney disease and compared these expenditures with those incurred for cancer and stroke in the U.S. adult population. After adjusting for demographics and comorbidities, the adjusted difference in total direct healthcare expenditures was $4746 (95% CI $1775-$7718) for CKD, $8608 (95% CI $6167-$11,049) for cancer and $5992 (95% CI $4208-$7775) for stroke vs. group without CKD, cancer or stroke. Adjusted difference in out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures was highest for adults with CKD ($760; 95% CI 0-$1745) and was larger than difference noted for cancer ($419; 95% CI 158–679) or stroke ($246; 95% CI 87–406) relative to group without CKD, cancer or stroke. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, End of Life Care, Opiods, Pain Research / 21.01.2017 Interview with: Dr. Katherine Irene Pettus, PhD, OSB Advocacy Officer International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care Vice Chair, Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs Secretary NGO Committee on Ageing, Geneva What is the background for this study? Response: The background for this study is analysis of the three international drug control treaties, official attendance and participation at meetings of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs for the past four years, ongoing discussion of national opioid consumption rates with INCB, and years of home hospice visits in developing countries. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, Social Issues / 20.01.2017 Interview with: Sanne Peters, PhD Research Fellow in Epidemiology The George Institute for Global Health University of Oxford Oxford United Kingdom What is the background for this study? Response: People from disadvantaged backgrounds are, on average, at greater risk of cardiovascular diseases than people with more affluent backgrounds. Some studies have suggested that these socioeconomic inequalities in cardiovascular disease are more consistent and stronger in women than in men. However, the literature is inconsistent. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ / 19.01.2017 Interview with: Salomeh Keyhani MD Associate professor of general internal medicine San Francisco VA Medical Center and University of California San Francisco, CA 94121, USA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Randomized controlled trials are the foundation of the evidence base. We examined the prevalence of financial ties in randomized controlled trials and also examined the relationship of financial ties of principal investigators (PI) with trial outcome. We defined a financial tie as the direct compensation (e.g., consulting fees) of a PI by the drug manufacturer of interest. Although there have been past studies that have examined this relationship, many did not separate financial ties from funding source for the trial and many were focused on one specialty, journal, or type of drug. This study identified a random sample of RCTs published in 2013 that were focused on assessing drug efficacy. Both the disclosure section of the paper and several online databases (Medline, Google, Propublica’s Dollars for Doctors, and the US Patent Office) were searched for evidence of financial ties. Principal investigators financial ties with industry were independently associated with positive study outcomes. (more…)