Author Interviews, BMJ, Pediatrics / 02.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ina S. Santos (on behalf of the co-authors) Iná S. Santos, MD, PhD Professora Titular Depto Medicina Social Programa Pós-graduação Epidemiologia Universidade Federal de Pelotas,  Brasil MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Early regulatory problems (excessive crying, sleeping and feeding problems in infancy) have been considered early markers for similar processes of inadequate or under-controlled behavior in childhood and psychosocial problems in childhood are associated with psychological disorders later in life. The prevalence of excessive crying during the first 3 months of life in representative community-based samples from high-income countries has been reported to range between 14% and 29%. There is no consensus regarding the definition of excessive crying. A frequently used definition is the excessive paroxysmal crying, that is most likely to occur about the same time every day (usually in the late afternoon or evenings) without any identifiable cause in an otherwise healthy baby aged 2 weeks to 4 months and lasting more than three hours per day, occurring in more than three days in any week for three weeks (rule of three) that is typically known as colic. Others give less emphasis to the amount of crying and give relevance to maternal or parental stress due to the child unresponsiveness to soothing or to the maternal perception of the intensity of crying. Negative consequences of excessive crying on maternal and child health have been described: it is associated with early weaning from breast milk, frequent changes of formulae, and maternal mental symptoms, besides being the most common proximal risk factor for shaken baby syndrome. In a study conducted in a middle-sized city located in Southern Brazil, 4231 children enrolled in the 2004 Pelotas Birth Cohort were followed-up from birth to four years of age. At the 3-month post-partum follow-up mothers were asked whether their infants cried more, less or as the same as others of the same age. Infants whose mothers perceived them as crying more than others of the same age were classified as “crying babies”. When the cohort reached four years old, all children were screened to assess their risk of presenting psychological problems. After taking into account a series of maternal and child characteristics (like, maternal age, maternal level of education, type of delivery, gestational age at birth, and child sex, among others) “crying babies” were at increased risk of presenting behavior problems in comparison to “non-crying babies”.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Endocrinology, Thyroid Disease / 25.02.2015

Professor Stephen Peckham Director, Centre for Health Services Studies Professor of Health Policy Department of Health Services Research and Policy London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Director, Policy Research Unit in Commissioning and the Healthcare System University of KentMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Stephen Peckham Director, Centre for Health Services Studies Professor of Health Policy Department of Health Services Research and Policy London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Director, Policy Research Unit in Commissioning and the Healthcare System University of Kent   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Community water fluoridation remains a controversial public health measure. There have been continued debates about both its effectiveness in the prevention of dental caries and also its safety. Previous studies have suggested that there is an association between fluoride ingestion and the incidence of hypothyroidism few population level studies have been undertaken. In April 2014 Public Health England published a monitoring report that used secondary analysis of routine health statistics to identify whether water fluoridation in England was associated with any adverse health outcomes. While hypothyroidism data is available this was not included in their monitoring report.  In England approximately 10% of the population lives in areas with community fluoridation schemes and hypothyroidism prevalence can be assessed from general practice data. Tt examine whether there is a relationship – as suggested in smaller studies – we used a cross-sectional study design using secondary data to develop binary logistic regression models of predictive factors for hypothyroidism prevalence at practice level using 2012 data on fluoride levels in drinking water, 2012/13 Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF) diagnosed hypothyroidism prevalence data, 2013 General Practitioner (GP) registered patient numbers, and 2012 practice level Index of Multiple Deprivation scores. We found a positive association between fluoride levels and hypothyroidism. High hypothyroidism prevalence was found to be at least 30% more likely in practices located in areas with fluoride levels in excess of 0.3mg/L. This population study supports earlier hypotheses that fluoride is associated with hypothyroidism. In the UK water is fluoridated at 1ppm (1mg/L) and in areas where water is fluoridated the model predicts that after controlling for other factors, practice populations are significantly more likely to have higher levels of hypothyroidism than those in non-fluoridated areas. Higher levels of fluoride in drinking water, therefore, provide a useful contribution for predicting prevalence of hypothyroidism. For example in contrasting two urban areas we found that practices located in the West Midlands (a wholly fluoridated area) are nearly twice as likely to report high hypothyroidism prevalence in comparison to Greater Manchester (non-fluoridated area).
Author Interviews, BMJ, NIH, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 21.02.2015

Yeyi Zhu, PhD IRTA Postdoctoral Fellow Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIHMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yeyi Zhu, PhD IRTA Postdoctoral Fellow Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Zhu: Currently in the US, nearly two thirds of reproductive-aged women are overweight or obese. Moreover, the amount of weight gained during pregnancy can have immediate and long-lasting impacts on health of a woman and her infant. Previous evidence implicates that excessive gestational weight gain above the Institute of Medicine guidelines is related to high birthweight (>4000 g), a marker of intrauterine over-nutrition which may impose a greater risk of offspring’s obesity and metabolic diseases in later life. Given that more than one third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese in the US, it is of great public health significance to improve our understanding of determinants and mediators of childhood obesity. The length of breast feeding and age at introduction of solid foods are infant feeding practices that are potentially modifiable in early life. We therefore examined whether birthweight and infant feeding practices, specifically length of breast feeding, mediate the relationship between maternal gestational weight gain and childhood growth in the National Children’s Study Formative Research in Anthropometry, a cross-sectional multi-ethnic study of 1387 mothers and their children aged 0-5.9 years in the US (2011-2012). We illustrated that the intergenerational relationship between maternal gestational weight gain and early childhood growth (i.e., z scores for weight-for-age, weight-for-height, and body mass index-for-age) largely acts through birthweight rather than directly on childhood growth. Further, given the negative association of breastfeeding duration with childhood anthropometrics, longer length of breastfeeding suppressed the positive associations of gestational weight gain and birthweight with childhood growth. In addition, analysis by ethnicity revealed that these associations were only significant in non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black participants as opposed to Hispanics and other ethnicities.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Nutrition, OBGYNE, Sugar / 20.02.2015

Ekaterina Maslova PhD Doctor of Science in Nutrition and Epidemiology Center for Fetal Programming Copenhagen, DenmarkMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ekaterina Maslova PhD Doctor of Science in Nutrition and Epidemiology Center for Fetal Programming Copenhagen, Denmark Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: From prior studies we know that excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) in pregnancy is associated with complications for both the mother and the child, including gestational diabetes, hypertension, and high birth weight. Understanding the factors that determine gestational weight gain would allow for interventions early on to improve pregnancy outcomes. Dietary intake has been found to influence gestational weight gain in other studies, but evidence is conflicting and still quite limited. In non-pregnant populations a high-protein diet was shown to decrease weight and improve weight maintenance. We therefore hypothesized that a similar relation may exist for gestational weight gain in pregnant women. In this study we had data on dietary intake of more than 45,000 Danish women who were pregnant between 1996 and 2002. We examined the relation between their intake of protein and carbohydrates and the rate of gestational weight gain (in grams per week). We found that women who consumed a high protein-to-carbohydrate (PC) ratio gained less gestational weight gain compared to women with a lower PC ratio in their diet. The results was stronger in women who started their pregnancy already overweight compared to normal weight women. Since a high PC ratio may result from either a high protein intake or low carbohydrate intake, we decided to focus on a component of carbohydrates that may increase gestational weight gain: added sugar. We found that pregnant women with higher intake of sugar gained more weight in pregnancy compared to those who consumed less added sugar. This averaged out to about 1.4 kg (or 7%) higher weight gain across the entire pregnancy.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cancer Research / 20.02.2015

Dr Cristina Renzi Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, Health Behaviour Research Centre, London, UKMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Cristina Renzi Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, Health Behaviour Research Centre, London, UK MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Renzi: Only a minority of symptomatic individuals undergoing cancer investigations are diagnosed with cancer and more than 80% receive an 'all-clear' or non-cancer diagnosis (here called a 'false alarm'). This makes it important to consider the possible unintended consequences of a false alarm. Several studies have shown that investigations for a suspected cancer can have negative psychological effects, even for individuals ultimately diagnosed with a benign condition. In addition, an association between false alarms and subsequent delayed diagnosis has been reported for various cancers, with both patients and healthcare providers contributing to delays. Our review published by BMJ Open focused on 19 research papers which reported information on false alarms and subsequent symptom attribution or help-seeking. By integrating the available evidence from qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods studies this review allowed us to identify areas that need to be addressed in order to reduce the risk of delayed help-seeking after a previous false alarm. In particular, over-reassurance and under-support of patients can be an unintended consequence of a false alarm leading to delays in help-seeking, even years later, if patients notice possible symptoms of the disease again. The review, funded by Cancer Research UK, looked only at adult patients who had a false alarm after raising concerns about their symptoms; the effect of a false alarm might be different in patients who are investigated for suspected cancer following cancer screening.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Sleep Disorders / 18.02.2015

Karen Thorpe PhD Professor, Developmental Psychology Program Leader, Early Education and Development Group Program leader, Sleep in Early Childhood Group School of Psychology and Counselling Queensland University of Technology Australia MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karen Thorpe PhD Professor, Developmental Psychology Program Leader, Early Education and Development Group Program leader, Sleep in Early Childhood Group School of Psychology and Counseling Queensland University of Technology Australia MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Professor Thorpe: Sleep is undoubtedly important not only for how well we think, feel and behave in our daily lives but also for longer-term health. In childhood, the quantity and quality of night-time and 24 hour sleep have consistently been identified as predictor of health. For example, night sleep predicts weight status. These findings have led to the hypothesis that increasing quantity of sleep through promoting daytime sleep would benefit child health. We sought to look for evidence on the independent effects of daytime sleep on child health, learning and behavior to assess whether this hypothesis was supported.
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard / 17.02.2015

dr-alexander-turchinMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Alexander Turchin M.D.,M.S. Director of Informatics Research Division of Endocrinology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Boston, MA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Turchin: Hypertension is the most common risk factor for cardiovascular events. High blood pressure increases the risk for stroke, myocardial infarction, heart failure and kidney failure. Treatment of high blood pressure reduces these risks. However, our understanding of optimal treatment of hypertension is incomplete. In particular, there is little information to guide clinicians on how quickly they should achieve blood pressure control in their patients. There have been no clinical trials focusing on this question. Current guidelines are sparse and are based only on expert opinion. Our study analyzed treatment of nearly 90,000 patients in primary care practices in the U.K. between 1986 and 2010. We found that patients whose blood pressure medications were adjusted within 1.4 months after systolic blood pressure reached over 150 mm Hg and whose blood pressure was re-assessed within 2.7 months after their treatment was adjusted had the lowest risk for acute cardiovascular events and death from any cause.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Social Issues / 13.02.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Khalid Khan Women's Health Research Unit Multi-disciplinary Evidence Synthesis Hub The Blizard Institute Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Khan: My co-author talked me into helping him with his online dating and so we embarked on this project. We were fascinated to see if there was any scientific evidence which could help people in their online pursuit of love - and to our surprise there was lots of attraction and persuasion research. There were 86 published studies on attraction and persuasion which met our criteria, and these covered literature in psychology, sociology, and computer behavioural and neurocognitive sciences. Their design features included randomisation in 28 studies, cohort follow-up in 13 studies, cross-sectional evaluation in 37 studies, qualitative analysis in 5 studies and systematic review in 3 studies​. We found that Success in converting initial online contact to a first date is not a complex formula. It relates to simple factors such as a fluent headline, truthfulness of profile, and reciprocity in communication.  Just like when you meet someone in real life, simple actions such as showing interest in the other person (commenting on something in their profile rather than just talking about yourself) goes a long way.
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, BMJ, Pediatrics / 11.02.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joke Kieboom, paediatric intensivist Beatrix Children’s Hospital Medical Center Groningen University of Groningen The Netherlands Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The aim of the study was to evaluate the outcome of drowned children with cardiac arrest and hypothermia, and to determine distinct criteria for termination of cardiopulmonary resuscitation in drowned children with hypothermia and absence of spontaneous circulation. From 1993 to 2012 in the Netherlands, 160 children presented with cardiac arrest and hypothermia after drowning. In 98 (61%) of these children resuscitation was performed for more than 30 minutes, of whom none had good outcome: 87 (89%) died and 11 (11%) survived for with severe disability or in a vegetative state (at one year after the drowning incident).
Author Interviews, BMJ / 11.02.2015

Christopher Michael Petrilli MD Division of General Internal Medicine The Department of Medicine University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MichiganMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christopher Michael Petrilli MD Division of General Internal Medicine The Department of Medicine University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Petrilli: Our team took note of the broad spectrum of physician attire that was worn in health care settings. We found a lack of specific guidance with regards to “appropriate” physician attire. Then we began to find anecdotal evidence that physician attire may be an important early determinant of patient confidence, trust and satisfaction. Studies have shown that patients are more compliant with their medications and treatment regimens when they perceive their doctors as being competent, supportive and respectful. Therefore, given the increasingly rushed patient–physician encounter, the ability to gain a patient’s trust and confidence are highly desirable. We hypothesized that if physician attire matched patients’ preferences and expectations, it would improve the overall patient experience. Our findings supported our hypothesis. In general, we found that people prefer their physicians dress on the formal side -- and definitely not in casual wear. Doctors of either gender in suits, or a white coat, are more likely to inspire trust and confidence. But fashion takes a back seat when it comes to emergency, surgical or critical care, where data show clothes don't matter as much -- and patients may even prefer to see doctors in scrubs. In general, Europeans and Asians of any age, and Americans over age 50, trusted a formally dressed doctor more, while Americans in Generation X and Y tended to accept less-dressy physicians more willingly.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease, Nutrition / 11.02.2015

James J. DiNicolantonio, PharmD Associate Editor BMJ Open Heart Cardiovascular Research Scientist Saint Luke's Mid America Heart InstituteMedicalResearch.com Interview with: James J. DiNicolantonio, PharmD Associate Editor BMJ Open Heart Cardiovascular Research Scientist Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings Response: There were 6 randomized controlled dietary trials performed before the government dietary fat recommendations were released.  When we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available trials at this time, there was no significant difference in all-cause mortality or cardiovascular heart disease mortality.  In essence, there was no support from randomized controlled trials at the time to support a reduction in fat and saturated fat (and there still isn't from recent meta-analysis including newer trials). The reductions in mean serum cholesterol levels were significantly higher in the intervention groups but this did not result in significant differences in cardiovascular heart disease or all-cause mortality.
BMJ, Heart Disease, Hospital Readmissions, Yale / 06.02.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kumar Dharmarajan MD MBA Section of Cardiovascular Medicine Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Dharmarajan: We know that patients are at high risk for rehospitalization and death in the month after hospital discharge. Yet little is known about how these risks dynamically change over time for the full year after hospitalization. This information is needed for patients and hospitals to set realistic goals and plan for appropriate care. We found that the risk of rehospitalization and death decline slowly following hospitalization and remain elevated for many months. We also found that specific risk trajectories vary by discharge diagnosis and outcome. For example, risk remains elevated for a longer period of time following hospitalization for heart failure compared with hospitalization for acute myocardial infarction. For all 3 conditions we studied (heart failure, heart attacks, and pneumonia), risk of rehospitalization remained elevated for a longer period of time than the risk of death.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Nutrition, Pulmonary Disease / 05.02.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Raphaëlle Varraso INSERM U1168, VIMA (Aging and chronic diseases. Epidemiological and public health approaches), 16 avenue Paul Vaillant Couturier Villejuif, France MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Respiratory health and lung function, strongly predict general health status and all-cause mortality. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is currently ranked the third leading cause of death worldwide. The predominant risk factor for COPD in the developed world is cigarette smoking, but up to one-third of COPD patients have never smoked, suggesting that other factors are involved. Besides smoking, relatively little attention has been paid to other modifiable risk factors that might decrease risk of developing COPD, including diet. The Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI)-2010, a new measure of diet quality based on current scientific knowledge, has been linked to risk of major chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. However, the role of dietary scores on risk of COPD is unknown. We examined this issue among >120,000 US female and male health professionals (Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study), and we reported that a high AHEI-2010 dietary score score (reflecting high intakes of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, polyunsaturated fatty acids, nuts and legumes, and long-chain omega-3 fats, a moderate intake of alcohol, and low intakes of red/processed meats, trans fat, sodium and sugar-sweetened beverages) was associated with a lower risk of COPD in both women and men. This novel finding supports the importance of diet in COPD pathogenesis.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 30.01.2015

Dr Cornelia HM van Jaarsveld and Prof Martin C Gulliford, Department of Primary Care and Public Health Sciences King’s College London, London, UKMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Cornelia HM van Jaarsveld and Prof Martin C Gulliford Department of Primary Care and Public Health Sciences King’s College London, London, UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Overweight and obesity in children have increased dramatically since the 1960s with important clinical and economic impacts, especially among those who become obese adults. Consequently, understanding trends in obesity is of increasing importance for monitoring population health and informing policy initiatives. Current trends suggest that a majority of the world’s population will be either overweight or obese by 2030. However, recent reports suggest that the increasing trend in overweight and obesity in children may have leveled off since 2000. But, in many countries data are based on a limited number of time points and relatively small surveys, limiting definitive conclusions and not allowing examining trends in subgroups by sex and age. Moreover, only a few countries have data on younger children (aged under 6 years). Our study aimed to use primary care electronic health records to examine prevalence of overweight and obesity in 2 to 15 year old children in England and to compare trends over two decades, from 1994 to 2003 and from 2004 to 2013. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: We found that currently about a third of children in the UK are overweight or obese. We also found that overweight and obesity prevalence increased during decade 1 (1994-2003) but stabilized in decade 2 (2004-2013). This was observed in both sexes and the in younger age groups (2-5 year and 6-10 year). However, rates continued to increase in older children (11-15 year), albeit at a slower speed than in decade 1 (1994-2003).
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, BMJ, Heart Disease / 25.01.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Maria Guzman-Castillo Department of Public Health and Policy University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Guzman-Castillo: The UK has experienced a remarkable 60% reduction in coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality since the 1970s. However CHD remains the leading cause of premature death. The aim of our study was to analyse the recent falls in coronary heart disease mortality and quantify the relative contributions from preventive medications and from population-wide changes in blood pressure and cholesterol levels, particularly exploring the potential effects on socioeconomic inequalities, an aspect not well explored in the past. Our study found that, approximately 22,500 fewer deaths were attributable to reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol in the English population between 2000-2007. The substantial decline in blood pressure was responsible for approximately 13,000 fewer deaths. Approximately 1,800 fewer deaths came from medications and some 11,200 fewer deaths from population-wide changes. Reduction in population blood pressure fewer deaths in the most deprived quintile compared with the most affluent. Reduction in cholesterol resulted in substantially smaller gains, approximately 7,400 fewer deaths; approximately 5,300 fewer deaths were attributable to statin use and approximately 2,100 DPPs to population-wide changes. Interestingly, statins prevented more deaths in the most affluent quintile compared with the most deprived. Conversely, population-wide changes in cholesterol prevented threefold more deaths in the most deprived quintile compared with the most affluent.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Gastrointestinal Disease, Pediatrics / 25.01.2015

Dr Laila J Tata PhD Associate Professor in Epidemiology Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences University of NottinghamMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Laila J Tata PhD Associate Professor in Epidemiology Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences University of Nottingham Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Over the last decades there has been increased clinical awareness of coeliac disease (CD) partially because of improvements in the accuracy and availability of diagnostic tests, however, we do not have current estimates of actual celiac disease diagnoses in children and it is important to know whether diagnostic patterns vary socioeconomic group. Funded by CORE/Coeliac UK and conducted at the University of Nottingham, this study analysed 2,063,421 children aged less than 18 years who were registered with general practices (primary care doctors) across the United Kingdom contributing to their routine electronic health records to The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database  between 1993 and 2012. The study found 1,247 children were diagnosed with coeliac disease, corresponding to about 1 new case in every 10,000 children each year. Girls consistently had more diagnoses than boys and whilst the incidence of new celiac disease cases among children up to age 2 years remained stable over time, diagnoses in older children almost tripled over the past 20 years. Moreover, the study found a socioeconomic gradient in celiac disease diagnoses, such that children living in less socioeconomically deprived areas were about twice as likely to be diagnosed as those from more deprived areas. This pattern held for boys and girls and for all ages.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Exercise - Fitness / 23.01.2015

Sarah Hanson Norwich Medical School University of East AngliaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sarah Hanson Norwich Medical School University of East Anglia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Physical inactivity is a global problem. Walking is an easy way to increase physical activity. One way to increase physical activity may be through the use of outdoor walking groups. Walking groups are increasingly popular but until now we have not known if there are wider health benefits from walking groups, apart from increasing physical activity. Medical Research: What was the study method? Response: A systematic review and meta-analysis of outdoor walking group interventions found 42 studies which met the eligibility criteria. These studies involved 1,843 participants in 14 countries doing approximately 74,000 hours of walking.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, BMJ, Occupational Health / 14.01.2015

Professor Marianna Virtanen PhD Unit of Expertise for Work and Organizations Finnish Institute of Occupational Health Helsinki, Finland.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Marianna Virtanen PhD Unit of Expertise for Work and Organizations Finnish Institute of Occupational Health Helsinki, Finland. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Professor Virtanen: Risky alcohol use is common among working populations but the contribution of work-related factors such as long working hours has rarely been studied. In the present study we performed the first systematic analysis on published studies regarding long working hours and risky alcohol use and added unpublished individual participant data to the analyses. Altogether 61 studies were included in the cross sectional analysis and 20 studies in the prospective analysis. The pooled cross sectional analysis showed 11% higher alcohol use associated with long working hours. In the prospective analysis we found that working 49-54 hours a week was associated with a 13% increase in the probability of new-onset risky alcohol use and working 55 hours or more with a 12% increased risk.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Surgical Research / 14.12.2014

Dr Aneel Bhangu Clinical Lecturer in Surgery Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Edgbaston, Birmingham UKMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Aneel Bhangu Clinical Lecturer in Surgery Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bhangu: Randomised clinical trials are widely regarded as the type of evidence in medical research most likely to change practice and improve patient care. However, they are challenging to perform, expensive to deliver and rely on patients’ willingness to participate for the benefit of their wider community. Results of these studies should be disseminated widely in order to promote new medical knowledge. Unfortunately, some clinical trials are terminated early or fail to reach publication after completion. This leads to lost data and wastage of finite resources. Clinical trials within surgical disciplines present unique challenges, which may further impact on dissemination of evidence. We aimed to investigate the fate of surgical trials. Disappointingly, we found that 1 in 5 surgical trials are terminated early before completion, most commonly due to poor recruitment of research participants. Of trials which do reach completion, 1 in 3 are not published, indicating a significant waste of resources. A systematic approach to contact trial investigators during the study proved largely unsuccessful, implicating further hidden barriers to identifying trial data.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease, Nutrition, Sugar, Weight Research / 13.12.2014

Dr James J DiNicolantonio PharmD Ithaca, New YorkMedicalResearch.com Interview with: James J. DiNicolantonio, PharmD Associate Editor BMJ Open Heart Cardiovascular Research Scientist Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. DiNicolantonio: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of premature mortality in the developed world, and hypertension is its most important risk factor. Controlling hypertension is a major focus of public health initiatives, and dietary approaches have historically focused on sodium. A reduction in the intake of added sugars, particularly fructose, and specifically in the quantities and context of industrially-manufactured consumables, would help not only curb hypertension rates, but would also help address broader problems related to cardiometabolic disease.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cost of Health Care, Pediatrics / 05.12.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with Rosemary Dodds Senior Policy Adviser NCT (formerly National Childbirth Trust), London, UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The study, which was commissioned by UNICEF UK, was designed to take an in-depth look at how raising breastfeeding rates might save money for the health service through reducing illness. It found that low breastfeeding rates in the UK are costing the health service millions of pounds.  We calculated that from reducing rates of illnesses, where the evidence is strongest, moderate increases in breastfeeding could see potential annual savings to the health service of around £40m per year. It should be noted however, that this figure is likely to be only the tip of the iceberg when the full range of conditions affected by breastfeeding are taken into account. Economic models around five illnesses (breast cancer in the mother, and gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, middle ear infections and necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) in the baby), show that moderate increases in breastfeeding would translate into the following cost savings for the NHS:
  •  If half those mothers who currently do not breastfeed were to do so for up to 18 months over their life, there would be:
-      865 fewer cases of breast cancer -      With cost savings to the NHS of over £21million -      Improved quality of life equating to more than £10million[1] Over the lifetime of each annual cohort of first-time mothers.
  • If 45% of babies were exclusively breastfed for four months, and if 75% of babies in neonatal units were breastfeeding at discharge, each year there would be:
-      3,285 fewer babies hospitalised with gastroenteritis and 10,637 fewer GP consultations, saving more than £3.6million -      5,916 fewer babies hospitalised with respiratory illness, and 22,248 fewer GP consultations, saving around £6.7million -      21,045 fewer GP visits for ear infection, saving £750,000 -      361 fewer cases of the potentially fatal disease necrotising enterocolitis, saving more than £6million
Aging, Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Mediterranean Diet / 05.12.2014

Immaculata De Vivo PhD Associate Professor Harvard Medical School Director, Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center High Throughput Genotyping Core Facility. Channing Division of Network Medicine Boston, MA 02115MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Immaculata De Vivo PhD Associate Professor Harvard Medical School Director, Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center High Throughput Genotyping Core Facility. Channing Division of Network Medicine Boston, MA 02115 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. De Vivo: Our study found that greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with longer telomeres. Following a diet closer to the Mediterranean diet, can prevent accelerated telomere shortening. Our unique contribution to the literature is that we provide a potential molecular mechanism, preventing telomere shortening. Telomeres are bits of DNA that protect your chromosomes. MedicalResearch: Is telomere shortening reversible? Dr. De Vivo: Telomere shortening is a biological process, the shorten with age. However, lifestyle choices can help to prevent accelerated shortening. Fruits, vegetables, olive oil and nuts – key components of the Mediterranean diet have well known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that could balance out the “bad effects” of smoking and obesity.
Author Interviews, BMJ, OBGYNE, Weight Research / 03.12.2014

Stefan Johansson, MD PhD consultant neonatologist Stockholm, SwedenMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stefan Johansson, MD PhD consultant neonatologist Stockholm, Sweden Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Johansson: Maternal obesity (BMI ≥ 30) has previously been linked to increased infant mortality. However, research has not produced consistent results. For example, there are disagreements whether infants to overweight mothers (BMI 25-29) are at increased risk, and research on BMI-related specific causes of death is scarce.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, OBGYNE / 24.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karin B. Michels, ScD, PhD Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology Harvard Medical School Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Michels: We were interested in studying the long-term effects of oral contraceptive use on mortality. Given the widespread use of oral contraceptives, this is an important question pertaining to millions of women worldwide.  We explored this question in the large Nurses’ Health Study, a cohort of 121,700 women in the US, who have been followed for 38 years. We found that oral contraceptive use does not impact overall mortality. However, breast cancer mortality was slightly increased, especially with long-term use of oral contraceptives.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Genetic Research, Vitamin D / 19.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Børge G Nordestgaard, MD, DMSc Professor, University of Copenhagen Chief Physician, Herlev Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital Dept. Clinical Biochemistry Herlev Ringvej Herlev, Denmark Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Nordestgaard: Many people take vitamin D supplements with the hope of reducing morbidity and mortality. However, it is unclear whether low vitamin D per se is a direct cause of increased mortality or whether it is simply a marker of poor lifestyle in general and/or underlying hidden disease. Our study involved 95,766 white participants of Danish descent from three cohorts in Copenhagen, who had genetic variants known to affect vitamin D levels. We found that genetically low vitamin D levels were associated with increased all-cause mortality, cancer mortality, and other mortality, but not with cardiovascular mortality. This is important as such genetics studies cannot be explained by poor lifestyle or hidden disease, as neither can change your genes.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease, Occupational Health / 19.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Vasileia Varvarigou MD, Visiting Scientist at Harvard School of Public Health and Senior Medical Resident, St Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Tufts Medical School and Stefanos N Kales MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Harvard School of Public Health, Division Chief of Occupational Medicine, Cambridge Health Alliance/ Harvard Medical School Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous epidemiologic studies of firefighters have documented markedly increased risks of acute death from heart disease during strenuous activities such as fire suppression as compared to non-emergency duties. We hypothesized that certain law enforcement tasks could serve as an occupational trigger in susceptible police officers, leading to an increased frequency of sudden cardiac death during stressful duties. Our main objective therefore, was to assess the association between risk of sudden cardiac death and stressful law enforcement duties compared with routine/non-emergency duties.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Erasmus, Heart Disease / 16.11.2014

Marco Valgimigli, MD, PhD Associate Professor of Medicine Erasmus MC, Thoraxcenter, Rotterdam The NetherlandsMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marco Valgimigli, MD, PhD Associate Professor of Medicine Erasmus MC, Thoraxcenter, Rotterdam The Netherlands Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Valgimigli: Drug-Eluting Stents are regarded as more thrombogenic devices as compared to Bare Metal Stents. We have pooled all available datasets comparing a specific second generation Drug-Eluting Stent, namely cobalt chromium everolimus eluting stent (co-Cr EES) versus Bare Metal Stents and found that cardiac mortality along with all other non-fatal endpoints investigated, including myocardial infarction or stent thrombosis were reduced after co-Cr EES.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Circadian Rhythm, Cognitive Issues, Metabolic Syndrome, Occupational Health / 04.11.2014

Dr. Philip Tucker Department of Psychology | Yr Adran Seicoleg College of Human and Health Sciences | Coleg y Gwyddorau Dynol ac lechyd Swansea University | Prifysgol Abertawe Singleton Park | Parc Singleton Swansea | Abertawe  Medical Research: What is the background for this stuMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Philip Tucker Department of Psychology | Yr Adran Seicoleg College of Human and Health Sciences | Coleg y Gwyddorau Dynol ac lechyd Swansea University | Prifysgol Abertawe Singleton Park | Parc Singleton Swansea | Abertawe Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Tucker: Shift work, like jet-lag, is known to disrupt workers’ normal circadian rhythms (i.e. their body clocks) and their social life. It is also associated with greater risk of developing ulcers, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, breast cancer and reproductive problems. Several studies have also shown that shift workers experience heightened fatigue and sleepiness, particularly at night, and this may affect job performance and safety. However, very little is known about the long-term consequences of shift work on cognitive abilities. We followed a large sample of shift workers and non-shift workers over 10 years, testing their cognitive performance every 5 years. We found that the shift workers’ cognitive performance was lower than that of the day workers.  The difference was greatest for those who had worked shifts for more than 10 years. The shift workers’ cognitive function recovered after they quit shift work, but this recovery took at least 5 years from time that they stopped working shifts. The effects could not be attributed to poorer sleep quality among shift workers. Rather, it seems likely that the findings reflect the disruption of the shift workers’ circadian rhythms, which as been shown by other researchers to have an impact on brain structures involved in cognition and mental health over the lifespan.