Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Infections, JAMA, NYU, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 04.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gbenga Ogedegbe, MD, MPH Dr. Adolph & Margaret Berger Professor of Population Health Director, Division of Health & Behavior Director Center for Healthful Behavior Change Department of Population Health NYU Langone Health NYU School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The background for the study is the disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in Blacks and Hispanics compared to Whites in major cities across the country. We asked two questions: 1) are there racial/ethnic differences in COVID-19 outcomes (likelihood of testing positive, hospitalizations, severe illness, and deaths) among patients who receive care at NYU Langone Health? If there are differences, are they explained by comorbidity and neighborhood characteristics (poverty, educational status, employment, housing, proportion of Blacks and Hispanics in communities)? (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Social Issues / 04.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amal Trivedi, MD, MPH Professor of Health Services, Policy & Practice Director of Graduate Studies, Health Services Research Brown University School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Nearly all hospitals in the United States, including all Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs), report mortality rates for patients hospitalized for common medical and surgical conditions. But these mortality rates do not adjust for socioeconomic factors that are associated with worse outcomes following hospitalization. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Pediatrics, Smoking, Stanford, Tobacco, Tobacco Research / 03.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD, FSAHM (pronouns: she/her) Professor of Pediatrics Taube Endowed Research Faculty Scholar Professor (by courtesy), Epidemiology and Population Health Professor (by courtesy), Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Director of Fellows’ Scholarship, Department of Pediatrics Director of Research, Division of Adolescent Medicine Co-leader, Scholarly Concentrations, Pediatrics Residency Program MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: To examine adolescent and young adult e-cigarette use during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 4 main findings:
  • About 2/3 of adolescent and young adult ever-e-cigarette users reported either quitting or cutting back on e-cigarette use since COVID-19 began.
  • Users least likely to quit or cut back e-cigarette use were those showing higher levels of nicotine dependence and those who had used e- cigarettes a large number of times.
  • Adolescent and young adult e-cigarette users found it harder to access e-cigarettes, but unlike studies before COVID-19, the dominant source of purchasing e-cigs was online instead of brick-and-mortar during COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Youth below 21 years were able to purchase e-cigarettes without any age verification, and those whose age was verified were asked to physically show ID or provided an email, which are less effective means to prevent underage youth use.
(more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Opiods, UCLA / 03.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joseph Friedman, MD/PhD student David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Numerous researchers, clinicians, officials, harm reduction agencies, and people who use drugs have sounded the alarm that the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the United States overdose crisis. However, data sources typically used to track overdoses in the US often have long lags that impede timely monitoring and response. For example, the CDC released preliminary overdose figures for 2019 in July 2020, and even these numbers may change. As they are available in near real-time, emergency medical services (EMS) data have increasingly been used as a source of up-to-date information to monitor epidemiological shifts during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, we used data from the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS), a large registry of over 10,000 EMS agencies in 47 states that represented over 80% of all EMS activations nationally in 2020. We used the data to track shifts in overdose-related cardiac arrests observed by EMS.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lifestyle & Health, USPSTF / 03.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. John Epling, M.D., M.S.Ed Professor of family and community medicine Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke, VA. Medical director of research for family and community medicine Medical director of employee health and wellness for the Carilion Clinic Dr. Epling joined the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in January 2016. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke, is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Nearly half of all adults have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Evidence shows that counseling aimed at helping people improve their diet and increase their physical activity can help prevent cardiovascular disease. This typically involves a trained counselor who provides education, helps people set goals, shares strategies, and stays in regular contact.  The Task Force recommends behavioral counseling interventions that promote a healthy diet and physical activity to help people at risk for cardiovascular disease stay healthy. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Inflammation, JAMA, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 30.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ellen H. Lee, MD Incident Command System Surveillance and Epidemiology Section New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Long Island City, New York  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Published reports of the COVID-19-associated multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) have described higher proportions of cases among Black and Hispanic children. However, case series are limited by the lack of population-level data, which could help provide context for the racial/ethnic distribution of cases described in these reports. The New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene required reporting of all possible cases of MIS-C among NYC residents, and for cases meeting MIS-C criteria, applied population denominators to calculate MIS-C incidence rates stratified by race/ethnicity. To help characterize the burden of severe COVID-19 disease in NYC, we also calculated COVID-19 hospitalization rates stratified by race/ethnicity. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Chemotherapy, JAMA, Yale / 26.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lajos Pusztai, M.D, D.Phil. Professor of Medicine Director, Breast Cancer Translational Research Co-Director, Yale Cancer Center Genetics and Genomics Program Yale Cancer Center Yale School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In HER2-positive early stage (stage I-II) breast cancer, several different preoperative (also called neoadjuvant) chemotherapy options exist, each of these is associated with a different rate of complete eradication of cancer from the breast and lymph nodes (called pathologic complete response or pCR). Patients who experience pCR have excellent long term survival. The complete response rates range from 20% to 80%, the rates are higher with regimens that include several different chemotherapy drugs and dual HER2 blockade. Unfortunately, these highly effective multi-drug treatment regimens are also more toxic and more expensive.  We also learned that patients who do not achieve pCR after preoperative therapy, have high rates of recurrence, but the recurrence rate can be improved by administering postoperative adjuvant therapy. These two observations together, (1) different regimens with different toxicities and costs resulting in different pCR rates, and (2) existence of effective postoperative therapies for patients with residual cancer after preoperative therapy, sets the stage for combining various pre- and post-operative treatment strategies. Starting with a shorter, less toxic and less expensive neoadjuvant regimen would allow a substantial minority (20-45%) of patients who archive pCR to be spared of longer and more toxic regimens, whereas those with residual disease could receive the remaining part of the currently most effective regimens post-operatively as adjuvant therapy. In this study we examined the cost effectiveness of different neoadjuvant followed by adjuvant treatment strategies from a healthcare payer perspective. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Pediatrics, Surgical Research / 25.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael R. Flaherty, DO Attending, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Co-Director, Trauma and Injury Prevention Outreach Program, MGH Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02114 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?   Response: This study was a joint collaboration between Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found an increasing incidence of rare earth magnet ingestions by children causing serious injury; Injuries are particularly serious when a child ingests two of these small magnets, or a magnet with another metal object – this can lead to bowel walls becoming attached and kinked, leading to catastrophic bowel injury and/or death. The Consumer Product Safety Commission initiated campaigns to limit sales in 2012 with voluntary recalls and safety standards, as well as public awareness campaigns, legislative advocacy, and lawsuits. In October 2014, the CPSC published their final rule, “Safety Standard for Magnet Sets,” which prohibited the sale of magnets based on a pre-specified size and power scale, essentially eliminating the ability to sell SREMs. This rule was appealed by largest manufacturer of these magnets, Zen Magnets, LLC., and in November 2016 this rule was legally reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit resulting in a resurgence of these magnets on the market. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Prostate Cancer, Social Issues / 18.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David-Dan Nguyen, MPH Research Fellow | Center for Surgery and Public Health Brigham and Women's Hospital Medical Student | McGill University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In 2017, the US Preventive Services Task Force updated its recommendation for PSA screening for prostate cancer from a grade D to a grade C for men aged 55 to 69 years. This updated recommendation endorsed shared decision making and harmonizes with the guidelines of the American Urological Association and the American Cancer Society which also recommend shared decision making for PSA screening. Shared decision making is a meaningful dialogue between the physician and the patient that namely includes a review of risks and expected outcomes of screening as well as the patient’s preferences and values. Understandably, the patient’s ability to critically assess the medical information provided (i.e. their health literacy) likely influences this process. We sought to characterize the effect of health literacy on shared decision making for PSA screening. We used data from 2016 when PSA screening for prostate cancer was not recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force — in other words, we also sought to understand how health literacy impacted screening rates in the context of countervailing guidelines on PSA screening. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Exercise - Fitness, JAMA / 17.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tara L Sharma DO Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology at UWMC Seattle, WA 98133 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Flying can lead to reduced oxygen partial pressures and cerebral blood flow causing worsening clinical outcome in cases of moderate to severe TBI; however, not much is known regarding the clinical consequences of flying in individuals with concussion or mild TBI. Because many athletes suffer concussions during games, it is necessary to know if flying afterward may potentially hinder their ability to return to play. Overall, we found no associated between air travel and increased symptom severity in both our entire cohort and the subset of football players. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Dermatology, JAMA, McGill, Mental Health Research / 17.11.2020

Editor's note: This piece discusses suicide. If you have experienced suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide and want to seek help, you can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting "START" to 741-741 or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.  MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David-Dan Nguyen, MPH Research Fellow | Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital Medical Student | McGill University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is ongoing concern about the side-effects of finasteride, a drug used for the management of alopecia and benign prostatic hyperplasia. These concerns have led to the coining of the “post-finasteride syndrome” which remains controversial. Indeed, there is conflicting evidence on the post-finasteride syndrome/adverse events associated with finasteride. We wanted to contribute to this conflicting body of evidence by examining suicidality, depression, and anxiety reports linked to finasteride use using the WHO’s pharmacovigilance database, VigiBase. Such pharmacovigilance databases are useful for the study of rare adverse events that are suspected to be associated with medication use. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Prostate Cancer, Technology / 13.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dave Steiner MD PhD Clinical Research Scientist Google Health, Palo Alto, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: For prostate cancer patients, the grading of cancer in prostate biopsies by pathologists is central to risk stratification and treatment decisions. However, the grading process can be subjective, often resulting in variability among pathologists. This variability can complicate diagnostic and treatment decisions. As an initial step towards addressing this problem, we and others in the field have recently developed artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that perform on-par with expert pathologists for prostate cancer grading. Such algorithms have the potential to improve the quality and efficiency of prostate biopsy grading, but the impact of these algorithms when used by pathologists has not been well studied. In the current study, we developed and evaluated an AI-based assistant tool for use by pathologists while reviewing prostate biopsies. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA / 12.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brunella Posteranno PhD Associate Professor of Microbiology Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences Rome, Italy MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: This study arises from an attempt to clarify some recent evidences of positive real-time PCR (RT-PCR) test results among patients who recovered from COVID-19 with prior negative results. Retesting positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA, in the absence of any symptoms suggestive of new infection, poses questions regarding not only the SARS-CoV-2 infection course but also, most importantly, the infectivity status of recovered COVID-19 patients. In other words, it is unknown whether such patients are infectious and whether they should be quarantined. Detecting genetic sequences (i.e., RNA) of SARS-CoV-2 in respiratory samples (e.g., nasal/oropharyngeal swab samples) by RT-PCR assays enable us to identify persons suffering from COVID-19 along with those who have been exposed and able to transmit virus to others even if they are asymptomatic. It is not hyperbole to say that without RT-PCR testing an effective fight against the virus would be impossible. However, RT-PCR assays are not a viral culture and do not allow to determine whether the virus is viable and, consequently, transmissible. In this study, we investigated RT-PCR retested positive nasal/oropharyngeal swab (NOS) samples from recovered COVID-19 patients for the presence of replicative SARS-CoV-2 RNA to assess active virus replication.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, JAMA, OBGYNE, Weight Research / 05.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marisa N. Spann, PhD, MPH Columbia University Irving Medical Center New York, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Prior research has demonstrated that higher maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index is associated with adverse long-term outcomes for offspring including obesity, poorer cognitive and social abilities, and increased risk of psychiatric disorders.  MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: In this study, we investigated the association of maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index with fetal growth and neonatal functional connectivity and found that maternal pre-pregnancy BMI has a significant positive correlation with fetal weight and with greater thalamic connectivity of the brain.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA / 02.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Darpun D. Sachdev, M.D. Case investigation and Contact tracing Branch Chief SFDPH Covid Command Center San Francisco Department of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The ultimate goal of contact tracing is to rapidly identify and isolate contacts who are COVID-19 positive before they have time to transmit to others. As mentioned in the published research letter by SFDPH, through JAMA, during early shelter-in-place (from April to June 2020), our contact tracing program successfully reached greater than 80% of cases and contacts within a median timeframe of 6 days from the onset of their case’s symptoms. Approximately 10% of named contacts were newly diagnosed with COVID-19 (compared to 2% positivity during this time period). Household contacts made up approximately 80% of all identified contacts, but 90% of contacts who tested positive lived in the same household as the case. Secondary cases (contacts who were found to be newly diagnosed with COVID-19) were traced and quarantined within 6 days of the case’s symptom onset. With that said, the 6-day time difference between symptom onset and contact notification raises concern regarding the overall effectiveness of tracing in preventing onward transmission by infected contacts. We are working with community-based organizations to scale up access to testing and culturally competent tracing and wraparound services. Currently, we have now decreased the time difference to 5 days. Moreover, given that the majority of contacts resided in the same household, transmission could have occurred presymptomatically such that by the time infected contacts were identified, they might have already transmitted the virus. Hence, why SFDPH, on May 5, 2020, implemented the recommendation of universal testing for COVID-19 contacts, regardless of symptoms. We recommend that testing should be offered to all contacts regardless of symptoms and encourage local health departments to adopt novel ways of increasing testing access for contacts.    (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, JAMA / 30.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Selin Tokez, PhD Student Department of Dermatology Erasmus MC, Rotterdam MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) is the second most common skin cancer worldwide with still increasing incidence rates. Given these high incidence rates together with the associated health costs and possibility of fatal progression, it is extremely important to have accurate and complete data on the epidemiology of this disease. Nevertheless, national cancer registries in many countries do not routinely record cSCC cases and therefore currently known numbers are mainly based on incomplete data sources. Additionally, if cSCC cases are registered, this usually only concerns the first cSCC per patient while we know that, contrary to many other malignant neoplasms, patients may develop numerous cSCCs over time. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response:  In the present study, we analyzed Dutch nationwide data comprising about 145,000 patients with a first invasive cSCC diagnosis between the years 1989 and 2017. We found that the incidence rates of a first cSCC per patient almost tripled in male patients and increased about fivefold in female patients in this 30-year time period. Also, we had data on all cSCCs per patient for the year 2017 and could therefore compare this with the data on only the first cSCC per patient: incidence rates increased by 58% for men and 35% for women when multiple cSCCs were considered. In absolute numbers, this resulted in an increase of 45% in cSCC diagnoses in 2017. Lastly, we extended our analyses by predicting future cSCC incidence rates up to 2027. Given that no substantially effective measures are undertaken in the near future, current cSCC incidence rates will increase with 23% in males and 29% in females in the next decade. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Health Care Systems, JAMA, Technology / 27.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shira H. Fischer, MD, PhD RAND Corporation Boston, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Before the COVID-19 outbreak, telehealth was talked about a lot, but it wasn’t widely available and wasn’t used that often. We wanted to know who was using telehealth, what the barriers to use were, and whether people would be willing to do so if it were available to them. We conducted a survey of over 2,500 Americans across the country and asked them about these topics.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lifestyle & Health, Nutrition / 26.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Samia Mora, MD MHS Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School Director, Center for Lipid Metabolomics Brigham and Women’s Hospital Boston, MA 02215 @SamiaMoraMD MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Couples, both married couples and domestic partners, are likely to share similar environmental exposures, adopt similar behavior patterns, and have similar characteristics. However, the degree to which couples share similar levels of cardiovascular (CV) risk factors and behaviors is uncertain. If high levels of poor CV risk factor measures and behaviors are common in both members of a couple, programs that target improvement of these risk factors and behaviors may simultaneously benefit CV health in both members of the couple. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Inflammation, JAMA / 21.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David E. Leaf, MD, MMSc, FASN Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Director of Clinical and Translational Research in Acute Kidney Injury Division of Renal Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The data for this study were derived from a multicenter cohort study of over 4,000 critically ill patients with COVID-19 admitted to ICUs at 68 sites across the US, as part of the Study of the Treatment and Outcomes in Critically Ill Patients with COVID-19 (STOP-COVID). STOP-COVID was initiated by David E. Leaf, MD, MMSc and Shruti Gupta, MD, MPH, from the Division of Renal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. It was initiated in March, 2020 as an unfunded, grassroots network, and now includes over 400 collaborators from 68 sites across the US. Using this data, we used a ‘target trial emulation’ approach to examine whether early administration of the monoclonal antibody, tocilizumab, reduces mortality in critically ill patients with COVID-19. Target trial emulation, a novel method of analyzing observational data, is the idea of simulating a randomized control trial to reduce bias.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA / 21.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Liliana Sanchez-Gonzalez MD, MPH Medical Epidemiologist Dengue Branch – Division of Vector Borne Diseases Centers for Disease Control and Prevention San Juan, PR MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain the significance of prion disease? Response: Prion diseases are neurodegenerative diseases that occur in animals and humans. These diseases are caused by an infectious agent known as a prion. While the accuracy of diagnostic tests using cerebrospinal fluid or brain imaging from living patients has improved greatly in recent years, analysis of brain tissue is still necessary to confirm the diagnosis of these diseases. Human prion disease cases are rare, but always fatal. There have been around 500 reported cases annually in the US in recent years. A very small percentage of human prion disease cases are acquired, meaning they are caused by an exposure to the infectious agent from an external source. The most well-known acquired human prion disease is variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), which was first described in the United Kingdom in 1996 and linked to consumption of contaminated beef from cattle with the animal prion disease bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or “mad cow” disease). The only US state where classic BSE has been reported is Washington, where an infected dairy cow was imported from Canada in 2003. Beef from the slaughtered cow was processed for human consumption, and beef from cattle slaughtered the same day at the involved slaughter plant was recalled. After this incident, the Washington State Department of Health, in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center (NPDPSC), implemented enhanced human prion disease surveillance. All patients with positive results from tests conducted at the NPDPSC are investigated. We present the results of 12 years of human prion disease surveillance, from 2006 to 2017, plus results of surveillance for vCJD through July 2020. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Social Issues / 20.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aaron Baum, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Health System Design & Global Health Economist, Arnhold Institute for Global Health Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Health System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: To what degree are geographic health disparities in the leading risk factors for morbidity and mortality in the United States – including elevated blood pressure and blood sugar, obesity, and poor mental health – driven by the place where people live versus by characteristics of the people who live in different places? For example, male adults in Mississippi are 33% more likely to have uncontrolled blood pressure and 54% more likely to be obese than male adults in Colorado. One explanation is that male adults who live in Mississippi are different is many other ways from male adults in Colorado, some of which can't be directly measured and adjusted for, and that those unobserved differences cause the health disparity. Another possibility is that the place where a person lives actually contributes to the health disparity. Using national electronic health records from the Veterans Health Administration, we conducted a retrospective cohort study of 5 million adults, including 1 million who moved zip codes exactly once between 2008-2018. Our goal was to isolate how a movers' likelihood of uncontrolled blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, obesity and depression changed in response to changes in the prevalence of each outcome in his or her environment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, JAMA, Tobacco Research / 07.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Isabella Lanza, PhD Associate Professor of Human Development California State University, Long Beach   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This is the first study to examine both nicotine vaping and cannabis vaping trajectories across adolescence and young adulthood, which allowed us to assess whether poly-substance vaping is common among adolescents and young adults. Poly-substance vaping (nicotine and cannabis vaping) was reported among a significant proportion of participants in the study (25% were identified as poly-substance vapers). For those that either escalated to frequent nicotine vaping use in adolescence or initiated frequent nicotine vaping use in young adulthood, the probability of engaging in cannabis vaping was very high (85%+).    (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Parkinson's / 01.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wenquan Zou, MD/PhD, Professor Department of Pathology Associate Director National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Cleveland, Ohio 44106 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder. It is characterized by the accumulation of pathologically misfolded α-synuclein (αSynP) aggregates in the brain. Currently, a definite diagnosis relies on the detection of αSynP-containing Lewy bodies in the brain of PD patients. Development of a reliable and sensitive assay for αSynP in easily accessible peripheral tissue specimens is critical for early or differential diagnosis, determination of disease severity, and evaluation of therapeutic efficacy in clinical trials. Previous studies have revealed that the pathologically phosphorylated α-synuclein is detectable with traditional immunohistochemistry (IHC) and immunofluorescence (IF) microscopy but the sensitivity with IHC/IF is highly variable and inconsistent. Also the prion-like aggregation seeding activity of αSynP is detected in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of Parkinson’s disease patients with highly sensitive real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) and protein misfolding cyclic amplification assays (PMCA). But the lumbar puncture to collect CSF is more invasive compared to skin punch biopsy. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Social Issues / 01.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Madhur Garg, MD MBA Clinical director, Radiation Oncology Montefiore Health System and Professor Departments of Otorhinolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery - and Urology Albert Einstein College of Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: ​The Bronx was hit particularly hard with Covid-19 - making up one of the highest per capita cases and deaths in the country. Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, care for a large population of ethnic minorities (non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic individuals make up 65% of our patient population). (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA / 30.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael S. Pollard, Ph.D. Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School Senior Sociologist RAND Corporation Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are ample anecdotal jokes and stories about increased alcohol use during COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders. Our study provides robust longitudinal evidence that people drank more frequently, and for women in particular, more heavily, and with more negative consequences, during the initial stages of COVID-19 compared to their own behaviors from a year earlier (May/June 2020 compared to May/June 2019). Women’s alcohol consumption was most significantly changed, with a 17% increase in number of days drinking, and a 41% increase in days of binge drinking (when they had four or more drinks in a couple of hours). This means that, nationally, one in five women drank heavily one more day a month than the same time in 2019, on average. Women also reported a 39% increase in alcohol-related problems, such as “I took foolish risks” or “I failed to do what was expected of me” because of drinking alcohol. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA, Pain Research / 29.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jason Nagata, MD, MSc Assistant Professor of Pediatrics University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, California  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Although prior research has identified disparities in migraine by race and sex, little was previously known about disparities in migraine by sexual orientation.  MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?  Response: In a national sample of nearly 10,000 adults in the USA, we found that nearly one third of lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals have experienced a migraine. Overall, we found that lesbian, gay, or bisexual individuals had 58% higher odds of experiencing a migraine compared to heterosexual individuals. We also found that individuals who identified as mostly heterosexual but with some same-sex attractions were more likely to experience a migraine compared to those who identified as exclusively heterosexual. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Sugar, Weight Research / 29.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kimber L. Stanhope PhD RD Department of Molecular Biosciences School of Veterinary Medicine University of California Dr. Bettina Hieronimus PhD Institute of Child Nutrition Max Rubner-Institut, Federal Research Institute of Nutrition and Food Karlsruhe MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Sugar consumption is associated with increased body weight and other metabolic diseases. Fructose in particular seems to be detrimental to health as it causes higher increases in blood lipids compared to glucose. Our study assessed the effects of sugar consumption on cardiometabolic risk factors. We compared the effects of consuming glucose, two different doses of fructose or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) with a non-caloric sweetener. Our subjects were healthy young individuals who drank three sweetened beverages per day over the course of two weeks. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 25.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sarah E. Paul, BA , Graduate Student and Ryan Bogdan, PhD, Associate Professor BRAIN Lab Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, MO 63130 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Sarah Paul: This study was motivated by several trends in cannabis use, its legal landscape, and people's perception of risk. As more states legalize recreational cannabis use, cannabis has become more accessible as well as more potent. Over the past couple of decades, the percentage of adolescents and adults who think that cannabis use is risky or harmful has fallen substantially. Cannabis dispensaries have been reported to actually recommend cannabis to pregnant women for the treatment of pregnancy-related nausea. And finally, between 2002/2003 and 2016/2017, the percentage of women reporting cannabis use during their pregnancies rose 106%. Given these trends and the mixed literature regarding the potential consequences associated with prenatal cannabis exposure, we aimed to comprehensively examine a range of outcomes in a large, representative sample while accounting for a host of important potentially confounding covariates. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA / 25.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maria Gabriela Figueiro Longo, MD, MSc Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School, Boston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Transcranial low-level light therapy (3LT) has been shown to be effective in animal models of traumatic brain injury. Our goal was to assess the 3LT in humans with acute TBI. We tested (1) safety, and (2) any effect in the brain in a measurable way. We found positive results for both - there was no event adverse during the trial related to the 3LT; and we found some differences in the brain MRI diffusivity parameters in the patients who received light therapy compared to the sham group. The study was not powered for clinical evaluation, although there was a trend towards lower symptom burden in the treated group. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, JAMA, Sleep Disorders / 21.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wuxiang Xie, PhD Peking University Clinical Research Institute Peking University First Hospital Beijing, China MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Dementia is one of the most common and serious disorders in later life. A strong relationship between sleep and cognitive function had been previously reported, while the relationship between sleep duration and the trajectory of cognitive decline remains unclear.  (more…)