Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, JAMA, Parkinson's / 27.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Benjamin Dawson, B.Sc. MD Candidate 2020 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Dementia in Parkinson’s Disease is one of its most feared complications, and may happen eventually to most patients if they reached advanced age. Identifying those at especially high risk of dementia has important potential implications - it would facilitate clinical counselling, it has treatment implications (e.g. knowing a person is likely to get dementia in the near future would probably steer you away from certain medications and towards others).  Most critically, it can help select patients for trials to prevent dementia. While several factors that show high risk for dementia in Parkinson’s disease have previously been described, these have yet to shape patient-care, either because they are not very strong predictors, or they are not user-friendly.  So, we designed a very simple clinical screening tool, called the Montreal Parkinson’s Risk of Dementia Scale (MoPaRDS).  It took predictors of dementia that were established from large-scale studies and boiled them down into a simple 8-point scale that uses information that you can get in a simple office visit.  The 8 predictors were being over 70, being male, having a blood pressure drop with standing, showing early mild cognitive changes, having a symmetric bilateral disease (that is, one side not clearly worse than the other), experiencing falls or freezing, having experienced hallucinations, and having symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder ('acting out' the dreams at night). When we tested the scale in a combined cohort of 607 patients with Parkinson’s (of whom 70 developed dementia over mean follow-up of 4.4-years) a positive MoPaRDS screen (≥4 out of 8 items) identified 14-fold increased risk of dementia compared to a negative screen. We recommend dividing the scale into three categories; low-, intermediate- and high-risk. Those in the highest score group (MoPaRDS, 6-8) had a 14.9% risk of developing dementia each year, while those with the lowest scores (MoPaRDS, 0-3) had only 0.6% annual risk.  So, these simple measures can be pretty powerful predictors of dementia. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, JAMA, Novartis / 26.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Melanie E. RoyceMDPhD Division of Hematology/Oncology University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center Albuquerque MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: BOLERO-4 is an open label, single-arm, Phase II study that evaluates the combination of everolimus plus letrozole as a first-line treatment for hormone receptor (HR)-positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2)-negative advanced breast cancer patients, as well as the use of everolimus plus exemestane beyond initial progression. Results of the BOLERO-4 trial published in JAMA Oncology showed that everolimus in combination with endocrine therapy is an effective first-line treatment option for postmenopausal women with HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer. A total of 202 patients received everolimus in combination with letrozole as first-line treatment between March 7, 2013 and December 17, 2014. Median progression-free survival (PFS) in the first-line setting was 22.0 months (95% CI 18.1-25.1) with an overall response rate of 45% (95% CI 38.1-52.2) and clinical benefit rate of 74% (95% CI 67.7-80.1). A total of 152 (75%) discontinued treatment, primarily due to disease progression (51%) or adverse events (16%). Data from a smaller number of patients in BOLERO-4 also show limited efficacy with continued everolimus, combined with exemestane, following disease progression. Second-line treatment was ongoing in 16 (32%) patients, while 34 (68%) had discontinued. The most frequent reason for second-line treatment discontinuation was disease progression (56%). In the second-line setting, median PFS was 3.7 months (95% CI 1.9-7.4) with an overall response of 6% (95% CI 1.3-16.5) and clinical benefit rate of 28% (95% CI 16.2-42.5). Safety findings from BOLERO-4 are consistent with previous studies of Afinitor in advanced breast cancer. The most common (≥ 20% incidence) first-line all-grade adverse events were stomatitis (69%), weight loss (44%), nausea (37%) and anemia (35%). Most were ‘low grade’ in severity (grade 1 or 2) and generally well managed. Safety findings show the most common (≥ 10% incidence) second-line adverse events were stomatitis (20%) and weight loss (20%). Lower rates of stomatitis in second-line were noted.  (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Infections, JAMA / 26.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Katherine Fleming-Dutra, MD, senior author Deputy Director Office of Antibiotic Stewardship CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As noted in a previous study, antibiotics are prescribed more for sinus infections than any other illness in the United States. We found that almost 70% of antibiotic prescriptions were for 10 days or longer, whereas 5-7 days is recommended for most patients when antibiotics are needed. In addition, more than 20% of antibiotic prescriptions for sinus infections were for 5 days of azithromycin, even though guidelines recommend against prescribing azithromycin for sinus infections. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, JAMA / 26.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sang Min Park MD, MPH, PhD Chief, Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine Director, Health Promotion Center, Seoul National University Hospital Professor, Department of Biomedical Science & Family Medicine Seoul National University College of Medicine Seoul, Korea What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Chronic hepatitis B patients have a higher risk of hepatocellular carcinoma than the general population, which has been well-established and known to be caused by progression of hepatitis B infection into severe liver diseases. However, whether obesity-related carcinogenesis plays a central role in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis B patients remained unclear. Therefore, we assessed the association between body mass index and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis B patients, and stratified all analyses by sex using healthcare big data in the Republic of Korea. We found positive association of trends between body mass index and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in both men and women with hepatitis B infection. The magnitude of the association in women was stronger than that of men. In the severely obese category, the hazard ratio for hepatocellular carcinoma was significantly higher in women compared to men. Our findings highlight that high body mass index is associated with risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis B patients, especially in women, which may be partially explained by higher fat content for the same unit of body mass index in women compared to men. (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, JAMA, Pediatrics / 26.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite, PhD Dr. Braithwaite is founding director of the Australian Institute of Health Innovation at Macquarie University and Chief Investigator of the just-published CareTrack Kids Study the largest study of the quality of care to children ever undertaken. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: While seeking to improve health outcomes for patients, there has been substantial investment in developing clinical practice guidelines, to support the delivery of evidence-based healthcare. Prior to the CareTrack Kids study, little was known about the level of adherence to clinical practice guidelines for the care of Australian children. Our study examined care provided to children under 16 years of age treated for 17 important clinical conditions, such as asthma or fever, to assess adherence to these guidelines. We surveyed over 6500 medical records in four clinical settings (general practices; paediatricians offices; hospital emergency departments; and hospital inpatient wards) in South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland, and assessed visits during 2012 and 2013.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Environmental Risks, JAMA, Melanoma / 23.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John W. Epling, Jr., M.D., M.S.Ed., Task Force Member Dr. Epling is is a professor of Family and Community Medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke, VA. He is also the Medical Director of Research for Family and Community Medicine, Medical Director of Employee Health and Wellness for the Carilion Clinic, and maintains an active clinical primary care practice.  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., affecting millions of people every year. The Task Force looked at the latest research to see if clinicians can help people prevent skin cancer by providing counseling about ways to reduce risk, including using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding sunlight during peak hours. Based on our review of the evidence, we found that counseling younger patients with a fair skin type and their parents is effective at encouraging these sun protective behaviors. By helping reduce their patients’ exposure to harmful UV rays, clinicians can decrease their risk for skin cancer. As such, we recommend that clinicians provide counseling to people who are six months to 24 years old and have a fair skin type. For adults over 24 with a fair skin type, clinicians should consider the individual’s risks for skin cancer when deciding whether or not to provide counseling.  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA / 21.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sahil Agrawal, MBBS MD Division of Cardiology, St. Luke’s University Health Network, Bethlehem, PA Dr Lohit Garg MD Division of Cardiology Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allentown  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Readmissions among advanced heart failure patients are common and contribute significantly to heath care related costs. Rates and causes of readmissions, and their associated costs among patients after durable left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation have not been studied in a contemporary multi-institutional setting. We studied the incidence, predictors, causes, and costs of 30-day readmissions after LVAD implantation using Nationwide Readmissions Database (NRD) in our recently published study. (more…)
ADHD, Author Interviews, Brain Injury, JAMA, Pediatrics / 20.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Megan E. Narad, PhD Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center | CCHMC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous research has shown that children with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) demonstrate difficulties with attention following injury; however, most studies only follow children 2-3 years after injury. Our study followed a group of children with a history of TBI 7-10 years after injury. The main finding is that those with severe TBI were at greater risk for developing secondary attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (SADHD) than those with orthopedic injury; however, it should also be noted that kids with less severe injuries were also at risk of developing SADHD. In addition to injury severity, environmental factors (maternal education and family functioning) also played a role in SADHD development. It should also be noted that a number of kids developed SADHD >3.5 years after injury suggesting that these difficulties may not surface until many years after injury. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Menopause, OBGYNE, Sexual Health / 20.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Caroline Mitchell, MD, MPH Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology Assistant Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Biology http://massgeneral.link/MitchellLab MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In this study we compared two commonly recommended treatments for menopausal vaginal discomfort - low dose vaginal estradiol tablets and a vaginal moisturizer - to placebo, and found no difference in reduction of symptom severity; all three groups improved over 12 weeks of treatment.  This is great news for women, as it means that using any treatment regularly is likely to have benefit, whether it costs $20 or $200. Symptoms of vaginal dryness, irritation and pain with sex, which occur in over half of postmenopausal women, cause a significant decrease in quality of life and negatively impact intimate relationships.  The significant impact of these symptoms is reflected in the fact that we enrolled all 302 participants in under a year, a faster enrollment than any of the four prior trials  conducted by the MsFlash research network that evaluated treatments for hot flashes.  Women were desperate for some kind of intervention for these symptoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Ophthalmology, University of Michigan / 16.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maria A. Woodward, MD, MSc Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences W. K. Kellogg Eye Center Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Many people go to emergency departments seeking care for their eye problems. We wished to investigate which factors are associated with the involvement of ophthalmologist consultants in the care of these patients and whether any disparities exist.  (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Dermatology, Environmental Risks, JAMA / 15.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Sunburn” by Beatrice Murch is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dawn Holman, MPH Behavioral Scientist Division of Cancer Prevention and Control CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Sunburn at any age increases a person’s chances of developing skin cancer in the future. Using a combination of strategies including staying in the shade, wearing clothing that covers the arms and legs, wearing a hat with a wide brim, and wearing sunscreen (SPF 15+) on exposed skin can protect skin from sun damage and reduce risk of sunburn. This study used national data to examine how often US adults used these sun protection strategies when outdoors in the sun for an hour or longer and how many US adults got sunburned in 2015. Among adult women, staying in the shade and using sunscreen were the most common sun protection methods. About 40% of women regularly used these strategies. Women were less likely to wear a wide-brimmed hat (14%) or wear clothing covering their arms (11%) and legs (23%). Among adult men, wearing pants or other clothing covering their legs and staying in the shade were the most common sun protection methods. Just over 30% of men regularly used these strategies. Men were less likely to use sunscreen (22%), wear a wide-brimmed hat (14%) or wear a shirt with long sleeves (13%). About one-third of US adults got sunburned in 2015. Sunburn was even more common among certain groups. For example, about half of individuals with sun-sensitive skin and about half of adults aged 18-29 got sunburned. Certain behaviors and health conditions were related to sunburn. For example, adults who used sunless tanning products to darken their skin, binge drank, engaged in aerobic activity, or were overweight or obese were more likely to get sunburned compared to other adults. Adults who regularly stayed in the shade when outdoors or avoided long periods of time in the sun were slightly less likely to get sunburned compared to other adults. Adults who regularly used sunscreen were slightly more likely to get sunburned. (more…)
Aging, Alcohol, Author Interviews, JAMA, Stanford / 15.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: alcohol-cdc-imageEdith V. Sullivan, Ph.D. Professor Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, CA 94305-5723  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Alcohol misuse is a major public health problem worldwide with profound health consequences on the body, brain, and function. Our research group has conducted naturalistic yet controlled studies of alcohol dependence for several decades to further our understanding of when and how alcohol misuse affects specific parts of the brain.  In addition, we wanted to know how alcohol misuse interacts with the typical changes in the brain as we grow older.  The studies are controlled in that we recruit healthy, non-alcohol dependence men and women from the community to undergo the same screening and neuroimaging procedures as our alcoholic recruits.  The studies are quantitative because we use neuroimaging methods (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) that enable us to measure specific regions of brain structural volumes.  Consistent collection of such data over the years positioned us to ask whether age and alcohol dependence interact to produce regional brain volume loss beyond the loss that occurs in normal aging. A number of cross-sectional studies pointed to the likelihood that the effects of alcohol dependence on brain structure would be exacerbated by normal aging, which we do know from longitudinal neuroimaging studies results in shrinkage of cortical gray matter volume and thinning of the cortex. What was particularly striking about our longitudinal study of men and women with alcohol dependence was the acceleration of the aging of brain structure that was especially prominent in the frontal cortex.  Critically, even those who initiated dependent drinking at an older age showed accelerated loss. Because our study sample was large enough, we could also test whether our findings were attributable to conditions that commonly co-occur with alcohol dependence, namely, illicit drug use and hepatitis C.  Although both drug use and hepatitis C infection may have exacerbated brain volume loss, these factors did not fully account for the alcoholism-aging interaction we identified. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Addiction, Author Interviews, JAMA / 14.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Laura Dwyer-Lindgren PhD Assistant Professor at IHME Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: This study in the latest in a series of studies IHME has conducted on health and disease on the county level in the United States. We analyzed data provided by the National Center for Health Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and other sources. Main findings include:
  • Nearly 550,000 deaths were attributed to drug use over the 35 years. Nationally, the age-standardized death date increased 238% between 1980 and 2000, and 112% between 2000 and 2014. The death rate from drug use disorders increased in every county, but some counties in Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and eastern Oklahoma has increases exceeding 5000%.
  • There were more than a quarter million deaths in the U.S. due to alcohol use; Western counties generally has higher levels than those in other parts of area of the nation, with especially high death rates in Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Alaska.
  • Neatly 1.3 million suicides were recorded, with especially high rates in Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Wyoming and one county in Maryland. While the national death rate due to suicide decreased between 1980 and 2014, there was an increase in the death rate due to suicide in most counties.
  • More than three quarters of a million deaths by homicide occurred in the US between 1980 and 2015. Nationally, the age-standardized death rate due to homicide decreased by about 35% between 1980 and 2000, and by nearly 16% between 2000 and 2014. Counties with the largest decreases were found in Virginia, Florida, Texas, California and New York. 
(more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Schizophrenia / 13.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chuanjun Zhuo, MD, PhD Department of Psychiatric Laboratory Department of Psychiatric Neuroimaging Faculty Tianjin Mental Health Center Tianjin, China  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: According to previous epidemiological studies, women with schizophrenia may be associated with significantly increased risk of breast cancer. However, the results of these studies were not always consistent. In view of the fact that medical care for patients with schizophrenia is becoming multidisciplinary, we aimed to evaluate the risk of breast cancer in women with schizophrenia via a meta-analysis of relevant cohort studies. We included twelve cohorts and adopted the recently proposed prediction interval to evaluate the heterogeneity among the included studies. We found that schizophrenia was associated with about 30% increased risk of breast cancer incidence in women. However, significant heterogeneity existed of the included studies, which indicates that more extensive researches into the potential mechanisms underlying the associations between schizophrenia and breast cancer risk are needed. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, JAMA / 12.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christopher Abeare, Ph.D. Associate Professor Clinical Neuropsychology Department of Psychology University of Windsor Windsor, Ontario MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: In this study, we examined the prevalence of invalid performance on baseline neurocognitive testing in sport concussion. Baseline testing is a commonly employed practice in which the cognitive abilities of athletes are assessed pre-season. These baseline test results are then used as a point of comparison against which post-injury neurocognitive test results can be compared, thereby creating a more individualized approach to the assessment of neurocognitive functioning. However, there has been growing concern about the validity of baseline test results, meaning that there is concern over the degree to which the scores on these baseline tests actually reflect an athlete’s true cognitive ability. There are many reasons why their test scores might not reflect their actual ability, ranging from inattentiveness during testing and lack of appreciation of the importance of doing their best on testing to intentional underperformance (aka “sandbagging” or malingering). As a result of these concerns, 4 different validity measures have been developed. We compared these 4 validity measures, head to head, in a sample of 7897 athletes aged 10 to 21 years. We found that 56% of athletes failed at least 1 of these validity measures, suggesting that as many as 56% of  athletes have scores that may not reflect their true ability level. We then tested the hypothesis that age would be related to the proportion of athletes with invalid performance. Our findings supported this hypothesis in that nearly 84% of 10-year-olds failed at least one validity measure and 29% of 21-year-olds failed at least one.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, University of Michigan, Urinary Tract Infections / 12.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Keith SKayeMD, MPH Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor MI  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Complicated complicated urinary tract infections (cUTI), including acute pyelonephritis, are a major cause of hospital admissions, and are associated with significant morbidity and mortality and can be difficult to treat. While the most common pathogen is Escherichia coli, the more problematic pathogens are multidrug-resistant (MDR) gram-negative organisms including other Enterobacteriaceae species. The prevalence of cUTI due to MDR gram-negative bacteria has risen. In some instances, MDR gram-negative bacteria isolated from the urinary tract can cause bacteremia. Vabomere was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August 2017 for the treatment of adult patients with cUTI, including pyelonephritis, caused by designated susceptible Enterobacteriaceae: Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Enterobacter cloacae species complex.   Vabomere is a fixed-dose (2g/2g) combination product of a carbapenem and a β-lactamase inhibitor with potent in vitro activity against Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), an important MDR organism associated with serious infections. The Targeting Antibiotic Non-susceptible Gram-negative Organisms (TANGO I) trial was the pivotal Phase 3 study that compared the efficacy and safety of Vabomere to piperacillin-tazobactam in the treatment of patients with cUTI and acute pyelonephritis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Melanoma / 11.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aimilios Lallas, PhD First Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine Aristotle University Thessaloniki, Greece MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Our goal today is to recognize melanoma at the earliest stage, ideally before it invades the dermis and acquires metastatic potential. Melanoma-specific dermoscopic criteria have been tested mainly in the context of invasive melanoma. Although they were proven valid melanoma predictors, the question still remains if they are strong enough to diagnose melanoma in situ (MIS). Our aim was to investigate the diagnostic accuracy of dermoscopic criteria for the diagnosis of melanoma in situ. We identified 5 main positive dermoscopic indicators of MIS: atypical network, regression, irregular hyperpigmented areas, prominent skin markings and angulated lines.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Prostate Cancer / 10.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amar U. Kishan, MD Assistant Professor Department of Radiation Oncology University of California, Los Angeles MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patients with high risk prostate cancer have several curative treatment options: radical prostatectomy, external beam radiotherapy with androgen deprivation therapy, and external beam radiotherapy with a brachytherapy boost, also with androgen deprivation therapy (so-called extremely dose-escalated radiotherapy). Prior attempts at comparing long-term clinical outcomes between these treatment options have been hampered by the fact that standards of care have changed significantly with respect to the appropriate dose of radiation and the usage of androgen deprivation therapy. Therefore, many comparative effectiveness reports are in essence comparing apples with rotten oranges. Further, not all high risk prostate cancers are the same. Gleason score 9-10 disease is a particularly aggressive form of prostate cancer that is much more likely to metastasize and potentially cause death. Thankfully, this is a rarer type of prostate cancer -- but this also means that not much data are available specifically for this type of disease. Therefore, we launched a multi-institutional study of men with Gleason score 9-10 disease, including 1809 men treated across 12 institutions. All men were treated between 2000 and 2013 and therefore were more likely to have treatments that would be commensurate with modern standards.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JACC, JAMA, Weight Research / 05.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “physical-activity-120112-M-2021D-019” by MilitaryHealth is licensed under CC BY 2.0Trine Moholdt, PhD Research Fellow Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging | Exercise, Cardiometabolic Health and Reproduction Norwegian University of Science and Technology MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Although obese individuals have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, evidence from many observational studies shows that in those who already have cardiovascular disease, being overweight or obese is associated with lower risk of mortality compared to their normal weight counterparts. This phenomenon is often called the “obesity paradox”. Recently we observed that in individuals who have a high physical activity level, there is no such obesity paradox and body mass index did not associate with survival time in those who with high physical activity (Moholdt et al, American Journal of Medicine, 2017).  (more…)
Allergies, Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Stanford, Technology / 03.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kavita Sarin, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Dermatology Stanford University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Drug reactions occur in the majority of patients undergoing cancer therapies. Half of serious drug reactions are detected after market approval which can result in painful complications and interruption in therapy. Post-market drug surveillance platforms such as FDA monitoring rely on medical publications and physician reporting and take time to identify trends. We sought to determine if we could identify trends in patient discussions in internet health forums to more rapidly identify chemotherapeutic drug reactions. We chose skin reactions as a proof-of-principle because patients can more easily describe what they see on their skin. Julia Ransohoff, a medical student, and Azadeh Nikfarham, an informatics postdoctoral fellow trained a computer to recognize when a patient undergoing anti-cancer treatment with PD-1 antagonists or EGFR-inhibitors described a drug reaction in their internet forum posts. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Occupational Health, PTSD / 02.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Lori Davis, MD Research and Development Service, Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa Tuscaloosa, Alabama MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) interfere with a person’s ability to function at work, making it harder to stay employed and establish oneself in a career.  Veterans with PTSD are uniquely challenged given their motivation to serve others, be leaders and not be generally receptive to reaching out for help. Conventional wisdom about PTSD and employment has traditionally been to first commit to treatment, learn coping skills, manage one’s symptoms and then reintegrate into mainstream employment. However, this view is being transformed by our research that suggests a more assertive recovery-oriented approach to the treatment of PTSD that involves returning to meaningful competitive employment as soon as possible. This study compared Evidence-based Supported Employment (also known as Individual Placement and Support or IPS) integrated within PTSD treatment teams to the treatment as usual Transitional Work model offered within the VA. This multisite trial demonstrated significantly greater effectiveness of the IPS-supported employment over stepwise, transitional work vocational rehabilitation for Veterans living with chronic PTSD. (more…)
Author Interviews, ENT, JAMA, Surgical Research / 02.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Boris Paskhover, MD Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Adjunct Instructor,Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery NYU Langone Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patient's and the general public routinely mention that their nose appears large, especially when they look at photos taken with their phone. I realized that patients in general are taking selfies more often nowadays. In my training, we routinely would tell patient’s not to use selfies as a marker of how they look, and we instead would take a 5ft distance photograph since we knew that is more realistic. I looked through the medical literature, and it appeared to me that no one had thoroughly discussed why selfies are a bad when evaluating the nose. I contacted a colleague at Stanford who has a PhD with interest in computer graphics and we developed a model for the face/nose. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Surgical Research / 28.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Chris Childers, M.D. Division of General Surgery David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles, CA 90095 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Over 20 million Americans undergo a surgical procedure each year with a price tag over $1 trillion.  The operating room (OR) is a particularly resource dense environment, yet little is known about the actual costs of running an OR.  Most previous efforts focusing on OR costs have come from single-site studies with little detail about the drivers of OR costs. Using financial statements from all California hospitals we estimated that the average cost to the hospital for one minute of OR time was between $36 and $37. Perhaps more notable was the composition of these costs.  Almost two-thirds ($20-21) was attributable to “direct costs” - those generated by the OR itself - including $14 for the wages and benefits of staff, $2.50-3.50 for surgical supplies, and $3 for “other” costs such as equipment repair and depreciation. Interestingly, the remainder ($14-16) was dedicated to “indirect costs” such as the costs associated with hospital security and parking.  While these indirect costs are necessary for a hospital to run, they are not under the purview of the operating room. Finally, we also learned that OR costs have increased quickly over the past 10 years – faster than other sectors of healthcare as well as the rest of the economy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Heart Disease, JAMA / 27.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David Bekelman, MD, MPH  Associate Professor of Medicine and Nursing Eastern Colorado Health Care System, Department of Veterans Affairs, Denver, CO University of Colorado School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Many of the 5.8 million Americans with heart failure live with bothersome symptoms, reduced function and poor quality of life.  Improving their care is important because many people with heart failure live with these challenges for years.

This study evaluated the effect of a team intervention, Collaborative Care to Alleviate Symptoms and Adjust to Illness, also called CASA, on several aspects of quality of life in 314 patients with heart failure.  The patients, who received care at diverse health systems in Colorado, were randomized to receive usual care or usual care supplemented with the CASA intervention, which included a nurse and a social worker who collaborated with a primary care provider, cardiologist, and palliative care physician to address the patients’ needs.

The study found that the CASA intervention did not influence the primary outcome of heart failure health status, yet did improve patients’ depression and fatigue.  CASA did not influence number of patient hospitalizations or mortality. (more…)

Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, JAMA / 27.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shyueluen Chang MD Phlebologist with Dermatologist background Vein Clinic, Department of Dermatology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Taoyuan, Taiwan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Varicose veins are common, with about 23 percent of U.S. adults having the condition, but they are rarely thought to be associated with serious health risks. In contrast, venous thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), and peripheral artery disease (PAD) are also vascular diseases that are associated with serious systemic effects. Not much is known about varicose veins and the risk of other vascular diseases. Elucidating potential associations between varicose veins and health-threatening diseases is important. (more…)
Author Interviews, End of Life Care, Heart Disease, JAMA, Technology / 27.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Larry A. Allen, MD, MHS Associate Professor, Medicine Associate Head for Clinical Affairs, Cardiology Medical Director, Advanced Heart Failure Aurora, CO 80045 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Deciding whether or not to get a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is one of the most challenging medical decisions created by modern medicine. LVADs improve overall survival but also come with serious risks and lifestyle changes. Particularly for older patients with multiple medical problems, this is a complex choice. Our research group at the University of Colorado spent years systematically developing unbiased pamphlet and video decision aids for patients and caregivers. We also developed a clinician-directed decision support training for LVAD program staff. The DECIDE-LVAD trial studied the implementation and effectiveness of this decision support intervention with patients and their caregivers in 6 hospitals in the U.S. When compared to previously used education materials, the decision aids appeared to improve patients’ decision quality and lowered the total number of patients getting LVADs. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, JAMA, Kidney Disease / 26.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rodrigo F. Alban, MD FACS Associate Director Performance Improvement Associate Residency Program Director NSQIP Surgeon Champion Department of Surgery Cedars-Sinai Medical Center  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT) is a modality of hemodialysis commonly used to manage renal failure in critically ill patients who have significant hemodynamic compromise.  However, it is also resource-intensive and costly and its usage is highly variable and lacks standardization. Our institution organized a multidisciplinary task force to target high value care in critically ill patients requiring CRRT by standardizing its process flow, promoting cross-disciplinary discussions with patients and family members, and increasing visibility/awareness of CRRT use.  After our interventions, the mean duration of CRRT decreased by 11.3% from 7.43 to 6.59 days per patient.  We also saw a 9.8% decrease in the mean direct cost of CRRT from $11642 to $10506 per patient.  Finally, we also saw a decrease in the proportion of patients expiring on CRRT, and an increase in the proportion of patients transitioning to comfort care. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Heart Disease, JAMA / 26.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel A. Waxman, MD, PhD Department of Emergency Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine University of California, Los Angeles RAND Corporation Santa Monica, CaliforniaDaniel A. Waxman, MD, PhD Department of Emergency Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine University of California, Los Angeles RAND Corporation Santa Monica, California  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: When people talk about medical error, they are usually referring to treatment error—giving the wrong medication, operating on the wrong side of the body, etc.  But many believe that diagnostic error—the failure to diagnose a condition when a patient seeks care—is at least as widespread and consequential a problem.  However, diagnostic errors are intrinsically difficult to measure, since one can rarely prove that a condition was present at the time it was not diagnosed. In this study, we introduce a novel method for measuring how often patients who come to the emergency room with symptoms of an imminent cardiovascular emergency such as acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) are discharged home without a diagnosis. We find that among Medicare patients whose ER visits were attributable to symptoms of an imminent infarction, only about 2.3% were discharged home, and that the figure was under 5% for each of the other four conditions we studied.    However, we also found that these relatively low rates did not improve between 2007 and 2014. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, JAMA, Pediatrics / 26.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sabrina Twilhaar, MS, PhD candidate Child Study Group, sectie Klinische Neuropsychologie Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: It is well-known that preterm birth has negative consequences for cognitive development. During the early 1990s important progress in neonatal health care resulted in a considerable increase in the survival of preterm infants. Earlier meta-analyses showed large differences in intelligence between very preterm and full-term born children. However, these meta-analyses included mostly studies on children born before 1990. Because of the advances in neonatal health care since that time, it was important to update our knowledge on the outcomes of more recently born preterm infants. We combined the results of 71 studies, together including 7752 very preterm and 5155 full-term born children, and found a difference in intelligence between very preterm and full-term children that was still large. Interestingly, despite advancing neonatal health care, we also found no indication of improvement in the cognitive outcomes of very preterm born children during the period from 1990 to 2008. In addition, we searched for factors that increase the risk for poor cognitive outcomes in these children and we found that children with a chronic lung disease that is amongst others caused by mechanical ventilation of the immature lungs are even more at risk for poor cognitive outcomes. (more…)