Author Interviews, Immunotherapy, JAMA, Melanoma / 15.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Feng Xie, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Faculty of Health Sciences McMaster University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cutaneous melanoma, an aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer, in early stages is often cured with surgery alone. Most patients presenting with advanced-stage disease, however, are not candidates for surgery and drug therapy is the main course of treatment. Around 40-60% of melanomas have a mutation in the BRAF protein. Multiple effective first-line treatment options are available for patients with advanced BRAF-mutated melanoma, which fall under two established classes of drug therapies: targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Presently, it remains uncertain which is the optimal first-line treatment. In our network meta-analysis we evaluated 15 randomized controlled trials published between 2011 and 2015 assessing the benefits and harms of targeted or immune checkpoint inhibitors in 6662 treatment naïve patients with lymph node metastasis not amenable to surgery or distant metastatic melanoma. We found that combined BRAF and MEK targeted therapy and PD-1 immunotherapy were both equally effective in improving overall survival. Combined BRAF and MEK inhibition was most effective in improving progression-free survival. PD-1 inhibition was associated with the lowest risk of serious adverse events. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 15.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brodie Parent, MD MS General Surgery R4 University of Washington MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We already knew that women with a history of bariatric surgery are a high risk group when it comes to childbirth. Our study has confirmed prior data which show that infants from these women are at a higher risk for being premature, low birth-weight, or requiring ICU admission. However, this is some of the first data which looks at their risk over time after recovery from the operation. Data from this study show that risks to the infant are highest in the first 3 years after an operation, and diminish over time. This suggests that women should wait a minimum of three years after an operation before attempting conception. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Prostate, Prostate Cancer, Surgical Research, Urology / 15.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jim C. Hu, M.D., M.P.H. Ronald P. Lynch Professor of Urologic Oncology Director of the LeFrak Center for Robotic Surgery Weill Cornell Medicine Urology New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell New York, NY 10065 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against PSA testing in men older than 75 years in 2008 and more recently in all US men regardless of age in 2012. This was largely based on a faulty study, the prostate, lung, colo-rectal and ovarian screening study. We demonstrated in May 2016 that this randomized trial did not compare screening to no screening or apples to oranges, as it set out to do. It compared screening to screening. Although controversial, the guidelines were well-intentioned, as recognize that there is over-diagnosis and over-treatment of men with prostate cancer. Given this background, the goal of our study was to explore the downstream consequences of the recommendation against PSA screening. As such, we explored 3 separate databases to characterize national procedure volumes for prostate needle biopsy and radical prostatectomy, or surgery to cure prostate cancer. The main finding was that prostate biopsy numbers decreased by 29% and radical prostatectomy surgeries decreased by 16% when comparing before to after USPSTF recommendations against PSA screening. Therefore practice patterns followed policy. Prostate biopsies are usually performed due to an elevated, abnormal screening PSA. However, it is also performed to monitor low-risk, slow growing prostate cancers. We also found that while the overall number of prostate biopsies decreased, there was a 29% increase in the proportion or percentage of biopsies performed due to active surveillance, or monitoring of low risk prostate cancers which should be done periodically. Therefore we provide the first national study to demonstrate that there is less over-diagnosis and over-treatment of prostate cancer. However, the concern is that we also recently demonstrated that there is more aggressive prostate cancer on surgical pathology for men who go on to radical prostatectomy. They have high grade, higher stage cancers, which have a lower chance of cure. The link is: http://www.prostatecancerreports.org/fulltext/2016/_Hu_JC160708.pdf (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, ENT, JAMA, Radiation Therapy, Stanford / 15.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michelle M. Chen, MD/MHS Department of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery Stanford University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The benefit of post-operative radiotherapy (PORT) for patients with T1-T2 N1 oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer without adverse pathologic features is unclear. Starting in 2014, the national guidelines no longer recommended consideration of post-operative radiotherapy for N1 oropharyngeal cancer patients, but left it as a consideration for N1 oral cavity cancer patients. We found that post-operative radiotherapy was associated with improved survival in both oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers, particularly in patients younger than 70 years of age and those with T2 disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Ophthalmology, Zika / 15.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Camila Ventura MD Pediatric Retina Research Fellow at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (BPEI), USA PhD student at Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp) Medical Retina, Ocular Oncology, and Uveitis Department at Altino Ventura Foundation Brazil MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Brazilian outbreak of Zika virus (ZIKV) began in April 2015 and since then, we have not been able to stop its rapid spread throughout the Americas. Not only has ZIKV been disseminating very rapidly, patients affected by the ZIKV have also been presenting with some findings never before reported in the literature. Until recently, ZIKV infection was only associated with mild symptoms such as headache, rash, arthralgia, and conjunctivitis. However, in October 2015, a twenty-fold increase in the prevalence of newborns with microcephaly was reported that was later confirmed to be associated to ZIKV infection during pregnancy. Although microcephaly and other central nervous system findings were the first abnormalities reported, recent publications have described other malformations associated with ZIKV congenital infection including hearing loss, limb anomalies and ocular findings. Due to all of these systemic findings, this new clinical condition has been named Congenital Zika Syndrome (CZS). In January 2016, our group published the first report on the ocular findings of infants with microcephaly and presumed congenital ZIKV infection, followed by another manuscript describing 10 additional cases. We have also contributed with an article published in JAMA Ophthalmology reporting the risk factors associated to the ocular findings in babies with CZS. Other authors such as De Paula Freitas et al and Miranda 2nd et al, have also contributed to the literature by describing similar ocular findings in these infants with CZS. In the present case series, we describe the Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) findings in ten eyes of eight infants with CZS. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, JAMA / 15.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ted Alcorn, MHS, MA Everytown for Gun Safety Brooklyn, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Two decades ago, opponents of gun violence prevention recognized that they could curb the development and enactment of effective laws if they halted scientific research on which good policy would be grounded or justified. So they adopted a strategy of intimidation towards the leading federal agencies funding research on this topic and generating data on which analysis relied. Journalists that observed the pattern and scientists that lived through it often described the “chilling effect” this had on the field of gun violence prevention research. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics / 15.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Katherine P. Theall, PhD Associate Professor Global Community Health and Behavioral Services Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine New Orleans, Louisiana MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are stark health disparities in the U.S. by socioeconomic position as well as between racial and ethnic groups. Many of these health disparities may have a root cause in childhood and be driven by social risk factors. The authors report each neighborhood stressor was associated with biological stress as measured by shortened telomere length and cortisol functioning. Many children are exposed to violence and a greater understanding of the effect on children’s health is critical because social environmental conditions likely contribute to health disparities. Socioeconomically disadvantaged communities have a higher exposure to violence. Limitations of the study include its lack of applicability to other demographic groups. The study also cannot establish causality. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics, Technology / 11.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Krista Kelly, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow Crystal Charity Ball Pediatric Vision Evaluation Center Retina Foundation of the Southwest Dallas, TX 75231 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Amblyopia is one of the most common causes of monocular impairment in children, affecting 1 or 2 children in every US classroom. Patching of the fellow eye has been used for decades to improve visual acuity in the amblyopic eye. But patching does not always restore normal vision and does not teach the two eyes to work together. A novel technique originally designed by Drs Robert Hess and Ben Thompson at McGill University that works to reduce interocular suppression by rebalancing the contrast between the eyes has shown promising results in amblyopic adults. Dr Eileen Birch at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest worked with Dr Hess to adapt this contrast re-balancing approach to an iPad game platform suitable for children. Her research showed that the games were successful in improving visual acuity in amblyopic children as well. However, these initial games were rudimentary and resulted in low compliance. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Melanoma / 10.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Caroline Watts | Research Fellow Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research Sydney School of Public Health Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) investigator The University of Sydney MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Melanoma Patterns of Care study was a population-based observational study of physicians’ reported clinical management of 2727 patients diagnosed with an in situ or invasive primary melanoma over a 12-month period from October 2006 to 2007 in New South Wales, Australia. This paper investigated the differences between 1052 (39%) patients who were defined as higher risk owing to a family history of melanoma, multiple primary melanomas, or many nevi (moles) compared to patients who did not have any risk factors. We found that the higher-risk group had a younger mean age at diagnosis compared to those without risk factors, (62 vs 65 years, P < .001) which varied by type of risk factor (56 years for patients with a family history, 59 years for those with many nevi, and 69 years for those with a previous melanoma). These age differences were consistent across all body sites. Among higher-risk patients, those with many nevi were more likely to have melanoma on the trunk (41% vs 29%, P < .001), those with a family history of melanoma were more likely to have melanomas on the limbs (57%vs 42%, P < .001), and those with a personal history were more likely to have melanoma on the head and neck (21% vs 15%, P < .001). (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, JAMA, Karolinski Institute / 09.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jonas Bergh M.D, Ph.D. F.R.C.P. (London, UK) Professor of Oncology (Mimi Althainz´donation) Director Strategic Research Program in Cancer Karolinska Institutet Radiumhemmet, Karolinska University Hospital Stockholm, Swede MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Present standard dosing of chemotherapy is aiming at a similar dose for each individual (similar effects and side-effects) , by calculating the dose per mg/m2 based on a formula originally established by du Bois (1916), based on body surface calculations by measuring height and weight. As I recall it, this was done on nine individuals… However, the body surface has very little to do with how you cytotoxic drugs are metabolized and excreted… in practice this means that chemotherapy dosing based on body surface area will result in under- or overdosing of quite a proposition of the patients… Please Google/run a PubMed research on H. Gurney in Australia, he and other have really expressed their concerns with our present chemotherapy dosing strategies. In our prospective adjuvant chemotherapy study of high risk breast cancer patients we tested a very well established standard chemotherapy regimen given every third week (FEC100 mg/m2 x 3+ docetaxel 100 mg/m2 x3) vs. our experimental arm given very second week in a dose dense fashion. We also tried to optimize the dosing, aiming at avoiding overdosing some patients at the first course and increase the dose for those without predefined toxicities. Therapy duration was similar in both groups, 15 weeks. Please see the end of the discussion in JAMA for the shortcomings with our study. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, JAMA, Lipids / 09.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Borge G. Nordestgaard, MD, DMSc Professor, University of Copenhagen Chief Physician, Dept. Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital Copenhagen University Hospital Herlev, Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Acute pancreatitis is an inflammatory disorder of the pancreas with gallstones and high-alcohol consumption as leading risk factors, while mild-to-moderately increased plasma triglycerides hitherto has been overlooked. We surprisingly found that the risk of developing acute pancreatitis was increased already from triglycerides of 175 mg/dL (2 mmol/L) and above. When triglycerides were above 443mg/dL (5mmol/L) the risk was increased a massive 9-fold. Interestingly, this risk was higher than the corresponding 3.4-fold higher risk for myocardial infarction. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 09.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sharon Unger BSc, MD, FRCP Staff Neonatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital Associate Staff Neonatologist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto. Medical Director of the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank and Dr. Deborah L. O’Connor PhD, RD Senior Associate Scientist in Physiology & Experimental Medicine SickKids and Professor Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Babies who are born very early (before 32 weeks’ gestation) and/or at very low weights (less than 1,500 grams) are among the most fragile of all paediatric patients, typically facing serious medical issues and requiring care in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). In addition to underdeveloped organs and risk of neurodevelopmental issues, preterm and very low birth weight babies are at risk of a severe bowel emergency called necrotizing enterocolitis, which involves the damage and potential destruction of the intestinal tissue. This disease affects approximately six per cent of very low birth weight infants each year, making it one of the most common causes of death and long-term complications in this population. As a neonatologist and a PhD-trained dietitian, we have spent our careers working to improve outcomes for babies and supporting breastfeeding. While there is already strong evidence to suggest that breastfeeding is associated with a variety of benefits including reduced risk of childhood infections and may play a role in the prevention of overweight and diabetes, in healthy, full-term infants, we launched a research program a decade ago to figure out how to ensure the same advantage could be provided to vulnerable hospitalized infants, specifically very low birth weight infants. Breastfeeding initiation rates in Canada are now at all-time high for healthy newborns, but for many reasons related to preterm birth, up to two thirds of mothers of very low birth weight infants are unable to provide a sufficient volume of breast milk to their infant. A variety of factors may limit breast milk production in these cases, including immaturity of the breast cells that make milk, maternal illness, breast pump dependency, and stress. In addition to the health benefits attributed to mother’s milk for full-term, healthy infants, previous studies have shown that use of mother’s milk in very low birth weight infants is associated with a reduction in necrotizing enterocolitis. It is also associated with a reduction in severe infection, improved feeding tolerance and more rapid hospital discharge. Ten years ago, along with our inter-professional colleagues at 21 NICUs in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas, we began to examine whether using donor breast milk as a supplement to mother’s milk would improve health outcomes of very low birth weight infants when mother’s milk was not available. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Diabetes, JAMA / 08.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tara Gomes, MHSc Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St Michael’s Hospital, The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy Department of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In August 2013, the Ontario government introduced reimbursement limits for blood glucose test strips. Subsequent research has suggested that the provincial government saved $24 million in the first year after implementing this quantity limit policy. This study investigated whether these quantity limits led to any change in diabetes-related patient outcomes. We found that limiting the number of blood glucose test strips reimbursed by the government to levels recommended by the Canadian Diabetes Association had to no change in diabetes control (measured as rates of emergency department visits for hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, and mean HbA1c) in the 1.5 years after implementation. Similarly, there was no worsening of patient outcomes in a subgroup of individuals who had been frequent users of test strips prior to the policy being announced. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA / 08.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robert Humble, MS, MD Candidate, 2019 President, EQUAL Med Governmental Relations Chair, CCOM Student Government University Iowa Matthew D. Krasowski, MD, PhD Department of Pathology University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Laboratory testing is a critical tool in clinical decision-making. Clinical laboratories frequently receive “extra” tubes of blood. On collection, they have no testing associated with them. They are stored in the laboratory for a period of time for add-on testing. We sought to analyze patterns of extra tube collection at an academic medical center over an extended period of time, and determine patterns of add-on testing before and after implementation of new laboratory information system (LIS) software (Epic Beaker). Until this study, extra tube collection and utilization had not been quantified at our institution to this extent. We found that most extra tubes weren’t used for laboratory testing. After collection, the vast majority of these tubes were stored until disposal. Over the period of study our institution moved from a paper ordering protocol to a ‘paperless ordering’ system that printed labels only for tubes needed for testing ordered by providers. After implementation of Epic Beaker, we saw utilization practices improve, though there is still room for improvement. Overall, we’ve seen significant decreases in extra tube collection across the institution. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, JAMA, Neurological Disorders / 08.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Philip Van Damme, MD, PhD Department of Neurology and Department of Neurosciences, Experimental Neurology KU Leuven University of Leuven VIB, Vesalius Research Center, Leuven, Belgium Philip Van Damme, MD, PhD Department of Neurology and Department of Neurosciences, Experimental Neurology KU Leuven University of Leuven VIB, Vesalius Research Center, Leuven, Belgium MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The hepatitis E virus (HEV) has been discovered more that 60 years ago. Its clinical manifestations are usually self-limiting and mild. More recently, several immune-mediated neurological complications of this virus have been described, such as the Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) and neuralgic amyotrophy. In this study, we investigated the frequency of a preceding HEV infection in patients presenting with a GBS syndrome or one of its less common disease variants. At the same time, we tested for other known pathogens known to be associated with GBS. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA / 04.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ayako Okuyama, RN, PHN, MW, PhD Center for Cancer Control and Information Services National Cancer Center, Japan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) is a major concern for chemotherapy patients. Despite widespread concern, not all chemotherapeutic drugs cause severe CINV. Our study illustrated that the potential for overuse of prophylactic antiemetics for chemotherapy with minimal and low emetic risks according to the antiemetic guidelines. (more…)
Author Interviews, End of Life Care, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, UCSF / 02.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Krista Lyn Harrison, PhD Division of Geriatrics School of Medicine University of California San Francisco VA Medical Center San Francisco, CA 94121 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Advance care planning (ACP) is the process of discussing plans and preferences for end-of-life care. It may include completion of advanced directives or a living will and designation of a surrogate decision-maker in a durable power of attorney for health care. There is a growing awareness of the benefits of such discussions for both elders and their families. In absence of these discussions, loved ones are left to guess what the affected individual wanted or may even get mired in unexpected legal issues. But until recently, it was unknown if all races/ethnicities, education levels, and incomes have benefited from efforts to improve engagement in advance care planning, and if these discussions are greater among those in worse health and with a poorer prognosis. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 02.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Malini B. DeSilva, MD, MPH Clinician Investigator HealthPartners Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This is a retrospective study of more than 324,000 live births at seven Vaccine Safety Datalink sites between 2007 and 2013 which showed that the Tdap vaccine in pregnant mothers was not associated with increased risk for microcephaly or other major birth defects in their offspring. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, JAMA, Karolinski Institute, Mental Health Research / 01.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Zheng Chang PhD Dept. of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institutet and Seena Fazel MD Department of Psychiatry Warneford Hospital University of Oxford, Oxford, England MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There were more than 10 million prisoners worldwide in 2015, with approximately 2.2 million in the United States alone. Despite reported decreases in violence in many countries, reoffending rates remain high. From 2005 through 2010, more than one-third of released prisoners in the United States and the United Kingdom were reconvicted of a new crime within 2 years. Most programs to reduce reoffending focus on psychosocial interventions, but their effect sizes are weak to moderate. As psychiatric and substance use disorders, which increase reoffending rates, are overrepresented among jail and prison populations. This study investigated the main psychotropic medication classes prescribed to prisoners using longitudinal Swedish population registers and examined the association between prescription of psychotropic medication and risk of violent reoffending. We found that three classes of psychotropic medications were associated with substantial reductions in violent reoffending: antipsychotics, a 42% reduction; psychostimulants, 38%; and drugs used in addictive disorders, a 52% reduction. The magnitudes of these associations were as strong as and possibly stronger than those for widely disseminated psychological programs in prison. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics, Sleep Disorders, Technology / 01.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Ben Carter PhD Senior Lecturer in Medical Statistics Statistics Editor for the Cochrane Skin Group (Honorary Associate Professor, Nottingham University) Institute of Primary Care and Public Health Cardiff University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study leads from the growing use of mobile and media device use in children. We report the impact of devices leads to poorer sleep outcomes. MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Response: Using or even merely access to your mobile and media device should be restricted 90 minutes prior to bedtime. (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, JAMA / 30.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fausto Petrelli, MD Oncology Unit, Oncology Department Treviglio ,Italy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This meta-analysis evaluated if side (excluding rectum site) represents an independent prognostic factor for survival in patients with stages 1-4 colon cancer. This variable is in fact associated with an adverse outcome with a reduced risk of death by 20% if patients are affected by a left colon cancer compared to those with right colon cancers. Implications are enormous: for prognosis first but also for follow-up, stratification into clinical trials and treatment (for both medical and surgical therapies). The power of the study is relevant: it enclosed 66 studies with more than 1 million of patients retrospectively or prospectively analyzed for survival according to common variables known to be prognostic in colorectal cancer (age, sex, stage, race, adjuvant CT..etc) in multivariate analysis. Side is significantly associated with survival independent of other covariates analyzed. The question of the side is old and partially known, but no study systematically explored the published literature to confirm this suggestion. Recent large randomized trials in metastatic disease showed different results according to the site of disease with right colon cancers usually less responsive to anti-EGFR treatment due to a different molecular behavior and conversely left colon cancers which attained the greater benefit from cetuximab and panitumumab due to less BRAF mutations in their tissue. Also, a less extensive and radical lymphadenectomy in right-sided cancers, without a complete mesocolon excision during surgery, could hamper their cure rate, as our colorectal surgeon's team lead by Prof. Giovanni Sgroi and Luca Turati MD, suggested in the discussion. It is also well known the leads term bias with a later diagnosis of right cancers due to clinical and anatomic reasons. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Nutrition, Urinary Tract Infections, Yale / 27.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Manisha Juthani-Mehta, MD, FACP, FIDSA, FSHEA Associate Professor, Section of Infectious Diseases Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program Director Yale University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One of the first studies that showed that cranberry juice was effective in older women living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities was published in 1994. Since that time, there have been multiple conflicting studies as to the effect of cranberry juice or capsules. We started our study in 2012. Shortly thereafter, a Cochrane review suggested that the vast body of evidence did not suggest that cranberry products work for UTI prevention, but questions still existed as to whether the appropriate dose of cranberry was being tested. Since cranberry juice is hard for older women to drink (taste, sugar load, volume), capsules at a high dose of the active ingredient (72mg type A proanthocyanidin [PAC}) was worthwhile to test. This study was a clinical trial of two cranberry capsules with a total of 72mg of proanthocyanidin (pac) vs two placebo capsules to prevent bacteria in the urine of older women who live in nursing homes. Unfortunately, it didn't work. It also didn't reduce the number of hospitalizations, deaths, antibiotics used, or antibiotic resistant bugs in the urine. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Dermatology, JAMA / 27.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Adewole S. Adamson, MD, MPP Department of Dermatology The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As the United States has moved to increasing levels of electronic medical record keeping, electronic prescribing has become an important part of improving the quality of care and patient experience. E-prescribing increases co-ordination between pharmacist and physician and decreases prescription errors. However, it is less certain whether e-prescribing affects patient primary adherence to medications, meaning whether or not a patient will fill and pick up their medication at the pharmacy. Although it may seem intuitive that primary adherence would increase by removing the patient from the prescription-to-pharmacy routing process, there have been few studies directly comparing primary adherence of patients given traditional paper prescriptions versus e-prescriptions. (more…)
ALS, Antioxidants, Author Interviews, Columbia, Inflammation, JAMA, Nutrition / 26.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jeri Nieves PhD Director of bone density testing New York's Helen Hayes Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating severe neurodegenerative disorder that causes progressive muscle atrophy, paralyses, and eventual respiratory failure. Our objective was to evaluate the associations between nutrition and severity of ALS around the time of diagnosis. This was a cross-sectional analysis of data from a multicenter cohort of 302 patients with ALS. We assessed nutrient intake using a modified Block Food Frequency Questionnaire. The outcomes were respiratory function (measured using percentage forced vital capacity; FVC%) and functional performance measured by ALS Functional Rating Scale–Revised (ALSFRS-R), both considered important indicators of the severity of ALS. Results of the regression analysis were that higher intakes of antioxidants and carotenes from vegetable intake were associated with higher ALSFRS-R scores or better %FVC. We used a novel analysis to evaluate the diet as a whole and found that higher intakes of antioxidants, fiber from grains, vegetables, fruit, eggs, fish, and poultry were all associated with higher function in patients with ALS. However, milk and lunch meats were associated with lower measures of function. These consistent results from two different statistical analyses indicate that diet may help minimize the severity of ALS. Perhaps these findings point to the role of oxidative stress in ALS severity. In summary, increased consumption of antioxidant nutrients, foods high in carotenoids and fiber, vegetables and fruits, poultry and fish are associated with better function around the time of ALS diagnosis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA / 26.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aaron S. Farberg, MD Department of Dermatology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Regular sunscreen use is a critical component of sun protection and has been shown to reduce skin cancer risk. However, there have often been conflicting sunscreen messages (sometimes without scientific support) that have led to confusion by the public. Controversy has also emerged surrounding the safety and possibility of adverse effects from various sunscreen ingredients. The purpose of this study was to determine US dermatologists’ actual sunscreen perceptions, potential safety concerns as well as their recommendations and personal usage. Some people are so affected by the sun that they require a brand of Custom Sunscreens to help protect them from the sun. Our study found that dermatologists have an overall positive view of sunscreen. 97% of dermatologists agree that regular sunscreen use helps lower skin cancer risk, 100% agree that it reduces subsequent photoaging, and 99% recommend their family/friends use sunscreen. Nearly all (96%) consider FDA approved sunscreens currently available in the US to be safe and (99%) believe their patients generally under-apply sunscreen. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Smoking / 24.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joannie Lortet-Tieulent MSc Senior Epidemiologist American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Many tobacco control policies are decided at state level. We have known for some times that some states have pioneered tobacco control, or have implemented strong tobacco control or programs. Meanwhile, in other states, tobacco control and programs can be weaker. Also, some states have large populations with low socioeconomic status, among which smoking prevalence is higher. We were interested in how those state-level differences impact people’s health. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, JAMA / 24.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anna D. Sinaiko, PhD, MPP Research Scientist Department of Health Policy & Management Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One strategy for reducing health care spending in the U.S. is to increase transparency in health care pricing for patients. The idea is that patients can learn about and anticipate the prices they would pay for health care before they receive care, and incorporate that information into their choices about whether and where to receive care. When patients incorporate price information into their decisions, it gives providers an incentive to compete on price and quality. There has been a dramatic increase in the availability of health care price information over the last few years for patients who have commercial health insurance, primarily through web-based tools. In this study, we examined the impact of this information on patient choice of health care facility. We find that a small number of enrollees with commercial health insurance through Aetna, 3% overall, accessed price information through their transparency tool. Among users of the tool, patients who viewed price information for imaging services and for sleep studies before they had the service chose facilities with lower prices, and incurred lower spending (of 12%) for imaging services. We found no effect on patient choices for patients who viewed price information for 6 other health care services (carpal tunnel release, cataract/lens procedures, colonoscopy, echocardiogram, mammograms, and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy). (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, JAMA, Pediatrics / 24.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Roger Zemek, MD, FRCPC Associate Professor, Dept of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, Clinical Research Chair in Pediatric Concussion University of Ottawa Director, Clinical Research Unit Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Ottawa, ON MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Concussion remains a major public health concern in children. Approximately 30% of affected children experience persistent post-concussive symptoms (PPCS) for at least one month post-injury. These symptoms may negatively impact their health related quality of life. Examples may include cognition, memory and attention affecting school attendance and performance, mood and social engagement, as well as physical performance. Prior to this study, there was little evidence that examined the relationship between PPCS and quality of life following concussion. This was important to better understand in order to provide appropriate interventions, expectation management and ultimately a better standard of care to affected patients and their families. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, JAMA, OBGYNE, Stroke / 24.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eliza Miller, M.D. Vascular Neurology Fellow New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center We collaborated with researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital and with the New York State Department of Health. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prior research has found that older women of childbearing age are at higher risk of stroke during pregnancy and postpartum than younger women. We hypothesized that their increased stroke risk might not be due to pregnancy-related factors, but just due to the fact that stroke risk increases with age for all people. We used billing data from New York State hospitals to calculate incidence risk ratios for four age groups: 12-24, 25-34, 35-44 and 45-55. In each age group, we compared the incidence of stroke in women who were pregnant or postpartum to the incidence of stroke in women of the same age who were not pregnant. As in prior studies, we found that the incidence of pregnancy-associated stroke was higher in older women compared to younger women (about 47/100,000 deliveries in the oldest group, versus 14/100,000 deliveries in the youngest group). However, the incidence ratios showed that pregnancy increased stroke risk significantly in women under 35, but did not appear to increase stroke risk in women over 35. In the youngest group (age 12-24), pregnancy more than doubled the risk of stroke, and in the 25-34 age group, pregnancy increased stroke risk by 60%. In women aged 35 and older, pregnancy did not increase stroke risk. Women who had pregnancy-related strokes tended to have fewer traditional vascular risk factors like hypertension and diabetes, compared to same-aged women with non-pregnancy related strokes. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Surgical Research / 21.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thue Bisgaard, M.D., D.M.Sc Professor of Surgery, Hvidovre Hospital Hvidovre Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The complete spectrum for the benefits and risks of mesh used to reinforce hernia repair is not known because there are very few clinical trial data reporting hernia outcomes as they pertain to mesh utilization. Generally, there is evidence that mesh is beneficial in terms of less risk of reoperation for recurrence after incisional hernia repair compared with sutured repair. The present study confirmed this for the first time in nationwide analysis with a long-term follow-up of 5 years up. From earlier studies from our group (Ann Surg 2012) it is known that reoperation rate for recurrence severely underestimates overall (clinical) risk of recurrence making differences between mesh vs. sutured repair even much bigger. Although rare (5%) the incidence of mesh-related complications was progressively increasing throughout the study period suggesting that mesh-related complications rate may continue to accrue with even longer follow-up. (more…)