Author Interviews, Depression, Heart Disease, JAMA / 01.07.2016 Interview with: Prof. Dr. med. Christiane E. Angermann, FESC, HFA Deutsches Zentrum für Herzinsuffizienz Würzburg Comprehensive Heart Failure Center (CHFC) Universitätsklinikum Würzburg Würzburg What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous meta-analysis indicates that depression prevalence in patients with heart failure is much higher than in the general population, 10 percent to 40 percent, depending on disease severity. Depression has been shown to be an independent predictor of mortality and rehospitalization in patients with heart failure, with incidence rates increasing in parallel with depression severity. Furthermore, it is associated with poor quality of life and increased healthcare costs. It would, against this background, seem desirable to treat the depression, and when planning the study we hypothesized that by doing so we might be able to improve depression and thus reduce mortality and morbidity of this population. Long-term efficacy and safety of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are widely used to treat depression and have proven efficacious in individuals with primary depression, is unknown for patients with heart failure and (comorbid) depression. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, OBGYNE, Sexual Health, Social Issues, UCSF / 29.06.2016 Interview with: Tami Rowen MD MS Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences UCSF What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study sought to answer the question of which women are engaging in genital grooming and understand their motivations. Prior studies have been limited by geography and age thus our goal was to provide a nationally representative sample of women. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Melanoma / 29.06.2016 Interview with: June K. Robinson, MD Research Professor of Dermatology Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: More than 1 million patients with a history of melanoma live in the US. They are at risk to develop a second melanoma. The risk is elevated for up to 20 years and is 10 times greater than the risk of a first melanoma in the general population. This is the first randomized clinical trial to examine partner- assisted skin self-examination (SSE) . A 30 minute structured training intervention was provided to the melanoma patients and their partners with reinforcement every 4 months . The 494 pairs in the intervention performed significantly more skin self-examination  than those in the control group at 4,12 and 24 months after the education and skills training. The pairs were accurate in finding early melanoma and did not have unnecessary visits to the dermatologists. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, JAMA, Stroke / 28.06.2016 Interview with: Dr. Yongjun Wang  Principal Investigator No. 6 Tiantanxili Dongcheng District, Beijing, China What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Clopidogrel requires conversion to an active metabolite by hepatic cytochrome p450 (CYP) iso-enzymes to exert an antiplatelet effect, and polymorphisms of the CYP2C19 gene have been identified as strong predictors of clopidogrel nonresponsiveness. However, data are limited regarding the association between CYP2C19 genetic variants and clinical outcomes of clopidogrel-treated patients with minor stroke or transient ischemic attack. The main findings of this study is that the combined treatment of clopidogrel and aspirin compared with aspirin alone reduced the risk of a new stroke only in the subgroup of patients with minor ischemic stroke or TIA who were not carriers of the CYP2C19 loss of function alleles. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, JAMA, Pulmonary Disease / 28.06.2016 Interview with: Peter E. Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP Chief, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine University of Kentucky Lexington, KY What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: ICU survivors demonstrate weakness. It has been postulated that interventions to promote early rehabilitation strategies might be linked to improved functional outcomes for ICU survivors. This study was based upon findings from a quality improvement endeavor that linked early rehabilitation with indications of shortened hospital stays for ICU survivors. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA, Primary Care / 28.06.2016 Interview with: Jochen Gensichen, MD, MSc, MPH Institute of General Practice and Family Medicine Konrad Reinhart, MD Center of Sepsis Control and Care Jena University Hospital Friedrich-Schiller-University School of Medicine Jena, Germany What are the main findings? Response: Sepsis survivors face multiple long-term sequelae which result in increased primary care needs as a basic support in medication, physiotherapy or mental health. Process of care after discharge from the intensive care unit often is fragmented. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Pharmacology, UCSF / 27.06.2016 Interview with: Dr. Gregory M. Marcus MD Gregory M Marcus, MD, MAS, FACC, FAHA, FHRS Director of Clinical Research Division of Cardiology Endowed Professor of Atrial Fibrillation Research  University of California, San Francisco What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Conduction system disease, or blockages in the electrically system (as opposed to blockages in the blood vessels, of which most are well-aware), is a common condition responsible for both heart failure in many patients as well as the need for pacemaker implantation. Although treatments for the disease are available, there are no known means to prevent it. This is important as the primary treatment, a pacemaker, can itself cause problems (including procedural complications, a long-term risk of infection with repeated battery changes, and even a greater risk of heart failure). In addition, predictors of what types of individuals are at risk for developing conduction disease has largely remained unknown. Based on the fact that the majority of conduction disease is due to fibrosis, or scarring, of the conduction system, we sought to test the hypothesis that a common drug for high blood pressure with anti-fibrotic properties, Lisinopril, might reduce the risk of new conduction system disease. We took advantage of the fact that more than 20,000 patients with hypertension were randomized to three common high blood pressure drugs that work via different mechanisms in the ALLHAT trial: Lisinopril, amlodipine, and chlorthalidone. We found that participants randomly assigned to Lisinopril were statistically significantly less likely to develop conduction disease. In addition, our analyses revealed several risk factors for the development of conduction disease: older age, male sex, diabetes, smoking, a thicker heart, and white race (compared to black race). (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA / 27.06.2016 Interview with: Gilbert Gonzales, PhD, MHA Assistant Professor Department of Health Policy Vanderbilt University School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Using data from one of the largest, most representative health surveys, we found lesbian, gay and bisexual adults were more likely to report substantially higher rates of severe psychological distress, heavy drinking and smoking, and impaired physical health than straight adults. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease, JAMA, Pharmacology / 22.06.2016 Interview with: Thomas Andrew Gaziano, MD, MSc Department of Cardiology Assistant Professor Harvard Medical School What is the background for this study? Response: Heart failure (HF) is the leading cause of admissions to hospitals in the United States and the associated costs run between $24-47 billion annually. Targeting neurohormonal pathways that aggravate the disease has the potential to reduce admissions. Enalapril, an angiotensin converting enzyme-inhibitor (ACEI), is more commonly prescribed to treat HF than Sacubitril/Valsartan, an angiotensin-receptor/neprilysin inhibitor (ARNI). The latter was shown to reduce cardiovascular death and hospitalizations due to heart failure in a multi-country, randomized clinical (PARADIGM-HF), compared to Enalapril. In order to assess the cost-effectiveness of Sacubitril/Valsartan, compared to Enalapril, in the United States, we created a model population with population characteristics equivalent to the population in the PARADIGM-HF trial. Using a 2-state Markov model we simulated HF death and hospitalizations for patients with a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) of 40% or less. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, UCSF / 22.06.2016 Interview with: Gregory M Marcus, MD, MAS, FACC, FAHA, FHRS Director of Clinical Research Division of Cardiology Endowed Professor of Atrial Fibrillation Research University of California, San Francisco What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We and others have previously demonstrated that, despite the observation that African Americans on average exhibit more risk factors for atrial fibrillation, they demonstrate a substantially reduced risk of the disease. This suggests that, if we could understand the mechanism underlying this apparent paradox, we might learn something fundamentally important to atrial fibrillation that would be relevant to treating or preventing the disease regardless of race. Building on our previous work demonstrating that, among African Americans, more European ancestry (determined by genomic testing) was a statistically significant predictor of atrial fibrillation, we sought to identify the gene(s) that might underlie this observation. The analysis took two forms. First, we examined if any differences among several well-established single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) associated with atrial fibrillation might mediate the race-atrial fibrillation relationship. One such SNP statistically mediated (rs10824026) up to about a third of the race-atrial fibrillation relationship. It’s important to mention that a causal relationship cannot be proven here. Perhaps more remarkable was the observation that the disease-associated alleles of the SNPs most closely associated with atrial fibrillation in multiple studies were actually significantly more common among African Americans, pointing to the complex nature of both the race-atrial fibrillation relationship as well as the genetics of atrial fibrillation. Finally, leveraging the ancestral relationships, we performed a genome wide admixture mapping study with the hope of reducing the penalty for multiple hypothesis testing incurred in conventional genome wide association studies. While several loci revealed associations with atrial fibrillation with small p values, none met our criteria for genome wide significance. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Pharmacology, UCLA / 22.06.2016 Interview with: Gregg C. Fonarow, MD, FACC, FAHA Eliot Corday Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Science Director, Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center Co-Chief of Clinical Cardiology, UCLA Division of Cardiology Co-Director, UCLA Preventative Cardiology Program David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1679 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Fonarow: Angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitors (ARNI) have been demonstrated to reduce mortality in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. However, to date, the population level impact of optimal implementation of this therapy in the United States has not been evaluated. This new analysis estimates that as many 28,484 deaths in heart failure with reduced ejection fraction patients annually could be prevented or postponed with optimal use of angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitors (with sensitivity analyses demonstrating a range of 18,230 to 41,017). (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Menopause / 21.06.2016 Interview with: Taulant Muka, MD, MPH, PhD Postdoctoral Researcher Department of Epidemiology Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands What is the background for this study? Response: Hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness are very common symptoms of menopause, affecting up to 80% of women. Despite the availability of a wide range of pharmacological treatments and the best effort of health care professionals, good control of menopausal symptoms and their adverse effects remains elusive for much of the women. Some women choose hormone replacement therapy to treat menopausal symptoms, but for many others estrogen is not an option as long as some research suggests that it may rise the risk for breast cancer and heart disease. Therefore, 40 to 50% of women in Western countries choose to use complementary therapies, including plant-based therapies. These are many plant based-therapies that have been suggested to improve menopausal symptoms, but there is little guidance about which plant-based therapy is effective. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Heart Disease, JAMA, Personalized Medicine, UCSF / 21.06.2016 Interview with: Peter Ganz, MD Chief, Division of Cardiology Director, Center of Excellence in Vascular Research Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital Maurice Eliaser Distinguished Professor of Medicine University of California, San Francisco What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ganz:  The research described in the JAMA paper involved measuring 1,130 different proteins in nearly 2000 individuals with apparently stable coronary heart disease, who were followed up to 11 years. Initially, two hundred different proteins were identified whose blood levels could be related to the risk of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and death, and ultimately a combination of nine proteins was selected for a risk prediction model, based on their combined accuracy and sensitivity. Application of these findings to samples of patients with stable coronary heart disease demonstrated that some of those who were deemed clinically stable instead had a high risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes, while other patients with the same clinical diagnosis had a very low risk. Thus, individuals who all carried the same clinical diagnosis of stable coronary heart disease had a risk of an adverse cardiovascular event that varied by as much as 10-fold, as revealed by analysis of the levels of the nine proteins in their blood. Given such large differences in risk and outcomes, patients could reasonably opt to be treated differently, depending on their level of risk. We hope that in the future, management of patients with stable angina will at least in part rely on risk assessment based on levels of blood proteins. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, CT Scanning, JAMA, Stroke / 21.06.2016 Interview with: Dr. Gregoire Boulouis MD MS Research Fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Med. School Boston, Massachusetts What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Boulouis: Hemorrhagic Stroke or Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) still has a poor prognosis. A substantial proportion of patients will experience ongoing intracranial bleeding and their hematomas will grow in size in the first hours following presentation, a phenomenon called 'hemorrhage epxansion'. Patients with hemorrhage expansion have been shown to have significantly worse clinical outcome. If all baseline ICH characteristics (location, initial hemorrhage volume, ..) are non modifiable at the time of diagnosis, hemorrhage expansion, however, represents one of the few potential targets to improve outcome in ICH patients. An accurate selection of patients at high risk of expansion is needed to optimize patients' selection in expansion targetted trials and, eventually, to help stratifying the level of care at the acute phase. In this study, we investigated whether the presence of non-contrast Computed Tomography hypodensities within the baseline hematoma, a very easily and reliably assessed imaging marker, was associated with more hemorrhage expansion. A total of 1029 acute phase ICH patients were included ; approximately a third of them demonstrated CT hypodensities at baseline. In this population, CT hypodensities were independently associated with hemorrhage expansion with an odds ratio of 3.42 (95% CI 2.21-5.31) for expansion in fully adjusted multivariable model. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, JAMA, Pharmacology, UCSF / 21.06.2016 Interview with: Colette DeJong Medical student at UCSF and Research Fellow at the UCSF Center for Healthcare Value. What is the background for this study? Response: Data released under the U.S. Sunshine Act reveals that in the last five months of 2013, over half of American physicians received free meals, gifts, or payments from the pharmaceutical industry. Recent studies have shown that doctors who receive large payments from drug companies—such as speaking fees and royalties—are more likely to prescribe expensive brand-name drugs, even when generics are available. Our findings, however, suggest that physicians’ prescribing decisions may be associated with much smaller industry payments than previously thought. We found that doctors who receive a single industry-sponsored meal—with an average value under $20—are up to twice as likely to prescribe the brand-name drug being promoted. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 17.06.2016 Interview with: Mari Videman Senior Consultant in Child Neurology BABA Center Children’s Hospital, Helsinki University Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Depression and anxiety are common during pregnancy, and up to 5% of all pregnant women are treated with serotonin uptake inhibitors (SRI). It is now known that SRIs do not cause major malformations in humans, however recent animal studies have suggested that fetal early SRI exposure may cause changes in brain microstructure and neuronal signaling. Prior human studies have shown that fetal SRI exposure leads to transient postnatal adaptation syndrome, as well as to an increased risk of developing childhood depression. We used electroencephalography (EEG) and advanced computational methods to assess both the local and global cortical function of the newborn brain. We found that several aspects of newborn brain activity are affected by exposuse to SRI during pregnancy. Most importantly, the communication between brain hemispheres, and the synchronization between cortical rhythms were weaker in the SRI-exposed newborns. These changes were most likely related to SRI exposure, because they did not correlate with the psychiatric symptoms of the mothers. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Cleveland Clinic, JAMA / 16.06.2016 Interview with: Krishna Patel, MD, PG Y3 Resident Internal Medicine Residency Program Cleveland Clinic Cleveland, OH 44195 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Patel: In our outpatient resident clinic practice, we found that patients with poorly controlled hypertension presenting with blood pressures in the hypertensive urgency range (SBP>=180mmHg or DBP >=110 mmHg) but with no symptoms of end-organ damage were common, however there was no clear cut manner in which these patient's blood pressures were treated. According to the comfort level of the physician, these patients were managed in the office and on serial outpatient visits and some of the patients would be referred to the emergency department for management of these elevated blood pressures. Given there was not much prior literature on this topic, we decided to study the prevalence and short term cardiovascular outcomes for this population of patients. We found that hypertensive urgency is quite common in the office setting (4.6% in our study). In absence of symptoms of end organ damage, the short term risk of major cardiovascular events was very low around 1%, and patients who were referred to the ED for management of blood pressures had a lot of unnecessary testing and more hospital admissions than those who were managed as an outpatient. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Schizophrenia / 16.06.2016 Interview with: Kate Merritt PhD Post-Doctoral Research Worker NOC Study (Nitric Oxide in Cognition) Institute of Psychiatry De Crespigny Park London What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Merritt: Research has indicated that levels of one of the main chemicals in the brain, glutamate, may be abnormal in schizophrenia. Almost sixty studies have measured glutamate levels in schizophrenia, however the findings are inconsistent, and it is thought that changes in glutamate levels may vary with the length or the severity of illness. This study therefore analysed all the published reports of glutamate in schizophrenia. The main findings are that, overall, schizophrenia is associated with elevated glutamate in several brain regions; namely the medial temporal cortex, the basal ganglia and the thalamus. These changes also differed with the stage of illness; in the medial frontal cortex, glutamate was increased in people at risk for developing schizophrenia, but not in people who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia for several years, whereas in the medial temporal lobe the opposite pattern was detected. (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, JAMA / 16.06.2016 Interview with: Jennifer S. Lin, MD, MCR, FACP Director, Kaiser Permanente Research Affiliates Evidence-based Practice Center Investigator, The Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest Portland, OR 97227 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Lin: Our systematic review was commissioned by the USPSTF, in tandem with a separate modeling exercise, to help update their 2008 colorectal cancer screening recommendations. Since the previous recommendation, there has been a wealth of new evidence, including more evidence on the long-term effectiveness of flexible sigmoidoscopy for reducing colorectal cancer mortality, the screening accuracy and decreasing radiation exposure from CT colonography, and the screening accuracy for a number FDA-approved stool tests using fecal immunochemical testing (FIT). While we have large, well-designed RCTs demonstrating that screening for colorectal cancer using flexible sigmoidoscopy and older generation stool testing reduces colorectal cancer mortality, these screening tests are no longer widely used in the United States. Well-designed diagnostic accuracy studies of screening colonoscopy, CT colonography, and various stool based tests using FIT demonstrate adequate sensitivity and specificity to detect adenomas and/or colorectal cancer, making each of them viable screening options. However, each screening option has potential harms associated with their use, particularly those allowing for direct visualization of the colon. Colonoscopy harms include perforations and major bleeding events. CT colonography requires exposure to radiation; and CT colonography not uncommonly results in detection of extra-colonic findings which necessitate additional diagnostic follow-up which may result in a benefit or harm. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pharmacology, UCSD, Weight Research / 15.06.2016 Interview with: Siddharth Singh, MD, MS Postdoctoral Fellow, NLM/NIH Clinical Informatics Fellowship Division of Biomedical Informatics Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Singh: Over the last 4 years, four new medications have been approved for long-term use for weight loss by the FDA. We sought to evaluate the comparative effectiveness and tolerability of these medications through a systematic review and network meta-analysis. Based on 28 trials in over 29,000 overweight or obese patients, we observed that magnitude of weight loss achieved with these agents is variable, ranging from 2.6kg with orlistat to 8.8kg with phentermine-topiramate. Over 44-75% of patients are estimated to lose at least 5% body weight, and 20-54% may lose more than 10% of body weight; phentermine-topiramate was the most efficacious, whereas lorcaserin was the best tolerated. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Stroke / 14.06.2016 Interview with: Alessandro Biffi, MD Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School What is the background for this study? Dr. Biffi: Intracerebral Hemorrhage (ICH) is the most severe form of stroke. It is a form of hemorrhagic (i.e. bleeding) stroke that accounts for ~ 15% of all acute cerebrovascular conditions, affecting ~ 70,000 Americans every year. However, because of its severity it is responsible for almost half of all stroke-related disability worldwide. Survivors of ICH are at very high risk for cognitive impairment (up to and including dementia) following the acute cerebral bleeding event. However, we possess very limited understanding of the time dynamics and risk factors for post-ICH dementia. In particular, prior to our study it was unclear whether the acute cerebral injury due to ICH would be the only mechanism potentially responsible for subsequent development of dementia. This question is motivated by prior observations suggesting that Intracerebral Hemorrhage represents the acute manifestation of cerebral small vessel disease, a progressive degenerative disorder of small caliber arteries of the central nervous system. There exist two major subtypes of small vessel disease: 1) cerebral amyloid angiopathy, caused by the deposition of a toxic protein product, beta-amyloid, in the blood vessels (in a process similar to the formation of beta-amyloid plaques that cause Alzheimer's disease); 2) arteriolosclerosis, caused by long-standing elevated blood pressure. ICH survivors have been previously shown to harbor very severe small vessel disease, which has been linked to dementia in patients without cerebral bleeding. Our hypothesis was that early-onset dementia (occurring in the first 6 months after ICH) is a manifestation of the acute neurological damage associated with cerebral bleeding, whereas delayed onset dementia (developing beyond 6 months from the acute ICH event) is associated with known markers of small vessel disease, including imaging findings on CT/MRI and genetic markers (such as the APOE gene). (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Microbiome, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 13.06.2016 Interview with: Dr. Katri Korpela, PhD University of Helsinki Helsinki What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Korpela: Previous studies have shown that breastfeeding reduces the frequency of infections in the child and is associated with lower risk of childhood overweight. Conversely, antibiotic use in early life is associated with increased BMI. Both antibiotic use and breastfeeding are known to influence the infant's microbiota. However, these two factors have not been studied together and it was not known whether antibiotic use could modify the beneficial effects of breastfeeding. We collected data on lifetime antibiotic use, breastfeeding duration, and BMI in a group of daycare-attending children aged 2-6 years. We found that the beneficial effects on long breastfeeding, particularly as regards BMI development, were evident only in the children who did not get antibiotics in early life. Antibiotic use before or soon after weaning seemed to eliminate the protection against elevated BMI in preschool age and weaken the protection against infections after weaning. (more…)
ADHD, Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Neurological Disorders / 11.06.2016 Interview with: Katya Rubia, PhD Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience King’s College London London, England  What are the main findings? Dr. Rubia: ADHD and OCD patients both suffer from poor inhibitory control and in both disorders this has been associated with structural and functional deficits in fronto-striatal networks. However, it is not clear to what extent the two disorders differ in their underlying neural substrates. This study therefore conducted a meta-analysis of all published whole brain structural and functional MRI studies of inhibitory control in both disorders. What are the main findings? Dr. Rubia: The main findings are that ADHD and OCD patients differ quite fundamentally in their structural and functional brain abnormalities. OCD patients have enlarged volume in basal ganglia and insula, while ADHD patients have reduced volumes in these regions. In fMRI, in the left hemisphere this was also observed for the left insula and putamen, which were increased in OCD and reduced in ADHD. In addition both disorders have different frontal deficits. OCD patients have deficits in rostro-dorsal medial frontal regions that are important for top-down control of affect while ADHD patients had reduced activation in lateral inferior frontal cortex, a key area of attention and cognitive control. The findings fit into the notion of fronto-striatal dysregulation in OCD where basal ganglia are overactive and poorly controlled by medial frontal regions and a delayed fronto-striatal maturation in ADHD where both lateral frontal regions and the basal ganglia/insula are smaller, and presumably less developed in structure and in function in ADHD. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Macular Degeneration, Ophthalmology / 09.06.2016 Interview with: Adam Glassman, M.S. Director, DRCRnet Coordinating Center Jaeb Center for Health Research Tampa, FL 33647 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Diabetic macular edema (DME) is the most common cause of vision loss in patients with diabetes, impairing the vision of approximately 750,000 people in the United States. The most common treatment involves the injection into the eye of one of 3 drugs that inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network, funded by the National Institutes of Health, conducted a randomized clinical trial on the comparative effectiveness of the 3 anti-VEGF drugs EYLEA®, Avastin®, or Lucentis® for eyes with decreased vision from diabetic macular edema. There are substantial cost differences between the three drugs. In the United States, EYLEA® costs approximately $1850, repackaged (compounded) Avastin® $60, and Lucentis® $1170 per injection. In eyes with relatively good starting vision, there were no differences in vision outcomes; all three groups, on average, had improved vision. In eyes with starting vision of 20/50 or worse, EYLEA® had better vision outcomes at 1 year than either Avastin® or Lucentis®, and better vision outcomes at 2 years than Avastin®. However, given that, on average, eyes will receive 9 to 10 injections within the first year of treatment and 5 injections in the second year, neither EYLEA® nor Lucentis® would be considered cost effective by standard benchmarks compared with Avastin® unless their prices decrease substantially. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, JAMA / 09.06.2016 Interview with: Matthew D. Jankowich, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine Alpert Medical School of Brown University Staff physician at the Providence VA Medical Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Jankowich: For some time, endothelin-1 has been known to cause vasoconstriction in the pulmonary circulation, and elevated endothelin-1 levels have been noted in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension and decompensated congestive heart failure, as well as other advanced disease states. However, endothelin-1 has not been well studied in members of the general population. In our study, we examined plasma endothelin-1 levels in participants in the Jackson Heart Study and the relationship of plasma endothelin-1 levels to pulmonary hypertension, mortality and heart failure. We found increased odds of having pulmonary hypertension, defined as an echocardiography estimation of the pulmonary artery systolic pressure>40mmHg, in those participants with higher plasma endothelin-1 levels. Having higher endothelin-1 levels was also associated with an increased risk of both mortality and heart failure. Those participant with both high endothelin-1 levels (a level in the top 25%) and pulmonary hypertension were at the highest risk of mortality. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, JAMA, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 08.06.2016 Interview with: Cynthia L Ogden PhD, MRP Public Health, Nutrition and Dietetics CDC Atlanta What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ogden: Monitoring trends in obesity prevalence is important because of the health risks associated with obesity and because obesity often tracks from childhood to adulthood. The most recent data before this point showed no increases overall in youth, men or women over the previous decade. We used the most recent nationally representative data with measured weights and heights from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to look at trends in obesity prevalence. (more…)
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Columbia, JAMA, Pediatrics / 08.06.2016 Interview with: Lena S. Sun, MD E. M. Papper Professor of Pediatric Anesthesiology Professor of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics Executive Vice Chairman, Department of Anesthesiology Chief, Division of Pediatric Anesthesiology Columbia University Medical Center New York, New York 10032 What is the background for this study? Dr. Sun: The background for the study is as follow: There is robust evidence in both rodent and non-human primate studies that exposure of the developing brain leads to impairment in cognitive function and behavior later in life. The evidence from human studies derives mostly from retrospective studies and the results have been mixed. Some have demonstrated anesthesia in early childhood was associated with impaired neurocognitive function, while others have found no such association. Our study is the first to specifically designed to address the question of effects of general anesthesia exposure on cognitive function, comparing exposure with no exposure. (more…)