Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA / 04.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dipl.-Psych. R. Redlich Neuroimaging Group Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie Westfaelische Wilhelms-Universitaet Muenster MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is one of the most effective treatments for severe depression. The ability to advise psychiatrists and patients accurately regarding the chances of successful ECT is of considerable value, particularly since ECT is a demanding procedure and, despite having relatively few side effects, has a profound impact on patients. Therefore, the present study sought to predict ECT response in a psychiatric sample by using a combination of structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging data and machine-learning techniques. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Stroke / 04.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ben Freedman OAM  Deputy Director Research Strategy, Heart Research Institute/Charles Perkins Centre Professor of Cardiology, Sydney Medical School Head Vascular Biology Anzac Research Institute Honorary VMO, Concord Repatriation General Hospital University of Sydney MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Freedman: Guidelines recommend that patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) at high enough risk for stroke should be treated with anticoagulant. Anticoagulant drugs are remarkably effective in reducing stroke risk by about two thirds, and death by between a quarter and a third. Unfortunately, strokes can still occur when patients are prescribed anticoagulant for Atrial Fibrillation, and it is often presumed this residual risk of stroke represents treatment failure, though there are few data about this important issue. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Dr. Freedman: We were able to compare the risk of stroke in a cohort of patients with AF commenced on anticoagulant, with a very large closely-matched cohort seen in general practice at the same time but without AF. This is a unique comparison. We found that the residual risk of stroke in such anticoagulant-treated patients was virtually identical to that in the matched control cohort. The implication is that the residual risk of stroke may not be treatment failure, but the risk of non-cardioembolic stroke in people of a similar age and stroke risk profile but without Atrial Fibrillation. The residual risk of death in those on anticoagulant was higher than the matched controls, and intermediate between the control rate and the mortality rate for untreated AF. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Infections, JAMA / 04.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Fleming-Dutra: One of the most urgent public health threats of our time is the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world.  Simply using antibiotics creates resistance.  To combat antibiotic resistance we have to use antibiotics appropriately — only when needed and, if needed, use them correctly.  In 2015, the White House released the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CARB), which set a goal for reducing inappropriate outpatient antibiotic use by 50% by 2020.  However, the amount of antibiotic use in the outpatient setting that is inappropriate was unknown. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Dr. Fleming-Dutra: In this study, we estimate that at least 30% of antibiotics prescribed in doctors’ offices, emergency departments and hospital-based clinics are unnecessary—meaning that no antibiotic was needed at all, which equates to 47 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions written annually in these outpatient settings.  Most of those unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions were written for acute respiratory conditions, a key driver of antibiotic overuse. Thus, in order to reach the White House goal of reducing inappropriate outpatient antibiotic use by 50%, a 15% reduction in overall antibiotic use in outpatient settings is needed by 2020. (more…)
Author Interviews, Immunotherapy, JAMA, Multiple Sclerosis, UCSF / 02.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer Graves, MD, PhD, MAS Adult and Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Centers UCSF MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Graves: Cessation of medications with effects on immune trafficking may be more likely to cause rebound inflammatory activity in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.  We observed 5 strikingly severe relapses consistent with rebound events following cessation of fingolimod treatment and identified several similar cases in the literature.  At our center the rebound events occurred with an approximate 10% frequency. MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Graves: Fingolimod cessation may be complicated by rebound phenomena in some patients, similar to what has been observed with natalizumab. Both of these medications have effects on immune cell trafficking, likely explaining the association with rebound events.  Careful consideration must be taken in stopping these medications. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, JAMA, Pediatrics / 02.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Zachary Y. Kerr, PhD, MPH Sports Injury Epidemiologist Director, NCAA Injury Surveillance Program Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention Indianapolis, IN 46202 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kerr: A 2013 Institutes of Medicine report called for more research on concussion in athletes aged 5-21 years.  Although there is much research on the incidence of concussion across this age span, there is less related to outcomes such as symptoms and return to play time, let along comparisons by age. In examining sport-related concussions that occurred in youth, high school, and college football, we found differences in the symptomatology and return to play time of concussed players.  For example, the odds of return to play time being under 24 hours was higher in youth than in college.  Also, over 40% of all concussions were returned to play in 2 weeks or more. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Lifestyle & Health, Weight Research / 02.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Corby K. Martin PhD Department/Laboratory: Ingestive Behavior Laboratory Director for Behavioral Sciences and Epidemiology Pennington Biomedical Research Lab Baton Rouge, LA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Martin: We know that calorie restriction extends the lifespan of many species and in humans calorie restriction or dieting might extend our healthspan, which is the length of time that we are free of disease. It is possible that more healthy weight or mildly overweight people might calorie restrict to improve their health, and one concern is the possible negative effects of calorie restriction on the quality of life of these individuals. This study tested if 2 years of calorie restriction affected a number of quality of life measures compared to a group that did not calorie restrict and ate their usual diet and did not lose weight. People who enrolled in the study were normal weight to mildly overweight. The study found that calorie restriction improved mood, reduced tension and improved general health and sexual drive and relationship (a measure of sexual function) over two years. Further, the more weight that people lost, the greater their improvement in quality of life. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Nutrition, Pediatrics / 01.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stephen B. Freedman MDCM, MSc, Associate Professor Department of Paediatrics, Sections of Emergency Medicine and Gastroenterology; ACHRI Healthy Outcomes Theme Group Leader Alberta Children’s Hospital, and Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Freedman: As a pediatric emergency medicine physician I continue to see large numbers of children who are brought for emergency care because of vomiting and diarrhea. In speaking with their caregivers it is clear that many of them try to administer electrolyte maintenance solutions at home but the children either refuse to drink them or they continue to vomit. As a researcher I have noticed that many children continue to receive intravenous rehydration despite not being significantly dehydrated and it appeared that this was often a physician’s response to a failed oral rehydration challenge in the emergency department, either due to refusal to consume the electrolyte maintenance solution supplied or because the children became more nauseous due to the poor palatability of the solution. It appeared that perhaps a less dogmatic approach aimed at providing fluids that children actually like, might overcome these problems leading to improved outcomes. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Dr. Freedman: Children with mild gastroenteritis and minimal dehydration experienced fewer treatment failures when offered dilute apple juice followed by their preferred fluid choice compared with those instructed to drink electrolyte maintenance solution to replace fluid losses. We found the benefit was greatest in those 24 to 60 months of age. The group provided and instructed to take their preferred fluids were administered intravenous rehydration less frequently. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, JAMA, Melanoma, Ophthalmology / 30.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
J. William Harbour, M.D.
Leader, Eye Cancer Site Disease Group
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Harbour:  Uveal melanoma (UM) is the most common primary cancer of the eye which has the fatal tendency to metastasis to the liver. The molecular landscape of UMs have been well characterized and can be categorized by gene expression profiling (GEP) into two molecular classes associated with metastatic risk: Class 1 (low risk) and Class 2 (high risk). The Class 2 profile is strongly associated with mutations in the tumor suppressor BAP1. This GEP-based test is the only prognostic test for UM to undergo a prospective multicenter validation, an it is available commercially as DecisionDX-UM (Castle Biosciences, Inc).  It is routinely used in many North American centers. The identification of driver mutations in cancer has become a focus of precision medicine for prognostic and therapeutic decision making in oncology. In UM, thus far, only 5 genes have been reported to be commonly mutated:  BAP1, GNA11, GNAQ, EIF1AX, and SF3B1. In this study, we analyzed the associations between these 5 mutations, and with GEP classification, clinicopathologic features, and patient outcomes. The study showed that GNAQ and GNA11 are mutually exclusive, probably occur early in tumor formation, and are not associated with prognosis.  In contrast, BAP1, SF3B1, and EIF1AX, which are also nearly mutually exclusive, likely occur later in tumor formation and do have prognostic value in UM. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Karolinski Institute, Mental Health Research / 28.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Donghao Lu MD, PhD candidate Department of Medical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet Stockholm MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Lu: Psychiatric comorbidities are common among cancer patients. However, whether or not there is already increased risk of psychiatric disorders during the diagnostic workup leading to a cancer diagnosis was largely unknown. We found that, among cancer patients, the risks for several common and potentially stress-related mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, somatoform/conversion disorder and stress reaction/adjustment disorder started to increase from ten months before cancer diagnosis, peaked during the first week after diagnosis, compared to cancer-free individuals in Sweden. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, JAMA / 28.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Babak Hooshmand, MD, PhD, MPH Center for Alzheimer Research–Aging Research Center Karolinska Institutet Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden Department of Neurology, Klinikum Augsburg Augsburg, Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Hooshmand: Low and subnormal levels of vitamin B12 as well as high levels of homocysteine (a vascular risk factor and neurotoxic amino-acid associated with B12 deficiency) are common conditions in the elderly and are associated with a variety of disorders, including cardiovascular and cerebrovascular conditions. Our study showed that over 6-year of follow-up, both low vitamin B12 status and high homocysteine levels are associated with accelerated brain atrophy in older adults, which precedes clinical dementia. (more…)
Asthma, Author Interviews, JAMA / 28.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof Dr. med. J. Christian Virchow, FRCP, FCCP, FAAAA University of Rostock, Germany What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Virchow: House Dust mite related allergic asthma is a very frequent chronic disease. Allergen Immunotherapy (AIT) for this condition in asthma has not been well studied and subcutaneous treatment has been associated with (systemic, potentially serious) side effects. Aim of the study was to investigate, if sublingual AIT can improve a patient relevant endpoint, namely reduce the frequency of exacerbations (primary endpoint: time to first exacerbation compared to placebo) . (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Mammograms / 27.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elizabeth A. Rafferty, MD Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Now with L&M Radiology, West Acton, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Rafferty: Breast tomosynthesis has been approved for mammographic screening in the United States for just over 5 years, and many single center studies have demonstrated its improved performance for screening outcomes over digital mammography alone. Our previously published multi-center analysis, (JAMA 2014;311(24), the largest study on this topic to date, demonstrated significantly improved cancer detection and reduced recall rates for women undergoing tomosynthesis compared with digital mammography alone.  In the current issue of JAMA we evaluate the differential screening performance after implementation of breast tomosynthesis as a function of breast density. While tomosynthesis continues to be increasingly available, questions remained about which women should be imaged with this technique. In particular, does this technology offer additional benefit for all women, or only for women with dense breasts. The size of the database compiled by the centers participating in this study allowed us to evaluate this important question. The most critical finding of our study was that the use of tomosynthesis for breast cancer screening significantly improved invasive cancer detection rates while simultaneously significantly reducing recall rates both for women with dense and non-dense breast tissue. Having said that, the magnitude of the benefit was largest for women with heterogeneously dense breast tissue; for this population, tomosynthesis increased the detection of invasive cancers by 50% while simultaneously reducing the recall rate by 14%. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lifestyle & Health / 27.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Céline Vetter,  Dr.Phil. Instructor in Medicine Harvard Medical School Associate Epidemiologist Channing Division of Network Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA, 02115 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Heart Disease is still the leading cause of death in the US, with 1 in every 4 deaths being attributed to heart disease. On the other hand, it is estimated that approximately 15 millions Americans work evening shifts, night shift, rotating shifts or any other kind of irregular schedule that is arranged by the employer. The link between shift work and coronary heart disease has been studied for decades now, but because shift work can take so many forms, results have not been consistent. Another contributing factor to this inconsistency might be that few studies could actually track individuals over long periods of time, so that some studies might have missed when participants did actually develop coronary heart disease. Our study was based on the Nurses' Health Studies I and II, where women about 189,000 registered female nurses completed every two years mailed questionnaires that comprise items about their health status, medical history, and known or suspected risk factors for cancer and heart disease. They also reported their lifetime history of rotating night shift work in 1988 and 1989, respectively. Across the 24 years of the study periods, we observed more than 10,000 cases of coronary heart disease (i.e. myocardial infarction, CHD death, angiogram-confirmed angina pectoris, and procedures related to coronary heart disease, i.e. angioplasty, coronary artery bypass graft surgery or stents). (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety / 26.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maricruz Rivera-Hernandez, PhD Investigator Department of Health Services, Policy & Practice Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research Brown University, Providence, RI  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Rivera-Hernandez: Over three-quarters of Medicare-eligible residents in Puerto Rico enroll in Medicare Advantage plans, making them the primary source of health care coverage for the island’s seniors. Puerto Rican Medicare Advantage plans have a long history of receiving lower payments than Medicare Advantage plans located in the United States. The study’s purpose was to compare the quality of care provided to Medicare Advantage enrollees in Puerto Rico with that delivered to Medicare Advantage enrollees in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. We found significantly worse quality for Puerto Rican Medicare Advantage enrollees compared to their US counterparts for 15 of the 17 quality indicators. These indicators measured whether patients received the recommended treatment and achieved desired outcomes in diabetes care, cardiovascular disease, and cancer screening and whether they received any inappropriate medications in 2011. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA / 26.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ahmad Awada, MD, PhD Medical Oncology Clinic Institut Jules Bordet Université Libre de Bruxelles Bruxelles, Belgium MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. AwadaThis Study compared, in a randomized fashion, paclitaxel + trastuzumab to paclitaxel + neratinib in the first line setting of metastatic breast cancer. All outcome endpoints (PFS, OS, ORR) were similar. In addition, paclitaxel + neratinib delayed the appearance and decreased the incidence of central nervous system (CNS) events (secondary end point) MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Awada:  Paclitaxel + neratinib is as effective as paclitaxel + trastuzumab. The data suggested that neratinib could influence the pattern of CNS events in HER2+ metastatic breast cancer. These emerging data on CNS events are under validation in the NALA trial. (more…)
Author Interviews, C. difficile, Hospital Acquired, JAMA, McGill / 26.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yves Longtin, MD, FRCPC Chair, Infection Prevention and Control Unit Montreal Jewish General Hospital - SMBD Associate professor of Medicine, McGill University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Longtin: Clostridium difficile is a major cause of infection in hospitalized patients. Current infection control measures to prevent the spread of C. difficile in hospitals focuses almost entirely on patients who present symptoms. Patients with symptoms of diarrhea due to C difficile are placed under isolation in hospitals (for example, healthcare workers will wear a gown and gloves when caring for them). However, many studies have shown that some patients may be asymptomatic carriers of C. difficile. These patients carry the C difficile bacteria in their digestive tract without being sick. It was known that these asymptomatic carriers could spread the bacteria to other patients, but it was unclear whether putting them into isolation would help prevent the spread of the microbe in hospitals. Our study tested the hypothesis that placing asymptomatic carriers under isolation could lead to a decrease in the number of infections with C  difficile. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA / 25.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sherene Loi, MBBS(Hons), FRACP, PhD Associate Professor, University of Melbourne Consultant Medical Oncologist, Breast Unit Head, Translatonal Breast Cancer Genomics and Therapeutics Lab Cancer Council Victoria John Colebatch Fellow Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, East Melbourne Victoria, Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Loi: Even though HER2 amplification/overexpression is such a strong oncogenic driver in breast cancer, clinical and biological heterogeneity is still evident. Our study was performed to investigate the hypothesis that a subgroup of patients with ER-positive, HER2-positive primary breast cancers seem to have lower responses to anti-HER2 therapy, in this case trastuzumab (trade name Herceptin), and we could better identify this group using both ER and HER2 levels. Our study was designed to try to better define this group so we could potentially evaluate the efficacy of future treatment strategies in this group, particularly as combination anti-HER2 therapy (i.e. trastuzumab and pertuzumab) is currently being investigated in the adjuvant setting. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA / 25.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Fredrik Björck, MD Umea University Umea, Sweden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Björck: Vitamin K antagonist (eg, warfarin) use is nowadays challenged by the non–vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) for stroke prevention in non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF). NOAC studies were however based on comparisons with warfarin arms with times in therapeutic range (TTRs) of 55.2% to 64.9%, making the results less credible in health care systems with higher TTRs. Historically Sweden has had the best international normalized ratio (INR) control in the world. By this study we wanted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of real life well-managed warfarin therapy in patients with non-valvular AF, the risk of complications, especially intracranial bleeding, in patients with concomitant use of aspirin, and the impact of INR control. We therefore performed a retrospective, multicenter cohort study based on Swedish registries, especially AuriculA, a quality register for AF and oral anticoagulation. A total of 40 449 patients starting warfarin therapy owing to non-valvular AF during the study period were monitored until treatment cessation, death, or the end of the study. The study was conducted from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2011.  By associating complications with risk factors and individual INR control, we evaluated the efficacy and safety of warfarin treatment in patients with concomitant aspirin therapy and those with no additional antiplatelet medications. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Heart Disease, JAMA / 22.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thomas H. Marwick, MBBS, PhD, MPH Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute Melbourne, Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Marwick: Readmission for heart failure (HF) remains common and the risk of this remains hard to predict. It's possible that existing risk scores don't cover all important patient features. We confirmed that cognitive impairment was an unmeasured contributor and incorporated this measurement in a prediction model. The resulting model was the most reliable reported to date and could be used to identify patients who need the closest follow up to avoid readmission. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, JAMA, University of Michigan / 21.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alon Kahana, MD, PhD Associate Professor Kellogg Eye Center University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kahana: Basal cell carcinoma is the most common cancer - more common than all other cancers combined. Fortunately, it is usually not aggressive, and can be easily treated surgically. However, when it is on the face, or when it has grown to a large size, it can become very disfiguring and even deadly. Basal cell carcinoma is diagnosed histopathologically, yet molecular diagnostics have proven value in a variety of cancers. In order to improve diagnosis and care, we set out to test whether histologically aggressive forms of basal cell carcinoma are associated with increased cell proliferation. Furthermore, we tested whether expression of the epigenetic regulator Ezh2 is associated with higher-grade carcinoma and/or with increased proliferation. The breakthrough discovery is that expression of Ezh2 correlates with high proliferation and with aggressive histologic features, suggesting that epigenetic regulators can be used both as markers of disease severity and targets of novel therapy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 20.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Annemarie G. Hirsch, PhD, MPH Center for Health Research Geisinger Health System Danville, Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Bariatric surgery is currently the most effective treatment in reversing insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes. However, the likelihood of remission or cure after surgery varies tremendously based on certain patient characteristics. The DiaRem score provides patients with a personalized prediction of whether or not they can expect long-term remission of their disease if they choose to have surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 20.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James E. Mitchell, MD President and Scientific Director Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, Fargo Professor and Chairman Department of Neuroscience University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings Dr. Mitchell: The amount of weight loss following bariatric surgery is widely variable. Eating behaviors and weight control practices after surgery are important in determining weight loss outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Stroke / 20.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Georgios Tsivgoulis MD Department of Neurology, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis Second Department of Neurology, Attikon Hospital, School of Medicine, University of Athens, Athens, Greece Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Tsivgoulis: Cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) have been established as an independent predictor of cerebral bleeding, but there are contradictory data regarding the potential association of CMB burden with the risk of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH) in acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients treated with intravenous thrombolysis (IVT). Medical Research:  What are the main findings? Dr. Tsivgoulis: We analyzed data from 9 prospective cohort studies, comprising 2479 total AIS patients, to investigate the association of high cerebral microbleed burden (>10 CMBs on pre-IVT MRI-scan) with the risk of sICH following IVT for AIS from. The risk of sICH after IVT was found to be higher in patients with evidence of CMB presence, compared to patients without CMBs, while a higher risk for sICHafter IVT was also detected in patients with high CMB burden (>10 CMBs), when compared to patients with 0-10 or 1-10 CMBs on pre-treatment MRI. In the individual patient data meta-analysis, high CMB burden was associated with increased likelihood of sICH before and after adjusting for potential confounders. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, JAMA, UCSF / 20.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer S. Yokoyama, PhD Assistant Professor, Memory and Aging Center University of California, San Francisco MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Yokoyama: Alzheimer’s disease is a common neurodegenerative disease that occurs in older adults. Clinically, Alzheimer’s disease is primarily associated with changes in cognition (e.g., declines in memory, language and visuospatial functioning). Pathologically, Alzheimer’s disease is associated with misfolded amyloid beta and tau proteins and can only be definitively diagnosed at autopsy. It has long been appreciated that there is a link between the immune system and Alzheimer’s disease, and there are multiple sources of evidence that suggest that immune activity may be increased in patients with Alzheimer’s. Although there is strong evidence for an association between immune activity and Alzheimer’s disease there has always been a chicken-egg problem because we don’t know whether the Alzheimer’s disease process triggers the immune response or whether altered immune function promotes the Alzheimer’s disease process. Genetic information can offer important clues about the role of the immune system in Alzheimer’s disease. Each person has a unique genetic fingerprint, and different combinations of gene changes (“variants”) put individuals at higher or lower risk for different diseases. Genetic data enables us to test whether having a certain genetic variant puts people at greater risk for both Alzheimer’s disease and autoimmune diseases, immune system diseases in which the immune system is overactive (e.g., Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, Celiac's disease, and psoriasis). Rather than only responding to foreign objects such as bacteria and viruses, in autoimmune diseases the immune system also responds to the body’s own material, which do not ordinarily create an immune response, thereby leading to symptoms associated with higher levels of inflammation and other long-term problems. A variant that increases risk for both Alzheimer’s disease and autoimmune diseases would suggest a common biological pathway. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Dr. Yokoyama: In our study we tested whether there are genetic variants that put people at increased risk for both Alzheimer's disease and autoimmune diseases. We found eight genetic variants that influence people’s risk for both Alzheimer's disease and autoimmune disease. Some of these variants were associated with lower risk of autoimmune disease and Alzheimer’s disease, but two variants were associated with greater risk for both.   (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics, Surgical Research / 18.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thomas J. Sandora, M.D., M.P.H. Senior Associate Physician in Medicine; Hospital Epidemiologist; Medical Director, Infection Control Boston Children’s Hospital Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sandora: Giving antibiotics before certain types of operations results in lower rates of surgical site infections. However, there are limited data about which pediatric operations require antibiotic prophylaxis. We examined national variability in antibiotic prophylaxis for the 45 most commonly performed pediatric operations at children's hospitals in the U.S. We found that antibiotic use was considered appropriate for only 64.6% of cases, with a high degree of variability within procedures and between hospitals. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Thyroid / 14.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Luc G. T. Morris, MD, MSc Head and Neck Service, Department of Surgery Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York, New York Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Morris:  Over the past 30 years, the incidence of thyroid cancer in the US has tripled. It used to be a mystery why this was happening. But recently, many researchers have shown that this is mainly happening because of improvements in medical technology that allow us to better identify and biopsy small nodules in the thyroid gland. Many of these small nodules turn out to be thyroid cancers. In fact, up to 30% of healthy persons have small cancers in their thyroid glands, and nearly all of these would not go on to cause any problems for the person if the cancer were never discovered. In other words, a large reservoir of small thyroid cancers has always been present, like a huge submerged iceberg, but we are just getting better at finding them. Therefore, the dramatically rising incidence of thyroid cancer is best characterized as an "epidemic of diagnosis," not an epidemic of disease. This is highly relevant to patients found to have these small thyroid cancers, because it means that many of these cancers would not have caused problems for the patient, and that there would be no benefit (only potential harm) to diagnosing and surgically removing them. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, HIV, JAMA, Vaccine Studies / 13.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Odile Launay MD, PhD Paris Descartes University Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, Cochin Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Launay: In patients with HIV infection, responses to standard HBV vaccination regimens remain suboptimal compared with responses in HIV seonegative individuals. We previously reported that alternative regimens (a 4 injection IMdouble dose regimen and a 4 injection intradermal low dose regimen) improve antibody response compared with the standard HBV vaccination regimen (ANRS HB03 VIHVAC-B study). Further precision on the duration of response achieved with alternative HBV vaccination regimes was needed. We report in this paper the results from the follow-up of the study. The results of this study show that the 4 dose IM regimen induces higher seroconversion rate but also higher long term seroprotection in HIV infected patients (more…)
Author Interviews, Hospital Acquired, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research / 12.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christina A. Minami, MD Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center Department of Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine, Center for Healthcare Studies, Feinberg School of Medicine Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Minami: An earlier study by our group demonstrated a seemingly paradoxical relationship between hospital quality and hospital penalization in the Hospital-Acquired Condition, or HAC, Reduction Program. Basically, of those hospitals that were penalized more frequently were those that were major teaching hospitals, had more quality accreditations, and had better performance on process and outcome measures. When CMS released that surgical-site infections were going to be added to the HAC scoring, we decided to see if these additional measures might exhibit the same paradoxical association between quality and penalization. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Dr. Minami: The SSI measures follow the same trend as was previously illustrated. Basically, the hospitals who were in the bottom 25% (that is, those who were the worst performers) were more often those that were major teaching hospitals, with more quality accreditations, and offered more advanced services. It’s possible that this is due in part to surveillance bias, or “the more you look, the more you find” phenomenon. Also, what do we really call an infection? The National Healthcare Safety Network has specific definitions and guidelines, but there are still different data collections used by different hospitals. (more…)
Author Interviews, End of Life Care, JAMA / 12.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nancy L. Schoenborn, MD Assistant Professor Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Nancy L. Schoenborn, MD Assistant Professor Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Schoenborn: A growing body of research recommend that clinicians should consider patients’ life expectancy in a number of clinical decisions, but it is not clear how primary care clinicians approach these recommendations. We interviewed primary care clinicians to understand their perspectives on this topic. We found that clinicians describe a number of barriers and ambiguities in using long-term life expectancy to inform medical decisions; they also varied widely in their approaches to assess and to discuss life expectancy. (more…)