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…)
Allergies, Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics / 08.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Moshe Ben-Shoshan, MD, M.Sc. Assistant Professor Division of Pediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology Department of Pediatrics McGill University Health Center Montreal, Quebec, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ben-Shoshan: Given that up to 10% of children treated with amoxicillin are tagged as allergic usually with no confirmatory tests (given high waiting times to see an allergist and controversy regarding confirmatory tests) we aimed to assess the accuracy of the graded provocation challenge (PC) . Unlike previous studies we challenged ALL 818 children presenting with rashes on amoxicillin treatment . We were able to show that almost 95% tolerated the challenge while 17 had immediate reactions (within 1 hour ) and 31 had non immediate reactions . We found that although it is suggested to do skin tests ( with PrePen and pen G ) to diagnose immediate amoxicillin allergy only 1 of 17 had a positive skin test indicating poor sensitivity of this test. In addition among all those with negative challenge that we followed over 3 years 10% had mild skin reactions when they received subsequent full treatment . (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Columbia, JAMA, Lung Cancer / 08.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Adrian G. Sacher, M.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine Thoracic Oncology & Phase I Drug Development Columbia University/New York-Presbyterian Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Sacher: The aim of this prospective study was to determine the accuracy, turnaround time and robustness of ddPCR-based liquid biopsy for the detection of EGFR and KRAS mutations in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The detection of these mutations is key to selecting optimal therapy for patients with this disease. Currently, the standard of care is to perform tissue biopsies on patients in order to obtain material to detect these mutations and make decisions about treatment. Frequently, patients undergo multiple tissue biopsies during the course of their treatment. We sought to determine if liquid biopsy could quickly and accurately detect these mutations with the ultimate goal of understanding how to use these tests to select treatment for patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hearing Loss, JAMA / 07.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. dr. Wilko Grolman MD, PhD Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wilko-grolman-73a4927   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Grolman: The importance of healthy hearing is extremely important for us humans. Decline in hearing will potentially affect not only our functional status but also our emotional and social health but also our economic status. It is impossible to imagine what the impact of losing one’s hearing ability is while still having a healthy hearing. Although many of us will eventually suffer from reduced hearing as part of the physiological effect of getting older, scientists are alarmed by the fact that hearing loss is on the rise and especially the number of youngsters that are affected is increasing. The WHO in their report of March 2015 reveal some alarming statistics; 360 million people have disabling hearing loss. In the acquired hearing loss group, excessive noise from personal audio devices and concert and festival visits has gained importance. Occupational noise has long been recognized as a source of acquired hearing loss. The WHO recognizes that half of the hearing loss cases can be prevented by primary prevention. For the noise induced hearing loss category, it is important to reduce exposure to loud sounds by raising awareness about the risks, implement relevant legislation and to encourage the use of personal protective devices such as earplugs, noise-canceling earphones and headphones. Our previous systematic review of the effectiveness of wearing earplugs to music venues showed that there were only two studies on this subject of which only one was a randomized clinical trial but had a major different set-up. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pulmonary Disease, Smoking / 07.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. William Phillips MD MPH USPSTF  Task Force member and Theodore J. Phillips Endowed Professor in Family Medicine University of Washington, Seattle. Dr. Phillips is also a founder and senior associate editor of the Annals of Family Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Phillips: Chronic obstructive respiratory disease, or COPD, is a serious, chronic condition that affects a person’s ability to breathe. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States. When the Task Force reviewed the research on screening adults for COPD in a primary care setting, we concluded with moderate certainty that screening has no net benefit, which is why we do not recommend screening for COPD in people who do not have symptoms. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods / 06.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes PhD Assistant Professor, School of Population and Public Health University British Columbia Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences Providence Health Care, St Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver British Columbia, Canada  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Oviedo-Joekes: Diacetylmorphine is the active ingredient in heroin. Medically prescribed diacetylmorphine has shown greater effectiveness than methadone alone for the treatment of patients with long term opioid dependence who are not benefitting from available treatments (i.e., they continue injecting in the street daily for many years).  Medically prescribed diacetylmorphine is being used in a small number of countries in Europe but is unlikely to be accepted in many countries around the world, including Canada and the US.  SALOME is the world’s first study to examine the effectiveness of hydromorphone, a licensed, legal pain medication, as an alternative treatment to diacetylmorphine for chronic heroin addiction. Participants were randomly assigned to receive injectable diacetylmorphine or hydromorphone, double-blinded (up to three times daily) for six months under supervision. Injectable hydromorphone was as effective as injectable diacetylmorphine for long-term street opioid users not currently benefitting from available treatments (about 10 per cent of the heroin-dependent population).Study participants on both medications reported far fewer days of street-heroin and other opioid use at six months compared to almost daily illicit opioid use before taking part in the study. They also reported a reduction in days of illegal activities, from an average of 14.1 days per month to fewer than four. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pain Research, Surgical Research, University of Pittsburgh, Weight Research / 06.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wendy King, PhD Associate Professor of Epidemiology Epidemiology Data Center, Room 105 University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 15213 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. King: Severe obesity is associated with significant joint pain and impaired physical function, such as difficulty bending, lifting carrying and walking. Excess weight can lead to joint damage and accompanying pain, resulting in activity restriction and walking limitations. Obesity can also contribute to pain and physical limitations through factors such as impaired cardiorespiratory function, systematic inflammation, reduced flexibility, low strength per body mass, and depression.  Previous studies have reported significant improvements in mean values of bodily and joint specific pain, physical function, and walking capacity in the first 3-12 months following RYGB or LAGB. However, very few studies have examined the variability in response to surgery or reported on longer-term follow-up of these procedures. My colleagues and I followed 2,221 patients participating in the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery-2, a large NIH-funded prospective study of adults with severe obesity undergoing weight-loss surgery at one of 10 hospitals across the U.S. Through three years of follow-up, approximately 50 to 70 % of patients who underwent bariatric surgery reported clinically important improvements in bodily pain, physical function and usual walking speed. About three-quarters of the participants with symptoms indicative of osteoarthritis before surgery experienced improvements in knee and hip pain and function. In addition, over half of participants who had a mobility deficit prior to surgery did not post-surgery. Several baseline characteristics such as younger age, male sex, higher household income, lower body mass index, fewer depressive symptoms and no history of diabetes or venous edema with ulcerations, were associated with a higher chance of improvement in pain and physical function following surgery. In addition, pre- to post-surgery reductions in weight and depressive symptoms, and remission of diabetes and venous edema with ulcerations were associated with pre- to post-surgery improvements. Thus, our findings reinforce results from shorter-term studies by addressing the durability or response and expand our understanding of the variability in response, and what factors are related to chance of improvement. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Nutrition, UCSD / 05.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ruth E. Patterson, PhD Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Associate Director, Population Sciences Program Leader, Cancer Prevention Moores Cancer Center UC San Diego La Jolla, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Patterson: Our research team was intrigued with studies in mice showing that even when eating a high-fat diet, mice who were subjected to a 16-hour fasting regimen during the sleep phase were protected against abnormal glucose metabolism, inflammation and weight gain; all of which are associated with poor cancer outcomes. We had access to a study conducted in breast cancer survivors called the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living Study (WHEL).  Participants in this study completed food records, which give the time of eating meals and snacks.  We used the food records to estimate the average nightly fasting interval in 2413 breast cancer survivors.  Overall, we found that women who had a nightly fasting interval of less than 13 hours had a 36% increased risk of breast cancer recurrence and a nonsignificant increase in mortality.  We also found that women with a short nightly fast had poorer glucoregulation and worse sleep, both of which might explain the link to breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics, Social Issues / 05.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Paula Braitstein, PhD Division of Epidemiology, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Department of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya Department of Epidemiology, Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University, Indianapolis Regenstrief Institute Inc, Indianapolis, Indiana MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Braitstein: There are vast numbers of children and youth in the world who find themselves in street circumstances. Yet, there is an absence of consensus among academics, policymakers, stakeholders, and international organizations regarding the causes of child and youth street-involvement around the world. Without data concerning these reasons, policies are developed or implemented to mitigate street-involvement without taking these causes into account. Often, the prevailing paradigm assumes that children and youth on the street are juvenile delinquents and the government response is often characterized by social exclusion, criminalization, and oppression by police and civic authorities. Therefore we wanted to find out what reasons do children and youth self-report for their street-involvement globally. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?  Dr. Braitstein: We systematically reviewed the literature and compiled data from 49 studies representing 24 countries globally. Street-connected children and youth most frequently reported poverty, family conflict, and abuse as their reasons for street-involvement. They infrequently identified delinquent behaviours for their circumstances. There were no significant differences between males and females reported reasons, with the exception of females in developed regions who were more likely to report abuse. (more…)
Author Interviews, Bone Density, JAMA, Mediterranean Diet, Menopause / 01.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bernhard Haring, MD MPH Department of Medicine I Comprehensive Heart Failure Center University of Würzburg Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Haring: The primary aim of this study was to examine the association between adherence to a diet quality index constructed on the basis of dietary recommendations or existing healthy dietary patterns and bone outcomes in a large population of postmenopausal women. We found that higher diet quality based on a Mediterranean diet may play a role in maintaining bone health in postmenopausal women. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, JAMA, UCSD / 01.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: H Kirk Hammond, MD Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) University of California San Diego Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System San Diego, CA 92161  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Hammond: Heart failure affects >28 million patients worldwide and is the only cardiovascular disease that is increasing in prevalence. Despite steady improvement in drug therapy for heart failure, recent hospitalization rates and mortality have changed little. New therapies are needed. Adenylyl cyclase type 6 (AC6), is a protein that catalyzes the conversion of ATP to cAMP and is an important determinant of heart function. The amount and function of AC6 are reduced in failing hearts, and preclinical studies have shown benefits of increased cardiac AC6 content on the heart. The aim of the trial was to determine safety and heart function gene transfer of AC6, achieved by intracoronary delivery of an inactivated virus carrying the gene for AC6 (Ad5hAC6) in patients with symptomatic heart failure and reduced ejection fraction. Our hypothesis was that AC6 gene transfer would safely increase function of the failing hearts of patients with heart failure. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Prostate Cancer / 30.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: HICOR portraits, Nov. 4, 2014 Joshua A. Roth, PhD, MHA Assistant Member AHRQ Patient-Centered Outcomes Research K12 Scholar Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes ResearchJoshua A. Roth, PhD, MHA Assistant Member AHRQ Patient-Centered Outcomes Research K12 Scholar Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Roth: PSA prostate cancer screening is controversial because of uncertainty about the overall benefit-risk balance of screening and conflicting recommendations from a variety of prominent national panels. For example, there is debate about whether the cancer early-detection benefits of screening outweigh potential harms related to overdiagnosis of prostate cancer and associated overtreatment (for example, surgery and/or radiation therapy). However, this benefit-risk balance largely depends on how screening programs are structured (for example, the age range over which screening occurs, how often screened occurs, and the PSA level that triggers biopsies) and how screening detected prostate cancers are managed. With these factors in mind, we developed a simulation model to estimate the morbidity, mortality, and cost outcomes of many PSA screening approaches that have been proposed by national panels or discussed in the peer-reviewed literature. The model calculates these outcomes using inputs from national databases and major PSA screening clinical trials. The primary outcome of our model was the cost per quality-adjusted life year gained—a measure that reflects the value of medical interventions through impacts on cost, survival, and health-related quality of life. We don’t have explicit rules for willingness to pay per quality-adjusted life year in the United States, but interventions that cost $100,000 to $150,000 per quality-adjusted life year are generally considered to be of at least low to moderate value (whereas, for example, an intervention that costs $400,000 per quality-adjusted life year would be generally considered to be of very poor value). Using the model, we found that more conservative PSA screening strategies (that is, those with less frequent screening and higher PSA level thresholds for biopsy referral) tended to be more cost-effective than less conservative strategies. Importantly, we found that no strategy was likely to be of high value under contemporary treatment patterns where many men with low-risk prostate cancer (that is, those with a Gleason score lower than 7 and clinical T2a stage cancer or lower) receive treatment with surgery or radiation therapy, but several strategies were likely to be of at least moderate value (cost per qualityadjusted life-year=$70 831-$136 332) with increased use of conservative management (that is, treating only after clinical progression) for low-risk, screen-detected cancers. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, JAMA, Pain Research / 27.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Daniel C. Cherkin PhD Senior Investigator Group Health Research Institute Seattle, WA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Cherkin: Chronic low back pain is a widespread, costly, and potentially disabling problem. It’s the most common cause of pain of any kind. It affects eight in 10 Americans at some point in their lives. In recent years, the United States has been spending more on back pain treatments—but unfortunately with worse results in how much pain bothers people and interferes with their lives. Group Health is addressing the problem in several ways, including this innovative research. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Dr. Cherkin: In a randomized controlled trial involving more than 300 patients at Group Health, we found that training in a kind of mindfulness meditation—mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)—led to meaningful improvements in functioning and chronic low back pain at six months and one year. MBSR, which is becoming increasingly popular and available in the United States, involves training in observing, acknowledging, and accepting thoughts and feelings including pain. The training also includes some easy yoga poses to help participants become more aware of their bodies. Results with  mindfulness-based stress reduction were significantly better than with usual care (whatever patients would be doing for their back pain if they weren’t in the study, including medications and physical therapy—but not mindfulness meditation or cognitive behavioral therapy). And results with  mindfulness-based stress reduction were very similar to those with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT includes education about chronic pain, relationships between thoughts and emotional and physical reactions, instruction and practice in changing dysfunctional thoughts, setting and working towards behavioral goals, relaxation skills, activity pacing, and pain coping strategies. Prior studies had already proven that CBT helped adults of various ages with back pain. (more…)