Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Education, JAMA / 16.12.2015 Interview with: Lorette A. Stammen, MD Department of Educational Development and Research Faculty of Health, Medicine, and Life Sciences Maastricht University, Maastricht The Netherlands Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Stammen: Research indicated that we can improve the quality of care and reduce the health care costs by eliminating health care waste. Health care waste are health care services that are not beneficial to patients. There are many ways to reduce health care waste, like through insurance and government policies modification,  but we were especially interested in how the medical expertise of physicians could improve high-value, cost-conscious care. We conducted a systematic review with the aim of understanding how training programs cause learning among physicians, residents and medical students. We analyzed 79 articles using realist review method and found three important factors that facilitate the learning of physicians (in training).
  • First, educational programs should focus on knowledge transmission. Knowledge that is essential entails knowledge regarding prices and general health economics, scientific evidence, and patient preferences.
  • Besides knowledge, the second factor of training for high-value, cost-conscious care is reflective practice. Reflective practice for example using feedback and asking reflective questions, by peers, colleagues and supervisors to reflect on decisions made in daily practice.
  • The third element of training programs should address an supportive environment in which physicians, residents and medical students learn. A supportive environment is important to cultivate the importance of high-value, cost-conscious care on multiple levels in the health care system. Since physicians are a part of a health care team their training programs should incorporate the training of health care professionals.
  • Furthermore, it is important that role models demonstrate high-value cost-conscious care.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics, Surgical Research / 16.12.2015 Interview with: Dr. Peter C. Minneci, M.D., MHSc Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice Assistant Professor, Pediatric Surgery The Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Minneci: Non-operative management of uncomplicated appendicitis has been shown to safe and effective studied in several international adult trials. To be a reasonable treatment alternative to urgent appendectomy, non-operative management of appendicitis in children must have a clinically acceptable success rate with minimal harm in patients that fail and subsequently undergo appendectomy. We performed a prospective single-institution patient choice trial allowing the families of children with acute uncomplicated appendicitis to choose between urgent appendectomy or non-operative management with antibiotics alone. We enrolled 102 patients, with 65 choosing surgery and 37 choosing non-operative management with antibiotics alone. Non-operative management had an in-hospital success rate of 94%, a 30-day success rate of 89%, and a 1-year success rate of 76%. Compared to the surgery group, patients managed non-operatively reported higher quality of life scores at 30 days and had significantly fewer disability days and lower costs, with no differences in the rates of complicated appendicitis or treatment-related complications at 1 year of follow-up. With this being said, there are some cases that I have read about where doctors have failed to diagnose patients for Appendicitis even after they have complained about having a number of the symptoms associated with it. Following this, some patients have even contacted companies like Negligence Claimline to get back what they deserve. You go to doctors as they are the ones who can help you get your health back in order, but when something like this happens, it is understandable as to why some people lose faith in this system. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, JAMA, Stem Cells / 16.12.2015 Interview with: Dr. Chris J. Hawkey, DM, FRCP, FMedSci. University of Nottingham and Nottingham University Hospital England Medical Research: What is the background for this study?  Dr. Hawkey: ASTIC (The Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation International Crohn's Disease) systematically investigated the effect of immunoablation and autologous haemopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) on objective signs of disease, symptoms and need for treatment and is the only controlled trial to have done so. The body’s immune system normally protects us from infections but in Crohn’s disease it turns on itself.  The treatment involves wiping out the body’s immune system (immunoablation) and replacing it with the patient’s own (autologous haemopoietic stem cell transplantation) innocent stem cells, a sort of immunological spring clean. Patients were randomly assigned to undergo transplantation (n=23) or just continue on best conventional treatment (n=22). ASTIC was stimulated by reports which suggested that long-term regression of disease amounting to potential cure could be achieved. But the treatment is hazardous with major potentially lethal risks, so recruitment to the trial was cautious and only the most resistant cases were studied. And we used the most stringent criteria ever developed for the trial’s primary endpoint. Medical Research: What are the main findings?  Dr. Hawkey: In fact the criteria we used for success were so stringent (no symptoms, no signs of disease on total bowel examination and no need for treatment) that few patients achieved them. Nevertheless, there were improvements in the individual measures underlying this composite endpoint. Objective signs of disease disappeared so that the gut looked normal from mouth to anus in about a quarter of actively treated patients vs no controls. Eight vs two patients were adjudicated free of active disease on endoscopy and radiology at final assessment (p=0.054). Patients were able to come off drug treatments: by the end of a year 61% of HSCT patients off immunosuppressive drugs for >3 months vs 23% of controls (p=0.012). Ten vs two patients had lost symptoms of active disease, eight vs two for of them for > 3 months (p=0.052). But treatment was challenging: there were 76 serious adverse events in HSCT patients (particularly infections) vs 38 in controls. One HSCT patient died. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Cancer - Brain Tumors, Cancer Research, JAMA / 16.12.2015 Interview with: Roger Stupp, MD Professor & Chairman Department of Oncology & Cancer Center University of Zurich & University Hospital Zurich (USZ) Zürich / Switzerland Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Stupp: Tumor Treating Fields are an entirely novel modality in cancer treatment. Over 10 years ago researchers demonstrated that alternating electrical fields will block cell growth, interfere with organelle assembly, in particular perturb the spindle apparatus and cell division, all leading to mitotic arrest and ultimately apoptosis. This was shown in vitro, but importantly also in vivo animal models including not only mice and rats, but also hamsters and rabbits with deep seated solid tumours. So the question was whether we can demonstrate such an effect also in the clinic. Glioblastoma are locally invasive and aggressive tumours in the brain. They usually do not metastasise however they grow diffusely within the CNS and despite the best possible surgery, radiation and chemotherapy virtually always recur. We thus applied alternating electrical fields therapy, so called Tumor Treating Fields to the scalp of patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma. After the end of standard chemoradiotherapy (TMZ/RT), patients were randomized to receive either standard maintenance TMZ-chemotherapy alone or in combination with TTFields. Almost 700 patients were randomized, here we report on a preplanned interim analysis looking at the first 315 patients included once they were followed for at least 18 months. The data on the first 315 patients are mature and allowed the IDMC to conclude that the trial should be stopped and the results made available. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Stupp: The study demonstrated a consistent prolongation of both progression-free and also of overall survival for patients who have been treated with TTFields in addition to standard therapy. The median progression-free survival and overall survival were prolonged by 3 months, translating to an absolute increase in overall survival at 2 years of 14%, from 29% to 43%. Or a hazard ratio of 0.74 for overall survival and of 0.62 for progression-free survival. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, MRI, Neurological Disorders / 12.12.2015 Interview with: Stephane De Brito, PhD Birmingham Fellow School of Psychology Robert Aitken Building, Room 337a University of Birmingham  UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. De Brito: In the last decade, an increasing number of neuroimaging studies have used structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI) to examine the brains of youths who show behavioural problems that include antisocial and aggressive behaviour. Those studies have mostly relied on a method called voxel-based morphometry (or VBM), which is a whole-brain and automated technique that allows researchers to objectively assess the local composition of brain tissue, such as grey matter volume. The main problem is that the findings from those sMRI studies have been quite disparate and few have been replicated, partly due to differences in sample sizes and characteristics across studies. Therefore, we set out to carry out a meta-analysis of the available data to provide a clearer account of the literature on this topic. A particular strength of our meta-analysis is that we used the original brain imaging maps (also referred to as statistical parametric maps) from 11 of the 13 studies, which makes our analysis more accurate and reliable. The final sample comprised of 394 youths with behavioural problems and 350 typically developing youths, making it the largest study on this topic to date. Our results showed that, compared to typically developing youths, those with behavioural problems show reduced grey matter volume in the amygdala, the insula, and the prefrontal cortex. These brain areas have been shown to be important for decision-making, empathic responses, processing facial expressions and emotion regulation; key cognitive and affective processes that are shown to be deficient in youths with behavioural problems. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Chemotherapy, Dermatology, JAMA / 11.12.2015 Interview with: Chia-Yu Chu, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology National Taiwan University Hospital Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Chia-Yu Chu: It has been well known that EGFR TKIs could cause skin toxicities (acneiform eruptions, pruritus, xerosis and paronychia). However, incidences of these skin toxicities have varied according to the different clinical trials, some of which even simply use “skin rash” instead of specific cutaneous findings in the reports. Afatinib, in contrast to first generation EGFR TKIs like gefitinib and erlotinib, is a second generation EGFR TKI with irreversible inhibition to not only EGFR, but also HER2 and ErbB4. Whether afatinib cause more skin toxicities remained unknown. Many of our patients received 2 or even 3 different EGFR TKIs with adequate drug exposure and washout period. Therefore, we had an opportunity to compare skin toxicities in “same patients” receiving different EGFR TKIs, and we found that around 30% of patients receiving afatinib developed paronychia whereas only 10% in gefetinib or erlotinib. This was the only significant difference between the 3 drugs. We also found afatinib treated patients needed significantly more dermatologic visits within 180 days of treatments and the reason was due to higher incidence of afatinib-related paronychia. Interestingly, regardless of causative agents, once skin toxicities developed they could be managed effectively in the same manners. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Genetic Research, JAMA, Melanoma / 10.12.2015 Interview with: Susana Puig MD PhD Chief Dermatology Service Research Director "Melanoma: Imaging, genetics and immunology" at IDIBAPS Consultant & Assistant Professor Melanoma Unit, Dermatology Department Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona Barcelona Spain  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Puig: CDKN2A is the main high-penetrance melanoma susceptibility gene. A rare functional variant in MITF, p.E318K (rs149617956), has been identified as a moderate risk allele in melanoma susceptibility and also predisposes to renal cell carcinoma. In this study MITF p.E318K was associated with an increased melanoma risk (OR=3.3, p<0.01), especially in patients with multiple primary melanoma (OR=4.5, p<0.01) and high nevi count (>200 nevi) (OR=8.4, p<0.01). Interestingly, two fast growing melanomas were detected among two MITF p.E318K carriers during dermatologic digital follow-up. Furthermore, we have detected a similar prevalence of MITF p.E318K in CDKN2A wild-type and mutated individuals. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Pediatrics / 10.12.2015 Interview with: Maria C. Magnus PhD Norwegian Institute of Public Health Department of Chronic Diseases Nydalen Norway Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Magnus: Type 1 diabetes mellitus is one of the most common chronic diseases with onset in childhood, but environmental risk factors have not been convincingly established. A few previous studies report that childhood weight increase might influence the development of type 1 diabetes. This study combined information from two Scandinavian birth cohorts, including more than 99,000 children. The results showed that a higher weight increase during the first year of life increased the risk of type 1 diabetes. The same was not seen for height increase during the first year of life. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Education, JAMA / 09.12.2015 Interview with: Douglas A. Mata, M.D., M.P.H. Anatomic and Clinical Pathology Resident Physician, Brigham & Women’s Hospital Clinical Fellow, Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02115 Marco A. Ramos, M.Phil., M.S.Ed. History of Science and Medicine M.D./Ph.D. Candidate, Yale School of Medicine New Haven, CT 06511 Medical Research: What is the background for your study? Dr. Mata: Training to be a doctor is clearly stressful, but the prevalence of depression among trainees is not well known. They may get especially depressed during their grueling years of residency, when young physicians are learning their craft by working long hours and taking care of critically ill patients. Coming up with a reliable estimate of the prevalence of depression among graduate medical trainees would help us identify causes of resident depression and begin to treat or prevent it. We thus aimed to find answers to two questions:
  • First, what percentage of new doctors might be depressed?
  • Second, how much has that changed over time?
Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Mata: We set out to find every study ever published on this subject. We analyzed 50 years of research on depression in resident physicians. We collected and combined data from 54 studies conducted around the world, and found that a startling 29% of physicians in training have signs of depression. We also detected a small but significant increase in the prevalence of depression over the five decades the study covered. Mr. Ramos: Twenty-nine percent is a concrete number you can hang your hat on, so to speak. But this number alone doesn’t capture the extent of the problem. We conducted additional studies that revealed that up to 43% of residents have depressive symptoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, JAMA / 09.12.2015 Interview with: Henry Sondheimer, MD Senior director of student affairs American Association of Medical Colleges Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sondheimer: The background for this study in JAMA's Med Ed issue of December 8th is that a group of the medical schools' deans asked us (AAMC staff) in 2014 whether there was a differential in placement of African-American, Hispanic, and Native American graduates into Graduate Medical Education at the time of their graduation from medical school. In fact, as shown in this short paper, there is a difference with more current graduates from the under-represented in medicine graduates not beginning their GME immediately post-graduation. However, over time this difference diminishes substantially but does not disappear completely. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Electronic Records, JAMA / 08.12.2015 Interview with: David Ouyang MD Department of Internal Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, California Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ouyang: In American teaching hospitals, trainee resident physicians are an integral part of the medical team in performing procedures, writing notes, and coordinating care. As more care is being facilitated by electronic medical record (EMR) systems, we are just now finally able to understand how much residents work and how residents spend their time. In our study, we examined the types and timing of electronic actions performed on the EMR system by residents and found that residents spend about a third (36%) of their day in front of the computer and frequently perform many simultaneous tasks across the charts of multiple patients. Additionally, residents often do work long hours, with a median of 69.2 hours per week when on the inpatient medicine service. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cleveland Clinic, Emergency Care, JAMA, Stroke, Telemedicine / 08.12.2015 Interview with: Ken Uchino, MD FAHA FANA Director, Vascular Neurology Fellowship Research Director, Cerebrovascular Center, Cleveland Clinic Associate Professor of Medicine (Neurology) Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of CWRU Cleveland, OH 44195 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Uchino: Treatment for acute ischemic stroke is time dependent. Multiple studies have reported strategies to improve time to treatment after arrival in the hospital. Mimicking pre-hospital thrombolysis of acute myocardial infarction pioneered 30 years ago, two groups in Germany have implemented pre-hospital ischemic stroke thrombolysis using mobile stroke unit (“stroke ambulance”) that includes CT scan and laboratory capabilities. These units have been demonstrated to provide stroke treatment earlier than bringing patients to the emergency departments. Our report extends the concept mobile stroke unit further by using telemedicine for remote physician presence. The other mobile stroke units were designed to have at least one physician on board. This allows potential multiple or geographically distant units to be supported by stroke specialists. The study demonstrates that after patient arrival in the ambulance, the time to evaluation (CT scanning and blood testing) and to thrombolytic treatment is as quick or better as patient arrival in emergency department door. We are reporting the overall time efficiency after emergency medical service notification (911 call) in a separate paper. (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Transfusions / 07.12.2015 Interview with: Dr. Walter H. Dzik MD Associate Pathologist, Massachusetts General Hospital Associate Professor of Pathology Harvard Medical School Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Dzik: Millions of Red Blood Cell transfusions are given each year.  To maintain adequate blood inventories worldwide, Red Blood Cell units are stored under refrigerated conditions.  Previous animal and laboratory research has highlighted the fact that red cells undergo biochemical, morphologic, and biophysical changes during prolonged refrigerated blood storage.    Researchers and clnicians have questioned whether the changes that occur during storage would impair the ability of transfused Red Cells to delivery oxygen to tissues. Our study was a randomized controlled trial conducted in patients with extreme anemia and insufficient global tissue oxygenation.    We randomly assigned children with severe anemia and lactic acidosis to receive Red Blood Cells stored 1-10 days versus Red Blood Cells stored 25-35 days.   We measured the recovery from lactic acidosis in response to transfusion in the two groups.   We also measured cerebral tissue oxygenation using a non-invasive tissue oximeter.    We found that the proportion of patients who achieved reversal of lactic acidosis was the same in the two RBC storage-duration groups.   The rate of decline of lactic acidosis was also equal.   There was also no difference in cerebral oxygenation, resolution of acidosis, correction of vital signs, clinical recovery, survival and 30-day followup.    (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Kidney Disease / 05.12.2015 Interview with: Girish N. Nadkarni, MD, MPH Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, New York What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Nadkarni: Cardiovascular disease is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality in patients with kidney disease. Moreover, there is a lack of good quality evidence in kidney disease patients. In addition, previous studies have shown that cardiovascular trials exclude patients with kidney disease. We wanted to analyze all of the clinical trials on acute myocardial infarctions and heart failure in the last decade and see if they continued excluding patients with kidney disease. We discovered that in 371 trials including close to six hundred thousand patients, the majority (57%) excluded patients with kidney disease. A large proportion of the trials excluded patients for non-specific reasons, rather than a prespecified threshold of kidney function and did not report kidney function at baseline. Finally, in trials that did include kidney patients and reported outcomes by kidney function, only 13% showed an interaction or suggestion of harm. (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE / 04.12.2015 Interview with: Alex Haynes, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School Assistant in Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Surgical Oncology Associate Program Director, Safe Surgery, Ariadne Labs Research Associate Harvard School of Public Health and George Molina, MD, MPH Surgical Research Resident Massachusetts General Hospital  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We have previously done work looking at the global volume of operations, and in particular the surgical volume at a country level. This work was based on the hypothesis that a certain level of surgical care is necessary for healthy populations. In doing this work, we found that cesarean delivery makes up a large proportion of all operations that happen globally. In the mid-1980’s, based on existing data the World Health Organization made the recommendation that at a country-level, the cesarean delivery rate should not exceed 10 to 15 per 100 live births. We wanted to see if this recommendation was still applicable using current data. In order to answer this question, we used multiple imputation to estimate country-level cesarean delivery rates for all 194 countries in the world in 2012 to investigate the association between country-level cesarean delivery rates and maternal and neonatal mortality. We found that at a population level, as the cesarean delivery rate increased up to about 19 per 100 live births, there was a decrease in country-level maternal and neonatal mortality. However, as country-level cesarean delivery rates rose above this level there were no associated changes in maternal or neonatal mortality. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Exercise - Fitness, JAMA, Lifestyle & Health / 02.12.2015 Interview with: Tina Hoang MSPH Staff Research Associate Northern California Institute for Research and Education, Veterans Affairs Medical Center Dr. Kristine Yaffe MD Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Epidemiology University of California San Francisco, CA  94121 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We assessed physical activity and TV watching in young adults over 25 years to see if there was an association with cognitive function in middle age.  Most previous studies have only considered this association in older adults. We found that both low physical activity and high TV watching over time were associated with worse cognitive function. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Lung Cancer, Radiation Therapy / 02.12.2015 Interview with: Benjamin Movsas, MD Chairman of Radiation Oncology Henry Ford Hospital Detroit, Michigan  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Movsas: The background is that a recent randomized lung cancer trial (RTOG 0617) showed a lower (rather than a higher) survival among the patients who received a higher dose of radiation (RT).  This unexpected finding was puzzling as there were few differences in toxicity between the radiation dose arms noted by health care providers. The main finding of the quality of life (QOL) analysis was that there was indeed a large difference in QOL as reported by the patients themselves (with lower QOL on the high RT dose arm at 3 months).  Moreover, while this study was not randomized for RT technique, about half of the patients received intensity modulated RT (IMRT), a more sophisticated approach than the alternative (3D conformal RT), which can better protect normal tissues.  Despite the fact that patients with larger tumors received IMRT, their self reported QOL one year later was significantly better (ie, much less decline in QOL) relative to patients who received 3D conformal RT.  Finally, higher QOL at baseline significantly predicated for better survival. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, University of Michigan / 01.12.2015 Interview with: Mark D. Peterson, Ph.D., M.S. University of Michigan, Medicine Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Ann Arbor, MI  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Peterson: Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurodevelopmental condition caused by a disturbance to the developing fetal or infant brain. While the incidence of CP has remained stable in recent years, the mortality rate of children with Cerebral palsy has declined, suggesting that adults with Cerebral palsy represent a growing population whose healthcare needs are poorly understood.  More than half of children with Cerebral palsy are independently mobile at 8 years of age; however, a large proportion lose mobility in adulthood. These declines are attributed to pain, fatigue, and muscle weakness, and result in chronic inactivity and accelerated aging. Despite this, there have been virtually no specific surveillance efforts or even epidemiologic studies to examine the prevalence of lifestyle-related chronic diseases in adults with Cerebral palsy. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine estimates of chronic conditions in a large, U.S. population-representative sample of adults with CP (n=1,015 fromthe Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) (2002-2010). We demonstrated that adults with cerebral palsy had significantly greater estimates of chronic diseases, including diabetes, asthma, hypertension and other heart conditions, stroke, emphysema, joint pain, and arthritis as compared with adults without Cerebral palsy. (more…)
Asthma, Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 01.12.2015 Interview with: Dr Mairead Black MBChB, MRCOG, MSc Research Fellow, Wellcome Trust Clinical Lecturer, Obstetrics and Gynaecology School of Medicine and Dentistry, Division of Applied Health Sciences University of Aberdeen Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, Cornhill Road Aberdeen AB25 2ZD  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Black: The current thinking is, if a baby is exposed to labour, then it is also exposed to ‘good bacteria’ that mothers pass on during the birth, and they are also exposed to a degree of natural stress at the time of birth that might make them more resistant to developing future illnesses. The World Health Organisation formerly recommended that no more than 15 percent of deliveries should be C-sections. However rates in some countries have soared – China and Brazil have rates in excess of 50%, whilst in the UK the figure is 26% with almost half of these being planned in advance. The main purpose of this study was to explore whether health outcomes in children up to very early adulthood differ according to how they are delivered and whether avoiding labour entirely, i.e. via a planned C-section, could put children at a disadvantage compared to those delivered vaginally or by emergency C-section, where most will have been exposed to labour. The study analysed data from over 300,000 births between 1993 and 2007 across Scotland, using routinely collected data from seven linked databases. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Prostate Cancer, Radiation Therapy / 30.11.2015 Interview with: Prof Nicholas James STAMPEDE Trial Chief Investigator Director of the Cancer Research Centre Warwick Medical School University of Warwick Coventry and Professor of Clinical Oncology Cancer Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. James: The STAMPEDE trial is a multi-arm, multi-stage trials platform testing a range of different therapies in addition to standard of care (SOC) for men commencing long term androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for newly diagnosed locally advanced or metastatic prostate cancer. These data from the control arm form part of a pair of publications detailing outcomes in the control arm of STAMPEDE and help to make sense of the forthcoming paper on the randomised comparisons currently in press at the Lancet. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Surgical Research, UCLA / 29.11.2015 Interview with: Soroush Zaghi, MD Department of Head and Neck Surgery David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA University of California, Los Angeles MedicalResearch: What is the central message for clinicians and surgeons from your results? Dr. Zaghi: Multiple studies from different practitioners and institutions agree that Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA) is a highly effective surgical option for patients with obstructive sleep apnea who cannot tolerate positive pressure therapy and have not found success with other surgical procedures. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Surgical Research / 28.11.2015 Interview with: Katharine Yao, MD Director, Breast Surgical Program NorthShore University HealthSystem Illinois Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Yao: A survey of breast surgeons was conducted to determine their knowledge level with contralateral breast cancer and how contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) affects survival.  Of five knowledge questions, only 60% scored with high knowledge (4 or 5 questions correct) scores.   Surgeons mostly scored low on contralateral cancer risks.  Most surgeons correctly stated that contralateral prophylactic mastectomy  does not provide a survival benefit.  Nonetheless, our knowledge questions did not address other important issues about CPM such as operative complications, or contralateral breast cancer risks for other high risk subgroups.  Higher knowledge was associated with fellowship training and duration of practice. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Health Care Systems, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety / 25.11.2015 Interview with: Anup Das Medical Scientist Training Program Department of Health Management and Policy University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently added a new measure of episode spending to the Hospital Value Based Purchasing program. Participation in this program allows hospitals to receive a financial bonus if they perform well on the included measures. This is the first spending measure in the program, and this change now incentivizes hospitals to improve their quality as well as their spending. The measure evaluates spending from three days before a hospitalization through 30 days post-discharge. In this study, we find that while high-cost hospitals had higher spending levels in each of the three components of an episode of care (pre-admission, index admission, and post-discharge), differences in post-discharge spending were the main determinants of hospital performance on this measure. High-cost hospitals spent on average $4,691 more than low-cost hospitals in post-discharge care. The majority of post-discharge spending comes from skilled nursing facility or readmission costs. Similarly, hospitals that did worse on this new measure of spending over time did so because of increases in their post-discharge spending. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, UT Southwestern / 25.11.2015

Ambarish Interview with: Ambarish Pandey M.D. Division of Cardiology University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, TX Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Pandey: Pulmonary artery (PA) catheters have been used for invasive bedside hemodynamic monitoring for past four decades. The ESCAPE trial, published in October 2005, demonstrated that use of  Pulmonary Artery catheter was not associated with a significant improvement in clinical outcomes of patients with heart failure. Accordingly, the current ACC/AHA guidelines discourage the routine use of PA catheter for routine management of acute heart failure in absence of cardiogenic shock or respiratory failure (Class III). Despite the significant evolution of available evidence base and guideline recommendations regarding use of  Pulmonary Artery catheters, national patterns of PA catheter utilization in hospitalized heart failure patients remain unknown. In this study, we observed that use of PA catheter among patients with heart failure decline significantly in the Pre-ESCAPE era (2001 – 2006) followed by a consistent increase in its use in the Post-ESCAPE era (2007-2012). We also observed that the increase in use of  Pulmonary Artery catheters is most significant among heart failure patients without underlying cardiogenic shock or respiratory failure. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, JAMA, Stroke / 23.11.2015 Interview with: Bob Siegerink PhD Frits R. Rosendaal MD, PhD Department of Clinical Epidemiology Leiden University Medical Center Leiden, the Netherlands Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The rates of death due to arterial thrombosis have been declining in the past years, which means that there are more patients with a high burden of disease. Arterial thrombosis is a uncommon disease in the young, but the burden of the disease might have a profound impact on their lives. We analyzed data form the RATIO study, in which we followed women with a ischemic stroke and myocardial infarction for up to 20 years. During this time, overall mortality was 2-4 times higher compared to the general population. This increase in risk was mainly driven by deaths from acute vascular events and persisted over the whole course of the follow up. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Melatonin, Pediatrics, Sleep Disorders / 23.11.2015 Interview with: Prof. Bor-Luen Chiang Vice Superintendent, National Taiwan University Hospital Professor of Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine and Pediatrics National Taiwan University Attending Physician, Department of Medical research National Taiwan University Hospital and Yung-Sen Chang, MD MPH Attending physician, Department of Pediatrics, Taipei City Hospital Renai Br. Adjunct Attending Physician, Department of Pediatrics National Taiwan University Children’s Hospital Adjunct Instructor, School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Prof. Chang: Sleep disturbance is a common disorder in the children with atopic dermatitis (AD) (reported in 47 to 60%), but no effective way of managing this problem had been established. In our preceding study, we found that lower nocturnal melatonin level was significantly associated with sleep disturbance in the patients with AD. Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland which plays an important role in sleep regulation. In addition to sleep-inducing effects, melatonin also has anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties which might be helpful for the management o fatopic dermatitis. Furthermore, melatonin has an excellent safety profile with minimal adverse effects, making it a good choice for children. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate whether melatonin is effective for improving the sleep problems and the dermatitis severity in children with atopic dermatitis. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Prof. Chang: From our double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study, we found that after melatonin treatment, the sleep onset latency shortened by 21.4 minutes compared with placebo (from a mean of 44.9 minutes to 21.6 minutes). The Scoring Atopic Dermatitis Index (higher scores representing more severe dermatitis) also decreased by 9.9 compared with placebo (from a mean of 49.1 to 40.2). No adverse events were reported throughout the study. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA / 20.11.2015 Interview with: Raymond W. Lam, MD, FRCPC Professor and Associate Head for Research Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia Director, Mood Disorders Centre, Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health Executive Chair, Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) Vancouver, BC, Canada Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Lam: Our multicentre team studied the effects of bright light therapy for nonseasonal depression. Light therapy is a non-pharmacological approach that has been studied as a treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD, or "winter depression"), but only a small number of studies has explored the use of light therapy in treating nonseasonal depression. Clinical depression, known formally as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is the most common psychiatric disorder and one of the most common medical conditions worldwide. At any given time, at least 1 person in 20 (5% of the general population) is experiencing MDD, which will become the second-leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020, according to the World Health Organization.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety, Urinary Tract Infections, Urology / 19.11.2015 Interview with: Jerome A. Leis, MD MSc FRCPC Staff physician, General Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases Physician Lead, Antimicrobial Stewardship Team Staff member, Centre for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Leis: Overuse of urinary catheters leads to significant morbidity among hospitalized patients.  In most hospitals, discontinuation of urinary catheters relies on individual providers remembering to re-assess whether patients have an ongoing reason for a urinary catheter.  We engaged all of the attending physicians to agree on the appropriate reasons for leaving a urinary catheter in place and developed a medical directive for nurses to remove all urinary catheters lacking these indications.  This nurse-led intervention resulted in a significant reduction in urinary catheter use and catheter-associated urinary tract infections, compared with wards that continued to rely on usual practice. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Pancreatic, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Surgical Research / 18.11.2015 Interview with: Jason S. Gold MD FACS Chief of Surgical Oncology, VA Boston Healthcare System Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women’s Hospital Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Gold: Pancreas cancer is a lethal disease. While advances in the best available care for pancreas cancer are desperately needed, improvements can be made in addressing disparities in care. This study aimed to evaluate associations of social and demographic variables with the utilization of surgical resection as well as with survival after surgical resection for early-stage pancreas cancer. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Gold: The main findings are the following: 1:     We found that less than half of patients with early-stage pancreas cancer undergo resection in the United States. Interestingly, the rate of resection has not changed with time during the eight-year study period. 2.  We also found significant disparities associated with the utilization of surgical resection for early-stage pancreas cancer in the United States. African American patients, Hispanic patients, single patients, and uninsured patients were significantly less likely to have their tumors removed. There were regional variations in the utilization of surgical resection as well. Patients in the Southeast were significantly less likely to have a pancreas resection for cancer compared to patients in the Northeast. 3. Among the patients who underwent surgical resection for early-stage pancreas cancer, we did not see significant independent associations with survival for most of the social and demographic variables analyzed. Surprisingly, however, patients from the Southeast had worse long-term survival after pancreas cancer resection compared to those in other regions of the United States even after adjusting for other variables. (more…)