Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lipids, Statins / 11.03.2015

Joost Besseling PhD-student Academic Medical Center Dept. of Vascular Medicine AmsterdamMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joost Besseling PhD-student Academic Medical Center Dept. of Vascular Medicine Amsterdam Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Statins are associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM). The exact mechanism for this adverse event is largely unknown, although the upregulation of the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) has been suggested to play a role. In familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) the uptake of LDL-cholesterol via the LDLR is decreased due to a genetic defect. We found that the prevalence of type 2 DM is 50% lower in relative terms in patients with familial hypercholesterolemia. Moreover, there was a dose-response relationship: the more severe the genetic defect that causes familial hypercholesterolemia, the lower the prevalence of type 2 DM. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Hospital Readmissions, Infections, JAMA, University of Michigan / 11.03.2015

Hallie Prescott, MD, MSc Clinical Lecturer, Internal Medicine Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine University of Michigan Health System Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hallie Prescott, MD, MSc Clinical Lecturer, Internal Medicine Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine University of Michigan Health System Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Prescott: The post-hospital period has been widely recognized as a vulnerable time for patients. In particular, patients who survive sepsis are frequently readmitted to the hospital in the following three months. In this study, we examined data from 2,600 survivors of sepsis, a severe infection that leads to organ failure. About 42% of the sepsis patients were readmitted in the next 90 days, similar to the rate seen for patients hospitalized for other acute conditions. However, the reasons for hospital readmission after sepsis are different. A greater number of patients are re-hospitalized for “ambulatory-care sensitive conditions”, which are conditions that could potentially be prevented or treated early in the outpatient setting to avoid a hospital stay. (more…)
Author Interviews, Electronic Records, JAMA / 11.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jonathan Pell, MD Assistant Professor Hospital Medicine University of Colorado DenverJonathan Pell, MD Assistant Professor Hospital Medicine University of Colorado Denver Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Pell: Back in 2001, the Institute of Medicine's charter document Crossing the Quality Chasm proposed that the health care system needs to do a better job of patient centered care. In order to provide true patient centered care, we must provide patients and their families with the knowledge and tools they need to make autonomous and informed decisions about their healthcare. A patient cannot make informed decisions about their healthcare without having easy access to their own health information. Almost 15 years later, we are still discussing whether or not patients should have immediate electronic access to information in their electronic health record. Studies have shown that giving outpatients direct electronic access to their test results and even doctors notes does not cause patients worry or confusion, and there is no undue burden on care providers explaining this newly accessible information to their patients - if they can deliver thinking of you flowers from Flowercard, there's no reason they can't deliver a simple print-out of relevant information. Despite this, many institutions still have a moratorium on release of patients' test results, and the duration of this moratorium is variable from institution to institution. The technology to deliver this type of information real-time to patients is readily available. We decided to explore the effect of giving hospitalized patients real-time access to their test results and hospital medication list/schedule. (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, JAMA, Vegetarians / 09.03.2015

Michael J. Orlich, MD, PhD Program Director, Preventive Medicine Residency Loma Linda University Co-Investigator, Adventist Health StudiesMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael J. Orlich, MD, PhD Program Director, Preventive Medicine Residency Loma Linda University Co-Investigator, Adventist Health Studies Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Orlich: Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States.  Screening efforts such as colonoscopies have helped save many lives by detecting pre-cancerous polyps and removing them.  However, it is even better to prevent cancers from forming in the first place.  We call this primary prevention.  Diet is a potentially important approach to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.  In this analysis, we compared those eating different categories of vegetarian dietary patterns to those eating a non-vegetarian diet.  About half of our study population was classified as non-vegetarian, which we defined as eating meat at least weekly.  The other half of our population we called vegetarian and further divided them into four different vegetarian groups:  semi-vegetarians ate meat but less than once per week; pesco-vegetarians ate fish but avoided other meats; lacto-ovo-vegetarians avoided meat but ate eggs and/or dairy products; and vegans avoided all meats, eggs, and dairy.  All vegetarians together had on average a 22% relative reduction in the risk of developing colorectal cancer, compared to non-vegetarians, after carefully adjusting for many other factors.  Pesco-vegetarians in particular had a much lower risk compared to non-vegetarians. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA / 09.03.2015

Prof. Sigurdur Y Kristinsson Professor of Hematology University of IcelandMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Sigurdur Y Kristinsson Professor of Hematology University of Iceland MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Kristinsson: Multiple myeloma is always preceded by a precursor condition called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS). MGUS is characterized by a detectable monoclonal protein in persons without evidence for end-organ damage or other related plasma cell or lymphoproliferative disorders. MGUS is very common and is detected in approximately 5 percent of persons 70 years or older. However, only a small proportion of MGUS progresses to a malignant disorder, in fact the annual risk of progression to multiple myeloma or other related disorders is on average 1 percent, with varying risks according to risk groups. Current guidelines suggest, depending on the individual patient’s clinical risk score, life-long monitoring of MGUS individuals to detect progression to multiple myeloma or related disorders. At this time, the impact of annual monitoring on the outcome of patients who eventually develop multiple myeloma is unclear. Using high-quality population-based data from Sweden, we estimated the impact of prior knowledge of MGUS diagnosis and comorbidities on multiple myeloma survival, by performing a large population-based study using data on more than 14,000 multiple myeloma patients diagnosed in Sweden 1976-2005, with follow-up through 2007. The hypothesis that detection and follow-up of MGUS may influence survival in multiple myeloma is unlikely to ever be tested in a prospective clinical study due to the large sample size required with long follow-up time, and consequent extreme costs. We found that multiple myeloma patients with prior knowledge of MGUS had significantly 15% better survival, despite having significantly more comorbidities. Interestingly, low-risk MGUS (with very low M-protein) had highest risk of death. The observation that low M-protein concentration at MGUS diagnosis was associated with poorer multiple myeloma survival may reflect less frequent clinical follow-up. Our observations stress the importance of clinical follow-up in MGUS, regardless of risk stratification. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Duke, Genetic Research, JAMA, Personalized Medicine / 05.03.2015

Dr. Michaela A. Dinan Ph.D Department of Medicine Duke UniversityMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Michaela A. Dinan Ph.D Department of Medicine Duke University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Dinan: We wanted to examine how  Oncotype DX® Breast Cancer Test (ODX) was being used in real-world practice at the population level. ODX has been examined in clinical trials and limited academic settings but we know that these patients are often younger, have fewer medical comorbidities, and do not necessarily accurately reflect the majority patients with cancer.  In our study, we observed that Oncotype DX® Breast Cancer Test was being used predominately in accordance with guidelines which recommend the test for women with estrogen-receptor positive, node negative disease. We also looked just at women under the age of 70 who met guideline criteria for testing, because this population would include those women who were more likely to be chemotherapy candidates, and we saw a rapid uptake of the test between 2005 and 2009, with use of the test increasing from 8% to 39%. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, JAMA, Thyroid Disease / 05.03.2015

Sebastiano Filetti MD Dipartimento di Medicina Interna Università di Roma RomaMedicalResearch.com Interview with; Sebastiano Filetti MD Dipartimento di Medicina Interna Università di Roma Roma MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Filetti: Thyroid nodule diagnosis is becoming more and more frequent in clinical practice. This trend stems largely from the incidental discovery of small nodules due to the increased use of diagnostic imaging for purposes unrelated to the thyroid. Ultrasound studies, for example, are widely used for evaluating other structures in the neck, such as the carotid arteries, parathyroid glands, lymph nodes, and salivary glands. Over 90% of detected thyroid nodules are clinically insignificant, in that they have been cytologically proven to be benign or they have no ultrasound features that raise the suspicion of malignancy. However, consensus is lacking regarding the best way to follow these nodules, mainly because little is known about the actual frequency and magnitude of their growth. The results of our study suggest that most benign nodules exhibit no significant size changes over time, and some actually decrease in size. Only a small subgroup of nodules can be expected to grow, about 15% in our series. However, the growth is slow and limited in magnitude. Most important, the occurrence of cancer is very rare in nodules like this, that appear to be benign. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics / 03.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Kevin Vagi, Ph.D Division of Violence Prevention, CDC’s Injury Center. MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Vagi: Although there has been research on teen dating violence (TDV) for several decades, the subject has only received attention as a public health concern in recent years. Over time, prevalence estimates of physical teen dating violence victimization from CDC’s national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) (first measured in 1999) have remained around 9% with similar rates among female and male students. Until recently, there have been no ongoing national studies of sexual TDV to our knowledge. This article describes new physical and sexual teen dating violence victimization questions first administered in the 2013 YRBS, shares the prevalence and frequency of TDV and national estimates using these new questions, and assesses associations of teen dating violence experience with health-risk behaviors. By including questions on both physical and sexual TDV, we are able to look at those youth who experienced physical TDV only, sexual TDV only, both physical and sexual TDV, any TDV, and none. These distinctions were important when investigating health outcomes associated with different types or combinations of TDV, as some health-risk behaviors have been shown to be associated with certain types of teen dating violence but not others. In 2013, among high school students who dated, 1 in 5 females and 1 in 10 males experienced physical and/or sexual TDV in the 12 months before the survey. The majority of students who experienced physical and sexual teen dating violence experience it more than once. Students who experienced both physical and sexual TDV are more likely to have other health-risks, such as suicidal ideation and behavior, fighting, carrying a weapon, being electronically bullied, alcohol and drug use, and risky sexual behaviors. This report also offers the first national estimate of sexual TDV. Findings suggest that comprehensive prevention efforts should focus on helping students develop healthy relationship skills to prevent teen dating violence and other risk behaviors. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Kidney Disease / 03.03.2015

Mallika L. Mendu, MD, MBA Division of Renal Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School Boston, MAMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mallika L. Mendu, MD, MBA Division of Renal Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School Boston, MA MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mendu: Chronic kidney disease affects a significant number of adults in the United States, approximately 13%, and is associated with significant morbidity, mortality and cost. We conducted a review of 1487 patients referred for initial evaluation of chronic kidney disease to two academic medical centers in Boston over a 3-year period, and examined how often laboratory and imaging tests were ordered and how often these tests affected diagnosis and/or management. The main finding was that a number of tests (renal ultrasound, paraprotein testing, serologic testing) were commonly ordered despite low diagnostic and management yield. Urine quantification and hemoglobin A1c testing had the highest diagnostic and management yield. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Cognitive Issues, Geriatrics, JAMA / 03.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Enrico Mossello Research Unit of Medicine of Ageing Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine University of Florence MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mossello: In spite of the high prevalence of high blood pressure (HBP) and cognitive impairment in old age, their relationship is still controversial. While several (but not all) studies have identified high blood pressure as a risk factor for incident cognitive impairment, evidence regarding the prognostic role of blood pressure in cognitively impaired older subjects is scarce and inconsistent. To our knowledge, no longitudinal study has been published up to now regarding Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) in subjects with cognitive impairment. Moreover recent European and American guidelines on HBP leave decisions on antihypertensive therapy of frail elderly patients to the treating physician and do not provide treatment targets for cognitively impaired patients. In the present cohort study of subjects with dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) low values of day-time systolic blood pressure measured with ABPM were associated with greater progression of cognitive decline after a median 9-month follow-up. This association was limited to subjects treated with anti-hypertensive drugs and was independent of age, vascular comorbidity and baseline cognitive level, holding significant both in dementia and in Mild Cognitive Impairment subgroups. A similar trend of association was observed for office systolic blood pressure, although this was weaker and did not reach statistical significance in all analyses. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Nutrition / 03.03.2015

Xiao-ou Shu M.D., MPH, Ph.D Associate Director of Global Health Co-Leader, Cancer Epidemiology Research Program Ingram Professor of Cancer Research Professor of Medicine (Epidemiology) Cancer EpidemiologistMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Xiao-ou Shu M.D., MPH, Ph.D Associate Director of Global Health Co-Leader, Cancer Epidemiology Research Program Ingram Professor of Cancer Research Professor of Medicine (Epidemiology) Cancer Epidemiologist MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Shu: Nuts are rich in nutrients, such as unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, phenolic antioxidants, arginine, and other phytochemicals. These are all known to be beneficial to cardiovascular health, probably through their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and endothelial function maintenance properties.   Previous studies, primarily conducted in white and affluent populations, have shown that nut consumption may be related to cardiovascular health. Much of the nut consumption in those populations would be tree nuts. In our study, we found that peanut consumption was associated with reduced total mortality and CVD mortality in a predominantly low-income black and white population in the US, and among Chinese men and women living in Shanghai. Because peanuts are much less expensive than tree nuts, as well as more widely available to people of all races and all socioeconomic backgrounds, increasing peanut consumption may provide a potentially cost-efficient approach to improving cardiovascular health. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics, Smoking / 03.03.2015

Rebecca S. Williams, MHS, PhD University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NCMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rebecca S. Williams, MHS, PhD University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?  Dr. Williams: In recent years, the e-cigarette industry has ballooned into a multi-billion dollar market, with at least 466 brands and 7764 unique flavors of e-cigarettes sold online. With both smokers and people who never smoked turning to e-cigarettes, there are concerns about their safety, lack of regulation and accessibility to teens. The CDC reported that 17% of high school seniors use e-cigarettes, more than twice as many as use traditional cigarettes; furthermore, that hundreds of thousands of youth annually are using e-cigarettes who never smoked cigarettes. Our previous studies of Internet cigarette sales indicated that Internet Tobacco Vendors did a poor job of preventing sales to minors, which helped inform development of state and federal regulations to regulate such sales.  In 2013, North Carolina passed a law requiring age verification for online e-cigarette sales. This study was the first study to examine age verification used by Internet e-cigarette vendors and the first to assess compliance with North Carolina’s e-cigarette age verification law. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Dr. Williams: It was very easy for minors to buy e-cigarettes online. It took little effort for them to bypass the age verification practices of the vendors because there was very little use of rigorous age verification.  With only 5 orders rejected by vendors due to age verification, there was a youth e-cigarette purchase success rate of 94.7%.  No vendors used age verification at delivery, and few used rigorous methods of age verification that could potentially block youth access. While 7 vendors claimed to use age verification techniques that could potentially comply with North Carolina’s law, only one actually did. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research / 03.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Stephen Duquette MD Indiana University Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery R.L Roudebush VA  Indianapolis, IN Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Duquette: Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common compressive peripheral neuropathy, causing pain, numbness and weakness.  Conservative treatment options include splinting, NSAID pain medications, and steroid injections.  Most often the definitive therapy is carpal tunnel release (CTR).  Over 500,000 procedures are performed in the US yearly, making it one of the most commonly performed hand surgery procedures.  In the United States it is most common to perform this operation in the operating room, under sedation and locoregional anesthesia.  Because it is a very common disease that is treated surgically, process improvement can have a major impact in time to OR, patient recovery, patient satisfaction, and overall throughput.  This is especially valuable in the Veterans Administration (VA) system, where recent problems have arisen due to lack of adequate resources to care for all veterans. This study examined the impact of opening an office-based procedure room in a VA to perform awake hand surgery under local anesthesia only.   This was compared to the prior practice of operating room carpal tunnel release though a number of performance metrics, including time to OR and complications.  Although office carpal tunnel releases are performed routinely in Canada, some surgeons still believe that the complications would increase outside the very sterile environment of the operating room. The current study showed that wait times from initial consultation and initial visit to surgical intervention were significantly decreased in the procedure room group compared to the operating room.  The complication rate was the same for both groups, showing that the procedure room and the operating room were both equally safe and efficacious in providing an environment that was ideal for the performance of carpal tunnel releases. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, HIV, JAMA, NIH / 28.02.2015

Shyamasundaran Kottilil MBBS, PhD University of MarylandMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shyamasundaran Kottilil MBBS, PhD Division of Infectious Diseases, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland, Baltimore Laboratory of Immunoregulation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kottilil:  Due to shared routes of transmission, almost half of all HIV-infected patients also have HCV infection. Traditionally, interferon based therapies have resulted in lower cure rates of HCV in HIV-infected subjects. Treatment for HCV is rapidly changing from an injection (interferon) based therapy to oral well tolerated pill based therapy for a shorter duration.Our intention was to test whether a treatment regimen without the use of interferon and ribavirin can be effective in HIV/HCV infected patients. Our study demonstrated that HIV/HCV connected patients without cirrhosis can be effectively treated with ledipasvir and sofosbuvir in 12 weeks. Overall 98% of patients were cured. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Ophthalmology / 27.02.2015

Eric Crouch, MD, FAAO, FAAP, FACS Vice Chair, PEDIGAssociate Professor Department of Ophthalmology Eastern Virginia Medical School Assistant Professor Department of Pediatrics Eastern Virginia Medical School Chief of Ophthalmology Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters Norfolk, VirginiaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eric Crouch, MD, FAAO, FAAP, FACS Vice Chair, PEDIGAssociate Professor Department of Ophthalmology Eastern Virginia Medical School Assistant Professor Department of Pediatrics Eastern Virginia Medical School Chief of Ophthalmology, Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters Norfolk, Virginia MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?  Dr. Crouch: In this letter PEDIG is reporting on the improvement in vision during the run-in phase of a study in children 3 years of age to less than 8 years old.  During the run-in phase, the children were followed at 6 weeks intervals and served as the baseline for entering into a randomized trial for increasing the amount of patching. The patients were randomized to either 2 hours of prescribed patching or 6 hours of prescribed patching once they completed the run-in phase. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Dr. Crouch: For amblyopic children, even those who have moderate or severe amblyopia in the 20/100 - 20/400 range, clinicians can start treatment with patching two hours a day. (more…)
Author Interviews, Chemotherapy, JAMA, Leukemia, Neurological Disorders / 25.02.2015

William E. Evans, Pharm.D. Member, Pharmaceutical Sciences St. Jude Children’s Research HospitalMedicalResearch.com Interview with: William E. Evans, Pharm.D. Member, Pharmaceutical Sciences St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Evans: We are currently curing over 85 percent of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common cancer in children. While we continue to focus on pushing cure rates closer to 100 percent through the development of new treatments, we are also increasingly focused on reducing the acute and chronic side effects of treatment. This is important to improve the quality of life for patients during treatment and as they become adults after being cured, because some side effects can persist for decades after treatment is completed. One of the medications that every child with acute lymphoblastic leukemia received 30-40 times during their 2+ years of treatment is vincristine. The major side effect of vincristine is peripheral neuropathy (about 25 percent of patients develop this side effect), which can cause loss of sensation, numbness, neuropathic pain and alter their motor skills including manual dexterity, balance and ability to walk properly. This can have very practical consequences, such as writing, using a smart phone, and the use of eating utensils. It can also alter their gait. Our main finding is we discovered that an inherited variant of the CEP72 gene enhanced the risk and severity of vincristine neuropathy in two groups of patients we studied. Those children who inherited two copies of the high-risk CEP72 gene (one from each parent, about 16 percent of patients) had a significantly higher likelihood (about 3.5-fold) of developing vincristine neuropathy and had a more severe form of neuropathy (about 2.5-fold higher severity). The CEP72 gene encodes a protein essential for normal microtubule formation in cells—a critical process for cell division. Vincristine inhibits this same cellular process. The inherited form of CEP72 that increases the risk and severity of vincristine neuropathy is associated with lower expression of the CEP72 protein. When coupled with vincristine treatment, CEP72 increases a cell’s sensitivity to vincristine. We were able to reproduce this in the laboratory by lowering CEP72 expression in human neurons made from induced pluripotent stem cells and in human leukemia cells, increasing the sensitivity of both to vincristine. We also showed that the leukemia cells from patients who inherited two copies of the CEP72 risk allele were more sensitive to vincristine, suggesting it may be possible to treat these patients with a lower dose of vincristine to reduce their neuropathy without compromising the treatment of their leukemia—a possibility we plan to test in our next clinical trial at St. Jude. (more…)
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, JAMA, Sleep Disorders / 24.02.2015

Nick Franks FSB, FRCA, FMedSci, FRS Professor of Biophysics and Anaesthetics, Professor William Wisden, Chair in Molecular NeuroscienceMedicalResearch.com Interview Professor Nick Franks  Professor of Biophysics and Anaesthetics Professor William Wisden, Chair in Molecular Neuroscience Department of Life sciences Wolfson Laboratories, Imperial College, South Kensington London Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Profs. Franks and Wisden: We were interested in finding out how a particular type of sedative drug, dexmedetomidine, works in the brain. This drug is increasingly used during intensive care for sedation of patients, but unlike other powerful sedatives, it induces a state whereby the patient can be temporarily woken up. This is a highly useful property because it means patients can be both sedated and responsive during procedures. The drugged sedative state induced by dexmedetomidine struck us as being highly similar to the deep sleep that we all need to have if we have been extensively sleep deprived. If people and animals are kept awake for extended periods of time, they have to sleep. Most people know this from common experience - catching up on lost sleep. But how and why we need to sleep after sleep deprivation is not known. We found that dexmedetomidine-induced sedation and this recovery sleep used the same brain circuits, in a tiny area at the base of the brain called the preoptic hypothalamus. To do this we used a new genetic technique in mice that allowed us to mark or "tag" which neurons in the mouse’s brain were active during sedation or recovery sleep after sleep deprivation. The beauty of this technique is that we could then specifically reactivate these same neurons several days later with a special molecule that only binds to the tagged neurons. This reactivation caused the mice to go into a deep sleep. We concluded that the sedative drug dexmedetomidine copies or hijacks the mechanism used by the brain to respond to sleep deprivation and trigger deep sleep. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Lung Cancer, Mayo Clinic / 24.02.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David Mithun, M.D. Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Mithun: Lung cancer screening should be pursued for those people at highest risk who are otherwise in good enough health to be able to undergo curative intent treatment if cancer is found. The current criteria for screening recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force of age 55-80 years, 30 pack-years of smoking, and if quit, have done so within 15 years and are based on the National Lung Screening Study (NLST). Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Mithun: Our data was retrospective over a 28 year time period and showed that an increasing number of people who actually got cancer would not have been candidates for screening based on the current criteria.  This suggests there may be some degree of mismatch between risk as defined by the current criteria to screen and those who developed cancer.  An increasing number of those who would not have been candidates for screening yet got lung cancer were among those who quit smoking 15 years or longer. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Memory / 24.02.2015

Dr. Rebecca E. Amariglio Ph.D. Massachusetts Alzheimers Disease Research Center Massachusetts General HospitalMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Rebecca E. Amariglio Ph.D. Massachusetts Alzheimers Disease Research Center Massachusetts General Hospital Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Amariglio: As the field of Alzheimer’s disease moves towards early detection and treatment, new tests that can measure very subtle changes in cognitive functioning are needed. A new instrument developed by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study that measures subjective report of memory changes of both the study participant and a study partner (usually a family member) was associated with cognitive decline over four years.  Specifically, greater report of memory concerns was associated with worse memory performance over time. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA / 24.02.2015

Jari Laukkanen Cardiologist, MD, PhD Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition University of Eastern Finland Kuopio, FinlandMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jari Laukkanen Cardiologist, MD, PhD Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition University of Eastern Finland Kuopio, Finland Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Laukkanen: We have been studying many risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the general population, and especially exploring protective factors of sudden cardiac death. In our qualified and well defined data on the KIHD prospective study, there were also many questionnaires about other health habits such as the use of sauna (how much, how often, temperature and so on). It was very logical to investigate further sauna use and the risk sudden cardiac death/CVDSs, because sauna is a part of our culture here in Finland. In this country, we have tradition to trust, that its healthy habit, although there are not previous studies showing the value of sauna in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. So we have to study this kind of health habit and CVVs in Finland based on our common traditions... (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Vanderbilt / 24.02.2015

Dr. Wei Zheng, MD, PhD Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TennesseeMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Wei Zheng, MD, PhD Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Wei Zheng: Substantial progress has been made in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, resulting in a steady improvement in cancer survival. However, the degree of improvement by age, race and sex remains unclear. We quantified the differences in the improvement of cancer survival by race, age, and sex over the last two decades. We used cancer diagnosis and follow-up data from more than 1 million cancer patients, collected in nine SEER registries, to investigate trends in improved survival for seven major cancers in the United States by age, race, and sex between 1990 and 2010. We found that elderly patients experienced a smaller improvement in survival for cancers of the colon/rectum, breast, prostate, lung, and liver than their younger counterparts. In particular, the age-related disparities were most pronounced for those cancers with the greatest advancements in diagnosis and treatment over the past two decades, including cancers of colon/rectum, breast and prostate. African Americans experienced poorer survival than whites for all cancers. Because of a greater improvement in prostate cancer survival in African Americans than for whites, the racial difference in the survival of this cancer decreased during the study period. For ovarian cancer, however, the survival rate declined in African Americans but slightly increased in whites, leading to a wider racial gap in the survival of this deadly cancer. No apparent disparities in survival improvement by sex were noted. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Prostate Cancer, Radiation Therapy / 22.02.2015

Ann Caroline Raldow, M.D. Brigham and Women's Hospital Resident in Radiation OncologyMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ann Caroline Raldow, M.D. Brigham and Women's Hospital Resident in Radiation Oncology Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Raldow: Active surveillance (AS) means monitoring the course of prostate cancer (PC) with the expectation to start treatment if the cancer progresses. Men who enter an AS program are able to defer and possibly avoid the side effects of prostate cancer treatment. According to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines, active surveillance is currently considered as an initial treatment approach for men with low-risk PC and a life expectancy of at least 10 years. However, no direct comparison has been made between favorable intermediate-risk and low-risk PC with regard to PC-specific mortality or all-cause mortality following treatment with high-dose radiation therapy such as brachytherapy, where radioactive seeds are placed inside the prostate to kill the cancer. We therefore assessed whether the risks of prostate cancer-specific mortality and all-cause mortality following brachytherapy were increased in men with favorable intermediate-risk versus low-risk prostate cancer. The study consisted of more than 5,000 men who were treated with brachytherapy at the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Chicago. After a median follow-up of 7.69 years, there were no significant differences in prostate cancer-specific mortality and all-cause mortality between men with low-risk and favorable intermediate-risk prostate cancer, suggesting that men with favorable intermediate-risk prostate may also be candidates for AS. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Prostate Cancer / 21.02.2015

Karim Chamie MD Department of Urology Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center UCLA Medical Center, Santa MonicaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karim Chamie MD Department of Urology Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  Active surveillance has been shown to be safe and effective. There are multiple longitudinal studies that have demonstrated the safety of active surveillance for men with indolent prostate cancer. In this context, we sought out to determine national practice patterns for localized prostate cancer. Moreover, we wanted to identify patient, tumor, and physician factors that influence treatment decision. What we found was that the vast majority of patients undergo radiation therapy, regardless of patient age and health or severity of tumor. Instead, by far the most significant predictor of whether a patient undergoes radiation therapy is whether they have been referred to a radiation oncologist. On the other hand, surgeons significantly incorporate patient age and health and tumor severity when considering radical prostatectomy (surgery). (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, JAMA / 20.02.2015

Dr. Peter Forster PhD Fellow of Murray Edwards College and McDonald Institute at the University of CambridgeMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Peter Forster PhD Fellow of Murray Edwards College and McDonald Institute at the University of Cambridge   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?   Dr. Forster: As a result of our paternity testing work at the Institute for Forensic Genetics in Munster (Germany), we have accumulated a pool of over 24,000 parents and their children, of whom we know for certain that they are biologically related. Occasionally we observe a new mutation in these children, which must have come either from the sperm or the egg of one of the parents. As we analyse highly variable microsatellite DNA (a repetitive type of DNA, also know as STR DNA, which stands for "short tandem repeat" DNA), we can fairly easily find out whether the mutation has come from the mother or the father. It turns out that the fathers contribute 6-7 times more mutations to the children than the mothers do. This has long been known. What is new is that we have observed that the male and female teenagers at puberty do NOT set out with the same low mutation load, but instead, the teenage boys already have a sixfold higher mutation load in their sperm than the girls in their oocytes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Duke, JAMA, Radiation Therapy, Thyroid / 19.02.2015

Sanziana Roman MD FACS Professor of Surgery Duke University  Section of Endocrine Surgery Director of the Endocrine Surgery Fellows and Scholars Program Duke University School of Medicine Chief, General Surgery and Associate Chief of Surgery for Clinical Affairs, DVAMCMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sanziana Roman MD FACS Professor of Surgery Duke University Section of Endocrine Surgery Director of the Endocrine Surgery Fellows and Scholars Program Duke University School of Medicine Chief, General Surgery and Associate Chief of Surgery for Clinical Affairs, DVAMC Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Roman: Adjuvant radioactive iodine (RAI) is commonly used in the management of differentiated thyroid cancer. The main goals of adjuvant RAI therapy are to ablate remnant thyroid tissue in order to facilitate long-term follow-up of patients, decrease the risk of recurrence, or treat persistent and metastatic lesions. On the other hand, Adjuvant radioactive iodine ( therapy is expensive, with an average cost per patient ranging between $5,429.58 and $9,105.67. It also carries the burden of several potential complications, including loss of taste, nausea, stomatitis with ulcers, acute and/or chronic sialoadenitis, salivary duct obstruction, dental caries, tooth loss, epiphora, anemia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, acute radiation pneumonitis, pulmonary fibrosis, male infertility, and radiation-induced malignancies. Therefore, Adjuvant radioactive iodine ( should be used only for appropriately selected patients, for whom the benefits would outweigh the risks. Based on current guidelines, adjuvant RAI is not recommended for patients with papillary thyroid cancers confined to the thyroid gland when all foci are ≤1 cm (papillary thyroid microcarcinoma, or PTMC). Similarly, Adjuvant radioactive iodine ( does not have a role in the treatment of medullary and anaplastic thyroid cancer. Given the fact that variation in treatments exist, our goal was to analyze patterns of inappropriate adjuvant RAI use in the U.S. in order to identify potential misuses leading to an increase of costs for the healthcare system and unnecessary patients’ exposure to risks of complications. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Karolinski Institute / 18.02.2015

Karolina Szummer, MD, PhD Section of Cardiology, Department of Medicine Karolinska Institutet Karolinska University Hospital Stockholm, Sweden MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karolina Szummer, MD, PhD Section of Cardiology, Department of Medicine Karolinska Institutet Karolinska University Hospital Stockholm, Sweden Please note: This work is comparing the anticoagulant fondaparinux with low-molecular-weight heparin (not heparin). Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Szummer: Since the publication of the OASIS-5 trial in 2006, many hospitals chose to change their medical practice and start using fondaparinux instead of low-molecular-weight heparin in the treatment of myocardial infarctions. In this study from the nation-wide near-complete myocardial infarction registry we were able to follow how the use of fondaparinux instead of low-molecular-weight heparin translated in clinical life was associated to a reduction in bleeding events and death. It is a very satisfying study, that confirms that the randomized clinical trial results are transferred with improvements in outcome to the treated patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mayo Clinic, Smoking / 17.02.2015

Jon Ebbert, M.D. Associate director for research Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence CenterMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jon Ebbert, M.D. Associate director for research Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ebbert: Some cigarette smokers prefer to reduce the number cigarettes that they smoke before quitting smoking completely. Previous studies have evaluated the use of nicotine replacement therapy and one smaller study looked at varenicline to help smokers quit through smoking reduction. We wanted to conduct a larger study with varenicline using a longer duration of treatment. We enrolled cigarette smokers who had no intention of quitting in the next month but who were willing to reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked while working toward a quit attempt in the next 3 months. (more…)