Author Interviews, NYU, PLoS / 15.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40071" align="alignleft" width="200"]Glenn N. Saxe, MD Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry  Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Child Study Center, One Park Avenue New York, NY 10016 Dr. Saxe[/caption] Glenn N. Saxe, MD Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Child Study Center, One Park Avenue New York, NY 10016  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by brain entropy and how it relates to intelligence? Response: Think of human intelligence as the capacity for a human being to understand their complex and ever-changing world. The world of a person is really complex and constantly in flux so the human brain must be ready to understand whatever may come – when there is no way beforehand to predict what might come. How does the brain understand its world? It creates specific models of the information it receives through specific patterns of neuronal connection. These are called brain states. The way the brain understands its world is largely through using such models, or brain states, to accurately predict what comes next. So you can see that for an intelligent brain to properly understand and predict events in the world, it will need to have access to a very, very large number of brain states. And this is how entropy is defined. Entropy is a very old and very powerful concept in the history of science. Not only is it fundamental for thermodynamics – what we learned in high school physics – but it is also fundamental for the nature of information and it’s processing. Entropy is defined as the number of states – or distinct configurations – any system has access to at any point in time. High entropy means access to a very large number of states. Low entropy means access to a very small number of states. A solid is a phenomenon with very low entropy. A gas is a phenomenon with very high entropy. Life, and the brain, are somewhere in between. Although it is impossible to precisely measure the number of states a brain has access to at any one moment, there is a highly related concept that can be measured. A system with access to a very high number of possible states (like a gas) has components with behavior that is highly unpredictable. A system with access to very few possible states (like a solid) has components whose behavior is highly predictable. We measured brain entropy through the predictability of the brains components at the smallest scale we had access to: what are called voxels in an fMRI scan. These are 3mm cubes of neurons in a functional MRI scan, and there are many thousands of these voxels in our measurement and each of these voxels contains information on the activity of hundreds of thousands of neurons. We measured the predictability of each of these voxels and then found clusters of voxels where their predictability - or entropy - was related to intelligence.
Author Interviews, HIV, NIH, PLoS / 18.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39372" align="alignleft" width="300"]“HIV-infected T cell” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0 HIV-infected T-cell
NIAID image[/caption] Tae-Wook Chun, Ph.D. National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20892  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: While antiretroviral therapy (ART) has improved the clinical outcome for people living with HIV, persistence of viral reservoirs in the peripheral blood and lymphoid tissues remains a hurdle to complete eradication of virus and cure of the infection. We know the vast majority of people living with HIV will experience plasma viral rebound within weeks of cessation of therapy. Considering that current research on the treatment of people living with HIV has been heavily focused on developing strategies aimed at achieving sustained virologic remission in the absence of ART, it is of great interest to investigate whether treatment interruption results in expansion of the viral reservoir and/or damage to the immune system. Using data from a recently concluded trial that employed short-term analytical treatment interruption (ATI), we found that, as expected, HIV DNA increased in the CD4+ T cells of individuals living with HIV during the treatment interruption phase. However, the size of the HIV reservoirs as well as immune parameters returned to baseline 6–12 months after the participants resumed ART. 
Alcohol, Author Interviews, PLoS, Social Issues, Transplantation / 05.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Alcohol” by Jorge Mejía peralta is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Eirik Degerud, PhD Norwegian Institute of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Alcohol-related hospitalisations and deaths are more frequent among individuals with low socioeconomic position, despite that they tend to drink less on average. This is referred to as the alcohol-harm paradox. Alcohol is associated with both higher and lower risk of cardiovascular disease, depending on the drinking pattern. We wanted to assess if the paradox was relevant to these relationship also.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Chemotherapy, Diabetes, PLoS / 08.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38714" align="alignleft" width="200"]Terra G Arnason, MD PhD, Associate Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, SK, Canada  Dr. Arnason[/caption] Terra G Arnason, MD PhD, Associate Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, SK, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Response: Metformin has been used worldwide for decades to treat Type diabetes. Metformin is a cheap non-toxic compound that was originally plant derived. In the past decade a number of meta-analyses have demonstrated that Type 2 individuals taking metformin have a reduced risk of developing many different cancers and do better longterm. The molecular events facilitating metformin’s activity remain obscure and it is unknown whether metformin can help cancer patients avoid the development of drug resistant cancers years after successful treatment. In our study we asked whether metformin can not only restore sensitivity of multiple drug resistant tumors to chemotherapy once again, but whether metformin can prevent the development of multiple drug resistance in the "rst place. We demonstrate that metformin can sensitize drug resistant cells to chemotherapy once again, which supports recent studies, but we also show for the "first time that Metformin can prevent the progression of cancer cells towards drug resistance using cell culture experiments.
Author Interviews, PLoS, Stem Cells / 23.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37669" align="alignleft" width="150"]Serge Horbach MSc Institute for Science in Society Radboud University Nijmegen Serge Horbach[/caption] Serge Horbach MSc Institute for Science in Society Radboud University Nijmegen   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Since the late 60s, researchers have pointed to issues in biomedical research stemming from the misidentification of cells. Starting with controversy around HeLa cells, researchers became aware of cells invading other cell cultures. Currently, 488 cell lines have become mixed up with the wrong cells, still often HeLa cells. This leads to errors in reporting research. For example, some research papers have reported results for "lung cancer cells" that turned out to be liver cancer cells, or even mouse cells. We wanted to know what happened to past research and set out to estimate the number of scientific publications affected by misidentified cells. By tracing misidentified cells of the ICLAC database in Web of Science, we found 32.755 contaminated publications, or 0,8% of all literature in cell biology. These articles are cited by at least 500.000 other publications. More worryingly, it turned out that this problem is highly stubborn. Currently, still a few dozen new articles are published every month reporting on other cells than were actually used, leading to a total of 1200 each year. And this number is not decreasing, in spite of a database of misidentified cells, of genetic testing availability, requirements by some prominent journals, or attention for the problem in the literature. We were also able to establish that this is not just a problem for newly emergent countries in the international research community, but also for countries with well-establishments research traditions. In spite of great efforts, the problem of cell misidentification is not at all solved.
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Heart Disease, PLoS / 19.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37609" align="alignleft" width="200"]Professor Kazem Rahimi, FRCP MD DM MSc FES Deputy Director, The George Institute for Global Health UK Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Oxford Honorary Consultant Cardiologist, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust Dr. Rahimi[/caption] Professor Kazem Rahimi, FRCP MD DM MSc FES Deputy Director, The George Institute for Global Health UK Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Oxford Honorary Consultant Cardiologist, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Mitral regurgitation, the most common heart valve disorder in high-income countries, has until now been considered a degenerative disorder, which results from damage over time due to ‘wear and tear’. As a result, the focus of medical practitioners has been on treating the disorder – by repairing or replacing the valve – rather than preventing it. This is partly because there has been a lack of large-scale, longitudinal studies investigating the effect of risk factors on the condition. We set out to analyse data on 5.5 million patients in the UK over 10 years. Our findings show, for the first time, that elevated blood pressure is an important risk factor for mitral regurgitation. Consistent with prior evidence on blood pressure associations with other cardiovascular disease - such as stroke and heart attacks – we found an association with mitral regurgitation that is continuous across the whole spectrum of blood pressure. More specifically, every 20 mmHg higher baseline systolic blood pressure is associated with a 26% increased risk of mitral regurgitation, with no threshold below or above which this relationship is not true. The association we found was only partially mediated by conditions that are established causes of secondary mitral regurgitation, which suggests that high blood pressure has a direct and independent effect on valve degeneration.
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, PLoS / 07.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Colin Sharpe School of Biology Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science School of Biological Sciences University of Portsmouth Portsmouth, United Kingdom  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We have long been fascinated by the question of what underpins the increasing complexity of multicellular animals. In a recent publication we looked at changes to the diversity of the NCoR family corepressors (NCoRs) across the Deuterostomes and found an increase in diversity from sea urchins to humans (1). This is due to gene duplication, an increase in alternative splicing and the encorporation of more protein motifs and domains. In this study we devised a measure of functional diversity based on these three factors and calculated this value for over 12000 genes involved in transcription in nine species from the nematode worm to humans. Orthologues whose increase in diversity correlated with the increase in complexity of these animals were then selected and we looked for common features and interactions between the selected genes. We found that proteins that regulate the dynamic organisation of chromatin were significantly enriched within the selection.
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, PLoS / 07.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36816" align="alignleft" width="133"]Hakhamanesh Mostafavi, MS PhD student Department of Chemical Engineering Columbia University Mostafavi Hakhamanesh[/caption] Hakhamanesh Mostafavi, MS PhD student Department of Biological Sciences Columbia University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We know very little about the genetic variants that underlie adaptation in humans. This is in part because we have mostly been limited to methods that search for footprints of ancient selection (that has acted for over thousands to millions of years) in the genomes of present-day humans; so by design are indirect and make strong assumptions about the nature of selection. These days, thanks to advances in genomic technologies, genetic data for large numbers of people is being collected, mostly for biomedical purposes. Accompanied by information on survival and reproductive success of these individuals, such large datasets provide unprecedented opportunities for more direct ways to study adaptation in humans. In this work, we introduced an approach to directly observe natural selection ongoing in humans. The approach consists in searching for mutations that change in frequency with the age of the individuals that carry them, and so are associated with survival. We applied it to around 210,000 individuals from two large US and UK datasets.
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, PLoS, University of Pennsylvania / 29.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36684" align="alignleft" width="200"]Yuanyuan Xie, PhD Postdoctoral Researcher Department of Neuroscience University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104 Dr.Yuanyuan Xie[/caption] Yuanyuan Xie, PhD Postdoctoral Researcher Department of Neuroscience University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: I joined Dr. Richard Dorsky’s lab in mid 2013 after a lab switch toward the end of the fourth year in my PhD. By then, the Dorsky lab at the University of Utah had published zebrafish lef1 mutants with a hypothalamic neurogenesis phenotype. I was asked to perform an RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) experiment to identify Lef1-dependent genes. In doing so, I also characterized the cellular phenotype in the hypothalamus of our zebrafish mutants in a greater detail. The first transition of this project happened when I proposed in late 2013 to test whether Lef1’s function was conserved in the mouse hypothalamus. Dr. Dorsky liked that idea, but told me that I could only pursue that idea if there was a Lef1-flox mouse strain available, because he did not want me to delay my graduation after a lab switch by making a new mouse line. Fortunately, a quick google search located the right mouse line published from the group of Dr. Hai-Hui Xue, who was generous enough to share some mice with us. Because the Dorsky lab was a zebrafish lab by then, we collaborated with Dr. Edward Levine to maintain our mice under his animal protocol. I was initially trained by Dr. Levine and his lab specialist Anna Clark for general mouse colony management. After Dr. Levine moved to Vanderbilt University in early 2016, we began to maintain our mice under Dr. Camille Fung’s animal protocol. Dr. Dorsky also supported me in attending a 3-week Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Course on Mouse Development, Stem Cells & Cancer in mid 2015, which made me much more confident in handling mouse work afterwards.
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, PLoS, Weight Research / 23.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36604" align="alignleft" width="113"]Prof. Deborah A Lawlor MSc(Lond), MBChB, PhD(Bristol), MPH(Leeds), MRCGP, MFPHM Professor of Epidemiology MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Bristol Prof. Lawlor[/caption] Prof. Deborah A Lawlor MSc(Lond), MBChB, PhD(Bristol), MPH(Leeds), MRCGP, MFPHM Professor of Epidemiology MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Bristol MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As the obesity epidemic has occurred there has been increasing concern about pregnant women being more adipose (having higher levels of fat) during their pregnancy. One particular concern is that women who are on average fatter will have more extreme changes in pregnancy on their lipid, fatty acid, amino acid and glucose levels. In normal ‘healthy’ pregnancy these metabolites increase during pregnancy as part of the physiological response to pregnancy which ensures that the developing fetus has sufficient fuel (nutrients – fats, proteins, sugars) for healthy growth and development. Women who are more adipose tend to have a more extreme change in these fuels and as a consequence the developing fetus is ‘overfed’. There is a linear relationship between a pregnant woman’s body mass index and her infants birth weight, such that each increment greater adiposity (body mass index) of the mother there is on average and increment greater infant birth weight. Recently, using a method that uses genetic variants (Mendelian randomization) we have shown that this association is likely to be causal (JAMA 2016). But whether there is a lasting effect on offspring health of being overfed in the uterus is unknown. There are concerns that there will be a lasting effect and that for daughters of more adipose women, this would mean that they go into their pregnancies on average fatter and with higher levels of the metabolites that could then overfeed their developing fetus. If this were the case it would mean the obesity epidemic could be accelerated across generations. There are associations of mothers body mass index with later offspring body mass index, BUT this might not be anything to do with developmental overfeeding of the feeding in the uterus – it could simply reflect shared lifestyles that offspring adopt from their mother (and father) or shared genetic effects. In this study we tried to separate out whether there was evidence for a long-term offspring effect on their lipids, fatty acids, amino acids, glucose, and an inflammatory marker, of having a mother who was on average fatter during her pregnancy that was due to overfeeding in the uterus, as opposed to shared family lifestyle and genetics. We did this by comparing associations of mothers pre-pregnancy BMI with offspring outcomes to the same associations of fathers pre-pregnancy BMI with the same outcomes. Our assumption here was that fathers BMI could not directly result in overfeeding of the fetus and so if the associations were similar this would suggest that they were largely driven by family factors.
Author Interviews, Pain Research, Pharmacology, PLoS / 17.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36499" align="alignleft" width="150"]Harsha Shanthanna MBBS, MD, MSc Associate Professor, Anesthesiology Chronic Pain Physician St Joseph's Healthcare,McMaster University Hamilton, Canada Diplomate in National Board, Anesthesiology (India) Fellow in Interventional Pain Practice (WIP) European Diplomate in Regional Anesthesia and Pain (ESRA) Dr. Shanthanna[/caption] Harsha Shanthanna MBBS, MD, MSc Associate Professor, Anesthesiology Chronic Pain Physician St Joseph's Healthcare,McMaster University Hamilton, Canada Diplomate in National Board, Anesthesiology (India) Fellow in Interventional Pain Practice (WIP) European Diplomate in Regional Anesthesia and Pain MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Pregabalin (PG) and gabapentin (GB) are increasingly used for nonspecific Chronic Low Back Pain (CLBP) despite a lack of evidence. There have been concerns expressed over their increased prescribing for various non cancer pain indications in recent years. Their use requires slow titration to therapeutic doses and establishing maintenance on a long-term basis. With prolonged treatment, the potential gain over possible adverse effects and risks could become unclear. We searched Cochrane, MEDLINE and EMBASE databases for randomized control trials reporting the use of gabapentinoids for chronic lower back pain treatment of 3 months or more in adult patients.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, OBGYNE, PLoS / 11.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36421" align="alignleft" width="150"]Jane McElroy, Ph.D. Associate professor Department of Family and Community Medicine MU School of Medicine Dr. McElroy[/caption] Jane McElroy, Ph.D. Associate professor Department of Family and Community Medicine MU School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: More than 31,000 new cases of endometrial cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2017. Through a five-year observational study, we found that women with increased levels of cadmium had an increased risk of endometrial cancer. Cadmium is a metal commonly found in foods such as kidneys, liver and shellfish as well as tobacco It’s a finding we hope could lead to new treatments or interventions to prevent the fourth most common cancer in women.
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, PLoS, Surgical Research / 27.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36177" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr. Joanna Shepherd Centre for Trauma Sciences Blizard Institute Queen Mary, University of London Dr. Shepherd[/caption] Dr. Joanna Shepherd Centre for Trauma Sciences Blizard Institute Queen Mary, University of London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Recent advances in resuscitation and treatment of life-threatening critical injuries means that patients with previously unsurvivable injuries are now surviving to reach hospital.  However, many of these patients develop Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome (MODS), which is a failure of several organs including the lung, heart, kidney, and liver. We studied immune cell genes in the blood of critically injured patients within the first few minutes to hours after injury, a period called the ‘hyperacute window’. We found a small and specific response to critical injury during this window that then evolved into a widespread immune reaction by 24 hours.  The development of MODS was linked to changes in the hyperacute window, with central roles for innate immune cells (including natural killer cells and neutrophils) and biological pathways associated with cell death and survival.  By 24 hours after injury, there was widespread immune activation present in all critically injured patients, but the MODS signal had either reversed or disappeared.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, PLoS / 26.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36141" align="alignleft" width="200"]“Grandmother” by Joe Shlabotnik is licensed under CC BY 2.0 “Grandmother” by Joe Shlabotnik[/caption] Carla Aimé PhD Institute of Evolutionary Sciences of Montpellier France MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  In all human populations, regardless of environmental and socioeconomic conditions, menopause occurs in women well before the end of their expected lifespan. Conversely, extensive post-reproductive life-span is rare in other species; except in some cetaceans. Evolutionary theory predicts that menopause and extensive post-reproductive lifespan should emerge and persist in populations only if it is advantageous for gene transmission. Identifying this advantage is a long-standing issue, and some hypotheses has already been suggested by other researchers. However, testing these hypotheses about the emergence of menopause is difficult, in particular because menopause exists today in all human populations. It is thus not possible to measure in real life the evolutionary advantage related to menopause by comparing gene transmission of women who stop reproduction and women who don't stop reproduction. Here, we used computer simulations to overcome this difficulty by modeling the emergence of menopause in simulated human populations. The main finding were the following : - Physiological constraints are not required for menopause to emerge. - The increasing cost of reproduction with age cannot explain menopause. - Grandmothering is part of the process leading to menopause : stopping reproduction allow reallocating resources to existing children and grand-children, thus leading to increase gene transmission via increased fertility of children and survival of grand children - Cognitive resources are also important. Indeed, cognitive abilities allow accumulation of skills and experience over the lifespan, thus providing an advantage for resource acquisition. These surplus resources can then be used to increase the number of offspring or be transmitted to existing offspring and grandoffspring. Stopping reproduction during aging allows allocating more resources to assist offspring and grandoffspring, thus increasing children’s fertility and grandchildren’s survival.
Author Interviews, Dermatology, HPV, PLoS / 22.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Dr. med. Sigrun Smola Institute of Virology, Saarland University Homburg/Saar, Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC), the most common cancer in humans, is caused by UV-irradiation. The potential co-factor role of cutaneous genus beta-human papillomaviruses (beta-HPV) in skin carcinogenesis, particularly in immunosuppressed patients, has become a major field of interest. However, the underlying mechanisms were unclear. The skin has natural mechanisms providing protection against UV-induced damage. One important factor suppressing UV-induced skin carcinogenesis is the transcription factor C/EBPα belonging to the CCAAT/enhancer binding protein family. C/EBPα can induce cellular differentiation and is regarded as a tumor suppressor in various tissues. When C/EBPα expression is blocked in these tissues, tumorigenesis is enhanced. Another important factor is the microRNA-203. It has been shown to control “stemness” in normal skin by suppressing a factor called p63. In many tumors miR-203 expression is shut off releasing this “brake”. In our study we demonstrate that cutaneous beta-HPV interferes with both protective factors providing an explanation how cutaneous beta-HPV enhances the susceptibility to UV-induced carcinogenesis. Moreover, we provide evidence that these viruses regulate miR-203 via C/EBPα. We have investigated this mechanism in Epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EV) patients that serve as a human model disease for studying the biology of genus beta-HPVs. They are highly susceptible to persistent genus beta-HPV infection, such as HPV8, and have an increased risk to develop non-melanoma skin cancer at sun-exposed sites.
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Education, PLoS, Sleep Disorders / 21.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Dorothee Fischer Department of Environmental Health Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts Center for Injury Epidemiology, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety Hopkinton, Massachusetts, MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Chronotypes are a result of how the circadian clock embeds itself into the 24h light-dark cycle, producing earlier and later individuals ("larks and owls") with regards to rhythms in physiology, cognition and behavior, including sleep. It can be beneficial for health and safety to sync forced wake times (work, school) with individual chronotypes, thereby reducing the misalignment between sleep, circadian rhythms and external demands. To better inform potential interventions such as tailored work schedules, more information is needed about the prevalence of different chronotypes and how chronotype differs by age and sex. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first large-scale and nationally representative study of chronotypes in the US.
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Opiods, PLoS / 10.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_35195" align="alignleft" width="200"]A. Simon Pickard, PhD Dr. Pickard[/caption] A. Simon Pickard, PhD Professor, Dept of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes and Policy University of Ilinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The heroin epidemic, which has left virtually no part of American society unscathed, can be viewed as an illness.  Unlike some illnesses, however, it was largely manufactured by stakeholders in the healthcare system, wittingly or unwittingly. The main finding, that heroin addiction costs us just over $50 billion per year, is likely a conservative estimate.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, HIV, Opiods, PLoS / 31.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_34943" align="alignleft" width="150"]Cora Bernard, MS, PhD candidate Pre-doctoral Student in Management Science and Enginnering Affiliate, Center for Health Policy and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research Stanford Health Policy Cora Bernard[/caption] Cora Bernard, MS, PhD candidate Pre-doctoral Student in Management Science and Enginnering Affiliate, Center for Health Policy and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research Stanford Health Policy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The US opioid epidemic is leading to an increase in the US drug-injecting population, which also increases the risks of HIV transmission. It is critical to public health that the US invests in a coherent and cost-effective suite of HIV prevention programs. In our model-based analysis, we considered programs that have the potential both to prevent HIV and to improve long-term health outcomes for people who inject drugs. Specifically, we evaluated opioid agonist therapy, which reduces the frequency of injection; needle and syringe exchange programs, which reduce the frequency of injecting equipment sharing; enhanced HIV screening and antiretroviral therapy programs, which virally suppress individuals and decrease downstream transmission; and oral HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which is taken by an uninfected individual and lowers the risk of infection.
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, PLoS / 31.05.2017

[caption id="attachment_34920" align="alignleft" width="150"]Sarka Lisonkova, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of British Columbia. Children’s and Women’s Health Centre Dr. Lisonkova[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sarka Lisonkova, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of British Columbia. Children’s and Women’s Health Centre MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Adverse fetal and infant outcomes associated with maternal age were known and our study confirms that the risk of fetal and neonatal death and severe neonatal morbidity increases among mothers over 30 years. We also knew that older mothers are more likely to have hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic diseases, and they are more likely to develop gestational diabetes, hypertension during pregnancy, and preeclampsia. These complications may put the fetus or newborn at risk, but are generally not considered to be potentially life threatening to the mother. Our study adds new information on the rates of severe maternal morbidities that have a high case-fatality rate, lead to organ damage, or have serious health implications such as hysterectomy. Our study also adds the information on the rates of any severe adverse birth outcome - for baby or mom - in the association with maternal age, which is important for counseling. Women usually want to know ‘what are the chances that anything bad happens’.
Allergies, Asthma, Author Interviews, Dermatology, PLoS, Vitamin D / 10.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_34378" align="alignleft" width="133"]Brent Richards, MD, MSc</strong> Associate Professor of Medicine William Dawson Scholar / FRQS Clinical Research Scholar Departments of Medicine, Human Genetics, Epidemiology and Biostatistics McGill University Senior Lecturer, King's College London (Honorary) Dr. Brent Richards[/caption] Brent Richards, MD, MSc Associate Professor of Medicine William Dawson Scholar / FRQS Clinical Research Scholar Departments of Medicine, Human Genetics, Epidemiology and Biostatistics McGill University Senior Lecturer, King's College London (Honorary) MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Some previous epidemiological studies have suggested that low vitamin D levels are associated with increased rates of asthma, atopic dermatitis—an itchy inflammation of the skin—and elevated levels of IgE, an immune molecule linked to atopic disease (allergies). In our study, we looked at genetic and health data on more than 100,000 individuals from previous large studies to determine whether genetic alterations that are associated with vitamin D levels predispose people to the aforementioned conditions. We found no statistically significant difference between rates of asthma (including childhood-onset asthma), atopic dermatitis, or IgE levels in people with and without any of the four genetic changes associated with lower levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the form of vitamin D routinely measured in the blood.
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, PLoS, Toxin Research / 05.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_34401" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr. Antonio J. Signes-Pastor, PhD Institute for Global Food Security Queen’s University Belfast Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, Department of Epidemiology, Geisel School of Medicine Dartmouth College Lebanon, NH Dr. Signes-Pastor[/caption] Dr. Antonio J. Signes-Pastor, PhD Institute for Global Food Security Queen’s University Belfast Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, Department of Epidemiology, Geisel School of Medicine Dartmouth College Lebanon, NH MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Inorganic arsenic is a human carcinogen, which has also been associated with several adverse health effects including neurological, cardiovascular, respiratory, and metabolic outcomes. Early life exposure is of particular concern since it may adversely impact on lifetime health outcomes. If low inorganic arsenic drinking water is available the main source of exposure is the diet, especially rice and rice-based products, which are widely used during weaning and to feed infants and young children. In order to reduce exposure, the EU has recently regulated (1st January 2016) the inorganic arsenic maximum level of 0.1 mg/kg for rice products addressed to infants and young children. This level is also under consideration by the US FDA.
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Nutrition, PLoS / 19.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Huaidong Du Senior Research Fellow China Kadoorie Biobank Medical Research Council Population Health Research Unit Clinical Trial Service Unit & Epidemiological Studies Unit Nuffield Department of Population Health Oxford UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This research article describes findings from the China Kadoorie Biobank study which is a large population based prospective cohort study including about 0.5 million adults recruited from 10 areas in China. The main reason for us to perform this study is because previous evidence on potential benefit of fruit consumption in diabetes prevention and management is very limited. The sugar content of fruit has led to concerns in many parts of the world (e.g. China and several other Asian countries) about its potential harm for people with (high risk of) diabetes. This has consequently Chinese people diagnosed with diabetes tend to restrict their fruit intake. With the rapid increase of diabetes incidence in China and many other Asian countries, it is critically important to investigate the associations of fruit consumption with the incidence diabetes and, among those with diabetes already, diabetic macro- and microvascular complications. Through analysing data collected during 7 years of follow-up, the study found that people who eat fresh fruit more frequently are at lower risk of developing diabetes and diabetes related vascular complications. Compared with non-consumers, those who ate fresh fruit daily had a 12% lower risk of developing diabetes. Among participants with diabetes at the start of the study, higher fresh fruit consumption also showed health benefits, with a 100g portion of fruit per day associated with 17% lower overall mortality, 13% lower risk of developing diabetes-related complications affecting large blood vessels (e.g. ischaemic heart disease and stroke) and 28% lower risk of developing complications affecting small blood vessels (e.g. kidney and eye diseases).
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Genetic Research, PLoS / 18.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daryl Armstrong Scott, M.D., Ph.D Associate Professor Molecular and Human Genetics Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, US MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This case started with a male child with intellectual disability, developmental delay, hypotonia, hypermobile joints and relative macrocephaly (large head size). Clinical testing showed that he carried a small deletion on chromosome Xp11.22. Since the deleted region had not been previously associated with human disease, the patient was referred to our clinic for additional testing. However, a more detailed analysis revealed that mice that were missing one of the genes located in the deletion interval, Maged1, had neurocognitive and neurobehavioral problems. This sparked additional inquiries which resulted in the identification of three other males from two other families who carried small, overlapping Xp11.22 deletions and had similar features. In all cases, their deletions were inherited from their asymptomatic mothers. We concluded that deletion of an ~430 kb region on chromosome Xp11.22 that encompasses two pseudogenes (CENPVL1 and CENPVL2) and two protein-coding genes (MAGED1 and GSPT2) causes a novel, syndromic form of X-linked intellectual disability characterized by developmental delay, hypotonia, hypermobile joints and relative macrocephaly.
Aging, Author Interviews, Neurological Disorders, PLoS / 18.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Hector Zenil Co-director Information Dynamics Lab Unit of Computational Medicine, SciLifeLab Center for Molecular Medicine Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The generation of randomness is known to be related to cognitive abilities. It has also recently been shown that animals can recur to random behaviour to outsmart other animals or overcome certain situations. Our results that humans can best outsmart computers in generating randomness at a certain age (25). The results correspond to what it was suspected, that cognitive abilities peak at an early age before declining and that no other factor was important. We quantified a type of mathematical randomness that is known to be the true type of randomness as opposed to e.g. 'statistical randomness'. Something that is random is difficult to describe in a succinct way. Unlike 'statistical randomness', 'algorithmic randomness' does not only produce something that appears random but also that is very difficult to generate or produce. Conversely, something that may look random for the standard of statistical randomness may not turn out to be truly random.
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Pediatrics, PLoS, Vitamin D / 10.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_33775" align="alignleft" width="120"]Benjamin Udoka Nwosu, MD, FAAP Associate Professor of Pediatrics Division of Endocrinology University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester, Massachusetts Dr. Nwosu[/caption] Benjamin Udoka Nwosu, MD, FAAP Associate Professor of Pediatrics Division of Endocrinology University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Vitamin D deficiency has been reported in various gastrointestinal disorders but the vitamin D status of children and adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has not been previously characterized. Secondly, the vitamin D status in IBS has not been compared to those of other malabsorption syndromes such as irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, and celiac disease.
Aging, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, PLoS / 04.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_32653" align="alignleft" width="173"]Emma van Bussel MD, MSc Academic Medical Center | University of Amsterdam Amsterdam | The Netherlands Dr. Emma van Bussel[/caption] Emma van Bussel MD, MSc Academic Medical Center | University of Amsterdam Amsterdam | The Netherlands  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Dementia forms a high social and economic burden on society. Since there is a growing number of older people, the occurrence of dementia is expected to increase over the years to come. For future planning of care, it is important to have reliable predictions on new dementia cases for the population at large. Studies in Western countries suggested that the incidence per 1000 person years is declining. We studied the incidence trend of dementia in the Netherlands in primary care registry data, in a population of over 800,000 older people (60 years and over) for the years 1992 to 2014. Our results indicate a small increase of 2.1% (95% CI 0.5% to 3.8%) per year in dementia incidence over the past decades. The trend did not change in the years after 2003, when a national program was developed to support dementia care and research, compared to the years prior to 2003.
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Gender Differences, Menopause, OBGYNE, PLoS / 28.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_32479" align="alignleft" width="134"]Dr. Eija K. Laakkonen PhD Assistant professor Gerontology Research Center Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences University of Jyväskylä Dr. Laakkonen[/caption] Dr. Eija K. Laakkonen PhD Assistant professor Gerontology Research Center Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences University of Jyväskylä MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Physical activity improves health and may delay the onset of chronic diseases. For women in particular, the rate of some chronic diseases accelerates at middle age around the time of menopause; therefore it is important to identify the determinants of health-enhancing physical activity during midlife in this population. The main aim of this study was to characterize the level of physical activity and to examine the association between different female reproductive factors and objectively-measured physical activity in middle-aged women. The reproductive factors included cumulative reproductive history index, and perceived menopausal and pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms.
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Genetic Research, PLoS, Prostate Cancer / 23.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: G. Andrés Cisneros, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Chemistry Center for Advanced Scientific Computing and Modeling, University of North Texas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The accurate maintenance of DNA is crucial, if DNA damage is not addressed it can lead to various diseases including cancer. Therefore, the question arises about what happens if enzymes in charge of DNA repair are themselves mutated. We previously developed a method to perform targeted searches for cancer-related SNPs on genes of interest called HyDn-SNP-S. This method was applied to find prostate-cancer SNPs on DNA dealkylases in the ALKB family of enzymes. Our results uncovered a particular mutation on ALKBH7, R191Q, that is significantly associated with prostate cancer. Subsequent computer simulations and experiments indicate that this cancer mutation results in a decreased ability of ALKBH7 to bind its co-factor, thus impeding its ability to perform its native function.
ALS, Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Mental Health Research, PLoS, Technology / 12.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31785" align="alignleft" width="180"]Dr. Ujwal Chaudhary, PhD Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology University of Tübingen Tübingen, Germany Dr. Ujwal Chaudhary[/caption] Dr. Ujwal Chaudhary, PhD Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology University of Tübingen Tübingen, Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder which causes an Individual to be in Locked-in state (LIS), i.e. the patients have control of their vertical eye movement and blinking, and ultimately in Completely Locked-in state (CLIS), i.e, no control over their eye muscle. There are several assistive and augmentative (AAC) technology along with EEG based BCI which can be used be by the patients in LIS for communication but once they are in CLIS they do not have any means of communication.  Hence, there was a need to find an alternative learning paradigm and probably another neuroimaging technique to design a more effective BCI to help ALS patient in CLIS with communication.
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Karolinski Institute, Mental Health Research, PLoS / 11.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: soccer; creative commons imageTorbjörn Vestberg Licensed Psychologist & Researcher Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet Stockholm, Sweden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The aim of our research is to study the importance of executive functions for successful behaviour. In our first study published in 2012 (Executive Functions Predict the Success of Top-Soccer Players) we showed that the level of elite soccer players’ higher executive functions was in general 2 standard deviations above the normal population. It was the same for both men and women. Moreover, we also found a strong correlation between the capacities of higher executive functions and the number of goals and assists the player made after two and a half year. In our new study we were interested in how the situation is at a younger age, from twelve to nineteen years of age. Because of the maturation of the brain, higher executive functions do not reach their full capacity before nineteen years of age. On basis of this, our question was whether there were other parts of the executive functions that correlated with success in soccer. In this new study, we focused on core executive functions like the working memory, as it reaches its full capacity in the early teens. We found that there was a moderate correlation with the accuracy of the working memory and the number of goals the junior elite players made during a period of two years. When we made a composite measurement of both the demanding working memory and the test for the capacity of the higher executive functions, we found a strong correlation between these results and the number of goals that the players made during the two years of time. When we measured IQ and physical features, like length, we found out that those did not influence the results.