Autism Increases Risk of Death From Injury, Especially Drowning

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Joseph Guan

MPH Candidate in Epidemiology, Certificate in Chronic Diseases Epidemiology
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The prevalence of autism has been increasing especially in the past two decades. With an estimate of more than 3.5 million people living with autism in the US, approximately 500,000 of them are children under 15 years old. Current studies show that males are approximately four times as likely than females to be diagnosed with autism. There is also evidence that people with autism are at a heightened risk of injury. However, the research on the relationship between autism and injury is understudied.

We found that 28% of deaths in individuals with autism were due to injury, compared to 7% of deaths in the general population. Injury deaths in individuals with autism occurred at a much younger age (29.1 years) on average compared to injury deaths in the general population (54.7 years). Our study show that drowning was the leading cause of injury death among individuals with autism, followed by suffocation and asphyxiation. Children under the age of 15 years were 160 times more likely to die from drowning.

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Neither Vitamin E or Selenium Found To Prevent Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Richard J. Kryscio, Ph.D. Statistics and Chair, Biostatistics and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging Sanders-Brown Center on Aging University of Kentucky

Dr. Richard Kryscio

Richard J. Kryscio, Ph.D.
Statistics and Chair, Biostatistics and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging
Sanders-Brown Center on Aging
University of Kentucky 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: At the time the trial was initiated (2002), there was ample evidence that oxidative stress is an important mechanism in brain aging. Research showed that protein oxidation is linked to the brain’s response to the abnormal proteins seen in Alzheimer disease (amyloid beta plaques in particular) leading to inflammation, DNA repair problems, reduced energy production, and other cellular changes that are identified mechanisms in the Alzheimer brain.

Both vitamin E and selenium are antioxidants. Antioxidants, either through food or supplements, are believed to reduce oxidative stress throughout the body. In the brain, they may reduce the formation of amyloid beta plaques, reduce brain inflammation, and improve other brain processes. Studies in humans support these hypotheses. The Rotterdam study in the Netherlands, as an example, showed that initial blood levels of vitamin E could predict dementia risk. Those people with higher vitamin E levels were 25% less likely to develop dementia. Also, selenium deficiency results in cognitive difficulties and several population-based studies have shown an association between selenium level and cognitive decline (lower selenium levels are linked to thinking changes in the elderly).
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Critical Neural Pathways Identified in OCD Behavior

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Melanie Ullrich PhD Universität Würzburg Physiologisches Institut Würzburg

Dr. Ullrich

Dr. Melanie Ullrich PhD
Universität Würzburg
Physiologisches Institut
Würzburg

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Shortly after the first description of SPRED proteins in 2001, their in vivo functions, especially that of SPRED2, were completely unexplored. Thus we generated a mouse model which lacks functional SPRED2 expression. In our previous study, we identified SPRED2 as a critical regulator of stress hormone release from the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. In SPRED2 KO mice levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and corticosterone are elevated, a feature often associated with obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) in humans. In fact SPRED2 KO mice showed clear signs of OCD-like behavior demonstrated by excessive self-grooming up to the level of self-inflicted lesions. Treatment with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluoxetine alleviated excessive grooming, confirming the OCD-like nature of the disease.

Therefore, the first main finding of our study is that mutations in the SPRED2 gene have to be considered as a possible risk factor for the development of OCD-like diseases.

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Psychiatric Side Effects of 5 Alpha Reductase Inhibitors for BPH

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Blayne Welk, MD, FRCSC Assistant Professor of Surgery Western University

Dr. Blayne Welk

Blayne Welk, MD, FRCSC
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Western University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Concerns have been raised by regulatory agencies and patients about possible serious psychiatric side effects associated with the use of 5 alpha reductase inhibitors. These medications can be used for both enlarged prostates and alopecia.

We used administrative data to assess for potential psychiatric side effects associated with finasteride and dutasteride usage in older men with benign prostatic enlargement.

In our study we found that there was no increased risk of suicide associated with the use of these medications. However, there was a small increase in both self-harm and new onset depression associated with the use of 5 alpha reductase inhibitors.
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Marked Increase in Premature Mortality After First Psychiatric Admission

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Florian Walter MSc
Centre for Mental Health and Safety
University of Manchester, Manchester, England
Dr Roger Webb PhD and
Reader in Mental Health Epidemiology
Senior Postgraduate Research Tutor
Division of Psychology and Mental Health
Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health
The University of Manchester

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Mental disorders are associated with an elevated risk of premature mortality, and risk is especially heightened soon after discharge from inpatient psychiatric services. Previous studies have focused on single causes of death, whereas our study considered a comprehensive array of cause-specific mortality outcomes.

We analysed over 1.7 million Danish residents in our national interlinked registry study, which was conducted collaboratively by the Centre of Mental Health and Safety, University of Manchester, UK and the National Centre for Register-based Research, Aarhus University, Denmark. We compared the risk of dying from specific natural and unnatural causes of death among patients following their first discharge from inpatient psychiatric care versus people not admitted.

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No Increased Health Consequences After Chinese Famine Except Schizophrenia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

L. H. Lumey, MD, PhD Professor of Epidemiology Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University

Dr. Lumey

L. H. Lumey, MD, PhD
Professor of Epidemiology
Mailman School of Public Health
Columbia University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The Chinese Great Leap Forward Famine in 1959-1961 is the largest famine in human history. Earlier studies have reported that overweight, type 2 diabetes, hyperglycemia, the metabolic syndrome and schizophrenia were more common among adults who were exposed to the famine. Our re-analysis of all previous studies shows no increases in diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions among famine births except for schizophrenia.

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Female Soccer Players Have High Risk of Concussion

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Wellington K. Hsu, MD Clifford C. Raisbeck, MD, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery Northwestern University Chicago, IL

Dr. Hsu

Wellington K. Hsu, MD
Clifford C. Raisbeck, MD, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Northwestern University
Chicago, IL

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Concussions remains a significant problem in youth sports. The recent enactment of Traumatic brain injury laws have certainly heightened awareness regarding this problem. Our study looked at publicly available data regarding diagnosis of concussion in high school athletes. We found that females are more likely to be diagnosed with a concussion than males. We also concluded that girl soccer players and boys football players are at highest risk for a diagnosis of concussion. Since the neck meant of the Traumatic brain injury state laws, the diagnosis of concussion in this patient group increased significantly past decade.

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Effect of SSRIs and Depression On Revisions After Hip or Knee Replacement

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hilal Maradit Kremers, M.D. M.Sc.   Associate Professor of Epidemiology Mayo Clinic College of Medicine

Dr. Hilal Maradit Kremers

Hilal Maradit Kremers, M.D. M.Sc. 
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Depression and mood disorders are common comorbidities in patients undergoing total hip and total knee arthroplasty.  Based on previous research, there is evidence to suggest presence of depression in arthroplasty patients is associated with worse functional and clinical outcomes, such as complications, readmissions and mortality.  Although the mechanisms are poorly understood, it is important to identify strategies to effectively manage perioperative depression in an effort to improve arthroplasty outcomes.  One potential strategy is effective medical treatment of underlying depression which can potentially improve depression symptoms, thereby surgical outcomes.

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Poor Sleep In Early Childhood Linked to Later Cognitive and Behavioral Problems

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Elsie M. Taveras, MD MPH Chief, Division of General Pediatrics Director, Pediatric Population Health Management Director, Raising Healthy Hearts Clinic

Dr. Taveras

Dr. Elsie M. Taveras, MD MPH
Chief, Division of General Pediatrics
Director, Pediatric Population Health Management
Director, Raising Healthy Hearts Clinic
MassGeneral Hospital for Children

MedicalResearch.com: What are the primary findings of this study and why are they important?

Response: The primary findings of this study are that children who get an insufficient amount of sleep in their preschool and early school age years have a higher risk of poor neurobehavioral functioning as reported by their mothers and independently by their teachers at age 7. These behaviors included poorer executive function and more hyperactivity/inattention, emotional symptoms, conduct problems, and peer relationship problems.

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Cannabidiol Reduces Fear and Anxiety in Various Preclinical Models

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Carl Stevenson, PhD

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
BSc Animal Science Admissions Tutor
Local Group Rep, British Neuroscience Association
School of Biosciences
University of Nottingham
Loughborough, UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Anxiety-related and substance abuse disorders can be serious forms of mental illness that are not always treated effectively by psychological therapies or medications. One strategy to enhance their treatment is to boost the effects of psychological therapy by combining it with medication.

This study reviewed the literature on the effects of cannabidiol, a chemical found in the cannabis plant, in preclinical models of these disorders. Cannabidiol is safe to use in humans and doesn’t cause the ‘high’ associated with cannabis. This means that cannabidiol might be useful for treating certain symptoms without the unwanted side effects linked to medical cannabis.

Our review confirmed that cannabidiol reduces fear and anxiety in various preclinical models, when given on its own or in conjunction with behavioural interventions that model psychological treatment for anxiety-related disorders. Our review suggested that it can also reduce relapse in some preclinical models of addiction, although research looking at the effects of cannabidiol in substance abuse disorders is still in its infancy.

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No Decrease In Incidence of Dementia Over Past Decades

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Emma van Bussel MD, MSc Academic Medical Center | University of Amsterdam Amsterdam | The Netherlands

Dr. Emma van Bussel

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.

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Anorexia Nervosa: So Brain Changes Persist After Weight Restoration

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Guido K.W. Frank, M.D., FAED Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience Associate Director, Eating Disorder Program Director, Developmental Brain Research Program Pediatric Mental Health Institute | Children’s Hospital | University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Colorado

Dr. Guido Frank

Guido K.W. Frank, M.D., FAED
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Associate Director, Eating Disorder Program
Director, Developmental Brain Research Program
Pediatric Mental Health Institute | Children’s Hospital | University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Colorado

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that primarily affects young females and is associated with high mortality. The diagnostic criteria include restriction of energy intake that leads to significantly low body weight and an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat. The etiology of anorexia nervosa is complex, and only recently have we begun to better understand its underlying neurobiology. Brain scans of anorexia nervosa patients have implicated brain reward circuits in the disease, brain regions that govern food intake. On the other hand, how much we eat also affects over time reward system response and eating too much or too little has important implications on brain reward function.

Previous studies from our lab as well as basic science research suggest that underweight is associated with heightened reward system response. In this study wanted to test whether we would find heightened brain activity in adolescents with anorexia nervosa and whether this would normalize once the patient regained weight.

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