Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Mineral Metabolism / 07.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38767" align="alignleft" width="128"]Val Andrew Fajardo, PhD. NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow | Centre for Bone and Muscle Health Brock University | Department of Health Sciences St. Catharines, ON, Canada  Dr. Fajardo[/caption] Val Andrew Fajardo, PhD. NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow | Centre for Bone and Muscle Health Brock University | Department of Health Sciences St. Catharines, ON, Canada  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Lithium is best known for its role as a mood stabilizer, and several ecological studies across a number of different regions have shown that trace levels of lithium in tap water can exert its mood stabilizing effect and reduce rates of suicide, crime, and homicide. The results from our study show that these trace levels of lithium could also potentially protect against Alzheimer’s disease.  These findings are actually supported by several years of research using pre-clinical and clinical models to demonstrate low-dose lithium’s neuroprotective effect against Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, we also found that trace lithium in tap water may potentially protect against obesity and diabetes – an effect that is also supported with previous literature.  In fact, some of the earlier reports of lithium’s effect of increasing insulin sensitivity and improving glucose metabolism were first published in the 1920s.  Finally, we found that trace lithium’s effect on Alzheimer’s disease may be partly mediated by its effect on obesity and diabetes. My collaborator Dr. Rebecca MacPherson who is an expert on Alzheimer’s disease as a metabolic disorder explains that this effect is in support of recent research demonstrating that obesity and diabetes are important risk factors in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.  So interventions aiming to reduce obesity and diabetes such as physical activity can go a long way in lowering risk for Alzheimer’s disease, which is also something we present in our study.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews / 06.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38727" align="alignleft" width="147"]Professor Claude Wischik Co-Founder and Executive Chairman TauRx Pharmaceuticals Prof. Wischik[/caption] Professor Claude Wischik Co-Founder and Executive Chairman TauRx Pharmaceuticals MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The study TRx-237-005 was the second of two Phase 3 trials conducted by TauRx, and was specifically set up to investigate the efficacy and safety of LMTX® in 800 patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease at a dose of 100 mg twice daily compared to 4 mg twice daily (intended as an inactive control dose) over an 18-month treatment period. Results from this study were found to be consistent with those from the first Phase 3 study in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, published in The Lancet [(TRx-237-015) Gauthier et al. 2016], indicating that patients obtained no benefit from LMTX® when it was taken in combination with existing approved drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and supporting the hypothesis that LMTX® might be effective as monotherapy at doses as low as 4 mg twice daily. Please refer to the press release for full study results.  
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 30.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38640" align="alignleft" width="128"]Willemijn Jansen, PhD  Postdoctoral researcher Department of Psychiatry & Neuropsychology Maastricht University Medical Center School for Mental Health and Neuroscience Alzheimer Center Limburg  Dr. Jansen[/caption] Willemijn Jansen, PhD Postdoctoral researcher Department of Psychiatry & Neuropsychology Maastricht University Medical Center School for Mental Health and Neuroscience Alzheimer Center Limburg  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cerebral amyloid-β aggregation is an early pathological event in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), starting decades prior to dementia onset. About 25% of cognitively normal elderly and 50% of patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have biomarker evidence of amyloid pathology. These persons are at increased risk for developing AD-type dementia, but the extent to which amyloid-β aggregation affects cognitive function in persons without dementia is unclear. This is important to know for a better understanding of the course of Alzheimer’s disease and for the design of AD prevention trials. We here investigate the association between amyloid plaques and memory scores, using data from 53 international studies included in the Amyloid Biomarker study. Cognitively healthy elderly people with plaques have a low memory score twice as often as these persons without plaques. MCI patients with plaques had 20% more often low memory and low global cognition scores than MCI patients without plaques. We further observed 10- to 15-year intervals between the onset of amyloid positivity and emergence of low memory scores in cognitively healthy persons.
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Imperial College, Pediatrics / 30.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Baby” by Victor is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr Chris Gale Clinical Senior Lecturer in Neonatal Medicine Imperial College London and Consultant Neonatologist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As part of a drive to make England a safer place to give birth, the Department of Health in England has set a target of reducing the number of babies that incur brain injury during or soon after birth by 20% by 2020 and to halve them by 2030. Before now United Kingdom health services did not have a standard definition of brain injury in babies and there has been no systematic collection of data for this purpose. With colleagues and in collaboration with the Department of Health, we have devised a practical way to measure the incidence rate of brain injury in babies using routinely recorded data held in the National Neonatal Research Database. The research estimated that 3,418 babies suffered conditions linked to brain injury at or soon after birth in 2015, which equates to an incidence rate of 5.14 per 1,000 live births. For preterm births (babies born at or less than 37 weeks) the rate was 25.88 per 1,000 live births in 2015, almost six times greater than the rate for full-term births, which was 3.47 per 1,000 live births. Overall, the research found that the most common type of condition that contributed brain injuries was damage caused by lack of oxygen to the brain, called hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy; this is seen mainly in term babies. For preterm babies, the largest contributor to brain injuries is from bleeding into and around the ventricles of the brain, a condition called periventricular haemorrhage. It is also the first time that brain injuries in babies have been measured using data gathered routinely during day to day clinical care on NHS neonatal units. The use of routine data required no additional work for clinical staff and provides a valuable way to measure the effectiveness of interventions to reduce brain injury.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Dermatology, Infections, Mental Health Research, Neurological Disorders, NIH / 23.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38474" align="alignleft" width="400"]The brain of one patient who died from sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (sCJD) appears nearly identical to the brain of a mouse inoculated with infectious prions taken from the skin of patients who died from sCJD. The brain of one patient who died from sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (sCJD) appears nearly identical to the brain of a mouse inoculated with infectious prions taken from the skin of patients who died from sCJD.
Case Western Reserve University[/caption]   Byron Caughey, Ph.D. Senior Investigator Chief, TSE/prion Biochemistry Section Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases NIH/NIAID Rocky Mountain Laboratories Hamilton, MT      MedicalResearch.com: Would you briefly explain what is meant by Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease? Response: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is an incurable—and ultimately fatal—transmissible, neurodegenerative disorder in the family of prion diseases. Prion diseases can be found in many mammalian species and are due to the conversion of normally harmless prion protein molecules into abnormally folded, aggregated and self-propagating clusters and filaments in the brain. The accumulation of these clusters has been associated with tissue damage that often leaves dying neurons and microscopic sponge-like holes in the brain. In the sporadic and genetic forms of CJD this pathogenic process appears to arise spontaneously in the patient. However, the transfer of the prion protein aggregates from a Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease patient into another human or experimental animal can initiate the pathogenic process in the recipient. These infectious forms of prion protein are called prions. Human prion diseases include fatal insomnia; kuru; Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome; and variant, familial and sporadic CJD. Sporadic CJD is the most common human prion disease, affecting about one in one million people annually worldwide. Other prion diseases include scrapie in sheep; chronic wasting disease in deer, elk and moose; and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, in cattle.
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, CDC, Emergency Care, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 21.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38405" align="alignleft" width="190"]Dr. Melissa C. Mercado PhD, MSc, MA Behavioral scientist Division of Violence Prevention National Center for Injury Prevention and Control CDC Dr. Mercado[/caption]

Dr. Melissa C. Mercado PhD, MSc, MA Behavioral scientist Division of Violence Prevention National Center for Injury Prevention and Control CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Suicide ranks as the 10th leading cause of death for all age groups combined and has been among the top 12 leading causes of death since 1975 in the U.S. In 2015, across all age groups, suicide was responsible for 44,193 deaths in the U.S., which is approximately one suicide every 12 minutes. Suicide was the second leading cause of death among U.S. youth aged 10-24 years in 2015. Self-inflicted injury is one of the strongest risk factors for suicide. This study examined trends in non-fatal self-inflicted injuries treated in hospital emergency departments (EDs) among youth aged 10 to 24 years in the United States from 2001-2015.  The overall weighted age-adjusted rate for this group increased by 5.7% annually during the 2008 to 2015 period.  Age-adjusted trends for males overall and across age groups remained stable throughout 2001-2015.  However, rates among females increased significantly, by 8.4% annually. The largest increase among females was observed among those aged 10-14 years, with an increase of 18.8% annually from 2009 to 2015.
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Brain Injury, JAMA / 21.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38373" align="alignleft" width="153"]Dr. Steven D. Hicks,  M.D., Ph.D Penn State Health Dr. Hicks[/caption] Dr. Steven D. Hicks,  M.D., Ph.D Penn State Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous research has shown that small epigenetic molecules called microRNAs are altered in the blood after a traumatic brain injury. Our own pilot research showed that microRNAs were also changed in the saliva after brain injury and that some of these changes mirrored changes in cerebrospinal fluid. In this study we investigated whether salivary microRNA patterns after a concussion could be used to predict the duration and character of symptoms one month after injury. We found that levels of five microRNAs predicted presence of symptoms one month later with greater accuracy (~85%) than standard surveys of symptom burden (~65%). Interestingly, one of the predictive salivary microRNAs (miR-320c) targets pathways involved in synaptic plasticity and was significantly correlated with attention difficulties one month after concussive injury.  
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 21.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38436" align="alignleft" width="158"]Julie M. Zito, PhD Professor of Pharmacy and Psychiatry University of Maryland, Baltimore Pharmaceutical Health Services Department Baltimore, MD 21201 Dr. Zito[/caption] Julie M. Zito, PhD Professor of Pharmacy and Psychiatry University of Maryland, Baltimore Pharmaceutical Health Services Department Baltimore, MD 21201  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The growth of antipsychotic use in children, mainly for the treatment of behavior, has been of increasing concern in recent years. Clinical safety issues (Burcu et al. 2017) and government reports on overuse in the treatment of poor and foster care children (GAO, 2017; 2012) motivated our assessment of peer review programs. These programs are a relatively new approach to Medicaid oversight intended to monitor and assure clinical appropriateness of second generation antipsychotics in children. Critically important is the fact that most antipsychotic use is for child behavioral problems which are off-label conditions, i.e. without sufficient evidence of effectiveness or safety.
Author Interviews, Education, JAMA, Karolinski Institute, Mental Health Research / 16.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38277" align="alignleft" width="100"]Ana Pérez-Vigil MD Department of Clinical Neuroscience Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research Center Karolinska Institutet Dr. Perez-Vigil[/caption] Ana Pérez-Vigil MD Department of Clinical Neuroscience Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research Center Karolinska Institutet MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Everyone who regularly works with persons who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has seen that their patients often struggle with school work. It is not uncommon for these individuals to have poor school attendance and severe patients can be out of the education system altogether. This applies to persons of all ages, from school children to young adults who may be at university. On the other hand there is a group of patients who, against all odds, working 10 times as hard as everybody else, manage to stay in education and eventually get a degree. So we have long suspected that OCD has a detrimental impact on the person’s education, with all the consequences that this entails (worse chances to enter the labour market and have a high paid job). But we did not really know to what extent OCD impacts education. So we wanted to know what is the actual impact of OCD on educational attainment using objectively collected information from the unique Swedish national registers. Previous work had been primarily based on small clinical samples from specialist clinics, using either self or parent report and cross-sectional designs. Previous work also tended not to control for important confounders such as psychiatric comorbidity or familial factors (genetic and environmental factors that could explain both OCD and the outcomes of interest).
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Compliance, HIV, JAMA / 16.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38366" align="alignleft" width="200"]Ryan Sanford Ryan Sanford[/caption] Ryan Sanford, MEng Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery Montreal Neurological Institute McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: With the introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) the outlook for HIV+ individuals has dramatically shifted from a fatal disease to a chronic manageable condition. However, HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders are still prevalent. The etiology of this dysfunction remains unknown. Previous work has reported progressive brain atrophy in HIV+ individuals with advanced disease and poor viral suppression, but it is unclear whether stable treatment and effective viral suppression can mitigate the progression of brain atrophy. To examine this issue, we followed well-treated HIV+ individuals with good viral suppression and well-matched controls, and assessed whether ongoing brain atrophy occurs over time. The main finding in this study was the HIV+ participants had reduced brain volumes and poorer cognitive performance compared to the control group, but the changes in brain volumes and cognitive performance were similar between the groups.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, NYU, Obstructive Sleep Apnea / 15.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38308" align="alignleft" width="150"]Ricardo S Osorio MD Center for Brain Health Department of Psychiatry Center of Excellence on Brain Aging NYU Langone Medical Center New York, NY 10016, USA Dr. Osorio[/caption] Ricardo S Osorio MD Center for Brain Health Department of Psychiatry Center of Excellence on Brain Aging NYU Langone Medical Center New York, NY 10016, USA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This was a study that was performed in a group of healthy normal elderly from the community that volunteered for studies on memory and aging. The main findings were that sleep apnea was very common, in almost all cases undiagnosed, and that it was associated with a longitudinal increase in amyloid burden which is considered one of the hallmark lesions of Alzheimer's disease
Author Interviews, Autism, Genetic Research, Nature / 12.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38196" align="alignleft" width="200"]Woo-Yang Kim, Ph.D Associate Professor Department of Developmental Neuroscience  Munroe-Meyer Institute University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha, NE 68198-5960 Dr-Woo-Yang Kim[/caption] Woo-Yang Kim, Ph.D Associate Professor Department of Developmental Neuroscience Munroe-Meyer Institute University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha, NE 68198-5960 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  Autism impairs the ability of individuals to communicate and interact with others. About 75 percent of individuals with autism also have intellectual disability, which is characterized by significant limitations in cognitive functions and adaptive behaviors. While autism and intellectual disability are currently defined using behavioral criteria, little is known about the neuropathogenesis of these conditions. Recent genetic studies have reported that haploinsufficiency of ARID1B causes autism and intellectual disability. However, the neurobiological function of ARID1B during brain development is unknown. Our study investigated the neurobiological role of the gene in brain development. Using genetically-modified mice, we found that Arid1b haploinsufficiency leads to an excitation-inhibition imbalance by reducing the number of GABAergic interneurons in the cerebral cortex. Furthermore, we showed that treatment with a GABAA-receptor positive allosteric modulator rescues ASD-like behavior and cognitive dysfunction in Arid1b-haploinsufficient mice, suggesting an association between lower numbers of GABAergic interneurons and behavioral outcomes. Our findings suggest a pathogenic mechanism for Autism Spectrum Disorder and intellectual disability.
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Brain Injury, Lancet / 09.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38107" align="alignleft" width="200"]Prof.dr. J van der Naalt PhD Department of Neurology University Medical Center Groningen Groningen, The Netherlands Prof J van der Naalt[/caption] Prof.dr. J van der Naalt PhD Department of Neurology University Medical Center Groningen Groningen, The Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Mild traumatic brain injury occurs frequently and is one of the leading cause of morbidity in adults worldwide. It is a major social-economic problem with one in three patients had persistent complaints several months after injury that interfere with resumption of daily activities and work. One of the most important questions concerns the finding that some patients recover without complaints and others do not after sustaining a mild traumatic brain injury. In a follow-up study with more than 1000 participants we found that personality factors are a major factor in the recovery process. In particular coping, that is the way patients adapt to persistent complaints, is important next to emotional distress and impact of the injury. In an add-on study with fMRI we found that in the early phase after injury, the interaction between specific brain networks was temporarily changed. However, when regarding persistent posttraumatic complaints , specific personality characteristics significantly determine long term outcome.
Author Interviews, HIV, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 08.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marcin Jankiewicz  University of Cape Town Cape Town, South AfricaMarcin Jankiewicz  University of Cape Town Cape Town, South Africa  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The Children with HIV Early Antiretroviral (CHER) trial, conducted in Cape Town and Soweto, was designed when there was uncertainty whether to start antiretroviral therapy (ART) as soon as HIV was diagnosed (below 12 weeks of age) or to wait until there was evidence of immuno-compromise and disease progression. Also, there were concerns about maintaining adherence, long-term toxicity and also resistance in the setting of few antiretroviral options. Early outcomes showed a decreased risk in childhood mortality in the early treatment arms compared to deferred treatment, becoming standard of care globally. The CHER cohort is one of the largest and best documented of children receiving ART within the first year of life. Also, age- and community-matched HIV exposed uninfected (HEU) and HIV unexposed (HU) uninfected infants were enrolled in parallel for a linked vaccine study. We therefore had an amazing opportunity to link with a neurodevelopmental sub-study in participants from Cape Town and apply sophisticated neuroimaging modalities that could link with clinical, virological and immunological characteristics.
Author Interviews, Depression, Kidney Disease, UT Southwestern / 08.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38095" align="alignleft" width="89"]Dr. Susan Hedayati MD University of Texas Southwestern Dallas, Texas Dr. Hedayati[/caption] Dr. Susan Hedayati MD Yin Quan-Yuen Distinguished Professorship in Nephrology University of Texas Southwestern Dallas, Texas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We previously showed that Major Depression is associated with a significantly higher risk of death, dialysis initiation, and hospitalization among patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Now we show that a common antidepressant medication, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), sertraline, does not improve depression in this patient population, a chronically ill group that is not only at significantly increased risk for developing depression but also its serious complications.
Author Interviews, Autism, Pharmacology / 07.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38060" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr. Mark E. Gurney, PhD MBA Dr. Gurney[/caption] Dr. Mark E. Gurney, PhD MBA Chairman & CEO, Tetra Discovery Partners Inc. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Fragile X is a genetic condition. Affected patients display a range of behavioral and other symptoms, including seizures, sleep disorders, anxiety, irritability, hyperactivity, autism, mild-to-severe cognitive impairment and intellectual disability. BPN14770 is a novel therapeutic agent that selectively inhibits phosphodiesterase-4D (PDE4D). Inhibition of PDE4 has been validated as a treatment strategy by many research groups in the Fragile X field, but non-selective PDE4 inhibitors have been associated with significant GI side-effects that have limited those drugs’ use. As a selective inhibitor, such side-effects were not seen for BPN14770 in a Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy young and elderly adults. In the current study, daily treatment of Fragile X knock-out (FXS) mice with BPN14770 showed a reduction in hyperarousal, improved social interactions and natural behaviors, and changes in nerve structure in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the portion of that brain associated with cognition. Moreover, the drug’s benefit persisted for two weeks after all drug was cleared from the mice. At the same time, the behavior of normal mice treated with the drug remained unchanged. Examination of neurons from the prefrontal cortex of the treated FXS mice showed an improvement in dendritic spine morphology.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 07.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Keun-Hwa Jung MD PhD Program in Neuroscience, Neuroscience Research Institute of SNUMRC College of Medicine Seoul National University First author: Dr. Woo-Jin Lee MD Department of Neurology Seoul National University Hospital Seoul, South Korea  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cerebral white matter hyperintensity is a prevalent consequence of brain aging process and associated with various complications. One of the main mechanisms underlying the progression of white matter hyperintensity is chronic dysfunction of the glymphatic system which maintains metabolic homeostasis in brain. Glymphatic system is the route where the cerebrospinal fluid enters into the brain parenchyma and is cleared out with soluble wastes to the perivascular space of the cerebral small veins, peri-meningeal lymphatic vessels, deep cervical lymph nodes, and finally to the right atrium. Although the integrity of the glymphatic system is dependent on the adequate drainage of cerebral veins and lymphatics to the downstream chamber, the right atrium, the impact of hemodynamic changes in right-sided cardiac chambers on the development of white matter hyperintensity have not been elucidated.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Genetic Research, Nature / 07.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38035" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr Miguel Chillon PhD Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Universitat Autonoma Barcelona Spain Dr. Chillon[/caption] Dr Miguel Chillon PhD Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Universitat Autonoma Barcelona Spain MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Klotho is a protein with an anti-aging and neuroprotective role. Recent studies show it prevents the development of cognitive problems associated with aging and Alzheimer's disease. Klotho works mainly by inhibiting the insulin / IGF-1 signaling pathway and decreasing the damage caused by oxidative stress in the brain. One of the latest results revealed that the concentration of Klotho in cerebrospinal fluid is significantly lower in Alzheimer's patients than in human controls of the same age; and it is lower in the elderly with respect to young adults. Our study used a gene therapy strategy to introduce the Klotho gene into the Central Nervous System of adult animals. With just a single injection of the Klotho gene, young adult animals were protected over time from the cognitive decline associated with aging in old animals. These exciting results pave the way to further advances in research and the development of a neuroprotective therapy based on Klotho.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Johns Hopkins, Memory, Mental Health Research / 04.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Keenan A. Walker, PhD Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, MD MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is quite a bit of evidence linking immune function with dementia. For example, several of the risk genes for Alzheimer’s disease are known to play a key role in immune functioning and the regulation of inflammation. We conducted the current study to determine whether systemic inflammation earlier in life might be a risk factor for neurodegeneration decades later. This long temporal window allows us to get closer to understanding causality. That is, which comes first – systemic inflammation or brain volume loss. Using a large community sample, we found that individuals with higher levels of blood inflammatory markers during midlife tended to have smaller brain volumes in select regions and reduced memory ability as older adults. We found the strongest associations between systemic inflammation and brain volume loss in brain regions most vulnerable Alzheimer’s disease.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Cognitive Issues, HIV / 03.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37849" align="alignleft" width="107"]Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, DFASAM Department of Community Health Sciences Boston University School of Public Health Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicin Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center Boston , Massachusetts Dr. Saitz[/caption] Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, DFASAM Department of Community Health Sciences Boston University School of Public Health Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicin Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center Boston , Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Many people living with HIV infection use alcohol and other drugs including marijuana. People with HIV infection are also susceptible to cognitive dysfunction from many causes from HIV infection itself to aging. The main findings were that among people with HIV and substance use disorder, lifetime marijuana and alcohol use were not associated with cognitive dysfunction, likely due to competing risks.  But current marijuana use was associated with cognitive dysfunction.
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Nature / 30.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37766" align="alignleft" width="127"]Hyun Ji Noh PhD Postdoc in the Genome Sequencing and Analysis Program Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Dr. Hyun Ji Noh[/caption] Hyun Ji Noh PhD Computational Scientist, Medical and Population Genetics Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a debilitating neuropsychiatric disorder, characterized by intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors. OCD is estimated to affect roughly 80 million people worldwide, but its neurobiology remains poorly understood. To understand the disorder’s underpinnings, we searched for genetic mutations that are associated with OCD. For this, we first identified 608 genes that were most likely to be important  in OCD - some that have previously been identified in OCD-like behaviors in dogs and mice, and others in human autism, which also involves repetitive behaviors. We compared these genes in 592 people with OCD and 560 people without OCD, and found that 4 of these genes were significantly different between people with and without OCD: NRXN1, HTR2A, CTTNBP2 and REEP3. All of these four genes have important functions in the brain. Specifically, we found that the variants in NRXN1 are likely to change its ability to bind other synaptic proteins. Synaptic proteins link neurons together, and are critical for transmitting signals through the brain. We also found that the variants in CTTNBP2 and REEP3 don’t actually change the proteins made by these genes, but instead probably affect gene regulation (for example, how much of the protein is made). These ‘regulatory’ variants disrupt the binding of transcription factors (proteins that regulate expression of genes in the body) near the gene.
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Exercise - Fitness / 30.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37762" align="alignleft" width="150"]Michael D. Cusimano MD, FRCSC, DABNS, FACS, PhD, MHPE Adjunct Scientist in the Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital Division of Neurosurgery, St. Michael\'s Hospital Professor of Neurosurgery, Education and Public Health University of Toronto Dr. Cusimano[/caption] Michael D. Cusimano MD, FRCSC, DABNS, FACS, PhD, MHPE Adjunct Scientist in the Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital Division of Neurosurgery, St. Michael\'s Hospital Professor of Neurosurgery, Education and Public Health University of Toronto MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Baseball is played by millions annually and is traditionally seen as a low risk sport for head injury when compared to sports like American Football, Ice Hockey and Rugby. Over 6 million children and youth are enrolled in formal baseball or softball leagues annually.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Heart Disease / 26.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37734" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr. Leif Friberg MD, PhD Associate professor in cardiology Karolinska Institute Friberg Resarch Stockholm, Sweden  Dr. Leif Friberg[/caption] Dr. Leif Friberg MD, PhD Associate professor in cardiology Karolinska Institute Friberg Resarch Stockholm, Sweden  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: I have been doing research on atrial fibrillation and stroke risk for many years and knew that the very common heart arrhythmia is associated with a 40% increased risk of dementia. Considering that that 12-15% of 75 years olds have this arrhythmia, and even more at higher ages, the problem is significant to say the least. The mechanism behind stroke in atrial fibrillation is that blood clots are formed in the heart. When these are dislodged they travel with the blood stream and may get stuck in the narrow vessels of the brain where they stop blood flow causing brain infarction or stroke. Oral anticoagulant drugs like warfarin or the newer so called NOAC (new oral anticoagulant) drugs are highly efficient in preventing formation of these large blood clots and offer at least 70% risk reduction. Now, blood clots come in different sizes. There are also microscopic clots that do not cause symptoms of stroke but all the same eat away at the brain at a slow but steady pace. Imaging studies shows this after only a few months or even weeks of atrial fibrillation. Our hypothesis was therefore: If anticoagulants are so effective in protecting against large clots, will they not help against the small ones too?
AACR, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cognitive Issues, Colon Cancer, UCSF / 24.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37702" align="alignleft" width="112"]Yingjia Chen, M.Sc, MPH, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow University of California, San Francisco Dr. Chen[/caption] Yingjia Chen, M.Sc, MPH, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow University of California, San Francisco  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Both colon cancer and dementia are prevalent among the elderly and have a high risk of co-occurrence. Previous studies found that patients with dementia were treated less aggressively. In this study, we hypothesized that presence of pre-existing dementia was associated with worse survival for stage III colon cancer patients, and that post-operative chemotherapy was on the causal pathway.
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Exercise - Fitness, Pediatrics / 21.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37562" align="alignleft" width="100"]Jingzhen (Ginger) Yang, PhD, MPH Principal Investigator Associate Professor, Center for Injury Research and Policy The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Dept. of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio 43205 Dr. Yang[/caption] Jingzhen (Ginger) Yang, PhD, MPH Principal Investigator Associate Professor, Center for Injury Research and Policy The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Dept. of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio 43205  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: From 2009-2014, all 50 states and the District of Columbia passed their state TBI laws, more commonly known as concussion laws, to mitigate severe consequences of concussions. These laws often include 3 core components: (1) mandatory removal from play following actual or suspected concussions, (2) requirements to receive clearance to return to play from a licensed health professional, and (3) education of coaches, parents, and athletes regarding concussion symptoms and signs. Our study aimed to evaluate whether the laws achieve the intended impact. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: The main findings showed that:
  • The rates of new and recurrent concussions initially increase significantly after a law goes into effect. This is likely due to more people – athletes, athletic trainers, coaches, and parents – becoming aware of the signs and symptoms of concussion and actually reporting a potential or actual concussion. Lack of knowledge about concussion signs and symptoms may have resulted in underreporting of concussions during the prelaw period. This trend is consistent across sports in our study and other studies looking at youth sports-related concussions.
  • The rate of recurrent concussions shows a significant decline approximately 2 ½ years after the law is in place. This demonstrates that the laws are having an impact. One of the core function of these laws is to reduce the immediate risk of health consequences caused by continued play with concussion or returning to play too soon without full recovery. The decline in recurrent concussion rates in our study is likely the results of the laws requirements of mandatory removal from play or permission requirements to return to play.
  • Football had the highest average annual concussion rate, followed by girls’ soccer and boys’ wrestling. Males had a higher average annual concussion rate than females. However, when comparing the rates in gender comparable sports (basketball, soccer, baseball/softball), females had almost double the annual rate of concussions as males. These results are consistent with findings from other studies. It is possible that girls have higher risk of concussions than boys or are more likely to report injuries. Future studies are needed to look specifically at these disparities.
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Pain Research / 20.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37624" align="alignleft" width="350"]“Headache.” by Avenue G is licensed under CC BY 2.0 “Headache.” by Avenue G[/caption] Fu-Chi Yang, M.D., Ph.D.Assistant Professor Department of Neurology, Tri-Service General Hospital National Defense Medical Center Taipei, Taiwan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Migraineurs are likely to suffer from comorbid depression and anxiety. Furthermore, increased migraine frequency is associated with an increased risk of mood/anxiety disorders. It is not distinguished by grouping frequency of migraine attacks, whether it is associated with severity scores of depression and anxiety. Thus, we evaluated the relationship between severity of depression/anxiety and migraine frequency We mainly found that the severity of depression (BDI and HADS-depression scores) and anxiety (HADS anxiety score) were related to migraine frequency, after adjusting confounding factors.
Author Interviews, Autism, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 17.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37522" align="alignleft" width="142"]Maureen Durkin, PhD, DrPH Professor and Interim Chair Department of Population Health Sciences University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Madison, WI Prof. Durkin[/caption] Maureen Durkin, PhD, DrPH Professor and Interim Chair Department of Population Health Sciences University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Madison, WI  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies of the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among children in the U.S. have found two consistent patterns.  One is a higher prevalence among white non-Hispanic children than among black non-Hispanic or Hispanic children.  The other is a positive socioeconomic gradient, meaning that ASD prevalence in the U.S. is found to increase with increasing income and other indicators of socioeconomic status. One of the findings of this new study is that the racial and ethnic differences in autism spectrum disorder prevalence are not explained by socioeconomic factors, because even after adjusting for socioeconomic factors, ASD prevalence was found to be significantly lower in black and Hispanic children than in white non-Hispanic children.  Another finding is that the gap in ASD prevalence between children of high and low socioeconomic status did not change over time between 2002 and 2010, though the overall prevalence of ASD more than doubled during this period.
Author Interviews, Depression, Diabetes, JAMA, Pediatrics, Pharmacology / 17.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mehmet Burcu, PhD, MS Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research University of Maryland, Baltimore  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Antidepressants are one of the most commonly used psychotropic medication classes in U.S. youth, with serotonin reuptake inhibitors representing a large majority of total antidepressant use in youth. The most interesting finding was that the current use of serotonin reuptake inhibitors in youth was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, and this increased risk intensified further with the increasing duration of use and with the increasing dose. A secondary analysis also revealed that the risk of incident type 2 diabetes was most apparent in youth who used serotonin reuptake inhibitors for longer durations AND in greater daily doses.