Author Interviews, Autism, Nature, Pediatrics / 27.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Lombardo, PhD Assistant professor of Psychology the University of Cyprus  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Autism is a diagnostic label we give to children with difficulties in the areas of social-communication and restricted, repetitive stereotyped behaviors and interests. The diagnosis is made based on observations about behavior and is a consensus label, meaning that clinicians can show high degrees of agreement that a given set of behaviors is ‘autism’. But aside from the diagnostic label, there is a fair degree of heterogeneity within patients that have the diagnosis. One way in which patients are heterogeneous is with regard to early language development. Some toddlers with autism are minimally verbal, while at the other end, many toddlers with autism develop language typically. An important question to answer is whether that kind of difference in language development indicates a subtype with different underlying biology. To examine this question, we first split toddlers with autism into two subtypes defined by their language outcome at 4 years of age. Some toddlers were classified as poor language outcome, because their language performance was 1 standard deviation below typical norms. Other toddlers with autism had relatively good language outcome, as their language performance by 4 years of age was within 1 standard deviation of typical norms. We also measured the biology behind these two autism subtypes. First we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which is a non-invasive method to look at blood oxygenation response that changes according to a task. Blood oxygenation changes are an indirect measure of neural activity. We used fMRI during natural sleep at around 29 months of age while the toddlers were played language stimuli through headphones to elicit neural responses to speech. Second, we measured molecular aspects of biology, by taking blood samples, isolating leukocyte cells, and then quantifying gene expression for all protein coding genes in the genome, at around the same time as the fMRI scan. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, CMAJ, Pharmacology / 26.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer Watt, PhD Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation University of Toronto MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (e.g. aggression, agitation) are common among persons living with dementia. Pharmacological (e.g. antipsychotics) and non-pharmacological (e.g. reminiscence therapy) interventions are often used to alleviate these symptoms. However, antipsychotics are associated with significant harm among older adults with dementia (e.g. death, stroke). Regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada issued black box warnings to advise patients and clinicians of this potential for harm. And initiatives were championed to decrease the use of antipsychotics in persons living with dementia. In response, we have seen a rise in the use of other pharmacological interventions, such as trazodone (an antidepressant). Its potential to cause harm in older adults with dementia is largely unknown. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues / 26.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "USA - NY - City of New York Police VARIATION" by conner395 is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Jordan E. DeVylder, PhD Graduate School of Social Service Fordham University, New York, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study is intended to address the lack of empirical research on police violence from a public health perspective. The main findings are that police violence is relatively widespread in Baltimore and New York City, is disproportionately directed toward people of color and sexual or gender minorities, and is associated with psychological distress, suicidal behavior, and psychosis-like symptoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Schizophrenia, University of Pittsburgh / 22.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hayley D. Germack PHD, MHS, RN Assistant Professor, School of Nursing University of Pittsburgh MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As nurse scientists, we repeatedly witness the impact of having a serious mental illness (i.e. schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression disorder) on patients’ inpatient and discharge experience. As health services researchers, we know how to make use of large secondary data to illuminate our firsthand observations. In 2016, Dr. Hanrahan and colleagues (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0163834316301347) published findings of a secondary data analysis from a large urban hospital system that found 1.5 to 2.4 greater odds of readmission for patients with an  serious mental illness diagnosis compared to those without. We decided to make use of the AHRQ’s HCUP National Readmissions Database to illuminate the magnitude of this relationship using nationally representative data. We found that even after controlling for clinical, demographic, and hospital factors, that patients with SMI have nearly 2 times greater odds of 30-day readmission.  (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, JAMA / 19.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "A neonate with Down's?" by Sadasiv Swain is licensed under CC BY 2.0Rosalyn Hithersay LonDowns Kings College, London  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In our research group, we have been following a large group of adults with Down syndrome in the UK to track changes with ageing in their health and cognitive function. It has been known for some time now that people with Down syndrome are at high risk for developing dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. This new study has shown the huge impact that this risk has on mortality for these adults. We found that dementia is now the likely underlying cause of death in more than 70% of adults with Down syndrome aged over 35 years. This is a much bigger proportion of deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease compared to the general population: in England and Wales only 17.5% of deaths past the age of 65 would be related to dementia of any kind.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Mental Health Research, PTSD / 16.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sanford Nidich, Ed.D. Director, Center for Social-Emotional Health Maharishi University of Management Research Institute Fairfield, Iowa MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a complex and difficult-to-treat disorder, affecting 10-20% of veterans across eras. Previous research raised the question of whether a non-trauma focused treatment can be as effective as trauma exposure therapy in reducing PTSD symptoms. The overall objective of the study was to compare Transcendental Meditation (TM), a non-trauma focused practice, to prolonged exposure (PE) in a non-inferiority clinical trial, and to compare both to a PTSD health education control group. Transcendental Meditation was found to be as effective as PE in reducing PTSD symptoms severity from baseline to three-month posttest. In standard superiority comparisons, significant reductions in PTSD symptoms were found for TM vs. HE, and PE vs. HE. Percentages of participants with clinically significant improvement, as measured by the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) interview (≥10 point reduction), were TM=61%, PE=42%, and HE=32%  (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA, Testosterone / 16.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Andreas Walther PhD Department of Biological Psychology, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland Task Force on Men’s Mental Health of the World Federation of the Societies of Biological Psychiatry MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The study situation with regard to endogenous testosterone level and depressive symptoms in men is currently very mixed. There are studies that show no association, but other studies show that low testosterone levels are associated with increased depressive symptoms. That is why several studies have tried to administer testosterone in men to treat depressive symptomatology among other conditions (e.g. erectile dysfunction, cognitive decline). However, no clear conclusions could be drawn from the studies to date, as some studies reported positive results, while others did not show any effects. Likewise, some studies showed better results in certain subgroups of men such as dysthymic men, treatment resistant, men with low testosterone, which raised the question of relevant moderators. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Environmental Risks, JAMA, Pediatrics / 16.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Cairo Air Pollution with less smog - Pyramids1" by Nina Hale is licensed under CC BY 2.0Lief Pagalan, MSc Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University Research Trainee, Centre for Hip Health and Mobility Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Pregnant women more heavily exposed to air pollution had higher chances of having children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The causes of ASD are not fully understood, but this study adds to the growing evidence that environmental risk factors have a role to play. Our study found an association between autism spectrum disorder in the children of women more heavily exposed to air pollution. We observed these results using well-defined cases of ASD and in Vancouver, Canada, which typically has lower air pollution. These findings are consistent with studies done in the U.S., Israel, and Taiwan, which have also found an increased risk of ASD from exposure to air pollution.  (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Coffee, Parkinson's / 14.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Donald Weaver, PhD, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS Senior Scientist and Director, Research Institute Krembil Research Institute University Health Network Toronto, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: First, we are seeking novel molecules that might have usefulness in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Since Mother Nature is a superb chemist, natural products are an ideal place to start looking for possible therapeutics. There is a long history (penicillin, digitalis …) of drugs identified from natural product sources. Moreover, in earlier work by us, we have shown that other natural products extracted from maple syrup have possible therapeutic efficacy against AD. Therefore, it was logical for us to look at extracts of coffee. We see similarities between maple syrup and coffee. In both of these natural products, the plant derived material (i.e. the coffee bean, or sap from maple syrup) is initially boiled or roasted prior to its use; thus, it is not a direct simple plant product, but one that has been heated (boiled or roasted). We suspect that the heating process “does more chemistry” enabling the generation of new molecules from the plant derived materials. In our study we show that a class of compounds (phenylindanes) from roasted coffee has the ability to inhibit the misfolding of two proteins (beta-amyloid, tau) whose misfolding and aggregation (“clumping”) is implicated in the disease process of AD. Second, as described below, there is already epidemiological evidence that coffee consumption may offer some protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease (PD), so by looking at the constituents of coffee for chemicals that might block the clumping of beta-amyloid and/or tau, was an attempt to seek a molecular link explaining the epidemiology. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Biomarkers, Genetic Research / 12.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Steven D. Hicks, M.D.,Ph.D Department of Pediatrics Penn State College of Medicine Hershey, PA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Since autism has both genetic and environmental underpinnings, my colleagues and I suspected that transcriptional elements (e.g. regulatory RNA molecules) might be different in the saliva of children with autism compared to peers without autism. We used a non-biased approach to analyze saliva from 372 children, and allowed machine learning techniques to inform which RNA elements best predicted autism status. To our surprise, microbial RNA levels and human RNA levels were equally powerful in predicting which children had autism. This may be because some children with autism eat restricted diets, resist tooth brushing, or put foreign objects in their mouths. The end result was a panel of 32 RNAs (20 human and 12 bacterial) that identified autism with 87% accuracy. Interestingly, when we tested the panel in a completely separate set of 84 children (including children from a different geographic region) the accuracy remained 88%.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury / 08.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Clara E. Dismuke-Greer, PhD Health Equity and Rural Outreach Innovation Center Ralph H. Johnson Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center Charleston, SC 29401 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background for this study is that previous research we had published had shown that Hispanic U.S. Veterans diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) had higher risk of mortality than non-Hispanic White U.S. Veterans, even after accounting for the effects of comorbidities as well as socio-demographics. This study sought to investigate further this apparent racial/ethnic disparity. Using a 10 year cohort followed for up to 14 years, and adjusting for TBI severity as well as comorbidities, socio-demographics and military factors, when we included location (urban vs. rural vs. highly rural vs. U.S. Territory (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, America Samoa and Mariana Islands), as well as race/ethnicity, we found that the racial/ethnic disparity disappeared, and that it was location which became statistically significant. Our main findings were that Veterans diagnosed with TBI residing in U.S. Territories have lower survival and higher risk of mortality relative to Veterans residing on the U.S. Mainland , even after statistical adjustment for the factors listed above. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Gender Differences, OBGYNE / 07.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Sarah Myers PhDDr Sarah Myers PhD Honorary Research Associate UCL Department of Anthropology MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Postnatal or postpartum depression is unfortunately common after giving birth; a figure often quoted is 15%, but some studies have found much higher numbers. Postnatal depression is associated with a range of poorer outcomes for mothers and their infants, and the financial costs of treating maternal mental ill health put health services under considerable strain. Studies have found that providing additional emotional support to at risk mothers, for instance via peer support programmes or regular phone calls with health visitors, can reduce the likelihood of them developing the condition. Therefore, it is really important that we understand the full range of risk factors that put women at greater risk of becoming depressed after giving birth. There is increasing evidence for a link between inflammation and depression, with factors that trigger an inflammatory immune response also increasing the likelihood of depressive symptoms. The opens up the possibility of finding new risk factors for postnatal depression based on known associations with inflammation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Cognitive Issues, OBGYNE / 05.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ryan J. McLaughlin, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Integrative Physiology & Neuroscience College of Veterinary Medicine Washington State University Pullman, WA 99164-7620 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The use of cannabis during pregnancy is a growing health concern, yet the long-term cognitive ramifications for developing offspring remain largely unknown. Human studies exploring the long-term effects of maternal cannabis use have been sparse for several reasons, including the length and cost of such studies, as well as the fact that experimentally assigning mothers to smoke cannabis during pregnancy is obviously ethically impractical. Animal models of maternal cannabis use have been advantageous in this respect, but they have been limited by the drugs used (synthetic cannabinoids vs. THC vs. cannabis plant) and the way that they are administered. In our study, we used a more translationally relevant animal model of maternal cannabis use that exposes pregnant rat dams to whole plant cannabis extracts using the intra-pulmonary route of administration that is most common to human users. Our preliminary data indicate that twice-daily exposure to a high-dose cannabis extract during pregnancy may produce deficits in cognitive flexibility in adult rat offspring. Importantly, these rats did not experience general learning deficits, as they performed comparably to non-exposed offspring when required to follow a cue in their environment that dictate reinforcer delivery. Instead, deficits were observed only when rats were required to disregard this previous cue-based strategy and adopt a new egocentric spatial strategy in order to continue receiving the sugar reinforcers. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Gender Differences, JAMA, Pediatrics / 05.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrée-Anne Ledoux, PhD Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute Ottawa, Ontario, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The natural recovery processes from a pediatric concussion remains poorly characterized throughout childhood. Children’s brains go through many phases of growth during development and sex differences exist. Therefore a 6-year-old child may not have the same recovery trajectory as an adolescent because of biopsychosocial differences. Thus, this study explored symptom improvement after concussion while considering these two key demographic factors. Understanding symptom improvement at different stages of development is important in order to provide the best possible care. The study examined data from 2,716 children and adolescents who had presented at nine emergency departments across Canada and were diagnosed with concussion. We examined the natural progression of self-reported symptom recovery following pediatric concussion over the initial three months after injury. Participants in the study were aged 5 to 18 years old with acute concussion, enrolled from August 1, 2013, to May 31, 2015. We examined different age cohorts – 5 to 7 years of age, 8 to 12 years of age, and 13 to 18 years of age, and investigated how sex is associated with recovery. Our study represents the largest study to evaluate symptom improvement trajectories in concussed pediatric population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, JAMA, OBGYNE / 01.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Magdalena Janecka PhD Department of Psychiatry Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our paper explored the association between maternal use of medication during pregnancy and the rates of autism in a large cohort from Israel. This followed on from a number of earlier studies reporting that the use of certain medications - for example antidepressants - during pregnancy is associated with higher rates of autism in children. However, rather than test the effects of any particular drug, or a set of drugs aggregated based on maternal condition, our large dataset allowed us to group all medications prescribed to pregnant women based on their drug target, and in the subsequent analyses focus on over 50 groups that included drugs with neurotransmitter-relevant targets - for example agonists and antagonists of their receptors. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, NEJM, Vanderbilt / 31.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brenda Truman Pun, DNP, RN Program Clinical Manager Vanderbilt University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Delirium is a serious problem in Intensive Care Units around the world. Approximately 80% of mechanically ventilated patients develop delirium, acute confusion, while in the ICU. Once thought to be a benign side effect of the ICU environment, research now shows that delirium is linked to a myriad of negative outcomes for patients which include longer ICU and Hospital stays, prolonged time on the ventilator, increased cost, long-term cognitive impairment and even mortality. For a half a century clinicians have been using haloperidol, an typical antipsychotic, to treat delirium in the ICU. However, there has never been evidence to support the use of haloperidol or its pharmacologic cousins, the atypical antipsychotics, to treat delirium. These drugs have serious side effects that include heart arrhythmias, muscle spasms, restlessness and are associated with increased mortality when given for prolonged periods in the outpatient settings leading to a black box warning for their use in this setting. The MIND-USA study was a double blind placebo controlled trial which evaluated the efficacy and safety of antipsychotics (i.e., haloperidol and ziprasidone) in the treatment delirium in adult ICU patients.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Heart Disease, JAMA, Neurology / 31.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marion Moseby-Knappe, MD Neurologist and Researcher Center for Cardiac Arrest at Lund University and Skane University Hospital Lund, Sweden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our research focuses on improving methods for examining unconscious patients treated on intensive care units after cardiac arrest. If a patient does not wake up within the first days after cardiac arrest, physicians need to evaluate how likely it is that the patient will awaken at all and to which extent there is brain injury. According to European and American guidelines, decisions on further medical treatment of cardiac arrest patients should always be based on a combination of examinations and not only one single method. Various methods are combined when assessing the patient such as examining different neurologic reflexes, head scans (computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging), other specialist examinations (electroencephalogram or somatosensory evoked potentials) or blood markers. Our research focuses on patients included in the largest cardiac arrest trial to date, the Targeted Temperature Management after Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (TTM) Trial. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pharmacology, Schizophrenia / 31.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jelena Kunovac, M.D., M.S. Founder and Chief Executive Chief Medical Officer Altea Research Las Vegas, Nevada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We conducted the study to confirm that the addition of samidorphan to olanzapine does not have an effect on the antipsychotic efficacy of olanzapine in subjects with an acute exacerbation of schizophrenia. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Exercise - Fitness, Pediatrics / 26.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sean C. Rose, MD Pediatric sports neurologist and co-director Complex Concussion Clinic Nationwide Children’s Hospital Assistant professor of Pediatrics The Ohio State UniversitySean C. Rose, MD Pediatric sports neurologist and co-director Complex Concussion Clinic Nationwide Children’s Hospital Assistant professor of Pediatrics The Ohio State University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The link between sub-concussive head impacts and declines in neurocognitive function has been reported by some studies, yet refuted by others.  There is very little evidence that has been collected in children as they are sustaining these head impacts. We initiated a multi-year study of youth football players to provide a more in-depth look at the question.  We measured head impacts using helmet sensors during the 2016 football season.  112 players age 9-18 completed a battery of neurocognitive tests before and after the football season. We found that neither the total burden of head impacts nor the intensity of individual impacts were associated with changes in testing performance from pre to post-season. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, JAMA / 25.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jamie Cooper AO BMBS MD FRACP FCICM FAHMS Professor of Intensive Care Medicine Monash University Deputy Director & Head of Research, Intensive Care & Hyperbaric Medicine The Alfred, Melbourne MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: 50-60 million people each year suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) . When the injury is severe only one half are able to live independently afterwards. Cooling the brain (hypothermia) is often used in intensive care units for decades to  decrease inflammation and brain swelling and hopefully to improve outcomes, but clinical staff have had uncertainty whether benefits outweigh complications. We conducted the largest randomised trial of hypothermia in TBI, in 500 patients, in 6 countries, called POLAR. We started cooling by ambulance staff, to give hypothermia the best chance to benefit patients. We continued for 3-7 days in hospital ind ICU. We measured functional outcomes at 6 months. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Mental Health Research, NEJM, Vanderbilt / 24.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eugene Wesley Ely, M.D. Dr. E. Wesley Ely is a Professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine with subspecialty training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Critically ill patients are not benefitting from antipsychotic medications that have been used to treat delirium in intensive care units (ICUs) for more than four decades, according to a study released today in the New England Journal of Medicine. Each year, more than 7 million hospitalized patients in the United States experience delirium, making them disoriented, withdrawn, drowsy or difficult to wake. The large, multi-site MIND USA (Modifying the INcidence of Delirium) study sought to answer whether typical and atypical antipsychotics — haloperidol or ziprasidone —affected delirium, survival, length of stay or safety. Researchers screened nearly 21,000 patients at 16 U.S. medical centers. Of the 1,183 patients on mechanical ventilation or in shock, 566 became delirious and were randomized into groups receiving either intravenous haloperidol, ziprasidone or placebo (saline). (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, NEJM / 23.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marc Lewis, Ph.D. Klingelbeekseweg Arnhem The Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: According to the brain disease model, addiction is a chronic disease brought about by changes in brain systems that mediate the experience and anticipation of reward and higher-order systems underlying judgment and cognitive control. Its proponents propose that these changes are driven by exposure to drugs of abuse or alcohol. The brain disease model is the most prevalent model of addiction in the Western world. The disease model's narrow focus on the neurobiological substrates of addiction has diverted attention (and funding) from alternative models. Alternatives to the brain disease model highlight the social-environmental factors that contribute to addiction and the learning processes that translate these factors into negative outcomes. Learning models propose that addiction, though obviously disadvantageous, is a natural, context-sensitive response to challenging environmental contingencies, not a disease. In this review I examine addiction within a learning framework that incorporates the brain changes seen in addiction without reference to pathology or disease.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Genetic Research, Heart Disease / 23.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Pregnancy 1" by operalynn is licensed under CC BY 2.0Heather Boyd, Ph.D. Senior researcher Department of Epidemiology Research Copenhagen Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We have known for a while that women who have had preeclampsia report different types of cognitive impairment (difficulties with short-term memory, attention deficits) in the years and decades after their pregnancies, and there are a few imaging studies suggesting that these women may have more white matter lesions in the brain and more signs of brain atrophy than women with uncomplicated pregnancies. We also know that women who have had preeclampsia are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease in the years and decades after delivery. Taken together, it was not a great leap to hypothesize that women with a history of preeclampsia might also be at increased risk of dementia later in life. However, the existing epidemiological data were unconvincing, possibly because it takes a great deal of power (a very large study population) to study links between two conditions that often occur decades apart. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, University of Pittsburgh / 18.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rachel H. Mackey, PhD, MPH, FAHA Assistant Professor of Epidemiology Graduate School of Public Health University of Pittsburgh MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: “Hardening,” or stiffening, of the arteries is a risk factor for heart attacks and other cardiovascular disease. Arterial stiffness can be measured by pulse wave velocity (PWV), because the pulse pressure wave travels faster in stiffer arteries. Stiffer arteries transmit increased pulsatile blood flow to the brain and are linked with markers of silent, or subclinical, brain disease, which are related to increased risk of dementia. However, it was not clear whether arterial stiffening would predict risk of dementia, especially in older adults, who often have existing subclinical brain disease. Therefore, a University of Pittsburgh team, led by Chendi Cui, M.S, doctoral student, and Rachel Mackey, PhD, MPH, FAHA, assistant professor of epidemiology at Pitt Public Health, analyzed the association between arterial stiffness and 15-year risk of dementia among 356 older adults, with an average age of 78. Study participants were part of the Cardiovascular Health Study Cognition Study (CHS‐CS), a long‐term study to identify dementia risk factors, led by coauthors Oscar Lopez MD and Lewis Kuller, MD, DrPH. In 1996-2000, study participants had had arterial stiffness measured by pulse wave velocity (PWV), brain imaging by MRI, and had annual follow-up visits for cognitive status. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, University Texas / 18.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Linda Ewing-Cobbs PhD Professor in the Department of Pediatrics McGovern Medical School University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Harriet and Joe Foster Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Children may have long-lasting psychological and physical symptoms after an injury. Post-concussive symptoms (PCS) are nonspecific cognitive, physical, and mood symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, headache, and irritability. These symptoms occur in approximately 15 to 30% children after mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). Although PCS often resolve within one month, some children experience symptoms for longer periods of time. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Geriatrics, JAMA, Surgical Research / 17.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with Mark Oldham, M.D. Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Medical Director, PRIME Medicine Proactive Integration of Mental Health Care in Medicine University of Rochester Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patients who have undergone coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery and, specifically, those who have been placed on cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) have received attention for the potential effects of such procedures on brain health. Heart valve surgery patients have received far less attention, which often leaves clinicians to extrapolate the data from CABG cohorts to their patients preparing to undergo valve surgery. However, there are many reasons why this is far less than ideal, especially as the CABG literature increasingly points to person- and procedure-specific factors as the determinants of postoperative cognitive outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Genetic Research, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 17.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Nicole Karcher, PhD Post-doctoral scholar with the NIMH Training in Clinical Sciences fellowship Department of Psychiatry Washington University School of Medicine   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: For over fifteen years, researchers have debated the role that cannabis use plays in the development of both psychotic disorders as well as subthreshold psychotic symptoms, such as psychotic-like experiences (PLEs). There is still a lack of consensus regarding the nature of the association between cannabis use and psychosis risk, with some research finding evidence for genetic overlap, while other research finds evidence for potentially causal pathways. The current study examined data from twins and siblings from two different samples, the U.S.-based Human Connectome Project and the Australian Twin Registry, with a total of 4,674 participants. Overall, psychotic-like experiences were associated with three separate cannabis use variables [frequent (≥100 times) use, a Cannabis Use Disorder diagnosis, and current cannabis use]. Furthermore, the current research found evidence for both shared genetic and individual-specific contributions to the association between PLEs and these three cannabis use variables. More specifically, while the association between cannabis use and psychotic-like experiences was largely attributable to shared genetic factors, cannabis users were more likely to endorse PLEs in comparison to the relative who used cannabis less.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, CT Scanning, Emergency Care, Lancet, Technology / 16.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Qure-ai.jpgSasank Chilamkurthy AI Scientist, Qure.ai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Head CT scan is one of the most commonly used imaging protocols besides chest x-ray. They are used for patients with symptoms suggesting stroke, rise in intracranial pressure or head trauma. These manifest in findings like intracranial haemorrhage, midline shift or fracture. Scans with these critical findings need to be read immediately. But radiologists evaluate the scans on first-come-first-serve basis or based on stat/routine markers set by clinicians. If the scans with critical findings are somehow pushed to the top of radiologists’ work list, it could substantially decrease time to diagnosis and therefore decrease mortality and morbidity associated with stroke/head trauma. (more…)
ADHD, Author Interviews, Psychological Science, University of Michigan / 11.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Holly White, PhD Research Scientist Basic and Applied Cognition Laboratory Department of Psychology University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study was inspired by my previous findings of higher originality and creative achievement among adults with ADHD, as well as my personal observations of individuals with ADHD choosing non-traditional approaches to problem solving. College students with ADHD sometimes ignore task instructions and examples, and while this may lead to errors, it may also lead to extraordinarily unique answers and solutions. I was curious as to whether this tendency of ADHD individuals to think in an unconventional and expansive manner might lead to resistance to conformity during creative tasks. In the present study, college students with ADHD were less likely to copy experimenter-provided task examples, compared to non-ADHD peers, on a product label invention task. ADHD participants were also less likely to create imaginary fruits that resembled typical Earth fruit, compared to non-ADHD participants. Students with ADHD were less likely to conform to pre-existing prototypes of fruit and therefore invented more original creations. Individuals with ADHD may be more flexible in tasks which require creating something new, and less likely to rely on examples and previous knowledge. As a result, the creative products of individuals with ADHD may be more innovative, relative to creations of non-ADHD peers.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Bipolar Disorder, JAMA, Schizophrenia / 11.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thomas Wolfers PhD Donders Center for Cognitive Neuroimaging Kapittelweg 29 6525EN Nijmegen The Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are severe and complex mental disorders. Currently, the most common approach in characterizing disorders biologically is by comparing patient groups with groups of healthy individuals. We employed a fundamentally different approach and investigated how much the brains of individual patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder differ from one another. For this purpose, we selected brain scans from healthy individuals to model a norm reflecting the healthy range, subsequently we compared the brain scans of patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder to this norm on the level of the individual. The main outcome was that individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder differ substantially from one another, thus, considering only the ‘average patient’ has little to say about what might be occurring in the brain of an individual patient. (more…)