Author Interviews, Depression, OBGYNE / 01.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31675" align="alignleft" width="186"]Kristina M. Deligiannidis, MD Associate Professor, Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Director, Women’s Behavioral Health, Zucker Hillside Hospital Northwell Health Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Obstetrics & Gynecology Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine Dr. Kristina Deligiannidis[/caption] Kristina M. Deligiannidis, MD Associate Professor Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Director, Women’s Behavioral Health Zucker Hillside Hospital Northwell Health Associate Professor Psychiatry and Obstetrics & Gynecology Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Because of effects on social behavior, including maternal behavior, oxytocin has often been seen as a potential mediator of postpartum depression and anxiety. The original objective of our study was to examine the relationship between the use of synthetic oxytocin during and after labor and the development of depressive and anxiety disorders within the first year postpartum. We hypothesized that women exposed to synthetic oxytocin before or during labor would have a reduced risk of postpartum depressive and anxiety disorders compared with those without any exposure. Our findings told the opposite story. We found that peripartum synthetic oxytocin exposure was associated with an increase in risk for the development of postpartum depression and anxiety.
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Neurological Disorders, Psychological Science / 27.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31560" align="alignleft" width="180"]Dr. Roberta Riccelli Magna Graecia University Catanzaro, Italy Dr. Roberta Riccelli[/caption] Dr. Roberta Riccelli Magna Graecia University Catanzaro, Italy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In recent years, there has been a growing interest in personality neuroscience, an emergent field of research exploring how the extraordinary variety of human behaviors arise from different patterns of brain function and structure. According to psychologists, the extraordinary variety of human personality can be broken down into the so-called ‘Big Five’ personality traits, namely neuroticism (how moody a person is), extraversion (how enthusiastic a person is), openness (how open-minded a person is), agreeableness (a measure of altruism), and conscientiousness (a measure of self-control). However, the relationships between personality profile and brain shape remains still poorly characterized and understood. The findings of our study highlighted that the personality type characterizing each person is connected to the brain shape of several regions implicated in emotional behaviors and control. We found that neuroticism, a personality trait underlying mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders, was linked to a thicker cortex (the brain's outer layer of neural tissue) and a smaller area and folding in some brain regions. Conversely, openness, a trait reflecting curiosity and creativity, was associated to thinner cortex and greater area and folding in the brain. The other personality traits were linked to other differences in brain structure, such as agreeableness being correlated with a thinner prefrontal cortex (which is linked to empathy and other social skills). Overall, all the traits characterizing this model of personality are related to some features (e.g. thickness, area and folding) of brain regions implicated in attention, salience detection of stimuli and emotion processing. This could reflect the fact that many personality traits are linked to high-level socio-cognitive skills as well as the ability to modulate ‘core’ affective responses.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, PTSD / 27.01.2017

[caption id="attachment_31445" align="alignleft" width="200"]David Mataix-Cols Prof. Mataix-Cols[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David Mataix-Cols PhD Centre for Psychiatry Research, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm Health Care Services, Stockholm County Council Stockholm, Sweden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Exposure-based Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is the treatment of choice for patients with anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorders. Some patients do not respond sufficiently to such treatment. This has led researchers to find ways to augment (enhance) CBT with pharmacological agents, such as D-cycloserine (DCS). Because CBT is such a powerful treatment for most patients, we suspected that the effects of DCS would probably be small. This means that very large samples of patients are needed to show statistically significant differences between groups. Previous studies and meta-analyses were underpowered to detect such small effects. Combining the raw data from all available studies to date gave us the power we needed to address the question of whether DCS is an efficacious augmenting strategy, over and above CBT. We also had a second research question. Previous research from our group had suggested that there may be undesirable interactions between DCS and antidepressants, whereby patients taking both types of drugs would have significantly worse outcomes (see Andersson et al JAMA Psychiatry. 2015 Jul;72(7):659-67. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.0546).
Author Interviews, Autism, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Gastrointestinal Disease, Microbiome / 26.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31521" align="alignleft" width="135"]Maria Rosaria Fiorentino, PhD Dr. Maria Rosaria Fiorentino[/caption] Maria Rosaria Fiorentino, PhD Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School Molecular Biologist at Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center Massachusetts General Hospital East Charlestown, MA 02129-4404 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) refers to complex neurodevelopmental disorders arising from the interaction of genes and environmental factors. There are no defined mechanisms explaining how environmental triggers can lead to these conditions. One hypothesis based on the gut-brain axis connection suggests that inappropriate antigens trafficking through an impaired intestinal barrier, followed by passage of these antigens through a permissive blood-brain barrier (BBB), can be part of the chain of events leading to the disease. Many Autism Spectrum Disorders children experience co-morbid medical conditions, including gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunctions whose underlying nature is poorly understood. Several clinical observations describe increased intestinal permeability in ASD with often conflicting findings. Permeability to neuroactive food antigens derived from the partial digestion of wheat (gliadorphins) and cow’s milk (casomorphins) has been reported in ASD. However, while evidence of a permeable gut barrier in ASD is increasingly reported, no information is available concerning a similar breach for the BBB. The BBB is a critical line of defense in the Central Nervous System, limiting the access of circulating solutes, macromolecules, and cells that could negatively impact neuronal activity. Dysfunctions of the BBB have been associated with numerous inflammatory neurologic disorders, such as stroke, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Author Interviews, Eating Disorders, PLoS, Weight Research / 26.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31517" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr Maria Kekic PhD Dr. Maria Kekic[/caption] Dr Maria Kekic PhD Research Worker | The TIARA study: Transcranial magnetic stimulation and imaging in anorexia nervosa Section of Eating Disorders | Department of Psychological Medicine Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience | King’s College London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings? Response: Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterised by repeated episodes of binge-eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviours. It is associated with multiple medical complications and with an increased risk of mortality. Although existing treatments for bulimia are effective for many patients, a sizeable proportion remain symptomatic following therapy and some do not respond at all. Evidence shows that bulimia is underpinned by functional alterations in certain brain pathways, including those that underlie self-control processes. Neuroscience-based techniques with the ability to normalise these pathways may therefore hold promise as treatments for the disorder. One such technique is called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) – a form of non-invasive brain stimulation that delivers weak electrical currents to the brain through two electrodes placed on the head. It is safe and painless, and the most common side effect is a slight itching or tingling on the scalp.
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Cost of Health Care, CT Scanning, Electronic Records, Emergency Care, Kaiser Permanente / 25.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31510" align="alignleft" width="156"]Adam L. Sharp MD MS Research Scientist/Emergency Physician Kaiser Permanente Southern California Kaiser Permanente Research Department of Research & Evaluation Pasadena, CA 91101 Dr. Adam Sharp[/caption] Adam L. Sharp MD MS Research Scientist/Emergency Physician Kaiser Permanente Southern California Kaiser Permanente Research Department of Research & Evaluation Pasadena, CA 91101 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Millions of head computed tomography (CT) scans are ordered annually in U.S. emergency Departments (EDs), but the extent of avoidable imaging is poorly defined. Ensuring appropriate use is important to ensure patient outcomes and limited resources are optimized. A large number of stake holders have highlighted the need to reduce “unnecessary” CT scanning as part of their recommendations for the Choosing Wisely campaign. However, despite calls for improved stewardship, the extent of avoidable CT use among adults with minor trauma in community EDs is not known. The Canadian CT Head Rule (CCHR) is perhaps the most studied of many validated decision instruments designed to assist providers in evaluating patients with minor head trauma. This study aims to describe the scope of overuse of CT imaging by ED providers in cases where application of the CCHR could have avoided imaging. Secondarily, we sought to describe the extent to which avoidable CTs, if averted, would have resulted in “missed” intracranial hemorrhages requiring a neurosurgical intervention.
Addiction, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research / 20.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emily Brignone, BS Informatics, Decision Enhancement, and Analytic Sciences Center VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, Salt Lake City, Department of Psychology Utah State University, Logan, Utah MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Nearly 30% of active duty Veterans of post-9/11 conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are discharged from military service for reasons other than expired term of service or retirement. These non-routine discharges can occur for a variety of reasons, including disability, failure to meet or maintain qualifications, early release, or misconduct. Veterans discharged under non-routine conditions are at greater risk for several concerning outcomes during the reintegration period, including unemployment, incarceration, homelessness, and suicide. A better understanding of the context of the transition from military service to civilian life, including discharge type, may provide opportunities for mitigating risk for these negative outcomes. One potential indicator for the conditions surrounding this transition is the administrative code that the Department of Defense assigns to active duty military service members at the time of their separation from service. These codes describe the circumstances related to discharge, and can serve as clinically significant early markers for post-deployment mental illness, substance use disorders, and suicidality, and thereby subsequent adverse reintegration outcomes.
Aging, Author Interviews, Depression, Geriatrics, Hip Fractures / 16.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_34480" align="alignleft" width="133"]Sanna Torvinen-Kiiskinen MSc (Pharm.), PhD student, Kuopio Research Centre of Geriatric Care and School of Pharmacy University of Eastern Finland Sanna Torvinen-Kiiskinen[/caption] Sanna Torvinen-Kiiskinen MSc (Pharm.), PhD student, Kuopio Research Centre of Geriatric Care and School of Pharmacy University of Eastern Finland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Antidepressants are widely used among elderly persons, especially persons with Alzheimer’s disease. They are used not only for treatment for major depression, but for treatment of anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain as well as behavioral symptoms caused by dementia. However, antidepressants, as well as other psychotropic drugs, may cause sedation, confusion, orthostatic hypotension and hyponatremia, which increase the risk of falling and fractures. Because of changes in pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics due to aging, older persons are at the higher risk of those adverse events. The aim of our study was to investigate whether antidepressant use is associated with an increased risk of hip fracture among community-dwelling persons with and without Alzheimer’s disease.
Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Schizophrenia / 13.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31233" align="alignleft" width="150"]Dr Toby Pillinger MA(Oxon) BM BCh MRCP Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience King's College London Dr. Toby Pillinger[/caption] Dr Toby Pillinger MA(Oxon) BM BCh MRCP Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience King's College London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our meta-analysis has provided strong evidence that compared with healthy controls, individuals with early schizophrenia are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus, even when the effects of antipsychotic drugs, diet and exercise are taken out of the equation. Schizophrenia is associated with a dramatically reduced life expectancy, with individuals dying up to 30 years earlier than the general population. Approximately 60% of this excess mortality is due to physical health disorders such as heart attack or stroke, for which diabetes is a major risk factor. People with long-term schizophrenia are 3 times more likely than the general population to have diabetes, something that has previously been blamed on poor diet and exercise habits, as well as the use of antipsychotic medication. However, the link between schizophrenia and diabetes was first made back in the 19th century, long before the use of antipsychotics, and in an era where diets were less likely to cause diabetes. This could suggest that there is a causative link between schizophrenia and diabetes. Our meta-analysis examined whether diabetes risk is already raised in people at the onset of schizophrenia, before antipsychotics have been prescribed and before a prolonged period of illness that may be associated with poor diet and sedentary behaviour. We pooled data from 16 studies comprising 731 patients and 614 individuals from the general population. We collated blood data examining fasting blood glucose levels, blood glucose levels following the oral glucose tolerance test, fasting insulin levels and degree of insulin resistance. We demonstrated that compared with healthy controls, individuals with early schizophrenia had raised fasting glucose, raised levels of glucose following the oral glucose tolerance test, raised fasting insulin and elevated insulin resistance. Furthermore, these results remained statistically significant even when we restricted our analyses to studies where individuals with schizophrenia were matched to healthy controls with regards their diet, the amount of exercise they engaged in and their ethnic background. This suggests that our results were not wholly driven by differences in lifestyle factors or ethnicity between the two groups, and may therefore point towards a direct role for schizophrenia in increasing risk of diabetes.
Abuse and Neglect, Genetic Research, Schizophrenia, UCSD / 06.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31016" align="alignleft" width="200"]Brian P. Head, MS, PhD Associate Professor, UCSD Research Scientist, VASDHS Department of Anesthesiology VA San Diego Healthcare System San Diego, CA 92161-9125 Dr. Brian Head[/caption] Brian P. Head, MS, PhD Associate Professor, UCSD Research Scientist, VASDHS Department of Anesthesiology VA San Diego Healthcare System San Diego, CA 92161-9125 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: DISC1 is a schizophrenia associated gene originally identified in a Scottish family. DISC1 protein is highly expressed in the developing brain and in the dentate gyrus of the adult hippocampus, and is involved in neuritogenesis and neuronal signaling. DISC1 is located in multiple intracellular locations including axons and synapses, and loss of DISC1 function causes deficits in neural development, neuronal proliferation, axonal growth, and cytoskeleton modulation, which are consistent with abnormal neural development in schizophrenia. SynCav1 means synapsin-driven caveolin construct. Synapsin promoter is neuronal specific which allows us to increase caveolin expression-specifically in neurons. We have previously shown that SynCav1 increases neuronal signaling and dendritic growth and arborization in vitro (Head BP JBC 2011), and when delivered in vivo augments functional neuroplasticity and improves learning and memory in adult and aged mice (Mandyam CD Biol Psych 2015). Since loss of DISC1 function equates to schizophrenic-like symptoms, then decreased DISC1 expression in Cav-1 KO mice agrees with this premise. Thus, loss of Cav-1 increases their likelihood of developing schizophrenia-like symptoms. Because re-espression of Cav-1 restored DISC1 expression as well as expression of key synaptic proteins, this proof-of-concept findings not only builds upon our previously results demonstrating that Cav-1 is critical for neuronal signaling and functional synaptic plasticity but also strongly links Cav-1 with maintaining normal DISC1 expression levels and potentially attenuating schizophrenia-like symptoms.
Author Interviews, Memory, Pediatrics / 06.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_30987" align="alignleft" width="128"]Dr. Shelley Gray PhD Professor, Speech and Hearing Department of Speech and Hearing Science Arizona State University Tempe, AZ Dr. Shelley Gra[/caption] Dr. Shelley Gray PhD Professor, Speech and Hearing Department of Speech and Hearing Science Arizona State University Tempe, AZ MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Working memory is the part of our human memory system that simultaneously processes and stores incoming information. It is important to understand the structure of working memory so that more tailored assessments and interventions can be developed to help children with poor working memory learn more successfully. In this study we tested four competing models of working memory in second grade students with typical development using the Comprehensive Assessment Battery for Children – Working Memory (CABC-WM; Gray, Alt, Hogan, Green, & Cowan, n.d.; Cabbage et al., in press).
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pulmonary Disease / 06.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Meng-Ting Wang, PhD Associate Professor School of Pharmacy National Defense Medical Center Taipei, Taiwan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: During the past decades, there have been multiple case reports about acute respiratory distress or acute respiratory failure (ARF) from the use of antipsychotics. Nevertheless, no population-based studies have been conducted to examine this potential drug safety issue. We aimed to investigate the association between use of antipsychotics and risk of ARF in a population of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), who is vulnerable to ARF and frequently prescribed with antipsychotics.
Author Interviews, Autism, Gastrointestinal Disease, Psychological Science / 05.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_30964" align="alignleft" width="120"]David Q. Beversdor MD Center for Translational Neuroscience University Hospital University of Missouri Health System Columbia, MO 65212 Dr. David Beversdor[/caption] David Q. Beversdor MD Center for Translational Neuroscience University Hospital University of Missouri Health System Columbia, MO 65212 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Altered stress reactivity, alterations in cytokines and a high incidence of gastrointestinal disturbances have all been observed in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We wished to examine the interactions between these factors. What we found was that patients with greater stress reactivity, as indicated by cortisol response in the testing environment, had greater symptomatology involving the lower gastrointestinal tract, which was predominated by constipation.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Environmental Risks, Lancet / 05.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_30933" align="alignleft" width="150"]Hong Chen, PhD Scientist, Environmental Health Assessment Public Health Ontario | Santé publique Ontario Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto Adjunct Scientist, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) Toronto, ON Dr. Hong Chen[/caption] Hong Chen, PhD Scientist, Environmental Health Assessment Public Health Ontario | Santé publique Ontario Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health University of Toronto Adjunct Scientist, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences Toronto, ON MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Over the past several decades, there is unequivocal evidence that living close to major roadways may lead to various adverse health outcomes, such as cardio-respiratory related mortality and mortality. In the past decade, concern is growing that exposures associated with traffic such as air pollution and noise may also have an adverse impact on brain health. Several experimental studies show that air pollutants and diesel exhaust induce oxidative stress and neuroinflammation, activate microglia (which act as the first and main form of immune defense in the central nervous system), and stimulate neural antibodies. There are also a small number of epidemiological studies linking traffic-related noise and air pollution to cognitive decline and increased incidence of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies also showed that living near roads was associated with reduced white matter hyperintensity volume and cognition, but its effect on the incidence of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis is unknown. Given hundreds of millions of people worldwide live close to major roads, we conducted this population-based cohort study to investigate the association between residential proximity to major roadways and the incidence of these three neurological diseases in Ontario, Canada.
Author Interviews, Autism, Genetic Research, Nature, Pediatrics, Schizophrenia / 04.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_30921" align="alignleft" width="150"]Dr. Beate St Pourcain MSc, PhD(Cardiff) Genetic Epidemiology School of Oral and Dental Sciences MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit University of Bristol Dr. Beate St Pourcain[/caption] Dr. Beate St Pourcain MSc, PhD(Cardiff) Genetic Epidemiology School of Oral and Dental Sciences MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit University of Bristol MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: People with autism and with schizophrenia both have problems interacting and communicating with other people, because they cannot easily initiate social interactions or give appropriate responses in return. On the other hand, the disorders of autism and schizophrenia develop in very different ways. The first signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) typically occur during infancy or early childhood, whereas the symptoms of schizophrenia usually do not appear until early adulthood. The researchers asked whether it is possible to disentangle the apparent symptom overlap in ASD and schizophrenia through genetic analyses. As clinical diagnoses relate to the age of onset of a disorder and do not capture multiple developmental stages, the researchers used a trick. They assumed that there is a continuum between normal and abnormal behaviour and captured social communicative competence - the ability to socially engage with other people successfully - in participants of a population-based birth cohort during development. Specifically, the researchers studied the genetic overlap between the risk of having these psychiatric disorders and these measures of social communicative competence. Investigating thousands of genetic variants with small effects across the genome, they showed that genes influencing social communication problems during childhood overlap with genes conferring risk for autism, but that this relationship wanes during adolescence. In contrast, genes influencing risk for schizophrenia were most strongly interrelated with genes affecting social competence during later adolescence, in line with the natural history of the disorder. "The findings suggest that the risk of developing these contrasting psychiatric conditions is strongly related to distinct sets of genes, both of which influence social communication skills, but exert their maximum influence during different periods of development", explained Beate St Pourcain, senior investigator at the Max Planck Institute and lead author of the study. This is consistent with studies showing that genetic factors underlying social communication behaviour also change to some degree during childhood and adolescence.
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Lancet, Pediatrics, Schizophrenia / 22.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Lucy Riglin Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics Cardiff University School of Medicine Cardiff UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that usually occurs after puberty. However, previous research suggests that individuals who go on to develop schizophrenia often presented cognitive, social, behavioural, and emotional impairments in childhood. Our study found that, in a general population sample, genetic risk for schizophrenia was associated with these childhood impairments as early as age 4 years.
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, JAMA, Pediatrics / 21.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_30597" align="alignleft" width="137"]Roger Zemek, MD, FRCPC Associate Professor, Dept of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, Clinical Research Chair in Pediatric Concussion, University of Ottawa Director, Clinical Research Unit, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Ottawa, ON Dr. Roger Zemek[/caption] Roger Zemek, MD, FRCPC Associate Professor, Dept of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, Clinical Research Chair in Pediatric Concussion, University of Ottawa Director, Clinical Research Unit, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Ottawa, ON MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: While current concussion protocols endorse the conservative view that children should avoid physical activity until completely symptom-free, there is little evidence beyond expert opinion regarding the ideal timing of physical activity re-introduction. In fact, while rest does play a role in concussion recovery, protracted physical rest may actually negatively impact concussion recovery. Further, physiological, psychological, and functional benefits of early physical rehabilitation are observed in other disease processes such as stroke (which is an example of a severe traumatic brain injury). Therefore, our objective was to investigate the relationship between early physical activity (defined within 7 days of the concussion) and the eventual development of persistent post-concussion symptoms at one month.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Neurology / 19.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_30638" align="alignleft" width="133"]Kay Deckers, MSc PhD student School for Mental Health and Neuroscience Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology Maastricht University The Netherlands Kay Deckers[/caption] Kay Deckers, MSc PhD student School for Mental Health and Neuroscience Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology Maastricht University The Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In an earlier review (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25504093), we found that renal dysfunction was one the new candidate risk factors of dementia and needed further investigation. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Albuminuria is associated with an increased risk of developing cognitive impairment or dementia.
Author Interviews, Memory, Sleep Disorders / 16.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Roi Levy The Leslie and Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, The Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences Bar Ilan University Ramat Gan, Israel

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Long-term memory after an experience takes many hours to be reach its final form. During the consolidation period, the nascent memory is labile: the consolidation can be interrupted by new experiences, or new experiences that are too insignificant to be remembered can capture the consolidation process, and thereby be remembered. To avoid potentially maladaptive interactions between a new experience and consolidation, a major portion of the consolidation is deferred to the time in which we sleep, when new experiences are unlikely. For over 100 years, studies have demonstrated that sleep improves memory formation. More recent studies have shown that consolidation occurs during sleep, and that consolidation depends on the synthesis of products that support memory formation. Consolidation is unlikely to be shut off immediately when we are awakened from sleep. At this time, even a transient experience could capture the consolidation, leading to a long-lasting memory of an event that should not be remembered, or could interfere with the consolidation. We have identified a mechanism that prevents long-term memories from being formed by experiences that occur when awakened from sleep.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Health Care Systems, University of Pittsburgh / 12.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_30462" align="alignleft" width="144"]Dr-Joshua-M-Thorpe.jpg Dr. Joshua Thorpe[/caption] Joshua M. Thorpe, PhD, MPH From the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Care coordination for persons with dementia is challenging for health care systems under the best of circumstances. These coordination challenges are exacerbated in Medicare-eligible veterans who receive care through both Medicare and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Recent Medicare and VA policy changes (e.g., Medicare Part D, Veteran’s Choice Act) expand veterans’ access to providers outside the VA. While access to care may be improved, seeking care across multiple health systems may disrupt care coordination and increase the risk of unsafe prescribing - particularly in veterans with dementia. To see how expanded access to care outside the VA might influence medication safety for veterans with dementia, we studied prescribing safety in Veterans who qualified for prescriptions through the VA as well as through the Medicare Part D drug benefit.
Author Interviews, Hematology, Memory, Pediatrics, Technology / 09.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_30413" align="alignleft" width="200"]Steven J. Hardy, PhD Licensed Clinical Psychologist Divisions of Hematology and Oncology Children’s National Health System Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences Washington, DC Dr. Steven J. Hardy[/caption] Steven J. Hardy, Phd Licensed Clinical Psychologist Divisions of Hematology and Oncology Children’s National Health System Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences Washington, DC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Children with sickle cell disease exhibit neurocognitive deficits as a consequence of either silent or overt cerebral infarction or disease-related non-infarct central nervous system effects (likely resulting from chronic anemia and hypoxic events). These complications often lead to impairment in executive functioning (e.g., working memory, attention, inhibition, cognitive flexibility), which can make it difficult to focus in class, plan for long-term school projects, remember and carry out multi-step tasks or assignments, and stay organized. The literature on interventions to reduce neurocognitive sequelae of sickle cell disease is extremely limited. Our research team investigated a promising home-based, computerized cognitive training program (Cogmed) involving repeated practice on performance-adapted exercises targeting working memory with a sample of youth (ages 7 – 16) with sickle cell disease. Of the participants who have enrolled in the study (n = 70), 49% exhibited working memory deficits (<25% in the general population have a working memory deficit) and were randomized to an eight-week waitlist or to begin Cogmed immediately. Participants who used Cogmed demonstrated significant improvements on multiple measures of working memory, while those randomized to the waitlist group only exhibited such improvements after receiving Cogmed. Approximately 25% of participants completed the recommended number of Cogmed sessions (20 – 25 sessions). However, analyses revealed that participants who completed at least 10 sessions (about 50% of the participants) showed comparable levels of working memory improvement.
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, MRI, Pediatrics / 09.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eman S. Mahdi, MD, MBChB Pediatric Radiology Fellow [caption id="attachment_30368" align="alignleft" width="133"]Catherine Limperopoulos, PhD Director, Developing Brain Research Laboratory Co-Director of Research, Division of Neonatology Diagnostic Imaging and Radiology Children’s National Health System Washington, DC Dr. Catherine Limperopoulos[/caption] Catherine Limperopoulos, PhD Director, Developing Brain Research Laboratory Co-Director of Research, Division of Neonatology Diagnostic Imaging and Radiology Children’s National Health System Washington, DC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Premature birth is a major public health concern in the United States affecting 1 in 10 infants each year. Prematurity-related brain injury is very common and associated with a high prevalence of brain injury and accompanying lifelong neurodevelopmental morbidities. Early disturbances in systemic and cerebral hemodynamics are thought to mediate prematurity-related brain injury. The extent to which cerebral blood flow (CBF) is disturbed in preterm birth is poorly understood, in large part because of the lack of monitoring techniques that can directly and non-invasively measure cerebral blood flow. We report for the first time early disturbances in global and regional cerebral blood flow in preterm infants following brain injury on conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) over the third trimester of ex-uterine life using arterial spin labelling images. In terms of regional differences, we saw a marked decrease in blood flow to the thalamus and the pons, regions known to be metabolically active during this time.
Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA, McGill, Pharmacology, Stroke / 09.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christel Renoux, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Dept. of Neurology & Neurosurgery McGill University Centre For Clinical Epidemiology Jewish General Hospital - Lady Davis Research Institute Montreal  Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) increase the risk for abnormal bleeding, in particular, gastrointestinal tract bleeding. Previous studies also suggested an increased risk for intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) in patients treated with SSRIs compared to non users. However, even if this risk exists, the comparison with a non-treated group may exaggerate the strength of a potential association and the comparison with a group of patients treated with other antidepressants may help better delineate the risk. The potential bleeding effect of antidepressants is linked to the strength of serotonin inhibition reuptake, and antidepressants that are strong inhibitors of serotonin reuptake have been associated with the risk for gastrointestinal or abnormal bleeding compared with weak inhibitors but the risk of ICH is unclear.
ADHD, Author Interviews, Education, JAMA, UCSF / 08.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:  

Lisa Meeks , PhD Director, Medical Student Disability UCSF Medical Center

[caption id="attachment_30304" align="alignnone" width="171"]Lisa Meeks , PhD Director, Medical Student Disability UCSF Medical Center Dr. Lisa Meeks[/caption]

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This was the first study to include students with AD/HD, learning, psychological, and chronic health conditions. This study found that the prevalence of students with disabilities is up to four times higher than previous studies indicated.

AD/HD, learning, and psychological disabilities were the most prevalent, suggesting that most students with disabilities in medicine have non-apparent disabilities. Within MD granting programs, the number of students self-reporting disability varied between 0% and 12%. Explanations for the high variability between programs are unknown, however, anecdotal reports suggest the degree to which programs have dedicated resources and inclusive practices for students with disabilities influence student disclosure.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Depression, JAMA / 03.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Zahinoor Ismail MD FRCPC Clinical Associate Professor, Hotchkiss Brain Institute University of Calgary MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Depression and depressive symptoms are common in mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Evidence suggests that depression in MCI increases the likelihood of progression from MCI to dementia, compared to non-depressed people with MCI. In the newer construct of mild behavioural impairment (MBI), which describes the relationship between later life onset of sustained and impactful neuropsychiatric symptoms and the risk of cognitive decline and dementia, depression is an important subdomain (in addition to apathy, impulse control, social cognition and psychotic symptoms). Thus, depression and depressive symptoms are a significant risk factor for cognitive, behavioural and functional outcomes in older adults who have at most mild cognitive impairment. As the importance of neuropsychiatric symptoms in older adults emerges, good prevalence estimates are required to inform clinicians and researchers as well as public health policy and decision makers. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the best estimate of prevalence of depression in  mild cognitive impairment. We included 57 studies, representing 20,892 participants in the analysis. While we determined that the omnibus prevalence estimate was 32%, there was significant heterogeneity in this sample based on setting. In community samples, the rate was 25%, but in clinical samples this was higher at 40%. Additionally, different case ascertainment methods for depression (self report, clinician administered or caregiver report) and different MCI criteria didn't change the prevalence estimates.
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, PLoS, Psychological Science / 02.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr-Gunther-Meinlschmidt.jpg Prof. Dr. Gunther Meinlschmidt, Psych University of Basel, Department of Psychology, Division of Clinical Psychology and Epidemiology Faculty of Medicine Switzerland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Physical diseases and mental disorders affect a person’s quality of life. Further, they present a huge challenge for the healthcare system. It has been reported that physical and mental disorders systematically co-occur already early in life. What we wanted to know is whether there are certain temporal patterns between mental disorders and physical diseases during childhood and adolescence. A better understanding of such patterns may help to reveal processes that could be relevant both to the origins of physical diseases and mental disorders and to their treatment.
Author Interviews, Brain Injury / 02.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Charles Tator, Neurosurgeon Toronto Western Hospital and Director Canadian Concussion Centre  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The main findings of this study are that the number of symptoms of post-concussion syndrome (PCS) are related to how long PCS lasts. Furthermore, physicians need to be more vigorous in their treatment of PCS symptoms and use the treatments that exist for each symptom where possible such as headache, vertigo, anxiety. The sooner sufferers of PCS receive treatment for their symptoms, the better.
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Mental Health Research, Nature, Probiotics / 02.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_30115" align="alignleft" width="200"]Elizabeth Bryda, PhD Professor, Director, Rat Resource and Research Center Veterinary Pathobiology University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri Dr. Elizabeth Bryda[/caption] Elizabeth Bryda, PhD Professor, Director, Rat Resource and Research Center Veterinary Pathobiology University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A number of groups have demonstrated the ability of probiotics to benefit digestive health and there is a growing body of evidence to suggest an association between mental health and “gut health”. We were interested to see if probiotic bacteria could decrease anxiety- or stress-related behavior in a controlled setting using zebrafish as our model organism of choice for these studies. We were able to show that Lactobacillus plantarum decreased overall anxiety-related behavior and protected against stress-induced dysbiosis (microbial imbalance). The fact that administration of probiotic bacteria also protected other resident gut bacteria from the dramatic changes seen in “stressed” fish not receiving the probiotic was unexpected and suggested that these bacteria may be working at the level of the GI tract and the central nervous system.
Author Interviews, Autism, Emory, Pediatrics / 25.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_29960" align="alignleft" width="126"]Warren Jones, PhD Director of Research, Marcus Autism Center Children's Healthcare of Atlanta CHOA Distinguished Chair in Autism Asst. Professor, Dept. of Pediatrics Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, Georgia 30329 Dr. Warren Jones[/caption] Warren Jones, PhD Director of Research, Marcus Autism Center Children's Healthcare of Atlanta CHOA Distinguished Chair in Autism Asst. Professor, Dept. of Pediatrics Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, Georgia 30329 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: These results help clarify an important and longstanding question in autism: why do children with autism look less at other people’s eyes? Two ideas for reduced eye contact in autism have been proposed: - One idea is that children with autism avoid eye contact because they find it stressful and negative. - The other idea is that children with autism look less at other people’s eyes because the social cues from the eyes are not perceived as particularly meaningful or important. This study is important because each idea reflects a very different understanding of what autism is. And maybe even more importantly, each idea reflects a very different view about the right treatment approach to autism and to reduced eye contact in autism. To answer this question, we used eye-tracking technology to study how 86 children with and without autism paid attention to other people’s eyes. Children were tested when they were just two years old, at their time of initial diagnosis.