Not All Electronic Health Record Warnings Are Accurate

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Katharine Phillips, M.D. Professor of Psychiatry DeWitt Wallace Senior Scholar Residency Research Director Department of Psychiatry Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University Attending Psychiatrist, New York-Presbyterian Hospital  Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior Alpert Medical School of Brown University Weill Cornell Psychiatry Specialty Center Weill Cornell Medicine I NewYork-Presbyterian

Dr. Phillips

Katharine Phillips, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
DeWitt Wallace Senior Scholar
Residency Research Director
Department of Psychiatry
Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University
Attending Psychiatrist, New York-Presbyterian Hospital
Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior
Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Weill Cornell Psychiatry Specialty Center
Weill Cornell Medicine I NewYork-Presbyterian

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

  • Electronic prescribing of medication by clinicians is widespread; it is required in many institutions and in some states. Electronic prescribing systems commonly use computerized decision support algorithms that give prescribers automated warnings or alerts at the time of prescribing if the system identifies a potential prescribing error.
  • Some prior studies suggest that electronic prescribing warnings/alerts may reduce prescribing errors and thus can be clinically useful. However, other prior studies caution that these alerts may have substantial limitations.
  • Despite the importance of this topic, relatively few studies have examined the accuracy of automated prescribing warnings in electronic prescribing systems; to our knowledge, no prior study has focused primarily on prescribing of medications for psychiatric conditions.
  • This report presents results from a survey of members of the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology (ASCP), a specialty society that advances the science and practice of clinical psychopharmacology, regarding automated warnings generated by electronic prescribing systems.

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Younger Siblings of Children with Autism or ADHD More Likely To Be Similarly Diagnosed

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Meghan Miller, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences UC Davis MIND Institute Sacramento, CA 95817

Dr. Miller

Meghan Miller, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
UC Davis MIND Institute
Sacramento, CA 95817

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

Response: This study evaluated within-diagnosis sibling recurrence and sibling cross-aggregation of ADHD and autism spectrum disorder among later-born siblings of diagnosed children. We specifically chose to include only families who had at least one subsequent child after the diagnosis of an older child because failing to do so could bias recurrence risk estimates.

We found that, compared to later-born siblings of non-diagnosed children, later-born siblings of children with autism were more likely to be diagnosed with autism or with ADHD. Likewise, compared to later-born siblings of non-diagnosed children, later-born siblings of children with ADHD were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD or with autism.

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Hysterectomy Can Impair Short Term Memory (at least in rats)

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Heather A. Bimonte-Nelson, Ph.D. Professor, Barrett Honors Faculty Department of Psychology Arizona State University

Dr. Bimonte-Nelson

Heather A. Bimonte-Nelson, Ph.D.
Professor, Barrett Honors Faculty
Department of Psychology
Arizona State University

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

Response: The dogma in the field is that the nonpregnant uterus is dormant, and therefore it has not necessarily been of interest to study. Textbooks have described the nonpregnant uterus as “quiescent,” “dormant,” and “useless.” When I was in graduate school studying endocrinology, I read statements in books saying that the sole purpose of the uterus is for gestation.

However, all women aging into midlife will experience some type of menopause, and some of these women will undergo surgical menopause via removal of all, or a part of, their reproductive tracts. Research evaluating reproductive tract-brain connections has grown quite a bit in the last few decades. For example, the ovary-brain connection has been focused on quite a bit, and we now know that hormones coming from the ovaries (such as estrogens and progesterone) can affect more than reproduction, and can impact brain functioning. While the uterus-brain connection is not well understood, there is research indicating that the uterus and autonomic nervous system communicate directly.

We also know that hormones released from the ovaries impact the uterus. Therefore, there is a uterus-ovary-brain triad system. This uterus-ovary-brain triad has undergone little scientific investigation for functions outside of reproduction. Given that by age 60 one in three women experience hysterectomy, thereby interrupting this uterus-ovary-brain triad system, we believe it is important to understand the effects of variants of surgical menopause including hysterectomy.

This led to our current evaluation testing multiple variations in surgical menopause using a rat model, where we tested the effects of uterus removal alone (hysterectomy), ovarian removal alone, or uterus plus ovarian removal.

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Fluoxetine (Prozac) Did Not Reduce Risk of Depression After Stroke, But Did Raise Risk of Fractures

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof .Gillian Mead Chair of Stroke and Elderly Care Medicine

Prof. Mead

Prof. Gillian Mead
Chair of Stroke and Elderly Care Medicine

Prof Martin Dennis Chair of Stroke Medicine

Prof. Dennis

Prof. Martin Dennis
Chair of Stroke Medicine

Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences
The University of Edinburgh

 


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

Response: We are both practicing stroke physicians as well as clinical trialists. Therefore our interest in this area was triggered by the exciting results of the FLAME trial in 2011. This appeared to indicate that fluoxetine might boost the recovery of stroke patients. Potentially this was very important given the increasing numbers of people having disability due to stroke, and the fact that fluoxetine is inexpensive and could be introduced very easily into clinical practice. We were further encouraged by the large numbers of small RCTs we identified when we carried out a Cochrane systematic review on the topic. These trials provided more evidence of potential benefit but there was evidence that trials of greater quality showed less benefit, and benefits were greater in patients who were depressed. We felt there was a need for more evidence derived from much larger numbers of patients.

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Black Mothers More Likely To Think Their Sons Have ADHD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

George J. DuPaul, PhD Department of Education and Human Services Lehigh University

Dr. DuPaul


George J. DuPaul, PhD

Department of Education and Human Services
Lehigh University

Charles Barrett. Ph.D. School Psychologist Lehigh University

Dr. Barrett

 

Charles Barrett. Ph.D.
School Psychologist
Loudon County Virginia
Public Schools

 

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

Response: Numerous studies have shown that Black children are more likely to receive ratings that are more indicative of displaying externalizing behavior difficulties, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  However, many of these studies included teachers as the informants. Consistent with most teachers in the United States, raters have typically been White females.  For this reason, it is unclear if these outcomes would exist if the rater and child shared the same racial/ethnic background. Additionally, most research in the United States that involved cross-cultural comparisons has used White and Hispanic boys.  Few empirical studies have examined differences between Black and White boys.

The present study sought to address several limitations in the field.  Most notably, cross-cultural comparisons between Black and White boys were included instead of Hispanic and White children.  Next, maternal figures, rather than teachers, were included as the informants.

The present study was developed using a similar methodology that examined Hispanic and White boys’ behavior from the perspective of Hispanic and White teachers (Dominguez de Ramirez & Shapiro, 2005). In sum, we sought to determine if there were differences in how Black and White maternal figures rated Black and White boys who were demonstrating the same level/type of behavior (i.e., sub-clinical levels of ADHD).  Notably, although the boys’ behaviors were the same, maternal ratings were not identical.

Specifically, using the ADHD Rating Scale, Fourth Edition (ARS-4), Black mothers assigned higher ratings to both Black and White boys.

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1 in 40 Children Reported By Parents To Have ASD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michael Kogan, Ph.D.

Director of the office of Epidemiology and Research
Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau

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

Response: This was a study led by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau, along with researchers from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention, Harvard, Drexel, and George Washington Universities.  We used the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, a nationally representative survey of over 50,000 children that examines the health and well-being of US children, to examine the prevalence, treatment, and health care experiences of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

We found that 1 out of 40 children in the US were reported by their parents to have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  We also found that children with ASD were significantly less likely to receive services like needed care coordination, referrals to other services, and mental health counseling – even compared to children with other emotional, behavioral or developmental disorders (EBDs).  Parents of children with ASD were also significantly more likely to report being usually or always frustrated in their attempts to get services, again compared to families of children with other EBDs. Finally, we looked at treatment patterns for children with ASD and found that 64% had received behavioral therapy in the year before the interview, and 27% had received medications to treat symptoms of irritability. 

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Newer MRIs May Predict Alzheimer’s Disease Before Any Symptoms

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cyrus A. Raji, MD PhD Asst Prof of Radiology, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology Neuroradiology Faculty and the Neuoimaging Laboratories  Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis

Dr. Raji

Cyrus A. Raji, MD PhD
Asst Prof of Radiology, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology
Neuroradiology Faculty and the Neuoimaging Laboratories
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis

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

Response: Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and every patient suspected of having this disorder receives an MRI scan of the brain.

MRI scans of the brain in dementia are currently limited to evaluating for structural lesions that could be leading to memory loss such as stroke or tumor. What this study sought to accomplish was to determine if a newer type of MRI scan called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can predict who will experience cognitive decline and dementia. We found that DTI can predict persons who will demented 2.6 years before the earliest onset of symptoms.

This study was done in 61 individuals, 30 converters and 31 non-converters, from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and we found that DTI metrics could predict dementia 2.6 years later with 89-95% accuracy.

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Gene Expression Differences Detected in Toddlers with Autism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael Lombardo, PhD Assistant professor of Psychology the University of Cyprus 

Dr. Lombardo

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.

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Aggression in Dementia: Alternatives to Antipsychotics Also Have Side Effects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jennifer Watt, PhD Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation University of Toronto

Dr. Watt

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. Continue reading

Exposure to Police Violence May Be Associated With Mental Health Disparities

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.

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Serious Mental Illness Raises Risk of 30 Day Readmission

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hayley D. Germack PHD, MHS, RN Assistant Professor, School of Nursing University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Germack

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.  Continue reading

Adults with Down’s Syndrome at High Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

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.  Continue reading

Transcendental Meditation May Help Veterans with Resistant PTSD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sanford Nidich, Ed.D. Director, Center for Social-Emotional Health Maharishi University of Management Research Institute Fairfield, Iowa

Dr. Nidich

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%  Continue reading

Testosterone Treatment May Reduce Depression in Men

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Andreas Walther

Dr. Walther

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.

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Heavy Exposure to Air Pollution During Pregnancy May Raise Air Pollution Risk

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.  Continue reading

Can Coffee Protect Against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease?

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. Continue reading

Panel of Salivary RNA Biomarkers Could Identify Autism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Steven D. Hicks, M.D.,Ph.D Department of Pediatrics Penn State College of Medicine Hershey, PA

Dr. Hicks

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%. 

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TBI: U.S. Territory Veterans Have Greater Mortality Risk Than Mainland Vets

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.

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More Postnatal Depression with Baby Boys?

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.

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Prenatal Heavy Cannabis Exposure May Diminish Cognitive Functioning Into Adulthood

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

Dr. McLaughlin

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.

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Girls Recover From Concussions More Slowly Than Boys

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrée-Anne Ledoux, PhD Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Ledoux

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. Continue reading

Medications Commonly Used During Pregnancy Not Associated With Higher Autism Rates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Magdalena Janecka PhD Department of Psychiatry Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Janecka

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.

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Critical Illness: Haloperidol and Ziprasidone for Treatment of Delirium

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Brenda Truman Pun, DNP, RN Program Clinical Manager Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Dr. Truman Pun

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.   Continue reading

Serum Neurofilament Biomarker Helps Determine if Brain Function Will Recover After Cardiac Arrest

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Marion Moseby-Knappe

Dr. Moseby-Knappe

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.

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Phase 3 Study of Novel, Once-Daily, Antipsychotic Drug Candidate for Schizophrenia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jelena Kunovac, M.D., M.S. Founder and Chief Executive Chief Medical Officer Altea Research Las Vegas, Nevada

Dr. Kunovac

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.

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