ADHD, Author Interviews, Lancet, MRI, Neurological Disorders / 01.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: M. (Martine) Hoogman PhD. Postdoc and PI of ENIGMA-ADHD Radboud universitair medisch centrum Department of Human Genetics Nijmegen, The Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are many neuro-imaging studies aimed at investigating structural brain changes related to ADHD, but the results are often inconclusive. There are two main reasons for this: 1) the small sample size of the studies and 2) the heterogeneous methods used. We tried to address these issues by forming an international collaboration to provide a sample size sufficient to detect even small effects in volume differences. And in addition, we analyzed all the raw scans again using homogenized methods. There are data of more than 1700 patients (aged 4-63 years of age) and more than 1500 healthy controls in our dataset, coming from 23 sites around the world. We studied the possible volume differences between cases and controls of 7 subcortical regions and intracranial volume by performing mega- and meta-analysis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Social Issues, Stroke / 28.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emily C. Maxwell, Ph.D. Pediatric Neuropsychology Bugher Fellow Division of Neurology Instructor | Department of Pediatrics University of Colorado School of Medicine Aurora, CO 80045  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous research has found increased psychological problems and significantly higher rates of psychiatric disorders after pediatric stroke. However, past studies have mainly used global indices, without comparison to age-based norms. Thus, little is known about the discrete symptomatology exhibited by these children and how discrepant these symptoms may be from normative expectations. At the University of Colorado Denver and Children’s Hospital Colorado, we studied 50 patients who suffered an arterial ischemic stroke during childhood. The parents of these patients completed the Child Behavior Checklist, a questionnaire assessing emotional and behavioral problems. We found that children with stroke had higher symptoms of depression, anxiety, physical complaints, and behavioral difficulties compared to a normative sample of same-aged peers. Additionally, levels of anxiety were higher in children who had a stroke at an early age (before 6 years of age) compared to children who had a stroke at a later age (after 10 years of age). (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Lancet, Mental Health Research, Schizophrenia / 27.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ernst L Noordraven MSc, PhD student Department of Psychiatry Epidemiological and Social Psychiatric Research institute Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Provision of financial incentives is a promising intervention for improving adherence in patients taking antipsychotic medication. We aimed to assess the effectiveness of this intervention for improving adherence to antipsychotic depot medication in patients with psychotic disorders, irrespective of their previous compliance. Our 12-month randomized controlled trial showed that financial incentives improved adherence to antipsychotic depot medications in patients with psychotic disorders, regardless of their level of compliance at study entrance. Patients received either treatment as usual plus a financial reward for each depot of medication received (€30 per month if fully compliant; intervention group) or treatment as usual alone (control group). Based on the use of depot registrations from 155 patients (92%), the adjusted difference in adherence was 14·9% (95% CI 8·9–20·9%; p<0·0001) in favour of the intervention group. Our study is also the first to demonstrate that the effects on medication adherence persist after monetary rewards are discontinued, for at least a 6-month follow-up period (adjusted difference 6·5%, 95% CI 2·0–10·9; p=0·047). (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Endocrinology, Journal Clinical Oncology, Prostate Cancer, Testosterone / 27.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Farzin Khosrow-Khavar, M.Sc. Ph.D. Candidate Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University Center for Clinical Epidemiology - Jewish General Hospital Montreal, QC  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies have shown an association between androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However, these studies had methodological limitations that may account for this positive association. Using appropriate study design and methodology, we found no association between androgen deprivation therapy and risk of dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease) in patients with prostate cancer. These results were consistent by cumulative duration of  androgen deprivation therapy use and by ADT modality. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Geriatrics, Heart Disease, Stroke / 26.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ariela Orkaby, MD, MPH Geriatrics & Preventive Cardiology Associate Epidemiologist Division of Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Atrial Fibrillation is a common heart rhythm that affects 1 in 25 adults over age 60 and 1 in 10 adults over age 80. The feared consequence of atrial fibrillation is stroke, leading to the prescription of blood thinning medications (anticoagulants such as warfarin) to prevent strokes. However, there is an underutilization of these life-saving medications in older adults, and particularly in those who have dementia. In part, this is due to a lack of research and inclusion of older adults with dementia in prior studies. In this study, we used clinical Veterans Administration data, linked to Medicare, to follow 2,572 individuals over age 65 who had atrial fibrillation and until a diagnosis of dementia. The average age was 80 years, and 99% were male. We found that only 16% remained on warfarin. We used statistical methods to account for reasons why a patient would or would not be treated with warfarin and found that those who continued to take warfarin had a significantly lower risk of stroke (HR 0.74, 95% Confidence interval 0.54- 0.99, p=0.47) and death (HR 0.72, 95% CI 0.60-0.87, p<0.01) compared to those who did not continue to take warfarin, without an increased risk of bleeding. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Neurology, Sleep Disorders / 25.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Matthew P. Pase Sidney Sax NHMRC Fellow, Department of Neurology Boston University School of Medicine Investigator, Framingham Heart Study; Senior Research Fellow, Swinburne University of Technology. Boston MA 02118 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Sleep disturbances are common in dementia. However, most studies have focused on patients who already have dementia and so it is unclear whether disturbed sleep is a symptom or a cause of dementia. We studied 2,457 older participants enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study, a large group of adults sampled from the community in Framingham, Massachusetts. We asked participants to indicate how long they typically slept each night. Participants were then observed for the following 10-years to determine who developed dementia, including dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. Over the 10 years, we observed 234 cases of dementia. Information on sleep duration was then examined with respect to the risk of developing dementia. (more…)
Author Interviews, Eating Disorders, Mental Health Research, Weight Research / 24.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andres M Lozano OC, MD PhD FRCSC FRSC University Professor, University of Toronto Dan Family Professor and Chairman of Neurosurgery RR Tasker Chair in Functional Neurosurgery Canada Research Chair in Neuroscience Toronto Western Hospital Toronto MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We discovered an area of the brain that is overactive in patients with depression and anxiety the subcallosal cingulate area (SCC). As these problems feature prominently in patients with Anorexia, we hypothesized that adjusting thie activity of this brain area with Deep brain stimulation (DBS) could be helpful. Our findings suggest that DBS in anorexia patients is relatively safe, can normalize abnormal brain activity and may help some with severe and resistant symptoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Memory / 24.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Takuya Takahashi M.D. Ph.D. Professor, Department of Physiology Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine Yokohama Japan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A number of patients suffer from traumatic fear memories (eg. PTSD). At this point, there exists no treatment to control aversive fear memories. People can form aversive fear memory from traumatic events such as disasters and accidents. These fear memories can induce depression and anxiety disorders (eg. panic disorders). Therefore, it is crucial to understand the molecular mechanism underlying fear memory formation and this could lead to the invention of novel technology to control fear memories. We have previously reported that the formation of fear memory modifies synapses by the incorporation of AMPA receptors at hippocampus. Further, this molecular events are required for the fear memory formation (Mitsushima et al. PNAS 2011, Mitsushima et al. Nature Communications 2013). Here, we invented the novel technology to erase fear memory by the optical manipulation of AMPA receptor, an important molecule at glutamatergic synapses. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 24.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shannon K. de l’Etoile, Ph.D., MT-BC Associate Dean of Graduate Studies Professor, Music Therapy University of Miami Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music Coral Gables, FL MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Infant-directed (ID) singing allows infants to have emotionally-synchronized interactions with caregivers, during which they gain valuable experience in self-regulation. Maternal depression can disrupt mother-infant interaction, thus hindering infants’ efforts at self-regulation and possibly contributing to a depressed interaction style that can generalize to infant interaction with strangers. Additionally, maternal depression can alter the acoustic parameters of ID singing, such that mothers may not modify musical elements (i.e., tempo and key), to accommodate infant state. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA, Pharmacology, Yale / 23.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Adam Chekroud PhD Candidate Human Neuroscience Lab Department of Psychology Yale University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We know that depression includes a wide range of symptoms, from low mood and feeling worthless, to problems sleeping, slowed thinking, and suicidal ideation. We wanted to know whether antidepressants work well in treating all of these symptoms, or whether they are primarily effective on certain kinds of symptoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA, Telemedicine / 23.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eirini Karyotaki, MSc Department of Clinical Psychology and EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Amsterdam, the Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Depression is broadly acknowledged as a major health issue associated with a great risk of mortality and morbidity. Nevertheless, help-seeking rates are low among individuals with depression. Some of the barriers that impede help seeking are the limited availability of trained clinicians, the fear of stigmatisation and the cost of treatment. Self-guided Internet based Cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) has the potential to overcome many of these treatment barriers. However, recent randomised controlled trials (RCTs) have produced mixed evidence regarding the effects of self-guided iCBT in treating adults with depressive symptoms. To gain more insight in the effectiveness of self-guided iCBT, an Individual Participant Data meta-analysis was performed. 3876 individual participant data across 13 RCTs were collected and analysed. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA, Johns Hopkins, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 21.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Julia R.G. Raifman, ScD Post-doctoral fellow Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents between the ages of 15 and 24 years old in the United States. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents have elevated rates of suicide attempts. In our study, we found that 29% of gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents reported attempting suicide in the past year relative to 6% of heterosexual adolescents. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews / 17.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shinsuke Ishigaki Department of Neurology Department of Therapeutics for Intractable Neurological Disorders Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine Nagoya,Japan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a pathological process that has been characterized by personality changes, abnormal behaviors, language impairment, and progressive dementia. The genetic and pathological similarities in fused in sarcoma (FUS), transactive response (TAR) DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43), and C9orf72 in relation to FTLD and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have recently lead to the recognition that the two conditions represent points on a spectrum of a single disease entity. Additionally, Frontotemporal lobar degeneration has also been classified as a tauopathy, characterized by an accumulation of phosphorylated microtubule-associated protein tau (tau) in affected neurons. Our study demonstrated a biological link between FUS/SFPQ and the regulation of tau isoforms involved in the early phase of Frontotemporal lobar degeneration. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA, OBGYNE / 17.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lisa Underwood, PhD Research Fellow| Centre for Longitudinal Research Growing Up in New Zealand | Who are Today’s Dads? School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences University of Auckland  Auckland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study is part of the contemporary, longitudinal study Growing Up in New Zealand, which is tracking the development of more than 6000 children born in 2009 and 2010. In previous reports we investigated antenatal and postnatal depression symptoms among the mothers of our cohort children. In this study we looked at the partners of those mothers to explore whether men and women have different risks for depression in each perinatal period. Our main findings were that expectant fathers were at risk if they felt stressed or were in poor health. Elevated depression symptoms following their child’s birth, were also linked to social and relationship problems. The strongest predictor of postnatal paternal depression was no longer being in a relationship with the child’s mother. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, Mental Health Research, Nature, PTSD / 14.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christine Ann Denny, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry Columbia University Division of Integrative Neuroscience Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc. New York, NY 10032-2695 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common psychiatric illnesses, affecting about 8 million adult Americans, and an annual prevalence of about 3.5% worldwide. At-risk populations such as soldiers and veterans are at a higher risk to develop PTSD. Stress exposure is one of the major risk factors for PTSD and major depressive disorder (MDD), a disorder which is often co-morbid with PTSD. There are currently very limited treatments for PTSD and MDD. In addition, these disorders are treated in a symptom-suppression approach, which only mitigate symptoms and work in only a small fraction of patients. Prevention is rarely an approach considered except in the form of behavioral intervention. However, pharmacological approaches to preventing psychiatric diseases has not yet been developed. Our laboratory has previously found that ketamine, a general anesthetic and rapid-acting antidepressant, administered sub-anesthetically prior to stress can prevent against stress-induced depressive-like behaviors. We decided to delve into the literature to determine whether ketamine has any effects on PTSD in the clinic. We found numerous reports linking ketamine to PTSD, but the results were varied. We realized that the main difference in all of these studies was the timing of administration. We decided to systematically test the efficacy of ketamine in mice at various time points relative to a stressor to determine when would be the most effective window to buffer against heightened fear expression. We found that ketamine administered 1 week, but not 1 month or 1 day, prior to a stressor was the most effective time point to administer the drug to buffer fear. This is critical, as it suggests that a pharmacological approach to enhance resilience can be more effective at protecting against PTSD symptoms than attempting to mitigate symptoms after it has already affected an individual. (more…)
ALS, Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Mental Health Research, PLoS, Technology / 12.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ujwal Chaudhary, PhD Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology University of Tübingen Tübingen, Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder which causes an Individual to be in Locked-in state (LIS), i.e. the patients have control of their vertical eye movement and blinking, and ultimately in Completely Locked-in state (CLIS), i.e, no control over their eye muscle. There are several assistive and augmentative (AAC) technology along with EEG based BCI which can be used be by the patients in LIS for communication but once they are in CLIS they do not have any means of communication.  Hence, there was a need to find an alternative learning paradigm and probably another neuroimaging technique to design a more effective BCI to help ALS patient in CLIS with communication. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Karolinski Institute, Mental Health Research, PLoS / 11.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: soccer; creative commons imageTorbjörn Vestberg Licensed Psychologist & Researcher Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet Stockholm, Sweden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The aim of our research is to study the importance of executive functions for successful behaviour. In our first study published in 2012 (Executive Functions Predict the Success of Top-Soccer Players) we showed that the level of elite soccer players’ higher executive functions was in general 2 standard deviations above the normal population. It was the same for both men and women. Moreover, we also found a strong correlation between the capacities of higher executive functions and the number of goals and assists the player made after two and a half year. In our new study we were interested in how the situation is at a younger age, from twelve to nineteen years of age. Because of the maturation of the brain, higher executive functions do not reach their full capacity before nineteen years of age. On basis of this, our question was whether there were other parts of the executive functions that correlated with success in soccer. In this new study, we focused on core executive functions like the working memory, as it reaches its full capacity in the early teens. We found that there was a moderate correlation with the accuracy of the working memory and the number of goals the junior elite players made during a period of two years. When we made a composite measurement of both the demanding working memory and the test for the capacity of the higher executive functions, we found a strong correlation between these results and the number of goals that the players made during the two years of time. When we measured IQ and physical features, like length, we found out that those did not influence the results. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Technology / 09.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson PhD Professor of Psychology Stetson University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The degree to which screen time influences youth across a variety of behavioral outcomes has been a source of debate and contention for decades. For many years the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended to parents that they allow older children no more than 2 hours of screen time per day. However, this number was never clearly based on good data. And in 2014 one study (Przybylski, 2014 in Pediatrics) suggested that ties between screen time and behavioral outcomes were very weak, and only seen for the most extreme screen users. So I was curious to see if these results would replicate for a large sample of US youth. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Gender Differences, Hip Fractures, Orthopedics / 09.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ann L. Gruber-Baldini, Ph.D. Professor, Division of Gerontology Director, Program in Epidemiology and Human Genetics Department of Epidemiology & Public Health University of Maryland School of Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: While men make up only about 25% of all hip fractures, the number of men who fracture their hip is increasing and we know men are more likely to die than women after a hip fracture. It is also known that those with cognitive impairments, typically due to delirium and Alzheimer's disease and related dementia, are more likely to do more poorly after the fracture. The impact of both sex and cognition on outcomes after hip fracture has not been fully explored. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Brain Injury / 08.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Julianne Schmidt, PhD, ATC Assistant Professor Department of Kinesiology The University of Georgia Athens GA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Less than half of all people with a concussion intend to reduce their driving at any point. Current recommendations surrounding concussion focus on when it is safe to return to sport or return to the classroom, but return to driving is usually ignored and has not been studied. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA / 07.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Dr. phil. Elisabeth Schramm Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Chronic depression is a highly prevalent and disabling disorder. As compared to acute episodically depressed patients, chronic depressives benefit less from psychological and pharmaceutical treatment. Prior investigations suggest that these patients need longer treatment duration for symptom improvement. In this randomized clinical trial including 268 adults with early onset chronic depression not taking antidepressant medication, patients treated with a disorder-specific psychological treatment (Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy; CBASP) reported significantly less severe depressive symptoms after 20 and 48 weeks as compared to a nonspecific supportive therapy. CBASP patients were also more likely to reach remission and showed significant advantages in global functioning and quality of life. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Exercise - Fitness, Pediatrics, Pediatrics / 07.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lars Wichstrøm, PhD NTNU Social Reseach, Trondheim, Norway; and Department of Psychology Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous research has linked physical activity, and particularly moderate to vigorous physical activity to less depression in adolescents and adults, but the potential prospective relationship between physical activity and depression in middle childhood has not yet been identified. The main findings in this study support existing research by showing that physically active children have fewer symptoms of depression two years later compared to less physically active children, but there is no relationship between sedentary behavior and depressive symptoms in middle childhood. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nature, Schizophrenia / 06.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Piotr Słowiński Department of Mathematics College of Engineering Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Research Fellow University of Exeter MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: In an earlier study, we have found that every person has an individual style of moving (its own individual motor signature) and that people who have similar motor signatures are better in coordinating with each other (http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/13/116/20151093). In the current study, we show that both these characteristics, own motor signature, and quality of interaction with others, have potential to give and insight into person's mental health condition. Assessment of motor symptoms is already a part of a clinical interview during a neurological evaluation by an expert psychiatrist. Our method, if confirmed in clinical trials, would speed up such examination and would allow for better allocation of the valuable time of medical professionals (for example, for more advanced tests in cases of diagnostic uncertainty). Additionally, it could allow for monitoring and personalization of treatment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, OBGYNE / 01.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Neurological Disorders, Psychological Science / 27.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, PTSD / 27.01.2017

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). (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Gastrointestinal Disease, Microbiome / 26.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Eating Disorders, PLoS, Weight Research / 26.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Cost of Health Care, CT Scanning, Electronic Records, Emergency Care, Kaiser Permanente / 25.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
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. (more…)