Depression / 10.06.2016

As of now, little is known about the causes of depression. Whilst some scientists believe that there are genetic links to depression, many people who suffer from this condition do so due to past experiences, upbringing, or trauma. Perhaps you are related to somebody who has suffered or is suffering from depression – watching a loved one battle depression is never easy, but does this mean that you will also suffer from the condition? Studies show that a person with a family member who suffers from depression is five times more likely to suffer from the condition themselves, but is this hereditary, or are other factors involved? About Depression: Major depressive disorder or clinical depression is one of the most common forms of depression and also one of the most commonly suffered mental health conditions. The Stanford School of Medicine estimates that around ten percent of U.S.A. citizens will experience major depressive disorder at some point in their lives. Clinical depression is also more likely to be shared by siblings and children, putting those who are related to somebody with the condition at a higher risk of suffering from clinical depression themselves. If you know somebody who is battling depression, Smart Brain and Health offers depression treatment Los Angeles. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Lancet, Pediatrics / 10.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrea Cipriani, MD PhD Associate Professor Department of Psychiatry University of Oxford Warneford Hospital Oxford UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Cipriani: Major depressive disorder is common in young people, with a prevalence of about 3% in school-age children (aged 6–12 years) and 6% in adolescents (aged 13–18 years). Compared with adults, children and adolescents with major depressive disorder are still underdiagnosed and undertreated, possibly because they tend to present with rather undifferentiated depressive symptoms—eg, irritability, aggressive behaviours, and school refusal. Consequences of depressive episodes in these patients include serious impairments in social functioning, and suicidal ideation and attempts. Our analysis represents the most comprehensive synthesis of data for currently available pharmacological treatments for children and adolescents with acute major depressive disorder (5620 participants, recruited in 34 trials). Among all antidepressants, we found that only fluoxetine was significantly better than placebo. According to our results, fluoxetine should be considered the best evidence-based option among antidepressants when a pharmacological treatment is indicated for children and adolescents with moderate to severe depression. Other antidepressants do not seem to be suitable as routine treatment options. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Genetic Research / 09.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David Beversdorf, M.D. Associate professor in the departments of radiology, neurology and psychological sciences University of Missouri and Missouri University Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental DisordersDavid Beversdorf, M.D. Associate professor in the departments of radiology, neurology and psychological sciences University of Missouri and Missouri University Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Beversdorf: Our previous work had demonstrated in retrospective surveys a higher incidence of prenatal psychosocial stress exposure during the late 2nd and early 3rd trimester in pregnancies where the offspring had developed autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This had been confirmed in other studies, including a study examining the timing of exposure to tropical storms during pregnancy. However, not everyone exposed to stress during pregnancy has a child with ASD, so we began to look at genetic risk for augmented stress reactivity. This initial exploration involved examination of the interaction between stress exposure during ASD-associated pregnancies and the maternal presence of variations in one gene well known to affect stress reactivity. Variations in this gene were also targeted as they have been associated with ASD in some studies. We found in two independent groups of patients (one in Missouri, one in Ontario, Canada) that maternal presence of at least one copy of the stress-susceptible variant of this gene is associated with the link between maternal stress exposure during this time window of pregnancy and subsequent development of ASD in the offspring. (more…)
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Columbia, JAMA, Pediatrics / 08.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lena S. Sun, MD E. M. Papper Professor of Pediatric Anesthesiology Professor of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics Executive Vice Chairman, Department of Anesthesiology Chief, Division of Pediatric Anesthesiology Columbia University Medical Center New York, New York 10032 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Sun: The background for the study is as follow: There is robust evidence in both rodent and non-human primate studies that exposure of the developing brain leads to impairment in cognitive function and behavior later in life. The evidence from human studies derives mostly from retrospective studies and the results have been mixed. Some have demonstrated anesthesia in early childhood was associated with impaired neurocognitive function, while others have found no such association. Our study is the first to specifically designed to address the question of effects of general anesthesia exposure on cognitive function, comparing exposure with no exposure. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research / 07.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrew Anglemyer, PhD MPH Operations Research Department U.S. Naval Postgraduate School Monterey, CA 93943 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Anglemyer: Suicide prevention programs in the military are ubiquitous. We aimed to identify the trends in suicide for each service specifically and explore any nonclinical factors that may be associated with the chosen methods of suicide. The trends in suicide are similar to what others have found. The differences in those rates between services are striking, though. Not only are most suicides in the active duty military among the Army personnel, but the suicide rate among Army personnel is the highest and has been every year since 2006. Additionally, among Army personnel and Marines who committed suicide, those with an infantry or special operations job classification were significantly more likely to use a firearm to commit suicide than those without those job classifications. (more…)
Aging, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Antioxidants, Author Interviews, Nutrition, Supplements / 04.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer Lemon, PhD Research Associate Medical Radiation Sciences McMaster University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Lemon: Research with the supplement began in 2000, as part of my doctoral degree; we developed the supplement to try to offset the severe cognitive deterioration and accelerated aging in a mouse model we were working with in the lab. Based on aging research, five mechanisms appeared to be key contributors to the process of aging; those include oxidative stress, inflammation, mitochondrial deterioration, membrane dysfunction and impaired glucose metabolism. The criteria we used for including components in the supplement were as follows: each one of the 30 components had scientific evidence to show they acted on one or more of the above mechanisms were able to be taken orally, and were available to humans over-the-counter. Even then the hope was that if the formulation was successful, this would make it more available to the general public. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Johns Hopkins / 03.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Halima Amjad, MD, MPH Post-doctoral Fellow Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Amjad: Safety is an important aspect of dementia care. Dementia is underdiagnosed, however, and there is limited understanding of safety issues in people with undiagnosed dementia. We wanted to better understand potentially unsafe activities and living conditions in all older adults with dementia and specifically examine these activities in undiagnosed dementia. We found that in all study participants with probable dementia, the prevalence of driving, cooking, managing finances, managing medications, or going to physician visits alone was over 20%. The prevalence was higher in older adults with probable dementia without a diagnosis, and even after accounting for sociodemographic, medical, and physical impairment factors, the odds of engaging in these activities was over 2.0 in undiagnosed versus diagnosed probable dementia. Potentially unsafe living conditions including unmet needs and performance on cognitive tests were similar between these groups. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues / 03.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Zhenmei Zhang, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Sociology Michigan State University East Lansing, MI48824 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Zhang: Blacks are especially hard hit by cognitive impairment and dementia. Recent estimates of dementia prevalence and incidence were substantially higher for blacks than whites. Reducing racial/ethnic disparities in dementia has been identified as a national priority by the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2011. So I really want to contribute to the ongoing discussion of the origins and pathways through which racial disparities in cognitive impairment is produced. If we have a better understanding of the factors contributing to racial disparities in cognitive impairment in later life, more effective interventions can be conducted to reduce the racial disparities. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 02.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: rsz_1pasfoto_mark_de_jongMark de Jong, MD, Psychiatrist Yulius Academy, Yulius Mental Health Barendrecht, the Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Compulsory psychiatric admission, defined as admission against the will of the patient, has a strong effect on psychiatric patients and their relatives, and can be traumatic. Compulsory admission also conflicts with human rights, principles of autonomy, shared decision making, and recovery focused care. We also see, that rates of compulsory admissions in several European countries are tending to rise. So, interventions that prevent patients from being compulsory admitted are urgently needed. We reviewed and meta-analyzed all currently available RCTs, that were designed to reduce compulsory admission rates in adult psychiatric patients with severe mental illnesses in outpatients settings. We found, that advance statements, like crisis plans, showed a significant 23% risk reduction in compulsory admissions. In contrast, community treatment orders and interventions for compliance enhancement showed no significant risk reduction in compulsory admissions. Although RCTs on integrated treatment showed no statistically significant risk reduction, we found a potentially clinically relevant risk reduction of 29%. (more…)
ADHD, Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease, Pediatrics / 01.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nicole Pratt PhD Senior Research Fellow Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre Sansom Institute, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences University of South Australia Adelaide South Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Pratt: The cardiac safety of methylphenidate has been debated. This study aimed to measure the risk of cardiac events in a large population of children treated with these medicines. We found that there was a significantly raised risk of arrhythmia in time periods when children were treated with methylphenidate compared to time periods when they were not. While the relative risk of cardiac events was significant the absolute risk is likely to be low as cardiac events are rare in children. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews / 01.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Margitta Elvers, PhD Institute of Hemostasis, Hemotherapy and Transfusion Medicine University Clinic of the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf Düsseldorf Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Elvers: Platelets are the main players in hemostasis and thrombosis, but are also recognized to be involved in the pathology of different neurodegenerative diseases. It is well known that amyloid-beta is able to activate platelets and to induce platelet activation. In Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) patients, platelet activation is enhanced and a correlation between AD and vascular diseases such as stroke and atherosclerosis was shown in different studies However, a direct contribution of platelets to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) was an open question for many years. In the last years our group in Düsseldorf, Germany, provided strong evidence for platelets to play a relevant role in the progression of AD, because AD transgenic mice showed enhanced platelet signaling that translated into almost unlimited thrombus formation in vitro and accelerated carotid artery occlusion in vivo suggesting that these mice are at high risk of arterial thrombosis leading to cerebrovascular and unexpectedly to cardiovascular complications that might be also relevant in AD patients. In the recent study, we analyzed the contribution of platelets, which accumulate at vascular Abeta deposits, to cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), a vascular dysfunction in most of  Alzheimer’s disease patients, characterized by deposits of Abeta in the wall of cerebral vessels. We found that synthetic monomeric Abeta is able to bind to integrin alphaIIbbeta3 via its RHDS (Arg-His-Asp-Ser) sequence thereby stimulating the release of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and clusterin from platelets. ADP enhanced integrin activation via the ADP receptors P2Y1 and P2Y12 and further increased platelet clusterin release and Abeta fibril formation. Clopidogrel, an antiplatelet drug which irreversible inhibits P2Y12, inhibited Abeta aggregation in human and murine platelet cell cultures. Treatment of AD transgenic mice with clopidogrel for three months reduced clusterin plasma levels and the incidence of CAA. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Pediatrics / 31.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kristy Arbogast, PhD Co-Scientific Director Center for Injury Research and Prevention The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Professor Division of Emergency Medicine Department of Pediatrics University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Arbogast: The research team looked retrospectively at four recent years of data on children diagnosed with concussion at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to determine how children access the health system for a concussion. For those 8,000 kids with a CHOP primary care provider, 82% entered the health system via a primary care location, 12% entered through the ER and 5% through a specialist. One-third of concussion diagnoses were to children under age 12. Many current counts of concussion injury among children are based on emergency room visits or organized high school and college athletics data. Thus, we are vastly underestimating child and youth concussions in the US. (more…)
Author Interviews, MRI, Schizophrenia / 30.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lena Palaniyappan Medical Director Prevention & Early Intervention Program for Psychoses (PEPP) London, Ontario MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It is now well established that patients with schizophrenia show reduced thickness of brain's grey matter in Magnetic Resonance Imaging studies, indicating either a developmental or an acquired deficit in the amount of brain tissue. Such reductions are seen both in treated and untreated patients, suggesting that current treatments do not reverse the process of tissue loss, if at all this is occurring in patients. We wanted to study if subtle increase in brain tissue also accompanied this reduction. We observed that across the group of 98 medicated patients, reduced thickness was consistently accompanied by subtle, but nevertheless noticeable increases in thickness. Such increases were more pronounced in those with a longer duration of illness. (more…)
Author Interviews, Chemotherapy, Mental Health Research / 27.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael A. Johnson Ph.D Associate Professor Department of Chemistry University of Kansas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Johnson: We undertook these studies because chemotherapy induced cognitive dysfunction, also known as ‘chemobrain’, has become a major health issue in recent years. For example, up to a third of patients who have undergone chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer have reported symptoms of chemobrain. These symptoms may include loss of verbal and visual memory as well as decreased mental flexibility and difficulty focusing. For this study, we wanted to understand how treatment with chemotherapeutic agents affects the ability of neurons to communicate. An impairment of neurotransmitter release would imply that communication is hindered. This inability to communicate normally could contribute to cognitive dysfunction. We initially measured the release of dopamine in a region of the brain called the striatum. Our measurement of dopamine in this region was motivated by two key issues: its importance in cognitive function and our ability to measure it with high temporal resolution. From a cognitive standpoint, dopamine is important because the striatum helps translate signals, received from the cortex, into plans by forwarding wanted signals to other parts of the brain and suppressing unwanted signals. Fortunately, we can easily measure dopamine release using an electrochemical technique called fast-scan cyclic voltammetry. This method allows us to not only measure how much dopamine is released from a living brain slice, but also it affords us the capability to measure how quickly dopamine is taken back up. We also measured serotonin release using this method. Our main finding was that the ability of neurons to release dopamine was impaired after carboplatin treatment. We also found that serotonin release was similarly impaired. These release impairments corresponded to a decrease in cognitive ability of the treated rats. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Social Issues / 27.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jianghong Li, Senior Scientist (PhD) From the President’s Project Group, WZB Berlin Social Science Center (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung GmbH: www.wzb.eu) Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin, Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Jianghong Li: Commuting to work is a common phenomenon in developed countries. In the US full-time wage workers residing in urban counties on average commuted about 55 minutes to work. In the UK, workers commuted 42 minutes (round trip) for work in 2008. German workers commute 13 kilometers and 44 minutes both ways to work on average. The average daily commuting time for work in other European countries ranges from 29 minutes in Portugal to 51 minutes in Hungary. To make your commute a little easier, why not try the Moovit app with its handy tracking tools such as the metro map. Men commute longer than women to work and working fathers commute further to work than working mothers. Men who are employed full-time and with children commute longer than their counterparts without children, regardless of the age of the youngest child. Previous research has shown that long commuting to workplace is associated with reduced civic participation and social interactions, lower life satisfaction, elevated stress hormone and reduced task performance, and increased risk for marriage breakdown. Daily experiences of unreliable transport, conflicting time schedules, congested roads and crowded trains contribute to commuters’ physical and psychological stress. These health and psychosocial consequences of commuting raise a concern about its plausible negative impact on children’s well-being. Yet, there was no inquiry about the effect of commuting on children’s well-being, except one small-scale study in the US of mothers leaving welfare for employment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Duke, Genetic Research, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 27.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Johnna Swartz, PhD Postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Ahmad Hariri Duke postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Ahmad Hariri MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Swartz: Prior research has shown that low socioeconomic status is a risk factor for the development of depression. In this study, we examined whether this risk factor was associated with changes in an epigenetic tag near the gene coding for the serotonin transporter, which has previously been linked to depression. We found that adolescents growing up in families with lower socioeconomic status accumulated more of these tags over time, which may lead to decreased gene expression. Moreover, we found that more of these tags were associated with increased activity in the amygdala, a brain region that plays an important role in the stress response. Finally, we found that adolescents with increased activity in the amygdala were more likely to develop depression symptoms a year later, particularly if they had a close relative with a history of depression. This is some of the first research to draw a link from an environmental risk factor to changes in depression symptoms through changes in epigenetic markers and brain function. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 27.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robert J. Ursano, M.D. Professor and Chair Department of Psychiatry/ Director Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ursano: This study is part of STARRS-LS (Study to address risk and resilience in service members-longitudinal study). STARRS is a group of studies that address suicide risk in the US Army. Suicidal behavior includes suicide ideation, plans, attempts and completions. Understanding the transitions between these is an important goal. One component of STARRS is the examination of data available on all soldiers who were in the Army 2004-2009. This study examines suicide attempts in soldiers serving 2004-2009 in order to understand the association with deployment and the timing of suicide attempts as well as their association with mental health problems. STARRS is directed to identifying the who, when and where of service member risk. Then interventions can better be developed for these soldiers. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 26.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Charles W. Hoge, M.D. Senior Scientist Walter Reed Army Institute of Research MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Hoge: Psychiatric definitions are revised periodically based on emerging science, with the intention of enhancing diagnostic accuracy, clinical utility, and communication. The latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was published in 2013 (DSM-5). However, there were an unusually large number of changes to the PTSD definition compared with other common conditions affecting adults, raising concerns with how well these changes truly reflected emerging evidence. Since DSM-5 was published, evidence has accumulated that indicates that the revision did not improve the definition, and more importantly excludes nearly a third of individuals who would have met the previous DSM-IV definition. This article in JAMA Psychiatry provides a thorough critique of the problems with the new definition. It was written by 12 of the leading PTSD experts in the world, including strong representation from experts with experience treating veterans and service members. An accompanying editorial by U.S. Veterans Affairs researchers criticizes our findings, but lacks the scientific rigor of our analysis; for example, every reference they cite we also cite in direct support of our conclusions. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Cognitive Issues / 25.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bo (Bonnie) Qin, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Scholar Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey New Brunswick, NJ 08903 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Qin: Preventing or delaying the age-related cognitive decline that typically precedes the onset of dementia is particularly important considering that no effective strategies for dementia treatment have been identified. Vascular conditions such as hypertension are thought to be risk factors for cognitive decline, but important gaps in the literature on this topic remain. Randomized clinical trials of blood pressure-lowering treatments for reducing the risk of cognitive decline or dementia have largely failed to achieve beneficial effects. However, over the past 6 years, scientific evidence has accumulated that blood pressure variability over monthly or yearly visits may lead to greater risk of stroke and small and larger vessel cerebrovascular diseases. They could lead to subsequent changes related to cognitive dysfunction among older adults. We, therefore, hypothesized that blood pressure variability between visits is associated with a faster rate of cognitive function among older adults. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, OBGYNE, Schizophrenia, Smoking / 25.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alan S. Brown, M.D., M.P.H. Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology Columbia University Medical Center Director, Program in Birth Cohort Studies, Division of Epidemiology New York State Psychiatric Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Brown: Smoking during pregnancy is a risk factor for several pregnancy-related outcomes including low birthweight and preterm birth. Evidence for a link with schizophrenia is scant. We analyzed a maternal biomarker of smoking called cotinine, a nicotine metabolite, in mothers of nearly 1,000 schizophrenia cases and 1,000 controls in a national birth cohort in Finland. We found that heavy smoking in pregnancy was related to a 38% increase in schizophrenia risk in offspring and that as cotinine levels increased even in the more moderate smokers risk of schizophrenia also increased. (more…)
ADHD, Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics / 23.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Luis Augusto Rohde MD, PhD Full Professor Department of Psychiatry Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul Director ADHD Program Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The idea that Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder always begins in childhood has been held for decades even without proper testing. The main manuals of psychiatric diagnoses require age at onset in childhood as a core feature of the disorder. In a large birth cohort followed until age 18, we identified many young adults presenting with a full impairing ADHD syndrome. They had consistently worse outcomes - criminality, substance abuse, traffic accidents, among others - than their counterparts without ADHD. However, most of these young adults (84.6%) presenting with a full impairing syndrome did not have a prior diagnosis in their childhood years. This surprising observation held after many secondary analyses exploring possible biases, like comorbidities in young adulthood, subthreshold ADHD in childhood and change of information source. (more…)
AHA Journals, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Cognitive Issues, Stroke / 23.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kazem Rahimi, DM, MSc Oxford Martin School University of Oxford United Kingdom MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Rahimi: Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia and is increasing in prevalence worldwide. Vascular dementia often occurs after stroke and can cause apathy, depression, and a decline in cognitive function, and can eventually result in death. High blood pressure (BP) has been identified as a potential risk factor for the development of vascular dementia. However, previous studies, which have been small in size, have reported conflicting results on the relationship between blood pressure and vascular dementia. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Lifestyle & Health / 18.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christian Benedict Ph.D Dept. of Neuroscience Uppsala University, Sweden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Benedict: A considerably large proportion of today’s workforce performs shift work. Both epidemiological and experimental studies have demonstrated that shift workers are at an increased risk for multiple diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases. However, knowledge regarding short- and long-term effects of shift work on parameters of brain health is still fragmentary. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, BMJ, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 17.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Edward Tyrrell NIHR In-Practice Research Fellow Division of Primary Care University Park Nottingham  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Tyrrell: Poisonings are among the most common causes of death amongst adolescents across the world, many of them related to self-harm. Poisonings leading to death are just the tip of the iceberg with many more resulting in invasive treatment, time off school and long term health effects. Many adolescent self-harm episodes are linked to mental health problems, which are often predictive of mental health problems in adulthood, making adolescence a key window for preventative intervention. However, up to date rates and time trends for adolescent poisonings are lacking, hindering the development of evidence-informed policy and planning of services. To quantify this problem at a national level and provide recent time trends of poisonings, we used routinely collected primary care data from 1.3 million 10-17 year olds. We assessed how intentional, unintentional and alcohol-related poisonings for adolescent males and females vary by age, how these have changed between 1992 and 2012 and whether socioeconomic inequalities exist. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Rheumatology / 16.05.2016

MedicalResearch.comcom Interview with: Hui-Wen Lin MD, PHD Department of Mathematics, Soochow University Evidence-Based Medicine Center, Wan Fang Hospital, Taipei Medical University Taipei, Taiwan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Hui-Wen Lin: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disorder that affects multiple organ systems and it predominantly affects women aged 20 to 40 years, and clinical symptoms caused by autoantibody deposition that triggers subsequent inflammatory reactions vary between individuals. There were 30~80% of SLE patients present neurological symptoms, and it is referred to as neuropsychiatric SLE (NPSLE). However there is no research about risk of dementia for SLE patients. Therefore we investigated this issue by analyzing the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan. (more…)
Artificial Sweeteners, Author Interviews, Brain Injury, JAMA, Neurological Disorders, Ophthalmology / 12.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. T. Dianne Langford PhD Associate Professor, Neuroscience and Neurovirology Lewis Katz School of Medicine Temple University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Langford: The ocular-motor system has been shown to reflect neural damage, and one of ocular-motor functions, near point of convergence (NPC), was reported to worsen after a sport-related concussion (Mucha et al. Am J Sport Med). But the effects of subconcussive head impact, a milder form of head injury in the absence of outward symptoms remains unknown.  Prior to this study, we found that in a controlled soccer heading experimental paradigm decreased NPC function, and even 24h after the headings, NPC was not normalized back to baseline (Kawata et al. 2016 Int J Sport Med). To extend our findings from the human laboratory study, we launched longitudinal clinical studies in collaboration with the Temple football team, to see if repetitive exposure to subconcussive head impacts negatively affects NPC. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, OBGYNE / 09.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Robert H. Keefe PhD, LMSW, ACSW School of Social Work, University at Buffalo State University of New York, Buffalo, New York  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Keefe: The study focuses on recommendations mothers of color, who have histories of postpartum depression, would make to service providers that they believe would improve service effectiveness.  The study is timely inasmuch as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates ongoing research to better understand and address differences in treatment needs among mothers from racial and ethnic groups and to develop culturally competent, evidence-based treatment approaches. We were concerned that the research on postpartum depression relies heavily on White mothers, who have access to care, ongoing relationships with service providers, are married or otherwise coupled, and from middle-class backgrounds.  While the limited research on mothers of color notes their rates of postpartum depression are markedly higher than White mothers, it does little to address how their treatment needs differ from White mothers. We undertook this study to get recommendations from the mothers and discovered that many of the issues that inhibit the mothers from accessing services are the very issues that lead mothers to have postpartum depression.  For example, many of the mothers report because they have poor-paying jobs, no health benefits, and limited transportation, they are unable to keep appointments despite wanting to do what is best for their newborn babies.  Furthermore, because they missed appointments, the service provider would terminate the mother from a service the mother needs, or worse contact Child Protective Services to report the mother for neglect.  The mothers were not at all neglectful.  They were all invested in their child’s wellbeing; but various life problems kept mounting up so that they and their babies were not receiving ongoing care. Consequently, the recommendations these mothers make have little to do with psychotherapy.  In fact, most of the mothers reported they had no time to be depressed and that psychotherapy was a luxury they could not afford. Instead, the mothers wanted service systems in place that would allow them to receive the care they need so that they and their new-born babies could live happy and health lives. (more…)
ALS, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Nature / 07.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ana Pereira, MD Instructor in Clinical Medicine Bruce McEwen's laboratory Rockefeller University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Pereira: The neurons most susceptible to dying in Alzheimer’s disease are the ones that use glutamate as a neurotransmitter (chemical messengers that enable neurotransmission). Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and its regulation is critical for learning and memory. When glutamate is not located in the correct place and amount, it causes several deleterious effects to neurons that can ultimately lead to cell death. Importantly, the glutamate transporter EAAT2 is the dominant regulator of glutamate levels and it is highly depressed in Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, glutamatergic dysregulation is implicated in several pathological mechanisms in Alzheimer’s disease including the release and toxicities of the proteins implicated in Alzheimer’s disease: amyloid-beta (which form amyloid plaques) and tau (which form neurofibrillary tangles). Better regulation of glutamatergic neural circuits is critically important to effectively treat age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 06.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: T. Jared Bunch, MD Director of Heart Rhythm Research Medical Director for Heart Rhythm Services Intermountain Healthcare System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bunch: Approximately 6 years ago we found that patients with atrial fibrillation experienced higher rates of all forms of dementia, including Alzheimers disease.  At the time we started to ask the questions of why this association existed.  We know that atrial fibrillation patients experience higher rates of stroke.  These patients are placed on blood thinners, most commonly warfarin, to lower risk of stroke which at the same time expose that patient to a higher risk of intracranial bleeding.  One possibility to explain the association was that perhaps dementia in the manifestation of many small clots or bleeds in the brain that in total lead to cognitive decline.  If this is the case, then the efficacy and use of anticoagulation is very important in atrial fibrillation patients. We conducted additional studies that showed this to be the case.  In patients with no history of dementia, managed long-term with warfarin anticoagulation, those that had levels that were frequently too higher or too low that resulted in poor times in therapeutic range, experienced significantly higher rates of dementia.  The risk was highest in younger atrial fibrillation patients that were less than 80 years of age.  We then found that in atrial fibrillation patients that were frequently over anticoagulated and also use an antiplatelet agent, aspirin or plavix, the dementia rates nearly doubled.  At this point we raised the question if atrial fibrillation increased the risk beyond anticoagulation, or does anticoagulation efficacy drive most of the risk.  This question formed the background of the current study. (more…)