Author Interviews, JAMA, Karolinski Institute, Mental Health Research, PTSD, Rheumatology / 21.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42513" align="alignleft" width="150"]Huan Song Associated Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institutet Huan Song[/caption] Huan Song Associated Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institutet MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Earlier findings from our group (e.g. Fang et al., NEJM 2012; Arnberg et al., Lancet Psychiatry 2015; Lu et al., JAMA Oncol 2016; Shen et al., BMJ 2016; Zhu et al., Ann Oncol 2017) have identified pathways through which stressful events contribute to deterioration in human health. With strong animal models and human data supporting a role of stress in immune dysregulation, the hypothesis linking mental distress with autoimmune is indeed plausible. However, the evidence is as yet limited to clinical observations and a few larger observational studies on US veterans, most of them on men only, and some of which have cross-sectional designs and various other methodological shortcomings.
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Mental Health Research / 15.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Cannabis sativa” by Manuel is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Leen Naji, BHSc, MD Family Medicine Resident McMaster University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cannabis use has consistently been linked to suicide attempt in the general population, but little data exists linking the association between cannabis use and suicide attempt amongst patients with psychiatric disorders. This is important data as we know that patients with psychiatric disorders are both more likely to use cannabis and to attempt suicide. Therefore, our goal was to study the association between cannabis use and suicide attempt amongst patients with psychiatric disorders. Additionally, since we know that women are more likely to suffer from mental health disorders, are more likely to attempt suicide and are more likely to incur the deleterious consequences of drug use at lower doses, we sought to compare the association between cannabis use and suicide attempt in men and women amongst our study population. We conducted our analysis on a large sample of over 900 adults with psychiatric disorders (465 men, 444 women), of whom 112 men and 158 women had attempted suicide. The average age of our study sample was 40 years. We found that cannabis use is not associated with an increased risk of suicide in patients with psychiatric disorders, though this association may vary when looking at specific subpopulations and/or amount of cannabis use. For instance, we found that heavier cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of suicide attempt amongst men with psychiatric disorders. Specifically, there was a 3% increased risk of suicide attempt for every day of cannabis use per month in men with psychiatric disorders. We also found that amongst those with psychiatric conditions, women, unemployed individuals and those with a mood disorder were at increased risk of suicide attempt.  
Author Interviews, Memory, Technology / 15.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42466" align="alignleft" width="200"]University of Maryland researchers conducted one of the first in-depth analyses on whether people recall information better through virtual reality, as opposed to desktop computers. Credit: John T. Consoli / University of Maryland A picture of Eric Krokos, UMIACS graduate student, using the EEG Headset while on the computer.[/caption] Eric Krokos 5th-year Ph.D. student in computer science Augmentarium visualization lab augmentarium.umiacs.umd.edu University of Maryland  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: I am interested in exploring the use of virtual and augmented reality in high-impact areas like education, medicine, and high-proficiency training. For VR and AR to excel as a learning tool, we felt there needed to be a baseline study on whether people would perceive information better, and thus learn better, in an immersive, virtual environment as opposed to viewing information on a two-dimensional desktop monitor or handheld device. Our comprehensive user-study showed initial results that people are able to recall information using virtual reality—there was an 8.8 percent improvement in recall ability from our study participants using VR.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension / 15.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38151" align="alignleft" width="166"]Blood pressure monitor reading 120/80 copyright American Heart Association Blood pressure monitor reading 120/80
copyright American Heart Association[/caption] Professor Archana Singh-Manoux, PhD, HDR Epidemiology Research Director (DR1), INSERM Honorary Professor, University College London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although there have been previous studies that have linked raised blood pressure in midlife to an increased risk of dementia in later life, the term ‘midlife’ has been poorly defined and ranged from 35 to 68 years. New findings from the long-running Whitehall II study of over 10,000 civil servants has found 50-year-olds who had blood pressure that was higher than normal but still below the threshold commonly used when deciding to treat the condition, were at increased risk of developing dementia in later life. 
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Autism, Pediatrics / 14.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Driving” by Martin Alvarez Espinar is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kristina Elise Patrick, Ph.D Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus, OH 43205 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Many families of young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are concerned that they may have difficulty acquiring driver’s licenses and driving safely because of symptoms of ASD. However, the ability to drive opens the door to a variety of social, occupational, and educational experiences. We aimed to assess differences in simulated driving behaviors of young adults with ASD and those with typical development and to evaluate whether differences depended on level of driving experience and complexity of the driving task. On average, young adults with ASD had more difficulty regulating their speed and position within their lane compared with typically developing individuals even on a very basic rural route. After completing the basic route, drivers were required to engage in more complex tasks such as changing the radio or engaging in conversation while driving, driving through a construction zone, and following behind a truck. On complex driving tasks, drivers with ASD who had acquired licensure drove similarly to typically developing drivers who had acquired licensure. However, novice drivers with ASD had more difficulty than typically developing drivers regulating their speed and position within the lane.
Addiction, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research / 13.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42407" align="alignleft" width="130"]Scott J. Russo PhD Fishberg Dept. of Neuroscience Friedman Brain Institute, and Center for Affective Neuroscience Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY Dr. Russo[/caption] Scott J. Russo PhD Fishberg Dept. of Neuroscience Friedman Brain Institute, and Center for Affective Neuroscience Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: There is increasing evidence that aggressive behavior might share key features with addiction.  For example, aggressive mice develop positive associations with environmental cues associated with previous aggressive encounters (ie. they find aggression rewarding) and aggressive animals will work very hard to obtain access to a subordinate animal in order to attack them. Some of the same brain regions that are activated in response to addictive drugs, like cocaine and morphine, are also activated by aggressive experience.  Thus we hypothesized that there may be shared neurobiological mechanisms between addiction and aggression. Our study showed that there is accumulation of the addiction-related transcription factor, ΔFosB, in the nucleus accumbens, a brain region well know to regulate the rewarding and addictive properties of drugs of abuse.
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Psychological Science / 13.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Divine Piano” by François Philipp is licensed under CC BY 2.0Zachary Wallmark, Ph.D Assistant Professor of Musicology Directo MuSci Lab SMU Meadows School of the Art Music Division Dallas, TX 75275 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Music making and listening is an intensely social behavior. Individual differences in trait empathy are associated with preferential engagement of social cognitive neural circuitry, including regions of the medial prefrontal cortex, cingulate, and insula, during the perception of socially relevant information. In our study, we used fMRI to explore the degree to which differences in trait empathy modulate music processing in the brain. We found that higher empathy people experience greater activation of social circuitry as well as the reward system while listening to familiar music, compared to lower empathy people. 
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Schizophrenia, UCSD / 12.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marcelo Pablo Coba PhD Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute Keck School of Medicine of USC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia (SCZ) are complex brain disorders where a multitude or risk factors have been implicated in contributing to the disease, with a low number of genes that have been strongly implicated in a very low number of cases. One of these genes is Disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1), which was first described in 2000 as a balanced translocation that segregates with schizophrenia and related psychiatric disorders in a large Scottish family. Because DISC1 does not have an identified protein function such as enzymatic, channel, transporter, etc… the field moved to try to understand what proteins are associated (physically connected) to DISC1 and to try to explain DISC1 function through the function of its protein interactors. This means that if DISC1 binds proteins X, Y and Z, then mutations in the DISC1 gene should affect the functions of   these proteins. Therefore, there has been much effort in trying to identify DISC1 protein interactors. However this task has not been straightforward.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, JAMA, Medical Imaging, Memory / 12.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Arno de Wilde, MD / PhD candidate Department of Neurology & Alzheimer Center Amsterdam Neuroscience VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, the Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies assessing the clinical utility of amyloid imaging used very selected research populations, limiting the translatability to clinical practice. In contrast, we used an unselected memory clinic cohort, offering amyloid PET to ALL patients visiting our memory clinic, and for the purpose of this study, we implemented amyloid PET in our routine diagnostic work-up. Our results demonstrate that amyloid PET has important consequences, in terms of diagnosis and treatment changes, for a significant number of patients within a situation that closely resembles clinical practice. I think that these results are an important step in 'bridging the gap' between using amyloid PET in a research setting versus daily clinical practice.
Allergies, Author Interviews, Autism, JAMA, Pediatrics / 10.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42235" align="alignleft" width="130"]Wei Bao, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Epidemiology College of Public Health University of Iowa Dr. Wei Bao[/caption] Wei Bao, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Epidemiology College of Public Health University of Iowa MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies indicated a possible link between immunologic dysfunction and autism. The current study, based on nationally representative large-scale surveys, showed that food allergy, respiratory allergy, and skin allergy, all relevant to immunological dysfunction, were associated with autism spectrum disorder among US children.
Author Interviews, Autism, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 08.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Blood Pressure” by Bernard Goldbach is licensed under CC BY 2.0Ali Khashan, PhD Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology School of Public Health & INFANT Centre University College Cork Cork, Ireland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is some evidence to suggest an increased likelihood of neurodevelopmental disorders in relation to hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, however consensus is lacking. Considering hypertensive disorders in pregnancy are among the most common prenatal complication, we decided to synthesise the published literature on this topic by conducting a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis. Our main findings suggest that hypertensive disorders in pregnancy are associated with about 30% increase in the likelihood of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and ADHD in the offspring, compared to offspring not exposed to hypertensive disorders in pregnancy.
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 06.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42213" align="alignleft" width="200"]Alfio Maggiolini, MD Minotauro, Milan Dr. Maggiolini[/caption] Alfio Maggiolini, MD Minotauro, Milan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Antisocial behaviour is common during adolescence and it incurs significant costs both for society and for the young people themselves. Persistent antisocial behaviour places a heavy burden on the community, the justice system and the public health system. Responses to juvenile crime have always seen a tension between a focus on the understanding and the rehabilitation of the youth and the need to enforce discipline and public safety through punishment and threat. The treatment of young offenders was traditionally deemed particularly difficult, and often ineffective. In recent years, therapeutic nihilism has given way to cautious optimism. While punitive-based approaches, at all levels, are hardly ever effective in the long term, the most popular and effective programs tend to focus on behaviour control. Common core elements of such programs include positive reinforcement, problem solving skills training and role playing, as behavioral problems are often assumed somewhat inherently wrong, or a “lack of something”, the programs aims at improving or changing. The study presents a developmental approach that understands behavioral problems as the result of intentions, values and goals that need to be taken in full consideration and that are usually legitimate, even though carried out in ways that prove dysfunctional for both the young person and society. In other words, we consider antisocial behaviors as maladaptive responses to legitimate developmental tasks, a deviant way of meeting positive goals and taking control of one’s life. In the program we describe, a developmental understanding is combined with a psychoanalytically informed perspective on treatment and delivered in multi-modal terms. It has been carried out in Italy for the past 20 years, with positive outcomes, both in private practice and within the juvenile justice services. 
Author Interviews, Eating Disorders, Weight Research / 04.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42096" align="alignleft" width="157"]Tomoko Udo, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Health Policy, Management, and Behavior School of Public Health University at Albany, State University of New York Dr. Tomoko Udo[/caption] Tomoko Udo, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Health Policy, Management, and Behavior School of Public Health University at Albany, State University of New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: The National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions III (NESARC III) was the largest epidemiological study on psychiatric disorders in US non-institutionalized adults that was conducted by the National Institution on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the first one sinceDSM-5 came out. The last population-based study with US adults that examined eating disorders was the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication Study conducted by Hudson and his colleagues and published in 2007. We felt that it was important to obtain new prevalence estimates in a larger and representative sample especially because the DSM-5 included several changes to the criteria for eating disorders from the earlier DSM-IV. Thus, we thought it was important to provide updated and new prevalence estimates for eating disorders as well as how they are distributed across sex, ethnicity/race, and age.  Many  researchers and clinicians expected higher estimates than earlier studies as a result of “loosening” of diagnostic criteria for eating disorders.
Author Interviews, Autism, Dental Research, Mineral Metabolism, Pediatrics / 31.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “baby teeth” by Thomas Ricker is licensed under CC BY 2.0Christine Austin PhD Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY 10029 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies have shown that some metals (nutrients and toxicants) are absorbed and metabolized differently in children with autism spectrum disorder compared to neuro-typical children. However, it is not known when this dysregulation occurs and it is incredibly difficult to study prenatal metal metabolism. Teeth, which begin forming prenatally, grow by adding a new layer every day, much like the yearly growth rings in trees. Each layer formed captures many of the chemicals circulating in the body at the time. We have developed a method to measure metals in these layers to build a timeline of metal exposure during the prenatal and early childhood period. We found that the cycles of copper and zinc metabolism were disrupted in children with ASD and used this feature to develop a method to predict the emergence of autism spectrum disorder with 90% accuracy.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Depression, Weight Research / 30.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Rafael Gafoor Research Associate Kings College London  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Obesity and weight gain are global public health problems, with approximately 60% of UK adults currently overweight or obese. Depression is common in people who are severely obese and the rate of antidepressant prescribing is increasing, which could have potential impact on public health. However, little research has been reported on the impact of widespread antidepressant treatment on weight gain. So a UK based research team, led by Rafael Gafoor at King’s College London, set out to investigate the association between the use of antidepressants and weight gain. The researchers analysed body weight and body mass measurement data from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) for over 300,000 adults with an average age of 51, whose body mass index (BMI) had been recorded three or more times during GP consultations from 2004-2014. Participants were grouped according to their BMI (from normal weight to severely obese) and whether or not they had been prescribed an antidepressant in a given year. Participants were then monitored for a total of 10 years.
Author Interviews, Autism, Environmental Risks, Fish, OBGYNE, Toxin Research / 23.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Fish” by Dhruvaraj S is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr Caroline M Taylor Wellcome Trust Research Fellow Centre for Child and Adolescent Health Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Bristol MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Mercury is a toxic metal that is widespread in the environment. In pregnancy, mercury in the mother’ bloodstream is transferred through the placenta to the fetus, where is can affect development of the nervous system. Mercury from vaccines has been the focus of attention particularly in regard to a link with autism in children. However, the amount of mercury used in the vaccines is small in comparison with mercury from the diet and atmospheric pollution, and in the EU at least, childhood vaccines no longer contain this preservative. The fear that mercury is linked to autism has persisted, despite increasing evidence that this is not the case. The aim of our study was to look at mercury from the diet rather than vaccines – specifically from fish – in pregnant women. We measured the women’s mercury levels in their blood and asked them about how much fish they ate. We then followed up their children for 9 years and recorded how many of them had autism diagnosed within that time. We also measured how many of them had autist traits by measuring their social and communication difficulties.  The data were part of the Children of the 90s study (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children – ALSPAC), which is based in Bristol, UK.
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Environmental Risks, Science, UCSF / 22.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Space Shuttle Model” by terren in Virginia is licensed under CC BY 2.0Susanna Rosi, PhD Director of Neurocognitive Research Brain and Spinal Injury Center Professor in the departments of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science and of Neurological Surgery UCSF MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: NASA and private space companies like SpaceX plan to send humans to the red planet within the next 15 years — but among the major challenges facing future crewed space missions is how to protect astronauts from the dangerous cosmic radiation of deep space. In this study we identified the first potential treatment for the brain damage caused by exposure to cosmic rays — a treatment can be given after exposure and that prevents memory impairment in mice exposed to simulated space radiation.
Author Interviews, Depression, Emory, Heart Disease, JAMA / 22.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41942" align="alignleft" width="150"]Viola Vaccarino, MD, PhD Department of Epidemiology and Division of Cardiology Professor, Department of Medicine Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, Georgia Dr. Vaccarino[/caption] Viola Vaccarino, MD, PhD Department of Epidemiology and Division of Cardiology Professor, Department of Medicine Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, Georgia  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies have shown that people with depression tend to have lower heart rate variability (HRV), an index of autonomic nervous system dysregulation derived by monitoring the electrocardiogram over time, usually for 24 hours. Other literature, however, has pointed out that autonomic dysregulation (as indexed by reduced HRV) may also cause depression. Thus, the direction of the association between reduced HRV and depression still remains unclear. In addition, these two characteristics could share common pathophysiology, making shared familial background and genetic factors potential determinants of this association.
ADHD, Author Interviews, Columbia, JAMA, Toxin Research / 21.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou ScD Assistant Professor Environmental Health Sciences Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University  Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou ScD Assistant Professor Environmental Health Sciences Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders, like attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been increasing. One of the hypothesized risk factors for increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders is a class of chemicals known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). These chemicals are known to interfere with the endocrine system, i.e. the system that uses hormones to control and coordinate metabolism, reproduction and development. Several high production volume chemicals, ubiquitously present in commercial products, are known or suspected endocrine disruptors. Because of their widespread use in consumer products, the population-wide exposure to known and suspected EDCs is very high. Recently, there has been increased attention in the potential effects of EDCs on neurodevelopment that span multiple generations. Animal studies have provided evidence that exposure to EDCs, such as phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA), alter the behavior and social interactions in mice in three to five generations after exposure. However, evidence of such multi-generational impacts of EDC exposure on neurodevelopment in humans is unavailable, likely because of the lack of detailed information on exposures and outcomes across generations. For this study we leveraged information from a nationwide cohort, the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII), to investigate the potential link between exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) and third generation ADHD, i.e. ADHD among the grandchildren of the women who used DES while pregnant. DES is a very potent endocrine disruptor that was prescribed between 1938 and 1971 to pregnant women thought to prevent pregnancy complications. In the United States, between 5 and 10 million women are estimated to have used DES, although the exact number is not known. DES was banned in 1971, when was linked to vaginal adenocarcinomas (a rare cancer of the reproductive system) in the daughters of the women who had used it during pregnancy. Since then, DES has been also linked to multiple other reproductive outcomes in DES daughters, as well as with some reproductive outcomes in the grandchildren of the women who used it, such as hypospadias and delated menstrual regularization. However, to our knowledge, no study to date has evaluated the association between DES, or any other EDC, and multigenerational neurodevelopment.
Author Interviews, Duke, Mental Health Research / 21.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41880" align="alignleft" width="125"]Maxwell Elliott Clinical psychology PhD student Working with Ahmad Hariri and the Moffitt & Caspi lab Duke University Maxwell Elliott[/caption] Maxwell Elliott Clinical psychology PhD student Working with Ahmad Hariri and the Moffitt & Caspi lab Duke University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The traditional clinical science model identifies individuals who meet specific criteria for mental illness diagnoses (e.g. Depression, Anxiety) and compares them to “healthy” controls to find brain correlates of mental illness.  However, this approach often overlooks the high rates of comorbidity and shared symptamatology across mental illnesses. Emerging research has identified a general factor of psychopathology that accounts for shared risk among internalizing, externalizing, and thought disorders across diverse samples. This general factor of psychopathology has been called the p-factor. In our study we investigate the brain correlates of the p-factor using a data-driven analysis of resting state functional connectivity. We find that higher p-factor scores and associated risk for common mental illness maps onto hyper-connectivity between visual association cortex and both frontoparietal and default mode networks.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, JAMA, Social Issues / 18.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Dorina Cadar Research Associate in Dementia Psychobiology Group Department of Behavioural Science and Health University College London London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Dementia is one of the most feared medical conditions, which represents a significant global challenge to health and social care. Education may serve different roles in the development of dementia: it is a proxy for early life experiences and (parental) socioeconomic status, it is related to future employment prospects, income and wealth, determines occupational exposures and characteristics of adult life (e.g., job complexity, work stress, environmental exposures) and it provides lifelong skills for optimal mental abilities and mastery. However, given that education is typically completed many decades before dementia onset, other individual and area-based components of socioeconomic status, such as wealth, income and area deprivation may provide a more accurate indication of current socioeconomic resources.  Also, at older ages, accumulated wealth represents a more robust measure of socioeconomic resources than income or occupation alone.
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, JAMA, Schizophrenia / 17.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41730" align="alignleft" width="162"]Tobias Kaufmann UiO Institute of Clinical Medicine Dr. Kaufmann[/caption] Tobias Kaufmann PhD Norwegian Centre for Mental Disorders Research (NORMENT), KG Jebsen Centre for Psychosis Research, Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital & Institute of Clinical Medicine University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Over the past years, a lot of work has pointed toward impaired brain networks in schizophrenia. With this work we assessed brain network stability across different loads of a cognitive task using functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain. Based on our earlier work on adolescents with pre-clinical signs of mental illness who showed decreased stability of networks across different tasks and conditions, we hypothesized that brain networks in adults with schizophrenia show similar properties of decreased stability. Our results confirmed this hypothesis. Stability was reduced in several large-scale brain networks across the sampled age range from early adulthood to the sixties. Further, network stability was associated with polygenic risk for schizophrenia as well as cognitive task performance.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Depression, Exercise - Fitness / 17.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41782" align="alignleft" width="200"]Prof. Sarah E Lamb,  MSc, MA, MCSP, Grad Dip Statistics, DPhil Centre for Rehabilitation Research and Centre for Statistics in Medicine Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics Rheumatology & Musculoskeletal Sciences Botnar Research Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford Prof. Lamb[/caption] Prof. Sarah E Lamb,  MSc, MA, MCSP, Grad Dip Statistics, DPhil Centre for Rehabilitation Research and Centre for Statistics in Medicine Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics Rheumatology & Musculoskeletal Sciences Botnar Research Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Scientists and clinicians have considered the possibility that higher intensity aerobic and muscle strength training might have a beneficial effect in preventing dementia or slowing the progression of cognitive impairment in those who have dementia. The hypothesis has come mostly from animal research. The main findings of our research which used a large sample and high quality methods was that higher intensity exercise, whilst possible, did not slow cognitive impairment. Neither did it have an impact on the functional and behavioural outcomes for people with dementia. It was a substantial commitment for people to participate in the programmes, although many enjoyed the experience and their physical fitness improved.
Author Interviews, Circadian Rhythm, Lancet, Mental Health Research / 16.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41693" align="alignleft" width="128"]Laura Lyall  MA; MSc; PhD Research Associate Institute of Health and Wellbeing University of Glasgow Dr. Lyall[/caption] Laura Lyall MA; MSc; PhD Research Associate Institute of Health and Wellbeing University of Glasgow MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous studies have suggested a link between disturbed circadian rhythms and depression and bipolar disorder. These studies have however usually used small samples, subjective measures of circadian disruption, or have not accounted for potential confounding factors like sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics. The UK Biobank cohort has accelerometry (activity monitor) data as well as mental health, lifestyle, BMI and sociodemographic data for over 91,000 individuals, and means we can address this question using objective measures of circadian rhythmicity on a large scale. We derived a measure of relative amplitude from the UK Biobank’s accelerometry data, which was recorded for 7 days between 2013-2014 from around 100,000 participants. Relative amplitude reflects the distinction, in terms of activity levels, between an individual’s most active 10 hours and least active 5 hours, in an average day. If an individual is inactive during the day, or has disturbed sleep at night, the will show low relative amplitude, consistent with disturbed circadian rest-activity patterns.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Mental Health Research / 16.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41743" align="alignleft" width="133"]Dr. Eero Vuoksimaa PhD Institute for Molecular Medicine University of Helsinski Finland Dr. Vuoksimaa[/caption] Dr. Eero Vuoksimaa PhD Institute for Molecular Medicine University of Helsinski Finland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are many previous reports indicating a positive association between height and cognitive ability but the underlying mechanisms behind this correlation are not well known. We used a mediation model to test if this association is explained by brain size as measured with cortical grey matter size. We found that total cortical surface mediated the relationship between height and cognitive ability.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Personalized Medicine, University of Pennsylvania / 15.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41668" align="alignleft" width="148"]David A. Wolk, MD Associate Professor Department of Neurology Co-Director, Penn Memory Center Associate Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center University of Pennsylvania Dr. Wolk[/caption] David A. Wolk, MD Associate Professor Department of Neurology Co-Director, Penn Memory Center Associate Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a state when individuals have mild memory problems, but not enough to impact day-to-day function.  Many patients with MCI are on the trajectory to developing Alzheimer’s Disease dementia, but about half will not and remain stable.  As such, patients with MCI are often uncertain about the likelihood they should expect to decline in the future which obviously may be associated with considerable anxiety and this may delay opportunities for them to plan for the future or begin therapeutic interventions. This study examined the degree to which amyloid PET, which detects the amyloid pathology of Alzheimer’s Disease, a measure of shrinkage of the hippocampus with MRI, and cognitive measures predicted development of dementia over 3 years.  We found that each of these measures enhances prediction of whether an individual will or will not develop dementia in the future.  If all of these measures are positive, one has a very high risk of progression whereas if amyloid PET and the MRI measurement are normal, there is very little risk of progression.
Author Interviews, Depression, Endocrinology, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Thyroid Disease / 14.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thyroid gland Wikipedia imageTeja Grömer PD Dr. med. Habil Facharzt für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie Lehrbefugter der Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg im Fach Psychiatrie Bamberg  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? 1) I had seen hundreds of clinical cases with combined depression and anxiety and noted end of 2015 that most (far more than 50%) from the subjective clinical impression were associated with autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT) 2) Autoimmune thyroiditis on the mental side leads to specific symptoms, exhaustion, tachycardia, restlessness. 3) I thus decided to do a systematic review and meta-analysis. 
Author Interviews, Depression, Exercise - Fitness / 13.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “gym” by FooJFoo is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0Mr. Brett R. Gordon, M.Sc. Postgraduate researcher Physical Education and Sport Sciences Department University of Limerick, Ireland.  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Depression is prevalent, burdensome, and often comorbid mood disorder that is associated with other poor health outcomes. Exercise training interventions have demonstrated comparable efficacy for depressive symptoms to frontline treatments, such as antidepressant medications and behavioral therapies. However, the evidence to date has primarily focused on findings from studies of aerobic exercise training like jogging, running, and cycling. Our work is the first quantitative summary of the effects of resistance exercise training (RET), or weight lifting and strength training, on depressive symptoms, and the influence of variables like participant characteristics, features of the RET, and the methods that were used in studies on the antidepressant effects of RET. The main finding was that resistance exercise training significantly reduced depressive symptoms among adults regardless of their health status, the total prescribed volume of RET (e.g., how much the participants were supposed to exercise), or whether or not strength was significantly improved by the RET intervention. 
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Depression, Pediatrics / 11.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41645" align="alignleft" width="133"]Karen Fratantoni, M.D., M.P.H. Pediatrician and lead study author Children’s National Health System Dr. Fratantoni[/caption] Karen Fratantoni, M.D., M.P.H. Pediatrician and lead study author Children’s National Health System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We looked at the prevalence of depressive symptoms at NICU discharge and at six months after discharge among 125 parents randomized to the control group of a larger PCORI-funded trial of peer-to-peer support after NICU discharge. Determining factors associated with parental depressive symptoms at NICU discharge may help to identify at-risk parents who could benefit from mental health support.
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Mental Health Research / 10.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Open Space Yoga Hawaii” by Open Space Yoga Hawaii is licensed under CC BY 2.0Michael Christopher Melnychuk PhD candidate Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience Trinity, Dublin  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Practitioners of yoga have claimed for some 2,500 years, that respiration influences the mind. In our study we looked for a neurophysiological link that could help explain these claims by measuring breathing, reaction time, and brain activity in a small area in the brainstem called the locus coeruleus. We chose to focus on the locus coeruleus because this area and the chemical it produces play intimate roles in both attention and respiration. The locus coeruleus produces noradrenaline and releases it to the entire brain. This neurotransmitter functions as an all-purpose action system. When we are stressed we produce too much noradrenaline and we can’t focus. When we feel sluggish, we produce too little and again, we can't focus. There is a sweet spot of noradrenaline in which our emotions, thinking and memory are much clearer.