Author Interviews, Lifestyle & Health, Mental Health Research, Opiods, University of Pennsylvania / 15.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Samuel Preston, Ph.D. Professor of Sociology University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Life expectancy at birth in the United States is low by international standards and has been declining in recent years. Our study aimed to identify how these trends differed by age, sex, cause of death, metropolitan status, and region. We found that, over the period 2009-11 to 2014-16, mortality rose at ages 25-44 in large metropolitan areas and their suburbs as well as in smaller metropolitan areas and non-metropolitan areas. Mortality at ages 45-64 also rose in all of these areas except large metropolitan areas. These were the ages responsible for declining life expectancy. Changes in life expectancy were particularly adverse for non-metropolitan areas and for women. The metropolitan distinctions in mortality changes were similar from region to region. The cause of death contributing most strongly to mortality declines was drug overdose for males and mental and nervous system disorders for women. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Pediatrics / 11.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sean C. Rose, MD Pediatric sports neurologist and co-director of the Complex Concussion Clinic Nationwide Children’s Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Very limited data has been collected in children while they are playing contact sports to study the relationship between repetitive head impacts and neurocognitive outcomes.  We previously published a 1-year analysis of youth tackle football players and found no association between the number or severity of head impacts and performance on neurocognitive testing before to after the football season.  We are now reporting the results from the 2nd year of our study, tracking children through two seasons of football participation. We measured head impacts using helmet sensors during the 2016 and 2017 football seasons.  In the total group of 166 players age 9-18, one outcome measure (processing speed), out of the 23 outcome measures studied, declined over time.  However, several other measures that also assessed processing speed did not decline.  Neither the total burden of head impacts nor the intensity of individual impacts were associated with changes in testing performance over the course of the two seasons. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Gender Differences, Hormone Therapy, JAMA, Menopause, Weight Research / 05.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rachel Zsido PhD student Department of Neurology International Max Planck MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We integrated measures of brain network structure, visceral adipose tissue (VAT), serum estradiol levels, and cognitive performance from 974 participants in order to shed light on potential mechanisms underlying cognitive health. We believe it is imperative to assess sex-specific risk trajectories in brain aging and cognitive decline, especially given the known sex differences in both VAT accumulation patterns and estradiol fluctuations across the lifespan. Thus, we aimed to answer three questions in men and in women: 1) Does visceral adipose tissue exacerbate the association between age and brain network structure, 2) Does estradiol mitigate the negative association between VAT and brain network structure, and 3) What does this imply for healthy cognitive aging in men and women?  (more…)
ALS, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, JAMA, Multiple Sclerosis / 27.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Charlotte E. Teunissen, PhD Neurochemistry Laboratory, Department of Clinical Chemistry VU University Medical Centre, Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam Amsterdam, the Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Several reports have shown increased in NfL in various neurological disorders, separately. We wanted to know how the levels are in these disorders relative to each other. Moreover, some reports showed absence of age effects in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients, which is normally present in controls. So, we thought that it would be good to study age effects in a large group of controls, and if these effects are absent in other diseases, similarly as in MS. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Columbia, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, NEJM, Neurology / 27.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jan Claassen, MD, PhD, FNCS Associate Professor of Neurology Division of Division of Critical Care and Hospitalist Neurology Columbia University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Unconsciousness is common and predicting recovery is challenging – often inaccurate. Many patients do not show movements on commands and typically this is interpreted as unconsciousness. Some of these patients may be able to have brain response to these commands raising the possibility of some preservation of consciousness. This has previously been shown months or years after the injury mostly using MRI. We were able to detect this activation at the bedside in the ICU shortly after brain injury. For this we applied machine learning to the EEG to distinguish the brain’s responses to commands. Patients that showed this activation were more likely to follow commands prior to discharge and had better outcomes one year later.  (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Cognitive Issues, Infections, Vaccine Studies / 24.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Arindam Nandi  PhD Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: The motivation for this study comes from a small but growing body of evidence on the potential long-term benefits of vaccines. The recent resurgence of measles outbreaks in several countries which had previously eliminated the virus makes our study additionally relevant. There have been over 1,000 measles cases reported across 28 states in the US so far in 2019, which is the largest number of cases the country has seen in almost 3 decades. Similarly high number of cases have been reported in several European countries in recent years. This study reiterates the importance of vaccination and proves the long-term benefits of the measles vaccine in low- and middle-income countries, which account for a large proportion of global measles cases. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, University Texas / 24.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kevin F. Bieniek, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine Director, Biggs Institute Brain Bank Core Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s & Neurodegenerative Diseases University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio San Antonio, Texas 78229 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by CTE?   Response: CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that is linked to prior exposure to repetitive traumatic brain injuries.  CTE pathology, characterized by a distinct deposition pattern of the protein ‘tau’, is most often observed in the brains former contact sport athletes and military veterans.  The public health impacts of this disorder are largely unknown, as this disease is often studied in individuals which advanced levels of exposure, particularly professional American football player. This study aimed to understand what the presence of this disorder might be in the general population by studying athletes and non-athletes, a number of different sports, different levels of participation, and both males and females. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Sleep Disorders / 21.06.2019

sleep-alzheimers-dementia-insomniaSleep patterns can predict the increase of Alzheimer’s pathology proteins tau and β-amyloid later in life, according to a June 2019 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience. The findings shed hope on earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and the adoption of preventive measures earlier in life. Researchers found a decrease in sleep spindle synchronization, which is linked to higher tau levels. Reduced amplitude of slow wave activity, meanwhile, is closely related to higher β-amyloid levels. In younger people, both slow oscillations and sleep spindles are synchronized. This changes as people grow older, with less coordination between the two being visible. The researchers also noted that subjects who slept less had a higher chance of having Alzheimer’s proteins when they were older. The findings show that both reduced sleep quantity and quality can serve as important warnings of the onset of Alzheimer’s. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Pain Research, Psychological Science / 19.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Markus Rütgen PhD Post-doctoral researcher Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Unit Faculty of Psychology University of Vienna  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous research has reported empathy deficits in patients with major depressive disorder. However, a high percentage of patients taking part in these studies were taking antidepressants, which are known to influence emotion processing. In our study, we wanted to overcome this important limitation. We were interested in whether the previously reported empathic deficits were attributable to the acute state of depression, or to the antidepressant treatment. To this end, we performed a longitudinal neuroimaging study, in which we measured brain activity and self-reported empathy in response to short video clips showing people in pain. We measured acutely depressed patients twice. First, before they started their treatment, second, after three months of treatment with a state-of-the-art antidepressant (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, PTSD / 13.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Heike Gerger | Senior Postdoc University of Basel | Faculty of Psychology | Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy Basel | Switzerland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most prevalent mental disorders, with a high risk of chronicity, comorbidity, and functional impairment. PTSD is complicated to treat, and the debate on the most efficacious treatment approach is ongoing. Treatment guidelines for the treatment of PTSD typically recommend different types of trauma-focused psychotherapeutic treatments as first-line PTSD treatment. However, concerning pharmacological therapies recommendations are inconsistent. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Brain Injury, ENT, Pediatrics / 12.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amishav Bresler MD Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Rutgers - New Jersey Medical School  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study was inspired by a personal experience with the rental scooters. The most recent American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery annual conference was in Atlanta this year. At the time of the conference, the scooter rental industry had recently entered the region. A friend of mine, another ENT resident, was encouraging others to use these scooters for transportation for both the novelty and convenience. However, he didn't even have a helmet! Here was a well-educated doctor who takes call for craniofacial injuries, who was about to get on a scooter without a helmet. This experience made me wonder if scooters were dangerous scooters and their overall impact on public health. In terms of the backgroud, the personal transportation industry is undergoing a revolution. The search for efficient and environmentally-friendly urban transportation ignited an ongoing debate in the United States regarding the role of motorized scooters. Although known to be a popular method of transportation in Europe and Asia, motorized scooters have only recently begun to make inroads in the United States. The gradual rise in popularity has been attributed to their convenience, affordability, and status as a “green” alternative to vehicles with combustion engines. These advantages combined with the fact electric scooters enable users to travel longer distances than conventional scooters present an attractive method of transportation to school, work, and leisure. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 06.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hefei Wen, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Health Management & Policy University of Kentucky College of Public Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Medicaid is the principal payer of behavioral health services in the U.S. and expected to play an increasing role in financing behavioral health services following Medicaid expansions under the ACA. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Mental Health Research, Psychological Science / 03.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stephen L. Ristvedt, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Anesthesiology Washington University St. Louis, MO  63110-1093  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Having a usual source of healthcare – either with a regular doctor or a medical clinic – is the best way to manage one’s health in a proactive way.  Doctors and clinics can provide ongoing guidance with regard to the use of preventive medical screenings as well as the management of chronic illness.  Unfortunately, a significant proportion of US adults do not have a usual source of healthcare.  Also, many people often rely for their healthcare needs on a hospital emergency department, where there is neither sufficient continuity of care nor counseling for prevention. We wanted to investigate what factors might contribute to suboptimal utilization of healthcare resources.  We were particularly interested in looking at individual psychological factors that might play a role in the choices that people make when seeking healthcare.  One specific psychological characteristic proved to be important in our study.  That characteristic is called “threat sensitivity,” and it is measured with a simple questionnaire.  People who are relatively high in threat sensitivity are prone to experience high levels of anxiety in potentially threatening situations  (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, UCLA / 29.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Molly C. Easterlin, MD Fellow, UCLA National Clinician Scholars Program Clinical Instructor, Pediatrics, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Adverse childhood experiences or ACEs (including physical or emotional neglect or abuse, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, exposure to household substance misuse or mental illness, parental separation or divorce, and parental incarceration) are common with about half of children experiencing 1 and one-quarter of children experiencing 2 or more. Children exposed to adverse childhood experiences have worse mental health throughout life, including higher rates of depression and anxiety. However, little is known about what factors improve long-term mental health in those exposed to ACEs. Additionally, as far as we are aware, no studies have looked at team sports participation as a potential factor that may be associated with improved mental health among those with adverse childhood experiences. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Surgical Research, UCSF / 27.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carter Lebares, MD Assistant Professor of Surgery Director, Center for Mindfulness in Surgery Department of Surgery, UCSF  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: This study was inspired by extensive evidence of the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) for mitigating stress and enhancing performance in other high-stress populations like police and the military.  We know that overwhelming stress is related to burnout and to cognitive errors - two critical issues within surgery, today. This prompted us to tailor and streamline an MBI specifically for surgeons, and to test it in our trainees. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Gender Differences / 24.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tom Chang PhD, BS, MIT Associate Professor of Finance and Business Economics Marshall School of Business MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There have been many studies showing that women prefer higher indoor temperatures than men, however nobody looked at the effect of temperature on performance. We show that the battle for the thermostat is not just about the comfort. It is much more – in our experiment, women’s cognitive functioning is the best at high temperatures, whereas men’s at low temperatures. Significantly, the positive effect of increased temperatures on women’s performance is much stronger than the negative effect on men. The most surprising was that the effect of temperature on women is so strong. For instance, at low temperatures, men outperform women in a simple math task. However, when we increase the temperature, women become better and better (1.76% increase of solved tasks with each 1 Celsius increase), and at high temperatures women and men perform on the same level – the gender difference disappears.  (more…)
Allergan, Author Interviews, Bipolar Disorder, Mental Health Research / 23.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Stephen Stahl MD PhD Professor of Psychiatry University of California San Diego  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How does cariprazine differ from other medications for bipolar depression?  MedicalResearch.com: It is important to note that cariprazine, a dopamine D3-preferring D3/D2 receptor and serotonin 5-HT1A receptor partial agonist, is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia (1.5-6 mg/d) and bipolar mania (3-6 mg/d) in adults. It is not yet approved for depressive episodes related to bipolar I disorder (bipolar depression). In these data that focus on the investigational use for the treatment of bipolar depression, cariprazine has demonstrated efficacy vs placebo (PBO) in 3 phase 2/3 studies of patients with bipolar depression (NCT01396447, NCT02670538, NCT02670551). These analyses investigated the efficacy of cariprazine in patients with bipolar depression and concurrent manic symptoms (mixed features).  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Cognitive Issues, Technology / 22.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Henry W. Mahncke PhD Research neuroscientist CEO of Posit Science Corporation  MedicalResearch.com: What makes this study newsworthy?  Response: Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) is a complex condition to treat. Patients can report many symptoms (e.g., cognitive deficits, depression, anxiety, stress, fatigue, pain, sleep difficulties, disorientation, emotional issues). Prior to this study, conducted at five military and veterans’ medical centers, there has been no highly-scalable intervention to treat the cognitive deficits associated with mTBI. This study showed that a plasticity-based, computerized, brain-training app can drive statistically and clinically significant gains in overall cognitive performance. Given the number of service members and vets with persistent cognitive deficits from TBIs, that’s a big deal. (more…)
Author Interviews, Medical Imaging, Mental Health Research, UCSD / 13.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Mingxiong Huang, PhD Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering University of California, San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Combat-related mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a leading cause of sustained impairments in military service members and Veterans. Yet, conventional neuroimaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) are typically insensitive to physiological alterations caused by mild and some moderate TBIs. With funding from the VA, we have pursued in developing sensitive imaging markers based on magnetoencephalography (MEG) for mTBI. This paper reflects the news MEG findings in this research field.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Neurological Disorders, Neurology, Stroke / 12.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thomas M Van Vleet PhD Posit Science  Dr. Tom Van Vleet,  presented results on a common symptom of stroke and acquired brain injury (hemi-spatial neglect) at the American Academy of Neurology May 2019 MedicalResearch.com: What makes this study newsworthy? Response For the first time ever a highly-scalable intervention — computerized brain training (BrainHQ made by Posit Science) —was found to improve symptoms of hemi-spatial neglect, which is a common and often intractable and debilitating problem after stroke or other acquired brain injury. MedicalResearch.com: What can you tell us about the medical condition (hemi-spatial neglect) investigated in this study? Response About a third of patients with a brain injury exhibit a complex and debilitating array of neurological deficits known as the “neglect syndrome” (sometimes called, “hemi-spatial neglect” or “neglect”). The most apparent symptom of neglect is the inability of patients to efficiently process information on the side of space opposite the injury; often completely missing relevant events without awareness. As a result, patients often fail to adopt compensatory strategies or respond to other conventional rehabilitation protocols. The cost is significant, as patients with neglect experience longer hospital stays and have higher requirements for assistance, including greater skilled nursing home placements relative to patients with similar extent of brain injury without neglect. To date, there’s been no broadly-applicable and highly-scalable intervention for addressing neglect. An alarming reality given the increasing cost of stroke, which is currently estimated to exceed $34 billion per annum (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Neurological Disorders, Neurology, University of Pennsylvania / 08.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lauren McCollum, MDCognitive and Behavioral Neurology FellowPenn Memory Center / Cognitive Neurology DivisionLauren McCollum, MD Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology Fellow Penn Memory Center / Cognitive Neurology Division MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a heterogenous condition, with considerable variability in cognitive symptoms and progression rates. One major reason for this heterogeneity is “mixed pathology,” – i.e., both AD- and non-AD pathology. Examples of non-AD pathology include cerebrovascular disease (CVD), Lewy Bodies, and TDP-43. Pathologically, Alzheimer’s Disease is defined by characteristic amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, which can be assessed for in living patients with CSF- or PET-based biomarkers for amyloid and tau, respectively. Classically, amyloid deposition begins years or even decades before pathologic tau accumulation, which is in turn associated with brain atrophy and cognitive decline. The recently developed NIA-AA “ATN” research framework allows for the classification of individuals with regard to 3 binary biomarkers: Amyloid (A), Tau (T), and Neurodegeneration (N). An individual’s ATN biomarker status indicates where along the “Alzheimer’s Disease continuum” they lie. Additionally, some ATN statuses are on the “typical AD” continuum, while others are not. Research has shown that 15-30% of cognitively normal older adults have elevated amyloid. It stands to reason that some portion of cognitively impaired individuals with elevated amyloid and neurodegeneration have something other than AD driving their neuronal injury. Within the context of the ATN research framework, this subset of people is the A+T-N+ group (i.e., people who have elevated amyloid and neurodegeneration, but are tau-negative), as amyloid alone (that is, amyloid without tau) is not thought to cause significant cognitive impairment or brain atrophy. Our hypothesis was that, compared to A+T+N+ (a set of typical-AD biomarkers), A+T-N+ have cognitive and neuroimaging profiles that deviate from a typical Alzheimer’s Disease pattern – i.e., with less memory loss and less atrophy in AD-signature regions – and may have biomarkers suggestive of alternate non-AD pathologies [e.g., white matter hyperintensities (WMHs), a marker of CVD]. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, End of Life Care, JAMA, University of Pennsylvania / 30.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emily Largent, PhD, JD, RN Assistant ProfessorMedical Ethics and Health Policy Perelman School of Medicine Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics University of Pennsylvania  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response:  Public support for aid in dying in the United States is rapidly growing.  As a result, we’re now seeing debates about whether to expand access to aid-in-dying to new populations – such as people with Alzheimer’s disease – who wouldn’t be eligible under current laws. With those debates in mind, we asked currently healthy people who recently learned about their risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease dementia (i.e., due to the presence of amyloid, an Alzheimer’s disease biomarker) whether they would be interested in aid-in-dying. Our findings suggest that about 20% of individuals with elevated amyloid may be interested in aid-in-dying if they become cognitively impaired.   (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Brain Injury / 29.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Joseph A Schwartz PhD Public Affairs and Community Service, Criminology and Criminal Justice University of Nebraska Omaha, Omaha, NE  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: My larger research agenda is focused on identifying the ways in which environmental and biological influences work collectively to shape behavioral patterns across major stages of the life course. I am particularly interested in identifying environmental influences that can change biological functioning or activity to result in behavioral change. Brain injury was a natural progression of these interests since brain injury is expected to result in changes in the structure and functioning of the brain, which has been linked to meaningful changes in behavior. There have also been a sizable number of studies that indicate that justice involved populations experience brain injury at a rate that is between five and eight times what is observed in the general population. I was fascinated by this finding and thought that brain injury may be a good candidate influence to investigate further. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research / 26.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yoshinori SUGIURA Ph.D. Associate Professor Hiroshima University Graduate School of Integrated Arts and Sciences Behavioural Sciences Section Higashi-Hiroshima, Japan  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Lengthy worrying or repeated checking if the door is locked are common manifestations of anxiety in the general population. However, if their frequency, intensity, and interference become too much, they are diagnosed as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) respectively. People with OCD are tortured by repeatedly occurring negative thinking and they take some strategy to prevent i. GAD is a very pervasive type of anxiety. GAD patients worry about everything. Despite their burden, both are relatively difficult to treat. Furthermore complicated, as they are two different disorders, mental health professionals have to master separate strategies. To overcome such situation, transdiagnostic research, which seeks common causes for different disorders, is now eagerly pursued by psychologists/psychiatrists. As one of such endeavors, we predicted that inflated responsibility is the common predictor of both OCD and GAD symptoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Schizophrenia / 25.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dolores Malaspina MD, MS, MSPH Professor or Psychiatry, Neuroscience, Genetics and Genomic Sciences Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai Department of Psychiatry New York, NY 10128, USA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Schizophrenia is a severe disorder that presents in late adolescence or early adulthood with declining function, social withdrawal and psychotic symptoms such as auditory hallucinations and fixed false beliefs. It is a common condition, affecting 1% of the population, which can be not yet be prevented or cured. Its causes are still puzzling. Evidence from many different research approaches now suggests that an overactive immune system plays some role in causing schizophrenia, but the origins of the immune dysfunction are not known. We considered that too brief a period of sexual contact between parents could cause immune activation in offspring and thus be a risk factor for schizophrenia. With repeated sexual contact the maternal immune system develops tolerance to genetic material from the father. Otherwise, inflammatory processes may restrict the placental blood supply between the fetus and mother. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 25.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lauren Breithaupt, PhD Department of Psychology George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Our study provides novel insight into the relationship between the immune system and eating disorders characterized by chronic restriction (e.g., anorexia nervosa) and binge eating and/or purging (e.g., binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa). These findings also add to the growing body of literature linking the immune systems broadly and mental disorders. We found that infections in early childhood were associated with an increased risk of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other eating disorders such as binge eating disorder in adolescence. These relationships appear to be both time and dose-dependent, meaning that the onset of eating disorder diagnosis is greatest in the first three months following the infection, and the more infections, the greater the risk.    (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research / 25.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "xIMG_6547" by platycryptus is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0 Yaakov Hoffman, PhD. Senior Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist Interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences Max & Anna Webb St. Ramat-Gan, Israel, 5290002   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Foundation: This study was conceptualized during a conversation we had, namely, Dr. Yaakov Hoffman, Interdisciplinary department of social sciences, Bar Ilan University, and Professor Menachem Ben-Ezra School of Social Work, Ariel University, following the release of the Antman movie. We are both psychologists who are also avid Marvel  superhero fans. In this meaningful conversation we discussed the issue of fear of insects which led to the idea that positive exposure to phobic stimuli (exposure to spider or ants) within the context of Marvel superheroes will lead to robust reduction in phobic symptoms. As most of the conventional treatments for specific phobias use exposure to the phobic stimuli in neutral contexts, we thought that framing the exposure in a positive fun, albeit fantasy context would yield robust results, as well as perhaps reducing stigma. (more…)
Author Interviews, NYU, PTSD, Technology / 22.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Charles R. Marmar, MD The Lucius N. Littauer Professor Chair of the Department of Psychiatry NYU Langone School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Several studies in recent years have attempted to identify biological markers that distinguish individuals with PTSD, with candidate markers including changes in brain cell networks, genetics, neurochemistry, immune functioning, and psychophysiology. Despite such advances, the use of biomarkers for diagnosing PTSD remained elusive going into the current study, and no physical marker was applied in the clinic. Our study is the first to compare speech in an age and gender matched sample of a military population with and without PTSD, in which PTSD was assessed by a clinician, and in which all patients did not have a major depressive disorder. Because measuring voice qualities in non-invasive, inexpensive and might be done over the phone, many labs have sought to design speech-based diagnostic tools  (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Genetic Research, JAMA / 19.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Kimberley Kendall MBBCh Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Fellow Professor James Walters MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics Professor, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences Cardiff University   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Copy number variants (CNVs) are the deletion or duplication of large sections of DNA. Large, rare CNVs have been shown to increase the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disability (ID), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia. However, the impact of these CNVs on risk of depression was unclear from the existing literature. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Stem Cells, Surgical Research, University of Pittsburgh / 18.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. David Okonkwo, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Neurological surgery Director of the Neurotrauma Clinical Trials Center University of Pittsburgh Dr. Okonkwo discusses the results from the STEMTRA Phase 2 trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of SB623 in patients with chronic motor deficit from traumatic brain injury. The results were presented at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), April 2019 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the US and around the globe. The effects of TBI are often long-lasting, with more than one-third of severe TBI patients displaying a neuromotor abnormality on physical examination 2 years following injury and, yet, there are no effective treatments. The public health implications are staggering: there are approximately 1.4 million new cases of TBI in the US annually, resulting in over 50,000 deaths and 80,000 disabilities; over 5 million Americans currently suffer from long-term disability caused by TBI. A successful neuroregenerative or neurorestorative therapy, such as stem cell implantation, would have significant impact. (more…)