Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Lancet / 21.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “undefined” by Iñaki Queralt is licensed under CC BY 2.0Michaël Schwarzinger, MD, PhD Translational Health Economics Network (THEN) Paris MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The association of heavy drinking with dementia has been known for decades. For instance, there is about no Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome without heavy drinking and the syndrome was described in 1890. But this type of dementia is very rare. Also, heavy drinking is knowingly associated with multiple risk factors for dementia onset such as hypertension or diabetes. But heavy drinkers generally refuse to participate to cohort studies and declaration of alcohol use among participants is generally biased downward... So the study rationale is very strong, but supporting empirical evidence is quite scarce. This nationwide study included all 31+ million adults discharged from hospitals over 6 years, i.e., 50% of the French population before 65 years old and 80% above that age. Of 1.1+ million adults diagnosed with dementia, one in twenty had an early-onset (before 65 years old). Heavy drinking was recorded in most (56%) early-onset dementia cases: two-third in men; one-third in women. In addition, the association of heavy drinking with dementia goes far beyond 65 years old, both directly (>3 times higher risk for dementia onset after controlling for more than 30 known risk factors for dementia) and indirectly as heavy drinking was associated with all other independent risk factors for dementia onset. Accordingly, heavy drinking had the largest effect on dementia risk of all independent modifiable risk factors such as hypertension or diabetes. The effects were found whatever dementia case definition or population studies.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Neurology / 16.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joseph Therriault Integrative Program in Neuroscience  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Neurologists have known for a long time that Anosognosia, or unawareness of illness, appears in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. For example, these patients will have diminished awareness of their memory loss, and will also engage in dangerous behaviors, such as leaving the house to go for a walk, without knowing they are at high risk of getting lost. However, it was not known if decreased awareness of cognitive problems existed in the pre-dementia phase of Alzheimer’s disease. In our study, we compared the ratings of cognitive decline from the patient and their close relative, who also filled out the same questionnaire. When a patient reported having no cognitive problems but the family member reported significant difficulties, the patient was considered to have poor awareness of illness. We found that patients who are less aware had increased disease pathology, and were nearly three times as likely to progress to dementia within two years, even when taking into account other factors like genetic risk, age, gender and education. The increased progression to dementia was mirrored by increased brain metabolic dysfunction in regions vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease.
Author Interviews, Autism, Pharmaceutical Companies, Roche, Vanderbilt / 16.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40115" align="alignleft" width="123"]Dr Kevin Sanders, MD Principle Medical Director-Product Development Neuroscience Assistant Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics Vanderbilt University Dr. Sanders[/caption] Dr Kevin Sanders, MD Principle Medical Director-Product Development Neuroscience Assistant Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics Vanderbilt University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this announcement?  Response: The FDA has granted Roche Breakthrough Therapy Designation for its investigational oral medicine balovaptan (previously known as RG7314), a vasopressin 1a (V1a) receptor antagonist for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation for balovaptan is primarily based on efficacy findings in the VANILLA (Vasopressin ANtagonist to Improve sociaL communication in Autism) study, a Phase II trial of balovaptan in adults with ASD. Trial results were first presented at the International Congress for Autism Research (IMFAR) in May 2017. Treatment effects were observed on the Vineland-II (secondary endpoint) and also demonstrated that balovaptan was safe and well tolerated by the subjects in the study. The Vineland-II is a scale that measures socialization, communication and daily living skills. This data was presented to the FDA and is part of the basis of the Breakthrough Designation. 
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Geriatrics, Kidney Disease, Salt-Sodium / 11.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39968" align="alignleft" width="150"]Dr. Kristen L. Nowak PhD Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Aurora, CO 80045 Dr. Nowak[/caption] Dr. Kristen L. Nowak PhD Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Aurora, CO 80045 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Subtle impairments in cognition are common with aging, even in the absence of clinically apparent dementia. Mild hyponatremia is a common finding in older adults; however, the association of lower serum sodium with cognition in older adults is currently uncertain. We hypothesized that lower normal serum sodium would be associated with prevalent cognitive impairment and the risk of cognitive decline over time in asymptomatic, community-dwelling older men.
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Psychological Science / 11.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Homes for Pets - Doggie Dash” by Homes For Pets is licensed under CC BY 2.0Helen Louise Brooks BSc, MRes, PhD Psychology of Healthcare Research Group Department of Psychological Sciences, Institute of Psychology, Health and Society University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: It is increasingly being acknowledged that companion animals can have a positive impact on mental health. However, there has been no systematic review of the evidence related to how pets might benefit people living with mental health problems.
Author Interviews, Autism, Stem Cells, Transplantation / 10.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39944" align="alignleft" width="160"]Michael G. Chez, M.D. Director of Pediatric Neurology Sutter Memorial Hospital Director of the Pediatric Epilepsy and Autism Programs Sutter Neuroscience Group  Dr. Michael Chez[/caption] Michael G. Chez, M.D. Director of Pediatric Neurology Sutter Memorial Hospital Director of the Pediatric Epilepsy and Autism Programs Sutter Neuroscience Group  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The study looked at possible use of autologous cord blood as a source of stem cells in patients with autism. The patients had to have fairly good genetic screening per protocol and had confirmation of autism to participate. The use of cord blood was a pilot cross over double blind study with hypothesis that a post natal factor or immune dysregulation may add to the autism clinical phenotype. Cord blood ( the baby’s own from birth) is a safe source of mixed stem cell types and should be safe from rejection or autoimmune reaction in theory. Infusion /placebo or placebo/infusion was randomized and observed and tested every 3 months with switch to other wing of treatment at 0 and 6 months. Total observation was over 1 year.
Author Interviews, Depression, Dermatology / 09.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Young man with acne” by Sergey Sudeykin (Russian, Smolensk 1882–1946 Nyack) via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0Isabelle Vallerand, Ph.D. Epidemiologist, MD Student Dept. of Community Health Sciences Cumming School of Medicine University of Calgary MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Over the past few years, there have been numerous reports that an acne drug called isotretinoin (Accutane) has been linked to psychiatric disorders. We recently published a systematic review on this topic and did not find an increased risk of psychiatric disorders among people treated with isotretinoin, so we wondered if acne itself may be contributing to mental illness. While it is well known that acne can have negative effects on mood, we wanted to assess if there was an increased risk of true clinical depression using medical records data. Therefore, we conducted the current study and found that acne increased the risk of developing clinical depression by 63% in the first year following an acne diagnosis and that this risk remained elevated for 5 years after the initial acne diagnosis.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Environmental Risks / 07.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39875" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr. Lily Yan MD PhD Department of Psychology & Neuroscience Program Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 48824  Dr. Lily Yan[/caption] Dr. Lily Yan MD PhD Department of Psychology & Neuroscience Program Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 48824  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • The effects of light on cognitive function have been well-documented in human studies, with brighter illumination associated with better cognitive performance. However, the underlying neural mechanisms are not well understood.
  • In this study, we explored the mechanisms of how light modulates spatial learning and memory, using diurnal Nile grass rats. In contrast to most laboratory animals that are active at night and fall asleep following light exposure, these animals are active during the day, thus an ideal model for understanding the effects of light on humans.
  • When the animals were housed in dim light during the day, mimicking the cloudy days or typical indoor lighting, the animals had a ~30% reduction in the dendritic spines, which make the connection between brain cells, within the hippocampus, a brain region critical for learning and memory. Animals housed in dim light also performed poorly in a water maze, compared to those housed in bright light.
  • When the animals that had been in dim light were then housed in bright light for 4 weeks, the connections in their hippocampus and performance in the water maze recovered fully. 
Author Interviews, Pharmacology, Schizophrenia / 04.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39820" align="alignleft" width="174"]Hsien-Yuan Lane Dr. Hsien-Yuan Lane[/caption] Hsien-Yuan Lane, MD,PhD Distinguished Professor, Director, Graduate Institute of Biomedical Sciences China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan Director, Brain Diseases Research Center (BDRC), Addiction Research Center, and Department of Psychiatry, China Medical University and Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan PI, Taiwan Clinical Trial Consortium for Mental Disorders  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental illness affecting more than 21 million people worldwide. Clozapine has been regarded as the last-line antipsychotic agent for patients with refractory schizophrenia. However, an estimated 40–70% of patients with refractory schizophrenia fail to improve even with clozapine , referred to as “clozapine-resistant”. To date, there is no convincing evidence for augmentation on clozapine. Activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, including inhibition of D-amino acid oxidase (DAAO) that may metabolize D-amino acids, has been reported to be beneficial for patients receiving antipsychotics other than clozapine. Sodium benzoate is a DAAO inhibitor. A recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial found that add-on sodium benzoate improved the clinical symptoms in patients with clozapine-resistant schizophrenia, possibly through DAAO inhibition and antioxidation as well.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Schizophrenia, Yale / 01.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Josephine Mollon PhD Department of Psychosis Studies, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience King’s College London, London, England Currently with the Department of Psychiatry Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, Connecticut MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, are severe mental disorders that cause a range of abnormalities in perception and thinking. Individuals with psychotic disorders also experience severe impairments in IQ and there is evidence that these impairments begin many years before hallucinations and delusions first appear. Understanding how and when individuals with psychotic disorder experience a drop in IQ scores will help us better predict and treat poor cognition in these individuals, and perhaps even the disorder itself.
Author Interviews, Memory, Technology, UC Davis / 31.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39731" align="alignleft" width="147"]Halle Dimsdale-Zucker University of California, Davis Center for Neuroscience | Ph.D. Candidate Halle Dimsdale-Zucker[/caption] Halle Dimsdale-Zucker University of California, Davis Center for Neuroscience | Ph.D. Candidate Dynamic Memory Lab MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study sought to test competing models for how different types of retrieved contextual information (spatial, episodic - which is spatial AND temporal information) are supported by the hippocampus and its subfields. We only found differences between the subfields when people were spontaneously reactivating episodic, but not spatial information. This is surprising because a dominant view of the hippocampus is that it is specialized to represent spatial information. What this suggests is that when there is more than just spatial information that can be remembered that the hippocampus is able to flexibly represent whatever information is most task-relevant for remembering and distinguishing items from one another. Intriguingly, we found that different subfields represented shared episodic contextual information and item-unique contextual information. This highlights that our memories need to both link together common features of related events while retaining the event-specific details. [caption id="attachment_39726" align="alignleft" width="540"]UC Davis neuroscientists are using virtual reality to investigate how memories are organized. Graduate student Halle Dimsdale-Zucker showed subjects movies created with virtual sketching software and asked them questions about objects inside the houses. She was able to show that different regions of a brain structure called the hippocampus play different roles in remembering items in context. Credit: Halle Dimsdale-Zucker, UC Davis UC Davis neuroscientists are using virtual reality to investigate how memories are organized. Graduate student Halle Dimsdale-Zucker showed subjects movies created with virtual sketching software and asked them questions about objects inside the houses. She was able to show that different regions of a brain structure called the hippocampus play different roles in remembering items in context.
Credit: Halle Dimsdale-Zucker, UC Davis[/caption]
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Circadian Rhythm, JAMA / 30.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “mirror clock” by tourist_on_earth is licensed under CC BY 2.0Yo-El Ju, MD Assistant Professor of Neurology Sleep Medicine Section Washington University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background for this study is that prior studies have shown that people with Alzheimer's Disease have poor circadian clock function, for example sleeping during the day and being awake or agitated at night. Autopsy studies have shown that people with Alzheimer's Disease have degeneration in the "clock" part of their brains. In this study, we wanted to examine whether there were any circadian problems much earlier in Alzheimer's Disease, when people do not have any memory or thinking problems at all. We measured circadian function in 189 people with an actigraph, which is an activity monitor worn like a watch, for 1-2 weeks. Brain scans and studies of cerebrospinal fluid were used to determine who had preclinical Alzheimer's Disease, meaning they have the brain changes of Alzheimer's but do not have symptoms yet. 
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Geriatrics, Mayo Clinic / 25.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39613" align="alignleft" width="165"]Richard J. Caselli MD Department of Neurology Mayo Clinic Arizona Scottsdale, AZ  Dr. Caselli[/caption] Richard J. Caselli MD Department of Neurology Mayo Clinic Arizona Scottsdale, AZ   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Personality changes are common in patients with a variety of dementing illnesses, and underlie the behavioral disturbances that complicate the course of dementia patients.  We have a been conducting a large longitudinal study of cognitive aging in individuals at genetically defined risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) based on their APOE genotype, and have been administering a large battery of neuropsychological tests as well as the gold standard personality questionnaire (the NEO-PI-R) in order to determine whether personality changes during the transition from normal cognition/preclinical AD to mild cognitive impairment.  
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Genetic Research, JAMA, Medical Imaging, Mental Health Research / 25.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “The Fourth Sex: Adolescent Extremes” by Victor Soto is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dag Alnaes, PhD Norwegian Centre for Mental Disorders Research KG Jebsen Centre for Psychosis Research Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital Oslo, Norway  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The transition from childhood to adulthood is characterized by swift and dramatic changes, both in our environment and in our brains. This period of life also coincides with the onset of many mental disorders. To gain a better understanding of why, the clinical neurosciences must attempt to disentangle the complex and dynamic interactions between genes and the environment and how they shape our brains. The ultimate goal is to be able to predict which individuals are at risk before clinical symptoms appear. Advanced brain imaging has been proposed to represent one promising approach for such early detection, but there is currently no robust imaging marker that allows us to identify individuals at risk with any clinically relevant degree of certainty. Our study shows that self-reported early signs of mental illness are associated with specific patterns of brain fiber pathways in young people, even if they may not fulfill criteria for a formal diagnosis or are currently in need of treatment. 
Author Interviews, JAMA, PTSD / 23.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Man’s best friend helps NC Guardsman with PTSD [Image 1 of 8]” by DVIDSHUB is licensed under CC BY 2.0, PhD Professor of Psychiatry Director, Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pa 19104 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As much as 10 to 20 percent of military members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan following the September 11th attacks suffer from PTSD, which is often chronic and incapacitating. A constant increase in the number of individuals suffering from PTSD as a result of massive natural disasters, terror attacks, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has prompted an urgent need for effective and efficient evidence-based treatments for PTSD. Prolong exposure (PE) is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy that involves exposure to trauma memories and daily life trauma reminders. Previous studies have proven PE is quite effective for treating civilians and veterans with PTSD. In this five-year study, the researchers sought to determine whether PE could have similar success with active-duty military personnel. The researchers examined the benefit of various methods for delivering PE including Massed-PE, (10 therapy sessions administered over two weeks) and Spaced-PE (10 sessions administered over 8 weeks), as well as Present Centered Therapy (PCT), a non-trauma-focused therapy that involves identifying and discussing daily stressors in 10 sessions over eight weeks, and Minimal Contact Control (MCC), which included supportive phone calls from therapists once weekly for four weeks. Patients who received Massed-PE therapy, delivered over two weeks, saw a greater reduction in PTSD symptoms than those who received MCC. Importantly, Massed-PE therapy was found to be equally effective to Spaced-PE in reducing PTSD symptom severity. The researchers also found that PCT might be an effective treatment option for PTSD in active military personnel although it was less effective than PE in veteran and civilian PTSD sufferers. 
Author Interviews, Autism, Nature / 20.01.2018

[caption id="attachment_39400" align="alignleft" width="133"]Indiana University graduate student Di Wu poses for a portrait in Swain Hall on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. Di Wu credit: James Brosher[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Di Wu, Msc PhD candidate at Indiana University Graduate Research Assistant Department of Physics Indiana University Bloomington Linked-in: www.linkedin.com/in/di-wu-3a197373  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Current clinical diagnosis and evaluations of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). has remained subjective in nature. There is a need to have objective assessments for the disorder. We discovered in this study an important motion feature that was unknown before. This feature provides a clear screening of ASD. It gave a remarkable quantitative connection between the way children with ASD move and their psychiatric scores, like the IQ score and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale. This connection we captured suggests that the motor feature may be an essential core feature characterizing ASD deficits, as well as neurodevelopment in general.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 17.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39337" align="alignleft" width="136"]Michael S. Okun, M.D. Adelaide Lackner Professor and Chair of Neurology Fixel Center for Neurological Diseases Gainesville FL 32607 Dr. Okun[/caption] Michael S. Okun, M.D. Adelaide Lackner Professor and Chair of Neurology Fixel Center for Neurological Diseases Gainesville FL 32607 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Deep brain stimulation is a promising therapy for carefully selected Tourette syndrome patients who fail medication and behavioral therapy. This study draws data from 31 institutions and 10 countries and shows a significant improvement of motor and vocal tics across multiple brain targets.  Because even expert DBS centers only perform 1-2 surgeries a year this type of database and registry will be critical to move the field forward. 
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, JAMA, MRI / 12.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39274" align="alignleft" width="143"]Miguel A. Santos-Santos, MD Department of Neurology, Memory and Aging Center University of California San Francisco Autonomous University of Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Valles, Spain Dr. Miguel A. Santos-Santos[/caption] Miguel ASantos-SantosMD Department of Neurology, Memory and Aging Center University of California San Francisco Autonomous University of Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Valles, Spain MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a clinically and pathologically heterogeneous (generally Frontotemporal lobar degeneration [FTLD, generally tau or tdp proteinopathies] or Alzheimer’s disease [AD] pathology) condition in which language impairment is the predominant cause of functional impairment during the initial phases of disease. Classification of PPA cases into clinical-anatomical phenotypes is of great importance because they are linked to different prevalence of underlying pathology and prediction of this pathology during life is of critical importance due to the proximity of molecule-specific therapies. The 2011 international consensus diagnostic criteria established a classification scheme for the three most common variants (the semantic [svPPA], non-fluent/agrammatic [nfvPPA], and logopenic [lvPPA]) of PPA and represent a collective effort to increase comparability between studies and improve the reliability of clinicopathologic correlations compared to the previous semantic dementia and progressive non-fluent aphasia criteria included in the 1998 consensus FTLD clinical diagnostic criteria. Since their publication, a few studies have reported amyloid imaging and pathological results in PPA, however most of these studies are retrospective in nature and the prevalence of FTLD and Alzheimer’s disease pathological findings or biomarkers in each variant has been inconsistent across the literature, therefore prospective validation with biomarker and autopsy data remains scarce and highly necessary.
Author Interviews, Autism / 04.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39189" align="alignleft" width="140"]Tamara Rosen Tamara Rosen[/caption] Tamara Rosen Graduate student in Clinical Psychology Stony Brook University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Approximately 40 percent of youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are diagnosed with a co-occurring anxiety disorder.  Social anxiety is a common presenting problem for these youth. Youth with ASD and increased social anxiety have heightened threat sensitivity, particularly in relation to performance fears, as measured by a brain signal response called the error-related negativity (ERN), which measures response to errors. The threat sensitivity-performance fears association remained even after controlling for anxiety symptoms other than social fearfulness.
Author Interviews, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, JAMA / 01.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39118" align="alignleft" width="300"]Yokoi and Sumiyoshi. 2015 tDCS administration at National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry Hospital. A subject (front) sits on a sofa relaxed, and a researcher (behind) controls the tDCS device (a). In this picture, anodal (b) and cathodal (c) electrodes with 35-cm2 size are put on F3 and right supraorbital region, respectively. We use a head strap (d) for convenience and reproducibility, and also use a rubber band (e) for reducing resistance tDCS administration at National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry Hospital. A subject (front) sits on a sofa relaxed, and a researcher (behind) controls the tDCS device (a). In this picture, anodal (b) and cathodal (c) electrodes with 35-cm2 size are put on F3 and right supraorbital region, respectively. We use a head strap (d) for convenience and reproducibility, and also use a rubber band (e) for reducing resistance
Wikipedia file[/caption] Andre Russowsky Brunoni, MD, PhD Coordinator, Service of Interdisciplinary Neuromodulation, Laboratory of Neurosciences  Department and Institute of Psychiatry Coordinator, Interdisciplinary Center for Applied Neuromodulation, University Hospital University of São Paulo São Paulo, Brasil  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In this study, our aim was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) as an add-on treatment for patients with bipolar depression. There are a only few treatment alternatives for bipolar depression, which often have important side effects. Thus, we wanted to evaluate the efficacy of this non-pharmacological treatment. We found that active vs. sham tDCS effected greater response and remission for patients with bipolar depression. The frequency of adverse effects was similar, including treatment-emergent affective switches. However, higher rates of skin redness were observed in the active group.
Author Interviews, Autism, JAMA, Nutrition, OBGYNE / 27.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39092" align="alignleft" width="130"]Dr. Marte Bjørk, MD PhD Department of Clinical Medicine University of Bergen, Department of Neurology Haukeland University Hospital Bergen, Norway Dr. Marte Bjørk[/caption] Dr. Marte Bjørk, MD PhD Department of Clinical Medicine University of Bergen, Department of Neurology Haukeland University Hospital Bergen, Norway MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In utero antiepileptic drug exposure are associated with neurodevelopmental problems in the child. We looked into if maternal folate during pregnancy could reduce the risk of autistic traits in children of women in need of antiepileptic drugs in pregnancy. The rationale for the hypothesis that folate could be beneficial, was that many antiepileptic drugs interact with folate metabolism. Folic acid supplement use is also associated with slightly reduced risk of autism in children of women from the general population.
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Lifestyle & Health / 20.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Exercise” by Diabetes Education Events is licensed under CC BY 2.0Michelle Brasure, MSPH, PhD, MLIS Evidence-based Practice Center School of Public Health University of Minnesota  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We conducted a large systematic review to assess the evidence relating to interventions to prevent cognitive decline and dementia. We included experimental studies with follow up times of at least six months. This paper analyzes the physical activity interventions; other papers in this issue address other types of interventions.
Allergan, Author Interviews, Bipolar Disorder, Brigham & Women's - Harvard / 20.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: allerganGary Sachs, MD Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry Harvard Medical School  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this data milestone? Response: Bipolar disorder affects about 5.7 million adults in the United States.  It is a common, often disabling condition in which abnormal mood states impair a person’s ability to carry out everyday tasks. Bipolar disorder touches nearly every family and community in America, because periods of illness, a patient’s symptoms often impact their family, their friends, and their community. There are a limited number of products approved to treat bipolar depression and even fewer products that have been studied and approved to treat the full spectrum of bipolar disorder, from mania through depression. Having another product proven to treat the full range of bipolar disorder would be a welcome addition to the treatment options currently available to the psychiatry community and patients.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Mineral Metabolism / 19.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Val Andrew Fajardo, PhD. NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow | Centre for Bone and Muscle Health Brock University | Department of Health Sciences St. Catharines, ON, Canada  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Lithium is best known for its role as a mood stabilizer, and several ecological studies across a number of different regions have shown that trace levels of lithium in tap water can exert its mood stabilizing effect and reduce rates of suicide, crime, and homicide. The results from our study show that these trace levels of lithium could also potentially protect against Alzheimer’s disease.  These findings are actually supported by several years of research using pre-clinical and clinical models to demonstrate low-dose lithium’s neuroprotective effect against Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, we also found that trace lithium in tap water may potentially protect against obesity and diabetes – an effect that is also supported with previous literature.  In fact, some of the earlier reports of lithium’s effect of increasing insulin sensitivity and improving glucose metabolism were first published in the 1920s.  Finally, we found that trace lithium’s effect on Alzheimer’s disease may be partly mediated by its effect on obesity and diabetes. My collaborator Dr. Rebecca MacPherson who is an expert on Alzheimer’s disease as a metabolic disorder explains that this effect is in support of recent research demonstrating that obesity and diabetes are important risk factors in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.  So interventions aiming to reduce obesity and diabetes such as physical activity can go a long way in lowering risk for Alzheimer’s disease, which is also something we present in our study.
Author Interviews, Memory, UCLA / 18.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Cute babies” by daily sunny is licensed under CC BY 2.0Benjamin M. Seitz Doctoral Student Department of Psychology, Learning & Behavior University of California, Los Angeles MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?   Response: The adaptive memory literature is based on two crucial theories. The first is that we process information on different ‘levels’ and these different levels of processing information strongly influence our ability to later remember that information. The second is that our evolutionary history has shaped our cognitive abilities and that these abilities therefore perform optimally when performing tasks related to evolutionary fitness. It has been established that processing words based on their relevancy to an imagined ancestral survival scenario yields incredible memory performance far superior than processing those same words based on their relevancy to similar imagined scenarios that do not involve the survival element or ancestral environment. Our study demonstrates that thinking about raising offspring in an ancestral environment while processing words leads to a similar benefit to recall of those words as when thinking about survival, suggesting the human memory system while also useful in helping our species survive may have also been particularly useful in helping us raise our offspring.
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, JAMA, Karolinski Institute, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 14.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emma Björkenstam PhD Department of Public Health Sciences Karolinska Institutet MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: My research team and I have previously shown that childhood adversity is associated with an elevated suicide risk in young adults, and this increased risk may be explained by maladaptive trajectories during adolescence. We also know that adolescent violent offending is linked with suicide, but up until now, less was known about the role of violent offending in the association between childhood adversity and later suicide. Our main finding in the current study, based on almost half a million Swedes, is that individuals with a history of childhood adversity who also engage in violent offending in late adolescence, have a substantial increased risk of suicide.
ADHD, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, JAMA, OBGYNE / 14.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_27170" align="alignleft" width="179"]Krista F. Huybrechts, M.S., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School Epidemiologist in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Boston, MA 02120 Dr. Krista Huybrechts[/caption] Krista F. Huybrechts, MS PhD Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02120   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In recent years, use of stimulant medications in adults, including women of reproductive age, has increased substantially. However, data regarding the safety of stimulant medications in early pregnancy are sparse and conflicting.  For example, two recent cohort studies failed to detect an association between use of methylphenidate in early pregnancy and overall or cardiac malformations, while another found an 81% increased risk of cardiac malformations, although the estimate was imprecise. Given the rapidly increasing use of stimulant medications during pregnancy and among women of reproductive age who may become pregnant inadvertently, there is an urgent need to better understand their safety.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Geriatrics, Hearing Loss, JAMA / 11.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Hear” by Jaya Ramchandani is licensed under CC BY 2.0David G. Loughrey, BA(Hons) NEIL (Neuro Enhancement for Independent Lives) Programme Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, School of Medicine Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Age-related hearing loss, a common chronic condition among older adults, has emerged in the literature as a potential modifiable risk factor for dementia. This is of interest as current pharmacological therapies for dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease only offer symptom-modifying effects. Treatment of risk factors such as hearing loss may help delay the onset of dementia and may provide an alternate therapeutic strategy. However, there is variance in the research on hearing loss and cognition with some studies reporting a small or non-significant association. In this meta-analysis, we investigated this association and we only included observational studies that used standard assessments of cognitive function and pure-tone audiometry (the clinical standard).
Author Interviews, Memory / 11.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38836" align="alignleft" width="150"]Dr-Beth-Taylor Dr. Taylor[/caption] Beth A. Taylor, PhD Director of Exercise Physiology Research, Hartford Hospital Associate Professor, Kinesiology University of Connecticut MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Hydroxy-methyl-glutaryl (HMG) CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) are the most effective medications for managing elevated concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).  Although statins are generally well-tolerated, they are not without side effects, and mild central nervous system (CNS) complaints such as memory loss and attention decrements are the second most commonly reported adverse effect of these drugs. Studies assessing cognitive effects of statins vary widely and have produced inconclusive findings. Despite the equivocal data on adverse cognitive side effects with statin therapy, in 2012 the FDA announced a safety label change for statins, based on published case reports of memory loss and confusion and data from the Adverse Events Reporting System. One possibility for these equivocal findings is that studies involving the effects of statins on cognition typically have assessed cognitive function using traditional cognitive tests, which may yield small effect sizes and demonstrate high intra-participant variability. This may explain the discrepancy between clinical trials and patient self-reports, and could be addressed by utilizing CNS tests that directly assess brain parameters. To the best of our knowledge and literature review, this study is the first to investigate the effects of statins on the central nervous system by utilizing fMRI to assess brain neural activation in healthy adults treated with 80 mg atorvastatin or placebo. We detected few changes attributable to statin therapy with standardized neuropsychological tests, a finding similar to that from previous clinical trials. However, participants on atorvastatin demonstrated altered patterns of neural activation on vs. off statin compared to participants treated with placebo. Unexpectedly, the treatment groups differed at both timepoints. The clinical implications of these findings are unclear and warrant additional clinical trials.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, BMJ, Education, Karolinski Institute / 10.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

[caption id="attachment_38832" align="alignleft" width="161"]Susanna C. Larsson, PhD Associate Professor, Karolinska Institutet, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden Dr. Larsson[/caption]

Susanna C. Larsson, PhD Associate Professor, Karolinska Institutet, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The causes of Alzheimer’s disease are largely unknown and there are currently no medical treatments that can halt or reverse its effects. This has led to growing interest in identifying risk factors for Alzheimer’s that are amenable to modification. Several observational studies have found that education and various lifestyle and vascular risk factors are associated with the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but whether these factors actually cause Alzheimer’s is unclear.

We used a genetic epidemiologic method known as ‘Mendelian randomization’. This method involves the use of genes with an impact on the modifiable risk factor – for example, genes linked to education or intelligence – and assessing whether these genes are also associated with the disease. If a gene with an impact on the modifiable risk factor is also associated with the disease, then this provides strong evidence that the risk factor is a cause of the disease.

MedicalResearch.com:  What are the main findings?

Response: Our results, based on aggregated genetic data from 17 000 Alzheimer’s disease patients and 37 000 healthy controls, revealed that genetic variants that predict higher education were clearly associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. A possible explanation for this link is ‘cognitive reserve’, which refers to the ability to recruit and use alternative brain networks or structures not normally used to compensate for brain ageing. Previous research has shown that high education increases this reserve.

We found suggestive evidence for possible associations of intelligence, circulating vitamin D, coffee consumption, and smoking with risk of Alzheimer’s disease. There was no evidence for a causal link with other modifiable factors, such as vascular risk factors.