Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease, Red Meat, Stroke, Vegetarians / 10.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_51125" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr Tammy Y N Tong PhD Cancer Epidemiology Unit Nuffield Department of Population Health University of Oxford, Oxford, UK Dr. Tong[/caption] Dr Tammy Y N Tong PhD Cancer Epidemiology Unit Nuffield Department of Population Health University of Oxford, Oxford, UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Vegetarian and vegan diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, partly due to the perceived health benefits, but also concerns about the environment and animal welfare. However, the full extent of the potential health benefits and hazards of these diets is not well understood. Previous studies have suggested that vegetarians have a lower risk of coronary heart disease than non-vegetarians, but data from large studies are limited, and little has been reported on the difference in risk of stroke.
Author Interviews, Infections, Nutrition, PLoS, Red Meat / 05.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_51132" align="alignleft" width="153"]Christopher A. McDevitt B.Sc. (Hons) Ph.D , Associate Professor Group Leader, ARC Future Fellow The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity Melbourne | Victoria | Australia  Dr. McDevitt[/caption] Christopher A. McDevitt B.Sc. (Hons) Ph.D , Associate Professor Group Leader, ARC Future Fellow The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity Melbourne | Victoria | Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Zinc-deficiency affects nearly one-third of the world’s population and is associated with an increased susceptibility to respiratory and enteric infections. The foremost global respiratory disease is pneumonia, which kills more than 1 million people per year with young children and the elderly being at greatest risk. This study investigated how zinc-deficiency affected Streptococcus pneumoniae infection, the primary bacterial cause of pneumonia.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Diabetes, Lipids, Omega-3 Fatty Acids / 23.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50975" align="alignleft" width="133"]Lee Hooper PhD, RD Reader in Research Synthesis, Nutrition & Hydration Norwich Medical School University of East Anglia England, UK Dr. Hooper[/caption] Lee Hooper PhD, RD Reader in Research Synthesis, Nutrition & Hydration Norwich Medical School University of East Anglia England, UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The World Health Organization asked us to carry out a set of studies (systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials) assessing health effects of omega-3 and omega-6, which are polyunsaturated fats. This is because the WHO are planning to update their dietary guidance on fats in the near future. Worries about effects of long chain omega-3 on control of diabetes have long existed, and some experimental studies have suggested that omega-3 supplementation and diets high in PUFA and omega-3 raise fasting glucose. Pollutants such as methylmercury and polychlorinated biphenyl levels exceeding recommended thresholds are rarer now, but have been reported in seafoods and fish oil supplements; elevated mercury levels interrupt insulin signalling, raising fasting glucose, in mouse models. Body concentrations of organic pollutants are correlated with prevalence of diabetes in the US, but other cross sectional studies have suggested either no association with or benefits of eating fish on glycaemic control. Systematic reviews of observational studies have suggested both positive and negative associations with glucose metabolism, but strong evidence shows that omega-3 supplements reduce raised triglycerides and have little or no effect on body weight. Theories suggest that omega-3 and omega-6 fats compete in some metabolic pathways so that the omega-3/omega-6 ratio is more important than absolute intakes of either. 
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Nutrition, Vegetarians / 22.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_51018" align="alignleft" width="173"]Megu Baden, MD, PhD Department of Nutrition Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA02115 Dr. Baden[/caption] Megu Baden, MD, PhD Department of Nutrition Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA02115  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you give an example of healthful vs non-healthful plantbased diet? Response: Plant-based diets are recommended for health and recently also for their environmental benefits. However, most previous studies defined it as either vegetarian or non-vegetarian, and importantly, without differentiation for the quality of plant foods. As you know, not all plant foods are equally good to our health. Therefore, to capture the quality of plant-based diets, we established overall, healthful and unhealthful plant-based diet indices. A higher score on the overall plant based diet index indicates greater intake of all types of plant foods and less of animal foods. A higher score on the healthful plant based diet index indicates greater intake of only healthy plant foods (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, vegetable oils, tea/coffee), and less of less healthy plant foods (fruit juices, refined grains, potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages, sweets/desserts) and animal foods. A higher score on the unhealthful plant based diet index indicates greater intake of only less healthy plant foods, and less of healthy plant foods and animal foods. In this study, we used these plant-based diet indices and investigated the associations between 12-year changes in plant-based diet quality and subsequent total and cause-specific mortality in two large US cohorts.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Lipids, Omega-3 Fatty Acids / 22.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_51022" align="alignleft" width="133"]Ann Skulas-Ray, PhD. Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences University of Arizona Dr. Skulas-Ray[/caption] Ann Skulas-Ray, PhD. Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences University of Arizona MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The prior guidance from the AHA regarding omega-3 fatty acids and high triglycerides was published in 2002, prior to the availability of prescription omega-3 concentrates and results from many of the clinical studies we were able to review. Our advisory was able to address questions such as dose and concomitant use of statin therapy. Another unique feature of our advisory is that we evaluated studies of the effects of omega-3 fatty acids in people with triglycerides (TG)  > or = 500 mg/dL and 200-499 mg/dL separately, so we were able to see patterns relating to dose of omega-3 fatty acids and baseline triglyceride values. We came to separate conclusions for populations above and below TG of 500 mg/dL and concluded that 4 g/d was most effective. In contrast, the 2002 guidance recommended 2-4 g/d EPA + DHA under a physician's care for high triglycerides. 
Author Interviews, Nutrition / 20.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Leighton Ku, PhD, MPH Professor, Dept. of Health Policy and Management Director, Center for Health Policy Research Milken Institute School of Public Health George Washington University Washington, DC 20052   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In this study, we examined how requirements that low-income adults work in order to keep their food assistance benefits (SNAP, formerly called food stamps) affects the number of people receiving benefits.  Briefly, we found, based on analyses of data from 2,410 counties from 2013 to 2017, that soon after work requirements are introduced, more than a third of affected participants lose their food assistance.  This meant that about 600,000 poor adults lost food assistance very quickly. This is important for two reasons: (1) Work requirements create greater hardship, including food insecurity and increased risk of health problems, when poor people lose their nutrition benefits. (2) The Trump Administration is trying to broaden this policy, expanding it further in SNAP, but also applying work requirements to Medicaid (for health insurance) and public housing benefits.  This is a massive effort at social experimentation that will cause tremendous harm. And the sad part is that we already know, from other research, that these work requirement programs do not actually help people get jobs, keep them or to become more self-sufficient.  This is because the work requirements do not address the real needs of low-income unemployed people, to learn how to get better job skills or to have supports, such as child care, transportation or health insurance, that let them keep working.  
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Nature, Nutrition / 13.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: apple-flavenoidsNicola Bondonno PhD National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Research Fellow School of Medical and Health Sciences Edith Cowan University Joondalup  Perth WA   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In an aging society, there could be a huge importance in appropriate evidence-based diets to reduce mortality risk. Therefore, our main question was ‘do diets high in flavonoids reduce the risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality and is this relationship affected by lifestyle risk factors for early mortality’? In brief, this is the largest study of flavonoid intake and mortality outcomes to date. This population based cohort study was conducted in 56,048 men and women of the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Cohort, followed for 23 years, with estimated intakes of 219 individual flavonoid compounds. The results provide a clarity not seen in previous smaller, often underpowered studies. 
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Nutrition, Red Meat / 08.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50601" align="alignleft" width="200"]Jyrki Virtanen, PhD Assistant professor of nutritional epidemiology (tenure track) University of Eastern Finland Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition Kuopio, Finland Dr. Virtanen[/caption] Jyrki Virtanen, PhD Assistant professor of nutritional epidemiology University of Eastern Finland Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition Kuopio, Finland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: We have previously found in this same eastern Finnish male study population that higher egg intake was associated with lower risk of developing dementia and with better performance in tests assessing cognitive capacity. Eggs are a major source of choline, especially phosphatidylcholine, and choline (which is an essential nutrient) is necessary for the formation of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter. Earlier studies have linked choline intake with better cognitive processing but there was no information whether choline intake would also be associated with lower risk of developing dementia. So the purpose of our current study was to investigate whether higher choline intake would associate with better cognitive performance and with lower risk of dementia, which would support our previous findings with egg intake. And in the current study we did find that especially higher phosphatidylcholine intake was associated with a lower risk of developing dementia and also with better performance in tests measuring memory and linguistic abilities of the men in the study.
Author Interviews, Coffee, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 30.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50491" align="alignleft" width="128"]Dr-Hui Wang Dr. Hui Wang[/caption] Prof Hui Wang PhD Wuhan University China MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We started our work in the adverse outcome of maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy about 15 years ago. Then, we found that prenatal caffeine intake could result in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in the offspring. However, the underlying mechanism was unclear. So, we start the current work, and found that hat maternal caffeine intake disrupts liver development before and after birth, which might be the trigger of the adult non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in the offspring rats. Moreover, we further found that the fetal programming of liver glucocorticoid – insulin like growth factor 1 axis, a new endocrine axis first reported by our team, might participate in such process. 
Author Interviews, Epilepsy, Nutrition / 23.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50377" align="alignleft" width="168"]Geoffrey W. Abbott PhD Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Bioelectricity Laboratory, School of Medicine, University of California Dr. Abbott[/caption] Geoffrey W. Abbott PhD Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Bioelectricity Laboratory, School of Medicine, University of California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The main focus of my laboratory is the study of potassium ion channels - proteins that coordinate electrical activity in all organisms. When human potassium channels do not function properly, it can result in pathologically discordant electrical activity, and diseases such as cardiac arrhythmia, myotonia, and epilepsy - depending on whether the affected potassium channel is in the heart, skeletal muscle or brain, for example. T here are existing drugs that directly regulate ion channels for therapeutic benefits, including one - retigabine - that opens neuronal potassium channels in the KCNQ family, to treat epilepsy. Retigabine causes side effects including turning the skin blue, and was withdrawn from clinical use in 2017. Retigabine may make a comeback because a form of epilepsy was recently discovered, arising from mutations in the KCNQ2 gene, that is associated with severe developmental delay and seizures. In my lab, we are interested in discovering new therapeutic agents that might more safely fix dysfunction in KCNQ2 and other potassium channels. We turned to plants as a possible source of compounds. We are interested both in explaining the underlying mechanism of traditional botanical medicines, and also discovering unanticipated therapeutic chemicals synthesized naturally by plants. 
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Nutrition, Weight Research / 22.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50363" align="alignleft" width="128"]Frank Qian, MPH Department of Nutrition Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, Massachusetts Frank Qian[/caption] Frank Qian, MPH Department of Nutrition Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Plant-based diets have really grown in popularity in the last several years, particularly among the younger generation in the United States, many of whom are adopting a plant-based or vegetarian/vegan diet. However, the quality of such a diet can vary drastically. While many prior studies have demonstrated beneficial associations for risk of type 2 diabetes with healthful plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, whole grains, and legumes, the opposite is true for less healthful plant-based foods such as potatoes and refined grains such as white rice. In addition, some animal-based foods, such as dairy and fish, have shown protective associations against the development of type 2 diabetes, so strict vegetarian diets which exclude these foods may miss out on the potential benefits. Given these divergent findings, we sought to pool all the available data from prior cohort studies to analyze whether the overall association of a diet which emphasizes plant-based foods (both healthful and unhealthful) are related to risk of type 2 diabetes.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Coffee / 21.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: coffee-smell caffeineMr Jue Sheng Ong,  PhD Student  QIMR Berghofer’s Statistical Genetics Group MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous findings have shown conflicting results on whether coffee is associated with cancer risk. To evaluate whether there’s any evidence for a causal relationship between coffee and cancer outcomes, we performed two types of association analyses using data from the half a million participants in the UK.
  • We first studied whether an individual’s self-reported coffee consumption is related to their overall risk of developing or dying from any cancers.
  • Then, we repeated the analyses using genetically predicted coffee intake (using about 35 genetic markers related with coffee intake) instead of their self-reported consumption: a technique known as mendelian randomization which is commonly used in modern epidemiology to remove bias from environmental confounders.
Using both techniques, we found no evidence to support a relationship between coffee consumption and the risk of developing or dying from cancers.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Nutrition, Weight Research / 11.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50185" align="alignleft" width="135"]Anne Thorndike, MD, MPH Massachusetts General Hospital General Internal Medicine Division Boston, MA 02114 Dr. Thorndike[/caption] Anne Thorndike, MD, MPH Massachusetts General Hospital General Internal Medicine Division Boston, MA 02114 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Nearly one-third of the 150 million US adults who are employed are obese. Employees frequently eat meals acquired at work, and workplace food is often high in calories. Effective strategies for reducing non-nutritive energy intake during the workday could help address the rising prevalence of obesity. Simplified labeling, such as traffic-light labels, provide understandable information about the relative healthfulness of food and can be placed on menu boards, shelf labels, and individual packages to help employees make healthier choices. Choice architecture (e.g., product placement) interventions make it easier and more convenient for employees to choose a healthy item. It is unknown if labeling interventions are associated with sustained reductions in calorie intake, or if there are only temporary effects after which most people revert to higher-calorie choices. A previous study demonstrated that a hospital cafeteria traffic-light labeling and choice architecture program resulted in a higher proportion of healthy green-labeled purchases and lower proportion of unhealthy red-labeled purchases over two years. The current study analyzed calories purchased by a longitudinal cohort of 5,695 hospital employees who used the cafeteria regularly. The study examined changes in calories purchased over time and hypothesized the effect of the change in calorie intake on employees’ weight.
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Supplements, Vitamin C, Vitamin D / 09.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50150" align="alignleft" width="128"]Safi U. Khan, MD Department of Internal Medicine Robert Packer Hospital Sayre, PA 18840  Dr. Khan[/caption] Safi UKhan, MD Department of Internal Medicine Robert Packer Hospital Sayre, PA 18840  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is substantial body of observational data favoring use of vitamins, supplements and special diets for improving cardiovascular health. However, such type of data is limited by various biases. Randomized controlled trial (RCT) is considered gold standard to evaluate effects of a therapy. 
Author Interviews, CDC, JAMA, Nutrition, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 24.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49924" align="alignleft" width="150"]Liping Pan, MD, MPH Epidemiologist Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Pan[/caption] Liping Pan, MD, MPH Epidemiologist Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Centers for Disease Control and Prevention MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Children with severe obesity face significant health and social challenges. Children with obesity are at higher risk for having other chronic health conditions and diseases, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, and type 2 diabetes. They also have more risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, impaired glucose tolerance, and high cholesterol than their healthyweight peers. Children with obesity can be bullied and teased more than their healthyweight peers. They are also more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem. Children with obesity are also more likely to have obesity as adults. This can lead to lifelong physical and mental health problems. Adult obesity is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancers.  Childhood obesity is more common among children from lower-income families, as many lack access to healthy, affordable foods and beverages and opportunities for low-cost physical activity.
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Nutrition, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 04.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49576" align="alignleft" width="200"]Joe F. Bozeman III, MS, CEM, Ph.D. Candidate Chair, Gordon Research Seminar (Industrial Ecology) University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Institute for Environmental Science and Policy Joe F. Bozeman III[/caption] Joe F. Bozeman III, MS, CEM, Ph.D. Candidate Chair, Gordon Research Seminar (Industrial Ecology) University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Institute for Environmental Science and Policy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: This study is actually a part of my dissertation which explores how climate change, human health, and other socioecological factors can be used to manage food-energy-water impacts. After establishing environmental impact and climate change adaptation implications of food consumption across major U.S. demographic groups in a previous study, my colleagues and I decided it would be interesting to investigate how food spending and household income correlate with food-consumption environmental impacts. Our efforts led to the development of a novel quantitative metric (i.e., food-consumption impact per dollar spent [FCI$]) which encompasses land, water, and greenhouse gas emission impacts of basic foods; the amount spent on food; and socioeconomic status. All major food groups are included in this study.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Supplements / 31.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_32341" align="alignleft" width="200"]Lu Qi, MD, PhD, FAHA HCA Regents Distinguished Chair and Professor Director, Tulane University Obesity Research Center Department of Epidemiology Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine New Orleans, LA 70112 Dr. Lu Qi[/caption]

Lu Qi, MD, PhD, FAHA MD, PhD, FAHA HCA Regents Distinguished Chair and Professor Director, Tulane University Obesity Research Center Department of Epidemiology Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine New Orleans, LA 70112 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is evidence from previous experimental studies or cross-sectional analyses in humans linking glucosamine and a variety potentially protective effects such as improving lipids, inhibiting inflammation, and mimic a low-carb diet.  
Author Interviews, Emory, Heart Disease, JAMA, Pediatrics, Sugar / 19.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jean A. Welsh, RN, MPH, PhD Departments of Epidemiology and Pediatrics Emory University Wellness Department, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Atlanta, Georgia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As the evidence has accumulated regarding the health risks associated with sugar-sweetened beverages, I’ve wondered about fruit juices.  Though they have a kind of healthy halo, their main ingredients are the same as sugar-sweetened beverages, sugar and water.  We know that young children drink a lot of fruit juice, and I’ve wondered if older children and adults might switch to drinking more as concern grows about soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages.
Addiction, Author Interviews, Coffee / 16.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49187" align="alignleft" width="128"]Dr Lorenzo Stafford, PhD, CPsycholSenior Lecturer, Department of PsychologyUniversity of PortsmouthPortsmouth Stafford[/caption] Dr Lorenzo Stafford, PhD, CPsychol Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology University of Portsmouth Portsmouth  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: The background to this work was that I had been thinking for sometime on the role of our sense of smell in drug consumption and addiction.  Most of the research in this area is dominated by visual processes, in particular showing how cues associated to drugs (e.g. packet of cigarettes, bottle of beer) become conditioned in such drug users. That work has been useful in explaining how in recovering addicts, long after the withdrawal symptoms have subsided, when exposed to such cues, they can nevertheless relapse to craving and consuming the drug; hence though a powerful driver, addiction is not just about reversing withdrawal symptoms. However, mo