Author Interviews, BMJ, Pain Research, Rheumatology / 03.04.2015

Gustavo C Machado, PhD student The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney Medical School University of Sydney Sydney AustraliaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gustavo C Machado, PhD student The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney Medical School University of Sydney Sydney Australia (Editor’s note: Paracetamol isalso known as acetaminophen) MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Back pain and osteoarthritis are the two major musculoskeletal conditions affecting people worldwide, and paracetamol is the most used over the counter medicine to treat these conditions. Recent debates on the efficacy and safety of paracetamol prompted us to conduct a systematic review of literature on the efficacy of this medication. In our study we included all available clinical trials that compared paracetamol to placebo, and our conclusions are based on data from more than 5,300 patients with low back pain and hip or knee osteoarthritis. We found that paracetamol is ineffective for low back pain and provides small and not clinically important benefits to patients with osteoarthritis.
AHRQ, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Medical Imaging, Pain Research / 17.03.2015

Jeffrey (Jerry) G. Jarvik MD MPH Professor, Radiology, Neurological Surgery and Health Services Adjunct Professor, Pharmacy and Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Director, Comparative Effectiveness, Cost and Outcomes Research Center University of Washington Seattle, WA  98104-2499MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jeffrey (Jerry) G. Jarvik MD MPH Professor, Radiology, Neurological Surgery and Health Services Adjunct Professor, Pharmacy and Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Director, Comparative Effectiveness, Cost and Outcomes Research Center University of Washington Seattle, WA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Jarvik:  When I arrived at the Univ of WA over 20 years ago, my mentor, Rick Deyo, had just finished leading a project that was responsible for developing one of the first set of guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of acute low back pain. These guidelines, published in a booklet by AHRQ (then called AHCPR), recommended that patients with acute low back pain not undergo imaging for 4-6 weeks unless a red flag was present. One of the exceptions was that patients older than 50 could get imaged immediately, the rationale being that older adults had a higher prevalence of potentially serious conditions such as cancer, infections, etc, that would justify the early imaging. As a practicing neuroradiologist, it was clear that a potential problem with this strategy is that the prevalence of age-related changes, which may or may not be related to back pain, also increases with age. So earlier imaging of older adults would almost certainly reveal findings, and these could easily start a series of unfortunate events leading to potentially poor outcomes and more healthcare resource use. Thus this policy of early imaging of older adults didn’t entirely make sense. About 5 years ago, these guidelines hit home when I developed acute low back pain and since I was over 50 (barely) my doctor recommended that I get an imaging study. Being a knowledgeable patient and having a reasonable doctor, we mutually agreed not to get the study. I improved but that wasn’t the end of it. When we had the chance to apply for one of the CHOICE ARRA awards funded by AHRQ, we made answering this question of early imaging in older adults one of our primary goals.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pain Research / 11.03.2015

Matthew J. Bair, MD, MS Research Service, Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development, Center for Health Information and Communication Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Health Services Research, Regenstrief Institute, Inc, Indianapolis, IndianaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Matthew J. Bair, MD, MS Research Service, Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development, Center for Health Information and Communication Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Health Services Research, Regenstrief Institute, Inc, Indianapolis, Indiana MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Bair: Despite the prevalence and functional, psychological, and economic impact of chronic pain, there have been few intervention studies to treat chronic pain in Veterans. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Dr. Bair: A stepped-care intervention that combined analgesics, self-management strategies, and brief cognitive behavioral therapy resulted in statistically significant reductions in pain-related disability, pain interference, and pain severity in Veterans with chronic musculoskeletal pain.
Author Interviews, Pain Research / 02.03.2015

Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Michalsen Stiftungsprofessur für klinische Naturheilkunde Institut für Sozialmedizin, Epidemiologie und Gesundheitsökonomie Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin Immanuel Krankenhaus BerlinMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Michalsen Stiftungsprofessur für klinische Naturheilkunde Institut für Sozialmedizin, Epidemiologie und Gesundheitsökonomie Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin Immanuel Krankenhaus Berlin Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Chronic neck and back pain is an increasing health care problem in Europe and the U.S. Chronic neck pain is associated with distress and there is a need to evaluate methods of stress reduction in the management of chronic neck pain. The main findings of this trial were, that an 8-week meditation program teaching a traditional meditation technique, Jyoti meditation, leads to significant pain relief and reduced pain-related bothersomeness.
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Exercise - Fitness, Pain Research, Weight Research / 20.02.2015

Dan White PT , ScD, Msc University of DelawareMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dan White PT , ScD, Msc University of Delaware Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. White: We know that diet and exercise are beneficial to reduce knee pain, however it is not known whether diet and exercise can actually prevent the development of knee pain in people at high risk.  We found that an intensive program of diet and exercise had a small but statistically significant protective effect with preventing the development of knee pain in overweight and obese people with diabetes.
Author Interviews, Pain Research / 10.02.2015

A/Prof Manuela Ferreira PhD Senior Research Fellow, Musculoskeletal Division Associate Professor, Sydney Medical School The George Institute for Global Health Sydney Australia MedicalResearch.com Interview with: A/Prof Manuela Ferreira PhD Senior Research Fellow, Musculoskeletal Division Associate Professor, Sydney Medical School The George Institute for Global Health Sydney Australia MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Ferreira: Our study was set up to look at the common triggers for sudden and moderate to severe episodes of back pain. It included 1,000 participants with this condition. Participants were interviewed in the first week their pain episode occurred in and were asked to describe their physical and psychosocial activities in the 3 days preceding pain onset. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Dr. Ferreira: The results of the study have shown that sudden attacks of back pain are more likely to be triggered in the morning, between 8 am and 11 am. Being distracted while engaged in manual tasks, manual tasks performed in an awkward posture, or those involving objects not close to the body and lifting heavy loads were activities that most likely would trigger a new episode of back pain, even following very brief exposure (i.e. less than 2 hours). If you feel like this is you, you should visit a round rock chiropracter to aid progress!
Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Pain Research / 06.02.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Erin R. Schlemmer, MPH Health Care Manager / Epidemiologist Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Response: Low back pain (LBP) is a common reason for emergency department (ED) visits. Usually, uncomplicated acute LBP is a benign, self-limited condition that can be managed without the need for imaging studies. However, national data have shown that a substantial proportion of ED patients with LBP receive imaging studies, and that the use of advanced imaging has increased considerably for this population in recent years. A number of groups (including specialty societies, a consortium of health plan medical directors, and an expert panel of emergency medicine physicians) have offered recommendations for the appropriate use of imaging for Low back pain. Within these guidelines, there are a number of “red flag” conditions that serve as indications for Low back pain imaging, and it is generally accepted that most patients do not require imaging to inform treatment of their Low back pain unless they have one or more red flags. Our objective was to use claims data from a large commercial insurer to describe the imaging indications and imaging status of patients presenting to the ED with Low back pain, and to describe demographic and healthcare use characteristics associated with non-indicated imaging. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Response: We found that over half (51.9%) of all patients presenting to the ED with low back pain had no claims-based evidence of indications for imaging. Overall, 36.5% of patients received imaging, and 10.2% received advanced imaging (CT or MRI). Among patients with imaging indications, the most common indication was trauma (71.6%), followed by cancer (24.0%). Although nearly a third of non-indicated patients received imaging, this population had a lower prevalence of imaging compared to patients with imaging indications (30.1% vs. 43.5%), and were also less likely to have prior healthcare use (such as ED visits) in the past year. Among non-indicated patients who received imaging, 26.2% received advanced imaging (CT or MRI) and 4.3% had >1 type of imaging.
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Pain Research / 11.01.2015

John N. Mafi, M.D. Fellow, Harvard Combined Program in General Medicine Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Brookline, MA 02446MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John N. Mafi, M.D. Fellow, Harvard Combined Program in General Medicine Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Brookline, MA 02446 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mafi: Headache costs our healthcare system over 30 billion dollars annually. Clinical guidelines recommend conservative treatments for uncomplicated headache, such as counseling on dietary trigger avoidance. The Choosing Wisely Campaign of the American Board of Internal Medicine has in turn identified advanced imaging (e.g. CT or MRI) and opioid or barbiturate medications as low value treatments in the management of headache. In this context we used a nationally representative database to evaluate trends in physician practice patterns on headache management. We found a doubling in use of advanced imaging, referrals to other physicians and no change in opioid/barbiturate medications, although these continued to be used at high rates (18%). We also found a decline in life-style modification counseling, meant to prevent headaches from starting.
Author Interviews, Pain Research, Rheumatology / 18.12.2014

Sandra Goldsmith, MA, MS, RD Director of Public and Patient Education at Hospital for Special Surgery New York City.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sandra Goldsmith, MA, MS, RD Director of Public and Patient Education at Hospital for Special Surgery New York City. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Almost 50 million adults in the United States suffer from some form of musculoskeletal disorder, which can affect their mobility and quality of life. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and affects more than 70 percent of adults between the ages of 55 and 78. Research has shown that there is a connection between being physically active and maintaining joint health, pain relief and improved quality of life. This study attempts to support the efficacy of Hospital for Special Surgery’s hospital-based exercise programs in increasing physical activity and improving quality of life through pain relief and improved stiffness, fatigue and balance in the older adult community. This study found that after taking the exercise classes, fewer participants reported experiencing a high level of muscle/joint pain from their condition (56 percent before the program started vs. 47 percent after completing the program). The study also reported improved quality of life, as evidenced by statistically significant reductions in how much their pain interfered with their general activities, ability to walk, mood, sleep and enjoyment of life. In addition, 83 percent of participants indicated a reduction in stiffness; 82 percent said they felt their balance improved; and 67 percent said they experienced less fatigue as a result of taking part in the program. Health outcomes were also related to the type of exercise class participants chose, with the greatest reduction in muscle/joint pain reported by those who took t’ai chi.
Author Interviews, End of Life Care, Pain Research / 18.12.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Melissa Garrido, PhD Research Health Science Specialist GRECC, James J Peters VA Medical Center, Bronx, NY Assistant Professor Brookdale Department of Geriatrics & Palliative Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY and Holly G. Prigerson, PhD Center for Research on End of Life Care Weill Cornell Medical College New York, NY 10065 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Recent proposals in Congress encourage patients to engage in advance care planning and to complete advance directives. That is, patients are encouraged to have conversations about end-of-life care preferences and to document these preferences in writing (through living wills or medical orders such as do not resuscitate (DNR) orders) or to designate a durable power of attorney who can honor their preferences. The goal of advance care planning is to ensure that seriously ill patients receive care that matches their values. In this study, we used data from a prospective study of patients with advanced cancer and their caregivers to examine whether living wills, durable powers of attorney, and DNR orders were associated with better quality of life and lower estimated costs of care in the week before death. We examined these relationships among patients who did and did not express preferences for “heroic” end-of-life care (everything possible to remain alive). Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: DNR orders were associated with better quality of life in the week before death among the entire sample. If patients have DNR orders completed, they are likely to have a better quality of life/quality of death than if they do not complete a medical order like this. We did not find any evidence of a relationship between DNR orders and costs of care, nor did we find evidence of relationships among living wills or durable powers of attorney, quality of life, and costs of care. There was no evidence that relationships among advance care planning and outcomes differed by patient preferences for heroic care.
NYU, Pain Research, Pediatrics / 21.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Regina Marie Sullivan PhD Professor Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Nathan Kline Institute The Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry One Park Ave 8th Floor, New York, NY 10016 Medical Research: What is the background for this study?  Dr. Sullivan: Managing pain during medical procedures in a critically important issue in medicine today. Our study was designed to better understand one method of reducing pain in young infants - having the caregiver be in contact with the baby during the painful procedure, which reduces the infant's behavioral response to the medical procedure. This study explored the neural basis of the ability of the caregiver to reduce the pain response.
Author Interviews, Pain Research, Surgical Research / 31.10.2014

Lars Peter Holst Andersen MD., Ph.d. Fellow / Læge, Ph.d. studerende Department of Surgery Herlev Hospital Gastroenheden, Herlev HospitaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lars Peter Holst Andersen MD., Ph.d. Fellow / Læge, Ph.d. studerende Department of Surgery Herlev Hospital Gastroenheden, Herlev Hospital Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Andersen: The sleep hormone, melatonin is diverse molecule. Several experimental animal studies have documented significant antinociceptive effects in a wide range of pain models. In perioperative medicine, administration of melatonin has demonstrated anxiolytic, analgesic and anti-oxidant effects. Optimization of the analgesic treatment in surgical patients is required due to documented inadequate analgesia and the risk of adverse effects and complications caused by commonly used NSAIDs and opioids. Our goal was to investigate if melatonin was able to reduce pain scores or analgesic use in patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Orthopedics, Pain Research / 01.10.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ben Metcalf BsC (co-author) on behalf or A/Prof Rana Hinman PhD Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, Department of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Metcalf: This study investigated whether acupuncture is an effective treatment for people aged more than 50 years with chronic knee pain. Participants in our study were randomly assigned to one of four groups; needle acupuncture, laser acupuncture, sham laser acupuncture or no treatment. The people in the treatment groups received acupuncture treatment from a family physician for 12 weeks. Participants were assessed after treatment and again after one year. There were no significant differences in knee pain or physical function between active and sham laser acupuncture at 12 weeks or at one year. Both needle and laser acupuncture resulted in modest improvements in pain compared with no treatment at 12 weeks that were not maintained at one year. Needle acupuncture improved physical function at 12 weeks compared with no treatment but was not different from sham acupuncture and was not maintained at one year.
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Pain Research / 16.09.2014

Gert Bronfort, DC, PhD Professor, Integrative Health and Wellbeing Research Program Center for Spirituality & Healing University of MinnesotaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gert Bronfort, DC, PhD Professor, Integrative Health and Wellbeing Research Program Center for Spirituality & Healing University of Minnesota Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Were any of the findings unexpected? Dr. Bronfort: Our study found that spinal manipulative therapy  SMT coupled with home exercise and advice (HEA) appears to be helpful compared to home exercise and advice alone (especially in the short term) for patients with sub-acute and chronic back-related leg pain (BRLP). BRLP was defined as radiating pain originating from the lumbar spine, which travels into the proximal or distal lower extremity, with or without neurological signs. Patients with progressive neurological deficits, cauda equina syndrome, spinal fracture, and other potentially serious causes of BRLP (and often candidates for surgery) were EXCLUDED. There were a few things we did find to be quite interesting. First, it is notable that the spinal manipulative therapy & home exercise and advice group experienced less self-reported medication use after one year than the  home exercise and advice alone group (SMT&HEA was 2.6 times more likely to experience fewer medication days than HEA alone at 1 year). Given the growing concerns of overuse of pain medications (and the potential for adverse events and addiction), this is a finding that has important public health consequence. Another interesting and important finding is that the adverse events observed in this study were only mild to moderate and self-limiting. No serious adverse events occurred that were related to the study interventions. Mild to moderate adverse events (e.g. temporary aggravation of pain, muscle soreness, etc.) were reported by 30% of the patients in the SMT&HEA group, and 42% in the HEA group. This is important as few studies have systematically recorded the side effects and adverse events related to SMT&HEA and HEA alone; this is one of the first, larger clinical trials to do so. These findings are especially notable because SMT is often not recommended for patients with leg symptoms because of safety concerns (which might be related to the previous absence of robust scientific data to support its use). Finally, while an advantage of SMT& HEA versus HEA was found (especially in the short term), we do find the findings of the HEA alone group to also be of interest. Almost half of the HEA patients experienced a 50% reduction in leg pain symptoms in both the short (at 12 weeks) and long term (at 52 weeks). That’s an important improvement and warrants future investigation. Self-management strategies (like home exercise) that emphasize the importance of movement and fitness, restoration of normal activities, and allow patients to care for themselves embrace important principles for promoting overall health and wellbeing that could have a big impact if routinely put into practice.
Author Interviews, Pain Research, Sexual Health / 15.09.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Natalie Sidorkewicz, MSc (Kin) PhD (HSG) Student Spine Biomechanics Laboratory School of Public Health and Health Systems, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences University of Waterloo Waterloo, ON Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: First, we successfully documented male spine motion and muscle activity during sex -- this biomechanics study was the first of its kind. Second, we used this data to develop general recommendations for low back pain patients whose pain is worsened by motions and postures. The general recommendations focus on changing how people move, and position themselves during sex, as seen on websites similar to Nu-Bay. To make any sex position more spine-sparing, we recommend that the individual controlling the movement use their hips and knees more than their spine and that the individual not controlling the movement maintain a more neutral-spine position. An excellent working example is one of the sex positions that we studied: the missionary position. The man, who is controlling the movement with pelvic thrusting, is recommended to do so with more hip and knee movement than spine movement. The women, who is lying on her back, is recommended to use a back support placed underneath the natural curve of her spine to maintain a more neutral spine position. The general recommendations can be applied to any sex position for both men and women. Finally, we developed specific guidelines for men whose back pain is worsened by two specific types of motion: flexion and extension. If a man's low back pain is worsened by spine flexion movements, such as touching their toes or sitting for long periods of time, we would consider them to be flexion-motion-intolerant. The ideal sex position for a flexion-motion-intolerant patient would then be one that uses minimal spine flexion, so as not to worsen that patient's pain. When we compared the five sex positions, which you can do yourself by checking out some videos on a website such as sex free hd xxx, we found that men used the least amount of spine flexion in doggy-style as well as the missionary position as long as the male was propped up on his hands (as opposed to his elbows). If a man's low back pain is worsened by spine extension movements, such as arching their back or lying on their stomach, we would consider them to be extension-motion-intolerant. The ideal sex position for an extension-motion-intolerant patient would then be one that uses minimal spine extension, so as not to worsen the patient's pain. When we compared the five sex positions, we found that men used the least amount of spine extension in spooning and the missionary position as long as the male was propped up on his elbows (as opposed to his hands).
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, Pain Research, Surgical Research / 30.08.2014

Ian Gilron, MD, MSc, FRCPC Director of Clinical Pain Research Professor of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine, Biomedical & Molecular Sciences, and Center for Neuroscience Studies Queen's University Kingston General Hospital, Kingston, Ontario, CanadaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ian Gilron, MD, MSc, FRCPC Director of Clinical Pain Research Professor of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine, Biomedical & Molecular Sciences, and Center for Neuroscience Studies Queen's University Kingston General Hospital, Kingston, Ontario, Canada Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Gilron: Pain is the most common symptom which prevents recovery from surgery. Even with the best available treatments today, many patients still suffer from moderate to severe pain after surgery. Antidepressants - drugs used to treat depression - are also proven effective for treating chronic pain due to nerve disease and fibromyalgia. However, there has been much less research on the effects of antidepressant drugs on pain after surgery. Our group conducted a systematic review of all published clinical trials of antidepressant for post surgical pain. Slightly more than half of these studies suggested some benefit of these drugs but the details of this review led us to conclude that there is not yet enough evidence to recommend these medications for post surgical pain treatment. Given the possibility that these medications could be useful treatments for pain after surgery, we believe that future studies of higher scientific quality and which involve larger numbers of patients should be carried out in the hopes of finding safer and more effective treatments for pain after surgery.
Author Interviews, Lancet, Pain Research / 24.07.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: R Chris Williams PhD Honorary Fellow, Musculoskeletal Division The George Institute for Global Health Sydney NSW 2000 Australia Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Williams: We found that in addition to advice and reassurance, ‘regular’ or ‘as needed’ paracetamol did not improve recovery time for people with low back pain, compared to placebo. We also found the pain intensity and a range of other relevant measures, such as patient’s physical function was not different between the treatment groups.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pain Research / 15.07.2014

Kurt Kroenke, M.D. Professor of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine Research Scientist, Indiana University Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research Research Scientist, Center for Health Services Research, Regenstrief Institute, Inc. Director of Education and Training Programs, Regenstrief Institute, Inc. Core Investigator, VA HSR&D Center for Health Information and CommunicationMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kurt Kroenke, M.D. Professor of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine Research Scientist, Indiana University Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research Research Scientist, Center for Health Services Research, Regenstrief Institute, Inc. Director of Education and Training Programs, Regenstrief Institute, Inc. Core Investigator, VA HSR&D Center for Health Information and Communication
Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Kroenke: The telecare intervention including monitoring of pain using automated phone calls or the Internet with contacts by a nurse care manager who met weekly with a physician pain specialist to discuss treatment of new patients or patients already being followed who were not improving.
  • Almost twice as many patients in the telecare group had improvement in their pain compared to the usual care control group (52% vs. 27%).
  • Moreover, nearly twice as many patients in the usual care group got worse over 12 months (36% vs. 19%).  Thus, patients with chronic pain may not only fail to improve with current treatment, they in fact can get worse over time.
  • Although one-third of these chronic pain patients were on opioids at start of study, there were very few patients in which opioids needed to be started or dose increased.
  • The intervention group was about equally divided between those who chose to do automated symptom monitoring (ASM) by IVR (51%) or internet (49%).  The majority of patients rated the monitoring as easy to do, and the telecare intervention helpful.
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, NEJM, Pain Research, University of Michigan / 11.06.2014

William D. Chey, MD, AGAF, FACG, FACP, RFF Professor of Medicine Director, GI Physiology Laboratory Co-director, Michigan Bowel Control Program University of Michigan Health SystemMedicalResearch.com Interview with: William D. Chey, MD, AGAF, FACG, FACP, RFF Professor of Medicine Director, GI Physiology Laboratory Co-director, Michigan Bowel Control Program University of Michigan Health System MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Chey: Opiate analgesics are the most commonly prescribed medications in the US. GI side effects are common in patients who opiates. Constipation is the most common and most bothersome GI side effect of opiates. Peripherally acting mu opioid antagonists have been shown to benefit a subset of patients with opiate induced constipation. In 2 large, randomized, placebo controlled phase III trials, the peripherally acting, mu-opioid antagonist naloxegol was found to improve constipation in patients taking opioid analgesics for noncancer pain. Response rates were significantly higher with 25 mg of naloxegol than with placebo (intention-to-treat population: study 04, 44.4% vs. 29.4%, P = 0.001; study 05, 39.7% vs. 29.3%, P = 0.02) in both studies. Benefits were seen with the lower 12.5 mg dose in one of the studies (intention-to-treat population, 40.8% vs. 29.4%, P = 0.02). An interesting aspect of this study was the a priori inclusion of patients who had tried and failed to respond to other laxatives prior to enrollment. Response rates in this population were similar to the overall population (patients with an inadequate response to laxatives: study 04, 48.7% vs. 28.8%, P = 0.002; study 05, 46.8% vs. 31.4%, P = 0.01). Pain scores and daily opioid dosing were similar among the three groups before and after treatment.
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Duke, Pain Research / 26.05.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Seok-Yong Lee, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of BiochemistrySeok-Yong Lee, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Ru-Rong Ji, Ph.D. Distinguished Professor  of Duke University Professor of Anesthesiology  and Neurobiology Chief of Pain ResearchRu-Rong Ji, Ph.D. Distinguished Professor  of Duke University Professor of Anesthesiology  and Neurobiology Chief of Pain Research Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC 27710 MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

 Answer: We have developed an antibody that can block the pain and itching sensations in mice simultaneously with high efficacy. We would like to point out that our discovery has the potential to be applied to human once the antibody is humanized. Given the high selectivity, general safety profile, and long half-lives of monoclonal antibodies, this method we developed to raise antibodies against therapeutic targets (e.g., ion channels) can have broad applications to other diseases.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Pain Research, Stroke / 15.05.2014

MedicalResearch Interview with: Dr. Teshamae Monteith MD Assistant professor of Neurology Chief of the Headache Division University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Monteith:   
  • A doubling of silent brain infarctions in those with migraine even after adjusting for other stroke risk factors;
  • No increase in the volume of white-matter hyperintensities (small blood vessel abnormalities) that have been associated with migraine in other studies;
  • Migraines with aura — changes in vision or other senses preceding the headache — wasn’t common in participants and wasn’t necessary for the association with silent cerebral infarctions.
  • High blood pressure, another important stroke risk factor, was more common in those with migraine. But the association between migraine and silent brain infarction was also found in participants with normal blood pressure.
Breast Cancer, Mayo Clinic, Pain Research, Pharmacology / 06.05.2014

Judy C. Boughey, MD Chair, Division of Surgery Research Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Judy C. Boughey, MD Chair, Division of Surgery Research Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Boughey: Use of paravertebral block (a form of regional anesthesia) in women undergoing mastectomy results in less need for opioid medications and less frequent use of anti-nausea medication after surgery.
Mayo Clinic, Pain Research, Surgical Research / 05.04.2014

Dr. Juliane Bingener-Casey, M.D. Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Juliane Bingener-Casey, M.D. Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. MedicalResearch.com:  What are the study’s main findings? Dr. Bingener-Casey:  “Patient-reported outcomes such as pain and fatigue are sensitive tools to detect how well patients recover from surgery. These patient-reported outcome results are different for men and women and for older versus younger people.”
Author Interviews, Disability Research, Johns Hopkins, Pain Research, Rheumatology / 27.03.2014

Dr Damian Hoy University of Queensland School of Population Health Herston, AustraliaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Damian Hoy University of Queensland School of Population Health Herston, Australia

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Hoy: The study was part of the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study, which was conducted by the University of Queensland, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Washington, and hundreds of disease experts throughout the globe. It is the largest ever public health study. It compared the overall burden (in terms of both death and disability) of the most common 291 diseases/conditions in the world. Low back pain was found to cause more global disability than any other disease/condition. If this is something you are going through, it may be worth knowing that marijuana strains for back pain is one of the most powerful remedies. You've possibly tried everything in the shop and over the counter medicine. So why not give this a go and see how you get on. There's no harm in trying. Global disability from low back pain is increasing. There is an urgent need for global, regional and national agencies to pay far greater attention to the disability caused by low back pain. In the developed world there are low back pain therapy treatments available whereas, in the developing world things aren't as accessible.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Pain Research, Pharmacology, Radiology, University of Michigan / 17.03.2014

Dr. Brian C. Callaghan MD Department of Neurology University of Michigan Health System, Ann ArborMedicalResearch.com Interview Invitation with: Dr. Brian C. Callaghan MD Department of Neurology University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Callaghan:  The main findings are that we order headache neuroimaging (MRIs and CTs) frequently, this accounts for approximately $1 billion dollars annually, and the number of tests ordered is only increasing with time.
Addiction, Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Pain Research, Pharmacology / 16.03.2014

Maryann Mazer-Amirshahi PharmD, MD1MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maryann Mazer-Amirshahi PharmD, MD The Department of Emergency Medicine, The George Washington University The Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: We found a significant increase in the prescribing of opioid pain medications in the emergency department. At the same time, this was not accounted for by a similar increase in pain-related visits and prescribing patterns of non-opioid analgesics did not change.
Author Interviews, Pain Research, Rheumatology, Sleep Disorders / 14.02.2014

dr_john_mcbethMedicalResearch.com Interview: Dr. John McBeth Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre Keele University in Staffordshire MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. McBeth: In this study, reporting musculoskeletal pain was common with just under half of participants reporting some pain and one quarter reporting widespread pain. Of those who were free of WP at baseline, 19% reported new onset widespread pain at three year follow up. In addition to osteoarthritis, sleep, cognitive impairment, anxiety and physical health independently predicted the onset of widespread pain and are important treatment targets. In this study non-restorative sleep was the strongest predictor of new onset widespread pain. Sleep is a modifiable target that could improve outcome in this patient group.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Journal Clinical Oncology, Pain Research / 01.02.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fengmin Zhao, MS,PhD Biostatistician Department of Biostatistics & Computational Biology Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Boston, MA 02215 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Zhao: We analyzed 2,761 patients in this study. We found that at initial assessment, 53.0% of patients had no pain, 23.5% had mild pain, 10.3% had moderate pain, and 13.2% had severe pain. Overall, one third of patients with initial pain had pain reduction within 1 month of follow-up, and one fifth had an increase. Inadequate pain management was significantly associated with pain deterioration in these patients, as were lower baseline pain level, younger age, and poor health status. Of the patients without pain at initial assessment, 28.4% reported pain at the follow-up assessment (8.9% of them were moderate to severe pain), and more than half of them received inadequate pain management.
Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA, Johns Hopkins, Mental Health Research, Pain Research / 07.01.2014

Madhav Goyal MD, MPH  Assistant Professor General Internal Medicine Johns Hopkins School of MedicineMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Madhav Goyal MD, MPH  Assistant Professor General Internal Medicine Johns Hopkins School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Goyal:
  • The evidence is moderately strong that there is a small but consistent benefit for mindfulness meditation programs to improve 3 symptoms: anxiety, depression, and pain.  We found low level evidence that mindfulness meditation helps with symptoms of stress and distress, as well as with the mental health dimension of quality of life.
  • For the symptoms of anxiety and depression for which we find moderate evidence of benefit, we need to keep in mind that most of the trials didn't study people with a clinical diagnosis of anxiety or depression (although a few did).  Most were studying diverse patient populations who may have had a low level of these symptoms, such as those with  breast cancer, fibromyalgia, organ transplant recipients, and caregivers of people with dementia.
  • We found about a 5-10% improvement in anxiety symptoms compared to placebo groups.  For depression, we found a roughly 10-20% improvement in depressive symptoms compared to the placebo groups. This is similar to the effects that other studies have found for the use of antidepressants in similar populations.
  • While we found that the evidence was moderately strong that mindfulness meditation programs may improve pain, there weren't as many trials evaluating chronic pain, and so we don't understand what kinds of pain this type of meditation may be most useful for.