Author Interviews, Diabetes, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 22.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Laurie A. Nommsen-Rivers, PhD, RD, IBCLC Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Nommsen-Rivers: Breastfeeding provides important benefits for mother and infant. Exclusive breastfeeding—that is, without any other food or fluids provided to the infant—is recommended for the first six months of life by multiple public health organizations. Some mothers, despite their best efforts, have difficulty establishing and sustaining sufficient milk production to support exclusive breastfeeding. Our previous research suggested that mothers with less optimal glucose tolerance are at risk for prolonged delays in time between birth and the establishment of copious milk production. We wanted to extend this finding by probing if mothers who had diabetes in pregnancy, as a sign of less optimal glucose tolerance, are at greater risk of sustained low milk production. “Glucose tolerance” refers to the body’s ability to metabolize glucose and maintain a healthy blood sugar level, which is orchestrated by the hormone insulin. For a long time, we did not consider insulin to play a role in milk production, but we are now learning that insulin plays an essential role in milk production. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, JAMA, Pediatrics / 18.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. David Grossman MD MPH Vice chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Professor at the University of Washington Schools of Public Health and Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Grossman: The Task Force cares deeply about the challenges that children affected by autism and their families face in getting the care and support they need. This was the first time that we assessed the evidence around screening young children for autism, and our recommendation was informed by a review of the most up-to-date science, which included randomized trials, observational studies, and research from a number of Federal health agencies. We concluded that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for autism spectrum disorder in children for whom no concerns of autism have been raised by their parents or a clinician. This is an I statement, which is not a recommendation against screening, but a call for more research on screening and treatment in young children who don’t have obvious symptoms. It is important to note that this recommendation will not affect insurance coverage for autism screening, which is currently covered under the Affordable Care Act as a result of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Bright Futures Guidelines. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Pediatrics / 16.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marion R. Sills, MD, MPH Associate Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine University of Colorado School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Sills: My co-authors and I know that studies show that patients who are poorer or are minorities are readmitted at higher rates than other patients, and that readmissions penalties, which are far more commonly applied in relation to readmissions of adult patients, have been shown to punish hospitals for the type of patients that they serve, rather than purely for the quality of care they provide.  Currently, these penalties impact hospitals treating Medicare patients in all 50 states but only impact readmissions of children in 4 states, although other states are considering implementing these penalties.  This was our rationale for exploring the impact of patients’ social determinants of health (factors like race, ethnicity, health insurance and income) on how likely it was that a hospital would be penalized for readmissions under a typical state-level pay-for-performance measure based on hospital readmissions. Readmissions penalties are designed to penalize hospitals that provide lower quality care. However, without adjusting for social determinants of health factors, these pay-for-performance measures may unfairly penalize hospitals based on the type of patient they treat as well as the quality of care they provide. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Sills: We found that risk adjustment for social determinants of health factors changed hospitals’ penalty status on a readmissions-based pay-for-performance measure. Without adjusting the pay-for-performance measures for social determinants of health, hospitals may receive penalties partially related to patient factors beyond the quality of hospital care. (more…)
Asthma, Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 12.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maria C. Magnus Norwegian Institute of Public Health Oslo Norway  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  Researchers have found that developing asthma can be linked to pregnant women and infants being exposed to paracetamol, (acetaminophen) by testing that the association was not simply linked to the complaint for which the person is taking paracetamol. The findings were published in the International Journal of Epidemiology Using data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, researchers in Norway compared associations between several conditions during pregnancy (with and without the use of paracetamol) and asthma developing in the 114,500 children in the study. They examined asthma outcomes at ages three and seven and evaluated the likelihood of the association being as a result of the three most common uses of paracetamol in pregnancy: pain, fever, and influenza. The results showed that 5.7 per cent of the children had current asthma at age three, and 5.1 per cent had asthma at age seven. The research found that there was a strong link between children who had asthma at age three who had been exposed to paracetamol as during pregnancy or infancy. The strongest association was seen if the mother used paracetamol during pregnancy for more than one complaint with a child having asthma at three years old. (more…)
Author Interviews, Microbiome, Nutrition, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 12.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with Tine Rask Licht, Professor Head of Research Group on Gut Microbiology and Immunology Technical University of Denmark National Food Institute Søborg Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  During childhood, the intestinal microbiota is under establishment. This period thus represents a ’window’, where the microbiota is likely to be more susceptible to be affected by external factors such as diet. Currently, it is well known that breast feeding has a major impact on the microbiota of young infants, but only very few studies have addressed the effect of the ‘next step’ in diet exposure, represented by complementary feeding. We studied two cohorts of children, born to normal-weight and obese mothers, respectively, and mapped the composition of bacteria in their fecal microbiota at age 9 months and 18 months.  We found that at 9 months, the microbiota was clearly affected by the composition of the complementary diet, but not by maternal obesity. (more…)
Allergies, Asthma, Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics, Pulmonary Disease / 09.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Meghan B. Azad PhD Assistant Professor Department of Pediatrics & Child Health and Community Health Sciences University of Manitoba and Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba Associate Investigator, Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Azad: Asthma is the most common reason for children to miss school or be admitted to hospital, and accounts for over 30% of Canadian healthcare billings for children. Although many treatments exist to manage asthma symptoms, it is a lifelong disease and there is no cure.  Prevention is the best approach to reduce the global burden of asthma, and our study provides important new information to inform asthma prevention strategies.   Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Azad: Wheezing is common in babies and young children.  Our study looked at the long-term implications of wheezing in early life, using data from the Canadian Asthma Primary Prevention Study (CAPPS). We followed 320 children from Winnipeg and Vancouver from before birth until adolescence, and found that specific patterns of early wheezing (from age 0 to 7) were associated with decreased lung function and increased risk for asthma by age 15. By age 15, children who wheezed consistently through infancy and early childhood had the worst lung function (9% lower compared to non-wheezers) and the highest asthma risk (11 times higher). Even children with “transient early wheeze” (those who wheezed as babies but not as young children) had reduced lung function (5% lower) and increased asthma risk (4 times higher) as teenagers. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Exercise - Fitness, JAMA, Lifestyle & Health, Pediatrics / 08.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mélanie Henderson, MD, FRCPC, PhD Pediatric Endocrinologist and Assistant Clinical Professor Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes University of Montreal/Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Ste-Justine Montréal, Québec Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Henderson: Dysregulation in insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion are the basic elements in the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes. There is extensive data suggesting that better lifestyle habits are associated with the prevention or the delay in onset of type 2 diabetes in adults, with improved lifestyle habits having been more effective than pharmacologic agents at diabetes prevention in one study. Little work however has been done to determine whether this holds true in children. Cross-sectional studies in youth have found conflicting results and no study has considered the combined effect of physical activity, fitness and sedentary behavior on insulin dynamics in children. Understanding the impact of lifestyle habits on insulin dynamics in childhood has become paramount, given that less than 7% of Canadian children are currently meeting physical activity guidelines and that 1/3 of school-aged Canadian children and 2/3 of Canadian teenagers are exceeding the current guidelines in terms of screen time, which advocate for a maximum of 2 hours daily. Our study shows that adiposity is the central predictor of insulin dynamics in children, and that physical activity and screen time play an important role, in part through their effect on adiposity. Thus, establishing and maintaining a highly physically active lifestyle early on in life, while minimizing sedentary behaviour (specifically screen time) appear to be important strategies to consider to prevent type 2 diabetes in youth. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, NYU, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, Social Issues / 05.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alan Mendelsohn, MD Associate professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Population Health Adriana Weisleder, PhD Research scientist, Department of Pediatrics NYU Langone Medical Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In the last decade, scientists have begun to understand the mechanisms by which poverty can cause changes in brain development that can lead to higher rates of behavior problems and lower educational achievement for disadvantaged children. This study shows that pediatric-based programs that promote reading aloud and play can help prevent these problems before they arise. The Video Interaction Project (VIP) – the main program studied in the research – takes place at regular pediatric check-ups starting at birth. A trained parenting coach meets with the family at each visit and records the parent and child playing and reading together with materials provided by the program. The coach then reviews the video with the parent to identify and reinforce positive interactions and encourage strong parent-child relationships. The second intervention program, Building Blocks, is a lower-intensity option in which families receive parenting pamphlets and learning materials monthly by mail to facilitate reaching specific developmental goals. The results of the three-year randomized-controlled trial showed notable benefits for children’s social and emotional development. Children of families who participated in the Video Interaction Project had better attention and play skills as toddlers and reduced hyperactivity and aggression at three years, compared to children in a control group. For the highest risk families, hyperactivity was reduced by more than half.  These findings are important because a child’s ability to control or regulate his or her behavior is a critical factor in their learning and success at school. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Cancer - Brain Tumors, Genetic Research, Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania / 04.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Adam C. Resnick, Ph.D Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery Faculty, Abramson Cancer Center Director of Children's Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium Division of Neurosurgery Director, CHOP/PENN Department of Neurosurgery Brain Tumor Tissue BiorepositoryDirector for Neurosurgical Translational Research, Division of Neurosurgery Children's Hospital of Philadelphia   Payal Jain, PhD Candidate Division of Neurosurgery, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Department of Neurosurgery Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Group Gene Therapy and Vaccines Program Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study originates from our long-standing interest in studying pediatric low-grade gliomas (PLGGs), which are the most commonly diagnosed brain tumor in children. While several PLGGs have been found to harbor mutations/gene fusions driving the mitogen-associated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway leading to clinical trials testing MAPK inhibitors, these tumors remain poorly categorized and not enough is known about specific genetic mutations driving different tumor sub-types and the potential for specific targeted therapeutics. Our current study encompasses analysis of the largest combined genomic dataset of pediatric low-grade gliomas samples.  In doing this we, identified the MYB-QKI gene fusion, a non-MAPK related event, as the common genetic event driving a rare PLGG sub-type, called angiocentric gliomas. We have reported a novel tri-partite mechanism by which MYB-QKI mediates its oncogenic effect, this being the first report of a single gene rearrangement utilizing three different paths to cause cancer.
  • First, this gene rearrangement activates MYB, which is a proto-oncogene that is normally not expressed in the developed brain.
  • Second, we found that the rearrangement leads to translocation of QKI-related enhancers close to MYB’s promoters, thereby driving MYB-QKI expression in these tumors. Furthermore, MYB-QKI can also regulate its expression in a positive feedback loop.
  • Third, the tumor suppressor activities of QKI are disrupted in MYB-QKI. Such collaboration of genetic and epigenetic dysregulation in a single genetic rearrangement has previously not been reported.
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Author Interviews, Genetic Research, JAMA, Pediatrics, Surgical Research / 03.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Silje Steinsbekk PhD Associate Professor Dept. of Pschology Norwegian University of Science and Technology  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Steinsbekk:  More than every third American child is overweight or obese. Childhood obesity is associated with multiple negative health outcomes such as metabolic syndrome and hypertension, as well as mental health problems, reduced self-esteem and impaired quality of life. Further, overweight and obesity tend to persist from childhood into adulthood, and the risk of adult overweight increases the longer a child has been overweight. Identifying modifiable factors contributing to the development and continuity of unhealthy weight is therefore needed. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified genetic risks for obesity and these genetic risks have shown to influence development of obesity partly by accelerating weight gain in childhood. Identification of mechanisms through which genetic risks for obesity accelerate weight gain in childhood can therefore provide insight into the developmental pathogenesis of obesity and thus inform intervention. Cross-sectional studies suggest appetite traits as a candidate mechanism. Appetite traits may therefore be targets of intervention to protect children against the effect of genetic predispositions to develop obesity. However, such a preventive approach presupposes that appetite traits indeed transmit the genetic effect upon later development of obesity. Notably, cross-sectional studies cannot establish whether appetite traits precede the development of obesity or are caused by it—a critical piece of information for clinicians seeking treatment targets to prevent childhood obesity. We therefore aimed to test whether genetic risk for obesity was associated with rapid childhood BMI growth and if this genetic effect was mediated by appetite traits, following a representative sample of Norwegian children from age 4 to 8. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, JAMA, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 02.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Profa. Patrícia Pelufo Silveira, MD, PhD Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul Brazil Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies have shown that women who carry a certain gene variant (namely the 7-repeat allele of the dopamine type 4 receptor) have increased risk for obesity, especially if they also suffer from eating disorders. We have also demonstrated that girls who have this gene variant prefer to eat more fat when allowed to choose. However, for some neuropsychiatric conditions, this gene was shown to function as a “plasticity gene”. That is to say that being a carrier makes the individual more or less vulnerable to the disease, depending if the environment in which the person lives is bad (more risk) or good (less risk for the disease). This is called the “differential susceptibility” model. Therefore, in this paper, we wondered if the above described higher fat intake already reported in 7-repeat girls could be modified by the social environment in which they are raised. We saw that if a girl has the gene variant and is raised in a poorer environment, she is more likely to prefer to eat fat in her diet as we knew. However, if she has the gene variant but is raised in a better socioeconomic environment, she actually eats less fat in her regular diet compared to her counterparts who do not carry the gene variant. This is important because we change the focus from the gene (previously "blamed" for increasing fat preference and obesity as the years pass by) to the environment, as the genetic association will increase or decrease the risk according to the conditions in which the child is raised. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Lancet, Pediatrics, Radiation Therapy / 02.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Torunn Yock, MD Director, Pediatric Radiation Oncology Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School Radiation Oncology Quality Assurance Massachusetts General Hospital, Proton Center Boston, MA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Yock: Proton radiotherapy is a highly targeted form of radiation therapy that can spare normal tissues better than standard x-ray/photon based radiotherapy. Because, all side effects from radiotherapy come from radiation dose to normal healthy tissues, it is widely believed that proton radiotherapy has great potential to mitigate the side effects of treatment, both acute and long term side effects. There have been many planning studies that show that proton radiation can achieve a more highly conformal dose distribution and appear to spare 50% or more normal tissue from unnecessary irradiation.  However, there have been only a handful of retrospective studies that report disease control and side effects of treatment. While the technology looked promising, the definitive clinical data has been lacking to date. Because of this lack of clinical outcome data, the role and benefit of proton radiotherapy has been a subject of great debate in the oncology community.  Critics assert that proton radiotherapy is expensive and unproven and therefore a leading culprit in escalating costs of oncologic health care. Proponents assert that when used in the appropriate patient setting, the margin of benefit in terms of improved health outcomes, outweighs the increased cost of treatment. We embarked on this study to answer help answer the call for prospectively collected clinical outcome data to better define the most appropriate role for proton radiotherapy. Importantly, this study addresses both disease control and side effects of treatment in a pediatric medulloblastoma cohort of children. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Yock: This study shows that disease control in the pediatric medulloblastoma population is very much the same as that which is achieved by photon based radiotherapy treatments. However, more importantly, late side effects commonly attributed to radiotherapy such as neurocognitive decline over time and hearing loss appear to be improved compared with published photon treated cohorts of pediatric medulloblastoma patients.  Additionally, adverse late side effects on the cardiopulmonary, GI, and reproductive systems were essentially eliminated. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Nutrition, Pediatrics / 02.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Maryam S. Farvid, PhD Takemi Fellow Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Farvid: Previous studies of fiber intake and breast cancer have almost all been non-significant, but none of them examined diet during adolescence or early adulthood, a period when breast cancer risk factors appear to be particularly important. Current study supports protective role of dietary fiber intake on breast cancer. The women who reported the highest amount of fiber consumed during high school, about 28 grams daily, had a 16% lower risk of overall breast cancer compared with those who said they consumed an about 15 grams a day. Also highest verses lowest intake of fiber during early adulthood was associated with a 19% lower risk of overall breast cancer. The associations were more apparent for premenopausal breast cancer than postmenopausal breast cancer. Each 10 grams increase in adolescent fiber intake may lead to a 20% lower risk of premenopausal breast cancer, as was a 15% for overall breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA, NYU, Pediatrics / 01.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Briannon O'Connor PhD New York University Child Study Center Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry New York University School of Medicine New York Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. O'Connor: a.      As the health care system continues to emphasize accountability for providing high quality care, the development of meaningful quality standards is critical.  This study came from NCQA’s work to develop these quality measures for adolescent depression care.  Prior to this study, little was known about what routine care looked like for adolescents who showed up at their primary care visits with significant symptoms of depression. This study looked at follow up care documented in an electronic health record in the three months after an adolescent was first identified with significant symptoms of depression. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. O'Connor:    Key findings from this study include:
  1. Most adolescents (nearly two-thirds) with newly prescribed depression symptoms received some treatment, usually including psychotherapy, within the first 3 months after depression symptoms were first identified.
  2. Among those adolescents who were prescribed antidepressant medications, 40% had no other follow up care in three months, which is quite concerning since current black box warnings highlight the risk for increased suicidality for youth prescribed antidepressants and clearly recommend close monitoring in the few months following initial prescription.
  3. There were low rates of other follow up care events in the three month follow up period:  19% of adolescents  did not receive any follow up care at all, 36% did not receive any treatment, and the majority (68%) lacked documentation that symptoms were monitored or re-assessed using a valid questionnaire
  4. The sites that participated in the study are highly regarded health care institutions, often looked to as leaders in cutting-edge care. Thus, results from this study, discouraging as they are, may overstate the quality of care in other settings.
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Author Interviews, BMJ, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Pharmacology / 29.01.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tarang Sharma, PhD candidate  Nordic Cochrane Centre, Rigshospitalet University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Denmark Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: These newer antidepressants are some of the most prescribed medications in the world and previous research in the area has suggested an increased suicide risk on these drugs in young people, but only when unpublished clinical study report data is used. Such risk is missing when the published articles are considered due to severe selective reporting and publication bias. In our study we found that the research design of most of the trials was very poor and there were major discrepancies in the reporting, leading to the under-estimation of harms. Despite these problems we still found that both suicidality and aggression were more than doubled in children and adolescents on antidepressants compared to those on placebo. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 27.01.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lauren Fiechtner MD MPH Director of Nutrition Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Massachusetts General Hospital for Children MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Fiechtner: In previous studies, we investigated if distance to a supermarket was associated with a child’s BMI or weight status. These were cross-sectional studies measuring only one point in time. We wondered if distance to a supermarket modified how much children in a behavioral intervention improved their weight or dietary intake. In particular we examined 498 children participating in the Study of Technology to Accelerate Research, which was a randomized controlled trial to treat childhood obesity in Eastern Massachusetts. The intervention included computerized clinician decision support plus a family self-guided behavior change intervention or a health coach intervention, which included text messages to the family to promote behavior change. We found that children living closer to supermarkets were able to increase their fruit and vegetable intake and decrease their BMI z-score more during the intervention period than children living farther from supermarkets. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 25.01.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jonathan Muraskas M.D. Professor of Pediatrics and OB/Gyne Neonatal and Maternal Fetal Medicine Director Neonatal-Perinatal Research Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine Loyola University Medical Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Muraskas: Multiple studies over the years have demonstrated that only 15% of cerebral palsy is due to the birthing process. In other words, a normal pregnancy is 7000 hours and lawyers frequently only focus on the last 2 hours. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Methamphetamine, Pediatrics, UCLA / 22.01.2016

More on Pediatrics on MedicalResearch.com MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lynne M. Smith, MD FAAP LA BioMed lead researcher Vice Chair for Academic Affairs Professor of Clinical Pediatrics Department of Pediatrics Division of Neonatology Medical Director, High Risk Infant Follow-up Program Associate Program Director, Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship Training Program Co-Director, Third Year Medical Student Clerkship Founding co-Leader, Schwartz Rounds at Harbor-UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Torrance, CA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Smith: It is the first study of its kind, and it holds hope for improving outcomes for children exposed to the methamphetamine in the womb. The study found that while prenatal methamphetamine exposure can lead to targeted behavioral issues, a supportive home environment significantly decreases the severity and risk of these issues. The study is a follow-up to the Infant Development, Environment and Lifestyle (IDEAL) study, which is a prospective, multi-center, longitudinal study of children exposed to methamphetamine in the womb. It is designed to address some of the limitations of earlier studies. The IDEAL study enrolled children from Los Angeles; Des Moines, IA; Tulsa, OK, and Honolulu, HI, who had been exposed to methamphetamine in utero. Previous reports from the IDEAL study documented the outcomes up to age 5 and found emotional issues and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders in the children with prenatal methamphetamine exposure. The new study surveyed 290 children enrolled in IDEAL up to age 7.5 years and found a strong relation between prenatal methamphetamine exposure and rule-breaking and aggressive behavior. It also found a strong relation between adversities in the home and rule-breaking and aggressive behavior. Among the adverse conditions considered were maternal substance abuse, extreme poverty, changes in the primary caregiver, sexual abuse of the caregiver and maternal depression. The researchers concluded that while prenatal methamphetamine exposure is strongly related to behavioral and emotional control issues, early adversities may be a strong determinant of behavioral outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Pharmacology / 20.01.2016

More on Mental Health on MedicalResearch.com MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christoph U. Correll, MD Professor of Psychiatry and Molecular Medicine Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine Hempstead, New York, USA Investigator, Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Manhasset, New York, Medical Director, Recognition and Prevention The Zucker Hillside Hospital, Department of Psychiatry  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Correll: Antipsychotics have been used increasingly for psychotic, but also for many non-psychotic conditions, including for disorders and conditions for which they have not received regulatory approval. Moreover, antipsychotics have been associated with weight gain and abnormalities in blood fat and blood glucose levels. Although data in youth have been less available than in children and adolescents, youth appear to be more sensitive to the cardiometabolic adverse effects of antipsychotics than adults in whom significant weight gain might have already occurred due to long-term prior antipsychotic treatment. Nevertheless, type 2 diabetes, which is related to weight gain, overweight and obesity, seemed to be more common in adults than youth, likely due to the fact that it takes a long time for the body to develop diabetes. Recently, several individual epidemiologic or database studies with sufficient long-term follow-up durations suggested that the type 2 diabetes risk was higher in youth exposed to antipsychotics than healthy control youth and, possibly, even compared to psychiatrically ill patients treated with non-antipsychotic medications. However, a meta-analytic pooling of all available data has not been available to estimate the absolute and relative risk of type 2 diabetes in youth receiving antipsychotic treatment.  Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Correll: The main findings of the study that meta-analyzed data from 13 studies with 185,105 youth exposed to antipsychotics (average age 14.1 and 59.5 percent male) are that the absolute rates of type 2 diabetes are fortunately still relatively low, i.e. a cumulative type 2 diabetes  risk of 5.7/1,000 patients and an exposure adjusted incidence rate of 3.1/1,000 patient-years. Nevertheless, the cumulative risk of type 2 diabetes and its exposure adjusted incidence rate per patient were 2.6 times and three times higher compared with 298,803 healthy controls. Furthermore, the cumulative risk of type 2 diabetes and its exposure adjusted incidence rate per patient were 2.1 times and 1.8 times higher compared with 1,342,121 psychiatric patients not exposed to antipsychotics. Main modifiable risk factors for type 2 diabetes development in antipsychotic-treated youth were treatment with the antipsychotic olanzapine and longer antipsychotic exposure time. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, NYU, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 20.01.2016

More on Obesity from MedicalResearch.com MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian Elbel, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor, Department of Population Health, NYU Langone Medical Center Amy Schwartz, PhD, Director, New York University Institute for Education and Social Policy, and the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Chair in Public Affairs, Syracuse University Michele Leardo, MA, Assistant Director New York University Institute for Education and Social Policy Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: New York City, as well as other school districts, is making tap water available to students during lunch by placing water dispensers, called water jets, in schools. Surprisingly, drinking water was not always readily available in the lunchroom. Water jets are part of a larger effort to combat child obesity. We find small, but statistically significant, decreases in weight for students in schools with water jets compared to students in schools without water jets. We see a .025 reduction in standardized body mass index for boys and .022 for girls. We also see a .9 percentage point reduction in the likelihood of being overweight for boys and a .6 percentage point reduction for girls. In other words, the intervention is working. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 19.01.2016

More on Obgyne on MedicalResearch.com MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sandra Schulte (candidate Medicine) University Hospital Bonn Dept. Ped. Endocrinology and Diabetology MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main  findings? Response: Low birth weight, unfavourable intrauterine conditions and post-natal catch-up-growth are associated with impaired growth, accelerated pubertal maturation and metabolic disturbances later in life. However, normally, study designs cannot rule out the influence of different genetic backgrounds and familiar environments between their subjects and control groups. Therefore, we recruited a very special study cohort, solely composed of monozygotic twins. These twins had significant differences in birthweight, due to twin-to-twin-transfusion-syndrome (TTTS). Because of irregular placental anastomoses, one twin, the recipient, receives more blood becoming hypertensive and polyuric, leading to polyhydramnios and ultimately congestive heart failure and hydrops fetalis. In contrast, the donor twin becomes hypovolemic, hypotensive and oliguric, leading to oligohydramnios and growth restriction. We followed 30 pairs of these twins regularly from birth up to this current follow-up at a mean age of 14.6 years, to examine the impact of a lower birthweight on auxologic development and pubertal maturation later in life. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, BMJ, Pediatrics, Tobacco Research / 16.01.2016

More on Alcohol on MedicalResearch.com MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Joanne Cranwell PhD, CPsychol The UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies  School of Medicine Division of Epidemiology & Public Health Clinical Sciences Building University of Nottingham MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Cranwell: We conducted this particular study because it is well established that adolescent exposure to alcohol and tobacco in the media, such as film, television, and paid for advertising are determinants of subsequent alcohol and tobacco use in young people. The extent of potential exposure has been transformed over the past decade by the emergence of social media, in which exposure to pro-tobacco content has also been linked to favourable attitudes towards tobacco, including intention to smoke, in young non-smokers. Our previous published research highlighted that popular YouTube music videos contain tobacco and substantial alcohol content, including branding. Alcohol advertising is largely self-regulated by the alcohol industry and the Portman Group who speaks on behalf of the UK drinks industry.   The Advertising Standards Authority also provides guidance on marketing of alcohol products in the UK. Broadly speaking the guidelines from these three regulators state that “Marketing communications for alcoholic drinks should not be targeted at people under 18 and should not imply, condone or encourage immoderate, irresponsible or anti-social drinking”. However the extent to which adults and adolescents are exposed to tobacco or alcohol content from YouTube at a population level has not been quantified. In this new study we have therefore estimated population exposure to tobacco and alcohol impressions, defined as appearances in 10-second intervals in a sample of popular videos, in the British adolescent and adult population. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 11.01.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Annie Gatewood Hoen, PhD  Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and of Biomedical Data Science and Juliette Madan, MD, MS Associate Professor of Pediatrics The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Lebanon, NH 03756 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: When newborns are delivered they begin the process of acquiring vast numbers of bacteria that are critical for healthy nutrition and for immune training for a lifetime of health. Diseases such as obesity, heart disease, colitis, autism, and even cancer risk is associated with particular patterns in the gut microbiota; interestingly breast milk exposure is associated with decreased risk of many of these diseases. The intestinal microbiome plays a critical role in development, and delivery mode (cesarean section versus vaginal delivery) and feeding method (breast milk vs. formula) are important determinants of microbiome patterns.  We observed the intestinal microbiome in 6 week old infants and how it relates to delivery type and feeding. We were particularly interested in examining patterns in the microbiome in infants who received combination feeding of both breast milk and formula, an area that has been understudied. We prospectively studied 102 infants and, with gene sequencing of bacteria, identified important patterns in microbiome composition that differed greatly based upon delivery method and between feeding groups.  Babies who were combination fed (formula and breast milk) had an intestinal microbiome that was more similar to babies who were exclusively formula fed than breast fed babies. We identified individual bacteria that were differentially abundant between delivery mode and feeding groups. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Lancet, Pediatrics / 08.01.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Svetlana Popova, M.D., Ph.Ds., M.P.H. Senior Scientist Social and Epidemiological Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Associate Professor, Epidemiology Division, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto Associate Professor, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto Graduate Faculty Associate Member, Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Popova: It has been known for many years that prenatal alcohol exposure is associated with a number of adverse health consequences for both the mother and developing fetus. Women who consume alcohol during pregnancy place their child(ren) at risk of developing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), and can experience a number of other adverse pregnancy outcomes including stillbirth, spontaneous abortion, premature birth, intrauterine growth retardation, and low birth weight. It was also previously known that people with FASD have many comorbidities (the simultaneous presence of two or more chronic diseases or conditions in a patient) due to the permanent damage of prenatal alcohol exposure on the fetus. However, until now it was unknown how many and what type of diseases, and at what frequencies they occur. Therefore, we reviewed the medical and epidemiological literature to identify the disease conditions that have been found to occur in people with FASD. Then based on the identified studies we estimated the pooled (combined) prevalence of the comorbid conditions found to occur among individuals with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS; the most severe and visibly identifiable form of FASD). We restricted our analysis to FAS because it is the only expression of FASD in the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases, version 10 (ICD-10). (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Heart Disease, Pediatrics / 07.01.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel A. Mulrooney, MD, MS Cancer Survivorship Jude Children's Research Hospital TN 38105-3678 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Mulrooney:  This is a cross-sectional analysis performed in the St. Jude Lifetime Cohort Study (SJLIFE), an ongoing study designed to facilitate longitudinal evaluation of health outcomes among adults previously treated for childhood cancer.  Following patients over the life spectrum can be challenging making it difficult to understand the long-term health effects of childhood cancer therapy.  Previous studies have relied on self-report, registry, or death certificate data.  Our study is novel because we clinically evaluated cancer survivors on the St. Jude campus and identified substantial, asymptomatic cardiac disease (cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, valvular disease, and conduction/rhythm disorders).
  • Cardiomyopathy was present in 7.4% of survivors and newly identified by screening in 4.7%.
  • Coronary artery disease was present in 3.8% of survivors and newly identified by screening in 2.2%.
  • Valvular disease (regurgitation or stenosis) was present in 28% of survivors and newly identified by screening in 24.8%.
  • Conduction or rhythm abnormalities were present in 4.4% of survivors and newly identified by screening in 1.4%.
The prevalence of these cardiac findings might be expected in an older population but not necessarily in this young adult (median age at time of study 31 years, range: 18-60) population.    (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Pediatrics, Pharmacology / 02.01.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Diane C. Chugani, PhD Director, Nemours Neuroscience Research Nemours—AI DuPont Hospital for Children Wilmington, DE 19803  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Chugani: This clinical trial was performed at 5 sites throughout the country and was lead by our team at Wayne State University and Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit.  The study was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health through an Autism Centers of Excellence Network grant.  Based upon our previous PET scanning studies showing low  serotonin synthesis  in the brains of young children with autism, we tested whether the serotonin-like drug buspirone would be beneficial in treating young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  We found that low doses of buspirone were effective in reducing repetitive behaviors with no significant side effects in this group of children. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 28.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Rebold, PhD, CSCS Assistant Professor Department of Exercise Science Bloomsburg University Bloomsburg, PA 17815 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Rebold: The obesity epidemic seen in children.  If we can make children at a young age physically active then maybe they will be more likely to be physically active into their adult years.  Since parents are the primary role models for younger children we must find ways to get the parents involved in physical activity as well, because children will model their parent's behaviors. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Rebold: The main findings from this study are that when parents are actively participating in activities with their children, their children spend more time in physical activities and less time in sedentary activities. When parents are not present and children are alone, then they spend more time engaging in sedentary activities and less time in physical activities.  When parents are actively watching their children, children still engaged in a significant more amount of time in physical activities than sedentary activities when compared to the alone condition but still not as great as with parents participating. Children also liked and were motivated to engage in additional physical activity time when parents were participating with them. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Technology / 27.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Deirdre Murray Senior Lecturer/Consultant Paediatrician Dept of Paediatrics and Child Health University College Cork Clinical Investigations Unit Cork University Hospital Principal Investigator Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Murray: Everyday in clinic, and in waiting rooms and in restaurants we see parents are handing over their smart phones and iPads to occupy young children. The nature of childhood play is changing rapidly. The exact frequency and the effect of this change in unknown. We wanted to first measure how young children 12-36 months are using touchscreen devices. We asked parents who attended our paediatric unit, both outpatients and short stay inpatients to answer a study specific questionnaire. We found that of the 82 parents surveyed, 82% of parents owned a touchscreen device, and of these 87% gave their device to their toddler to play with. Thus 71% of toddlers had access to a touchscreen device. This rate was similar across the age range studied (12-36 months). By parental report, 24 months was the median age of ability to swipe (IQR: 19.5–30.5), unlock (IQR: 20.5–31.5) and active looking for touch-screen features (IQR: 22–30.5), while 25 months (IQR: 21–31.25) was the median age of ability to identify and use specific touch-screen features. Overall, 32.8% of toddlers could perform all four skills. Touchscreen usage was common at a very young age and from 2 years of age toddlers have the ability to interact purposefully with touch-screen technology.  (more…)
Author Interviews, HPV, Infections, Pediatrics, Sexual Health / 23.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Seo Yoon Lee, RN Department of Health Policy and Management Graduate School of Public Health Eun-Cheol Park MD, PhD Institute of Health Services Research Department of Preventive Medicine Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are a major public health issue which causes acute illness, infertility, long-term disability or other serious medical and psychological consequences, around the world. Adolescence is a key developmental period with rapid cognitive growth. In recent decades, substantial change in the sexual behaviors and attitudes of adolescents has occurred and this would lead them greater risk of STIs than other. Our study looked at the relationship between adolescents’ first sexual intercourse age and their STI experience, as well as to identify vulnerable time table of their sexual activity by considering the time gap between their secondary sex characteristic occurrence age and first sexual intercourse age. The findings from our study show that earlier initiation of sexual intercourse increases the odds of experiencing STIs. Also as the age gap gets shorter, the odds of experiencing STIs increase. Approximately 7.4% of boys and 7.5% of girls reported had STI. For both boys and girls, the chance of experiencing STIs increased as the age of first sexual intercourse decreased [boys: before elementary school (age 7 or under) OR=10.81, first grade (age 7or 8) OR=4.44, second grade (age 8 or 9) OR=8.90, fourth grade (age 10 or 11) OR=7.20, ninth grade (age 15 or 16) OR=2.31; girls: before elementary school OR=18.09, first grade OR=7.26, second grade OR=7.12, fourth grade OR=8.93, ninth grade OR=2.74]. The association between the absolute age gap (AAG: defined as absolute value of “Age gap” = [Age at first sexual intercourse] - [age of secondary sexual manifest]) and STI experience was examined additionally which the result showed, students who had sexual intercourse after their secondary sexual manifestation, as the AAG increases, the odds of STI experience were decreased (boys OR=0.93, girls OR=0.87). (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 23.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: S. Bryn Austin, ScD, Professor Dept. of Social and Behavioral Sciences Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Director, Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders and Katherine L. Record JD, MPH Massachusetts Health Policy Commission Boston  Medical Research: What is the background for this editorial? What are the main concerns regarding thinness in 'Paris' models? Response: The fashion industry has long been criticized for promoting unrealistic and patently unhealthy standards of thinness for girls and women. Furthermore, decades of psychological research have documented the pervasive and pernicious harm caused to body image and sense of self especially for adolescent girls during a most vulnerable time of development. What is often left out of the discussion, though, is the immediate and sometimes deadly harm caused to the girls and young women working as professional models as a result of what amounts to coerced starvation as a condition of employment. Most models begin working in the industry in their early or mid teens -- in other words, as children. We must ask ourselves, what other industry or employer in the United States would ever be allowed by our government to foster practices of coerced starvation of American child labor? (more…)