Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Radiology / 27.04.2022 Interview with: Leticia NogueiraPhDMPH Senior Principal Scientist, Health Services Research American Cancer Society, Inc. Kennesaw, GA 30144  What is the background for this study?  Response: Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) can deliver higher dose of radiation to the tumor with less damage to surrounding healthy cells. Therefore, PBT is potentially superior to photon-based radiation therapy to treat tumors with complex anatomy, surrounded by sensitive tissues, or for treating childhood cancer (where long-term side effects of radiation therapy are a main concern). However, PBT can cost twice as much as photon-based radiation therapy.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Orthopedics, Radiology, Rheumatology, UCSF, Weight Research / 18.11.2020 Interview with: Silvia Schirò MD Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging University of California, San Francisco What is the background for this study?  Response: Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is worldwide the second most frequent cause of lower extremity disability, and it has a global incidence of 199 cases per 100.000, including over 14 million people with symptomatic knee OA in the US. Overweight and obese individuals have a higher incidence of knee OA due to excessive knee joint load. The association between physical activity and knee OA, has not been systematically addressed in overweight and/or obese subjects and its association seems to be controversial. On the one hand, mild to non-weight-bearing physical activities have been found to be beneficial in the management knee homeostasis, the physiologic knee joint load providing an optimized environment for the joint tissues. On the other hand, excessive fast-paced physical activity with high load-joint torsion such as racquet sports, ball sports and running have been found to have an increased incidence of knee injury compared to mild-moderate exercise such as swimming, bicycling and low-impact aerobics independent of body weight. (more…)
Author Interviews, Neurological Disorders, Neurology, Personalized Medicine, Radiology, Surgical Research / 13.07.2018 Interview with: Yasser Iturria-Medina, PhD Primary Investigator, Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics & Mental Health Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery Faculty of Medicine McGill University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are millions of patients following therapeutic interventions that will not benefit them. In this study, we aimed to illustrate that it is possible to identify the most beneficial intervention for each patient, in correspondence with the principles of the personalized medicine (PM). Our results show that using multimodal imaging and computational models it is possible to predict individualized therapeutic needs. The predictions are in correspondence with the individual molecular properties, which validate our findings and the used computational techniques. The results highly also the imprecision of the traditional clinical evaluations and categories for understanding the individual therapeutic needs, evidencing the positive impact that would have to use multimodal data and data-driven techniques in the clinic, in addition to the medical doctor's criterion/evaluations.   (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Kidney Disease, Radiology, Surgical Research / 30.06.2018 Interview with: Adam Talenfeld, M.D Assistant Professor of Radiology Weill Cornell Medical College Assistant Attending Radiologist New York-Presbyterian Hospital. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We know that renal function decreases as we age, and we know that decreased renal function is independently associated with increased mortality. This is why medical society guidelines recommend partial nephrectomy, which preserves kidney tissue and function, over radical nephrectomy for the treatment of the smallest kidney cancers, stage T1a tumors, which are under 4 cm diameter. Paradoxically, though, we know older patients are more likely than younger patients to receive radical nephrectomy for these smallest tumors, probably because it’s a simpler surgery than partial nephrectomy. Percutaneous ablation, focal tissue destruction using heat or cold emanating from the tip of a needle, is a newer, image-guided, minimally-invasive, tissue-sparing treatment for solid organ tumors. We wanted to test how well percutaneous ablation would compare to partial nephrectomy and radical nephrectomy for these smallest kidney cancers. We found that percutaneous ablation was associated with similar 5-year overall and cancer-specific survival compared to radical nephrectomy. At the same time, ablation was associated with significantly lower rates of new-onset chronic renal insufficiency and one-fifth as many serious non-urological complications than radical nephrectomy within 30 days of treatment. These were complications, such as deep venous thrombosis or pneumonia, that resulted in emergency department visits or new hospital admissions. The outcomes of percutaneous ablation compared with partial nephrectomy were somewhat less clear, though ablation was again associated with fewer perioperative complications. (more…)
Author Interviews, Radiology, Technology / 17.02.2018 Interview with: Eric Karl Oermann, MD Instructor Department of Neurosurgery Mount Sinai Health System New York, New York 10029 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Supervised machine learning requires data consisting of features and labels. In order to do machine learning with medical imaging, we need ways of obtaining labels, and one promising means of doing so is by utilizing natural language processing (NLP) to extract labels from physician's descriptions of the images (typically contained in reports). Our main finding was that (1) the language employed in Radiology reports is simpler than normal day-to-day language, and (2) that we can build NLP models that obtain excellent results at extracting labels when compared to manually extracted labels from physicians.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Multiple Sclerosis, Radiology / 04.01.2018 Interview with: Netta Levin MD PhD fMRI lab Neurology Department Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center Jerusalem What is the background for this study? Response: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, manifesting with episodes of local inflammatory processes, called relapses. The most useful surrogate laboratory test for MS is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), in which dissemination of demyelinating lesions in space and time are the hallmark of the disease. However, there is a discrepancy between the lesion load - the number, size, and location of the lesions - and the clinical state of the patients, reflected in their disability. This discrepancy is known as the “clinico-radiological paradox” and suggests that something other than the well-known mechanisms of demyelination, remyelination, and axonal loss may tip the scale of recovery from an acute episode. Global effects of the local damage and compensatory mechanisms were suggested as an explanation to this paradox. In this study, we compared the visual system of patients with clinically isolated syndrome optic neuritis (ON) to patients with clinically isolated episodes in other functional systems, exploring changes, both anatomical and functional, caused to the system following the demyelinating episode. Optic neuritis was deemed a good in vivo model for studying the pathophysiology of tissue damage and repair in MS due to its characteristic clinical manifestation and to the visual pathways’ amenability to investigation using various techniques. To assess anatomical wiring ,i.e the white matter fibers themselves , we used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). To assess functional networking as reflected by signal synchronization between distinct brain regions, we used resting state fMRI. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Radiology / 22.11.2017 Interview with: “IMGP6403_qtu-no-violence” by Rae Allen is licensed under CC BY 2.0Elizabeth George, MD PGY-4 Radiology Resident Brigham and Women’s Hospital Dr. Bharti Khurana MD Clinical Fellow, Harvard Medical School and Assistant Director, Emergency Radiology Director, Emergency Musculoskeletal Radiology Program Director, Emergency Radiology Fellowship Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: According to the CDC, 1 in 3 women in the United States are victims of abuse by their intimate partner. Despite the US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations, intimate partner violence (IPV) screening is still not widely implemented and IPV remains very prevalent and often under-recognized. The goals of this study are to increase the awareness among physicians about this public health problem and to elucidate the potential role of imaging in the identification of these patients. In fact, there is a striking disparity in the literature on the role of imaging in identifying non-accidental trauma in children compared to intimate partner violence. The common patterns of injury we identified in this population were soft tissue injuries (swelling, hematoma or contusion) followed by extremity fractures, which often involve the distal upper extremities, suggesting injury from defensive attempts. Other common injuries were facial fractures, which represent an easily accessible site for inflicting trauma, and pregnancy failure. Since radiologists have access to both current and prior radiological studies of these patients, they could play a critical role by putting the pieces together in identifying victims of IPV. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pain Research, Radiology / 12.11.2017 Interview with: Dr. Alessandro Napoli Dipartimento di Scienze Radiologiche Unità di Terapia con Ultrasuoni Focalizzati Sapienza Università di Roma, Policlinico Umberto I Rome What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Low back pain and sciatica are very common conditions affecting at least 80% of the population (once in life) with detrimental impact on quality of life. Pain cause is often a lumbar disc herniation with sciatic nerve compression. Treatment strategy is primarily conservative (drugs and physical therapy) and when symptoms are persisting for more than 4 consecutive weeks, surgery is advocated. Many patients prefer to avoid surgery for multiple reasons (recurrence rate, risk-related to the intervention and post-surgical sequela). Technology advances with percutaneous techniques allowed more recently to fill the gap between conservative strategy and surgery for the management of lumbar disc herniation and related low back pain extending to the leg(s). Patients are offered local injection for symptoms relief with limited results. Therefore, other non-to-mini invasive approaches are clinically tested for prolonged clinical efficacy. Pulsed radiofrequency is a promising percutaneous approach mainly used for chronic pain. We aimed to test pulsed radiofrequency in patients refractory to conservative treatments, indicated to surgery. Our study demonstrated that radiofrequency with pulsed technique, performed under CT image guidance, is able to control pain in a surgical-free, single session, lasting 10 minutes. The procedure is highly attractive since can be considered nearly risk-free with high rate of success. In our series 80% of patients treated with pulsed radiofrequency resulted pain free (VAS pain score 0 out of 10) at 1, 3 and 12 months follow-up; 90% did not required anymore surgery. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Radiology / 17.10.2017 Interview with: Dr. Maria Grazia Andreassi, PhD Director, Genetics Research Unit CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology, Pisa- Italy What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the health risks for contemporary interventional cardiologists who have a high and unprecedented levels of occupational ionizing radiation (IR) exposure. Because dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown in many human diseases, we investigated the differential expression of miRNAs in the plasma of interventional cardiologists professionally exposed to IR and unexposed controls. In this study, our microarray analysis with 2,006 miRNAs and subsequent validation identified brain-specific miR-134 as one of the miRNAs that is highly dysregulated in the response to ionizing radiation exposure, supporting the notion that the brain damage is one of the main potential long-term risks of unprotected head irradiation in interventional cardiologists, with possible long-lasting cognitive consequences. Indeed, miR-134 was first identified as a brain-specific miRNA, which is involved in synapse development and directly implicated in learning and memory. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Radiology / 18.07.2017 Interview with: Liana Apostolova, MD, MSc, FAAN Barbara and Peer Baekgaard Professor  in Alzheimer's Disease Research Professor in Neurology, Radiology. Medical and Molecular Genetics Indiana University School of Medicine Indiana Alzheimer's Disease Center Indianapolis, IN 46202 What is the background for this study? Response: While many studies have evaluated the diagnostic or prognostic implications associated with amyloid PET, few have explored its effects on the patient or caregiver. Amyloid imaging does not only help clinicians with their diagnosis and management. It also affects patient and caregiver decisions related to lifestyle, financial and long-term care planning, and at times also employment. Few studies to date have explored patient and caregiver views on the clinical use of amyloid PET and the potential benefits they could derive from having more precise diagnosis. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Immunotherapy, Neurology, Radiology / 01.05.2017 Interview with: Ben Larimer, PhD research fellow in lab of Umar Mahmood, MD, PhD Massachusetts General Hospital Professor, Radiology, Harvard Medical School What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although immunotherapies such as checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionized cancer treatment, unfortunately they only work in a minority of patients. This means that most people who are put on a checkpoint inhibitor will not benefit but still have the increased risk of side effects. They also lose time they could have spent on other therapies. The ability to differentiate early in the course of treatment patients who are likely to benefit from immunotherapy from those who will not greatly improves individual patient care and helps accelerate the development of new therapies. The main purpose of our study was to find a way to separate immunotherapy responders from non-responders at the earliest time point possible, and develop an imaging probe that would allow us to distinguish this non-invasively. Granzyme B is a protein that immune cells use to actually kill their target. They keep it locked up in special compartments until they get the right signal to kill, after which they release it along with another protein called perforin that allows it to go inside of tumor cells and kill them. We designed a probe that only binds to granzyme B after it is released from immune cells, so that we could directly measure immune cell killing. We then attached it to a radioactive atom that quickly decays, so we could use PET scanning to noninvasively image the entire body to see where immune cells were actively releasing tumor-killing granzyme B. We took genetically identical mice and gave them identical cancer and then treated every mouse with checkpoint inhibitors, which we knew would result in roughly half of the mice responding, but we wouldn’t know which ones until their tumors began to shrink. A little over a week after giving therapy to the mice, and before any of the tumors started to shrink, we injected our imaging probe and performed PET scans. When we looked at the mice by PET imaging, they fell into two groups. One group had high PET uptake, meaning high levels of granzyme B in the tumors, the other group had low levels of PET signal in the tumors. When we then followed out the two groups, all of the mice with high granzyme B PET uptake ended up responding to the therapy and their tumors subsequently disappeared, whereas those with low uptake had their tumors continue to grow. We were very excited about this and so we expanded our collaboration with co-authors Keith Flaherty and Genevieve Boland to get patient samples from patients who were on checkpoint inhibitor therapy to see if the same pattern held true in humans. When we looked at the human melanoma tumor samples we saw the same pattern, high secreted granzyme levels in responders and much lower levels in non-responders. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Medicare, Radiology / 25.04.2017 Interview with: David C. Levin, MD Department of Radiology Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Philadelphia, PA 19107. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Radiology had been previously identified as the most rapidly growing of all physician services in the Medicare program during the early years of the 2000-2009 decade. But there have been deep cuts in imaging reimbursement since then. We wanted to determine how these cuts have affected total Medicare payments for imaging. Our main findings were that since 2006, payments to physicians for imaging under the Medicare Physician Fee schedule have dropped by $4 billion per year, or about 33%. (more…)
Author Interviews, NYU, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Radiology / 10.04.2017 Interview with: Ayesha Rahman, MD Chief Orthopaedic Surgery Resident NYU Langone Medical Center. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Children are more vulnerable and susceptible to lifetime adverse events from radiation exposure, caused by imaging . We reviewed literature and found certain pediatric orthopaedic patients are at greater risk for radiation exposure, namely those who have surgery for hip dysplasia, scoliosis, and leg length discrepancy, as they are among those most likely to undergo CT imaging. After reviewing all types of imaging studies performed in orthopedics and how much radiation is involved in each test, we developed several recommendations that pediatric orthopaedic surgeons should follow. Among those recommendations are: utilize low-dose CT protocols or technology that uses less imaging (like EOS), limit CT scans of the spine and pelvis, know that female patients are more susceptible to adverse risk and plan accordingly, and follow the the “as low as reasonably achievable,”principle to limit exposure to parts of the body that are necessary for diagnosis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Heart Disease, Radiology / 22.02.2017 Interview with: Alessandro Sciahbasi, MD, PhD Sandro Pertini Hospital Rome, Italy What is the background for this study? Response: Radiation exposure is an important issue for interventional cardiologists due to the deterministic and stochastic risks for operators, staff and patients. Consequently, it is important to know which are the determinants of operator radiation exposure during percutaneous coronary procedures in order to reduce radiation exposure. Despite different studies have already evaluated the radiation dose during percutaneous coronary procedures, most data were obtained using an indirect measure of the operator dose expressed in term of fluoroscopy time or dose area product (DAP) and only in a minority of studies dedicated operator dosimeters were used. The aim of our study was to evaluate operator radiation exposure during percutaneous coronary procedures with dedicated electronic dosimeters in a high volume center for transradial procedures. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, Cost of Health Care, Mammograms, Medical Imaging, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Radiology / 09.01.2017 Interview with: Dr. Gregory Cooper, MD Program Director, Gastroenterology UH Cleveland Medical Center Co-Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control, UH Cleveland Medical Center Professor, Medicine, CWRU School of Medicine Co-Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control UH Seidman Cancer Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Affordable Care Act, among other features, removed out of pocket expenses for approved preventive services, and this may have served as a barrier to cancer screening in socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals. If so, then the gap in screening between socioeconomic groups should narrow following the ACA. The main findings of the study were that although in the pre-ACA era, there were disparities in screening, they narrowed only for mammography and not colonoscopy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Neurological Disorders, Radiology / 06.01.2017 Interview with: Jay Desai, M.D. Neurologist, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Assistant Professor, Keck School of Medicine of USC What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We obtained measures of blood flow at rest from all regions of brain using an MRI technique called pulsed arterial spin labeling in 26 participants (children and adults) with stuttering. We compared these blood flow measures with those from 36 fluent controls. We found decreased blood flow in Broca’s region in participants with stuttering when compared to the fluent controls. The amount of blood flow correlated inversely with the severity of stuttering and these findings extended into other portions of the language loop. We also detected alterations in blood flow in other brain regions including superior frontal gyrus, cerebellar nuclei and parietal cortex. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Neurological Disorders, Radiology, UCLA / 28.11.2016 Interview with: Joseph O’Neill, PhD Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry University of California–Los Angeles Semel Institute for Neuroscience Los Angeles What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Stuttering seriously diminishes quality of life. While many children who stutter eventually grow out of it, stuttering does persist into adulthood in many others, despite treatment. Like earlier investigators, we are using neuroimaging to explore possible brain bases of stuttering, aiming, eventually, to improve prognosis. What's novel is that our study deploy neuroimaging modalities-- arterial spin labelling and, in this paper, magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)-- not previously employed in stuttering. MRS offers prospects of detecting possible neurochemical disturbances in stuttering. The MRS results showed differences in neurometabolite-- brain chemicals-- levels between people who stutter (adults and children) and those who don't in many brain regions where other neuroimaging has also observed effects of stuttering. In particular, MRS effects were apparent in brain circuits where our recent fMRI work detected signs of stuttering, circuits subserving self-regulation of speech production, attention and emotion. This reinforces the idea that stuttering has to do with how the brain manages its own activity along multiple dimensions: motivation, allocation of resources, and behavioral output. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Cancer - Brain Tumors, Case Western, MRI, Radiology, Technology / 19.09.2016 Interview with: Dr. Pallavi Tiwari PhD Assistant Professor biomedical engineering Case Western Reserve University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One of the biggest challenges in neuro-oncology currently is distinguishing radionecrosis, a side-effect of aggressive radiation, from tumor recurrence on imaging. Surgical intervention is the only means of definitive diagnosis, but suffers from considerable morbidity and mortality. The treatments for radionecrosis and cancer recurrence are very different. Early identification of the two conditions can help speed prognosis, therapy, and improve patient outcomes. The purpose of this feasibility study was to evaluate the role of machine learning algorithms along with computer extracted texture features, also known as radiomic features, in distinguishing radionecrosis and tumor recurrence on routine MRI scans (T1w, T2w, FLAIR). The radiomic algorithms were trained on 43 studies from our local collaborating institution - University Hospitals Case Medical Center, and tested on 15 studies at a collaborating institution, University of Texas Southwest Medical Center. We further compared the performance of the radiomic techniques with two expert readers. Our results demonstrated that radiomic features can identify subtle differences in quantitative measurements of tumor heterogeneity on routine MRIs, that are not visually appreciable to human readers. Of the 15 test studies, the radiomics algorithm could identify 12 of 15 correctly, while expert 1 could identify 7 of 15, and expert 2, 8 of 15. (more…)
Author Interviews, MRI, Orthopedics, Radiology / 15.09.2016 Interview with: Muyibat Adelani, MD Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery Washington University St. Louis What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In our practice, we noticed that more patients are coming in already having had MRIs. We wanted to know how many people actually had weight-bearing knee x-rays before the MRI. We found that only a quarter of patients had weight-bearing x-rays before the MRI. We found that half of the MRIs obtained prior to referral to an orthopaedic surgeon did not contribute to the patient's treatment. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, MRI, Radiology / 08.09.2016 Interview with: Dr. Joel G. Ray MD, MS, FRCPC Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto Professor Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology St. Michael’s Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We have little information about the fetal safety to of MRI in the first trimester of pregnancy, or that of MRI with gadolinium contrast performed at any point in pregnancy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Mammograms, PNAS, Radiology / 31.08.2016 Interview with: Karla K. Evans, Ph.D. Lecturer, Department of Psychology The University of York Heslington, York UK What is the background for this study? Response: This research started after initially talking to radiologists and pathologists about how they search a radiograph or micrograph for abnormalities. They talked about being able to tell at the first glance if the image had something bad about it. Jokingly, they talked about “having the force” to see the bad. We wanted to know whether this hunch after the brief initial viewing was real and to systematically test it. We collected radiographic and micrographic images, half of them that had signs of cancer in them and half of them that didn't, and we briefly presented them (250 millisecond to 2000 milliseconds) to radiologists or pathologistsrespectively. They simply had to report whether they would recall the patient or not and try localize on the outline the location of the abnormality. We first reported these finding in the following paper. Evans et al. (2013) The Gist of the Abnormal: Above chance medical decision making in the blink of an eye. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (DOI) 10.3758/s13423-013-0459-3 In addition to finding that radiologists and pathologists can indeed detect subtle cancers in a quarter of a second we also found that they did not know where it was in the image leading us to conclude that the signal that they were picking up must be a global signal (i.e. the global image statistic or the texture of the breast as a whole) rather than the result of a local saliency. This led me to start further exploring this signal in order to characterize it when I moved to University or York, UK to establish my own lab. (more…)
Author Interviews, Radiology, Zika / 25.08.2016 Interview with: Fernanda Tovar Moll, MD, PhD Vice president of the D'Or Institute for Research and Education Professor,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro, Brazil What is the background for this study? Response: The consequences of congenital zika virus infection are still under investigation. Recent studies suggest microcephaly as one of the consequences, but we wanted to go deeper in investigating what other kinds of neurological changes could happen in the developing central nervous system. Based on that, we performed a cohort study with multimodal images exams and longitudinal follow up (pre and post natal analyses) of some cases. (more…)
Author Interviews, CT Scanning, Lung Cancer, PLoS, Radiology / 19.08.2016 Interview with: Matthew B. Schabath PhD Department of Cancer Epidemiology H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute Tampa, Florida What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our study is a post-hoc analysis of data from a large randomized clinical trial (RCT) called the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST). The NLST found that lung cancer screening with low-dose helical computed tomography (LDCT) significantly reduced lung cancer deaths by 20 percent compared to screening with standard chest radiography (i.e., X-Ray). In our publication, we performed a very detailed analysis comparing outcomes of lung cancer patients screened by LDCT according to their initial (i.e., baseline), 12 month, and 24 month screening results. We found that patients who had a negative baseline screening but tested positive for lung cancer at the 12- or 24-month screen had lower survival and higher mortality rates than patients who had a positive initial screen that was a non-cancerous abnormality but developed lung cancer in subsequent screens. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Medical Imaging, Mental Health Research, Radiology / 29.07.2016 Interview with: Maria A. Oquendo, M.D. Professor of Psychiatry Vice Chair for Education Columbia University Medical Center American Psychiatric Association, President International Academy of Suicide Research, President What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our team has worked for years on identifying the biological underpinnings of both risk for suicidal behavior (SB) and for predicting the lethality or medical consequences of suicidal behavior. We have shown that if you compare those who are depressed and have had SB to those who are depressed but do not have suicidal behavior, you can see clear differences in the serotonin system using Positron Emission Tomography and a molecule tagged with radioactivity. We predicted that if you could see these differences cross-sectionally, then their presence might also predict suicidal behavior and its lethality in the future. Our study showed that those with higher serotonin 1a binding in the raphe nuclei, which likely indicates low serotonin functioning, made more medically damaging suicide attempts in the two years that followed. They also suffered from more pronounced suicidal ideation in the subsequent year. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Radiology, Thyroid / 22.07.2016 Interview with: Megan Haymart, M.D. Assistant Professor Institute for HealthCare Policy and Innovation University of Michigan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Over the past three decades the incidence of thyroid cancer has risen. The majority of this rise in incidence is secondary to an increase in low-risk disease. In the setting of this rise in low-risk thyroid cancer, our team noted that over time there was a dramatic rise in imaging after initial treatment for thyroid cancer. We subsequently wanted to understand the implications of this increase in imaging. Does more imaging equal improved outcomes? In this study published in BMJ, we found that this marked rise in imaging after primary treatment of differentiated thyroid cancer was associated with increased treatment for recurrence but with the exception of radioiodine scans in presumed iodine-avid disease, no clear improvement in disease specific survival. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Radiology / 04.07.2016 Interview with: Venkatesh Locharla Murthy MD, PhD, FACC, FASNC Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine Frankel Cardiovascular Center University of Michigan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Technetium-99m, which is very commonly used for cardiac stress testing, has had multiple supply disruptions due to aging nuclear reactors where it is produced coupled with changing regulations to minimize the risk of nuclear proliferation. The most severe of these disruptions occurred over six months in 2010. We asked whether this disruption lead to changes in patterns of care among Medicare beneficiaries. We found that during this time, use of technetium-99m in nuclear stress testing fell from 64% to 49%, reflecting a shift towards thallium-201, which has higher radiation exposure and lower diagnostic specificity. This was reflected in a 9% increase in the rate of cardiac catheterization after a nuclear stress test during the study period, implying nearly 6,000 additional, possibly unnecessary, catheterizations during that time. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Medical Imaging, Radiology / 03.07.2016 Interview with: David Leswick MD FRCPC Radiologist Saskatoon Health Region and the University of Saskatchewan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background for this study is that the use of computed tomography (CT) is increasing, and there is a significant radiation dose imparted to the population through imaging. There have been multiple prior studies showing limited knowledge of both dose levels and its associated risk from medical imaging procedures, and we wanted to evaluate local knowledge in our Health Region. We surveyed a total of 308 health care providers, including 217 referring physicians, 32 radiologists and 59 technologists. Overall, most respondents were aware of the risk of malignancy from CT, with only 23% of physicians, 3% of radiologists, and 25% of technologists believing there was no increased risk of malignancy from a single CT scan. Underestimating radiation dose levels from a procedure is more concerning than overestimating as it may lead to minimization of the perceived risk. Although relatively few respondents (20%) selected the most appropriate dose estimate for an abdominal CT scan in chest x-ray equivalents, the majority (54%) correctly or overestimated dose, with better knowledge amongst radiologists and imaging technologists than referring physicians. In general, respondents were appropriately more concerned regarding radiation dose when imaging pregnant and pediatric patients as risks from radiation are higher in those groups of patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Psychological Science, Radiology / 19.06.2016 Interview with: Dr. Luca Passamonti MD Department of Clinical Neurosciences University of Cambridge What is the background for this study? Dr. Passamonti: We wanted to study if the brain of young people with two different forms of conduct disorder (CD) (, a neuropsychiatric disease associated with severe and persistent antisocial behaviors (weapon use, aggression, fire-setting, stealing, fraudulent behavior), was different from that of young peers with no such abnormal behaviors. There is already evidence that conduct disorder may have a biological basis (i.e., reduced levels of cortisol under stress) and brain alterations but a whole “map” of the brain in conduct disorder studying cortical thickness was never been done before. (more…)
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, CHEST, Medical Imaging, Outcomes & Safety, Radiology / 01.06.2016 Interview with: Daniel R. Murphy, M.D., M.B.A. Assistant Professor - Interim Director of GIM at Baylor Clinic Department of Medicine Health Svc Research & General Internal Medicine Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Murphy: Electronic health records (EHRs) have improved communication in health care, but they have not eliminated the problem of patients failing to receive appropriate and timely follow up after abnormal test results. For example, after a chest x-ray result where a radiologist identifies a potentially cancerous mass and suggests additional evaluation, about 8% of patients do not receive follow-up imaging or have a visit with an appropriate specialist within 30 days. Identifying patients experiencing a delay with traditional methods, like randomly reviewing charts, is not practical. Fortunately, EHRs collect large amounts of data each day that can be useful in automating the process of identifying such patients. We evaluated whether an electronic “trigger” algorithm designed to detect delays in follow up of abnormal lung imaging tests could help medical facilities identify patients likely to have experienced a delay. Of 40,218 imaging tests performed, the trigger found 655 with a possible delay. Reviewing a subset of these records showed that 61% were truly delays in care that required action. We also found that the trigger had a sensitivity of 99%, indicating that it missed very few actual delays. (more…)