Radiologic Findings Can Be Key In Identifying Intimate Partner Violence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“IMGP6403_qtu-no-violence” by Rae Allen is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Elizabeth 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


MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Pulsed Radiofrequency As a Surgical Free Approach To Low Back Pain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Alessandro Napoli

Dipartimento di Scienze Radiologiche
Unità di Terapia con Ultrasuoni Focalizzati
Sapienza Università di Roma, Policlinico Umberto I
Rome

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Interventional Cardiologists Can Face Risks To Brain From Unprotected Radiation Exposure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Maria Grazia Andreassi

Dr. Andreassi

Dr. Maria Grazia Andreassi, PhD
Director, Genetics Research Unit
CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology, Pisa- Italy

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Patients and Providers Feel Amyloid PET Scanning Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease Beneficial

MedicalResearch.com 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

Dr. Apostolova

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

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Granzyme B Probe Plus PET Scanning Helps Determine Response To Immunotherapy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ben Larimer, PhD research fellow in lab of Umar Mahmood, MD, PhD Massachusetts General Hospital Professor, Radiology, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Ben Larimer

Ben Larimer, PhD research fellow in lab of
Umar Mahmood, MD, PhD

Massachusetts General Hospital
Professor, Radiology, Harvard Medical School

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Medicare Has Cut Radiology Payments To Physicians by 33% Over Ten Years

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
David C. Levin, MD

Department of Radiology
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
Philadelphia, PA 19107.

MedicalResearch.com: 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%.

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Radiation Exposure in the Pediatric Patient: What Every Orthopaedist Should Know

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ayesha Rahman, MD

Chief Orthopaedic Surgery Resident
NYU Langone Medical Center.

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Prostate Artery Embolization Is Less Invasive Choice For BPH Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. João Martins Pisco, MD PhD Hospital St. Louis, International Prostate Medical Center Lisbon, Portugal

Dr. João Martins Pisco

Dr. João Martins Pisco, MD PhD
Hospital St. Louis, International Prostate Medical Center
Lisbon, Portugal

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is one of the most common prostate problems occurring in men older than 50. According to the National Institutes of Health, as many as 14 million men in the U.S. had symptoms suggestive of BPH, which can affect 50 percent of men between 51 and 60 years of age and up to 90 percent of men older than 80. A few years ago, Dr. João Martins Pisco developed the minimally invasive treatment, known as prostate artery embolization, to treat BPH. The study that Dr. Pisco presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology on March 8 is the first of its kind – a study with 1,000 patients with long-term efficacy data.

Between March 2007 and March 2016, Dr. Pisco and his team performed PAE on 1,000 men who averaged 67 years of age. All patients were evaluated in the short term (one, three, and six months), 807 patients were seen through the medium term (every six months between six months and three years), and 406 patients were evaluated long term (every year after three years).

During each evaluation, the men’s symptoms were measured by the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), which tests for the blockage of urine flow, and the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), which assesses erectile dysfunction. Researchers also measured the size of the prostate and the amount of urine left in the bladder after urination. They also evaluated the peak urinary flow rate and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level, a test used to screen for prostate cancer.

MedicalResearch.com:  What are the main findings?

Response:  The data from these measures revealed at the short-term mark that the treatment had an 89 percent cumulative success rate—measuring the success across all variables through the given testing period. The 807 men evaluated at the medium-term mark had an 82 percent success rate. And of the 406 patients measured at the long-term mark, 78 percent were considered cumulative successes.

In an additional analysis, researchers found that among 112 patients who also suffered acute urinary retention (AUR) before undergoing PAE, 106 or 94.6 percent had their catheter removed between two days and three months after treatment. At medium-term and long-term follow up, 95 of the 112 (84.8 percent) and 89 of the 112 (78.5 percent) did not experience any recurrence of their AUR.

The team also performed PAE in 210 patients who had limited treatment options due to extreme enlargement of the prostate (larger than 100 cm³). Of these men, 84 percent experienced cumulative success at short-term evaluation and 76.2 percent at medium- and long-term. The normal size of a prostate is 15 cm3 to 30 cm3.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response:  Prostate artery embolization gives men with BPH a treatment option that is less invasive than other therapies and allows them to return to their normal lives sooner. Time and time again, Dr. Pisco has seen patients who are relieved to find out about PAE because they are not able to tolerate medications for BPH due to their side effects. These men also don’t want traditional surgery because it involves greater risks, has possible sexual side effects, and has a recovery time that is relatively long compared to PAE, which is generally performed under local anesthesia and on an outpatient basis.

Prostate artery embolization should also be presented to patients who are exploring options to resolve their BPH.

That said, PAE may not be appropriate for all patients, such as those with advanced arterial atherosclerosis that may be due to smoking or diabetes. Patients should speak with an interventional radiologist or other members of their care team to discuss treatment options.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: As a next step, Dr. Pisco and his team are now conducting a study comparing the effectiveness of PAE to a sham – or placebo—treatment to address any possible placebo effect that may have occurred during Pisco’s research with these 1,000 patients.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Prostate artery embolization is a safe and effective treatment and these data demonstrate the efficacy of the therapy in the long term. It’s important that patients know about this therapy as they explore how to resolve their BPH. 

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Society of Interventional Radiology abstract discussing:

Prostate artery embolization for BPH

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Factors That Expose Cardiologists To More Radiation During Procedures Outlined

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alessandro Sciahbasi, MD, PhD  Sandro Pertini Hospital Rome, Italy

Dr. Sciahbasi

Alessandro Sciahbasi, MD, PhD
Sandro Pertini Hospital
Rome, Italy

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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ACA: Screening Disparities Fall For Mammograms But Not Colonoscopies

MedicalResearch.com 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

Dr. Gregory Cooper

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

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Stuttering Linked To Decreased Blood Flow to Broca’s Area in Brain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jay Desai, M.D. Neurologist, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Assistant Professor, Keck School of Medicine of USC

Dr. Jay Desai

Jay Desai, M.D.
Neurologist, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Assistant Professor, Keck School of Medicine of USC

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Neuroimaging Detects Chemical Disturbances in Stuttering

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Joseph O’Neill, PhD
Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
University of California–Los Angeles Semel Institute for Neuroscience
Los Angeles

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Computer Bests Neuroradiologists in Distinguishing Tumor Recurrence From Radiation Necrosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Pallavi Tiwari PhD Assistant Professor biomedical engineering Case Western Reserve University

Dr. Pallavi Tiwari

Dr. Pallavi Tiwari PhD
Assistant Professor biomedical engineering
Case Western Reserve University

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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MRI Not Always Better Than Regular X Rays For Knee Pain Evaluation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Muyibat-Adelani.jpg

Dr. Muyibat Adelani

Muyibat Adelani, MD
Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Washington University
St. Louis

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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MRI Generally Safe For Fetus in First Trimester, But Gadolinium Should Be Avoided Unless Strongly Indicated

MedicalResearch.com 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

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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How Can Radiologists Detect Cancer In a Fraction of a Second?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Karla K. Evans, Ph.D. Lecturer, Department of Psychology The University of York Heslington, York UK

Dr. Karla Evans

Karla K. Evans, Ph.D.
Lecturer, Department of Psychology
The University of York
Heslington, York UK

MedicalResearch.com: 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.
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Zika Can Cause Multiple Other Brain Abnormalities Other Than Microcephaly

MedicalResearch.com 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

Dr. Fernanda Tovar-Moll

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

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Lung Cancers Detected On Screening CT Scans Have Better Survival

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Matthew B. Schabath PhD Department of Cancer Epidemiology H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute Tampa, Florida

Dr. Matthew Schabath

Matthew B. Schabath PhD
Department of Cancer Epidemiology
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute
Tampa, Florida

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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PET Scan Identifies Low Serotonin Functioning Linked To Suicidal Behavior

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

Dr. Maria Oquendo

MedicalResearch.com 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

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Study Calls For Curbing of Excessive Imaging after Thyroid Cancer Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Megan Haymart, M.D. Assistant Professor Institute for HealthCare Policy and Innovation University of Michigan

Dr. Megan Haymart

Megan Haymart, M.D.
Assistant Professor
Institute for HealthCare Policy and Innovation
University of Michigan

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Supply of Technetium-99m For Cardiac Stress Testing Constricted By Regulations and Aging Reactors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Venkatesh Locharla Murthy MD, PhD, FACC, FASNC Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine Frankel Cardiovascular Center University of Michigan

Dr. Venkatesh Murthy

Venkatesh Locharla Murthy MD,
PhD, FACC, FASNC

Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine
Frankel Cardiovascular Center
University of Michigan

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Knowledge of Risks From Imaging Radiation Has Room For Improvement

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David Leswick MD FRCPC Radiologist Saskatoon Health Region and the University of Saskatchewan

Dr. David Leswick

David Leswick MD FRCPC
Radiologist Saskatoon Health Region and the
University of Saskatchewan

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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“Bad Genes” plus “Bad Environment” Lead To Brain Abnormalities in Youth With Conduct Disorders

Dr-Luca-Passamonti.jpg

Dr. Luca Passamonti

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Luca Passamonti MD
Department of Clinical Neurosciences
University of Cambridge

MedicalResearch.com: 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) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conduct_disorder), 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.

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Computerized Triggers May Help Prevent Delays in X-Ray Reports

MedicalResearch.com 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

Dr. Daniel Murphy

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

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Performance of Mammogram Readers Does Not Diminish With Time

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Sian Taylor-Phillips PhD Assistant Professor of Screening and Test Evaluation Division of Health Sciences Warwick Medical School University of Warwick Coventry

Dr. Taylor-Phillips

Dr Sian Taylor-Phillips  PhD
Assistant Professor of Screening and Test Evaluation
Division of Health Sciences
Warwick Medical School
University of Warwick
Coventry

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr Taylor-Phillips : Psychologists have been investigating a phenomenon of a drop in performance with time on a task called ‘the vigilance decrement’ since World War 2. In those days radar operators searched for enemy aircraft and submarines (appearing as little dots of light on a radar screen). People thought that the ability to spot the dots might go down  after too much time spent on the task. Many psychology experiments have found a vigilance decrement, but most of this research has not been in a real world setting.

In this research we wanted to know whether there was a drop in performance with time on a task for breast screening readers looking at breast x-rays for signs of cancer. (Breast x-rays or mammograms show lots of overlapping tissue and cancers can be quite difficult to spot). This was a real-world randomised controlled study in UK clinical practice.

In the UK NHS Breast Screening Programme two readers examine each woman’s breast x-rays separately for signs of cancer. They look at batches of around 35 women’s x-rays. At the moment  both readers look at the x-rays in the same order as each another, so if they both experience a drop in performance, it will happen at the same time. We tested a really simple idea of reversing the batch order for one of the readers, so that if they have a low ebb of performance it happens when they are looking at different women’s breast x-rays.

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Fat/Bone Ratio Correlates Better with Obesity Risks than BMI

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Albert Roh MD Radiology Resident Maricopa Integrated Health System

Dr. Albert Roh

Albert Roh MD
Radiology Resident
Maricopa Integrated Health System

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Roh: Obesity is well documented to be associated with many medical conditions.  Currently, obesity is defined as body mass index (BMI) over 30 kg/m^2.  Although simple to calculate and relatively accurate, BMI has its limitations.  BMI does not factor in the subject’s body type or fat distribution pattern.  For example, a muscular subject and a fatty subject may both have BMI of 30 and be considered obese, although the muscular subject would not be predisposed to the comorbidities associated with obesity.  Similarly, two subjects may have the same BMI but have different fat distribution patterns: “apple” with fat distributed primarily on the chest/abdomen and “pear” with fat distributed on the hips.  The “apple” fat distribution correlates better with the comorbidities associated with obesity.

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Lack of Health Insurance Linked to Later-Stage Cancer Presentation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Christine Fisher MD, MPH Department of Radiation Oncology University of Denver

Dr. Christine Fisher

Dr. Christine Fisher MD, MPH
Department of Radiation Oncology
University of Denver

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Fisher: Screenable cancers are treated by oncologists every day, including many in invasive, advanced, or metastatic settings.  We aimed to determine how health insurance status might play into this, with the hypothesis that better access to health care would lead to presentation of earlier cancers.  While this sounds intuitive, there is much debate over recent expansions in coverage through the Affordable Care Act and how this may impact health in our country.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Dr. Fisher: The findings confirm that those without health insurance present with more advanced disease in breast, cervix, colorectal, and prostate cancers, including tumor stage, grade and elevated tumor markers.  That is to say, all else being equal for risk of cancer, lack of health insurance was an independent risk factor for advanced presentation. 

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Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Workers Face Occupational Health Risks From Chronic Radiation Exposure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Maria Grazia Andreassi, PhD
Director, Genetics Research Unit,
CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology
Pisa, Italy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Over the last 20 years, advances in imaging technology have led to an explosive growth and performance of fluoroscopically-guided cardiovascular procedures, highly effective and often life-saving. However, these procedures requires substantial radiation exposure (e.g. the average effective radiation dose for a percutaneous coronary intervention or an ablation procedure is about 15 mSv, equal to 750 chest x-rays or ~6 years of background radiation) to patients and staff, especially interventional cardiologists and electrophysiologists.

In fact, interventional cardiologists and electrophysiologists needs to operate near the patient and the radiation source and accumulate significant lifetime radiation exposure over a long career. The potential hazards of cumulative radiation exposure are the risk of cataract development and cancer induction. Anyway, there is now growing evidence in scientific community of an excess risk for other non-cancer disease even at moderate and low dose levels of ionizing radiation exposure, especially cardiovascular disease and cognitive effects. However, the characterization of health risks of accumulated low-dose radiation is incomplete and largely lacking.

Therefore, the purpose of our study was to examine the prevalence of health problems among personnel staff working in interventional cardiology/cardiac electrophysiology and correlate them with the length of occupational radiation exposure.

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Infertility and Fertility Treatments Linked To Greater Breast Density

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Frida Lundberg | PhD Student Dept. of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institutet

Frida Lundberg

Frida Lundberg | PhD Student
Dept. of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Karolinska Institutet

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: Fertility treatments involve stimulation with potent hormonal drugs that increase the amount of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. These hormones have been linked to breast cancer risk. Further, as these treatments are relatively new, most women who have gone through them are still below the age at which breast cancer is usually diagnosed. Therefore we wanted to investigate if infertility and fertility treatments influences mammographic breast density, a strong marker for breast cancer risk that is also hormone-responsive.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: We found that women with a history of infertility had higher absolute dense volume than other women. Among the infertile women, those who had gone through controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) had the highest absolute dense volume. The results from our study indicate that infertile women, especially those who undergo COS, might represent a group with an increased risk of breast cancer. However, the observed difference in dense volume was relatively small and has only been linked to a modest increase in breast cancer risk in previous studies.  As the infertility type could influence what treatment the couples undergo, the association might also be due to the underlying infertility rather than the treatment per se.

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Clinical Findings and Brain Calcifications of Zika Babies Described

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Team of Doctors Brazil - Article BJM - Zika -  Ana van Der Linden, Alessandra Brainer, Maria de Fatima Aragao, Vanessa va Der Linden e Arthur Cesário.jpg

Team of Doctors:  Ana van Der Linden, Alessandra Brainer, Maria de Fatima Aragao, Vanessa va Der Linden e Arthur Cesário

Maria de Fatima Vasco Aragao MD, PhD
Radiologist and Neuroradiologist
Professor of Radiology, Mauricio de Nassau University, Recife, Brazil
Scientific Director of Multimagem Radiology Clinic, Recife – PE, Brazil
President of Pernambuco Radiology Society

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The new Zika virus epidemic in Brazil was recognized as starting in the first half of 2015 and the microcephaly epidemic was detected in the second half of that same year.

This is a transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of Zika virus, which is a member of the family Flaviviridae. Virus particles are 40 nm in diameter, with an outer envelope, and an inner dense core.

This is a transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of Zika virus, which is a member of the family Flaviviridae. Virus particles are 40 nm in diameter, with an outer envelope, and an inner dense core.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

  • Response:  In our study of the 23 mothers, only one did not report rash during pregnancy (rash is a sign that can happen in Zika virus infection). However, Zika virus infection can be asymptomatic in three of every four infected patients. All of the 23 babies had the same clinical and epidemiological characteristics and other congenital infection diseases had been excluded. Of these 23 babies, six were tested for IgM antibodies, specific to Zika virus and all six proved positive. So, by deduction, the other 17 babies on whom it was not possible to make the IgM test, were considered as also having presumed congenital infection related to the Zika virus, after other congenital infections being excluded.
  • All the babies showed malformations of cortical development and sulcation.  The most frequent cortical malformation were: Microcephaly with a simplified cortical gyral pattern and areas of thick cortex of polymicrogyria or pachygyria which were located predominantly in the frontal lobes.
  • Abnormalities of the corpus callósum (hypogenesis and hypoplasia) were common.
  • Decreased brain volume was a common finding. Ventriculomegaly was present in all the babies, with a predominant enlargement of the posterior portions of the lateral ventricles,
  • Delayed myelination were also common. The cisterna magna was enlarged in most of the cases, with or without cerebellar hypoplasia.
  • Some of the babies showed a symmetrical enlargement of the anterior subarachnoid space of the supratentorial compartment, associated with severe ventriculomegaly.

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Retrospective Study Compares Removal of Three Nonpermanent IVC Filter Types

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Eric T. Aaltonen MD, MPH Interventional Radiologist Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology Radiology  NYU Langone Medical Center

Dr. Eric Aaltonen

Eric T. Aaltonen MD, MPH
Interventional Radiologist
Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology
Radiology 
NYU Langone Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Aaltonen: A few years ago we started placing Denali  inferior vena cava (IVC) filters and noticed that these filters tended to not tilt and were subsequently more straight forward to remove when patients returned for filter retrieval.  Subsequently, a retrospective study was performed comparing these Denali filters with ALN and Option filters that have also been placed and removed at our hospitals.  The results demonstrate that Option filters have an increased rate of tilt at retrieval and increased retrieval time compared to Denali filters.  No significant difference in tilt or retrieval time was found with ALN filters.  Additionally, the presence of tilt correlates with more equipment use and increased fluoroscopy time during retrieval.

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Very Low Dose CT Scans Successfully Detect Bone Fractures

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sanjit Konda, MD Assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery NYU Langone Medical Center

Dr. Sanjit Konda

Sanjit Konda, MD
Assistant professor of Orthopaedic surgery
NYU Langone Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Konda: We serendipitously found that we could identify periarticular fractures associated with deep knee wounds with the use of a CT-scan. We published a study in the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma showing that a CT scan could identify a traumatic arthrotomy of a joint better than a saline load test, which at the time was considered the diagnostic gold standard. When we presented that work, we received criticism that we were subjecting patients to a high dose of radiation for a diagnostic test; however, our rationale at the time was that the saline load test was a painful, invasive procedure using a needle, and that we would trade a bit of radiation for lack of invasive procedure.

This got us thinking of ways we could decrease the amount of radiation in the CT yet maintain the same diagnostic accuracy of identifying penetrating joint injuries. Collaborating with Dr. Soterios Gyftopoulos, an assistant professor in the Department of Radiology at NYU Langone, we were able to successfully reduce the amount of radiation in these CT scans and still get good bony images. We then thought, if we can get a CT scan that shows us good bony detail and is safer, then why shouldn’t we be doing it on every joint fracture, not just these arthrotomy cases? We then applied this to our current research protocol, REDUCTION(Reduced Effective Dose Using Computed Tomography In Orthopaedic Injury) in which we reduced the average amount of radiation from 0.43 msV to 0.03 msV, or down to the average dose given in a routine chest X-ray. After running a comparison study with our ultra-low dose radiation protocol compared to conventional CT scans, we found we were able to obtain nearly the exact same types of images for various joint fractures and locations without sacrificing any diagnostic accuracy in most cases. We gave sets of these CT scans to orthopaedic surgeons to analyze, and found we achieved 98 percent sensitivity and 89 percent specificity with the ultra-low dose CT scans when occult fractures, or those that could not be seen on an X-ray, were removed from our analysis.

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New Combination Coronary Imaging Technique Identified Dangerous Plaques

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Guillermo J. Tearney, MD PhD Mike and Sue Hazard Family MGH Research Scholar Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School Wellman Center for Photomedicine Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Gary Tearney

Guillermo J. Tearney, MD PhD
Mike and Sue Hazard Family MGH Research Scholar
Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School
Wellman Center for Photomedicine
Massachusetts General Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Dr. Tearney: In this study, we investigated a new, advanced catheter-based imaging technology for identifying the coronary plaques that may potentially precipitate heart attack. The new technique combines intracoronary OCT, that provides images of tissue emicrostructure with near-infrared autofluorescence (NIRAF) that informs on the molecular/biological characteristics of plaque.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Dr. Tearney: Our main findings were that:
1) Intracoronary OCT-NIRAF is safe and feasible in patients
2) NIRAF was elevated focally in portions of the coronary artery that contained high risk OCT features, and
3) The findings are suggestive that NIRAF may be a new imaging feature that is indicative of inflammation in human coronary lesions in vivo.

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PET Scans May Be Overused To Detect Recurrent Lung Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mark A. Healy, MD Department of Surgery Center for Healthcare Outcomes & Policy, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI

Dr. Mark Healy

Mark A. Healy, MD
Department of Surgery
Center for Healthcare Outcomes & Policy, University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI  

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Healy: In our study, we found high overall use of PET as a primary study for recurrence detection in lung and esophageal cancers, with substantial hospital-based variation in the use of PET. Despite this, there was not a significant difference in survival for patients across high and low PET use hospitals.

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Meditation May Improve Experience with Imaging-Guided Needle Breast Biopsy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mary Scott Soo, M.D. FACR Associate professor of Radiology Duke Cancer Institute

Dr. Mary Scott Soo

Mary Scott Soo, M.D. FACR
Associate professor of Radiology
Duke Cancer Institute

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Soo: Imaging-guided needle breast biopsies for diagnosing suspicious breast lesions have been performed for many years and have definite advantages as a diagnostic tool over surgical biopsies. These biopsies are performed in outpatient settings, which decrease costs and reduce delays, and are highly accurate and less invasive than surgical procedures, requiring only local anesthesia. However, performing biopsies in this outpatient setting limits the use of intravenous sedation and pain medication that could address commonly experienced patient anxiety and occasional associated pain. Anxiety and pain can negatively impact the patient’s experience and could possibly affect the biopsy outcome due to patient movement, and could potentially even alter patients’ adherence to follow-up recommendations. Prior studies have explored methods to reduce anxiety, using interventions such as music, hypnosis and anxiolytics. Although hypnosis and anxiolytics are effective, these are a little more complicated to implement due to training costs for administering hypnotherapy, and costs, potential side effects, and need for an adult driver to take the patients home when anxiolytics are used. Other research has shown that meditation-based interventions can lead to positive psychological and physical outcomes, and may be helpful for decreasing anxiety, pain and fatigue.

Loving-kindness mediation is a type of mediation that focuses on relaxation and developing positive emotions, by silently repeating phrases encouraging compassion and goodwill towards oneself and others, while also reducing negative emotions. Previous studies have shown that even a 7-minute loving-kindness meditation can be effective for increasing positive emotions, so my co-authors Rebecca Shelby PhD, a clinical psychologist at Duke’s Pain Prevention and Treatment Research Program,clinical psychologist Anava Wrenn PhDwho has used loving-kindness meditation in a different practice setting, and breast imaging radiologist Jennifer Jarosz MD and I put together a team to study whether an audio-recorded, lovingkindness meditation could reduce anxiety, fatigue and pain during the imaging-guided breast biopsy time frame.  We consulted with Mary Brantley, MA, LMFT, who teaches loving-kindness meditation at Duke’s Integrative Medicine, to develop an audio-recorded loving-kindness mediation used specifically in the breast biopsy setting, and compared this to using music during biopsies or standard care (supportive dialogue) from the technologist and radiologist performing the biopsy.

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Only Small Increase in CT Screening for Lung Cancer Despite New Guidelines

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Phillip M. Boiselle, MD Professor of Radiology and Associate Dean for Academic and Clinical Affairs Harvard Medical School Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Boston, Massachusetts

Dr. Phillip Boiselle

Phillip M. Boiselle, MD
Professor of Radiology and Associate Dean for Academic and Clinical Affairs
Harvard Medical School
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Boston, Massachusetts

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Boiselle: We surveyed leading academic medical centers in 2013 and found considerable variability in their practice patterns as well as a relatively small number of patients being screened for lung cancer at these sites. Considering landmark developments since that time, including favorable policy and payment decisions by USPSTF  and CMS  and development of radiology-specific nodule guidelines by the American College of Radiology, we were curious to see whether there would be greater conformity of practice patterns and increased patient volumes in response to these developments.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Boiselle: First, our finding of greater conformity of lung cancer screening practices at present compared to 2013 confirmed our hypothesis that the development of radiology-specific guidelines by ACR would contribute to greater uniformity.

Second, we were surprised by the very modest level of increase in patient volumes for CT screening over time despite the favorable USPSTF and CMS decisions. We emphasize, however, that the timing of our survey occurred too early to determine the full impact of CMS coverage on patient volumes

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Is Low Dose Radiation Exposure Really Harmful?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jeffry A. Siegel, PhD
President & CEO, Nuclear Physics Enterprises, Marlton, NJ
Charles W. Pennington, MS, MBA
NAC International, Norcross, GA, Retired; Executive Nuclear Energy Consultant
Bill Sacks, PhD, MD
Emeritus Medical Officer, FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health
Silver Spring, MD
James S. Welsh, MS, MD, FACRO
Department of Radiation Oncology
Stritch School of Medicine Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, IL

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The background is the falsity of the widespread claim that all ionizing (high energy) radiation is harmful regardless of how low the dose.  This claim is expressed in the official policies of almost all radiation regulatory agencies around the world, as well as in many scientific journal papers.  It has been responsible for a common fear of radiation (radiophobia) among the public and members of the medical profession, including even most radiologists and nuclear medicine physicians.

The radiophobia resulting from this false allegation has been instrumental in the forced evacuations of hundreds of thousands of people near nuclear energy plants at Chernobyl and Fukushima that have produced thousands of deaths from the evacuations themselves of sick and/or elderly people, from consequent suicides, alcoholism, heart attacks, and strokes, as well as other health destroying reactions to the loss of homes, possessions, jobs, and communities.

This erroneous belief has acted to prevent many people from getting needed CT scans and x-ray studies, and to prevent many parents from permitting their children to get such imaging studies, with consequences such as surgical explorations that might have been otherwise unnecessary and carry risks of injury and mortality, or such as the foregoing of treatment that would otherwise be health restoring.

This unfounded proclamation and its resultant radiophobia have acted as obstacles to the development of clean and sustainable nuclear energy, and have underlain widespread irresponsible propaganda by all sorts of would-be anti-nuclear gurus.  There are other harmful effects of this unwarranted contention, including severe limitations on funding for further research into the beneficial effects of low-dose radiation.

The main findings in this article are that the very scientists whose experimental work gave rise to this false claim in the 1940s – Hermann Muller and Curt Stern and their colleagues – in fact demonstrated the exact opposite, namely that below certain threshold radiation doses there were no harmful effects at all and possible beneficial effects.  Even more importantly, there were no scientists at the time who realized that Muller and Stern’s conclusions flew in the face of their actual experimental results.  Or at least there were none who were inclined to point out the falsity of Muller and Stern’s unwarranted conclusions, perhaps intimidated by Muller’s status as a Nobel Prize winner (1946, for his earlier work on radiation-caused mutations in fruit flies).

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Proposed Model Clarifies Ovarian Risk Assessment By Ultrasound

Dirk Timmerman, MD PhD Department of Development and Regeneration Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology University Hospitals Leuven Leuven, Belgium

Dr. Dirk Timmerman

More on Ovarian Cancer on MedicalResearch.com
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dirk Timmerman, MD PhD

Department of Development and Regeneration
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University Hospitals Leuven
Leuven, Belgium

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Timmerman: Ovarian cancer is the most aggressive and lethal gynecological malignant neoplasm. The prognosis of ovarian cancer is poor, with only about 40% of patients still alive five years after being diagnosed. The preoperative characterization of an adnexal tumor is fundamental for selecting the optimal management strategy. An accurate differentiation between benign and malignant masses can lead to optimal referral of patients with malignant diseases to gynecological oncology centers for further diagnostics and treatment, which positively influences the prognosis. On the other hand, it may help in safely selecting patients with benign ovarian masses for minimally invasive or fertility sparing surgery, and in some cases maybe even conservative follow-up. The International Ovarian Tumor Analysis (IOTA) study is the largest diagnostic accuracy study of its kind. Transvaginal ultrasound is a cheap and very accessible imaging technique. Using ultrasound features, which are easy to assess by a trained examiner, we proposed a model to define the individual risk of malignancy for each patient presenting with an adnexal tumor. This could considerably impact on the morbidity and mortality associated with adnexal pathology.

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Heart Wall Thickness Linked To Ventricular Arrhythmias

More on Heart Disease on MedicalResearch.com

Yitschak (Yitsik) Biton, MD Postdoctoral Research Fellow University of Rochester Medical Center Saunders Research Building Heart Research Follow-Up Program Rochester, NY

Dr. Yitschak Biton

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Yitschak (Yitsik) Biton, MD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
University of Rochester Medical Center
Saunders Research Building
Heart Research Follow-Up Program
Rochester, NY

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Biton: Patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction have increased risk for sudden cardiac death due to ventricular arrhythmias. The causes of these arrhythmias are thought to be adverse left ventricular remodeling and scarring. Cardiac resynchronization therapy has been previously shown to reverse the adverse process of remodeling and induce reduction in cardiac chamber volumes. Relative wall thickness is a measure of the remodeling process, and it could be classified into normal, eccentric and concentric. In our study we showed that the degree relative wall thickness in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy and eccentric hypertrophy is inversely associated with the risk of ventricular arrhythmias. Furthermore we showed the CRT treated patients who had increase in relative wall thickness (became less eccentric) had lower risk for ventricular arrhythmias.

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CT Scans Reveal Black-White Differences in Cardiac Morphology

More on Heart Disease on MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
John Nance, MD
Division of Cardiovascular Imaging, Department of Radiology and Radiological Science
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Nance: There are known ethnic and racial disparities in the burden, morbidity, and mortality of cardiovascular disease. The causes, of course, are multifactorial, and range from genetic differences to healthcare access issues. Our goal was to further explore these differences by utilize a dataset encompassing black and white patients who had undergone a coronary CT angiogram for the assessment of acute chest pain. We compared various measures of myocardial morphology and function, namely myocardial mass, interventricular septal wall thickness, left ventricular inner diameter in diastole and systole, and ejection fraction. We found that black patients had significantly higher myocardial mass than whites despite adjusting for age, gender, body mass index, and hypertension. Likewise, the septal wall was thicker in black patients. Interestingly, ejection fraction was slightly lower in black patients, but this finding was not statistically significant.  Continue reading

Screening and Treatment of DCIS Reduces Number of Invasive Breast Cancers

Prof Stephen Duffy BSc MSc CStat Professor Of Cancer Screening Wolfson Institute Of Preventive Medicine Queen Mary University of London

Prof. Stephen W. Duffy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof Stephen Duffy BSc MSc CStat
Professor Of Cancer Screening
Wolfson Institute Of Preventive Medicine
Queen Mary University of London

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Prof. Duffy: There is debate on the value of diagnosing and treating ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast, depending mainly on different theories about the risk of progression to invasive breast cancer if DCIS were untreated. No-one asserts that no DCIS is progressive and no-one asserts that all DCIS is progressive. There is, however, a range of opinions on the proportion of progressive disease.

We found that those mammography screening units in the UK with higher detection rates of DCIS had lower subsequent rates of invasive cancers in the three years after screening.

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Breast Radiologist Discusses Screening Mammography Public Education

Jiyon Lee, M.D. Assistant Professor of Radiology, NYU School of Medicine NYU Cancer Institute, Breast Imaging Center New York, New York 10016

Dr. Lee

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jiyon Lee, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Radiology, NYU School of Medicine
NYU Cancer Institute, Breast Imaging Center
New York, New York 10016

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Lee:   Even before the USPSTF changed their breast screening guidelines in 2009, I conducted community outreach to help educate others on my area of expertise, breast imaging and breast screening. I presented lay friendly, illustrated, and practical explanations in a structured talk, about the big picture and the salient details, in a way that I would want if I were not a breast radiologist. As is customary for such community outreach, we solicited feedback from attendees. It was gratifying to hear the positive responses. That they wished for such education for others served as a clarion call that is understandable. Education should be objective and noncoercive.  “Knowledge is power,” but only if complete and accurate.

Breast cancer is still a common disease, we are all at least at average risk, and screening is still standard of care.  Much of the debate surrounding screening mammography centers on the age of onset of screening and the optimal screening interval. The USPSTF states that shared-decision making between women and their providers may occur, especially for women in 40-49 year group.  But the TF does not stipulate when or how or by whom this talk will ensue, and notice that their guidelines refer to film mammography, and “biennial” mammography.

Since the time of this manuscript, the American Cancer Society issued new guidelines on 10/20/2015 that among its bullet points emphasized annual mammography for women 45-54 years and deemphasized clinical breast exam, while supporting option to start annually at age 40 with shared decision making to weigh what are referred to as “risks” and benefits. Although the fine print does reaffirm that annually starting at age 40 is the screening model that saves the most lives, the ACS is encouraging deliberate value judgment regarding “risks” and “harms.” Their fine print is also intimating that women 55 and over have nondense tissue and that their cancers are indolent. The ensued publicity and mixed messaging have caused another cycle of confusion regarding breast cancer screening. As the experts in this field of image-based screening, radiologists have opportunity to clarify and contextualize the issues and details of the screening discussion, and can do so with objectivity, respect for all sides of the debate, and compassion. All responsible ways to continually educate both women and all providers will enable both sides to engage in the discussion fairly. Because as we discourage paternalistic medicine and promote shared decision making, it’s not fair play if all responsible sides do not get fair say. Do realize that not all women see providers regularly, and depending on the medical subspeciality, not all providers are mentioning screening til women reach a certain age and may not relay importance of the physical exam components that complement imaging.

This article specifically highlights how such direct and interactive public education can effect potential benefit in two ways.

  • First, directly reduce one of the core criticisms about screening: the “anxiety” that women may experience, which is heavily weighed as a “harm” of screening.  Most women do not experience high anxiety, and are glad to have a test that may help them. And education can help demystify much of the process and protocol, and explain up to what may be that patient’s next test results if she engages in screening at all. No one can tell that.
  • Two, education can directly increase one of the necessary components of shared decision making that is presumed in implementing breast screening: informing women. The pre- and post-lecture questionnaire, along with fact-based quiz questions, provided insight and enabled learning opportunity for the audience that are not usual for community outreach.  Education that keeps on going—and is shareable!– after the lecture is done.

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Brains of Men and Women More Similar Than Different

Dr-Lise-EliotMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lise Eliot PhD

Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Chicago Medical School
Rosalind Franklin University
North Chicago, IL 60064   

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Eliot: The hippocampus participates in many behaviors that differ between men and women, such as episodic memory, emotion regulation, and spatial navigation.  Furthermore, the hippocampus is known to atrophy in diseases such as depression, anxiety disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease, all of which are more prevalent in women.  It is conceivable that a premorbid difference in hippocampal volume contributes to females’ greater vulnerability.  In the scientific literature, the hippocampus is often said to be proportionally larger in females than males.  We set out to test this by doing a systematic review of the literature for hippocampal volumes in matched samples of healthy males and females, measured using structural MRI data collected from over 6000 participants of all ages.

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Coronary Artery Calcium Score Improves Risk Prediction In Younger Adults

Dr. Andre R. M. Paixao MD Division of Cardiology Department of Internal Medicine Washington Hospital Center Washington, DC

Dr. Andre R. M. Paixao MD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Andre R. M. Paixao MD
Division of Cardiology
Arkansas Heart Hospital
Little Rock, AR.

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Paixao: Coronary artery calcium (CAC) measured by computed tomography has emerged as a powerful predictor of coronary heart disease (CHD) but most of the evidence behind it comes from cohorts comprised of older individuals (mean age 62 years).Coronary artery calcium has a very strong association with age and young individuals tend to have a higher proportion of noncalcified plaque so validating the predictive value of CAC in a younger cohort is of extreme importance.  

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Paixao: Using data from the Dallas Heart Study, a multi-ethnic cohort comprised of younger individuals (mean age 44 years), the addition of Coronary artery calcium to a traditional risk factor model significantly improved discrimination and risk classification (change in c-statistic = 0.03; NRI = 0.216, p = 0.012).

We also performed a meta-analysis of prior studies and observed that our findings are of similar magnitude to those reported in older individuals (NRI = 0.200).

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Non-Invasive MRI Demonstrates Reduced Brain Connectivity in Autism Spectrum Disorder

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kay Jann, PhD, Department of Neurology

Danny JJ Wang, Prof., Department of Neurology
Laboratory of Functional MRI Technology
Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center
Department of Neurology
University of California Los Angeles
Los Angeles 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The brain controls most of our behavior and thus changes in how brain areas function and communicate with each other can alter this behavior and lead to impairments associated with mental disorders. Higher cognitive functions are controlled by brain areas that form complex interconnected networks and alterations in these networks can lead to cognitive impairments. In autism, one such network is the so called default mode network. This network controls self-referential thoughts, reasoning past and future and is involved in understanding mental states of others (i.e. Theory of Mind).

Functional MRI based functional connectivity is a research tool to understand the interrelations between brain areas and how separate, distributed areas can be organized into brain networks that serve specific cognitive functions. In autism, local hyperconnectivity along with hypoconnectivity in long range connections between anterior and posterior cingulate cortices has been discussed to be one of the physiological underpinnings of the behavioral symptoms in social interaction and cognition observed in austism. It is hypothesized to be due to a developmental delay and disbalance of the balance between neuronal excitation/inhibition in brain areas that lead to oversynchronized strong short-range (local) networks while long-range connections that develop later in neurodevelopment are less well established.

In our study, we used a non-invasive MRI technique called arterial spin labeling (ASL) perfusion MRI for the first time in autism research. Similarly to Positron Emission Tomography (PET) this technique allows measuring cerebral blood flow (CBF), however without the need to inject radioactive tracers. ASL MRI uses magnetically labeled blood water as an endogenous tracer to quantify CBF. Accordingly, our approach enabled us to combine information about how brain areas are functionally connected, as well as their associated metabolic energy consumption in autism spectrum disorder. 

We found that in typically developing children, the known relation between how strongly an area is connected to other areas in a brain network, the more energy it requires holds. In children with autism spectrum disorder this relation, however, was disrupted in a major brain area (the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex) that is relevant to social interactions and in Theory of Mind. Both are cognitive processes that are to some extent impaired in persons with autism spectrum disorders.

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PET/CT May Yield False Positive Findings in Early Stage Melanoma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Benjamin Y. Scheier, MD
Division of Hematology/Oncology
Department of Internal Medicine
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Scheier: Existing data suggests that PET/CT has use in the detection of metastases from multiple primary tumor types. However, PET/CT lacks data supporting its use in staging asymptomatic patients with early-stage melanoma, may inconsistently impact treatment decisions, and carries a false-positive finding risk that may detract from its use. To evaluate an evolving practice, this study aims to assess the use of PET/CT in detecting occult metastases in SLN-positive melanoma prior to resection. In this retrospective evaluation of patients with melanoma and clinically silent regional lymph nodes treated at the University of Michigan, only 7% had PET/CT findings that ultimately identified metastatic melanoma and precluded LND. Of the 46 patients who underwent a preoperative PET/CT, 15 (33%) had intense uptake distant from the primary tumor and local lymph node basin. Nine of those 15 patients (60%) had abnormalities biopsied prior to LND. Three of the 9 biopsies yielded metastatic melanoma, a false-positive rate of 67% for PET/CT in identifying distant metastases in asymptomatic patients.

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Routine Nuclear Stress Testing in Asymptomatic Atrial Fibrillation Has Low Yield

Wael A. Jaber, MD FACC, FAHA Professor of Medicine Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine Fuad Jubran Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine Heart and Vascular Institute Cleveland Clinic Cleveland, OH

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Wael A. Jaber, MD FACC, FAHA
Professor of Medicine
Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine
Fuad Jubran Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine
Heart and Vascular Institute
Cleveland Clinic  Cleveland, OH

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Prof. Jaber: Risk stratification of patients presenting with atrial fibrillation often includes a non-invasive evaluation for coronary artery disease. However, the yield of such testing in patients without angina or anginal-equivalent symptoms is uncertain. That is, how often do we find silent myocardial ischemia?

In our cohort of 1700 consecutive patients with atrial fibrillation, less than 5% had ischemia on nuclear stress testing, even though comorbidities were prevalent. Moreover, in patients with ischemia that had invasive coronary angiography, less than half had obstructive coronary artery disease.

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Noninvasive FFR Study Superior to CT Angiography In Patients With Highly Calcified Coronary Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Bjarne Linde Norgaard, MD PhD
Department of Cardiology,
Aarhus University Hospital Skejby
Aarhus, Denmark  

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Norgaard: Noninvasive fractional flow reserve derived from standard acquired coronary CT angiography (CTA) (FFRct) in patients with suspected coronary artery disease exhibits high and superior diagnostic performance when compared to coronary CTA alone in identifying lesion-specific ischemia (which is the established metric for decision-making on coronary revascularization). As the presence of coronary calcification may compromise the diagnostic accuracy and specificity of coronary CTA, this study was performed in order to investigate the influence of calcification on the diagnostic performance of FFRct in patients (214) and vessels (333) with suspected coronary artery disease. The main finding in this study was that FFRct provides high and superior diagnostic performance and discrimination of ischemia compared with coronary CTA interpretation alone in patients and vessels with high levels of calcification.

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CT Scan IV Contrast Not Linked With AKI or Emergent Dialysis, Even In Patients With Impaired Kidney Function

MedicalResearJennifer S. McDonald Ph.D Assistant Professor Department of Radiology Mayo Clinicch.com Interview with:
Jennifer S. McDonald Ph.D
Assistant Professor
Department of Radiology
Mayo Clinic

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. McDonald: Our research group is interested in studying contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN), which is the development of acute kidney injury following administration of iodinated contrast material. Iodinated contrast material is frequently administered during CT examinations. Recent publications, including those by our group, suggest that the incidence of contrast-induced nephropathy has been overestimated by prior, uncontrolled studies. The purpose of our study was to better evaluate the incidence and severity of CIN in patients with diminished renal function (eGFR < 60 ml/min/1.73m2). In the current article, we performed a controlled retrospective study comparing patients who received a contrast-enhanced CT scan at our institution to patients who received an unenhanced CT scan. We used propensity score analysis that incorporated numerous variables to match contrast recipients and control patients with similar clinical characteristics. After performing this analysis, we found that the rate of AKI, emergent dialysis, and short-term mortality was similar between contrast recipients and control patients.

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Bilateral Adrenal Incidentalomas May Have Different Etiology Than Unilateral

Quan-Yang Duh MD Endocrine surgeon UCSF Medical CenterMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Quan-Yang Duh MD
Chief, Section of Endocrine Surgery
UCSF Medical Center

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Quan-Yang Duh: At UCSF we have a monthly Adrenal Conference (involving surgeons, endocrinologists and radiologists) to discuss patients we are consulted for adrenal tumors. About 30% of these are for incidentally discovered adrenal tumors (versus those found because of specific indications such as clinical suspicion or genetic screening). Of these 15-20% has bilateral adrenal tumors.

The evaluation of unilateral incidentaloma has been very well studied and many national guidelines have been published with specific management recommendations. So during our monthly adrenal conference, we have a routine “script” for evaluation and recommendations (rule out metastasis by looking for primary cancer elsewhere, rule out pheochromocytoma and Cushing, resect secreting tumors or large tumors, and if no operation recommended repeat scan in 6 months, etc.). This “script” has worked very well for patients with unilateral incidentaloma.

However, we were less certain when we made recommendations about bilateral incidentalomas because there was very little literature or guidelines written about it. We had some gut feelings, but we were not sure that we were recommending the right things. We needed more data. That was the main reason for the study.

What we found in our study was that although the possible subclinical diseases were the same – hypercortisolism and pheochromocytoma, the probabilities were different. The patients with bilateral incidentalomas were more likely to have subclinical Cushing’s and less likely to have pheochromocytomas than those with unilateral incidentalomas.

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