Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, Radiology / 20.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_23626" align="alignleft" width="142"]Dr. Christine Fisher MD, MPH Department of Radiation Oncology University of Denver Dr. Christine Fisher[/caption] 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. 
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Occupational Health, Radiology / 20.04.2016

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.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Fertility, Gender Differences, Karolinski Institute, Mammograms, Radiology / 14.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_23484" align="alignleft" width="200"]Frida Lundberg | PhD Student Dept. of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institutet Frida Lundberg[/caption] 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.
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, BMJ, Radiology, Zika / 14.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_23445" align="alignleft" width="300"]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[/caption] 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. [caption id="attachment_23410" align="alignleft" width="300"]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.[/caption] 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.
Author Interviews, NYU, Radiology, Surgical Research / 09.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_23346" align="alignleft" width="200"]Eric T. Aaltonen MD, MPH Interventional Radiologist Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology Radiology  NYU Langone Medical Center Dr. Eric Aaltonen[/caption] 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.
Author Interviews, Medical Imaging, NYU, Orthopedics, Radiology / 18.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_22716" align="alignleft" width="133"]Sanjit Konda, MD Assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery NYU Langone Medical Center Dr. Sanjit Konda[/caption] 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.
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, JACC, Radiology / 10.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_22547" align="alignleft" width="139"]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[/caption] 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.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Esophageal, Lung Cancer, Radiology, Surgical Research, University of Michigan / 25.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_22050" align="alignleft" width="133"]Mark A. Healy, MD Department of Surgery Center for Healthcare Outcomes & Policy, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Dr. Mark Healy[/caption] 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.
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Duke, Radiology / 11.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_21522" align="alignleft" width="133"]Mary Scott Soo, M.D. FACR Associate professor of Radiology Duke Cancer Institute Dr. Mary Scott Soo[/caption] 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.
Author Interviews, Beth Israel Deaconess, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Lung Cancer, Radiology / 10.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_21454" align="alignleft" width="172"]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[/caption] 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
Author Interviews, Radiology / 05.02.2016

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).
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Ovarian Cancer, Radiology / 22.01.2016

[caption id="attachment_20871" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dirk Timmerman, MD PhD Department of Development and Regeneration Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology University Hospitals Leuven Leuven, Belgium Dr. Dirk Timmerman[/caption] 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.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Radiology / 20.01.2016

More on Heart Disease on MedicalResearch.com [caption id="attachment_20766" align="alignleft" width="165"]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[/caption] 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.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Radiology / 15.01.2016

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. 
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Lancet, Mammograms, Radiology / 05.12.2015

[caption id="attachment_19820" align="alignleft" width="180"]Prof Stephen Duffy BSc MSc CStat Professor Of Cancer Screening Wolfson Institute Of Preventive Medicine Queen Mary University of London Prof. Stephen W. Duffy[/caption] 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.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Education, NYU, Radiology / 06.11.2015

[caption id="attachment_19146" align="alignleft" width="200"]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[/caption] 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.
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Neurological Disorders, Radiology / 30.10.2015

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.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Radiology / 17.10.2015

[caption id="attachment_18409" align="alignleft" width="225"]Dr. Andre R. M. Paixao MD Division of Cardiology Department of Internal Medicine Washington Hospital Center Washington, DC Dr. Andre R. M. Paixao MD[/caption] 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).
Author Interviews, Autism, Radiology, UCLA / 16.10.2015

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.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, CT Scanning, JAMA, Melanoma, Radiology, University of Michigan / 25.09.2015

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.
Author Interviews, Cleveland Clinic, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease, JAMA, Radiology / 16.09.2015

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.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Radiology / 22.08.2015

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.
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Mayo Clinic, Radiology / 11.08.2015

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.
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, JAMA, Radiology, Surgical Research, UCSF / 28.07.2015

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.
Author Interviews, JACC, Radiology, Stanford / 27.07.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Patricia Kim Phuong Nguyen MD and Joseph C. Wu, MD, PhD Stanford Cardiovascular Institute Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The application of CT imaging has greatly increased in the last two decades, raising concern over the effects of low dose radiation exposure from medical imaging. In this study, we recruited 67 patients who underwent CT imaging for various cardiovascular indications including: 1) Pre atrial fibrillation ablation 2) Pre Trans-catheter valve replacement 3) Aortic dissection, and 4) coronary artery disease. A wide range of doses were sampled. We detected damage to DNA and a small percentage of death of T lymphocytes isolated from patients  who were exposed to greater than 7.5 mSv of radiation. No damage was detected in patients exposed to very low doses (less than or equal 7.5 mSv). This study did not look at the relationship between radiation and cancer.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Radiology / 21.07.2015

Alison L. Chetlen, D.O. Associate Professor, Department of Radiology Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Hershey, PA 17033MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alison L. Chetlen, D.O. Associate Professor, Department of Radiology Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Hershey, PA 17033 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Chetlen:  Breast cancer risk assessment provides a means of identifying women who are at risk for development of this disease.   Identifying individuals at high risk for breast cancer allows for genetic testing, supplemental breast cancer screening, possibly prophylactic surgery or chemoprevention in hopes of decreasing mortality from breast cancer.  Despite the advantages of cancer genetic risk assessment and testing, most individuals in the general population who would benefit from such services currently do not receive them.  Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Chetlen:  After implementation of a specific high-risk recommendation within our standardized mammography report along with a letter written in “lay” language informing patients of their high-risk status, the number of referrals to our high-risk clinic increased only modestly.   Despite these specific recommendations to both physicians and patients, over 85% of high risk patients did not consult a high-risk provider regarding their elevated lifetime risk of breast cancer.
Author Interviews, Education, Heart Disease, Lifestyle & Health, Radiology / 16.06.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ms. Rikke Elmose Mols Department of Cardiology, Lillebaelt Hospital-Vejle, Vejle, Denmark. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Current ESC guidelines for patients with chest pain and low to intermediate pre-test probability of coronary artery disease (CAD) recommend control and modification of risk factors. However, patients with an elevated cardiovascular risk profile are frequently inadequately motivated for lifestyle changes and medicine adherence from knowledge about risk factors and information about risk reduction alone. Coronary artery calcification (CAC) is a marker of coronary atherosclerosis. The degree of coronary artery calcification may be assessed by the Agatston score (AS) derived by non-enhanced cardiac computed tomography, whereas non-invasive CT imaging of the coronary arteries require contrast-enhancement (coronary computed tomography angiography [CTA]). The presence of CAC is associated with an elevated probability of obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) and an unfavorable clinical outcome. In symptomatic patients, demonstration of non-obstructive CAD identified by coronary CTA is associated with risk modifying behavior and intensified prophylactic medical treatment in observational studies. Among asymptomatic individuals, those with the highest Agatston score levels seem to be motivated for the adoption of risk modifying behaviour and visualization of CAC may stimulate adherence to lipid-lowering therapy and aspirin and a healthier lifestyle. The aim of the present prospective, randomized controlled study was to test the effect of adding visualization of coronary artery calcification to the standard information about risk and lifestyle modification on cholesterol levels and other risk markers in patients with a new diagnosis of non-obstructive CAD. Visualization of coronary artery calcification and brief recommendations about risk modification (ESC guidelines) after coronary CTA in symptomatic patients with hyperlipidemia and non-obstructive CAD may have a favorable influence on plasma total-cholesterol concentration, adherence to statin therapy and risk behavior. Further investigations are needed.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NIH, Radiology / 03.06.2015

David A. Bluemke, MD, PhD, MsB, FAHA, FACR Director Radiology and Imaging Sciences Senior Investigator, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Adjunct Investigator,  NLBI, NIDDKMedicalResearch.com Interview with: David A. Bluemke, MD, PhD, MsB, FAHA, FACR Director Radiology and Imaging Sciences Senior Investigator, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Adjunct Investigator,  NLBI, NIDDK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bluemke: Most knowledge about the extent of coronary disease is from high risk patients who have coronary angiograms. Yet most individuals are symptomatic and have lower cardiovascular risk, and would not undergo a coronary angiogram. Coronary CT angiography can be used to evaluate the extent of plaque in low or moderate risk individuals. The most concerning type of plaque is "soft plaque", which can increase or rupture over time. Using coronary CT, all coronary plaque throughout the entire heart was measured. Importantly, the amount of soft plaque was uniquely associated with risk factors such as LDL, diabetes, and hypertension.
Author Interviews, Medical Imaging, Outcomes & Safety, Pulmonary Disease, Radiology / 29.05.2015

Evgeniya Sokolovskaya, DO, MD Monmouth Medical Center Long Branch, NJ 07740.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Evgeniya Sokolovskaya, DO, MD Monmouth Medical Center Long Branch, NJ 07740. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sokolovskaya: As the utilization of diagnostic imaging has continued to increase in recent years, the workload of radiologists has correspondingly risen. Radiologists are under pressure to increase productivity by increasing workload volume. Previous studies have shown that increasing the number of reporting exams per day can affect the accuracy of radiologic interpretations, increase an error rate and degrade radiologists’ performance in the detection of pathology as viewing time per study decreases. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine if faster reporting speed when reading CT imaging studies of the Abdomen and Pelvis, results in higher number of misses and interpretation errors. The results of our study showed that the number of major misses and interpretation errors significantly increased at the faster reporting speed.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, MRI, Radiology / 18.05.2015

Jalal B. Andre, MDDirector of Neurological MRI Harborview Medical Center Assistant Professor of Radiology University of Washington Seattle, WA  98195-7115MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jalal B. Andre, MD Director of Neurological MRI Harborview Medical Center Assistant Professor of Radiology University of Washington Seattle, WA  98195-7115 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Andre: Patient motion during clinical magnetic resonance (MR) examinations occurs frequently, can result in artifacts that degrade image quality, and has the potential to mask underlying pathology and affect patient care.  Surprisingly, the frequency of motion artifacts in clinical MR examinations has been poorly documented in the literature, as has been the cost associated with obtaining such exams, specifically those that do not meet diagnostic criteria. To better quantify these observations, we performed a retrospective study evaluating the prevalence of motion artifacts during a randomly selected week of clinical MR examinations. We devised a graded 5-tier scale to quantify patient motion, which incorporated the potential for clinical impact  Using this scale, two neuroradiologists performed a consensus evaluation at a picture archiving and communication system station of 192 MR examinations performed during a single calendar week.  This evaluation revealed that significant motion artifact (defined as artifact that could impact image interpretation and potentially change diagnosis) was present in 7.5% of outpatient and nearly 30% of inpatient and/or emergency department MR examinations, and that repeated sequences (subcomponents of an MR examination) were present in nearly 20% of completed MR examinations.  In addition, we found that the specific imaged body part was less predictive of subsequent patient motion than was patient disposition (if they were imaged as a hospital inpatient and/or emergency department patient).  Using a base-case cost estimate derived from fiscal year 2012 outpatient Medicare reimbursement rates and institutional cost estimates, our analysis suggested that a potential cost of $592 per hour could be lost in hospital revenue secondary to patient motion. Extrapolated over a calendar year, the cost of patient motion (as potential forgone institutional revenue) approached $115,000 per scanner per year.