New Male Contraceptive May Make Pregnancy An Uphill Swim

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Michael O'Rand

Dr. O’Rand

Michael O’Rand, PhD
Retired professor of cell biology and physiology in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and president/CEO of Eppin Pharma, Inc

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

Response: My lab at the UNC School of Medicine discovered the protein Eppin in 2004. It coats the sperm cell. Through our subsequent research, we learned it is essential for sperm protection in the female. We thought it could make an excellent target for a male contraceptive.

Subsequently we developed a compound called EP055 that would bind to Eppin and as a result stop sperm from swimming. In our latest study published in PLOS One, we show that EP055 substantially limits sperm motility in non-human primates. And we showed the effect of EP055 is temporary, which would make it a good contraceptive.

Continue reading

The Economic Burden of Child Sexual Abuse is in the Billions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Xiangming Fang, PhD Associate professor of Health Management and Policy School of Public Health Georgia State University

Dr. Xiangming Fang

Dr. Xiangming Fang, PhD
Associate professor of Health Management and Policy
School of Public Health
Georgia State University

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

Response: Child sexual abuse is a serious public health problem in the United States. The estimated prevalence rates of exposure to child sexual abuse by 18 years old are 26.6 percent for U.S. girls and 5.1 percent for U.S. boys. The effects of child sexual abuse include increased risk for development of severe mental, physical and behavioral health disorders; sexually transmitted diseases; self-inflicted injury, substance abuse and violence; and subsequent victimization and criminal offending. Continue reading

HIV Incidence Decreasing But Not Among Latino and AA Gay and Bisexual Men

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sonia Singh, PhD, Epidemiologist
Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
CDC 

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

Response: HIV infection is a persistent health concern in the United States, particularly for people at high risk of infection such as gay and bisexual men. We used data from the National HIV Surveillance System to estimate HIV incidence and prevalence and the percentage of undiagnosed HIV infections overall and among gay and bisexual men.

Estimated HIV incidence declined nearly 15% overall in the U.S. from an estimated 45,200 infections in 2008 to 38,500 in 2015. Estimated HIV incidence declined for both males (9%) and females (33%) over this period. Estimated HIV incidence declined 32% among heterosexuals, 42% among people who inject drugs and 20% among gay and bisexual men who also inject drugs. Estimated HIV incidence remained relatively stable among gay and bisexual men; however, it increased over 25% among Latino gay and bisexual men, almost 45% among gay and bisexual men ages 25 to 34 and 30% among gay and bisexual men ages 55 and older.

The percentage of undiagnosed HIV infections decreased nearly 20%, from 18.1% in 2008 to 14.5% in 2015. The percentage of undiagnosed HIV infections among gay and bisexual men declined 21.6%, from 21.3% in 2008 to 16.7% in 2015. In 2015, the percentage of undiagnosed HIV infections was highest among gay and bisexual males ages 13-24 (52.2%) compared to other age groups and higher among Latino (20.1%) and African American (19.6%) gay and bisexual men, as well as Asian gay and bisexual men (20.5%), compared to white gay and bisexual men (11.9%).

Continue reading

Topical Estrogen No Better Than Moisturizer for Postmenopausal Vaginal Dryness

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Caroline Mitchell, MD, MPH Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology Assistant Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Biology

Dr. Caroline Mitchell

Caroline Mitchell, MD, MPH
Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology
Assistant Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Biology
http://massgeneral.link/MitchellLab

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

Response: In this study we compared two commonly recommended treatments for menopausal vaginal discomfort – low dose vaginal estradiol tablets and a vaginal moisturizer – to placebo, and found no difference in reduction of symptom severity; all three groups improved over 12 weeks of treatment.  This is great news for women, as it means that using any treatment regularly is likely to have benefit, whether it costs $20 or $200.

Symptoms of vaginal dryness, irritation and pain with sex, which occur in over half of postmenopausal women, cause a significant decrease in quality of life and negatively impact intimate relationships.  The significant impact of these symptoms is reflected in the fact that we enrolled all 302 participants in under a year, a faster enrollment than any of the four prior trials  conducted by the MsFlash research network that evaluated treatments for hot flashes.  Women were desperate for some kind of intervention for these symptoms. Continue reading

Ixekizumab Improved Impact of Genital Psoriasis on Sexual Activity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Jennifer Cather MD Medical Director at Modern Dermatology and Modern Research Associate Dallas, Texas 

Dr. Cather

Dr. Jennifer Cather MD
Medical Director at Modern Dermatology and Modern Research Associate
Dallas, Texas 

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

Response: Genital psoriasis can be an uncomfortable and burdensome condition that many people living with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis experience. Due to the significant impact, Lilly conducted a 12-week Phase 3b clinical trial with patients with moderate-to-severe genital psoriasis treated with ixekizumab, which found that patients had a greater decrease in the impact of their condition on sexual activity compared to placebo as early as one week.

Specifically, trial patients were randomized to receive ixekizumab (80 mg every two weeks, following a 160-mg starting dose) or placebo and researchers measured pre-specified patient-reported outcomes, including the Genital Psoriasis Sexual Impact Scale (GPSIS), which is composed of the Sexual Activity Avoidance (Avoidance) and Impact of Sexual Activity on Genital Psoriasis Symptoms (Impact) subscales. Patient-reported outcomes were also measured by the Sexual Frequency Questionnaire (SFQ) item 2, evaluating the impact of genital psoriasis on the frequency of sexual activity, and the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) item 9, evaluating the impact of skin symptoms on sexual difficulties.

At 12 weeks, patients reported the following outcomes:

  • DLQI Item 9 0/1: 92.0 percent of patients treated with ixekizumab compared to 56.8 percent of patients treated with placebo reported no (0) or little (1) sexual difficulties caused by skin symptoms.
  • SFQ Item 2 0/1:  78.4 percent of patients treated with ixekizumab compared to 21.4 percent of patients treated with placebo (reported the frequency of sexual activity was either never (0) or rarely (1) limited by genital psoriasis.
  • GPSIS-Avoidance 1/2:  76.7 percent of patients treated with ixekizumab compared to 25.7 percent of patients treated with placebo reported never (1) or rarely (2) avoiding sexual activity due to genital psoriasis.
  • GPSIS-Impact 1/2:  85.7 percent of patients treated with ixekizumab compared to 52.9 percent of patients treated with placebo reported worsening of genital psoriasis symptoms during or after sexual activity was very low/none at all (1) or low (2). 

Continue reading

ZIKA: Mouse Study Finds Antioxidant Ebselen Reduces Risk of Sexual Transmission

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Image of a baby with microcephaly (left) compared to a normal baby (right). This is one of the potential effects of Zika virus. Signs of microcephaly may develop a few months after birth. Wikipedia image

Image of a baby with microcephaly (left) compared to a normal baby (right). This is one of the potential effects of Zika virus. Signs of microcephaly may develop a few months after birth.
Wikipedia image

Yogy Simanjuntak PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Institute of Biomedical Sciences
Academia Sinica, Taiwan 

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

Response: Despite the low case fatality, Zika virus infection has been associated with microcephaly in infants and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Primarily transmitted by Aedes species mosquitoes, Zika also can be sexually transmitted in humans. By August 2016, the sexual transmission of Zika had been documented in 11 countries worldwide and most of the cases were from male to female. Infectious Zika in semen has been reported. Moreover, unlike in serum or urine samples, Zika RNA can still be detected in semen up to 188 days after the onset of symptoms. In the absence of approved antiviral drugs or vaccines for Zika infection, preventing the disease transmission is critical.

We observed Zika progressively damaged testes by gaining access to testicular cells including sperm. Notably, Zika caused signs of increased testicular oxidative stress and inflammation, characterized by high levels of reactive oxygen species and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Our data indicate that these factors may contribute to testicular damage as well as successful sexual transmission of Zika; thus, we speculate antioxidants might display beneficial effects to alleviate these disease outcomes.

We found that antioxidant ebselen both alleviated testicular damage and prevented sexual transmission of Zika via sperm from infected male mice to uninfected female mice.

Continue reading

Relationship Status Helps Determine Contraception Choice

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Birth control pills” by lookcatalog is licensed under CC BY 2.0Marie Harvey, DrPH MPH
Lisa P. Oakley, PhD MPH
College of Public Health and Human Sciences
Oregon State University

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

Response: Because decisions about contraceptives are often made by young adults in the context of their relationships and specific partners, the characteristics of that relationship and feelings about that partner will likely influence how those decisions are made. Many studies have previously investigated individual factors that affect contraceptive choice and when examining partner influences have used questions that were not specific to a particular partner. Intuition, however, suggests that feelings for a specific partner would likely influence one’s perception of risk for disease acquisition, and thereby, their contraceptive choice. So, it was important to us to look at the influences of each specific partner and how the unique dynamics of each partnership influence contraceptive use.

In this study, we investigated how relationship qualities and dynamics (such as commitment and sexual decision-making) impact contraceptive choice above and beyond individual factors. We also used partner-specific questions.

We found that both individual and partner-specific relationship qualities and dynamics predicted contraceptive use, but these factors varied by contraceptive method. For example, young adults who reported greater exclusivity with a specific partner and more relationship commitment were less likely to use only condoms with that partner. Additionally, individuals who felt they played a strong role in making sexual decisions in their relationship were also more likely to only use condoms. Continue reading

Potentially Cancerous Genital Lesions Common in Transplant Population

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Christina Lee Chung, MD Associate Professor Department of Dermatology Drexel University

Dr. Chung

Dr. Christina Lee Chung, MD
Associate Professor
Department of Dermatology
Drexel University

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

Response: In early 2016, five years after the inception of our specialty medical-surgical transplant dermatology center, we realized our nonwhite transplant patients were developing skin cancer at higher rates and found interesting trends. These data were published in a previous manuscript. One of the more striking findings was that these patients were developing a high proportion of skin cancer in non-sun-exposed areas such as the genital region. There are no standard guidelines regarding genital skin evaluation and it is unclear how often it is performed in any capacity amongst dermatologists, including practitioners in our center, quite frankly. Our group was concerned that we could be missing skin cancers in this “hidden” area in our high-risk organ transplant population so we launched a quality improvement initiative that incorporated thorough genital skin evaluation as a standard part of post-transplant skin cancer screening.   

Fifteen months after we started this modified screening process, we decided to evaluate the results. To account for any variation in examination, we looked at the findings of a single practitioner.

We found that genital lesions are common in the transplant population and include high rates of genital warts and skin cancer. However, patient awareness of the presence of genital lesions was alarmingly low. Nonwhite transplant patients, Black transplant recipients in particular, were disproportionately affected by both genital warts and genital skin cancer in our cohort. Similar to cervical cancer, high-risk HPV types were closely associated with genital squamous cell carcinoma development in our transplant population. Continue reading

Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Leaves Young Adults Vulnerable to Sexual Dysfunction

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Chiara Acquati, Ph.D., MSW Assistant Professor Graduate College of Social Work University of Houston Houston, TX  

Dr. Acquati

Chiara Acquati, Ph.D., MSW
Assistant Professor
Graduate College of Social Work
University of Houston
Houston, TX  

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

Response: Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer are individuals between the ages of 15 and 39 years at diagnosis, as defined by the National Cancer Institute. Considerable research has unveiled unique psychosocial challenges experienced by AYAs, including poor quality of life, an altered body image, and social isolation.

As a result of these life disruptions, normative psychological and emotional development is affected by the disease and its treatment, particularly with respect to sexual identity, development, and behavior. However, few studies have examined sexual functioning and AYA patients’ needs with respect to emotional intimacy and sexual relationships. Estimates of the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in AYAs are limited to date and vary because of data derived from mixed-age groups, single items instead of standardized instruments, and cross-sectional designs. Yet, the state of the science suggests that one-third to two-thirds of cancer patients experience sexual dissatisfaction and a reduced frequency of intercourse. Furthermore, failure to address sexual health may place AYAs at risk for long-term consequences related to sexual functioning and identity development, interpersonal relationships, and quality of life. Hence, detecting changes in the rate of sexual dysfunction over time may help in identifying the appropriate timing for interventions to be delivered.

This study was conceptualized to increase our current knowledge of sexual functioning among AYAs by examining the prevalence of sexual dysfunction over the course of 2 years after the initial cancer diagnosis and the identification of variables that contribute to the probability of reporting sexual dysfunction in order to recognize individuals at higher risk. Young adult patients (≥18 years old) were administered the sexual functioning scale as part of a larger longitudinal multisite survey, and only those who completed the instrument at least once were included in this analysis; for this reason the article focuses on the experience of “young adults”.

Continue reading

Urban Transgender Females Likely To Get HIV Testing

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Adrian Juarez, PhD, RN Assistant Professor The State University of New York School of Nursing  Department of Family, Community and Health Systems Sciences Buffalo, New York 14214

Dr. Juarez

Adrian Juarez, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor
The State University of New York
School of Nursing
Department of Family, Community and Health Systems Sciences
Buffalo, New York 14214

 

 

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

Response: HIV testing is considered the initial component of HIV eradication strategies such as “seek, test, treat, and retain.” This study examines the characteristics of an urban, transgender population in western New York when volunteering for an HIV test. The use of an intersectional lens was observed in order to determine the level of influence of sexual partnership types, previous HIV and STD testing, substance use, housing status referral source and racial/gender identification on HIV testing.

Continue reading