Aging, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Dermatology, Heart Disease, Herpes Viruses, Stroke / 23.11.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:| Sharon G. Curhan, MD, ScM| Director, CHEARS: The Conservation of Hearing Study Channing Division of Network Medicine Department of Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02114 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response:       Herpes zoster, commonly known as “shingles,” is a viral infection that often causes a painful rash. Shingles can occur anywhere on the head or body. Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person has chickenpox, the virus stays in their body for the rest of their life. Years and even decades later, the virus may reactivate as shingles. Almost all individuals age 50 years and older in the US have been infected with the varicella zoster virus and therefore they are at risk for shingles. About 1 in 3 people will develop shingles during their lifetime, and since age is a risk factor for shingles, this number may increase as the population ages. The risk is also higher among individuals of any age who are immunocompromised due to disease or treatment. A number of serious complications can occur when a person develops shingles, such as post-herpetic neuralgia (long-lasting pain), but there was limited information on whether there are other adverse long-term health implications of developing shingles. There is a growing body of evidence that links VZV, the virus that causes shingles, to vascular disease. VZV vasculopathy may cause damage to blood vessels and increase the risk of stroke or coronary heart disease. Although some previous studies showed a higher risk of stroke or heart attack around the time of the shingles infection, it was not known whether this higher risk persisted in the long term. Therefore, the question we aimed to address in this study was to investigate whether shingles is associated with higher long-term risk of stroke or coronary heart disease. To address this question, we conducted a prospective longitudinal study in 3 large US cohorts of >200,000 women and men, the Nurses’ Health Study (>79,000 women), the Nurses’ Health Study II (almost 94,000 women) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (>31,000 men), without a prior history of stroke or coronary heart disease. We collected information on shingles, stroke and coronary heart disease on biennial questionnaires and confirmed the diagnoses with medical record review. We followed the participants for up to 16 years and evaluated whether those who had developed shingles were at higher risk for stroke or coronary heart disease years after the shingles episode. The outcomes we measured were incident stroke, incident coronary heart disease [defined as having a non-fatal or fatal myocardial infarction (heart attack) or a coronary revascularization procedure (CABG, coronary artery bypass graft or percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty)]. We also evaluated a combined outcome of cardiovascular disease, which included either stroke or coronary heart disease, whichever came first. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Primary Care, Stroke, USPSTF / 06.09.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Katrina E. Donahue, M.D., M.P.H. Professor and Vice Chair of Research Chapel Hill Department of Family Medicine University of North Carolina Dr. Donahue joined the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in January 2020. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in the U.S. The Task Force found that people who are 40 to 75 years old and at high risk for heart disease should take a statin to help protect their health. People in this age group who are at increased risk but not high risk should make an individual decision with their healthcare professional about whether taking a statin is right for them. There is not enough research to determine whether statins are beneficial for people 76 years and older. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Stroke / 06.12.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Andrew Smyth MB, BCh, BAO, MMedSc, MRCPI, PhD Professor of Clinical Epidemiology NUI Galway Director of the HRB-Clinical Research Facility Galway Consultant Nephrologist at Galway University Hospitals MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We know that there are multiple medium to long-term risk factors for stroke, as people with conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or diabetes mellitus (high blood glucose levels) and those with risk factors (such as smoking, obesity, poor diet quality and others) are at increased risk of stroke. However, we still find it difficult to predict who will have a stroke. We were interested in exploring if short-term exposures to anger or emotional upset or a period of heavy physical exertion might lead to, or ‘trigger’ a stroke. We looked at this previously for myocardial infarction (heart attack) in a study called INTERHEART. Some smaller studies have looked at this before, with less people experiencing a stroke and often confined to one country or geographical region. Here, in INTERSTROKE, we included over 13,000 people who had a stroke and asked about the one hour period before the onset of the stroke and also about the same period on the day before.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, JAMA, Stroke / 30.09.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel E. Singer, MD Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Professor in the Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Division of General Internal Medicine Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MA, 02114 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) raises the risk of ischemic stroke 4-5-fold and this risk is largely reversible by oral anticoagulants (OAC). These facts are part of the core knowledge of internal medicine and the basis of multiple guidelines. They are based on studies of patients with persistent or predominantly “heavy burden” paroxysmal AF completed in the 1990s. More recent studies using cardiac implantable devices (CIEDs: implantable defibrillators, pacemakers, etc) which have the capacity to monitor heart rhythm continuously have found that many older patients have brief, often undiagnosed, episodes of AF. Several of these studies have found that strokes occur during periods of sinus rhythm temporally distant from a preceding episode of AF. This has led to a widespread suspicion that AF is not a direct causal risk factor but a risk “marker” indicating the presence of other truly causal features like a diseased left atrium (atrial myopathy). If the risk marker hypothesis is correct, then long-term anticoagulation is needed even for brief and rare episodes of AF (assuming the patient’ s CHA2DS2-VASc score is high enough). The key problem with prior prospective studies using CIEDs was that only a small number of strokes were observed leading to inadequate statistical power. Our study addressed this power problem by linking the very large Optum electronic health record database which could identify ischemic strokes with the Medtronic CareLink database of long-term, continuous heart rhythm records of patients with CIEDs. We ended up studying 891 individuals who had an ischemic stroke and had 120 days of continuous heart monitoring prior to the stroke. (more…)
Author Interviews, NEJM, Stroke, University Texas / 08.09.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James Grotta, MD Director of Stroke Research Clinical Institute for Research and Innovation Memorial Hermann - Texas Medical Center Director, Mobile Stroke Unit Consortium University of Texas Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We have good stroke treatments (thrombolysis and thrombectomy).  Since the initial studies showing benefit of thrombolysis, it has been difficult to improve on the amount of benefit except by speeding its delivery; the earlier the treatment, the better the outcome. Biologically, treatment in the first hour is likely to have greatest benefit since the brain is less irreversibly damaged and the clot is more soluble. But treatment in the first hour is rare if it is carried out in the emergency department.  So MSUs take the emergency department to the patient. We know that Mobile Stroke Units (MSUs) can speed treatment; our study addressed if this be accomplished in the US, and how much difference does it make in outcome.  In particular, outcomes important to patients given the probable costs of implementing MSUs.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM, Salt-Sodium, Stroke / 03.09.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maoyi TIAN PhD Program Head, Digital Health and Head, Injury & Trauma Senior Research Fellow The George Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is clear evidence from the literature that sodium reduction or potassium supplementation can reduce blood pressure. Reduced blood pressure can also lead to a risk reduction for cardiovascular diseases. Salt substitute is a reduced sodium added potassium product combined those effects. Previous research of salt substitute focus on the blood pressure outcome. There is no evidence if salt substitute can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases or pre-mature death. This study provided a definitive evidence for this unaddressed question. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? The main findings of the research were:
  • The salt substitute reduced the risk of stroke by 14%
  • The salt substitute reduced the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events by 13%
  • The salt substitute reduced the risk of pre-mature death by 12%
(more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Stroke / 06.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Thanh Nguyen MD Director of Interventional Neurology/ Neuroradiology Boston Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, there were many regional and sometimes national reports of declines in stroke and myocardial infarction volumes. Our goal was to understand whether these declines were also seen for other neurological emergencies such as subarachnoid hemorrhage hospitalizations and ruptured aneurysm endovascular treatments. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Stroke / 12.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brandon K Fornwalt, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Director Department of Imaging Science and Innovation Geisinger MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an abnormal heart rhythm that is associated with outcomes such as stroke, heart failure and death. If we know a patient has atrial fibrillation, we can treat them to reduce the risk of stroke by nearly two-thirds. Unfortunately, patients often don’t know they have AF. They present initially with a stroke, and we have no chance to treat them before this happens. If we could predict who is at high risk of either currently having AF or developing it in the near future, we could intervene earlier and hopefully reduce bad outcomes like stroke. Artificial intelligence approaches may be able to help with this task. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Stroke / 05.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fernando D Testai, MD, PhD, FAHA Associate Professor of Neurology and Rehabilitation Stroke Medical Director University of Illinois Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Stroke constitutes a leading cause of disability and mortality in the United States. Large observational studies have shown that up to 90% of the strokes are caused by modifiable vascular risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and several others. In addition, previous history of stroke is one of the most powerful predictors of recurrent stroke. Thus, controlling vascular risk factors in patients with stroke is of paramount importance. To this end, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association have developed specific targets for blood pressure, glycemic, and cholesterol levels. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, JAMA, Stroke, USPSTF / 11.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aaron B. Caughey, M.D., M.P.P., M.P.H., Ph.D. Professor and Chair Department of Obstetrics and Gynecolog Associate dean for Women’s Health Research and Policy Oregon Health & Science University    Portland, OR. Founder and Chair Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–funded Oregon Perinatal Collaborative MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States and can be devastating to those affected. One of many risk factors for stroke is carotid artery stenosis (CAS), which is the narrowing of the arteries that run along the sides of the neck and supply blood to the brain. The Task Force wants to help prevent people from having a stroke, but evidence shows that screening for CAS in people without symptoms does not help prevent strokes and can actually lead to harmful events such as stroke, heart attack, or death. Since the harms of screening greatly outweigh the benefits, the Task Force continues to recommend against screening for CAS among adults who do not have any signs or symptoms of a blocked artery in the neck. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Emergency Care, Infections, NEJM, Stroke / 09.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Akash Kansagra, MD, MS Assistant Professor of Radiology Neurological Surgery, and Neurology Director, Endovascular Surgical Neuroradiology Co-Director, Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Over the past five years, medicine has made enormous strides in stroke treatment. The effectiveness of these therapies has been absolutely astounding, and our ability to get patients to hospitals that can provide this life-saving care has also improved dramatically. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Pharmaceutical Companies, Stroke / 21.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Tymianski, CM, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FAHA Head, Division of Neurosurgery, University Health Network Medical Director, Neurovascular Therapeutics Program, University Health Network Professor, Departments of Surgery and Physiology, University of Toronto Senior Scientist, Toronto Western Hospital Research Institute Director, Neuroprotection Laboratory, Toronto Western Hospital President and CEO, NoNO Inc MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How is alteplase related to and affect nerinetide? Response: Cerebral neuroprotection for acute ischemic stroke (AIS) is defined as a therapy aimed at enhancing the brain’s resilience to ischemia to improve the clinical outcome of affected individuals. Although traditionally aimed at the salvage of neurons, this term may be equally applicable to all the cellular constituents of the brain, including cells of cerebral blood vessels, neurons, and glia. Pharmacological neuroprotection (hereafter referred to as neuroprotection) would be achieved by drugs targeting one or more critical components of the ischemic cascade that lead to ischemic damage. The feasibility of neuroprotection has a strong basis in animal experiments, but research for several decades has failed to translate neuroprotective treatments from animals to humans. The disappointing results of all controlled clinical neuroprotection trials for AIS have cast doubts as to whether neuroprotection in humans is biologically possible and, given the complexities of human stroke syndromes, whether it is a clinically practicable therapy for patients experiencing AIS in the community. In the case of neuroprotection trials for acute ischemic stroke, all to date have failed to demonstrate a clinical benefit of the study agent. Our review of studies since the year 2000 shows that many were not conducted in accordance with the animal studies that supported efficacy. They enrolled a heterogeneous subject population with varying (small and large) vessel occlusions and without knowledge of the degree of completed infarctions. Most had not implemented a strategy to ensure that the treatment effect size was maximized, and all in-hospital trials enrolled in treatment windows that exceeded 4 hours, at which an important proportion of enrolled subjects cannot respond to treatment because they no longer have salvageable brain. The ESCAPE-NA1 addressed past deficiencies of AIS trials. It was based on a sound scientific foundation including extensive animal studies, and capitalized on the designs that led to success in AIS trials of endovascular thrombectomy. ESCAPE-NA1 enrolled patients proven by these past trials to have salvageable brain at the time that the treatment was given, and tested the drug in an ischemia-reperfusion scenario in which it was anticipated to be most effective. The enrollment was over 12 hours, but only including patients who had medical imaging suggestive that they still had salvageable brain. Alteplase is an agent that activates the protease plasmin in the bloodstream. Plasmin cleaves peptides at certain spots within their structure, and it is a known biological fact that plasmin is able to cleave nerinetide. What was not known at the time of the trial was the degree to which this would reduce nerinetide plasma leves in humans, and the impact that this would have on the therapeutic effects of nerinetide. This is why we conducted a very large trial in which the participants’ enrollment was stratified according to whether or not they received alteplase. This ensured that there was good balance within each stratum, thereby enabling us to make more robust conclusions. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Stroke / 18.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dorothy Sears Ph.D. Professor of Nutrition College of Health Solutions Arizona State University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Historically, heart disease among women has been understudied despite this being the number one cause of death in women. One in three women will die from heart disease.  Older women are the fasting growing population in the US and after menopause experience a dramatic increase in risk for cardiometabolic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. For these reasons, it is critical to understand the impact of modifiable behaviors on this risk.  Accumulating evidence shows that prolonged sitting is a highly prevalent behavior, associated with cardiometabolic and mortality risk, and greatest in older adults. Thus, overweight or obese postmenopausal women who partake in prolonged sitting time likely have highly compounded cardiometabolic risk. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Stroke / 30.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cheryl Carcel MD Research Fellow, Stroke & Women's Health Program Conjoint Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney Associate Lecturer, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney The George Institute for Global Health | Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study builds on previous findings of differences in the presentation, treatment and outcome for women and men who experience stroke. For this analysis, we pooled five large international, multicenter, randomized controlled trials that included the following: the Intensive Blood Pressure Reduction in Acute Cerebral Hemorrhage Trials (INTERACT-1 and -2 studies), the alteplase-dose arm of the Enhanced Control of Hypertension and Thrombolysis Stroke study (ENCHANTED), the Head Position in Acute Stroke Trial (HeadPoST), and the Scandinavian Candesartan Acute Stroke Trial (SCAST). (more…)
Author Interviews, Lipids, NEJM, Neurological Disorders, Stroke / 18.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pierre Amarenco, MD Professor and Chairman Paris University, Paris, France INSERM Department of Neurology and Stroke Centre Bichat Hospital Paris, France MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The rationale of the Treat Stroke to target trial was that after we published the SPARCL trial in 2006 (atorvastatin 80 mg/day vs placebo in patients with stroke) which showed a 16% relative risk reduction of recurrent stroke, we performed several pre specified and post hoc analyses, showing that in SPARCL patients randomized with "atherosclerotic disease" the risk reduction for the primary endpoint was much higher (33%), and in in patients achieving a LDL cholesterol of less than 70 mg/dL as compared to those achieving a LDL cholesterol 100 mg/dL or higher, the risk reduction was 28%. Therefore to confirm this findings, we designed the TST trial, which was an investigator initiated trial funded by the french ministry of health,  and enrolled patients with an ischemic stroke due to atherosclerotic stenosis and randomized them to either a target LDL cholesterol of less than 70 mg/dL or a target LDL cholesterol of 90 to 110 mg/dL. To achieve these goals, the investigators could use any statin available on the market, and titrate the dosage of the statin to get to the assigned target. They could also use ezetimibe on top of statin therapy if a high dosage of statin was not sufficient to get to the target level assigned by randomization. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Heart Disease, Stroke / 17.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rupak Desai, MBBS Research Fellow, Division of Cardiology Atlanta VA Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Amidst legalization of therapeutic and recreational use of marijuana/cannabis in the United States, cerebrovascular effects of marijuana use remain largely unknown, especially among young adults. We examined the association between cannabis use (18–44 years) among young adults and stroke events. The study analyzed pooled data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (2016–2017)—a nationally representative cross-sectional survey collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, 13.6% of total 43,860 young adults (18-44 years) reported using cannabis recently (in the last month), with 63.3% of them being men. Compared with nonusers, marijuana users were often younger, non-Hispanic white or black, and with some college education. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Heart Disease, Stroke / 26.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Zara Berg, Ph.D Fort Peck Community College Poplar, Montana MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study is part of the cohort that consist of the Honolulu Heart Program (HHP) and what later became the Honolulu-Asia Aging study. HHP study cardiovascular research starting in the 1960’s, which is equivalent to the Framingham Study. This study was used to establish the epidemiology parameters for cardiovascular diseases and is one of the longest longitudinal (34 years of follow-up) study on cardiovascular diseases and other diseases that effect the elderly. The participants were all Japanese that fought in WWII which is a sample size of 8,006 participants. In additional, there is multiple studies based on this cohort for the last fifty plus years, ranging from occupational exposure, cancer, neurological diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.  (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease, Red Meat, Stroke, Vegetarians / 10.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Tammy Y N Tong PhD Cancer Epidemiology Unit Nuffield Department of Population Health University of Oxford, Oxford, UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Vegetarian and vegan diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, partly due to the perceived health benefits, but also concerns about the environment and animal welfare. However, the full extent of the potential health benefits and hazards of these diets is not well understood. Previous studies have suggested that vegetarians have a lower risk of coronary heart disease than non-vegetarians, but data from large studies are limited, and little has been reported on the difference in risk of stroke. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Heart Disease, Stroke / 28.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gwen Windham, MD MHS Professor of Medicine Memory Impairment & Neurodegenerative Dementia (MIND) Center University of Mississippi Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Silent infarctions are a primary cause of strokes in the brain, but they are also common in people without a history of a stroke. Infarctions are generally only reported if they are larger (at least 3mm) and are ignored clinically if they are smaller (less than 3mm). We examined 20 years of cognitive decline among stroke free, middle-aged people with and without smaller, and larger infarctions. The comparison groups included participants as follows: those with (1) no infarctions, the reference group; (2) only smaller infarctions; (3) only larger infarctions 4) both smaller and larger infarctions (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, JAMA, Stroke / 29.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Blood Pressure Monitor" by Medisave UK is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kazuo Kitagawa, MD PhD Department of Neurology Tokyo Women's Medical University Tokyo, Japan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings Response:   Reduction in blood pressure (BP) reduces the rates of recurrent stroke, but the optimum BP target remained unclear. The results of RESPECT Study together with up-dated meta-analysis showed the benefit of intensive blood pressure lowering (<130/80 mmHg) compared with standard BP lowering (<140/90 mmHg).  (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Diabetologia, Stroke / 09.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rongrong Yang, PhD candidate Tianjin Medical University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Worldwide, cerebrovascular disease (CBD) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are common disorders that have become among the top ten leading causes of death, killing approximately 8 million people in 2016. Both T2DM and CBD are complex genetic and lifestyle-related disorders. Genetic and familial environmental factors (e.g. foetal environment, maternal smoking and childhood socioeconomic status) have been shown to be involved in the development of both conditions. Accumulating evidence from previous studies suggests that T2DM is independently associated with an increased risk of CBD, especially ischemic CBD. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, NIH, Stroke / 27.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lenore J. Launer, PhD. Chief Neuroepidemiology Section Intramural Research Program National Institute on Aging MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The prevalence of cerebral infarction on MRI can be as high as 30% in community-based studies. These lesions detected on brain MRI, are often clinically silent, but are associated with impairments in cognitive and physical function and can increase the risk for clinical events. For a large number, the origin of these brain lesions is unknown. There is also a lack of population-based data on unrecognized myocardial infarction, which is associated with an increased for clinical coronary disease and mortality. Unrecognized MI was detected in 17% of participants using state-of-the-art cardia MRI, a more sensitive measure of the lesions, than the standard ECG. We investigated the contribution to these lesions of recognized and unrecognized myocardial infarction [MI] identified on cardiac MRI. We found both recognized and unrecognized myocardial infarction increased the risk for cerebral infarction, and that in particular unrecognized MI was associated with cerebral infarction of embolic origins of an unknown source. Given their prevalence, unrecognized MI may be an underestimated contributor to the risk for cerebral infarction in older persons.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Neurological Disorders, Neurology, Stroke / 12.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thomas M Van Vleet PhD Posit Science  Dr. Tom Van Vleet,  presented results on a common symptom of stroke and acquired brain injury (hemi-spatial neglect) at the American Academy of Neurology May 2019 MedicalResearch.com: What makes this study newsworthy? Response For the first time ever a highly-scalable intervention — computerized brain training (BrainHQ made by Posit Science) —was found to improve symptoms of hemi-spatial neglect, which is a common and often intractable and debilitating problem after stroke or other acquired brain injury. MedicalResearch.com: What can you tell us about the medical condition (hemi-spatial neglect) investigated in this study? Response About a third of patients with a brain injury exhibit a complex and debilitating array of neurological deficits known as the “neglect syndrome” (sometimes called, “hemi-spatial neglect” or “neglect”). The most apparent symptom of neglect is the inability of patients to efficiently process information on the side of space opposite the injury; often completely missing relevant events without awareness. As a result, patients often fail to adopt compensatory strategies or respond to other conventional rehabilitation protocols. The cost is significant, as patients with neglect experience longer hospital stays and have higher requirements for assistance, including greater skilled nursing home placements relative to patients with similar extent of brain injury without neglect. To date, there’s been no broadly-applicable and highly-scalable intervention for addressing neglect. An alarming reality given the increasing cost of stroke, which is currently estimated to exceed $34 billion per annum (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, Heart Disease, Stroke / 19.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Martine Jandrot-Perrus MD, PhD. Emeritus Research Professor Inserm University Paris Diderot Acticor Biotech Hôpital Bichat France  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Blood platelets are key actors in thrombosis a leading cause of global mortality estimated to account for 1 in 4 death worldwide in 2010. Thrombosis is associated with cardiovascular diseases (myocardial infarction, stroke, lower limb ischemia, venous thromboembolism), and with numerous pathologies such as cancer, infections or inflammatory diseases. Currently available antiplatelet drugs are the cornerstone of therapy for patients with acute coronary syndromes. However, these drugs all carry an inherent risk of bleeding that restricts their use in sensitive populations and when arterial thrombosis occurs in the cerebral territory. At present the only acute treatment option available for ischemic stroke consists in revascularization by thrombolysis, and/or mechanical thrombectomy. But the number of patients eligible to these treatments is low (» 15% of all patients) and the success rate does not exceed 50%. The responsibility of platelets in the failure for thrombolysis / thrombectomy to restore vascular patency is strongly suspected. There is thus a clear medical need for new antiplatelet drugs with an improved safety profile. We set out to develop ACT017, a novel, first in class, therapeutic antibody to platelet glycoprotein VI with potent and selective antiplatelet effects. The interest of GPVI resides in the fact that it's a receptor involved in the development of occlusive thrombi but that it is not strictly required for physiological hemostasis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Lipids, Stroke / 16.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pamela M. Rist, ScD Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women's Hospital, Division of Preventive Medicine Boston, MA 02215  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although hypercholesterolemia is a risk factor for ischemic stroke, some prior studies have observed an inverse association between total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and risk of hemorrhagic stroke.  However, many studies were not able to study this association specifically among women. Our main result was very low levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or low levels of triglycerides were associated with an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke among women. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Geriatrics, Stroke / 06.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Philippe Girard, MD, Gérontopôle de Toulouse, CHU Toulouse Toulouse, France MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The idea for this study came about in 2016 when a systematic review assessing acetaminophen’s adverse event (AEs) profile came out with results suggesting increased mortality and morbidity (Paracetamol: not as safe as we thought? A systematic literature review of observational studies, PMID: 25732175). Pr Yves Rolland had collected data from his IQUARE study (Improving the Quality of Care of Long-Stay Nursing Home Residents in France, PMID: 26782872) including all prescriptions from over 6000 nursing home residents and all their medical history over an 18 month follow-up period. We thought it would be a good idea to assess the safety profile of acetaminophen on this geriatric population.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Heart Disease, JAMA, Stroke / 04.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sarah Parish, MSc, DPhil Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology MRC Population Health Research Unit Nuffield Department of Population Health University of Oxford MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Acquiring reliable randomized evidence of the effects of cardiovascular interventions on cognitive decline is a priority. In this secondary analysis of 3 randomized intervention trials of cardiovascular event prevention, including 45 029 participants undergoing cognitive testing, we estimated the association of the avoidance of vascular events with differences in cognitive function in order to understand whether reports of non-significant results exclude worthwhile benefit.  (more…)
AHA Journals, Artificial Sweeteners, Author Interviews, Stroke / 21.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Ph.D., RD Associate Professor Division of Health Promotion & Nutrition Research Dept. of Epidemiology & Population Health Albert Einstein College of Medicine Bronx, NY 10461 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This is the largest study of the effects of artificially sweetened beverages (ASB) in older women from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study which started in 1993 and still continues to follow the women. A prior paper indicated excess risk of cardiovascular disease with high consumption of ASBs, but cardiovascular disease was a composite endpoint combining stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure, revascularization and peripheral arterial disease.  Our study focusses on stroke by itself and with different subtypes of stroke. We define high consumption as two or more 12 fl oz. of diet drinks (diet soda or fruit drinks) per day and low consumption as no or less than one drink per week. (more…)
Author Interviews, Stroke / 19.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sunil A. Sheth, MD Department of Neurology McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, TX 77030 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is no country in the world where the absolute number of people living with or died from stroke has declined between 1990 and 2013. In the US, approximately 795,000 people experience a stroke each year with nearly 90% being acute ischemic stroke (AIS), which remains the leading cause of adult disability in the US. In 2015 landmark clinical trials demonstrated that endovascular stroke treatments (EST) for patients with large vessel occlusion (LVO) leads to dramatic improvements in patient outcomes. However, in the wake of these results, stroke systems of care around the globe are now faced with the daunting task of ensuring that patients with AIS have access to appropriate screening and therapy. The evidence of benefit for endovascular stroke that emerged from these trials was derived from treatments rendered almost exclusively at high volume stroke centers, with specialized neuro-imaging, neuro-intensive care, neuro-rehabilitation and neuro-nursing. However, since the publication and adoption of these findings into guidelines, it has become well-established that the likelihood of good neurologic outcome for these patients remains dependent on minimizing delays in treatment. Even 15-minute delays in endovascular reperfusion have been associated with quantifiable decrements in clinical outcomes. As such, there has been an increase in demand for the procedure as well as calls for the dissemination of the treatment away from tertiary-care referral centers into the community, to avoid the costly delays associated with inter-hospital transfer (IHT). On the other hand, transferring endovascular stroke patients to higher volume centers has also been associated with reduced mortality. In the absence of clear data on the relative efficacy of EST in lower volume centers, this lack of clarity on the optimal distribution of endovascular stroke resources had led to considerable confusion, with stroke center certifying agencies such as The Joint Commission initially requiring physician and hospital minimal EST volume requirements for certification, and then very recently revoking and then reinstating that criterion. Given the need to structure stroke systems of care in the modern endovascular stroke era, as well as the poorly characterized effect on EST outcomes away from tertiary-care referral centers, understanding the trends in treatment patterns as well as outcomes in relation to treatment volumes and IHT is of vital importance. The study described here provides for the first time large-scale data on the utilization of the procedure as well as the finding that its outcomes are directly tied to annual volumes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Stroke / 11.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sandro Marini, MD Research Fellow Jonathan Rosand Laboratory Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MA 02114 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The epsilon(ε) 4 allele of the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene increases risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). In both diseases, it is believed to increase risk through the deposition of beta-amyloid within the brain and blood vessels, respectively. The effect of APOE ε4 on both AD and ICH risk changes across populations, for unclear reasons. In our study, we confirmed the role of APOE ε4 for ICH risk in whites and found that the risk-increasing effect of the 4 allele is demonstrable in Hispanics only when balancing out the effect of hypertension. (more…)