Cannabis Users Have Increased Risk of Stroke and Heart Failure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Aditi Kalla, MD Cardiology Research Fellow Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia

Dr. Aditi Kalla

Aditi Kalla, MD
Cardiology Research Fellow
Einstein Medical Center
Philadelphia

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

Response: As of the recent 2016 election, decriminalization of cannabis passed in several states bringing the total count up to 28 states and D.C. where cannabis is now legal for medicinal and/or recreational purposes. From a physician’s perspective, it is rare that a drug has “hit the market” so to speak without undergoing clinical trials to determine safety and efficacy. Hence, we sought out to study if cannabis had any effects (positive or negative) on the cardiovascular system.

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Appropriate Anticoagulation Underutilized in Atrial fibrillation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Ying Xian
 MD PhD
Department of Neurology,
Duke Clinical Research Institute
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, North Carolina

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

Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia. AF increases the risk for stroke and accounts for 10% to 15% of all ischemic strokes. While the burden of AF-related stroke is high, AF is a potentially treatable risk factor. Numerous studies have demonstrated that vitamin K antagonists, such as warfarin, or non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs), reduce the risk of ischemic stroke. Based on these data, current guidelines recommend adjusted-dose warfarin or NOACs over aspirin for stroke prevention in high-risk patients with Atrial fibrillation.

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Natural History of Ruptured But Untreated Intracranial Aneurysms

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Miikka Korja
Chief Innovation Officer
Neurosurgeon
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
HUS, Helsinki University Hospital

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

Response: Helsinki University Hospital, one of the largest hospital organizations in industrialized countries, has a very long history in conducting studies on brain aneurysms and aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. The one and only study on the natural history of ruptured aneurysms has also been conducted in Helsinki 50 years ago (published in 1967). The term “natural history” refers to an approach where the cause of a patient’s disease is not treated at all. In this case, it means that ruptured aneurysms in patients with devastating brain hemorrhage, aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, were left untreated.

Therefore, these patients have a high risk of a rebleeding from the once ruptured aneurysm. As ruptured aneurysms are nowadays unexceptionally treated, if the patient survives the primary bleeding event, such natural history studies are impractical to conduct.

We wanted to update the 50 years old data by using a historical patient registry. Back in the old days, many of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage patients were not treated because for example surgery was considered too risky or patients were classified as too old for surgery. By using the historical data, we showed that aneurysmal SAH, if not treated, is even more devastating disease than believed. Based on our results, we can state that 75-89% of today’s patients die in a year without treatments.

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Migraine Associated With Cervical Artery Dissection In Some Young Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alessandro Pezzini, MD, FESO

Professore Associato di Neurologia
Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche e Sperimentali
Clinica Neurologica
Università degli Studi di Brescia
Italia

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

Response: Scarce reports have suggested that a relation might exist between migraine and cervical artery dissection (CEAD), the most frequent cause of ischemic stroke in young adults in Western countries. However, data available so far were obtained from few studies conducted on small cohorts of patients, which limits the generalizability of their findings.

In our study we analysed the data from the Italian Project on Stroke in Young Adults (IPSYS) project, one of the largest registries of young ischemic stroke patients, and observed that migraine, especially the subtype without aura was strongly and independently associated to CEAD. This seems particularly true for men and for people younger than 39 years.

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Intensive Therapy Facilitates Language Recovery in Chronic Aphasia After Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Caterina Breitenstein, PhD
Department of General Neurology, University of Muenster, Germany
Annette Baumgärtner, PhD
Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Fresenius University of Applied Sciences, Hamburg, Germany

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

Response: For a long time, it has been assumed that language recovery is limited to the first months after the initial stroke. During the past two decades, however, several clinical studies and systematic reviews have challenged this dogma by demonstrating functional gains in stroke survivors during the chronic post-stroke stage (at least 6 months post the initial stroke) whenever speech and language therapy (SLT) intensity was sufficiently high (i.e., at least 5 h/week for several weeks). These studies, however, lacked the methodological quality required for evidence-based interventions (for criteria, please refer to http://www.cebm.net/ocebm-levels-of-evidence). Until now, this lack in evidence severely hampers stroke survivors’ access to language rehabilitation services .

The present multicenter randomized controlled healthcare trial FCET2EC (acronym stands for “From Controlled Experimental Trial to=2 Everyday Communication) is the first study worldwide to compare three weeks of intensive SLT provided under routine clinical conditions to an equally long period of no (or low intensity) SLT. After 3 weeks of intensive individualized therapy, the 156 stroke survivors with chronic aphasia verbally expressed themselves more effectively in daily-life communicative situations, like changing a doctor’s appointment by a telephone call. Additionally, patients and their significant other rated their communication-related quality of life as significantly improved.

Last but not least, therapy effects remained stable over a follow-up period of six months after the intensive intervention.

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Vagus Nerve Stimulation Safe and Feasible For Stroke Rehabilitation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jesse Dawson MD, BSc (Hons), FRCP, FESO Clinical Reader / Honorary Consultant Clinical Lead Scottish Stroke Research Network / NRS Stroke Research Champion Chair MVLS Research Ethics Committee Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences University of Glasgow

Dr. Jesse Dawson

Jesse Dawson MD, BSc (Hons), FRCP, FESO
Clinical Reader / Honorary Consultant
Clinical Lead Scottish Stroke Research Network / NRS Stroke Research Champion
Chair MVLS Research Ethics Committee
Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences
College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences
University of Glasgow

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

Response:    Many patients suffer long term arm weakness after stroke and there are few effective treatments. We are assessing whether stimulation of the vagus nerve can improve recovery after stroke. Stimulation of the vagus nerve, called VNS for short, triggers the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. These neurotransmitters are important for learning and memory. Pre-clinical studies have shown that combining vagus nerve stimulation with movement or rehabilitation tasks enhances brain plasticity, improves motor learning and leads to better recovery after stroke.

Based on this, we performed a clinical trial in patients with arm weakness after stroke and found promising changes in the patients treated with VNS paired with rehabilitation compared to rehabilitation alone.

In this study we performed a double blind sham stimulation controlled study of VNS paired with rehabilitation vs sham stimulation in patients with long term arm weakness due to ischaemic stroke. All participants were implanted with a VNS device and underwent a course of therapy. We didn’t see a statistically significant difference after 6 weeks of intensive in-clinic therapy but saw a large and significant difference after a further 60 days home exercise treatment with VNS.  There were differences on several measures, including the clinical response rate which was 88% with VNS and 33% with controls.

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Pradaxa: Compared To Warfarin, Lower Risk of Stroke and Bleeding in Non-Valvular AFib

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sabine Luik, M.D. Senior vice president, Medicine & Regulatory Affairs Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Dr. Sabine Luik

Sabine Luik, M.D.
Senior vice president, Medicine & Regulatory Affairs
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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

Response: Data from more than 20,000 patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) were included in this study and the results demonstrate that Pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate mesylate) was associated with a lower risk of stroke and major bleeding compared to warfarin. The study analyzed 7,245 PRADAXA patients and 14,490 warfarin patients with NVAF who had no prior use of an oral anticoagulant (OAC), using data from an administrative claims database from October 1, 2010, to April 30, 2014.

Compared to warfarin, PRADAXA was associated with a 26 percent reduced risk of stroke (HR, 0.74; 95% Cl, 0.58-0.94) and a 20 percent reduced risk of major bleeding (HR, 0.80; 95% Cl, 0.69-0.92). PRADAXA was associated with a lower risk for serious secondary outcomes, including a 68 percent reduced risk of hemorrhagic stroke (HR, 0.32; 95% Cl, 0.14-0.76), an 18 percent reduced risk of major extracranial bleeding (HR, 0.82; 95% Cl, 0.70-0.96), a 48 percent reduced risk of venous thromboembolism (HR, 0.52; 95% Cl, 0.38-0.70), and a 27 percent reduced risk of death (HR, 0.73; 95% Cl, 0.61-0.88).

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: These results support the benefits of PRADAXA therapy for patients with NVAF and are consistent with those of previous studies evaluating PRADAXA and warfarin. Through a robust clinical trial, Pradaxa was proven superior to warfarin in reducing the risk of stroke in patients with NVAF.

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

Response: Real-world data are critical for improving our understanding of treatment for patients with chronic conditions such as NVAF. We believe by working with diverse stakeholders to continue to study PRADAXA in the real world, we can help the community better understand gaps in treatment, identify opportunities to improve care and increase patient and physician assurance in treatment decisions.

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

Response: Pradaxa has the longest real-world experience of any available NOAC. This research includes seven clinical trials with more than 32,000 patients and real-world experience through 11 studies and assessments, including more than 120,000 PRADAXA patients with NVAF.

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

Citation:

INTERNATIONAL STROKE CONFERENCE ORAL ABSTRACTSSESSION TITLE: PREVENTIVE STRATEGIES ORAL ABSTRACTS
Abstract 75: Bleeding and Ischemic Stroke Risk in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation Standard or Low Dose Dabigatran and Concomitant P-gp Inhibitors
Mary Vaughan Sarrazin, Alexander Mazur, Michael P Jones, Elizabeth Chrischilles
Stroke. 2017;48:A75

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

More Medical Research Interviews on MedicalResearch.com

Following Stroke, Children Face Behavioral and Emotional Difficulties

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Emily C. Maxwell, Ph.D. Pediatric Neuropsychology Bugher Fellow Division of Neurology Instructor | Department of Pediatrics University of Colorado School of Medicine Aurora, CO 80045

Dr. Maxwell

Emily C. Maxwell, Ph.D.
Pediatric Neuropsychology Bugher Fellow
Division of Neurology
Instructor | Department of Pediatrics
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Aurora, CO 80045 

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

Response: Previous research has found increased psychological problems and significantly higher rates of psychiatric disorders after pediatric stroke. However, past studies have mainly used global indices, without comparison to age-based norms. Thus, little is known about the discrete symptomatology exhibited by these children and how discrepant these symptoms may be from normative expectations.

At the University of Colorado Denver and Children’s Hospital Colorado, we studied 50 patients who suffered an arterial ischemic stroke during childhood. The parents of these patients completed the Child Behavior Checklist, a questionnaire assessing emotional and behavioral problems. We found that children with stroke had higher symptoms of depression, anxiety, physical complaints, and behavioral difficulties compared to a normative sample of same-aged peers. Additionally, levels of anxiety were higher in children who had a stroke at an early age (before 6 years of age) compared to children who had a stroke at a later age (after 10 years of age).

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Stroke Prevention: No Advantage To Taking Three Blood Thinners After First Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Philip Bath Stroke Association Professor of Stroke Medicine/Head of Division of Clinical Neuroscience Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences University of Nottingham

Prof. Philip Bath

Professor Philip Bath
Stroke Association Professor of Stroke Medicine/Head of Division of Clinical Neuroscience
Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences
University of Nottingham 

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

Response: Blood thinning (antiplatelets) drugs reduce further strokes (recurrence) after stroke and mini-stroke (TIA). One antiplatelet, such as aspirin, is better than none, and two different drugs are better than one. The question then is whether three would be better still, providing excess bleeding is not problematic.

3096 patients with ischaemic stroke (stroke due to a blood clot) or mini-stroke were enrolled within 48 hours. They were randomised to take intensive separate antiplatelet therapy (three drugs comprising aspirin, clopidogrel and dipyridamole) or guideline therapy (either clopidogrel alone, or combined aspirin and dipyridamole) for 30 days (after which they took guideline treatment). At 90 days we assessed whether patients had had another stroke or mini-stroke, and how dependent or disabled this had left them.

There were slightly fewer recurrent strokes and mini-strokes between intensive and guideline treatment but the difference was not different statistically, so a neutral trial. In contrast, major bleeding was significantly increased in the intensive group as compared with guideline treatment. When looking at the net benefit/harm, there was no difference between the treatment groups.

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Rank, Not Race, Associated with Stroke Outcomes in Military

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Matthew D. Holtkamp, D.O. CPT, MC, USA Medical Director, Intrepid Spirit, Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic Staff Neurologist, Department of Medicine Teaching Fellow, Uniformed Services University Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Fort Hood, Texas 76544

Dr. Mathew Holtkamp,

Matthew D. Holtkamp, D.O. CPT, MC, USA
Medical Director, Intrepid Spirit, Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic
Staff Neurologist, Department of Medicine
Teaching Fellow, Uniformed Services University
Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center
Fort Hood, Texas 76544

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

Response: Racial and Socioeconomic disparities in the outcomes of stroke patients is well documented in the US Civilian Healthcare system.

That Healthcare system has wide variations in access to care and in the levels of available care. In contrast, the Military Healthcare system is a single payer system meaning that every member has the same healthcare benefits.

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Stopping Warfarin in Dementia Patients with Atrial Fib Associated With Increased Risk of Stroke and Death

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ariela Orkaby, MD, MPH Geriatrics & Preventive Cardiology Associate Epidemiologist Division of Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Ariela Orkaby

Ariela Orkaby, MD, MPH
Geriatrics & Preventive Cardiology
Associate Epidemiologist
Division of Aging, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

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

Response: Atrial Fibrillation is a common heart rhythm that affects 1 in 25 adults over age 60 and 1 in 10 adults over age 80. The feared consequence of atrial fibrillation is stroke, leading to the prescription of blood thinning medications (anticoagulants such as warfarin) to prevent strokes. However, there is an underutilization of these life-saving medications in older adults, and particularly in those who have dementia. In part, this is due to a lack of research and inclusion of older adults with dementia in prior studies.

In this study, we used clinical Veterans Administration data, linked to Medicare, to follow 2,572 individuals over age 65 who had atrial fibrillation and until a diagnosis of dementia. The average age was 80 years, and 99% were male. We found that only 16% remained on warfarin. We used statistical methods to account for reasons why a patient would or would not be treated with warfarin and found that those who continued to take warfarin had a significantly lower risk of stroke (HR 0.74, 95% Confidence interval 0.54- 0.99, p=0.47) and death (HR 0.72, 95% CI 0.60-0.87, p<0.01) compared to those who did not continue to take warfarin, without an increased risk of bleeding.

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Which AFib Patients Should Resume Warfarin After Intracranial Hemorrhage?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Peter Brønnum Nielsen MD PhD
Aalborg Thrombosis Research Unit
Department of Clinical Medicine
Faculty of Health
Department of Cardiology, Atrial Fibrillation Study Group
Aalborg University Hospital
Aalborg, Denmark
 

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

Response:   Patients who sustain an intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) event are often excluded from randomized trials investigating stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation (AF) by use of oral anticoagulant treatment.

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