Author Interviews, Brain Injury, CT Scanning, Emergency Care, Lancet, Technology / 16.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Qure-ai.jpgSasank Chilamkurthy AI Scientist, Qure.ai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Head CT scan is one of the most commonly used imaging protocols besides chest x-ray. They are used for patients with symptoms suggesting stroke, rise in intracranial pressure or head trauma. These manifest in findings like intracranial haemorrhage, midline shift or fracture. Scans with these critical findings need to be read immediately. But radiologists evaluate the scans on first-come-first-serve basis or based on stat/routine markers set by clinicians. If the scans with critical findings are somehow pushed to the top of radiologists’ work list, it could substantially decrease time to diagnosis and therefore decrease mortality and morbidity associated with stroke/head trauma. (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Gastrointestinal Disease, Technology / 14.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nadim Mahmud, MD, MS, MPH Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Colonoscopy is an effective screening technique for colorectal cancer (CRC) prevention, but many patients either do not show up or have poor bowel preparation for the procedure. There are many contributors to this issue, including challenges with colonoscopy bowel preparations and communication barriers between healthcare systems and their patients. To address this, we performed a pilot of 21 patients using automated text messages sent over the course of one week prior to scheduled colonoscopy. These messages included instructional, educational, and reminder messages regarding aspects of the colonoscopy preparation process. We found significantly improved colonoscopy adherence among patients who received the text message program as compared to routine care controls (90% versus 62%). Furthermore, patient satisfaction and likelihood to recommend the text messaging program was high. Similar texting programs are simple to create and manage, and should be considered to improve outpatient colonoscopy adherence.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Gastrointestinal Disease, Technology / 11.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nathaniel Ernstoff, MD University of Miami MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Despite the best efforts of all healthcare providers, colon cancer screening is underutilized with screening rates ranging anywhere from 58-76% based on the state (American Cancer Society 2017). At best we are still failing to screen 25% of the population.  Patients have serious concerns about colorectal cancer (CRC) screening with the most common barriers to screening being fear of colonoscopy and of the bowel preparation, amongst others. These barriers coupled with the lack of understanding of the risks, benefits, and the efficacy of screening contribute to our inadequate screening. This study aims to prove that through education, and most importantly comprehension, patients will choose one of the 6 recommended colorectal cancer screening tests that best fits their preferences. In this study we had 24 patients who previously refused colonoscopy on 3 separate occasions, and had no other CRC screening, undergo a virtual reality (VR) demonstration, created by TheBodyVR, to see if education would improve the uptake of screening. Prior to the virtual reality demonstration, the patients completed a 5-item questionnaire which evaluated their baseline knowledge of CRC risk, polyps and screening as well as determining barriers to prior screening. The patient then viewed the VR demonstration which starts with an overview of colorectal cancer, followed by a tour through a virtual colon explaining and showing the viewer polyps and cancer. Finally, the demonstration reviews and compares the strengths and weaknesses of all USPSTF-recommended CRC screening tests.  After the study, the patients complete the same questionnaire, and in this study there was a statistically significant improvement in knowledge in all questions.  Ultimately, 23 of 24 patients who previously refused colorectal cancer screening on 3 separate occasions chose to undergo screening after the VR demonstration, and about 50% have performed the screening 60 days out from the study's completion. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Technology / 04.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Waqaas Al-Siddiq Founder and CEO of Biotricity Inc MedicalResearch.com: In light of Apple's announcement that it will incorporate an EKG monitoring device into Apple watches in the near future, would you discuss your vision of the growing medical wearables market?  Response: First of all, the public is still largely confused as to what constitutes a medical wearable device. Apple’s new watch, with its EKG monitoring service, is not a medical wearable because it will not produce clinical-grade data needed for diagnosis or treatment. This is not to say that Apple’s watch isn’t helpful. Many people are not even aware that they have a heart problem, but if their Apple watch consistently tells them that they have an irregular heart rhythm, or arrhythmia, they could take that as a sign to go to a physician and get a professional diagnosis. A physician will then prescribe a medical wearable device, such as our Bioflux, to monitor the patient’s heart rhythm. Medical-grade wearable devices produce clinical-grade data that is accurate to within 90-95 percent or higher and are prescribed by physicians to make diagnoses and treatment plans. That being said, I envision that the medical wearables market will expand considerably with the advent of consumer-based wearables that facilitate health tracking. One of the biggest problems we have today is a lack of awareness. Anywhere between 2.7 and 6.1 million people in the U.S. suffer from atrial fibrillation - a condition that makes the heart beat irregularly - and many aren’t aware that they have the condition. Consumer-based health trackers like the Fitbit and the Apple Watch can help raise awareness and alert consumers to possible health issues, which will encourage them to see a physician for a thorough and professional examination and diagnosis. This, in turn, gives the medical wearable market a boost as more people will be diagnosed with the aid of a medical wearable. Another factor that is playing into this adoption trend is that next-generation medical wearables are increasingly becoming smaller and easier to use for both patients and physicians. So, I think that the future of medical wearables will see them firmly entrenched in mainstream practice and eventually become tools within the home for individuals with chronic issues.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Technology, Urinary Tract Infections / 24.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: SMARTPHONE, M.D. A NEW APP TO DIAGNOSE URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS Michael J. Mahan PhD Professor, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Dept of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology University of California, Santa Barbara, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Urinary tract infections (UTIs) cause nearly 10 million doctor visits each year in the United States. Women are much more likely to have a UTI than men, and are particularly harmful to pregnant women and can cause miscarriage. Thus, there is a medical need for rapid, low-cost, on-site testing — particularly in resource-limited settings. We developed a new app that enables a smartphone to identify (ID) bacteria causing UTIs in just one hour — a fraction of the time and cost of clinical diagnostics. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Technology / 19.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: photostimulation of hair growthHan Eol Lee Ph.D. Flexible and Nanobio Device Lab. Department of Materials Science and Engineering KAIST MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Numerous people around the world have suffered from alopecia, which leads to aesthetic issues, low self-esteem, and social anxiety. With the population expansion alopecia patients from middle-age down even to the twenties, a depilation treatment is expected to have social and medical impacts on billions of patients. The causes of alopecia are generally known to be heredity, mental stress, aging, and elevated male hormone. Therapeutic techniques such as thermal, electrical, pharmacological, and optical stimulation have been proposed to treat hair problems. Among them, laser stimulation to hair-lost regions is a promising technique, activating the anagen phase and the proliferation of hair follicles without side effects. However, this laser stimulation technique has drawbacks, such as high power consumption, large size, and restrictive use in daily life (e.g., the difficulty of microscale spatial control and the long time exposure of high-energy laser).  (more…)
Author Interviews, Lung Cancer, Nature, NYU, Technology / 17.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aristotelis Tsirigos, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Pathology Director, Applied Bioinformatics Laboratories New York University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Pathologists routinely examine slides made from tumor samples to diagnose cancer types. We studied whether an AI algorithm can achieve the same task with high accuracy. Indeed, we show that such an algorithm can achieve an accuracy of ~97%, slightly better than individual pathologists. In addition, we demonstrated that AI can be used to predict genes that are mutated in these tumors, a task that pathologists cannot do. Although the accuracy for some genes is as high as 86%, there is still room for improvement. This will come from collecting more training data and also from improvement in the annotations of the slides by expert pathologists.   (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pain Research, Technology / 06.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Richard L Kravitz, MD, MSPH Professor, General Internal Medicine Director, UC Center Sacramento MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response:  The study was designed to address tso problems. The first is that many patients with chronic pain struggling to find a workable regimen. The second is more general. Patient sometimes I hesitate to participate in clinical research because they right away do not see the relevance I directly to them selves. And have one trials are away I’m addressing both problems.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Surgical Research, Technology / 03.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: A robotically assisted surgical system: WikipediaChris Childers, M.D. Division of General Surgery David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA 10833 Le Conte Ave., CHS 72-247 Los Angeles, CA 90095 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The robotic surgical approach has gained significant traction in the U.S. market despite mixed opinions regarding its clinical benefit. A few recent randomized trials have suggested there may be no clinical benefit of the robotic approach for some surgical procedures over the more traditional open or laparoscopic (“minimally-invasive”) approaches. Previous studies have also suggested the robotic approach is very expensive, but until our study, there was no benchmark for the true costs (to the hospital) of using the robotic platform. Our study analyzed financial statements from the main supplier of robotic technology. We found that the use of robotic surgery has increased exponentially over the past decade from approximately 136 thousand procedures in 2008 to 877 thousand procedures in 2017. The majority of these procedures were performed in the United States. While most people think of the robotic approach in urologic and perhaps gynecologic surgery, the fastest growing segment has been general surgery, for procedures such as colorectal resections, hernia repairs and gallbladder removals. In total, over 3 billion dollars was spent by hospitals to acquire and use robotic platforms in 2017 with 2.3 billion dollars in the United States. This equates to nearly $3,600 per procedure performed. (more…)
Author Interviews, Technology / 21.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:| Dr. Wendy L. Frankel, MD. Kurtz Chair and Distinguished Professor and Dr. Anil Parwani, MD, PhD, MBA, Associate Professor Wexner Medical Center The Ohio State University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this work? How does digital pathology differ from traditional H/E specimens?  Is there is different processing method?  Difference in prep time or costs? Response: Traditional pathology involves patient tissue coming to the lab and being processed. The end result is a glass slide with a stained tissue that pathologists use under a microscope. The process in digital pathology is the same, up until the point right after when the glass slide is made. In digital pathology, we put the glass slide under a scanner instead of under a microscope. The scanner creates a large file image that can be reviewed remotely by pathologists around the world. The advantage of digital pathology, and the reason we are doing this at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James), is because when the slide is digitized, the image can be rapidly shared with an expert for review, or another institute that the patient may be going to. In addition, I can look at the image and ask the computer to quantitate different types of features that are present in the sample. While this has historically been done manually with a microscope, it’s been a more subjective process that is open to human error. On top of that, we now have computer programs that allow us to ask very specific questions about the sample. For example, we can ask how many nuclei are in the field, how many of the nuclei show signs of cancer, and the size and color of the nucleus. These programs make the whole diagnostic process more objective and standardized. This is something we just can’t do by looking at a glass slide under a microscope. Finally, you can also use these images for presentations at clinical conferences or for teaching residents, fellows or other pathologists. You now have the means to create an archive of patient slides and have it instantaneously available. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Dermatology, Environmental Risks, JAMA, Technology / 25.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Startup Screen Dermatology APPDr. med. Titus Brinker Head of App-Development // Clinician Scientist Department of Translational Oncology National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Department of Dermatology University Hospital Heidelberg Heidelberg MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: ​While everyone in the dermatologic community appears to agree on the importance of UV-protection for skin cancer prevention, busy clinicians often lack time to address it with their patients. Thus, the aim of this study was to make use of waiting rooms that almost every patient visiting a clinic spends time in and address this topic in this setting by the means of modern technology rather than clinicians time. We used our free photoaging app "Sunface" which shows the consequences of bad UV protection vs. good UV protection on the users' own 3D-animated selfie 5 to 25 years in the future and installed it on an iPad. The iPad was then centrally placed into the waiting room of our outpatient clinic on a table and had the Sunface App running permanently. The mirroring of the screen lead to a setting where every patient in the waiting room would see and eventually react to the selfie taken by one individual patient which was altered by the Sunface App. Thus, the intervention was able to reach a large proportion of patients visiting our clinic: 165 (60.7%) of the 272 patients visiting our waiting room in the seven days the intervention was implemented either tried it themselves (119/72,12%) or watched another patient try the app (46/27,9%) even though our outpatient clinic is well organized and patients have to wait less than 20 minutes on average. Longer waiting times should yield more exposure to the intervention. Of the 119 patients who tried the app, 105 (88.2%) indicated that the intervention motivated them to increase their sun protection (74 of 83 men [89.2%]; 31 of 34 women [91.2%]) and to avoid indoor tanning beds (73 men [87.9%]; 31 women [91.2%]) and that the intervention was perceived as fun (83 men [98.8%]; 34 women [97.1%]). (more…)
Author Interviews, Schizophrenia, Technology / 13.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bo Cao, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry University of Alberta Edmonton MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder that comes with delusions, hallucinations, poor motivation, cognitive impairments. The economic burden of schizophrenia was estimated at $155.7 billion in 2013 alone in the United States. Schizophrenia usually emerges early in life and can potentially become a lifetime burden for some patients. Repeated untreated psychotic episodes may be associated with irreversible alterations of the brain. Thus, it is crucial to identify schizophrenia early and provide effective treatment. However, identifying biomarkers in schizophrenia during the first episode without the confounding effects of treatment has been challenging. Limited progress has been made in leveraging these biomarkers to establish diagnosis and make individualized predictions of future treatment responses to antipsychotics. In a recent study by Dr. Cao and his colleagues, they successfully identified the first-episode drug-naïve schizophrenia patients (accuracy 78.6%) and predict their responses to antipsychotic treatment (accuracy 82.5%) at an individual level by using a machine learning algorithm and the functional connections of a brain region called the superior temporal cortex.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Pediatrics, Smoking, Technology, Tobacco Research / 29.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jon-Patrick Allem, Ph.D., M.A. Research Scientist Keck School of Medicine of USC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by JUUL?  Response: The JUUL vaporizer is the latest advancement in electronic cigarette technology, delivering nicotine to the user from a device about the size and shape of a thumb drive. JUUL has taken the electronic cigarette market by storm experiencing a year-over-year growth of about 700 percent. In our most recent study, we wanted to document and describe the public’s initial experiences with JUUL. We collected posts to Twitter containing the term “Juul” from April 1, 2017 to December 14, 2017. We analyzed over 80,000 posts representing tweets from 52,098 unique users during this period and used text classifiers (automated processes that find specified words and phrases) to identify topics in posts. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Technology / 22.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kenichi Takahata, Ph.D., P.Eng. Associate Professor Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering Faculty of Applied Science University of British Columbia Vancouver, B.C., Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this technology and study?  Response: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of mortality globally. One of the most common and proven treatments for CVD is stenting. Millions of stents are implanted annually worldwide. However, the most common complication called in-stent restenosis, re-narrowing of stented arteries, still poses a significant risk to patients. To address the current lack of diagnostic technology to detect restenosis at its early stage, we are developing “smart” stents equipped with microscale sensors and wireless interface to enable continuous monitoring of restenosis through the implanted stent. This electrically active stent functions as a radio-frequency wireless pressure transducer to track local hemodynamic changes upon a re-narrowing condition. We have reported a new smart stent that has been engineered to fulfill clinical needs for the implant, including its applicability to current stenting procedure and tools, while offering self-sensing and wireless communication functions upon implantation. The stent here has been designed to function not only as a typical mechanical scaffold but also as an electrical inductor or antenna. To construct the device, the custom-designed implantable capacitive pressure sensor chip, which we developed using medical-grade stainless steel, are laser-microwelded on the inductive antenna stent, or “stentenna”, made of the same alloy. This forms a resonant circuit with the stentenna, whose resonant frequency represents the local blood pressure applied to the device and can be wirelessly interrogated using an external antenna placed on the skin. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Technology / 22.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alexandra Urman, MPH Clinical Research Manager Clinical Development IBM Watson Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: Cancer statistics show only 3-5% of cancer patients participate in clinical trials although up to 20% may be eligible. Dr. Tufia Hadad, a medical Oncologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota sought to address this issue and spearheaded a project conducted at the Rochester facility in collaboration with IBM Watson Health. The objective was to determine if the use of cognitive computing increased clinical trial enrollment and screening efficiency in the breast cancer clinic. Watson for Clinical Trial Matching (CTM) is a cognitive system which utilizes natural language processing to derive patient and tumor attributes from unstructured text in the electronic health record that can be further used to match a patient to complex eligibility criteria in trial protocols. (more…)
Author Interviews, Memory, Technology / 15.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eric Krokos 5th-year Ph.D. student in computer science Augmentarium visualization lab augmentarium.umiacs.umd.edu University of Maryland  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: I am interested in exploring the use of virtual and augmented reality in high-impact areas like education, medicine, and high-proficiency training. For VR and AR to excel as a learning tool, we felt there needed to be a baseline study on whether people would perceive information better, and thus learn better, in an immersive, virtual environment as opposed to viewing information on a two-dimensional desktop monitor or handheld device. Our comprehensive user-study showed initial results that people are able to recall information using virtual reality—there was an 8.8 percent improvement in recall ability from our study participants using VR. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Technology / 13.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Richard S. Blackburn BSc (Leeds), PhD (Leeds), CCol FSDC Associate Professor in Coloration Technology Head of Sustainable Materials Research Group University of Leeds MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: I’ve been working with my colleague Professor Chris Rayner at The University of Leeds for over 10 years in the field of anthocyanins, which are pigments that provide colour to most berries, flowers, and many other fruits and vegetables. We have developed techniques to isolate these compounds from food waste, characterise the chemistry of the extracts, and use these natural pigments in various applications. In this work, anthocyanins extracted from blackcurrant waste created during the manufacture of blackcurrant cordial (Ribena) have for the first time been used in an effective new hair dyeing technology. Why hair dyeing? The global hair coloration industry is worth more than $10 billion a year, with the number of people colouring their hair in professional salons and at home on the increase, but some of the ingredients found in commonly-used synthetic hair dyes, are known irritants and can trigger severe allergic reactions. There is also much debate about whether these ingredients also cause cancer. Dyes that some may consider ‘natural’ – such as those including henna – usually escape scrutiny when it comes to health concerns, but the main natural colorant in henna is lawsone, which the EU Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety states is toxic. What is more, it is thought up to 95% of all dyes end up washed down the drain; their effect on the environment is unknown. Because of issues and concerns around conventional dyes, we wanted to develop sustainable, biodegradable alternatives using green chemistry processes that minimise potential risks to health and offer consumers a different option. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Diabetes, Gastrointestinal Disease, Technology, Weight Research / 13.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jeff Karp B.Eng. PhD. Professor of Medicine Center for Nanomedicine and Division of Engineering in Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston MA MedicalResearch.com: How would you briefly explain the most important findings and conclusions of this study to a non-expert?
  • The type-2 diabetes (T2D) epidemic will affect over 642 million people worldwide by 2040. As a result, diabetes costs the US healthcare over $174 billion dollars annually and is the leading cause of blindness, amputations, renal failure, and poor cardiovascular outcomes. Recently, bariatric surgery, bypassing stomach and intestine from the food stream, has shown promising results and shown to be superior to pharmaceuticals in managing T2D. However, the risks of surgery along with permanent changes to gastrointestinal anatomy deters many suitable patients from surgery, with less than 1-2% of Americans who qualify for weight loss surgery actually undergoing the procedure. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a safe, non-invasive and effective treatment for wider diabetic patient population.
  • We envisioned a pill that a patient can take before a meal that transiently coats the gut to replicate the effects of surgery. During the past 8 years, we’ve been working on this idea and have developed a safe gut-coating material that can potentially mimic the beneficial effects of gastric bypass procedures in the form a pill.
  • LuCI can be activated in any part of gastrointestinal tract (e.g. stomach, duodenum, intestine, colon) to form a temporary physical barrier that isolates that part of gastrointestinal tract. In our pre-clinical models, LuCI coated the duodenum to modulate glucose responses in oral glucose tolerance tests.
  • These beneficial effect are observed without any evidence of systemic absorption of the drug.
  • We believe that LuCI could be a new therapeutic approach for T2D that is based on Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, but is safer, associated with significantly less complications, and thus can potentially help a wide T2D patient population.
  • In a separate set of studies, we also showed that luCi allows delivery of certain proteins and drugs, which would normally be degraded by the gastric acid, to the GI tract, protecting it from gastric acid digestion and prolonging their luminal exposure.
(more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Technology / 30.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bruce E. Katz, M.D. Clinical Professor Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai Director, Juva Skin & Laser Center Past Director, Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Clinic Mt Sinai Hospital New York, N.Y. 10022 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Axillary hyperhidrosis is estimated to affect 1.4% of the U.S. population. Newer treatments such as microwave technology, botulinum toxin injections and lasers have emerged as effective methods. In this pilot study we examine the use of a non-invasive 1060nm diode laser, SculpSure, for the treatment of axillary hyperhidrosis. SculpSure focuses energy at the level of the sweat glands so we believed it would work for hyperhidrosis. After two SculpSure treatments, there was a long lasting resolution of hyperhidrosis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Technology / 19.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Raymond E. Bertino, MD airRx lead developer and Clinical Professor of Radiology and Surgery at UICOMP MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for the airRX app and study? Response: With increasing air travel, in-flight medical emergencies have increased and physicians on commercial airline flights are routinely asked to volunteer assistance. A study presented this week at the annual meeting of The Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) examined physician performance during practice simulations of in-flight medical emergencies with use of a smartphone app, airRx. In the unique study, cases based on commonly occurring in-flight medical emergencies were portrayed in a mockup of the airline cabin setting. Actors portrayed patients, family members, seat neighbors and flight attendants. Resident physicians in non-emergency specialties were asked to assist as if they were volunteering in actual medical emergencies. The study utilized airRx, the mobile app developed to help physicians and other medical personnel volunteering during in-flight medical events. The airRx app enables healthcare professionals to access 23 scenarios of the most common medical emergencies, with concise treatment algorithms and reference information to help evaluate and treat the patient.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Medical Imaging, Prostate Cancer, Technology / 17.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrew J. Armstrong, MD ScM FACP Associate Professor of Medicine, Surgery, Pharmacology and Cancer Biology Associate Director for Clinical Research in Genitourinary Oncology Duke Cancer Institute Divisions of Medical Oncology and Urology Duke University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Men with prostate cancer commonly develop bone metastases and undergo nuclear medicine bone scans. However, these scans are non-quantitative, and disease burden has been challenging to assess over time and to relate to clinical outcomes. We developed a software program and measurement called the automated bone scan index that essentially reads a standard of care nuclear bone scan, provides a quantitative metric, and demonstrate in a phase 3 trial that this aBSI is highly associated with clinical outcomes including survival, time to symptomatic progression, and prostate cancer specific survival. We accomplished this within a prospective phase 3 international trial of men with metastatic hormone resistant prostate cancer who were followed over a long period of time.  All bone scans were read and measured using the aBSI at baseline, and we found that the aBSI was highly prognostic.  This work validates prior smaller phase 2 BSI studies, and demonstrates both the feasibility and clinical utility for incorporating the aBSI into clinical practice to provide this important prognostic information to patients and providers. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer, Technology, University of Michigan / 16.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Greg Thurber, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Chemical Engineering Assistant Professor Department of Biomedical Engineering University of Michigan  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Most current disease screening strategies rely on either blood tests, where the physician can obtain information on specific disease molecules but has no idea where they originated in the body, or anatomical imaging, where the physician can see changes in the structure of tissues but doesn’t have any molecular information. We wanted to develop a method that could provide both molecular information and an image of where these molecules were located. We know from decades of research in cancer that this is a molecular disease, so providing molecular information to the physician will help improve detection and diagnosis. Breast cancer screening provides an excellent opportunity to apply this approach to improve detection. Currently, estimates indicate that we are overspending $4 billion per year on the overdiagnosis and overtreatment of breast cancer because we cannot accurately determine which patients need treatment and which can be safely monitored with no intervention. Despite this problem with overdiagnosis, however, screening saves lives…we simply need a better way. Molecular imaging has the capability of providing both molecular information and the location within the body. However, most of these techniques are expensive and use ionizing radiation, meaning there is a small risk of actually causing cancer. This is not acceptable for screening large numbers of otherwise healthy patients. To avoid this risk and provide a safe, inexpensive, and relatively easy method for patients to undergo screening, we decided to develop near-infrared fluorescent imaging agents that can be taken as a pill. The goal is for the patient to simply take a pill a day or two before their visit, and then the physician shines near-infrared light on the breast tissue to detect tumors where they ‘light up’ by giving off a different color of light. (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, JAMA, Pulmonary Disease, Technology / 15.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Hawkes MD PhD Adjunct Professor Assistant Professor Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine School of Public Health University of Alberta MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • Pneumonia is the leading cause of mortality in children globally.
  • Oxygen is an essential therapy for children with hypoxemic pneumonia, but is not available in many resource-limited and rural areas.
  • Our innovation, solar powered oxygen delivery, harnesses freely available sun and air to delivery oxygen to patients independent of grid electricity.
  • We performed a randomized controlled trial of solar powered oxygen delivery, compared to standard oxygen delivery using compressed oxygen cylinders in children with hypoxemia hospitalized at two centres in Uganda.
  • Solar powered oxygen was non-inferior to cylinder oxygen with respect to clinical outcomes, and offers advantages in terms of reliability, simplicity, and cost.
(more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Diabetes, Technology / 05.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Apostolos Tsapas, MD PhD MSc(Oxon) Associate Professor of Medicine Director of the Second Medical Department | Aristotle University Thessalonik Cruddas Link Fellow Harris Manchester College University of Oxford   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Artificial pancreas treatment, also referred to as closed loop glucose control, is an emerging treatment option combining a pump and continuous glucose monitoring with a control algorithm to deliver insulin (and potentially glucagon) in a glucose responsive manner. Compared with insulin pumps or sensor augmented pumps, artificial pancreas use can reduce the burden for patients by automatically adjusting the amount of insulin entering the body on the basis of sensor glucose levels. The US Food and Drug Administration has recently approved the first artificial pancreas system for use by people with type 1 diabetes over 14 years of age, based on a safety outpatient study. (more…)
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Heart Disease, Technology / 03.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Benjamin Hibbert MD PhD FRCPCz Interventional Cardiologist Clinician Scientist and Assistant Professor CAPITAL Research Group Vascular Biology and Experimental Medicine Laboratory University of Ottawa Heart Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: When we designed the study in 2014 we were routinely using the modified allen's test (MAT) to screen patients for transradial access for coronary angiography and PCI. We all had iPhones and we started using the HeartRate monitoring application as a photoplethysmograph. Quite quickly we found that using the application was simple, worked well and because we always had our iPhone with us we tended to use it more often. That being said - we wanted to test it in a scientifically rigorous method and thus we elected to perform an RCT to evaluate it's diagnostic accuracy. smart app measures blood flowThe current study is the first to use the photoplethysmographic capabilities of smartphones to assess blood flow - in this case in the hand to assess for blockages in arteries before accessing them for a procedure. The hand is supplied by two arteries - the radial artery and the ulnar artery. In many cases in medicine we use the radial artery, whether it be placing a catheter to monitor blood pressure, as a method of getting to the heart for angioplasty and in coronary artery bypass grafting it is removed and used as a bypass to restore blood flow to the heart. In many instances doctors assess the patency of the ulnar artery to decided if they are going to use the radial artery for a procedure - the concept being that if the ulnar is compromised and we use the radial then the hand can develop complications from not enough blood flow. To determine if a patient is eligible doctors would use a bedside physical exam test called the modified Allen's test in which they occlude both arteries to cause the hand to turn white. They then release pressure on the ulnar letting blood only pass through this vessel to see if the hand turns pink. However, there is a lot of variability in what doctors consider to be abnormal and determining if the test is positive can depend on numerous factors including skin tone, the amount of pressure applied and the size of the vessels. (more…)
Author Interviews, Memory, Technology / 28.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robert E. Hampson, PhD Professor, Physiology & Pharmacology School of Medicine Wake Forest MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are many diseases and injuries that affect human memory, and many types of memory deficits, from inability to recall stored memories to the inability to make new memories.  We focused on problems with making new memories, and identifying the brain activity associated with those memories.  We found that we could identify when the brain formed "codes" for new memory, and when those codes were incorrect or faulty.  By identifying what both "strong" and "weak" naturally occurring codes should be, we influence the process to strengthen the weak codes, resulting in better memory. (more…)
Author Interviews, Ophthalmology, Technology / 28.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Caroline A. Blackie, OD PhD FAAO Medical Director, Dry Eye Johnson & Johnson Vision MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for these studies? Would you briefly explain the problem of dry eye, how common it is and why it is difficult to treat?  Response: Dry eye disease is a condition where the eyelids and/or the tear film are unable to protect the ocular surface from the negative effects of desiccating stress. If left untreated, a vicious cycle ensues resulting in a broad spectrum of sequelae, including ocular discomfort and compromised vision. The result is partial or pervasive reduced quality of life for the individual along with a significant economic burden on our society. Conversely, when the ocular surface is healthy, patients feel better, see better and live better. Meibomian gland health is essential for ocular surface health. Meibomian glands secrete the oils necessary to protect the ocular surface from the negative effects of desiccating stress. Predictably, meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a leading cause of dry eye disease. MGD is almost always the result of thickened and stagnated gland secretions. These stagnated secretions obstruct and/or limit the flow of functional oil into the tear film. MGD is the most common form of dry eye disease and is also known as evaporative dry eye. While management of dry eye in general can be complex, the management of MGD affords a relatively straightforward approach, which is to improve meibomian gland function by treating obstruction. Dry eye disease is pretty common – more than 340 million people suffer from it globally. Short-term management of dry eye involves improving signs and symptoms of the condition, including the use of tear supplementation and reducing ocular surface inflammation. Long-term dry eye management requires that the cause (or causes) of the condition is also diagnosed and treated. That cause is often MGD, and MGD can be successfully managed with LipiFlow®.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Cancer - Brain Tumors, Emory, PNAS, Technology / 16.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lee Cooper, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Emory University School of Medicine - Georgia Institute of Technology MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Gliomas are a form of brain tumor that are often ultimately fatal, but patients diagnosed with glioma may survive as few as 6 months to 10 or more years. Prognosis is an important determinant in selecting treatment, that can range from simply monitoring the disease to surgical removal followed by radiation treatment and chemotherapy. Recent genomic studies have significantly improved our ability to predict how rapidly a patient's disease will progress, however a significant part of this determination still relies on the visual microscopic evaluation of the tissues by a neuropathologist. The neuropathologist assigns a grade that is used to further refine the prognosis determined by genomic testing. We developed a predictive algorithm to perform accurate and repeatable microscopic evaluation of glioma brain tumors. This algorithm learns the relationships between visual patterns presented in the brain tumor tissue removed from a patient brain and the duration of that patient's survival beyond diagnosis. The algorithm was demonstrated to accurately predict survival, and when combining images of histology with genomics into a single predictive framework, the algorithm was slightly more accurate than models based on the predictions of human pathologists. We were also able to identify that the algorithm learns to recognize some of the same tissue features used by pathologists in evaluating brain tumors, and to appreciate their prognostic relevance. (more…)