Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Lancet, Metabolic Syndrome, Weight Research / 01.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nathalie Eckel, MSc German Diabetes Center Düsseldorf, Germany  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: Obesity is associated with metabolic disorders such as diabetes, high blood pressure and hypercholesterolemia, and with a higher risk of cardiovacular disease compared to normal weight. However, there is also the phenomenon of the so-called "metabolically healthy obesity" and "metabolically unhealthy normal-weight". So far it has been unclear how metabolic risk factors change over time in metabolically healthy people depending on body weight and what cardiovascular disease risk results from this. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Depression, Weight Research / 30.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Rafael Gafoor Research Associate Kings College London  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Obesity and weight gain are global public health problems, with approximately 60% of UK adults currently overweight or obese. Depression is common in people who are severely obese and the rate of antidepressant prescribing is increasing, which could have potential impact on public health. However, little research has been reported on the impact of widespread antidepressant treatment on weight gain. So a UK based research team, led by Rafael Gafoor at King’s College London, set out to investigate the association between the use of antidepressants and weight gain. The researchers analysed body weight and body mass measurement data from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) for over 300,000 adults with an average age of 51, whose body mass index (BMI) had been recorded three or more times during GP consultations from 2004-2014. Participants were grouped according to their BMI (from normal weight to severely obese) and whether or not they had been prescribed an antidepressant in a given year. Participants were then monitored for a total of 10 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 22.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Great Grandmother” by David Amsler is licensed under CC BY 2.0Rebecca Somerville MB BCh BAO, BMedSci, MRCPI, MPH, PhD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science University College Dublin Dublin, Ireland  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Rates of obesity in the Western world have increased dramatically over recent decades. The negative health consequences of obesity are well known and significant amounts of research have been conducted into the causes and possible solutions. While it is clear that there have been massive changes in diet and physical activity at a societal level that are primarily responsible for this 'obesity epidemic', it is less clear the extent to which obesity, once established, or risk factors for same, can be perpetuated down generations. Family studies lend opportunity to explore these questions, however there are few world wide which incorporate 3 generations. We therefore sought to examine patterns of central adiposity, as measured by waist circumference, between grandparents and their grandchildren, separately in maternal and paternal lines. We were able to utilize prospectively collected data from the Lifeways Cross-Generation Cohort Study. This is a longitudinal birth cohort, established in Ireland in 2001, involving up to 7 members of the same family (mother, father, child and 4 grandparents). In the 589 families where a child had a waist circumference measurement we found that, at the age of both 5 and 9, there was a direct relationship between the waist circumference of the maternal grandmother and her grandchild (both male and female). This remained after adjustment for a wide range of confounding variables including mother's waist circumference. There was no relationship seen with any of the other grandparents. (more…)
Artificial Sweeteners, Author Interviews, Nutrition, Sugar, Weight Research / 17.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Soda” by Jannes Pockele is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kimber L. Stanhope, Ph.D., M.S., R.D. Research Nutritional Biologist Department of Molecular Biosciences: SVM University of California, Davis  MedicalResearch.com:? What are the main findings of this study? Response: Sugar-sweetened beverages increase risk factors for cardiometabolic disease compared with calorically-equal amounts of starch. We are not the first group of experts to reach this conclusion. The Nutrition and Chronic Diseases Expert Group reached a similar conclusion last year (Micha, 2017). Yet very different conclusions/opinions are being still being published by other researchers. (Latest example: Archer E., In Defense of Sugar: A Critique of Diet-Centrism. Progress in Cardiovascular Disease, May 1, 2018). These conflicting conclusions confuse the public and undermine the implementation of public health policies, such as soda taxes and warning labels, that could help to slow the epidemics of obesity and cardiometabolic disease. We hope that the careful review of the evidence and the discussion of issues that can lead to conflicting opinions in nutrition research in this paper will help to clarify this issue. Consumption of polyunsaturated (n-6) fats, such as those found in some vegetable oils, seeds, and nuts, lowers disease risk when compared with equal amounts of saturated fats. It is important to note however, that the effects of saturated fat can vary depending on the type of food. Dairy foods such as cheese and yogurts, which can be high in saturated fats, have been associated with reduced cardiometabolic risk. The non-caloric sweetener aspartame does not promote weight gain in adults. Aspartame is the most extensively studied of the non-caloric sweeteners. None of the dietary intervention studies that have investigated the effects of aspartame consumption have shown it promotes body weight gain. This includes studies in which the adult research participants consumed aspartame for 6 months, 1 year or 3 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Weight Research / 09.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Mmm...hamburgers” by jeffreyw is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Peter Kühnen Institute for Experimental Pediatric Endocrinology Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin Berlin Germany  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: We are focusing our interest on rare monogenic forms of obesity. The hormones leptin and MSH are playing a pivotal role for the regulation of satiety and body weight. Mutations within this pathway, e.g. in the leptin receptor gene, are leading to severe hyperphagia and early onset obesity.  Although tremendous effort it is extremely difficult for the affected patients to stabilize their body weight for a longer period of time. For this reason it has been analyzed within this investigated initiated trial whether patients with a leptin receptor mutation benefit from a treatment with the MC4R agonist setmelanotide. The treatment led to a reduction of the initially increased hunger feeling and to a reduction of body weight. Additionally, we identified molecular evidences that a specific signaling cascade of the MSH receptor (MC4R) is of importance for the regulation of body weight. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Global Health, Pediatrics, Vitamin D, Weight Research / 04.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Javeria Saleem PhD Department of Public Health, Institute of Social and Cultural Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Blizard Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry Queen Mary University of London London, United Kingdom MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Severe acute malnutrition is the most extreme and visible form of undernutrition. Affected children have very low weight for their height and severe muscle wasting; they may also have swollen feet, face and limbs. Around 20 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition worldwide of whom an estimated 1.4 million live in Pakistan. The condition is a major cause of death in children under 5 in Asia and Africa. The standard treatment is to give a high-energy, micronutrient enhanced paste called ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF). Vitamin D deficiency has been reported to be a risk factor for severe wasting in children with severe acute malnutrition Ready-to-use therapeutic food contains relatively modest amounts of vitamin D. However, the effects of adding high-dose vitamin D to this standard treatment have not previously been evaluated. We therefore did a clinical trial to assess whether high-dose vitamin D hastened recovery in 185 children aged 6-58 months who were receiving standard treatment for severe acute malnutrition in Southern Punjab, Pakistan. The 93 children in the active arm of the study received two doses of 5 mg vitamin D by mouth, while the 92 children in the control arm received placebo (a dummy medicine containing no vitamin D). Our findings were very striking: after 2 months of treatment, the children who received high-dose vitamin D in addition to standard therapy had significantly better weight gain, and significantly better motor and language development, than those who received standard treatment alone. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Nutrition, Weight Research / 01.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Edward "Ted" Weiss, Ph.D. Professor Department of Nutrition and Dietetics Saint Louis University Saint Louis MO 63104 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Ketogenic diets are popular. They are very low in carbohydrate, with moderate protein and large amounts of fat. They are popular for weight loss but definitive studies of this are lacking. We tested the effects of a ketogenic diet on high-intensity exercise performance, such as sprinting. The result showed that the ketogenic diet was harmful to performance, reducing performance by 6 - 7% when compared to a high-carbohydrate diet. (more…)
Author Interviews, JACC, Weight Research / 30.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Morgana Mongraw-Chaffin, PhD MPH Wake Forest School of Medicine North Carolina MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: While some large studies and meta-analyses of this topic suggest that metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) is not a benign condition, discrepancies persist in the results of individual studies. Lack of a clear explanation for these differences drives the continuing controversy over whether MHO is a useful tool for risk stratification or an intermediate condition on the pathway to cardiometabolic risk. In the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), we found that 48% of those with metabolically healthy obesity transitioned to unhealthy obesity by the end of follow-up. Those who transitioned had higher odds of developing cardiovascular disease compared to those who maintained normal weight. We further found that earlier transition from MHO to unhealthy obesity was associated with higher odds. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Microbiome, Nutrition, Weight Research / 13.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Turkish Food” by Garry Knight is licensed under CC BY 2.0Jasmohan S. Bajaj, M.D. Associate Professor Department of Internal Medicine Division of Gastroenterology Virginia Commonwealth University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Altered gut microbiota composition can occur due to diseases and due to changes in the dietary practices. The interaction between these two and their linkage with clinical outcomes in liver diseases, such as cirrhosis is not clear from an international standpoint. In this study we enrolled healthy subjects, and patients with cirrhosis who were either early or advanced in their process from USA and Turkey. We found that the Turkish subjects, who followed a Middle-eastern diet rich in vegetables and fermented milk products, had high microbial diversity, which was in turn associated with lower hospitalizations over 3 months. There was also an additional beneficial effect of coffee and tea intake. This protection persisted even when the clinical factors were accounted for. (more…)
Author Interviews, Microbiome, Nutrition, Sugar, Weight Research / 12.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eugene B. Chang, MD Martin Boyer Professor of Medicine Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery University of Chicago Chicago, IL  60637 and Kristina Martinez-Guryn, Ph.D., R.D.
Assistant Professor 
Biomedical Sciences Program
Midwestern University
Downers Grove IL MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Martinez-Guryn: The original goal of this study was to understand why mice devoid of all microorganisms (germ free mice) are protected from diet-induced obesity. We demonstrate that these mice display severely impaired lipid absorption even when fed a high fat diet. Dr. Chang: We found that many of the processes of dietary lipid digestion and absorption are dependent on and modulated by the gut microbiome which itself responds to dietary cues to adjust the small intestine’s ability and capacity to handle dietary lipids appropriately. This interplay is important for general health, but the findings are also relevant to conditions of overnutrition (obesity, metabolic syndrome) and undernutrition (starvation, environmental enteropathy).  In conditions of overnutrition, high fat, simple sugar, low fiber foods typical of western diets promote small intestinal microbes (which have been largely neglected by the scientific community) that promote fat digestion and absorption. This increases our capacity to assimilate dietary fats which can contribute to the overnutrition problem.  In conditions of undernutrition, these types of gut microbes are lost or minimally represented.  Thus, when nutritional repletion is started, the gut’s ability to upregulate its capacity for dietary lipid digestion and absorption is compromised. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, NEJM, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 05.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lise Geisler Bjerregaard PhD Postdoc, PhD, M.Sc. Public Health Center for Klinisk Forskning og Sygdomsforebyggelse/ Center for Clinical Research and Disease Prevention Sektion for Klinisk Epidemiologi Frederiksberg Hospital, Frederiksberg MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Being overweight in childhood and early adulthood is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in adulthood. We wanted to know whether or not remission of overweight before early adulthood can reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes later in life. We studied the associations between different combinations of weight status in childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, and later development of type 2 diabetes. We found that men who had been overweight at 7 years of age but normalised weight by age 13 years and were normal weight as young men had similar risks of type 2 diabetes as men who were never overweight. Men who normalised weight between age 13 years and early adulthood had increased risks of type 2 diabetes, but lower risks than men who were overweight at all ages.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, Weight Research / 27.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Pepita Barlow, MSc, Department of Sociology University of Oxford, Manor Road Building, Manor Road, Oxford, United Kingdom 

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

Response: The escalating global prevalence of overweight and obesity, or “globesity,” is often described as a pandemic. Globalization via free trade agreements (FTAs) with the US has been implicated in this pandemic because of its role in spreading high-calorie diets rich in salt, sugar, and fat through the reduction of trade barriers like tariffs in the food and beverage sector.  

We used a “natural experiment” design (that mimics a randomized controlled trial as closely as possible) and data from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Office to evaluate the impact of the 1989 Canada-US Free Trade Agreement on caloric availability in Canada (CUSFTA).  

We found that CUSFTA was associated with an increase in caloric availability and likely intake of approximately 170 kilocalories per person per day in Canada. Additional models showed that this rise in caloric intake can contribute to weight gain of between 1.8-9.3 kg for men and 2.0-12.2 kg for women aged 40, depending on their physical activity levels and the extent to which availability affects caloric intake.  (more…)

Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Science, Weight Research / 22.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dai Fukumura, M.D., Ph.D Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology Harvard Medical School Deputy Director, Edwin L. Steele Laboratory, Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MA      Dr. Joao Incio PhD Post-Doc, Edwin L. Steele Laboratory           Dr. Rakesh K. Jain PhD Andrew Werk Cook Professor of Tumor Biology and director of the Edwin L. Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology Rradiation oncology department Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Based on promising data from preclinical studies and subsequent increase in progression-free survival in patients, anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy received accelerated approval for metastatic breast cancer. However, this approval was withdrawn in the United States based on the lack of overall survival benefit in several subsequent phase III studies in metastatic and adjuvant settings. Potential mechanisms of resistance to anti-VEGF therapy include the upregulation of alternative angiogenic and pro-inflammatory factors. Production of some of these factors has been shown to increase in obesity specifically in hypoxic adipose tissues including the breast. Given that up to 70% of breast cancer (BC) patients in the United States are overweight or obese, we addressed one simple but important question in this study: Is obesity contributing to anti-VEGF treatment resistance in breast cancer? (more…)
Author Interviews, PLoS, Weight Research / 21.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robin Dando, PhD Assistant Professor Director, Cornell Sensory Evaluation Facility Department of Food Science Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: For many years, people have been interested in if gaining weight can change how we perceive foods, thus maybe encouraging less healthy food choices.  There is some evidence in previous work that if we become obese, we seem to perceive things as tasting less intense.  Now if this were the case, to make up for this we might eat more of whatever food it was we were eating, or conversely we might choose something that tasted more intense, to make up this difference.  More intense usually means higher calories, so if we took either of these approaches, we’re at risk for weight gain. In our study, we examined the taste buds of mice who were fed an unhealthy diet that induces obesity, versus sibling mice fed a more healthy diet that keeps them lean.  The mice gaining weight ended up after only 8 weeks with a lot fewer taste buds than the lean mice.  This loss of taste buds represents one explanation for foods tasting less intense to the obese. (more…)
Author Interviews, NYU, Rheumatology, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 20.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jonathan Samuels, MD Associate Professor of Medicine Division of Rheumatology NYU Langone Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: A high percentage of obese patients have painful knee osteoarthritis, and have difficulty losing weight as well as treating the knee pain with a self-perpetuating cycle.  MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response:  Patients who lost weight with their laparoscopic banding surgeries also experienced marked improvement of their knee pain. We found a significant correlation between the degree of improvement in the body mass index and reduction of knee pain in our cohort. In addition, the patients who experienced the most relief from weight loss surgeries had their procedures at earlier ages, as well as those who never had a traumatic knee injury nor developed osteoarthritis in other joints. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Endocrinology, OBGYNE, Weight Research / 20.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Madhusmita Misra, MD, MPH Division Chief, Pediatric Endocrinology Fritz Bradley Talbot and Nathan Bill Talbot Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Disordered eating behavior is common in conditions of functional hypothalamic amenorrhea, such as anorexia nervosa and exercise-induced amenorrhea, which are also associated with anxiety and depression. In hypoestrogenic rodents, estrogen replacement reduces anxiety-related behavior. Similarly, physiologic estrogen replacement in adolescents with anorexia nervosa reduces anxiety and prevents the increased body dissatisfaction observed with increasing weightHowever, the impact of estrogen administration on disordered eating behavior and psychopathology in normal-weight young women with exercise-induced amenorrhea is unknown. Adolescent and young adult normal-weight athletes 14-25 years old with irregular periods were randomized to receive (i) physiologic estrogen replacement using a transdermal patch with cyclic progesterone, or (ii) an oral estrogen-progesterone containing pill (an oral contraceptive pill), or (iii) no estrogen for 12-months. The Eating Disorder Inventory-2 (EDI-2) and Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ) were administered ag the beginning and the end of the study to assess disordered eating behavior and psychopathology. We found that the group that did not receive estrogen had a worsening of disordered eating behavior and psychopathology over the 12-months duration of the study, but this was not observed in the group that received estrogen replacement. Further, body dissatisfaction scores improved over 12-months in the groups receiving estrogen replacement, with the transdermal estrogen group showing the strongest effect. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Weight Research / 11.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sadiya S. Khan, MD MS Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine Department of Preventive Medicine Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Chicago, Illinois MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: In recent years, controversy has grown regarding findings termed the "obesity paradox" whereby individuals with cardiovascular disease who are obese have "better" outcomes. These findings have led to confusion for patients who are obese. The main findings of our study help clarify the adverse cardiovascular risks for obese individuals with a shorter overall health span and lifespan. Obese participants in our study lived shorter and sicker with more years lived with cardiovascular diseases and greater lifetime risk of developing cardiovascular disease.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JACC, JAMA, Weight Research / 05.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “physical-activity-120112-M-2021D-019” by MilitaryHealth is licensed under CC BY 2.0Trine Moholdt, PhD Research Fellow Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging | Exercise, Cardiometabolic Health and Reproduction Norwegian University of Science and Technology MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Although obese individuals have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, evidence from many observational studies shows that in those who already have cardiovascular disease, being overweight or obese is associated with lower risk of mortality compared to their normal weight counterparts. This phenomenon is often called the “obesity paradox”. Recently we observed that in individuals who have a high physical activity level, there is no such obesity paradox and body mass index did not associate with survival time in those who with high physical activity (Moholdt et al, American Journal of Medicine, 2017).  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Mediterranean Diet, Nutrition, Vegetarians, Weight Research / 26.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Vegetarian dan dan noodles” by Andrea Nguyen is licensed under CC BY 2.0Francesco Sofi, MD PhD Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine University of Florence, Florence, Italy; Clinical Nutrition Unit, Careggi University Hospital Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation Italy, Onlus IRCCS Florence, Italy  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Mediterranean and Vegetarian diets are two of the most beneficial dietary patterns for prevention of chronic degenerative diseases. No studies have been conducted in the same group of subjects, by comparing these two dietary profiles. Main results are that both diets have been found to be beneficial for cardiovascular prevention, in the same group of subjects at low risk of cardiovascular disease. In particular, vegetarian diet determined a reduction of total and LDL-cholesterol, whereas Mediterranean diet resulted in lower levels of triglycerides and some inflammatory parameters (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Endocrinology, Environmental Risks, PLoS, Weight Research / 15.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gang Liu, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although many approaches can be used to achieve a short-term weight loss, maintenance of weight loss has become a key challenge for sustaining long-term benefits of weight loss. Accumulating evidence has suggested that certain environmental compounds may play an important role in weight gain and obesity development. The potential endocrine-disrupting effects of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which are extensively used in many industrial and consumer products including food packaging, paper and textile coatings, and non-stick cookware, have been demonstrated in animal studies, but whether PFASs may interfere with body weight regulation in humans is largely unknown. In a 2-year POUNDS Lost randomized clinical trial that examined energy-restricted diets on weight changes, baseline plasma concentrations of major PFASs were measured among 621 overweight and obese participants aged 30-70 years. Body weight was measured at baseline, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) and other metabolic parameters, including glucose, lipids, thyroid hormones, and leptin, were measured at baseline, 6, and 24 months. We found that higher baseline levels of PFASs were significantly associated with a greater weight regain, primarily in women. On average, women in the highest tertile of PFASs regained 1.7-2.2 kg more body weight than women in the lowest tertile. In addition, higher baseline plasma PFAS concentrations, especially perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), were significantly associated with greater decline in RMR during the first 6 months and less increase in RMR during weight regain period.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Weight Research / 14.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Elliptical Stationary Bikes GVSU Winter Hall Exercise Center 2-4-15” by Steven Depolo is licensed under CC BY 2.0Jennifer L. Kuk, PhD Associate Professor York University School of Kinesiology and Health Science Sherman Health Science Research Centre Toronto, Ontario MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? - The benefits of fitness are well know, but it was unclear whether the benefits applied to those with severe obesity. This is even more important give that the health risks associated with severe obesity are exponentially higher than in mild obesity. Fitness in this study was defined as the top 80% of a normal population.This means that unfit is the bottom 20%. In the past, research has shown that this threshold of fitness is associated with the biggest health benefits. - We see that 40% of individuals with mild obesity are fit, while 11% of those with severe obesity are fit. Individuals with high fitness had no differences in health risk, despite the large differences in obesity (~50-100 pounds). Conversely, those within the unfit group did have significantly higher glucose, blood pressure and lipids with higher obesity levels. In other words, fitness was able to protect individuals with severe obesity from many of the expected negative health consequences. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Melanoma, Weight Research / 14.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer McQuade, M.D., lead author Melanoma Medical Oncology The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Melanoma is the most deadly of the common skin cancers, and for many years we lacked effective therapies for patients with disease that had spread (metastatic). Over the past 7 years, there has been FDA approval of 2 new classes of drugs that have dramatically improved the survival of patients with metastatic melanoma. Checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapies “take the brakes” off patients’ immune system to allow the immune system to eliminate the cancer. Targeted therapies turn off key molecules expressed by some tumors (BRAF mutant) that they rely on for sustained growth and division. While these types of therapies can result in dramatic long-term disease control in some patients, others may not have any shrinkage of their tumors. Some differences may lie in the tumors themselves, but there is also increasing evidence that “host” factors such as the microbiome and lifestyle choices might influence outcomes in cancer patients. Obesity has been associated with an increased risk of many cancers, and is in fact poised to overtake smoking as the leading preventable cause of cancer. One of the ways that obesity may increase tumor growth is by increasing levels of insulin and other growth factors which then activate a pathway called the PI3K pathway that leads to continued tumor growth. As that PI3K pathway has also been shown to cause resistance to targeted and immune therapies in melanoma, we hypothesized that obesity would be associated with worse outcomes in patients with metastatic melanoma treated with these therapies. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Education, Nutrition, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 13.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Lt. Governor Brown Visits Hamilton Elem_Mid School to Highlight Summer Meals Program” by Maryland GovPics is licensed under CC BY 2.0Peymané Adab, MD University of Birmingham in England MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Childhood obesity is an increasing problem worldwide. In the UK, the proportion of children who are very overweight doubles during the primary school years. Furthermore during this period inequalities emerge. At school entry there is little difference in the likelihood of being overweight between groups. However on leaving primary school, children from minority ethnic groups and those from more deprived, compared to more affluent backgrounds are more likely to be overweight. Excess weight in children is linked with multiple health, emotional and social problems.  As children spend a lot of time at school, it seems intuitive that they are an ideal setting for prevention interventions. Although a number of studies have investigated the evidence for school obesity prevention programmes, the results have been mixed and methodological weaknesses have prevented recommendations being made. As a result we undertook a major high quality trial to evaluate an intervention that had been developed in consultation with parents, teachers and the relevant community. The 12 month programme  had four components. Teachers at participating schools were trained to provide opportunities for regular bursts of physical activity for children, building up to an additional 30 minutes each school day. There was also a workshop each term, where parents came in to cook a healthy meal (breakfast, lunch of dinner) with their children. In conjunction with a local football club, Aston Villa, children participated in a six-week healthy eating and physical activity programme. Finally, parents were provided with information about local family physical activity opportunities. We involved around 1500 year 1 children (aged 5-6 years) from 54 state run primary schools in the West Midlands. At the start of the study, we measured their height and weight and other measures of body fat, asked the children to complete a questionnaire about their wellbeing, to note everything they ate for 24 hours, and to wear an activity monitor that recorded how active they were. After this, the schools were randomised to either receive the programme or not. We then repeated the measures 15 and 30 months later. (more…)
Author Interviews, Weight Research / 02.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amy Gorin, Ph.D. Professor, Psychological Sciences Associate Director Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP) University of Connecticut Storrs, CT   06269-1248 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  This study examined whether behavioral weight management programs have a ripple effect on untreated spouses.  That is, if one member of a couple participates in a weight loss program, does the other untreated spouse benefit?  Given that many spouses are of a similar weight status, if one spouse is overweight, the other spouse tends to be overweight as well — understanding how weight management programs impact both spouses has important public health implications. To examine this question, 130 spouses were randomly assigned to Weight Watchers or a self-guided control group. Spouses assigned to Weight Watchers group had only one member enrolled in a structured 6-month weight loss program (Weight Watchers) that provided in-person counseling and online tools to assist with weight loss. In the self-guided group, one member of the couple received a four-page handout with information on healthy eating, exercise, and weight control strategies (e.g., choosing a low-fat, low-calorie diet, portion control). The results indicate that nearly one-third (32%) of untreated spouses in both groups lost ≥3% of their initial body weight (weight loss based on obesity management guidelines) at the 6-month mark, and weight losses did not differ between untreated spouses of Weight Watchers and self-guided participants. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, Sugar, Weight Research / 22.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Soda” by Jannes Pockele is licensed under CC BY 2.0Maria Luger, MSc SIPCAN Special Institute for Preventive Cardiology And Nutrition Spendenbegünstigte Einrichtung gem. FW 1914/19.3.2005 Vorstand: Univ.-Prof. Prim. Dr. Friedrich Hoppichler Salzburg, Austria MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. Rising consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) has been a major contributor to the obesity epidemic and it increases the risk of diabetes or cardiovascular disease, as previous evidence has shown. Partly inconsistent findings from previous reviews have fueled discussions on the impact of SSBs on obesity development. Therefore, the aim of our review was to systematically review the recent evidence in children and adults. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 17.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Oma Reges, PhD Clalit Research Institute, Clalit Health Services, Tel Aviv, Israel Department of Health Systems Management, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Israel, based on the most recently published data (2015), performs more per-capita bariatric surgery than the U.S.A (about 9,000 to 9,500 procedures annually, which is 1.8 times higher rate per capita than the U.S.A, where there are about 200,000 procedures a year). It is important to evaluate the impact of these procedures on health status, as there is a lack of data of the effectiveness of these procedures over time. We were able to document lower mortality rates, of up to 50%, in the obese patient undergoing surgery as opposed to matched obese patients who continue with usual care.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 15.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jøran Hjelmesæth MD, PhD Professor, Head Morbid Obesity Centre and Section of Endocrinology Department of Medicine Vestfold Hospital Trust Tønsberg, Norway Department of Endocrinology, Morbid Obesity and Preventive Medicine Institute of Clinical Medicine University of Oslo, Norway MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What is known?  Some previous studies have shown beneficial long-term effects of bariatric surgery on the remission and incidence of diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia, whilst high quality data on the long-term incidence of adverse effects, mental health conditions and complications after bariatric surgery are sparse or lacking. In addition, the control groups in previous studies of the effect of bariatric surgery seldom or never received any specific specialist based non-surgical treatment alternative. The present pragmatic real world study was performed at a publicly funded single tertiary care obesity center in Norway where patients could choose between bariatric surgery and specialized medical treatment (voluntarily and free of charge). Nearly complete short- and long-term (≤ 10 years) data on beneficial and detrimental outcomes were retrieved from national registries (Norwegian Prescription Database and Norwegian Patient Registry).  The results confirm the beneficial long-term effects of bariatric surgery (gastric bypass) on the remission and incidence of diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia, as demonstrated in some previous studies. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, JAMA, Weight Research / 12.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Liping Pan, MD, MPH Epidemiologist, Epidemiology & Surveillance Team Obesity Prevention and Control Branch Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion CDC  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Children with severe obesity face significant health and social challenges. Children with obesity and severe obesity are at higher risk for having other chronic health conditions and diseases, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, and type 2 diabetes. They also have more risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure, impaired glucose tolerance, and high cholesterol than their normal weight peers. These lifelong health risks associated with severe obesity during early childhood indicate the importance of preventing and identifying severe obesity. Childhood obesity disproportionately affects children living in low-income families. However, no recent trends on severe obesity in this population have been reported. (more…)