Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Lipids, Stroke / 16.04.2019 Interview with: Pamela M. Rist, ScD Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women's Hospital, Division of Preventive Medicine Boston, MA 02215 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although hypercholesterolemia is a risk factor for ischemic stroke, some prior studies have observed an inverse association between total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and risk of hemorrhagic stroke.  However, many studies were not able to study this association specifically among women. Our main result was very low levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or low levels of triglycerides were associated with an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke among women. (more…)
ALS, Author Interviews, Statins / 15.02.2019 Interview with: Alastair J. Noyce MD, PhD Preventive Neurology Unit, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine Queen Mary University of London, Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences, University College London, Institute of Neurology, London UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or motor neurone disease (MND) is a relentlessly progressive disorder that affects nerves which supply muscles. Over time the nerves die, leading to limb weakness, speech and swallowing problems, and ultimately breathing problems. Patients die on average 3-5 after diagnosis. There is no cure and the underlying disease processes are only understood in part. In this study, we adopted a large-scale approach to exploring causal risk factors for ALS. Causality is important because it implies that if one could modify or induce a change in a risk factor, one would observe a change in the risk of ALS. Observational studies struggle to prove causality definitely. Associations in observational studies can arise because: 1) the risk factor truly changes risk of ALS; or 2) something about ALS changes one’s exposure to the risk factor; or 3) the presence of another factor, which may or may not be known, can induce an association between a risk factor and ALS. Unless scenario 1 represents the truth, then changing the risk factor will not have any effect on risk of ALS. We used a proxy-based approach, known as Mendelian randomisation, to assess hundreds of possible risk factors for ALS for evidence of causality. What emerged from this was a very clear signal linking LDL cholesterol to risk of ALS. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues / 23.01.2019 Interview with: Bryan D. James, PhD Assistant Professor Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center Chicago, IL 60612 What is the background for this study? Response: It has long been reported by patients, their family members, and physicians that many older adults experience long-term declines in their memory and thinking abilities after hospitalization. Studies have recently begun to confirm these reports by following older patients for years after hospitalization and repeatedly testing their cognitive abilities. A number of questions have yet to be answered, including which types of hospitalizations are most strongly related to cognitive decline. In this study, we sought to answer whether going to the hospital for elective procedures was as risky to the cognitive health of older adults as urgent or emergency (that is, non-elective) hospitalizations. (more…)