Anemia, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Karolinski Institute / 11.07.2019 Interview with: Dr. Niels Grote Beverborg, MD PhD Post-doctoral research fellow Department of experimental cardiology University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands Integrated CardioMetabolic Center Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm Sweden What is the background for this study?   Response: Iron deficiency is very prevalent worldwide and a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, especially in vulnerable populations such as patients with heart failure. It is well known that iron deficiency can be a consequence of an insufficient iron uptake or increased iron loss (termed low iron storage), or of a chronic low inflammatory state (defective iron utilization). However, so far, we had no tools to distinguish these causes from each other in patients and have not been able to assess their potential consequences. (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Hematology, Leukemia / 03.12.2018 Interview with: Dr. Alan List MD President and Chief Executive Officer Moffitt Cancer Center Tampa, FL What is the background for this study?   Response: In patients with lower risk Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS), which accounts for the vast majority of patients with MDS overall, the most common symptomatic cytopenia is anemia. These patients, overtime, become dependent upon red blood cell transfusions and with that, they face a risk of iron loading as well as complications that occur with it. The standard first line therapy that we consider for these patients is erythropoietin-stimulating agents (ESAs). Patients who are transfusion dependent have a low response rate to ESAs, and responses are of short duration. There limited effective limited treatment options for those patients unresponsive or lose response to ESAs. For years, we’ve known that the transforming growth factor (TGF)-β pathway play an important pathogenetic role in suppressing red cell maturation and cell survival. Luspatercept is an agent that acts as an erythroid maturation agent by inhibiting the TGF-β signaling pathway by neutralizing a select group of TGF-β superfamily ligands.  (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, Global Health, JAMA, OBGYNE / 17.01.2017

Ola Andersson, MD, PhD Department of Women’s and Children’s Health Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden Interview with: Dr. Ola Andersson MD, PhD Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden What is the background for this study? Response: Anemia affects over 40% of all children under 5 years of age in the world. Anemia can impinge mental and physical performance, and is associated with long-term deterioration in growth and development. Iron deficiency is the reason for anemia in approximately 50% of the When clamping of the umbilical cord is delayed, ie after 3 minutes, iron deficiency up to 6 months of age can be prevented, but it has not been shown to prevent iron deficiency or anemia in older infants. At birth, approximately 1/3 of the child's blood is in the placenta. If clamping of the umbilical cord is done immediately (early cord clamping), the blood will remain in the placenta and go to waste (or can be stored in stem cell banks). If instead clamping is postponed for 3 minutes, most of the blood can flow back to the child as an extra blood transfusion, consisting of about one deciliter (1/2 cup) of blood, equivalent to about 2 liters (half a US gallon) of an adult. A blood donor leaves 0.4-0.5 liters of blood. Blood contains red blood cells that contain hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen to the tissues of the body. Hemoglobin contains a lot of iron, and the extra deciliter of blood may contain iron that corresponds to 3-4 months of the need for an infant. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends umbilical cord clamping at 1 minute or later, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends umbilical cord clamping at 30-60 seconds or later. (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, ENT, Hearing Loss, JAMA / 31.12.2016 Interview with: Kathleen Schieffer, BS, PhD Candidate Biomedical Sciences and Clinical and Translational Science Clinical and Translational Science Fellow Hershey, PA 17033 What is the background for this study? Response: Hearing loss is common in the United States, with its prevalence increasing with each decade of life. Iron deficiency anemia is a common, reversible condition, associated with negative health outcomes. The inner ear is highly sensitive to ischemic damage and previous animal studies have shown that iron deficiency anemia alters the inner ear physiology. Understanding the association between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss may open new possibilities for treatment. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Anemia, Author Interviews, Hematology, Surgical Research, Technology / 05.12.2016 Interview with: Allan Doctor, MD Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Professor of Pediatrics and (Associate) Biochemistry Washington University School of Medicine & Saint Louis Children’s Hospital St. Louis, Missouri What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our research team has developed the first nanoscale artificial cells designed to emulate vital functions of natural red blood cells. If ultimately confirmed safe for use in humans, this nanotechnology-based product, called ‘ErythroMer’, could represent a new and innovative alternative to blood transfusions that would be especially valuable in situations where stored blood is needed, but difficult to obtain or use, such as in pre-hospital or battlefield settings. The artificial cells are designed to be freeze-dried, stored for extended periods at ambient temperatures, and simply reconstituted with water for immediate use. This year, the National Academy of Sciences estimated that 30,000 civilian trauma deaths/year are preventable and of these, two-thirds arise from hemorrhage in the pre-hospital phase of care. One key goal for our team is to advance treatment for trauma victims or soldiers in austere environments by initiating resuscitation in the field, particularly when transport is prolonged. ErythroMer could be a blood substitute that medics carry in their pack and literally take it out, add water, and inject. There are currently no simple, practical means to bring transfusion to most trauma victims outside of hospitals. Delays in resuscitation significantly impact outcomes; it is our goal to push timely, effective care to field settings. (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, Kidney Disease / 30.11.2016 Interview with: Dorota Drozdz M.D., Ph.D Jagiellonian University Kraków Response: In Poland and Portugal we use EPO beta for anemia treatment. Our interest was to find differences in clinical patterns taking in consideration that both countries are adherent to KDIGO recommendations an guidelines. We found that in both countries the mean hemoglobin (Hb) level and percentage of patients in target Hb level (10-12 g/dl on ESA treatment) are the same, but the approaches were different – in Poland the ESA dose was statistically lower than in Portugal and iron dose was statistically higher than in Portugal. Most other lab tests results were similar. Future secondary outcomes analysis should answer the question, which method is safer. (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, OBGYNE / 07.11.2016 Interview with: Daniel C Benyshek, PhD Professor, Department of Anthropology Adjunct Professor, UNLV School of Medicine Co-Director, Metabolism, Anthropometry and Nutrition Lab University of Nevada, Las Vegas What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Maternal placentophagy is ubiquitous among nearly all terrestrial mammals, but is rare to non-existent among humans in the historic and cross-cultural records. Recently, however, human maternal placentophagy has emerged as a popular trend among a small but growing number of women in many industrialized countries. Most women engaging in the practice today consume their processed placenta in capsule form, taken daily, over several weeks postpartum. While human maternal placentophagy advocates claim many maternal health benefits from the practice, including improved postpartum mood, increased breast-milk production, and improved energy, among others, no carefully designed, placebo-controlled studies have evaluated these claims. Our randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study (N=23) investigated some of these claims. Our study found that the postpartum iron status of participants who consumed their own encapsulated placenta (based on the three week daily intake recommendation of one prominent placenta encapsulation service), was no different from those women who consumed the same amount of beef placebo. (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Hematology / 27.10.2016 Interview with: Peter M. Glazer, MD, PhD Robert E. Hunter Professor of Therapeutic Radiology and Professor of Genetics; Chair, Department of Therapeutic Radiology Yale University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It is generally recognized that gene editing in blood stem cells could provide a strategy for treatment of inherited disorders such as sickle cell disease and thalassaemia. Recent excitement has focused on CRISPR/Cas9 technology because of it is so easy to use. However, the CRISPR approach introduces an active DNA cutting enzyme into cells, which can lead to off-target cuts in the genome. As an alternative, we have pursued triplex-forming peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) designed to bind site-specifically to genomic DNA via strand invasion and formation of PNA/DNA/PNA triplexes. PNAs consist of a charge-neutral peptide-like backbone and nucleobases enabling hybridization with DNA with high affinity. PNA/DNA/PNA triplexes recruit the cell’s own DNA repair machinery to initiate site-specific editing of the genome when single-stranded ‘donor DNAs’ are co-delivered as templates containing the desired sequence modification. We found that triplex-forming PNAs substituted at the gamma position yielded high levels of gene editing in blood stem cells in a mouse model of human β-thalassaemia. Injection of thalassemic mice with nanoparticles containing gamma PNAs and donor DNAs ameliorated the disease phenotype, with sustained elevation of blood hemoglobin levels into the normal range and up to 7% β-globin gene correction in stem cells, with extremely low off-target effects. We conclude that the combination of nanoparticle delivery and next generation PNAs may offer a minimally invasive treatment for genetic disorders of the blood that can be achieved safely and simply by intravenous administration. (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, Hematology, Lancet, Surgical Research / 02.09.2016 Interview with: Alhossain A. Khalafallah, Clinical Professor Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, Australia Consultant Haematologist Launceston General Hospital Australia What is the background for this study? Response: There are limited data regarding the effect of postoperative anemia on patient’s outcomes. The issue of postoperative anemia was noticeably to affect a large cohort of patients world-wide. This study was aiming at comparing the new approach with a single ferric carboxymaltose infusion versus standard or routine usual care for management of postoperative anemia. (more…)
AHA Journals, Anemia, Author Interviews, Hematology, Stroke / 30.08.2016 Interview with: Raphae Barlas M.A 3rd year MBChB student The Institute of Applied Health Sciences Aberdeen What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Anemia and stroke are both common conditions. While previous studies have found an association between anemia on admission and increased mortality in stroke patients, this was not consistent throughout the literature. We aimed to comprehensively assess this association by conducting our own observational study, consisting of 8000 patients from UK regional stroke registry data. We then aggregated our findings into a systematic review and meta-analysis of the existing literature for a total study population of approximately 30,000 patients. (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, Hematology, Lancet, Surgical Research / 06.08.2016 Interview with: Clinical Professor Alhossain A.Khalafallah Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, Australia Consultant Haematologist Senior Staff Specialist Launceston General Hospital, Australia What is the background for this study? Response: 1. Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies worldwide, affecting up to one third of the population worldwide. 2. Prevalence of anaemia in orthopaedic surgery ranges between 10-20% with the main cause of anaemia identified as nutritional deficiency. 3. New intravenous iron preparations have been developed at a higher purchase price than oral iron. Iron carboxymaltose, as one example, remains underutilised in the treatment of perioperative anaemia. 4. To our knowledge, this study is the first to compare the efficacy, safety and long term effect on iron stores and length of hospital stay in the postoperative anaemia setting. (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Hematology / 01.07.2016 Interview with: John G. F. Cleland, MD, FRCP, FESC Department of Cardiology Hull York Medical School, University of Hull, Castle Hill Hospital, Kingston-Upon-Hull National Heart and Lung Institute Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Imperial College London, United Kingdom What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This analysis shows that iron deficiency is very common in patients with heart failure and often leads to anaemia and that the prevalence of both iron deficiency and anaemia are highly sensitivity to the criteria used to define them. The World Health Organization defines anaemia as a haemoglobin concentration of <13g/dL in men and <12g/dL in women but doctors should realise this is the lower limit of normal and haemoglobin concentrations should ideally be about 2g/dL higher than this. A man with a haemoglobin of 12g/dL is quite severely anaemic. This study suggest that iron deficiency is common when haemoglobin drops below 14g/dL for men and 13g/dL for women. (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, University Texas / 16.10.2015 Interview with: Anil K. Sood, M.D. Professor of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sood: Erythropoietin is an important drug for managing anemia, but concerns have surfaced that it might promote cancer growth. The data with the conventional epo-receptor were not convincing with regard to an explanation for why tumor growth might increase. Therefore, we considered whether there could be an alternative receptor to explain these findings. We carried out a systematic search and identified EphB4 as the alternative receptor that explained the increased tumor growth in response to epo. (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Kidney Disease, Mineral Metabolism / 10.08.2015 Interview with: Lac Tran, MD Division of Nephrology and Hypertension Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center Los Angeles, CA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Tran: Abnormal serum phosphorus levels have been associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes and progression to renal failure.  Given phosphorus’s important biological roles in cellular replication and bone mineral metabolism, we sought to investigate the association between phosphorus levels and anemia in normal kidney function and early chronic kidney disease. Our study is a population-based study among a large racially/ethnically diverse population within the Kaiser Permanente Southern California health system. Among 155, 974 individuals, 4.1% had moderate anemia and 12.9% had mild anemia.  We found that phosphorus levels greater than 3.5 mg/dL and less than 2.0 mg/dL showed a greater likelihood for moderate anemia.  Every 0.5 mg/dL phosphorus level increase demonstrated a 16% greater likelihood for moderate anemia.  The highest phosphorus tertile of our population had a 26% greater likelihood for anemia compared to the middle tertile.  We also found that female sex, Asian race, diabetes, low albumin, and low iron saturation were risk factors for anemia. (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, Diabetes, Diabetologia / 18.05.2015 Interview with: Emma English PhD Lecturer in Healthcare Science and Academic Lead for Clinical Biochemistry University of Nottingham, School of Medicine Royal Derby Hospital, UK MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. English: HbA1c is widely used for monitoring glycaemic control in people with diabetes as there is clear evidence that lowering HbA1c values leads to reductions in the rates of diabetes complications. Recently the World Health Organization and the American Diabetes Association have both advocated the use of HbA1c for the diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes at a value of ≥48 mmol/mol (6.5%). Whilst there are many advantages to the use of HbA1c as a diagnostic tool there are equally some significant limitations to its use. A widely cited confounder is anaemia, however to what extent and which types of anaemia affect HbA1c results was not clearly understood. When HbA1c was introduced as a diagnostic test in England we received many queries from healthcare professionals asking questions such as ‘at what level of anaemia should I not use HbA1c?’ and ‘should I routinely screen patients for anaemia when using HbA1c? And if so, what test should I use?’. In order to answer these questions we conducted a systematic review of the literature to determine what was known on this subject. Our findings, presented in Diabetologia, suggest that iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia may lead to a spuriously elevated HbA1c level, thus may lead a false positive diagnosis of diabetes. However, non-iron deficiency anaemias can lead to an artificially lower HbA1c and may lead to a false negative result where a diagnosis of diabetes would be missed. There is no clear evidence to suggest at what levels anaemia can give rise to these effects on HbA1c value and also there does not appear to be a single ideal test for identifying patients where this could be an issue. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, UCLA / 06.05.2015

Anita L. Nelson, MD Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Los Angeles BioMedical Research Institute Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Torrance, California Interview with: Anita L. Nelson, MD Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Los Angeles BioMedical Research Institute Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Torrance, California Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Nelson: The clinical impact heavy menstrual bleeding has often been expressed in terms of quality of life issues, but many women have heavy and prolonged bleeding that can lead to serious medical problems. The frequency with which women were treated at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center with profoundly low hemoglobin levels prompted us to do a comprehensive review of such women during a recent five year period to remind readers that even in the 21st century, this is not an uncommon problem. Overall 149 woman were treated 168 times for severe anemia (hemoglobin < 5.0 g/dL); 40% had previously been transfused (but not effectively treated). Over a quarter had reactive thrombocytosis which placed them at high risk for thrombosis (DVT, PE, and stroke). Over a third were discharged without therapy to prevent recurrence. (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Vitamin C / 27.03.2015 Interview with: Dr. Tanjim Sultana MD Department of Nephrology Lenox Hill Hospital New York Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Almost all dialysis patients are anemic. One quarter of patients requiring High dose Epogen have functional iron deficiency, which means they have adequate iron store but unable to utilize it. Vitamin C has been shown to mobilize iron from their storage and making it available to use in red blood cell production. Prior studies showed intravenous high dose vitamin C could increase hemoglobin levels and decrease epogen requirement. In our study we used daily low dose oral vitamin C in functional iron deficient patients to achieve the same goals. Patients taking daily low dose vitamin C for 3 months had significant decrease in their epogen dose compared to the control group. (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, Kidney Disease / 18.07.2014 Interview with: Dennis J. Cotter President Medical Technology and Practice Patterns Institute, Inc. Bethesda, MD 20816 Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: This is the first study to document anemia management practice patterns among predialysis CKD patients before and after publication of TREAT. Using a retrospective observational design based on a large US health plan database with over 1.2 million claims for predialysis CKD stage 3 and 4 patients, we report 4 main study findings. 1) For CKD stage 3 patients, the proportion prescribed ESA therapy declined from 17% pre-TREAT to 11% post-TREAT (a 38% decline) and for CKD stage 4 patients, from 34% to 27% (a 22% decline). 2) Prescribing of ESA therapy was declining even before TREAT, but the decline accelerated in the post-TREAT period. 3) ESA prescribing declined after TREAT regardless of anemia status; among patients with hemoglobin <10 g/dL, only 25% of stage 3 and 33% of stage 4 CKD were prescribed ESAs two years after TREAT, a notable 50% decline. 4) After adjusting for all covariates, the probability of prescribing ESAs was 35% less during a two year period after vs. before TREAT publication. (more…)
Author Interviews, Johns Hopkins, Pediatrics, Vitamin D / 24.10.2013

Meredith Atkinson, MD, MHS Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Division of Pediatric Nephrology Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, MD 21287 Interview with: Meredith Atkinson, MD, MHS Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Division of Pediatric Nephrology Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, MD 21287 What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Atkinson: First, among a healthy cross-section of U.S. children, vitamin D deficiency defined as levels below 30 ng/mL (the currently accepted threshold for adequate vs. inadequate vitamin D) were associated with nearly twice the risk for anemia compared to those with sufficient vitamin D levels.  Secondly, when we looked specifically at Caucasian and African-American children, we found that children with the lowest vitamin D levels were at increased risk for anemia in both groups, but that the specific vitamin D level below which the anemia risk started to increase was much lower in the African-American children (12 ng/mL) than in the Caucasian children (20 mg/mL). (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, BMJ, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 04.07.2013 Interview with Batool Haider, MD, MS, DSc candidate Departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition School of Public Health Harvard University Anaemia, prenatal iron use, and risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes: systematic review and meta-analysis What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Haider: The main findings of the study are that iron use in the prenatal period increased maternal mean haemoglobin concentration by 4.59 (95% confidence interval 3.72 to 5.46) g/L compared with controls and significantly reduced the risk of anaemia (relative risk 0.50, 0.42 to 0.59), iron deficiency (0.59, 0.46 to 0.79), iron deficiency anaemia (0.40, 0.26 to 0.60), and low birth weight (0.81, 0.71 to 0.93). The effect of iron on preterm birth was not significant (relative risk 0.84, 0.68 to 1.03). Analysis of cohort studies showed a significantly higher risk of low birth weight (adjusted odds ratio 1.29, 1.09 to 1.53) and preterm birth (1.21, 1.13 to 1.30) with anaemia in the first or second trimester. Exposure-response analysis indicated that for every 10 mg increase in iron dose/day, up to 66 mg/day, the relative risk of maternal anaemia was 0.88 (0.84 to 0.92) (P for linear trend<0.001). Birth weight increased by 15.1 (6.0 to 24.2) g (P for linear trend=0.005) and risk of low birth weight decreased by 3% (relative risk 0.97, 0.95 to 0.98) for every 10 mg increase in dose/day (P for linear trend<0.001). Duration of use was not significantly associated with the outcomes after adjustment for dose. Furthermore, for each 1 g/L increase in mean haemoglobin, birth weight increased by 14.0 (6.8 to 21.8) g (P for linear trend=0.002); however, mean haemoglobin was not associated with the risk of low birth weight and preterm birth. No evidence of a significant effect on duration of gestation, small for gestational age births, and birth length was noted. (more…)