Author Interviews, Infections, Respiratory / 25.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pranay Sinha, MD Section of Infectious Diseases Boston University School of MedicineMedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We hypothesized that mitigation measures such as physical distancing and mask wearing instituted in Boston would reduce transmission of common respiratory viruses such as influenza, Rhinovirus, and Parainfluenzavirus. We compared the rate of detection of such viruses at Boston Medical Center on comprehensive respiratory panels in the ambulatory, emergency room, and hospital settings in 2020 to rates in the previous five years.(more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 05.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pranay Sinha, MD Research Fellow Section of Infectious Diseases Boston University School of MedicineMedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic there were no evidence-based treatments for severely ill patients infected with this virus. We formed an interdisciplinary group of physicians from departments of adult and pediatric infectious diseases, rheumatology, and pulmonary/critical care as well as clinical pharmacy specialists. Given some promising data from China, we instituted treatment with off-label IL-6 receptor inhibitors (tocilizumab and sarilumab). The rationale was to mitigate the exuberant immune response observed in some patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 (also called cytokine storm or cytokine release syndrome).Quite quickly, we started noticing that giving the drug to our sickest patients wasn’t eliciting dramatic improvement. We reasoned that by the time patients were severely ill and requiring ventilators, the damage to their lungs from the cytokine storm had already taken place. It was like closing the barn door after the horse had already bolted. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Infections / 10.07.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sabrina Annick Assoumou, MD, MPH Assistant Professor, Medicine Infectious Diseases at Boston Medical Center Boston University School of MedicineMedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: During the opioid epidemic there has been an increase in the number of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections due to transmission among persons who inject drugs (PWID). Federally qualified health centers (FQHC) provide care to an underserved and diverse patient population with a high proportion of both injection drug use and HCV. These health care facilities could provide opportunities to enhance HCV testing and treatment, especially at a time when recent data show that the United States is not on the list of high-income nations expected to achieve the World Health Organization’s goal of eliminating HCV by 2030. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Nutrition, Social Issues / 09.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alon Peltz, MD MBA MHS Department of Population Medicine Harvard Pilgrim Health Care InstituteMedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Thank you for taking an interest in our study. This study represented a collaboration between investigators from Harvard Medical School and Boston University School of Medicine.SNAP is an important U.S. federal aid program that serves nearly 40 million persons annually with well-established health, nutrition, and financial benefits. Families can be eligible for the SNAP program under “federal” rules or “categorical eligibility” rules that extend SNAP support to otherwise ineligible families who receive benefits under certain social assistance programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.In July 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed new SNAP policies that would limit qualifications via the categorical eligibility route. Although these new policies have not been finalized, it is estimated that 1 in 10 U.S. families currently participating in SNAP may lose their benefits.We wanted to investigate the potential ramifications of these changes to help inform policymakers of the vulnerabilities of the families who receive SNAP benefits and may be at risk for disenrollment if the proposed policies are implemented.(more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA / 04.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lucy Schulson, MD MPH Section of General Internal Medicine Boston University School of Medicine Boston, MassachusettsMedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?Response: Research in the early 2000s in California demonstrated that racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, and those with limited English proficiency (LEP) experienced high rates of discrimination in healthcare. Since those studies were published, California has made concerted efforts at the state and local level to address health equity; these efforts may have impacted perceptions of discrimination in health care. However, it is not known how perceptions of discrimination in healthcare have changed over the last ten years overall and for specific groups. This study sought to compare perceptions of discrimination in health care in 2003-2005 compared to 2015-2017 overall, for racial and ethnic minorities, among immigrants, and among those with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).(more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dental Research, Pancreatic, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 28.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Julie R. Palmer, ScD Professor, Boston University School of Medicine Associate Director, Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University Boston, MA 02118MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?Response: Since 1995, 59,000 African American women from all regions of the U.S. have participated in a Boston University research study of the health of Black women. Study participants complete mailed or online questionnaires every two years.Our major goal is to identify modifiable risk factors for cancers and nonmalignant conditions that disproportionately affect African Americans (e.g., pancreatic cancer, early-onset breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, uterine fibroids). The reasons for the higher incidence of pancreatic cancer in African Americans relative to non-Hispanic White women in the U.S. are unknown.I was aware that several recent studies in predominantly White populations had observed a higher incidence of pancreatic cancer in those who had reported poor oral health and wondered whether the higher prevalence of poor oral health among African Americans could play a role in their higher incidence of pancreatic cancer. We had already asked about gum disease, periodontal disease, and adult tooth loss in several rounds of data collection.After rigorous analysis, we found that women who reported any adult tooth loss had about two times the risk of future development of pancreatic cancer compared with those who had no tooth loss and had never reported periodontal disease.The estimated risk was even greater for those who had lost five or more teeth. A similar association was observed for reports of periodontal disease, but the association was not statistically significant.(more…)