Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Pulmonary Disease / 12.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Liam Townsend, PhD Department of Infectious Diseases St. James's Hospital and Department of Clinical Medicine Trinity Translational Medicine Institute Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Much is known about the clinical characteristics and pathological features of acute SARS-CoV-2 infection, but there is relatively little known about post-COVID recovery. This has come under increasing scrutiny in light of reports that patients suffer persistent symptoms beyond resolution of initial infection, known as long COVID. We set out to assess patients in our post-COVID clinic for ongoing ill-health, with particular focus on fatigue and breathlessness. Given that COVID-19 primarily affects the respiratory system, we also evaluated respiratory recovery. Patients underwent chest radiography and six-minute-walk testing, as well as routine blood tests including inflammatory markers and D-dimers. We included both patients who were admitted during their acute infection as well as those managed in the community in order to capture the full spectrum of disease. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Pulmonary Disease / 12.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Maria A. Blasco, PhD Director of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre Head of the Telomeres and Telomerase Group – CNIO  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In my group we have previously described that telomere dysfunction in alveolar type II (ATII) cells in the lung is sufficient to induce pulmonary fibrosis in mice, thus demonstrating that these cells, which have a role in lung regeneration, are at the origin of the disease (Povedano et al., Cell Reports, 2015). Indeed, we further demonstrated that telomere elongation in these cells by using a gene therapy strategy based on telomerase activation, was sufficient to stop the progression of pulmonary fibrosis induced by short telomeres in mice (Povedano, eLife, 2018). (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease, JACC / 11.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rishi K. Wadhera, MD, MPP, MPhil Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Associate Program Director, Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The direct toll of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S. has been substantial, but concerns have also arisen about the indirect effects of the pandemic on higher-risk patients with chronic medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. Hospitalizations for acute cardiovascular conditions, including myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke precipitously declined during the early phase of the pandemic. These patterns have raised concern that patients may be avoiding hospitals due to fear of contracting SARS-CoV-2, and that some have died from cardiovascular conditions without seeking medical care. In addition, there has been growing concern about the the effects of health-care system strain and the deferral of semi-elective procedures on patients with cardiovascular conditions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Lung Cancer / 17.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robert Van Haren, MD, MSPH College of Medicine University of Cincinnati  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all areas of society including the field of oncology. This study evaluated the impact of COVID-19 on lung cancer screening.  Screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scans are important because they reduce lung cancer mortality by at least 20%.  Our lung cancer screening program was closed in March 2020 due to COVID 19 and reopened again in June 2020.  We cancelled over 800 LDCTs during that time period.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 17.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Xiaolei Yang  The State Key Laboratory of Nonlinear Mechanics, Institute of Mechanics School of Engineering Sciences University of Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China hallway-air-flow.jpegMedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The most important finding of this study is that the transmission of COVID-19 is highly influenced by the airflow and that a slight difference in the airflow can significantly alter the virus spreading pattern in the air. In this study, the change of airflow is caused by a minor difference in the corridor width and the walking speed. However, such a change can also come from other factors, such as the indoor architectural structure, the temperature, the humidity, etc. In many of these cases, the common guideline of 6-feet may not be enough when the influence of airflow is taken into account. Due to this complexity, there is still a gap of knowledge to fill before a safety guideline for different indoor environments can be provided to the public, many research efforts are needed from the fluid mechanics’ aspect. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, End of Life Care / 14.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Isaac Chua, MD, MPH Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patient surveys have shown that most people prefer to die at home at the end-of-life. However, during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, anecdotal evidence from our colleagues and findings from a prior study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggested that majority of COVID-19 decedents died in a medical facility. However, less is known about care intensity at the end-of-life according to place of death among patients who died of COVID-19. Therefore, we characterized end-of-life care by place of death among COVID-19 decedents at Mass General Brigham (MGB), the largest health system in Massachusetts.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, OBGYNE / 13.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sheela Maru, MD, MPH Department of Health System Design and Global Health and Arnhold Institute for Global Health and Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Universal screening for SARS-CoV-2 infection on Labor and Delivery (L&D) units is a critical strategy to manage patient and health worker safety, especially in a vulnerable high-prevalence community. We describe the results of a SARS-CoV-2 universal screening program at the L&D Unit at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, NY, a 545-bed public hospital serving a diverse, largely immigrant and low-income patient population and an epicenter of the global pandemic. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, CT Scanning, Johns Hopkins, Nature / 12.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nilanjan Chatterjee, PhD Bloomberg Distinguished Professor Departments of Biostatistics and Epidemiology Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Calculation of risks or severe COVID-19 disease and mortality for individuals in the general population can help to prioritize prevention efforts, such as early vaccination. We developed a model to estimate risks for COVID-19 mortality for currently uninflected individuals based on sociodemographic factors, pre-existing conditions and local pandemic intensity.  The model captures factors associated with both risk of infection and complications after infection. The model was developed using information from a large UK based cohort study called OpenSAFELY, and was adapted to the US population based on information on mortality rate associated with age and race/ethnicity available through CDC.  The model also utilizes information on state level projected death rates from pandemic forecasting models.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Environmental Risks, Science / 11.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Asimanshu Das, Ph.D. student Brown University School of Engineering MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Driving in a car with  ride-share or car-pool is a widely prevalent social interaction. The study aimed to address the airflows inside cars in various window open/closed configurations using computer simulations, and also looking into the possibility of movement of aerosol-type of particles from one occupant to other. The main findings are that opening windows provides a likely benefit to reduce the potentially pathogenic aerosols inside the cabin. Generally, more windows the better, but at the least it would be advisable to have one rear side window and one frontside window open. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 10.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joanne L. Blum, MD, PhD, FACP Texas Oncology and Director Hereditary Cancer Risk Program Baylor University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly describe the POLARIS study? Response: POLARIS is an ongoing prospective, real-world, non-interventional study in patients with HR+/HER2-ABC receiving palboiclib plus endocrine therapy with a targeted enrollment of 1500 patients at 110 sites in the United States and Canada.  MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
  • Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately one third of the study sites experienced an impact on their responsiveness to correspondence, timely data entry, and subject management.
  • The geographic location or type (e.g., academic or community) of study site appears associated with whether the site was impacted by COVID-19.
  • Other study site characteristics were generally similar between sites that reported an impact of COVID-19 and those that were not impacted.
  • Because of inherent limitations of survey studies, these findings must be interpreted with caution.
(more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 07.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sitara Weerakoon, MPH (she/her) PhD Candidate | Epidemiology & Biostatistics Graduate Research Assistant Center for Pediatric Population Health UTHealth MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Measures to control the spread of COVID-19 included stay-at-home mandates and business lockdown policies which resulted in many facing a loss of income or employment and more time spent isolated at home. Life stressors (like job loss and social isolation) have been shown to be associated with increased drinking at unhealthy levels. Those with a history of mental health problems may be even more at risk. We aimed to see if binge drinking (5 or more drinks [male] or 4 or more drinks [female] in one session) and levels of alcohol consumption among binge drinkers were impacted by these pandemic-related factors. We found that increased time spent at home (in weeks) was associated with a 19% increase in the odds of binge drinking and binge drinkers with a previous diagnosis of depression and current depression symptoms (during the early months of the pandemic) had a 237% greater odds of drinking more alcohol (vs drinking the same amount) compared to those with no history and current symptoms of depression. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 07.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Martin Scholz Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Primary care physicians should have options available to effectively treat newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients in the outpatient setting to avoid severe COVID-19 progression, hospitalizations, and mortality. Already since the beginning of the pandemic different early treatment options were evaluated. My co-authors, Dr. Zelenko, Dr. Derwand, and myself were keen to confirm retrospectively the observed evidence for beneficial early treatment effects of an already applied  triple therapy in combination with a risk stratification approach. The defined risk stratification allowed to differentiate between patients at low and high risk for disease progression and guided treatment decisions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Leukemia / 06.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: William Wood, MD Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology UNC School of MedicineWilliam Wood, MD Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology UNC School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were concerns that individuals with cancer, and especially those with hematologic malignancies, could be at higher risk for adverse outcomes following COVID-19 infection than the general population. For this reason the ASH Research Collaborative developed a voluntary data collection registry in which providers or sites caring for patients with hematologic malignancies and COVID-19 infection provided de-identified data via an online data collection platform. We believe that our findings – that 20% of patients with blood cancers who had COVID-19 infection died, including 33% of those who required hospital or ICU level-care – indicate that patients with blood cancers are a medically vulnerable group when it comes to COVID-19. The risk of dying was highest in patients who were older, had more severe infection, opted to forego more intensive treatment, and/or had poorer prognosis before their COVID-19 infection, as determined by their treating clinicians (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Infections, JAMA, NYU, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 04.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gbenga Ogedegbe, MD, MPH Dr. Adolph & Margaret Berger Professor of Population Health Director, Division of Health & Behavior Director Center for Healthful Behavior Change Department of Population Health NYU Langone Health NYU School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The background for the study is the disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in Blacks and Hispanics compared to Whites in major cities across the country. We asked two questions: 1) are there racial/ethnic differences in COVID-19 outcomes (likelihood of testing positive, hospitalizations, severe illness, and deaths) among patients who receive care at NYU Langone Health? If there are differences, are they explained by comorbidity and neighborhood characteristics (poverty, educational status, employment, housing, proportion of Blacks and Hispanics in communities)? (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Hematology / 04.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: George Sakoulas, MD Sharp Memorial Hospital and Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group Associate Adjunct Professor UC San Diego School of Medicine San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by IVIG?   Response: IVIG stands for intravenous immunoglobulin. It is a preparation from pooled blood donors isolating antibodies in their blood and highly concentrated for use. It's uses are to either replace immunoglobulins in patients who do not produce enough of them because of some underlying immunodeficiency or, as in the case of COVID, they take advantage of the immune signaling properties of the non-variable part of the antibodies. Many immune cells have receptors that bind the non-variable (also called the Fc-gamma region), and when bound, the activity of these activated immune cells is modulated. IVIG is used in many immunologic complications of infections like Guillan-Barre, Kawasaki's disease, immune mediated encephalitis from mycoplasma, just to name a few. We decided to study IVIG because:
  1. Our anecdotal yet successful use of IVIG in treating ARDS due to influenza and other viruses.
  2. Our very definitive successful use of IVIG in a very sick patient with COVID early in the pandemic.
  3. The weak yet positive retrospective data from China of IVIG in COVID.
  4. The mechanism of IVIG inhibiting neutrophil extracellular trap (or NETS) thought to play an important role in COVID severe disease.
  5. IVIG has been around to 4 decades and many physicians have a level of prescribing comfort.
It is worth clarifying that the benefit here is NOT from neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 virus but rather the immunomodulatory effect. It will be very interesting to see if the effect/benefit changes over time as pooled blood donors feeding the IVIG supply do develop more antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, but this is not yet known.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Pediatrics, Smoking, Stanford, Tobacco, Tobacco Research / 03.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD, FSAHM (pronouns: she/her) Professor of Pediatrics Taube Endowed Research Faculty Scholar Professor (by courtesy), Epidemiology and Population Health Professor (by courtesy), Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Director of Fellows’ Scholarship, Department of Pediatrics Director of Research, Division of Adolescent Medicine Co-leader, Scholarly Concentrations, Pediatrics Residency Program MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: To examine adolescent and young adult e-cigarette use during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 4 main findings:
  • About 2/3 of adolescent and young adult ever-e-cigarette users reported either quitting or cutting back on e-cigarette use since COVID-19 began.
  • Users least likely to quit or cut back e-cigarette use were those showing higher levels of nicotine dependence and those who had used e- cigarettes a large number of times.
  • Adolescent and young adult e-cigarette users found it harder to access e-cigarettes, but unlike studies before COVID-19, the dominant source of purchasing e-cigs was online instead of brick-and-mortar during COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Youth below 21 years were able to purchase e-cigarettes without any age verification, and those whose age was verified were asked to physically show ID or provided an email, which are less effective means to prevent underage youth use.
(more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Opiods, UCLA / 03.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joseph Friedman, MD/PhD student David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Numerous researchers, clinicians, officials, harm reduction agencies, and people who use drugs have sounded the alarm that the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the United States overdose crisis. However, data sources typically used to track overdoses in the US often have long lags that impede timely monitoring and response. For example, the CDC released preliminary overdose figures for 2019 in July 2020, and even these numbers may change. As they are available in near real-time, emergency medical services (EMS) data have increasingly been used as a source of up-to-date information to monitor epidemiological shifts during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, we used data from the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS), a large registry of over 10,000 EMS agencies in 47 states that represented over 80% of all EMS activations nationally in 2020. We used the data to track shifts in overdose-related cardiac arrests observed by EMS.   (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Stanford / 19.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fatima Rodriguez, MD, MPH, FACC, FAHA Assistant Professor, Cardiovascular Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine Palo Alto, CA 94304 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified existing racial/ethnic disparities in the United States. The goal of this study was to leverage new data collected from the American Heart Association’s COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry to understand racial/ethnic differences in presentation and outcomes for hospitalized patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Occupational Health / 16.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emily Barrett, PhD Associate Professor Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology Rutgers School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We started this study in the very early stages of the pandemic to look at SARS-CoV-2 viral transmission and disease severity in health care workers as compared to non-health care workers.  There was a tremendous amount of fear and uncertainty about the virus and the early anecdotal reports coming out of China and Italy highlighted the plight of many frontline health care workers who had been infected on the job. We knew that our U.S. health care workers would soon be facing this tremendous challenge. We started this study to examine risks of infection in our vulnerable frontline health care workers and a comparison group of non-health care workers. Our results are from the early stages of the U.S. pandemic in March-April 2020. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Depression, Mental Health Research, Occupational Health, Pediatrics, UCSF / 11.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kyle T. Ganson, PhD, MSW Assistant Professor, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work University of Toronto Toronto, Canada   Jason Nagata, MD, MSc Assistant Professor of Pediatrics University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, California, USA     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: A quarter of young adults in the US have reported being unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Young adults may be especially affected by employment loss as they often work in industries most adversely affected by social distancing. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Among a sample of nearly 5,000 young adults age 18 to 26 in the US, we found that since March 2020, young adults who lost their job or were part of a household that experienced employment loss were more likely than those with secure employment to experience four common symptoms of anxiety and depression. This was also true of young adults who expected an employment loss in the next four weeks. The study also found that symptoms of anxiety and depression were common among the sample of young adults. In the seven days prior to the survey, 75% reported being nervous, anxious or on edge, 68% reported not being able to stop or control worrying, 67% reported having little interest or pleasure in doing things, and 64% reported feeling down, depressed, or hopeless. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Nutrition, Pediatrics, UCSF / 11.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jason M Nagata M.D., M.Sc Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine Department of Pediatrics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: During the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity is expected to rise given economic uncertainty and job losses. Vulnerable and marginalized populations are disproportionately affected by both COVID-19 and food insecurity.   (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Rheumatology, UCSF / 07.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Milena Gianfrancesco, PhD, MPH Assistant Professor. Education Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine University of California, San Francisco MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study utilized data from the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance Provider Survey, which launched on March 25th. To date, it has collected information on over 6,000 patients with rheumatic disease diagnosed with COVID-19 from over 40 countries worldwide. As COVID-19 spread across the world in the spring, and especially within the United States, it became clear that the disease was impacting certain groups more than others. Growing attention and research began to illustrate the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 among racial/ethnic minorities in the United States. We know that racial and ethnic minorities experience a higher burden of rheumatic disease risk and severity; therefore, our group was interested in examining whether the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 also affected this susceptible population. (more…)
Author Interviews / 06.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emily S. Barrett, PhD Rutgers School of Public Health Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute Piscataway, NJ 08854  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As the covid-19 pandemic hit the us, it became clear that health care workers were potentially at risk and there was great concern for frontline doctors and nurses treating infected patients. With the health and safety of our hospital staff in mind, we offered covid-19 virus and antibody testing to all of the hospital employees. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Occupational Health / 03.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fan-Yun Lan, MD, MS PhD candidate in Population Health Sciences | Environmental Health Graduate School of Arts and Sciences & T.H. Chan School of Public Health Harvard University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Existing evidence has indicated that essential workers are heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as they are not able to benefit from mitigation policies. Their occupational exposures increase their own risk to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and increase the risk of secondary transmissions to their colleagues, families and communities. Research, however, has largely focused on healthcare workers with relatively limited literature investigating non-healthcare essential workers. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA / 02.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Darpun D. Sachdev, M.D. Case investigation and Contact tracing Branch Chief SFDPH Covid Command Center San Francisco Department of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The ultimate goal of contact tracing is to rapidly identify and isolate contacts who are COVID-19 positive before they have time to transmit to others. As mentioned in the published research letter by SFDPH, through JAMA, during early shelter-in-place (from April to June 2020), our contact tracing program successfully reached greater than 80% of cases and contacts within a median timeframe of 6 days from the onset of their case’s symptoms. Approximately 10% of named contacts were newly diagnosed with COVID-19 (compared to 2% positivity during this time period). Household contacts made up approximately 80% of all identified contacts, but 90% of contacts who tested positive lived in the same household as the case. Secondary cases (contacts who were found to be newly diagnosed with COVID-19) were traced and quarantined within 6 days of the case’s symptom onset. With that said, the 6-day time difference between symptom onset and contact notification raises concern regarding the overall effectiveness of tracing in preventing onward transmission by infected contacts. We are working with community-based organizations to scale up access to testing and culturally competent tracing and wraparound services. Currently, we have now decreased the time difference to 5 days. Moreover, given that the majority of contacts resided in the same household, transmission could have occurred presymptomatically such that by the time infected contacts were identified, they might have already transmitted the virus. Hence, why SFDPH, on May 5, 2020, implemented the recommendation of universal testing for COVID-19 contacts, regardless of symptoms. We recommend that testing should be offered to all contacts regardless of symptoms and encourage local health departments to adopt novel ways of increasing testing access for contacts.    (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Gastrointestinal Disease / 01.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Darbaz Adna​n, MBChB Lab Research Assistant Department of Internal Medicine - Section of Gastroenterology Rush University Medical Center Chicago, Illinois 60612 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: - We have conducted a large study of over 1000 patients at a major COVID-19 response center in Chicago at Rush University Medical Center, to assess for the frequency of initial GI symptoms (diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain) and evaluate whether these symptoms in adult COVID-19 positive could predict the disease course. Overall, 22.4% of our patients reported at least one GI symptom at the onset of their infection, with nausea/vomiting being the most common complaint. GI symptoms in COVID-19 patients were associated with worse outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Health Care Systems / 27.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Steve Olin Chief Product Officer Rally Health, Inc., part of the Optum business of UnitedHealth Grou MedicalResearch.com: Can you please elaborate on Rally Health’s mission? Mr. Olin: Our founding mission 10 years ago and still to this day is to put health in the hands of the individual. As a digital health company, we live this mission through our focus in three key areas: 1) Providing digital-first access to care by giving individuals easy-to-use digital tools and support to navigate their health care and take full advantage of their health benefits; 2) Engaging people in their daily health by creating experiences that people enjoy and that inspire them to perform healthy actions, and by giving them access to resources that help them achieve their health goals; 3) Saving people time and money by providing digital tools that help them understand health care costs and guide them to lower-cost, high-quality care options. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs / 24.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Mazzeffi MD MPH MSc Associate Professor of Anesthesiology Division Chief Anesthesiology Critical Care Medicine Medical Director Rapid Response Team MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We have known for some time that COVID19 is characterized by hypercoagulability or excess blood clotting.  In fact, the incidence of blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary emboli) is as high 20% and is two to three times more common in COVID19 than in severe influenza.  Further, autopsies of patients who died from COVID19 have shown that endothelial cells (cells that line the blood vessels) are damaged and that "micro clots" form in multiple organs.  Together, these findings strongly suggest that excess blood clotting and endothelial cell dysfunction are defining features of severe COVID19. For several months, my colleagues and I have been interested in whether aspirin might improve outcomes in patients with severe COVID19.  In prior observational research studies, aspirin was found to be protective in patients with severe lung injury.  The general idea is that aspirin reduces platelet aggregates in the lung and this improves outcome.  Unfortunately, in a prior randomized controlled study (LIPS-A) aspirin was not shown to reduce the incidence of acute respiratory distress syndrome.  Nevertheless, COVID19 has unique features that make aspirin more likely to be effective.  Mainly COVID19 is associated with hypercoagulability to a greater degree than in other viral illnesses.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Inflammation, JAMA / 21.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David E. Leaf, MD, MMSc, FASN Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Director of Clinical and Translational Research in Acute Kidney Injury Division of Renal Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The data for this study were derived from a multicenter cohort study of over 4,000 critically ill patients with COVID-19 admitted to ICUs at 68 sites across the US, as part of the Study of the Treatment and Outcomes in Critically Ill Patients with COVID-19 (STOP-COVID). STOP-COVID was initiated by David E. Leaf, MD, MMSc and Shruti Gupta, MD, MPH, from the Division of Renal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. It was initiated in March, 2020 as an unfunded, grassroots network, and now includes over 400 collaborators from 68 sites across the US. Using this data, we used a ‘target trial emulation’ approach to examine whether early administration of the monoclonal antibody, tocilizumab, reduces mortality in critically ill patients with COVID-19. Target trial emulation, a novel method of analyzing observational data, is the idea of simulating a randomized control trial to reduce bias.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Dental Research / 21.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Craig Meyers, PhD Department of Microbiology and Immunology Pennsylvania State College of Medicine Hershey, PA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As nasal and oral cavities are major points of entry and transmission for human coronaviruses our team of physicians and scientists (Craig Meyers, Janice Milici, Samina Alam, David Quillen, David Goldenberg and Rena Kass of Penn State College of Medicine and Richard Robison of Brigham Young University) were interested in testing common over-the-counter oral antiseptics and mouthwashes for their efficacy to inactivate infectious human coronavirus, which is structurally similar to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. While we wait for a vaccine for COVID-19 to be developed, methods to reduce transmission are needed. We chose products that are readily available and often already part of people’s daily routines. (more…)