Allergies, Author Interviews, Dermatology / 17.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yashu Dhamija MD Dr. Thomas Schmidlin, MD Cleveland Clinic Akron General  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We are seeing an increased use of face masks in the COVID-19 pandemic and while that is encouraged and necessary to limit the spread of disease in the general publication, it can mean challenges for some individuals. Patients with known sensitizations to allergens contained in face masks may experience rash or irritation with commonly used face coverings. It is also possible for patients without a history of contact dermatitis to become sensitized to allergens after wearing facial coverings more regularly, thus leading to new cases of contact dermatitis (CD) in individuals with no known prior history of contact dermatitis. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA / 12.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brunella Posteranno PhD Associate Professor of Microbiology Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences Rome, Italy MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: This study arises from an attempt to clarify some recent evidences of positive real-time PCR (RT-PCR) test results among patients who recovered from COVID-19 with prior negative results. Retesting positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA, in the absence of any symptoms suggestive of new infection, poses questions regarding not only the SARS-CoV-2 infection course but also, most importantly, the infectivity status of recovered COVID-19 patients. In other words, it is unknown whether such patients are infectious and whether they should be quarantined. Detecting genetic sequences (i.e., RNA) of SARS-CoV-2 in respiratory samples (e.g., nasal/oropharyngeal swab samples) by RT-PCR assays enable us to identify persons suffering from COVID-19 along with those who have been exposed and able to transmit virus to others even if they are asymptomatic. It is not hyperbole to say that without RT-PCR testing an effective fight against the virus would be impossible. However, RT-PCR assays are not a viral culture and do not allow to determine whether the virus is viable and, consequently, transmissible. In this study, we investigated RT-PCR retested positive nasal/oropharyngeal swab (NOS) samples from recovered COVID-19 patients for the presence of replicative SARS-CoV-2 RNA to assess active virus replication.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Hearing Loss / 06.11.2020


MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Eldré Beukes PhD Clinical Scientist in Audiology Clinical Audiologist: Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital Associate lecturer: Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by tinnitus? Response: Tinnitus is characterised by hearing unwanted sounds, such as a ringing or buzzing, without a corresponding sound in the environment. It is one of the most frequently occurring chronic conditions, affecting 1 in 8 adults worldwide. People with tinnitus are found to be at higher risk of lower emotional wellbeing, depression and anxiety. This led our team to realise that tinnitus may be more problematic as a result of the added stress and anxiety brought on by the pandemic. As such, we initiated an exploratory study to examine changes in tinnitus during the pandemic. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 05.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Duane Wesemann, MD, PhD Div. of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA 02115 Wesemann Lab   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is a lot of variability in how long antibodies to pathogens are produced in humans.  Some infections and vaccinations like measles induce high levels of antibodies that can be produced for a lifetime.  Other infections or vaccinations induce only short lived antibody responses. Also, some people make longer lasting antibodies compared to others.   We wanted to ask what the antibody durability dynamics looked like after COVID-19 and if we could tease out any insights—both with regard to COVID-19 as well as in general.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Nutrition, Social Issues / 07.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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: 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. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: In this perspective, we argue that food insecurity and COVID-19 can exacerbate one another via bidirectional links. Experiencing food insecurity can lead to nutritional deficiencies and weakened host defenses, increasing susceptibility to COVID-19 infection. Food insecurity is also associated with chronic medical conditions which may lead to a higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness. Conversely, people with COVID-19 may not be able to work, generate income, or procure food while quarantined, which may worsen food insecurity. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 23.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joon Seo Lim, PhD, ELS Clinical Research Center Asan Institute for Life Sciences Asan Medical Center, Songpa-gu Seoul, Republic of Korea MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to spread at an alarming rate in all parts of the world, and screening individuals based on symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, anosmia) does not seem to be effective in sufficiently curbing the transmission of the disease. This suggests that asymptomatic individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 may be a driving force of the ongoing pandemic, but empirical evidence on this issue has been lacking because asymptomatic individuals are likely to go unnoticed unless subjected to systematic contact tracing. A large-sized outbreak of COVID-19 from a single religious group in South Korea enabled us to identify and test a large number of asymptomatic individuals with SARS-CoV-2 alongside symptomatic patients from the same cluster.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease, JAMA / 07.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ty J. Gluckman, M.D., FACC Providence St Joseph Health Portland, Oregon MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In spite of significant decreases in the incidence of coronary artery disease, an estimated 800,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) this year.  For large numbers of these patients, substantial benefit is afforded by early diagnosis and treatment.  Accordingly, multiple campaigns have been launched over time to increase public awareness about the symptoms and signs of AMI and the need to seek immediate medical attention. The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly changed health care delivery worldwide.  While early attention was disproportionately focused on efforts to “flatten the curve”, recent reports have revealed a disturbing finding—a substantial decrease in the hospitalization rate for AMI.  Most worrisome among potential reasons for this has been reluctance of patients with an AMI to seek medical attention out of fear that they become infected with SARS-CoV-2. To better understand the impacts associated with this, we performed a retrospective, cross-sectional study of all AMI hospitalizations in a large multistate health care system (Providence St. Joseph Health).  We sought to define changes in AMI case rates, patient demographics, cardiovascular comorbidities, treatment approaches and in-hospital outcomes during the pandemic. (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 Medicine  MedicalResearch.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…)