Author Interviews, JAMA, Social Issues / 01.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48278" align="alignleft" width="200"]Rajan Sonik, PhD JD MPHResearch ScientistTucker-Seeley Research LabLeonard Davis School of GerontologyPostdoctoral Research FellowLeonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and EconomicsLeonard Davis School of GerontologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, CA 90089-3333 Dr. Sonik[/caption] Rajan Sonik, PhD JD MPH Research Scientist Tucker-Seeley Research Lab Leonard Davis School of Gerontology Postdoctoral Research Fellow Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics Leonard Davis School of Gerontology University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 90089-3333 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Not everyone who is eligible for public benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) tries to receive them. One distinguishing factor is that those who apply for benefits disproportionately experience shocks (e.g., divorce, job loss, health problems) and sharp increases in material hardships (e.g., food insecurity, housing insecurity) shortly before applying. Typically, these increases in hardships are then partially—but not fully—alleviated by receipt of the public benefits. Given strong associations between these hardships and poor health outcomes, we wanted to examine whether health status might fluctuate before and after the receipt of public benefits as well. We examined SSI in particular given its focus on individuals with disabilities, keeping in mind the particular health vulnerabilities experienced by this population. In line with patterns previously observed for material hardships, we found in a nationally representative sample that the health status of eventual SSI recipients worsened significantly in the period prior to program entry. After enrollment began, the decline in health status stopped but was not fully reversed. In the paper, we discuss why these findings were more likely to be driven by changes in material hardship levels rather than changes in disability status.
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease, Karolinski Institute, Weight Research / 13.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47415" align="alignleft" width="150"]Pontus Henriksson | PhD and Registered Dietitian Postdoctoral Researcher | SFO-V Fellow Department of Biosciences and Nutrition Karolinska Institutet Dr. Henriksson[/caption] Pontus Henriksson | PhD and Registered Dietitian Postdoctoral Researcher | SFO-V Fellow Department of Biosciences and Nutrition Karolinska Institutet  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: In many countries, disability pensions are granted to working-aged persons who are likely to never work full-time again because of a chronic disease or injury diagnosed by a physician. In addition to serving as an important indicator of chronic disease, disability pensions are associated with high societal costs. Hence, we examined whether cardiorespiratory fitness and obesity (two potentially modifiable factors) were associated with disability pension later in life. Our main findings were that low physical fitness and/or obesity during adolescence, were strongly associated with disability pension later in life due to a wide range of diseases and causes. 
Author Interviews, BMJ, Occupational Health / 27.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31578" align="alignleft" width="100"]Prof. Dr. Regina Kunz Professorin für Versicherungsmedizin Evidence-based Insurance Medicine I Departement Klinische Forschung Universitätsspital Basel Basel Switzerland Prof. Regina Kunz[/caption] Prof. Dr. Regina Kunz Professorin für Versicherungsmedizin Evidence-based Insurance Medicine I Departement Klinische Forschung Universitätsspital Basel Basel Switzerland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Many workers seek wage replacement benefits due to a disabling illness or injury. Public and private insurance systems provide wage replacement benefits for such employees, as long as eligibility criteria are met. Insurers often arrange for evaluation of eligibility by medical professionals, but there are concerns regarding low quality evaluations and poor reliability between medical experts assessing the same claimant. In order to better understand this situation, we performed a systematic review of reproducibility studies on the inter-rater agreement in evaluation of disability. We carried out a systematic review of 23 studies, conducted between 1992-2016, from 12 countries in Europe, North America, Australia, the Middle East, and Northeast Asia. The studies include those carried out in an insurance setting, with medical experts assessing claimants for work disability benefits, and in a research setting, where evaluation of patients took place outside of actual assessments, for example, for rehabilitation.
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Lifestyle & Health / 03.05.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marianna Virtanen PhD Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Turku and Tampere, FinlandMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marianna Virtanen PhD Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Turku and Tampere, Finland Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Virtanen: Diabetes is a common chronic condition among working-aged populations but few studies have investigated work disability associated with diabetes. In this study, we examined trajectories of register-based work disability days over a 5-year period and lifestyle-related factors predicting these trajectories. Five trajectories described work disability: ‘no/very low disability’ (41.1% among diabetes cases, 48.0% among controls); ‘low–steady’ (35.4%, 34.7%); ‘high–steady’ (13.6%, 12.1%); and two ‘high–increasing’ trajectories (10.0%, 5.2%). Diabetes was associated with ending up to the ’high-increasing disability trajectory’, however, this affected only 10% of the population with diabetes. Obesity and physical inactivity predicted an adverse trajectory similarly among people with diabetes and those without diabetes while smoking was a stronger risk factor for an adverse trajectory in diabetes.
Author Interviews, Insomnia, Occupational Health / 04.09.2014

Tea Lallukka, PhD Finnish Institute of Occupational Health & University of Helsinki, Hjelt Institute, Department of Public Health University of Helsinki, FinlandMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tea Lallukka, PhD Finnish Institute of Occupational Health & University of Helsinki, Hjelt Institute, Department of Public Health University of Helsinki, Finland Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Lallukka: Our study used nationally representative survey data linked with register data on medically certified sickness absence among working -aged Finnish women and men. We showed consistent associations between insomnia symptoms, sleep duration, and being tired and sickness absence. The follow-up lasted around 7 years. Sickness absence days were derived from comprehensive registers from the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. The associations were broadly similar among women and men. Furthermore, they remained even after considering key correlates of sleep and sickness absence including socioeconomic position, working conditions, health behaviors, obesity, and mental and physical health. Health data were derived from physical examination conducted by field physicians. These data are more objective, and help provide more robust evidence. We further covered all key sleep disturbances and sleep duration for more comprehensive understanding about the contribution of sleep to sickness absence. Finally, a novel method developed by the authors (Härkänen & Kaikkonen) allowed us to estimate the difference in sickness absence days per working year among those reporting and not reporting different sleep disturbances. Using the difference in days absent from work, we were further able to estimate the hypothetical direct costs of sickness absence highlighting notable societal significance of sleep. Thus, a large part of all costs of sickness absence are attributable to poor sleep. For example, those sleeping 5 hours or less or 10 hours or more, were absent from work ca 5-9 days more, as compared to those with optimal sleep length. The optimal sleep length with the lowest risk of sickness absence was 7 hours 46 minutes for men and 7 hours 38 minutes for women.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Disability Research, Karolinski Institute / 03.09.2014

Anna-Karin Danielsson, PhD Project Coordinator Karolinska Institutet Department of Public Health Sciences (PHS) Widerströmska huset| Stockholm, SwedenMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anna-Karin Danielsson, PhD Project Coordinator Karolinska Institutet Department of Public Health Sciences (PHS) Widerströmska huset| Stockholm, Sweden Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Danielsson: Smoking cannabis in adolescence increases the risk of adverse social consequences later on in life.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Disability Research / 27.06.2014

MedicalResearch:com Interview with: Stephen Honeybul FDS RCS (Eng), FRCS (SN), FRACS Consultant Neurosurgeon Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital HOD Royal Perth Hospital Perth WA Australia MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of this study?  Dr. Honeybul: Amongst those patients who had been adjudged severely disabled or in a vegetative state at 18 months, remained as such at the three years follow up. Most patients who were able to provide a response said that they would have provided consent to the "life saving" intervention even if they had known their final outcome
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, JCEM / 20.06.2014

Mette Andersen Nexø Psychologist, Ph.D. student at The National Research Center for the Working Environment Copenhagen Area, DenmarkMedicalResearch.com: Interview with Mette Andersen Nexø Psychologist, Ph.D. student at The National Research Center for the Working Environment Copenhagen Area, Denmark MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Answer: The present study is a systematic assessment of the influence of a spectrum of thyroid diseases on ability to work. By presenting new information on the possible socioeconomic consequences of thyroid diseases, the results can help bring awareness to important needs for rehabilitation of thyroid patients.
Author Interviews, Disability Research, Johns Hopkins, Pain Research, Rheumatology / 27.03.2014

Dr Damian Hoy University of Queensland School of Population Health Herston, AustraliaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Damian Hoy University of Queensland School of Population Health Herston, Australia

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Hoy: The study was part of the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study, which was conducted by the University of Queensland, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Washington, and hundreds of disease experts throughout the globe. It is the largest ever public health study. It compared the overall burden (in terms of both death and disability) of the most common 291 diseases/conditions in the world. Low back pain was found to cause more global disability than any other disease/condition. If this is something you are going through, it may be worth knowing that marijuana strains for back pain is one of the most powerful remedies. You've possibly tried everything in the shop and over the counter medicine. So why not give this a go and see how you get on. There's no harm in trying. Global disability from low back pain is increasing. There is an urgent need for global, regional and national agencies to pay far greater attention to the disability caused by low back pain. In the developed world there are low back pain therapy treatments available whereas, in the developing world things aren't as accessible.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Stroke / 14.03.2014

Atte Meretoja, MD, PhD, MSc (Stroke Medicine) Associate Professor and Principal Fellow (Neurology), University of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hospital L4C, Grattan St, Parkville VIC 3050, Australia Associate Professor of Neurology, University of Helsinki Helsinki University Central Hospital, FinlandMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Atte Meretoja, MD, PhD, MSc (Stroke Medicine) Associate Professor and Principal Fellow (Neurology), University of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hospital Australia Associate Professor of Neurology, University of Helsinki Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Meretoja: We used observational prospective data of consecutive stroke patients (n=2258) treated with intravenous thrombolysis in Australian and Finnish centers and a pooled analysis of thrombolysis trials to model the shift in patient outcomes with reducing treatment delays. We found out that each minute the treatment can be delivered faster granted on average 1.8 days of extra healthy life (95% prediction interval 0.9 to 2.7). In practice, this means that each 15 minute decrease in treatment delays provides an average equivalent of one month of additional disability-free life.
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness / 21.02.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dorothy D Dunlop, PhD Professor, Medicine-Rheumatology Center for Healthcare Studies - Institute for Public Health and Medicine and Preventive Medicine Northwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineDorothy D Dunlop, PhD Professor, Medicine-Rheumatology Center for Healthcare Studies - Institute for Public Health and Medicine and Preventive Medicine Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Dunlop: We know being active, especially doing moderate activity like taking a brisk walk, is good for health. We know a sedentary lifestyle leads to health problems. What we do not know is whether or not those are two ways of looking at the same question. Does being sedentary like sitting just reflect insufficient activity OR is sedentary time is a separate and distinct risk factor for health problems. Our physical activity research group looked at national US data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.  This is an important study because they monitored physical activity using an accelerometer.  We found sedentary behavior such as sitting was its own separate risk factor for disability.
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Disability Research / 23.07.2013

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Abigail Franklin Vice President for Development & Communications The New York Academy of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Overweight and Obesity Brief was derived from information gathered for the NYS Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The BRFSS is an annual statewide telephone survey of adults administered by the provide information on behaviors, risk factors, and utilization of preventive services. The survey conducted in 2011 found that nearly 25% of adults in NYS are obese and another 36% overweight. It also found that obesity rates are higher among adults who are Black (32.5%), earn an annual household income less than $25,000 (26.8%), have less than a college education (27.1%), or are currently living with a disability (34.9%). These findings bring to light that social and economic factors in our communities can be a major contributor to health disparities, like greater risk of obesity among people of color, low income individuals, and people who are disabled.