Author Interviews, Dermatology / 05.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wolfgang Liedtke, M.D., Ph.D. Professor (tenured) of Neurology, Anesthesiology and Neurobiology
Attending Physician, Duke Neurology Clinics for Headache, Head-Pain and Trigeminal Sensory Disorders
Attending Physician, Duke Clinics for Innovative Pain Therapy at Brier Creek (Dept of Anesthesiology)
Duke University School of Medicine, Center for Translational Neuroscience
Durham NC 27710 Since April 2021 Chair of Neurology Global Development Scientific Council Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Tarrytown NY 10591MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There are systemic diseases that are characterized by intense itching, yet without inflammation of the skin and not associated with allergic inflammation. For example and importantly, liver disease with non-functional secretion of bile (cholestatic liver disease, most common primary biliary cholangitis, an autoimmune disease), but also chronic end-stage renal disease (also certain lymphomas and pruritic psoriasis where the itch is whole-body, not only restricted to diseased skin).We thought that these diseases might be great starting points to better understand itch because there is no inflamed skin and no allergies. Thus, there must be some systemic factor that causes itch, and we were intent on discovering such factors, and with them, molecular mechanisms how they cause itch.For cholestatic liver disease, one of the best candidates to fit this profile has been lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), since the pioneering discoveries of Andreas Kremer, one of our co-authors.My research laboratory at Duke has been rooted in my discovery of TRPV4 ion channels 20 years ago, out of the Friedman Lab at The Rockefeller University in NYC. Over the years, with my colleague Yong Chen out of my lab, now leading his own independent research operation, we focused on the role of TRPV4 ion channels in skin. 5 years ago Yong and I published a paper that provided some evidence for TRPV4 in skin perhaps playing a role in itch.Working with phospholipids, we made the serendipitous discovery that lysophosphatidyl choline (LPC) is a more potent itch-inducing lipid molecule than LPA. Of note, LPC is the metabolic precursor of LPA. We then found that LPA does not depend on TRPV4 to elicit itch. The more robust itch evoked by LPC was significantly reduced when we knocked down TRPV4 in skin keratinocytes. Itch was NOT affected when TRPV4 was deleted from sensory nerve cells that innervate the skin.In terms of background, my long-term goal has been to elucidate how innervating peripheral nerve cell and innervated organ, such as skin, talk to one another so that the sensation that is felt is regulated or modulated, e.g how can skin influence itch or pain, how can joint cells influence pain.That became the exciting bedrock of our study, and we took it from there, 5 years of hard work with collaborations spanning the globe, and a final stretch of exhausting work during the pandemic. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Duke, Geriatrics, Hearing Loss, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA / 08.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nicholas S. Reed, AuD Assistant Professor | Department of Otolaryngology-Head/Neck Surgery Core Faculty | Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public HealthMedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study was a true team effort. It was funded by AARP and AARP Services, INC and the research was a collaboration of representatives from Johns Hopkins University, OptumLabs, University of California – San Francisco, and AARP Services, INC. Given all of the resent research on downstream effects of hearing loss on important health outcomes such as cognitive decline, falls, and dementia, the aim was to explore how persons with hearing loss interacted with the healthcare system in terms of cost and utilization.MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?Response: Over a 10 year period, untreated hearing loss (hearing aid users were excluded from this study as they are difficult to capture in the claims database) was associated with higher healthcare spending and utilization. Specifically, over 10 years, persons with untreated hearing loss spent 46.5% more, on average, on healthcare (to the tune of approximately $22000 more) than those without evidence of hearing loss. Furthermore, persons with untreated hearing loss had 44% and 17% higher risk for 30-day readmission and emergency department visit, respectively.Similar relationships were seen across other measures where persons with untreated hearing loss were more likely to be hospitalized and spent longer in the hospital compared to those without evidence of hearing loss.(more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Duke, Heart Disease, JAMA / 06.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yuichiro Yano MD PhD Assistant Professor in Community and Family Medicine Duke UniversityMedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: New blood pressure guidelines, issued in 2017 in the US, lowered the blood pressure thresholds for hypertension from systolic blood pressure/diastolic ≥140/90 mm Hg to systolic/diastolic ≥130/80 mm Hg. This change increased the prevalence of hypertension two- to three-fold among young adults. The guidelines also newly defined elevated blood pressure as, 120-129 mmHg systolic blood pressure over 80 mmHg diastolic or less. However, no study investigated that high blood pressure, as defined by the new criteria, is something that younger people should be concerned about as a potential precursor to serious problems.Our study is among the first to report that people younger than age 40 who have elevated blood pressure or hypertension are at increased risk of heart failure, strokes and blood vessel blockages as they age. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, JAMA / 27.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yi Zeng, Ph.D.| Professor, Center for Study of Aging and Human Development and Geriatrics Division, School of Medicine, Duke University Professor, National School of Development, Chief Scientist of Raissun Institute for Advanced Studies, Peking University Distinguished Research Scholar, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research Foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and ScienceMedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?Response: Sex differences in genetic associations with human longevity remain largely unknown; investigations on this topic are important for individualized healthcare.(more…)