Author Interviews, Frailty, Geriatrics, Heart Disease / 29.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr-Dalgaard MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We know that having atrial fibrillation puts you at a higher risk of falls, especially if you are elderly and frail. Additionally, some of the medications used to treat it can cause bradycardia (low heart rate), which could itself increase the risk of falls. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate if common medications used to treat atrial fibrillation in older patients were associated with fall-related injuries and syncope (fainting). The medications investigated were rate-lowering drugs (beta-blockers, digoxin, verapamil, diltiazem) and the anti-arrhythmic drugs (amiodarone, propafenone, and flecainide).
Author Interviews, Frailty, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Stanford, Surgical Research / 27.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: hospital-frailty-surgeryKara Anne Rothenberg.MD Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Vascular Surgery Shipra Arya, MD SM FACS Associate Professor of Surgery Stanford University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is a growing body of literature showing that frailty, a syndrome where patients have increased vulnerability to a stressor (such as surgery), is associated with increased postoperative complications, failure to rescue, and hospital readmissions. The Risk Analysis Index (RAI), is an easy to use frailty measurement tool that better predicts postoperative mortality than age or comorbidities alone. As the rates of outpatient surgeries rise nationwide, we noted that most of the surgical frailty studies focus only on inpatient surgeries. Elective, outpatient surgery is generally considered low risk for complications and unplanned readmissions, however we hypothesized that for frail patients, it might not be.
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Infections, JAMA / 12.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47886" align="alignleft" width="125"]Chanu Rhee, MD,MPHAssistant Professor of Population MedicineHarvard Medical School / Harvard Pilgrim Health Care InstituteAssistant Hospital EpidemiologistBrigham and Women’s Hospital Dr. Rhee[/caption] Chanu Rhee, MD,MPH Assistant Professor of Population Medicine Harvard Medical School / Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute Assistant Hospital Epidemiologist Brigham and Women’s Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Sepsis is the body’s reaction to a serious infection that results a cascade of inflammation in the body and organ dysfunction, such as low blood pressure, confusion, or failure of the lungs, kidneys, or liver.   Sepsis is a major cause of death, disability, and cost in the U.S. and around the world.  Growing recognition of this problem has led to numerous sepsis performance improvement initiatives in hospitals around the country.  Some of these efforts have also been catalyzed by high-profile tragic cases of missed sepsis leading to death, which may have contributed to a perception that most sepsis deaths are preventable if doctors and hospitals were only better at recognizing it. However, the extent to which sepsis-related deaths might be preventable with better hospital-based care is unknown.  In my own experience as a critical care physician, a lot of sepsis patients we treat are extremely sick and even when they receive timely and optimal medical care, many do not survive.  This led myself and my colleagues to conduct this study to better understand what types of patients are dying from sepsis and how preventable these deaths might be. 
Aging, Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, JAMA / 25.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47520" align="alignleft" width="142"]Fuzhong Li, Ph.D. Senior Scientist Oregon Research Institute Dr. Li[/caption] Fuzhong Li, Ph.D. Senior Scientist Oregon Research Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Injurious falls among community-dwelling older adults are a serious public health and cost-bearing problem worldwide.Exercise has been shown to reduce falls and injurious falls among older adults. However, evidence is limited with regard to the type of exercise interventions that are most effective, without exacerbating the risk in some individuals, in reducing injurious falls. This study addresses this knowledge gap in the field of falls prevention. Findings from this study showed that a six-month Tai Ji Quan program reduced the incidence of injurious falls among frail elderly by 53% compared to a regular (multimodal) exercise intervention. The effect of the Tai Ji Quan intervention was shown to be robust, and still evident at follow-up examinations six months after the study.
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Vitamin D / 25.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41344" align="alignleft" width="143"]Dr. Alex Krist Dr. Krist[/caption] Dr. Alex Krist, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Krist is is a professor of family medicine and population health at Virginia Commonwealth University and active clinician and teacher at the Fairfax Family Practice residency. What is the background for these recommendation statements? What are the main findings? Response: Falls are the leading cause of injuries in adults age 65 and older and can lead to serious disability and even death. Bone fractures—which may result from a fall—can also cause serious disability and death in older adults. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force looked into the most recent evidence on the best ways to prevent falls and fractures in older adults. We found that clinicians should recommend exercise or physical therapy to help prevent falls by older adults who live at home and are at higher risk for falling. Additionally, we concluded that taking a low dose of vitamin D and calcium does not help prevent fractures due to osteoporosis, but we don’t know if taking a higher dose is effective or not, so we are calling for more research.
Author Interviews, Fertility, Geriatrics, Kidney Disease / 06.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37895" align="alignleft" width="116"]Silvi Shah, MD, FACP, FASN Assistant Professor, Division of Nephrology University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH Dr. Shah[/caption] Silvi Shah, MD, FACP, FASN| Assistant Professor Division of Nephrology University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Elderly represent the fastest growing segment of incident dialysis patients in Unites States. The annual mortality in end stage renal disease (ESRD) patients is very high ~ 20%. Since most of the deaths occur in the first year of dialysis, it is possible that health conditions present prior to initiation of dialysis may impact long-term outcomes. In this study, we determined the impact of poor functional status at the time of dialysis initiation and pre-dialysis health status on type of dialysis modality, type of hemodialysis access and one-year mortality in elderly dialysis patients. We evaluated 49,645 adult incident dialysis patients (1/1/2008 to 12/31/2008) from the United Data Renal Data System (USRDS) with linked Medicare data for at least 2 years prior to dialysis initiation. Mean age of our study population was 72 years. At dialysis initiation, 18.7% reported poor functional status, 88.9% has pre-dialysis hospitalization, and 27.8% did not receive pre-dialysis nephrology care. Patients with poor functional status had higher odds of being initiated on hemodialysis than peritoneal dialysis, lower odds of using arteriovenous access as compared to central venous catheter for dialysis and higher risk of one-year mortality.
Author Interviews, Frailty, Kidney Disease / 04.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37895" align="alignleft" width="116"]Silvi Shah, MD, FACP, FASN Assistant Professor, Division of Nephrology University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH Dr. Shah[/caption] Silvi Shah, MD, FACP, FASN Assistant Professor, Division of Nephrology University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Elderly represent the fastest growing segment of incident dialysis patients in Unites States. The annual mortality in end stage renal disease (ESRD) patients is very high ~ 20%. Since most of the deaths occur in the first year of dialysis, it is possible that health conditions present prior to initiation of dialysis may impact long-term outcomes. In this study, we determined the impact of poor functional status at the time of dialysis initiation and pre-dialysis health status on type of dialysis modality, type of hemodialysis access and one-year mortality in elderly dialysis patients. We evaluated 49,645 adult incident dialysis patients (1/1/2008 to 12/31/2008) from the United Data Renal Data System (USRDS) with linked Medicare data for at least 2 years prior to dialysis initiation. Mean age of our study population was 72 years. At dialysis initiation, 18.7% reported poor functional status, 88.9% has pre-dialysis hospitalization, and 27.8% did not receive pre-dialysis nephrology care. Patients with poor functional status had higher odds of being initiated on hemodialysis than peritoneal dialysis, lower odds of using arteriovenous access as compared to central venous catheter for dialysis and higher risk of one-year mortality.
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Exercise - Fitness, Frailty, Geriatrics, Lifestyle & Health / 21.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36538" align="alignleft" width="200"]Olga Theou, MSc PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University Affiliated Scientist, Geriatric Medicine, Nova Scotia Health Authority Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide Halifax, Nova Scotia Dr. Theou[/caption] Olga Theou, MSc PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University Affiliated Scientist, Geriatric Medicine, Nova Scotia Health Authority Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide Halifax, Nova Scotia  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We already know that moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, such as time accumulated during exercise, is associated with numerous health benefits. More recent studies also have shown that sedentary time, such as time accumulated during prolonged sitting at work, transportation, and leisure, can also increase the risk of adverse outcomes. What was not known was whether prolonged sitting affects people across different levels of frailty similarly. This is what we examined in our study. We found that there were differences. Low frailty levels (people who are extremely healthy; frailty index score < 0.1) seemed to eliminate the increased risk of mortality associated with prolonged sitting, even among people who did not meet recommended physical activity guidelines. Among people with higher frailty levels, sedentary time was associated with mortality but only among those who did not meet recommended physical activity guidelines
Aging, AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension / 02.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_34312" align="alignleft" width="149"]Dr. Rathi Ravindrarajah PhD Division of Health and Social Care Research Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine  Guy’s Campus King’s College London Dr. Ravindrarajah[/caption] Dr. Rathi Ravindrarajah PhD Division of Health and Social Care Research Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine Guy’s Campus King’s College London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Clinical trials show that it is beneficial to lower systolic blood pressure (SBP) in adults aged 80 and over, but non-randomized epidemiological studies suggest that lower systolic blood pressure may be associated with a higher risk of mortality. Our main findings were that there was a terminal decline in systolic blood pressure in the final 2 years of life suggesting that the higher mortality in those with a low SBP shown in non-randomized epidemiological studies might be due to reverse causation.
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Frailty, JAMA / 06.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_30249" align="alignleft" width="200"]Maayan Agmon, PhD The Cheryl Spencer Department of Nursing Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Studies University of Haifa Haifa, Israel Dr. Maayan Agmon[/caption] Maayan Agmon, PhD The Cheryl Spencer Department of Nursing Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Studies University of Haifa Haifa, Israel MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: To address the issue of functional decline during and post hospitalization . Up to 40% of older adults decline in their function at the time of hospitalization and acute illness. Most part of this functional decline is not explained by illness itself. So far, we know that in-hospital mobility is a protective factor but how much walking is required to prevent this decline has yet to be determined.
Author Interviews, Frailty, JAMA, Surgical Research, University of Pittsburgh / 01.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_30060" align="alignleft" width="200"]Daniel E. Hall, MD, MDiv, MHSc, FACS Associate Professor of Surgery University of Pittsburgh Staff Surgeon VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Core Investigator VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion. PIttsburgh, PA Dr. Daniel E. Hall[/caption] Daniel E. Hall, MD, MDiv, MHSc, FACS Associate Professor of Surgery University of Pittsburgh Staff Surgeon VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Core Investigator VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion. PIttsburgh, PA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A growing body of research demonstrates that frailty is a more powerful predictor of postoperative outcomes than risk-prediction models based on age or comorbidity alone. However, it has not been clear if surgeons could intervene on frailty to improve outcomes. This study reports what we believe to be the first ever demonstration that it is not only feasible to screen an entire health system for frailty, but that it is possible to act on that information to improve outcomes. Every patient evaluated for elective surgery was screened for frailty with a brief tool that takes 1-2 minutes to complete. Those identified as potentially frail and thus at greater risk for poor surgical outcomes received an ad-hoc administrative review aimed at optimizing perioperative care. After implementing the frailty screening initiative, we observed a 3-fold increase in long-term survival at 6 and 12 months—even after controlling for age, frailty, and predicted mortality.
Author Interviews, CDC, Cost of Health Care, Frailty / 23.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_28318" align="alignleft" width="144"]Gwen Bergen, PhD Division of Unintentional Injury National Center for Injury Prevention and Control CDC Dr. Gwen Bergen[/caption] Gwen Bergen, PhD Division of Unintentional Injury National Center for Injury Prevention and Control CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Older adult falls are the leading cause of injury death and disability for adults aged 65 years and older (older adults). In this study, we analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. Our study found that, in 2014, older Americans reported 29 million falls. Almost a quarter of these or 7 million falls required medical treatment or restricted activity for at least one day. Women reported a higher percentage of falls (30%) compared with men (27%). Whites and American Indian/Alaskan Natives (AI/AN) were more likely to fall compared with Blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders; and AI/AN were more likely to report a fall injury compared with all other racial/ethnic groups. The percentage of older adults who reported a fall varied by state, ranging from 21% in Hawaii to 34% in Arkansas.
Author Interviews, Frailty, Hip Fractures, JAMA, Pharmacology / 22.08.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_27214" align="alignleft" width="160"]Jeffrey Munson, MD, MSCE Assistant Professor The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth Dr. Jeffrey Munson[/caption] Jeffrey Munson, MD, MSCE Assistant Professor The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: Fragility fractures due to osteoporosis are a common and costly event among older Americans. Patients who experience one fragility fracture are at increased risk to have a second fracture. Our group is interested in exploring ways in which the risk of a second fracture could be reduced. In this paper, we studied prescription drug use both before and after fracture. We know many prescription drugs have been shown to increase the risk of fracture, but we don’t know whether doctors try to reduce the use of these drugs after a fracture has occurred. Our study was designed to answer this question.
Author Interviews, Frailty, Geriatrics, Nursing / 27.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with [caption id="attachment_25579" align="alignleft" width="144"]Oleg Zaslavsky PhD Assistant Professor at the department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health System School of Nursing University of Washington Dr. Oleg Zaslavsky[/caption] Oleg Zaslavsky PhD Assistant Professor at the department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health System School of Nursing University of Washington MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Frailty is a common, but serious medical condition among older adults. It is characterized by weight and muscle loss, fatigue, slow walking and low levels of physical activity. It’s important to accurately diagnose and treat frailty, especially because demographic trends show the percentage of U.S. adults age 65 years and older will increase 19% by 2030. Frailty is commonly assessed by the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) frailty phenotype, which includes a set of physical measurements for slowness, weakness, fatigue, low physical activity and body-weight loss. According to the CHS phenotype, individuals with three or more of these characteristics are at increased risk for falls, hip fractures, disability and mortality. Although the CHS phenotype is good for predicting adverse conditions, it requires direct measurement of physical performance. Refining the phenotype so it doesn’t involve physical measurements of patients in a doctor’s office has practical advantages for research and clinical purposes. For this study, University of Washington School of Nursing researchers worked with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center faculty to refine the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) frailty phenotype, originally developed in 2005. This new phenotype uses self-reporting from patients instead of measurements of physical performance to determine frailty and associated health outcomes. In this report, we show that our newly-proposed WHI measuring scheme performs as well as the more complex CHS phenotype in predicting death, hip fractures and falls in older women.
Aging, Author Interviews, Frailty, Genetic Research / 22.06.2016

[caption id="attachment_25423" align="alignleft" width="200"]MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. David Sebastián IRB Barcelona and CIBERDEM researcher Dr. David Sebastián[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. David Sebastián IRB Barcelona and CIBERDEM researcher MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One of the alterations that most affects the quality of life of the elderly is muscle wastage and the resulting loss of strength, a condition known as sarcopenia. At about 55 years old, people begin to lose muscle mass, this loss continues into old age, at which point it becomes critical. However, the underlying causes of sarcopenia are unknown and thus no treatment is available for this condition. Importantly, we have found that the mitochondrial protein Mitofusin 2 is required to preserve healthy muscles in mice. Mitofusin 2 is a mitochondrial protein involved in ensuring the correct function of mitochondria, and it has several activities related to autophagy, a crucial process for the removal of damaged mitochondria. The loss of Mitofusin 2 impedes the correct function of mitochondrial recycling and consequently damaged mitochondria accumulate in muscle cells.
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, Frailty, JAMA, Surgical Research / 20.01.2016

More on Frailty on MedicalResearch.com MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_20747" align="alignleft" width="150"]Dr. Daniel I McIsaac Dr. Daniel McIsaac[/caption] Dr. Daniel I McIsaac, MD, MPH, FRCPC Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology Department of Anesthesiology The Ottawa Hospital, Civic Campus Ottawa, ON Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. McIsaac: Older age is a well-known risk factor for adverse outcomes after surgery, however, many older patients have positive surgical outcomes. Frailty is a syndrome that encompasses the negative health attributes and comorbidities that accumulate across the lifespan, and is a strong discriminating factor between high- and low-risk older surgical patients.  By definition, frail patients are “sicker” than non-frail patients, so their higher rates of morbidity and mortality after surgery aren’t surprising. However, frailty increases in prevalence with increasing age, so as our population ages we expect to see more frail people presenting for surgery.  Our goal was to evaluate the impact of frailty on postoperative mortality at a population-level, and over the first year after surgery to provide insights that aren’t available in the current literature, which largely consists of single center studies limited to in-hospital and 30-day outcome windows.
Author Interviews, Frailty, Mayo Clinic, Pulmonary Disease, Transplantation / 23.12.2015

[caption id="attachment_20197" align="alignleft" width="125"]Cassie Kennedy, M.D. Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine Mayo Clinic Dr. Cassie Kennedy[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cassie Kennedy, M.D. Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine Mayo Clinic  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Kennedy: Lung transplant is a surgical procedure that can offer extended life expectancy and improved quality of life to selected patients with end-stage lung disease. However there are about 1700 patients awaiting lung transplant at any given time in the United States because transplant recipients far exceed potential donors.  In addition, even with carefully chosen candidates, lung transplant recipients live on average about 5.5 years.  It is therefore very important for transplant physicians to choose patients who will receive the most benefit from their lung transplant. Frailty (defined as an increased vulnerability to adverse health outcomes) has typically been a subjective consideration by transplant physicians when choosing lung transplant candidates.  The emergence of more objective and reproducible frailty measures from the geriatric literature present an opportunity to study the prevalence of frailty in lung transplant (despite that subjective screening) and to determine whether the presence of frailty has any impact on patient outcomes. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Kennedy: Frailty is quite common --46 percent of our patient cohort was frail by the Frailty Deficit Index. We also saw a significant association between frailty and worsened survival following lung transplantation: one-year survival rate for frail patients was 71.7 percent, compared to 92.9 percent for patients who were not frail. At three years this difference in survival persisted--the survival rate for frail patients was 41.3 percent, compared to 66.1 percent for patients who were not frail.
Author Interviews, Frailty, Geriatrics, Nutrition / 07.09.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Alberto Lana Department of Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Public Health Area School of Medicine and Health Sciences University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Lana: Healthy diets are associated with lower risk of frailty among elderly, but we thought that knowing the role of particular foods is essential to establish prevention measures. Dairy products are substantial sources of proteins, vitamins, and minerals, especially for older adults. Thus, dairy products could theoretically reduce the incidence of frailty. But high milk consumption could also have deleterious effects because it adds saturated fatty acids to diet and could increases oxidative stress. So the advice regarding dairy consumption remains unclear. Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Lana: According to our results, clinicians should recommend replacing whole-fat products with low-fat ones. Generally, patients should be educated to perform always healthy dietetic choices.
Author Interviews, Emory, Frailty, Surgical Research / 02.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Louis M. Revenig, MD and Kenneth Ogan MD, Department of Urology Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, Georgia 30322 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Numerous groups from a variety of institutions have investigated different methods of quantifying frailty in surgical populations. All have shown that frailty not only can be measured, but more importantly, reliably identifies the patients who are at higher risk for poor postoperative outcomes compared to their peers.  One obstacle to more widespread use of frailty assessments is the extra burden it places on an already busy clinical setting. In our study we chose what we thought was the already simplest and most clinically applicable frailty assessment, the 5-component Fried Frailty Criteria, and prospectively enrolled a large cohort of surgical patients and followed their outcomes. We critically analyzed the data to assess which components of the frailty assessment were most important. Our results showed that of the 5 components (weight loss, grip strength, gait speed, exhaustion, and activity level), weight loss and grip strength alone carried the same prognostic information for post-operative outcomes as the full assessment. Additionally, when combined with two already routinely collected pre-operative variables (serum hemoglobin and ASA score) we created a novel, simple, and easy to use risk stratification system that is more amenable to a busy clinical setting.