Fat Distribution Linked to Advanced and Fatal Prostate Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Barbra Dickerman, PhD Research Fellow Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA

Dr. Dickerman

Barbra Dickerman, PhD
Research Fellow
Department of Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Boston, MA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Obesity is associated with a higher risk of advanced prostate cancer and poorer prognosis after diagnosis. However, emerging evidence suggests that the specific distribution of body fat may be an important prognostic factor for prostate cancer outcomes. In this original investigation, we analyzed body fat distribution on computed tomography imaging and the risk of being diagnosed with, and dying from, prostate cancer. This study was conducted among 1,832 Icelandic men with over a decade of follow-up in the Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik Study.

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Mortality: Number of Steps Matter, Up To a Point

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

I-Min Lee, MD, ScDProfessor of Medicine, Harvard Medical SchoolProfessor of EpidemiologyHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Prof. I-Min Lee

I-Min Lee, MD, ScD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Professor of Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: While we have many studies showing that physical activity is beneficial for health, there are few data on steps and health, particularly long-term health outcomes.  An expert committee – the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, which reviewed the scientific evidence to support the recently released Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition – noted this (i.e., the relation between steps and health outcomes) to be a critical gap in knowledge, since many individuals are using wearables and monitoring their step counts.

We often hear the number 10,000 steps cited as a daily goal, but the basis for this number is unclear. It likely originated as a marketing tool: in 1965, the Yamasa Clock and Instrument Company, Japan sold a pedometer called “Manpo-kei” – “ten thousand steps meter” in Japanese.

For many older people, 10,000 steps/day can be a very daunting goal; thus, we wanted to investigate whether this was necessary for lower mortality rates in older women.  Additionally, steps taken can be fast or slow, and there are no published studies on step intensity and long-term health outcomes.  Note that walking pace and step intensity are not the same concept: walking pace gauges intensity when walking purposefully (e.g., for exercise or transportation), while step intensity assesses an overall best natural effort in our daily life. Continue reading

It’s Not Just Avoiding Red Meat, It’s the Substitute Diet That Influences Heart Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marta Guasch-Ferre, PhD Research Scientist, Dept of Nutrition, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health Instructor of Medicine, Channing Division of Network Medicine, Harvard Medical School Boston, MA, 02115

Dr. Guasch-Ferré

Marta Guasch-Ferre, PhD
Research Scientist, Dept of Nutrition
Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
Instructor of Medicine, Channing Division of Network Medicin
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA, 02115
 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Previous findings from randomized controlled trials evaluating the effects of red meat on cardiovascular disease risk factors have been inconsistent.

But our new study, which makes specific comparisons between diets high in red meat versus diets high in other types of foods, shows that substituting red meat with high-quality protein sources lead to more favorable changes in cardiovascular risk factors. That is, to properly understand the health effects of red meat, it’s important to pay attention to the comparison diet. People do not simply eat more or less meat – it will almost always be in substitution with other foods. 

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Ebola Fight Hampered by Misinformation and Mistrust

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Patrick Vinck, PhDResearch Director, Harvard Humanitarian InitiativeAssistant Professor, Global Health and Population T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health; Emergency MedicineHarvard Medical SchoolLead Investigator, Brigham & Women's Hospital 

Dr. Vinck

Patrick Vinck, PhD
Research Director, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
Assistant Professor, Global Health and Population
T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health; Emergency Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Lead Investigator, Brigham & Women’s Hospital 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: The second worst epidemic of Ebola on record is currently unfolding in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Whether or not safe practices are implemented to prevent the spread of the epidemic is influenced by the behavior of individuals at-risk of contracting the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) –

Will they follow the recommendations of health professionals? Will they report suspected cases and deaths? Will they seek treatment from health professionals? Will they accept vaccines and adopt preventive behaviors?

We find that belief in misinformation about Ebola is widespread and trust in authorities is generally low, likely as a result of decades of violence and poor governance and, more recently, the politicization of the Ebola response.

Our analysis shows that trust and (mis-)information influence adherence to risk avoidance behavior and acceptance of vaccination.

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Serious Illness Conversation Guide Can Help Clinicians Communicate with Critically Ill Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Joanna Paladino, MD
Director of Implementation, Serious Illness Care Program | Ariadne Labs
Brigham and Women’s Hospital | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Palliative Care | Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Instructor | Harvard Medical School and

Dr. Rachelle Bernacki MD MS
Director of Quality Initiatives
Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care
Senior Physician, Assistant Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School

Dr. Paladino’s responses:

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Paladino: People living with serious illness face many difficult decisions over the course of their medical care. These decisions, and the care patients receive, should be guided by what matters most to patients, including their personal values, priorities, and wishes. These conversations don’t often happen in clinical practice or do so very late in the course of illness, leaving patients exposed to getting care they don’t want.

Doctors and nurses want to have these important discussions, but there are real challenges, including insufficient training and uncertainties about when and how to start the conversation. We designed an intervention with clinical tools, clinician training, and systems-changes to address these challenges. When tested in a randomized clinical trial in oncology, we found that the intervention led to more, earlier, and better conversations between oncology clinicians and their patients with life-limiting cancer. These findings demonstrate that it is possible to ensure reliable, timely, and patient-centered serious illness conversations in an outpatient oncology practice.

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Regular Religious Service Attendance Associated with 50% Lower Divorce Rates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Tyler VanderWeele Ph.D John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology Harvard University

Prof. VanderWeele

Professor Tyler VanderWeele Ph.D
John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology
Harvard University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the key points of the paper?  

Response: Several prior studies have suggested that religious service attendance is associated with lower rates of divorce. However, many of these studies have been with small samples and have not had rigorous study designs. In addition, most studies have focused on women earlier in life and there has been little research on the effects of religious service attendance on divorce later in life. While divorce rates in the United States in general has been falling, it has in fact been increasing for middle-aged groups, doubling between 1990 and 2010.

In our study we found that among women in mid- to late- life, regular religious service attendance was subsequently associated with 50% lower divorce rates over the following 14 years of the study.

We also found that among those who were widowed, religious service attendance was associated with a 49% increase in the likelihood of remarrying over the 14 years of the study.

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Rotating Night Shift Work Adds To Risk of Type II Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

"Night Shift" by Yuchung Chao is licensed under CC BY-ND 3.0Dr. Zhilei Shah PhD
Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, Hubei Key Laboratory of Food Nutrition and Safety
Ministry of Education Key Lab of Environment and Health, School of Public Health
Tongji Medical College, Huazhon
University of Science and Technology
Wuhan,  China

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Shift work has progressed in response to changes in economic pressure and greater consumer demand for 24-hour services. There are many economic advantages to increased shift work, including higher employment, increased services to customers, and improved trade opportunities. Currently, one in five employees in the U.S. works nonstandard hours in the evening, night, or rotating shifts. However, shift work, especially night shift work, has been associated with a higher risk of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and several types of cancer.

Compelling evidence has shown that body weight and lifestyle behaviors, such as smoking, diet, and physical activity can influence type 2 diabetes risk. Among shift workers, excess adiposity and increased smoking are frequently and consistently reported, whereas the evidence on physical activity and diet is mixed. Additionally, no previous study has examined the joint associations of rotating night shift work duration and unhealthy lifestyle factors with risk of type 2 diabetes, or evaluated their potential interactions.

Therefore, we prospectively assessed the joint association of rotating night shift work and established type 2 diabetes lifestyle risk factors with risk of type 2 diabetes and quantitatively decomposed the proportions of the joint association to rotating night shift work alone, to lifestyle alone and to their interaction in two large US cohorts.

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Cutting Out Bacon, Sausage and Hot Dogs May Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"bacon&eggs" by ilaria is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Maryam Farvid, Ph.D., Research Scientist  

Department of Nutrition
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Boston, MA 02115

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Prior prospective studies on red and processed meat consumption with risk of breast cancer have produced inconsistent results.

Current meta-analysis of 15 prospective studies shows that women who eat a high amount of processed meat each day may have a higher risk of breast cancer than those who don’t eat or have a low intake in their diet.  Continue reading