Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Exercise - Fitness, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues / 03.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marc Weisskopf, PhD, ScD Cecil K. and Philip Drinker Professor of Environmental Epidemiology and Physiology Departments of Environmental Health and Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is a long history of health disparities by race. We were interested to see whether these also show up in professional football players, with the thought that perhaps the advantages that come with being an elite athlete in a sport (e.g. related to income, potential access to carte, prestige) might minimize health disparities. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Dental Research, Esophageal, Gastrointestinal Disease / 24.07.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mingyang Song, MD, ScD. Division of Gastroenterology Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School Department of Nutrition and Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Recent studies showed a presence of dysbiotic oral microbiome in patients with esophageal and gastric cancer, suggesting a link between oral health and these cancers. However, how periodontal disease and tooth loss may influence the risk of these cancers has been inconsistent.  MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Our findings support a possible role of oral health in the development of upper GI cancer. Individuals with periodontal disease and tooth loss are at higher risk of developing esophageal and gastric adenocarcinoma. The risk is particularly high for individuals with both periodontal disease and tooth loss.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Statins / 14.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ankur Pandya, PhD Assistant Professor of Health Decision Science Department of Health Policy and Management Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The 2013 ACC-AHA cholesterol treatment guidelines greatly expanded statin medication eligibility for individuals between the ages of 40-75 years without known cardiovascular disease, and there was some concern that African Americans at "intermediate risk" per those guidelines could be (arguably) overtreated with statins. The 2018 ACC-AHA guidelines included coronary artery calcium assessment for individuals at intermediate cardiovascular disease risk; those with a "zero" calcium score and no other risk factors would now change the eligibility (from indicated statin to not indicated). (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 23.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David B. Douglas, M.D., M.P.H. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Health care workers are facing the major threat of catching COVID-19 through their eyes, yet currently available eye protection is inadequate. Specifically, the use of open-type eye protection allows airborne viruses to float over the top, around the sides or under the bottom of the lenses and contact the eyes. Additionally, eye protection is well known to fog up, which limits usability by making even the most basic tasks challenging. In fact, fogged goggles is a major barrier to use. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Nutrition / 05.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jean-Philippe Drouin-Chartier, RD PhD Assistant Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy, Université Laval Researcher, NUTRISS Center of INAF, Université Laval Visiting Scientist, Department of Nutrition Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of death worldwide. Eggs are a major source of dietary cholesterol, but they are also an affordable source of high-quality protein, iron, unsaturated fatty acids, phospholipids, and carotenoids. However, because of the cholesterol content in eggs, the association between egg intake and CVD risk has been a topic of intense debate in the past decades. Many prospective studies on the association between egg intake and cardiovascular disease risk have provided conflicting findings. The aim of our study was to prospectively examine the association between egg consumption and risk of CVD in three cohorts of US men and women, and to conduct a systematic review and a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies on eggs and CVD.  (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Mammograms / 25.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Xabier Garcia-De-Albeniz MD PhD Research Associate Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Mongan Institute for Health Policy Massachusetts General Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The goal of breast cancer screening is to reduce deaths from breast cancer by finding breast cancer at early, more treatable stages. The main way to screen for breast cancer is periodic mammography, which is an x-ray of the breast that can show tumors before they are large enough to feel. High-quality studies called clinical trials have shown that screening women in their 50s and 60s decreases breast cancer deaths. However, the point at which women can safely stop screening because it no longer decreases breast cancer deaths has not been studied. More than half of women in the United States continue screening mammography after age 75 years.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Nutrition / 22.01.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Zhilei Shan PhD Postdoctoral fellow on Nutritional Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Long-standing controversies have focused on the health consequences of dietary fat and carbohydrate. Previous evidence has shown that different types of carbohydrates and fats have varying effects on disease risk and health. For example, carbohydrates from refined grains and added sugars may contribute to insulin resistance and other metabolic problems while carbohydrates from whole grains and whole fruits appear to be beneficial. Likewise, replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat was associated with lower risk of heart disease and mortality. Therefore, it is crucial to incorporate quality and types of carbohydrate and fat when investigating the associations of low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets with mortality. (more…)
Alcohol, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cognitive Issues / 30.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Manja Koch Dr. oec. troph. (Ph.D. equivalent) Research Associate Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Majken K. Jensen, PhD Associate Professor of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthMajken K. Jensen, PhD Associate Professor of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are highly prevalent conditions. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 50 million people are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias worldwide. Given the lack of a cure or even disease-modifying therapies for most dementias, the identification of risk factors or factors that prevent or delay the onset of dementia remains of paramount concern. Alcohol is a globally consumed beverage and light-to-moderate alcohol consumption, defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men, tends to be associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, a major risk factor for dementia. However, the effects of light-to-moderate alcohol intake on the brain are less clear.  (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Nutrition, Weight Research / 24.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Deirdre K Tobias, ScD Associate Epidemiologist, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School nuts-nutrition-weight-obesityMedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What types of nuts are helpful? Peanuts included?  Response: We did not have the granularity in our study to evaluate too many individual nut types, and did not perform head-to-head comparisons between types of nuts. All seemed to be better for long-term weight control compared with the snacks like potato chips that we know are not great for us on a regular basis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Medicare / 28.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jose F. Figueroa, MD, MPH Instructor , Harvard Medical School, Department of Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Hospitalizations related to ambulatory-care sensitive conditions are widely considered a key measure of access to high-quality ambulatory care. It is included as a quality measure in many national value-based care programs. To date, we do not really know whether rates of these avoidable hospitalizations are meaningfully improving for Medicare beneficiaries over time. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Erectile Dysfunction, JAMA / 26.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rachel Grashow PhD Research Associate Department of Environmental Health Football Players Health Study at Harvard University Harvard T.H. Chan  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: It has been previously shown in small studies of boxers and military personnel that traumatic brain injuries can damage the pituitary gland, which serves as the "master controller" of hormone function in the brain. These studies on individuals at risk for repeated head injury found that hits on the head caused deficiencies in certain hormones, such as growth hormone and testosterone, which could have downstream effects on sexual function. Only one large study was conducted that used Taiwanese health insurance data and looked at single traumatic brain injuries and risk of erectile function (ED). In that study, men who experienced a single severe TBI were more than twice as like to report ED after their injury. In light of these findings, important questions remain regarding whether multiple head injuries are associated with pituitary or sexual dysfunction in a large population with other ED-related health issues. The Football Players Health Study at Harvard University asked former NFL players to fill out a questionnaire that interrogated demographic factors, football-related exposures and current health conditions. Specifically, we asked participants to self-report the frequency of ten different concussion symptoms experienced during professional play, as well as whether a clinician had ever recommended or prescribed medication for low testosterone or ED.   (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Nutrition, Vegetarians / 22.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Megu Baden, MD, PhD Department of Nutrition Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA02115  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you give an example of healthful vs non-healthful plantbased diet? Response: Plant-based diets are recommended for health and recently also for their environmental benefits. However, most previous studies defined it as either vegetarian or non-vegetarian, and importantly, without differentiation for the quality of plant foods. As you know, not all plant foods are equally good to our health. Therefore, to capture the quality of plant-based diets, we established overall, healthful and unhealthful plant-based diet indices. A higher score on the overall plant based diet index indicates greater intake of all types of plant foods and less of animal foods. A higher score on the healthful plant based diet index indicates greater intake of only healthy plant foods (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, vegetable oils, tea/coffee), and less of less healthy plant foods (fruit juices, refined grains, potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages, sweets/desserts) and animal foods. A higher score on the unhealthful plant based diet index indicates greater intake of only less healthy plant foods, and less of healthy plant foods and animal foods. In this study, we used these plant-based diet indices and investigated the associations between 12-year changes in plant-based diet quality and subsequent total and cause-specific mortality in two large US cohorts. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Global Health, Infections, Lancet, Pediatrics / 21.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tori Cowger, MPH Ph.D Student | Population Health Sciences Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Globally, approximately one million cases of tuberculosis disease (TB) and 233,000 TB-related deaths occurred among children aged younger than 15 years during 2018. TB in children and adolescents is clinically and epidemiologically heterogeneous, making diagnosis, care, and prevention challenging. Understanding this heterogeneity can inform TB care and prevention efforts, and efforts to eliminate disparities in TB incidence and mortality in these groups. In this study, we describe the epidemiology of TB among children and adolescents in the United States, and report TB incidence rates for US territories and freely associated states and by parental country of birth, which have not been previously described. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Genetic Research / 19.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tengteng Wang, PhD, MSPH, MBBS Postdoctoral Research Fellow Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Channing Division of Network Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Chronic inflammation is a key player in the development of multiple cancer types, including breast cancer. Aspirin is one of the major non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which clearly has anti-inflammatory properties. Given this, substantial evidence from laboratory and population studies suggests that taking aspirin may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. However, the association of aspirin use with death outcomes following breast cancer diagnosis remains inconclusive and inconsistent across studies. Therefore, we choose to focus on mortality outcomes in this paper and we hypothesized that the inconsistent results for aspirin in relation to mortality could be due to differences in the association by patients’ biological profiles, specifically DNA methylation profiles here.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 05.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Muhammad Ali Chaudhary, MD Research Scientist Center for Surgery and Public Health Department of Surgery Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Many studies have documented disparities in cardiovascular care for minorities, specifically African Americans compared to white patients. Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a common procedure in the United States, and the outcomes and post-surgical care for African Americans tend to be worse. We examined whether patients insured through TRICARE — a universal insurance and equal-access integrated healthcare system that covers more than 9 million active-duty members, veterans and their families — experienced these disparities. We found no racial disparities in quality-of-care outcomes, providing insights about the potential impacts of universal insurance and an equal-access health care system. The study included 8,183 TRICARE patients, aged 18-64, who had undergone CABG. The study took its data from TRICARE health care claims from the Military Health System Data Repository for the years of 2006 to 2014. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Nutrition, Weight Research / 22.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Frank Qian, MPH Department of Nutrition Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Plant-based diets have really grown in popularity in the last several years, particularly among the younger generation in the United States, many of whom are adopting a plant-based or vegetarian/vegan diet. However, the quality of such a diet can vary drastically. While many prior studies have demonstrated beneficial associations for risk of type 2 diabetes with healthful plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, whole grains, and legumes, the opposite is true for less healthful plant-based foods such as potatoes and refined grains such as white rice. In addition, some animal-based foods, such as dairy and fish, have shown protective associations against the development of type 2 diabetes, so strict vegetarian diets which exclude these foods may miss out on the potential benefits. Given these divergent findings, we sought to pool all the available data from prior cohort studies to analyze whether the overall association of a diet which emphasizes plant-based foods (both healthful and unhealthful) are related to risk of type 2 diabetes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Prostate Cancer, Weight Research / 10.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Exercise - Fitness, JAMA / 02.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Red Meat / 22.04.2019

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 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.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Ebola, Global Health, Lancet / 28.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, End of Life Care, JAMA / 21.03.2019

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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Social Issues / 05.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Diabetes, Occupational Health / 24.11.2018

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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Red Meat / 05.10.2018

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.  (more…)