Author Interviews, Dermatology, Kidney Stones, NEJM / 28.03.2024 Interview with: Thomas Robert, MD, AIX Associate Professor of Nephrology APHM (Assistance Publique - Hopitaux de Marseille) Marseille, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France   Prof. Emmanuel Letavernier, MD PhD Nephrologist at Tenon Hospital Paris, France What is the background for this study? Response: Our work was prompted by emerging concerns surrounding the potential nephrotoxic effects of hair-straightening products containing glyoxylic acid. This inquiry was instigated by a patient who experienced three repeated acute episodes of kidney injury in June 2020, April 2021, and July 2022, each occurring shortly after a hair-straightening procedure. Notably, these episodes resolved with hydration. Upon examining the composition of the hair product used by the patient, which contained glyoxylic acid, and considering the patient's report of  painful ulcer scalp during application and subsequent scalp scarring, we suspected a potential link between exposure to glyoxylic acid and kidney injury. Consulting with my colleague, Professor Emmanuel Letavenier, a specialist in crystalline nephropathy at Paris, confirmed this suspicion. In summer 2023, cases series have been reported by an Israeli team (, who described 26 patients presenting with acute renal injuries after hair straightening treatments. Biopsies revealed calcium oxalate crystals in the kidneys. The Israeli researchers suspected an effect of formaldehyde and glycolic acid, another substance found in many cosmetic products, including hair straightening products, but were unable to provide conclusive evidence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Transplantation / 09.11.2023 Interview with: Collective responses from study authors: What is the background for this study?
  • Patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) have the best chance for a longer and healthier life if they receive a kidney transplant.
  • However, due to many barriers, many eligible patients today will never receive a kidney transplant.
  • Advanced CKD care is provided by 26 chronic kidney disease (CKD) programs managed by a government funded provincial renal agency (the Ontario Renal Network)
  • Together these 26 programs treat ~ 24,000 patients each year
  • This care is provided by over 3400 nurses and 230 nephrologists
  • To patients approaching the need for dialysis and those receiving dialysis
  • Approximately half are transplant eligible
    • ~ 600 kidney transplants done in Ontario each year across 6 transplant centres
    • with approximately.30% of kidneys coming from living donors
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Kidney Disease / 04.08.2021 Interview with: Maria Luisa S. Sequeira Lopez, MD, FAHA Harrison Distinguished Professor in Pediatrics and Biology University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA 22908 What is the background for this study? Response: The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is crucial in the regulation of the blood pressure (BP). Synthesis and secretion of renin is the key regulated event in the operation of the RAS. One of the main mechanisms that control renin synthesis and release is the baroreceptor mechanism whereby a decrease in blood pressure results in increased release of renin by juxtaglomerular (JG) cells. In spite of its enormous importance, the nature and location of the renal baroreceptor was still unknown. This was due in great part to the lack of appropriate in vitro and in vivo models to confidently allow tracking of the fate and isolation of renin cells, and the lack of tools to study the chromatin in scarce cells. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Kidney Disease, Yale / 11.03.2021 Interview with: Jim Nugent, MD MPH Pediatric Nephrology Fellow Yale University School of Medicine What is the background for this study? Response: It is now well-established that acute kidney injury is common in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. In addition, patients with COVID-19 tend to have more severe acute kidney injury than patients who have acute kidney injury due to other causes. However, the intermediate and longer-term kidney outcomes after COVID-19-associated acute kidney injury have not yet been described. Our study compares the rate of change in estimated glomerular filtration rate after hospital discharge between patients with and without COVID-19 who experienced in-hospital acute kidney injury. Due to their more severe acute kidney injury in the hospital, we hypothesized that patients with COVID-19-associated acute kidney injury would have greater decline in kidney function after discharge compared to patients with acute kidney injury who tested negative for COVID-19. In order to answer this question, we reviewed the medical records of adult patients at 5 hospitals in Connecticut and Rhode Island admitted between March and August 2020 who had developed acute kidney injury during their hospitalization, survived until discharge, and were discharged off dialysis. For our study, we included patients who had at least one outpatient serum creatinine measurement after discharge. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Pediatrics / 12.11.2020 Interview with: Prof. Dr. Hans Pottel PhD Professeur Invité (titre honorifique) Faculté de Médecine Université de Liège KULeuven-KULAK, Kortrijk, Belgium What is the background for this study? Why do we need a new GFR? Response: The currently recommended equations have flaws, mainly because there is one equation (CKiD) recommended for children, and one recommended (CKD-EPI) for adults (by KDIGO). When transitioning from pediatric nephrology care to adult nephrology care, the switch from CKiD to CKD-EPI causes implausible jumps (of more than 50%), mainly because CKD-EPI largely overestimates GFR in young adults (18-30 years). The new equation overcomes this problem as it applies for all ages (for children and adults) and overcomes the known flaws of the currently most used equations. The new equation is less biased and more precise across the full age spectrum and for the full range of serum creatinine concentrations. The equation was developed in 11 251 participants from 7 cohorts (development and internal validation datasets) and validated in 8 378 participants from 6 cohorts (external validation dataset). Data were coming from European and American nephrology centers. No patients of African-American ancestry were included. Actually, the previously published FAS-equation served as the basic mathematical form for the equation, but we adjusted the power coefficients for serum creatinine (very much like it was done in the CKD-EPI equation). You could say that we used properties of both the FAS and CKD-EPI equation to come to an improved equation to estimate GFR. (more…)
Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Kidney Disease / 05.05.2019 Interview with: Dr. Luciano da Silva Selistre MD MS PhD Professor de Medicina - UCS What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:   We have found that no equation for estimating renal function in the elderly is fully accurate. There are important mistakes between them. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Kidney Disease / 11.05.2018 Interview with: “Glass of Water” by Greg Riegler is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. William Clark Lawson Health Research Institute What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  This study is about the use of increased water intake in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Although there are a large number of benefits claimed most are not substantiated by evidence. However there is a growing body of evidence (animal and human observational studies) that increased hydration with the suppression of antidiuretic hormone preserves kidney function in CKD. This led to our current randomised clinical trial of 631 patients with stage 3 CKD and proteinuria to determine if drinking an extra 4-6 glasses of water per day for 1 year would slow their progressive loss of kidney  function as measured by eGFR. The main findings were that those coached to increase their water intake versus those coached to sustain their normal fluid intake suffered no ill effects from the intervention and on average were able to sustain an average increase of approximately 3 glasses of water per day. At the end of 1 year the increased hydration group had suppressed their antidiuretic hormone levels (copeptin) significantly but did not demonstrate a greater preservation in their eGFR. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Johns Hopkins, Kidney Disease, Transplantation / 23.01.2018 Interview with: Tanjala S. Purnell, PhD MPH Assistant Professor of Surgery, Epidemiology, and Health Behavior and Society Core Faculty, Epidemiology Research Group in Organ Transplantation Johns Hopkins University Associate Director for Education and Training, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity Member, OPTN/UNOS Minority Affairs Committee What is the background for this study?
  • Our study was motivated by the fact that we know live donor kidney transplants are associated with longer life expectancy and higher quality of life than deceased donor kidney transplants or long-term dialysis treatment. We also know that Black and Hispanic adults are more likely than White adults to have end-stage kidney disease but are less likely than White patients to receive live donor kidney transplants.
  • Over the last 2 decades, there have been several transplant education programs implemented within transplant centers and dialysis centers, and legislative policies enacted to improve overall access to live donor kidney transplants for patients. We wanted to see whether these programs and policies resulted in narrowed racial and ethnic disparities in access to live donor kidney transplants in the United States. 
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Journal Clinical Oncology, Kidney Disease, UT Southwestern / 01.01.2018 Interview with: Kevin D. Courtney, M.D., Ph.D.  Assistant Professor UT Southwestern Medical Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is the most common form of kidney cancer. Metastatic ccRCC does not respond to traditional chemotherapy. Current standard treatments for metastatic ccRCC include drugs called vascular endothelial growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (VEGFR TKIs) that block the growth of new blood vessels that feed the cancer, as well as drugs that inhibit an enzyme called mTOR that is involved in ccRCC growth and immune therapies that rev up the body’s immune response to try to fight the cancer. Each of these treatments can have significant side effects for patients that can make them difficult to tolerate. Metastatic ccRCC is largely incurable, and we need novel and better-tolerated treatments. A central driver of ccRCC is a protein called hypoxia inducible factor 2alpha (HIF-2alpha). This protein has been very difficult to try to target with a drug. This study is the first to test a drug that targets HIF-2alpha in patients with metastatic ccRCC. The study results showed that the HIF-2alpha inhibitor, PT2385 (Peloton Therapeutics) was active in fighting metastatic ccRCC and was well-tolerated. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Kidney Disease, Surgical Research / 25.10.2017 Interview with: In Gab Jeong, MD Associate Professor Department of Urology, Asan Medical Center University of Ulsan College of Medicine Seoul, Korea What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Use of robotic surgery has increased in urological practice over the last decade especially for the surgery that was difficult to perform with laparoscopic techniques such as radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer or partial resection of kidney cancer. However, the use, outcomes, and costs of robotic nephrectomy are unknown. We examined the trend in use of robotic-assisted operations for radical nephrectomy in the United States and compared the perioperative outcomes and costs with laparoscopic radical nephrectomy. The proportion of radical nephrectomies using robotic-assisted operations increased from 1.5% in 2003 to 27.0% in 2015. Although there was no significant difference between robotic-assisted vs laparoscopic radical nephrectomy in major postoperative complications, robotic-assisted procedures were associated with longer operating time and higher direct hospital costs. The rate of prolonged operating time (>4 hours) for patients undergoing the robotic-assisted procedure was higher than for patients receiving the laparoscopic procedure (46.3% vs 25.8%; risk difference, 20.5%; 95% CI, 14.2% to 26.8%). Robotic-assisted radical nephrectomy was associated with higher mean 90-day direct hospital costs ($19530 vs $16851; difference, $2678; 95% CI, $838 to $4519). (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Transplantation / 30.05.2017 Interview with: Deborah Evans, MA, MSW, LCSW Manager, Social Work Services DaVita Kidney Care What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: For patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) receiving dialysis, receipt of a transplant offers the best possible long-term treatment option. However, the process of becoming qualified to receive a transplant involves many steps, beginning with the patient’s statement of interest. In this study, we sought to characterize transplant interest among patients in a large dialysis organization in the U.S. and to explore reasons identified by the patients for lack of interest in transplant when applicable. As of November 2016, of the 182,906 patients with available transplant status information in the LDO database, 58,057 (31.7%) expressed that they were not interested in transplant. Among patients not interested in transplant, the most frequently identified reasons for lack of interest were:
  • Advanced age (25.7%)
  • Perceived poor health (12.0%)
  • Comfortable with current modality (12.0%)
  • Uninterested in further surgeries (11.9%)
  • 13.2% of patients not interested in transplant indicated that “other” factors were responsible for their lack of interest. At the time of the study, we didn’t have any further insight into what might account for these “other” factors.
Compared to patients with transplant status listed as active, those not interested in transplant were:
  • Older (21.4% < 60 years vs 64.6%)
  • More likely to be female (47.7% vs 36.6%)
  • More likely to be white (43.9% vs 30.4%) and less likely to be Hispanic (14.7% vs 22.2%)
  • More likely to be receiving in-center hemodialysis (92.0% vs 73.7%)
  • More likely to have Medicare/Medicaid as primary insurance (91.3% vs. 77.3%)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Mayo Clinic, Radiology / 11.08.2015

MedicalResearJennifer S. McDonald Ph.D Assistant Professor Department of Radiology Mayo Interview with: Jennifer S. McDonald Ph.D Assistant Professor Department of Radiology Mayo Clinic Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. McDonald: Our research group is interested in studying contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN), which is the development of acute kidney injury following administration of iodinated contrast material. Iodinated contrast material is frequently administered during CT examinations. Recent publications, including those by our group, suggest that the incidence of contrast-induced nephropathy has been overestimated by prior, uncontrolled studies. The purpose of our study was to better evaluate the incidence and severity of CIN in patients with diminished renal function (eGFR < 60 ml/min/1.73m2). In the current article, we performed a controlled retrospective study comparing patients who received a contrast-enhanced CT scan at our institution to patients who received an unenhanced CT scan. We used propensity score analysis that incorporated numerous variables to match contrast recipients and control patients with similar clinical characteristics. After performing this analysis, we found that the rate of AKI, emergent dialysis, and short-term mortality was similar between contrast recipients and control patients. (more…)
Kidney Disease, Transplantation / 15.11.2014

Anthony Bleyer, Jr.  Wake Forest University Class of 2015, Economics  President, Club Sports Union  Senior Captain, Wake Forest Men's Ultimate Interview with: Anthony Bleyer, Jr.  Wake Forest University Class of 2015, Economics President, Club Sports Union Senior Captain, Wake Forest Men's Ultimate Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are over 100,000 individuals waiting for a kidney transplant, but each year only approximately 6,000 individuals have living donors who donate them a kidney; the rest of the individuals must remain on dialysis until they receive a kidney from an individual who has died and is a kidney donor.  A major limiting factor for kidney donation is that many individuals are not healthy enough to donate a kidney because they have  excessive obesity, diabetes mellitus, blood pressure that is too high, or they have other health conditions.  While it was known that obesity, hypertension, and other health conditions are contraindications to kidney transplant, there was no data about what percentage of the US population would be able to donate a kidney.  To study this, we (a team of kidney doctors and researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC) analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey. This study is a population-based sample that is representative of the US population. Based on data from this study, we determined that 55.2% of the U.S. population would not have met eligibility criteria for kidney donation, often due to preventable health conditions.  19.2% of the population would have been unable to donate due to hypertension, 15% due to obesity, 11.6% due to excessive alcohol intake, and 11.5% due to diabetes.  60.1% of individuals with an adjusted family household income (AFHI) <$35,000 did not meet eligibility criteria vs. 49.3% for an AFHI > $100,000.   If one considers non-US citizenship and a family income below the poverty threshold as exclusion criteria, 68.5% of the US population would be unable to donate. (more…)
Author Interviews, Urology / 29.07.2014

MedicDavid C. Johnson, MD, MPH Department of Urology University of North Carolina School of Interview with: David C. Johnson, MD, MPH Department of Urology University of North Carolina School of Medicine   Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Johnson: The first main finding from this study is that the likelihood of benign pathology after surgical removal of a renal mass suspected to be malignant based on pre-operative is inversely proportionate to size. This concept is well-established, however we systematically reviewed the literature for surgical series that published rates of benign pathology stratified by size and combined these rates to determine a single pooled estimate of benign pathology of pre-operatively suspicious renal masses for each size strata. Using benign pathology rates from US studies only, we found that 40.4% of masses < 1 cm, 20.9% of masses 1-2 cm, 19.6% of masses 2-3 cm, 17.2% of masses 3-4 cm, 9.2% of masses 4-7 cm, and 6.4% of masses >7 cm are benign. The more novel finding from this study was the quantification of a previously unmeasured burden of over treatment in kidney cancer. By combining the above mentioned rates of benign pathology with epidemiological data, we estimated that the overall burden of benign renal masses surgically removed in the US to approach 6,000 per year in 2009. This represented an 82% increase over the course of a decade. Most importantly, we found an overwhelmingly disproportionate rise in the surgical treatment of renal masses in the smallest size categories – those which were most likely to be benign. We found a 233%, 189% and 128% increase in surgically removed benign renal lesions < 1 cm, 1-2 cm, and 2-3 cm, respectively from 2000 – 2009 in the US. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Transplantation / 01.07.2014

Daniela P Ladner, MD, MPH, FACS Assistant Professor Transplant Surgery Department of Surgery, Division of Organ Transplantation Director Northwestern University Transplant Outcomes Research Collaborative (NUTORC) Comprehensive Transplant Center Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Interview with Daniela P Ladner, MD, MPH, FACS Assistant Professor Transplant Surgery Department of Surgery, Division of Organ Transplantation Director Northwestern University Transplant Outcomes Research Collaborative (NUTORC) Comprehensive Transplant Center Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Ladner: With the current kidney organ allocation system, there exists significant geographic disparity between the 58 Donor Services Areas (DSAs) in the US, which are distributed among 11 regions. This means that depending on where a patient lives it might take shorter or longer to receive a kidney organ for transplantation. Despite efforts, this has not improved over the course of 20 years and in most regions this has worsened. In 1991 and 1992 respectively, two states changed their kidney allocation system, such that kidneys would first be allocated with the DSA of procurement, then statewide, then regionally (which may include several states) and then nationally. Usually kidneys don’t get allocated statewide before regionally. The main finding of this study is that in those two states (FL, TN), where a minor change to the kidney allocation was put into place, there was significant reduction in the geographic disparity between their Donor Services Areas. In other comparable states (equal numbers of DSAs within the state) the geographic disparity did not improve and in many the geographic disparity worsened. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Kidney Disease, Medical Research Centers / 05.09.2013 Interview with: Gearoid M. McMahon, MB, BCh Renal Division, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts Framingham Heart Study, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and Center for Population Studies, Framingham, Massachusetts What are the main findings of the study? Answer: This study examined the incidence, causes and outcomes of rhabdomyolysis in two large University Teaching hospitals. Rhabdomyolysis is a characterized by an increase in serum creatine phosphokinase (CPK) and results from muscle damage from a variety of causes. The most important complication of rhabdomyolysis is acute kidney injury which can result in a need for dialysis. Using a series of laboratory and clinical variables that are readily available on admission, we constructed a risk score that can predict with some accuracy the likelihood that a patient with rhabdomyolysis might die or need dialysis during an admission. The final variables included in the model were age, gender, the cause of rhabdomyolysis and the admission CPK, creatinine, phosphate, bicarbonate and calcium. One of the advantages of this study was, because we had access to data from two institutions, we were able to derive the risk score in one hospital and confirm its accuracy in the second institution. (more…)