Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Hearing Loss / 14.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aravindakshan Parthasarathy, PhD Researcher, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Instructor in Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by Hidden Hearing Loss? Response: Our ears were not designed for the society our brains created. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 billion young adults are at risk for hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to excessive environmental noise. Anatomical analysis of human ears has shown that half of the nerve fibers connecting the ear to the brain have degenerated by the time we reach 40 years of age. Many of us experience the first symptoms of hearing loss as a difficulty following conversations in crowded places such as restaurants. Hidden hearing loss is an umbrella term used to describe such hearing difficulties experienced by people who show no abnormalities on any of the current tests of hearing used in the clinic. Approximately 10% of visitors to our hospital hearing clinic fit this profile, arriving with a primary complaint of poor hearing but being sent home with a clean bill of hearing health. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Ophthalmology / 01.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daejoon Alex Hwang, PhD Instructor in Ophthalmology Investigator, Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Yellow night driving glasses are sold with promises to reduce headlight glare from oncoming traffic and help aging individuals see better at night. Despite a 1997 ruling by the Federal Trade Commission against one company’s claims, the products still remain popular online. We tested three commercially available yellow lens night driving glasses and compare their effectiveness with clear lens glasses on our novel headlight glare simulator in the driving simulator. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, ENT, Surgical Research / 25.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Vinay K. Rathi, MD Otolaryngology Resident | Massachusetts Eye and Ear Project Manager | Partners Ambulatory Care MBA Candidate | Harvard Business School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study is a secondary subgroup analysis that follows on the heels of a recently published study in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) examining physician reimbursement for surgical procedures in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS), which both public and private insurers use to determine payment rates for clinician services. Although it is widely understood that physician time (i.e., the amount of physician time required to perform a procedure) is perhaps the most important factor used to determine payment rates, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has historically relied upon limited and potentially biased survey data to estimate physician time. Leveraging time data from American College of Surgeons National Quality Improvement Program, the authors of the recent NEJM study demonstrated that CMS does not appear to systematically misestimate intraoperative times, but there are substantial discrepancies that may result in over- or undercompensation for certain procedures and specialties. (more…)
Author Interviews, Inflammation, Ophthalmology, PNAS / 25.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kip Connor, Ph.D. Harvard Medical School Associate Professor of Ophthalmology Department of Ophthalmology Massachusetts Eye and Ear MGH ECOR Ophthalmology Representative Associate Scientist MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Classically, the retina and the central nervous system (CNS) have long been considered immunoprivileged sites within the body. This is not to say that these sites lack immunity; rather, they are capable of exhibiting a contained yet modifiable form of immunological response. Indeed, an intricate immune surveillance system exists within the retina that can interact with the retinal cellular milieu both during development and in response to injury or disease. While activation of this surveillance system can help protect and repair the delicate neural tissue of the retina in certain disease states, over-activation of this system can exacerbate disease pathology, thereby worsening vision loss. Microglia are the resident immune cells of the central nervous system, including the retina, and are thought to function acutely in the homeostatic maintenance of the neuro-retinal microenvironment. However in chronic conditions, like autoimmune uveitis, we hypothesized that microglia become neurodegenerative. In our current study we show for the first time a role for microglia in directing the initiation of this autoimmune disease by orchestrating the inflammatory response within the retina through the retinal vessels. (more…)
Author Interviews, ENT, JAMA, Pain Research, Pediatrics, Surgical Research / 05.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gillian R. Diercks, MD, MPH Instructor in Otolaryngology, Harvard Medical School Department of Otolaryngology Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Boston, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Pediatric tonsillectomy is a commonly performed procedure, representing the second most common ambulatory surgery performed on children in the United States, with over half a million children undergoing the surgery annually. A major concern for surgeons, patients, and their families is the issue of postoperative pain control as pain can last up to 10-14 days after surgery, be quite severe, and result in readmission to the hospital or ED visits for medications and dehydration. In young children and children with sleep apnea we cannot safely administer narcotic pain medications at home. This leaves limited options for pain control, including acetaminophen and ibuprofen. However, there are concerns that ibuprofen could potentially increase bleeding risk after surgery because of its effects on platelet function in the blood. At baseline, the risk of postoperative hemorrhage within the first two weeks after tonsillectomy is around 4.5%, with about 1-1.5% of children requiring a return to the operating room to control severe bleeding. Our study set out to show that the risk of severe postoperative bleeding when ibuprofen is given for 9 days after tonsillectomy was not increased compared with the bleeding risk when acetaminophen was administered instead. Our study could not conclude that the risk of bleeding is no different when ibuprofen is used, and was suggestive that the bleeding risk may actually be higher. (more…)