Allergies, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Vaccine Studies, Vanderbilt / 27.07.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kimberly G. Blumenthal, MD, MSc Massachusetts General Hospital The Mongan Institute Boston, MA 02114 Matthew S. Krantz, MD Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: During the initial COVID-19 vaccine campaign with healthcare workers in December 2020, there was an unexpected higher than anticipated rate of immediate allergic reactions after Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines. This prompted both patient and provider concerns, particularly in those with underlying allergic histories, on the associated risks for immediate allergic reactions with the mRNA vaccines. Because of the significantly improved effectiveness of two doses of an mRNA vaccine compared to one dose, it was important to determine if those who experienced immediate allergic reaction symptoms after their first dose could go on to tolerate a second dose safely. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 09.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kenechukwu Ndubisi Mezue, M.D Fellow in Nuclear Cardiology Massachusetts General Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Observational studies have shown that moderate alcohol intake may have beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease. However, the mechanisms through which this benefit occurs is mostly unknown. Chronic stress is also known to associate with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and our group has shown in previous work that increased activity in the stress-associated regions of the brain (such as the amygdala) is significantly associated with increased bone marrow activity, arterial inflammation, and cardiovascular events. Our current study hypothesizes that moderate alcohol intake reduces cardiovascular events by reducing chronic stress-associated brain activity. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, Radiation Therapy / 04.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James Donald Byrne, Ph.D., M.D. Department of Radiation Oncology Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Radiation therapy is used as a treatment for more than half of all cancer patients and can be highly effective at shrinking tumors and killing cancer cells. But radiation treatment can also damage healthy tissue, including tissue in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract. This tissue injury can lead to oral mucositis, esophagitis, and proctitis — painful and sometimes debilitating tissue damage. It’s estimated that these injuries occur in over 200,000 patients in the U.S. each year. Our goal was to develop personalized shields that blocked radiation from affecting healthy GI tissue. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, NEJM / 22.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aditya Bardia MD, MPH Director, Breast Cancer Research Program, Attending Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) represents an aggressive subtype of breast cancer associated with guarded prognosis. For patients with pre-treated metastatic TNBC, standard chemotherapy is associated with low response rate (5-10%) and poor progression-free survival (2-3 months), highlighting need for better therapies. Sacituzumab govitecan is an antibody drug conjugate (ADC) which combines SN-38, an active metabolite of irinotecan, with an antibody against Trop-2, an antigen overexpressed in majority of triple negative breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Surgical Research / 14.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cassandra M. Kelleher, MD, FACS Surgical Director, Fetal Care Program Surgical Director, NICU Quality and Safety Chair, Pediatric Surgery MGH eCare Clinical Informaticist Pediatric Surgery MassGeneral Hospital for Children Boston, MA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Only about one in five surgeons practicing in U.S. is female. Unemployment is virtually nonexistent among surgeons, but many female surgeons, as well as professional women in other fields, experience underemployment—the underuse of skills—according to the Federal Reserve Bank. Women in surgery talk among themselves about how they may be perceived as less confident or competent, and for those reasons they may have less opportunity to do exciting and challenging cases. We wondered if this was true, and if so, why? (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Pediatrics / 22.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lael Yonker, MD Pediatric Pulmonology Director, MGH Cystic Fibrosis Center Principal Investigator, Pediatric COVID biorepository Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center Massachusetts General Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Children were initially felt to be spared from the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we show that children can become sick from SARS-CoV-2 infection, and even if the initial illness is mild, some go on to develop a severe inflammatory illness after the initial illness. We also show that children can carry very high levels of virus early in the course of infection, suggesting they may play a larger role in spreading the virus than previously thought. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Infections, Pulmonary Disease / 08.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jehan Alladina MD Massachusetts General Hospital Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Boston, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: During the pandemic, clinicians around the world have shared anecdotal experiences to help inform care of patients with COVID-19. However, these anecdotes and observations, without careful analysis, can bias clinicians; many clinicians have even recommended experimental therapies based on this information alone. To that end, the goal of our study was to rigorously examine the respiratory failure experienced by critically ill patients with COVID-19 and understand their response to the standards of care for respiratory failure. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences / 16.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jack Turban MD MHS Resident Physician in Psychiatry The Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Gender identity conversion efforts are attempts by a professional (for example a therapist, counselor, or religious advisor) to make a transgender person cisgender. The practice has been labelled unethical and ineffective by major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association. Accordingly, many U.S. states have made this practice illegal. Other states, however, have deferred passing bans on gender identity conversion efforts. Some state legislators have argued that such bans are unnecessary because this practice doesn’t occur in their state. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA / 12.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pooyan Kazemian, Ph.D. Instructor in Medicine Massachusetts General Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Advances in diabetes care can meaningfully improve outcomes only if they effectively reach the populations at risk. However, it is not known if recent innovations in diabetes treatment and care models have reached the United States population at risk. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Nutrition, Weight Research / 11.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anne Thorndike, MD, MPH Massachusetts General Hospital General Internal Medicine Division Boston, MA 02114 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Nearly one-third of the 150 million US adults who are employed are obese. Employees frequently eat meals acquired at work, and workplace food is often high in calories. Effective strategies for reducing non-nutritive energy intake during the workday could help address the rising prevalence of obesity. Simplified labeling, such as traffic-light labels, provide understandable information about the relative healthfulness of food and can be placed on menu boards, shelf labels, and individual packages to help employees make healthier choices. Choice architecture (e.g., product placement) interventions make it easier and more convenient for employees to choose a healthy item. It is unknown if labeling interventions are associated with sustained reductions in calorie intake, or if there are only temporary effects after which most people revert to higher-calorie choices. A previous study demonstrated that a hospital cafeteria traffic-light labeling and choice architecture program resulted in a higher proportion of healthy green-labeled purchases and lower proportion of unhealthy red-labeled purchases over two years. The current study analyzed calories purchased by a longitudinal cohort of 5,695 hospital employees who used the cafeteria regularly. The study examined changes in calories purchased over time and hypothesized the effect of the change in calorie intake on employees’ weight. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Orthopedics, Osteoporosis, Surgical Research / 15.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elaine W. Yu, MD, MMSc Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School Director, Bone Density Center Endocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) is a popular surgical weight loss procedure. We have previously shown that gastric bypass leads to rapid high-turnover bone loss. Bariatric procedures are being increasingly performed in older adults, and the clinical consequences of gastric bypass-associated skeletal changes in this vulnerable population have been unclear to date. Thus, we used Medicare claims data to investigate fracture risk among older adults after gastric bypass, and in comparison to adults who received another bariatric procedure called adjustable gastric banding (AGB), which is thought to have fewer negative bone effects. In our analysis, we found that patients undergoing Roux-en-Y gastric bypass were 73% more likely to fracture than those undergoing AGB. Importantly, we found that hip fracture risk increased nearly 180% after RYGB, and that fracture rates in patients aged 65 or older were similar to the overall group. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Chemotherapy, NEJM / 24.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aditya Bardia, MBBS, MPH Director, Precision Medicine, Center for Breast Cancer, Attending Physician Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02114 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Metastatic triple negative breast cancer is associated with aggressive tumor biology, and tends to affect younger patients and African Amerians. The response rate with standard chemotherapy regimens in patients with pre-treated metastatic TNBC ranges from 10-15%, and median progression-free survival ranges from 3-4 months. The median survival of metastatic TNBC is around 12 months and has not changed in the past 20 years. Thus, treatment of metastatic triple negative breast cancer represents an unmet clinical need. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Stroke / 11.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sandro Marini, MD Research Fellow Jonathan Rosand Laboratory Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MA 02114 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The epsilon(ε) 4 allele of the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene increases risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). In both diseases, it is believed to increase risk through the deposition of beta-amyloid within the brain and blood vessels, respectively. The effect of APOE ε4 on both AD and ICH risk changes across populations, for unclear reasons. In our study, we confirmed the role of APOE ε4 for ICH risk in whites and found that the risk-increasing effect of the 4 allele is demonstrable in Hispanics only when balancing out the effect of hypertension. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods / 02.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Opioids" by KSRE Photo is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0 Dr. Qiushi Chen (first author) and Jagpreet Chhatwal PhD Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School Senior Scientist, Institute for Technology Assessment Massachusetts General Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Opioid overdose epidemic is a national public health emergency — in 2017, more than 49,000 people died from overdose. Our study shows that under current conditions, the number of deaths is projected to increase to 81,700 by 2025. Efforts to curb the epidemic by reducing the incidence of prescription opioid misuse — the primary focus of current interventions — will have a modest effect of 3-5% reduction in overdose deaths. (more…)