Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues / 29.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Renuka Tipirneni, MD, MSc, FACP Assistant Professor Holder of the Grace H. Elta MD Department of Internal Medicine Early Career Endowment Award 2019-2024 University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine, Divisions of General Medicine and Hospital Medicine, and Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation Ann Arbor, MI MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As there have been significant racial/ethnic disparities in US COVID-19 infections and health outcomes including death, we investigated county-level social factors that may explain these inequities. Specifically, we examined the association between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index (a composite measure of social disadvantage) and COVID-19 incidence and mortality rates. We found that with just a one-point increase in the ten-point scale, there was a 14% increase in incidence rate and 14% increase in mortality rate. This equated to approximately 87 excess COVID-19 infections and 3 deaths per 100,000 population.(more…)
Cancer Research / 29.01.2021

Cancer occurs when cancerous cells in one area of the body reproduce rapidly and invade surrounding cells, tissue, and organs. Occasionally, these cells can spread to other parts of the body. Symptoms, treatments and the prognosis will depend on the type and stage of the cancer.

Give them emotional support

Your parent is probably as confused and overwhelmed as you are, if not more. Offer them a comforting ear and allow them to talk through how it is affecting them, their concerns, their treatment options, and their wishes. Offer assistance, but don’t force it. Being too helpful could end up with your parent feeling a loss of control or independence. Organize what type and level of support you can offer, sustainable to their wellbeing, and yours. Offer spontaneous and scheduled companionship to help them to feel a sense of normalcy and provide opportunities to spend time together. If you both decide you should accompany them to their physician’s appointments and treatments, take notes, and don’t be scared to speak up if you have a question.

cancer-chemotherapy-cancer-treatment.jpegTry to understand what they’re going through

Take the time to understand the individual symptoms that they are experiencing and suggest proven solutions to relieve and manage. For example, the symptoms of mouth or esophageal cancer will be very different from that of any other part of the body. Namely, these cancers can cause loss of the ability to chew and swallow (medically referred to as dysphagia), which are alleviated using a thickener in food and beverages. In contrast, individuals suffering from cancer of the spine are more likely to have trouble mobilizing, which would be improved by a walking aid. Managing conditions like cancer begin with a full understanding. Read about the origin of SimplyThick Easy Mix and see the value in understanding health conditions from a patient perspective. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, NEJM, OBGYNE / 28.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: DAVID K. TUROK, MD, MPH, FACOG ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY CHIEF OF THE DIVISION OF FAMILY PLANNING UNIVERSITY OF UTAH MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Researchers and clinicians have long known that copper intrauterine devices (IUDs) work extremely well for emergency contraception, using contraception after sex to prevent pregnancy. However, the hormonal IUD (levonorgestrel 52 mg IUD) has distinct characteristics that many people prefer. Namely, it reliably reduces or eliminates menstrual bleeding and cramping. Until now we did not know if the levonorgestrel IUD worked for emergency contraception. Now we know. In a first-of-its-kind study, our team at the University of Utah Health and Planned Parenthood Association of Utah found that hormonal IUDs were comparable to copper IUDs for use as emergency contraceptives. (more…)
Author Interviews, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Weight Research / 26.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Raveena CharaLoma Linda University Loma Linda, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? latin food fried food obesityResponse: In a country struggling with an epidemic of obesity, Hispanics are one of the fastest growing population groups in the U.S. and have the highest prevalence of obesity. They are also least likely to enroll in weight reduction programs, complete them, and successfully lose weight (though reasons for this remain elusive). Obesity- a leading predisposing factor for many chronic diseases - is a complex biophysical phenomenon shaped by many factors, including a person’s social environment, health and culture. Culture permeates many aspects of one’s life including how a person views weight and behaviors associated with eating and physical activity. Indeed, for many values and norms about what is culturally acceptable and views on “body weight” vary culturally and affect their decisions about weight and weight loss. This too is the case within the Hispanic population in the US. Given the rising human and financial impact of obesity, preventing and reducing obesity, diabetes and other weight related medical conditions is a growing priority, especially for low income Hispanics.(more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 25.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marlene Cano MD. PhD. Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Pulmonary Transplant Immunology Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Department of Medicine Washington University/Barnes-Jewish Hospital Saint Louis, MO MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How does this test differ from other tests for COVID-19?Response: We know COVID-19 causes a wide spectrum of disease, and that while many develop only mild uncomplicated illness, others develop severe respiratory failure, multi-organ failure and death. These patients often require prolonged hospitalization, ICU level care and even mechanical intubation for respiratory support. However, we still do not have a great way to identify which patients are likely to develop severe disease. We felt it was important to have a test that could act as sort of a ‘biomarker’ that we could measure early in COVID-19 patients and would help predict which patients would develop severe disease. From prior work, we knew that mitochondrial DNA, which are proinflammatory molecules that are released into the circulation from damaged organs could be this such ‘biomarker’. So, we measured the levels of mitochondrial DNA circulating in the plasma of patients with COVID-19 at the time they first presented to the hospital. Then we investigated if higher levels of mitochondrial DNA indeed predict the development of more severe disease. Currently there are no ‘biomarker’ tests specific for COVID-19. We do currently measure levels of other markers in the hospital that we feel might help us assess overall how sick patients may be, but these are very non-specific and assess only level of inflammation. This test instead can measure level of tissue injury. (more…)
Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, JAMA / 22.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sara Machado PhD Fellow at the Department of Health PolicyLondon School of Economics and Political Science MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Physician distribution is a determinant of health care access, so knowing how physician density patterns evolve over time is important if we are trying to address disparities in access to care. Moreover, the last 10 years have brought about changes in health care coverage, across the US. Recent evidence points to an uneven physician distribution between urban and rural communities. We examined recent trends in physician density by physician category across rural and urban US counties.MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?Response: We have two main findings.
  • First, density of primary care physicians steadily decreased in more than half of rural counties (994 out of 1,976).
  • Second, medical specialist density, which would care for cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, for example, has been largely stagnant in rural counties, at the lowest density levels (less than 10 physicians per 100,000), and increasing in metropolitan counties.
(more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 22.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kent Hoskins, MD Eileen Lindsay Heidrick Professor in Oncology Division of Hematology/Oncology University of Illinois at Chicago Director of Cancer Genetics Co-Leader, Breast Cancer Research Group University of Illinois Cancer Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The racial disparity in breast cancer mortality emerged in the US in the late 1980s in the wake of widespread implementation of mammography screening and the development of successful systemic adjuvant therapies for early breast cancer. Unfortunately, more than three decades later, Black women in the US still have a 40% higher mortality rate from breast cancer compared with non-Hispanic White women despite similar disease incidence. Health disparities research has primarily focused on the fact that Black women have a higher incidence of the aggressive triple-negative subtype, and that they are more likely to present with more advanced stages of disease. As important as those factors are, in recent years our group and others reported that Black women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer have worse survival than non-Hispanic white women even after adjustment for stage at diagnosis and treatment. Since nearly 2/3 of breast cancers in Black women are hormone receptor-positive, this is a significant contributor to the overall mortality disparity. Importantly, these studies also suggested that Black women disproportionately develop biologically aggressive forms of hormone-dependent breast cancer, which is typically considered a more favorable disease subtype. Using data on more than 70,000 patients from the SEER registry that is linked to data from Genomic Health Laboratory, which provides the Oncotype DX recurrence score (the most commonly ordered prognostic/predictive multi-gene expression assay for early breast cancer), we set out to address three questions: 1) is there evidence of disproportionately aggressive tumor biology among Black women with hormone receptor (HR)-positive breast cancer, as reflected in the Oncotype DX recurrence score? 2) Is there a racial survival disparity even among patients with early stage, axillary node-negative tumors with comparable recurrence scores on the Oncotype assay? and 3) Is there is a difference in the prognostic accuracy of the Oncotype assay between Black and non-Hispanic white patients, since there was limited representation of Black women in the development and validation of the Oncotype assay and other prognostic/predictive assays?(more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 20.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Caroline Wei Shan Hoong, MBBS, MRCP Associate Consultant Endocrinologist Department of General Medicine Woodlands Health Campus National Healthcare Group, Singapore MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In the course of our clinical work, we have noticed a predominance of musculoskeletal complaints among some of COVID-19 patients who are otherwise clinically well, and a small subset of them who develop a viral arthralgia (joint pains) sometimes occurring separately from the onset of acute respiratory symptoms. Besides a few isolated case reports, there was not much described about COVID-19 associated viral arthralgia in the literature. Clinicians are well aware of the need to test for COVID-19 when patients present with cough or shortness of breath. However, when they present as joint pains without any respiratory symptoms, a diagnosis of COVID-19 could easily be missed. Due to overlapping clinical features like low platelet count and elevated liver enzymes, they could easily be misdiagnosed as having other vector-borne infections such as dengue fever, if clinicians do not have a high clinical suspicion of COVID-19. Hence we decided to describe the epidemiology and various presentations of musculoskeletal manifestations of COVID-19 in our cohort of patients.(more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology / 15.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian Kim, MD Associate Professor of Dermatology Co-Director, Center for the Study of Itch & Sensory Disorders John T. Milliken Department of Internal Medicine Washington University in St. Louis MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patients with eczema suffer from chronic itch due to the rashes they have on their body. However, as a physician, I have always noticed that patients with eczema will have sudden flares of their itching all over there body that is often triggered by what appear to be allergens – being around a cat, pollen, mold in a house, etc. Eczema is in the family of allergic diseases such as food allergy, asthma, and hay fever. All of these conditions are noted for patients being reactive to allergens by way of an antibody called IgE that coats a cell called the mast cell. Upon IgE binding an allergen, mast cells produce tons of histamine which can cause symptoms like itching. So we speculated that perhaps because patients with eczema have such misbehaving IgE, that exposure to allergen is what triggers this kind of severe itch flare that we see in patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, CT Scanning, Heart Disease, JACC, Statins / 14.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prasanna Venkataraman MBBSThomas H. Marwick MBBS, PhD Baker Heart and Diabetes Research Institute Monash University, Melbourne Melbourne, AustraliaMedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
  • Coronary artery calcium score (CAC) quantifies coronary calcium as determined by computed tomography and is a good surrogate marker for overall coronary plaque burden. It can help to reclassify patients at intermediate risk – many of whom are actually at low risk and can be reassured. Conversely, the finding of coronary calcium can also motivate patients (and their clinicians) to more aggressively control their cardiovascular risk factors. This is particularly problematic in those with a family history of premature coronary artery disease, where standard risk prediction tools are less accurate. However, CT CAC does not routinely attract third party payer support limiting its access and utilisation.
  • We screened 1084 participants who have a family history of premature coronary disease and a 10-year Pooled cohort Equation (PCE) cardiovascular risk >2% with CAC. We then assessed the cost-effectiveness of commencing statins in those with any coronary calcium compared to a strategy of no CAC testing and commencing statins if their PCE risk was ≥7.5% consistent with current guidelines.
(more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Fertility, Genetic Research / 12.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Skinner, PhD Eastlick Distinguished Professor Founding Director, Center for Reproductive Biology School of Biological Sciences Washington State University Pullman WA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Over twenty years ago we identified the existence of a non-genetic form of inheritance through analysis of environmentally induced epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease, now well established in a number of species including humans. I was giving a talk on this topic at a meeting in Spain. This study was initiated following the scientific meeting in Spain with an in vitro fertilization clinical group that said they had access to sperm from males with and without autistic children. It took several years to collect and characterize the samples, and find financial support for the study. Once this was done then we did the molecular analysis to see if the sperm from fathers with autistic children had epigenetic, DNA methylation alterations, that associated with them having offspring with autism. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Pulmonary Disease / 12.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Liam Townsend, PhD Department of Infectious Diseases St. James's Hospital and Department of Clinical Medicine Trinity Translational Medicine Institute Trinity College, Dublin, IrelandMedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Much is known about the clinical characteristics and pathological features of acute SARS-CoV-2 infection, but there is relatively little known about post-COVID recovery. This has come under increasing scrutiny in light of reports that patients suffer persistent symptoms beyond resolution of initial infection, known as long COVID. We set out to assess patients in our post-COVID clinic for ongoing ill-health, with particular focus on fatigue and breathlessness. Given that COVID-19 primarily affects the respiratory system, we also evaluated respiratory recovery. Patients underwent chest radiography and six-minute-walk testing, as well as routine blood tests including inflammatory markers and D-dimers. We included both patients who were admitted during their acute infection as well as those managed in the community in order to capture the full spectrum of disease. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Pulmonary Disease / 12.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Maria A. Blasco, PhD Director of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre Head of the Telomeres and Telomerase Group – CNIOMedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In my group we have previously described that telomere dysfunction in alveolar type II (ATII) cells in the lung is sufficient to induce pulmonary fibrosis in mice, thus demonstrating that these cells, which have a role in lung regeneration, are at the origin of the disease (Povedano et al., Cell Reports, 2015). Indeed, we further demonstrated that telomere elongation in these cells by using a gene therapy strategy based on telomerase activation, was sufficient to stop the progression of pulmonary fibrosis induced by short telomeres in mice (Povedano, eLife, 2018). (more…)
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Exercise - Fitness / 09.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Zach Finewax, PhD Research Scientist I Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Chemical Sciences Laboratory (CSL) Chemical Processes and Instrument Development (CPID) University of Colorado, Boulder, COMedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? gym-exercise-sweat.jpegResponse: Humans on average spend 90% of their time indoors. As a result, they are exposed to indoor air far more often than outdoor air (the atmosphere). Yet, the chemistry (and air quality) of the atmosphere has been studied far more often than indoor air. Air quality is linked to direct health impacts, and the emissions indoors can be ventilated outdoors where they can undergo chemical transformations that have climate and health impacts. Beyond exposure to indoor air, humans contribute significantly to overall indoor air quality by breathing, sweating, and applying personal care or hygiene products. Previous studies have investigated these emissions at a high level of chemical detail for seated or standing individuals indoors, but limited chemical and time-resolution studies have been conducted while people are exercising indoors. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA / 08.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jay C. Butler, MD, FAAP, MACP, FIDSA Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA 30333 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There are still disagreements about the significance of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from asymptomatic persons. It has been known since at least March 2020 that, unlike the closely related coronavirus that causes SARS, transmission of COVID-19 from asymptomatic and presymptomatic persons occurs and that at least 30% of infected persons do not develop symptoms. Estimating the proportion of transmissions from persons without symptoms informs the decision analysis for prioritization of community mitigations opportunities: wearing of masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene. If only a low proportion of transmission occurs from people without symptoms, these interventions would be less likely to control transmission when broadly applied in the community. On the other hand, if a significant proportion of spread is from infected persons without symptoms, the value of these measures is enhanced. Additionally, obtaining strategic and systematic screening tests for SARS-CoV-2 to identify and isolate persons without symptoms in selected settings, such as congregational housing settings, will have greater potential impact if spread from persons without symptoms is common.(more…)
Allergies, Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 22.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mia StråvikPhD-student | Doktorand Department of Biology and Biological Engineering Division of Food and Nutrition Science Chalmers University of Technology MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is a need of research investigating the role of maternal diet during pregnancy and lactation on the baby’s allergy risk. Allergy is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood, causing great suffering for the allergic child but also the entire family. Yet, the possibilities to cure and prevent this, in many cases life long, suffering are very limited. Previous research have indicated that maternal diet during pregnancy and lactation may affect the propensity of the child to develop an allergy, and diet is a factor you as a parent really can influence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Education, Pediatrics / 21.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrey Vyshedskiy PhD Boston University, Boston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background of ImagiRation? https://imagiration.com/ Response: ImagiRation is a Boston-based startup with links to MIT, Harvard, and Boston University. ImagiRation has developed a highly innovative adaptive language therapy application for children with autism, Mental Imagery Therapy for Autism (MITA). MedicalResearch.com: How is the Mental Imagery Therapy for Autism program delivered?Response: MITA language therapy is administered by parents at home. MITA application works on all smartphones and tablet devices and is designed for children ages 2 to 12 years.(more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Heart Disease / 21.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chris Clark, PhD Clinical Senior Lecturer in General Practice Primary Care Research Group St Luke's Campus, Exeter MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?Response: Various individual studies have suggested that a blood pressure difference between arms is associated with increased mortality and cardiovascular events since we first reported this association in 2002. Such studies have been limited, due to smaller numbers of participants, in the conclusions that could be drawn. Therefore we sought to pool data from as many cohorts as possible to study this association in more detail.MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?Should it be standard practice to measure blood pressure in both arms?Response: Systolic inter-arm difference was associated with increased all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. We found that all-cause mortality increased with inter-arm difference magnitude from a ≥5 mmHg threshold. Systolic inter-arm difference was also associated with cardiovascular events in people without pre-existing disease. This remained significant after adjustment for various internationally used cardiovascular risk scores, namely ASCVD, Framingham or QRISK2. Essentially we found that each increase of 1mmHg in inter-arm difference equated to a 1% increase for a given cardiovascular risk score. When undertaking a cardiovascular assessment, or determining which arm should be used for blood pressure measurement, it is recommended to measure both arms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Orthopedics / 18.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karin Magnusson PT, PhD Associate ResearcherLund University and Norwegian Institute of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is one of the most common knee injuries, for which very limited data has been presented on the genetic contribution. Based on our knowledge of the role of genetics in the development of ACL-rupture related traits, such as joint hypermobility and knee osteoarthritis, we hypothesized that heritability might play a role also in ACL injury. Using the Swedish Twin Registry, which is the world's largest twin registry and in this study including more than 88.000 twins, we had unique data to for the first time reliably estimate the heritability for this common knee injury.(more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Kidney Disease / 14.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kevin Moore, MD UCL Institute of Liver and Digestive Health Royal Free Hospital, University College London MedicalResearch.com: What is hepatorenal syndrome – acute kidney injury (HRS-AKI) and how does terlipressin fit into the treatment landscape?Response: HRS-AKI, also known as hepatorenal syndrome type 1 (HRS-1), is an acute and life-threatening syndrome involving acute kidney failure in people with cirrhosis.[i] HRS-1 can progress to life-threatening renal failure within daysi and has a median survival time of approximately two weeks and greater than 80 percent mortality within three months if left untreated.[ii],[iii] Terlipressin, a potent vasopressin analogue selective for V1 receptors, is an investigational agent, and its safety and effectiveness have not yet been established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In the U.S., there are currently no approved pharmacologic treatments for HRS-1; however, terlipressin is approved in most other countries, where it has been a standard of care for the last 20 years in the treatment of patients with HRS-1.[iv],[v] The current standard of care for HRS-1 in the U.S. includes other vasoconstrictors such as midodrine (a drug which can increase blood pressure and potentially improve blood flow into the kidneys) along with concomitant albumin and frequent monitoring, but current data do not support good efficacy.2 Dialysis (a type of renal replacement therapy) is sometimes used in hepatorenal syndrome, but dialysis is not curative and it can be costly.(more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, CT Scanning, Johns Hopkins, Nature / 12.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nilanjan Chatterjee, PhD Bloomberg Distinguished Professor Departments of Biostatistics and Epidemiology Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthMedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Calculation of risks or severe COVID-19 disease and mortality for individuals in the general population can help to prioritize prevention efforts, such as early vaccination. We developed a model to estimate risks for COVID-19 mortality for currently uninflected individuals based on sociodemographic factors, pre-existing conditions and local pandemic intensity. The model captures factors associated with both risk of infection and complications after infection. The model was developed using information from a large UK based cohort study called OpenSAFELY, and was adapted to the US population based on information on mortality rate associated with age and race/ethnicity available through CDC. The model also utilizes information on state level projected death rates from pandemic forecasting models.(more…)
Author Interviews, Circadian Rhythm, Exercise - Fitness / 11.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrew W. McHill, PhD Research Assistant Professor Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences Oregon Health & Science University, Portland OR Portland, OR 97239 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: It has long been known that there is a home court advantage in sports, whether it be due to the home fans cheering, playing within familiar settings, or travel of the opposing team. However, the contribution of travel to home-court advantage could never be fully teased apart due to all the confounds of the other aspects of playing at home. In March, the National Basketball Association had to pause their season due to COVID-19 concerns, only to start again several months later with the top 22 teams playing in a “bubble” environment where no teams were required to travel. This created a ‘natural experiment’ wherein we could test the impact of travel on winning and performance before the COVID-19 shutdown with games played in the bubble environment with no travel. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Neurology, Pain Research / 10.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: William K. Schmidt, Ph.D. Senior VP Clinical Development Helixmith Co. Ltd. MedicalResearch.com:What is the background for this study? How common is diabetic peripheral neuropathy and how does it affect patients?Response: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 34 million people in the United States have diabetes (about 10% of the U.S. population) and about one in four patients do not know that they have it (https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/factsheets/diabetes-prediabetes.htm). Diabetes can cause significant damage to nerves in the feet, hands, eyes, and other parts of the body. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is the most common form of nerve damage worldwide; it affects approximately half of the patients with diabetes (Iqbal et al., 2018). In many individuals, severe burning, tingling, “pins and needles,” or cramping pain can occur simultaneously in both feet without external evidence of foot damage. Despite the pain, symptoms may be accompanied by numbness or loss of sensation in the feet. This is called painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (painful DPN or P-DPN) and may affect up to one-third of the general diabetic population (Yoo et al., 2013). P-DPN may cause increased anxiety and depression, sleep impairment, and difficulties with walking. Up to one-third of P-DPN patients may require the use of a cane, walker, or even a wheelchair due to extreme foot pain. Once P-DPN occurs, it may result in a lifetime of pain and disability. FDA-approved daily oral medications often used to treat P-DPN include Neurontin (gabapentin), Lyrica (pregabalin), Cymbalta (duloxetine), and Nucynta ER (tapentadol). While these “neuropathic pain” medications may dull the pain for some subjects, they produce significant side effects that may be troubling for many patients. Indeed, many patients stop using these pain killers due to lack of effectiveness at doses that they can tolerate (van Nooten et al., 2017) There is also a topical 8% capsaicin patch, but again with limited efficacy. It is well known that the most severely affected patients may require opioid analgesics to control P-DPN (Pesa et al., 2013). None of the currently used medications have disease-modifying effects. However, our new injectable medication is now in advanced clinical development that has the potential disease-modifying effects lasting months after each treatment, with limited or no side effects for most patients aside from brief injection site discomfort. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, CDC, JAMA, Lung Cancer / 10.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David A. Siegel, MD, MPH Division of Cancer Prevention and Control US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Georgia MedicalResearch.com: Why is it important to better understand the smoking histories (both current/former and never smokers) among lung cancer patients?Response: Knowledge of smoking status of patients diagnosed with lung cancer can help us understand how to best prevent, detect, and treat lung cancer in the future. More than 84% of women and 90% of men newly diagnosed with lung cancer had ever smoked cigarettes, and half of patients aged 20 to 64 years newly diagnosed with lung cancer were current cigarette smokers. These findings reinforce the importance of cigarette cessation and lung cancer screening. 1 out of every 8 people diagnosed with lung cancer had never smoked cigarettes, which reiterates the importance of learning more about their risk factors for lung cancer, which could impact prevention and treatment.(more…)
Author Interviews, BMC, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Diabetes, Nutrition / 10.12.2020

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? What are the main findings? Response: Type 2 diabetes (T2D) has been associated with poor progression of breast cancer. Moreover, having a breast cancer diagnosis may also increase the risk of developing T2D. Therefore, identifying strategies for T2D prevention among breast cancer survivors may play a key role in improving their survival outcomes. One approach may be through a diabetes risk reduction diet (DRRD), a dietary pattern comprised of 9 components that has been associated with 40% lower T2D risk in a previous Nurses’ Health Study publication.1 However, no studies to date have evaluated the association between adherence to the DRRD (as measured by the DRRD score) and survival outcomes following breast cancer. In this prospective cohort study among 8,320 breast cancer survivors, we found that greater adherence to the diabetes risk reduction diet after diagnosis was associated with a statistically significant 31% lower risk of overall mortality. Reduced breast cancer-specific mortality was also observed, which was more pronounced (20% lower risk) among those who improved adherence after diagnosis compared to women with consistently low DRRD adherence before and after diagnosis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Hearing Loss, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues / 10.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nicholas S. Reed, AuD Assistant Professor | Department of Epidemiology Core Faculty | Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: It is known that hearing aid ownership is relatively low in the United States at less than 20% of adults with hearing loss owning and using hearing aids. However, many national estimates of hearing aid ownership are based on data that is over 10 years old. Our team was interested in trying to understand whether ownership in hearing aids had changed over time. We used data from 2011 to 2018 in a nationally representative (United States) observational cohort (The National Health and Aging Trends Study) of Medicare Beneficiaries aged 70 years and older to estimate the change in hearing aid ownership. In our analysis, the proportion of Medicare beneficiaries 70 years and older who reported owning and using their hearing aids increased 23.3% from 2011 to 2018. However, this growth in ownership was not equal across all older adults. For example, while White males saw a 28.7% increase in hearing aid ownership, Black females saw only a 5.8% increase over the same 8-year period. Moreover, adults living at less than 100% federal poverty level actually saw an overall 13.0% decrease in hearing aid ownership while those living at more than 200% federal poverty line saw an overall 30.6% increase. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections / 09.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ed Breitschwerdt, DVM, DACVIM The Melanie S. Steele Distinguished Professorship in Medicine Professor, Internal Medicine NC State College of Veterinary Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Bartonella species represent a medically underappreciated group of vector-transmitted bacteria that are increasingly implicated in a spectrum of animal and human diseases. Most recently, our research group has focused on the potential role of these bacteria as a cause or co-factor in patients with neuropsychiatric symptoms. This focus is based upon prior case reports and case series generated by our research group and others. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education / 08.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Martin J. Bergee Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs School of Music University of Kansas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The idea that listening, participating, or achieving in music makes you better at another subject, say, math, science, or reading, has been around for a while. Indeed, there’s a relationship between achievement in music and achievement in other content areas. But I’ve always assumed that the relationship was spurious, that is, driven my any number of such background influences as urbanicity, ethnicity, SES, level of parent education, the type of school one attends, and so forth. Essentially, I set out to demonstrate once and for all that with these background influences accounted for statistically, the relationship is considerably attenuated. Much to my surprise, however, music achievement’s relationships with reading and math achievement remained quite strong. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Immunotherapy / 05.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Corina Dutcus MD Vice President of Clinical Research Oncology Business Group Eisai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain how lenvatinib works? Is it used for any other malignancies, ex. thyroid cancer?Dr. Corina DutcusResponse: LENVIMA (lenvatinib), discovered and developed by Eisai, is an orally available multiple receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor that inhibits the kinase activities of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors VEGFR1 (FLT1), VEGFR2 (KDR), and VEGFR3 (FLT4). LENVIMA inhibits other kinases that have been implicated in pathogenic angiogenesis, tumor growth, and cancer progression in addition to their normal cellular functions, including fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptors FGFR1-4, the platelet derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRα), KIT, and RET. LENVIMA is approved in combination with everolimus for the treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) following one prior anti-angiogenic therapy. The approved starting dose for LENVIMA is 18 mg daily. The objective of Study 218, a randomized, open-label, Phase 2 trial, was to assess whether the lower starting dose of LENVIMA (14 mg daily) in combination with everolimus (5 mg daily) would provide similar efficacy with an improved safety profile compared to the FDA-approved starting dose of LENVIMA (18 mg daily) plus everolimus (5 mg daily) in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) following prior treatment with an antiangiogenic therapy. In the US, LENVIMA is also indicated for:
  • the treatment of patients with locally recurrent or metastatic, progressive, radioactive iodine-refractory differentiated thyroid cancer (RAI-refractory DTC);
  • for the first-line treatment of patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC);
  • and in combination with pembrolizumab, for the treatment of patients with advanced endometrial carcinoma that is not microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR), who have disease progression following prior systemic therapy, and are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trial.
Please see Prescribing Information for LENVIMA (lenvatinib) at http://www.lenvima.com/pdfs/prescribing-information.pdf.(more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Environmental Risks / 04.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jeremy M. Gernand, PhD, CSP, CRE Associate Professor Environmental Health and Safety Engineering Department of Energy and Mineral EngineeringMedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Given concern in the public about exposure to nanoparticles in cosmetics, we decided to investigate the exposure potential for inhaling nanoparticles during the application of aerosol mineral-based sunscreens that are typically marketed as safer for children. We choose three commercially available sunscreens to test in the lab in a manner intended to capture the amount of inhaled particles that would typically occur during application of sunscreen to the mid-point of one’s own arm.(more…)