Allergies, Author Interviews, Immunotherapy, Pediatrics / 04.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lianne Soller, PhD Allergy Research Manager BC Children’s Hospital Allergy Clinic Vancouver, BC, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Peanut oral immunotherapy (also known as OIT) has been studied for many years in clinical trials and has been found to be safe and effective in preschoolers. However, we know that clinical trials do not always reflect what happens in the real world. We wanted to see study whether peanut OIT would work as well in the real world. This is a follow up of our preschool peanut OIT safety study published in April 2019 which noted only 0.4% severe reactions and 4% epinephrine use during build-up. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues / 03.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Susanna Rosi, Ph.D. Lewis and Ruth Cozen Chair II Professor, Brain and Spinal Injury Center Weill Institute for Neuroscience Kavli Institute of Fundamental Neuroscience Departments of Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Science, Neurological Surgery University of California San Francisco MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Everybody has experienced a “senior moment” forgetting where the car keys are, or where you put your glasses. These forgetful moments are not always indicative of a disease, but rather can be a consequence of normal aging. Normal aging is associated with decline of cognitive abilities, such as memory, spatial orientation, problem solving and executive functioning. Investigating what changes happen in the brain with age, can help us to understand why these ‘senior moments’ occur. When we understand what causes these moments, we can design therapeutics with the hopes of preventing or reversing them. With increased life expectancy age-associatedmemory decline becomes a growing concern. We wanted to investigate (i) What causes memory decline with age? (ii) Are there ways to reverse it? (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lifestyle & Health, USPSTF / 03.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. John Epling, M.D., M.S.Ed Professor of family and community medicine Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke, VA. Medical director of research for family and community medicine Medical director of employee health and wellness for the Carilion Clinic Dr. Epling joined the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in January 2016. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke, is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Nearly half of all adults have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Evidence shows that counseling aimed at helping people improve their diet and increase their physical activity can help prevent cardiovascular disease. This typically involves a trained counselor who provides education, helps people set goals, shares strategies, and stays in regular contact. The Task Force recommends behavioral counseling interventions that promote a healthy diet and physical activity to help people at risk for cardiovascular disease stay healthy. (more…)
Author Interviews / 01.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel Maloney, Ph.D Farrar Lab Smurfit Institute of Genetics Trinity College Dublin MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly describe the condition of Dominant optic atrophy? Response: Dominant Optic Atrophy (DOA) is a progressive blinding disorder that affects roughly 1:10,000 to 1:30,000 people. It is primarily caused by mutations in the OPA1 gene, which plays a pivotal role in the maintenance of the mitochondrial network. There is currently no way to prevent or cure DOA. We sought to build upon previous work to test if OPA1 could be delivered as a potential gene therapy intervention. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research / 01.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nina Bhardwaj MD PhD Director of Immunotherapy Tisch Cancer Institute Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai Ward-Coleman Chair in Cancer Research Professor of Hematology and Oncology MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Neoantigens are novel antigens expressed by tumors as a result of somatic mutations or frame shift mutations. They can be very immunogenic and consequently they are being incorporated into cancer vaccine platforms. In most cases it is necessary to determine each patient’s individual mutations and customize their vaccine antigens accordingly. We sought to identify shared mutations in cancer antigens which are deficient in DNA repair mechanisms namely microsatellite unstable tumors. These tumors have mutations in genes that normally are responsible for ensuring that DNA is properly replicated. Because these genes encode proteins that ensure proper repair around micro-satellite areas (which contain short repeated sequences of DNA and are present in similar regions from one person’s genome to the next), when they are mutated, these regions may not be repaired. Consequently due to nucleotide deletions and insertions one gets frame shift mutations which result in new protein expression which can be shared across tumors, as has been observed for a few regions. We therefore did a comprehensive study of a subset of tumors to determine the breadth of shared frame shift mutations. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Inflammation, JAMA, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 30.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ellen H. Lee, MD Incident Command System Surveillance and Epidemiology Section New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Long Island City, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Published reports of the COVID-19-associated multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) have described higher proportions of cases among Black and Hispanic children. However, case series are limited by the lack of population-level data, which could help provide context for the racial/ethnic distribution of cases described in these reports. The New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene required reporting of all possible cases of MIS-C among NYC residents, and for cases meeting MIS-C criteria, applied population denominators to calculate MIS-C incidence rates stratified by race/ethnicity. To help characterize the burden of severe COVID-19 disease in NYC, we also calculated COVID-19 hospitalization rates stratified by race/ethnicity. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Women's Heart Health / 30.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Justin A. Ezekowitz, MBBCh, MSc Professor, Department of Medicine Co-Director, Canadian VIGOUR Centre Director, Cardiovascular Research, University of Alberta Cardiologist, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Are women older, sicker when they experience heart disease? Response: Previous research looking at sex-differences in heart health has often focused on recurrent heart attack or death, however, the vulnerability to heart failure between men and women after heart attack remains unclear. Our study includes all patients from an entire health system of over 4 million people and includes information not usually available in other analyses. Women were nearly a decade older and more often had a greater number of other medical conditions when they presented to hospital for their first heart attack, and were at greater risk for heart failure after the more severe type of heart attack (also known as a ST-elevation MI). This gap between men and women has started to narrow over time. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 26.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jessica Miller PhD Postdoc Fellow Murdoch Childrens Research Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Cesarean section (CS) may be a lifesaving intervention for women and babies. However, the global proportion of CS births is rapidly increasing and may not be medically justified. As CS has implications for both mother and child, the increasing rates warrant population-level analyses of potential risks. Many suggested long-term outcomes in CS-born children relate to altered immune development. It is possible that differences in the newborn microbiome by mode of birth contribute to the development of early immune responses which may influence the risk of immune-related outcomes, including infection. CS has been associated with an increased risk for specific infection-related hospitalisations, mainly lower respiratory tract and gastrointestinal infections, but it remains unclear whether CS is associated with increased risk of overall infection-related hospitalisation or only certain infection types, and whether risk differs for emergency versus elective/pre-labour CS. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 26.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Monika K. Goyal, MD Associate Division Chief, Emergency Medicine Children’s National Hospital Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine and Health Sciences The George Washington University Washington, District of Columbia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There has been growing attention to the disproportionate use of police force in communities of color. Therefore, we sought to investigate whether Black and Hispanic teenagers have higher rates of death due to police shootings when compared to white youth. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, McGill / 22.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Richard C. Austin, PhD Professor and Career Investigator of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario Amgen Canada Research Chair in Nephrology McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, Ontario, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A previous study published in 2011 by my collaborator, Dr. Michel Chretien at the IRCM, identified a rare mutation in the PCSK9, termed Q152H. Individuals harboring this mutation demonstrated dramatic reductions in their LDL cholesterol levels and had a significantly lower risk of CVD. Furthermore, individuals harboring the Q152H mutation showed increases in longevity with no evidence of other diseases such as liver disease, cancer and chronic kidney disease. This Q152H mutation was unique with only 4 families in Quebec shown to harbor this genetic variant. In terms of its effect on PCSK9 expression/activity, the mutation at Q152H was precisely at the cleavage site in PCSK9 necessary for its activation. As a result, the Q152H mutation fails to be cleaved and activated, thereby blocking its secretion into the circulation. This is why the Q152H mutation is considered a loss-of-function PCSK9 mutant. Given our lab's interest in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and ER storage diseases, we began to collaborate with Drs. Chretien and Seidah at the IRCM to investigate whether this Q152H mutant, when overexpressed in liver cells, would cause ER stress and liver cell injury. This was based on the findings that the Q152H mutant does not undergo autocatalytic cleavage and its subsequent secretion from liver cells. It is well known in the literature that the accumulation of misfolded or inactive proteins in the ER gives rise to ER stress and cell injury/dysfunction. As a result, we initially showed to our surprise that overexpression of the Q152H mutant in liver cells failed to cause ER stress BUT increased the protein levels of several important ER chaperones, GRP78 and GRP94, known to PROTECT against liver cell injury/dysfunction. As part of our JCI study, we furthered these studies to examine the effect of the Q152H mutant when overexpressed in the livers of mice. This is where we demonstrated that the Q152H mutation showed protection against ER stress-induced liver injury/dysfunction. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Stanford / 19.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fatima Rodriguez, MD, MPH, FACC, FAHA Assistant Professor, Cardiovascular Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine Palo Alto, CA 94304 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified existing racial/ethnic disparities in the United States. The goal of this study was to leverage new data collected from the American Heart Association’s COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry to understand racial/ethnic differences in presentation and outcomes for hospitalized patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Fertility, OBGYNE / 19.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer Yland Doctoral Student in Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Worldwide, about 22% of reproductive-aged women used hormonal contraception last year. Long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods, which include intrauterine devices (IUDs), implants, patches, and injectable contraceptives, have become increasingly popular. However, little is known about the return to fertility after use of different contraceptives, particularly LARC methods. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Lipids, Mental Health Research, Microbiome / 18.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Moira Marizzoni, PhD Researcher, Fatebenefratelli Center in Brescia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Still incurable, it directly affects nearly one million people in Europe, and indirectly millions of family members as well as society as a whole. The gut microbiota could play a role in brain diseases including Alzheimer’s disease. Some gut bacteria components or products can reach the brain via the blood and might promote brain amyloidosis (one of the main pathological features in Alzheimer’s disease). MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: This study evaluated a cohort of 89 people between 65 and 85 years of age composed of subjects suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other neurodegenerative diseases causing similar memory problems, and of subjects with no memory problems. The study revealed that elevated levels of microbiota-products with known pro-inflammatory properties (i.e. lipopolysaccharides and the short chain fatty acids acetate and valerate) were associated with greater cerebral amyloid pathology while elevated levels of those with anti-inflammatory properties (i.e. the short chain fatty acid butyrate) were associated with lower amyloid pathology. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Exercise - Fitness, JAMA / 17.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tara L Sharma DO Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology at UWMC Seattle, WA 98133 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Flying can lead to reduced oxygen partial pressures and cerebral blood flow causing worsening clinical outcome in cases of moderate to severe TBI; however, not much is known regarding the clinical consequences of flying in individuals with concussion or mild TBI. Because many athletes suffer concussions during games, it is necessary to know if flying afterward may potentially hinder their ability to return to play. Overall, we found no associated between air travel and increased symptom severity in both our entire cohort and the subset of football players. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, University of Michigan / 17.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sara Saberi, MD, MS Assistant Professor Inherited Cardiomyopathy Program Frankel Cardiovascular Center University of Michigan Hospital Michigan Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by HCM? How common is it and whom does it affect? Response: HCM is short for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the most common genetic myocardial disorder. It occurs in 1:500 people worldwide and because it is inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion, it affects men and women equally. HCM is characterized by unexplained left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy, hypercontractility, myofibrillar disarray and myocardial fibrosis with associated abnormalities in LV compliance and diastolic function. In some patients, there is progressive adverse cardiac remodeling, associated with chronic heart failure and atrial fibrillation as a result of diastolic dysfunction, left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) obstruction, or less commonly, LV systolic dysfunction. Current medical management of obstructive HCM (oHCM) is limited to the use of beta blockers and non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers, or disopyramide, none of which have been shown to modify disease expression or outcomes after onset. Mavacamten is a first-in-class, small molecule, selective inhibitor of cardiac myosin specifically developed to target the underlying pathophysiology of HCM by reducing actin–myosin cross-bridge formation. The phase 3 EXPLORER-HCM trial showed that mavacamten improved exercise capacity, LVOT gradients, symptoms, and health status compared with placebo in patients with symptomatic oHCM. At selected study sites, participants were enrolled in a cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging substudy. CMR is the gold standard for measurement of ventricular mass, volumes and noninvasive tissue characterization, making it an ideal imaging modality to assess the effect of mavacamten on cardiac structure and function in patients with HCM. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Dermatology, JAMA, McGill, Mental Health Research / 17.11.2020

Editor's note: This piece discusses suicide. If you have experienced suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide and want to seek help, you can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting "START" to 741-741 or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David-Dan Nguyen, MPH Research Fellow | Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital Medical Student | McGill University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is ongoing concern about the side-effects of finasteride, a drug used for the management of alopecia and benign prostatic hyperplasia. These concerns have led to the coining of the “post-finasteride syndrome” which remains controversial. Indeed, there is conflicting evidence on the post-finasteride syndrome/adverse events associated with finasteride. We wanted to contribute to this conflicting body of evidence by examining suicidality, depression, and anxiety reports linked to finasteride use using the WHO’s pharmacovigilance database, VigiBase. Such pharmacovigilance databases are useful for the study of rare adverse events that are suspected to be associated with medication use. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Occupational Health / 16.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emily Barrett, PhD Associate Professor Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology Rutgers School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We started this study in the very early stages of the pandemic to look at SARS-CoV-2 viral transmission and disease severity in health care workers as compared to non-health care workers. There was a tremendous amount of fear and uncertainty about the virus and the early anecdotal reports coming out of China and Italy highlighted the plight of many frontline health care workers who had been infected on the job. We knew that our U.S. health care workers would soon be facing this tremendous challenge. We started this study to examine risks of infection in our vulnerable frontline health care workers and a comparison group of non-health care workers. Our results are from the early stages of the U.S. pandemic in March-April 2020. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research / 16.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Philippe M Soriano, PhD Professor, Cell, Developmental & Regenerative Biology and Oncological Sciences Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The study was performed primarily to help understand how signals sent from growth factors to their receptors on the cell surface (see reply to the following question) initiate a cascade of events within the cells that lead to proliferation, survival, or other biological responses. This is important to know because deregulation of many of these pathways can lead to cancers. MedicalResearch.com: Would you explain what is meant by FGFs and their interaction with RTKs? Response: FGFs are cell signaling proteins that are also known as growth factors because they often lead to cell proliferation. They act by binding to receptors on the cell surface that are part of a family of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). These RTKs are transmembrane proteins that have a domain outside of the cell that binds to the growth factor and a domain within the cell that has tyrosine kinase activity, hence the name “receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK).” This enzymatic activity adds a phosphate to a tyrosine residue of target proteins and starts a typical signal transduction pathway (referred to in the paper as “canonical”) leading to the usual biological responses (proliferation, survival, migration, etc.) (more…)
Author Interviews, Gout, Rheumatology / 12.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jeffrey D. Kent, M.D., FACG, FACP Executive Vice President, Medical Affairs and Outcomes Research Horizon MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What is the marker for reduced immunogenicity with Pegloticase? Response: Pegloticase is a recombinant, pegylated uricase that is used for treatment of chronic gout in patients who fail oral urate lowering therapy (uncontrolled gout) and has a demonstrated impact on the serum uric acid (sUA) level. As with other biologics, in some people the body’s immune system develops anti-drug antibodies and reduces the effectiveness of the biologic therapy. Recent case series and open-label trials have suggested that using an immunomodulator with pegloticase has the potential to increase the durability of response so patients can receive a full course of therapy. Researchers in the RECIPE trial sought to examine whether the co-administration of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), specifically mycophenolate mofetil, may mitigate this loss of efficacy and increase in response rates for people living with uncontrolled gout (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Heart Disease, Lancet, Lipids / 11.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Børge G. Nordestgaard, MD, DMSc Professor, University of Copenhagen Chief Physician, Dept. Clinical Biochemistry Herlev and Gentofte Hospital Copenhagen University Hospital Herlev, Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous studies have yielded mixed results regarding the association between elevated cholesterol levels and increased risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in individuals above age 70 years; with some studies showing no association and others only minimal association. However, these previous studies were based on cohorts recruiting individuals decades ago where life-expectancy were shorter and where treatment of comorbidities were very different from today (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 10.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brianna M. Jones, MD Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Oral tongue cancer has traditionally been a diagnosis associated with older age and habitual tobacco or alcohol use. However, in the past few decades there has been a disproportionate increase in oral tongue cancer in young patients, particularly in those without a prior history of significant alcohol or tobacco use. In the literature, these young patients without traditional risk factors seem to represent a distinct clinical entity with worse oncologic outcomes. The purpose of this study was to compare young patients (age ≤45) to older patients (>45) with oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma (OTSCC) without habitual smoking or drinking history. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Radiation Therapy / 10.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Jayant S Vaidya MBBS MS DNB FRCS PhD Professor of Surgery and Oncology University College London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What type of single dose radiation is used? Response: The findings of the large international randomised trial (TARGIT-A trial), published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2020;370:m2836), confirm the long-term effectiveness of Targeted Intraoperative Radiotherapy (TARGIT-IORT): a breast cancer treatment which is increasingly available throughout the world. For most women with early breast cancer, a single dose of targeted radiotherapy during surgery is just as effective as conventional radiotherapy, which requires several visits to hospital after surgery. Conventional external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) is delivered from outside the body via a radiotherapy machine (linear accelerator), and consists of a daily treatment session (known as fractions) to the whole breast, over a period between three to six weeks. Each of these treatments is given over a few minutes, but requires 15 to 30 hospital visits, which could be a significant distance from where the patient lives. TARGIT-IORT is delivered immediately after lumpectomy (tumour removal), via a small ball-shaped device placed inside the breast, directly where the cancer had been. The single-dose treatment lasts for around 20 to 30 minutes and replaces the need for extra hospital visits, benefiting both patient safety and well-being. The device used is called INTRABEAM. More details are described on the BMJ and UCL webpages: https://www.bmj.com/company/newsroom/single-dose-radiotherapy-as-good-as-conventional-radiotherapy-for-most-women-with-early-breast-cancer/ https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2020/aug/single-dose-radiotherapy-effective-treating-breast-cancer https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/08/20/targeted-intraoperative-radiotherapy-for-early-breast-cancer-new-evidence/ (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Rheumatology, UCSF / 07.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Milena Gianfrancesco, PhD, MPH Assistant Professor. Education Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine University of California, San Francisco MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study utilized data from the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance Provider Survey, which launched on March 25th. To date, it has collected information on over 6,000 patients with rheumatic disease diagnosed with COVID-19 from over 40 countries worldwide. As COVID-19 spread across the world in the spring, and especially within the United States, it became clear that the disease was impacting certain groups more than others. Growing attention and research began to illustrate the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 among racial/ethnic minorities in the United States. We know that racial and ethnic minorities experience a higher burden of rheumatic disease risk and severity; therefore, our group was interested in examining whether the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 also affected this susceptible population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, JAMA, OBGYNE, Weight Research / 05.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marisa N. Spann, PhD, MPH Columbia University Irving Medical Center New York, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Prior research has demonstrated that higher maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index is associated with adverse long-term outcomes for offspring including obesity, poorer cognitive and social abilities, and increased risk of psychiatric disorders. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: In this study, we investigated the association of maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index with fetal growth and neonatal functional connectivity and found that maternal pre-pregnancy BMI has a significant positive correlation with fetal weight and with greater thalamic connectivity of the brain. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 05.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Duane Wesemann, MD, PhD Div. of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA 02115 Wesemann Lab MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is a lot of variability in how long antibodies to pathogens are produced in humans. Some infections and vaccinations like measles induce high levels of antibodies that can be produced for a lifetime. Other infections or vaccinations induce only short lived antibody responses. Also, some people make longer lasting antibodies compared to others. We wanted to ask what the antibody durability dynamics looked like after COVID-19 and if we could tease out any insights—both with regard to COVID-19 as well as in general. (more…)
Author Interviews, Surgical Research / 03.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Pravesh S. Gadjradj, MD Department of Neurosurgery, Leiden University Medical Center, University Neurosurgical Center Holland Leiden, Netherlands neurosurgery brain surgery ct scan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Many healthcare professionals throughout the world face issues surrounding medical malpractice at some point in their careers. Unfortunately, a number of these cases turn into medical malpractice lawsuits. As a specialty that treats acute pathology and refractory pain, neurosurgery is at risk for high liability. By the means of a survey among members of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), we aimed to illustrate how malpractice lawsuits affect neurosurgeons professionally, emotionally and financially.   MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Some 490 members of the CNS shared their experiences with us. Among these members, 81% faced a medical malpractice lawsuit. The main concerns expressed about being sued included losing confidence and practicing defensive medicine, personal assets being at risk, and being named in the National Practitioner Data Bank. Of the respondents, 40% stated they were frequently or always concerned about being sued, and 77 % stated their fear had led to a change in how they practice medicine. For 58 %, this change led to the practice of defensive medicine, while for others it led to more extensive documentation (14%) and/or to referring or dropping complex cases (12%). Given the medical malpractice environment, 59% of respondents considered referring complex patient cases, whereas 37% considered leaving the practice of medicine. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Occupational Health / 03.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fan-Yun Lan, MD, MS PhD candidate in Population Health Sciences | Environmental Health Graduate School of Arts and Sciences & T.H. Chan School of Public Health Harvard University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Existing evidence has indicated that essential workers are heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as they are not able to benefit from mitigation policies. Their occupational exposures increase their own risk to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and increase the risk of secondary transmissions to their colleagues, families and communities. Research, however, has largely focused on healthcare workers with relatively limited literature investigating non-healthcare essential workers. (more…)
Asthma, Author Interviews / 03.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: https://www.gsk.com/en-gb/home/Beth Hahn, PhD, Director U.S. Value Evidence and Outcomes, GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, NC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Biologic therapies are increasing as a treatment for patients with severe asthma, with multiple therapies approved by the FDA. There is also an increasing understanding of the factors influencing preference for and adherence to biologic therapies for patients with severe asthma; however, little is known about why patients discontinue biologic therapy. In patients who have access to biologic treatment, understanding the circumstances and asthma characteristics associated with discontinuation of biologic therapy may allow for the identification of barriers to treatment success . The objective of this study of cross-sectional physician and patient survey data was to assess the patient characteristics and the given reasons for treatment discontinuation in a US patient cohort with severe asthma treated with biologic therapy. A total of 117 physicians and 285 patients completed surveys with 70% of patients continuing biologic therapy (N=200). This study included a number of different FDA approved biologics. From the perspectives of the physicians included in the current study (85 providing a rationale for discontinuation), the majority reported a lack of symptom control, particularly shortness of breath (46%), exacerbations (26%) and other chronic symptoms (29%), as a key reason for discontinuing biologic therapy in severe asthma. Symptom control was also key for patients, with these three symptom categories among their top six reasons for biologic discontinuation. The cost of biologic treatment was also an important factor, cited as the 5th most common reason for discontinuation among physicians and the 3rd among patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA / 02.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Darpun D. Sachdev, M.D. Case investigation and Contact tracing Branch Chief SFDPH Covid Command Center San Francisco Department of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The ultimate goal of contact tracing is to rapidly identify and isolate contacts who are COVID-19 positive before they have time to transmit to others. As mentioned in the published research letter by SFDPH, through JAMA, during early shelter-in-place (from April to June 2020), our contact tracing program successfully reached greater than 80% of cases and contacts within a median timeframe of 6 days from the onset of their case’s symptoms. Approximately 10% of named contacts were newly diagnosed with COVID-19 (compared to 2% positivity during this time period). Household contacts made up approximately 80% of all identified contacts, but 90% of contacts who tested positive lived in the same household as the case. Secondary cases (contacts who were found to be newly diagnosed with COVID-19) were traced and quarantined within 6 days of the case’s symptom onset. With that said, the 6-day time difference between symptom onset and contact notification raises concern regarding the overall effectiveness of tracing in preventing onward transmission by infected contacts. We are working with community-based organizations to scale up access to testing and culturally competent tracing and wraparound services. Currently, we have now decreased the time difference to 5 days. Moreover, given that the majority of contacts resided in the same household, transmission could have occurred presymptomatically such that by the time infected contacts were identified, they might have already transmitted the virus. Hence, why SFDPH, on May 5, 2020, implemented the recommendation of universal testing for COVID-19 contacts, regardless of symptoms. We recommend that testing should be offered to all contacts regardless of symptoms and encourage local health departments to adopt novel ways of increasing testing access for contacts. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, JAMA / 30.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Selin Tokez, PhD Student Department of Dermatology Erasmus MC, Rotterdam MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) is the second most common skin cancer worldwide with still increasing incidence rates. Given these high incidence rates together with the associated health costs and possibility of fatal progression, it is extremely important to have accurate and complete data on the epidemiology of this disease. Nevertheless, national cancer registries in many countries do not routinely record cSCC cases and therefore currently known numbers are mainly based on incomplete data sources. Additionally, if cSCC cases are registered, this usually only concerns the first cSCC per patient while we know that, contrary to many other malignant neoplasms, patients may develop numerous cSCCs over time. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: In the present study, we analyzed Dutch nationwide data comprising about 145,000 patients with a first invasive cSCC diagnosis between the years 1989 and 2017. We found that the incidence rates of a first cSCC per patient almost tripled in male patients and increased about fivefold in female patients in this 30-year time period. Also, we had data on all cSCCs per patient for the year 2017 and could therefore compare this with the data on only the first cSCC per patient: incidence rates increased by 58% for men and 35% for women when multiple cSCCs were considered. In absolute numbers, this resulted in an increase of 45% in cSCC diagnoses in 2017. Lastly, we extended our analyses by predicting future cSCC incidence rates up to 2027. Given that no substantially effective measures are undertaken in the near future, current cSCC incidence rates will increase with 23% in males and 29% in females in the next decade. (more…)