Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA / 08.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yaa-Hui Dong PhD Faculty of Pharmacy National Yang-Ming University Taipei, Taiwan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous observational studies found that fluoroquinolones may be associated with more than 2-fold increased risk of aortic aneurysm or aortic dissection (AA/AD). However, these studies might not well address the influence of concurrent infection, which is also a suggested risk factor for AA. Moreover, most of these studies compared fluoroquinolone use versus no fluoroquinolone use, which might overestimate the risk with fluoroquinolones as patients on fluoroquinolones may have more severe infection versus those not on fluoroquinolones. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Education, Pediatrics / 04.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Katherine A. S. Auger, MD, MSc Division of Hospital Medicine James M. Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Pediatric Research in Inpatient Settings Network Cincinnati, Ohio MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: All states closed schools in the spring of 2020 to try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Our study demonstrated a large, significant association between school closure and fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths even when accounting for other state policies. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Dermatology / 03.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yin Zhang MD Research Fellow in Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Among modern hair dyes, permanent hair dye is the most popular type, and is the most aggressive and extensively used type that has posed the greatest potential concern about cancer risk. Monitoring and investigating the carcinogenic hazard to people from personal use of permanent hair dyes has major public health implications. In 2008, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer, after comprehensive reviewed prior evidence, classified occupational exposure to hair dyes as a probable carcinogen to humans (group 2A), whereas personal use of hair dyes was not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans (Group 3). Data on hair dye safety has also been continuously monitored by the USFDA. Prior epidemiological evidence may have been influenced by not discriminating between personal and occupational exposure, an inability to distinguish types and colors of hair dyes used, imprecise assessment of several critical domains of exposure history (duration, frequency and cumulative dose), and inadequate control for potential confounding. (more…)
Author Interviews / 03.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kyla Fergason Senior Undergraduate Student Michael K. Scullin, Ph.D. Principal Investigator Baylor University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There’s a fairly sizable literature suggesting that religious affiliation and religious engagement are associated with positive health outcomes. Therefore, we were surprised to find that agnostic/atheist individuals reported better sleep health than Christian individuals in the Baylor Religion Survey (BRS-5). 73% of agnostic/atheist individuals reported sleeping 7-9 hours/night whereas only 63% of Christian individuals met these consensus sleep guidelines. The most affected Christian denominations were Baptists (54.6%) and Catholics (62.3%). These results stood even after adjusting for age and gender. We predicted the opposite pattern. And, it wasn’t just about longer sleep durations. Agnostic/atheist individuals even reported greater ease falling asleep compared to Christian individuals. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Infections / 01.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hariom Yadav, PhD Assistant Professor, Molecular Medicine Wake Forest School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As gut microbiota is linked with all kind of known human diseases, however, commonly studied microorganisms are bacteria. Our study is first-of-its kind to discover the role of fungi living in our gut to influence our brain health like Alzheimer’s disease pathology in humans. It also describes that a Mediterranean ketogenic diet can beneficially change fungi and bacteria populations to improve brain health. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 29.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joanne Lemieux, Ph.D. Professor, Director, Membrane Protein Disease Research Group Department of Biochemistry Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry University of Alberta Edmonton AB Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Labs at the University of Alberta developed and studied inhibitors directed against the main protease of coronavirus virus back in 2003 during the initial SARS outbreak. These inhibitors were subsequently developed by other labs to treat a fatal form of coromavisus infection in cats. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Vitamin D / 28.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Juan C. Celedón, MD, DrPH, ATSF Niels K. Jerne Professor of Pediatrics Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Human Genetics University of Pittsburgh Division Chief, Pulmonary Medicine UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 15224 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Findings from observational studies suggested that vitamin D levels below 30 ng/ml are associated with worse asthma and severe asthma attacks. Based on those results, we conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of vitamin D3 supplementation to prevent severe asthma attacks in 192 high-risk children with asthma aged 6 to 16 years who had moderately low vitamin D levels and were taking low-dose inhaled steroids. (more…)
Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Hearing Loss, JAMA / 28.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cameron C. Wick, MD Assistant Professor, Otology/Neurotology Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis, MO MedicalResearch.com: What do you see as the primary message of your findings for the general public? Response: Older adults not satisfied with their hearing aids achieved clinically meaningful improvement in both hearing and quality of life with a cochlear implant compared to an optimized bilateral hearing aid condition. MedicalResearch.com: Do you see your findings as changing the way older adults with hearing loss are managed? Response: Yes and partially because this study is unique in its design and the outcomes that were measured. Specifically the study is a prospective, multicenter clinical trial conducted at 13 locations across the United States. All patients were setup with a 30-day optimized hearing aid experience before cochlear implantation (context: sometimes hearing aids are not appropriately optimized so baseline testing may not reflect the "best" that hearing aids can do). This study assesses both hearing data as well as quality of life data before and 6-months after cochlear implantation. After implantation patients were tested in both the unilateral (cochlear implant alone) and bimodal (cochlear implant plus hearing aid in the opposite ear) conditions. My paper is a subanalysis of adults 65 years and older (range 65 - 91 years) enrolled in the clinical trial. The principal investigator of the clinical trial is Dr. Craig Buchman. Dr. Buchman and myself are at Washington University in St. Louis which was the lead center for the clinical trial. The findings of the study are meaningful because they demonstrate clear superiority of cochlear implants over hearing aids in many key areas, such as understanding speech, hearing in background noise, and ability to communicate. Hearing loss, which becomes more prevalent as we age, can negatively impact communication leading to social isolation, depression, frustration, and possibly cognitive decline. This study highlights that if patients are not satisfied with their hearing aid performance then they should be referred to a center that can evaluate for cochlear implantation. Cochlear implant indications have evolved considerably since they were first FDA approved in 1984. This study emphasizes that patients do not have to be profoundly deaf to experience significant hearing and social benefits from cochlear implants. Also, it demonstrates that cochlear implant surgery is well tolerated even as adults age and acquire other health ailments. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Medical Imaging / 27.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bruce G. Haffty, MD FACR FASTRO FASCO Associate Vice Chancellor Cancer Programs Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Professor and Chair, Dept. Radiation Oncology Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson and New Jersey Medical Schools Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? : What are the main findings? Response: That at peak times of COVID in NJ, in a tertiary care hospital with lots of COVID patients, where cancer patients still need to get treated, there was no evidence of surface COVID contamination, which should be reassuring to patients requiring radiation treatment in a busy hospital with a high in patient population of COVID patients. It should be noted that patients and staff were routinely mask wearing, observing social distancing and routinely hand washing as well as screening patients as they came in to the department with temperature checks and questions regarding symptoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lipids, PAD, Women's Heart Health / 27.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: First Author: Dhruv Mahtta, DO, MBA Cardiovascular Disease Fellow Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX Senior & Corresponding Author Dr. Virani Salim S. Virani, MD, PhD, FACC, FAHA, FASPC Professor, Section of Cardiovascular Research Director, Cardiology Fellowship Training Program Baylor College of Medicine Staff Cardiologist, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center Co-Director, VA Advanced Fellowship in Health Services Research & Development at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston, TX Investigator, Health Policy, Quality and Informatics Program Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center HSR&D Center of Innovation Houston, TX @virani_md MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? What do you think accounts for the gender differences? Response: We know that women with ischemic heart disease (IHD) have lower prescription rates for statin and high-intensity statin therapy. In this study, we assessed whether the same trends hold true for women with other forms of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) i.e. women with peripheral artery disease (PAD) or ischemic cerebrovascular disease (ICVD). Maximally tolerated statin therapy is a Class-I indication in patients with clinical ASCVD which includes PAD and ICVD. We also assessed statin adherence among men and women with PAD and ICVD. Lastly, we performed exploratory analyses to assess whether statin therapy, statin intensity, and statin adherence in women with PAD and ICVD were associated with cardiovascular outcomes and/or mortality. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Gastrointestinal Disease / 27.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Arvind J. Trindade, MD Director of Endoscopy Long Island Jewish Medical Center Associate professor at Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research Division of Gastroenterology, Zucker School of Medicine Hofstra/Northwell, Northwell Health System New Hyde Park, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Although most patients with COVID-19 present with respiratory symptoms, gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms have also been reported in up to 25% of patients. Some case reports have shown acute pancreatitis as the initial presentation in patients with COVID-19, however the literature supporting this is limited. Our study aimed to report the point prevalence, risk factors, and outcomes of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 presenting with acute pancreatitis in a large health system and to compare outcomes of pancreatitis in patients without COVID-19. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lipids, Regeneron / 26.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor F. J. Raal, FRCP, FCP(SA), Cert Endo, MMED, PhD Director, Carbohydrate & Lipid Metabolism Research Unit Professor & Head, Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The objective of this randomized phase 3 study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of evinacumab in adult patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH), a condition that remains very difficult to treat. The primary endpoint was reduction of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) from baseline with evinacumab compared to placebo at 24 weeks. MedicalResearch.com: Would you briefly explain what is meant by homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia? How many individuals may be affected by this disorder? Response: HoFH, or homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, is the most serious and more rare form of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). It is estimated that as many as 1 in 300,000 people worldwide and approximately 1,300 people in the U.S. are affected by HoFH. A person who has HoFH has inherited two FH genes, one from each parent. They therefore have LDL-C levels that are elevated 4-fold or greater from birth and are at high risk for premature atherosclerotic disease and cardiac events which can occur in childhood. While current treatment guidelines recommend early and intensive LDL-C lowering, people with HoFH tend to be less responsive (or unresponsive) to standard lipid-lowering therapies, including high-intensity statins and PCSK9 (proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9) inhibitors and often require lipid apheresis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Coffee, OBGYNE / 25.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Jack E. James, PhD Reykjavík University Reykjavík Iceland MedicalResearch.com: What prompted this study? Response: Chronic exposure to any chemical during pregnancy is cause for concern. There should be no exception simply because that chemical, caffeine, happens to be widely consumed. Caffeine is a habit-forming substance of no nutritional value. If anything, its widespread consumption suggests that it should be given special attention. Concern is heightened by what is known about the effects of caffeine on the human body, where it affects neural processes in the brain, including networks that control respiration and heart function. When consumed during pregnancy, caffeine readily crosses the placenta, exposing the fetus to the drug. Notably, the fetus is largely physically incapable of metabolising caffeine – that ability develops during the first year of life. Pregnancy studies have shown that caffeine can interfere with fetal heart function and oxygenation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, JAMA, Pediatrics / 24.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kaleab Baye PhD Center for Food Science and Nutrition Addis Ababa University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Reducing child stunting is one of the most important objectives of the Sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the World Health Assembly (WHA). Progress is routinely measured using anthropometric indices such as height-for-age z score that compare child height to the World Health Organization (WHO) growth standards. Such comparisons rely on the assumption that children living in ideal home environment that promotes adequate growth have the same growth potential, irrespective of their genetic make-up. This assumption was confirmed by the Multicenter Growth Reference Study (MGRS), which was the origin of the development of the growth standards. However, the MGRS excluded sites above 1500 m above sea level (asl); hence, it remains unclear whether the widely adopted WHO growth standards are applicable to populations above the 1500 m asl threshold. This study investigated the association between altitude and linear growth faltering and evaluated whether the prescriptive WHO growth standards can apply to children residing at higher altitudes. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Weight Research / 24.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lisa Pawloski PhD Associate Dean for International Programs Professor of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This exploratory research uses the currently available data on COVID-19 cases and mortality, along with estimates of the morbidly obese populations in the United States by county to examine the association between morbid obesity and deaths from COVID-19 and to identify potential coincident spatial clusters of morbid obesity and COVID-19 deaths. Results indicate statistically significant positive correlation between population adjusted COVID-19 deaths and cases and the estimated population with a BMI>=40. Clustering analyses show there is a predominant similarity in the distribution of COVID-19 deaths and obesity. Our findings suggest it is critical to include an awareness of obesity when developing infectious disease control measures and point to a greater need to focus resources towards obesity education and policy initiatives. (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…)
AstraZeneca, Author Interviews, Pulmonary Disease / 22.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Frank Trudo, MD MBA Vice President, US Medical Affairs Respiratory & Immunology AstraZeneca MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: ETHOS was a randomized, double-blinded, multi-center, parallel-group, 52-week trial to assess the efficacy and safety of PT010 in symptomatic patients with moderate to very severe COPD and a history of exacerbation(s) in the previous year. A subset of patients participated in the 4-hour pulmonary function test (PFT) sub-study, with the following primary endpoints: change from baseline in morning pre-dose trough FEV1 at Week 24 at (both doses of budesonide/glycopyrrolate/formoterol fumarate MDI versus glycopyrrolate/formoterol fumarate MDI), and FEV1 area under the curve from 0-4 hours at Week 24 (both doses of budesonide/glycopyrrolate/formoterol fumarate MDI vs budesonide/formoterol fumarate MDI). (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Social Issues / 21.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Monik Carmen Jimenez, Sc.D Assistant Professor of Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We wanted to get a comprehensive picture of the epidemiology of COVID-19 in carceral facilities that included jails and was not restricted solely to prisons. We utilized publicly available data collected in Massachusetts, pursuant to a court order. These data included prison and jail systems and were used to calculate rates of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and testing rates among incarcerated individuals. We were also able to compare those to changes in the population size within each system. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 19.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anura Ratnasiri PhD Senior Research Scientist (Epidemiology and Biostatistics) Benefits Division Department of Health Care Services Sacramento, CA 95899-7417 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Infant mortality rate (IMR) is a widely-reported indicator of population health and is used as a standardized measurement of deaths in the first year of life per thousand live births. While IMR has been steadily declining in the United States, it remains relatively high compared with other developed countries. Even though significant improvements have been made in the quality and access to neonatal and infant care during the past decade, large educational, socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, geographic and behavioral disparities persist, and appear to be responsible for significant differences in IMR among different subgroups. Certain maternal and infant characteristics have important associations with IMR, and this study attempted to quantify major maternal and infant predictors, and trace associated mortality trends during the study period. There were no recent studies on infant mortality using a large data set such as California State. Moreover, gestational age based on obstetric estimates from fetal ultrasound, prepregnancy obesity, and smoking during pregnancy were not available in prior population-based studies in California. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Nature, NYU / 17.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Aneel K Aggarwal, PhD Pharmacological Sciences and Oncological Sciences Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: DNA polymerase ζ (Pol ζ) is the crucial enzyme that allows cells to cope with DNA damage resulting from exposure to environmental and industrial carcinogens and to other daily genotoxic stresses. At the same time, Pol ζ has emerged as an important target for discovery of therapeutics in the treatment of chemotherapy-resistant cancers. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: We have succeeded in resolving the 3-D atomic structure of the complete Pol ζ enzyme using cryo-electron microscopy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Lymphoma / 14.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ivana Špaková Pavol Jozef Šafárik University Košice, Slovakia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The background is the plenty of space for studying "waste metabolites" which tell us more about the metabolism of the whole body as well as about the metabolism of the smallest compartment - cell. So we decided to study what is the difference in urine spectra (absorbance, excitation, and emission spectra) in patients with malignant melanoma and healthy subjects without positive cancer history. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: The main findings are "discovery" (it is not true discovery because the target molecules or metabolites are known for decades) of molecules{metabolites which together describe the stage of malignant melanoma. These findings could be used for future tracking the patient's response for treatment or for tracking the previously treated patients for malignant melanoma and are healthy at the moment of sampling. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, University of Pittsburgh / 14.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James Egan, Ph.D., M.P.H. Assistant Professor Behavioral and Community Health Sciences Pitt Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: When taken as a daily pill, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, adhering to a daily medication regimen doesn’t work for everyone for reasons that include cost and individual concerns about the biological consequences of long-term medication. Previous studies have shown that there are certain periods when some men who have sex with men may be more vulnerable to contracting HIV, including when traveling, on vacation, moving to a new city or after a break-up. Our team set out to explore whether these men might be more receptive to adhering to PrEP treatment during these times. We followed 48 adult men from Pittsburgh or Boston who have sex with men in a pilot program to test the daily use of PrEP for 30 days that included an out-of-town vacation, with the men starting the medication seven days before the trip and continuing for at least seven days after vacation. The men were also given a brief session introducing them to the use of PrEP and discussion adherence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, NEJM / 12.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elizabeth Webb, M.P.H Physiotherapy Department Calvary Public Hospital Bruce Bruce, Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our study showed that in patients with a history of leg swelling (chronic edema), compression therapy by a skilled lymphedema therapist reduced the risk of infection in the leg (cellulitis) by a huge 77%. With up to 47% of patients experiencing recurrence of cellulitis in their legs within 3 years, this result is a game-changer in terms of our approach to managing patients with leg swelling and recurrent cellulitis. Until now, the use of prophylactic antibiotics to prevent cellulitis has been the only evidence-based practice. We know however, there are many reasons why avoidance of antibiotics is important within our community. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lipids, Metabolic Syndrome, UCSF / 12.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prakash Deedwania, MD, FACC,FAHA,FASH,FHFSA,FESC Professor of Medicine, UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This paper describes the findings form the FOURIER study, a very large study evaluating the efficacy of evolocumab, a PCSK9 inhibitor in patients with metabolic syndrome and preexisting atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) who were already being treated with statins. In this largest study of its kind of 27,000 patients we found that 60% of patients with ASCVD had metabolic syndrome. We also found that the presence of metabolic syndrome identified a higher risk of future cardiac & coronary events in these patients despite them receiving maximum tolerated doses of statin. Furthermore, study treatment with evolocumab was efficacious in reducing the increased risk during the median follow up of nearly 3 years . Unlike treatment with statins there was no risk of new-onset diabetes with evolocumab, which was generally well tolerated. What was interesting thatpatients without metabolic syndrome had much less benefit with PCSK9 inhibition. These findings suggest that the presence of metabolic syndrome can help the clinicians identify the ASCVD patients who are most likely to benefit from treatment with PCSK9 inhibitors. This will be of great help for the cost containment of therapeutic strategy as PCSK9 inhibitors as a class are still quite expensive drugs. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Neurology / 11.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
BrainHQHenry Mahncke, PhD
Chief Executive Officer BrainHQ
Dr. Mahncke earned his PhD at UCSF in the lab where lifelong brain plasticity was discovered. At the request of his academic mentor, he currently leads a global team of more than 400 brain scientists engaged in designing, testing, refining, and validating the computerized brain exercises found in the BrainHQ app from Posit Science, where he serves as CEO.
MedicalResearch.com Tell us what’s important about this new study in people with Down Syndrome? Response: Often, we believe that genetic conditions are predetermined and completely inalterable, but this new study underscores that, when it comes to the brain, positive change is almost always possible – regardless of age or health condition. That’s consistent with the science of brain plasticity, and it’s a very different and hopeful way to think about the potential of people with Down Syndrome – and people, generally.   MedicalResearch.com: Can you briefly describe Down Syndrome and findings in this study? Response: Down Syndrome is one of the most common genetic abnormalities in humans, found in about 1 in 1,000 births each year, and caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy . of chromosome 21.It’s usually associated with physical growth delays and characteristic facial features. While cognitive abilities vary enormously, one study estimates the average IQ of a young adults is about 50 (comparable to average 8 or 9 year olds). In a pilot study among 12 people with Down Syndrome involving physical, cognitive and EEG measurements, researchers at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, found a 10-week combined protocol of physical exercises and computerized brain training led to a reorganization of the brain and to improved performance on both cognitive and physical measures. The physical training consisted of aerobic, flexibility, strength, and balance exercises. The cognitive training used in the study was the Greek version of the commercially-available BrainHQ brain app, consisting of 29 visual and auditory exercises targeting memory, attention, processing speed, problem-solving, navigation, and social skills. The researchers had hypothesized that the training would trigger the brain’s neuroplasticity – its ability to change chemically, structurally and functionally. Their results showed increased connectivity within the left hemisphere and from left to right hemisphere, as well as improved performance on physical and cognitive assessments. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics / 11.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jeffrey J. Walline, OD PhD Associate Dean for Research The Ohio State University Columbus, OH 43210-1240 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Greater amounts of nearsightedness are related to higher risks of sight-threatening complications in adulthood, so anything we can do to slow the progression of nearsightedness in childhood can have meaningful benefits in the future. As the prevalence of nearsightedness increases worldwide and affects approximately 1/3 of the people in the United States, a treatment that provides clear vision AND slows the progression of nearsightedness can have a profound effect. (more…)
Author Interviews / 10.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Amy KennedyDr. Amy Kennedy, M.D., M.S Clinician-Researcher Fellow, General Internal Medicine University of Pittsburgh MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: UPMC uses a nucleic acid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for SARS-CoV-2 and specimen collection is done with a nasopharyngeal swab by trained clinicians. The health system developed its COVID-19 test in early March 2020 in anticipation of the tremendous need for diagnostic capabilities. My colleagues and I worked with the Wolff Center at UPMC — the health system’s quality care and improvement center — to review the results of more than 30,000 COVID-19 tests performed on adult patients who received care through one of UPMC’s 40 academic, community and specialty hospitals, or 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites in Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland. The tests were performed between March 3 and May 3, 2020. Of those tests, 485 were repeated at least once. (more…)
Author Interviews, Neurology, Social Issues / 10.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Darren Schreiber JD PhD Senior Lecturer Exeter MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: My co-authors and I saw an opportunity to match existing functional brain imaging data with publicly available voter registration data so that we could look for patterns that distinguish brain activity in nonpartisans from partisans. While a number of studies have found differences in both brain structure and function between partisans on the left and right and there is a massive amount of scholarship in political science on partisans and polarization, no brain imaging work had focused on nonpartisans. Around 40% of Americans do not affiliate with a political party and one important campaign strategy has been to persuade these voters to support party candidates. However many political scientists are skeptical about voters claims to be nonpartisans and will instead treat them as if they were merely covert partisans. (more…)
Author Interviews, Social Issues / 10.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carlota Batres, PhD Assistant Professor of Psychology Franklin & Marshall College MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Many studies have examined how defendant characteristics influence jury decisions, but none have investigated the effect of makeup. We therefore examined how cosmetics influence jury decisions for young and middle-aged female defendants. We found that participants were more likely to assign guilty verdicts to middle-aged defendants than young defendants and when presented with makeup, male participants gave young defendants longer sentences and middle-aged defendants shorter sentences. (more…)