Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Parkinson's / 06.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Clemens R. Scherzer, M.D. Center for Advanced Parkinson Research Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women’s Hospital Boston, MA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Parkinson's disease is the fastest growing brain disorder. The number of patients is projected to double to 14 million by 2040. The total cost of Parkinson's is $52 billion every year in the U.S. Yet, there are no medicines available to slow the disease. Current treatments temporarily alleviate symptoms, but do not address the underlying disease process, which continues to relentlessly progress. To begin to solve this puzzle, we searched the genome of 3,821 Parkinson's disease patients for genetic variants linked to rapid progression over time to dementia, which is a major determinant for a Parkinson's disease patient’s quality of life. These patients were deeply characterized in the International Genetics of Parkinson Disease Progression (IGPP) Consortium, a grass-roots, collaborative network of Parkinson’s investigators, with 31,578 longitudinal study visits over up to 12 years from disease onset. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, Radiation Therapy / 04.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James Donald Byrne, Ph.D., M.D. Department of Radiation Oncology Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Radiation therapy is used as a treatment for more than half of all cancer patients and can be highly effective at shrinking tumors and killing cancer cells. But radiation treatment can also damage healthy tissue, including tissue in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract. This tissue injury can lead to oral mucositis, esophagitis, and proctitis — painful and sometimes debilitating tissue damage. It’s estimated that these injuries occur in over 200,000 patients in the U.S. each year. Our goal was to develop personalized shields that blocked radiation from affecting healthy GI tissue. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gastrointestinal Disease, Genetic Research / 03.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Judy H. Cho, MD, Dean of Translational Genetics Director of The Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly describe Crohn's disease? Whom does it primarily affect? Response: Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory intestinal disease, which affects ~3 million Americans a year. Its most typical age of onset ranges from 15-30 years, and many of those diagnosed also exhibit frequent abnormal healing and complications that constrict the digestive tract. The highest risk genetic mutations that increase risk for Crohn’s disease are found in the gene NOD2; these were first reported 20 years ago. Biological mechanisms by which NOD2 mutations drive Crohn’s disease, and especially fibrotic complications, have been incompletely described up until this point. Further, the reasons why many patients fail to respond to the commonly administered anti-TNF treatments also remain incompletely understood. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Microbiome / 30.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David J. Durgan, PhD Department of Anesthesiology Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our lab and others had previously shown that gut dysbiosis is not only associated with hypertension, but actually plays a causal role. For example we have shown in both a genetic model of hypertension as well as an obstructive sleep apnea induced model of hypertension, that transplantation of their dysbiotic microbiota into normotensive recipients induced elevations in blood pressure. With this understanding our focus shifted to two new questions 1) How can we manipulate the microbiota to improve/prevent hypertension, and 2) What are the signals originating from the microbiota that have the capability to influence host blood pressure? These questions lead to the experimental design of this study. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Nutrition / 30.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sa Kan Yoo MD PhD Division of Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine Kobe University, Kobe, Japan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Cancer is often considered as a disease of “overgrowth”. But, many known “cancer genes” in fact induce cell death rather than cell growth. Because of this phenomenon, it requires involvement of many genes, not a single “cancer gene”, for cells to become cancer. Although this protective phenomenon that cancer genes induce cell death has been known, its exact mechanism has remained unclear. We tackled this problem using the fruit fly, found its mechanism and discovered a way to manipulate it by dietary nutrition. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA, Surgical Research / 28.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anthony Almazan MD Candidate Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Gender-affirming surgeries are procedures offered to alleviate psychological distress and affirm the gender identities of transgender and gender diverse (TGD) people. Requests for these surgeries have been increasing in the United States over the past decade. However, the mental health benefits of these procedures have remained controversial due to the limited evidence base on this subject. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Technology / 28.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yun Liu, PhD Google Health Palo Alto, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you describe the system? Does it use dermatoscopic images? Response: Dermatologic conditions are extremely common and a leading cause of morbidity worldwide. Due to limited access to dermatologists, patients often first seek help from non-specialists. However, non-specialists have been reported to have lower diagnostic accuracies compared to dermatologists, which may impact the quality of care. In this study, we built upon prior work published in Nature Medicine, where we developed a computer algorithm (a deep learning system, DLS) to interpret de-identified clinical images of skin conditions and associated medical history (such as whether the patient reported a history of psoriasis). These clinical images are taken using consumer-grade hardware such as point-and-shoot cameras and tablets, which we felt was a more accessible and widely-available device compared to dermatoscopes. Given such images of the skin condition as input, the DLS outputs a differential diagnosis, which is a rank-ordered list of potential matching skin conditions. In this paper, we worked with user experience researchers to create an artificial intelligence (AI) tool based on this DLS. The tool was designed to provide clinicians with additional information per skin condition prediction, such as textual descriptions, similar-appearing conditions, and the typical clinical workup for the condition. We then conducted a randomized study where 40 clinicians (20 primary care physicians, 20 nurse practitioners) reviewed over 1,000 cases -- with half the cases with the AI-based assistive tool, and half the cases without. For each case, the reference diagnosis was based on a panel of 3 dermatologists. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gender Differences, HPV, JAMA, Vaccine Studies / 27.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michelle M. Chen, MD/MHS Clinical Lecturer Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and associated with several malignancies including oropharyngeal, cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, and anal cancers. In 2020, the FDA expanded the indications for HPV vaccination to include the prevention of oropharyngeal cancer, which is the most common HPV-associated malignancy and about 80% of oropharyngeal cancer patients are male. HPV vaccination rates are closely tracked for adolescents but less is known about vaccination rates for young adults. The goal of our study was to understand HPV vaccinations for young adult men and women, ages 18-21. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 23.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aris Papageorghiou MBChB, MRCOG Professor of Fetal Medicine and the Clinical Research Director Oxford Maternal and Perinatal Health Institute University of Oxford MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our study was really guided by a key question: does Covid-19 in pregnancy increase the risk of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes as compared with pregnant women who do not have the infection? The question is highly relevant because of the known deleterious effects of other coronavirus infections in pregnancy, e.g. SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus). In order to answer this question we undertook this multinational cohort study. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JNCI, Johns Hopkins, Respiratory, Vaccine Studies / 22.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joel N. Blankson, MD, PhD Department of Infectious Diseases Associate Professor Cellular and Molecular Medicine Program Johns Hopkins MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Which vaccines did you evaluate? Response: Prior studies from several groups including our own have found T cell cross-recognition of peptides from SARS-CoV-2 and the common cold coronaviruses. We asked whether as a result of this cross-reactivity, immunization with the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine would also enhance T cell responses to the common cold coronaviruses. Prior studies also suggested that antibodies elicited from the mRNA vaccines had a reduced ability to neutralize the emerging variants of concern. Most of the study participants had received the Pfizer vaccine, but a few had received the Moderna vaccine. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, USPSTF, Vitamin D / 22.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Michael Silverstein M.D., M.P.H Professor of Pediatrics Director of the Division of General Academic Pediatrics Vice Chair of Research, Department of Pediatrics Boston University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Vitamin D is an important nutrient for keeping bones healthy, and it may also have a role in other aspects of good health. However, we do not have enough evidence to understand what levels of vitamin D people need to keep them healthy or what levels are too low. As a result, the Task Force determined there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against screening for vitamin D deficiency in adults who do not have signs or symptoms. It is our hope that with more research, we will be able to make a strong, evidence-based recommendation on screening for vitamin D deficiency in the future. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Environmental Risks / 22.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Masoud Jahandar Lashaki, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatics Engineering Florida Atlantic University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Toilet flushing can generate large quantities of microbe-containing aerosols depending on the design and water pressure or flushing energy of the toilet. Based on previous reports, a variety of different pathogens which are found in stagnant water or in waste products (e.g., urine, feces, and vomit) can get dispersed widely via such aerosolization, including the legionella bacterium responsible for causing Legionnaire’s disease, the Ebola virus, the norovirus which causes severe gastroenteritis (food poisoning), and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Based on previous reports, such airborne dispersion is suspected to have played a key role in the outbreak of viral gastroenteritis aboard a cruise ship, where infection was twice as prevalent among passengers who used shared toilets compared to those who had private bathrooms. Similarly, transmission of norovirus via aerosolized droplets was linked to the occurrence of vomiting or diarrhea within an aircraft restroom, as passengers and crew who got infected subsequently were more likely to have visited restrooms than those that were not infected. The participants in the study reported that all of the restroom surfaces appeared to be clean, which indicates that infection is likely to have occurred via bioaerosols suspended within the restroom. Although many of these studies blamed flush-generated aerosols for disease outbreak, a limited number of them quantified the presence of such aerosols. Consequently, we decided to conduct this study to demonstrate the spike in aerosol concentrations following flushing. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, JAMA / 22.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: First Author Michelle Lee, MD, PharmD Fellow-in-training, Health Services Research & Development Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston, TX   Senior & Corresponding Author 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 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 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), defined as ischemic heart disease (IHD), ischemic cerebrovascular disease (ICVD), or peripheral arterial disease (PAD), is the leading cause of death globally. Particularly in young ASCVD patients, secondary prevention with antiplatelet therapy and statins are extremely important in reducing disease burden. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, NEJM / 22.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aditya Bardia MD, MPH Director, Breast Cancer Research Program, Attending Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) represents an aggressive subtype of breast cancer associated with guarded prognosis. For patients with pre-treated metastatic TNBC, standard chemotherapy is associated with low response rate (5-10%) and poor progression-free survival (2-3 months), highlighting need for better therapies. Sacituzumab govitecan is an antibody drug conjugate (ADC) which combines SN-38, an active metabolite of irinotecan, with an antibody against Trop-2, an antigen overexpressed in majority of triple negative breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Psychological Science / 19.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel J. Kruger Ph.D. Research Investigator, Population Studies Center University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Thorstein Veblen coined the terms “conspicuous consumption” and “conspicuous leisure” to describe the wasteful habits of the upper classes in amassing and displaying expensive goods that did not have inherent practical benefits and devoting time to pursuits such as sports and fine arts. The purpose of these socially conspicuous displays and behaviors was to advertise one’s membership in the upper, leisure class, as only the very wealthy could afford them. Veblen was inspired in part by Charles Darwin’s theory of biological evolution. Darwin himself was greatly puzzled by what he considered wasteful investments of energy in elaborate physiological displays. He saw these features as the greatest threat to his theory of natural selection. Why would something like the peacock’s tail feathers evolve, as they actually threatened survival because of their impediment to foraging and avoiding predators? Darwin was so troubled by this dilemma that the sight of a peacock’s tail feather would make him feel sick. Darwin later realized that these features provided a reproductive advantage, leading to his theory of sexual selection, including the processes of inter-sexual selection and intra-sexual competition. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Education, Pediatrics / 16.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jared Bullard MD FRCPC Associate Professor, Departments of Pediatrics & Child Health and Medical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases Max Rady College of Medicine Rady Faculty of Health Sciences Cadham Provincial Laboratory Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Children are well known to transmit epidemic/endemic respiratory viruses like influenza. Initial public health policy was based on that children were likely to transmit SARS-CoV-2 effectively within a community and subsequently in-person school and extracurricular activities were suspended. Initial research did not show a clear association with children driving transmission. The purpose of our study was to take respiratory samples from both children and adults with COVID-19 (all had SARS-CoV-2 detected by RT-PCR) and compare those samples by their ability to grow in cell culture and amount of virus in samples. We took 175 samples from children (97 younger than 10 years of age and 78 between 11-17 years) and compared them to 130 adult samples from the same communities in Manitoba experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19. (more…)
Author Interviews, Psychological Science / 15.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael J. Poulin, PhD, PhD Associate Professor of Psychology College of Arts and Sciences University of Buffalo MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: A great deal of research suggests that practicing mindfulness--full attention to and acceptance of one's experiences--can be good for individuals. Mindfulness seems to reduce stress and has other psychological benefits. But what about its effects on others? Does mindfulness make people more generous and helpful, or does it make them more selfish? (more…)
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Toxin Research / 13.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elisabeth Schirmer Doctoral student University of Bayreuth, Germany plastics-bpa-bisphenols MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Bisphenol A (BPA) is worldwide one of the most frequently used plasticizers. Over time it has been shown that BPA interferes with developmental processes in vertebrates, i.e. brain development. It is therefore increasingly being substituted by supposedly safe plasticizers like bisphenol S (BPS). (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 13.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael H. Lazar MD Jeffrey H Jennings, MD Pulmonary and Critical Care specialists Henry Ford Hospital Detroit Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Persons of color who are infected with COVID-19 have a higher incidence of hospitalization and death when compared to white patients. However, it was previously unknown if there was a difference in outcomes based upon race in patients who are sick enough to be treated in an intensive care unit (ICU). Our study found that race made no difference in ICU outcomes. MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Response: Lack of racial differences in survival and other meaningful outcomes in the intensive care unit may be related to the highly protocolized nature of care and experience of the critical care team. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, MD Anderson / 12.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Vivek Subbiah, MD Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics Division of Cancer Medicine The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: RET fusions occur predominantly in 2% of lung cancers and 10-20% of thyroid cancers, and in low frequency in an increasing number of diverse cancers, including pancreatic cancer, salivary gland cancer, and colorectal cancer. The therapeutic relevance of RET fusions occurring outside of lung and thyroid cancers has not been well established.. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Weight Research / 10.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Dr. Karsten Koehler Department of Sport and Health Sciences Technical University of Munich MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The primary background is the phenomenon that most people fail to loose (meaningful) weight through exercise alone, which is related to what we call compensatory eating – an increase in food intake to compensate for the increased energy expenditure of exercise. This is been described in a number of studies and is considered a key weight loss barrier – yet few have come up with solutions to overcome this problem. Therefore, we wanted to see if the timing of food choices has an impact on how much and what we want to eat in the context of exercise. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Cannabis, CMAJ / 06.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sarah Windle, MPH PhD Student in Epidemiology Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health McGill University (Montréal, Québec, Canada) MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Concerns have been raised about the potential for increases in impaired driving following the legalization of recreational cannabis use in Canada in October 2018. Data from Statistics Canada suggest that cannabis use in the previous three months increased among adults (15 and older) from 14% before legalization in 2018 to 17% in 2019. Among those users with a driver’s license, 13% reported driving within two hours of cannabis use. While this proportion remained the same before and after legalization, this indicates that the absolute number of individuals who reported driving within two hours of use has increased following legalization (due to an increase in the number of users). (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 06.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael S. Pollard Ph.D Senior Sociologist; Professor Pardee RAND Graduate School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has traditionally been a highly trusted source of public health information, and conveying information to the public about the vaccine and broader pandemic response is critical. This study examines changes in levels of public trust in the CDC between May and October, 2020, in light of the numerous challenges the CDC initially faced during the COVID-19 pandemic: technical problems with their COVID-19 testing kits, mixed messaging about the pandemic and mitigation strategies, and public commentary and interference by people in the Trump administration, for example. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Stroke / 06.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Thanh Nguyen MD Director of Interventional Neurology/ Neuroradiology Boston Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, there were many regional and sometimes national reports of declines in stroke and myocardial infarction volumes. Our goal was to understand whether these declines were also seen for other neurological emergencies such as subarachnoid hemorrhage hospitalizations and ruptured aneurysm endovascular treatments. (more…)
Author Interviews / 31.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Arch G. Mainous III, PhD Professor Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy Professor and Vice Chair for Research Department of Community Health and Family Medicine University of Florida MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We are always concerned about infections from antibiotic resistant bacteria. When the bacteria are resistant to our current treatments this lengthens the time and severity of the illness. Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of community and healthcare associated infections. These range from skin infections to invasive infections and even death. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) is of particular concern and is a burden on the health care system. Importantly, patients colonized, not infected, with MRSA are more likely to develop MRSA infections and patients with MRSA infections have increased risk of hospital length of stay and even death. We are always concerned about infections from antibiotic resistant bacteria. When the bacteria are resistant to our current treatments this lengthens the time and severity of the illness. Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of community and healthcare associated infections. These range from skin infections to invasive infections and even death. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) is of particular concern and is a burden on the health care system. Importantly, patients colonized, not infected, with MRSA are more likely to develop MRSA infections and patients with MRSA infections have increased risk of hospital length of stay and even death. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Education, Mental Health Research, PLoS / 23.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David C. Rettew, MD Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our group, the Wellness Environment Scientific Team at the University of Vermont, hadn’t planned to look at COVID at the outset of this study and instead were going to look at mental health and engagement in wellness activities in college students across a semester. The pandemic disrupted that plan when students were abruptly sent home but fortunately, they continued to do their daily app-based ratings of their mood, stress levels, and engagement in healthy activities. We then realized we had some interesting pre-COVID to COVID data that was worth exploring. (more…)
Author Interviews, CMAJ, COVID -19 Coronavirus, OBGYNE / 19.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nathalie Auger Professeure agrégée de clinique École de santé publique - Département de médecine sociale et preventive University of Montreal MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: COVID-19, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), has been a major public health concern. The number of infected pregnant women continues to increase. Pregnant women and infants are particularly susceptible to COVID-19 because the physiologic changes of pregnancy involve cardiovascular, respiratory, and immune changes that may alter the response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Fetuses may be exposed to SARS-CoV-2 during critical periods of development. The nature of the association between COVID-19 and pregnancy outcomes remains unclear and meta-analyses of pregnant women with COVID-19 are lacking. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 17.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Benjamin E. Gewurz MD, PhD Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Department of Microbiology, Harvard Medical School Boston, MA Benjamin E. Gewurz MD, PhD Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Department of Microbiology, Harvard Medical School Boston, MA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: When the Covid-19 virus infects cells, it takes over and redirects our cells resources towards the projection of virus building blocks and new viruses. Building blocks include large amounts of RNAs that encode for the viral proteins, much as the mRNA vaccines direct our bodies to make the spike protein. We wondered how the virus changes cell metabolism in order to support the synthesis of vast amounts of viral RNAs within hours of infection. (more…)