Author Interviews, Endocrinology, NIH, Pediatrics / 19.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50940" align="alignleft" width="150"]Kenneth S. Korach, Ph.D. Senior Principal Investigator Chief, Receptor Biology Section Reproductive and Developmental Biology Laboratory NIEHS/NIH Dr. Kenneth Korach[/caption] Kenneth S. Korach, Ph.D. Senior Principal Investigator Chief, Receptor Biology Section Reproductive and Developmental Biology Laboratory NIEHS/NIH MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Lavender oil is among the most popular essential oils used today. Our society deems essential oils and other homeopathic remedies as safe alternatives for medical treatment, personal hygiene commodities, aromatherapy, and cleaning products; however, there are many natural products that have effects on the human body, similar to potent synthetic drugs.
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, JAMA, NIH, Pulmonary Disease / 13.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50697" align="alignleft" width="150"]Joel Kaufman, MD, MPH, Professor   Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, Medicine, and Epidemiology University of Washington Prof. Kaufman[/caption] Joel Kaufman, MD, MPH, Professor   Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, Medicine, and Epidemiology University of Washington  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Increasingly, it is recognized that chronic lung diseases like emphysema occur in nonsmokers and rates of these diseases are continuing to increase.  We really need to understand what’s causing chronic lung disease. Air pollutants are known to make disease worse in people with prior lung disease, but little is known about whether long-term exposure to air pollutants can cause chronic lung disease. We found that higher residential concentrations of air pollutants—especially ozone and traffic-related air pollutants—are associated with changes in the lung—emphysema-like changes in the lung.  The associations were strong and suggest that air pollution may be an important contributor to chronic lung disease. 
Author Interviews, JAMA, NIH, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 25.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50397" align="alignleft" width="200"]Lan N. Đoàn, MPH CPH PhD Candidate, School of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences College of College of Public Health and Human Sciences Oregon State University, Corvallis Lan N. Doan[/caption] Lan N. Đoàn, MPH CPH PhD Candidate, School of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences College of College of Public Health and Human Sciences Oregon State University, Corvallis MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is a prevailing stereotype that Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA/NHPI) populations are a model minority group - healthier than all other racial/ethnic groups. As a result, health researchers often consider AA/NHPI so similar that their data is typically grouped together which masks their cultural and health differences. However, AA/NHPI populations represent more than 50 countries or cultures of origin and 100 different languages and have unique health needs and cultural preferences. Prior research has found minimal financial investments in AA/NHPI populations by federal agencies and philanthropy, even though AA/NHPI individuals represent more than 5.0% of the total US population and are the fastest-growing racial/ethnic group in the United States. The purpose of study was to conduct a review of clinical research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for AA/NHPI populations and to determine the level of NIH investment in serving these populations. We queried the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools Expenditures and Results (RePORTER) system for extramural AA/NHPI focused clinical research projects conducted in the United States from January 1, 1992, to December 31, 2018. We included clinical research funded under research project grants, centers, cooperative awards, research career awards, training grants, and fellowships was included, with an advanced text search for AA/NHPI countries and cultures of origin. 
Author Interviews, Hearing Loss, JAMA, NIH, NYU / 24.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49355" align="alignleft" width="150"]Jan Blustein, MD PhDProfessor of Health Policy and MedicineWagner Graduate School and School of MedicineNew York University, New York Dr. Blustein[/caption] Jan Blustein, MD PhD Professor of Health Policy and Medicine Wagner Graduate School and School of Medicine New York University, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s largest public funder of health research, provides annual reports about levels of funding for many diseases and conditions.  These reports, issued as part of the NIH’s Research, Condition and Disease Categorization (RCDC) process, allow members of the public to track funding across key conditions and across time. Hearing loss is not included among the reported conditions. This runs counter to two of the NIH’s stated goals, according to researcher Jan Blustein (M.D., Ph.D.), professor of health policy and medicine at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, in a Research Letter in the May 15th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery. “First, the NIH is committed to transparency about how it divides funds across diseases and conditions,” said Dr. Blustein.  “Second, it has said that it will prioritize its funding to those conditions that cause the greatest disease burden.”  Hearing loss causes great disease burden, ranking 10th in the U.S. among all conditions as a contributor to Disability Adjusted Life Years (a widely-used measure of disease burden), according to the World Health Organization.
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Johns Hopkins, NIH, Pulmonary Disease, Transplantation / 29.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47206" align="alignleft" width="142"]Sean Agbor-Enoh, M.D., Ph.D. Co-Director/Staff Clinician Laboratory of Transplantation Genomics National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute National Institutes of Health Dr. Agbor-Enoh[/caption] Sean Agbor-Enoh, M.D., Ph.D. Co-Director/Staff Clinician Laboratory of Transplantation Genomics National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute National Institutes of Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: People who receive organ transplants may develop acute or chronic rejection, in which the body’s immune system attacks the transplanted organ. While acute rejection is treatable and reversible, chronic rejection is not and remains the most common cause for organ transplant loss. Lung transplant recipients have the shortest survival rates among patients who get solid organ transplantation of any kind—only about half live past five years. This poor survival rate among lung transplant recipients is due in part to a high incidence of chronic rejection. Existing tools for detecting signs of rejection, such as biopsy, either require the removal of small amounts of lung tissue or are not sensitive enough to discern the severity of the rejection. Building upon earlier work, our research team developed a simple blood test that can detect when a newly transplanted lung is being rejected by a patient, even when no outward signs of the rejection are evident.  The test could make it possible for doctors to intervene faster to prevent or slow down so-called chronic rejection—which is severe, irreversible, and often deadly—in those first critical months after lung transplantation. This same test might also be useful for monitoring rejection in other types of organ transplants. Called the donor-derived cell-free DNA test, the experimental test begins with obtaining a few blood droplets taken from the arm of the transplant recipient. A special set of machines then sorts the DNA fragments in the blood sample, and in combination with computer analysis, determines whether the fragments are from the recipient or the donor and how many of each type are present.  Because injured or dying cells from the donor release lots of donor DNA fragments into the bloodstream compared to normal donor cells, higher amounts of donor DNA indicate a higher risk for transplant rejection in the recipient.
Author Interviews, Infections, NIH, Ophthalmology / 05.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Top, retina of a control patient. Bottom, retina from a patient with CJD. Arrowheads point to abnormal prions in the outer plexiform layer (opl), and the asterisk (*) marks more diffuse prions in the inner plexiform layer (ipl).Orrù et al., mBioByron Caughey, Ph.D. Senior Investigator Chief, TSE/prion Biochemistry Section Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases NIH/NIAID Rocky Mountain Laboratories Hamilton, MT 59840 USA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Corneal transplants have caused the transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in at least two cases, and pathological prion protein has been detected in the retinas of the eyes of sporadic CJD cases. To build on these previous indications of prions in eye tissue, we tested the distribution of prions in various components of eyes from 11 sCJD decedents. We applied a highly sensitive surrogate test for prions (RT-QuIC) that indicated that all of the sCJD cases had prions in multiple parts of their eye, including the cornea and sclera, which is the white outer surface of the eye. Retinas were usually contained the highest levels, in some cases approaching levels in the brain. Some other parts such as the cornea, lens and vitreous had much lower, but detectable, levels. 
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, NIH, Nutrition, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 14.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Baby Bottle" by brokinhrt2 is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kristen Upson, PhD, MPH and Donna D. Baird, PhD Epidemiology Branch National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Research Triangle Park, NC 27709  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Menstrual pain is the most common menstrual complaint and can substantially affect the quality of women’s lives. A prior study in young adults who participated in feeding studies as infants reported an increased risk of greater menstrual pain severity in adulthood with soy formula feeding. Since that study, evidence from laboratory animal studies support the disruptive effects of a phytoestrogen present in soy formula, genistein, on reproductive system development, including aspects involved in menstrual pain. The laboratory animal studies also demonstrate that the developmental changes with genistein can persist into adulthood. Given these results, we were interested in further evaluating the association between infant soy formula feeding and menstrual pain in a cohort of young women. In our study of women ages 23-35 years old, we observed that soy formula feeding during infancy was associated with several indicators of severe menstrual pain in reproductive-age women. This included a 40% increased risk of ever using hormonal contraception for menstrual pain and 50% increased risk of moderate/severe menstrual discomfort with most periods during early adulthood. 
Author Interviews, Infections, MRSA, NIH, Probiotics / 12.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "staph aureus on blood agar" by Iqbal Osman is licensed under CC BY 2.0Pipat Piewngam Postdoctorol fellow Pathogen Molecular Genetics Section, Laboratory of Bacteriology, NIAID/NIH Bethesda, MD, USA 20892  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Our team at National Institutes of health, Mahidol University and Rajamangala University of Technology in Thailand has reported that the consumption of probiotic Bacillus bacteria comprehensively abolishes colonization with the dangerous pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus. We hypothesized that the composition of the human gut microbiota affects intestinal colonization with S. aureus. We collected fecal samples from 200 healthy individuals from rural populations in Thailand and analyzed the composition of the gut microbiome by 16S rRNA sequencing. Surprisingly, we did not detect significant differences in the composition of the microbiome between S. aureus carriers and non-carriers. We then sampled the same 200 people for S. aureus in the gut (25 positive) and nose (26 positive). Strikingly, we found no S. aureus in any of the samples where Bacillus were present. In mouse studies, we discovered S. aureus Agr quorum-sensing signaling system that must function for the bacteria to grow in the gut. Intriguingly, all of the more than 100 Bacillus isolates we had recovered from the human feces efficiently inhibited that system. Then, we discovered that the fengycin class of Bacillus lipopeptides achieves colonization resistance by inhibiting that system. To further validate their findings, we colonized the gut of mice with S. aureus and fed them B. subtilis spores to mimic probiotic intake. Probiotic Bacillus given every two days eliminated S. aureus in the guts of the mice. The same test using Bacillus where fengycin production had been removed had no effect, and S. aureus grew as expected. This is one of the first study that provide human evidence supporting the biological significance of probiotic bacterial interference and show that such interference can be achieved by blocking a pathogen’s signaling system.
Author Interviews, JAMA, NIH / 23.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41923" align="alignleft" width="146"]Jennifer Villani, PhD, MPH Office of Disease Prevention National Institutes of Health Dr. Villani[/caption] Jennifer Villani, PhD, MPH Office of Disease Prevention National Institutes of Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) develops recommendations for the delivery of clinical preventive services based on the highest quality scientific evidence available. We performed a comprehensive assessment of the sources of funding for the research studies in this evidence base. The results showed that government agencies supported the most articles (56%), with the remaining support coming from nonprofits or universities (32%), and industry (17%). The National Institutes of Health was the single largest funder of research articles underlying the USPSTF recommendations. 
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, Genetic Research, NYU / 19.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_35437" align="alignleft" width="150"]Constantine A. Stratakis, MD, DMSci Section on Endocrinology and Genetics Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development National Institutes of Health, Bethesda Dr. Stratakis[/caption] Constantine A. Stratakis, MD, DMSci Section on Endocrinology and Genetics Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development National Institutes of Health, Bethesda  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The pituitary and adrenal glands operate on a kind of feedback loop.  In response to stress, the pituitary release ACTH (Adrenocorticotropic hormone), which signals the adrenal glands to release cortisol.  Rising cortisol levels then act on the pituitary, to shut down ACTH production. In a previous study, Jacque Drouin of the Institute for Clinical Research in Montreal and colleagues had determined that the CABLES1 protein was a key player in this feedback mechanism, switching off pituitary cell division in cultures exposed to cortisol. Since this feedback mechanism appears to be impaired in many corticotropinomas, we investigated the presence of Cables1 gene mutations and copy number variations in a large group of patients with Cushing’s disease.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM, NIH, Pediatrics / 30.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31628" align="alignleft" width="200"]Victoria Pemberton, RNC, MS, CCRC Program Officer Division of Cardiovascular Sciences National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH Bethesda, Maryland Victoria Pemberton[/caption] Victoria Pemberton, RNC, MS, CCRC Program Officer Division of Cardiovascular Sciences National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH Bethesda, Maryland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • Previous studies have examined cardiac arrest when it occurs outside of the hospital in both children and adults, with current guidelines recommending hypothermia (body cooling) or normothermia (maintenance of normal body temperature) after such an arrest.   This trial addresses pediatric cardiac arrest in a hospital setting, for which no previous data existed. Because children who experience an in-hospital cardiac arrest differ significantly from children who arrest outside of the hospital, it is important to test these treatments in this population.
  • The trial found no significant differences in survival and neurobehavioral functioning a year after cardiac arrest between children assigned to the hypothermia arm and those assigned to normothermia.
Accidents & Violence, Addiction, Author Interviews, NIH, Opiods, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 27.01.2017

[caption id="attachment_31594" align="alignleft" width="160"]Dr. Meredith Shiels Dr. Meredith Shiels[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Meredith S Shiels Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics National Cancer Institute Bethesda, MD MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In most high-income countries, premature death rates have been declining, due to the overwhelming successes of public health efforts to prevent and treat chronic disease. The US is a major outlier, where death rates overall have plateaued, or even increased, as reported recently by our sister agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of particular concern are recent reports of increasing death rates among Americans during mid-life. To expand upon prior findings, we focused on premature death, which we defined as death occurring between the ages of 25 and 64. We examined finely detailed death certificate data for the entire U.S. population and described changes in death rates during 1999-2014 by cause of death, sex, race, ethnicity, and geography. To provide context to our findings, we compared trends in death rates in the U.S. to England and Wales and Canada.
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Nature, NIH, Weight Research / 09.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_30390" align="alignleft" width="200"]Audrey Chu, Ph.D. Division of Intramural Research of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institutes of Health Dr. Audrey Chu[/caption] Audrey Chu, Ph.D. Division of Intramural Research National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institutes of Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Body shape reflects the underlying adipose tissue distributed throughout different compartments of the body (ectopic fat). Variation in ectopic fat is associated with diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. This is mostly independent of overall adiposity. Ectopic fat can be measured using special x-rays procedures such as CT (“CAT scans”) or MRI and can give more information about fat distribution. Fat distribution characteristics can run in families, suggesting that a person’s genes can help determine the amount of fat that can accumulate in different parts of the body. Identifying genes that are associated with ectopic fat can provide insight into the biological mechanisms leading to differences in cardiometabolic disease risk. In order to understand which genes might be involved, we examined genetic variants across the genome and their association with ectopic fat in the largest study of its kind including over 18,000 individuals of four different ancestral backgrounds. Several new genetic regions were identified in association with ectopic fat in addition to confirming previously known regions. The association of the new regions was specific to ectopic fat, since the majority of the regions were not associated with overall or central adiposity. Furthermore, most of these regions were not associated with type 2 diabetes, lipids, heart disease or blood pressure. The major exception was the region surrounding the UBE2E2 gene, which was associated with diabetes.
Author Interviews, JAMA, NIH, OBGYNE / 26.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stefanie N. Hinkle, Ph.D. Staff Scientist | Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development National Institutes of Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Thank you for the interest in our research. Nausea and vomiting are very common early in pregnancy and these symptoms can be difficult for women. Before we began this study there was very limited high-quality data on the implications of these difficult symptoms in pregnancy. Our study is unique because we asked women to report their symptoms continuously throughout their pregnancy before they may or may not have gone on to have a loss. We found that among women with 1 or 2 prior pregnancy losses, women who have nausea, and particularly nausea with vomiting, were less likely to have a pregnancy loss.
Author Interviews, Autism, Biomarkers, JAMA, NIH, Pediatrics / 21.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_28240" align="alignleft" width="150"]Dr. Yong Cheng, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow NIH Dr. Yong Cheng[/caption] Dr. Yong Cheng, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow NIH MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of neurodevelopmental disorders which affect about 1 in 68 children in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is an important moderator in neurodevelopment and neuroplasticity, and studies have suggested the involvement of BDNF in ASD. Although some clinical studies show abnormal expression of BDNF in children with ASD, findings have been inconsistent. Therefore, we undertook a systematic review of the scientific literature, using a meta-analysis to quantitatively summarize clinical data on blood BDNF levels in children with ASD, compared with healthy peers.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Lancet, NIH / 06.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_27683" align="alignleft" width="125"]Dr. Wilson Compton MD, Deputy Director National Institute on Drug Abuse Dr. Wilson Compton[/caption] Dr. Wilson Compton MD, Deputy Director National Institute on Drug Abuse MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The study found that overall past year marijuana use by adults in the U.S. increased by more than 30% in the past dozen years, and 10 million more people were using marijuana in 2014 than in 2002. Use of marijuana on a daily (or near daily) basis increased even more markedly. In 2002, 3.9 million adults in the U.S. reported using marijuana daily or nearly every day, and the number more than doubled to 8.4 million by 2014. Along with this increase in use, we found that U.S. adults perceptions of the potential harms from using marijuana greatly decreased. Despite scientific evidence of potential harms, adults are much less convinced about dangers associated with using marijuana. These reductions in perceived harm were strongly associated with the increases in use.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NIH, Radiology / 03.06.2015

David A. Bluemke, MD, PhD, MsB, FAHA, FACR Director Radiology and Imaging Sciences Senior Investigator, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Adjunct Investigator,  NLBI, NIDDKMedicalResearch.com Interview with: David A. Bluemke, MD, PhD, MsB, FAHA, FACR Director Radiology and Imaging Sciences Senior Investigator, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Adjunct Investigator,  NLBI, NIDDK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bluemke: Most knowledge about the extent of coronary disease is from high risk patients who have coronary angiograms. Yet most individuals are symptomatic and have lower cardiovascular risk, and would not undergo a coronary angiogram. Coronary CT angiography can be used to evaluate the extent of plaque in low or moderate risk individuals. The most concerning type of plaque is "soft plaque", which can increase or rupture over time. Using coronary CT, all coronary plaque throughout the entire heart was measured. Importantly, the amount of soft plaque was uniquely associated with risk factors such as LDL, diabetes, and hypertension.