Addiction, Author Interviews, Technology / 29.01.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John W. Ayers, PhD MA Vice Chief of Innovation | Assoc. Professor Div. Infectious Disease & Global Public Health University of California San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Already half of US adults use smart device enabled intelligent virtual assistants, like Amazon Alexa. Moreover, many of the makers of intelligent virtual assistants are poised to roll out health care advice, including personalized wellness strategies. We take a step back and ask do intelligent virtual assistants provide actionable health support now? To do so we focus on a specific case study. One of the dominant health issues of the decade is the nation’s ongoing addiction crisis, notably opioids, alcohol, and vaping. As a result, it is an ideal case to begin exploring the ability of intelligent virtual assistants to provide actionable answers for obvious health questions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, Opiods / 28.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cory E. Cronin PhD Department of Social and Public Health Ohio University College of Health Sciences and Professions Athens, Ohio MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One of my primary areas of research is exploring how hospitals interact with their local communities. My own background is in health administration and sociology, and I have been working with colleagues in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine here at Ohio University (Berkeley Franz, Dan Skinner and Zelalem Haile) to conduct a series of studies looking at questions related to these hospital-community interactions. This particular question occurred to us because of the timeliness of the opioid epidemic. In analyzing data collected from the American Hospital Association and other sources, we identified that the number of hospitals offering in-patient and out-patient substance use disorder services actually dropped in recent years, in spite of the rising number of overdoses due to opioid use. Other factors seemed to matter more in regard to whether a hospital offered these services or not. (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, Addiction, Author Interviews, CDC, JAMA, Pediatrics / 24.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michelle M Johns, MPH, PhD Health Scientist Division of Adolescent and School Health CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Gender nonconformity is an under-researched area of adolescent health that is often linked to negative health outcomes. To address this gap, we analyzed Youth Risk Behavior Survey data to describe the associations between gender nonconformity and risk behaviors, including mental distress, and substance use. Gender nonconformity was associated with feeling sad and hopeless, as well as suicidal thoughts and/or behaviors among female and male students. In addition, gender nonconformity was strongly associated with substance use among male students. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Opiods, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 26.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bradley D. Stein MD PhD Senior Physician Policy Researcher Pittsburgh Office Rand Corporation MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Increasing use of medication treatment for individuals with opioid use disorders, with medications like methadone and buprenorphine, is a critical piece of the nation’s response to the opioid crisis. Buprenorphine was approved by the FDA in 2002 for treatment of opioid use disorders, but there was little information about to what extent buprenrophine’s approval increased the number of Medicaid-enrollees who received medication treatment in the years following FDA approval nor to what extent receipt of such treatment was equitable across communities. (more…)
Addiction, Alcohol, Author Interviews, Opiods / 07.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Katie Witkiewitz PhD Professor, Department of Psychology University of New Mexico MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: The main findings from our study indicate that individuals with alcohol dependence who misused opioids (e.g., used without a prescription or not as prescribed) had a significantly higher likelihood of relapse to heavy drinking during alcohol treatment and were drinking more alcohol during and following alcohol treatment. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 06.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Randall C. Swaim, Ph.D. Senior Research Scientist and Director Linda R. Stanley, Ph.D. Senior Research Scientist Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research Department of Psychology Colorado State University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: American Indian adolescents consistently report the highest levels of substance use compared with other US racial/ethnic groups. The harm associated with these high rates of use include higher risk of developing a substance use disorder, more alcohol-related problems, including alcohol-attributable death, and other negative outcomes such as school failure. These findings point to the importance of continuing to monitor this group, particularly given changing trends in perceived harmfulness of illicit substances as new statutes alter access to medical and recreational use of cannabis. (more…)
Addiction, Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Mental Health Research / 03.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emil F. Coccaro, M.D. Ellen C. Manning Professor Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience The University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois 60637 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Aggressive behavior and drug use have been related for years but this study shows people with problematic aggression (Intermittent Explosive Disorder: IED) are in fact at risk for developing alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use disorders and that the onset of problematic aggression (IED) begins before the onset of the drug use. The increased risk for alcohol use disorder was nearly six-fold higher, the increased risk for cannabis use disorder was seven-fold higher, and the increased risk for tobacco use disorder was four-fold higher. In addition, the presence of IED increased the severity of the substance use disorder. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics / 29.07.2014

Sharon Levy, M.D., M.P.H. Director, Adolescent Substance Abuse Program Assistant Professor in Pediatrics Boston Children’s Hospita MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sharon Levy, M.D., M.P.H. Director, Adolescent Substance Abuse Program Assistant Professor in Pediatrics Boston Children’s Hospital   Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Levy: We found that questions that asked about the frequency of alcohol, tobacco and drug use accurately triaged adolescents into "risk categories". In other words, kids who reported using alcohol or marijuana "once or twice" last year were unlikely to have a substance use disorder, those who reported "monthly" use were very likely to meet diagnostic criteria for a "mild" or "moderate" substance use disorder while those who reported use weekly or more were very likely to meet diagnostic criteria for a "severe" substance use disorder. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Emergency Care / 28.07.2014

Wendy Macias Konstantopoulos, MD, MPH Department of Emergency Medicine Division of Global Health & Human Rights Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wendy Macias Konstantopoulos, MD, MPH Department of Emergency Medicine Division of Global Health & Human Rights Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Macias-Konstantopoulos: Nearly two-thirds (64%) of 3240 emergency department (ED) patients who endorsed using drugs in the last 30 days, met criteria for problematic drug use (DAST-10 score ≥3). Of patients who identified their primary drug of use as being a substance other than cannabis, approximately 91% met criteria for problematic drug use, including nearly 94% of those using illicit drugs and 76% of those using pharmaceuticals. Compared to those who used cannabis primarily, primary non-cannabis users had an almost 15 times higher odds of meeting criteria for problematic drug use. Finally, we know from previous studies that drug-using individuals are more likely to access medical care through the ED and more likely to require hospitalization than their non-drug using counterparts. Our study found that drug-using ED patients who met criteria for problematic drug use tended to have ED triage levels associated with higher levels of severity or resource utilization when compared to drug-using ED patients who did not meet criteria for a drug problem. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, JAMA, Neurological Disorders / 28.05.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with Dr. Edythe D.London PhD Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, and Molecular and Medical Pharmacology David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA Dr. Edythe D.London PhD Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, and Molecular and Medical Pharmacology David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. London: Brain function related to risky decision-making was different in stimulant users (methamphetamine users) than in healthy control subjects. In healthy controls, activation in the prefrontal cortex (right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) during risk-taking in the laboratory was sensitive to the level of risk. This sensitivity of cortical activation was weaker in stimulant users, who instead had a stronger sensitivity of striatum activation. The groups also differed in circuit-level activity (network activity) when they were not performing a task but were “at rest.” Stimulant users showed greater connectivity within the mesocorticolimbic system, a target of abused drugs. This connectivity was negatively related to sensitivity in the prefrontal cortex to risk during risky decision-making. In healthy control subjects, connectivity between the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and striatum was positively related to sensitivity of prefrontal cortical activation to risk during risky decision-making. (more…)
ADHD, Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 30.05.2013

Kathryn L. Humphreys, M.A., Ed.M. Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student UCLA Department of Psychology 1285 Franz Hall, Box 951563 Los Angeles, CA 90095 MedicalResearch.com eInterview with Kathryn L. Humphreys, M.A., Ed.M. Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student UCLA Department of Psychology 1285 Franz Hall, Box 951563 Los Angeles, CA 90095 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Response: Our primary question was to answer whether the use of stimulant medication in the treatment of ADHD was associated with increased or decreased risk for a variety of substance use (ever tried) and substance use disorder (abuse or dependence) outcomes (alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, nicotine, and non-specific drug use). Prior research from individual studies of children have provided mixed evidence (i.e., some found medication increased later risk, some found medication decreased risk, and still others found no difference in risk). We examined available longitudinal studies (i.e., medication treatment preceded measurement of substance outcome) together using meta-analysis, a technique that aggregates findings from a number of studies, in order to examine this question in a much larger sample of individuals. Our main finding was that children with ADHD who received medication treatment did not differ in risk for lifetime substance use or abuse or dependence compared to those children with ADHD who did not receive medication treatment. (more…)