Author Interviews, Prostate Cancer / 05.04.2023 Interview with: Freddie C. Hamdy FRCS, FMedSci Nuffield Professor of Surgery, University of Oxford Jenny L. Donovan PhD, FMedSci Professor of Social Medicine, University of Bristol What is the background for this study? Response:  Prostate cancer is a common malignancy in men. Prostate cancer diagnosis is made largely through opportunistic screening with a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test, followed by prostate biopsies. The ProtecT study, funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research in the UK, is the largest randomised trial of treatment in screen-detected localised prostate cancer. The study began by testing 82,429 men between the ages of 50 and 69 years, across nine UK centres with a PSA blood test, followed by biopsies of the prostate if the PSA level was elevated. 2,664 men with clinically localised prostate cancer were found. From these, 1,643 (62%) agreed to be randomised to Surgery (radical prostatectomy to remove the prostate gland), Radiotherapy (external beam with a period of hormone treatment beforehand), or Active Monitoring (where men received regular checks and further investigations, with change to radical treatment as necessary). The men were carefully followed up for an average of 15 years. In parallel, the side-effects of treatments and quality of life of these men was investigated using patient-reported outcomes included in an annual study questionnaire completed for at least 12 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Orthopedics / 20.01.2022 Interview with: Prof. Matthew Costa Professor of Orthopaedic Trauma University of Oxford Honorary Consultant Trauma Surgeon, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford What is the background for this study? Response: Fixation with metal implants provides reliable functional outcomes for patients after a manipulation of a displaced fracture of the distal radius, but such surgery carries risk for the patient and is expensive. A moulded plaster cast is a safer and cheaper intervention but may not provide the same functional outcome. It is not known which of these treatments is superior. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Lancet, Melanoma, Technology / 11.11.2021 Interview with: Dr David Wen BM BCh NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Dermatology University of Oxford What is the background for this study? Response: Publicly available skin image datasets are commonly used to develop machine learning (ML) algorithms for skin cancer diagnosis. These datasets are often utilised as they circumvent many of the barriers associated with large scale skin lesion image acquisition. Furthermore, publicly available datasets can be used as a benchmark for direct comparison of algorithm performance. Dataset and image metadata provide information about the disease and population upon which the algorithm was trained or validated on. This is important to know because machine learning algorithms heavily depend on the data used to train them; algorithms used for skin lesion classification frequently underperform when tested on independent datasets to which they were trained on. Detailing dataset composition is essential for extrapolating assumptions of generalisability of algorithm performance to other populations. At the time this review was conducted, the total number of publicly available datasets globally and their respective content had not previously been characterised. Therefore, we aimed to identify publicly available skin image datasets used to develop ML algorithms for skin cancer diagnosis, to categorise their data access requirements, and to systematically evaluate their characteristics including associated metadata.   (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease, Red Meat, Stroke, Vegetarians / 10.09.2019 Interview with: Dr Tammy Y N Tong PhD Cancer Epidemiology Unit Nuffield Department of Population Health University of Oxford, Oxford, UK What is the background for this study? Response: Vegetarian and vegan diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, partly due to the perceived health benefits, but also concerns about the environment and animal welfare. However, the full extent of the potential health benefits and hazards of these diets is not well understood. Previous studies have suggested that vegetarians have a lower risk of coronary heart disease than non-vegetarians, but data from large studies are limited, and little has been reported on the difference in risk of stroke. (more…)