Author Interviews, JAMA, Social Issues / 04.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amal Trivedi, MD, MPH Professor of Health Services, Policy & Practice Director of Graduate Studies, Health Services Research Brown University School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Nearly all hospitals in the United States, including all Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs), report mortality rates for patients hospitalized for common medical and surgical conditions. But these mortality rates do not adjust for socioeconomic factors that are associated with worse outcomes following hospitalization. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Heart Disease, Stroke / 17.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rupak Desai, MBBS Research Fellow, Division of Cardiology Atlanta VA Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Amidst legalization of therapeutic and recreational use of marijuana/cannabis in the United States, cerebrovascular effects of marijuana use remain largely unknown, especially among young adults. We examined the association between cannabis use (18–44 years) among young adults and stroke events. The study analyzed pooled data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (2016–2017)—a nationally representative cross-sectional survey collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, 13.6% of total 43,860 young adults (18-44 years) reported using cannabis recently (in the last month), with 63.3% of them being men. Compared with nonusers, marijuana users were often younger, non-Hispanic white or black, and with some college education. (more…)
Author Interviews, Medical Imaging, Mental Health Research, UCSD / 13.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Mingxiong Huang, PhD Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering University of California, San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Combat-related mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a leading cause of sustained impairments in military service members and Veterans. Yet, conventional neuroimaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) are typically insensitive to physiological alterations caused by mild and some moderate TBIs. With funding from the VA, we have pursued in developing sensitive imaging markers based on magnetoencephalography (MEG) for mTBI. This paper reflects the news MEG findings in this research field. (more…)
Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, JAMA / 21.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David Shulkin, MD Ninth Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Washington, District Of Columbia Shulkin Solutions LLC Gladwyne, Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: I came to VA in 2015 as Under Secretary for Health, as a result of the 2014 wait time crisis. At that time, it was determined that in some locations, veterans had been waiting for care for too long and there were allegations that this had resulted in harm to a number of veterans. I was in the private sector at the time, but was asked by President Obama to come and help improve the situation. Upon my arrival we created systems to determine which veterans were waiting for urgent healthcare and which ones for routine care. From here, we established same day services for all veterans waiting for urgent care through primary care and behavioral health access points. This goal was achieved nationwide at the end of 2016. When I became Secretary in 2017, we began publishing our wait time data for all to see, so that veterans had accurate information on which to base their choices on and to provide transparency into where we were improving and where we needed to focus our efforts. In addition, through programmatic and legislative efforts, we expanded our utilization of private sector options so that veterans with clinical needs would be able to get better access to care. This study was meant to determine whether our efforts from 2014 had resulted in improvements to access and in addition how access to care in the VA compared to access in the private sector. Despite limitations in the data available from the private sector (since others do not publish their actual wait time data similar to VA) we used a data set that we felt had some applicability for these comparisons. We found that for the most part, VA wait times are often shorter than in the private sector, and that VA wait times had improved since 2014 while the private sectors access had stayed the same. (more…)