Clinical Research

A running meme throughout most of my life - and I came of age in the late 1960s and '70s, when pot was all the rage - is that people get stoned, then they get hungry. Any number of media portrayals showed it, and still do now. No surprise, marijuana is the most commonly used non-legal drug in America, so references to it resonate with a lot of people. And the munchies after smoking it do as well.

Inference: You should probably get fat if you continue to smoke marijuana into old age.
Though it was once common to claim that red meat caused heart disease, those turned out to be flawed epidemiological conclusions based on observational studies and things like food diaries. 

A new study finds red meat metabolite levels high in acute heart failure patients, and seeks to re-establish the link between red meat and heart disease using biological markers. Patients with acute heart failure often have high levels of the metabolite trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) and red meat is a dietary source. Red meat is a source of L-carnitine which is broken down by gut bacteria to form TMAO. Some papers have linked TMAO with mortality risk in chronic heart failure but no association in acute heart failure has been established.

Early in the New Year is the traditional time for setting ambitious goals for better health, fitness and, often, a slimmer body. This resolve commonly reflects guilt stemming from the dissipation of the preceding festive season – and it often starts with a detox.

It’s unclear where the idea of an in-depth body cleanse or “the detox cure” comes from, but it’s worth noting that many traditional and complementary medicine practices describe cleansing and detoxification as a way to avoid illness, or engender wellness.

Contrary to current clinical belief, regular caffeine consumption does not lead to extra heartbeats that have been linked to heart-or stroke-related morbidity and mortality.

The study, which measured the chronic consumption of caffeinated products over a 12-month period, rather than acute consumption, appears in the January 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association. The authors say it is the largest to date to have evaluated dietary patterns in relation to extra heartbeats.

There is good news in the annual data report from the United States Renal Data System, coordinating center based at the University of Michigan Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center, in partnership with Arbor Research Collaborative for Health. 

A team of academic cancer specialists has a way to lower drug discovery costs without politicians killing off one of the few remaining non-service industries in America: do less research.

Currently, early cancer drug studies involve extra biopsies solely for the purpose of trying to understand the pharmacodynamics -- what the drug does to the tumor -- they are often mandatory in government-sponsored phase 1 clinical trials because the belief is that computer and cellular models won't be accurate enough. This obviously increases the time and costs of development and a team says that this costly process has had no impact on subsequent drug development or how physicians use these new drugs to treat future patients.

Scientists revealed mayor players in the severe muscle damage caused by sepsis, or septicemia, which explains why many patients suffer debilitating muscle impairment long-term after recovery. They propose a therapeutic approach based on mesenchymal stem cell transplantation, which has produced encouraging results and has proved successful in restoring muscle capacity in animals.

The acromio-clavicular joint is located at the top of the shoulder, between the collarbone and top of the shoulder blade. The AC joint is most commonly injured during sports, but can also be caused by motor vehicle accidents or falls. This dislocation is one of the most common shoulder injuries orthopedic surgeons treat.

For minor AC joint dislocations, surgeons often suggest patients wear a sling for a few weeks and undergo physiotherapy rather than undergo surgery using a plate and screws. Severe dislocations are often treated with surgery but new research finds that patients who opt for non-surgical treatment typically experience fewer complications and return to work sooner. 

Children with the genetic disorder tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) often need epilepsy surgery for severe, uncontrollable seizures and a new study finds that seizure control is improved for patients undergoing more extensive surgery.

Seizures occurring in TSC are related to development of brain tumors, known as "tubers," that develop in this disorder. But the new study by Dr. Aria Fallah of Miami Children's Hospital and colleagues finds better outcomes when surgery includes the entire "epileptogenic zone" from which seizures are originating--not just the tuber itself.

Epilepsy Surgery for Tuberous Sclerosis--Study from Six Specialty Centers

Mesoamerican Nephropathy, a mysterious kidney disease that has killed over 20,000 people in Central America, most of them sugar cane workers, may be caused by chronic, severe dehydration linked to global climate change, according to a new study by Richard J. Johnson, MD, of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

The Mesoamerican Nephropathy epidemic was first described in 2002. It's most prevalent among manual laborers on sugar cane plantations in the hotter, lower altitudes of Central America's Pacific coast. The disease has also been reported among farmworkers, miners, fishermen and construction and transportation workers in the region.