Hot Topics: FDA Approves First Drug For Severe Multiple Sclerosis

FDA approves new drug to treat multiple sclerosis

Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2017). FDA approves new drug to treat multiple sclerosis. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm549325.htm.

On March 28, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) to treat adult patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). This is the first drug approved by the FDA for PPMS. Ocrevus is an intravenous infusion given by a health care professional.

“Multiple sclerosis can have a profound impact on a person’s life,” said Billy Dunn, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “This therapy not only provides another treatment option for those with relapsing MS, but for the first time provides an approved therapy for those with primary progressive MS.”

Posted in Central Nervous System Disorders, Front Page, Hot Topics in Research

Hot Topics: Training Medical Students to Organize Needle Exchange Programs

Students as effective harm reductionists and needle exchange organizers

Barbour K, McQuade M, Brown B. Students as effective harm reductionists and needle exchange organizers. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy. 2017;12(15). http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13011-017-0099-0.

Background
Needle exchange programs are safe, highly effective programs for promoting health among people who inject drugs. However, they remain poorly funded, and often illegal, in many places worldwide due to fear and stigma surrounding drug use. Continued advocacy, education, and implementation of new needle exchanges are thus essential to improve public health and reduce structural inequality.

Commentary
We argue that students, and especially professional and graduate students, have the potential to play an important role in advancing harm reduction. Students benefit from the respect given to the professions they are training to enter, which gives them leverage to navigate the political hurdles often faced by needle exchange organizers, especially in areas that presently lack services. In addition, due to their relative simplicity, needle exchanges do not require much of the licensing, clinical knowledge, and infrastructure associated with more traditional student programs, such as student-run free medical clinics. Students are capable of learning harm reduction cultural approaches and techniques if they remain humble, open-minded, and seek the help of the harm reduction community. Consequently, students can generate tremendous benefits to their community without performing beyond their appropriate clinical limitations.

Students benefit from organizing needle exchanges by gaining applied experience in advocacy, organization-building, and political finesse. Working in a needle exchange significantly helps erode stigma against multiple marginalized populations. Students in health-related professions additionally learn clinically-relevant knowledge that is often lacking from their formal training, such as an understanding of structural violence and inequality, root causes of substance use, client-centered approaches to health services, and interacting with clients as peers, rather than through the standard hierarchical medical interaction.

Conclusion
We therefore encourage students to learn about and consider organizing needle exchanges during their training. Our experience is that students can be successful in developing sustainable programs which benefit their clients, the broader harm reduction movement, and themselves alike.

 

Posted in Front Page, Hot Topics in Research, Substance Use Disorders

New York Times Group Pass

The New Yorks Times have updated their registration process.

To register for your free access to the New York Times, go to https://myaccount.nytimes.com/grouppass/access. Click “Create Account” and follow the instructions to create an account using your pcom.edu email.

Students will now need to provide thier anticipated graduation date. Student access will be valid up to their anticipated graduation date.

Faculty and Staff passes are good for one year.

Once activated, your Pass will provide access to NYTimes.com from any location.

For all users, upon expiration of your pass, you can extend your access by signing in with your New York Times account at the New York Times Group Pass activation page.

You may also download the NYT smartphone app and log in. The NYT app is available for Android and Apple devices.

To view a short how-to video on how to activate a Group Pass, please visit http://bit.ly/1qJzB4g

Posted in Front Page, Library News

Hot Topics: Cardiologists Weigh In On Nutrition Facts and Fads

Trending Cardiovascular Nutrition Controversies

Freeman AM, Morris PB, Barnard N, et al. Trending cardiovascular nutrition controversies. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017;69(9):1172-1187. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2016.10.086.

The potential cardiovascular benefits of several trending foods and dietary patterns are still incompletely understood, and nutritional science continues to evolve. However, in the meantime, a number of controversial dietary patterns, foods, and nutrients have received significant media exposure and are mired by hype. This review addresses some of the more popular foods and dietary patterns that are promoted for cardiovascular health to provide clinicians with accurate information for patient discussions in the clinical setting.

Posted in Cardiology, Hot Topics in Research, Nutrition

Hot Topics: NIH Encourages Preprint Inclusion in Grant Proposals

Reporting Preprints and Other Interim Research Products

Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration, National Institutes of Health. (2017). Reporting Preprints and Other Interim Research Products (Notice Number: NOT-OD-17-050). Retrieved from https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-17-050.html

Purpose
The NIH encourages investigators to use interim research products, such as preprints, to speed the dissemination and enhance the rigor of their work. This notice clarifies reporting instructions to allow investigators to cite their interim research products and claim them as products of NIH funding.

Definitions
Interim Research Products are complete, public research products that are not final.

A common form is the preprint, which is a complete and public draft of a scientific document. Preprints are typically unreviewed manuscripts written in the style of a peer-reviewed journal article. Scientists issue preprints to speed dissemination, establish priority, obtain feedback, and offset publication bias.

Another common type of interim product is a preregistered protocol, where a scientist publicly declares key elements of their research protocol in advance. Preregistration can help scientists enhance the rigor of their work.

Notes:

  • Awardees are not required to create interim research products through their NIH award.
  • Applicants are not required to cite interim research products as part of their grant applications.
  • Since preprints are not published in peer-reviewed journals, they do not fall under the NIH public access policy.
  • This guide notice does not apply to clinical trial registration. See ClinicalTrials.gov about registration of clinical trial protocols.

 

Posted in Hot Topics in Research, Research Commentary

Hot Topics: More Species of Mosquitos Than Previously Thought May Transmit Zika

Data-driven identification of potential Zika virus vectors

Evans MV, Dallas TA, Han BA, Murdock CC, Drake JM. Data-driven identification of potential zika virus vectors. eLife. 2017;6:e22053. https://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.22053.

Zika is an emerging virus whose rapid spread is of great public health concern. Knowledge about transmission remains incomplete, especially concerning potential transmission in geographic areas in which it has not yet been introduced. To identify unknown vectors of Zika, we developed a data-driven model linking vector species and the Zika virus via vector-virus trait combinations that confer a propensity toward associations in an ecological network connecting flaviviruses and their mosquito vectors. Our model predicts that thirty-five species may be able to transmit the virus, seven of which are found in the continental United States, including Culex quinquefasciatus and Cx. pipiens. We suggest that empirical studies prioritize these species to confirm predictions of vector competence, enabling the correct identification of populations at risk for transmission within the United States.

Posted in Hot Topics in Research, Infectious Disease

Open Science Panel

The library is hosting an Open Science Panel on March 29th. This session will cover the benefits of openly sharing information, the advantages of promoting your work in the DigitalCommons@PCOM, and discuss open access journals.

Discover how publishers and other researchers view open science and what it means for you.

Lunch will be provided and an RSVP is required.

Panelists
Marian Taliaferro – AAMC
Srujana Rayalam – PCOM
Denah Appelt – PCOM
David Stout – Bepress

Georgia RSVP
March 29, 12pm-1pm, Room 1040
RSVP with Skye Bickett, skyebi@pcom.edu, by March 27

Philadelphia RSVP
March 29, 12pm-1pm, Evans 008
RSVP with PJ Grier, pjgrier@pcom.edu, by March 26

Posted in Library News

7th Annual PCOM Research Days

We are proud to announce the 7th Annual PCOM Research Day!

All members of the PCOM community are invited to celebrate research, innovation, scholarship, and creativity with a day of poster presentations on the Georgia and Philadelphia Campuses, sponsored by the CCDA, the PCOM chapter of Sigma Xi, the National Research Honor Society, and the Division of Research.


Georgia Campus


Georgia Campus Research Day will be held on May 16, 2017.

Georgia Campus researchers can now submit abstracts here.

The submission deadline is April 28, 2017.

Georgia poster boards are 40″ x 60″, so the posters will need to be a little smaller than the boards.

For more information on Georgia abstract submission guidelines click here.

You can submit the PCOM marketing research poster request form here. Alternatively, you can access a PDF version of the request form here.


Philadelphia Campus


Philadelphia Campus Research Day will be held on May 3, 2017.

Location: Activities Center, gymnasium

The abstract submission deadline for the Philadelphia Campus was April 13, 2017.

Philadelphia poster dimensions may not exceed 4’x6’ (48”x 72”).

You can submit the PCOM marketing research poster request form here. Alternatively, you can access a PDF version of the request form here.

Posted in Front Page, Library News

Hot Topics: Volunteers Improve Quality of Life for Adults in Palliative Care

How effective are volunteers at supporting people in their last year of life? A pragmatic randomised wait-list trial in palliative care (ELSA)

Walshe C, Dodd S, Hill M, et al. How effective are volunteers at supporting people in their last year of life? A pragmatic randomised wait-list trial in palliative care (ELSA). BMC Medicine. 2016;14(1):203. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-016-0746-8.

Background
Clinical care alone at the end of life is unlikely to meet all needs. Volunteers are a key resource, acceptable to patients, but there is no evidence on care outcomes. This study aimed to determine whether support from a social action volunteer service is better than usual care at improving quality of life for adults in the last year of life.

Methods
A pragmatic, multi-centre wait-list controlled trial, with participants randomly allocated to receive the volunteer support intervention either immediately or after a 4 week wait. Trained volunteers provided tailored face-to-face support including befriending, practical support and signposting to services, primarily provided within the home, typically for 2–3 hours per week. The primary outcome was rate of change of quality of life at 4 weeks (WHO QOL BREF, a general, culturally sensitive measure). Secondary outcomes included rate of change of quality of life at 8 weeks and Loneliness (De Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale), social support (mMOS-SS), and reported use of health and social care services at 4 and 8 weeks.

Results
In total, 196 adults (61% (n = 109) female; mean age 72 years) were included in the study. No significant difference was found in main or secondary outcomes at 4 weeks. Rate of change of quality of life showed trends in favour of the intervention (physical quality of life domain: b = 3.98, CI, –0.38 to 8.34; psychological domain: b = 2.59, CI, –2.24 to 7.43; environmental domain: b = 3, CI, –4.13 to 4.91). Adjusted analyses to control for hours of volunteer input found significantly less decrease in physical quality of life in the intervention group (slope (b) 4.43, CI, 0.10 to 8.76). While the intervention also favoured the rate of change of emotional (b = –0.08; CI, –0.52 to 0.35) and social loneliness (b = –0.20; CI, –0.58 to 0.18), social support (b = 0.13; CI, –0.13 to 0.39), and reported use of health and social care professionals (b = 0.16; CI, –0.22 to 0.55), these were not statistically significant. No adverse events were reported.

Conclusions
Clinicians can confidently refer to volunteer services at the end of life. Future research should focus on ‘dose’ to maximise likely impact.

Posted in Geriatrics, Hot Topics in Research

Hot Topics: Gum Disease a Warning Sign for Diabetes

Teeuw WJ, Kosho MXF, Poland DCW, Gerdes VEA, Loos BG. Periodontitis as a possible early sign of diabetes mellitus. BMJ Open Diab Res Care. 2017;5(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjdrc-2016-000326.

Objective The early diagnosis of (pre)diabetes mellitus is essential for the prevention of diabetes complications. It has been suggested that gum disease (periodontitis) might be an early complication of diabetes and may be a useful risk indicator for diabetes screening. Therefore, a dental office could be a good location for screening for (pre)diabetes in patients with periodontitis using a validated glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) dry spot analysis.

Research design and methods A total of 313 individuals from a university dental clinic participated. From 126 patients with mild/moderate periodontitis, 78 patients with severe periodontitis and 109 subjects without periodontitis, HbA1c values were obtained by the analysis of dry blood spots. Differences in mean HbA1c values and the prevalence of (pre)diabetes between the groups were analyzed.

Results The mild/moderate and severe periodontitis groups showed significantly higher HbA1c values (6.1%±1.4% (43 mmol/mol±15 mmol/mol) and 6.3%±1.3% (45 mmol/mol±15 mmol/mol), respectively) compared with the control group (5.7%±0.7% (39 mmol/mol±8 mmol/mol), p=0.003). In addition, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines for diagnosis, there was a significant over-representation of subjects with suspected diabetes (23% and 14%) and pre-diabetes (47% and 46%) in the severe periodontitis group and mild/moderate periodontitis groups, respectively, compared with the control group (10% and 37%, p=0.010). Notably, 18.1% of patients with suspected new diabetes were found among subjects with severe periodontitis compared with 9.9% and 8.5% among subjects with mild/moderate periodontitis and controls, respectively (p=0.024).

Conclusions The dental office, with particular focus on patients with severe periodontitis, proved to be a suitable location for screening for (pre)diabetes; a considerable number of suspected new diabetes cases were identified. The early diagnosis and treatment of (pre)diabetes help to prevent more severe complications and benefit the treatment of periodontitis.

Posted in Diabetes, Hot Topics in Research