Study Finds Uncertain Effectiveness of Common Medications for Low Back Pain Relief Interview with:

Dr. Wewege

Dr Michael Wewege, PhD
Research Fellow – Neuroscience Research Australia

Prof. McAuley

Prof James McAuley, PhD
Director – Centre for Pain IMPACT, Neuroscience Research Australia,
Professor – School of Health Sciences,
University of New South Wales
Sydney, Australia What is the background for this study?

Response: We conducted this study because medicines are the most common treatment for adults with acute non-specific low back pain. One of the most important questions is “What is the best medicine to use?” We wanted to compare the medicines with each other because this is the information patients and physicians want to know, but previous research has focused on only comparing medicines to placebo. Physicians are deciding between these medicines based on their clinical expertise; we hoped to support their decision making with a rigorous piece of research.

Study Evaluates Equine-Facilitated Therapy For Back Pain Relief Interview with:
Sanna Mattila-Rautiainen
Biomedicine, Sports and Exercise Medicine
University of Eastern Finland What is the background for this study?

Response: The background of our study is to evaluate the effect of 12 weeks Equine Facilitated Physical therapy intervention for Chronic Low Back Pain patients´ functional impairments that were self-assessed, to their wellbeing and amount of pain.

Knee OsteoArthritis: Study Finds Radiofrequency Nerve Ablation Provides Pain Relief Interview with:
Kaitlin Carrato, M.D., Chief Resident in Interventional Radiology
MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, and
John B. Smirniotopoulos, M.D., Interventional Radiologist
MedStar Georgetown University Hospital What is the background for this study? What is the main indication for the RFA procedure?

Response: Roughly one in four U.S. adults have knee pain due to arthritis that interferes with their everyday lives and activities. A treatment called genicular nerve radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a safe and effective option for reducing pain from osteoarthritis of the knee, one of the most common joints affected by osteoarthritis. Interventional radiologists perform genicular nerve RFA using image guidance to place probe needles next to nerves around the knee that send pain signals to the brain. The primary indication for this procedure is chronic pain that has not been sufficiently managed by other treatments, prescription medications, physical therapy, or for patients with persistent pain even after knee replacement.

This study examined patient demographics, prior surgical history, degree of osteoarthritis and other clinical characteristics that may affect how well RFA reduces knee pain. We measured post-procedure pain in 36 patients using the visual analog scale (VAS) and the Western Ontario McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis (WOMAC) pain scale. We then evaluated whether pain reduction levels were influenced by demographics and clinical characteristics.

Chronic Multifocal Pain Linked to Accelerated Cognitive Decline Interview with:
Yiheng Tu
CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health
Institute of Psychology
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Department of Psychology
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
Beijing, China What is the background for this study?

Response: Chronic pain (CP) is a leading source of disability worldwide. Multisite chronic pain, where pain is experienced in multiple anatomical locations, affects almost half of chronic pain patients and has been found to have a greater burden on patients’ overall health. However, However, it has not been clear whether people with multisite chronic pain suffered from aggravated neurocognitive abnormalities.

Painful Bunions: Risk Factors for Failure of Corrective Surgery

Dr. Johnson Interview with:
Matthew Johnson, D.P.M.
Assistant Professor
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center What is the background for this study?

Response: There is a paucity of literature attempting to characterize risk factors for nonunion of the Lapidus bunionectomy. Would you briefly describe what is meant by a bunion?

Bunion with cornDermNet NZ image

Response: Bunions are a chronic painful bump that forms on the base of the big toe when the long metatarsal bone shifts toward the inside of the foot and the phalanx bones of the big toe angle toward the second toe.

Twin Study Finds Cannabis Legalization Did Not Cause Substantial Psychological Harm in Adults Interview with:
Stephanie Zellers PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher, Kaprio Group, FIMM
Dr. Zellers began this research as a graduate student at the
University of Colorado Boulder’s Institute for Behavioral Genetics (IBG)

Dr. Zellers PhD What is the background for this study?

Response: Proponents and opponents of cannabis legalization respectively cite various potential benefits and harms that these policies may cause. Many studies have evaluated these outcomes, but drawing causal conclusions is challenging due to the many confounds that may better explain observed effects.

 We investigated the effects of cannabis legalization on a broad range of psychological outcomes, like substance use, psychiatric symptoms, general functioning in daily life, and cognitive ability. We used a longitudinal twin sample with twin pairs living in different types of states (recreationally legal vs. recreationally illegal) to draw causally informative conclusions. Because identical twins share 100% of their genes, as well as environmental factors like the family rearing, SES, and community norms, co-twin control studies can rule out many alternative explanations for an observed relationship.

Bisexuals Found to Use More and Varied Cannabis Products Interview with:
Carrie Cuttler, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
The Health & Cognition (THC) Lab
Department of Psychology
Washington State University

Dr. Cuttler What is the background for this study?

Response: While we know that sexual minorities (such as gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc.) individuals use many substances, including cannabis, more than heterosexual individuals, we don’t know very much about patterns of sexual minorities’ cannabis use or why sexual minorities are motivated to use cannabis. We also don’t know as much as we should about how cannabis use is related to mental health among sexual minorities. Our study used data from Project ART (Addictions Research Team) to examine these questions. The data were collected from 10 different universities across the United States, and we included data from almost 5,000 young adults (aged 18-30) in this study. People answered questions about their cannabis use, motivations for using cannabis, mental health symptoms, and also indicated their sexual attraction on a scale. The majority of our sample identified their sexual attraction as exclusively heterosexual, a small number indicated exclusively same-sex attraction, and almost a quarter indicated that their sexual attraction was somewhere between those two (the group classified as bisexual).

Medical Clowns Help Patients Deal With Emotional and Physical Pain Interview with:
Orit Karnieli-Miller, PhD
Associate Professor
Head of the Department of Medical Education,
Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Dr. Karnieli-Miller What is the background for this study?

Response: In recent years Medical clowns have been more and more integrated into hospitals. Still, there needs to be more understanding of their roles, therapeutic goals, and skills. This understanding is necessary both to help professionalize medical clowning and train them and allow other health professionals to work well with them.

To do this, we systematically analyzed medical clowns’ skills within three typical challenging encounters: with an adolescent who is in pain, not willing to do recommended treatment exercise; with an adolescent and a physiotherapist in a painful treatment session; and with a mother of a sick child.

Study Uses Medicare Claims to Link Physician Beliefs About Benzodiazipene Safety and Prescription Fills Interview with:
Donovan Maust, M.D., M.S

Associate Professor, Psychiatry
University of Michigan Medical School What is the background for this study?

Response: Benzodiazepine prescribing has been quite persistent and even increasing among middle aged adults even as we’ve learned more about the associated harms.

To develop effective interventions to address prescribing, it would be helpful to understand how clinicians make their prescribing decisions. But then it is a problem if you ask clinicians about a particular behavior (e.g., prescribing) but don’t have actual objective data about their prescribing behavior.

Dentists Reports Patients Coming to Appointments High on Marijuana

Survey from the American Dental Association What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Each year, the ADA surveys dentists and consumers around emerging issues or trends in healthcare. As legalization and use of marijuana continues to increase, oral health issues around marijuana use are beginning to emerge. This, combined with a lack of awareness and understanding of the potential adverse health effects of routine marijuana use, was the reason for including it in our survey work.

cannabis-marijuana What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Because legalized marijuana, whether personal or medicinal, is still relatively new, people may not be aware of the effects marijuana can have on oral health and dental visits. Readers should be aware that marijuana use can effect oral health in general as well as limit the care delivered at dental visits if used before an appointment.

Dentists and patients should also take away the importance of open conversation about marijuana use during dental visits. Health history updates can be a natural place to start an open dialogue.