Medicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences Collected Works - Research Publications
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Healthcare access and attitudes towards telehealth during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic among an Australian cohort with inflammatory arthritis
Community restrictions due to COVID-19 have changed healthcare, including increased telehealth use. During the early pandemic phase, a cohort of Australian patients with inflammatory arthritis was surveyed. Self-reported access to healthcare was maintained and physical health was more likely to be self-rated poorly than mental health. There was a high level of support for telehealth during and after the pandemic.
Immune-boosting role of vitamins D, C, E, zinc, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids: Could they help against COVID-19?
(ELSEVIER IRELAND LTD, 2021-01-01)
The world is currently in the grips of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which has mutated to allow human-to-human spread. Infection can cause fever, dry cough, fatigue, severe pneumonia, respiratory distress syndrome and in some instances death. COVID-19 affects the immune system by producing a systemic inflammatory response, or cytokine release syndrome. Patients with COVID-19 have shown a high level of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. There are currently no effective anti-SARS-CoV-2 viral drugs or vaccines. COVID-19 disproportionately affects the elderly, both directly, and through a number of significant age-related comorbidities. Undoubtedly, nutrition is a key determinant of maintaining good health. Key dietary components such as vitamins C, D, E, zinc, selenium and the omega 3 fatty acids have well-established immunomodulatory effects, with benefits in infectious disease. Some of these nutrients have also been shown to have a potential role in the management of COVID-19. In this paper, evidence surrounding the role of these dietary components in immunity as well as their specific effect in COVID-19 patients are discussed. In addition, how supplementation of these nutrients may be used as therapeutic modalities potentially to decrease the morbidity and mortality rates of patients with COVID-19 is discussed.
Heterogeneity and temporal variation in the management of COVID-19: a multinational drug utilization study including 71,921 hospitalized patients from China, South Korea, Spain, and the United States of America
<h4>Objectives</h4> A plethora of medicines have been repurposed or used as adjunctive therapies for COVID-19. We characterized the utilization of medicines as prescribed in routine practice amongst patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in South Korea, China, Spain, and the USA. <h4>Design</h4> International network cohort <h4>Setting</h4> Hospital electronic health records from Columbia University Irving Medical Centre (NYC, USA), Stanford (CA, USA), Tufts (MA, USA), Premier (USA), Optum EHR (USA), department of veterans affairs (USA), NFHCRD (Honghu, China) and HM Hospitals (Spain); and nationwide claims from HIRA (South Korea) <h4>Participants</h4> patients hospitalized for COVID-19 from January to June 2020 <h4>Main outcome measures</h4> Prescription/dispensation of any medicine on or 30 days after hospital admission date <h4>Analyses</h4> Number and percentage of users overall and over time <h4>Results</h4> 71,921 people were included: 304 from China, 2,089 from Spain, 7,599 from South Korea, and 61,929 from the USA. A total of 3,455 medicines were identified. Common repurposed medicines included hydroxychloroquine (<2% in NFHCRD to 85.4% in HM), azithromycin (4.9% in NFHCRD to 56.5% in HM), lopinavir/ritonavir (<3% in all US but 34.9% in HIRA and 56.5% in HM), and umifenovir (0% in all except 78.3% in NFHCRD). Adjunctive medicines were used with great variability, with the ten most used treatments being (in descending order): bemiparin, enoxaparin, heparin, ceftriaxone, aspirin, vitamin D, famotidine, vitamin C, dexamethasone, and metformin. Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin increased rapidly in use in March-April but declined steeply in May-June. <h4>Conclusions</h4> Multiple medicines were used in the first months of COVID-19 pandemic, with substantial geographic and temporal variation. Hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, lopinavir-ritonavir, and umifenovir (in China only) were the most prescribed repurposed medicines. Antithrombotics, antibiotics, H2 receptor antagonists and corticosteroids were often used as adjunctive treatments. Research is needed on the comparative risk and benefit of these treatments in the management of COVID-19. <h4>What is already known in this topic</h4> Drug repurposing is a common approach in the clinical management of novel diseases and conditions for which there are no available pharmacotherapies Hydroxychloroquine was widely used in the management of COVID-19 patients during the early phases of the pandemic Recent NIH (and other) guidelines recommend the use of concomitant therapies including immune-based, antithrombotic, antibiotic and other treatments <h4>What this study adds</h4> This study demonstrates great variability and extensive drug repurposing and utilization in the management of COVID-19 patients. A wide range of adjunctive treatments has been used, including antithrombotics, antibiotics, H2 receptor antagonists, and systemic corticosteroids. Emerging clinical data on the safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin impacted their rise and rapid decline in use internationally Conversely, the use of corticosteroids grew only in more recent months, with little use in the early stages of the pandemic (January to April)
Risk of depression, suicidal ideation, suicide and psychosis with hydroxychloroquine treatment for rheumatoid arthritis: a multi-national network cohort study
<h4>ABSTRACT</h4> <h4>Objectives</h4> Concern has been raised in the rheumatological community regarding recent regulatory warnings that hydroxychloroquine used in the COVID-19 pandemic could cause acute psychiatric events. We aimed to study whether there is risk of incident depression, suicidal ideation, or psychosis associated with hydroxychloroquine as used for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). <h4>Methods</h4> New user cohort study using claims and electronic medical records from 10 sources and 3 countries (Germany, UK and US). RA patients aged 18+ and initiating hydroxychloroquine were compared to those initiating sulfasalazine (active comparator) and followed up in the short (30-day) and long term (on treatment). Study outcomes included depression, suicide/suicidal ideation, and hospitalization for psychosis. Propensity score stratification and calibration using negative control outcomes were used to address confounding. Cox models were fitted to estimate database-specific calibrated hazard ratios (HR), with estimates pooled where I 2 <40%. <h4>Results</h4> 918,144 and 290,383 users of hydroxychloroquine and sulfasalazine, respectively, were included. No consistent risk of psychiatric events was observed with short-term hydroxychloroquine (compared to sulfasalazine) use, with meta-analytic HRs of 0.96 [0.79-1.16] for depression, 0.94 [0.49-1.77] for suicide/suicidal ideation, and 1.03 [0.66-1.60] for psychosis. No consistent long-term risk was seen, with meta-analytic HRs 0.94 [0.71-1.26] for depression, 0.77 [0.56-1.07] for suicide/suicidal ideation, and 0.99 [0.72-1.35] for psychosis. <h4>Conclusions</h4> Hydroxychloroquine as used to treat RA does not appear to increase the risk of depression, suicide/suicidal ideation, or psychosis compared to sulfasalazine. No effects were seen in the short or long term. Use at higher dose or for different indications needs further investigation. <h4>TRIAL REGISTRATION</h4> Registered with EU PAS; Reference number EUPAS34497 ( http://www.encepp.eu/encepp/viewResource.htm?id=34498 ). The full study protocol and analysis source code can be found at https://github.com/ohdsi-studies/Covid19EstimationHydroxychloroquine . <h4>WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN ON THIS TOPIC</h4> Recent regulatory warnings have raised concerns of potential psychiatric side effects of hydroxychloroquine at the doses used to treat COVID-19, generating concern in the rheumatological community Serious psychiatric adverse events such as suicide, acute psychosis, and depressive episodes have been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adverse events reporting system and at case report level <h4>WHAT THIS STUDY ADDS</h4> This is the largest study on the neuro-psychiatric safety of hydroxychloroquine to date, including >900,000 users treated for their RA in country-level or private health care systems in Germany, the UK, and the US We find no association between the use of hydroxychloroquine and the risk of depression, suicide/suicidal ideation, or severe psychosis compared to sulfasalazine <h4>HOW MIGHT THIS IMPACT ON CLINICAL PRACTICE</h4> Our data shows no association between hydroxychloroquine treatment for RA and risk of depression, suicide or psychosis compared to sulfasalazine. These findings do not support stopping or switching hydroxychloroquine treatment as used for RA due to recent concerns based on COVID-19 treated patients.
Seek COVER: Development and validation of a personalized risk calculator for COVID-19 outcomes in an international network
<h4>Objective</h4> To develop and externally validate COVID-19 Estimated Risk (COVER) scores that quantify a patient’s risk of hospital admission (COVER-H), requiring intensive services (COVER-I), or fatality (COVER-F) in the 30-days following COVID-19 diagnosis. <h4>Methods</h4> We analyzed a federated network of electronic medical records and administrative claims data from 14 data sources and 6 countries. We developed and validated 3 scores using 6,869,127 patients with a general practice, emergency room, or outpatient visit with diagnosed influenza or flu-like symptoms any time prior to 2020. The scores were validated on patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis across five databases from South Korea, Spain and the United States. Outcomes included i) hospitalization with pneumonia, ii) hospitalization with pneumonia requiring intensive services or death iii) death in the 30 days after index date. <h4>Results</h4> Overall, 44,507 COVID-19 patients were included for model validation. We identified 7 predictors (history of cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, kidney disease) which combined with age and sex discriminated which patients would experience any of our three outcomes. The models achieved high performance in influenza. When transported to COVID-19 cohorts, the AUC ranges were, COVER-H: 0.69-0.81, COVER-I: 0.73-0.91, and COVER-F: 0.72-0.90. Calibration was overall acceptable. <h4>Conclusions</h4> A 9-predictor model performs well for COVID-19 patients for predicting hospitalization, intensive services and fatality. The models could aid in providing reassurance for low risk patients and shield high risk patients from COVID-19 during de-confinement to reduce the virus’ impact on morbidity and mortality.
An international characterisation of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 and a comparison with those previously hospitalised with influenza.
Background: To better understand the profile of individuals with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), we characterised individuals hospitalised with COVID-19 and compared them to individuals previously hospitalised with influenza. Methods: We report the characteristics (demographics, prior conditions and medication use) of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 between December 2019 and April 2020 in the US (Columbia University Irving Medical Center [CUIMC], STAnford Medicine Research data Repository [STARR-OMOP], and the Department of Veterans Affairs [VA OMOP]) and Health Insurance Review & Assessment [HIRA] of South Korea. Patients hospitalised with COVID-19 were compared with patients previously hospitalised with influenza in 2014-19. Results: 6,806 (US: 1,634, South Korea: 5,172) individuals hospitalised with COVID-19 were included. Patients in the US were majority male (VA OMOP: 94%, STARR-OMOP: 57%, CUIMC: 52%), but were majority female in HIRA (56%). Age profiles varied across data sources. Prevalence of asthma ranged from 7% to 14%, diabetes from 18% to 43%, and hypertensive disorder from 22% to 70% across data sources, while between 9% and 39% were taking drugs acting on the renin-angiotensin system in the 30 days prior to their hospitalisation. Compared to 52,422 individuals hospitalised with influenza, patients admitted with COVID-19 were more likely male, younger, and, in the US, had fewer comorbidities and lower medication use. Conclusions: Rates of comorbidities and medication use are high among individuals hospitalised with COVID-19. However, COVID-19 patients are more likely to be male and appear to be younger and, in the US, generally healthier than those typically admitted with influenza.
Safety of hydroxychloroquine, alone and in combination with azithromycin, in light of rapid wide-spread use for COVID-19: a multinational, network cohort and self-controlled case series study
<h4>ABSTRACT</h4> <h4>Background</h4> Hydroxychloroquine has recently received Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA and is currently prescribed in combination with azithromycin for COVID-19 pneumonia. We studied the safety of hydroxychloroquine, alone and in combination with azithromycin. <h4>Methods</h4> New user cohort studies were conducted including 16 severe adverse events (SAEs). Rheumatoid arthritis patients aged 18+ and initiating hydroxychloroquine were compared to those initiating sulfasalazine and followed up over 30 days. Self-controlled case series (SCCS) were conducted to further establish safety in wider populations. Separately, SAEs associated with hydroxychloroquine- azithromycin (compared to hydroxychloroquine-amoxicillin) were studied. Data comprised 14 sources of claims data or electronic medical records from Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, UK, and USA. Propensity score stratification and calibration using negative control outcomes were used to address confounding. Cox models were fitted to estimate calibrated hazard ratios (CalHRs) according to drug use. Estimates were pooled where I2<40%. <h4>Results</h4> Overall, 956,374 and 310,350 users of hydroxychloroquine and sulfasalazine, and 323,122 and 351,956 users of hydroxychloroquine-azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine-amoxicillin were included. No excess risk of SAEs was identified when 30-day hydroxychloroquine and sulfasalazine use were compared. SCCS confirmed these findings. However, when azithromycin was added to hydroxychloroquine, we observed an increased risk of 30-day cardiovascular mortality (CalHR2.19 [1.22- 3.94]), chest pain/angina (CalHR 1.15 [95% CI 1.05-1.26]), and heart failure (CalHR 1.22 [95% CI 1.02- 1.45]) <h4>Conclusions</h4> Short-term hydroxychloroquine treatment is safe, but addition of azithromycin may induce heart failure and cardiovascular mortality, potentially due to synergistic effects on QT length. We call for caution if such combination is to be used in the management of Covid-19. <h4>Trial registration number</h4> Registered with EU PAS; Reference number EUPAS34497 ( http://www.encepp.eu/encepp/viewResource.htm?id=34498 ). The full study protocol and analysis source code can be found at https://github.com/ohdsi-studies/Covid19EstimationHydroxychloroquine . <h4>Funding sources</h4> This research received partial support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and Senior Research Fellowship (DPA), US National Institutes of Health, Janssen Research & Development, IQVIA, and by a grant from the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea [grant number: HI16C0992]. Personal funding included Versus Arthritis  (JL), MRC-DTP [MR/K501256/1] (JL), MRC and FAME (APU). The European Health Data & Evidence Network has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 806968. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and EFPIA. No funders had a direct role in this study. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Clinician Scientist Award programme, NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health, England.
Association of APOE ε4 genotype and lifestyle with cognitive function among Chinese adults aged 80 years and older: A cross-sectional study.
(Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2021-06)
BACKGROUND: Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 is the single most important genetic risk factor for cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease (AD), while lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking, diet, and physical activity also have impact on cognition. The goal of the study is to investigate whether the association between lifestyle and cognition varies by APOE genotype among the oldest old. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We used the cross-sectional data including 6,160 oldest old (aged 80 years old or older) from the genetic substudy of the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS) which is a national wide cohort study that began in 1998 with follow-up surveys every 2-3 years. Cognitive impairment was defined as a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score less than 18. Healthy lifestyle profile was classified into 3 groups by a composite measure including smoking, alcohol consumption, dietary pattern, physical activity, and body weight. APOE genotype was categorized as APOE ε4 carriers versus noncarriers. We examined the associations of cognitive impairment with lifestyle profile and APOE genotype using multivariable logistic regressions, controlling for age, sex, education, marital status, residence, disability, and numbers of chronic conditions. The mean age of our study sample was 90.1 (standard deviation [SD], 7.2) years (range 80-113); 57.6% were women, and 17.5% were APOE ε4 carriers. The mean MMSE score was 21.4 (SD: 9.2), and 25.0% had cognitive impairment. Compared with those with an unhealthy lifestyle, participants with intermediate and healthy lifestyle profiles were associated with 28% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 16%-38%, P < 0.001) and 55% (95% CI: 44%-64%, P < 0.001) lower adjusted odds of cognitive impairment. Carrying the APOE ε4 allele was associated with 17% higher odds (95% CI: 1%-31%, P = 0.042) of being cognitively impaired in the adjusted model. The association between lifestyle profiles and cognitive function did not vary significantly by APOE ε4 genotype (noncarriers: 0.47 [0.37-0.60] healthy versus unhealthy; carriers: 0.33 [0.18-0.58], P for interaction = 0.30). The main limitation was the lifestyle measurements were self-reported and were nonspecific. Generalizability of the findings is another limitation because the study sample was from the oldest old in China, with unique characteristics such as low body weight compared to populations in high-income countries. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we observed that healthier lifestyle was associated with better cognitive function among the oldest old regardless of APOE genotype. Our findings may inform the cognitive outlook for those oldest old with high genetic risk of cognitive impairment.
Nutritional Interventions for COVID-19: A Role for Carnosine?
As COVID-19 continues to take an enormous toll on global health, the effort to find effective preventive and treatment strategies has been unparalleled in recent history [...].