Tag Archives: Matthew

Matthew Akiyama, MD, Receives NIDA Avenir Grant

Avenir HIV/AIDs recipient Matthew Akiyama, MD, an assistant professor and clinician-investigator at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York City, is a blood-borne infections sleuth.

With a 4-year, $ 2.5M Avenir Awards grant from the National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA), Akiyama and his colleagues plan to leverage the power of next-generation gene sequencing to further their work on HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Kenya, Africa. “New sequencing technology will allow us to understand — at a very detailed level — the breadth of the quasi-viral species that exist within a single host,” Akiyama told Medscape Medical News.

PWID account for a large percentage of HIV/HCV co-infections and are central to HCV transmission globally. Understanding the network dynamics of transmission of one infection facilitates understanding of the other because they are often intertwined.

Akiyama’s novel approach embraces the spirit and philosophy of the Avenir Awards: using vital data to discover new avenues of prevention and treatment among at-risk PWID, in this case, those based on molecular epidemiology.

“Solving network dynamics will enable us to understand who in the community may be central to transmission pathways, as well how their behaviors lead to transmission. By understanding this, you can then target prevention interventions,” Nina Volkow, MD, NIDA’s director, told Medscape.

Part Sleuth, Part Anthropologist

“Dr Akiyama’s work is interesting. He mixes the whole concept of infectious disease and genetics of viruses with anthropology,” Volkow said. Akiyama’s study has multiple components that together may provide a template that can be scaled up into larger, global efforts.

The challenges of working with hard-to-reach populations such as PWID in low- to middle-income regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa are much the same as those seen in high-income regions. Those challenges include stigma, marginalization, limited interactions with the healthcare system, and inherent distrust in the system itself. Study recruitment (slated for fall or winter 2021) will start with response-driven sampling through needle and syringe programs in Kenya. That will be followed by chain referral or snowball sampling. Ultimately, Akiyama hopes to recruit roughly 3500 Kenyan PWID to reach a sample size of ~500 HCV-viremic participants over 2 to 3 years. He will then follow these patients to characterize HCV transmission networks.

Akiyama said that the Kenyan health authorities have been extremely progressive in rolling out medications for opioid use disorder as well as needle and syringe programs. “We’re hoping that those efforts have curbed the spread of blood-borne pathogens and we’ll be able to conduct an updated analysis to determine how widespread transmission has become,” Akiyama said. His previous analysis was conducted in 2019.

“The strong gradation from the coast inland to Nairobi (which at last count ranged from roughly 2% to 20%, respectively) can help us to better understand how molecular epidemiologic approaches can be used in areas of moderate and very low [HCV] prevalence to tailor interventions that target testing and linkage to care and move toward preventing outbreaks among populations who’ve seen very little spread thus far,” he explained.

In addition to the molecular analysis, Akiyama and colleagues plan to incorporate ethnographic and qualitative analyses among subgroups to better understand context-specific, local factors that drive or contribute to high-risk transmission in certain regions.

“This project will ultimately help to create a [two-step] template based on next-generation sequencing and phylogenetic analysis followed by qualitative analysis that have more widespread applications,” said Akiyama. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to carry out this research.”

Akiyama and Volkow report no relevant financial relationships.

Liz Scherer is an independent journalist specializing in infectious and emerging diseases, cannabinoid therapeutics, neurology, oncology, and women’s health.

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This post originally posted here Medscape Medical News

Poll shows Matthew McConaughey highly favorable for governor against Gov. Abbott

While it’s not 100% sure actor Matthew McConaughey will be running for Texas governor, he seems to already be a fan favorite against current Gov. Greg Abbott.

A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows the actor and Texas native gaining a lot of attention.

According to the poll, 41% of voters said they would like to see him run. The other 47% said they wouldn’t.

SEE RELATED STORY: Run for Texas governor now ‘a real consideration,’ Matthew McConaughey says

Wondering what the poll says about Abbott?

Well, it depends on who you ask. Most Republicans said Abbott deserves to be reelected. Meanwhile, most Democrats and Independents say he does not deserve to be reelected.

In general, 49% said Abbott was favorable, 43% said he was unfavorable and 7% said they haven’t heard enough.

Based on this poll, it’s safe to say McConaughey and Abbott would have a fairly competitive run. That’s if McConaughey commits to a political run.

Another man to keep your eyes on is Texas GOP Chairman Allen West.

West announced Sunday he is running for governor.

“I’ve not been in elected political office for about a decade, but I can no longer sit on the sidelines and see what has happened in these United States of America and … the place that I call home,” West said in the video, which was preceded by West reading aloud the Declaration of Independence to the churchgoers gathering on July fourth.

West’s campaign launch comes about a month after he announced his resignation as state party chairman. The resignation is effective July 11, when the State Republican Executive Committee is set to meet to pick West’s successor as chair.

According to the new poll, 25% of voters said West was favorable, 10% said he was unfavorable and 65% said they haven’t heard enough.

SEE RELATED: Allen West announces he is running against Gov. Greg Abbott in Republican primary

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Author: KTRK
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TribCast: Weighing whether the Legislature will expand Medicaid and if voters would elect Matthew McConaughey

Author: Matthew Watkins and Justin Dehn
This post originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed

Billie Eilish Snuggles Up To Matthew Tyler Vorce On A Stroll As They Spark Dating Buzz — Pics

Billie Eilish was photographed resting her head on Matthew Tyler Vorce’s shoulder while they went on a walk together.

A new romance may be brewing for Billie Eilish! The singer sparked dating rumors with Matthew Tyler Vorce, an actor, when they were spotted out and about together on April 18. In photos from the outing, WHICH YOU CAN SEE HERE, Billie walked her dog while strolling alongside the actor. At another point, she even rested her head on his shoulder, and he wrapped an arm around her to hold her close.

Billie and Matthew stopped at a shop to grab drinks while out and about. Billie kept it casual in a pair of bike shorts and a black sweatshirt, with her new, platinum blonde hair on full display. Meanwhile, Matthew wore jeans, a crew neck sweatshirt and a baseball cap. HollywoodLife has reached out to a rep for Billie regarding the status of this relationship.

billie eilish
Billie Eilish at the BRIT Awards. (Shutterstock)

Throughout her recent years in the spotlight, Billie has been very private about her personal life. However, in her 2021 Apple TV+ documentary, she debuted her ex-boyfriend, 7:AMP, who she referred to as ‘Q’. The two broke up in 2019, but he was a big part of her life during the time when she filmed the doc.

“I just wasn’t happy,” Billie admitted in the footage. “I didn’t want the same things he wanted and I don’t think that’s fair for him. I don’t think you should be in a relationship super excited about things that the other person couldn’t care less about. There was jut a lack of….um, effort I think?” She also admitted that Q’s lack of “love for himself” played a part in things unraveling. “I don’t want to fix him,” she explained. “I can’t fix him. I tried.”

After Billie and Q’s relationship went public, there was criticism due to the pair’s five-year age gap, and the fact that Billie was quite young when she dated the rapper. Billie’s fans gave Q major backlash on social media, but she urged them not to take it too far. “Remember to be nice to people no matter what!” she wrote on Instagram. “I love you guys, thank you for protecting me, but be nice!”

Alyssa Norwin

This article originally appeared on Hollywood Life