The latest medical research on Sports & Exercise Medicine

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Predictors of pain interference and potential gain from intervention in community dwelling adults with joint pain: A prospective cohort study.

Musculoskeletal care

There is little research on identifying modifiable risk factors that predict future interference of pain with daily activity in people with joint pain, and the estimation of the corresponding population attributable risk (PAR). The present study therefore investigated modifiable predictors of pain interference and estimated maximum potential gain from intervention in adults with joint pain.

A population-based cohort aged ≥50 years was recruited from eight general practices in North Staffordshire, UK. Participants (n = 1878) had joint pain at baseline lasting ≥3 months and indicated no pain interference. Adjusted associations of self-reported, potentially modifiable prognostic factors (body mass index, anxiety/depressive symptoms, widespread pain, inadequate joint pain control, physical inactivity, sleep problems, smoking and alcohol intake) with onset of pain interference 3 years later were estimated via Poisson regression, and corresponding PAR estimates were obtained.

Inadequate joint-specific pain control, insomnia and infrequent walking were found to be independently significantly associated with the onset of pain interference after 3 years, with associated PARs of 6.3% (95% confidence interval -0.3, 12.4), 7.6% (-0.4, 15.0) and 8.0% (0.1, 15.2), respectively, with only the PAR for infrequent walking deemed statistically significant. The PAR associated with insomnia, infrequent walking and inadequate control of joint pain simultaneously was 20.3% (8.6, 30.4).

There is potential to reduce moderately the onset of pain interference from joint pain in the over-50s if clinical and public health interventions targeted pain management and insomnia, and promoted an active lifestyle. However, most of the onset of significant pain interference in the over-50s, would not be prevented, even assuming that these factors could be eliminated.

Dynamic Stabilization of Syndesmosis Injuries Reduces Complications and Reoperations as Compared With Screw Fixation: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.

Am J Sports Med

Several devices for obtaining dynamic fixation of the syndesmosis have been introduced in recent years, but their efficacy has been tested in only a few randomized controlled trials (RCTs), without demonstrating any clear benefit over the traditional static fixation with screws.

To perform a level 1 meta-analysis of RCTs to investigate the complications, subjective outcomes, and functional results after dynamic or static fixation of acute syndesmotic injuries.

Meta-analysis of RCTs.

A systematic literature search was performed of the Medline/PubMed, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Embase electronic databases, as well as ClinicalTrials.gov for unpublished studies. Eligible studies were RCTs comparing dynamic fixation and static fixation of acute syndesmosis injuries. A meta-analysis was performed, while bias and quality of evidence were rated according to the Cochrane Database questionnaire and the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation guidelines.

Dynamic fixation had a significantly reduced relative risk (RR = 0.55, P = .003) of complications-in particular, the presence of inadequate reduction at the final follow-up (RR = 0.36, P = .0008) and the clinical diagnosis of recurrent diastasis or instability (RR = 0.10, P = .03). The effect was more evident when compared with permanent screws (RR = 0.10, P = .0001). The reoperation rate was similar between the groups (RR = 0.64, P = .07); however, the overall risk was reduced after dynamic fixation as compared with static fixation with permanent screws (RR = 0.24, P = .007). The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society score was significantly higher among patients treated with dynamic fixation-6.06 points higher (P = .005) at 3 months, 5.21 points (P = .03) at 12 months, and 8.60 points (P < .00001) at 24 months-while the Olerud-Molander score was similar. The visual analog scale for pain score was reduced at 6 months (-0.73 points, P = .003) and 12 months (-0.52 points, P = .005), and ankle range of motion increased by 4.36° (P = .03) with dynamic fixation. The overall quality of evidence ranged from "moderate" to "very low," owing to a substantial risk of bias, heterogeneity, indirectness of outcome reporting, and evaluation of a limited number of patients.

The dynamic fixation of syndesmotic injuries was able to reduce the number of complications and improve clinical outcomes as compared with static screw fixation-especially malreduction and clinical instability or diastasis-at a follow-up of 2 years. A lower risk of reoperation was found with dynamic fixation as compared with static fixation with permanent screws. However, the lack of patients or personnel blinding, treatment heterogeneity, small samples, and short follow-up limit the overall quality of this evidence.

How actual motor competence and perceived motor competence influence motor skill engagement of a novel cycling task.

Scandinavian J Med Sci Sports

In early childhood, factors that contribute to motor skill engagement (MSE) are unknown. Our aim was to explore the relationships between actual an...

Impact of data averaging strategies on V̇O2max assessment: mathematical modelling and reliability.

Scandinavian J Med Sci Sports

No consensus exists on how to average data to optimise V̇O2max assessment. Although the V̇O2max value is reduced with larger averaging blocks, no mathematical procedure is available to account for the effect of the length of the averaging block on V̇O2max. .

To determine the effect that the number of breaths or seconds included in the averaging block has on the V̇O2max value and its reproducibility and to develop correction equations to standardise V̇O2max values obtained with different averaging strategies.

Eighty-four subjects performed duplicate incremental tests to exhaustion (IE) in the cycle ergometer and/or treadmill using two metabolic carts (Vyntus and Vmax N29). Rolling breath-averages and fixed time-averages were calculated from breath-by-breath data from 6 to 60 breaths or seconds.

V̇O2max decayed from 6 to 60-breaths averages by 10% in low fit (V̇O2max <40 mL·kg-1 ·min-1 ) and 6.7% in trained subjects. The V̇O2max averaged from a similar number of breaths or seconds were highly concordant (CCC>0.97). There was a linear-log relationship between the number of breaths or seconds in the averaging block and V̇O2max (R2 >0.99, P<0.001), and specific equations were developed to standardise V̇O2max values to a fixed number of breaths or seconds. Reproducibility was higher in trained than low-fit subjects and not influenced by the averaging strategy, exercise mode, RRmax or IE protocol.

The V̇O2max decreases following a linear-log function with the number of breaths or seconds included in the averaging block and can be corrected with specific equations as those developed here. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Prognostic Factors for Return to Sport After High Tibial Osteotomy: A Directed Acyclic Graph Approach.

Am J Sports Med

High tibial osteotomy (HTO) is increasingly used in young and physically active patients with knee osteoarthritis. These patients have high expectations, including return to sport (RTS). By retaining native knee structures, a return to highly knee-demanding activities seems possible. However, evidence on patient-related outcomes, including RTS, is sparse. Also, time to RTS has never been described. Furthermore, prognostic factors for RTS after HTO have never been investigated. These data may further justify HTO as a surgical alternative to knee arthroplasty.

To investigate the extent and timing of RTS after HTO in the largest cohort investigated for RTS to date and to identify prognostic factors for successful RTS.

Case-control study; Level of evidence, 3.

Consecutive patients with HTO, operated on between 2012 and 2015, received a questionnaire. First, pre- and postoperative sports participation questions were asked. Also, time to RTS, sports level and frequency, impact level, the presymptomatic and postoperative Tegner activity score (1-10; higher is more active), and the postoperative Lysholm score (0-100; higher is better) were collected. Finally, prognostic factors for RTS were analyzed using a logistic regression model. Covariates were selected based on univariate analysis and a directed acyclic graph.

We included 340 eligible patients of whom 294 sufficiently completed the questionnaire. The mean follow-up was 3.7 years (± 1.0 years). Out of 256 patients participating in sports preoperatively, 210 patients (82%) returned to sport postoperatively, of whom 158 (75%) returned within 6 months. We observed a shift to participation in lower-impact activities, although 44% of reported sports activities at final follow-up were intermediate- or high-impact sports. The median Tegner score decreased from 5.0 (interquartile range [IQR], 4.0-6.0) presymptomatically to 4.0 (IQR, 3.0-4.0) at follow-up ( P < .001). The mean Lysholm score at follow-up was 68 (SD, ± 22). No significant differences were found between patients with varus or valgus osteoarthritis. The strongest prognostic factor for RTS was continued sports participation in the year before surgery (odds ratio, 2.81; 95% CI, 1.37-5.76).

More than 8 of 10 patients returned to sport after HTO. Continued preoperative sports participation was associated with a successful RTS. Future studies need to identify additional prognostic factors.

Acute and Subacute Changes in Hip Strength and Range of Movement After Arthroscopy to Address Chondrolabral Pathology.

Am J Sports Med

Hip pain is associated with reduced muscle strength, range of movement (ROM), and function. Hip arthroscopy is undertaken to address coexistent intra-articular pathologies with the aim of reducing pain and improving function.

To evaluate changes in strength and ROM in a cohort with chondrolabral pathology before surgery to 3 and 6 months after hip arthroscopy.

Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Sixty-seven individuals with hip pain who were scheduled for hip arthroscopy were matched with 67 healthy controls. Hip strength and ROM were collected preoperatively and at 3 and 6 months postoperatively. Repeated measures analysis of variance evaluated whether strength and ROM differed between limbs and among time points. Bonferroni post hoc tests determined differences in hip strength and ROM among testing times and between the hip pain group and matched controls.

Hip extension, internal rotation (IR), external rotation (ER), and adduction ( P < .040) strength were greater at 3 months after surgery; all directions, including flexion, abduction, and squeeze, were greater at 6 months ( P < .015). Hip flexion ROM was greater at 3 months after surgery ( P = .013). Flexion, IR, and ER ROM was greater at 6 months ( P < .041). At 6 months, IR ROM ( P = .003) and flexion, IR, and ER strength ( P < .005) remained less than matched controls.

With the exception of squeeze and flexion, all directions of hip strength and hip flexion ROM are significantly improved 3 months after arthroscopy to address chondrolabral pathology. By 6 months after arthroscopy, strength in all directions and flexion and rotation ROM are significantly improved in both limbs, but hip flexion, IR, and ER strength and IR ROM remain significantly less than that of healthy matched controls in both limbs.

Effect of Medial Open-Wedge High Tibial Osteotomy on the Patellofemoral Joint According to Postoperative Realignment.

Am J Sports Med

No study has yet assessed the effect of medial open-wedge high tibial osteotomy (MOWHTO) on the patellofemoral joint according to postoperative alignment.

To evaluate the effect of MOWHTO on the patellofemoral joint according to postoperative alignment by comparing the cartilage status before and after surgery and assessing the clinical and radiological outcomes.

Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

A total of 135 patients who underwent MOWHTO were retrospectively investigated. The patients were divided into 3 groups according to the postoperative weightbearing line ratio (WBLR): undercorrection (WBLR <58.3%, lowest quartile), acceptable correction (WBLR of 58.3%-66.3%, middle 2 quartiles), and overcorrection (WBLR >66.3%, highest quartile). The postoperative change in the cartilage status was assessed arthroscopically during implant removal at 2 years after MOWHTO. The clinical and radiological outcomes were evaluated at a mean follow-up of 52.1 months. A regression analysis was performed to identify the factors affecting the deterioration of the patellofemoral joint cartilage status. A receiver operating characteristic curve was employed to identify the cutoff point for the postoperative WBLR associated with the deterioration of the cartilage status in the patellofemoral joint.

Of all patients, progression of cartilage degeneration was noted in 39.3% for femoral trochlea and 23.7% for patella. The incidence of cartilage progression was significantly higher in the overcorrection group than in the undercorrection and acceptable correction groups (femoral trochlea: undercorrection group = 30.3%, acceptable correction group = 32.4%, and overcorrection group = 61.8% [ P = .008]; patella: undercorrection group = 15.2%, acceptable correction group = 17.7%, and overcorrection group = 44.1% [ P = .005]). The functional outcomes, including Lysholm knee score, Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (Pain, Symptoms, and Activities of Daily Living subscales), and Shelbourne and Trumper score, were significantly worse in the overcorrection group. The regression analysis showed that only the postoperative WBLR had a significant effect on cartilage deterioration. The cutoff point for the postoperative WBLR associated with progression of the International Cartilage Repair Society grade was 62.1% for the femoral trochlea (sensitivity = 61.5%, specificity = 62.7%, accuracy = 66.2%) and 62.2% for the patella (sensitivity = 59.4%, specificity = 60.2%, accuracy = 67.8%).

The patellofemoral joint was adversely affected by MOWHTO. Overcorrection causing excessive valgus alignment led to further progression of degenerative changes in the patellofemoral joint and inferior clinical outcomes. The postoperative WBLR can be used as a predictive factor for deterioration of the cartilage status in the patellofemoral joint after MOWHTO.

Efficacy of Platelet-Rich Plasma for the Treatment of Interstitial Supraspinatus Tears: A Double-Blinded, Randomized Controlled Trial.

Am J Sports Med

The benefits of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for the treatment of rotator cuff tears remain inconclusive, as it is administered either as an adjuvant to surgical repair or as a primary infiltration without targeting the index lesion, which could dilute its effect.

To determine whether PRP infiltrations are superior to saline solution infiltrations (placebo) at improving healing, pain, and function when injected under ultrasound guidance within isolated interstitial supraspinatus tears.

Randomized controlled trial; Level of evidence, 1.

In this single-center, double-blinded, randomized controlled trial, 80 adults with symptomatic isolated interstitial tears of the supraspinatus, confirmed by magnetic resonance arthrography, were randomized to PRP or saline injections. Each patient received 2 injections with a 1-month interval. The primary outcome was the change in lesion volume, calculated on magnetic resonance arthrography, at 7 months. The secondary outcomes were improvements in shoulder pain and the Single Assessment Numerical Evaluation (SANE) score at >12 months.

Preoperative patient characteristics did not differ between the 2 groups. At 7 months, there were no significant differences between the PRP and control groups in terms of a decrease in lesion size (-0.3 ± 23.6 mm3 vs -8.1 ± 84.7 mm3, respectively; P = .175); reduction of pain on a visual analog scale (VAS) (-2.3 ± 3.0 vs -2.0 ± 3.0, respectively; P = .586); and improvement in SANE (16.7 ± 20.0 vs 14.9 ± 29.0, respectively; P = .650), Constant (8.6 ± 13.0 vs 10.7 ± 19.0, respectively; P = .596), and American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (19.5 ± 20.0 vs 21.9 ± 28.0, respectively; P = .665) scores. At >12 months, there were no significant differences between the PRP and control groups in terms of a reduction of pain on a VAS (-3.3 ± 2.6 vs -2.3 ± 3.2, respectively; P = .087) or improvement in the SANE score (24.4 ± 27.5 vs 23.4 ± 24.9, respectively; P = .846). At 19.5 ± 5.3 months, the incidence of adverse effects (pain >48 hours, frozen shoulder, extension of lesion) was significantly higher in the PRP group than the control group (54% vs 26%, respectively; P = .020).

PRP injections within interstitial supraspinatus tears did not improve tendon healing or clinical scores compared with saline injections and were associated with more adverse events.

NCT02672085 (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier).

Hamstring Autograft Versus Hybrid Graft for Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Systematic Review.

Am J Sports Med

Hamstring tendon autografts are commonly used for primary anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Some patients have small hamstring tendons however, which may compromise the clinical outcome of the autograft. To solve this problem, many surgeons use hybrid grafting that involves augmentation of small hamstring autografts with allograft tissue.

The purpose was to compare the clinical outcomes between primary ACL reconstructions performed with hamstring autografts and those performed with hybrid grafts in terms of patient-reported evaluation, failure rate, and knee stability. The hypothesis was that primary ACL reconstruction performed with hamstring autograft alone will not differ significantly from that performed with a hybrid graft in terms of patient-reported evaluation, failure rate, or knee stability.

Systematic review.

A systematic review was performed to identify prospective and retrospective comparative studies and cohort studies (evidence levels 1-3) comparing outcomes of primary ACL reconstructions performed with hamstring autografting alone and hybrid grafting. Outcomes included patient-reported evaluation, failure rate, and knee stability.

Ten studies were included: 1 of level 2 and 9 of level 3. Collectively, they included 398 autografts and 341 hybrid grafts. Mean respective follow-up durations ranged from 24.0 to 69.6 months and from 24.0 to 70.8 months. Patient-reported evaluations, including Lysholm, Tegner, and subjective International Knee Documentation Committee scores, were reported in 8 of 10 studies. Failure rates were reported in all 10 studies. Results of knee stability examinations-including KT-1000 arthrometer measurements, the pivot-shift test, Lachman test, and overall International Knee Documentation Committee results-were reported in 4 of 10 studies. In this review, there were no statistically significant differences between autografts and hybrid grafts in terms of patient-reported evaluations, failure rates, or KT-1000 measurements.

In this systematic review, there was no significant difference in patient-reported evaluation or failure rate between primary ACL reconstructions performed with autografts alone and those performed with hybrid grafts. Whether there is a substantial difference in knee stability examination results between autografts and hybrid grafts remains unknown, given a relative lack of reports on knee stability.

Adaptation of Running Biomechanics to Repeated Barefoot Running: A Randomized Controlled Study.

Am J Sports Med

Previous studies have shown that changing acutely from shod to barefoot running induces several changes to running biomechanics, such as altered ankle kinematics, reduced ground-reaction forces, and reduced loading rates. However, uncertainty exists whether these effects still exist after a short period of barefoot running habituation.

The purpose was to investigate the effects of a habituation to barefoot versus shod running on running biomechanics. It was hypothesized that a habituation to barefoot running would induce different adaptations of running kinetics and kinematics as compared with a habituation to cushioned footwear running or no habituation.

Controlled laboratory study.

Young, physically active adults without experience in barefoot running were randomly allocated to a barefoot habituation group, a cushioned footwear group, or a passive control group. The 8-week intervention in the barefoot and footwear groups consisted of 15 minutes of treadmill running at 70% of VO2 max (maximal oxygen consumption) velocity per weekly session in the allocated footwear. Before and after the intervention period, a 3-dimensional biomechanical analysis for barefoot and shod running was conducted on an instrumented treadmill. The passive control group did not receive any intervention but was also tested prior to and after 8 weeks. Pre- to posttest changes in kinematics, kinetics, and spatiotemporal parameters were then analyzed with a mixed effects model.

Of the 60 included participants (51.7% female; mean ± SD age, 25.4 ± 3.3 years; body mass index, 22.6 ± 2.1 kg·m-2), 53 completed the study (19 in the barefoot habituation group, 18 in the shod habituation group, and 16 in the passive control group). Acutely, running barefoot versus shod influenced foot strike index and ankle, foot, and knee angles at ground contact ( P < .001), as well as vertical average loading rate ( P = .003), peak force ( P < .001), contact time ( P < .001), flight time ( P < .001), step length ( P < .001), and cadence ( P < .001). No differences were found for average force ( P = .391). After the barefoot habituation period, participants exhibited more anterior foot placement ( P = .006) when running barefoot, while no changes were observed in the footwear condition. Furthermore, barefoot habituation increased the vertical average loading rates in both conditions (barefoot, P = .01; shod, P = .003) and average vertical ground-reaction forces for shod running ( P = .039). All other outcomes (ankle, foot, and knee angles at ground contact and flight time, contact time, cadence, and peak forces) did not change significantly after the 8-week habituation.

Changing acutely from shod to barefoot running in a habitually shod population increased the foot strike index and reduced ground-reaction force and loading rates. After the habituation to barefoot running, the foot strike index was further increased, while the force and average loading rates also increased as compared with the acute barefoot running situation. The increased average loading rate is contradictory to other studies on acute adaptations of barefoot running.

A habituation to barefoot running led to increased vertical average loading rates. This finding was unexpected and questions the generalizability of acute adaptations to long-term barefoot running. Sports medicine professionals should consider these adaptations in their recommendations regarding barefoot running as a possible measure for running injury prevention.

DRKS00011073 (German Clinical Trial Register).

Platelet-Rich Plasma Reduces Failure Risk for Isolated Meniscal Repairs but Provides No Benefit for Meniscal Repairs With Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction.

Am J Sports Med

The effect of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) on the risk of meniscal repair failure is unclear. Current evidence is limited to small studies without comparison between isolated repairs and meniscal repairs with concomitant anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. It is also unclear whether the efficacy of PRP differs between preparation systems in the setting of meniscal repair.

(1) To determine whether intraoperative PRP affects the risk of meniscal repair failure. (2) To determine whether the effect of PRP on meniscal failure risk is influenced by ACL reconstruction status or by PRP preparation system.

Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

The study entailed 550 patients (mean ± SD age, 28.8 ± 11.2 years) who underwent meniscal repair surgery with PRP (n = 203 total; n = 148 prepared with GPS III system, n = 55 prepared with Angel system) or without PRP (n = 347) and with (n = 399) or without (n = 151) concurrent ACL reconstruction. The patients were assessed for meniscal repair failure within 3 years. The independent effect of PRP on the risk of meniscal repair failure was determined by multivariate Cox proportional hazards modeling with adjustment for age, sex, body mass index, ACL status, tear pattern, tear vascularity, repair technique, side (medial or lateral), and number of sutures or implants used.

Failures within 3 years occurred in 17.0% of patients without PRP and 14.6% of patients with PRP ( P = .60) (Angel PRP, 15.9%; GPS III PRP, 14.2%; P = .58). Increased patient age was protective against meniscal failure regardless of ACL or PRP status (per 5-year increase in age: adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.90; 95% CI, 0.81-1.0; P = .047). The effect of PRP on meniscal failure risk was dependent on concomitant ACL injury status. Among isolated meniscal repairs (20.3% failures at 3 years), PRP was independently associated with lower risk of failure (aHR, 0.18; 95% CI, 0.03-0.59; P = .002) with no difference between PRP preparation systems ( P = .84). Among meniscal repairs with concomitant ACL reconstruction (14.1% failures at 3 years), PRP was not independently associated with risk of failure (aHR, 1.39; 95% CI, 0.81-2.36; P = .23) with no difference between PRP preparation systems ( P = .78).

Both PRP preparations used in the current study had a substantial protective effect in terms of the risk of isolated meniscal repair failure over 3 years. In the setting of concomitant ACL reconstruction, PRP does not reduce the risk of meniscal repair failure.

Changes in Cross-sectional Area and Signal Intensity of Healing Anterior Cruciate Ligaments and Grafts in the First 2 Years After Surgery.

Am J Sports Med

The quality of a repaired anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or reconstructed graft is typically quantified in clinical studies by evaluating knee, lower extremity, or patient performance. However, magnetic resonance imaging of the healing ACL or graft may provide a more direct measure of tissue quality (ie, signal intensity) and quantity (ie, cross-sectional area).

(1) Average cross-sectional area or signal intensity of a healing ACL after bridge-enhanced ACL repair (BEAR) or a hamstring autograft (ACL reconstruction) will change postoperatively from 3 to 24 months. (2) The average cross-sectional area and signal intensity of the healing ligament or graft will correlate with anatomic features of the knee associated with ACL injury.

Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2.

Patients with a complete midsubstance ACL tear who were treated with either BEAR (n = 10) or ACL reconstruction (n = 10) underwent magnetic resonance imaging at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after surgery. Images were analyzed to determine the average cross-sectional area and signal intensity of the ACL or graft at each time point. ACL orientation, stump length, and bony anatomy were also assessed.

Mean cross-sectional area of the grafts was 48% to 98% larger than the contralateral intact ACLs at all time points ( P < .01). The BEAR ACLs were 23% to 28% greater in cross-sectional area than the contralateral intact ACLs at 3 and 6 months ( P < .02) but similar at 12 and 24 months. The BEAR ACLs were similar in sagittal orientation to the contralateral ACLs, while the grafts were 6.5° more vertical ( P = .005). For the BEAR ACLs, a bigger notch correlated with a bigger cross-sectional area, while a shorter ACL femoral stump, steeper lateral tibial slope, and shallower medial tibial depth were associated with higher signal intensity ( R2 > .40, P < .05). Performance of notchplasty resulted in an increased ACL cross-sectional area after the BEAR procedure ( P = .007). No anatomic features were correlated with ACL graft size or signal intensity.

Hamstring autografts were larger in cross-sectional area and more vertically oriented than the native ACLs at 24 months after surgery. BEAR ACLs had a cross-sectional area, signal intensity, and sagittal orientation similar to the contralateral ACLs at 24 months. The early signal intensity and cross-sectional area of the repaired ACL may be affected by specific anatomic features, including lateral tibial slope and notch width-observations that deserve further study in a larger cohort of patients.

NCT02292004 (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier).