A bi-weekly review of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine media appearances.
IN THE NEWS August 26, 2014
As leaders in medicine, we are frequently featured in the media both locally and nationally. Here are highlights from the past two weeks:

New York Times
Tactic in Alzheimer’s fight may be safe, study finds
Research led by Dr. David Holtzman found that when mice with amyloid plaques were given a monoclonal antibody that reduces APOE, the mice developed fewer plaques and cleared some plaques from their brains.

Wall Street Journal
Does the sea air have curative powers?
Dr. Thomas W. Ferkol’s work focuses on cystic fibrosis and other genetic lung diseases. 
He explained why some patients might want to take up surfing or spend more time at the beach. Salt water appears to improve breathing by opening up the airways, studies have suggested. Now, it’s standard practice for doctors to prescribe a 7 percent sodium chloride inhalation solution to cystic fibrosis patients. Other outlets: Fox News

Blood transfusions could reduce strokes in kids with sickle-cell anemia
A new trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that monthly blood transfusions could reduce the chance of strokes by more than half in children with sickle-cell anemia. Dr. Allison King, a co-author of the study, said that the blood transfusions helped increase the number of healthy red blood cells and “lower the percentage of sickle-shaped cells in the patient’s bloodstream.”
Related WUSM news release

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Talking to kids about scary news
Dr. Kim Sirl, a pediatric psychologist at SLCH, said that when tragic events dominate the news, like in Ferguson, Mo., make sure to listen to your children’s concerns before you try to explain. Sometimes, their fears are different than ours. She also suggested that parents and caregivers address children’s concerns in an age-appropriate way. Other outlets: USA Today,
KSDK-TV Newschannel 5

U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay
Researchers unlock clues to how Ebola disarms immune system
Dr. Gaya Amarasinghe found that Ebola carries a protein called VP24 that interferes with interferon, which is vital to the immune response. “We’ve known for a long time that infection with Ebola obstructs an important immune compound called interferon,” Dr. Amarasinghe said. “Now we know how Ebola does this, and that can guide the development of new treatments.” His research appeared in Cell Host and Microbe. Other outlets: Huffington Post, Yahoo! News UK, New Scientist, Reuters/Chicago Tribune, International Business Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Irish Examiner, China Topix  Related WUSM news release

National Geographic
Successful Marburg virus treatment offers hope for Ebola patients
A new treatment has successfully protected monkeys infected with Marburg virus, a disease with a course so similar to Ebola that it is impossible to clinically differentiate the two. Dr. Gaya Amarasinghe commented on the finding.

Six surprising reasons eating right pays off
Researchers in Rome and WUSM recently published a paper that concluded that calorie restriction may be the best way to prevent disease and lengthen lifespan — even for people at a normal weight.

Teen drug use gets supersize study
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is launching an effort to follow 10,000 U.S. adolescents for 10 years, to determine whether marijuana, alcohol and nicotine use are associated with changes in brain function and behavior. “It’s definitely an idea that’s overdue,” said Dr. Deanna Barch. “The downside is that it’s a lot of eggs in one basket.”

New York Magazine
Can depression start in preschool?
Depression affects as many as 350 million people worldwide. Even beloved, Oscar-winning comedians are, unfortunately, not immune. But just how early can depression take hold? Some new research, led by Dr. Joan Luby, has found symptoms of the disorder in children as young as 3.   Related WUSM news release

Yahoo! Health
Robin Williams’ death: The difference between depression and normal sadness
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Although major depression can strike people of any age, the median age at onset is 32.5 years, and the disease is more common in women than men, according to researchers at WUSM. 
Other outlets: Fox News, LiveScience

Ebola drug’s success bolsters approach for other diseases
An experimental drug given to two U.S. health workers infected with Ebola may help raise the profile of an immune strategy that already has shown promise against other diseases, including HIV. However, much more research with patients is needed to show that the drug is useful, said infectious disease specialist Dr. Michael Diamond. Almost half of the people who get Ebola virus recover on their own, and the two Americans who got the drug may fall into that category, Diamond said.
 Other outlets: Malaymail online

Nature World News
Experimental drug can reduce muscle damage, bleeding risk in heart attack survivors
Researchers have found that an experimental drug can reduce damage to muscles during a heart attack and lower bleeding. “This medication, known as APT102, has the potential to change the paradigm for how heart attack patients initially are treated,” said senior author Dr. Dana Abendschein. “This also may be a better way to treat strokes caused by or associated with a blood clot.”
 Other outlets: Medical Xpress, New Scientist   Related WUSM news release

Science World Report
Study identifies uric acid as new culprit in metabolic syndrome
Researchers at WUSM found that excess levels of uric acid – the normal waste product excreted by the kidney and intestine that is released in urine and stool – is the main cause for metabolic syndrome. Study co-authors Drs. Brian J. DeBosch and Kelle H. Moley comment.
Related WUSM news release

KWMU St. Louis Public Radio
Study: Preterm babies have different gut microbes – which could affect their health
Drs. Barbara Warner and Phillip Tarr found that the gut microbial composition of preterm infants progressed in a fairly standard manner, regardless of the babies’ diets or antibiotic exposures. “Our next step is to compare these, what we would call normal preterm infants, with infants who go on to develop [necrotizing enterocolitis],” Warner said. If they find differences between the two groups in the colonization patterns of their microbial communities, then that could help explain why some babies develop this life-threatening problem and others do not.
Related WUSM news release

Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minnesota can take a stand in Hobby Lobby fight
An editorial in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby suggests the state legislature should work to keep contraception covered in health insurance plans. Among the studies referenced is a 2012 study showing that no-cost contraception, as required by the Affordable Care Act, leads to a big drop in abortion rates.
 Related WUSM news release

Scientific American
Tiny lights could illuminate brain activity
Researchers at WUSM report that diffuse optical tomography (DOT) can replicate functional MRI experiments and that this method is more comfortable for the patient, more portable and less expensive than obtaining images in an MRI scanner. Although high-density DOT can penetrate only about 2 centimeters, that depth is enough to investigate many of the brain’s higher-order cognitive functions, said lead author Dr. Adam Eggebrecht. Related WUSM news release

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5
Young performer sings for doctor after lung transplant
Dr. Pirooz Eghtesady, director of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, made a deal with Rosie, a young girl with cystic fibrosis. If he performed a transplant to give her new lungs, she had to sing for him. Rosie, who performs in musical theater near her home in Indiana, was happy to oblige.

Wash U. looking for low-back pain study participants
Washington University physical therapy professor Dr. Linda Van Dillen explained she is looking for participants for a study on chronic low-back pain. The study will examine two different conservative treatments: training to improve performance of everyday activities and exercise to increase trunk strength as well as trunk and limb flexibility.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Breathing is easier when he finds out he didn’t have a cold
Sinus polyps, or nasal polyps, are small packages of tissue that grow in nasal and sinus passages. Millions suffer from the condition, and maybe half do not know they have polyps, said otolaryngologist Dr. John Schneider. Many people think they have a cold that just won’t go away. Surgery to remove polyps and to clear out nasal passages can remedy the condition.

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5
Keeping toddlers safe with dogs in the house
Mary Alice McCubbins, a pediatric trauma nurse practitioner, offered advice for parents about keeping kids safe when there are dogs in the house.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Surgeon general issues new warning about skin cancer
The Melanoma Research Foundation reported that indoor tanning before age 30 increases the risk of melanoma by 75 percent. This report as well as a spike in skin cancer cases led the acting surgeon general Dr. Boris Lushniak to ask colleges and universities to remove tanning beds from their recreational facilities. More than seven years ago, Dr. Lynn Cornelius at WUSM began a crusade against the state’s lack of indoor tanning regulations.
In June, Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation requiring guardian permission for minors to tan. Related WUSM news release

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5
Child cancer survivors celebrate life
Dozens of children who have fought childhood cancer gathered for a party in their honor at SLCH. Among the main attractions: a quilt made by cancer survivors at the hospital’s Celebrate Life party in 2004. At that party, 53 children designed squares for the quilt. This year, 51 of these children who worked on the quilt still are alive.

The Augusta Chronicle   (Georgia)
Fear outweighs risk of Ebola, experts say

Dr. Keith Woeltje explains the difference between the risk of Ebola and SARS. He is the former hospital epidemiologist at Georgia Regents Medical Center, who helped handle a suspected SARS case that came to the hospital. Other outlet: Emergency Management Magazine

Chronicle Live      (United Kingdom)
NHS will cover costs of pioneering surgery for children with cerebral palsy
After intense lobbying by parents and physicians in the UK, as well by Dr. T.S. Park, the National Health Service (Great Britain’s health care system) has decided to cover the cost of selective dorsal rhizotomy, the spinal surgery pioneered by Dr. Park that restores mobility to children with cerebral palsy.

Live Science
Surviving sepsis: Detection and treatment advances
Some people who survive sepsis can develop secondary infections days or even months later. Research by Drs. Richard Hotchkiss, Jonathan Green and Gregory Storch suggests that these secondary infections occur because sepsis causes immune suppression.
Related WUSM news release  

The Press and Journal
Fraserburgh girl gets approved for surgery in the United States.
Isla McNab will travel to St. Louis for spinal surgery with Dr. T.S. Park to relieve her spasticity caused by cerebral palsy. Her family hopes that this surgery will allow Isla to walk independently for the first time.

Digital Journal
Music proves more than a lullaby for newborn babies
An SLCH music therapist discusses how playing music for premature babies has been known to calm fast heart rates and otherwise relax infants in the NICU.

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Judy Martin

Washington University
School of Medicine
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Laura High

Barnes-Jewish Hospital



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