A bi-weekly review of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine media appearances.
IN THE NEWS December 17, 2014
As leaders in medicine, we are frequently featured in the media both locally and nationally. Here are highlights from the past two weeks:

HealthDay News
Breast cancer vaccine shows promise in slowing progress
A breast cancer vaccine developed at WUSM is safe in patients with metastatic breast cancer, results from an early clinical trial indicate. The vaccine targets mammaglobin-A, a protein found almost exclusively in breast cancer. Dr. William Gillanders emphasized that the trial was small and further research is needed, but the preliminary evidence suggests that the vaccine may slow breast cancer progression. The research was published in Clinical Cancer Research. Other outlets: IFL Science, Time, Huffington Post, Pakistan Today, CBS News, Irish Examiner, Indian Express, Mumbai Mirror, Belfast Telegraph, The Independent
Related WUSM News Release

Los Angeles Times
Laughing all the way … out of depression
In a small pilot study, WUSM anesthesiologist Dr. Peter Nagele and psychiatrist Dr. Charles R. Conway compared the effects of an hour of inhaled nitrous oxide with an hour of inhaled placebo on 20 patients whose depression had failed to yield to standard antidepressants. Most patients reported improvement in their symptoms, but more research is needed. Researchers chose nitrous oxide because it targets the same part of the brain as the sedative ketamine, which has a powerful antidepressant effect in patients with severe depression but with dangerous side effects. Other outlets: Huffington Post, CBS News, WebMD, Science 2.0, PsychCentral, HealthCentral, Indian Express, Daily Mail (UK), Tech Times, NewsMaxHealth,
Related WUSM news release

Daily Mail   (UK)
Breastfeeding can cut a woman’s risk of breast cancer by a fifth
Women who breastfeed can reduce their risk of breast cancer by up to 20 percent according to findings presented by Dr. Graham Colditz at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Researchers analyzed 27 studies covering nearly 37,000 women. According to Colditz, “Importantly, breastfeeding was clearly protective for triple negative breast cancer, the subset of this disease for which we have limited treatment options.”
Other outlets: Yahoo! News (India), The Telegraph (UK), ITV (UK)
Business Standard, The Independent (UK), Irish Examiner
Independent Online (South Africa)

Daily Mail  (UK)
The zombie bacteria living in our guts
New research suggests that we may not choose our own diets. Instead, the billions of bacteria in our guts drive us to consume the nutrients they need to survive and then release chemicals into our gut that influence our appetites. The story mentions research by Dr. Jeffrey Gordon. Other outlet: Independent Online   Related WUSM news release

As it turns out, the human eye can sense ‘invisible’ infrared light, researchers showed
A team of WUSM researchers discovered that under certain circumstances, the human retina can sense infrared light. It was previously thought that infrared light is not on the visible spectrum, but there are certain times when the eye can detect the “invisible” light, according to
Dr. Vladimir Kefalov. He said he hopes the discovery will have practical applications in the field of ophthalmology. Other outlets: Science Daily, Betawired   Related WUSM news release

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
 (front page)
Genome Institute gets $25 million gift to continue its pioneering discoveries
James McDonnell III and his wife, Elizabeth Hall McDonnell, have given The Genome Institute at Washington University $25 million to continue its pioneering advances in the prevention and treatment of disease. The story includes comments from Drs. Richard K. Wilson, Lukas Wartman and Dr. Ramaswamy Govindan. Other outlets: Associated Press, Philanthropy Today, St. Louis Business Journal
Related WUSM news release

St. Louis Post-Dispatch   (front page)
Teaching hospitals left out in the push to cut insurance premium
HealthCare.gov offers few individual plans for 2015 that include coverage through academic medical centers. Locally, for example, while Anthem doesn’t have BJC, it does have SLU Hospital in network. On the other hand, Cigna includes BJC but not SLU Hospital. Steve Lipstein and Melanie Lapidus from BJC commented.

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5
What we can learn from our DNA
WUSM genomics and pathology researcher Dr. Jonathan Heusel explained how the science of genomics is helping to improve human health, citing examples such as genetic tests that can indicate someone may be predisposed to a certain cancer type.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Parents of hospitalized children learn CPR
A program at SLCH is providing infant CPR training to any interested parents of hospitalized children before their baby is discharged. The program is taught by first- and second-year Washington University medical students. About 5,000 children die every year of cardiac arrest, and doctors believe some of those deaths could be prevented with basic CPR proficiency.

Medical News Today
Age-linked gene changes underlie therapy-related leukemia in cancer patients
Researchers at WUSM challenge the idea that cancer treatment itself causes therapy-related AML, in a recent study published in the journal Nature. According to senior author Dr. Richard K. Wilson, if and when a person with a build-up of P53 mutations in their blood stem cells develops cancer and then has chemotherapy or radiotherapy, the mutated cells are more resistant to treatment and proliferate more quickly. It is this sequence of events that can lead to AML.   Related WUSM news release

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Acid reflux one of many risk factors for esophageal cancer
In the United States, about 85 percent of people with esophageal cancer die of the disease. The cancer is so deadly because people often write off the symptoms as acid reflux and see a doctor when it’s too late to effectively treat the disease. Dr. Craig Lockhart said the link between cancer and acid reflux becomes stronger for people who have chronic acid reflux over time. Lockhart also cited difficulty swallowing, sudden weight loss, vomiting blood and unexplained anemia as symptoms of the cancer.

Alzheimer’s News Today
Alzheimer’s might be prevented by protein that wakes the brain up from sleep
Scientists at Washington University, who earlier established links between sleep problems and Alzheimer’s, now say a protein that stimulates the brain to awaken from sleep may be a target for preventing Alzheimer’s disease. The new research, in mice, demonstrates that eliminating a protein called orexin made mice sleep for longer periods of time and strongly slowed the production of brain plaques. “This indicates we should be looking hard at orexin as a potential target for preventing Alzheimer’s disease,” said senior author Dr. David M. Holtzman.
Related WUSM news release

Brain Works: Your mind on life at Sheldon Concert Hall
Drs. Eric Leuthardt and Albert Kim talked about their theater production, Brain Works: Your Mind on Life. Throughout the production, the doctors explained how the brain reacts to a couple dating, falling in love, experiencing a serious health issue and having a baby. Other outlet: St. Louis Magazine

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Parent Chat: Handling holiday stress
Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann joined St. Louis Post-Dispatch parenting columnist Aisha Sultan in a discussion of the best ways for parents to manage their holiday stress. Dr. Berchelmann cautioned against using wine or any kind of alcohol as a coping mechanism. Any kind of exercise or time spent outside can be the best medicine in helping busy parents decompress, she said.

Y-98-FM radio
An extra special touch
St. Louis afternoon radio host on Y-98-FM, Paul Cook, shared that his wife, Jen Cook, finished her radiation therapy at Siteman Cancer Center. Jen was diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall and had a double mastectomy, breast reconstruction and radiation. Her surgeons were Dr. Julie Margenthaler and Dr. Terry Myckatyn. As a special touch, Lamont Reed, who works at the front desk in the radiation clinic, presented Jen with flowers as she rang the bell signifying her treatment was finished.

KSAT-TV       (San Antonio, TX)
Bounce back from the stomach bug with probiotics?
WUSM pediatrician David Schnadower is leading a study to see if probiotics can reduce the length and severity of diarrhea in young children with viral illnesses. Schnadower said there are many studies that show probiotics are safe, but no one has looked at whether they are effective. 
Other outlet: KING-TV   (Seattle, WA)

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5 ShowMe St. Louis
Seven tricks to avoid getting sick on Thanksgiving
Drs. Kathleen Berchelmann, Dehra Glueck and Kirstin Lee formed a panel of MomDocs to discuss getting through the holiday without getting sick. Their tips included getting a flu shot and washing hands after eating.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Flu spikes across St. Louis area
Dr. Bo Kennedy explained that flu cases are on the rise in the St. Louis area. He said many kids who received a flu shot still got the flu because this year’s immunization does not protect against a strain that is now circulating.

A personalized cancer vaccine soon might be available, researchers say
A new possibility in combating cancer was introduced with a series of papers recently published in the journal Nature. One of those papers, by Dr. Robert Schreiber and his WUSM colleagues, suggests that personalized cancer vaccines may rev up the immune system to fight tumors. “This is proof that personalized cancer vaccines can be very powerful and need to be applied to human cancers now,” he said. Other outlet: Sputnik News
Related WUSM news release

News-Medical Net
New findings may help with injury prevention
Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine examined head injuries in children and will inform future protocols on bike helmet and car seat safety. “From an enormous nationwide study of head-injured children, we have distilled a wide range of important features of epidemiology, mechanisms, diagnoses and treatments regarding the full spectrum of blunt head trauma in children,” said co-author Dr. Kimberly Quayle.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Teacher discovers new twist to easing chronic back pain
The WUSM Program in Physical Therapy is conducting a study to evaluate whether strength and flexibility training and motor skills therapy are effective for chronic low back pain that does not have an apparent cause. Dr. Linda Van Dillen is principal investigator of the study and talked about the aims of the study.

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5 ShowMe St. Louis
SLCH patient talks about letting cameras in
Cougar Clifford was one of more than a dozen patients followed by The Frontline for Hope, a six-part-TV series chronicling the stories and journeys of patients, families and staff at SLCH and WUSM. Cougar was paralyzed after diving into a snow bank. He is undergoing rehabilitation and therapy at SLCH.

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5 – The Frontline For Hope
Episode 1
The Frontline for Hope: Outside the box
In the season premiere of The Frontline for Hope, viewers were introduced to Aliyah, age 2, who was born without the top of her skull. Dr. Albert Woo explained the challenges of caring for Aliyah’s rare condition, which until now had a 100 percent mortality rate shortly after birth. He and his team were able to replace Aliyah’s missing skull with shark cartilage. Today, Aliyah is a healthy, happy child.

Episode 2
The Frontline for Hope: Worst nightmare
In this episode, Super Sam returns to SLCH just one week after ringing the bell to mark the completion of his cancer therapy. Sam is suffering a relapse of rhabdomyosarcoma. Sam’s oncologist, Dr. Jeff Bednarski, said getting control of relapsed rhabdomyosarcoma can be very difficult, but their goal hasn’t changed – a full recovery.

Episode 3
The Frontline for Hope: Kick cancer’s butt
As Sam continues his battle against an aggressive and powerful cancer, viewers are introduced to two other children in their cancer battles. Baby Lani will get a bone marrow transplant to prevent a recurrence of neuroblastoma; and 8-year-old Grace learns how small gestures from SLCH’s child life specialists make coping with her cancer – rhabdomyosarcoma – a bit easier.

WJXT-TV   (Jacksonville, FL)
Sickle cell: Stopping kids’ silent strokes
Dr. Mike Noetzel studied 196 children with sickle cell disease age 5 and older who had brain scans that showed evidence of silent strokes. For three years, 99 children received monthly transfusions; the rest did not receive transfusions. Researchers determined that the transfusions reduced the risk of future strokes by 58 percent.

Infection Control Today
Hepatitis C ruled out as cause of mental impairment in HIV patients
Many people with HIV experience impaired thinking, memory loss and other evidence of impaired mental function as they age. Researchers have suspected that co-infection with hepatitis C may be to blame. But in a recent study published in the journal Neurology, Dr. David Clifford said, “Hepatitis C infection has serious long-term side effects, such as damage to the liver, but our research indicates that it does not affect the brain.” Other outlet: News-Medical

   Related WUSM news release

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
New vaccines aimed at meningitis prevention
Dr. Kirstin Lee, a pediatric hospitalist, shared details of a newly approved vaccine to prevent certain forms of meningitis. Known by the brand name Trumenba, the vaccine provides protection against serogroup B. meningococcal infection and is available for those ages 10 through 25.

Medical Xpress
Hearing aids may improve balance
Enhancing hearing appears to improve balance in older adults with hearing loss, according to new research from WUSM. Patients with hearing aids in both ears performed better on standard balance tests when their hearing aids were turned on compared with when they were off. “We don’t think it’s just that wearing hearing aids makes the person more alert,” said senior author Timothy E. Hullar. “The participants appeared to be using the sound information coming through their hearing aids as auditory reference points or landmarks to help maintain balance.”
Other outlet: Kansas City InfoZine
Related WUSM news release

Digital Journal
New clues in treating kids with enterovirus 68
Washington University scientists successfully mapped the genome of the enterovirus 68, using cultures from 14 patients at SLCH. The virus reached epidemic levels over the summer, with hospitals seeing surges in patients with respiratory symptoms. Researchers hope the genetic findings will help them better understand why this outbreak was so severe and what can be done to help prevent it from spreading. The same research revealed a possible link between enterovirus infection and type 1 diabetes.
Related WUSM news release

Oxford Times
Plucky lad takes strides toward walking goal
Four-year-old Cameron Haines from the United Kingdom is preparing to travel to SLCH for spinal surgery with Dr. T. S. Park to relieve muscle spasticity caused by cerebral palsy. Dr. Park pioneered the surgical procedure, called selective dorsal rhizotomy, and is among only a few surgeons in the world who perform it. Other outlets: Dublin People and Free Press.

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Jessica Church

Washington University
School of Medicine
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