Most women keep using IUDs, contraceptive implants
More than 90 percent of women who opt for long-term reversible forms of birth control keep using them for at least six months, a new study shows. The findings indicate most women did not have side effects that were serious enough for them to stop using their birth control. “There is the perception among healthcare providers that women discontinue these methods rapidly,” said senior author Dr. Tessa Madden. “We hope that this study helps reassure providers that the discontinuation rate is not a big concern.” Other outlets: NBC News Related WUSM news release
‘Lungs don’t die when you do’: New transplant program might ease shortages
Researchers at the University of North Carolina are studying whether lungs from people who die suddenly can be preserved and used for transplant. If successful, the innovative trial would mean many more lungs could be available for transplant. “This trial is very timely and very pertinent,” said Dr. Bryan Meyers. Other outlets: Daily Mail (UK), Huffington Post, New York Post, MSN News,
Fox News, Wired (UK), Guardian (UK), St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Alzheimer’s risk before symptoms: Do you want to know?
By performing brain scans and testing cerebrospinal fluid as part of research studies, scientists can single out individuals likely to show symptoms of Alzheimer’s over the next 15 years. Now, an important ethical question is emerging: Should test results be made available to study participants? The Washington University Adult Children Study does not inform participants of the genetic or biomarker risk profile for Alzheimer’s disease, because even the researchers aren’t entirely sure what they mean. “Many, many people who [don’t have the biomarker] get the disease,” said Dr. Anne Fagan. “So knowing one’s genotype is not really clinically meaningful at this point.” Other outlets: KTVI-TV Fox 2
Wall Street Journal
TRIALS: A desperate fight to save kids & change science
Dr. Daniel S. Ory is featured in an in-depth Wall Street Journal report that followed a group of parents and scientists seeking a treatment for a rare and fatal genetic disease – Niemann-Pick Type C – that strikes primarily children. Their collaboration accelerated development of a promising drug and, along the way, pushed the boundaries of medical research.
As the dust settles around the launch of President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative, researchers are assessing the state of brain-mapping science. The Human Connectome Project, led by researchers at WUSM and at other institutions, is using imaging techniques to create structural and functional maps of the brain.
Sharing the cost for the mother of all health-care services
In a letter to the editor, Dr. L. Lewis Wall refutes claims that opposing insurance coverage for maternity care should be an individual’s right if it will never be needed. “Every person was once a fetus inside his or her mother’s womb, and every adult was once a child. Each of us has been a consumer of obstetric and pediatric services at some point in our lives,” he wrote, noting that these services are as critical to the nation’s welfare as military defense, fire and police protection and reliable public utilities.
Older adults don’t see as well at home as in the clinic
When older people have their vision tested in a doctor’s office, the results might not reflect how well they see at home. New research by Dr. Anjali Bhorade suggests the difference could be due to poor lighting in people’s homes. “A simple awareness of this discrepancy between vision in the clinic and home may alert the clinician to recommend increased lighting or refer these patients for an in-home evaluation by an occupational therapist or low-vision rehabilitation specialist,” she said. Other outlets: NBC News, Health Day, WebMD, Daily RX, Medical Daily
Wall Street Journal
Researchers study how excess fat cells interfere with organ function, metabolism
Understanding the different ways that fat tissue causes disease throughout the body could yield new insights for treatment. Research by Dr. Samuel Klein recently has shown that for obese individuals who are metabolically normal, health doesn’t improve significantly with weight loss.
Outdoor recess is better for kids than playing indoors, study says
According to a new study, urban public school children get more exercise when given the opportunity to play outside during recess, as opposed to having to play indoors in a school gym or classroom. Study co-author Dr. Susan B. Racette said schools need to come up with appropriate alternatives for children to get exercise if outdoor recess is not possible.
Parents warned against Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann shares a warning about a recent trend seen in the ER – children who appear to have blood in their stool. In reality, doctors are finding that the bright red stool is caused by food dye used to make Flamin’ Hot Cheetos extra spicy. Dr. Berchelmann said the most harm the food dye can actually cause is the alarm of parents who mistake the red for blood; the bigger problem is the addictive flavorings used to make the product.
3 reasons for Alzheimer’s hope from The Doctors
Among the recent findings related to Alzheimer’s Disease: Scientists at WUSM have shown that those who reported poor quality of sleep had higher levels of a specific protein that makes up brain plaques found in Alzheimer’s patients.
U.K. Alzheimer’s research charity to fund drug discovery group
Alzheimer’s Research U.K., the country’s leading dementia research charity, will fund a new drug discovery institute to address Alzheimer’s. The Target Discovery Institute encourages drug makers to collaborate with academic institutions. “This innovative idea will bring the best of both academic and industry expertise to drug discovery, an approach which has already shown benefits in tackling cancer,” said Dr. Alison Goate.
Christian Science Monitor
Why did the dinosaur visit the hospital?
CT scanners have revolutionized paleontological research. CT scanners use X-rays to take cross-sectional images of an object, allowing archaeologists to see inside. In 1984, Dr. Glenn Conroy was the first to try CT imaging on a fossil, a 30 million- year-old hog fossil, and the image ended up on the cover of the journal Science. “If you wanted to know what was inside [a fossil], the only thing you could do was break it,” said Dr. Glenn Conroy, “and curators of priceless fossils are going to be reluctant to let people do that.”
Long road ahead to ‘Six Million Dollar Man’
Robotic, brain-controlled replacements for human hands and eyes no longer appear to be purely sci-fi fantasy, but dozens of hurdles remain to making them into plastic-and-metal reality. A complicating factor for designing brain-controlled implants is that brain activity does not stop during sleep. WUSM doctoral student, Mrinal Pahwa, explained that dreaming can produce activity patterns in the brain similar to those that occur when a person is awake. Hence, a bionic hand system needs to be able to tell when a patient is asleep, so that a dream of punching someone doesn’t cause a bed mate to get slugged.
St. Louis Beacon
Board of Aldermen approves bill divvying up block grant money
The St. Louis Board of Aldermen gave initial approval to legislation divvying up $16.7 million in federal block grants. Several aldermen proposed amendments to restore funding to the Hi-Pointe Center food bank and Washington University’s The Spot, which provides HIV/AIDs testing. Those two programs had been cut during committee hearings.
Horse therapy for PTSD sufferers
An Occupational Therapy lab at WUSM is recruiting Iraq/Afghanistan veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Mild Traumatic Brain Injury to participate in a study looking at the way horses may affect recovery. “[Participants] may be riding on a horse or just grooming,” said third-year student Julia Sanders. “It has been shown that horses can calm the effects of PTSD.”
Uninsured face hurdles choosing health insurance
Choosing the right coverage under the new federal health-care law could be even more difficult for those who have never had health insurance, according to a new study. “We need to do a better job communicating information about health insurance to help people make the choices that work best for them,” said Dr. Mary Politi, the study’s lead author.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
What to do about lice?
In her weekly segment with Post-Dispatch parenting columnist Aisha Sultan, Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann discusses head lice. Many schools no longer send home notification to other parents when a child has head lice. “Lice is a benign disease, meaning there are few risks and complications of head lice,” Berchelmann said. “When kids are diagnosed with lice during a school day, they usually have already been infested for more than a month. There is no need to immediately send them home. But it is appropriate to discourage close contact with their hair.”
New study stresses importance of studying freezing episodes in Parkinson’s patients
A recent study, led by physical therapist Ryan Duncan, suggested that patients with Parkinson’s disease who suffer from freezing episodes are more likely to have impaired balance. This is an important discovery because Parkinson’s disease typically develops in elderly patients who cannot afford to lose their balance and fall, which could result in major injuries.
Investigational cancer drugs unintentionally may result in tumor growth
Researchers from WUSM studying how cancer spreads into bone have made a surprising discovery that suggests several investigational anti-cancer therapies just entering the drug-development pipeline may inadvertently promote cancer.
Related WUSM news release
Study confirms benefit of back braces in treating scoliosis
New results from a multicenter clinical trial provide the strongest evidence yet that back braces work in a significant percentage of cases, and the more hours a day they’re worn, the more effective they are. “We stopped the study after analyzing data that showed that bracing had a significant positive effect on decreasing the rate of progression of spinal curvature,” said Dr. Matthew Dobbs.
Related WUSM news release
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Raising a grateful child
Pediatric psychologist Dr. Cathy Hutter shared advice with parents about helping kids maintain perspective during the holiday giving season. She emphasized the importance of family activities and of giving time over gifts and material things. And she encouraged parents to teach kids the simple act of saying “thank you.”
Understanding the new statin guidelines
New recommendations by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology broaden the criteria for deciding who should be taking statins to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Dr. Susan Joseph emphasized how factors like gender, age, race and smoking status are being taken into account.
KTVI-TV FOX 2
Healthier Thanksgiving meal options
Katie Lambert, a registered dietitian at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, suggested ways to lighten up some traditional Thanksgiving dishes, making the foods healthy and tasty.
Gut microbes in healthy kids carry antibiotic resistance genes
Friendly microbes in the intestinal tracts of healthy American children have numerous antibiotic resistance genes, according to results of a pilot study by WUSM scientists. These genes are cause for concern be cause they can be shared with harmful microbes, interfering with the effectiveness of antibiotics in ways that can contribute to serious illness. “Frequent exposure to antibiotics accelerates the spread of antibiotic resistance,” said study author Dr. Guatam Dantas. “Our research highlights how important it is to only use these drugs when they are truly needed.” Other outlets: News Medical, Science Daily Related WUSM news release
Pedal the Cause awards $2.4M to cancer research
Pedal the Cause announced that it had raised $2.4 million from its 2013 bike ride. The funds will support cancer research exclusively at Siteman Cancer Center and the Children’s Discovery Institute at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
KTVI-TV Fox 2
St. Louis Children’s Hospital mobile ICU
Dr. F. Sessions Cole takes viewers on a tour inside the mobile intensive care unit, which is used to transport critically ill newborn babies to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Tiny devices can shine light on brain disorders
To better understand and one day provide improved treatments for depression, addiction and anxiety, WUSM researchers are using tiny, electronic devices to identify and map neural circuits in the brain. The work is part of the developing field of optogenetics, which uses advances in optics and genetics to control individual brain cells. “Optogenetics allows us to zero in on specific populations of neurons and understand which ones are involved in complex behaviors,” said Dr. Michael Bruchas. Related WUSM news release
Heart transplant infant will be home for the holidays
Caleb has spent most of his first seven months at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. When a life-threatening heart condition caused organ failure, the last hope was to place him on ECMO – a temporary and high-risk solution – until a donor heart was available. The heart arrived after nearly 30 days – close to the limit that someone can survive on ECMO. Caleb’s family held a thank-you party for his nurses, therapists and physicians, before returning home to Springfield, Mo.
What is medical care like on an NFL sideline?
Dr. Matthew Matava, president of the NFL Physicians Society, highlighted how NFL players are evaluated and cared for before, during and after a game.
St. Louis Business Journal
Cofactor Genomics moves into $3.8 million digs
Cofactor Genomics, a DNA sequencing company, has opened a new $3.8 million headquarters in the Cortex district. Launched by former Washington University researchers Jarret Glasscock, Jon Armstrong and David Messina, Cofactor is among the companies that spun out of more than $900 million in research funding to Washington University via the Human Genome Project. The company plans to hire 24 new employees, tripling its current employee headcount.
Other outlets: KMOX radio
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Senior focus: Rehab can add years to life after a stroke
In a bimonthly column in the Post-Dispatch, Dr. Mike Urbin emphasized the need for rehabilitation after a stroke. “Though rehabilitation cannot reverse the damage caused by stroke, the brain has a remarkable capacity to reorganize around the site of injury,” he wrote. “This reorganization can lead to recovery of behaviors compromised by the stroke.”
National Institutes of Health
Medical management best to prevent second stroke
Final results from a clinical trial in patients at high risk for a second stroke confirm earlier findings that stenting adds no benefits over aggressive medical treatment alone. “Surgical interventions often have an increased risk of complications early on, so we continued to follow the patients to see if the long-term effects of surgery were beneficial,” says lead author Dr. Colin Derdeyn. “That did not turn out to be the case.”
Daily Mail (UK)
Cut risk of death from heart disease by eating more omega-3 rich tuna
New research at WUSM shows a 50 percent lower risk of heart disease death among older people who ate tuna three or more times a week compared with those who ate tuna less than once per month.
Young eyes may hold clues to autism
Researchers found infants who later developed autism spent less time gazing into people’s eyes between two and six months of age. Dr. John Constantino explained that this might suggest a window during which progression toward autism can be halted or slowed.
KTVI-TV Fox 2
Generation XL: A look at obesity in St. Louis
Pediatric hospitalist Dr. Casey Pruitt and pediatric psychologist Dr. Rachael Juehring pointed to ways recognize, prevent and treat childhood obesity during a half-hour special dedicated to the topic.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Harvey Saligman dies after seeking a cure for his blood disease
Harvey Saligman, the head of shoe giant Interco, has died. Saligman survided about eight years after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the blood disease for which he had tried to find a cure. The Saligmans helped WUSM and BJH go from “a mom and pop show literally to a national leader in multiple myeloma research,” according to Siteman’s Dr. John DiPersio. Related WUSM news release
High but normal blood sugar levels may have a negative effect on memory
Investigators report that glucose levels in the upper range of normal may impair the functioning of the hippocampus. “The effects reported in the study were very small, but the fact that they held up even after adjusting for several possible confounding factors makes the results fairly convincing,” said Dr. Jason Hassenstab.
St. Louis Public Radio
March of Dimes turns research focus to preventing premature births
Dr. F. Sessions Cole highlighted the importance of research to understand the causes of premature birth. Much of that critical research is funded by the March of Dimes. Dr. Cole is on the national board of the organization.
Nursing school at Barnes-Jewish wins top award
Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College was recently honored as the “2013 Best
School of Nursing for Men,” by the American Assembly for Men in Nursing. “The acceptance
of and the creation of more inclusive environments for gender and other forms of diversity
will be essential to meeting future health-care workforce needs,” dean Michael Bleich said.
“This is part of the strategic reality for our school.”
Related BJH news release
Oxycodone preferred by majority of drug abusers
Researchers found that the prescription painkiller oxycodone is the most popular drug of choice for opioid drug abusers in rehab. Principal Investigator Dr. Theodore J. Cicero said the goal of the research is “to understand the personal characteristics of people who are susceptible to drug abuse, so we can detect problems ahead of time.” Other outlets: Health Canal
Related WUSM news release
Clock genes essential in keeping the brain from developing age-related diseases
A gene that plays an important role in our circadian rhythms also is important in fending off age-related brain decay. Researchers have shown that brain cell damage similar to that seen in Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders results when a gene that controls the sleep-wake cycle and other bodily rhythms is disabled. Other outlets: Science Blog, News-Medical
Related WUSM news release
AATS, cardiovascular professional societies release overview of transcatheter therapies for mitral regurgitation
The American Association for Thoracic Surgery released an overview of transcatheter therapies for mitral regurgitation, highlighting critical issues that should be considered as the technologies are integrated into clinical practice. “Excitement combined with a cautiously optimistic approach is most appropriate when unrolling new technologies that may offer select patients a less-invasive therapeutic option,” said Dr. Marc Moon. He added that guidelines are necessary to “prevent the inappropriate explosion of a novel technology to a population of patients for whom it may be detrimental.”
Giving the gift of life: Family of organ donor meets man that received heart
The Quertermous family donated their son Tommy’s organs when he died in a farming accident in Cobden, Ill. His heart was transplanted in 2008 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Recently, the family met the man who received Tommy’s heart.
Blues forward Ryan Reaves to undergo surgery on right hand
Blues forward Ryan Reaves will undergo surgery on his right hand. The operation will be performed by Dr. Charles Goldfarb. Other outlets: KSDK-TV
KTVI-TV Fox 2
The cupcake truce
Seven cupcake shops from around metro St. Louis formed a ‘truce’ where, for one day, they donated the proceeds from one specialty cupcake to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Yanne takes final steps in incredible journey
An 11-year-old from the United Kingdom celebrates the success of the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy procedure performed by Dr. T.S. Park. The spinal surgery relieves spasticity in children with cerebral palsy and improves their ability to walk.