A bi-weekly review of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine media appearances.
IN THE NEWS February 11, 2015
As leaders in medicine, we are frequently featured in the media both locally and nationally. Here are highlights from the past two weeks:

NBC News
Chemicals linked to early menopause
Researchers at WUSM have identified 15 chemicals that may be linked to earlier menopause. Women with the highest levels of these chemicals in their bodies went through menopause from two to four years earlier than women with the lowest levels. Study author Dr. Amber Cooper said she hoped the study would raise awareness about day-to-day chemical exposures. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE. Other outlets: Health Day, CBS News, Yahoo!, Time, Huffington Post, WebMD, New York Daily News, Scientific American, Medical Daily, Medical XPress, The Straits Times (Singapore) Medical News Today Related WUSM news release

Viruses and chronic gut disease
New research at WUSM found that patients with inflammatory bowel diseases had a greater variety of viruses in their digestive systems than healthy volunteers, suggesting viruses likely play a role in the disease. Dr. Herbert W. “Skip” Virgin IV said this research is the first to associate disease with changes in the virome, or the viruses inside the human body. The research was published in Cell. Related WUSM news release

Washington Post
It’s official: Twitter loves #weed
Recent research at WUSM found that pro-marijuana tweets outnumber anti-pot tweets by 15-1. “The younger people are when they begin using marijuana, the more likely they are to become dependent,” Dr. Patricia A. Cavazos-Rehg said. She added that it’s possible messages shared on social media sites influence people’s behavior and opinions about marijuana.
Other outlets: Yahoo!, Irish Examiner, (Ireland) Daily Mirror (UK), Geekwire,
The Independent (UK), Live Science Related WUSM news release

Health Day
IUDs, contraceptive implants work longer than thought
According to research at WUSM, hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs) and contraceptive implants appear to prevent pregnancy one year beyond their approved length of use. Researchers are assessing whether these long-acting forms of birth control may be effective up to three years after their approved length of use. Dr. Colleen McNicholas said the research is important because extended use of the devices will reduce costs and improve convenience for women who can leave them in longer. Other outlets: Fox News, WebMD, Health, Medscape, Medical News Today
Related WUSM news release

Delinquent kids have earlier sex: Study
A recent study found that kids with behavior problems become sexually active earlier than their peers. Having sex earlier than age 16 increases the risk of teen pregnancy, partner violence, sexually transmitted infections and other negative health outcomes, according to the study authors. Dr. Patricia A. Cavazos-Rehg, who was not involved in the new research, explained that delinquent behavior stems from a child not understanding or not caring about consequences. She added, “An individual with self-regulation problems as a child is on a trajectory to have these problems as a teen unless someone or something intervenes.” Other outlets: Fox News, Daily Mail (UK)   Related WUSM news release

The Huffington Post
What the education reform movement is missing
An article highlighting poor academic progress in public schools and the problem of children living in poverty referenced research at WUSM. The research indicated that childhood poverty was negatively associated with brain development.

Mystery childhood paralysis stumps researchers
Since August 2014, more than 100 children and adults in the United States have developed a mysterious paralysis. The cases coincided with outbreaks of enterovirus D68. This virus’s family includes the poliovirus and the pathogens that cause common colds. Improved tests to detect the virus and more diligent surveillance offer researchers an opportunity to learn more about the virus, according to Dr. Kristine Wylie, who led the EV-D68 sequencing at WUSM. Related WUSM news release

Consumer Reports
My kid hit his head! Does he need a CT scan?
With growing concern about concussions, “more and more parents arrive in emergency departments with the idea that their visit won’t be complete without a head CT,” according to Dr. James Duncan, who studies the overuse of CT scans. Almost half of children with head injuries seen in emergency rooms get CT scans, but about one-third of them are not needed, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In most cases, a neurological exam can determine whether a child has a concussion.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
WU research targets causes of sudden heart attacks and strokes
For more than a decade, Dr. Pamela Woodard and other researchers around the country have been working on a procedure that could serve as an early warning system for people at risk for heart attack or stroke. They have developed a nanoparticle that, once injected into the body, may be able to seek out and identify harmful plaque buildup in arteries that can rupture and lead to sudden death. The Food and Drug Administration recently cleared Woodard and her team to start evaluating the nanoparticle-based imaging agent in people. “This is huge,” Woodard said. “If everything goes well, hopefully we could get this to the market in two years.” Other outlet: Medical XPress   Related WUSM news release

Washington University study examines causes of autism
A new genetic study indicates that those who develop autism are harboring random genetic mutations, which alone aren’t powerful enough to cause the syndrome. Dr. John Constantino explained that if researchers can identify where small influences in causal risk converge into mechanisms, perhaps they can target and treat the syndrome better. He said researchers need to increase their sample size to better show areas of this convergence.

St. Louis Public Radio
Study: Missouri’s unintended pregnancy rate is dropping
A recent study showed that Missouri has seen a significant decrease in unintended pregnancies in recent years. Study authors wrote that the decline could be due in part to the growing use of long-acting reversible contraceptives like IUDs and implants. Though he was not involved in study, Dr. Jeffrey Peipert agreed that the use of these kinds of contraceptives has an impact on pregnancy rates.

Arizona Daily Sun
3-D printers to make human body parts? It’s happening
In an article explaining how 3-D printers are evolving, WUSM’s work designing and building a robotic prosthetic arm for a 13-year-old girl is referenced. Other outlets: Bend Bulletin (OR),
 Government Technology
Related WUSM news release  

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Healthy Kids: Finding reliable health information online
Health librarian Judy Hansen with the Family Resource Center at SLCH offered suggestions on how to find reliable health information online. She suggested that parents become familiar with reputable websites from the National Library of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics. She also mentioned that commercial sites identified by .com most often will be sponsored by a company and may be trying to sell products.

Top educational websites for kids
Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann shared top educational and recreational websites for kids. On her list: Duolingo.com, Scratch and Scratch Jr.,
Dragon Box, Khan Academy, IXL and Splash Math.

KSDK-TV NewsChannel5 ShowMe St. Louis
MomDocs: What you need to know about food allergies
A panel of mom-clinicians answered questions about food allergy management in a recurring segment on KSDK’s Show Me St. Louis. Panelists included Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann, nurse practitioner Lila Kertz and registered dietitian Tara Todd.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Parents talk back
Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann answered questions in a monthly parenting chat with columnist Aisha Sultan. Topics included the measles vaccine, anxious teens and the risks/benefits of a gluten-free diet for babies.

St. Louis Public Radio
Tweet or drink your way to better heart health? Not likely, cardiologist says
As a guest on St. Louis Public Radio’s “St. Louis on the Air” program, Dr. Andrew Kates suggested listeners focus on preventing heart disease. “We look toward risk factors that predispose patients to cardiovascular disease, like hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking.” He added that heart health screenings should start by age 20, especially for those with a family history of heart problems.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Missouri schools making progress on sports concussions
An article highlighting progress Missouri schools are making responding to sports-related concussions includes comments from Dr. Mark Halstead. Halstead said no evidence-based research backs the full restriction of computer and screen time to help heal a child with a concussion. Instead, Halstead advocates for moderate day-to-day adjustments to integrate the child back into the school setting.
Related WUSM news release

As measles cases spread, St. Louis doctors urge vaccination
With an outbreak of measles spreading across the country, infectious disease specialist Dr. Rachel Orscheln urged parents to follow the recommended vaccination schedule for children. Other outlets:
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
First kidney swap at St. Louis Children’s Hospital allows parents to help their children
When 2-year-old Alyvia Wyatt needed a kidney transplant and neither parent was a good match, Dr. Jeff Lowell and the kidney transplant team at SLCH offered the family a paired kidney exchange. Information from Alyvia and her mother, Turquoia, was entered into a database that paired them with another donor and patient in need of a kidney. They matched with a parent and child at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland. On Nov. 24, the parents had their kidneys removed in the morning. The organs crossed paths in the air, and the children received the organs that afternoon. The Wyatts were the first family in the St. Louis area to participate in a pediatric organ swap.

KSDK Newschannel5
Illinois girl hit in head with bat, makes full recovery
Seven-year-old Reagan Roberts was hit in the head with a baseball bat when playing outside with her sister a year ago. Though she didn’t initially show any outward signs of significant injury, a scan at SLCH revealed a bleed on her brain as well as a skull fracture. Dr. David Limbrick placed seven plates and 22 screws in the child’s head. One year later, she’s made a full recovery.

Raising awareness for pediatric congenital heart disease
Heart surgeon Dr. Peter Manning explained that pediatric congenital heart defects are among the most common defects children get. Doctors identified a fetal heart defect when Lauren Erwin was pregnant with her son and were able to plan for his care. Her son, Caleb, is recovering well after open-heart surgery at 3 months of age.

KSDK-TV NewsChannel5
Four-legged therapists helping kids with cancer
KSDK’s Mike Bush profiled the Paws for Hope program at SLCH, going room to room with the support dogs and the volunteers who accompany them and showing how much the dogs mean to patients undergoing difficult treatments.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Deaf St. Louis woman slowly losing her sight but sees life more clearly than ever
In an article about a young woman with Usher syndrome, a complex genetic disorder involving multiple mutations that result in varying degrees and rates of hearting and vision loss, Dr. Rajendra Apte explained that medications to slow the progression of the disease could be ready for testing in five years. There are no current treatments for the disease.

The Missouri Times
Three abortion bills proposed in today’s Children and Family issues hearing
Three separate abortion bills recently were proposed by Missouri state legislators. Dr. Colleen McNicholas testified against all three bills but placed special emphasis on HB124. This bill requires that women watch an explanatory video, once produced, before having an abortion. This is in addition to a state-mandated packet physicians currently give to all women considering abortion. McNicholas explained that women already are given the 22-page packet with all of the information they need to know regarding the procedure. She suggested that lawmakers rework the existing packet to ensure it’s medically accurate.

The News-Gazette     (Danville, Ill.)
Whatever happened to: The Ferrill Five
The Learning Channel followed the birth in 2006 of the Ferrill quintuplets at BJH and their treatment in the NICU at SLCH. Seven years later, the quints are outgoing 8-year-olds who love to ride bikes and scooters, walk their dogs and play with friends.

S-TV Aberdeen  (Scotland)
Isla’s back home after life-changing operation
Ten-year-old Isla is recovering at home after traveling to St. Louis for selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) to relieve muscle spasticity caused by cerebral palsy. Dr. T.S. Park performed the surgery. Isla was using a wheel chair before the surgery, but she hopes to be walking by the end of the year. Other outlets: The Aberdeen Press and Journal,
News North Wales, The Daily Post, (UK) The Guardian (UK)


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Judy Martin

Washington University
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Laura High

Barnes-Jewish Hospital



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