A bi-weekly review of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine media appearances.
IN THE NEWS January 15, 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
The brain, in exquisite detail
A search for self in a brain scan
Dr. Deanna Barch is one of the researchers at the university working on the Human Connectome project – the first interactive wiring diagram of the living, working human brain. To build this diagram she and her colleagues are doing brain scans and cognitive, psychological, physical and genetic assessments of 1,200 volunteers. NYT reporter James Gorman did two stories and a video about the project. Other outlets: U.S. Science News

Getting close and personal
Research from WUSM’s Dr. Li Ding is cited in this story about the development of new cancer drugs. Ding examined more than 3,000 tumors across 12 types of cancer and reported 127 mutated genes that seem to propel cancer, with most tumors having two to six mutations. Related WUSM news release

New York Times
New tests for brain trauma create hope and skepticism
Researchers at UCLA have developed a test they assert might identify chronic traumatic encephalopathy in a living person by injecting a compound that clings to proteins in the brain and later appears on a PET scan. But some are skeptical. “This sounds like putting the cart before the horse,” said Dr. John Morris. “In theory, [the scans will] be useful. But we don’t know for an individual, does this mean inevitably they will dement?” Other outlets: The Wire, Globe and Mail

USA Today
Obesity levels off, but extreme cases tipping the scales
There are signs that Americans overall are getting a grip on their expanding waistlines for the first time in decades. However, about two-thirds of adults in the U.S. are deemed overweight or obese, and the percentage of people who are extremely obese – 100 pounds or more overweight – continues to rise. Obesity contributes to a long list of serious health problems including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver problems and many others. According to Dr. Samuel Klein, “You do not need to lose all of your excess weight to get important health benefits.”

What is different about women’s health?
The new special “Advancing Women’s Health” issue of Clinical Chemistry showcases nearly 50 studies that close the gap between men’s and women’s health care. “Women have a unique physiology and set of health conditions that arise from different reproductive organs as well as pregnancy,” said issue editor, WUSM’s Dr. Ann M. Gronowski. “It is clear that more research is needed to understand these differences so that the screening, treatment and monitoring of health outcomes in women may be optimized.”

Washington Post
You’re never too old to exercise. Just ask my 98-year-old mom if you see her at the gym.
Jeanne Erdmann writes about her elderly mother’s commitment to exercising. At first, Erdmann was worried that her mother might hurt herself by working out, but gerontologist Dr. Stanley Birge told her that the risk of not exercising could do more damage.

Yahoo! News (Reuters)
Weight-loss surgery safe, beneficial: Study
Bariatric surgery results in substantial weight loss and can turn back some diseases related to obesity. There is some risk of complications, but death rates appear to be lower than previously thought, reported researchers led by Dr. Su-Hsin Chang. Other outlets: United Press International
Related WUSM news release

Everyday Health
Could poor dental health signal a faltering mind?
Tooth loss and bleeding gums might be a sign of declining thinking skills among the middle-aged, a new study contends. “The idea of a relationship between the two is certainly a very interesting possibility,” said Catherine Roe, who was not involved in the research. “It could be that systemic inflammation might have an overall effect on both dental health and cognition, as they discuss in the paper.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Medicare IDs best, worst hospitals for hip and knee replacements
Medicare named 97 hospitals where patients tended to have the smoothest recoveries. Barnes-Jewish Hospital is the only St. Louis-area hospital included. Dr. John Clohisy, an orthopedic surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, said the new findings reflect the hospital’s “effort to provide outstanding care to all orthopedic patients.”

The Seattle Times
Data sharing network gives assist to children’s health
A $7 million grant from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) will assemble a network of seven children’s hospitals, including St. Louis Children’s Hospital, to create a national network of patient data.
Related WUSM news release

St. Louis Public Radio
North St. Louis students AIM for Fitness
AIM for Fitness stems from a $2.2 million, three-year grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education that focuses on teaching fourth-and fifth-graders at St. Louis Public Schools how to make healthy food choices and the importance of physical activity. WUSM’s Program in Physical Therapy is a partner in the grant. Dr. Susan Racette and Dr. Ruth Clark are working with P.E. teachers in the schools to offer more opportunities for exercise. BJC School Outreach is also a partner, providing nutrition education.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Front page)
Community researchers seek to help end racial health disparities in St. Louis area

Dr. Melody Goodman in WUSM’s public health sciences division started the Community Research Fellows Training program last spring to engage community members in research. In August, 45 St. Louisans graduated from the program. Graduates submitted projects, and now two teams are working side by side with WUSM researchers to study homelessness among older women and improve health behaviors through a program at a church in north St. Louis County. “People in the community should be involved in determining what the priorities are in studies and in the solutions we’re building,” said Goodman. “We want solutions that are sustainable, that people are going to use.” Related WUSM news release

KTVI-TV FOX2 (no link)
Cold weather preparations
Dr. Mark Levine discussed how care teams employ different types of devices to warm up a cold patient, such as hot air pumped into the room, warmed blankets and a special piece of equipment called the bear hugger that pumps heated air into the blanket to warm someone exposed to the cold.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A new approach to the New Year’s resolution
Dr. Kelly Ross, pediatric hospitalist, shares 10 steps parents can take to kick off the new year with a healthy attitude and manageable priorities. The goal is to decide up front what’s important and build your agenda for the year – and every day – according to those priorities.

Missouri children burned by popular cold weather experiment
Two children were treated and released from the SLCH emergency department for burns on their faces after attempting an experiment popularized on the internet during sub-zero temperatures throughout the Midwest. The experiment involves throwing boiling water into the air to see if it turns to snow or ice before hitting the ground. Other outlets: Columbia Daily Tribune,
St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Norovirus ‘stomach flu’ on the rise in St. Louis area
“The flu that we’ve been seeing a lot is usually in the upper respiratory tract, causing a cough and fever,” said Dr. Mark Levine. “The norovirus, although we call it the stomach flu, it’s not same bug. But it is a virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea.” The norovirus is easily spread in close quarters like cruise ships, workplaces, schools and nursing homes.

St. Louis Business Journal
Who made the Business Journal’s 2014 class of 40 Under 40?
Dr. Ryan Fields is among this year’s class of 40 Under 40 honorees who have distinguished themselves in the St. Louis business community.

Avoiding hypothermia and frostbite
Pediatric nurse practitioner Mary Alice McCubbins explains the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and offers advice for parents on appropriate outdoor play during excessively cold days.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis again ranks high for two sexually transmitted diseases
While the number of new cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea actually dropped by about 700 in the St. Louis region in 2012, the city still ranks second-highest among counties and independent cities for the two infections, according to a recent CDC report. “While it’s heartening that rates are down, it’s important not to let our guard down because [the decline] could reflect reduced access to care,” said Dr. Bradley Stoner. Pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Ericka Hayes added that the cases of STDs in teens in St. Louis is “astoundingly high.” Other outlets: St. Louis Public Radio, KTVI Fox 2, KPLR-TV

KSDK-TV Newschannel 5/ Show Me St. Louis
MomDocs discuss birth plans
Three of the MomDocs – Drs. Kelly Ross, Kathleen Berchelmann and Kirstin Lee – join a panel on ShowMe St. Louis to discuss the importance of developing a birth plan before moms-to-be get to the hospital.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Five home remedies to try this cold and flu season
Children get anywhere from six-10 colds per year, and unfortunately, modern medicine has little to offer in the way of treatment. Dr. Sarah Lenhardt outlines five home remedies that might help children feel better when battling a cold.

Boy to receive Christmas surprise when he awakens from surgery
Twelve-year-old Daniel, a Quad Cities IL native, found out in September that he needed a new heart. Christmas Eve, a donor heart became available. While Daniel was not happy about having to spend Christmas in the hospital, SLCH’s Snowflake Village supplied presents to make the stay a bit more palatable. Snowflake Village is a program organized every year by the Child Life team at St. Louis Children’s Hospital to ensure that children who must be in the hospital over the holidays are treated to something special.

St. Louis area’s first baby of 2014 born at Barnes-Jewish
The St. Louis area’s first baby of the new year was a baby girl, Margot Dubois. Margot’s parents are Aude-Helene Capietto and Mathieu Dubois. She was born at Barnes-Jewish Hospital at 12:06 a.m., weighing 5 lbs., 2.7 oz.
Other outlets
KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5, KMOV-TV, KMOX Radio

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5
Cancer patient receives breakthrough therapy
On Dec. 19, Steven Osborne became the first patient to receive a revolutionary form of highly accurate radiation from the world’s first proton system of its kind. The treatment was administered at the S. Lee Kling Proton Therapy Center at Siteman Cancer Center. “We’re thrilled,” said Dr. Jeffrey Bradley. “We’ve been working on this for six years, and to have this day come is great.”
Other outlets: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Southern Illinoisan, HealthCanal.com
Related BJH news release

Kids and melatonin
Melatonin, which is key to regulating our circadian rhythms, factors into why so many adults take supplements to help them sleep at night. Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann explains that melatonin should be given to children only under the guidance of a pediatrician.

Nature Medicine
Multicompany trials adapt to disciplines beyond cancer
When five pharmaceutical companies agreed to work together in a breast cancer trial in 2010, oncologists heralded it as the future of cancer research. Now companies are putting aside their competitiveness to tackle Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Randall Batemann is coordinating the DIAN-TU trial, an ongoing, collaborative and adaptive trial that is testing two experimental antibody drugs from Eli Lilly and Roche in patients with dominantly inherited forms of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Last month, Europe’s Innovative Medicines Initiative announced a call for proposals for an Alzheimer’s trial targeting a different patient population. Twelve companies are interested in participating.

Medical Daily
Some areas of the adult brain retain ‘childlike’ qualities; youthful gene activity keeps our minds well-connected
Researchers from WUSM and Seattle’s Allen Institute for Brain Science discovered that genes that play a role in building new connections between nerve cells continue to be highly active in certain regions of the adult brain. These genes, which are also very active in young, burgeoning brains, may help encode new memories and skills long after it stops growing. Related WUSM news release

Wash U cancer researcher gets $375K grant
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has awarded cancer researcher Dr. Jeffrey Bednarski $375,000 for his research on how immune cells respond to breaks in DNA. These breaks can lead to the formation of cancer cells.

St. Louis American
Employee gym member loses 100 pounds from exercising after work
Viron Washington, medical assistant in radiation oncology at BJH, actually stuck to his 2012 New Year’s resolution and dropped the pounds – 110 and counting. “I started playing basketball with some friends at work and I could barely make it up and down the court, and then, two, I didn’t like the way I looked in general. I didn’t like the way my clothes fit, and I didn’t like being tired and sluggish all the time,” he said. Washington works out at WellAware Center on campus.

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5 (no link)
Dr. Mark Levine reminded St. Louisans to bundle up before going out in the snow and frigid weather and to limit skin exposure to the elements. He also cautioned parents to allow children to play only intermittently outdoors.
Other outlets: KTRS radio (no link)

KMOX radio
St. Louis officials see uptick in cardiac ambulance calls
The cardiovascular risk in arctic-like temperatures extends well beyond the “avoid shoveling” rule, and the risks are especially high for those with known heart disease. According to Dr. Doug Mann, the cold weather constricts your blood vessels, and that makes the work of the heart about 10 times harder because it elevates blood pressure and increases the heart rate.

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5
Just what the doctor ordered
Kindness can be shown a hundred different ways, but in the lobby of the Center for Advanced Medicine it comes one note at a time, thanks to a player piano that no longer has to play itself. “About four years ago we had a couple who came to play regularly and they really started the music program just by accident,” said Sarah Colby, Arts + Healthcare program coordinator at Barnes Jewish-Hospital. The lobby has become sort of an impromptu concert hall.

Chronicle Live
One year from surgery and Callum’s future is looking bright
Callum Brown, a 9-year-old from the UK, is walking unaided one year after the family traveled to St. Louis for his spinal surgery with Dr. T.S. Park to relieve spasticity caused by cerebral palsy. Dr. Park is internationally known for his customized spinal procedure called selective dorsal rhizotomy that restores mobility to children with CP. Other outlets: WalesOnline, Telegraph and Argus, The News.

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5
Family of teen who died of cancer donates blankets to cancer patients
Sixteen-year-old Galen Huelsmann lost his battle with cancer earlier this year. But his memory lives on as family and friends collected blankets and donated them to patients in the cancer clinic at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in Galen’s honor.

Science Daily
Study results inform discussions on US policy for lung transplantation in children
A new analysis has found no evidence that children ages 6 to 11 years seeking a lung transplant from a deceased donor are disadvantaged in the current U.S. lung allocation system. In an accompanying editorial, SLCH/WUSM’s Dr. Stuart Sweet, and UCLA’s Dr. Mark Barr noted there are several other factors that should be considered as officials and the transplant community consider whether changes to pediatric lung allocation are warranted.

Medical News Today
Staying ahead of Huntington’s disease
Dr. Remit Pappu and colleagues at WUSM and the School of Engineering and Applied Science are working to understand how types of supramolecular structures affect Huntington’s disease.

Bioscience Technology
‘Chemobrain’ linked to disrupted brain networks
New research from WUSM shows patients who experience “chemobrain” (the mental fogginess that develops with chemotherapy and lingers long after treatment ends) after treatment for breast cancer show disruptions in brain networks that are not present in patients who do not report cognitive difficulties.
Related WUSM news release

Health Canal
Gene therapy method targets tumor blood vessels
Working in mice, researchers at WUSM report developing a gene delivery method long sought in the field of gene therapy: a deactivated virus carrying a gene of interest that can be injected into the bloodstream and make its way to the right cells. Other outlets: News-Medical Related WUSM news release

Medical XPress
Researchers identify variation in gene PLD3 can increase risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease
A new study led by Dr. Carlos Cruchaga has shown that a fault in a gene called phospholipase-D3 (PLD3) can contribute to the overproduction of amyloid-beta in the brain. Increased levels of this chemical are associated with an increased chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and the results show that, in certain cases, this can double an individual’s risk. Other outlets: Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT) Related WUSM news release

Odor receptors discovered in lungs: Just like ones in your nose but instead of conjuring up a cup of coffee they might make you cough
New research suggests that your lungs can smell. Odor receptors in human lungs trigger neuroendocrine cells to dump hormones that make your airways constrict. The newly discovered class of cells expressing olfactory receptors in human airways, called pulmonary neuroendocrine cells, or PNECs, were discovered by Dr. Yehuda Ben-Shahar and colleagues from WUSM and the University of Iowa.
Other outlets: Voice of America, Red Orbit

Third Age
Diabetes drugs affect male and female hearts differently
A study shows that Metformin, a common drug for type 2 diabetes, has a positive effect on female heart function but not in men. In fact, the researchers said, men experienced a shift in metabolism believed to increase the risk of heart failure. “We saw dramatic sex differences in how the heart responds to the different therapies,” said senior author Dr. Robert J. Gropler.Related WUSM news release

Red Orbit
Drinking, smoking and drug use much higher among psychiatric patients
A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry determined that rates of smoking, drinking and drug use are higher among people diagnosed with severe psychiatric illness than people without a severe mental condition. Dr. Sarah M. Hartz said these patients tend to pass away much younger than those in the general population. “They don’t die from drug overdoses or commit suicide,” she said. “They die from heart disease and cancer, problems caused by chronic alcohol and tobacco use.” Other outlets: Medical XPress, Medical Daily, TruthDive, Headlines & Global News, The Fix,
Related WUSM news release

Counsel & Heal
Smoking can hinder bones from healing
In a new report, orthopedic surgeons from WUSM reminded smokers that smoking could affect how fast bones heal. Dr. Jeffrey Johnson advises patients that if they can’t stop smoking, it might be too risky to operate on them. “Smoking increases infection rates, makes problems with wound healing more likely and also interferes with bone healing,” he said. Other outlets:
Medical Xpress Related WUSM news release

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Jessica Church

Washington University
School of Medicine
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