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, 2015
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
In a new approach to fighting disease, helpful genetic mutations are sought
After years of looking for mutations that cause diseases, investigators are now searching for those that prevent them. By understanding how protective mutations work, they hope to develop drugs that mimic these genetic changes, potentially protecting people from certain diseases. Doug Whitney, featured in the article, has a gene mutation that causes early onset Alzheimer’s disease. He also may have a mutation that protects him from the disease. Whitney is a patient in an Alzheimer’s study led by WUSM neurologist Randall Bateman.
Related WUSM news release

You asked: What’s the healthiest sweetener?
Sugar has high calorie content, contributes to weight gain and affects the body’s response to insulin. And although artificial sweeteners have no calories, Dr. Yanina Pepino’s research has demonstrated that sweet tastes, even those produced by non-caloric sweeteners, have the power to ramp up the body’s insulin response. She says there’s also data suggesting non-caloric sweeteners contribute to the development of metabolic disorders and type 2 diabetes. Related WUSM news release

Huffington Post
Cancer: It sure ain’t good luck
The journal Science recently published a study suggesting that the “bad luck” of random mutations plays the predominant role in cancer, suggesting there is little a person can do to prevent cancer. Dr. Graham Colditz disagrees, explaining, “seventy percent of breast cancers could be prevented by efforts started very early in life…I speak for many when I say that this one view of “bad luck” is not what the public is seeking. It is this type of hype that causes the public to mistrust medicine…People are looking to see cancer stopped before it starts.”
Related WUSM news release

The Atlantic
Childhood guilt, adult depression?

Research by Dr. Joan Luby found that young children with excessive guilt were more likely than their peers to have brain changes linked to depression, which may increase the risk for mood disorders later in life. She said that the finding is significant because it is one of the first studies that links feelings of excessive guilt in children to physical differences in the brain.
The research was published in JAMA Psychiatry. Related WUSM news release

Huffington Post
Yes, it’s possible to be obese and healthy (sort of)
Two recent and unrelated analyses of metabolically healthy yet obese people illustrate a disagreement among experts. Dr. Sam Klein examined how added weight affects metabolic health by asking obese patients in a clinical trial to gain an average of 15 pounds over the course of several months. He found that participants who started the study metabolically healthy remained healthy after gaining weight, whereas those who were metabolically unhealthy got worse. Klein’s study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The other study, published in the American College of Cardiology, found that “healthy obesity” is merely a preliminary stage of unhealthy obesity. Other outlets: Los Angeles Times, Korea Herald, Youth Health Magazine    Related WUSM news release

No link between migraines, breast cancer risk
A recent study found that migraine headaches do not increase the risk of breast cancer. Levels of sex hormones of 2,034 premenopausal women were studied, and no link between hormone levels and migraines was found, according to Dr. Anke C. Winter. The research was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The Scientist
The year in pathogens
This fall, enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) caused serious respiratory illness in more than 1,000 people—mainly children—in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the spread of the virus appears to be slowing, the reasons for its reemergence this year remain unclear. Some answers may come from the virus’s genome, which was sequenced by researchers at WUSM. The information will also guide the development of new diagnostics, according to the study’s authors.
Related WUSM news release

Washington Post
Want to reduce teen pregnancy and abortion? Start with long-term birth control
The IUD and other long-acting reversible contraceptive methods are making a resurgence in the United States, and recent studies indicate they are contributing to the lowest abortion rate in three decades. This story references the Contraceptive CHOICE Project at WUSM. Other outlets: Reproductive Health Reality Check      Related WUSM news release

Associated Press / KMOV-TV
Washington U. gets $30 M for Alzheimer’s studies
Two major Alzheimer’s disease studies led by WUSM’s Dr. John C. Morris have received federal funding totaling $30 million over the next five years. The research includes an effort to identify biological changes or biomarkers that can detect the disease and track its progression. The long-range goal is to start Alzheimer’s treatments years before patients develop memory loss and dementia. Other outlet: Related WUSM news release

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis city ranks first in chlamydia infection rate nationwide
St. Louis tops the nation in the rate of chlamydia and ranks second for gonorrhea infections. Dr. Katie Plax explained that there has been a big push in the St. Louis community to test more people, and when more people are identified, there will be an increase in cases. Dr. Bradley Stoner also commented. Other outlets: St. Louis Public Radio

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5
How to stay safe during dangerous cold
Dr. Mark Levine explained how people can stay safe during bitter cold. He suggested that people stay outside as little as possible, wear layers, try to cover all exposed skin and avoid exercising outside when temperatures are in the teens. Dr. Levine was live from the BJH Emergency Department throughout the morning.

WFMZ-TV  (Allentown, PA)
Health Beat: Hip resurfacing: A better option for some
Dr. Robert Barrack explained that hip resurfacing may be a better option than hip replacement for patients with arthritis who are young and active. With hip resurfacing, surgeons leave the patient’s own bone and place a metal surface over the cap of the femoral head, “sort of like capping a tooth,” Barrack said. During hip replacement, doctors remove the femoral head and put a five-inch artificial joint into the patient’s femur. Other outlets: WAAY-TV (Huntsville, AL), WNDU-TV (South Bend, IN)   Related WUSM news release

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
XX Files: Preventing osteoporosis fractures
WUSM bone and mineral diseases specialist Dr. Kathryn Diemer explained that osteoporosis is most common in older women but can occur in men and women of any age. People with the disease have weak bones and are more likely to break bones in the hip, spine and wrist. She also said that a healthy lifestyle, including exercise, adequate calcium and vitamin D intake and screening can help prevent fractures.

St. Louis Magazine
Relax, go to it
In this article highlighting different relaxation techniques, Dr. Beverly Field explained how she helps patients who suffer from chronic pain relax and manage their pain. One approach is by using a biofeedback monitor, which provides information about brain activity, heart rate and muscle activity to let patients see differences between a stressed and a relaxed muscle. As an example, this information can help patients with intractable migraines pick up on early signals and practice biofeedback techniques to avert or decrease the severity of a migraine, she said.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Medical breakthroughs made in St. Louis in 2014 having a worldwide impact
This story featured five WUSM research highlights from 2014:

KSDK-TV Newschannel 5
Losing the baby weight
Dr. Camaryn Chrisman-Robbins explained that losing weight after having a baby takes patience. She suggested women focus on their core, especially the lumbar spine and abdomen, which have been compromised during pregnancy.

People Behind the Science
Podcast episode 195: Dr. David Holtzman
Dr. David Holtzman discussed his current research on sleep and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as how he got interested in science. The podcast is hosted by Dr. Marie McNeely, who received her PhD in neuroscience from WUSM.

National Geographic
Phenomena:A new antibiotic that resists resistance
Dr. Guantam Dauntas remarked that a new tool used to discover a new antibiotic, which kills antibiotic-resistant infections, potentially is transformative. That tool identifies environmental bacteria that may be new weapons against bacterial infections.

KSAT-TV   (San Antonio, TX)
Antidepressants to treat Alzheimer’s?
The commonly prescribed antidepressant citalopram stopped the growth of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s in young, healthy adults. Dr. John Cirrito said more research is needed to prove that the drugs help slow or stop Alzheimer’s. The research was published last May in Science Translational Medicine. Related WUSM news release

Delhi Daily News   (India)
Headache only symptom of brain tumor in many cases: Study
According to researchers, recently issued guidelines that seek to reduce the use of CT scans and other neuroimaging tests for patients with headaches could miss or delay the diagnosis of brain tumors. Dr. Ammar H. Hawasli said that some patients with brain tumors may present with isolated headaches in the absence of other neurological symptoms and signs. The research was published in the journal Neurosurgery. Other outlet: The HealthSite

HEC-TV – Innovations
Washington University’s Neurofibromatosis Center is changing lives
Dr. David Gutmann started the Neurofibromatosis Center more than 10 years ago. Cordell Whitlock profiles the center and highlights the progress Gutmann and colleagues have made.

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5
Kids coming down with the flu? Here’s what to do
Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann offered advice for parents when their child shows signs of the flu. She suggested that parents seek early treatment to minimize the effects, and she added it’s not too late to get a flu shot.

Inside Philanthropy
About that big genome gift to Washington University: Longstanding ties, personal pain
Dr. James S. McDonnell III and his wife Elizabeth donated $25 million to The Genome Institute at WUSM. The story highlights the McDonnell’s longstanding relationship with the University. Related WUSM news release

Belleville News-Democrat
Answer man: A sack of healthful tips for the holidays
Dr. Jay Piccirillo explained that some people who experience tinnitus and cannot ignore the phantom noise could concentrate better after they participated in computer-based cognitive training and took the drug d-cycloserine. “We think the cognitive therapy helps our patients change the wiring in the brain, which may help them direct attention away from the tinnitus,” Piccirillo said. He added that he hopes to repeat the findings in a larger study.

Alsumaria  (Iraqi Satellite TV Network)
Kisses transfer 80 million bacteria, new study reveals
This article highlights research from the Netherlands published in Microbiome that found an average of 80 million bacteria are transferred during a 10-second kiss. Dr. Jeffrey Gordon’s previous comments from an NPR story are included: “We think that there are 10 times more microbial cells on and in our bodies than there are human cells. That means that we’re 90 percent microbial and 10 percent human.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
BJC names director for new children’s outpatient facility
BJC HealthCare tapped Julie Bruns to serve as director of the St. Louis Children’s Specialty Care Center.

Overdoing your New Year’s workout resolution can be a bad idea
The BJH emergency department treated three people over the holidays for rhabdomyolysis, a condition that causes muscle to break down and the proteins released into the blood stream to build up in the kidneys. This causes problems with kidney function. “Pain is a good thing,” said emergency physician Dr. Liza Halcomb. “Pain should tell you when to stop.”
Other outlet: St. Louis Magazine

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5 – The Frontline For Hope:
Episode 4
The Frontline for Hope: All In
A young man battling sickle cell anemia decides to undertake a half-match stem cell transplant, pushing the limits of medical science as he goes “all in” for a cure. Take a look into a genetics lab to see how Washington University researchers are finding answers about autism. And watch a plastic surgeon transform a little boy’s face in a surgery that will improve his health and his outlook on life.

Episode 5
The Frontline for Hope: Living the Dream
A teenager with sickle cell anemia takes the last step before a life-changing and risky procedure. His haploid, or half-matched stem cell transplant, is the first at Children’s Hospital. The show also updates SuperSam’s battle against cancer and shows how a rare facial nerve transplant enables a boy to smile for the first time.

Episode 6
The Frontline for Hope: Looking for Answers
A young boy who survived cancer developed heart failure due to his aggressive cancer therapy. He must wait until he has been cancer-free for two years before receiving a transplant. So in a pioneering decision, cardiologists implant a new device that will bridge him to transplant. SuperSam continues his cancer battle, as his therapy concludes and his family and physicians hope for a cure.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Children’s Hospital ends nurse advice hotline
In 1989, SLCH introduced the Answer Line, a nurse advice/health information line, open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. Due to a decline in call volume and a change in how parents seek health information, the Answer Line ended its services and is transitioning employees to other roles. Other outlets: KTVI-TV Fox 2, KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5, The Columbia Missourian, The Washington Times, St. Louis Magazine.

A closer look at rare cancer that took life of Stuart Scott
ESPN broadcaster Stuart Scott recently died from appendix cancer. Dr. Michael Naughton said cancer of the appendix is extremely rare and there are no factors to predict who is at risk. If caught early, the cancer can be surgically removed, but Naughton said it is rarely caught in time.

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5
Mom Doc tips for raising grateful kids
Drs. Kathleen Berchelmann, Melissa Belanger and Colleen Wallace offered tips to raise grateful children. Among them, focus on the positive things that happened that day, teach the importance of saying thank you, have the children talk about what they are grateful for each day and have a sense of humor. Other outlet: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Medscape     (free registration required)
Leukemia after chemo/radiation not directly due to therapy
Recently published research challenges the view that cancer treatment in itself is a direct cause of what is known as therapy-related AML. Dr. Daniel Link and colleagues at The Genome Institute found that mutations in a well-known cancer gene, P53, can accumulate in blood stem cells as a person ages. If cancer develops, these mutated cells are more resistant to treatment and multiply at an accelerated rate after chemo or radiation, which can lead to AML. The research was published in Nature.
Related WUSM news release

Medical News Today
Reducing fatty acid production may help treat arthritis, leukemia
Drs. Clay F. Semenkovich and Ifran J. Lodhi explained their recent research showing that enzymes linked to diabetes and obesity appear to play key roles in arthritis and leukemia, potentially opening up new avenues for treating these diseases. The study was published in Cell Metabolism.
Related WUSM news release

Quincy Journal
Blessing signs agreement with Washington University heart-surgery program
Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Illinois, has signed an association agreement with the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at WUSM. Dr. Marc Moon commented on the arrangement.

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Judy Martin

Washington University
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Laura High

Barnes-Jewish Hospital



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