A bi-weekly review of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine media appearances.
IN THE NEWS July 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:

The New York Review of Books
Inequality begins at birth
America has the second-highest child poverty rate out of the 35 nations measured by the United Nation’s Children’s Fund. Scholars have long documented that children who grow up poor face greater obstacles to social development and good health, obstacles that often remain with them the rest of their lives. However, a recent WUSM study [led by Dr. Joan Luby] found that poor children who are nurtured adequately, thus avoiding constant stress, usually have normally developed brain tissue, while those with less nurturing have less white and grey matter and smaller control centers, such as the hippocampus.
 Related WUSM news release

Study: Pro-pot twitter accounts reach hundreds of thousands of kids
According to researchers from WUSM, hundreds of thousands of American youth are following marijuana-related Twitter accounts and getting pro-pot messages several times each day. “It is important to remember that [marijuana] remains a dangerous drug of abuse,” said principal investigator Patricia A. Cavazos-Rehg. Other outlets:  Los Angeles Times, PsychCentral
Related WUSM news release

Fox News/Associated Press
Bone marrow transplants can reverse adult sickle cell disease
A small NIH study found that bone marrow transplants can reverse severe sickle cell disease in adults, echoing results seen with a similar technique used in children. The researchers say the findings show age need not be a barrier and that the technique may change the clinical practice for some adult patients when standard treatment fails. In an editorial accompanying the study, Drs. Allison King and John DiPersio wrote that limiting transplants to children should be reconsidered.  Other outlets: Chicago Tribune, The Scientist, WebMD,Healio.com, Charlotte Post (NC)

Huffington Post
Parents of kids with autism more likely to have traits of autism
A new study found that parents of children with autism are more likely to have autistic traits than parents whose children don’t have the disorder.  According to study author Dr. John Constantino, the parental traits included subtle difficulties with social skills, a tendency to isolate themselves from other people and repetitive thinking. Other outlets:  LiveScience,
Daily Mail (UK), Autism Daily Newscast  Related WUSM news release

The IUD answer
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are extremely effective, with a failure rate of less than one pregnancy per 100 women—compared with nine per 100 women on the Pill.  Yet only 9 percent of American women of child-bearing age use an IUD, the lowest rate of any developed country. The CHOICE Project at WUSM found that once women learn about the IUD, more than half will opt for it. Other outlets:  KAAL-TV (MN)

FOX Business News
Google exec’s heroin death a sign of drug trouble in Silicon Valley?
The alleged heroin-fueled death of a Google executive aboard his yacht highlights the changing face of heroin usage in the United States. Though heroin often has been linked in the public’s mind to poor urban areas, Dr. Theodore Cicero said there’s been a significant uptick in white, middle-aged and affluent users over the past few years.
 Related WUSM news release

People on autism spectrum at increased risk for substance abuse
Young adults with autistic tendencies don’t often engage in social or binge drinking, but if they drink, they are slightly more likely than their peers to develop alcohol problems, according to new research from Drs. Arpana Agrawal and Dr. Duneesha De Alwis. However, previous research has shown that people with autism have low rates of substance abuse.  According to Agrawal, “It could be that some traits related to autism are protective, while others elevate the risk for alcohol and substance-abuse problems.”
Related WUSM news release

Smartphone app being tested to save children’s lives
Dr. Jennifer Silva is conducting a study for children with irregular heartbeats that involves a smartphone-enabled device and an app. The device allows patients or their parents to wirelessly conduct an EKG, and then the app sends the reading to the patient’s doctor. So far, doctors have been able to make a diagnosis 98 percent of the time based on the information sent via the app.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Parents can get refunds for some antidepressants given to kids
Earth City-based Forest Laboratories will pay more than $10 million in refunds to families who purchased the antidepressants Celexa and Lexapro for their children because of misleading marketing that suggested they were safe and approved for kids. Dr. Dehra Glueck of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Center at SLCH explained the challenges in prescribing antidepressants to children are due to a lack of studies that include children.

KSDK-NewsChannel 5
STL garment district returns, helps Pedal The Cause
Several designers, including one recently featured in “American’s Top Model,” held an event designed to recharge the textile industry in the St. Louis area. The event raised money for Pedal the Cause, the annual bike ride that collects money for cancer research at Siteman Cancer Center and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Baby’s death in hot car inspires program
The death of a 7-month old baby accidentally left behind in her parents car prompted a program at SLCH that aims to help parents remember their precious back-seat cargo. The program, Sophie’s Kiss, provides parents with key chains as a visual cue that the child is in the back seat. Program coordinators say incidents of hot car deaths increased when car seat safety guidelines began recommending children sit rear-facing, because the child is less visible to distracted parents.

Orlando Sentinel
Brain-tumor patient becomes area’s first to try laser-heat treatment
Laser interstitial thermal therapy is a new procedure for otherwise inoperable brain tumors that involves inserting a probe under MRI guidance through the patient’s skull into the mass. Surgeons then apply heat through the probe while monitoring the heat applied to nearby tissue. The heat kills the tumor while limiting damage to surrounding tissue. Dr. Eric Leuthardt was among the first to use the technology and has performed 50 procedures in the past three years.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Cards brace for life without Molina 
St. Louis Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina tore a ligament in his thumb while sliding into third base during a recent game. Dr. Charles Goldfarb, a hand and wrist specialist with WUSM Orthopedics, will perform the surgery to repair the ligament.

Philadelphia Business Journal
Belly-draining obesity treatment firm raises $5M
Aspire Bariatrics — a medical device company developing a new way to treat obesity — has raised $5 million in a private stock sale, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The system was developed by WUSM gastroenterologist and obesity expert Dr. Samuel Klein, a Philadelphia native.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Senior Focus: STDs are a growing problem
Sexually transmitted diseases generally have been thought of as maladies that affect the young, but the rates in adults 65 and older are increasing, according to Dr. Bradley Stoner. Because many STDs are asymptomatic, it’s important that both partners see their doctors before starting a new relationship so proper tests can rule out STDs.

KMOV-TV / Great Day St. Louis
Preschool depression
Dr. Joan Lubytalked about a study examining WUSM therapies for children who may be suffering from depression. Dr. Luby is recruiting participants ages three to seven for the study.

Medscape Medical News
(free login required)
Novel form of irinotecan ups survival in pancreatic cancer
A new version of a standard chemotherapy has improved survival for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer who had previously been treated with gemcitabine. The investigational drug, irinotecan, was shown to extend overall survival when it was added to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and leucovorin as a second-line therapy.  “This was a positive trial and will provide a new treatment option for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer,” study author Dr. Andrea Wang-Gillam said.

The Missourian(Washington, MO)
Doctor agrees with governor’s veto
In a letter to the editor, Ob/Gyn Dr. David Eisenberg thanked Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon for vetoing a law passed this legislative session (HB 1307/1313) that would have tripled the time Missouri women must wait before an abortion.

St. Louis American
WUSTL receives NIH funds for next step of Alzheimer’s disease research
Washington University is one of eight academic medical centers that will conduct NIH-funded research into the genetic underpinnings of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Alison Goate will receive an estimated $1.7 million over four years to identify gene variants that protect against Alzheimer’s in people who are at greater risk for developing the disorder because they carry the APOE4 gene variant. Other outlet:  Cleveland.com

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Managing sibling rivalry
Child psychologist Dr. Jill Isenberg offered tips for parents to communicate with their children and to help children communicate with each other – all part of curbing fighting and bringing about peace at home.
Psychiatric News
Antidepressant reduces amyloid load, study finds
Research conducted at WUSM suggests that antidepressants may decrease beta-amyloid production in cerebrospinal fluid and potentially are important as a preventive strategy for Alzheimer’s disease.
Related WUSM news release

Sleepwalking: How many of us are sleepwalkers and why?
In 2011, a team of scientists at WUSM led by Christina A. Gurnett said they had pinpointed the chromosome that causes sleepwalking. The study involved four generations of a family of sleepwalkers and showed that someone with the sleepwalking gene has a 50 percent chance of passing it onto their children. Related WUSM news release

Effingham Daily News
Family recalls lifesaving trip to Children’s
The Roberts family recounted their experience being transported by helicopter to SLCH from Farina, Ill. after their daughter, Reagan, was hit by a bat during a baseball game and suffered brain bleeding and skull damage.

The Health Site
Anti-inflammatory drugs could help treat tumors
In some aggressive tumors, patients may benefit from a class of anti-inflammatory drugs currently prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, according to new research by Dr. Jason D. Weber.

University World News
Meet the world’s 3,215 hottest researchers
Drs. Rick Wilson and Elaine Mardis are among the ‘hottest’ researchers according to Thompson Reuters’ annual report.

KWTV-TV  (Oklahoma City) 
New study links environmental chemicals to early menopause

WUSM researchers studied blood and urine samples from thousands of women from around the country and found two chemicals, PCBs and phthalates, are associated with triggering menopause two to three years sooner than expected. Dr. Amber Cooper added that obesity, diet and genetics also are contributing factors to early menopause.

Lung cancer study hints at new treatments
A recent study published in Nature uncovered mutations in a cell-signaling pathway that plays a role in forming tumors in the most common type of lung cancer.  “This is the first time we have had a panoramic look at the genomic landscape of this many lung tumor specimens,” said oncologist Dr. Ramaswamy Govindan,The Cancer Genome Atlas lung cancer project co-chair.

Live Science
Is it possible to have a 242-pound tumor?
Doctors in Beijing reportedly removed a tumor weighing 242 pounds from a man suffering from neurofibromatosis. Dr. David Gutmann, director of the WUSM Neurofibromatosis Center, said that although tumors of this size are unusual, they are plausible in patients with the disease.

North Devon Gazette
Bideford child has life-changing operation after fundraising campaign
Three-year-old Jenson is recovering from spinal surgery at St. Louis Children’ Hospital. His family traveled to St. Louis from the UK to receive selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery with Dr. T. S. Park, who pioneered the procedure to reduce muscle spasticity in children with cerebral palsy and improve their mobility. Other outlets:  Belfast Telegraph and Buryfree Press.

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Judy Martin

Washington University
School of Medicine
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Laura High

Barnes-Jewish Hospital



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