New York Times
3-D map of human brain gives unprecedented detail
Researchers in Germany and Canada have produced a new map of the human brain called BigBrain, which is 50 times as detailed as previous efforts and will be available to researchers everywhere. Dr. David Van Essen described the work as a “technological tour de force,” adding that the three-dimensional reconstruction could help distinguish the many small areas of the brain with greater accuracy. Other outlets: Nature, Science News
Medical group recognizes obesity as a disease
The American Medical Association officially classified obesity as a disease that requires medical treatment. The decision has no legal authority, but experts say it could still lead to changes in how doctors treat obesity and how insurance companies cover those treatments.
“[The AMA’s] opinion can influence policy makers who are in a position to do more to support interventions and research to prevent and treat obesity,” says Dr. Samuel Klein. Other outlets:Daily Mail (UK), CBS, MSN, Detroit Free Press, The Tennessean, Lansing State Journal(MI), Statesman Journal (Salem, OR), WMAZ-TV (Macon, GA), Media Post
U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report ranks best children’s hospitals 2013-14
In its seventh annual ranking of children’s hospitals, U.S. News & World Report ranked St. Louis Children’s Hospital-Washington University among the best Children’s Hospitals in America. Children’s ranked #6 on the honor roll, which ranked the 10 best hospitals in 10 specialties. SLCH ranked in all 10 – neurology and neurosurgery (#2), neonatology/newborn medicine (#3), orthopedics (#6), pulmonology (#8), cardiology and heart surgery (#14), cancer (#15), nephrology (#21), diabetes and endocrinology (#22), gastroenterology (#18), and urology (#22). Other outlets: Huffington Post, msn, KSDK, KMOX, St. Louis Business Journal
Changes made to pediatric lung transplant process
There has been a change in rules for children under age 12 who are seeking lung transplants, which Dr. Stuart Sweet says gives children under 12 more priority than before. “The committee decided to grant access to children under 12 through a review board process, to increase their priority within the allocation sequences for adolescents and adult lung donors,” Sweet explains. Other outlets: KMOX, Businessweek
Surgery patients can laugh off nitrous oxide heart attack risk, study says
Contrary to previous concerns, nitrous oxide – also known as laughing gas – does not increase a patient’s risk of heart attack, according to a WUSM study published in Anesthesiology. Researchers studied 500 surgery patients who had been diagnosed with heart attack risk factors. Some of the patients were given intravenous vitamin B12 and folic acid to reduce their heart attack risk after surgery. The other patients were not given any vitamins. “There were no differences between the groups with regard to heart attack risk,” said lead author Peter Nagele, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology and genetics. Other outlets: Huffington Post, Science Daily, Times of India, Med Page Today, Futurity, Medical Xpress, Only My Health, News-Medical,Medical Daily, Alaska Native News, Headlines & Global News Related WUSM news release
US News & World Report
Fewer U.S. adults are smoking, government study shows
The smoking rate for U.S. adults dipped last year after a seven-year stall, a new government report says. Dr. Richard Grucza theorizes that the decline could be due to stricter tobacco control policies, noting that almost half of states require smoke-free indoor air.
The Grio / NBC News
The silent killer of men, and why they won’t find out
Although prostate cancer occurs in one in six men, and in African American men 60 percent more often than Caucasian men, only about half of all men get screened for the disease. Men report lack of symptoms, high cost of screening, inaccuracy of the screening and potential sexual side effects of treatment as reasons that they did not get tested. “PSA screenings should intensively screen men at increased risk which [include] African-American men and all men with relatively high PSA levels in their 40s,” says Dr. Gerald Andriole.
When is the royal baby due?
Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, made her final, pre-delivery public appearance, concerning some with how thin she looked for a woman set to give birth on July 13. However, this is no indication that the delivery will be complicated. “For the most part, people who are thin do very well during pregnancy,” said Dr. George Macones.
Cute clothes with built-in sun protection
All clothing provides some sun protection, but certain fabrics, fabric treatments, and dyes can increase it. Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) clothing is specially designed to shield skin from the sun. Dr. Eva Hurst says anyone can wear UPF clothing, but it’s best for fair people who burn easily, for people who have sensitive skin that sunscreen tends to irritate and for outdoor exercisers who sweat. ”Sometimes even the best sunscreens will sweat off relatively quickly if you’re doing heavy exercise,” she says.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Experts say court’s decision on human gene patents is a win-win
The Supreme Court ruling that naturally occurring human genes cannot be patented effectively ended the monopoly that Utah-based Myriad Genetics had on breast and ovarian cancer tests. Siteman’s Dr. Julie Margenthaler says this ruling is important for physician scientists engaged in genetic research. Advancing cancer care hinges on being able to understand genetic links among many diseases. “Because some companies held patents to pieces of the genome involved when whole genome sequencing is performed, there was at least some concern over patent infringement. With this ruling, we can continue to move our research forward and benefit the lives of our current and future patients.”
St. Louis Public Radio (NPR)
What sequestration cuts mean for Missouri scientists
Multiple St. Louis-area scientists are profiled on how federal spending cuts known as sequestration have affected their research. Rachel Delston, a former postdoctoral researcher at WUSM, had to give up her breast cancer research project. Her former boss Dr. Jason Weber blames sequestration for the loss of funding. He had the bad luck to have all three of his federal grants come up for renewal this year. None of them got funded. “I had to let go of some folks, and I had to let go of some science,” Weber said. Six months ago, Weber’s lab supported about a dozen researchers and graduate students. Now he’s down to fewer than half that. Other outlets:KBIA radio
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (links below)
Breast cancer survivors share their stories to promote the Komen Race for the Cure
Three women from St. Louis share their experience being diagnosed with breast cancer, going through treatment and explaining why they are participating in the 2013 Race for the Cure. All three were treated at Siteman. Susan Kutner, Chesterfield, Rebecca Smith, St. Louis, Judy Lowe, St. Louis
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Komen race in St. Louis will feature caution and care
This year’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure will feature tighter security because of the April 15 bombings that killed three people and injured hundreds. Some of the measures — including bomb-detection dogs, security cameras and uniformed officers — will be visible, while others will be behind the scenes. This won’t stop the estimated 50,000+ families from participating and raising money for breast cancer research and treatment. Siteman’s Dr. Ron Bose is participating in his 5th consecutive race. He’s received five years of funding through Komen grants for research. He says he enjoys seeing patients at the race. “I’m so used to seeing them when they come for a hospital visit,” Bose said. “It’s so wonderful to see them with their friends and family in public, being proud of who they are, how they’ve been doing.”
Leisa Zigman talks to Dr. Ron Bose about 2013 Komen race
Dr. Ron Bose shares recent advances in breast cancer research – including a new surgical procedure that reduces the chance of chronic arm swelling, new screening options including MRI as well as targeted therapy – after his run in the Komen Race for the Cure.
Dr. Morgenthaler with KSDK’s Pat and Jennifer at 2013 Komen race
Dr. Julie Margenthaler explains that stage 0 breast cancer is contained in the milk ducts, hasn’t spread to the rest of the body and is entirely curable. The best way to find cancer at this stage is through a mammogram. She also shares that a couple of her patients got her into running, so she now runs the Komen Race for the Cure every year.
KTVI-TV Fox 2
Sleep training infants
Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann, shares advice for parents of infants on when a baby is ready to sleep through the night, and how to help baby and parents make that transition. Dr. Berchelmann said parents shouldn’t start sleep training before 6 months, and there is no long-term emotional harm in letting a baby cry it out.
Hidden dangers in kids’ juice
June 11, 2013
Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann explains a recent Emergency Department case at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where a parent discovered mold growing inside her child’s juice box. According to Dr. Berchelmann, this is possible when the inside of the pouch is exposed to small amounts of air. While it doesn’t present significant health risks, if exposed for too long, the juice could eventually ferment. Dr. Berchelman’s advice is to avoid juice boxes altogether, in favor of healthier alternatives like milk or water.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A stroke caused by lupus fails to take down an ambitious R.N.
Barnes-Jewish Hospital nurse Christal Adams became a patient among her coworkers after her ischemic stroke in 2011. Dr. Renee Van Stavern says that undiagnosed lupus could have contributed significantly to the stroke. The fatigue caused by the lupus slowed her down, but Adams battled back through her stroke rehabilitation and is now preparing to sit for her nurse practitioner boards.
KTVI-TV Fox 2
Gandolfini’s early death is a wake-up call for healthy lifestyle choices
Actor James Gandolfini (of the Sopranos) died recently after a heart attack at the age of 51, shedding light on chronic conditions like obesity and heart disease. Dr. Samuel Klein discusses the links between obesity and cardiovascular disease, and Dr. Phillip Cuculich weighs in on how prevention methods can keep us living healthier, longer.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Washington University breaking ground on $75 million research facility
This summer WUSM intends to break ground on a $75 million, 138,000-square-foot research facility in the Central West End that will be used for research on complex issues in human biology. The building is expected to be complete in the summer of 2015, and will be located on McKinley Avenue just west of Taylor Avenue. Other outlets: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, (additional story) St. Louis Business Journal, St. Louis Public Radio, KMOX radio, GenomeWeb (requires free registration) Related WUSM news release
Widow of murdered 7-11 clerk gives birth
Susila Raimongar, a recent immigrant from Nepal, gave birth to a baby girl a week after husband Mon Rai was killed while working at a St. Louis 7-11. With the help of BJH interpreter Laxmi Regmi, Raimongar shares that she’s happy her baby is healthy and apprehensive about the future. Other Outlets: KPLR-TV, KTVI-TV Fox 2
KTVI-TV Fox 2
Sippy cups, bottles and binkies
Dr. Kelly Ross shares advice about helping toddlers transition from bottles to sippy and open cups, as well as how and when to get rid of the pacifier. According to Dr. Ross, parents should introduce the sippy cup at 6 months and finish with sippy cups, bottles and pacifiers by one year old to protect the child from tooth decay.
Lansing State Journal (Lansing, MI)
Gender discrepancy with ACL injuries noted in MSU athletics
While doctors know that anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are more common in female athletes than males, they cannot pinpoint an exact reason why. “Females are more likely to have these different movement patterns that may increase risk for an ACL injury compared to men. It’s not universal, there’s variation within but certainly there seems to be more concern in women overall,” explains Dr. Rob Brophy. Related WUSM news release
Ivanhoe Medical News (wire service)
The not so sweet truth about artificial sweeteners
Dr. M. Yanina Pepino found that subjects who ingested sucralose, an artificial sweetener found in Splenda, before eating glucose displayed a higher peak level of blood sugar and 20 percent higher insulin levels. “So the artificial sweetener was related to an enhanced blood insulin and glucose response,” said Dr. Yanina Pepino. Related WUSM news release
North Shore Times, New Zealand
St. Louis Children’s sees its first SDR patient from New Zealand
Dr. T. S. Park sees patients from more than 60 countries for his specialized spinal surgery, selective dorsal rhizotomy, in which he relieves spasticity caused by cerebral palsy and restores mobility to children who otherwise could not walk unassisted. His greatest international influx has been from the U.K. A recent patient from New Zealand adds a new territory to his SDR coverage.
Could adaptable bacteria cause repeat urinary tract infections?
Women suffering from recurring urinary tract infections may carry a particularly hearty strain of E. coli bacteria that flourishes in both the gut and the bladder, and can migrate back and forth despite repeated treatments, a small new study finds. “We found one strain of E. coli that is very good at colonizing both the GI tract and the urinary tract,” says Dr. Michael Hibbing.
Vocalists ‘Sing for Siteman’ at Whitaker Hall
Nine singers from around the world participated in the Sing for Siteman event at Washington University’s campus. Several of the singers have lost family or friends to cancer and have taken time out of their busy Opera Theatre St. Louis schedules to participate. Other outlets: Ladue News
Splints favored for kids’ forearm buckle fractures
New research from WUSM shows that removable splints are clearly preferred to casts by patients and their parents, building on earlier findings that such splints are just as effective as casts. “Our goal is to manage forearm buckle fractures in a manner that allows healing while maximizing comfort and convenience yet minimizing disruptions in children’s active lifestyles,” said senior author Dr. Janet D. Luhmann. Other outlets: Health Canal. Related WUSM news release
Medscape (requires free registration)
Estrogen appears protective against urinary tract infections
According to a recent study, localized estrogen may be protective against recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) in postmenopausal women. “Estrogen seems to directly enhance the resistance of the bladder to both acute UTI and [quiescent intracellular reservoir] persistence by [uropathogenic E. coli],” says Dr. Thomas Hannan.
Journal Times (Racine, WI)
Winiarski making most of second chance
After undergoing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery by Dr. Robert Thompson last year to clear up a blood clot between the collar bone and rib, Winston-Salem Dash pitcher Cody Winiarski is still going strong, striving toward a future with the Chicago White Sox.
Study measures changes in brain proteins in Alzheimer’s patients for first time
Researchers at WUSM have found that study participants with genetic mutations known to cause early-onset Alzheimer’s make about 20 percent more of the protein fragment amyloid beta 42 than family members who do not have the mutation. “We are hopeful that this and other research will lead to preventive therapies to delay or even possibly prevent Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Randall Bateman. Other outlets: Science Daily, News-Medical, Newsmax Health, Medical XPress, healthfinder.gov, Health Freedom Alliance Related WUSM news release
How much did your parents lie to you?
Jeopardy whiz Ken Jennings’ new book Because I Said So!: The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids dispels a lot of the parent myths we all heard when we were kids. One such myth that Jennings debunks is that shaving will make the hair grow back thicker and darker, citing Dr. Mildred Trotter’s 1923 WUSM experiment on shaving that resulted in “absolutely no increase in the diameter or color of the hairs.”
Leukemia researcher describes 10-year personal battle against adult ALL
Dr. Lukas Wartman was diagnosed with adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) when he was 25 and a fourth year medical student at WUSM. In this article, he talks about his battle with the disease as a researcher and patient.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
‘Masters of Sex’ to feature St. Louis researchers
“Masters of Sex” is set to premiere this fall on Showtime. The series is based on the lives of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, who began their research into the nature of human sexual response at WUSM.
In the lab: Waist circumference is competing with BMI for health risk measure, expert says
Waist-to-height ratio may be a more accurate measure of cardiovascular health risk than the current standard, the body mass index, according to some experts. However, Dr. Samuel Kleinsays the new measure needs more work. “The problem is that we need to establish what specific waist circumference values should be used to identify people who are at increased risk and demonstrate that these values are better than the current BMI values before waist-to-height ratio is ready for prime time,” he says.
Massive cancer database to focus on personalized medicine
England is launching an extensive cancer database tracking all 350,000 new tumors detected each year as well as 11 million historical records going back as far as 30 years, in an attempt to advance personalized medicine. The algorithms WUSM used to assemble the most complete genetic profile yet of acute myeloid leukemia are among the influences for the database.
Insulin-making cells multiply in test tubes
Scientists at Washington University have coaxed clusters of insulin-making human cells to reproduce in the lab, which removes a significant obstacle to one day transplanting the cells in patients with type 1 diabetes. “We have not only found a technique to make the cells willing to multiply, we’ve done it in a way that preserves their ability to make insulin,” said Dr. Michael McDaniel. Related WUSM news release
Defects in brain cell migration linked to mental retardation
A rare, inherited form of mental retardation has led scientists at WUSM to three important “travel agents” at work in the developing brain, which reduce the movement of neurons when inhibited. “This is just one of many ways that brain development can go awry. To understand intellectual disability and develop treatments, we need to understand the many problems that can arise as the brain develops and its circuitry is established,” said Dr. Azad Bonni. Related WUSM news release
Professor continues on road to recovery from stroke
A karate instructor and political science professor at Quincy University is grateful to be alive after a subarachnoid hemorrhage nearly ended his life. Dr. Gregory Zipfel and the team at the WUSM/BJH Stroke Center brought the patient through surgery to repair a ruptured aneurysm and several life-threatening complications.
Pastor officiates wedding from hospital after surgery
A pastor who officiated at all of his family members’ weddings faced the possibility of sitting one out when heart troubles left him hospitalized. With the help of the staff at BJH, a video camera and a newly-implanted left ventricular assist device, the pastor was able to preside over the wedding of his granddaughter from his hospital bed. The bride and groom visited in their wedding attire the next day to receive a blessing in person at the hospital chapel.