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

New York Times
Researchers warn on anesthesia, unsure of risk to children
In a recent article published in The New England Journal of Medicine, five experts described “a heightened level of concern” about the potential risks that anesthetics pose to the developing brain. Co-author and WUSM anesthesiologist Dr. Alex Evers said that an ongoing study at multiple hospitals should help to determine whether there is any learning risk for children put under anesthesia for relatively short operations. But due to the concern about longer procedures, Evers said, experts are calling for more research to find out if there are anesthetics that will not harm the brain, or if there are other drugs that could be given along with anesthesia to protect the brain.

National Geographic
Fishing for the microbes behind malnutrition
Dr. Jeffrey Gordon and a team of scientists have shown that children with a mysterious type of malnutrition called kwashiorkor harbor 11 species of gut bacteria that, together with their poor diets, conspire to damage their guts. These results suggest that this particular type of malnutrition isn’t just caused by the absence of food but also by the presence of the wrong microbes.
 Other outlets: Science, Health Canal, Medical Xpress    Related WUSM news release

People Magazine
Why a woman in her 30s decided to find out if she will get Alzheimer’s
Growing up, Daisy Duarte noticed that many of her mother’s relatives seemed to have Alzheimer’s disease. In August 2013, her aunt shared their family’s history with WUSM’s Dr. Beau Ances and genetic testing showed that the family carried mutations in one of three genes that causes early-onset familial Alzheimer’s. Armed with the knowledge that she, too, could carry the gene, Daisy opted to find out her mutation status. She is enrolled in the WUSM DIAN-TU trial.
 Other outlet: Social Dashboard

USA Today
Report: Women embrace more effective birth control
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that long-acting birth control methods are growing in popularity among girls and women ages 15-44. Dr. Jeffrey Peipert, who was not involved in the government report, said his research suggests wider use of long-acting methods will cut already falling teen pregnancy and abortion rates.
 Related WUSM news release

Cancer: The mysterious miracle cases inspiring doctors
In an article highlighting stories of cancers spontaneously regressing without treatment, Dr. Armin Rashidi shared that he has found 46 cases in which acute myeloid leukemia regressed of its own accord, although only eight patients avoided a relapse in the long term. “If you find a random oncologist and ask if this can happen, 99% would say no – it makes no sense,” said Rashidi.

Science Magazine
Does high-salt diet combat infections?
A new study published in Cell Biology showed that dietary salt could have immune-boosting effects. Researchers reported that high levels of salt in skin help mice fight off bacteria and that humans also may stockpile salt at infection sites. “The idea that salt storage might have evolved for host defense is very exciting,” said Dr. Gwen Randolph, who was not involved in the study. “It’s almost so new that it’s hard to swallow. I think it will take some time for the immunology community to allow this concept to take hold.”

The Daily Mail   (UK)
Smokers are 70% more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression—but quitting can reverse the damage
An article that highlights a study that compared anxiety and depression in smokers, non-smokers and long-term ex-smokers, also mentions WUSM research that suggested nicotine in tobacco could trigger psychiatric disorders or make them more severe.
Related WUSM news release

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5
3D model helps doctors during toddler’s heart surgery
Dr. Shafkat Anwar is working with a company to create 3-D heart models for use in surgical planning and patient education. The story highlighted a case where colleague and surgeon Dr. Peter Manning used a 3-D model of a toddler’s heart to plan for a complex surgery and explain the procedure to the child’s parents.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Obesity leads to increase in fatty liver disease
Diabetes and hypertension are two conditions often associated with being overweight. Dr. Mauricio Lisker-Melman explained that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease should be added to the list and said that healthy lifestyles in adults and children could help prevent the disease.

Treating atrial fibrillation
To prevent atrial fibrillation, Dr. Philip Cuculich suggested that people stay active, maintain a healthy weight and watch their blood pressure. If a person already has A-fib, Cuculich said blood thinners can work to alleviate symptoms. For patients who cannot take blood thinners, Cuculich explained that the lariat procedure, which uses a minimally invasive catheter procedure to close the heart’s left atrial appendage, is a relatively new option.

St. Louis Magazine
A two-part series explains how one woman’s ‘sudden’ heart attack wasn’t sudden at all. Robin Licata experienced symptoms she did not associate with heart attack – indigestion, sweating and vomiting. Her cardiologist Dr. Andy Kates suggested that Licata’s shortness of breath, inconsistent cholesterol numbers and lack of exercise conspired against her for months.
Surprised by a heart attack
Anatomy of a heart attack

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Luck meant life to cardiac arrest victim, and he’s mostly back to normal
Seconds matter during a heart attack. Fred Hawes was feeling “off” during his normal squash game and collapsed after walking off the court. Luckily, he collapsed near by a cardiac surgeon. The physician recognized the symptoms and kept him alive until an ambulance arrived. His cardiologist, Dr. Alan Braverman, explained Hawes was actually experiencing symptoms of a heart attack when he felt “off.” Braverman said although Hawes was in great physical shape, his family history was a major risk factor for heart trouble.

St. Louis Public Radio
Planned urgent care in north St. Louis ‘isn’t going to make much of a dent’
Missouri regulators recently approved plans to develop an urgent care center north of downtown St. Louis. Dr. Will Ross said the north side of St. Louis has long lacked adequate health-care services, and residents don’t have many options. “We still have a need for services that are more north,” he said. “This new site [the developer] is proposing fills a void, absolutely. But it’s not a panacea.”

The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City)
How moms can help their children’s brains grow
Dr. Joan Luby’s research is mentioned in a story about babies’ brain development. One of her recent studies shows a mother’s nurturing correlates with the development of the brain’s hippocampus. “We can now say with confidence that the psychosocial environment has a material impact on the way the human brain develops,” Luby said.

Five foods for your heart
Katie Lambert, BJH registered dietitian explained that five foods in season during winter months are heart healthy and to add to your diet. The foods are pomegranate, kale, citrus fruits, potatoes and squashes.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Wainwright: ‘Now is not the time to push’
Cardinal’s pitcher Adam Wainwright experienced abdominal soreness while working out during spring training in Jupiter, Florida. He returned to St. Louis to meet with WUSM’s Dr. Michael Brunt. The final diagnosis was an abdominal strain, and surgery was not necessary. Other outlets: Sporting News, Fox Sports Midwest, KMOV-TV, Belleville News Democrat, Redbird Rants

A tiny beauty accessory can cause big problems
Eyelash extensions are a popular beauty trend, but ophthalmologist Dr. Mary Migneco warned that eye infections and inflammation are associated with these products.

The Nigerian Observer
Smoking and your health
In his book Malignant Cancer, Dr. Robert Boyle mentions studies that linked certain cancers to cigarette smoking. Among the researchers cited is Dr. Ernst L. Wynder, who in 1950 discovered that cigarette smoke was linked to the rapid increase of lung cancer in society.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Healthy Kids: Prenatal detection of congenital heart disease
Prenatal detection of congenital heart disease provides the best chance for a baby to have a good outcome by avoiding complications that may occur with a delayed diagnosis. Babies diagnosed with defects should be born at a specialized center where pediatric cardiac services are immediately available if needed, said Dr. Caroline K. Lee.

KTVI-TV Fox 2 
Why you should drink more water in winter
BJH registered dietician Katie Lambert said staying hydrated during the winter is important and offered tips such as drinking a beverage with every snack and meal, keeping a bottle of water in the car, and eating more fruits and vegetables.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
BJC, Wash U plan office tower

BJC HealthCare and WUSM plan to build a 12- to 14-story office building on the medical campus in the Central West End, as part of a major renewal of their 16-block campus.
Other outlets: Associated Press, KTVI-TV Fox 2, St. Louis Business Journal

(Huntsville, AL)
Helping stroke patients regain mobility
In a clinical trial, Dr. Eric Leuthardt is evaluating whether people who have had a stroke can retrain the uninjured side of their brain to help restore mobility. Participants who have weakness in their hand use a brain computer interface – they wear a cap with sensors connected to a computer and a robotic orthotic hand. When they think about moving their fingers, the cap interprets the signals and the orthotic moves the hand. Leuthardt hopes that as participants continue to practice this therapy, their brain will relearn how to move the hand.
Other outlet: WFMZ-TV (Reading, PA)
Related WUSM news release

KSDK NewsChannel 5
Essential oils: Are they safe?
In a story about the use of unregulated oils for healing purposes, Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann said the jury is still out on whether essential oils can prevent illness. Until research is more definitive, she recommended that people not ingest them.

Allergy nurse discusses peanut story
A recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine suggested that parents introduce peanut products to their babies as a means of reducing the onset of allergies. Doing so can lower the risk of developing peanut allergies by 80 percent. SLCH nurse practitioner Lila Kertz explained that this study reverses previous recommendations that parents wait until a child is 3 years old before introducing peanuts.

Investigational biologics among emerging therapies for severe asthma
At the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology meeting in Houston, Dr. Mario Castro highlighted recently published guidelines recommended by the European Respiratory Society and American Thoracic Society with regard to managing asthma. “In the clinic, we’re often seeing patients on five-to-eight drug therapies.” Castro said. “We should start thinking about reducing therapies not effective in that patient population.” Related WUSM news release

Daily Rx
The benefits of working hard in the gym
New research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that higher-intensity workouts had more health benefits for adults with abdominal obesity than low-intensity routines. Dr. Samuel Klein wrote in an accompanying editorial that the results show current national guidelines for physical activity has “healthful effects” in adults with abdominal obesity, but higher-intensity exercise is better than lower-intensity workouts during any activity.

Genomeweb   (free registration required)
Precision med journal to launch
Dr. Elaine Mardis is serving as editor-in-chief of a new open-access journal called Cold Spring Harbor Molecular Case Studies. The focus of the journal is on how approaches such as genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and biomarker analysis can inform disease studies and the development of new treatment approaches.

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Judy Martin

Washington University
School of Medicine
Media Relations



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Laura High

Barnes-Jewish Hospital



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