A bi-weekly review of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine media appearances.
IN THE NEWS May 14, 2013
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
DNA research points to new insight into cancers
Researchers unveiled a comprehensive look at the genetic mutations responsible for two cancers as part of a broad government-sponsored initiative to transform cancer treatment called The Cancer Genome Atlas. A study in Nature co-led by Dr. Elaine Mardis, suggests that some endometrial tumors are genetically similar to subtypes of ovarian cancer and deadly basal-like breast cancer. Future clinical trials should evaluate whether some endometrial cancers could be treated with drugs typically used for the other cancers, said Mardis. The other paper published inThe New England Journal of Medicine identified the major mutations that drive acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The problem was that the traditional methods for categorizing the leukemia were imprecise. “We have the basic playbook,” Dr. Tim Ley said, who led the study with Dr. Rick Wilson. “We finally know what the major pathways are and what all the major mutations look like.” And knowing which genes are mutated also allows researchers to investigate drugs that target those genes. Other outlets: The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times, Business Week, International Business Times, St. Louis Public Radio, Cancer Network, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Cancer Research (UK), National Cancer Institute, Science Daily, Medscape Today,(requires free registration) St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Fox News,HealthCanal, Health 24, KMOX radio, Med India, Bio News (UK), Health Day
Health Day story ran in the following publications: US News & World Report, MSN Healthy Living,Newsday, WebMD, Philadelphia Inquirer. Related WUSM news release, Related WUSM news release

USA Today (Associated Press story)
Gene test may help guide prostate cancer treatment
A new genetic test to gauge the aggressiveness of prostate cancer may help men decide whether they need to treat their cancer right away or can safely monitor it. Doctors say tests like these have the potential to curb a major problem in cancer care — overtreatment. However, only 10 percent who are candidates for monitoring choose it now. “The question is, what’s the magnitude of difference that would change the patient’s mind?” says Dr. Bruce Roth. “One man may view a 15 percent chance that his tumor is aggressive as low risk “but someone else might say, ‘Oh my God, let’s set the surgery up tomorrow. I don’t think it’s a slam dunk.” Other outlets: MSN,Huffington Post, CBS News, NBC News, Fox News, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Mercury News (San Jose, CA), Detroit Free Press, Denver Post

NBC News (Associated Press story)
Germ-zapping ‘robots’: Hospitals combat rise in superbugs
Epidemiologist Jennie Mayfield calls new methods of fighting superbugs a “culture change” at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Antibiotic-resistant disease strains are giving rise to new products and techniques, not medications, for beating the superbugs. Other Outlets: St. Louis Post-Dispatch,CBS News

Washington Post (Associated Press story)
FDA proposes cancer warnings on tanning beds and more safety requirements for manufacturers
The American Academy of Dermatology is pushing for a ban on the use of tanning beds for people under age 18. Earlier this year, a WUSM study of Missouri tanning salons found that 65% of 250 businesses surveyed would accept children ages 10 to 12, often without parental permission. Other outlets: CBS News, Huffington Post, Calgary Herald, Miami Herald, Boston Herald, StarTribune (Minneapolis), Denver Post, Canadian Business, KTRS Radio Related WUSM news release

Everyday Health
Depression in kids: its toll and treatment
Dr. Sanjay Gupta writes about how children struggle with depression, pointing to a new study by WUSM researchers that revealed of those depressed in childhood, 22 percent were already obese by age 16, and a third of them smoked cigarettes daily. This is especially troubling since adolescents who have cardiac risk factors are “much more likely to develop heart disease as adults and even to have a shorter lifespan,” according to Dr. Robert Carney. Related WUSM news release

Huffington Post
Cost of birth control higher in some low-income neighborhoods than in wealthy ones
Prescription birth control costs more in some low-income neighborhoods than high-income areas, according to a study. But it’s unclear if women in low-income areas utilize federally funded clinics, which offer free birth control or sliding scale services, according to Dr. Jeffrey Peipert. “The big question is why don’t we, in the U.S., level the playing field so all women can have equal access to no-cost contraception?” Peipert asked. Other outlets: Opposing Views Related WUSM news release

U.S. News & World Report (Health Day story)
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, according to a small WUSM study. “We found one strain of E. colithat is very good at colonizing both the GI tract and the urinary tract,” said Dr. Michael Hibbing. Other outlets: WebMD, Health.com, Doctor’s Lounge

Huffington Post
Gene may protect against ulcer-causing H. Pylori infections
H. Pylori is one of the most common bacterium around, but not everyone gets sick from having these bacteria in the gut. New research suggests some people may be protected from infection by a gene. “To me this discovery may have greater relevance as to why patients are predisposed to getting this infection we are all exposed to. Mechanistically, it’s fascinating,” said Dr. Gregory S. Sayuk.

Popular Science
FYI: Why do old people get so hairy?
According to Dr. Liang Ma, there’s no evidence to back up the idea that older people become excessively hairy. Body hair type and density vary across different ethnicities.

Medscape (requires free registration to view)
Females Better Protected Against ASD Risk Factors
Females carry almost twice as many mutations that confer risk for autism spectrum disorder than males, yet they are less likely to develop the disorder, new research shows. Dr. John Constantino said a line of research now suggests females inherit and transmit autism susceptibility factors as often as males do, but appear much less likely to develop severe clinical symptoms. “This offers hope that scientific discovery of how this gender-based phenomenon occurs may provide major clues to new interventions for many (or even most) forms of autism,” he said.

10 ways to move beyond a weight loss plateau
According to Dr. Thomas R. Przybeck, personality plays a role in our attitude towards food. He recommends that you know your tendencies and tailor your diet plan to conquer compulsive or binge eating, or other unhealthy food issues.

MedPage Today
Even with free contraceptives, refills still a barrier
Young women who chose refillable contraceptive methods such as pills or patches are likely to have gaps in contraceptive coverage, which puts them at risk for unintended pregnancy, researchers reported. The gaps in coverage occurred despite the fact that the women studied were enrolled in a program that offered free contraceptive coverage, so the cost of refills was not a factor, reported Sarah C. Proehl, a fourth-year WUSM student at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Related WUSM news release

Times of India
Women with dense breasts at cancer risk
In a new study, WUSM researchers have discovered why breast cancer patients with dense breasts are more likely than others to develop aggressive tumors that spread. “It doesn`t explain why women with dense breasts get cancer in the first place. But once they do, the pathway that we describe is relevant in causing their cancers to be more aggressive and more likely tospread,” said Siteman’s Dr. Greg Longmore. Other outlets: National Cancer Institute, Health Central, Innovations Report (Germany) Science Daily, New Kerala (India), Phys.Org, News Medical Related WUSM news release

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Front page)
Holliday’s mom goes to bat against cancer
Last year, Kathy Holliday, mother of Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday, was diagnosed with colon cancer. She was treated at Siteman and now is cancer free. She and Matt are partnering with Siteman this year to raise awareness of the importance of colon cancer screening. Other outlets:MLB.com, Fox 2 KTVI-TV

Joplin Globe (Front page)
Researchers hope to learn more about heart defects after local doctor’s ordeal
A rare genetic defect sent Dr. Paul Petry, a Joplin pediatrician, searching for a new heart. After an implanted defibrillator and artificial heart failed, he received a heart transplant in March at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center. He donated his old heart to researchers who want to learn more about his condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Dr. Greg Ewald explains that donation of heart tissue allows researchers to investigate the electrical properties of heart tissue associated with this condition.

The Telegraph (India)
US funding for malaria research in India
The National Institutes of Health will fund its third centre for research in malaria in India at the Assam Medical College and Hospital (AMCH) for joint research with Washington University on drug resistance in malarial parasites through gene study. The other two such centres are at Panaji, Goa and Wardha, Madhya Pradesh. Other outlets: Yahoo! News

The Courier (UK)
Twins return to America
Twins from the United Kingdom return to America for a follow up visit with Dr. T. S. Park, who performed spinal surgery on both girls earlier this year to try and restore mobility lost due to cerebral palsy. Dr. Park is featured regularly by international publications covering the stories of children who travel to the U.S. for the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) procedure. Other outlets: Get Surry, and Barry & District News

Times of India
How brain implant helps relieve depression
Preliminary brain scan studies conducted by WUSM researchers may provide some clues about how implanted electronic stimulators improve depression. Dr. Charles Conway found that vagus nerve stimulation brings about changes in brain metabolism weeks or even months before patients begin to feel better. Other outlets: Irish Sun, Pakistan News, Science Codex, Doctor Tipster Related WUSM news release

St. Louis Magazine
2013 Excellence in Nursing Awards
For the fourth annual Excellence in Nursing Awards, St. Louis Magazine received more than 200 nominations from patients, physicians, and nursing colleagues who wanted to recognize the region’s outstanding nursing professionals. Among the 20 nurses selected, B JH, SLCH and WUSM nurses took 8 of the 20 awards.

St. Louis American
Prostate cancer controversy
Dr. Lannis Hall writes that the confusion regarding screening for prostate cancer has accelerated since the latest the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against PSA testing for men, including those at high risk of the disease, such as African Americans and men with a family history of prostate cancer. She concludes that despite the limitations in PSA screening, it is the best tool currently available. Deciding to have a PSA test should remain an option for every man.

Fox 2 – KTVI-TV
HPV vaccine
Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann explains the rationale of the HPV vaccine for girls and boys.

Medical mystery
Twelve-year-old Mitch Herndon was a typical 7th grader until just a few months ago, when he mysteriously lost function of his motor skills, and eventually the ability to walk. He began using a wheelchair. Mike Bush spoke with neurologist Dr. Soe Mar about the long process treating Mitch’s still undiagnosed disease, and his remarkable recovery.

‘Morning after pill’ approved for use without prescription
The Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the Plan B One-Step pill for girls as young as 15 is raising legal, ethical and medical concerns. However, Dr. Eric Strand suggests the medical concerns may be unfounded. “We don’t have any evidence that emergency contraception has a negative health impact on women of any age,” he said. “Studies have shown it’s very effective.”

Fox 2 – KTVI-TV
Rising sports star struck down by concussion
Doctors say 90 percent of people who suffer a concussion make a full recovery within 7-10 days. For the other ten percent, the recovery can be slow and agonizing. John Hogan, 22, falls into the latter category. He’s battled symptoms for two years after suffering a concussion playing baseball. Dr. David Brody, now John’s physician, stresses that there is no cure for brain injuries, but rest can help improve symptoms. Dr. Brody also is working with the NFL in its efforts to understand and curb brain injuries. He treats former players dealing with neurological injuries.Related WUSM news release

Genetic testing for athletes
Genetic tests have been used to determine paternity and criminal guilt or innocence in the courtroom. Now there are companies are claiming that they can tell you if you have genes for the sports you love. Dr. F. Sessions Cole shares that the potential of children is not limited by what they inherit from their parents.

New leukemia research
Dr. John DiPersio discusses new leukemia research and a blood cancer conference for leukemia patients and their families on Great Day St. Louis.

News Track India
Gene that becomes more active after sleep deprivation identified
For years, Dr. P aul Shaw has used what he learns in fruit flies to look for markers of sleep loss in humans. Shaw reverses the process in a new paper published in PLOS One, taking what he finds in humans back to the flies and gaining new insight into humans as a result, including identification of a human gene that is more active after sleep deprivation. Shaw and his colleagues plan to use the information they are gaining to create a panel of tests for sleep loss. The tests may one day help assess a person’s risk of falling asleep at the wheel of a car or in other dangerous contexts. Related WUSM news release Fox 2 – KTVI-TV Colorectal cancer testing 5/8/2013 Dr. Steven Hunt talks about the importance of colon cancer screening and Siteman’s partnership with Cardinals’ outfielder Matt Holliday and his mother, Kathy, who was successfully treated for colon cancer at Siteman last year.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Weekly mom chat
Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann answers questions from Post-Dispatch readers in the first of a weekly segment.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
On the web, clinical trial participants find information and comfort
Researchers are looking for new avenues to recruit trial participants to tackle everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s. WUSM conducts more than 1,500 trials a year. Charles Rathmann, co-director of the School of Medicine’s Volunteer for Health program, said he was surprised to find that most clinical trial participants have altruism — not dollars — in mind. “People really want to help out,” he said. Other outlets: MedCity News

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Senior Focus: Preventing and treating rotator cuff injuries
Dr. Leesa M. Galatz, orthopedic surgeon and shoulder and elbow expert, offers tips on how to prevent rotator cuff injuries and shares when to consider shoulder surgery in this weekly column.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Guest Commentary: The harsh reality of cutting medical research
As a young cancer researcher, Dr. Jason D. Weber, offers his perspective on the dangers of cutting the NIH’s budget and how that might delay new cures and jeopardize U.S. global competitiveness.

Doctor saves airman’s life and the airman changes his
Story of Captain John Berger, a victim of a hit and run accident in June 2012, and Dr. Scott Farber, the resident on call when he was brought to the BJH ED. During Capt. Berger’s recovery, the two realized they lived in the same building, one floor apart. They have since become friends and are celebrating Capt. Berger’s complete recovery by training for an Iron Man Triathalon in Lyon France in June 2013.

Researchers find a way the body can remove injured axons
Researchers at WUSM have found a way the body can remove injured axons, identifying a potential target for new drugs that could prevent the inappropriate loss of axons and maintain nerve function. “Treating axonal degeneration could potentially help a lot of patients because there are so many diseases and conditions where axons are inappropriately lost,” says Dr. Aaron DiAntonio. “While this would not be a cure for any of them, the hope is that we could slow the progression of a whole range of diseases by keeping axons healthy.”

SB Wire
Study shows waking throughout the night could be linked to Alzheimer’s
Poor-quality sleep may have worse effects than simple fatigue. According to a recent WUSM study, lack of quality sleep is linked to the buildup of brain plaques seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Yo-El Ju explained how the study set out to pinpoint the marker for Alzheimer’s disease. “We were initially looking at duration of sleep, but it seems the quality of sleep is more important to this association. We don’t know if early Alzheimer’s is causing poor sleep, or vice-versa,” she said. Related WUSM news release

St. Louis Beacon
U.S. exports carbon emissions
Multiple reports show that the United States has reduced its carbon emissions. Dr. Ken Schechtman writes in a commentary that these reports are deceptive because the outsourcing of carbon-intensive manufacturing improves the measured footprint of developed countries like the U.S. without changing global emission totals.

Homer News (Alaska)
“The rib bone’s connected to…”
A college student who underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) has a unique souvenir from Dr. Robert Thompson: the rib he removed during the eight-hour procedure. Dr. Thompson says it’s an option he offers to his TOS patients. Outlook Magazine feature on Dr. Thompson

Quincy-Herald Whig
Toddler travels to St. Louis for liver transplant
A three-year-old boy from Ursa, Ill. undergoes a liver transplant at St. Louis Children’s Hospital to treat a cancerous tumor.

The Ledger Independent (Maysville, KY)
Distance no barrier for hospitalized student
A 14-year-old girl from Kentucky recovering at St. Louis Children’s Hospital from a double lung transplant was able to attend her eighth grade school party via Skype.

The News-Gazette
Town rallies behind boy with leukemia
Neighbors in Champaign, Ill., help pull together resources for a four-year-old boy who will receive treatment at St. Louis Children’s Hospital for leukemia.

ALS trial shows novel therapy is safe
An investigational treatment for an inherited form of Lou Gehrig’s disease has passed an early phase clinical trial for safety, WUSM researchers report. The researchers have shown that the therapy produced no serious side effects in patients with the disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The phase 1 trial’s results, available online in Lancet Neurology, also demonstrate that the drug was successfully introduced into the central nervous system. Other outlets: Futurity Related WUSM news release

Bioscience Technology.com
Missing Parkinson’s link found
WUSM researchers have discovered a missing link in understanding how damage to the body’s cellular power plants leads to Parkinson’s disease and, perhaps surprisingly, to some forms of heart failure. Related WUSM news release

Growing your baby
Specific fatty acid ratios may increase IVF success
A healthy level of essential fatty acids has been linked to a number of health benefits. Now a new study conducted by Antonina I. Frovola, an M.D./Ph.D student in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at WUSM, suggests that the ratio of specific fatty acid combinations could boost the success of in vitro fertilization.

The Bend Bulletin (Oregon)
In defense of wrapping babies like burritos
Swaddling — the act of wrapping babies snugly in cloths or blankets, which inhibits the startle-inducing Moro reflex and calms them — is now illegal in child care centers in Minnesota and strongly discouraged in centers in Pennsylvania and California. There are concerns that swaddling causes hip problems but according to Dr. Bradley Thach, “For the past ten years, Americans have been swaddling a great deal, and we haven’t been seeing reports of more hip dysplasia.”

The Gazette (Colorado Springs)
Research hints there’s hope for zapping zits
New research from WUSM hints that there’s hope for zapping zits in the future, thanks to advances in genetic research. Someday, the realization that not all strains of acne-related bacteria are created equal might help dermatologists devise treatments that more precisely target bad strains while allowing beneficial ones to thrive. Related WUSM news release

Red Orbit
Helping kids with severe respiratory failure survive until lung transplantation
Dr. David M. Hoganson described the first-time application of lung transplantation devices, such as the Novalung, to newborns and small children at the American Association for Thoracic Surgery meeting. “This case series demonstrates the feasibility of a new treatment option for these patients,” he said. Other outlet: News Medical

Science Codex
New perspective needed for role of major Alzheimer’s gene
Many researchers believe that the memory loss and cognitive problems of Alzheimer’s result from the buildup over many years of amyloid plaques in the brain. The plaques are made mostly of a sticky substance called amyloid beta. For years, researchers have thought that the APOE gene increases Alzheimer’s risk by producing a protein that binds to amyloid beta. However, scientists’ picture of how the APOE gene harms the brain may have to be revised. “This (study) is the first time we’ve looked at naturally produced APOE and amyloid beta to see if and how much they bind together, and we found that they have very little interaction in the fluids bathing the brain,” said Dr. David M. Holtzman, Related WUSM news release

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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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