A bi-weekly review of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine media appearances.
IN THE NEWS November 12, 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
Concussions and the classroom
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued recommendations for “return to learn” checklists to alert doctors, school administrators and parents to potential cognitive and academic challenges facing students who have suffered concussions. “They’re student athletes, and we have to worry about the student part first,” said lead author Dr. Mark E. Halstead. Other outlets:
ABC News Radio, CBS News, KMOV-TV, KMOX Radio, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Akron News Now, Health Canal Related WUSM news release

New York Times
Baby’s gaze may signal autism, a study finds
Researchers have shown that children who were found to have autism at age 3 looked less at people’s eyes when they were babies than children who did not develop autism. But, the eye avoidance wasn’t apparent at birth. It emerged in the next few months, and experts said that might suggest a window during which progression toward autism can be halted or slowed. Dr. John N. Constantino said the study showed that “babies who develop autism are for the most part doing an awful lot of things right for the first few months.”
Other outlets: Charlotte Observer,Minneapolis Star Tribune
Omaha World-Herald

New York Times
Commuting’s hidden cost
A recent study found that as commuting distances increased, physical activity and cardiovascular fitness dropped, and blood pressure, body weight, waist circumference and metabolic risks rose. The report, published by Dr. Christine M. Hoehner and colleagues, provides causal evidence for earlier findings that linked the time spent driving to an increased risk of cardiovascular death.

CBS News
Children who grow up poor shown to have smaller brain volume
According to new WUSM research, a childhood in poverty appears to be associated with smaller brain volumes in areas involved in emotion processing and memory. “What’s new is that our research shows the effects of poverty on the developing brain, particularly in the hippocampus, are strongly influenced by parenting and life stresses that the children experience,” said lead author, child psychiatrist Dr. Joan Luby. Other outlets: Time Magazine, Reuters, U.S. News & World Report, Bloomberg,
Fox News, United Press International, CBC News (Canada), Medical XPress,
News-Medical, Health24, RedOrbit, Bioscience Technology, Health Aim,
Khaleej Times Related WUSM news release

Discovery Health
PMDD: Should it be diagnosed as a mental disorder?
PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, is slowly being recognized by the medical community as a mental disorder. Researchers led by Dr. Sarah Gehlert found that only 1.3 percent of the women had the disorder.

The Scientist
Decoding breast cancer drug resistance
New research found that certain mutations turn ESR1, the gene that encodes the estrogen receptor (ER), into a cancer-promoting oncogene. “I go to [the] clinic every day and treat people with ER-positive breast cancer,” said oncologist Dr. Matthew Ellis. “There were many mysteries around treating these patients that these papers, along with our work, are starting to resolve.”

Psychological, functional factors tied to sports return post-ACL repair
A new systematic review has identified nine variables associated with whether athletes will return to a sport after undergoing anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair. However, evidence for the variables, which included measurements of knee impairment and functional and psychological factors, was weak, physical therapist Dr. Sylvia Czuppon and colleagues found. “Current return to sport guidelines should be updated to reflect all variables associated with return to sport,” Czuppon said.

United Press International
Process that might help regrow damaged nerve cells identified
WUSM researchers have identified a chain reaction involved in the regrowth process in some cells, a finding that may help improve treatments for injuries that can cause paralysis. “We knew several genes that contribute to the regrowth of these nerve cell branches, which are called axons, but until now we didn’t know what activated the expression of these genes and, hence, the repair process,” neurobiology professor Valeria Cavalli said. “This puts us a step closer to one day being able to develop treatments that enhance axon regrowth.” Other outlets: News-Medical
Medical XPress Related WUSM news release

Nature Medicine
Telltale hearts
Genetic testing for inherited heart rhythm disorders potentially can offer grief-stricken family members an explanation for the loss of their loved ones and may provide actionable diagnostic information to help them avoid the same fate. But not all “molecular autopsies” offer resolute information. “We may save lives with this technology, but we may also harm people with this technology,” said Dr. Phillip Cuculich who helped launch the new Cardiovascular Genetics Clinic at WUSM. “In our business we can’t be wrong, and that’s the hard part about this.”

New Scientist
Should young children have the right to die?
The Belgian government is proposing legal euthanasia for children of all ages, as long as the child can decide for him or herself. But when is a child mature enough to make such a decision? A functional MRI study by neurologist Nico Dosenbach and colleagues suggests that major changes to structures in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, an area involved in decision making and understanding the consequences of your actions, don’t level off until around age 20.

KWMU – St. Louis Public Radio
Stroke prevention surgery less effective than meds, lifestyle change
Research led by WUSM confirms that medication and lifestyle changes are safer and more effective at preventing certain strokes than surgery. Neuroradiologist and study lead researcher Dr. Colin Derdeyn said they expected the patients with stents to do better. “We were very disappointed to learn that doing this angioplasty and stenting procedure of the narrowed brain arteries had higher risk than treating these people with medical therapy,” he said. Other outlets:Oregonian, ScienceDaily, Daily Rx,
Red Orbit, TruthDive, MedPage Today, Related WUSM news release

FDA wants trans fats gone
The FDA announced it will take a step toward potentially eliminating trans fat from foods, a move a CDC study finds could prevent 10,000 to 20,000 heart attacks and 3,000 to 7,000 coronary heart disease deaths each year. Dr. Andrew Kates applauds the effort. “Cardiovascular disease remains the number one leading cause of death in the United States,” said Kates. “More men and women die from cardiovascular disease than the next three causes combined.” A balanced diet and exercise are the best ways fight heart disease, he added. Other outlets: KPLR-TV, KMOX-AM (no link)

NFL funds Washington University research on concussions
Dr. David Brody points out scars in a sample of brain tissue from a deceased National Football League player. He is part of a team of 13 researchers studying how the brain is affected by repeat concussions. “Most players and many people recover really quite well after a single concussion,” said Brody. “It’s when there’s multiple concussions and multiple complicating factors that really cause the major problems.” Other outlets: KMOV-TV

Dr. Bach: How the World Series affects your heart
Dr. Richard Bach explains how stressful sporting events, like the World Series, can affect a spectator’s/fan’s heart. “Adrenaline levels increase, leading to an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and in the case of patients with pre-existing heart disease, there can be a decrease in blood flow to the heart, which could trigger a heart attack,” he said. Bach stressed the importance of remembering to take all heart medication, and getting medical assistance right away if fans experience chest pain or shortness of breath during the game. Other outlets: St. Louis Post-Dispatch online

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Changes at hospitals dramatically increase breast-feeding rates
Placing babies on mom’s chest immediately after birth — even after a C-section — is one of many changes that in just one year have led to dramatic increases in breast-feeding rates at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Barnes-Jewish began placing babies skin-to-skin in the operating room in February, said obstetrician Dr. Camaryn Chrisman Robbins, who is helping lead the Best Fed Beginnings initiative. Already, 38 percent of babies born via C-section are immediately placed on their mothers’ chests if both are healthy and stable. “We’re offering Cesarean delivery moms a very different birth experience than we ever have,” Robbins said.

St. Louis Beacon
New proton therapy facility will offer another tool in treating cancer
Set to open by the end of this year, the S. Lee Kling Center for Proton Therapy is the first proton facility in Missouri. Radiation oncologist Dr. Jeff Bradley said proton therapy is best for adult and pediatric patients whose tumors border healthy tissue that is extremely sensitive to radiation, such as cancer in or near the brain, head and neck, eyes, spine, lung and esophagus.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
After support drops for Komen, new director visits St. Louis to bring focus to mission
Just six weeks into her job as president of Susan G. Komen, Dr. Judy Salerno paid a two-day visit to St. Louis, where she met with community health centers and researchers who receive Komen grants to fight breast cancer. Currently, eight Komen grants totaling $15.1 million are funding breast cancer research in the labs of WUSM researchers Dr. Matthew Ellis, Dr. William Gillanders and Dr. Ron Bose.

KWMU – St. Louis Public Radio
Barnes-Jewish Hospital combats compassion fatigue with training program
Pat Potter, Sean Rodriguez and Cathy Powers joined Don Marsh to discuss compassion fatigue in care providers and an innovative program implemented at BJH to help combat the issue. “Some might equate compassion fatigue with burnout, but it is more complex than that,” said Potter, compassion fatigue program developer at Barnes-Jewish. According to Potter, professional burnout does play a role in compassion fatigue but only when combined with the stress a caregiver feels when repeatedly witnessing the pain of others.
Related BJH news release

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Volunteers needed to test device to treat diabetes and obesity
WUSM researchers are testing the EndoBarrier, a thin 2-foot-long sleeve made of a plastic-like material that lines the upper digestive tract so food passes through that section rather than undergoing full digestion. The study is focused on the device’s effect on Type 2 diabetes, with weight loss a secondary interest. “For people who are on oral medications for diabetes, this device may actually be a way for them to get off taking pills,” said gastroenterologist Dr. Shelby Sullivan, a co-investigator of the study.

St. Louis Public Radio
Preventing childhood obesity: A conversation with Wash U’s Debra Haire-Joshu
In Missouri, almost two-thirds of adults — and more than a quarter of children and teens — are either overweight or obese. Debra Haire-Joshu works to prevent obesity, particularly in young children, and she explains the importance of starting good habits, like serving appropriate portions and including activity in the daily routine, when the children are young. “If you’re going to prevent, you want to not be changing bad habits,” she said. 

Children’s Hospital patient remembered in Katy Perry “Roar” video contest
When a national morning show challenged high schools across the country to produce a video to Katy Perry’s single “Roar,” St. Louis Children’s Hospital decided to enter. “I don’t think a lot of people realize that when kids are in the hospital they can go to school as well,” said SLCH music therapist Christy Merrell. We have accredited teachers, and even though we’re not a conventional school, I’ve seen more spirit and roaring out of these little people than I ever did in my high school.” What they didn’t anticipate was the heartbreaking turn of events involving Galen, the patient selected to be the video’s star. Just days after volunteering to be in the Roar video, Galen found out there were no more treatment options for his cancer. The video was completed just 5 days later, in time for Galen to see it. He died the next day.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Preemies in private NICU rooms later show lower language scores, study finds
Researchers at WUSM were surprised to find that premature infants in private rooms in the NICU had poorer language skills than those in the noisier open ward and showed abnormal brain development. “At this point, we really don’t know what’s ideal,” Pineda said. “On the one hand, this is not good and the babies should be in a more stimulating environment, but we don’t know how much noise is bad either.”

Teen forced to whisper after ATV accident almost takes his life
Fourteen-year-old Chris Heller from Hillsboro suffered a split trachea in an ATV accident last summer. First responders were able to save him by passing an endotracheal tube down his windpipe to ventilate his lungs. Chris was flown to SLCH where pediatric surgeon Dr. Jackie Saito and otolaryngologist Dr. David Molter worked to repair and rebuild his trachea. He still speaks in a whisper, but his family is grateful for the team that came together to save his life.

U.S. still has highest preterm birth rate
Despite improvements over the last 15 years, the U.S. still earned a “C” on the March of Dimes report card for prematurity. Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death, and costs taxpayers an estimated $26 billion every year. St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the March of Dimes partner to provide education to prevent premature birth, and support to families with premature babies.

Lineman a gentle giant for premature babies
November 6, 2013
Rams defensive tackle Kendall Langford and his wife, Cristin, visited the SLCH NICU to raise awareness about premature birth. Their daughter, Kylie, was born two months premature. November is prematurity awareness month.

St. Louis reports rise in cases of transgender children
11/7/ 2013
Pediatric endocrinologist Abby Hollander discusses the increase in cases of children who say they were born the wrong gender. Those children receive hormone therapy to delay puberty until they are able to make informed decisions as adults to undergo gender reassignment surgery. The hormone therapy is reversible if a child changes his or her mind; the surgical procedure is not.

Caution about decorative contact lenses
Optometrist Dr. Mary Migneco emphasized the importance of buying decorative contact lenses under the supervision of a doctor even if you may be wearing them for only a short time for Halloween. “If you’re not properly fit with contact lenses then you could cause some permanent vision loss,” said Migneco.
Other outlets: KMOX (no link)

The physiological reasons we love being scared
From movies and haunted houses to costumes and lawn decorations, Americans spend countless dollars each year to be scared. Fear is generally perceived as negative and yet we grasp for it in large part due to the physiological jolt it gives us. “People like being scared because the response is stimulating and exciting, like riding a giant rollercoaster while, at the same time, knowing it is safe,” said Dr. Randi Mozenter.

Columbia Daily Tribune (Columbia, MO)
University of Missouri vet school partners on cancer study
Samuel Achilefu, a professor of radiology at Washington University’s Optical Radiology Laboratory, said he and his team are developing cancer-detecting goggles to help surgeons distinguish between normal and cancerous tissue. Before the goggles can be used on humans, researchers at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine will test them on dogs who have cancer.

Digital Journal.com
Barnes-Jewish Hospital offering New FDA-approved non-surgical procedure for mitral valve repair
A device approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat leaky mitral valves was first used in this region as part of a clinical trial at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Heart & Vascular Center. Dr. John Lasala said this new non-surgical alternative for mitral valve repair, offers hope to the more than 4 million Americans with leaky mitral valves. Related BJH news release

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Jackson County voters decide Tuesday whether sales tax should fund medical research
A half-cent sales tax in Jackson County, MO would fund medical research in the Kansas City area if it passed. Proponents estimated the tax would raise up to $1.3 billion over 20 years to fund the new Jackson County Institute for Translational Medicine. Dr. Jenny Lodge said federal cuts have shrunk the medical research budget by 8 percent from last fiscal year, and finding research money is becoming more competitive. Siteman’s Dr. Ron Bose said “if that (sales tax to fund research) would be an interest to the voters here, that would be wonderful.” NOTE: Voters failed to pass the proposed tax increase.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Senior Focus: Treating urinary incontinence in older women
Urologist Dr. Carl Klutke explained the two types of urinary incontinence and the treatments for both.

St. Louis American
Nash family establishes Helen E Nash MD Scholarship
Two students from St. Louis will receive support to attend college in Missouri from the newly created Helen E. Nash MD Scholarship, in honor of the late pioneer in medicine. Dr. Nash was one of only four African-American physicians (and the only woman among them) invited to join the WUSM faculty in 1949, as well as the first African American asked to join the St. Louis Children’s Hospital staff.

Charlie Brennan discusses importance of flu shots
Charlie Brennan and co-host Debbie Monterrey talked with Dr. Jeff Henderson and Sarah Nickols, Barnes-Jewish Hospital nursing supervisor, about why it’s important to get a flu shot.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Special request: Carrot cake from Tower Restaurant
When a local resident requested the carrot cake recipe from Queeny Tower restaurant, Eligiah Wadley, aka “Pops” shared the recipe and was interviewed about his role as head baker. For 31 years, Wadley has been the go-to baker for the carrot cake served at the hospital’s Tower Restaurant, located on Queeny Tower’s 17th floor.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Mom doc share
s Halloween tips
Pediatric hospitalist Dr. Kirstin Lee shared tips for parents on dangers to avoid while trick-or-treating.

Running: The way to prevent running injuries
The physical stress theory, presented in 2002 by physical therapist Dr. Michael Muller, is a reminder that running not only causes overuse injuries, it also protects us against them. When you increase your running volume at a sensible rate and then maintain your mileage at a sensible upper limit, the tissues of your lower body become significantly better able to tolerate the stress of running without losing homeostasis.

WBND-TV (South Bend IN)
Child’s illness inspires new Illinois law
A new Illinois law requires hospitals to prescreen children for congenital heart disease. The Trowbridge family played a key role in the law’s passage after their daughter suffered heart disease at birth and was treated at SLCH.

Medical XPress
Lifestyle factors could put college-age women at higher risk of breast cancer
According to recent WUSM research, if a young woman in her early 20s averages a drink per day, her risk of breast cancer increases by 11 percent. Studies show that alcohol possesses estrogenic activity, that can promote the growth of breast tumor cells. Related WUSM news release

Scientists reveal fascinating look at E.coli cell division
WUSM researchers have determined how Escherichia coli delays cell division when food is abundant so it can bulk up before reproducing. E. coli reproduces in a process called binary fission in which each cell grows and then divides in the middle to produce two daughter cells.

Science Blog
Returning home broken not the norm for U.S. veterans
Two decades of research by professor of psychiatry Dr. Rumi Kato Price, shows reason for optimism about the future of returning soldiers. Price has found that stories of veterans and service members include an element of “post-traumatic growth,” an idea that people can grow in positive ways from traumatic experiences.

Self-referrals increase costly cancer treatment
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that doctors who can profit from using expensive intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) are twice as likely to recommend it–even without definitive data that it is better than traditional treatment. Some physicians questioned the findings, including oncologist Dr. Bruce Roth. “The wrong thing to look at is cost,” he said. “If you’re going to make the hypothesis that the urologists are doing it for financial reasons, you should look at the flow of money back to the physicians, not just the costs, because this technology doesn’t come free–and all of that difference in dollars isn’t flowing into the urologists’ pockets,” he added.

KTVI FOX 2 (no link)
What happens when you are scared?
Dr. Eric Leuthardt explained what happens in the brain when a person is frightened.

Town & Style Magazine (link not available)
Dr. Janis Stoll, pediatric gastroenterologist, shared insight about fatty liver disease, one of the consequences of obesity and its associated conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Quality Health
Alcohol abuse and eating disorders: Is there a link?
Research conducted by WUSM found that some of the genes involved in alcohol abuse also influence eating disorders. Related WUSM news release

South Wales Argus
Crosskeys youngster all set for major operation
Two-year-old Masie is preparing to travel to St. Louis for spinal surgery that will relieve muscle spasticity caused by cerebral palsy and allow Masie to walk unassisted for the first time. Neurosurgeon Dr. T. S. Park pioneered the procedure, called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, where nerve rootlets from the spine causing the spasticity are severed.

Digital Journal
Therapists introduce iPads to children with special needs
Therapists have introduced iPads to help children with cerebral palsy (CP) sharpen their hand-eye coordination and keep up with their school work. According to occupational therapist Nicole Weckherlin, past assistive technology was bulky and set the kids with CP apart from other students. Weckerlin said the iPad is familiar to other children and it helps children with CP, whose movements are often slow, work at the same rate as their peers. Other outlets: Consumer Electronics Net

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Jessica Church

Washington University
School of Medicine
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