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 18, 2014
As leaders in medicine, we are frequently featured in the media both locally and nationally. Here are highlights from the past two weeks:

NPR Science Friday
Here, kitty, kitty: The genetics of tame animals
Dr. Wes Warren at The Genome Institute explained that genetically speaking, domestic cats have a lot in common with their wild counterparts. Where the two differ is in tameness. The scientists found changes in the domestic cat’s genes that other studies have shown are involved in behaviors such as memory, fear and reward-seeking. These types of behaviors — particularly those when an animal seeks a reward — generally are thought to be important in the domestication process. The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Other outlets: IFLScience, Quirks & Quarks (CBC Canada), Washington Post, Time, Discovery, HealthDay, Bloomberg, Daily Mail (UK), Science Magazine, The Verge, Live Science, International Business Times, Winnipeg Free Press
Related WUSM news release

BBC News
Limb cells turned into genitals in lab
A recent paper in Nature offers insight into the genetic changes that allowed land-dwelling animals to develop sex organs. Researchers suggest the key to the origin of genitalia lies in the limbs. Commenting on the paper, developmental biologist Dr. Liang Ma said the work was highly important for the fields of both genitalia and limb research.
”This paper provides a new twist to a previous hypothesis that genitals and limbs share a deep homology [shared ancestry], and it provides formal evidence of how this co-evolution between the two structures can happen in an organism.”

U.S. News & World Report
Researchers find gene mutation that may protect against heart disease
WU researchers and others found that people with rare mutations that switch off a single copy of a gene called NPC1L1 are protected against high levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and narrowing of the heart’s arteries. People with one inactive copy of the gene have a 50 percent reduced risk of heart attack, according to the study. “This analysis demonstrates that human genetics can guide us in terms of thinking about appropriate genes to target for clinical therapy,” said Dr. Nathan Stitziel, the study’s first author. The research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Other outlets: Reuters, BBC News, Health Day, Tech Times, Science 2.0
Related WUSM news release

After hep C cure, companies target next big liver disease market
Now that new medicines promise to cure millions of hepatitis C patients in the coming years, drug makers are turning their attention to other liver diseases, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NASH). This disease, which affects up to 30 percent of people in the United States, can lead to cirrhosis in which the liver is permanently damaged and no longer able to work properly. NASH can be caused by bad diets, according to Dr. Mauricio Lisker-Melman, who added: “We have no treatment for [NASH] other than tell a patient they need to lose weight.” Other outlet: Yahoo News

Health Day
Guidelines aim to reduce second surgeries after breast cancer lumpectomy
In a study of more than 240,000 women who had breast conservation surgery, nearly 25 percent needed a second operation, according to a new study published in JAMA Surgery. In hopes of reducing second surgeries in the future, new guidelines have been established by the Society of Surgical Oncology and the American Society for Radiation Oncology. If these new guidelines are adopted by surgeons, the number of second surgeries will be significantly reduced, said Dr. Julie Margenthaler, co-author of an accompanying editorial.
Other outlet: Medical Xpress

Los Angeles Times
When obesity is an inherited trait, maybe gut bacteria is the link
Research recently published in the journal Cell explored the relationship among genes, microbiota and obesity. “This paper is part of a rapidly growing effort to define the interrelationships between our human genetic variations, variations in the compositions of our gut microbial communities, our diets and our health status,” said Dr. Jeffrey I. Gordon, who was not involved in this paper. Gordon is director of a newly established Center for Gut Microbiome and Nutrition Research at WUSM.

‘Longevity Gene’ one key to long life, research suggests
A recent study found that a variant in the gene known as CETP is involved in cholesterol metabolism and raises blood levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol). The findings show that even among people who’ve already lived beyond 95, those with the CETP variant survive longer and live healthier. But high HDL is “just one of the pieces of the longevity puzzle,” said Dr. Luigi Fontana. “Lifestyle choices have major effects in promoting health and longevity.”

The Scientist
Dr. Eric Leuthardt explained neuroprosthetics in an article he co-wrote with Jarod L. Roland and Wilson Z. Ray. They explained that linking the human nervous system to computers is providing unprecedented control of artificial limbs and restoring lost sensory function. In 2004, WUSM researchers demonstrated neuroprosthetic control in epilepsy patients undergoing invasive intracranial monitoring, which involved implanting electrodes on the surface of their frontal and temporal lobes to locate the source of their seizures.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
       (Front Page)
Washington U. picked to join national research network solving mystery of early labor
The causes of premature birth — the No. 1 cause of death for newborns and leading cause of lasting childhood disabilities — remain a mystery. “It’s really the No. 1 issue in obstetrics, and we haven’t made a lot of progress over the years,” said Dr. George Macones. The March of Dimes is leading a new approach to studying the problem by establishing a nationwide Prematurity Research Network. WUSM is the third member of the network and received $10 million from the March of Dimes. That amount will be matched with local funds from the medical school and SLCH Foundation.
Other outlets: St. Louis Public Radio (St. Louis on the Air), Associated Press,
Columbia Missourian

Tips to avoid overmedicating children
According to the U.S. Poison Control Hotline, every eight minutes a child is given too much medication. Cortney Rogers, an SLCH pediatric pharmacist, explained the potential consequences of children receiving too much medication and offered advice to help parents ensure their child gets the proper dose.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Putting the ‘viral’ diseases of 2014 in perspective
The fall of 2014 will be remembered as an interesting time for infectious disease investigators, as new and old viruses cause public health risks and concerns. This story highlights Ebola, chikungunya, enterovirus D-68 and influenza. Dr. Steven Lawrence and Dr. Deborah Lenschow comment. 

World Diabetes Day
In the United States, 29 million people have diabetes, but 8 million are unaware they have the illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Paul Hruz talked about the risk factors, environmental triggers and treatment options for diabetes, and discussed an upcoming free health fair planned in recognition of World Diabetes Day. Other outlet: KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Is fever a friend or foe?
Pam Flotte, a nurse with the SLCH Answer Line, explained that a fever isn’t itself an illness but a normal body response to sickness. She said it’s not necessary to treat a fever with medication unless your child is uncomfortable.

The website every parent should read
Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann encouraged parents to check out Common Sense Media, a website that previews and rates all media geared toward children. She said this website can help parents can get a handle on what their children are watching.

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5   (Show Me St. Louis)
Living with diabetes
Pediatric dietitian Libby Beach talks about the prevalence of diabetes among children in the United States and how to help kids cope with the disease. She also shared a low-sugar recipe and promoted a free diabetes screening sponsored by SLCH.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Social hosting
Pediatric psychologist Dr. Jeff Rothweiler explained why the phenomenon of social hosting – where parents allow their teenagers to drink alcohol in their own homes – is a bad idea. Alcohol consumption can be dangerous and addictive for people under 21, and parents need to model good behavior for their kids. The notion that “they’re going to drink anyway, they might as well do it at home,” is not safe or appropriate.

St. Louis Business Journal
Startup commercializing Wash U prostate cancer research gets $1.1 million Series A
A San Francisco-based biotech startup that is commercializing Washington University research to help fight prostate cancer has closed on a $1.1 million Series A funding round. The company, Prostate Management Diagnostics Inc. (PMDI), grew out of a partnership between the Peter Michael Foundation and The Genome Institute at WUSM. Other outlets: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Genome Web (free registration required)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Korean veteran seeks to improve the lives of other veterans
This story highlights the experiences of a Korean vet who suffered with PTSD for years until he received counseling at a Veterans Affairs facility and began healing by talking with other vets. Dr. Rumi Kato Price said the difference today is that returning veterans deal with PTSD as “kitchen table conversation.”

Illinois Business Journal
Alton Memorial children’s care includes helicopter, ambulance
Alton Memorial Hospital and SLCH have partnered to provide pediatric transport services to the metro east community. An SLCH transport team will be stationed at Alton Memorial to provide faster and more efficient transport of trauma or critically ill patients from the region surrounding Alton to SLCH.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Clown Docs bring humor to sick kids
Dr. Tickles and Professor Dude, also known as Jane and Dr. Dana Abendschein, talked about their roles as the Clown Docs at SLCH and the impact humor has in the healing process. In addition to his clowning duties, Dana also is a professor of cardiology at WUSM.

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5        (Show Me St. Louis)
Halloween health and safety from the MomDocs
SLCH MomDocs Kathleen Berchelmann and Melissa Belanger shared suggestions for parents on how best to prepare their little ones for a safe Halloween. Tips included bringing inhalers for kids with asthma, wearing reflective clothing, traveling with a group and making sure parents screen candy before kids eat it.

St. Louis American
BJC to receive Corporate Diversity of the Year award
BJC’s senior management and board leadership is more diverse. Through August 2014, 41 minority business enterprise contractors and 19 female business enterprise contractors – representing design, engineering and construction – have worked on the Campus Renewal Project. Both were cited as reasons why BJC was selected to receive the Corporate Diversity of the Year Award from the St. Louis American.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
WU doctor recounts history of residency programs
“Let Me Heal,” a new book by Dr. Kenneth M. Ludmerer, chronicles how residency programs have changed over the years.

Belleville News-Democrat  
‘My wife is a warrior’: Fairview Heights mom proves she’s tougher than cancer
Jodi Browell was eight weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her medical team at Siteman Cancer drew up a plan that included six chemo treatments, one every three weeks, to help fight the cancer while allowing the fetus to develop. She now has a healthy 2-year old daughter and twins due in April.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Virus talk
Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann joined parenting columnist Aisha Sultan for a live chat about viruses, including flu, strep and Ebola. They discussed how to avoid viruses and what to do if your child gets sick.

KSAT-TV   (San Antonio, TX)
Stopping kids’ silent strokes
Dr. Mike Noetzel studied 196 children age 5 and older who had brain scans that showed evidence of silent strokes. For three years, 99 received monthly transfusions; the rest did not receive any treatment. Researchers found the transfusions reduced the risk of future strokes of any kind by 58 percent. Other outlets: KLAS-TV (Las Vegas, NV) WFMZ-TV (Allentown, PA)

Medscape   (free registration required)
Drug plus cognitive training may help manage tinnitus
A new study found that the drug D-cycloserine (DCS), when used with a computer-based cognitive training program, may help in the management of tinnitus. “We think DCS helps people to learn and extinguish fears and other anxiety related complaints,” explained senior author Jay Piccirillo. “When linked with the computer training program which exploits the brain’s ability to remodel itself, the drug seems to help the brain train itself not to focus on the tinnitus.”
Related WUSM news release

New geriatric assessment tools enhance care of older adults with cancer
WUSM medical oncologist Dr. Tanya Wildes explained that the Cancer and Aging Research Group, a collaborative effort to design and implement clinical trials for older patients, is seeking to validate tools that will be available online to assist oncology care providers.
Wildes said that older patients are less likely to be enrolled in clinical trails due to criteria excluding other medical conditions that are common as people age. This has left gaps in the knowledge about the risks and benefits of new treatments in older adults.

Safety + Health Magazine
Fall protection website targets residential construction workers
In an effort to help residential construction workers stay safe, a new website provides details on fall protection, methods and equipment. The site was developed by OT researcher Vicki Kaskutas, with assistance from the Center for Construction Research and Training through a cooperative agreement with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5
STL-made vaccine could be cancer weapon
Immunophotonics, a new startup in St. Louis, is developing a cancer vaccine intended to train a patient’s body to be allergic to its own cancer, potentially destroying the tumor. The company is quick to point out that the company still is in the early stages of development and the approval process of the vaccine. Other researchers at WUSM and Siteman are working on similar vaccines.

HealthIT Analytics
Care coordination technique reduces medical errors by 30 percent
A simple mnemonic device can help providers improve care coordination and reduce patient safety issues and medical errors by almost one-third, according to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine. “This study suggests that a standardized process, along with education and information technology support, can reduce medical errors,” said study co-author Dr. F. Sessions Cole. Related WUSM news release

Distracted parenting
Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann explained the phenomenon of distracted parenting due to cell phone use and encouraged parents to be attuned to their kids. That doesn’t mean all cell phone use is bad. If a child is involved in using the device with a parent – such as taking a photo together — that’s a shared parent-child experience. But if the cell phone is distracting parents from their children’s needs, mom or dad should shut it off.

Family Practice News
Pediatric nonalcoholic fatty liver disease worsens as kids age
Pediatric nonalcoholic fatty liver disease progresses as children age to a more adult pattern of disease, a study shows. “As they grow older, they are facing liver transplant and potentially hepatocellular carcinoma, just as the adults do,” Dr. Elizabeth M. Brunt said at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

KHQA-TV   (Quincy, Ill.)
Cadan’s Halloween carnival raises money for CDH awareness
In memory of her son, Cadan, who died from a rare genetic disease called congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), Tiffany Frericks hosted the sixth annual fundraiser to raise awareness and funding to better understand this disease. CDH is fatal almost 50 percent of the time.

Cure-iosity: The party to help cure cancer
The Cure-iosity party has helped raise $340,000 over the past eight years. The proceeds go to the discovery fund at Siteman Cancer Center.

Business Wire
St. Louis Children’s Hospital and PetSmart partner to provide pet therapy
A $250,000 donation from PetSmart will fund Paws for Hope, an initiative that will double the size of the current pet therapy program at SLCH.

The Age   (Canberra, Australia)
US Surgery gives Ollie a life-changing chance
Two-year-old Ollie Lanham will travel to St. Louis for selective dorsal rhizotomy spinal surgery with Dr. T.S. Park to relieve muscle spasticity caused by cerebral palsy. His parents hope the surgery will allow Ollie to walk – even ride his bike – independently. Other outlets: Bracknell News, Independent IE, Sutten Coldfield Local and The Delphos Herald.

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Washington University
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Barnes-Jewish Hospital



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