A bi-weekly review of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine media appearances.
IN THE NEWS October 7, 2014
As leaders in medicine, we are frequently featured in the media both locally and nationally. Here are highlights from the past two weeks:

The New York Times
A study bolsters a call to use long-acting contraceptives
A new WUSM study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that teenagers who had access to free birth control and counseling on the most effective options had far fewer pregnancies, births and abortions than their peers. Most teens chose long-acting contraceptives, such as, IUDs and implants. Dr. Jeffrey Peipert said long-acting contraceptives were discussed with teenagers as the first option because they have failure rates of less than 1 percent.
Other outlets: The Atlantic, NPR, Washington Post, USA Today, HealthDay, Huffington Post, Time, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press/ABC News, Reuters, Al JazeeraKWMU/St. Louis Public Radio and 260 other outlets. Related WUSM news release

Associated Press
Study: Artificial sweeteners may promote diabetes
Artificial sweeteners may alter the way the body handles sugar in some people, according to a preliminary study conducted mostly in mice and published in the journal Nature. Dr. Yanina Pepino, who was not involved in the study, said the researchers make a convincing case that sweeteners hamper the body’s handling of sugar by altering gut bacteria. Other outlets: The Guardian Related WUSM news release

Huffington Post
Eat fat to get thin
WUSM researchers have found that stores of sub-cutaneous fat around the bottom, tummy and thighs, which often appears as cellulite, can’t be burned away without consuming fat to facilitate the process. Eating fat activates fat burning pathways in the liver.

Smithsonian Magazine
A mantis shrimp inspires a new camera for detecting cancer
Researchers from WUSM and other universities have created a proof-of-concept camera sensor, modeled on the mantis shrimp’s compound eyes and polarized vision, that can detect cancerous lesions before the cells become numerous enough to appear as visible tumors. Researchers said that cancer cells are easy to see under polarized light because their disorganized and invasive structures scatter light differently than normal body cells. The research was published in the Proceedings of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Other outlets:
Sydney Morning Herald, International Business Times, The Scientist
Related WUSM news release

Merck KGaA (German Merck) buys Sigma-Aldrich for $17B
A story about Merck KGaA purchasing Sigma-Aldrich mentions Washington University’s 1947 Nobel laureates Carl and Gerty Cori. The Coris’ close relationship with Sigma-Aldrich resulted in the company being the first to offer ATP (adenosine 5′-triphosphate), the energy equivalent of most living organisms.

When cigarettes cost more, people drink less, except for wine
A recent WUSM study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found that raising cigarette taxes lowered the per capita consumption of beer and spirits but not wine. “We already knew that strengthening tobacco policies has great benefit in reducing smoking prevalence,” said author Melissa Krauss. “This shows that there are unintended consequences that are pubic health benefits as well.” Other outlets: HealthDay, NetNews Ledger (Ontario, Canada)
Related WUSM news release

CBS News
Peers, not genetics, make teens more likely to drink alcohol
Research from WUSM published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental found that although a gene variant protects some teens from developing alcohol problems, its protective effects disappear when those adolescents spend time with other teens who drink. Other outlets:
HealthCanal, KMOX-AM, ScienceBlog, NewsPlex.com (Charlottesville, VA)
Related WUSM news release

Dallas Morning News
Is there a virus inside us? Most likely, the answer is yes
Reporting in the journal BMC Biology, WUSM researchers sampled 102 healthy people between 18 and 40 years of age and found 92 percent had at least one type of virus on their bodies, even though they had no symptoms of illness. . In some cases, people harbored 10 to 15 different types of viruses. Related WUSM news release

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5
Doctor: Now is the time to get your flu shot
With flu season around the corner, doctors recommend getting a flu shot now. Dr. Tiffany Osborn said a few cases of the flu at SLCH already have been documented.

St. Louis Magazine
The somber years: Depression starts earlier than anybody thought
Child psychiatrist Dr. Joan Luby’s research has shown that children as young as 3 years old can experience depression, and when it starts that early, depression is likely to persist as children grow older. Luby said bad parenting does not cause depression, rather “depression is a biological, genetic disorder.” But that doesn’t mean it can’t be treated in young children. Luby has funding from the National Institute of Mental Health to treat 250 local children with Parent Child Interaction Therapy — Emotional Development. The therapy helps parents teach young children to understand the emotions they’re feeling, lighten up on themselves and regulate their moods. Other outlets: Detroit Free Press
Related WUSM news release

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Senior Focus: Stress and cognitive function most common problems
Geriatric psychiatrist Dr. Eric Lenze explained that the two problems his patients most frequently face are emotional stress, including anxiety and depression, and cognitive issues such as difficulties with memory and concentration. He suggested several treatments, including physical activity, stress reduction techniques such as yoga and meditation and discussions about medications with health-care providers.

St. Louis Magazine
Heading East: Shriners Hospital for Children moves back into the city
Dr. Charles Goldfarb highlighted the benefits of the new Shriners Hospital facility, under construction on the WUSM campus. He said the new location promotes every aspect of healing and includes a home-like feel in patient rooms. He also said that being on the same campus as WUSM’s other facilities will be key to the efficiency and effectiveness of the hospital.

WBTV-TV (Charlotte, N.C.)
CEO of Susan G. Komen talks to WBTV
Susan G. Komen President and CEO Dr. Judy Salerno said she’s most excited about research the organization is funding at WUSM. Komen gave WUSM a $6.5 million Promise Grant to develop a vaccine to prevent breast cancer recurrence by activating the body’s own immune system. Other outlets: WVUE-TV (New Orleans), WVVU-TV (Las Vegas) Related WUSM news release

   (subscription required)
High-dose RT is a ‘conundrum’ in localized prostate cancer
A major prostate cancer clinical trial that compared high-dose radiation therapy with the standard dose found no significant difference in overall survival between men in the two groups after a 10-year follow up. The results were made public early because the trial crossed a predetermined boundary, indicating that the hoped-for 23 percent reduction in the risk for death would not be reached, said lead author and study chair Dr. Jeff Michalski.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Schnucks pharmacies to offer breast cancer meds for under $10
Women who have breast cancer will be able to purchase four different prescription cancer medications for $9 each at Schnuck Market’s 93 in-store pharmacies. Siteman oncologist Dr. Cynthia Ma said 80 percent of the patients she treats require these drugs, and some without good insurance have to pay hundreds of dollars for the medications.

Water skier beats leukemia, wins national title
Erin Kalkbrenner of St. Charles was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in 2013 as she was competing for her third national water skiing championship. After treatment at Siteman Cancer Center, she won the national championship in August 2014. Medical oncologist Dr. Geoffrey Uy said researchers are making tremendous progress in treating ALL.

Seven developments in asthma research
Recent studies on asthma have focused on partial asthma control therapy and the use of a medication called mepolizumab to reduce exacerbations. Research by Dr. Mario Castro was among seven recent developments presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress. He found that “long-term treatment with nasal corticosteroids does not improve asthma control in adults or children with inadequately controlled asthma.”

Sleep scientists are keeping fruit flies up all night to study insomnia in humans
Researchers at WUSM have created a line of fruit flies that they hope will offer newer insight into the mechanisms that cause insomnia in humans. Interestingly, the flies, which only get a small fraction of the sleep that normal flies get, significantly resemble insomniac humans, explained neurobiologist Paul Shaw, senior author.

Counsel & Heal
Doctors recommend IUDs for sexually active teens
New guidelines published in the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that the first line option for birth control for teen girls should be intrauterine devices or contraceptive implants. “I’m happy to see that every major medical or public health organization in the United States agrees that IUDs and implants should be the ‘default’ first-line contraceptive methods for all women and girls who want them,” said WUSM ob/gyn Dr. David Eisenberg, who was not involved in writing the guidelines. Other outlet:
Guardian Liberty Voice

Waterbury Republican-American  (Waterbury, CT)
Changing guidelines

The nation’s society of high-risk obstetricians has issued a new guideline recommending against the routine use of bed rest in pregnancy to prevent preterm birth. “It’s hard to believe that something we’ve been doing for a long time is not good, but that really is the case with bed rest,” said Dr. Allison Cahill.

Buffalo News
Waking up to anesthesia: What happens when you go under?
Once in every 1,000 to 2,000 surgeries, patients may gain some awareness when they should be unconscious. They may hear the doctors talking and remember it afterward. Worse yet, they may feel pain but be unable to move or tell the doctors. “It’s a real problem, although it’s quite rare,” said anesthesiologist Dr. Alex Evers. “Anesthesia awareness can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Pedal the cause raises money for cancer research
More than 4,000 participants raised almost $2.2 million in the charity bike ride called Pedal the Cause. The event supports cancer research at Siteman Cancer Center and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.


Contact us with your story ideas

Jessica Church

Washington University
School of Medicine
Media Relations



Twitter Facebook