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 25, 2014
As leaders in medicine, we are frequently featured in the media both locally and nationally. Here are highlights from the past two weeks:

South China Morning Post
Cut down on your calorie intake and you might live to be 100
Scientists are finding that cutting calories seems to extend life in animals and could work for humans, too. Shin-Ichiro Imai and his team studied how the protein Sirt1 operates in the mouse brain to delay aging and increase lifespan. They found that Sirt1 stimulates neural activity in the hypothalamus, triggering dramatic physical changes in skeletal muscle and increasing vigor and longevity.

U.S. News & World Report
Gut bacteria in preemies could lead to life-threatening infections
Babies born prematurely are at risk for life-threatening bloodstream infections called sepsis beginning 72 hours after they are born, according to a new study. The lower intestines — often called guts — of preterm babies contain infectious bacteria, according to WUSM researchers.
Related WUSM news release

WBUR Public Radio (Boston)
Water babies: docs challenge growing trend — childbirth in a tub
Noting that water births and home births are growing trends in the United States, OB/GYN Dr. George Macones, chair of the committee that prepared the latest American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists/American Academy of Pediatrics opinion, said: “Most of us feel that laboring in a tub is fine, as long as the baby is doing well and mom is doing well. Delivering underwater is where there’s a bit more of a struggle — there isn’t a lot of data on this but there are a number of case reports of really bad things happening.”

IUDs may provide birth control protection for longer than approved duration
Some intrauterine devices (IUDs) are effective for longer than recommended, according to a new review of past studies. “After 35 years of age, a woman’s fertility declines, thus the IUD may be a highly effective method for longer periods of time,” said Dr. Jeffrey F. Peipert, who was not involved in the study. He added that there are few, if any, dangers associated with leaving in an IUD for an extended time, but it might be difficult to remove it after menopause. Other outlets:Chicago Tribune, Yahoo! News

Prevention Magazine
How to lose the last 10 pounds
Portion control is important for weight loss, but when it comes to losing the last few pounds, lax weekend habits could sabotage progress. A WUSM study found dieters on calorie-controlled plans averaged an extra 420 calories a weekend — enough to stall weight loss.

Related WUSM news release

Psychology Today
Facebook, tattoos, and the modern problem of permanence
Facebook, tattoos, and Google Glasses are technologies that mark a moment in time – some on the internet, some on skin. Neurosurgeon Dr. Eric Leuthardt explained that these permanent images circumvent and interfere with the brain’s normal ability to take in new information by providing a constant reminder of old news. In addition, these images strongly influence other people’s perspectives, keeping focus on an image of a person at a singular event in the past instead of on who the person is now or who they will be in the future.

KABC-TV (Los Angeles, CA)
CPAP being studied as treatment for asthma
Doctors are testing whether treatment with a CPAP machine will improve symptoms in asthma patients by making their airways less reactive. “At nighttime, their muscles that are around their windpipes are not being allowed to relax. In essence, they’re working almost 24 hours a day,” said Dr. Mario Castro. The machine pushes gentle air down the windpipe, forcing muscles to relax. It’s typically used for patients with sleep apnea, but doctors say it could be the first drug-free option for asthma patients.

U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News Releases 2015 Best Graduate Schools Rankings
In the 2015 analysis of graduate programs, WUSTL ranked 6th among medical schools; 18th among law schools; 22nd for business; 45th for education; and 46th for engineering.
Other outlets: Huffington Post

Scientific American
15 works of art depicting women in science [Photo Essay]
Rita Levi-Montalcini, who died recently at age 103, spent three decades on the WUSTL faculty conducting research on a mysterious protein responsible for nerve growth and maintenance. Her image is included in a feature visualizing notable women in the STEM fields through the lens of fine art.

ABC News (Associated Press)
Health law concern for cancer centers
Cancer patients relieved that they can get insurance coverage because of the new health-care law may be disappointed to learn that some the nation’s best cancer hospitals are off limits. Melanie Lapidus, vice president for managed care at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, said she doesn’t think patients realize the exchanges offer a more restrictive kind of private insurance. Lapidus cited Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which includes Siteman in many of its plans outside the Missouri exchange, but none within the exchange.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
 (Front page)
Woman says Wash U research trial of birth control gave her permanent injuries
A woman involved in a WUSM clinical study of birth control, provided at no cost to participants, has sued the University. The suit claims she suffered injuries related to the birth control and that she did not know she was enrolled in a clinical trial. The university denies the allegations in the lawsuit, which was filed in 2013, saying in court documents that it puts the highest priority on conducting research in a manner that protects participants’ rights.
 Other outlets: Associated Press, KTVI-TV Fox 2

Replacing the pap smear test
Doctors recommend women get a pap test for early detection of cervical cancer and other diseases. Dr. Stewart Massad said health professionals are recommending a new test. “The HPV [blood] test is in the process of being approved by the FDA. It has great promise to prevent more cervical cancers.” Other outlets: KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5

St. Louis Public Radio
Study: For women, free birth control doesn’t lead to risky sex
Recent WUSM research found that giving women free birth control does not increase risky sexual behavior. “The fear that women will have more partners if they have access to contraception was not true in our study,” said Dr. Gina Secura, director of the WUSTL Contraceptive CHOICE Project.
Other outlets: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, NewsTrack India, Think Progress
Related WUSM news release

Should parents pre-screen their athletes for heart defects?
Cardiologist Dr. Jennifer Silva discussed factors parents should consider to help decide if their children need a screening to play sports. She does not recommend universal screens but said if a child has a family history of heart disease or experiences any symptoms like racing pulse, testing should be considered.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
First look: Two towers make up phase one of BJC expansion project
Two 12-story medical towers on Kingshighway make up the first phase of BJC HealthCare’s skyline-altering expansion program in the Central West End. The two structures will replace the Yalem and Shoenberg buildings and the Jewish School of Nursing building that demolition crews began taking down last summer. Throughout the next several years, BJH, SLCH and WUSM will remake much of their 16-block campus in a billion-dollar renewal program. Other outlets: KTVI-TV FOX 2, St. Louis Business Journal, St. Louis Magazine, KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5

Ivanhoe Broadcast News
Girls growing up too fast
Studies have shown that girls are hitting puberty younger than ever before. “The bulk of evidence shows, at least in part, it is due to girls gaining weight earlier,” said Dr. Abby Hollander.

Ivanhoe Broadcast
Depressed preschoolers?
Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States, affecting about 17 million people. New research shows preschoolers are not immune. In a recent imaging study, Dr. Joan Luby and her team uncovered changes in the structure and volume of several key brain regions that are known to be involved in emotion processing. “We believe that the earlier you can identify the disorder, the more effective treatment will be,” Luby said.

MedPage Today
Smokers’ lungs OK’d for transplant
Donor lungs from smokers led to transplant outcomes similar to those involving lungs of nonsmokers, British transplant specialists reported.
Lung transplantation criteria in the United States also allow for donor lungs from smokers, including heavy smokers, according to Dr. Dan Kreisel. “In light of the severe shortage of donor organs, I think more and more centers are considering organs that traditionally one would not have considered, especially in cases where death is the certain outcome of the recipient if he or she does not get a donor organ,” he said.

Medical News Today
Biomarkers of cell death in Alzheimer’s reverse course after symptom onset
New research from WUSM found that three promising biomarkers being studied to detect Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages appear to undergo a surprising shift as patients develop symptoms of dementia. “We’re not sure why this reversal occurs,” said Dr. Anne Fagan. “But understanding it may be very important for clinical trials of drugs to treat or prevent Alzheimer’s.”Related WUSM news release

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5
Pre-med student volunteers as a personal pal
The Personal Pal program at SLCH pairs volunteers with families so patients can build a trusting relationship with people in the hospital who are not caregivers. WUSTL pre-med student Steve Ignell supports the Griffin family three times a week, spending time with non hospitalized siblings, as well as mom LaRonda and 2-year-old patient Nesmaya, who has spent most of her life in the pediatric intensive care unit due to a rare birth defect.

Ivanhoe Broadcast News
New weight loss therapy: Put it in and take it out
Patients in a clinical trial are testing a new and very radical weight loss method called aspiration therapy. These patients first have a skin port placed in their abdomens. After a meal, they connect a tube to the port, to suction about 30 percent of food from the stomach before it is absorbed, explained Dr. Shelby Sullivan.

St. Louis American
First black nurse returns to Children’s Hospital
In 1958, Jane Ervin became the first African-American nurse at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. She recently returned to share her experiences with hospital staff. Ervin’s husband is the late John Ervin, a distinguished educator and administrator who was the first African-American dean at Washington University.

The surprising reason Americans might be obese, anxious and depressed
A 2013 study in the Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery suggests that probiotics “may be considered a therapeutic option or adjunct for acne vulgaris” and an article in Gut Pathogens agrees that gut bacteria “have important implications in acne.” The research is so promising, a project at The Genome Institute at Washington University is now underway “to investigate the relationship between acne and the microbiome, or community of microbes, residing underneath the surface of the human skin.”

Wash U. seeks participants for study on low back pain
An estimated 80 percent of people in the United States will suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives. And it’s one of the most common reasons for missed work. Physical therapist Dr. Linda Van Dillen explained a new study offering two treatments for those suffering from low back pain.

KMOX Radio / CBS News
Dr. Theodore Cicero on heroin use
Dr. Theodore Cicero highlighted the increasing use of heroin in suburban and middle-class communities and research at WUSM that explores what drives people to take this drug.

Weekend update
Host Martin Kilcoyne talked with Alyson Wish, RN, a certified sleep technologist, about the effects of daylight savings on the sleep cycles.

The fat woman’s cancer
Women who are obese have an almost three-fold risk of developing endometrial cancer. Dr. Andrea Hagemann said women have a 2.5 to 3 percent lifetime risk of developing endometrial cancer. “It is the most common gynecological cancer treated in the United States,” she said.

WTAJ-TV (Central Pennsylvania)
Hernia Treatment Saves Baby’s Life
Congenital diaphragmatic hernias occur in about one in every 2,000 births. A hole develops in the diaphragm, and the intestines go up into the chest and grow, preventing the lungs from developing normally. Dr. Brad Warner said aggressive treatment with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) gives the baby’s body a chance to rest and oxygenate, and then surgery to reposition the organs and repair the hernia in the diaphragm can allow these babies to lead a normal life.

African Americans are more likely to have asthma
A clinical trial at WUSM aims to determine why African Americans are 20 percent more likely to have asthma than Caucasians.

WJXT-TV (Jacksonville, FL)
A doctor’s mission to save kids, save herself
Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affects a person’s movement, balance and posture. Currently, there is no cure, but Dr. Jan Brunstrom is working on that. Brunstrom has cerebral palsy herself and she runs the most comprehensive and one of the largest cerebral palsy centers in the country.

 (Fort Wayne, IN)
Ask Drs. Oz and Roizen: Chronic itch can be caused by wide variety of conditions (Column)
In this column, Drs. Oz and Roizen referenced work done at the WUSM Center for the Study of Itch, including research showing that itch messages go from skin cells to the brain and can intersect with pain pathways. If itching goes on long enough, it can take over neurons that transmit pain.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
STL science leaders to be honored April 9
The Academy of Science of St. Louis will honor several faculty with its annual Outstanding Scientists Awards on April 9. John Edward Heuser, emeritus professor of biophysics, will receive the Peter H. Raven Lifetime Achievement Award. Other WUSM honorees include neurologist Dr. David Holtzman and biomedical engineer Dr. Lihong Wang.

Ladue News
Allergy nasal sprays: breathe in some relief
Dr. James Wedner highlighted the pros and cons of various nasal sprays used to treat allergies. Antihistamine sprays, he noted, are fine for occasional use, but can have a rebound effect if used too frequently.

The Fulton Sun
Super Sam wins battle against rare cancer
Five-year-old Sam, from Fulton, Mo. rang the bell in the hematology/ oncology clinic to celebrate his final round of chemotherapy. He has been fighting rhabdomyosarcoma at SLCH since August 2013.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Children’s Hospital chef heals with food and friendship
Chef Robert Grotha illustrates how all employees share in the healing process, regardless of whether they have clinical responsibilities. Chef Grotha uses his gift – cooking – to inspire sick children to eat, to build relationships with families and to allow children one thing in their lives they can control.

Fundraiser held for teenager injured in snow accident
Last month, Louisiana, Mo., teen Cougar Clifford jumped into a snow bank and severed his spine. Since the injury, he’s been at SLCH and is making progress, regaining feeling in his waist and feet. Cougar’s mother, Colleen, discussed Cougar’s injury, treatment and therapy.

Llanelli Star (UK)
Life has changed for four-year-old a year after operation
Four-year-old Eva Rose from Bynea, UK, now is classified as an independent walker, one year after her family traveled to SLCH to receive selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery with Dr. T. S. Park. The procedure involves severing spinal rootlets that cause spasticity and inhibit mobility in children with cerebral palsy. Other outlets: Hampshire Chronicle, Croydan Guardian.

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Judy Martin

Washington University
School of Medicine
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Laura High

Barnes-Jewish Hospital



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