In the News — Jan. 8-14, 2011

A powerful predictor of death
– Appearing on the “American Morning” show, Dr. James de Lemos spoke about a new heart test that could help identify hidden heart disease. “This is a test that reflects cardiac muscle cell injury and what we’re detecting here with the blood test is lower levels than previously seen,” the associate professor of internal medicine said. “What we are seeing in the general population are very low levels of chronic damage to the heart.” This protein is called troponin. Stories about the research ran on more than 140 media outlets, including national exposure on ABC News, Voice of America, Business Week and U.S. News & World Report. Internationally, the discovery at UT Southwestern was reported by outlets in more than 15 countries.

How labor begins
– The mysterious start of labor was covered in the newspaper’s popular “Rodent of the Week” column. Clues have trickled in over the last several decades, and a mouse study led by Dr. Carole Mendelson identifies another piece of the puzzle. UT Southwestern scientists discovered that small molecules called microRNAs work with hormones to control the onset of labor. “We’ve been struggling for a long time to understand how progesterone keeps the uterus from contracting during most of pregnancy,” Dr. Mendelson said. “With these findings, we understand better the system that controls labor, so with future research we might have the potential to manipulate it and prevent preterm birth.”

Hidden Diet Disasters – Assistant professor of clinical nutrition Lona Sandon was interviewed by the 3.15 million-circulation magazine about the ingredients people don’t account for in everyday meal selections. Regarding sodium-laden fast-food premium salads, she said, “The worst part is usually the chicken, which is often cooked in a high-sodium marinade for flavor …” On sneaky sugar found in savory items, Ms Sandon observed, “When you remove fat, you also remove moisture, so manufacturers add sugar to retain moisture and flavor.”

Athlete who benefited from transplant gets chance to thank donor's family – Joey Ianiero and Thomas Pettit will have a lifelong connection. Ianiero’s dream of becoming a pro baseball player was jeopardized by a devastating knee injury he suffered in a game. But his knee has been reconstructed by a donated tendon from a Sherman man who died in a fall. Ianiero, a collegiate player from Pennsylvania, met the family of Mr. Pettit during UT Southwestern’s Transplant Services Center reunion. The event was covered extensively by local media, including KDFW-TV (Fox), KTVT-TV (CBS), KXAS-TV (NBC) and WFAA-TV (ABC).

Your Fanny or Your Face: Do You Have to Choose? – The 1.48 million-circulation publication reported on face-vs.-body issues and included Dr. Rod Rohrich, chairman of plastic surgery, whose 2007 research uncovered more than 20 fat compartments that give the human face its distinction and, in some cases, its begrudged surrender to an aged appearance as fat content is lost. “To maintain youthfulness, the human face begs to have fullness,” Dr Rohrich said.

UT Southwestern, Israeli center partner – Dr. Fiemu Nwariaku, associate dean for global health, was interviewed following the announcement of a joint agreement between UT Southwestern and Rabin Medical Center in Israel. The partnership will allow both institutions to expand their research bases, laying the groundwork for possible public-private business partnerships in D-FW. “An important thing for the business community is that it could leverage some of the funding we have from the government to increase the number of biotechnical companies,” Dr. Nwariaku said. Global partnerships are key to studying medicine since other parts of the globe are exposed to diseases that are nonexistent in the U.S., he said. News of the partnership was carried on more than 180 media outlets, including 11 Texas television stations and network affiliates in 35 states.

Dieting may plant seeds of weight regain – Dr. Jeffrey Zigman, assistant professor of internal medicine, was interviewed for a story about a University of Pennsylvania-based mouse study. The Penn team reported that molecular changes in the brain make mice more susceptible to stress and binge eating long after the diet ends, suggesting the same track for humans and partly explaining the phenomenon of yo-yo dieting in which people repeatedly lose weight, only to regain even more. “This study highlights the difficult road that human dieters often travel to attain and maintain their weight-loss goals,” said Dr. Zigman, an expert in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism. “It also suggests that management of stress during dieting may be key to achieving those goals.” The story got press coverage from almost 80 outlets, including Los Angeles Times and MSNBC.

Week of Jan. 8-14, 2011 /