In the News — September 2011

Tanorexia: Study shows UV light activates addictive parts of brain –
We all know that tanning can be dangerous. But millions of us still stay out in the sun anyway. Tonight, scientists think they may know why. ABC’s Linsey Davis explains … Even though she’s been diagnosed with skin cancer five times, Lori Greenberg says she still has dreams about tanning. “You need it almost on a daily basis, and if you don't have it, you feel almost like you’re going through withdrawals.” She’s convinced she has “tanorexia,” an addiction to sun tanning. For several years now, researchers have believed sun tanners have exhibited similar behavior to alcoholics and drug addicts. But now they say they may have seen that addiction firsthand, by peering into the brain. Dr. Bryon Adinoff, Professor of Psychiatry at UT Southwestern: “These are the kinds of things that we see in people with other kinds of addiction.” Coverage by more than 125 outlets included TIME magazine, New York Times, CBS News, U.S. News & World Report, the Huffington Post and United Press International. The study’s findings were reported by television affiliates in about 75 markets, including the country’s top five (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Dallas/Fort Worth), as well as No.7 (Boston), 8 (Atlanta) and 10 (Houston). The report was covered locally on CBS, ABC and FOX affiliates. Across Texas, stations in D/FW, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Waco, Temple, Sherman, Denison, Lubbock, Corpus Christi and Beaumont carried the story.

New pathway to potential therapies for advanced prostate cancer –
More than 200,000 men in the U.S. are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, and 32,000 will develop an advanced, incurable form of the disease. The standard treatment is hormonal therapy – removing testosterone believed to accelerate the growth of tumors. It often works – usually, though, for a short time. But researchers at UT Southwestern have learned more about what stimulates growth of the tumors. They call it a new pathway to potential drug therapies for advanced prostate cancer. In KERA’s weekly Focus on Health, Sam Baker talked with Dr. Nima Sharifi, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and the senior author of the study. Dr. Sharifi: “… you can think of this as a roadmap to getting at the most potent androgen that drives the disease. And until you rigorously define what road the tumor takes to get to that end point, you can’t block it.”

iPhone app created to track eyesight –
A clinical study in North Texas is giving eye patients the ability to test their vision any place, any time. Developed by Dr. Yu-Guang He of UT Southwestern, the myVisionTrack testing system is an iPhone app for people with degenerative eye disease. The story also was covered by WFAA (ABC 8), KRLD-AM, and WBAP-AM in Dallas/Fort Worth, and by electronic media outlets in Austin and San Antonio. Nationally, television and/or radio stations in six of the top 10 markets – Los Angeles (No.2), Chicago (3), Philadelphia (4), Dallas/Fort Worth (5), San Francisco (6) and Washington D.C. (9) – reported on the emerging health care technology.

What’s in a face at 50?
– Time, heredity, sunlight, illness, smoking, good fortune and bad – all leave their marks on the face. The vertical creases between the eyes also add to the impression of aging. Chronic stress, anger and unhappiness take their toll, too. Dr. Jeffrey M. Kenkel, Professor and Vice Chairman of Plastic Surgery at UT Southwestern: “If you’re frowning, rubbing your face, making a lot of expressions, you can see some long-lasting effects. Dynamic lines form perpendicular to the muscles of our face. If you’re expressive and do that a lot, you’re going to get creases in your skin.” he University of Michigan-Ann Arbor’s Center for Stem Cell Biology, will lead a new effort to develop treatments for pediatric diseases. Coverage included Science, Science Insider, the Detroit News and The Ann Arbor Chronicle.

UT Southwestern support group gathers around cancer caregivers –
Their marriage was a loving one, but Bob Baker admits he didn’t know what to do once his wife was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008. Baker and four other North Texas men have written a book about their experiences titled “Stages: Husband’s stories about life, love and living on when a significant other has cancer.” Baker is part of a support group for men that meets the first and third Tuesdays of every month at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern.