UT Southwestern in the News — November 2008

Washington Post: How to relish the holiday without spoiling the fundus (Nov. 25, 2008)
No matter how much you cram into it, your stomach is not likely to explode – though it may take action to relieve the pressure. There'll be a lot going on in your belly while you digest. Here's an account – based on information provided by Brooks Cash, chief of gastroenterology at National Naval Medical Center, and Lona Sandon, a dietitian at UT Southwestern – of what'll be happening inside you on Thursday. Read More

Redbook: Sweet solutions: The best sugar substitutes (Nov. 25, 2008)
There are so many alternative sweeteners available now that they seem to be elbowing sugar right off the supermarket shelf. But what's so wrong with sugar? At just 15 calories per teaspoon, "nothing – in moderation," says Lona Sandon, R.D., an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern. Read More

Reuters: Inside-out cells offer target for antiviral drugs (Nov. 24, 2008)
An experimental drug cured guinea pigs infected with a fatal hemorrhagic fever virus, raising hope for its use in a broad range of viral diseases including influenza, hepatitis C, HIV, Ebola and others, U.S. researchers said on Sunday. "This is a whole new strategy for making antiviral drugs," said Dr. Philip Thorpe, professor of pharmacology at UT Southwestern, whose research appears in the journal Nature Medicine. Read More

HealthDay: Parents often choose ER for routine kids' care (Nov. 24, 2008)
Parents who take their kids to the emergency room for non-urgent care aren't doing it to abuse the system. Instead, they're doing so because they have concerns and questions about the care and attention they receive at primary care physicians' (PCP) offices. So finds a new study published in the journal Academic Pediatrics. "There were three main reasons parents gave [for taking children to the ED for non-urgent concerns] – problems with the PCP, referral from the PCP, and advantages of care in the emergency department," said study co-author Dr. Jane M. Brotanek, assistant professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern. Read More

KDAF-TV: Giving the gift of life (Nov. 24, 2008)
This week, all of us will be counting our blessings; especially the folks who took part in a special gathering.  These people are giving the gift of life. Today, tissue transplant recipients, their doctors, and donors families gathered at UT Southwestern to celebrate transplantation medicine.  The Medical Center's Transplant Service Center collects and distributes tissue across the nation.

The Dallas Morning News: Stuff the bird, not yourself (Nov. 21, 2008)
Every Thanksgiving, you head to the table with the best intentions not to overeat. And every Thanksgiving, you leave the table feeling more bloated than a puffed-up turkey. We talked to Lona Sandon, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern, about how to right-size your plate for a Thanksgiving feast that won't pop the buttons on your jeans.

Advanced Imaging Magazine: Lighting the path (Nov. 21, 2008)
What kid hasn't run around at night capturing fireflies in a jar? Most don't think about what makes them glow, they're just excited and having fun. But scientists are taking that excitement to new levels, by examining the gene that allows fireflies to flash and using it to track the effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs. Dr. Ralph Mason, associate professor of radiology at UT Southwestern, and his team are among the first to show that a technique called bioluminescence imaging (BLI) (the conversion of chemical energy into light in living organisms) can be used to determine the effectiveness of cancer drugs that choke off a tumor's blood supply. Read More

Scripps News: Don't dose friendly bacteria with antibiotics (Nov. 20, 2008)
Spread out over an intestinal lining with a surface area about the size of a tennis court, our symbiotic bugs are with us throughout our lives. "It's truly a mutually beneficial relationship. We provide the bacteria with food and, in return, they supply energy and nutrients," said Dr. Masashi Yanagisawa, a professor of molecular genetics at UT Southwestern who is studying how gut bacteria activate other bodily systems in their hosts.

Forbes: The skinny on sugars and sweeteners (Nov. 18, 2008)
When cutting calories from their diet, especially during the holiday season, conscientious eaters often start by eliminating sugar. But adding honey to tea or substituting "raw" sugar for white won't make a difference. Dr. Elizabeth Parks, an associate professor of clinical nutrition and in the Center for Human Nutrition at UT Southwestern, comments on the consumption of sugar and other sweeteners. 

FOX 4 Dallas/Fort Worth: UT Southwestern surgeon travels overseas (Nov. 12, 2008)
As millions of people across the country recognized and paid respects to U.S. veterans on Tuesday, some took their support a step further. FOX 4 found one such person in Dallas: Dr. Joseph Borrelli, chair of orthopaedic surgery at UT Southwestern, who is taking his trade overseas.  

HealthDay: Retired NFL players don't face greater heart risk (Nov. 12, 2008)
Despite their large body size, former professional football players aren't at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, according to a study that looked at 201 retired NFL players. Lead author Dr. Alice Y. Chang, an assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern, said "Remaining physically active may help protect against many of the health risks of large body size in former competitive football players." Read More

New York Times: The promise and power of RNA (Nov. 11, 2008)
RNA interference, or RNAi, discovered only about 10 years ago, is attracting huge interest for its seeming ability to knock out disease-causing genes. There are already at least six RNAi drugs being tested in people, for illnesses including cancer and an eye disease. In one of the latest surprises in this field, scientists have discovered what they call RNA activation. “We weren’t looking for it,” said David Corey, a professor of pharmacology at UT Southwestern, who was one of those to discover the phenomenon about two years ago. Read More

Reuters: Low potassium linked to high blood pressure (Nov. 11, 2008)
In a multi-ethnic population-based group of 3,303 adults, half of whom were African American, a low potassium level in the urine correlated with high blood pressure, regardless of the level of salt (sodium) in the diet or cardiovascular risk factors. This observation "supports the hypothesis that dietary potassium deficiency plays an important role in the development of high blood pressure," Dr. Susan Hedayati of UT Southwestern told Reuters Health. Read More

New York Times: Cholesterol-fighting drugs show wider benefit (Nov. 9, 2008)
A large new study suggests that millions more people could benefit from taking the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins, even if they have low cholesterol, because the drugs can significantly lower their risk of heart attacks, strokes and death. The study, involving nearly 18,000 people worldwide, tested statin treatment in men 50 and older and in women 60 and older who did not have high cholesterol or histories of heart disease. The study found that the risk of heart attack was more than cut in half for people who took statins. Dr. Scott Grundt provides commentary. Read More

U.S. News & World Report: Lack of potassium linked to high blood pressure (Nov. 9, 2008)
Consuming too little potassium may be as big a risk factor for high blood pressure as eating too much sodium, especially for blacks, new research says. The findings, based on a UT Southwestern heart study done on the urine samples of 3,300 people, support previous studies that made similar conclusions about potassium and blood pressure. Dr. Susan Hedayati comments. Read More

HealthDay: Don't rely on diet to prevent weight regain (Nov. 7, 2008)
If you've just lost weight and are trying to keep it off, don't rely on diet alone to keep those unwanted pounds at bay. A team from Denmark found that people following three very different diets regained weight, anyway. "The trick to preventing weight regain seems to be more in increasing exercise rather than diet strategies," said Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern. Read More

The Dallas Morning News: Mike Myers, Kern Wildenthal to join Texas Business Hall of Fame (Nov. 6, 2008)
Mike Myers and Dr. Kern Wildenthal will be inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame tonight at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. Dr. Wildenthal is president of the Southwestern Medical Foundation and was president of UT Southwestern Medical Center from 1986 until this year.

Med Page Today: Transplant prognosis poor if liver failure in youths is caused by antiepileptics (Nov. 4, 2008)
In the rare instances when antiepileptic medications cause drug-induced acute liver failure in young people, a subsequent transplant is likely to end in death, University of Maryland researchers say.  UT Southwestern's Dr. William Lee, principal investigator of the Dallas-based Acute Liver Failure Study Group, comments. Read More

Scienceline: Is the MRI lie detector test reliable? (Nov. 4, 2008)
Two companies are marketing a method of lie detection that relies on brain scans rather than a racing heart, at a time when many experts worry about the technique’s accuracy. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a technology that measures changes in blood flow to different areas of the brain over time. Andrew Kozel, a neuroscientist and psychiatrist at UT Southwestern, says, "...We believe it requires more brain activation to lie-although exactly why producing a deceptive versus a truthful response results in increased brain work is not known.” Read More