UT Southwestern in the News — August 2009

Fort Worth Business Press – New Texas cancer institute plans high-impact research (Aug. 31, 2009)
While swine flu is an urgent threat and has the potential to turn into a pandemic, cancer is an urgent reality, and already is impacting a huge number of Americans and costing state taxpayers about $22 billion annually. The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, or CPRIT, created by the Texas Legislature in 2007, is an organization uniquely positioned to change the way research and prevention of cancer are done in the state. Dr. Alfred Gilman, an emeritus professor at UT Southwestern and a Nobel laureate, is the chief scientific officer of CPRIT and said the review committees will not focus on preliminary data but instead on what is best for Texans. Read More

CBS 11 (Dallas) – Lung cancer research may lead to early detection (Aug. 29, 2009)
Jerrold Dash is a former college football star, track runner, and all-around sports enthusiast. He never smoked a day in his life, yet he still found himself battling lung cancer. Now, there's research being done in North Texas to find out why non-smokers are getting the disease. Dr. Adi Gazdar, professor of pathology at UT Southwestern, is studying lung cancer in people like Jerrold who have never smoked a day in their lives.

The Dallas Morning News – Bill would create national registry to track undiagnosed illnesses (Aug. 28, 2009)
Heather Long's 5-year-old son, Charles August Long, died in December 2006 of an unknown, neurodegenerative disease. Today, she is promoting a bill named after her son, known as Cal, to create a national database of undiagnosed diseases. Dr. Jeffrey Elliott, associate professor of neurology at UT Southwestern, said a handful of resources are available to help doctors and patients communicate about rare, complicated neurological diseases, but generally there are few places to turn.

Reuters – Abbott, Pfizer in pact for lung cancer screening (Aug. 28, 2009)
Two big drug companies – Abbott Laboratories and Pfizer Inc – said on Thursday they were teaming up to match a genetic test for lung cancer with a new type of drug to treat it. The Abbott test, another step toward personalized medicine in cancer treatment, will determine the presence of so-called gene rearrangement in the tissue of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumors. About 6 to 7 percent of non-small cell lung cancer patients have the rearrangement. Dr. Adi Gazdar of UT Southwestern comments. Read More

Associated Press – Heart association says to cut way back on sugar added to food; sodas, candy biggest culprits (Aug. 26, 2009)
A spoonful of sugar? Americans are swallowing 22 teaspoons of sugar each day, and it's time to cut way back, the American Heart Association says. By comparison, most women should be getting no more than 6 teaspoons a day, or 100 calories, of added sugar. For most men, the recommended limit is 9 teaspoons, or 150 calories, the heart group says. Cutting back on sugar likely won't be easy for many people, said Lona Sandon, a dietitian at UT Southwestern, comments.

The New York Times – Gold awarded amid dispute over runner’s sex (Aug. 21, 2009)
As an 18-year-old runner from a village in South Africa received her gold medal in Olympic Stadium on Thursday night, activity away from the track had put her at the center of an international dispute: doctors here and in her home country were examining test results to determine whether she has too many male characteristics to compete as a woman. Dr. Richard Auchus, a specialist in disorders of sexual differentiation at UT Southwestern, comments. Read More

Reuters – Tests help lung cancer drugs reach right patients (Aug. 20, 2009)
Diagnostic tests that look for specific genetic or molecular characteristics may be the key to helping doctors decide which lung cancer treatments work best for patients, two studies released on Wednesday suggest. Both studies, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, reinforce prior findings and offer new evidence that screening tests may be useful to match patients with the best therapy. Dr. Adi Gazdar of UT Southwestern comments. Read More

The Dallas Morning News – J. Gregory Fitz named dean of the UT Southwestern School of Medicine (Aug. 20, 2009)
Dr. J. Gregory Fitz, chairman of internal medicine at UT Southwestern, has been named dean of the UT Southwestern School of Medicine and provost of the medical center, effective Oct. 1. Fitz will also be executive vice president for academic affairs for the medical center.

Bloomberg – Americans gained 73 days to live in 2007, CDC says (Aug. 20, 2009)
Life expectancy in the U.S. rose to a record 77.9 years, from 77.7 in 2006, according to preliminary data released today by the National Center for Health Statistics, a U.S. agency. Exercise and better diets are helping Americans make headway in preventing heart disease, Raul Caetano, dean of the UT Southwestern School of Health Professions, said today in a telephone interview. Cholesterol drugs have also reduced heart disease, while better care for patients with heart problems has lowered fatalities, he said. Improved cancer prevention and treatments have also pushed mortality rates down. Read More

Psych Central – Some teenage sleep patterns linked to depression (Aug. 14, 2009)
A five-year study suggests sleep patterns can help predict which adolescents might be at greatest risk for developing depression. Studies have found that depressed adults experience rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep earlier in the sleep cycle than people who are not depressed. Dr. Uma Rao, professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern and lead author of the new study, comments. Read More

KDAF-TV Ch. 33, DALLAS – No Scar Surgery: Surgical Device Controlled By Magnet (Aug. 13, 2009)
Meet the surgical tools of the future. They are early prototypes, but progress is being made to use magnets for surgery. Dr. Daniel Scott, director of the UT Southwestern Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery, comments. Watch Video

KDAF-TV Ch. 33, DALLAS – Melanoma Study: Antigen to seek and destroy cancer (Aug. 10, 2009)
About a year and a half ago Mary Ryan had a mole examined and soon after joined a long list of people diagnosed with melanoma. Now, there may be new hope on the horizon. UT Southwestern researchers are studying a new antigen which may be able to track down and kill cancer cells in melanoma patients. Dr. James Huth comments. Watch Video

Nurse – Regional Facilities Rank Among Best Hospitals Nationwide (Aug. 11, 2009)
U.S. News & World Report has released its annual rankings of the top hospitals in the nation. Of the 174 hospitals ranked, 21 qualified for the magazines Honor Roll, including Parkland Memorial Hospital (No. 11 gynecology); and UT Southwestern (No. 15 urology, No. 20 neurology and neurosurgery, No. 23 kidney disorders, No. 33 gynecology). Read More

eMAX HEALTH – Insulin shown to benefit newly diagnosed diabetes (Aug. 11, 2009)
Researchers from UT Southwestern say insulin should not be a last resort for diabetes treatment. To help abolish myths about insulin, diabetics should be encouraged by physicians that insulin is a safe and effective way to control weight gain, episodes of low blood sugar and prevent early death from diabetes complications. Dr. Ildiko Lingvay, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study, comments. Read More

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Tragedy in Collier: Women more prone to post-traumatic stress (Aug. 8, 2009)
Women who survived Tuesday's shooting at the LA Fitness athletic club in Collier now are likely to face a struggle to heal emotionally from their traumatic close encounter with a gunman. Post-traumatic stress disorder following a harrowing event is twice more likely to affect women than men, said Dr. Carol S. North, a UT Southwestern psychiatrist and leading researcher on the mental health impact of disasters. Read More

The Dallas Morning News – Cool jobs give workers relief from summer heat (Aug. 7, 2009)
With temperatures expected to reach close to 100 degrees in Dallas-Fort Worth, today's not a great day for construction workers, roofers or landscapers. But folks who work in ice factories, meat-processing plants or ice cream shops? No sweat. Dr. Paul Pepe, chairman of emergency medicine at UT Southwestern, said adapting to extreme heat and cold is possible and actually healthy if done right.

WFAA-TV, Ch. 8 (ABC), Dallas – Aging in America: Frank conversations about life, death (Aug. 7, 2009)
More and more adult children face a struggle when their parents near the end of life. Dr. Amit Shah is a UT Southwestern doctor who treats aging patients. Dr. Shah says not talking to your family about your final wishes can leave everybody guessing. He offers to lead his patients through a front-end conversation about how an elderly parent would like to live and die.

Science Daily – Higher drug doses needed to defeat tuberculosis, researchers report (Aug. 7, 2009)
The typical dose of a medication considered pivotal in treating tuberculosis effectively is much too low to account for modern-day physiques, UT Southwestern researchers said. The finding, reported online and in the August edition of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, is particularly important for those living in societies plagued by obesity, said Dr. Tawanda Gumbo, associate professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and the study's lead author, comments. Read More

KDAF-TV, The 33 News, Dallas – Recession 101: Billboards (Aug. 6, 2009)
High above the roads of North Texas and the nation is inspiration from an unknown optimist. It is a billboard campaign called Recession 101 that features a series of light hearted, clever quotes like "Chill: Hysteria feeds recessions." Dr. Tom Van Hoose, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern, says this "in your face" effort could prove very effective. "When you combine humor with a positive thought, a lot of times folks look at their situation differently and they begin to feel not so bad." Watch Video

The Dallas Morning News – Genetic testing when the cancers are inherited (Aug. 4, 2009)
For people with inherited cancers, the relatively new option of genetic testing offers power through knowledge. But parents must tread carefully to inform kids in an age-appropriate, nonfrightening way. In general, genetics counselors advise against testing until there's a chance to act on the results." Linda Robinson, supervising genetic counselor at UT Southwestern, comments. 

Fort Worth Business Press – Primary care makes significant impact on health care (Aug. 3, 2009)
In areas where major diseases can be prevented – like cervical cancer or breast cancer, which can be screened for, caught early or even vaccinated against in the case of cervical cancer – improving access to primary care shows a significant decrease in mortality rates. That was the message at the Distinguished Speaker Series at the UNT Health Science Center. Mark DeHaven, division chief of community health services at UT Southwestern and a panelist, said achieving equitable outcomes requires a long-term commitment to a community that goes beyond one grant or one study. 

Science – No sweet tooth for Europe (Aug. 3, 2009)
If you take your coffee without sugar or your pancakes without syrup, chances are you've got some European ancestry in your blood. New research reveals that people whose early relatives lived in Europe are more sensitive to sweet tastes than those whose ancestors came from other parts of the world. Molecular biologist Stephen Wooding of
UT Southwestern agrees that the difference may be adaptive. But he says the particular adaptation isn't yet clear. Read More