UT Southwestern in the News — April 2010

April 2010

Dallas Morning News – Greater risk of Alzheimer's disease among blacks, Hispanics (April 27, 2010)
While advancing age is still the biggest risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease, blacks and Latinos are in greater danger than any other group. There's some evidence, says Kristin Martin-Cook, clinical research coordinator for UT Southwestern's Alzheimer's Disease Center, that exercise may increase some of the protective proteins in the brain and decrease the bad proteins that contribute to Alzheimer's. To that end, the Alzheimer's Disease Center is about to launch an exercise study with people who are just beginning to show memory impairment that might signal a risk for Alzheimer's.

New York Times – To beat the heat, drink a slushie first (April 27, 2010)
A new study reports that young male recreational athletes who drank a syrup-flavored ice slurry just before running on a treadmill in a hot room could keep going for an average of 50 minutes before they had to stop. When they drank only syrup-flavored cold water, they could run for an average of 40 minutes. “It’s a really interesting study, well done and carefully thought out,” said Craig Crandall, an exercise physiologist at UT Southwestern who studies the effects of exercising in the heat.

USA Today – Exercise to get rid of anxiety, and put on a happy face (April 26, 2010)
Most people seeking treatment for depression or anxiety face two choices: medication or psychotherapy. But there's a third choice that is rarely prescribed, though it comes with few side effects, low costs and a list of added benefits, advocates say. The treatment: exercise. It's no secret that exercise often boosts mood: The runner's high is legendary, and walkers, bikers, dancers and swimmers report their share of bliss. And exercise seems to work better than relaxation, meditation, stress education and music therapy. "Most physicians and therapists are aware of the effects," says Chad Rethorst, a researcher at UT Southwestern. "But they may not be comfortable prescribing it." Read More

Med Center Today – Vanderbilt scientist named as UT Southwestern Internal Med Chair (April 26, 2010)
David H. Johnson, M.D., has been named the next chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern. Dr. Johnson’s appointment is the culmination of a rigorous national search and is based on his exceptional accomplishments as a physician, scientist and teacher.

CNN – On H1N1 anniversary, a mother lives daily with regret (April 26, 2010)
A year ago, scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that they had discovered a new flu strain that was sickening the young and healthy. An estimated 60 million people have been infected with H1N1, and 12,000 have died from the virus in the U.S., according to the CDC. It estimates that 10 percent of these deaths occurred in patients 17 or younger. Conditions were dire in Galveston when word about the swine flu spread in April 2009. Dr. Angela Gardner was an emergency physician working at UT Medical Branch, which had been hit by Hurricane Ike seven months prior. "We had people pouring in, worrying they had been exposed," she said. "There was no guidance about what to do. We ran out of flu swabs immediately. Then we didn't have testing." The experience with H1N1 drove home the importance of flu shots, hand washing and good hygiene, said Gardner, now an associate professor of emergency medicine
at UT Southwestern. Read More

United Press International – Molecular fight against viruses identified (April 23, 2010)
UT Southwestern scientists say they've identified the mechanism by which a protein initiates the body's immune response to viral attacks. The researchers say they've determined how a form of the so-called death protein ubiquitin, which normally latches onto molecules inside cells and marks them for destruction, interacts with the protein RIG-I but doesn't mark it for destruction. Instead, that form of ubiquitin binds to and activates RIG-I, which is known to trigger the body's immune system when a virus invades a cell. The scientists, led by Professor Zhijian Chen, reconstituted key elements of the human innate immune system in laboratory test tubes.

New York Times – Indian tribe wins fight to limit research of its DNA (April 22, 2010)
Seven years ago, the Havasupai Indians, who live deep in the Grand Canyon, issued a “banishment order” to keep Arizona State University employees from setting foot on their reservation. Members of the tiny, isolated tribe had given DNA samples to university researchers in the hope that they might provide genetic clues to the tribe’s devastating rate of diabetes. But they learned that their blood samples had been used to study many other things, including mental illness and theories of the tribe’s geographical origins that contradict their traditional stories. Is it necessary to ask someone who has donated DNA for research on heart disease if that DNA is to be used for other research? Many scientists say no, arguing that the potential benefit from unencumbered biomedical research trumps the value of individual control. Read More

ABC News – Study shows links between tanning and addictive behavior (April 19, 2010)
Increased regulation and warnings about the dangers of habitual tanning have not curbed visits to tanning booths, much to the chagrin of doctors and public health advocates. Now, a growing body of evidence suggests that, as with cigarettes, simply knowing the behavior is bad isn't going to stop people if the behavior is addictive. A new study, in the journal Archives of Dermatology, adds to that body of literature that connects regular visits to a tanning booth with addictive behavior. Dr. Bryon Adinoff, chief of the division on addictions at UT Southwestern, comments. Watch Video

Cleveland Plain Dealer – Americans are consuming more calories than ever: Fighting Fat (April 20, 2010)
There are dozens of explanations for why so many of us are overweight, but the bottom line is this: We're eating more now. A lot more. In 1970, the average American downed 2,169 calories a day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By 2008, we were consuming 2,674 calories daily. That's a 23 percent increase.

Dallas Morning News – Doctors focus on improving tuberculosis treatments (April 15, 2010)
Despite decades of effective treatment, tuberculosis remains one of the leading causes of death around the globe. TB is second only to HIV/AIDS among lethal infectious diseases. Dr. Tawanda Gumbo, a TB researcher and associate professor of infectious diseases at
UT Southwestern, comments. Read More

WNYC - RADIOLAB (National Public Radio) – Limits of Science (April 15, 2010)
Dr. Steve Strogatz wonders if we've reached the limits of human scientific understanding, and should soon turn the reins of research over to robots. Then, Dr. Hod Lipson and Michael Schmidt walk us through the workings of a revolutionary computer program that they developed — a program that can deduce mathematical relationships in nature, through simple observation. The catch? As Dr. Gurol Suel [assistant professor of pharmacology at UT Southwestern] explains, the program gives answers to complex biological questions that we humans have yet to ask, or even to understand.

Dallas Morning News – Grapevine senior fights to stay in baseball despite rare disorder (April 14, 2010)
At least Matt Tatum now knew the answer. All those years wondering why he wasn't getting bigger, stronger and faster had come to an end that day last November. Inside Southwestern, a strange feeling washed over Tatum as Dr. Bruce Mickey [professor of neurological surgery] explained that Tatum had Cushing's syndrome, a rare physiological disorder that affects the body's cortisol production. Even worse, Mickey said, there was a benign tumor on the right side of Tatum's pituitary that would have to be removed. 

Science News – Gulf War Syndrome real, Institute of Medicine concludes (April 10, 2010)
Hundreds of thousands of U.S. veterans who claim to suffer from Gulf War Syndrome just received powerful new ammunition against arguments that their symptoms are trivial, if not altogether fictional. On April 9, the Institute of Medicine — the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences — issued a report that concludes military service in the Persian Gulf War has not only been a cause of post-traumatic stress disorder in some veterans but also is associated with multisymptom illness. Read More

Modern Health Care – Meyer named to VP post at UT Southwestern (April 9, 2010)
UT Southwestern named Bruce Meyer as executive vice president of health system affairs, effective immediately. Meyer, 52, joined UT Southwestern in 2007 from UMass Memorial Medical Group, Worcester, Mass., where he was president, and UMass Memorial Health Center, where he was chairman of the obstetrics and gynecology department. Meyer, a physician, was previously UT Southwestern's vice president for medical affairs. He also has an MBA from the University of Tennessee. Read More

Associated Press – Study: Walking seems to lower women's stroke risk (April 8, 1010)
People with sickle cell disease often visit hospitals repeatedly in search of treatment, according to new research. In eight states studied, researchers found that one-third of sickle cell patients who visited the hospital returned within 30 days in search of pain relief. Young people, between the ages of 18 and 30, were especially likely to seek care. Dr. George R. Buchanan, a pediatrics professor at UT Southwestern, comments. 

US News & World Report – Sickle cell disease patients seek acute pain care repeatedly (April 8, 2010)
People with sickle cell disease often visit hospitals repeatedly in search of treatment, according to new research. In eight states studied, researchers found that one-third of sickle cell patients who visited the hospital returned within 30 days in search of pain relief. Young people, between the ages of 18 and 30, were especially likely to seek care. Dr. George R. Buchanan, a pediatrics professor at UT Southwestern, comments. Read More

ABC NEWS – Mom discovers when to be tough with anorexia (April 6, 2010)
Emily Troscianko's anorexia was so severe that when she was 26 she was barred from a treatment program because her weight had dropped so low. Her mother, Susan Blackmore, spoke some honest, harsh words. Tyler Wooten, a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist at UT Southwestern, comments. Read More

Dallas Morning News – Uncovering an obesity-cancer connection (April 6, 1010)
There is a clear correlation between obesity and cancer, according to a November report by the American Institute for Cancer Research. It went so far as to link excess body weight to more than 100,000 cancers in the U.S. annually. Dr. David Euhus, professor of surgical oncology at UT Southwestern and director of the Cancer Genetics and Risk Assessment Program at the Simmons Cancer Center, comments. Read More

Voice Of America/Our World – Studies show non-white kids more likely to get sick, die (April 3, 2010) 
Here in the U.S., Asian, African-American, Hispanic, and Native American children have higher rates of death and more illness compared to white children. That's the finding of a new analysis of more than 750 published studies on children's health. Philip Graitcer has our report. GRAITCER: The findings were based on data from 50 years of studies on children's health and health care disparities. DR. GLENN FLORES: "Racial and ethnic disparities in children's health and health are quite extensive, pervasive and persistent." GRAITCER: Dr. Flores, a pediatrician at UT Southwestern, was the report's author. He says these differences between minority kids and Caucasians were found in every area of health and health care. FLORES: "Disparities were noted across the spectrum of health and health care ..." 

Emax HEALTH – Stressed out? Scientists may have a clue (April 1, 2010)
One-third of America's youth is now overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Norwood, Massachusetts, 14-year-old Maria Caprigno no longer wants to be one of those statistics. Maria has been overweight since she was about 3 years old. Between 2000 and 2003, some 800 teenagers went under the knife to lose weight. But Dr. Edward Livingston, a UT Southwestern surgeon who has helped adolescents lose weight, said surgery for teenagers can be risky. Read More