UT Southwestern in the News — August 2010

August 2010

Science News – Amphetamine abusers face blood vessel risk (Aug. 24, 2010)
In case it isn’t already clear that amphetamine abuse is a bad idea, researchers now report that abusers face more than three times the risk of developing a tear in the aorta, the huge artery carrying blood out of the heart. Physicians consider such a tear an emergency with catastrophic potential. The findings may help people make better-informed decisions about their behavior, says study coauthor Arthur Westover, a psychiatrist at
UT Southwestern. Read More

Dallas Morning News – Link found between abuse, aortic tear (Aug. 24, 2010)
Researchers at UT Southwestern studied medical records from almost 31 million people between the ages of 18 and 49 who were hospitalized from 1995 to 2007. They found that amphetamine abusers had three times the risk of tearing the inner layer of the aorta (the largest artery in the body), allowing the blood to separate, which can cause a rupture that often leads to death. Read More

Dallas Morning News – Kickstart campaign encourages a vegan diet (Aug. 24, 2010)
The Kickstart Vegan diet plan, created by the advocacy group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, is a 21-day program, which includes meal plans and daily e-mails and is designed to help ease the curious into a vegan lifestyle. Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian at UT Southwestern and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, confirmed that plant-based diets, including Mediterranean and vegetarian ones, can provide health benefits. Read More

Dallas Morning News – Soldiers' survival rates on rise, but so are challenges presented by brain injuries (Aug. 22, 2010)
Thanks to advances in combat gear and battlefield medicine, more troops survive injuries that would have killed them in previous wars. This is good news, but it also presents some long-term challenges. The soldiers are "surviving, but with things like post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury," said Dr. Carol Tamminga, professor of psychiatry at
UT Southwestern. Read More

MSNBC – Guys, these 7 quick health checks could save your life (Aug. 21, 2010)
Men don't go to doctors unless they're in serious pain or really spooked about something. In a 2007 American Academy of Family Physicians survey, 58 percent of men cited specific factors, such as lack of time, lack of insurance, and lack of extreme symptoms, as reasons for avoiding physicians. But we should make the effort for symptoms like: Clogged nasal passages — Do you inhale through your nose or through your mouth? If it's your mouth, then your nasal passages may be obstructed, probably due to allergic rhinitis, the symptoms of which can include sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, and general stuffiness. Or if those symptoms accompany coughing and wheezing, you might have asthma. Bradley Marple, M.D., a rhinologist at UT Southwestern, comments. Read More

MSNBC.com – Remove what from where? Orifice surgeries expand (Aug. 19, 2010)
Once regarded as “highly experimental,” operations known as NOTES — natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery — are now becoming more common, at least in the few centers that specialize. Early studies indicate that NOTES procedures cause less pain in patients and little infection or complications, said Dr. Daniel Scott, associate professor and director of the Southwestern Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery at UT Southwestern. Read More

MTV News – Dr. Frank Ryan's fatal crash reignites texting-while-driving debate (Aug. 19, 2010)
Plastic surgeon Dr. Frank Ryan was apparently sending out a tweet before his car fell off a cliff Monday. The surgeon, best known for performing several surgeries on "The Hills" starlet Heidi Montag, was apparently typing about his border collie before his Jeep Wrangler plummeted from Malibu's Pacific Coast Highway. The accident demonstrates the very real danger of texting or tweeting while driving, an activity that has reportedly spiked in recent years. "I hear, almost daily, accounts of people who are injured while texting," said Dr. Angela Gardner, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians and an assistant professor of emergency medicine at UT Southwestern, comments. Read More

Scientific American – Sniff Test: Bacteria may have a primordial sense of smell (Aug. 18, 2010)
A new paper suggests that bacteria do not just reek odor-they also smell it. Bacterial colonies detect pungent ammonia molecules released by neighboring colonies and respond by coating themselves in protective slime, according to a study published August 11 in Biotechnology Journal. Vanessa Sperandio, a microbiologist at UT Southwestern who was not involved in the study, comments. Read More

CNN – Protected by online anonymity, hate speech becomes an online mainstay (Aug. 17, 2010)
Even though some choose to use their real identities, there are still a great number of anonymous comments on YouTube and Twitter, even on Facebook where some create alternate profiles from which they comment in controversial groups. These sites have become forums that cater to specific parts of the population — those with strong opinions who want to maintain reputation. However, the thinking behind some of these anonymous comments could be more complex. Dr. Adam Brenner, director of adult psychiatry residency training at UT Southwestern, comments. Read More

Dallas Morning News – Coaches, band directors work to keep practices safe for students (Aug. 17, 2010)
Local coaches, athletic trainers and band directors say outdoor practices in the heat prepare students for the fall when they're wearing full pads or bulky band uniforms during football games in still-sweltering September. Dr. Paul Pepe, professor and chairman of emergency medicine at UT Southwestern, said there is some rationale for acclimating students to the summer heat. "Your body generates heat at rest, but if you're outside and physically active, it's more difficult for the body to cool itself," he said. "Some experience and exposure to the heat helps people know what to look for and how it feels if they're in trouble." Read More

Dallas Morning News – How to know if you have sleep apnea (Aug. 17, 2010)
If you snore, sleep an inordinate amount of time during the day, or experience any number of seemingly unrelated physical and emotional signs, you may need more than a warm glass of milk at bedtime and an earplugs-wearing bedmate. You may have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, in which you stop breathing throughout sleep. "Sleep apnea is implicated in cardiovascular diseases, vascular diseases, and endocrinological diseases like diabetes," says Dr. Won Lee, medical director of the Sleep and Breathing Disorder Center at UT Southwestern. Read More

Dallas Morning News – Sleep makes the rest of your life run better (Aug. 17, 2010)
When we're short on time, sleep tends to go by the wayside. Without it, we're more prone to a host of problems both physical and emotional. With enough of it, we're healthier and, quite frankly, much nicer to be around. Whether we're snoozing or not, sleep affects us 24 hours a day. "Sleep is an important restorative function for our entire body," says Dr. Won Lee, medical director of the sleep and breathing disorder center at UT Southwestern. "It allows the body to rest, the brain to rest, and to help improve neurocognitive function during the daytime. "It's an essential part of existence for humans."  Read More

Fort Worth Star-Telegram
– Resetting kids' sleep clocks is imperative for physical, academic health (Aug, 17, 2010)
Of all the back-to-school rituals, getting kids back on track sleepwise may be one of the toughest, especially as they grow older. Because body clocks aren't set on an exact 24-hour rhythm, "we all have a propensity to migrate to a later bedtime and a later wake-up time when allowed," says John Herman, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at
UT Southwestern and a sleep disorders specialist. "So, given this inclination, most children over the summer, unless they're restricted by their parents, will go to bed later and wake up later. Then, the first day of school is when the rubber hits the road, because the body clock settings now conflict with requirements to wake up in time for school." Read More

KXAS-TV (NBC 5) – McKinney woman unable to gain weight (Aug. 12, 2010)
What if you could eat whatever you wanted, and never gain a pound? It's Dwanna Swan's reality, but she would trade the extra calories for good health. Swan, 41, has lipodystrophy. She was born without fat cells, so any fat she takes in doesn't stick to her body. She was Dr. Abhimanyu Garg's first lipodystrophy case 25 years ago. Now he is one of the world's leading lipodystrophy researchers and the chief of metabolic diseases at
UT Southwestern. In people who have the disorder, fat goes to the liver and can take a serious toll on their bodies, Garg said. Watch Video

Dallas Morning News – UT medical school presidents warn of fewer new doctors under U.S. planned cuts (Aug. 12, 2010)
The federal health overhaul could dry up funds that the state's academic medical centers use to produce doctors in Texas, leaders of the University of Texas' six health science centers warned Wednesday. The medical school presidents said they're not necessarily opposed to the sweeping legislation signed by President Barack Obama last spring, but they worry that their centers may absorb deep financial hits if they don't adapt to a changed marketplace and cut costs. "We've got incredibly robust institutions, but they're inherently fragile," Daniel Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern, told reporters after the presidents briefed UT regents about the new federal law. Read More

New York Times – This teenage girl uses botox. No, she’s not alone (Aug. 12, 2010)
Last month, Charice Pempengco, the petite Filipino teenager whose knockout voice has wowed Oprah and millions worldwide, caused a stir of another kind. To prepare for her appearance on the Fox show “Glee” this fall, Ms. Pempengco, who is 18, got Botox injections and a skin-tightening treatment called Thermage. Dr. Rod J. Rohrich, the chairman of plastic surgery at UT Southwestern, said that in his practice he selectively does “lots of Botox” for wrinkles on patients starting in their late 20s. (Models sometimes start in their early 20s.) When it comes to teenagers, Dr. Rohrich, who is editor of the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, says he injects them with Botox infrequently — and usually only for migraine relief. “That works well,” he said. “I do it a lot around final exams.” Read More

Dallas Morning News – Dallas med school forms partnership with Chinese university hospital (Aug. 12, 2010)
UT Southwestern has formed an academic and scientific partnership with Sun Yat-sen University and its First Affiliated Hospital in Guangzhou, China, that initially calls for
UT Southwestern to host five to 10 Sun Yat-sen postdoctoral scholars a year. Read More

Dallas Morning News – UT Southwestern cancer center ranked among best in U.S. (Aug. 5, 2010)
UT Southwestern's cancer center earned a spot on the National Cancer Institute's list of top facilities, making it one of 66 in the nation and one of four in the state with the distinction. The recognition, announced Wednesday, is likely to bring more money to the cancer center because it now is a part of an exclusive network of top-rated sites that receive higher-profile clinical trials and biotechnology investments. Local patients are likely to benefit because they'll be first in line for the center's innovations, said Dr. James K.V. Willson, director of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. Read More

Dallas Business Journal – UT Southwestern Cancer Center wins elite title (Aug. 4, 2010)
UT Southwestern announced this week that the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center has been designated a National Cancer Institute center — the highest distinction a cancer hospital can achieve in the United States. The designation comes with a $7.5 million support grant over five years. Dr. Dennis Stone, vice president of technology development for UT Southwestern, said the designation and funding will result in an unspecified number of high-paying jobs being created in North Texas. In addition, he said it’s hard to quantify, but there is a more subtle impact that stems from adding therapeutic treatment and better cancer expertise to the North Texas community. Read More

WFAA-TV (Ch.8) – National recognition for Dallas cancer research (Aug. 4, 2010)
UT Southwestern on Wednesday received a National Cancer Institute designation — a high honor that will mean better cancer care in North Texas. Doctors John Minna and Adi Gazdar have cultivated the largest lung cancer cell line in the world in a UT Southwestern lab, endeavoring to help patients who often have no hope. Within those tumor cells could be the answer to lung cancer. "When Dr. Gazdar and I started out in this, it was a total death sentence," Dr. Minna said. "Actually, the first part of our research showed that 15 to 20 percent could be cured with this type of therapy, and we're hoping now to extend it." Watch Video

Reuters – For blood pressure, can you be fit but fat? (Aug. 3, 2010)
If you're trying to bring your blood pressure to healthy levels, a new study suggests that how much you weigh is more important than how fit you are. "Obesity is such a strong predictor of blood pressure or hypertension risk that having a normal body weight is really what's going to drive your blood pressure" rather than your fitness level, Dr. Susan Lakoski, a cardiologist at UT Southwestern and one of the study's authors, told Reuters Health. At least in terms of lowering your risk for high blood pressure, she said, "it's not realistic to be fit and fat." The study was published in the American Heart Journal. Read More

Health Day – Low carb-, low-fat diets tied for long-term weight loss (Aug. 3, 2010)
If you're overweight, should you cut carbs or fat? A new two-year study suggests that it may not matter in the long run: When combined with extensive guidance about eating and exercise, people lost about the same amount of weight whether they were on an Atkins-style, low-carbohydrate diet or a traditional low-fat diet. There's another message from the study, said Lona Sandon, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern. "It confirms what we have known for years: that it's not fat versus carbohydrates. It's the calories that lead to weight loss." Read More