UT Southwestern in the News — July 2010

July 2010

Los Angeles Times – Compression-only CPR found effective (July 29, 2010)
Chest compressions alone are as effective in rescuing victims of heart attacks as conventional cardiopulmonary resuscitation that combines compressions with forced breathing, researchers said Wednesday. Communities that are already using the new approach are seeing dramatic increases in survival of people who experience heart attacks, said Dr. Paul E. Pepe, head of the emergency medicine department of UT Southwestern. "What we have learned is that continuous blood flow, even if it is not fully [oxygen-] saturated, is probably much better in terms of helping restore spontaneous circulation," Pepe said. Read More

KXAS-TV (NBC 5) – Freestanding surgery centers under microscope (July 29, 2010)
A major hepatitis outbreak in Nevada has put all freestanding surgery centers under scrutiny. Texas is second in the nation in the number of outpatient surgery centers. UT Southwestern surgeon Dr. Edward Livingston discusses a study he edited for the prestigious medical journal JAMA. The study done in 2008 and published last month showed ambulatory surgical centers, ASCs, outpatient surgery centers, need to do a better job controlling infection. Watch Video 

Contra Costa Times (Calif.) – More video games add exercise to the mix (July 28, 2010)
A study published in the journal Pediatrics showed participation in intense games such as Wii Boxing or Dance Dance Revolution was comparable to moderate-intensity walking. But another article in the same issue said that while exergaming uses significantly more energy than sitting around pushing buttons, those games don't provide as much benefit as participating in actual sports. In other words, gaming nerds aren't totally off the hook. "Unless you do resistance-type exercise, you won't gain a lot of strength," says Dr. Robert Dimeff, sports medicine director at UT Southwestern. "To get cardiovascular benefits, you'd need to get your heart rate and blood pressure up." Read More

The Heart (Heartwire) – Arguments continue over the metabolic syndrome (July 28, 2010)
Years after the term metabolic syndrome was first coined, controversy continues over the validity of naming and treating this clustering of certain risk factors as a separate condition. One of the key supporters of the metabolic syndrome is Dr. Scott Grundy (UT Southwestern). He commented to heartwire: "I believe metabolic syndrome is a valid concept, and the vast majority of people in the cardiovascular field also believe that." He estimated that in the U.S., at least half the population is overweight and 40 percent will have metabolic syndrome. Read More

KERA 90.1 FM (National Public Radio) – 9-1-1 call reveals Irving mom wanted "normal kids" (July 22, 2010)
The Irving mom accused of killing her two children told the 9-1-1 operator she killed them because she wants "normal kids." KERA's BJ Austin says in a recording of the call, Saiqa Akhter is heard telling police her children were autistic. Dr. Madukhar Trivedi, a psychiatrist at UT Southwestern, says the manner in which the mother describes the killings is difficult for anyone to hear. "The sort of monotonous voice that you hear clearly is something that is disturbing to all of us when we listen to it because we as a society expect some sort of strong emotion when a mother is talking about the death of her children. And this lack of touch with reality is the most striking, in my view," he said. Listen 

Associated Press – New guidelines aim to reduce repeated C-sections (July 22, 2010)
Most women who've had a C-section, and many who've had two, should be allowed to try labor with their next baby, say new guidelines — a step toward reversing the "once a cesarean, always a cesarean" policies taking root in many hospitals. Wednesday's announcement by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists eases restrictions on who might avoid a repeat C-section, rewriting an old policy that critics have said is partly to blame for many pregnant women being denied the chance. Fifteen years ago, nearly 3 in 10 women who'd had a prior C-section gave birth vaginally the next time. Today, fewer than 1 in 10 do. Last spring, a National Institutes of Health panel strongly urged steps to reverse that trend, saying a third of hospitals and half of doctors ban women from attempting what's called VBAC, for "vaginal birth after cesarean. Educating women about their options early enough in pregnancy for them to make an informed choice is key, said Dr. F. Gary Cunningham of UT Southwestern, who chaired the NIH panel on repeat C-sections. Read More

FW Star-Telegram - Health experts prescribe a sodium shake-up (July 21, 2010)
Sodium contributes to high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. "If we cut sodium by just a little, by 1.2 grams a day, we would reduce strokes in the United States by 32,000, reduce heart attacks by 54,000, and reduce deaths by 44,000" a year, says Dr. Amit Khera, director of preventive cardiology at UT Southwestern. " Read More

KXAS-TV (NBC 5)  – Asthma patients could get breath of fresh air (July 22, 2010)
Researchers at UT Southwestern are on the verge of a breakthrough that could make inhalers and steroid shots a thing of the past. Dr. David Farrar and his research team found that interferon, an immune system protein already used to treat certain cancers, multiple sclerosis, and hepatitis C also blocked certain immune cells that caused asthma. "We want to know whether or not interferon can reverse those cells," he said. "If it can, this could be a promising potential therapy to treat asthma patients." Watch Video

KTVT-TV (CBS 11) – 'Pro Ana' sites causing harm online (July 21, 2010)
Those who have battled back from an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia say it's a constant struggle. However, now there's a growing trend online where people are actually promoting eating disorders. Experts say there may be no way to stop them. Dr. Stephanie Setliff, a psychiatrist with UT Southwestern and Children's Medical Center, treats patients suffering from eating disorders. She says she sees the damage from these websites on a daily basis. "This is a very serious illness, and it will kill you," she said. "A lot of the sayings you hear are things like 'Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.'" Dr. Setliff says they treat these websites like magazines, television, and other forms of media. She says they're just an unfortunate sign of the times, and parents must be aware of what their children are viewing online. Read More

Dallas Morning News – Magazine ranks Dallas hospitals as among the best in nation in several specialities (July 16, 2010)
Local hospitals represented North Texas well in the most recent issue of U.S. News & World Report. In its "America's Best Hospitals" report, the magazine identified 152 out of 4,800 medical centers excelling in one or more of 16 specialties, from cancer to psychiatry.
UT Southwestern ranked 15th in urology, 24th in diabetes, 25th in gynecology, 26th in kidney disorders, 28th in neurology and 50th in ear, nose and throat care. "These specialty rankings affirm the excellence UT Southwestern is building upon in our strategic initiatives," said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern. Read More

United Press International – Interferon may help stop asthma (July 15, 2010)
Researchers at UT Southwestern say interferon — an immune-system protein used to treat multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C and a number of cancers — may help asthma patients breathe easier. Dr. J. David Farrar, the study's senior author, comments.
Read More 

WFAA-TV (Ch. 8) – Popular diabetes drug under fire (July 14, 2010)
A popular diabetes drug is under fire as an FDA advisory committee determines whether it's too dangerous to stay on the market. A number of studies show Avandia increases potentially deadly heart problems. Doctors are waiting to see what the FDA panel decides, and they say patients should, too. UT Southwestern cardiologist Darren McGuire comments. Watch Video

New York Times – Blame’s net catches lung cancer patients (July 13, 2010)
When it comes to advocacy and research funds, the leading cancer killer in the United States — lung cancer — clearly gets short shrift. People with the disease are commonly assumed to have brought it upon themselves by smoking. And the 10 to 15 percent of lung cancer patients who never smoked are typically tarred with the same brush. Dr. Joan Schiller, an oncologist at UT Southwestern, comments. Read More

NPR: Science Friday – A chemical nurtures new brain cells in rodents (July 12, 2010)
What if you could take a drug, a shot or a pill that would nurture new neurons in your brain, neurons that actually worked and made your brain work better? Scientists at
UT Southwestern have found a chemical that might do the job some day. They screened nearly 1,000 chemicals and found one that nurtures new neurons in rat and mice brains. UT Southwestern biochemist Steven McKnight describes the work and explains what has to happen before the chemical can be tried in humans. Listen

KERA-FM 90.1 – UTSW brain discovery (July 12, 2010)
UT Southwestern researchers have discovered a compound that may someday lead to improved memory for people with Alzheimer's or neurodegenerative problems. KERA's Shelley Kofler says the scientists may have been working with mice but they had humans in mind all along. Researchers Steven McKnight and Andrew Pieper discovered P7C3 after introducing 1,000 different chemicals into the brains of mice. The compound seemed to allow new neurons to form in a part of the brain critical for memory. Older rats exposed to the compound showed a new ability to learn and remember tasks. Listen 

Reuters – A pill to make you smarter? Drug grows brain cells (July 9, 2010)
Researchers have found a drug that can help the brain grow new cells and said their study may lead to ways to improve experimental Alzheimer's drugs. The researchers' work, done on rodents, builds on findings that all mammals, including humans, make brain cells throughout their lives. Most of these die, but this drug helps more of the baby cells survive and grow to become functioning brain cells. "We make new neurons every day in our brain," Andrew Pieper of UT Southwestern, who worked on the study, said in a telephone interview. "What our compound does is allow more of them to survive." Read More

Science News – Fertilizing future brain cells (July 9, 2010)
Wait until the Miracle-Gro people hear about this. Researchers have discovered a new chemical compound that helps newborn neurons grow into mature brain cells. In mice, the chemical helped baby neurons survive a particularly tough adolescence in which 60 to 70 percent of the cells typically die, researchers report in the July 9 Cell. The team, led by Andrew Pieper and Steven McKnight of UT Southwestern, found eight compounds that could make neurons grow. Computer analysis further narrowed the field to just one compound, dubbed P7C3, with the right properties that make it attractive as a candidate for drug development. Read More

KERA-FM 90.1 – Federal 'Tanning Tax' kicks in (July 2, 2010)
Starting today, it costs more to visit a tanning salon. The federal healthcare bill includes a 10 percent tax on U-V tanning. KERA's BJ Austin says the new tax puts salon owners on one side; doctors on the other; and customers in the middle. At UT Southwestern, Dr. Clay Cockerell says U-V tanning is a serious cancer risk, and he likes the new tax. Listen