UT Southwestern in the News — March 2010

KXAS-TV (NBC 5) – The city to be in if you go into cardiac arrest (March 31, 2010)
It turns out Carrollton is where you want to be should you go into cardiac arrest. The survival rate is 15.8 percent, up from 4 percent, one of the highest survival rates in the nation. Dr. Ahamed Idris, professor of surgery in the division of emergency medicine at UT Southwestern, is part of the group effort. A $700,000 grant purchased monitoring technology for all ambulances in Dallas County. Watch Video

Wall Street Journal – Making cells live forever in quest for cures (March 30, 1010)
Three Americans discovered telomeres and the enzyme that makes them, called telomerase, in the 1980s, work for which they recently won the Nobel Prize in medicine. Scientists from UT Southwestern and others have shown they can keep certain types of cells living forever by adding telomerase to keep telomeres intact or repair those that became too short. Now researchers are studying how telomerase-based therapies could help repair damaged cells and play a major role in cancer research. "What our goal should be isn't increasing life span, but healthy life span," says Jerry Shay who, with his
UT Southwestern colleague Woodring Wright, first figured out how to use telomerase to immortalize cells in the late 1990s. Read More

FW Star-Telegram – Robot's aid makes bladder removal easier (March 25, 2010)
When doctors told John Greer that they wanted to remove his bladder through a small incision near his belly button, he didn't hesitate to agree. Greer, 77, of Dallas, is a self-employed handyman who had advanced bladder cancer. In January, surgeons at UT Southwestern used a four-armed robot to remove Greer's bladder, prostate, surrounding lymph nodes and muscle through several small incisions. The operation was the first of its kind in North Texas. The robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery minimizes bleeding, decreases pain and has a shorter recovery period than traditional bladder removal, said Dr. Yair Lotan, associate professor of urology at the medical center.

KTVT-TV (CBS 11) – Dallas researchers fighting to find HIV vaccine (March 25, 1010)

The fight to find a cure for HIV and AIDS in North Texas started 30 years ago and continues today. Now, a Dallas-based biomedical company says it's on the leading edge of this international fight. The collective brain power of three men has taken them from Africa to France and back to Dallas, to the new BioCenter at Southwestern Medical District.

CNN: Anderson Cooper 360 – Obese teen credits surgery for weight loss (March 24, 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. Watch Video

FW Business Press – CPRIT awards $6.8 million in research funds (March 22, 2010)
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas has awarded more than $6.8 million to fund 12 new cancer prevention programs as the first round of prevention grants to be awarded in CPRIT’s 10-year, $3 billion mission. Dr. Keith Argenbright with UT Southwestern and Moncrief Cancer Resources was awarded $999,877 to focus on breast cancer screening and patient navigation in Denton, Hood, Johnson, Parker and Wise counties. Dr. Samir Gupta, with the same institutions, was awarded $898,662 to increase colorectal cancer screening with a focus on the uninsured of Tarrant County.
Read More

KDAF-TV (CW) CH 33 – Match Day: March Madness for medical students (March 19, 2010)
As the giant game clock in UT Southwestern's gymnasium counts down to zero, medical students pace and ponder their futures. A snare drummer playing a drum roll adds to the tension. "Yes, a lot of anxiety, we have no idea what's in that envelope," said Bryan Young. That envelope holds Bryan's future. This is called "Match Day." It's March madness for medical students who find out where they'll spend their residency. "It's a huge deal," said associate dean Jim Wagner. "If you think about it, it not only represents what they're going to do for their future, it represents more than four years of work, grueling hours and they had to learn tons of material." Watch Video

Reuters – New radiation therapy shows promise in lung cancer (March 17, 2010)
Aiming powerful beams of radiation precisely at tumors helped control their growth and helped people with early stage but inoperable lung cancer live longer, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. They said intensive radiation therapy – done in one to five treatments instead of the conventional 20 to 30 – provided more than double the rate of primary tumor control than seen in prior studies of conventional radiation therapy. The findings suggest stereotactic body radiation therapy could "provide a significant step forward in the battle against this type of lung cancer," said Dr. Robert Timmerman of UT Southwestern, whose study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Read More

Wall Street Journal – Search for better diabetes therapy falls short (March 14, 2010)
New strategies to prevent and treat diabetes and heart disease failed to improve care in two major studies, frustrating researchers' efforts to find more-effective approaches to the world's burgeoning diabetes epidemic. The studies are among the first large trials to test whether treatments recommended for diabetes patients also reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Diabetics are between two and four times as likely to die of cardiovascular causes as nondiabetics. The lack of data on whether strategies to treat diabetes actually lower heart risk is of growing concern to physicians, researchers and regulators. Dr. Darren McGuire comments. Read More

New York Times – Panel urges new look at caesarean guidelines (March 11, 2010)
A panel of medical experts on Wednesday recommended steps to reverse a trend that has dismayed many pregnant women: the increasing difficulty of finding doctors and hospitals that will let a woman try to give birth normally if she has had a Caesarean section in the past. The new recommendations came at a conference held by the National Institutes of Health to examine why the rate of vaginal birth after Caesarean, or VBAC, has plummeted. Dr. F. Gary Cunningham, conference chairman and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UT Southwestern, comments. Read More

Bloomberg News – Fat surgery urged for obese kids may boost Allergan sales (March 12, 2010)
In 2009, 220,000 people in the U.S. underwent weight-loss surgery. That’s an increase from 28,800 in 1999. Surgery, though, should only be considered as a last resort for children. Edward Livingston, a surgeon at UT Southwestern, agrees. It’s important to be cautious because there’s no data available showing lap-bands are safe and effective longer term in either adults or children, according to Livingston, who said he has performed bariatric surgeries for 17 years in adults. Read More

Austin American-Statesman – Cancer institute awards first prevention grants (March 11, 2010)
Promoting vaccination against the cervical cancer-causing human papillomavirus at Dallas-area clinics and educating Houston-area Asian Americans about cancer prevention are among the first prevention projects funded by Texas’ new cancer institute. Today, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas announced $6.8 million in awards for a dozen projects at clinics, community organizations and academic institutions. Read More

KXAS-TV (NBC 5) – The psychology of keeping weight off (March 10, 2010)
Dropping pounds isn't just about workouts and diets. The psychological side of overeating is so critical that UT Southwestern now dedicates a health psychologist solely to its bariatrics program. Dr. Martin Deschner comments. Read More

Fort Worth Star-Telegram – Dallas-Fort Worth allergy sufferers, brace yourselves (March 10, 2010)
That annoying itching and sneezing that signals the arrival of spring allergies is back – and it's only going to get worse. Fort Worth and Dallas were the two worst cities in the country for allergies Tuesday, with pollen counts nearly off the charts, according to data at www.pollen.com. It's hard to predict the allergy season. Normally it starts off gradually and picks up, but this year is different, said Dr. David Khan, professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern. "It's hitting more aggressively and all at once, so a lot of people are suffering," he said. "People who are allergic to trees and grasses are in big trouble."

Science News – Scientists offer compelling images of Gulf War Illness (March 10, 2010)
Nearly two decades after vets began returning from the Middle East complaining of Gulf War Syndrome, the federal government has yet to formally accept that their vague jumble of symptoms constitutes a legitimate illness. At the Society of Toxicology annual meeting, researchers rolled out a host of brain images – various types of magnetic-resonance scans and brain-wave measurements – that they say graphically and unambiguously depict Gulf War Syndrome. Or syndromes. Robert Haley of UT Southwestern and the research team he heads have identified three discrete subtypes. And the new imaging linked each illness with a distinct – and different – series of abnormalities in the brain. Read More

Wall Street Journal – To double the odds of seeing 85: Get a move on (March 9, 2010)
The leading edge of the baby boom generation turns 65 next year, which means a new milestone looms on the horizon: age 85. So what do boomers need to do not just to survive to 85, but to live healthy lives into old age? The most important strategy, according to the latest research to look at the question, is to be physically active in middle age. Dr. Jarett Berry, a cardiologist at UT Southwestern, comments. Read More

Scientific American (Podcast) – Does getting fat protect against fat? (March 9, 2010)
In a paper in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers argue that getting fat is the body's way of storing fat correctly, and that metabolic problems kick in when we get so fat that fat infiltrates organs not equipped to deal with it. Karen Hopkins reports on the research by Robert Unger and Philipp Scherer of UT Southwestern. Listen

Dallas Morning News – The flu season's been mild so far, but experts issue warning (March 4, 2010)
Dallas County health officials aren't ready to declare this a mild flu season, but they're close. Aside from a continuing, but mild, outbreak of the swine flu, or H1N1, there are no signs of the seasonal flu strains that typically hit North Texas in January and peak in February, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services. Dr. James Luby, a professor of internal medicine and infectious diseases at UT Southwestern, comments. Read More

KXAS-TV (NBC 5) – Surgeons reattach teen’s arm severed by boat propeller (March 3, 2010)
A beautiful, talented Texas teenager was almost killed in a horrific boating accident. Even if she survived, it appeared that she would lose her right arm. But quick reaction by a friend, and UT Southwestern's Dr. Joseph Borelli, chief of orthopedic surgery. helped lead to a miracle. Amazingly, Dr. Borelli was able to re-attach Kristen’s arm in a 5-hour surgery. Watch Video

Dallas Morning News – Dallas researcher hopes therapy curbs diabetes with fewer side effects (March 3, 2010)
A longtime diabetes researcher at UT Southwestern is setting up human tests for a new treatment that he says might have fewer side effects than standard insulin therapy. Dr. Roger Unger, former director of the Touchstone Center for Diabetes Research at the Dallas medical school, comments. Read More

Science News – Hormone may be heart-healthy insulin substitute (March 3, 2010)
Type 1 diabetics may soon have a more heart-friendly way to control blood sugar. A new study in mice shows that leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells, lowers blood sugar as well as insulin does; but unlike insulin it does not increase cholesterol levels. The finding could quickly lead to improved treatment for type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes. Leptin and insulin worked equally well to lower blood sugar levels in diabetic mice, and using a combination of the two hormones allowed researchers to dramatically decrease the amount of insulin mice needed, Roger Unger of UT Southwestern and colleagues report in a paper to be published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read More

Reuters – Eating fish has no effect on abnormal heart rhythm (March 3, 2010)
There are plenty of good reasons to eat fish, but preventing abnormal heart rhythms doesn't seem to be one of them, according to a new study. Dr. Jarrett D. Berry of UT Southwestern and his colleagues found no relationship between how much non-fried fish postmenopausal women ate and their risk of developing atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm abnormality. The research was published in the American Journal of Cardiology. Read More

Associated Press – FDA panel back Bristol-Myers transplant drug (March 3, 2010)
Federal health advisers said Monday an organ transplant drug from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. should be approved for patients receiving a new kidney, despite mixed results when compared with older drugs. The Food and Drug Administration drug advisory panel voted 13-5 in favor of the company's drug belatacept to prevent organ rejection in patients implanted with a new kidney. However, the FDA panelists struggled to describe the benefits of the drug, citing higher rates of severe kidney rejection compared with older drugs from Novartis and Abbott Laboratories. "I'm not convinced they measured effectiveness adequately," said Dr. Darren McGuire of UT Southwestern, who voted against approval. "I'm not willing to sacrifice a detriment to acute rejection for speculated benefits."