UT Southwestern in the News — October 2010

October 2010

Austin American-Statesman – In first year, Texas research institute hands out millions in grants (Oct. 31, 2010)
Last summer, cancer researcher Ralf Kittler was seeking a faculty job after wrapping up a fellowship at the University of Chicago. He was looking into an opportunity in Seattle and was seriously considering an offer in New York. But he picked UT Southwestern. "In the end, they made me an offer I couldn't refuse," said Kittler, a native of Germany whose research focuses on early detection and treatment of breast, prostate and lung cancers. The reason the deal was so sweet: He won a four-year, $2 million award from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, money he's using to set up a lab, hire research assistants and buy equipment. The university pays his salary. The Legislature created the institute in 2007 to dole out up to $3 billion in cancer research grants over 10 years. Texas voters authorized bonds to fund the grants. Read More

Dallas Morning News – To homeless veterans, retiring Dallas VA psychiatrist is a hero (Oct. 31, 2010)
Over the years, as many as 200 homeless veterans visited Dr. Joel Feiner's cluttered office at the Dallas VA Medical Center. They suffered from severe depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and addictions. One in five homeless people is a veteran, according to the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance. Dallas has an estimated 5,750 homeless residents on any given night — with more than 1,200 of them veterans. Feiner recently retired as medical director of the VA's Comprehensive Homeless Center and as a professor at UT Southwestern, making for some tearful goodbyes. Read More

MSNBC – Excuses, excuses: 11 health cop-outs that hold you back (Oct. 29, 2010)
As busy people know, coming up with good-for-you goals, such as snacking on more veggies or carving out enough "me time," isn't the issue. It's making them stick. But, thankfully, there is plenty of good science on how to make your health or fitness goals last. We turned to the top researchers to identify the most common excuses to healthier living and the roadblocks that most often get in the way. Read on for simple solutions to start today … I get enough sleep, but I'm always tired. Solution: Check your thyroid or iron level. A sluggish thyroid, the organ at the base of your neck that regulates metabolism, is a common energy sapper among women over age 50, says Lynne Kirk, M.D., professor of general internal medicine at the UT Southwestern. Read More

Tyler Morning Telegraph – Report: Gastric bypass increases risk of kidney stones (Oct. 30, 2010)
Kidney stones are very common in the U.S. but people who undergo gastric bypass surgery are more at risk to develop them, according to a urological research report conducted at UT Southwestern. Nearly half of patients in the UT Southwestern study who had gastric bypass surgery and did not have a history of kidney stones showed high urine oxalate and low urine citrate, which are factors that lead to kidney stone formation. Foods or fluids high in citrate, like lemons, suppress the formation of stones. Although some people can pass a stone with pain medications and observation, others need may need surgery. Read More
Philadelphia Inquirer – Haircuts and hypertension (Oct. 30, 2010)
Barbershops can help shave the high rates of high blood pressure among African American men, a new study suggests. More than 40 percent of African Americans have hypertension, which often lacks symptoms. It raises the risk of stroke, kidney disease, and heart failure. The study done at UT Southwestern enlisted 15 black-owned barbershops in Dallas. By offering free blood- pressure screening — plus free haircuts — the shops identified patrons with hypertension and urged them to consult physicians to get medication and counseling. In the second phase, the barbershops were randomly assigned to give these 1,022 hypertensive patrons either educational pamphlets or support — blood pressure checks with each haircut. After 10 months, 66 percent of men in the support group had good blood-pressure control, up from 49 percent. Read More

USA TODAY – Infection sidelines Fiorina on California campaign trail (Oct. 27, 2010)
Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina was hospitalized Tuesday for what her campaign said was an infection related to her recovery from breast cancer, forcing her off the campaign trail a week before Election Day. Fiorina, 56, was receiving antibiotics for an infection associated with the reconstructive surgery she underwent after treatment for breast cancer. Fiorina was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2009 and underwent a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Last July, she had her final surgery for breast reconstruction. Surgeons who treat breast cancer say such infections are not uncommon. "Radiation therapy can significantly increase the risk of infection" after reconstructive surgery, says Michel Saint-Cyr, a plastic surgeon at UT Southwestern who specializes in breast reconstructive surgery. "You can get a delayed infection." Read More

United Press International – Aspirin may help fight prostate cancer (Oct. 28, 2010)
There is promising evidence aspirin can help drastically cut deaths among prostate cancer patients, a U.S. researcher says. Dr. Kevin Choe of UT Southwestern says men with prostate cancer who take anti-coagulants such as aspirin in addition to radiation therapy or surgery may be able to cut their risk of dying of cancer by more than half. "Findings from this study — involving 5,275 men with localized prostate cancer — are promising, but, further studies are necessary before the addition of aspirin to prostate cancer therapy becomes standard treatment," Choe, the study author, says. Read More

WTVF-TV (Nashville) – For black men, haircuts might also cut high blood pressure (Oct. 27, 2010)
Offering black men blood pressure checks while they're having their hair cut could help them keep hypertension at bay, a new study finds. This could be a new way to help reduce rates of uncontrolled high blood pressure, one of the leading causes of premature disability and death among black men in the U.S. "Compared with black women, men have less frequent physician contact for preventive care and thus substantially lower rates of hypertension detection, medical treatment and control," according to Dr. Ronald G. Victor, of UT Southwestern at the time of the study, and now at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues. Read More

Dallas Morning News – Better health for black men through barbershop screenings (Oct. 26, 2010)
Seventeen Dallas County barbershops were the laboratory as researchers looked for ways to prevent diseases caused by high blood pressure in black men. The results from the study, conducted by a UT Southwestern research team between March 2006 and December 2008, were released Monday. Barbershop patrons had their blood pressure taken during regular visits. Customers with elevated readings were given referral information for a medical follow up. The 602 patrons with high blood pressure who had readings done during their barbershop visits were 8.8 percent more likely to seek treatment than a control group of 695 customers who were simply given hypertension literature. The study was released online Monday. Dr. Ronald G. Victor comments. Read More

Reuters – Aspirin may boost prostate cancer treatment: study (Oct. 26, 2010)
Cheap, easy-to-take aspirin tablets may help men being treated for prostate cancer live longer, U.S. researchers reported on Monday. Prostate cancer patients who had been treated with either surgery or radiation, and who took aspirin or other anticoagulant drugs such as warfarin, were far less likely to die of cancer. Those who took the drugs had a 4 percent risk of dying from prostate cancer after 10 years, compared to 10 percent for men who did not take anticoagulants, the researchers said ahead of an American Society for Radiation Oncology meeting next week in San Diego. "Evidence has shown that anticoagulants may interfere with cancer growth and spread," Dr. Kevin Choe of
UT Southwestern comments. Read More

United Press International – Temperatures keep body clock in sync (Oct. 22, 2010)
Internal temperature regulates the body's clock – circadian rhythm – controlling sleep and other functions, U.S. researchers say. Researchers at UT Southwestern found a light-sensitive portion of the brain acts as the body's "master clock" coordinating the daily 24-hour clock, but it does so indirectly. The study, published in Science, found the brain responds to light entering the eye and transforms this information into neural signals that set the body's temperature. The researchers point out while long known that body temperature fluctuates in warm-blooded animals throughout the day on a 24-hour rhythm, this study shows it is temperature that actually controls body cycles. Dr. Joseph Takahashi, the study's senior author, comments. Read More

Time – Study: Many obese people think they look great the way they are (Oct. 20, 2010)
Getting obese patients to lose weight is tricky to begin with, but doctors may have a bigger battle than they thought: many clinically obese men and women think they're already at a healthy weight. In a study of 2,056 obese people in Dallas County (all participants had a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or higher), researchers asked each participant to look at nine illustrations of bodies, from very thin to very obese. The volunteers were asked to pick their ideal shape along with the one that most closely resembled their own body. About 165 people, or 8 percent of the group, chose ideal body shapes that were the same or bigger than their own, suggesting a misunderstanding of healthy weight. Dr. Tiffany M. Powell comments. Read More

WNBC-TV (NBC) CH 4, New York – Binge drinking on rise with women (Oct. 19, 2010)
For many people the idea of binge drinking brings up images of college parties and people downing shots, but according to the Centers for Disease Control an average woman drinking four or more drinks over two hours is considered a binge drinker. There is scientific evidence a growing number of young women fall into that category. A
UT Southwestern study of 85,000 thousand respondents looked at drinking trends starting in 1992. Among women, White women were more likely than Hispanic and African-American women to binge, drinking five or more drinks a day. Why? Dr. Raul Caetano, the author of the study says social acceptance is a huge factor. Watch Video

Associated Press – CPR Switch: Chest presses first, then give breaths (Oct. 18, 2010)
New guidelines out Monday switch up the steps for CPR, telling rescuers to start with hard, fast chest presses before giving mouth-to-mouth. In recent years, CPR guidance has been revised to put more emphasis on chest pushes for sudden cardiac arrest. The group now says everyone from professionals to bystanders who use standard CPR should begin with chest compressions instead of opening the victim's airway and breathing into their mouth first. Dr. Ahamed Idris, of UT Southwestern, said people are sometimes afraid that they'll hurt the patient. Read More

Associated Press – Hormones linked with kidney stones in older women (Oct. 12, 2010)
Kidney stones should be added to the list of health problems linked with hormone pill use after menopause, according to an analysis of landmark government research that first raised alarms about the products. Among more than 24,000 postmenopausal women taking either hormones or dummy pills, those using hormones were 21 percent more likely to develop kidney stones over about five years. Dr. Naim Maalouf, an endocrinologist at
UT Southwestern who was the study's lead author, said women considering using hormones to ease hot flashes and other menopause symptoms should "look at the bigger picture," weighing those benefits against the risks for kidney stones but also for more serious problems the pills have been linked with: breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes. Read More

KXAS-TV (NBC 5) – Remembering slain burn surgeon's bedside manner (Oct. 8, 2010)
A patient of a burn surgeon who died in a motorcycle crash says his death is “heartbreaking.” Police say a man suspected of drunken driving hit Dr. Gary Purdue after running a stop sign Sunday morning. “It’s heartbreaking,” Michelle Petersilia said. “He was a wonderful man.” Purdie, the chief of the burn section at UT Southwestern, treated Petersilia after she was hit by a car while she was walking in Richardson 13 years ago. Watch Video

Psych Central – New blood test for Alzheimer’s (Oct. 9, 2010)
Certain proteins found in blood serum have proven themselves as the new biomarkers in current efforts to definitively detect Alzheimer’s disease, according to researchers at
UT Southwestern. Together with results from a clinical exam, blood analysis would give a 94 percent accuracy rate in detecting suspected Alzheimer’s and an 84 percent accuracy rate in ruling it out in people without the disease, said the researchers. Dr. Ramon Diaz-Arristia, professor of neurology at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study, comments. Read More

WFAA-TV (Ch.8) – Colleagues praise Parkland doctor who died in motorcycle crash (Oct. 4, 2010)
Dr. Gary Purdue died in a motorcycle accident Sunday morning. You may not know his name, but as a world-renowned burn specialist, he pioneered new techniques and touched and forever changed thousands of lives. He organized skin grafts for 9/11 burn victims, some going to a Fort Worth soldier. He helped a mother who lost her limbs after childbirth. And he cared for dozens of babies waiting for adoption at the Gladney Center. Dr. Purdue was a professor at UT Southwestern and was longtime co-director of Parkland's burn unit. Watch Video

Dallas Morning News – Dr. Gary F. Purdue: Doctor filled many roles in his profession (Oct. 4, 2010)
Dr. Gary F. Purdue was an administrator at UT Southwestern and Parkland Memorial Hospital, who nonetheless worked in the trenches of his profession. "He was a working physician," said Dr. John Hunt, Dr. Purdue's co-director at the Parkland burn unit. "As they say in the profession, he wore three hats — research, teaching and administration. ... There's a lot of sadness around Parkland tonight." Dr. Purdue, 65, died early Sunday morning while driving his motorcycle to work. Police said the driver of an SUV ran a stop sign and hit Dr. Purdue. Read More

United Press International – Americans are drinking more alcohol (Oct. 1, 2010)
Caucasians, Hispanics and African-Americans all report drinking more during the period of 1992 to 2002, U.S. researchers say. Lead author Dr. Raul Caetano, dean of
UT Southwestern School of Health Professions and lead author, says more U.S. adults are drinking than 20 years ago. Trained interviewers in two surveys spoke with people age 18 or older in the respondents' homes and each study included about 43,000 participants and used the same overall methodology. Both studies defined drinkers as those drinking 12 drinks that contained at least 0.6 ounces of any kind of alcohol within the past year. Those who drank less than 12 drinks in the past year were considered non-drinkers. Read More

Health News Digest – Mammograms, self-examinations save lives (Oct. 1, 2010)
Breast cancer is expected to kill nearly 40,000 women in the U.S. this year, while another 207,000 will be diagnosed with the disease. With early detection, however, breast cancer has one of highest survival rates — nearly 90 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer will survive the disease at least five years. Dr. Phil Evans, associate vice president for imaging services at UT Southwestern, comments. Read More