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In the News

Internal Medicine Innovation Tank


To promote innovation in care delivery, health education, and patient experience, the Clinical Compensation Committee created the Innovation Tank, a competition modeled after Shark Tank to encourage internal investment in faculty development as facilitators of change.

Congratulations to all our finalists: Dr. Rebecca Vigen, Dr. Sarah Wingfield, Dr. Jessica Voit, Dr. Caitlin Siropaides, Dr. Jaclyn Albin, Dr. Swee-Ling Levea, Dr. Laila Castellino and Dr. Kamalanathan Sambandam.

See more about Innovation Tank


Protein associated with Alzheimer's also causes dysfunction in fat cells


A protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease in the brain also causes problems in the body’s fat cells, where it invades the cells’ energy centers, increasing obesity and the risk of diabetes, according to a study published online today in Nature Metabolism.

Amyloid precursor protein (APP) – which some consider the evil player in the neurodegeneration of Alzheimer’s disease – shows up at far higher levels in fat cells in mice and humans who are obese, said the study’s senior author, Dr. Philipp Scherer, Director of UT Southwestern’s Touchstone Center for Diabetes Research and Professor of Internal Medicine and Cell Biology.

Criteria for clinical trials needlessly excluding patients


Federal regulations may keep lung cancer patients out of clinical trials simply because these patients are on medications that might affect the electrical system of the heart. Drilling into the details quickly turns up reasons to think these regulations may be preventing a substantial proportion of patients from participating in clinical trials. There may be alternatives, and researchers and physicians should explore them.

These are the conclusions of a team of researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center that included members of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. Their findings, published in the journal Clinical Lung Cancer in November, might help break down barriers for patients to participate in important, potentially lifesaving clinical trials. The barriers currently exclude thousands of patients.

“This issue comes up all the time in my practice,” said Dr. David Gerber, who treats lung cancer patients and is a Professor of Internal Medicine and Population and Data Sciences. He is one of the study’s authors and has been studying clinical trial eligibility criteria for a decade.

2020-2021 Parkland Medical Staff Election Results


Congratulations to Dr. Eugene Chu, Division of Hospital Medicine-PHHS, who was recently elected to Vice President of the Medical Staff at Parkland for the 2020-2021 term. Also elected as Members-at-Large were Dr. Matthew Leveno, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Dr. Christian Mayorga, Jr., Division of Digestive and Liver Diesease, and Dr. Kehinde Odedosu, Division of Hospital Medicine-PHHS.

2020 Shine Academy Inductees from Internal Medicine


Two Internal Medicine faculty members have been named as members of the Shine Academy and will be horored at the 2020 Innovations in Health Science Education conference held February 27-28. Congratulations to Dr. Reeni Abraham, Division of General Internal Medicine and Dr. David Greenberg, Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine. 

Begun in 2005, the Academy is named after Dr. Kenneth I. Shine, former UT System Executive Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs. Dr. Shine, who retired in 2013, championed many UT System-led enhancements in health care education and research, and served as interim Chancellor for the UT System in 2008. More than 100 UT System educators have been inducted into the Academy. Nominations for membership may come from the President, Dean, Vice Dean, or Faculty Senate at any of the six health institutions in the UT System.

Kaplan appointed Professor Emeritus


Congratulations to our own Dr. Norman Kaplan who was recently appointed Professor Emeritus. Dr. Kaplan has be a member of the faculty here at UT Southwestern for more than forty years. For the last thirty, his teaching, writing and research have focused primarily upon clinical aspects of hypertension.

He has lectured extensively and contributed over 500 papers to the medical literature. The ninth edition of his textbook, Kaplan's Clinical Hypertension, was published in early 2006. He has been a member of the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth Joint National Committees on Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure.

He has been made a Master of the American College of Physicians, given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Heart Association's Council for High Blood Pressure Research, and served on the Executive Committee of the American Society of Hypertension from its founding.

Biomarker blood test could reveal high risk heart patients


The researchers found that approximately one-third of adults with mild hypertension who are not currently recommended for treatment have slight elevations of one of these two biomarkers; these individuals were more likely to have heart attacks, strokes, or congestive heart failure over the next 10 years. In other words, these patients are “flying under the radar” and do not know that they are at greater risk of cardiovascular events.

“We think this type of test can help in the shared decision-making process for patients who need more information about their risk,” said preventive cardiologist Dr. Parag Joshi, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine. “These blood tests are easily accessible and are less expensive than some other tests for risk assessment.”

Led by Dr. Joshi and Dr. Ambarish Pandey, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, the researchers looked at data from 12,987 participants (mean age 55 years, 55 percent female) who experienced 825 cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, over a median follow-up time of 10 years. The information was compiled from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, the Dallas Heart Study, and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.

Internal Medicine 2019 Leaders in Clinical Excellence Awards Recipients


On Wednesday, November 6, the University hosted its second annual Leaders in Clinical Excellence Awards. Established last year by the Board of Directors of the UT Southwestern Medical Group, the program was created to honor the exceptional contributions of clinical faculty to the care of patients, to the education of the next generation of health care professionals and to the University overall. This year, Internal Medicine saw four of its faculty members honored with awards: Drs. Dale Okorodudu (Rising Star Award), DuWayne Willet (Institutional Service Award), Hugh McClung (Patient and Family Recognition Award), and James Brugarolas (Program Development Award). 

Drug combo improves lung function in cystic fibrosis


A phase three clinical trial that UT Southwestern participated in determined that a three-drug combination improved lung function and reduced symptoms in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients who have a single copy of the most common genetic mutation for the disease.

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration approved the therapy based on the results of this international study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. A companion investigation appearing simultaneously in The Lancet reported on people with one or two copies of the mutation.

Dr. Raksha Jain, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center, is corresponding author of the NEJM article and an investigator on The Lancet study. Dr. Jain is presenting both studies at the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference in Nashville this week.

Dr. Vongpatanasin publishes latest study in "Hypertension"


Cardiologists know that when patients use a blood pressure cuff at home, they have a significant head start on managing their heart health risk. Now, researchers have learned the added value for African Americans.

“Our study shows that African American men and women who are taking medications to control their hypertension should monitor their blood pressure at home on a regular basis. These home-taken readings are a more accurate measure of how healthy the heart is than clinic readings when compared to other ethnic groups,” said Dr. Wanpen Vongpatanasin, Professor and Director of the Hypertension Section and its Hypertension Fellowship Program. Checking blood pressure in the clinic alone may miss the opportunity to prevent heart disease, especially in high-risk hypertensive black patients, she added.