In the News

The dangers of hidden fat


Scientists know that the type of fat you can measure with a tape isn’t the most dangerous. But what is the most effective way to fight internal, visceral fat that you cannot see or feel? The answer: exercise.

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center analyzed two types of interventions – lifestyle modification (exercise) and pharmacological (medicine) – to learn how best to defeat fat lying deep in the belly. The study is published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

“Visceral fat can affect local organs or the entire body system. Systemically it can affect your heart and liver, as well as abdominal organs,” said senior author and cardiologist Dr. Ian J. Neeland, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine. “When studies use weight or body mass index as a metric, we don’t know if the interventions are reducing fat everywhere in the body, or just near the surface.”

Extreme exercise does not raise heart disease risk or mortality


Exercise is often cited as the best preventive medicine, but how much is too much for the hearts of middle-aged athletes?

Sports cardiologist Dr. Benjamin Levine led a study, now published in JAMA Cardiology, to find the answer. Dr. Levine is a Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, a collaboration between UT Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

Dr. Lee warns of acetaminophen buildup dangers


When seeking quick pain relief, people should not overuse acetaminophen as a cure-all, UT Southwestern Medical Center liver disease experts warn.

“It is easy to lose track of how much combined acetaminophen you’re consuming when taking combinations of medicines or multiple medications, particularly for different ailments such as arthritis while also perhaps dealing with a cold or the flu,” says Dr. William Lee, Director of the Clinical Center for Liver Diseases at UT Southwestern. “Failing to identify the different names for acetaminophen, such as ‘APAP,’ or just not reading labels can be deadly, since acetaminophen is present in many types of pain pills, both prescription and over the counter, as well as in cold and flu medications.”

Liver cancer patients can be treated for Hep C infection


Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center studied the records of patients who had been successfully treated for liver cancer at 31 medical centers in North America, comparing those who were and were not given direct-acting antivirals for hepatitis C. The study found no significant difference in the recurrence of liver cancer between the two groups.

“Our study was inspired by a single-center study from Spanish investigators in 2016. That study gained a lot of press and sparked fear about treating liver cancer patients for their hepatitis C,” said Dr. Amit Singal, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Director of the Liver Tumor Program. “Based on these new data, providers can feel reassured that it is safe to treat hepatitis C in these patients and allow them to receive the known benefits of hepatitis C therapy.”

2018 Manpei Suzuki International Prize for Diabetes Research


Dr. Philipp Scherer has become the first scientist to win what could be called the “Triple Crown” of diabetes research recognition – adding the top Asian award to the American and European ones he claimed earlier.

Dr. Scherer, Director of the Touchstone Center for Diabetes Research, has been chosen to receive the 2018 Manpei Suzuki International Prize for Diabetes Research in recognition of his discovery of adiponectin, a hormone released by fat cells, and subsequent research into the hormone’s role in fending off diabetes. His research has “deepened and widened our understanding of diabetes, obesity and energy homeostasis,” according to the Manpei Suzuki Diabetes Foundation, which bestows the $150,000 prize.

Inorganic phosphate maybe contributing factor in couch potato behavior


A new study describing the adverse effects of excess consumption of phosphate is published in the journal Circulation“We should not consume more than 700 milligrams of inorganic phosphate per day, but about one-third of people consume three to four times that amount,” said Dr. Wanpen Vongpatanasin, Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of the Hypertension Fellowship Program. “Like any nutritional ingredient, too little phosphate is harmful, but too much is also harmful.”

Recipients of the Clinical Excellence Awards


In Fall 2018 UT Southwestern announced the launch of the first annual Leaders in Clinical Excellence Awards, honoring those who embody the very best in clinical and institutional excellence. Congratulations to the following Internal Medicine faculty who received these prestigious awards.

Dr. Scherer awarded Manpei Suzuki Award for Diabetes Research


The Manpei Suzuki Diabetes Foundation announced Phillip E. Scherer, Ph.D., as the winner of the 2018 Manpei Suzuki International Prize for Diabetes Research.


A single workout can activate neurons that influence metabolism


A new study from Dr. Kevin Williams research lab shows neurons in mice that influence metabolism are active for up to two days after a single workout. The research offers new insight into the brain’s potential role in fitness and – in the longer term – may provide a target for developing therapies that improve metabolism.

Dr. Drazner published study on heart failure risk factors


“In our study, genetically determined African ancestry was associated with two factors that are connected with an increased risk of heart failure – higher voltage on an electrocardiogram and thickening of the left ventricle,” said senior author Dr. Mark Drazner, Professor of Internal Medicine and Clinical Chief of Cardiology.