ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS - Around one in three Americans gets a cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. "If someone chooses to smoke, most of the risk will only impact them," said James Fabisiak. "When we think about air pollution, on the other hand, the risk is smaller than smoking but that risk is now distributed over a much wider segment of the population."
UPMC - New research, developed largely from Amrita Sahu's (EOH) thesis work, implicates the so-called “longevity protein” Klotho, both as culprit and therapeutic target to the inability for skeletal muscle to hear after injury as we get older. “We found that we were able to rescue, at least in part, the regenerative defect of aged skeletal muscle,” said lead author, EOH's Fabrisia Ambrosio.
PITT MED - Cells die—that’s just part of life. But there’s always a reason. Pitt scientists are figuring out how to keep programmed cell death in check. EOH's VALERIAN KAGAN and SALLY WENZEL and other colleagues including EOH's HULYA BAYIR, are partnering to better understand “the reason” for ferroptosis—exactly what biomolecular line is crossed, how that signal is communicated within and between cells, which molecules pull the trigger, and how....
RISK ANALYSIS - Before joining Pitt Public Health in 2001, BERNARD GOLDSTEIN, EOH professor and former dean, obtained his medical degree from NYU. In 1980, he was recruited by Rutgers Medical School to help with the increase in public and political concerns about environmental pollution. Later, he left New Jersey to head the Office of Research and Development under President Ronald Reagan.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - The Carnege Science Center held their Ladies Hospital Aid Society Gala last week. EOH chair SALLY WENZEL and 5 other doctors were honored with the 2018 Trailblazer award for advancing the cause of medicine in their fields. Each of them were surprised with $20,000 to help further their research.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE - The ArcelorMittal steel mill at the Port of Indiana in Burns Harbor emitted 173,000 pounds of benzene during 2016, making it the nation’s largest industrial source of a volatile chemical known to cause leukemia. More could be on the way but regulators can't explain where the steel mill's pollution ends up. “It’s a constant fight,” said EOH's JAMES FABISIAK.
Environmental Health News - Pittsburgh would be an ideal place for further study on the links between air pollution, asthma, and autoimmune disease, says EOH chair SALLY WENZEL. "There's a lot of evidence now that what you breathe may impact your lungs in many ways, and could actually start an autoimmune process. That's a link we haven't fully explored in this region yet."
MEDPAGE - Two trials showed that dupilumab was associated with reduced exacerbations, better lung function and improved asthma control in patients with moderate-to-severe uncontrolled asthma. EOH professor SALLY WENZEL says, “for patients who have a lot of comorbidities, and are missing a lot of work or school, it has the potential to be cost effective.”
THE HILL - “In the name of ‘cooperative federalism,’ Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is out to gut one of the finest examples of cooperative federalism in environmental law — that of setting outdoor air pollutant standards,” writes EOH’s BERNARD GOLDSTEIN. “This new approach... should be judged in conjunction with other major decisions about the incorporation of science into EPA.”
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR - A proposal by the EPA administrator that aims to limit the scientific research that the agency can use to set rules illustrates a widening rift between republicans and the scientific community. If finalized, the action would limit studies only to those whose data is publicly available. In environmental health research perfect, randomized, double-blind clinical studies aren’t possible, says EOH's BERNARD GOLDSTEIN.
Congratulations to EOH's AARON BARCHOWSKY who received the award for the passion and interest with which he teaches, for always encouraging his students, and his constant work to improve as an instructor. As one nominator put it, "He respects students and he is the best professor I've known."
SALLY E. WENZEL will take over as chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health starting May 1, 2018. As chair, Wenzel will extend her work on airway disease to build a research program that spans clinical, bench, and environmental exposure science, amplifying the exceptional strengths already present in the department.
THE WASHINGTON POST - Observers of both the Reagan administration and the current one say there are several reasons to think Pruitt may not share Gorsuch’s fate. Reagan appears to have made a calculation that he needed to tack to the political center on the environment later in his first term, and so replaced Gorsuch. But Trump seems more inclined to double down on deregulation, said EOH's BERNARD GOLDSTEIN.
THE HILL - The European Union's unclear definitions of the Precautionary Principles allows them to ban trade of goods such as beef previously treated with growth hormones and GMO grains without demonstration that such goods cause any health risks. EOH's BERNARD GOLDSTEIN says, "The US is not without unfair trade practices. But, in contrast to the EU, we do not rely on distorting public health science as a means to wrap greed in a green flag."