HEALTHCARE INFORMATICS - EPI's Oscar Marroquin, a practicing cardiologist, was interviewed as part of the fourth-quarter 2018 Healthcare Informatics cover story for helping to lead a team of clinical data experts at the vast, 40-hospital UPMC health system in Pittsburgh.
THE ALLEGHENY FRONT - A new study finds that primary pollutants were linked with emergency room visits for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. EPI's Evelyn Talbott says that the study incorporates data from 48 air monitors in the greater Pittsburgh region, and data from the area’s major health care providers.
STARTS AT 60 - EPI and BCHS's Richard Schulz led a 2008 study on life after bereavement and found that 10 to 15% of carers would experience chronic depression after the death of the person they cared for. Interestingly, this percentage doubled for carers of people affected by dementia. The reason for this is because the more stressful the care-giving experience, the more challenging the recovery after bereavement.
PITT MED - Between 2000 and 2015, the number of maternal deaths and near-deaths in the United States rose by 25 percent. And African American mothers are four times more likely to die or nearly die as a result of pregnancy than white mothers. Ways to address racial disparities in maternal mortality and morbidity, according to EPI's Dara Mendez, is to focus on institutional equity and call out racism as a core element.
MEDICAL DAILY - In a new study led by EPI's Jane Cauley, sleeping over or under the recommended length was linked to a 25 percent increase in odds of experiencing recurrent falls. "Falls are an important public health problem among older adults and lead to moderate to severe injuries. Most fractures occur because of falls, and recent evidence shows that mortality from falls in the U.S. is increasing," said Cauley.
PITTWIRE - Research duo Tushar Singh (EPI '14) and Pitt Medicine's P. S. Reddy accepted the 2018 Sheth International Achievement Award, which is given every year to a Pitt faculty member and alumnus who are increasing Pitt’s global footprint with their work. Singh referred to EPI's Anne Newman as a close friend and mentor. Singh admitted lacking confidence in himself in early years, but said that Newman always encouraged him.
APHA - Doctoral student Abigail Cartus (EPI) presented a poster at APHA's 2018 annual meeting titled Neighborhood-level housing characteristics and birth weight in Pittsburgh, PA, 2009-2013. In this study, Cartus, EPI professor Dara Mendez, and colleagues analyzed data on all singleton births in the city of Pittsburgh, PA from 2009-2013 in relation to neighborhood-level data from the 2010 Census.
REUTERS - Even though there are still a lot of unknowns about the effects of marijuana exposure in the womb and from breast milk, research to date still suggests that pregnant and nursing women avoid cannabis. Earlier studies "were conducted when marijuana was not as strong as what is currently available, so we are probably under-estimating the effects of prenatal marijuana use on offspring development,” said EPI's GALE RICHARDSON.
Named in honor of English physician John Snow (1813-1858), considered one of the founders of modern epidemiology, this annual award recognizes outstanding scientists for enduring contributions to public health through epidemiologic methods and practice. Burke said, "I find great personal satisfaction in the knowledge that my life-long research efforts have helped to improve global health and well-being." Congratulations, Dean Burke!
STAT - The cost of heroin has fallen dramatically over the past few decades, and fentanyl and other illicit opioids can be rapidly mass produced. DEAN DONALD BURKE and Michael Hufford, co-founder of a nonprofit to improve naloxone access, propose a solution: "Make naloxone available over the counter, in much greater quantities, and at lower prices."
PITT WIRE - The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research has awarded JANE CAULEY, vice-chair of EPI, with the 2018 Shirley Hohl Service Award. Cauley received the award after volunteering for numerous positions and projects with the society.
ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - new research from Pitt Public Health has identified a dementia risk factor among older adults that should be modifiable even well into old age. “Although arterial stiffness is associated with markers of silent, or subclinical, brain damage and cognitive decline, until now, it was not clear that arterial stiffness was associated with the risk of dementia,” said EPI's RACHEL MACKEY.
STAT - The number of fatal drug overdoses nationwide has fallen for six consecutive months, fueling hopes that the downturn marks not just a reprieve but a long-lasting shift in the tide of the addiction crisis. “After 40 years of this predictable growth pattern, we can hope that the curve is finally bending downward for good,” DEAN BURKE, wrote in an e-mail. “But history tells us to interpret these wobbles cautiously.”
Complex health issues are easy to determine, but finding solutions can be challenging. Three Pitt Public Health students, ASHLEY SIMENSON (EPI ’19), JESSICA SALERNO (IDM ’20), and KAITLYN SAAL-RIDPATH (HPM ’20) were chosen as part of the inaugural class of Future Health Leaders to present their ideas at the Milken Institute's Future of Health Summit 2018 in Washington DC.