MEDPAGE TODAY - Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has been associated with cognitive and behavioral changes, especially later in the disease. However a cross-sectional, observational study published in Neurology, found that patients with ALS showed cognitive and behavioral impairment across disease stages. This misconception has "puzzled the field for years," noted Paul Wicks and BCHS's STEVE ALBERT in an accompanying editorial.
NASHVILLE LEDGER - Brentwood-based Quorum Health Corporation's board of directors has appointed JON KAPLAN (EPI '80) as an independent, non-employee director. Kaplan has extensive business experience consulting and advising health care companies. Since 2007, he has served as a senior partner and managing director of the Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Congratulations Jon!
POLITICO - The Senate is expected to pass a sweeping opioid crisis response package this week, paving the way for a final agreement between the two chambers. Even without direct savings, patients could benefit from lowered costs of hospital-administered drugs if the hospitals use that money to increase other services, says HPM's WALID GELLAD.
NEW YORK TIMES - One of the world’s top breast cancer doctors failed to disclose millions of dollars in payments from drug and health care companies in recent years, omitting his financial ties from dozens of research articles in prestigious publications like The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet. “If leaders don’t follow the rules, then we don’t really have rules,” says HPM's WALID GELLAD.
PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES - The winners of Pittsburgh Business Times’ 30 Under 30 awards program represent a diverse group of young professionals who are being recognized as up-and-coming executives, innovators, and thought leaders who will shape the future of Pittsburgh. ABBY MILES (HPM '13), manager of business analytics at Jewish Association on Aging is among the 2018 class.
WRCB-TV - The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends vaccine shots, instead of needle-free options, for children of all ages because the shots work better. UPMC is taking that a step further, saying it will only be buying the two egg-free vaccines on the market. “The egg-free vaccines appear to have perhaps a 10 percent higher effectiveness over the traditional egg-based vaccines,” said BCHS's RICHARD ZIMMERMAN.
THE INCLINE - Out of dozens of nominations, SARAH PAPPERMAN (BCHS '15) was selected among 17 individuals for the What's Next: Transit class of 2018 for impacting how Pittsburghers get around. Papperman co-facilitates the Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh transportation working group and is redefining transportation for people with mobility challenges in Allegheny County.
Pitt Public Health is one of the host sites for the upcoming Pennsylvania Opioid Code-a-thon, running via virtual videoconferencing in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh. Using data, content, and questions developed by the state and other organizers, teams will compete to create new software tools to help Pennsylvania address an issue related to the opioid epidemic, and then pitch their product to a team of judges.
The Jewish Healthcare Foundation approved a two-year, $300,000 grant to establish a Healthy Aging Program within the Aging Institute of UPMC Senior Services and the University of Pittsburgh. The program aims to modify the aging trajectory for seniors, identifying the key characteristics of aging and developing new interventions that enhance quality of life for older adults. ANNE NEWMAN, EPI professor, is the clinical director.
INFECTIOUS DISEASE ADVISOR - "Depending on whether they've been diagnosed and treated, people with HIV now have a higher life expectancy, but they still live with pain — especially chronic pain — and other symptoms," says BCHS's JESSICA MERLIN. These issues underscore the need for palliative care in this population at various stages, including end of life.
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER - With the help of a $3.8 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, Carnegie Mellon University's Marcel Just and EPI's DAVID BRENT will analyze the differences in brain scans of suicidal and non-suicidal young adults to detect those most at risk and develop personalized therapies. "It could give us a window into the suicidal mind that we don't have now," Brent said.
Congratulations to YARA ELBESHBISHI (HPM '16) for receiving the 2018 Ivan and Mary Novick Award for Young Alumni Leadership. This is a highly competitive award that was established by the Novick family to recognize and honor young alumni who have enriched the life of the University of Pittsburgh though their volunteer leadership efforts. The award will be presented at the Alumni Association's 2018 Homecoming Awards Luncheon in October.
PBS - After controlling for certain lifestyle factors, a 2010 investigation found that workers exposed to 0.6 to 2.5 parts per million of formaldehyde had fewer red and white blood cells and a higher prevalence of DNA mutations in the blood stem cells. BERNARD GOLDSTEIN, EOH professor said the mutations found in these studies resemble ones made by benzene, a known leukemia-causing agent that also lowers blood counts.
BIOPHARMA DRIVE - Scott Gotlieb, FDA commissioner, has been very vocal on twitter as a way to communicate the FDA's goals and to invite public comment and scrutiny. Stakeholders both inside and outside the agency have given Gottlieb credit for both transparency and effort. However, there are risks to the volume and pace of Gottlieb's methods, says HPM's WALID GELLAD.
NEW YORK TIMES - A group of economists is suggesting that many small tweaks, such as reigning in long-term care hospitals, could tame health care spending. HPM's JEREMY KAHN said there are some patients with particular ailments who benefit from the setting, but agreed with the economists that the hospitals are a historical accident, defined more by payment rules than patient needs.
U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT - A new analysis from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that 10 percent of adults ages 60 to 69 whose parents are alive serve as caregivers, as do 12 percent of adults age 70 and older. “If older caregivers have health problems themselves and become mentally or emotionally stressed, they’re at a higher risk of dying,” said EPI and BCHS's RICHARD SCHULZ.
LU TANG joined the Department of BIOSTATISTICS as an assistant professor on August 1. He received his PhD in biostatistics from the University of Michigan. He is developing an outstanding research program in statistical machine learning and methods for modern high dimensional data. These are extremely important areas for the department as we build for the future.
WPXI - The annual “Livability Survey,” which ranks 140 cities on factors like stability, health care, culture, education and infrastructure on a scale of 1-100, was released this week. Pittsburgh came in at number 32 overall, the top city in the continental United States and only behind Honolulu for the entire country.
THE PITT NEWS - After encountering pressure throughout the 2018 spring term from the Pitt community, Pitt’s Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to rename Parran Hall in July. With another school year starting, the question of what the building’s new name should be remains. One potential candidate would be Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy in football players.
THE DAILY MEAL - A hardcore sports town, Pittsburgh’s healthy economy has resulted in a lot happening here, from great food to extensive entertainment. Home to many colleges and universities, Pittsburgh is a bastion for arts and culture, as well as academia, and in addition to the many events on campuses, the city has music venues of every kind, as well as art galleries, museums, and casinos.