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Hernandez says evolocumab not cost-effective at current price

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TCTMD - Two new analyses call into question the cost-effectiveness of adding the PCSK9 inhibitor evolocumab to statin therapy in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Pitt Public Health alumna INMACULADA HERNANDEZ (HPM ’16) noted that the conclusions of the two papers are the same: the drug’s cost “is way above what we usually considered cost-effective in this country.” 

Donohue's research says hospitals could do more for survivors of opioid overdoses

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NPR - Using claims data from Medicaid patients in Pennsylvania from 2008 to 2013, HPM’s JULIE DONOHUE looked at prescription opioid use and medication-assisted treatment rates before and after overdoses. The study's senior author found that “This is a time when people are vulnerable, potentially frightened by this event that’s just occurred and amenable to advice, referral, and treatment recommendations. It’s safe to characterize it as a missed o... 

Pittsburgh area is tops in paranormal activity claims

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90.5 WESA - Bigfoot, UFOs, and prehistoric birds. Whether you’re a sceptic or ardent believer, listen to an interview with Seth Breedlove, director and producer of the documentary, “Invasion on Chestnut Ridge,” with stories told by locals who say they have experienced paranormal activity in the region. We know our Pitt Public Health classrooms and labs are safe, but keep your eyes open! 

CHE’s Maseru addresses AARP forum on health care issues in Pennsylvania

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - With just a week under his belt at Pitt Public Health, incoming director of the Center for Health Equity, NOBLE A-W MASERU, is to join an AARP-sponsored, 90-minute public panel discussion on 8/22 of how older adults (and younger ones with disabilities) could be affected by changes in federal law and state policies, including how proposals may impact health care and insurance, Medicaid funding, and related programs. 

Van Panhuis offers wisdom on some common myths about vaccines for kids

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CONSUMER REPORTS - Myth 2: It’s Safer to Space Out Kids’ Vaccines. Truth: No. Epidemiologist WILBERT VAN PANHUIS says that’s unwise. The CDC bases the schedule on disease risks and vaccine effectiveness at specific ages, and the way vaccines may interact with each other. To start mixing this up is complicated and can be dangerous. 

NIH awards five-year R01 support to EOH’s Di for antibiotics research

The NIH has just announced a five-year award to Y. PETER DI of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) for his group’s research on developing a new class of antibiotics. Di also serves as the director of the Inhalation Exposure Facility and president of theChinese American Lung Association. 

Donohue on the causes of explosive growth in opioid prescription sales

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HUFF POST - What caused the explosive growth in opioid sales? The FDA and TV advertising. In 1997, the FDA rules governing pharmaceutical advertising changed, allowing TV ads to name both the drug and what was for, while only naming the most significant potential side effects. After that, the number of TV ads exploded. A 2009 NPR story stated “there’s an average of 80 drug ads every hour of every day on American television. And those ads clearly ... 

Garland and Fabio want more data to understand neighborhood variations in the deadliness of Pittsburgh shootings

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - Dozens of potential factors cause the deadliness rate of shootings to vary widely across the city geographically and from year-to-year. BCHS’ RICHARD GARLAND and EPI’s ANTHONY FABIO, who study troubled youth and violence, wish more police data was available to find patterns in the factors influencing fatality rates. 

Newman contributes to study on how genes affect body mass

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NATURE COMMUNICATIONS - ANNE NEWMAN, EPI chair, is co-author of a recent article on the largest, most comprehensive genetic study of lean mass to date. By understanding the genetic contributions to lean mass—an indicator of muscle mass—future treatments may be developed to prevent the loss of lean mass with aging. With age, some people develop a condition called “sarcopenia” where they lose critical amounts of muscle mass, to the point that they ... 

Pitt Men’s Study contributes to aging and cognition finding

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THE LANCET - As the demographics of the HIV epidemic in the U.S. shift toward older age, IDM’s Pitt Men’s Study contributed to an article in Lancet on neurocognition in older HIV patients. The longitudinal study, which included more than 5,000 participants enrolled in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study, found a greater-than-expected effect of aging on episodic memory and motor function with advanced stages of HIV infection.   

30 percent of women have this down-there infection—and they don’t even know it

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READERS DIGEST - As many as one in three women will develop bacterial vaginosis (BV) at some point in their lives, but most will have zero clue that have an infection that can wreak havoc on their fertility and increase their risk of developing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. “Bacterial vaginosis affects nearly 1-in-3 reproductive-aged women, so there is great need to understand how it can be prevented,” said LISA BODNAR, assist... 

Bridging the Gaps Pittsburgh celebrates 20 years of promoting health in underserved communities (video)

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Celebrating 20 years of service, BRIDGING THE GAPS PITTSBURGH has focused on promoting health in underserved communities while training future health and social service professionals. More than 350 community health interns have collaborated with 58 community partners to provide over 10,255 days of service in the greater Pittsburgh area.  

History and fitness buffs inaugurate Clymer’s WalkWorks Program

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INDIANA GAZETTE -- A joint project of the PA Department of Health and Pitt Public Health, WalkWorks' mission is to increase physical activity through community walks. Spearheaded locally by Indiana County Office of Planning and Development, volunteers with interests in physical fitness and community history serve as walk leaders and narrators along the new 2.25-mile WalkWorks path in Clymer. Other WalkWorks paths in Blairsville, Ernest, Glen C... 

Tseng and Ma use Bayesian hierarchical models to detect and categorize biomarkers in RNA sequencing

RNA-SEQ BLOG - Important work by biostatistics and human genetics professor GEORGE TSENG and biostatistics PhD student TIANZHOU MA proposes a full Bayesian hierarchical model for RNA-seq meta-analysis by modelling count data, integrating information across genes and across studies, and modelling potentially heterogeneous differential signals across studies via latent variables. 

Former Cincinnati health commissioner joins Pitt school of public health

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TRIBUNE-REVIEW - NOBLE A-W MASERU has been named director of the Center for Health Equity and associate dean for diversity at Pitt Public Health. “Dr. Maseru devoted his energies to achieving a healthier Cincinnati ...particularly in vulnerable and underserved populations,” said Donald S. Burke, dean. “We are delighted to have him join our faculty and bring his expertise to Pittsburgh.” 

Why belly fat really is the worst kind of weight gain, especially for women

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NBC TODAY - “Studies have shown that it’s not just being overweight that matters, it’s also where you store the fat,” said co-author SAMAR R. EL KHOUDARY, associate professor of epidemiology. “When the fat is near the heart it can be like a metabolically active organ that can secrete toxic chemicals. And because there is no border between the fat and the heart, it’s much easier for those toxic chemicals to pass into the heart." How much fat accum... 

Gary-Webb elected to chair APHA epidemiology section

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TIFFANY GARY-WEBB, associate professor in BCHS and epidemiology, has been chosen by her peers as chair-elect for the APHA's epidemiology section. Beginning in November, this 6-year commitment consists of 2 years as chair-elect, 2 years as chair, and 2 years as immediate past-chair. Says Gary-Webb, "I see this as an opportunity for GSPH faculty and students who are interested in applied epidemiology to get more connected with the association." 

El Khoudary finds heart disease risk varies by body type and race in women

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TRIB LIVE - A woman's body shape is uniquely connected to her heart disease risk, particularly in midlife, and different shapes are associated with risks in black women than in white women, according to a new analysis by epidemiologist SAMAR EL KHOUDARY. The study's results strengthen a   similar finding   from three years ago among black and white men. “Being able to show the same thing here among women kind of highlights the importance of vis... 

Former MPH classmates meet in Maine for their annual traveling reunion

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One of the many informal summer gatherings of former Pitt Public Health classmates, this group of MPH alumni has reunited every year since graduation in a different place! This year was coastal Maine, primarily Bar Harbor. Pictured are CAROLYN BYRNES (EPI), SARAH LOCH (EPI), NICOLLE NESTLER (BCHS), KELSEY ALLEN (BCHS), KATHLEEN CREPPAGE (EPI), and JESSICA SUCHY (BCHS). Past locations have included Buffalo, DC, Pittsburgh, and Colorado. 

BCHS MPH graduate Michele Buzzelli takes on new collegiate teaching responsibilities in global health

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MICHELE BUZZELLI (BCHS ’15) is putting her MPH to work this fall teaching courses in global health at the Northampton Community College’s Monroe Campus in Tannersville, PA. Buzzelli will also teach a required first-semester course for incoming students entitled College Success which helps students navigate the college environment. 

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Thurston finds link between traumatic events and future heart disease risk in women 

Thurston finds link between traumatic events and future heart disease risk in women

PITT WIRE - When we consider the determinants of women’s cardiovascular health, we need to think beyond biology alone,” said epidemiologist Rebecca Thurston. She recently led a study that demonstrates how traumatic experiences in life are linked to later vascular health issues that place women at ri... (12/12/2017)
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Large Pitt-led study uncovers complex genetics behind earlobe attachment 

Large Pitt-led study uncovers complex genetics behind earlobe attachment

PITTWIRE - New research led by Pitt Public Health affiliates and published in the  American Journal of Human Genetics  reveals that an interplay of at least 49 genes contributes to earlobe attachment inheritance. “Sometimes the genetics of a fairly simple trait are actually quite complex,” said ... (12/06/2017)
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Enigma: Marques worked to pinpoint culprit of mysterious illness in Brazil 

Enigma: Marques worked to pinpoint culprit of mysterious illness in Brazil

PITTWIRE - When a mysterious illness suddenly emerged in his Brazilian hometown, IDM researcher ERNESTO MARQUES mobilized with colleagues to decode its unknowns. The work may help infectious-disease researchers stop or stall new epidemics. His story begins on page 18. (10/24/2017)
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