Epi Faculty News

In most ways, women age better than men and live longer. Scientists are trying to figure out why.

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PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER – EPI’s Anne B. Newman added that women are more prone to arthritis, which causes disability. Everyone loses muscle mass with age, and women start out with weaker muscles and a higher percentage of body fat. Women are also more prone to osteoporosis after menopause, and that puts them at risk for broken hips. There are more older women with frailty, partly because frail men don’t live long. “Women are just physically less e... 

Sundermann discusses collaborative paper on artificial intelligence and disease prediction

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KDKA RADIO – Alex Sundermann (IDM ‘14, EPI ‘22) explains that one in thirty patients gets at least one health care-associated infection – one acquired while in the hospital. “Typical tests see what type of organism it is but that test doesn’t tell you, was it transmitted from a patient or from somewhere in the environment? [Genome surveillance is] like fingerprinting for that test – who has that same organism and who is transmitting to who when ... 

The U.S. Is Relying On Other Countries' Data To Make Its Booster Shot Decisions

FIVETHIRTYEIGHT - Misinformation and news overload also contribute to the confusion, said EPI’s Lee Harrison. “For a lot of laypeople, it’s very difficult to know, ‘What source should I be using?’ And it’s even more difficult when you have all this misinformation trying to intentionally misguide people,” he said. State and local officials who undermine national policies — for example, by prohibiting vaccine mandates — don’t help, either.  

Gary-Webb named special assistant to the provost

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UNIVERSITY TIMES – EPI’s Tiffany Gary-Webb, associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion, is serving as special assistant to the provost for race and the social determinants of equity, health and well-being. She will lead the Race & Health Collaboratory and will work with the Center on Race and Social Problems to implement the core components of the Race and Social Determinants Initiative.  

Coronavirus questions, answered: Which booster is more effective, long lasting?

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WASHINGTON POST - Studies have not yet been done to determine how long Pfizer’s and Moderna’s boosters offer protection and whether one is more effective than the other. But EPI’s Lee Harrison does not expect to see significant differences between the brands by either measure. “I would feel extremely confident in the increased protection provided by a booster dose of either of the two mRNA vaccines,” he wrote in an email.  

This Flu Season is Different. Here's How to Prepare.

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NEW YORK TIMES - In a  study  published on a preprint server in August that has not yet been peer-reviewed, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh used mathematical modeling to predict how severe the upcoming flu season might be based on this increased susceptibility. They reported that if flu and flu vaccination levels are typical of prior years, 102,000 more Americans than average could be hospitalized with influenza — a 20 percent incr... 

To jab or not to jab? Vaccinations still hot topic in sports

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AP - “For athletes in particular, their livelihood is based on their ability to compete,” said EPI’s Wendy King (EPI '04), who took part in a research project on vaccine hesitancy earlier this year. “Even if they thought, ‘Oh, I’m pretty healthy and I wouldn’t get that bad of a case,’ it would still heavily impact their ability to go to work, to play in a game. It could affect their entire team — not just them — so they might feel like they’re l... 

Harrison is confident in both mRNA boosters

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WASHINGTON POST - Studies have not yet been done to determine how long Pfizer’s and Moderna’s boosters offer protection and whether one is more effective than the other. But EPI’s Lee Harrison told The Post that he does not expect to see significant differences between the brands by either measure. “I would feel extremely confident in the increased protection provided by a booster dose of either of the two mRNA vaccines,” he wrote in an email. ... 

Harrison: Get COVID-19 booster shot as soon as you're eligible

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WPXI - With the options for COVID-19 booster shots expanding, it's estimated tens of millions of people will be eligible to roll up their sleeves once again. "So that's great news," said EPI's Lee Harrison. "I do think the infections and the number of breakthroughs that we're seeing with the delta variant argue in favor of if you are eligible to go ahead and get your booster."   

Changes in the length of the premenopausal menstrual cycle may predict the risk of heart disease

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FLORIDA NEWS TIMES - As women approach menopause, the length of the menstrual cycle often increases. The timing of these changes may provide clues about the risk of people developing heart disease, according to a new study. "Cardiovascular disease is the number one murderer of women and the risk is significantly increased after middle age, so menopause may contribute to the disease," said EPI's Samar El Khoudary, lead author.   

Does 1918 Pandemic Offer Clues on Emerging from COVID-19?

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U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT - Dean Emeritus Donald Burke is an expert at using computer modeling and simulation to guide public health decision-making. He said it's important to consider the death rate and not simply the death total. "Even though the death totals are similar [for COVID-19 and the 1918 flu], the death rates — that is the rate per 100,000 people, or per-unit population — are lower now from covid than it was for influenza by about t... 

Migraines and More Severe Hot Flashes Could Be Linked

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U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT - A new study that examined migraine, menopause and heart disease "confirms that women with a history of migraine are at increased risk for severe hot flashes at midlife," said EPI's Rebecca Thurston, director of the Women's Biobehavioral Health Laboratory and past president of the North American Menopause Society.   

Allegheny County breakthrough cases increasing, but vaccinated still avoid serious illness

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PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE - The jab also appears to have a slight reduction in effectiveness against the delta variant compared to prior dominant virus strains, said EPI and IDM's Lee Harrison. But it should still protect people from severe disease if they do become infected. "I think what it tells us most clearly is, if we can get the rest of the population vaccinated, it will turn COVID into more of a nuisance than a major cause of hospitalizati... 

Sexual Assault Linked to Later Brain Damage in Women, Study Finds

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CNN - "It could be either childhood sexual abuse or adult sexual assault," said study author EPI’s Rebecca Thurston, director of the Women's Biobehavioral Health Laboratory. "Based upon population data, most women have their sexual assaults when they are in early adolescence and early adulthood," she added, "so these are likely early experiences that we're seeing the marks of later in life."  

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