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Epi Department News

Newman comments on research on aging independently

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PBS NEWSHOUR - Reporter Roni Dengler asked ANNE NEWMAN, epidemiology chair and former geriatrician, for comments on this new study. Newman voiced concern that the all-male cohort’s inconsistent participation may have skewed the results toward healthier individuals. The senior author from Upsala University acknowledged this limitation, noting that it’s possible the trends they see would be stronger if there had been less bias. 

Kuller on whether new claim that heartburn meds raise dementia risk

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ALZFORUM - Last year, a widely reported epidemiology study came to the troubling conclusion that elderly people who regularly took proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) were at increased risk of dementia. Now, a study published in the June 7 Journal of the American Geriatrics Society challenges this association.  Which study is correct? Both Lewis Kuller, University of Pittsburgh, and John Breitner, McGill University, Montreal, said it’s impossible to t... 

Rosso finds slower walking may signal mental decline

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PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE - “For a while we weren’t really sure if it was just a parallel decline with age or a truly linked decline,” said EPI’S lead author ANDREA ROSSO. Finding a brain region tied to both provides strong evidence that gait and cognitive change are not just correlated but linked, she said. Measuring gait could allow for earlier dementia detection because individuals often slow their walking speeds before any signs of cognitive im... 

Dorman receives nursing Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award

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It was announced today that alumna JANICE SCULLY DORMAN (HUGEN ’81, EPI ’83) is the recipient of the Pitt School of Nursing 2017 Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award for tenured faculty. Dorman has taught classes at that school (and at Pitt Public Health) for 30 years, focusing primarily on molecular epidemiology and genetics. 

EPI students present at 2017 annual meeting of the Society for Pediatric Epidemiologic Research

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Three epidemiology students traveled to Seattle this week to present findings at the 2017 annual meeting of the Society for Pediatric Epidemiologic Research. Pictured below are KYLE FREESE, LARA SIMINERIO LEMON, and TAMALA GONDWE. What was their take-away from the 30th anniversary event? Reproductive, perinatal, and pediatric epidemiology is no longer the “new kid on the block.” 

Pandav honored for work with the WHO in TImor-Leste

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Alumnus RAJESH PANDAV (EPI ’01) has now completed two years as the World Health Organization’s country representative to East Timor. Along with updates on his accomplishments, Pandav sent in a nice shout-out to his mentors at Pitt: “All this has been possible because of the excellent education I received when I was at Pitt Public Health. I would like to specially thank Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, MARY DERKACH, and my mentor, MARY GANGULI... 

Buchanich and Burke on fatal ODs across Pa.

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PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER - “For the first time in Allegheny County, fentanyl was found in more people than heroin,” said Pitt Public Health epidemiologist JEANINE BUCHANICH. There appear to be two distinct epidemics in Pennsylvania, said DONALD BURKE. Southeastern Pennsylvania historically has been a source of extremely pure and cheap heroin, which is now drawing some users whose addictions began with prescription pain pills.  

Alumna Lo-Cignic working to identify individuals at risk of inappropriate prescription opioid use

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KVOA NEWS 4 - New prediction tools to identify patients at risk of inappropriate prescription opioid use, while allowing safe administration of legitimate pain management are being developed by alumna WEI-HSUAN JENNY LO-CIGANIC (BIOST '10, EPI '05), now an assistant professor with the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. Her newly-funded work builds on research she completed as a postdoctoral associate at Pitt's HEALTH POLICY INSTITUTE. 

King finds 1 in 5 surgical weight-loss patients take preseription opioids

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UPI - Research led by EPI's WENDY KING found that while the number of adults with severe obesity using prescription opioids initially declines in the months after bariatric surgery, it eventually increases to surpass pre-surgery rates. "Almost half of patients reporting opioid use at the time of surgery reported no such use following surgery. However, among the much larger group of patients who did not report opioid use pre-surgery, opioid use gr... 

Fabisiak and Brink: Air pollution increases regional health risks

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PITTSBURGH TODAY - “PM2.5 is probably the chief concern for the region, mainly because of its contribution from a source as big as the Clairton plant has an effect over a fairly large area,” said EOH associate prof JAMES FABISIAK.... “Everything that’s a risk factor for bad health is showing up high in that area,” said LUANN BRINK, Allegheny County Health Department deputy director and chief epidemiologist (as well as EPI alum and assistant prof)... 

Zimmerman, Nowalk, Hawk, and Ricci receive Adult Immunization Publication Award

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Kudos to (photo front, left to right) alumna PATRICIA NOWALK (EPI '81, ’93) and BCHS faculty MARY HAWK, ED RICCI, and (back) RICHARD ZIMMERMAN, who received the Immunization Publication Excellence Award presented during the National Adult Influenza Immunization Summit, May 10, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia. The award was in recognition of their work on the Four Pillars Practice Transformations Program for adult influenza immunization. 

Van Panhuis explains why gaps in immunization coverage are troubling

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STAR TRIBUNE - “That is the herd immunity,” said WILBERT VAN PANUIS, Pitt Public Health epidemiologist and affiliated faculty of the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory. Measles is less likely to turn into an outbreak if at least 95 percent of the population has immunity protection. ldquo;If the number drops below 95, the chance of measles infection is going up,” he said. “Children who can’t be vaccinated will be at an extreme risk.” 

Alumna Johnson: CDC/CSTE Allplied Epidemiology Fellow

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Alumna STEPHANIE JOHNSON (EPI '16) has been accepted into the CDC/CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellowship. The mission of this national fellowship-training program is to meet the nation's ongoing need for applied epidemiology workforce capacity in state and local health departments. Johnson will be serving at the Puerto Rico Department of Health and the CDC-Dengue branch in San Juan, starting this summer. 

Mary Ganguli: 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award for Research

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Mary Ganguli is professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and professor of epidemiology at Pitt Public Health. Her research focuses on the epidemiology of late-life mental disorders, particularly neurocognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. She is the principal investigator of several National Institute on Aging (NIA)-funded, population-based investigations in the area of dementia and Al... 

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