NEXT PITTSBURGH - When they scoured the globe in search of “the 19 destinations set to hit the headlines in 2019,” the reporters at National Geographic Traveller magazine chose only one location in all of America. Pittsburgh. “While Pittsburgh is a blue-collar town at heart,” the magazine writes, “it’s much more elegant than many visitors might expect. And there’s plenty for culture vultures, too."
WESA-FM - Research suggests the Rift Valley Fever can affect developing human fetuses. IDM's Amy Hartman, along with first author Cynthia McMillen who is an IDM postdoc, chose to study Rift Valley’s effects on pregnant rats, since humans and rats have similar placental structures. They found that 65 percent of pups born to infected rats died, even when the mother rats appeared healthy.
ALLEGHENY COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY BULLETIN - In a perspective piece, HPM's Wendy Braund writes "Something has to change, because what we’re currently doing to stop the opioid epidemic clearly isn’t enough. It’s time for physicians in Allegheny County to embrace harm reduction." She mentions Naloxone, syringe service programs, opioid substitution therapies, and safe injection facilities as options to help end the opioid epidemic.
The SIMD Travel Award is given to trainees and graduate students in the field of metabolic disorders based on submitted abstracts. HUGEN's Olivia D'Annibale is a recent recipient of the award. Her research shows an increase in protein and enzyme activity of isovaleryl-CoA dehydrogenase (IVD) which when deficient results in the inborn error of metabolism, isovaleric acidemia (IVA).
THE GERONTOLOGIST - Tramujas Vasconcellos Neumann and Albert give a brief overview of aging in Brazil by presenting some of the demographics and characteristics of the older adult population, the principles and innovative processes used in developing the main legislation for the rights of older people, a bit of the history and current research agenda on aging, and finally some of the key policy issues in the country.
KDKA-AM - More than 30 years after HIV was uncovered there is still no AIDS vaccine, but IDM's Linda Frank, who heads the MidAtlantic AIDS Education and Training Center, says, “People who are uninfected can take anti-retrovirals to prevent them from getting HIV infected. This is so wonderful.” Frank says the new frontier in HIV treatment is in conjunction with diseases like hepatitis, sexually transmitted disease, and substance abuse.
THE ATLANTIC - With adolescent marijuana use stagnant and alcohol and cigarette use delayed and declining among minors, it might be time to leave the popular understanding of the gateway drug in the past. “Gateway theory only relates to initiation of drug use, not progression to abuse," says HUGEN's Michael Vanyukov. Instead, he suggests an alternate theory of substance abuse known as the common-liability theory.
ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - As part of her master’s thesis work, Stephanie Creasy (BCHS '17) performed a mixed-methods analysis that involved in-depth interviews with transgender women living in Allegheny County who had been previously incarcerated for nonviolent crimes, coupled with geospatial mapping of the county’s trans-inclusive resources, public transportation, probation offices, and mental health services.
POST GAZETTE - Allegheny County health officials are reporting progress in the fight against AIDS by reducing new HIV cases. A key part of this effort is education. The MidAtlantic AIDS Education and Training Center, led by Linda Frank, has been involved in efforts to fight AIDS for the past 30 years. The World AIDS Day 2018 conference “is about the new treatments and advancements to help us get to zero new cases,” says Frank.
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.
UPMC - New research, developed largely from Amrita Sahu's (EOH) thesis work, implicates the so-called “longevity protein” Klotho, both as culprit and therapeutic target to the inability for skeletal muscle to hear after injury as we get older. “We found that we were able to rescue, at least in part, the regenerative defect of aged skeletal muscle,” said lead author, EOH's Fabrisia Ambrosio.
UPMC - For the first time since 1964, APHA has a policy specifically dedicated to health equity, giving its members key facts so they can push their legislators for policies to eliminate health disparities in the United States. Development of the policy was led by Tiffany Gary-Webb (BCHS). “Although health equity is an APHA priority and core value, until now there was no comprehensive, up-to-date policy to achieve that.”
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.
THE FISCAL TIMES - When drug giant Pfizer announced in July that it would roll back price hikes on its drugs, it made clear that the change was temporary. The company said Friday it is planning to raise the list prices on 41 of its drugs effective January 15. “The drug price pledges made earlier this year were just for show — it was obvious at the time, and it's obvious now,” said HPM's Walid Gellad.
WESA FM - For the first time since 2013, taxpayers won’t be penalized for not having health insurance. Some people might decide ACA-compliant coverage isn't something they need and instead might select a lower-cost “skinny plan.” HPM's Eric Roberts said it’s important to read the fine print before choosing this type of insurance.
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 - Mara Hollander (HPM) presented a poster titled Financial Relationships with Pharmaceutical Companies are Related to Increased Opioid Prescribing at APHA's 2018 annual meeting. Hollander matched Medicare Part D claims from Pennsylvania clinicians with 2014 Open Payments data. The final sample included approximately 12,500 PA providers who had at least 50 opioid prescriptions and 10 beneficiaries.
APHA - Thistle Elias, BCHS professor, and doctoral student, Yuae Park (BCHS) share their research examining the barriers preventing some participants in the WISEWOMAN (WW) program from implementing healthy lifestyle changes at APHA's 2018 annual meeting. The researchers interviewed 9 WW clients that perceived as many as seven barriers to participating in lifestyle programs.
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.
APHA - Noreen Chatta (IDM) presented her research on Safety of Gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopic Procedures at a Large Academic Medical Center during a poster symposium at APHA's 2018 annual meeting. In this study, she assessed and monitored the safety of endoscopic procedures using microbiologic cultures and electronic medical records, evaluating for 30-day microbiologic results after endoscopic procedures.