In the News

(November 2019) Reporters locally and nationally turn to the School of Medicine for expertise and research news. Here are examples from near and far.

George Sam Wang, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, addressed questions from Reuters news service in August regarding children exposed to marijuana that parents have not kept out of reach. “It looks like we could probably do a better job in even more secure storage to prevent unintentional ingestion and exposures,” he said. 

Emmy Betz, MD, MPH, associate professor of emergency medicine, in August on Colorado Public Radio explained the Colorado Gun Storage Map, the first online map of its kind in the country, which provides a list of off-site storage options for firearms. “This project initially started because we know that when folks are at risk of suicide, it can be a good idea to either lock up the gun or ideally move it outside of the home until the person’s feeling better,” she said. “But there are other reasons, too. Let’s say the grandkids are coming to visit, or you’re going on an extended trip. Various reasons why someone might want to temporarily and voluntarily move a firearm out of their house.” 

Joseph Simonetti, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine, was quoted in a report by the CBS affiliate in Baltimore in June about a study on U.S. Army soldiers dying by suicide. “The reality is that removing a firearm from a home is likely to be the safest thing someone can do to prevent suicide, but [the study] provides some support that for those only willing to make safety changes within the home, such as locking their guns and leaving them unloaded, that can also reduce their suicide risk.” 

Cecilia Sorensen, MD, clinical instructor of emergency medicine, talked with National Public Radio in August

about kidney failure cases among laborers in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. “We know that climate change is exacerbating a lot of different human diseases. It exacerbates cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease,” she said. “But this is one of the first identified where we can say this disease probably wouldn’t have occurred if it weren’t for the extreme global temperatures that we’re seeing.” 

Joy Hawkins, MD, professor of anesthesiology, told the Denver CBS affiliate in August that marijuana use by patients can have an impact in the operating room. “We are very willing to adapt to make the procedure safe for the patient,” she said, “but this has added another little twist to the things we think about and ask about.” 

Prateeti Khazanie, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology, commented in August to Medical Xpress about a report that found women are prescribed statins less frequently than men. “If you can better understand reasons behind sex differences in care, you can target those issues to help decrease the sex differences in the future,” she said. “Understanding how therapies affect patients and how patients make decisions—and how providers make decisions—are going to be critical in future research.” 

Carina Venter, PhD, RD, associate professor of pediatrics, was interviewed by National Public Radio in an August report about European restaurants’ vigilance about food allergies. “I don’t think the European system is necessarily flawless,” she said, “but it would be good if, in America, we could go toward a more European way, where it is mandated to provide more information.” 

Margarita Saenz, MD, associate professor of clinical practice of pediatrics, discussed the case of a 14-year-old boy with a rare disease that is causing his skin to thicken. “What’s happening is almost a scarring—a fibrotic change to the skin itself,” she said in an August issue of People magazine. 

Elizabeth Wallace, MD, assistant professor of dermatology, explained eczema in an article in Glamour in August: “We don’t yet know all the factors leading to the development of eczema, but we do understand more and more that it’s a combination of several genetic and environmental factors. Eczema results from dysregulation of the immune system, which leads to inflammation in the skin.” 

Benjamin Easter, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, described to Wired magazine the Martian Medical Analogue and Research Simulation, a continuing-education course for medical professionals, that he has helped develop to teach about health care in space. Through simulations, the participants practice providing care in extraordinarily austere conditions. “I have died a number of times on Mars,” he said in an article published in June. 

Scott Laker, MD, associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, was interviewed by WCPO, a Cincinnati television station, about the rising popularity of rugby and in a report that aired in August, he discussed sports injuries. “The biggest risks we’re seeing is when we look at elite players, collegiate players, and youth players is a risk to the head and neck and then ligament injuries are also pretty common as well,” he said. 

D. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, wrote a HuffPost column in June that described his experience with the Colorado Medical Aid in Dying law: “To put this in context, I am a medical oncologist. I treat cancer, specifically lung cancer, the most common serious cancer there is. I am proud  of the achievements of the university program that I direct, where we have consistently pushed against the status quo, developing new treatments and new approaches to control this disease, and where our five-year survival rates for advanced lung cancer run up to four times the national average. As such, a process designed to actively end someone’s life to seem to be ‘giving in’ instead of fighting for every good day was different and unsettling.” 

In a report on the Denver affiliate of CBS in July, James Maloney, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care, explained the impact of higher elevation to the actor playing Willy Wonka in a touring production of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the New Musical”: “You’re going to notice, I think, in your rehearsals you don’t quite have the ‘umph’ like you would have like in LA. Your body’s going to get used to these slightly lower oxygen levels and make adjustments.” 

Nanette Santoro, MD, chair of obstetrics and gynecology, offered advice in July in Prevention. “Sometimes there is a tendency to over-attribute everything to the onset of menopause.” Since perimenopause can last years, if your doctor seems to feel that perimenopause explains everything, she said, “you should be suspicious.” 

Sharon Poisson, MD, associate professor of neurology, told the Fox affiliate in Denver in July that strokes can affect a person regardless of age. “There really isn’t a youngest age cutoff where you can’t have a stroke below that age because we can see strokes across the entire age spectrum.” 

Huntington Potter, PhD, professor of neurology and director of the Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center, was quoted in the Washington Post in July in an article about a clinical trial of Leukine. “This is really a completely different approach than anything that has been tried before,” he said. “It is one approach of many, and we’re hopeful. But science will tell.” 

Andrew Monte, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine, in June described to The New York Times his research into the impact of pot use on human health. According to hospital data he analyzed, more people are arriving at emergency rooms for marijuana- related reasons. “There’s a disconnect between what was proposed as a completely safe drug,” he said. “Nothing is completely safe.” 

Charles Dinarello, MD, Distinguished Professor of the University and professor of medicine, was quoted in June in a New York Times article, “How to Get the Best From Your Immune System.” “You need inflammation to protect against invaders. You need policemen. But if police are too rambunctious they can cause damage to innocent people.” 

Steven Berkowitz, MD, professor of psychiatry, was quoted by the Colorado Sun in May discussing the effect of focusing attention on victims in school shootings when they fight back. “These individuals were heroic, and there is nothing to take away from that. That is not the question at hand. The question at hand is the unintentional message we are giving to kids that if they don’t rush a shooter and put their lives on the line, they are not doing what they are supposed to do. They won’t get the attention. They won’t get acknowledged. They won’t get the accolades.” 

Kristen Park, MD, associate professor of pediatrics, was quoted in May in The New York Times Magazine in an article about cannabidiol. “Because of all the hype, people somehow think this is a cure-all and a treatment that will fix everything,” she said. 

Eric Campbell, PhD, professor of medicine and director of research for the CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities, commented in May in an article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune about a part-time sheriff’s deputy who also works as head of paramedics at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC). Citing the opioid epidemic as one example where the roles of police and doctors conflict, he said,  “It would seem reasonable to me that many patients may not go to HCMC if they knew that there was a doctor there who was also a police officer.” 

Kenny Chan, MD, professor of otolaryngology, was quoted by National Public Radio in May in a report about a smartphone app that might help parents diagnose a child’s ear infections. Based on published data, he said, “It’s very promising, but it’s too early to tell how accurate it is. We will have to wait and see.”

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