In the News

(December 2017) Reporters locally and nationally turn to the School of Medicine for expertise and research news. Here are examples from near and far. 

Lia Gore, MD, professor of pediatrics and section head of pediatric hematology/oncology/bone marrow transplantation, was quoted in the Denver Post in August, explaining to Sen. Michael Bennet and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb that physicians on the Anschutz Medical Campus are preparing as many as 25 new clinical trials due to the passage of a new federal law. “The pediatric oncology community is really excited,” she said.

Jason Hoppe, DO, associate professor of emergency medicine, was quoted in the Denver Post in August, explaining to Sen. Michael Bennet and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb how physicians at University of Colorado Hospital are reducing the risk of opioid abuse by patients using a prescription monitoring program. “Our answer,” he said, “has been exposing fewer people.”

David Kuwayama, MD, professor of surgery, discussed his article about the lack of preparation among American surgeons for international humanitarian deployments, published in the World Journal of Surgery, with National Public Radio in August. “I see all these young trainees,” he said. “They’re altruistic. They have open minds to the world, and they really want to do the work. But the opportunities for them to actually do it are becoming fewer and fewer.”

Mark Deutchman, MD, professor of family medicine and associate dean for rural health, described in the August issue of 5280 magazine how four rural Colorado towns—Lamar, Trinidad, Del Norte, and Montrose—provide $30,000 to $40,000 in scholarships to CU School of Medicine students who agree to practice in their communities after graduation. “It takes at least seven years to get someone through medical school and residency,” he said. “These are towns that have the foresight to invest in their future workforces rather than wait till they have a crisis.”

Wendy Kohrt, PhD, professor of medicine, was included in a New York Times article in August that offered an overview of links between obesity and hormones. Her research found that giving healthy premenopausal women a drug that blocks production of estrogen and follicle-stimulating hormone puts them into a reversible state of menopause, the article reported.

Jeff Glasheen, MD, professor of medicine, told the Denver Post that the University of Colorado Hospital improved to No. 15 on the U.S. News and World Report list of best hospitals because the rankings now place greater emphasis on quality and safety measurements, which helped the hospital move up in the rankings, which were released in August.

Marian “Emmy” Betz, MD, MPH, associate professor of emergency medicine, was quoted by Reuters in an August report that few gun owners get training that includes suicide prevention. Betz, who participates in gun safety nights at Denver-area gun clubs, said: “Every firearm death is tragic, and both firearm owners and non-owners should know about safe storage, self-protection and suicide. As individuals in communities, we can work together on this and set aside the divisive national debate about firearms.”

Saketh Guntupalli, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, commented to People magazine in July about his teenage patient Peyton Linafelter, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer: “Peyton has fought her cancer with a courage of someone literally four times her age. She shows a strength and will-power that is rare in someone so young.”

G. Sam Wang, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, in August told CNN that an increased number of children have been exposed to marijuana in the years after it became legal in Colorado. “Usually, kids get into things that become more available, and usually, that happens when it’s a household product, like those laundry detergent pods, which were attractive,” he said. “It’s kind of the same situation with marijuana, where we think in states with legal marijuana, probably more households have it in their home, especially the food or edible marijuana products with bright labels, that makes it easier for kids to get into them.”

Caley Orr, PhD, assistant professor of cell and developmental biology, was quoted in July in a Scientific American article, “Nasty, Brutish and Short: Are Humans DNA-Wired to Kill?” regarding a study suggesting a tendency toward violence has shaped human anatomy. “He’s probably right when he talks about the biomechanical consequences of some of the anatomy,” he said, “but that is different from resolving what the evolutionary selective pressures were that shaped it in the first place.”

Scott Oliver, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology, told the Denver Fox affiliate that staring at the solar eclipse in August would be harmful: “There is no place in the state of Colorado that is safe to look directly at this solar eclipse.”

Joseph Frank, MD, assistant professor of medicine primary care and physician at Denver’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in July was quoted in a Los Angeles Times article about a National Academies of Science report on pain management and the opioid epidemic. The report’s recommendations, he said, underscore that “the best physicians should not be providing pain treatment on their own.”

Kennon Heard, MD, professor of emergency medicine, appeared on the NPR and WBUR program “Here & Now” in July to discuss the increase in emergency room visits in Colorado by chronic marijuana users with nausea, vomiting and abdominal pains. “Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is something that’s been recognized for probably 15 years now,” he said. “But it’s something that we’re seeing more commonly in areas where marijuana use is becoming more frequent.”

Joseph Gal, PhD, professor of pathology, offered remarks to The New York Times about scientific breakthroughs by Louis Pasteur, who was the subject of an article by Gal in Nature Chemistry. “Several famous or much more accomplished scientists, some well along their illustrious careers, studied the same molecules, the same substances,” he said. “Realistically you would think they’d have beaten him to the punch, and yet they missed it.”

Nanette Santoro, MD, chair of obstetrics and gynecology, was quoted in a May article by Reuters Health discussing a study confirming that women 35 years of age or older are more likely than younger mothers to experience pregnancy complications. “Based on this study and others, the ideal age to get pregnant is between 25 and 29 years,” she said. “Since we’ve just entered the first era in human history where the U.S. birth rate is higher for women aged 30 to 35 than for women aged 25 to 29, we will be seeing more aged-related risks to women who conceive at later ages.”

John J. Reilly, Jr., MD, dean of the CU School of Medicine, discussed federal budget proposals that would significantly cut funding supporting scientific research. “It’s a huge shift that would cripple research at 90 percent of the universities across the United States,” he told the Denver Business Journal in May. “Research laboratories are expensive. ... You can’t do the kind of research that has made the U.S. a leader without the facilities.”

Neil Box, PhD, associate professor of dermatology and a founder of the Colorado Melanoma Foundation, talked with the Denver ABC affiliate in June about the foundation’s plans to create the “Sun Bus,” a mobile classroom that takes lessons about sun safety to schools and community events. “Teaching kids about good living and healthy living is going to translate for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Stacey Simon, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics, was quoted by Reuters in August as an expert on how insufficient sleep might affect a child’s appetites and ability to regulate blood sugar. “When kids are going to bed very late or sleeping on an irregular schedule,” she said, “they may also be skipping meals, eating at irregular times, or be less likely to exercise during the day.”

Michelle Barron, MD, professor of medicine, addressed claims that vaccinations are connected to autism in an article in the Colorado Springs Gazette in May. “Data published that shows a link has been discredited and retracted from the scientific journals,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that people with name recognition cause parents to have significant alarm and make choices that are not as well thought-out as they think.”

Sophia Arabadjis, MSc, research assistant with the Adult and Child Consortium for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science, with a co-author wrote an article, “How One California Medical Group Is Decreasing Physician Burnout” that was published in June by the Harvard Business Review. “Physician burnout is a growing problem for all health care systems in the United States,” they wrote. “Burned-out physicians deliver lower quality care, reduce their hours, or stop practicing, reducing access to care around the country.”


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