In the News

(May 2015) Jonathan Pell, MD, assistant professor of medicine, discussed with Reuters news service his research into letting patients see their medical records while they are in the hospital. “The hope is that increased transparency achieved by sharing electronic medical records with patients while they’re in the hospital would make them more engaged in their care, more satisfied, and more likely to ask questions and catch errors,” he said in March.

Eric Coleman, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and an expert in care transitions, commented in a Washington Post article in January that the result of a first round of experiments funded by the Affordable Care Act and designed to reduce hospital readmissions “seems kind of wimpy.”

James O. Hill, PhD, executive director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, told ABC News in January that schools that enforce cupcake bans may be going further than they need to. “We have to have some common sense here,” he said. “If your kid is physically active they can afford a cupcake now and then.”

Huntington Potter, PhD, professor of neurology, in January explained the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, which currently affects 5 million Americans, on KWGN, a Denver television station: “If all of us live to 85, half of us will have Alzheimer’s disease.”

In the February issue of Vogue, Stephanie Teal, MD, MPH, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, discussed the increasing use of the IUD as a method of birth control. “There has been a real explosion in interest in IUDs over the past five years,” she said.

Sam Wang, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, said Children’s Hospital Colorado saw 14 cases of children who ingested marijuana in just eight months in 2014, the same number of cases the hospital had seen in the previous four years. “There’s nothing else that comes in such a palatable, easy-to-overdose form,” he said in The Bulletin of Bend, Ore., in January, describing newly available marijuana-laced edibles sold in Colorado. “This stuff is a problem that I don’t think anyone really anticipated.”

Christopher Filley, MD, professor of neurology, in an article posted on the CBS News website in January, offered a warning about the potential for brain injury for children who play football. “These players who were studied,” he said, “all wore helmets throughout their entire playing careers. But we don’t think helmets have much of an effect on preventing brain injury. The game is inherently violent.”

Edwin Asturias, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, talked in February with the Denver Post about Colorado’s lowest-in-the-nation rate of measles vaccination. “For almost a decade we have been accumulating people without protection,” he said. “We are like a forest waiting to catch fire.”

Emmy Betz, MD, MPH, assistant professor of emergency medicine, told the Reuters news service in February that physicians need to be involved in conversations with older patients about driving. “Doctors are often called on to help make decisions about driving,” she said, “because they understand a person’s medical conditions and medications and how these affect driving.”

Robert Eckel, MD, professor of medicine, explained a decision by the federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to no longer consider cholesterol in the diet a “nutrient of concern.” “Looking back at the literature, we just couldn’t see the kind of science that would support dietary restrictions,” Eckel told the Washington Post in February.

James Todd, MD, professor of pediatrics, discussed vaccination rates in Colorado with 5280 magazine in February: “Unvaccinated kids should not be allowed to attend school. If those kids go to school together, all it takes is one kid to introduce one case and a whole bunch of kids are at risk.”

Lisa Meltzer, PhD, assistant professor of family medicine, commented in March on the importance of sleep in report on the CBS affiliate in Denver. “We are a society that believes sleep is for slackers,” she said. “But every hour counts. Sleep is an essential pillar of health.” 

Allison Kempe, MD, MPH, professor of pediatrics, told Time magazine in March that most physicians are feeling pressure from parents to space out common child-hood immunizations. “Doctors are feeling really conflicted because they overwhelmingly think this is the wrong thing to do, and is putting children at risk,” she said, “but at the same time, they want to build trust with their patients and meet people halfway.”

Tai Lockspeiser, MD, MHPE, assistant profes-sor of pediatrics, explained the consequences of physicians agreeing to delay childhood shots at parents’ request in an interview with the Denver affiliate of CBS. “In our clinic, we’re having this conversation 10 to 20 times a day,” she said. “If they’re spreading this out, I think we’re going to start seeing a resurgence of a lot of these vaccine-preventable illnesses.”

Kevin Messacar, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, told KOAA-TV of Colorado Springs in February that there is an association between a respiratory ailment that affected dozens of children last fall and multiple cases of muscle weakness. He and colleagues at Children’s Hospital Colorado were closely monitoring the cases. “And that’s really the next major question: Is this going to come back?” he said. “And if it does, we want to do everything we can to get ready for it.”

Samuel Dominguez, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, in a New York Times article in January discussed an unexplained, polio-like paralysis of an arm or leg that affected more than 100 children in 34 states, including a cluster at Children’s Hospital Colorado. “It’s unsatisfying,” he said, “to have an illness and not know what caused it.”

Laura Martin, MD, associate professor of psychiatry, offered insight about athletes and mental health in an article on ESPN’s webpage. “We talk about physical injuries all the time, such as a torn rotator cuff, and know that untreated injury can lead to serious concerns and possible surgery,” she said. “The psycho-logical equivalent would be something like major depression; if left untreated it could lead to more serious symptoms, such as weight loss, impaired concentration, loss of energy and motivation, suicidal ideation or substance use. This requires more intense treatment.”

Matthew Wynia, MD, director of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, discussed the issues related to physician-assisted suicide in an article for the online publication Vice in February. “The fundamental beliefs that under-lie our nation are sometimes in conflict with each other—and these issues get at some of the basic tensions in what we value as Americans,” he said.

Natalia Grindler, MD, fellow in obstetrics and gynecology, discussed her research finding that women who are exposed to certain common chemicals are more likely to experience meno-pause at a younger age. “This is a whistle-blow-ing study that’s saying we need to pay more attention to our environment,” she said in the February issue of Prevention magazine.

In a HealthDay report on the CBS News web-site, Don Gilden, MD, professor of neurology, said his research suggests a link between the virus that causes chicken pox and shingles and a blood vessel condition that can afflict and be deadly for some elderly patients. “You need to treat the virus and the inflammation that goes along with it,” he said. “This is totally new.”

Heidi Wald, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine, discussed the difficulty of evaluating data regarding medical mistakes and impact on patient lives in an interview with Colorado Public Radio in February. “Not all errors in care end up in adverse events,” she said. “And not all adverse events are caused by medical errors.”

In an article that appeared in February in USA Today about the increase in Colorado middle-school students caught with drugs at school, Christian Thurstone, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry, said: “Middle schoolers are most vulnerable to being confused about marijuana. They think, ‘Well, it’s legal so it must not be a problem.’”

In March, Sean O’Leary, MD, assistant profes-sor of pediatrics, discussed with NBC News research finding that most physicians have been asked by parents to delay vaccinations. This has been a huge issue for several years,” he said. “The debate is really emotion versus science.”

Mark Deutchman, MD, professor of family medicine and executive director of the Colorado Area Health Education Centers, explained to the Denver Post that medical students gain experience volunteering at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus booth at the National Western Stock Show in January. “My students get to meet people who they wouldn’t ordinarily meet during the screening and interview process,” he said.

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