Headlines Subscribe to this feed

Fordham Prep Rattled by 2 Students’ Suicides

New York Times

At least five communities in the United States per year experience a youth suicide cluster of three or more suicides, according to Madelyn Gould, a professor of epidemiology in psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center, who is an expert in the topic. Teenagers and young adults are particularly susceptible to what is called suicide contagion, Dr. Gould said, possibly because of the role that peer relationships play in their lives, or because of their impulsivity.

Dietary Guidelines Do-Over

U.S. News & World Report

The guidelines talk about meals, but Sally Findley, a professor of population and family health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, says she’d wished healthy snacks would have been covered in the latest recommendations. “I think that the guidelines should have been clearer that snacks should be nuts or fresh fruits or carrots … and that you should stay away from the empty calorie ones,” she says, from that bag of chips to french fries.

Babies With Genes From Three People Could Be Ethical, Panel Says


“I think it’s a great step in the right direction,” Mark Sauer, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University who is a member of one of the teams, said in an interviewSauer calls the report more of a “yellow light” than a “green light,” because of the long list of caveats and cautions. But that is “better than a red light,” he says. “Most importantly to us is that it allows the work to continue to hopefully produce children without these disorders,” Sauer says.

How Can Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?

Wall Street Journal

One expert, David Seres, director of medical nutrition in the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, explains where the best sources of protein can be found in the plant kingdom and why extreme vegetarianism isn’t optimal for human health.

Lead may be the biggest childhood epidemic in the U.S.


Cases of bottled water are still being delivered to Flint, Michigan, but the lead problem in America doesn’t stop there. Houses across the country have lead in the walls, and we’ve known about the damaging effects for a long time. David Rosner is the author of “Lead Wars,” and also a professor of the history and ethics of public health at Columbia University.

Zika Virus: IOC Says Rio Will Be ‘Safe Environment’ For 2016 Olympics

ABC News

Dr. Stephen Morse, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, said the Brazil government was taking serious steps to stop the outbreak and that it was too soon to tell if they how successful they would be. “If I had an Olympic ticket now, what would I do? I’d wait to see what it looks like when it gets closer,” Morse told ABC News. “I’m cautiously optimistic.”

Google Street View Aids Understanding Of Pedestrian Safety, Study Finds


A new study to determine the safety of street crossings for people on foot has found that virtual inspections were more efficient and possibly more accurate than the in-person site evaluations. Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health developed what they say is a novel method to assess how the streetscape affects the chances that walkers will be injured by drivers. Using Street View, they analyzed the pedestrian environment at more than 500 New York City street intersections. “Using Google Street View to assess intersection characteristics works as well as, if not better than visiting sites in person, at much lower cost and with fewer logistical headaches,” Stephen Mooney, a graduate student in epidemiology and co-author of the report, said in a statement.


Popular Science

Though scientists are still divided about using CRISPR to modify human embryos, there’s more consensus that tweaking other cells for medical purposes is just fine. In fact, the study authors believe the eye is a great place for the first clinical use of CRISPR because doctors and surgeons already know so much about how to operate on and introduce new tissue to the eye, according to a press release. Other researchers are working to correct different congenital eye disorders using CRISPR.

Barbie, Now in More Shapes

New York Times

“I think as a woman it’s about time, and as a physician, I strongly support that,” said Dr. Kelli Harding, assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, who has a background in body dysmorphic disorder. “For a little girl, it’s important to have diversity in what they’re playing with.”

Would You Tell The World You Have Schizophrenia On YouTube?


“Our young people are accepting that mental health problems exist, and they want help for it, and they are not looking at these things as something to be ashamed of,” says Anne Marie Albano, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University who is on the board for the ADAA. She thinks that social media and videos like Withers’ have helped lower stigma around mental illnesses. “Young people take advantage of this,” Albano says. “It gives the opportunity for people to tell their stories and post images. This allows them to feel more hope than prior generations.”

Scientists Move Closer to Understanding Schizophrenia’s Cause

New York Times

“They did a phenomenal job,” said David B. Goldstein, a professor of genetics at Columbia University who has been critical of previous large-scale projects focused on the genetics of psychiatric disorders. “This paper gives us a foothold, something we can work on, and that’s what we’ve been looking for now, for a long, long time.”

Psychiatric disorders increase among smokers


“The association between smoking and psychiatric and substance use problems has been well documented,” said Dr. Deborah Hasin, a professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center, in a press release. “The current question is whether people who began smoking when it was less socially acceptable to do so were also somehow more likely to have mental health and substance use problems.”

Taking older drivers off the road tied to increased depression risk


Giving up the car keys was linked to an almost doubled risk of depression, the analysis found, a connection the researchers believe might be at least partly due to the social isolation or lack of independence that can ensue when elderly people can no longer get around by car. “The decision to stop driving is not trivial but has significant implications for the patient’s health, well-being and life expectancy,” said senior study author Dr. Guohua Li of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York City.

Task Force: Doctors should screen all adults for depression

USA Today

In its new report, the task force said this limitation is no longer needed, because mental health services are more widely available today than in 2009, when its last recommendations were published. Federal law now requires that private insurers cover mental health and physical conditions equally. “We’re hoping that our screening guidelines are an impetus to increase awareness that depression is common, it’s painful, it’s costly and it’s treatable,” said Karina Davidson, a member of the task force and a psychologist in the department of psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

Dance Returns The ‘Joy Of Movement’ To People With Parkinson’s


“It’s such a natural, intuitive idea that dance should be a good thing for Parkinson’s, that people have just gone ahead and done it” without scientific verification that it actually helps, says Dr. Pietro Mazzoni. He teaches neurology at Columbia University Medical Center and heads the Motor Performance Laboratory there. Mazzoni says the few small studies that have been done don’t explain why dancing can help people with Parkinson’s, or what routine might be better than another, or how long the effects last. So he’s beginning a larger study that may answer those questions.

Health Buzz: Biomarker Predicts Benefits of Chemo on Colon Cancer

U.S. News

​”The problem is that we don’t have an easy way to single out these patients before they relapse and accurately predict who could benefit from postsurgical, or adjuvant, chemotherapy,” Dr. Piero Dalerba, assistant professor of medicine, pathology and cell biology at Columbia University Medical Center and the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, said in a press release.

Lead contamination and Flint share a special history

Washington Post

David Rosner, a professor of public health and history at Columbia University and the author of “Lead Wars,” a history of the battle over lead in the environment, explained the special significance of Flint in the history of American industry’s embrace of lead when I spoke with him by phone Tuesday. “Lead was introduced into gasoline as tetraethyl lead by General Motors,” Rosner said, “the people that brought you Flint, Michigan.”

Parents, schools divided as sex ed controversy erupts

CBS News

Dr. John Santelli, an adolescent medicine specialist at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, says there has been a slight decline in the teaching of comprehensive sex education, including instruction on condom use. He finds that worrisome, citing research that casts doubt on the effectiveness of abstinence-only programs. “There’s been a decline in support for sex education at the political level,” Santelli said. “People are getting fed up – they’d rather avoid the whole issue.”

Building a Better Brain


Unfortunately, there is no transfer: Improving processing speed does not improve memory, and improving memory does not improve reasoning. Similarly, doing crossword puzzles will only improve your ability to do crosswords. “The research so far suggests that cognitive training benefits only the task used in training and does not generalize to other tasks,” says neuroscientist Yaakov Stern of Columbia University.

Sleeping in on weekends may help reduce diabetes risk


The volunteers were given a calorie-controlled diet to limit the potential for their food and drink choices to influence the outcomes. In the real world, when people don’t get enough sleep they tend to overeat, which may limit how much results from this lab experiment might happen in reality, the authors note in a report scheduled for publication in the journal Diabetes Care. “The results from the present study are unlikely to be fully reflective of what may occur in persons who are older, overweight or obese, or have other potent risk factors for diabetes,” said James Gangwisch, a researcher at Columbia University who wasn’t involved in the study.

What you eat could be stopping you from getting a good night’s sleep


If how much you sleep can affect what you eat (and thus make you fat), many sleep scientists wonder whether the reverse is also true. That is, could what you eat affect how you sleep? This is the question sleep scientist Marie-Pierre St-Onge and her colleagues at Columbia University sought to answer. The team’s results of a clinical trial looking at how food consumption can affect sleep and other biological factors have just been published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Antidepressants During Pregnancy: Stay on Them or Stop?

U.S. News

“The clear finding so far is that these offspring do have more breathing problems and likelihood of being in the ICU,” says senior study author Dr. Alan Brown, a professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center. Withdrawal from antidepressant drugs, or “neonatal abstinence,” is likely behind the short-term respiratory problems these babies have at birth, Brown says. While there’s potential for later problems, he says, so far there hasn’t been long-term research to show that.

Cholesterol Provides A Clue About Heart Risks From Sleep Apnea


In the past, doctors figured the cycle of breathing and choking that happens to sleep apnea patients must be responsible for the heightened risk of heart attack and high blood pressure. But Dr. Sanja Jelic, a physician at Columbia University, says there’s a conundrum: “Why would such a relatively mild [but repetitive] decrease in oxygen cause cardiovascular disease in contrast to other lung diseases that cause more severe [loss of oxygen] but don’t increase risk for cardiovascular disease?”

Columbia Just Digitized a Bestselling Anatomy Flipbook From the 1610s


In 1613 Johann Remmelin published a book, Catoptrum Microcosmicum, which became a best-seller for about a hundred and fifty years. Today, Columbia University published it online. The work, originally in Latin, was translated into several languages. It explained the human body, using movable flaps to take people down through successive layers. The first layer was the person delicately draped in a way that preserved their modesty. The layer of drapery came off first.

The gender wage gap ups the odds women get anxiety or depression.

Washington Post

But a new study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health points to another possible culprit: The gender wage gap, and the potential underlying discrimination and biases that may go with it. The study, published in this month’s volume of the journal Social Science & Research, found that when a woman’s income was lower than a male counterpart’s, her odds of reporting anxiety disorder were more than four times higher than his. But if she made the same or more, her odds of suffering from it were much lower.

Spinal surgery can’t keep Ramsey girl off the court


With their doctor, Marina and her parents settled on a more permanent fix: rhizotomy, a surgery that involves cutting the nerves in the spinal cord that cause the muscle tightness and pain — “the underlying problem,” said Dr. Richard Anderson, a pediatric neurosurgeon at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia’s Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, who performed Marina’s surgery.

College Football Player’s Autopsy May Offer Clues to Brain Trauma

U.S. News

Dr. James Noble, an assistant professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, said the Keck case should serve as “a call to responsibility, concerning everybody involved in sports, to better understand this disease.” Parents, players, sports leagues, schools, and conferences — “everybody who has an interest in the academic, mental and physical health of these players” — must take an interest in their neurological health, said Noble, author of an accompanying journal editorial.

Psychiatrist Who Played Major Role In Destigmatizing Homosexuality Dies


Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, who died Dec. 25 at the age of 83, was considered one of the most influential psychiatrists of his generation. He headed the effort to more rigorously categorize mental disorders for the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (D.S.M.), the handbook used by health care professionals. His most lasting legacy may have been his successful effort to stop treating homosexuality as an illness. … Spitzer spent most of his career at Columbia University. He died from complications from heart disease; he also had Parkinson’s disease. He is survived by his wife, Janet Williams — also a Columbia University Professor Emerita — and five children.

Review: ‘Too Much of a Good Thing’ Finds a Dilemma in Our DNA

New York TImes

We tend to think of good genes as the ones that make us thin, calm, cheerful and healthy. This logical assumption may not be completely accurate: Dr. Lee Goldman suggests that even better genes may be the ones that make us fat, anxious and candidates for the services of a cardiologist like himself.

Blood, Sweat and Trump

New York Times

“Urine is sterile,” Maya Rao, an assistant professor of nephrology at Columbia University, pointed out. “It’s not ‘disgusting.’ Wow. I literally feel like I’m dealing with an elementary-school child and we’re talking about cooties.”

With In Vitro Fertilization, Persistence Pays Off, Study Suggests

New York Times

Dr. Mark V. Sauer, the chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Columbia University’s Center for Women’s Reproductive Care, applauded the “robust” paper and thought it would allow patients to make more informed decisions about whether the next cycle was worthwhile. “There should not be an arbitrarily assigned limit of when you deny care,” he said.

Measurement in part of brain may indicate depression risk


“These findings suggest that looking at activity in the DMN may offer an objective method of identifying people who are at risk of developing major depression,” said Dr. Myrna Weissman, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center, in a press release. “This may represent a another way toward advancing prevention and early intervention for this major public health issue.”

12 Minutes of Yoga for Better Bone Health

New York Times

No one knows these challenges better than Dr. Loren M. Fishman, a physiatrist at Columbia University who specializes in rehabilitative medicine. For years, he has been gathering evidence on yoga and bone health, hoping to determine whether yoga might be an effective therapy for osteoporosis.

Shortage of Mental Health Services May Endanger Health Care Workers

U.S. News

Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chairman of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, says people who do not receive ongoing treatment can have difficulty managing their symptoms, sometimes reacting aggressively. Police officers often take people with a mental illness to the emergency room after an altercation. “You have a fragmented and insufficient system of health care services that makes it difficult for providers to give people what they need and it makes it difficult for patients to get what they need,” says Lieberman, who is also director at the New York Psychiatric Institute and psychiatrist-in-chief at New York-Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia.

Los Alamos Turns Its Nuclear Weapons Power to War on Cancer

NBC News

To use it for cancer therapy, scientists outside Los Alamos bind the isotope with an antibody — a human immune system protein engineered in the lab to find tumor cells. When injected into the body, it homes in on the targeted tumor and destroys the cancer. “This is more focused radiation. It’s more precise, and it allows for efficient killing of the targeted cell alone,” said Joseph Jurcic, a hematologist and oncologist at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.

How genetic heritage explains obesity

Boston Globe

If you do have a heart attack, some would say you brought it on yourself. But Dr. Lee Goldman, a cardiologist and dean of the faculty of health sciences and medicine at Columbia University, would say that you’re at least in part a victim of your genes — genes which, paradoxically, once helped humans survive.

Companies Tap Fountains of Age

Wall Street Journal

The Brooks Brothers factory is one of 11 New York City businesses on a shortlist for the Age Smart Employer Awards, a project of the Columbia Aging Center, located at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The center plans to announce winners on Wednesday. Judges chose finalists based on policies that help to hire and retain older workers. After companies applied, judges also considered the results of employee surveys.

How our survival mechanisms are killing us

Washington Post

Here’s a thought that has occurred to a lot of weight-conscious people: If fatty, salty foods are so bad for us, why do we crave them? Shouldn’t our bodies, evolving over many millennia, naturally want to eat foods that are good for us? Cardiologist Lee Goldman examines this paradox in a larger context in his new book, “Too Much of a Good Thing: How Four Key Traits Are Now Killing Us.” He goes beyond diet issues to talk about survival mechanisms that worked well for thousands of generations but have now turned against human health.

Medical Marvels: Radiation Treatment for Pregnant Cancer Patient

ABC7 New York

In this segment, we meet Pamela Sternberg. In 2013, she was given a devastating diagnosis when she was 22 weeks pregnant with her fourth son. She had a cancerous brain tumor. The tumor was removed successfully but, Pamela was still in danger. That’s when she went to New York-Presbyterian for help. A team of specialists, led by Dr. Andrew Lassman, went to extraordinary lengths to treat Pamela with radiation while ensuring her unborn baby was shielded from harm.

Fear in the Air, Americans Look Over Their Shoulders

New York Times

“I think awareness of your own fears is the only way to go and to do the things that are soothing and comforting and distracting to do, and to do things that bring meaning to your life and bring comfort to other people,” said Dr. Sherry Katz-Bearnot, assistant clinical professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. “It’s what your grandmother said: Keep busy.”