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Dementia at any age: Symptoms you need to know


It’s World FTD Awareness Week, spotlighting frontotemporal dementia, a serious ailment affecting the middle-aged. Don Newhouse, president of Advanced Publications, lost his wife, Suzi, to the disease, and his brother, Si, was recently diagnosed as well. Newhouse shares his story with TODAY’s Matt Lauer, and psychiatrist and neurologist Dr. Ted Huey explains that while Alzheimer’s disease affects the elderly, FTD typically manifests between ages 55 and 65. Learn the four main symptoms you should look out for.

How to manage your stress and anger as Trump and Clinton face off

New York Daily News

Instead of rehashing all the reasons you’re #NeverTrump or #NeverHillary, you could “focus mindfully on the message of the candidate that you support,” said Dr. Colleen Cullen, a psychologist at Columbia University Medical Center. Or — and Cullen acknowledges this might particularly difficult this year — you could try and understand the other candidate’s point of view “as nonjudgmentally as possible,” even if he or she won’t get your vote. You might also just accept the situation for what it is, Cullen said: “recognizing that whether you like it or not, these are our two candidates.”

Can Math Crack Cancer’s Code?

Wall Street Journal

Dr. Califano is the Clyde and Helen Wu Professor of Chemical Systems Biology at Columbia University and the co-founder of DarwinHealth. Dr. Bosker is the CEO and co-founder of DarwinHealth and CEO of CMEducation Resources.

Drug Used To Treat Blood, Marrow Disorders Can Also Treat Alopecia

CBS New York

It’s called alopecia areata. The autoimmune disease causes the body to attack hair follicles making it fall out in clumps and patches. The disease affects up to 7-million Americans. “It’s a lot of people, all ages — childhood, adults, males, females, genders, races equally,” Dr. Angela Christiano, Columbia University Medical Center said.

As New York Breathes Sigh of Relief, Bomb Victims Cope With Aftermath

New York Times

Victims of trauma might experience insomnia, irritability, hyper-vigilance, or a loss of or gain in appetite, said Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, professor and chairman of the department of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. They might be easily startled by loud sounds. “These are effects that will linger for some period of time,” he said.

America Is Not the Greatest Country on Earth. It’s No. 28


The researchers were able so far to evaluate just 70 percent of the health-related indicators called for by the UN. It may not be pretty, but “we have no chance of success if we can’t agree on what’s critical,” said Linda Fried, dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

The Dangers of Snake-Oil Treatments for Autism

The Atlantic

Scientists have uncovered tantalizing clues about the underpinnings of autism, but those findings haven’t translated into drugs to treat key aspects of the condition. “We do not have treatments that relate in any way to what causes autism spectrum disorder, or that really relate to what’s happening in the brain,” says Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and associate professor of psychiatry at Columbia University. “There are no quick fixes.”

Bariatric Surgery: The Solution to Obesity?

The New Yorker

“People often have moral judgment in this area,” Marc Bessler, who was among the first physicians in the nation to perform a bariatric surgical procedure laparoscopically, in 1997, told me. “But I don’t think that’s helpful. Our relationship to food is strange. We still don’t fully understand how things like refined sugars are affecting us.”

Too little sleep, or too much, linked to risk of heart disease


“We do not know the optimal amount of sleep needed to minimize the risk of heart disease,” but people who get less than seven hours a night or more than nine hours may be more at risk than their peers who fall somewhere in the middle of that range, said lead statement author Dr. Marie St-Onge of Columbia University in New York City, in an email.

Should dating apps have HIV filters?


Although an HIV filter could have the benefit of letting HIV-positive people meet others — avoiding potentially awkward and stigmatizing conversations — it also could have a dark side: creating a false sense of security, said Dr. Eric Schrimshaw, associate professor of sociomedical sciences at Columbia University.

Scientist’s guide to modern art


In Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures, Eric R. Kandel, the noted brain scientist, states that painting—from the Renaissance until fairly recently—sought to create the illusion of the three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional canvas. What makes this sort of painting convincing is not its realism or its naturalism. What is distinctive, rather, about what Kandel calls figurative art is that it affects the visual system in much the way that the depicted events and figures do or would. Painting in this tradition moves us, he argues, for the same reason that the world moves us.

6 New Zika Virus Cases Reported in Florida, Bringing Outbreak Total to 70

ABC News

Dr. Stephen Morse, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, told ABC News in an earlier interview that health officials will likely look at past outbreaks of dengue fever to understand how long a Zika outbreak will last. The dengue fever virus is in the same family of viruses as the Zika virus and spread by the same mosquito species, though it causes different symptoms and is not sexually transmitted.

Reconstructing Viruses

WNYC Radio

Vincent Racaniello of Columbia University has done groundbreaking research on reconstructing the DNA of viruses (sort of like microbial “Jurassic Park). The method was used to re-create the spectacularly lethal influenza behind the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, which killed between 50 and 100 million people. Why re-create such a monster? “Influenza is a particularly thorny virus that comes back over and over again. There’s always the possibility that a particular strain may come back,” he tells Kurt Andersen. “The 1918 [strain] was so deadly, knowing about it prepares scientists if it should ever come back.”

Zika presents a rare opportunity for researchers


Dr. Vincent Racaniello is a polio expert by trade and training who, like hundreds of scientists around the globe, dropped what he was studying earlier this year to focus on the emerging threat of Zika, a virus few people had ever heard of before it became a worldwide epidemic. He isn’t trying to cure the disease. He won’t develop a vaccine. And it’s unlikely he will discover any new therapies. But Racaniello, like so many of his peers, believes Zika may offer a unique opportunity to study an unusual virus and its effect on the developing brain.


Beta-blockers may prevent bone loss linked to antidepressant drugs


“Adding low-dose propranolol to depression treatment could potentially block an SSRI’s deleterious effect on bone mass,” said Dr. Patricia Ducy, an associate professor of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University Medical Center, said in a press release. “[This] may be particularly important for peri- and postmenopausal women since they are already at risk of developing osteoporosis.”

Promising Links Found between Different Causes of Parkinson’s


Asa Abeliovich, a pathologist and neurologist at Columbia University who was not part of this study, says the paper effectively links these two genetic routes to Parkinson’s: the garbage disposal problem and the toxic accumulation that occurs when cellular energy plants go awry. Abeliovich, however, thinks it is still speculative to conclude these problems are also to blame for the noninherited cases of Parkinson’s.

The Coming Trials of Generation Zika

Wall Street Journal

Dr. Lipkin is a professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Being treated for depression doesn’t mean you have it

Washington Post

“Over the last several years there has been an increase in prescription of antidepressants,” said Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center and the lead author of the study. “In that context, many people assumed that undertreatment of depression is no longer a common problem.”

New York looks to expand medical marijuana program

Washington Post

A study by Columbia University Medical Center researchers this year found that enrollment is highest in western states with older, less restrictive programs and lower in more recent “medicalized” programs like the one in New York. Minnesota, which has a program similar to New York’s, has enrolled nearly 2,800 patients since its program started a year ago.

How Simplicity Can Unveil Insights in Art and Science

Wall Street Journal

Columbia University neuroscientist Eric Kandel has spent the bulk of his career trying to understand memory and how we remember. Rather than probing the human brain, much of his work has focused on a maroon marine mollusk. The sea slug, known as Aplysia californica, has giant, balloon-shaped nerve cells that lend themselves well to studying how they link up and how changes in their connections might underpin learning, memory and behavior.

Depression Is Poorly Diagnosed and Often Goes Untreated

New York Times

“There are challenges in aligning depression care with patient needs,” said the lead author, Dr. Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. “Extending the use of simple screening tools in primary care is a good first step. Most adults who screen positive for depression don’t receive any treatment.”

China seeing a rise in eating disorders

Los Angeles Times

Changes in what is considered an ideal body type, “some of which are coming from the West, are influencing where China is now,” said Kathleen Pike, executive director of the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia University. “But China has its own set of dynamics occurring that results in increasing risk.”

Many with depression have something else in common

CBS News

Senior study author Dr. Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, told CBS News, “I think there are many reasons people who are depressed don’t receive treatment. Some adults who experience depressive symptoms don’t believe that they are significant and that they don’t need medical attention, or that they can in any way be helped.”

How Poverty Affects the Brain


The scientists behind these brain studies agree their work tends to be oversimplified in mass media articles and even research abstracts. “For example, they imply causality when we really only have correlational evidence at this point,” says Columbia University neuroscientist Kimberly Noble, who led theNature Neuroscience study. “Portraying the findings this way often misrepresents the science. The brain is not destiny. I can’t predict with any accuracy what a particular child’s brain size will be based on their family income.”

Can You Blame Your Birth Control for Your Insomnia?

New York Magazine

Biology rehash: The start of your period is considered day one of your cycle. Another egg will be released about halfway through your cycle, at which point the hormone progesterone spikes up and will stay elevated until a few days before your next period, says Ari Shechter, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. This is known as the luteal or premenstrual phase, during which women’s temperatures are about one-half to one degree higher than during the rest of the month, even at night.

Why One Neuroscientist Started Blasting His Core

The Atlantic

Randy Bruno, an  associate professor of neuroscience at Columbia University, further explained that “the way people usually think about the cortex, it’s very hierarchical.” That is, perceptions come in from the world and get sent from one part of the brain to the next, to the next, to the next. They go all the way up the chain of command to the frontal cortex. That sends some signals down to create motor actions.

Why it’s bad to skip prescribed drugs after a heart attack


Still, the findings confirm the importance of sticking with prescribed drug regimens, said Dr. Ian Kronish, a researcher at Columbia University Medical Center in New York who wasn’t involved in the study. “Missing a pill even twice per week is enough to place someone in the non-adherent category associated with increased risk,” Kronish said by email.

No Rise Seen in Hysterectomy Complications After Morcellator Use Declines

Wall Street Journal

The use of power morcellators dramatically declined after federal warnings that the device could spread cancer, but the drop hasn’t caused an uptick in the rate of hysterectomy complications as some critics feared, according to research released Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A Suicidologist’s New Challenge: The George Washington Bridge

New York Times

Dr. Gould, a professor of epidemiology in Columbia University’s psychiatry department, has a tidy office in Washington Heights that is lined with books, family photos, multicolored Post-it notes and her grandson’s preschool masterpieces. The view is enviable, out across the George Washington Bridge and the shale cliffs on the far side of the Hudson River. But when Dr. Gould looks at the bridge, she sees something deeply troubling.

The Race for a Zika Vaccine

The New Yorker

Siddhartha Mukherjee has published three books, including “The Emperor of All Maladies,” for which he won a Pulitzer Prize, and, most recently, “The Gene: An Intimate History.”

Brainy high school students present research from their summer at MBBI

NY Daily News

City high school students who spent their summers working with the world’s leading neuroscientists at Columbia University’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute presented their research findings at a Friday science fair in Washington Heights. The event, held in a Columbia research lab, allowed a dozen teen geniuses to show off and give brainy lectures on their projects in science, technology, engineering, and math — better known as STEM.

Miami Receives First Travel Advisory for Zika Issued in the U.S.

For the first time in history, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised people not to travel to an area within the United States because of the Zika virus. Ian Lipkin, director of the Columbia Mailman School Center for Infection and Immunity, discusses the growing number of Zika virus cases in the Miami neighborhood of Wynwood.

Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center review – a theatrical medical school

The Guardian

“Traditionally, teaching was you learn anatomy and you learn some of the basics and then you go right into the clinical ward,” says Arnold Advincula, director of the Simulation Center. “It’s the see one, do one, teach one philosophy. Now we’ve progressed to simulate, simulate, simulate, practice, practice, practice and then go execute in the clinical arena.”

Columbia University Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center

Architect Magazine

New York architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), working in collaboration with Gensler, changed all that with the new Vagelos Education Center in Washington Heights, at the north end of Columbia’s medical campus. Their strategy was simple: separating out all the public spaces and functions in the program from the truly clinical spaces, and collecting and stacking them into what is effectively a vertical campus, and one with buzz.

Non-celiac ‘wheat sensitivity’ is an immune disorder, too


People with wheat sensitivity have been a very difficult group to identify, because they’re mostly all self-diagnosed, said study author Dr. Peter Green, who directs the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University in New York City. While celiac disease can be confirmed through blood tests and biopsies, the same wasn’t true for wheat sensitivity, Green told Reuters Health. “We had no biomarkers or anything to say they had a disease process going on other than reporting they don’t do well when they eat wheat,” he said.

U.S. mental health institute puts champion of basic science at the helm


Up to now, Joshua Gordon has split his career between working with patients with mental illness and mice designed to mimic that illness. But this fall, the neuroscientist and psychiatrist will take control of the $1.5 billion U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, Maryland, the agency announced yesterday. Gordon, who treats patients at the New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City, is best known for developing mouse models that mirror aspects of anxiety and schizophrenia. His lab at Columbia University Medical Center has recreated cognitive deficits seen in schizophrenia by blocking the activity of neurons in mouse brains, for example, and has developed a mouse model of the genetic disorder 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, which predisposes humans to psychosis.

Diller, Scofidio + Renfro Unveils New Columbia University Medical Building

Architectural Digest

If there’s one thing that’s certain about the opportunity to build the crux of Columbia University’s Washington Heights–based medical campus, it’s that it’s a chance to help redefine medical education at the highest level. When it received the commission in 2010, celebrated architecture firm Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with Gensler, set out to do exactly that, using student and faculty behavior to determine the building’s ultimate form. The Roy and Diana Vagelos Education center, which will house medical education programs for the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, is a 14-floor glass tower with sweeping views of the nearby Hudson River. Its glass walls serve as a transparent shell that symbolically connects the center with its surrounding community.

Inside Columbia University’s Cascading New Medical Building

Curbed New York

In just over two weeks Columbia University Medical Center’s new Medical and Graduate Education building, now known as the Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center will welcome its first batch of students to the uniquely designed space on Haven Avenue in Washington Heights between West 171st and West 172nd Streets. On Wednesday afternoon, Curbed got a sneak peak at the as yet-to-open space as part of a press preview organized by the University.

Why we still don’t know all of the ways you can contract Zika


What about the man who contracted Zika in Utah? It’s possible that Zika can pass through other bodily fluids, though much less frequently. “I would guess the caregiver got infected via virus-containing saliva or urine,” said Vincent Racaniello, a virologist at Columbia University. “We know the virus can be in these fluids and it’s not hard to imagine getting contaminated with them while caring for a sick person.”

Heat Alters New York City Triathlon and Zaps Power for Thousands

Wall Street Journal

There was no shortage of water for participants of the city race, which started on the West Side of Manhattan and included a 1,500-meter swim and a 40-kilometer cycling course. Runners said they were often splashed by spectators holding jugs of water and hoses. “It feels amazing,” said Wolfgang Pernice, 28 years old, a researcher at Columbia University. Mr. Pernice, who has muscular dystrophy and ran the race to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, said he needed to walk at the end of the race as the temperature rose.

Uncle Sam Wants You — Or at Least Your Genetic and Lifestyle Information

New York Times

People can sign up through academic medical centers at Columbia University, Northwestern University in Illinois, the University of Arizona and the University of Pittsburgh, each of which is working with local partners. Columbia, for example, is collaborating with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Harlem Hospital and Weill Cornell Medicine.

Documentary: Blind Grandmother Gets Back Sight Stolen By Cataracts


In low- and middle-income countries, millions of people don’t have easy access to the surgery, says Dr. Norman Kleiman, a researcher at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health who studies cataracts. Maybe they live in remote parts where there’s no eye surgeon available – the whole country of Bangladesh has only 500 ophthalmologists for its 160 million-plus citizens, he notes. Or maybe they can’t afford the cost of the procedure.

Vaginal bacteria species can raise HIV infection risk and undermine prevention


Until now, however, no one had clearly linked specific vaginal microbiomes to an increased risk of HIV infection. “Now we have actual data,” says CAPRISA’s director, epidemiologist Salim Abdool Karim. The data come from a massive effort to identify bacterial species on vaginal swabs from the women in the CAPRISA tenofovir gel study. Ian Lipkin’s lab at Columbia University, which specializes in finding rare pathogens, extracted some 25,000 sequences of bacterial ribosomal RNA from each swab and used the genomic data to identify a total of 1368 species.