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Toddlers Are Eating More Sugar Than What’s Recommended for Some Adults


“Consumption of added sugars is associated with excess weight gain and obesity,” said Dr. Jennifer Woo Baidal, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, and director of pediatric weight management in the division of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, told Healthline. “And that can lead to hypertension, dyslipidemia, fatty liver disease and diabetes.”

Doctors ask Albany to act on speed cameras

New York Daily News

The letter was signed by … Dr. Rahul Sharma, emergency physician in chief at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell and chairman of the department of emergency medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine; Dr. Angela Mills, chief of emergency medicine services at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia Irving Medical Center and chairwoman of the department of emergency medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons; …

Why Mental Illness Is So Hard to Spot in Seniors

U.S. News

There also may be confounding issues that confuse clinicians. “Older people grew up in an era when talking about a psychiatric issue was certainly frowned upon, so there may be a generational issue,” says Dr. Philip R. Muskin, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and a member of the American Psychiatric Association’s Scientific Program Committee. Elderly patients also may ascribe their moods to physical impairments or other illnesses. And many of the symptoms of depression and anxiety – poor sleep, low appetite, memory and concentration problems – are also markers of simply being older.

Common Drugs May Be Contributing to Depression

New York Times

Dr. Philip R. Muskin, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and secretary of the American Psychiatric Association, said physicians must keep these side effects in mind when prescribing medications, and ask patients about whether they have a personal or family history of depression. But he said it is hard to say whether the increased use of drugs, or the combination of drugs, with side effects including depression has had an impact on society. “There’s been an increase in suicide, that we know,” Dr. Muskin said. “Does it correlate to the use of these medications? The honest answer is we don’t know. Could it play a role? The honest answer is yes, of course it could.”

Kate Spade’s Struggles

CBS This Morning

Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman comments on the possible role of a mood disorder in Kate Spade’s suicide.

A big question answered about treating early-stage breast cancer

Washington Post

The new study provides the highest level of proof that the assay is an accurate tool and thus reduces uncertainty for the intermediate group,  said Dawn Hershman, a breast oncologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center.

What Medical Schools Are Doing to Reduce Student Debt

U.S. News

The Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University announced last month that it would eliminate student loans with scholarships for all students who qualify for financial aid. More than half of school’s students – 55 percent – receive some form of aid. Starting this August for the 2018-2019 school year, more than 300 students will receive scholarships to cover either part or all of their tuition, school administrators say. Nearly 20 percent of the school’s students will receive full-tuition scholarships. Some students broke down in tears when they saw that their financial aid packages included no loans, says Dr. Lee Goldman, dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine at Columbia’s medical school. “When they actually saw it on paper, they started to cry from joy, even though they knew it was happening,” he says.

The Placenta Is Now a Suspect In Heightening Schizophrenia Risk

Scientific American

“The findings are very intriguing,” says Alan Brown, a professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center who was not involved in the study. “To me, the key thing in this paper is the recognition that environmental factors in early development, prenatal factors, are likely to be very important in schizophrenia and just as important as genes.”

The Placenta Is Now a Suspect In Heightening Schizophrenia Risk

Scientific American

“The findings are very intriguing,” says Alan Brown, a professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center who was not involved in the study. “To me, the key thing in this paper is the recognition that environmental factors in early development, prenatal factors, are likely to be very important in schizophrenia and just as important as genes.”

Lung cancer rates in younger white and Hispanic women surpass those of men

Washington Post

Bryan Stanifer, a thoracic surgeon and director of the Women’s Lung and Health Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center, suspects that some women have “a genetic predisposition” that makes them more susceptible to lung cancer, especially when combined with some sort of environmental toxin such as secondhand smoke. What’s puzzling, he said, is that many of his patients haven’t been around smoke.

Critical Condition: Inside Pfizer’s Drug Supply Problem


This February Ruth Landau, an obstetric anesthesiologist at ­Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, was making rounds when she got a disturbing call from one of the hospital’s pharmacists. The center was due to run out of bupivacaine, a local anesthetic used in virtually every baby delivery. Fast-acting and predictable, the numbing agent has long been the drug of choice for supporting childbirth, administered as an epidural for women in labor or as a spinal anesthetic for those having a cesarean section. Prepared in a dextrose solution, the syrup-like injection is especially critical in emergency deliveries.

‘Will You Be My Emergency Contact?’ Takes on a Whole New Meaning

New York Times

“It’s a way of looking at genetics but without having any genetic data,” said Nicholas Tatonetti, a data scientist at Columbia University Medical Center and one of the researchers who came up with the novel approach, which was outlined in a paper published Thursday in the journal Cell.

Too many mothers are dying after childbirth. A hospital hopes to save them.

NBC News

And on Mother’s Day, New York-Presbyterian/Columbia Hospital is opening The Mothers Center, the first-of-its-kind center focused on care for all kinds of maternal complications, especially for high-risk women with heart disease, diabetes or autoimmune diseases. At least 60 percent of childbirth-related deaths are preventable, says Dr. Mary D’Alton, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at New York Presbyterian and Columbia University Medical Center. Under D’Alton’s guidance at the Mothers Centers, doctors and nurses get special simulation training to recognize warning signs and quickly treat new mothers for postpartum hemorrhage, one of the most common causes of maternal deaths.

Davida Coady, physician who treated refugees and helped eradicate smallpox in India, dies at 80

Washington Post

Dr. Coady — she took her name from her marriage to Patrick Coady, which ended in divorce — studied music at the College of the Pacific (now the University of the Pacific) in Stockton, Calif., before deciding to pursue medicine. She was inspired by two female pediatricians who ran a camp for diabetic children, where she worked as a counselor, and graduated from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1965. Four years later she received a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University.

Like mother, like daughter? What your mother’s genes say about your future

ABC News

“Your mom is half the answer. Your dad is also half the answer,” said Dr. Wendy Chung, a geneticist at NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “You don’t inherit 100 percent of your mom’s genes.” She added, “So even though [your mother] may have followed a certain path, it’s not a fait accompli that you’re going to follow the same path.”

Tiger Woods Takes Ibuprofen to Prevent Back Pain. Should You?

Wall Street Journal

Alfred Ogden, a neurosurgeon at the Spine Center at Columbia University Medical Center, said anti-inflammatories are especially useful in golf, which puts significant stress on the spine. When asked about the potential side effects, Ogden said, “None of these things are surprising. Like any medicine, they have ill effects. Having said that, most people tolerate them pretty well. They’re effective. And those risks can be mitigated by not taking them continuously.”

How to Avoid Burnout in Youth Sports

New York Times

As Dr. Charles A. Popkin, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Columbia University Medical Center, said at the meeting, “Sadly, what parents want and what parents hope to gain from their children’s participation in youth sports is often at a significant extreme to what the kids actually want.”

What’s Age Got to Do With Lung Cancer?

U.S. News

Cancer tends to impact older people more because “at the cellular level, the older you get, the less effective your DNA repair mechanisms become and the more cumulative exposure you have to environmental toxins, carcinogens, etc. So it’s a cumulative trauma over time that occurs,” says Dr. Bryan Stanifer, a thoracic surgeon and the director of the Women’s Lung and Health Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Simultaneously, “there’s a steady accumulation of random mutations that can also lead to cancer. So, it’s just sort of a breakdown of your repair mechanisms, exposure time and randomness that accumulates over time” that can lead to the development of most any kind of cancer.

Online, simulation scenarios ready med students for residency


“One of the things that is lacking overall [in medical education] is a way to successfully help students translate their book knowledge to action and taking care of patients,” said Rachel Gordon, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “During medical school, you are either in the classroom or you’re on the wards, but sometimes you need a combination of the two.”

What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? Camila Cabello Talks Living With Condition


“What’s really important for people with OCD is that they know that they have an illness and the thoughts that they’re having are not their own wishes,” Helen Blair Simpson, M.D., Ph.D. and vice chair for research and professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, told Newsweek. “OCD has many different flavors…and there are different treatments.”

Scientists Downsize Bold Plan to Make Human Genome from Scratch

Scientific American

“The idea is to develop the technologies to do this very quickly and easily using a variety of gene-editing and synthesis techniques,” says Harris Wang, a synthetic biologist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and a member of GP-write’s scientific executive committee. The “ultra-safe” human-cell-line project, Wang adds, has “the right level of complexity, difficulty and many different facets of design” to push those technologies forward.

Healthy, smoke-free lifestyle tied to at least an extra decade of life


While it’s already well known that healthy lifestyle choices can increase life expectancy and lower the risk of chronic disease, the study offers fresh evidence of exactly how many extra years people can add to their lives, said Keith Diaz, a researcher at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City who wasn’t involved in the study. “This is quite a substantive amount of years and compelling evidence that, in the age of modern medicine, preventive strategies still greatly matter and should still be a focus of patients and their doctors,” Diaz said by email.

Why the Death Rate From Breast Cancer Is Higher Among Black Women

U.S. News

Why this disparity exists has “been of interest to the breast cancer community for almost 20 years,” says Dr. Dawn L. Hershman, professor of medicine and leader of the breast cancer program at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center. “Why is there a racial disparity in outcome, especially when there’s often a lower incidence of breast cancer in African-American women? Why would they have a higher risk of dying?”

‘You know what you’re missing’: The pain of secondary infertility is real


“There is a natural assumption among many women and couples that if they were able to conceive easily in the past, then they will be able to do so in the future. Unfortunately, that is not always the case,” says Dr. Zev Williams, chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. “Sometimes we see couples that were able to conceive in the first month or two of trying and went on to have an easy pregnancy and healthy delivery. But, when they try to have their next baby, they are really struggling to get pregnant.”

How Picasso’s Journey From Prodigy to Icon Revealed a Genius

National Geographic

In an ongoing study, Kandel, co-director of Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute, is taking brain scans as participants complete a series of exercises with figurative and abstract paintings by Rothko, Piet Mondrian, and other artists. Kandel’s Columbia collaborator, Daphna Shohamy, says they are eager to see whether abstract art elicits increased activity in the hippocampus, the brain’s storehouse for memories.

Is ‘friendly fire’ in the brain provoking Alzheimer’s disease?


And not all scientists assume that the role of the immune system in neurodegeneration stops with microglia. Neurologist Philip De Jager at Columbia University in New York is developing an Alzheimer’s therapy that is based on a microglial target, but says that cells from the rest of the body’s immune system, such as T cells, which are present in very low numbers in the brain, might also turn out to be relevant.

Opioids overprescribed to patients taking certain sedatives


In an email to Reuters Health, Dr. Arthur Williams of the Division of Substance Use Disorders at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City agreed that “a simplistic guideline to not co-prescribe opioids with benzodiazepines risks abandoning patients in the greatest clinical need.” “A much more effective response,” he suggested, would likely include shifting patients who use benzodiazepines away from full-strength opioids to painkillers with a much lower risk of respiratory suppression and overdose.

New York Mice Are Crawling With Dangerous Bacteria and Viruses

New York Times

“They are a potential source of human infection,” said Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, an epidemiologist at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia who was the senior author on the study. “The real message is that these things are everywhere.” The mice appeared to be healthy, and Dr. Lipkin said he presumes that they are carriers of the bacteria but are not affected by them. Dr. Lipkin said it was not clear whether the mice were getting the antibiotic-resistant bacteria from people — say, by eating food contaminated with the feces of someone taking antibiotics — or whether the bacteria developed resistance after mice ate discarded antibiotics.

In the Vanguard

Manhattan Times

A new Community Health Worker training program is partnering with local churches to train community members as volunteer health workers. ‎The workers also offer blood pressure screening and help complete insurance enrollments. ‎It is part of the larger work being conducted at the new Community Wellness Center of Columbia University, which hosted visitors on April 10. Led by Columbia psychiatrist Sidney Hankerson, MD, and neurologist Olajide Williams, MD, the site was developed with a unique mission in mind — to enlist community members in the effort to improve public health.

Aging: The things that let you thrive in old age are easier than you think

Washington Post

What makes Lask, Lee, and White particularly notable is that all of them have found a way to forge active lives past 81, the average life expectancy for someone living in New York City. And because of that, they are featured in a series of narratives, photos and videos showing “that older people have goals, they have lives that are dynamic,” says Dorian Block, director of the Exceeding Expectations project at the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University. “You can be the person you’ve always been.”

How Can Oats, Which Don’t Contain Gluten, Be Labeled ‘Gluten Free’?

New York Times

“Commercial oats are often grown in fields that have previously grown wheat, transported by methods of transport where other grains are transported, and frequently milled in facilities that mill other grains,” said Dr. Peter Green, a professor of medicine who directs the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. Cross-contamination can also occur in storage silos or via shared harvesting devices or production equipment.

Study: City areas with healthy eating, exercise options help control diabetes


“Our study is the first to look at a wide range of built and economic features of a residential environment and how they may affect a person’s ability to control their diabetes,” Dr. Andrew Rundle, an associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, said in a press release. “And until now, no study had evaluated whether these cumulative exposures were associated with glycemic control in a large multiracial, multiethnic population.”

How to Start the Conversation About a Loved One’s Mental Health

U.S. News

So what is the right way to begin the conversation? “The place to start is, delicately,” says Dr. Philip R. Muskin, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and secretary of the American Psychiatric Association. “In wood shop, for those who remember wood shop, they used to teach you, ‘measure twice, cut once.’ I think it’s the same thing here,” he says. “If you’re concerned about a loved one, think it through carefully before you bring it up.”

Taking Antidepressants During Pregnancy May Lead to Fetal Brain Changes


In the latest study to address the subject, researchers led by Claudia Lugo-Candelas, a post-doctoral research fellow at Columbia University, added to that knowledge by taking pictures of the brains of 98 babies about a month after they were born. Some of the infants’ mothers had depression and were being treated with antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), while others with depression were not treated. A group of mothers who were not affected by depression was also involved.

Organoids from bladder cancer could help doctors treat disease


“The creation of bladder cancer organoids is an important advance in the field,” Dr. James M. McKiernan, chairman of urology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, and urologist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, said in a press release. “This should greatly improve our understanding of the genomics of bladder cancer, how these tumors respond to drugs, and how they develop drug resistance. Ultimately, this may allow us to develop new therapies for the disease and predict an individual patient’s response to treatment.”

Columbia Researchers Grew Tissue That Acts Just Like Human Heart Muscle


A team of Columbia University researchers is behind a first in biomedical engineering: growing tissue that behaves just like an adult human heart muscle. The breakthrough, which was detailed Wednesday in the journal Nature, is more than just a cool science project — it could revolutionize medical research as we know it, says senior author Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, a university professor at Columbia Engineering and a professor of medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Can Doctors Choose Between Saving Lives and Saving a Fortune?

New York Times Magazine

Editor’s Note:  Siddhartha Mukherjee is an associate professor of medicine whose first book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, won a Pulitzer Prize. This article will appear in print on April 8, 2018 in the Sunday Magazine with the headline “How can a doctor grapple with the epidemic of cost?”

Surprise! Scientists find signs of new brain cells in adults as old as 79

Los Angeles Times

To come to this conclusion, lead author Dr. Maura Boldrini, a research scientist in Columbia University’s department of psychiatry, and her colleagues looked at the brains of 28 deceased people aged 14 to 79. Their goal was to see whether aging affects neuron production. … In each brain sample, the researchers looked for evidence of neurons in various stages of development, including stem cells, intermediate progenitor cells that would eventually become neurons, immature neurons that had not fully developed, and new neurons.

Obesity Causes Signs of Liver Damage in Children as Young as 8, Study Shows


“With the rise in childhood obesity, we are seeing more kids with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in our pediatric weight management practice,” Dr. Jennifer Woo Baidal, lead author of the paper and assistant professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, said in a statement. “Many parents know that obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes and other metabolic conditions, but there is far less awareness that obesity, even in young children, can lead to serious liver disease.”

The Food That Helps Battle Depression

Wall Street Journal

“When we think of cardiac health, we think of strengthening an organ, the heart,” says Drew Ramsey, a psychiatrist in New York and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia and author of “Eat Complete.” “We need to start thinking of strengthening another organ, the brain, when we think of mental health.” A bad diet makes depression worse, failing to provide the brain with the variety of nutrients it needs, Dr. Ramsey says. And processed or deep-fried foods often contain trans fats that promote inflammation, believed to be a cause of depression. To give people evidenced-based information, Dr. Ramsey created an e-course called “Eat to Beat Depression.”

Opioid Use Lower In States That Eased Marijuana Laws


One concern is marijuana use might encourage people to experiment with more dangerous drugs. Dr. Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University, authored a study that found marijuana users were six times more likely than nonusers to abuse opioids. “A young person starting marijuana is maybe putting him — or herself at increased risk,” Olfson says. “On the other hand there may be a role — and there likely is a role — for medical marijuana in reducing the use of prescribed opioids for the management of pain.”

You Asked: What’s the Healthiest Way to Make Popcorn?


Some oils have a higher smoke point than others, and so may be safe to employ for stove-top popping. “Peanut, corn, soybean and sesame oil have high smoke points,” says Marie-Pierre St-Onge, an associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University’s Institute of Human Nutrition. “If using these oils, higher heat can be tolerated.”

Researchers find way to lower high triglycerides


Previously, Utpal Pajvan, an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, led a team that found that inhibiting the enzyme with certain drugs improves blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity, and reduces fat accumulation and inflammation in the liver. In the new study, led by KyeongJin Kim, an associate research scientist at the school, found that inhibiting the enzyme also causes liver cells to pull triglycerides out of the bloodstream.

How human embryonic stem cells sparked a revolution


Dieter Egli was just about to start graduate school in 1998 when researchers first worked out how to derive human embryonic stem cells. In the two decades since, the prolific cells have been a fixture of his career. The biologist, now at Columbia University in New York City, has used them to explore how DNA from adult cells can be reprogrammed to an embryonic state and to tackle questions about the development and treatment of diabetes. He has even helped to develop an entirely new form of human embryonic stem cell that could simplify studies on what different human genes do.

Task Force Issues Stronger Skin Cancer Prevention Guidelines

U.S. News

Task force member Karina Davidson added, “We have more evidence now that tells us that counseling people to practice sun-protective behaviors can benefit some adults with fair skin types.” She is director of the Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health at Columbia University Medical Center, in New York City. “When deciding whether to counsel adults over the age of 24, clinicians should talk with their adult patients about their risk for skin cancer,” Davidson said in a task force news release.

Record Numbers of College Students Seeking Treatment for Depression and Anxiety


At the start of every school year, Anne Marie Albano, director of the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CUCARD), says she’s inundated with texts and phone calls from students who struggle with the transition to college life. “Elementary and high school is so much about right or wrong,” she says. “You get the right answer or you don’t, and there’s lots of rules and lots of structure. Now that [life is] more free-floating, there’s anxiety.”