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Discuss risks of radiation imaging: cardiologists

Reuters Health

Cardiologists should discuss with patients the risks and benefits of chest imaging using ionizing radiation before the procedure, according to a new statement endorsed by several medical organizations. Ionizing radiation, which can come from cardiac stress tests, CT scans and certain heart procedures, is tied to increased cancer risk. “There is continuing concern on the part of patients in the area of ionizing radiation,” said Dr. Andrew J. Einstein, an associate professor of medicine in radiology at Columbia University in New York.


Despite the hype, no verdict yet on high-fat, low-carb regime

Reuters Opinion

Low-carb diets have been advocated by various “experts” for at least 225 years. Many sources credit John Rollo with being the first to promote a low carbohydrate diet for diabetics in the late 1700s. In the 1860s, an English undertaker by the name of Banting published his famous “Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public.”  His diet, which advocated giving up several starchy foods, was so popular that for decades dieting was actually called “Banting.”

Researchers Shed Light on Asthma’s Mysteries

Wall Street Journal

“It’s assumed that the prenatal period is going to be your most susceptible period [for disease], including lung development,” says Robin Whyatt, a study co-author and a professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. The researchers cautioned that while the study found an association between phthalates and asthma, it didn’t prove causation.

TREASURES OF NEW YORK: Columbia University


Featuring interviews with renowned alumni, the film reveals a rare and intimate portrait of one of the world’s leading research universities whose history and character is inextricably linked with that of New York City itself.

There Is No “Alternative Medicine”

The Atlantic

“For me, this is the big one.” Gervasio Lamas, the chief of Columbia University’s cardiology division at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, took out his phone and tapped the battery. “Cadmium. This thing ends up in the dump in West Palm Beach, and then I end up drinking it.”

Drs. Penson, McKiernan appointed department chairs

Urology Times
The month of September has seen two notable appointments in academic urology, with David F. Penson, MD, MPH, and James McKiernan, MD, both named to department chair positions. …

Separately, Dr. McKiernan, the George F. Cahill professor of urology at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, New York, has been named chair of urology and urologist-in-chief at that institution. As department chair, he will be nominated to become the John K. Lattimer Professor of Urology, according to a Columbia press release.

Plastic Chemicals During Pregnancy Linked to 70% Increased Asthma Risk


A research team from Columbia University followed a group of 300 moms and children in New York’s inner city for several years. Researchers compared the urine tests of the mothers’ during pregnancy—testing for concentrations of phthalates—to whether their children had asthma at ages 5-11.

U.S. Scientists See Long Fight Against Ebola

New York Times

Another Midas participant, Jeffrey L. Shaman, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, agreed. “Ebola has a simple trajectory because it’s growing exponentially,” Dr. Shaman said.

1 in 5 men denied Plan B by NYC pharmacists: study

New York Daily News

A “mystery shopper” experiment set up by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University Medical Center showed that 20% of men weren’t able to buy emergency contraception after explaining to a pharmacist that the condom they used broke. And almost three-quarters of pharmacies studied made it difficult for men to get the pills, which block ovulation. The study was published in the October issue of the journal Contraception.

Obesity epidemic: Lose now, save later

Boston Globe

What can we do? In June of 2013, the American Medical Association finally recognized obesity as a disease affecting more than one-third of U.S. adults. This is still not reaching enough people though. Only 25 percent of doctors are comfortable even discussing nutrition with their patients, and almost 30 percent say that no one in their practice is trained to deal with weight-related issues.

Dr. Michael Rosenbaum is a professor of pediatrics and medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. Max Gomez: Kids And Celiac Disease

CBS New York

CBS 2′s Dr. Max Gomez says a gene discovery could bring researchers a step closer to diagnosing kids born at risk for celiac disease.

Not Every Conflict of Interest Produces the Same Vote on FDA Panels


Nonetheless, in an accompanying editorial, David Rothman, who directs the Center for the Study of Society and Medicine at the Columbia University Medical Center, writes that “caution is still in order, since the FDA insists that its need for expertise may outweigh the risk of conflicts of interest, thereby ignoring the option of allowing experts to testify, but not to vote.”

Can dogs be trained to detect the smell of cancer?


GARY SCHWARTZ: The holy grail of oncology has been to try to develop a test, either in the blood or the urine or some bodily fluid that would allow us to detect cancer at an early stage.

EMILY SENAY: Doctor Gary Schwartz is the head of oncology and hematology at Columbia University Medical Center. He’s impressed by the results from the Italian study- but has some doubts about the 98% detection rate.

GARY SCHWARTZ: I am a little skeptical on the outcome reported in this particular abstract from the Milan group.

E-Cigarettes May Be A “Gateway” Drug For Teenagers, Study Shows


Certain to launch a volley of passionate praise and vitriolic criticism, the study is a groundbreaking collaboration between husband and wife Eric and Denise Kandel that combines epidemiology, psychology, and molecular biology. Pointing to a body of previous epidemiological research demonstrating that nicotine is a gateway for marijuana and cocaine use, the Kandels argue that e-cigarettes, by introducing nonsmoking kids to nicotine, extend that gateway. To back up the accusation, they marshal biological data on the effects of nicotine in the brains of mice, and psychological studies into the processes of addiction.

E-cigarettes could be gateway to hard drugs, study finds

New York Daily News

Nicotine — whether it comes from a traditional or electronic cigarette — could be a gateway drug to marijuana and cocaine, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. “While e-cigarettes do eliminate some of the health effects associated with combustible tobacco, they are pure nicotine-delivery devices,” said co-author Dr. Denise B. Kandel, a professor of sociomedical sciences at Columbia University Medical Center and a research scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

E-Cigarettes Are Gateway to Substance Abuse and Addiction


The wife-husband research team Denise Kandel and Eric Kandel has been studying nicotine for years, and in their earlier work they found that nicotine dramatically enhanced the effects of cocaine by activating a reward-related gene and shutting off inhibition. When mice had nicotine before cocaine, they behaved differently too — they ran around more and spent more time in the space where they were fed, likely driven by a need to satisfy their craving for the drug. Denise’s epidemiological data shows that similar effects might be occurring in people…

How did the West Africa Ebola epidemic get out of control so fast?


The spread of the most recent strain of the Ebola virus across parts of West Africa has highlighted not just the lethality of the disease but also the strains on the existing medical infrastructures there. For further insight, Stephen Morse, professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and Estrella Lasry, a tropical medical advisor at Doctors Without Borders, join Hari Sreenivasan.

Research making ALS less of a mystery

CBS News

Skin cells from an ALS patient are reprogrammed to become stem cells, then morphed into neurons in the lab. These neurons exhibit the same abnormalities as those in the ALS patient. This has sped up the pace of discovery for neuroscientists like Thomas Jessell at Columbia University Medical Center. “It permits you to screen compounds – drugs, medicines – and if they work in that tissue culture dish condition you can then go back and test them in the human,” Jessell said.

Retired Staten Island cop cancer-free after clinical trial at NYP

NY Daily News

It was early November of last year, and Ranieri, 62, had been in the hospital for over a month. The retired transit cop from Staten Island couldn’t walk, let alone sit up. He had trouble speaking and hearing. His energy was zapped. His daughter worked to get him transferred to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. There, he was put under the care of neuro-oncologist Dr. Yazmin Odia.

Researchers reverse autism symptoms in mice by paring synapses

Washington Post

“We were able to treat mice after the disease had appeared,” neurobiologist David Sulzer of Columbia University Medical Center, who led the study published in the journal Neuron, said in a telephone interview. That suggests the disease could one day be treated in teenagers and adults, “though there is a lot of work to be done,” he said.

Study Finds That Brains With Autism Fail to Trim Synapses

New York Times

The researchers, from Columbia University Medical Center, looked closely at an area of the brain’s temporal lobe involved in social behavior and communication. Analyzing tissue from 20 of the brains, they counted spines — the tiny neuron protrusions that receive signals via synapses — and found more spines in children with autism.

Botox May Have Cancer-Fighting Role


Scientists at Columbia University Medical Centre, in New York, and at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim investigated the role of the vagus nervewhich runs from the brain to the digestive systemin stomach cancer. Either cutting the nerve or using the toxin Botox slowed the growth of tumors or made them more responsive to chemotherapy.

Autoimmune Drugs May Treat a Form of Baldness

NBC News

Angela Christiano, a professor in the Departments of Dermatology and of Genetics and Development at Columbia who helped direct the research, is herself an alopecia patient. “Patients with alopecia areata are suffering profoundly, and these findings mark a significant step forward for them. The team is fully committed to advancing new therapies for patients with a vast unmet need,” she said.

New Drug Helps Some Bald Patients Regrow Hair

New York Times

After trying various treatments, Brian enrolled this year in a study at Columbia University Medical Center testing whether a drug approved for a bone marrow disorder could help people with alopecia. One of the study’s leaders, Angela Christiano, is a dermatology professor and geneticist who herself has alopecia areata.

The Need for Nutrition Education in Med Schools

The Hill

Not only are we doctors poorly educated in nutrition, but there is a serious absence of funding to properly answer some of the most important questions that all nutrition specialists are being asked. The result is an unremitting epidemic of obesity and a multitude of preventable nutrition-related diseases on the one hand, and “experts” promoting opinion as fact, guidelines that are moving targets, and a public expecting to be able to rely on nutritional supplements as magic cures on the other.

What Should We Eat to Stay Healthy? Why Experts Actually Have No Idea


Until and unless the funding for very large, effective, long-term randomized studies of the effect of different diets on preventing disease becomes available, nutrition experts must educate themselves and the public about the strengths and weaknesses of the data on which their opinions are based.

Combat Stress Among Veterans Is Found to Persist Since Vietnam

New York Times

“This is a tremendously important effort, tracking the course of war-related trauma from young adulthood past middle age — we have nothing else like this,” said Bruce Dohrenwend, a professor of epidemiology and social sciences at Columbia University who was not involved in the study. “Now, we need to dig in and figure out what these results mean.”

Ebola: How Worried Should We Be?

Wall Street Journal

The threat in the developed world is minimal, and any infections that did occur could be easily isolated, says W. Ian Lipkin in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

New clues reveal the secret life of the baby in your belly

NBC Today

Life in the womb is much busier than you might expect, said Dr. Bill Fifer, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and a leading expert on fetal and newborn learning. “Everything that a newborn baby does, a fetus has pretty much done already,” Fifer said. “They’re exquisitely able to sense information over all parts of their body, although some are more sensitive than others, like around the mouth, around the feet, around the hands.”

Q and A: Ebola Spreads in Africa—and Likely Beyond

National Geographic

National Geographic recently talked with W. Ian Lipkin, an expert in viral diseases and the John Snow Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, about why this outbreak is so much more widespread than previous ones.

Rustle, Tingle, Relax: The Compelling World of A.S.M.R.

New York Times

Dr. Carl W. Bazil, a sleep disorders specialist at Columbia University, says A.S.M.R. videos may provide novel ways to switch off our brains. “People who have insomnia are in a hyper state of arousal,” he said. “Behavioral treatments — guided imagery, progressive relaxation, hypnosis and meditation — are meant to try to trick your unconscious into doing what you want it to do. A.S.M.R. videos seem to be a variation on finding ways to shut your brain down.”

Study Evaluates Risk of Cancer Spread by Hysterectomy Procedure

New York Times

Of those, 99 women had uterine cancer that was detected afterward. (If doctors had known about the cancer, they would not have used morcellation.) That means one in 368 women undergoing a hysterectomy had cancerous tumors that risked being spread by morcellation, said Dr. Jason D. Wright, the lead author and chief of gynecologic oncology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.