Oct. 21 - 25

International Coverage

Developed nations can do ‘better job’ on STIs, scientist warns
Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Even as medical researchers are making advances and poorer countries are reducing their rates of infections, people in developed nations have grown complacent and allowed gonorrhea, syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases to spread again, an expert warns. … Myron Cohen, a professor of medicine, microbiology and epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, worked in China in the 1970s and recalled that its Maoist government had virtually eradicated syphilis.

National Coverage

Just 12 Percent of Women Over 50 Are ‘Satisfied’ With Their Bodies
… A recent survey of 1,700 women over age 50 found that a paltry 12 percent said they were satisfied with their size and shape. … "This is an active, effortful process for them," said study co-author Cristin Runfola, a postdoctoral research fellow at the UNC Center for Excellence for Eating Disorders, at the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill.


Child Neurologist Finds Potential Route to Better Treatments for Fragile X, Autism 
Science Daily (website)
When you experience something, neurons in the brain send chemical signals called neurotransmitters across synapses to receptors on other neurons. …In people with Fragile X syndrome … that process is severely hindered, leading to intellectual impairments and abnormal behaviors. In a study published in the online journal PLoS One, a team of UNC School of Medicine researchers led by pharmacologist C.J. Malanga, MD, PhD, describes a major reason why current medications only moderately alleviate Fragile X symptoms.

Half of prostate cancer patients in North Carolina do not receive multidisciplinary care
Health Canal
Only half of the men who receive a prostate cancer diagnosis in North Carolina consult with more than one type of physician before deciding on a course of treatment, according to research presented by University of North Carolina researchers at the 2013 American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) annual meeting on Sept. 24. Working with local hospitals across North Carolina, UNC researchers led by Ronald Chen, MD, MPH, assistant professor of Radiation Oncology in the UNC School of Medicine, and Paul Godley, MD, PhD, Professor in the Division of Hematology/Oncology - both members of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center - surveyed patients about their decision-making process after a prostate cancer diagnosis.

Do you want to know what will kill you?
There’s a lot you can do for your child with 99 dollars. …I took that money and got my daughter’s genes tested, ordering up an analysis of the composition of her very small self and its odds of living a long and healthy life. … Others felt that the data were largely meaningless, anyway. “If people want to engage in a genetic parlor game, that’s fine,” says Dr. Jim Evans, a general practitioner and professor of medicine and genetics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

State & Local Coverage

Discovery at UNC points to possible environmental cause of autism
News & Observer
Researchers at UNC School of Medicine have discovered a potential environmental cause of autism in a type of chemotherapy drug, and they are beginning to investigate the effects of other non-chemo drugs that work by a similar mechanism.

Professors Mark Zylka and Benjamin Philpot made the discovery while studying a drug that’s effective against cancer, but also shows potential as a treatment for a genetic disease called Angelman syndrome. In the process, they made some new observations that seem to point to a cause of autism. “That’s science,” says Zylka. “You’re trying to do something and you find something else.” The duo, along with colleagues at UNC Chapel Hill and the University of Connecticut, published their results in the journal Nature on Aug. 28.

UNC-Chapel Hill will test new device aimed at diabetes and obesity
Charlotte Observer
UNC-Chapel Hill researchers are testing a promising device that fights two of the most common health problems that Americans face – obesity and diabetes. The EndoBarrier is a thin sleeve made of a plastic-like material that lines part of the upper digestive tract so that food simply passes through that section rather than undergoing full digestion. A team led by Dr. Laura Young of the UNC Diabetes Care Center is part of a nationwide, 500-patient, 20-site study of the device. It has begun seeking local volunteers to participate.

Six win North Carolina’s highest honor for civilians
News & Observer
A scientist who helped discover how to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDs, a longtime educator who came up with a way to merge the state’s black and white teachers associations, and a linguist famed for his work with dialects such as the “hoi toide” brogue of the North Carolina coast are among six new winners of the state’s highest civilian honor. The 2013 honorees are Myron S. Cohen of Chapel Hill for science, John E. Cram of Asheville for fine arts, John M. H. Hart Jr. of Keswick, Va., for literature, Phillip J. Kirk Jr. of Raleigh for public service, John Harding Lucas of Durham for public service and Walt Wolfram of Cary for public service.

Why Schizophrenics Hear Voices
Schizophrenia is a frightening disease, characterized by audio and visual hallucinations. [New] research indicates that a breakdown in the neural pathways that establish this interaction may cause auditory hallucinations in people with schizophrenia. "Auditory hallucinations are a common symptom in people who have schizophrenia," said John Gilmore, vice chair for research and scientific affairs in the department of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Kudos to UNC researchers who have found autism clues
News & Observer
For parents, a child’s diagnosis of autism can explain some different behaviors, but the answers to “why?” have been difficult in coming. Research is ongoing … but the origins of the autism disorder remain a troubling mystery. …Two UNC-Chapel Hill researchers, each on a different research path, might have hit on an environmental cause for some autism.

Duke, UNC to receive federal grants worth nearly $102 million
News & Observer
More than $100 million in federal money … is headed to the Triangle to help university researchers turn basic scientific discoveries into advances in patient care. Two Clinical and Translational Science Awards from the National Institutes of Health were awarded to Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill, which will team up with RTI International and N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro.

UNC News Release: http://uncnews.unc.edu/content/view/6283/107/

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Huge grant spotlights how universities benefit state’s economy
News & Observer
It happens so often that it’s easy to take it for granted. But hold the “ho hums” if you please. On Wednesday, The News & Observer reported that more than $100 million in research grants will be coming to universities in the Triangle from the National Institutes of Health. They are called Clinical and Translational Science Awards and will fund research by Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in partnership with N.C. A&T State University and RTI International. The amount is breathtaking, and the aim of the intended medical research is to turn clinical research discoveries into practical applications that help patients.

Friends say woman’s cancer treatment at UNC delayed by football game
Charlotte Observer
At least one cancer patient was told her radiation treatment was postponed Thursday because of UNC-Chapel Hill’s night football game, friends say... “We’ve been planning quite in advance for the fact that we wouldn’t want our patients in a major traffic jam,” said UNC Health Care spokeswoman Karen McCall.


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