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In the News

Fall 2012


(November 2012) Reporters nationally and locally turn to the School of Medicine for expertise and research news. Here are examples from near and far:

The New York Times, Washington Post and Denver Post reported on Down syndrome findings by Alberto Costa, MD, an associate professor in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at the CU medical school. Costa found that the Alzheimer’s drug memantine improved cognition for Down syndrome patients. In previous studies on mice, Costa found that memantine had an immediate, positive effect.

Philip Zeitler, MD, a professor of pediatrics, shared his expertise on diabetes with the Philadelphia Inquirer in an article about the American Diabetes Association conference in Philadelphia. The article focused on the growing problem of Type 2 diabetes—what used to be called “adult-onset diabetes”—in children. “[Children] seem to have a somewhat different disorder than adults,” Zeitler says. “They need to go on insulin faster than adults. And they have a more rapid appearance of complications.”

Staff members of University of Colorado Hospital, including medical school faculty members, who treated 22 victims of the Aurora theater shootings in July were featured in a New York Times article headlined “The Night the E.R. Staff Can Never Forget.” The article reads, “For the … staff at the hospital the shootings were not only a trauma but also a test of their skills, their stamina and their teamwork.” Colorado Public Radio also did an interview on the subject. (See related article, page 28, by one of the doctors on duty that night.)

The Wall Street Journal reported on work being done by the Altitude Research Center that could lead to drugs that help with acclimatization and heart and lung diseases. The CU researchers “are studying molecular mechanisms of normal acclimatization in healthy people to gain new treatment ideas for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD,” the journal notes. As part of the research, scientists tested subjects at sea level and then at a 17,200-foot peak in Bolivia.

ABC News interviewed Tim Byers, MD, MPH, about health problems associated with height. “One of the big surprises in cancer has been the potential impact of early life nutritional factors on long-term cancer risk,” said Byers, a professor of preventive medicine and biometrics at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. “I think height is an indicator of some risk factor, but we don’t know what the mechanism is.” Byers said people, regardless of height, should follow beneficial behaviors such as eating well, avoiding tobacco and being physically active.

Great Britain’s Daily Mail was one of dozens of publications, including several online science sites, that wrote about an international research team led by James Sikela, PhD, that discovered the key to understanding why the human brain is larger and more complex than that of other animals. Sikela, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, zeroed in on a specific unit within a protein—a “protein domain” called DUF1220—that is far more numerous in humans than in other species.