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School of Medicine Highlights


Jason Stoneback, MD, assistant professor of orthopedics, explained lateral compartment syndrome, a condition that benched Denver Broncos safety Rahim Moore, to USA Today in November: “You essentially get ischemia to the muscles in that compartment — or lack of blood flow, and the muscle then dies. You can lose function of those muscles permanently, and it can destroy nerve function, or you could even lose your leg.”

Michael Weissberg, MD, professor of psychiatry, offered advice for overcoming seasonal affective disorder in a December article in the Boulder Daily Camera: “What you find is that patients, especially when they’re depressed, don’t go outside. Basically, they turn into mushrooms. When you go outside, you’re getting a lot of light. Go outside for 45 minutes. Walking outside will help immeasurably.”

Catherine Proenza, PhD, assistant professor of physiology and biophysics, was quoted in The New York Times in October on research showing slower heart rates later in life: “We know that you can stimulate these (heart) cells, so if you could provoke them just a little bit more, you could boost the maximum heart rate just a little. Suddenly a person is able to carry that laundry basket or go down those steps to the basement, so they can still live alone.”

Stephen Daniels, MD, PhD, chair of pediatrics, commented to the Associated Press in November on research that suggests children today cannot run as fast or as far as their parents when they were young. “Kids aren’t getting enough opportunities to build up that activity over the course of the day. Many schools, for economic reasons, don’t have any physical education at all. Some rely on recess.”

Andrew Monte, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, discussed synthetic marijuana products with the Los Angeles Times in January. “These substances are not benign,” he said. “You can buy designer drugs of abuse at convenience stores and on the Internet. People may not realize how dangerous these drugs can be — up to 1,000 times stronger binding to can-nabis receptors when compared to traditional marijuana.”

Margaret Kelsey, MD, associate professor of pediatrics, called for more funding for community and school-based activities to promote exercise for children. “It is important to teach kids lifetime activities, ways to change their activities in their everyday lifestyles rather than hard-core sports that may be intimidating to kids and their families,” she told NBC News in January.

In January James Hill, PhD, executive director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, discussed with ABC News ways to lose weight. “People who have maintained long-term weight loss had many failed diets in their past,” he said. “Just because you haven’t succeeded yet doesn’t mean you can’t do it.”

Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD, post-doctoral fellow at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, offered healthy Super Bowl snacking tips on 9News, the NBC affiliate in Denver. “Instead of using full-fat sour cream, which has a lot of calories, a lot of fat, use non-fat Greek yogurt [when making dips]. Surprisingly, it doesn’t change the taste at all … It tastes wonderful. You can’t tell the difference at all.”

Stephen Daniels, MD, PhD, chair of pediatrics, was quoted in a January Associated Press report about how a child’s “weight fate” is set by age 5. “You can change your fate by things that you do early in life,” with more exercise and eating a healthy diet, he said. “Once it occurs, obesity is really hard to treat. So the idea is we should really work hard to prevent it.”

Richard Johnson, MD, professor of medicine, discussed sugar consumption in the January issue of Glamour magazine. “Sugar is not a toxin in the sense you should never eat it,” he said. “We’re just eating too much.”

Kerry Brega, MD, associate professor of neurosurgery, was interviewed in February by ABC News for a report on concussion risks for Olympic athletes. “You worry someone had a concussion in training, whether they are able to process things as quickly as they must under normal circumstances,” she said. “What they are doing requires such extraordinary precision. Just small changes in how quickly you’re processing things may make a significant difference.”

Cory Portnuff, AuD, PhD, clinical instructorof otolaryngology, told Fox31 Denver that fans at an NFL football game should consider wearing earplugs. “In your average NFL football game, you’ll have times where it goes almost up to 120dB, which is about as loud as a jet engine taking off,” he said. “By the time that you’re up into the hundreds (of decibels), you only have a few minutes that you can safely listen. A Broncos game can last upwards of three, maybe four hours.”

Christian Hopfer, MD, associate professor of psychiatry, discussed marijuana addiction with the Los Angeles Times in February. “A lot of people who use marijuana heavily in their 20s eventually quit on their own,” he said. “It’s probably easier than stopping [tobacco] smoking.”

Paula Riggs, MD, professor of psychiatry, was interviewed in February for ABC’s “This Week” program about the effects of marijuana use. “Brain development is really rapidly occurring from about age 10 well into our mid to late 20s,” she said. “Your brain is kind of under construction and it disrupts the development of circuits. And the latest studies show that regular use when you’re an adolescent is associated with a 6 to 8 point reduction in IQ.”

Robert Neumann, MD, associate professor of neurosurgery, director of the neuro-intensive care unit and co-director of the stroke program at University of Colorado Hospital, talked in March with 9News, the NBC affiliate in Denver, about a patient who returned to the hospital from Australia to offer his gratitude for the care he received. “For someone to travel across the globe to visit with us,” he said, “for us, it’s what keeps us going.” 


Larry Allen, MD, MHS, assistant professor of medicine, discussed in a New York Times article in February his case study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, of a woman who suffered heart failure after having metal-on-metal hip implants. While she showed signs of cobalt poisoning, the cause of her heart problems was initially a mystery, he said, because “literally tens of thousands of people had these hips without her problems.”

Laura Hurley, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine, was quoted by Medical News Today in February discussing her study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, revealing “stubbornly low” vaccination rates in adults. “Our study suggests that missed opportuni-ties for adult vaccination are common,” she said, “because vaccination status is not being assessed at every (physician’s) visit, which is admittedly an ambitious goal.”

George Sam Wang, MD, clinical instructor of pediatrics, commented in an article in The New York Times in January on his study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, of emergency-room visits by children who had consumed marijuana-laced cookies, cakes or candies: “Those edible products are inherently more attractive than what a bud [of marijuana] would look like.”

John Hill, DO, director of primary care sports medicine fellowship and professor of fam-ily medicine, in January explained on the LiveScience website the impact of cold weather for athletes playing in the Super Bowl. “Endurance goes down in the cold, because muscles can’t oxygenate as well, so energy levels decrease.”