Media Coverage

A story about the growing popularity of the plant-based supplement Kratom, which a local man credits for saving his life, interviews Praveen K. Chandrasekharan, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, who said not enough is known about the drug to promote it. “There are a couple of components in Kratom that can act very similar to opioid substance and so there's a link towards addictive potential,” he said. “When the FDA says it needs to regulate it, it's definitely a concern.”
A story about the various illnesses that are going around now that the weather is becoming more spring-like interviews Stanley A. Schwartz, MD, PhD, UB Distinguished Professor of medicine and pediatrics. “The spring’s a funny time,” said Schwartz, chief of the Department of Medicine’s Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology. “In the springtime there are a whole bunch of different viruses that become very prevalent. Most of them are harmless ... harmless in the sense that they're not going to kill you, but you may feel like you're going to die.”
In an article on the fattest cities in America, Teresa Quattrin, MD, UB Distinguished Professor of pediatrics and senior associate dean for research integration, was one of several experts who discussed issues including the biggest mistakes people make in trying to get healthy. She said: “The biggest mistake is that people focus on weight loss rather than healthy behaviors that lead to weight loss. The additional big issue is that they try to make fast and drastic changes that cannot be sustained.”
An article about pediatric cancer survivors, who survived treatment only to be diagnosed later with grave aftereffects ranging from heart disease to a second cancer caused by treatment for the first, interviews Steven E. Lipshultz, MD, A. Conger Goodyear Professor and Chair of pediatrics, about his research on the impact that losing healthy heart cells during cancer treatment can have later in life. Once those children reach adulthood, “the mass of the heart is inadequate for the size of the body,” he said.
An article about tricks to help make a new habit stick interviews Leonard H. Epstein, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of pediatrics and chief of behavioral medicine, who said that while working toward a long-term goal can be motivating, it also can be harder to stay excited about it and that the problem could be that we undervalue future rewards because immediate rewards seem more valuable.
Dennis Z. Kuo, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of General Pediatrics, was interviewed about a new six-in-one vaccine for children and whether it makes the immunization process easier for parents and children. “I think that any time you have another combination vaccine it makes the process easier because we do give a number of vaccines … so if you can reduce the number of shots we give it definitely helps,” he said.
New research by Steven Lipshultz, MD, A. Conger Goodyear Professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics, showed that exposure to a common drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder isn’t likely to increase cardiovascular risk in healthy children, according to a new study involving primates. “The findings are very reassuring in that even high-dose chronic MPH stimulant therapy did not result in any evidence of abnormal structures or function in the hearts of the monkeys,” he said.
An article about research-backed ways parents can help children form healthy habits interviews Leonard H. Epstein, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of pediatrics and chief of behavioral medicine. “Parents are very important in terms of arranging an environment and setting a model for healthy or unhealthy behavior,” he said. “Parents bring foods into the house. They control how much time a child can watch TV. They control what kinds of social activities are paired with foods. And kids learn a huge amount about eating and physical activity from watching and imitating their parents.”
An article looked at research by Sara O’Donnell, a clinical psychology doctoral student working in pediatrics, that found that college students would rather go without food than without their phones. “As part of a recent experiment, 76 UB students, ages 18 to 22, were deprived of their smartphone or food. Afterward, participants could earn time with their smartphone or 100-calorie servings of a favorite snack by completing a computer task…. Ultimately, the researchers found that students were much more motivated to earn time on their smartphone and were willing to spend more hypothetical money to gain access to their phone,” the article notes.
Research by Sara O’Donnell, a clinical psychology doctoral student in pediatrics, found that college students would rather go without food than without their phones. “When deprived of both food and smartphones, students were much more motivated to work for time to use their smartphone, and were willing to part with more hypothetical money to gain access to their phone,” she said. “We knew that students would be motivated to gain access to their phones, but we were surprised that despite modest food deprivation, smartphone reinforcement far exceeded food reinforcement.”
Steven Lipshultz, MD, A. Conger Goodyear professor and chair of pediatrics, is interviewed about the role that new facilities played in recruiting him to Buffalo; his history of research, publications and clinical trials in population health; and his optimism that progress he’s made will continue here. “There’s collaboration between Oishei Children’s, Roswell Park (Comprehensive Cancer Center) and the [Jacobs] School to promote a higher level and degree of bone marrow transplants, not just for cancer but for genetic diseases. That could be curative. It’s science fiction coming to real life for children who are born and saved at the children’s hospital. I think we are well-poised,” he said.
BestLife cites a UB study showing depressed children with asthma had imbalanced activity in their autonomic nervous system. The story quotes Bruce D. Miller, MD, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics, an author of the study.
Mark D. Hicar, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics, is interviewed about the return of acute flaccid myelitis, a polio-like condition that left more than 100 children in the U.S. at least partially paralyzed in 2014. AFM was also diagnosed in more than 100 children again in 2016 and 2018. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is not ruling out any possible triggers. Hicar treated two children with AFM, one in 2014 and one in 2018. The article notes that both were boys — one age 6 and one age 3.
A television broadcast quoted Mark D. Hicar, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases, discussing acute flaccid myelitis, an extremely rare condition affecting young children. He noted that while in most cases, the paralysis is only temporary, “a significant number, potentially about a quarter of patients, their worst paralysis is with them for life, unfortunately.”
Peter Winkelstein, MD, executive director of the Institute for Healthcare Informatics and professor of pediatrics, and Timothy Murphy, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research and SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine, are interviewed about federally funded clinical trials conducted through UB. The number has seen a substantial uptick in the last three years, the result of a long-term effort to break down barriers within the university and a dedicated outreach effort in the community. “This substantial increase in research activity at UB is a result of all the changes this institution has made in a variety of areas to foster better health care in our community,” Murphy said. “Those efforts signaled UB’s strong institutional commitment to growing clinical research with a multimillion-dollar investment that allows us to fully support and perform world-class clinical research. Now they are paying off.”