Media Coverage

An article about questions over whether it was a broken heart that caused the hospitalization of former President George H.W. Bush just a day after the funeral of his wife, Barbara, interviews Anne B. Curtis, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Charles and Mary Bauer Professor and chair of medicine. The sudden loss of a spouse, child or parent “releases an outpouring from the sympathetic nervous system, the fight-or-flight response, which is what seems to damage the heart in broken-heart syndrome,” she said. “The heart rate goes up sharply, blood pressure goes up. This is why people can also have a stroke in situations like this.” 
Richard D. Blondell, MD, professor of family medicine and vice chair of addiction medicine talks about the availability of medication-assisted treatment for people dealing with opioid and other chemical dependency issues and whether there are enough qualified physicians to treat them. “Right now, the physician workforce is the limiting step,” he said. “It’s relatively easy to build buildings and make more beds, and relatively easy to hire nurses to staff them. But a lot of agencies in Western New York are hamstrung in their ability to provide enhanced services by the lack of physician resources.”
The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences will play host to the “Igniting Hope” conference, a collaboration among UB and several entities. Timothy F. Murphy, MD, senior associate dean of clinical and translational research and director of UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, said it’s a chance for the university to show what its researchers can do. “If you look at all of the people nationally who participate in clinical studies, less than 10 percent are underrepresented minorities,” he said. 
Research by Jeffrey M. Lackner, PsyD, professor of medicine, showed that patients with the most severe and persistent symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome achieved robust and sustained relief by learning to control symptoms with home-based behavioral treatment. “This is a novel, game-changing treatment approach for a public health problem that has real personal and economic costs, and for which there are few medical treatments for the full range of symptoms,” he said.
New Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences research has shown that an approved anti-cancer drug can significantly restore the social deficits associated with autism spectrum disorder in mice. “We have discovered a small molecule compound that shows a profound and prolonged effect on autism-like social deficits without obvious side effects, while many currently used compounds for treating a variety of psychiatric diseases have failed to exhibit the therapeutic efficacy for this core symptom of autism,” said Zhen Yan, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of physiology and biophysics.
Timothy F. Murphy, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research and director of UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, talks about the $3 billion increase to the National Institutes of Health’s budget and what it means to Western New York research institutions. He said UB brought in $60 million in funding through 174 grant awards, an increase of $2 million and nine awards from the previous year.
Daniel Antonius, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the Division of Forensic Psychiatry, was interviewed for an article about the Toronto driver who killed 10 pedestrians in a van attack. Antonius noted the driver’s history of posting misogynist statements and praise for other misogynists who have committed murders and said that these actions constitute another form of terrorism. “That feeling that someone is out to get you, maybe not you personally but you as part of a group you represent, that is terror,” he said.
The Jacobs Institute’s new Idea to Reality (I2R) Center, aims to foster collaboration between entrepreneurs, physicians, engineers and researchers with a focus on new therapies for strokes and heart attacks. The institute grew out of the work of L. Nelson Hopkins, MD, UB Distinguished Professor of neurosurgery, and is located in the building that houses the UB Center for Translational Research. 
New research by Zhen Yan, PhD, professor of physiology and biophysics, has shown that an FDA-approved anti-cancer drug can significantly restore the social deficits associated with autism spectrum disorder in mice.
An article about a recent study that found that Americans are consuming 17.5 billion drinks a year during binges quotes Brian M. Quigley, PhD, research assistant professor of medicine and senior research scientist in UB’s Research Institute on Addictions, who said he prefers the term “heavy episodic drinking.” “When the public hears the term ‘binge drinking,’” he said, “they think of something else, more akin to a ‘lost weekend’ involving a person drinking for days and having blackouts. That is, of course, an extreme example of a heavy drinking episode.”
An article about the avalanche of fan mail offering friendship, encouragement and sexually provocative photos that is being sent to Nikolas Cruz, the teen accused of killing 17 people in a shooting rampage at a Florida high school last month, in jail interviews Steven L. Dubovsky, MD, professor and chair of psychiatry, who said some people get a kind of “notoriety and fame by association” with heinous killers. “It’s like hanging out with a rock star or being a groupie,” he said.
An article about the opioid crisis and the rising number of people who are dying from overdoses interviews Richard D. Blondell, MD, professor of family medicine and vice chair of addiction medicine, who said the opioid crisis is an epidemic of our own making and that prescription rates have skyrocketed, fueled in part by hospitals and doctors trying to treat chronic pain rather than the underlying symptoms. “Long-term, it’s going to be 20 years before we dig ourselves out of the hole that we made,” he said. “Some aspects of [the crisis] are getting worse.”
Local orthopaedic surgeons are addressing the opioid crisis in Western New York. Leslie J. Bisson, MD, professor and chair of orthopaedics, organized a summit of 35 surgeons to discuss prescribing patterns. “We surveyed our own group and found there was huge variability,” he said. “Some were giving one type of pain medication of a certain number, others were giving twice as many. It was kind of all over the place, but because there wasn’t a lot of literature, it was more practice and habit-based.”
An article reports a new UB study has shown insight into how Haemophilus influenza affects individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, the fourth-leading cause of death, and interviews Timothy F. Murphy, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research. "Not only were we able to look at what the genes looked like when the patients acquired the pathogen, but we followed these patients every month,” he said. “The genomes are like a looking glass, revealing the pathogen’s secrets to us by showing us how it changed its genes through the years.”
First-year medical students discuss the Health in the Neighborhood course at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and their experiences learning about health care disparities directly from those who are experiencing them in Buffalo. “In order to the learn from the community, it is important to engage as listeners and learners,” said Linda F. Pessar, MD, founder of the course and professor emeritus of psychiatry. The story focused on the national attention it’s drawing from the American Medical Association. “It’s important to have an organization like the AMA be involved in what we’re doing because they have a lot of influence,” said Lisa Jane Jacobsen, MD, associate dean of medical curriculum.