Media Coverage

Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for health policy, was interviewed about why a national health system is needed to slow the opioid crisis. “The bottom line is, we need people to be alive if we want to help them,” she said.
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.”
An article about the secrets to aging gracefully looks at the UB Center for Successful Aging and interviews Bruce R. Troen, MD, professor of medicine and chief of geriatrics and palliative medicine; Nikhil Satchidanand, PhD, an exercise physiologist and assistant professor of medicine; and Kenneth L. Seldeen, PhD, research assistant professor of medicine.
An article about the financial toll of the U.S. opioid epidemic, which has cost the country more than $1 trillion since 2001, interviews Richard D. Blondell, MD, professor of family medicine and vice chair of addiction medicine. “Prescription drugs are gateway drugs to heroin,” he said. “Doctors and other physicians inadvertently prescribe their patients into addiction, but when they stop the prescriptions, patients turn to the illicit market for their drugs. As such, these prescribers make things worse by converting a licit drug problem into an illicit problem.”
UB HEALS (Homeless health, Education, Awareness and Leadership in Street medicine), a community outreach program organized by medical students and physicians from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is in the middle of a 60-day online crowdfunding campaign. “This is an extremely humbling experience. So, it brought medicine back to the human aspect of it. And, for those going into medicine, just keep in mind that even though you need to build your resume and you need to build different types of experiences, having an experience that makes you have a human-to-human connection is extremely valuable,” said Lisa Samuels, a second-year medical student who handles fundraising for the organization. 
Research by Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, professor of neurology, has found that brain iron at quantitative magnetic resonance imaging is associated with disability in multiple sclerosis. "In this large cohort of MS patients and healthy controls, we have reported, for the first time, iron increasing in the basal ganglia but decreasing in thalamic structures," he said. "Iron depletion or increase in several structures of the brain is an independent predictor of disability related to MS." 
An opinion piece by Timothy F. Murphy, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research and director of UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, looks at clinical research and how participating in clinical trials can improve the health of the entire community. “Every promising new treatment and new miracle drug was made possible by people who participated in clinical trials. Increasing participation in clinical research is an enormous opportunity to engage more people with health care professionals and provide access to the latest treatments,” he writes.
A study by Stephanie Anzman-Frasca, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics, shows that the best way to encourage children to eat healthy foods is to continue to offer them an assortment of healthy foods even if they initially refuse to eat them. It  notes that healthy eating must begin during pregnancy since the flavor of the foods that a mother eats “reach the child in utero.” 
Research by Craig T. Werner, a postdoctoral fellow in pharmacology and toxicology, and David Dietz, PhD, professor and chair of pharmaoclogy and toxicology, shows that a class of proteins, for the first time, been shown to be effective in reducing relapse, or drug-seeking behaviors, in a preclinical study. "One of the greatest challenges with addiction is the persistent vulnerability to relapse," Werner said.
A broad overview of current research about concussions and advancements in the field quotes John J. Leddy, MD, clinical professor of orthopaedics and director of the UB’s Concussion Management Clinic.  “Believe it or not, we don’t have a gold-standard definition of what a concussion even is right now,” he said. “It remains a clinical diagnosis, that means it’s a diagnosis made by the history taken and the physical examination performed. There’s no one diagnostic test to confirm a concussion in everybody.”
UB researchers have received a five-year, $3 million grant to apply the power of big data to enhance liver health in the region. Andrew H. Talal, MD, professor of medicine and co-principal investigator on the grant, said “clearly, it’s not an exaggeration to say that we are seeing a national crisis of liver disease and liver cancer.”
In a story about mental health care inside the Erie County Holding Center, Erie County Commissioner of Mental Health Michael Ranney discussed reforms undertaken at the Holding Center, noting “one of the very positive things we did was establish a relationship with the university.” The story states that the county contracts with the Department of Psychiatry, which provides services at the holding center and Erie County Correctional Facility. The story quotes Daniel Antonius, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the Division of Forensic Psychiatry, who said, “We see inmates sometimes within a day and sometimes within one to two weeks, so if you compared to the community standard — it's actually pretty quick because in the community you often wait two to three months before you’re seeing a psychiatrist.”
A story reports that first- and second-year students in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences were part of a panel discussion on the future of the medical field and quotes second-year medical student Emily Slominski, who said she’s interested in learning more about interconnectivity between physicians and providers in other fields. “A lot of our experiences right now can almost be frustrating at times because you have patients that have problems that are kind of outside the realm of what you can help with. So it’s nice to see that they’re bringing in other fields, and connecting, and trying to get at the root of the problems.”
There are concerns that the region could face a shortage of obstetrician-gynecologists in coming years. Vanessa M. Barnabei, MD, PhD, professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology, comments about what is being done to boost the number of younger physicians in the specialty. “Most of our graduates have stayed in the immediate area, Erie County for the most part and a couple in Niagara County. But I know there are shortages in Niagara County and only a few OB-GYNs in Orleans (County),” she said. “Many of the babies there are delivered by family practice providers.”
An article reports on research by Caroline E. Bass, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology, that used optogenetics to treat binge drinking in mice. “By stimulating certain dopamine neurons in a precise pattern, resulting in low but prolonged levels of dopamine release, we could prevent the rats from binging. The rats just flat out stopped drinking,” she said.