Media Coverage

Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is interviewed for a story about concerns over the safety of prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are manufactured overseas. “I think that this realization has made us think a little bit about where we stand with our prescription medicines in our new global world and vulnerabilities that exist because of it,” he said. 
Research by Jessica A. Kulak, PhD, a former postdoctoral fellow in UB’s Primary Care Research Institute, and Kim Strong Griswold, MD, professor of family medicine and psychiatry, suggests that shifts in illicit substance use among American youth will compel primary care physicians to monitor new products and how they are used. 
An article about medical innovations being developed in Western New York interviews Adnan Siddiqui, MD, PhD, professor of neurosurgery, about the Tigertriever, which can be manipulated while inside a blood vessel to change in size and dimensions, and Anthony D. Martinez, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, who discussed the FibroScan machine, which uses diagnostic imaging that takes about 10 minutes and can replace a more invasive, expensive and risky liver biopsy.
An article details an arthritis drug called Enbrel that seems to significantly cut the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and the decision by the drug’s manufacturer to not develop the drug for this condition because the patent on it will soon expire and the company will not profit from pursuing it further. It reports that in 2016, Richard C. Chou, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology, and colleagues published an analysis that showed that of 300-odd people with rheumatoid arthritis, those on Enbrel were about a third as likely to get Alzheimer’s as those on other treatments.
Research by Jonathan F. Lovell, PhD, associate professor of biomedical engineering, shows that roasted barley performs as well as a convention contrast agent and may aid with photoacoustic computed tomography of the swallowing and gut processes, a finding that could lead to improved diagnosis of gastrointestinal tract and swallowing disorders.
Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, talks about the new Jacobs School building and its impact on medical education at UB. The combination of a technology-rich building and the medical campus location helps UB to recruit more medical school candidates, he said, adding, “We are finding that when students get our offer letters, they come here.” 
An article about how knowing what to expect after surgery can reduce patients’ need for opioids interviews Richard D. Blondell, MD, professor of family medicine and vice chairman of addiction medicine, who said that overprescribing can increase the risk of opioid misuse and addiction by patients, and also increases the chance that unused pills will be diverted – misused by other family members or stolen and given to other people. “Surgeons have an important role in helping to keep prescription opioids from being diverted to the illicit marketplace,” he said. 
An article about health insurers who are requiring proof that new treatments work before they will agree to cover them looks at research being conducted at UB to develop a process to make a 3D print model of the human heart and brain to allow surgeons to test new devices, strategies or treatments for individual patients and interviews Ciprian N. Ionita, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and neurosurgery. “We have been pushing for this for a long time,” he said. “Previously, it was a domain of a hobby. But it got to the point where it became technology that was very reliable. We were sure it was going to be used in hospitals.”
Anthony J. Billittier, MD, clinical associate professor of emergency medicine, has joined Independent Health as executive vice president and chief medical officer, effective June 10.
An article about sexual health questions women may be hesitant to ask their OB-GYNs interviews Vanessa M. Barnabei, MD, PhD, professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology, who discussed vaginal health, why some women skip having a Pap smear and painful sex. “I see so many women who wait too long to come in with this problem,” she says. “The faster you seek help, the faster your doctor can offer a simple solution.”
A new study suggests that teens with painful chronic illnesses may find YouTube can provide a support network. Young people with chronic pain “feel they cannot engage in the activities they previously enjoyed, or do not want to hold others back knowing they will need to do things more slowly or carefully,” said Alison M. Vargovich, PhD, clinical assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Behavioral Medicine, who was not associated with the study. “As they turn down requests to participate in activities and outings, they become more isolated.” 
A story about $2.4 million in funding for studies at Buffalo’s VA Medical Center reports Jennifer K. Lang, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, will receive $1.4 million to study heart failure and myocardial infarction; and Bruce R. Troen, MD, professor of medicine and chief of geriatrics and palliative medicine, will receive $200,000 to study the impact of high-intensity interval training on older adults.
Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of pharmacology and toxicology, is interviewed about an international team of researchers that has used an X-ray laser to create the first detailed maps of two melatonin receptors that tell our bodies when to go to sleep or wake up and guide other biological processes, a finding that could enable researchers to design better drugs to combat sleep disorders, cancer and Type 2 diabetes. "Since the discovery of melatonin 60 years ago, there have been many landmark discoveries that led to this moment," she said.
Praveen K. Chandrasekharan, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, published a case report about two newborns who experienced withdrawal due to the mothers’ chronic use of kratom. “From what our experience and what we saw with these two babies, we believe that moms may take it instead of opioids and the thought process that they’re not doing anything harmful to the growing fetus and creating awareness in the community, as a physician, by reporting this case, is what we intended to do,” he said.
An article about three studies that showed that implantable cardiac devices are underused interviews Anne B. Curtis, MD, Charles and Mary Bauer Professor and chair and SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Medicine. “Device usage across both gender and race was strikingly low, despite medical records documenting patient eligibility for the therapy. The breadth of practice type, from academic medical centers to community hospitals, along with the sheer number of patients highlight the seriousness of the challenge,” she said.