Media Coverage

Multiple news outlets reported that UB has launched a behavior change and weight loss program for adults with prediabetes. Developed by internationally known obesity expert Leonard H. Epstein, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Behavioral Medicine, the program has, in previous studies, resulted in participants losing an average of 20 pounds over six months.
Praveen K. Chandrasekharan, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, is interviewed for an article about the controversies and successful results of kratom. Chandrasekharan said that he frankly does not know if the drug is safe or not. “I can only tell you that kratom needs more research to know its safety profile,” he said.
Susan S. Baker, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics, is quoted in an articles on research that found strains of the bacterium Klebsiella pneumonia, which produces high levels of alcohol, in 60 percent of patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a common disorder in which fat builds up in the liver. Baker, who was not involved in the study, said, “Other bacteria have been shown to make alcohol, so that… verifies what other researchers have seen. We’ve never really been able to induce the inflammation that you see [in people], but they were able to do that.”
Susan S. Baker, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics, is quoted in an article about the pursuit of better baby formulas. “As the understanding and the knowledge become more and more sophisticated, and we learn about new molecules and new things that are in breast milk, the goal would be to mimic that,” Baker says. But, she adds, ingredients should be added only if there’s evidence they’re beneficial.
Reports on a new scientific statement by Steven A. Lipshultz, MD, A. Conger Goodyear Professor and chair of pediatrics, and colleagues about cardiomyopathies in children provides insight into the diagnosis and treatment of the diseases as well as identifying future research priorities. “This statement is designed to give medical professionals an overview of what we currently know about cardiomyopathies in children. Although we are able to provide effective treatments in many cases, research is urgently needed to better understand the causes of the diseases so we can help children with cardiomyopathies live their best lives,” Lipshultz said.
Articles about a new report from the American Heart Association that aims to raise awareness about cardiomyopathy in children and urges that more research be conducted to find better treatments interviews Steven E. Lipshultz, MD, A. Conger Goodyear Professor and chair of pediatrics, who chaired the statement’s writing committee. “Everybody wants clinical practice guidelines, but this field hasn’t done enough clinical trials to be able to say, ‘There’s really strong evidence that, if you see this, you should use this medicine, or you should treat in that way,’” he said.
Stephanie Anzman-Frasca, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Behavioral Medicine, is interviewed for a story about parenting tips on feeding children. “We are born with a predisposition to accept sweet and reject bitter tastes, but children’s food preferences are malleable from there,” she said…. “There is nothing wrong with having macaroni and cheese or pizza once in a while, but the idea that kids can only accept foods like this is not giving them enough credit.”
A story about the consequences of taking the herbal supplement kratom during pregnancy discusses the experience of Praveen K. Chandrasekharan, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics and a neonatologist at Oishei Children’s Hospital, who in 2017 cared for a newborn baby who seemed to be undergoing withdrawal and whose mother was taking kratom. “There were speculations that (kratom) has opioid effects, so we treated her as we would treat a neonatal opioid withdrawal baby,” he said.
Two Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences faculty members were interviewed for a story on vaccine safety, New York State’s ban on religious exemptions and a lawsuit that has been filed against it. “Of all the medical treatments that we use to prevent and treat disease, vaccines are by far the safest of all interventions,” said Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. He added that there have been more than 10 high-quality studies and an Institute of Medicine panel, all of which found no connection between the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine (MMR) and autism. Dennis Z. Kuo, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of General Pediatrics, said that resistance against vaccinating children is rooted in fear. “Any fear out there needs to be addressed through rational debate or science,” he 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.
A story about climate change and the impact it is having on seasonal allergies includes an interview with Stanley A. Schwartz, MD, PhD, UB Distinguished Professor of medicine and pediatrics and chief of the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology. “Plants are changing. They’re changing their blooming habits, we're seeing longer periods of time when we have green plants growing, even in a northern climate like this,” he said.
Munmun Rawat, MD, research assistant professor of pediatrics, comments on a new incubator being developed at UB that allows the smallest of premature babies to bond with their parents even if they’re too tiny to hold. Her first child was born weighing just over two pounds. “So first three days of life — I couldn't even hold my own baby because of the fear of brain bleed,” she said, which led to the development of an incubator mattress that mimicked a mother’s breathing and voice.
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.”
Mark D. Hicar, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in a story about the increase in cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). “There has been a rise of cases with each cluster, but whether that means there are more cases or we are getting better at recognizing them is difficult to say,” he said.