Epi Faculty News

Faculty speak out on “Inequality Across Gender and Race” report

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Faculty members Dara Mendez (EPI) and Tiffany Gary-Webb (EPI/BCHS) shared some thoughtful criticisms of the “Inequality Across Gender and Race ” report recently issued by the city.  These two Pitt Public Health faculty members were co-signers of a letter responding to the report and challenging city leadership to take this issue seriously. Find out more...  

Thurston shows more hot flashes could up odds for heart trouble

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WEB MD - EPI's Rebecca Thurston ifound that frequent or persistent hot flashes are linked to higher odds of heart attack and stroke. The finding stems from a 20-year study of about 3,300 women during menopause. "The [heart events] were not explained by things like blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, exercise or smoking, which are our usual suspects," said Thurston.  

Burke talks about how to control the river of legal painkillers flowing through Allegheny County

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PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE REVIEW - There were 76 billion pills prescribed across the country from 2006-2012. In that time, prescriptions in Allegheny county went from 46 pills per person per year to 58. EPI's Donald Burke said that there is still a long way to go in terms of controlling this first step of the addiction process: prescribing of drugs.   

Study finds microplastics turning up in human stool. Adibi talks moving the research forward.

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PHYSICIAN'S WEEKLY - Tiny bits of plastic may be getting into our bodies, a new study suggests. EPI's Jennifer Adibi point out that “[the study] does shine a light on a different way of looking at the impact of plastics on health. “Until now we have been focused on measuring and studying the health effects of the chemicals in plastics. “Now we need to extend that thinking to include the intact particles of plastics.”  

Too old for president? Newman says health and fitness are better indicator than age

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AP - “A healthier heart, for example, is going to translate to a healthier brain...you can have a group of people who at age 80 are still going to work every day, doing all the stuff they need to do. We’re not very good at understanding who’s going to be able to tolerate the stress in emergency situations,” like the 3 a.m. crises presidents so often must navigate, said EPI's Anne Newman as three Democrats in their 70s are vying to challenge the... 

Smagula comments on study that says dementia caregiving takes toll on sleep

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Just looking at the average difference in sleep over a week may be “misleading,” said EPI's Stephen Smagula. “That comes down to about 25 minutes a day. But some caregivers may be really losing a lot of sleep while some aren’t losing much,” he added.  

Programs work from within to prevent black maternal deaths: Workers targeting root cause — Racism

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THE NATION'S HEALTH - The law is good news for maternal health, but it is critical that such committees include and work with women most at risk, said EPI's Dara Mendez, a member of Pennsylvania’s newly established Maternal Mortality Review Committee, which had its first meeting in July. In a Health Affairs article published in February on implementation of the new federal law, Mendez and co-authors said the “extent to which these voices are cur... 

El Khoudary finds hormone therapy linked to heart fat, hard arteries

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ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Hormone replacement therapy is a common treatment for menopause-related symptoms, and new research from EPI's Samar El Khoudary reinforces the importance of tailoring hormone therapy to each patient, based on her individual risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers showed for the first time that hormone replacement therapy affects the accumula... 

Environmental concerns aren't the only reason to reduce plastic consumption, Adibi points out

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FOX 46 ORLANDO - "They are considered fat-loving or lipophilic. So they naturally migrate into the fat in the food,” EPI's Jennifer Adibi said.   

According to Sullivan, depression in older Pittsburghers is dropping

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People in the Mon Valley ages 65 and older are experiencing fewer depression symptoms than previously reported. A new study authored in part by EPI postdoc Kevin Sullivan, looked at how over 3,000 older people in communities across Southwestern Pennsylvanians are aging physically and mentally. The study finds people born more recently report fewer symptoms than cohorts from earlier birth decades. “Our job when looking at these effects is to real... 

As Washington Co. parents want deeper look at fracking and cancer, Talbot calls for study of historical pesticide use

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WESA - Epidemiologists say it is rare to prove an environmental cause for a cancer cluster. EPI's Evelyn Talbot says there's some evidence linking pesticide exposure with Ewing sarcoma and suggests conducting a case control study of historical pesticide use in the areas agricultural fields.   

Pitt Public Health dean steps down at a time when the region is losing other top leaders in the field (video)

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - The departure of EPI's Donald S. Burke, dean emeritus, from his position as dean comes at a time when the region is losing two other top public health officials - Arthur Levine, senior vice chancellor of the health sciences, and Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department. "This is a time of transition - of the health department, myself, Dr. Levine - this presents an opportunity for the community an... 

Personalities of Pittsburgh: Dr. Donald Burke becomes dean emeritus, continues as professor (subscriber content)

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PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES - Donald Burke is retiring from his role as dean but he’ll remain active with the University. He reflected on his career, including time in the military and international work in two dozen countries and shared concerns about scientific denialism. "As a scientific community, it's our job to continue to point out that the best decisions are based on evidence, and that without science, you can't make policies."   

Does the overdose plunge mean the epidemic is over? Burke says no.

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - "What I'm worried about is that, if in fact it is a statistical aberration or an epidemic anomaly, that we psychologically, in public health, take credit for it and presume that we're doing enough," said Dean Donald Burke. "The response still has not been proportionate to the problem."   

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