EOH Faculty & Research News

Wenzel on the burning problem of America’s sugar cane growers

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BLOOMBERG QUINT - Sally Wenzel, EOH professor and director of Pitt Medical Center's Asthma Institute, says that “The only way to answer the question” as to whether sugarcane burning is the direct cause of the respiratory issues that residents experience “is with a better level of granularity—to do a person-based study, as opposed to a population-based study” such as the ones published so far.  

Totoni and Fabisiak examine lead contamination in hunted meat

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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS - MPH student Samantha Totoni (EOH '21), associate professor James Fabisiak, and BCHS's Martha Ann Terry look into lead contamination in hunted meat. Despite the mounting concerns over lead exposure from wild game, lead ammunition use continues as hunters and their families remain unaware or deeply mistrustful of the dangers. Who’s warning hunters and their families?  

Bernstein warns EPA making ‘secret science’ rule more restrictive

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THE HILL - “My first reading of it as it came up was they actually made it worse,” said EOH’s Bernard Goldstein, adding that the agency will be limiting the number of studies it considers, weakening the pool of research from which it draws conclusions. “We use consensus in the scientific community to come to a judgment,” he said. “The present EPA is consistently acting in a way that destroys consensus and moves toward confrontation, and this is ... 

Wenzel in Lancet: Intersection of biology and therapeutics: type 2 targeted therapeutics for adult asthma

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In a recent article published in the Lancet, EOH Chair Sally Wenzel found that "the emergence of type 2 biologics for the treatment of severe asthma is a welcomed and much needed advance in the management of patients with asthma. Although a cure for asthma remains elusive, many patients with severe asthma show a robust and sustained response to this new class of medication."   

Goldstein comments on how EPA director Andrew Wheeler is using scientific transparency as a weapon

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SALON - The tobacco industry may have been the first to recognize that requiring transparency in scientific research could serve as a weapon to defend a dangerous product, but it appears that, in the face of opposition from virtually the entire scientific community, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler will soon issue regulation that will make it national policy. "Unless he is stopped, the EPA’s ability to protect t... 

Fabisiak among public health experts that flunk report tying PA air quality improvements to gas drilling

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DESMOG BLOG - “They indicate that the Clean Air Act works,” said EOH's James Fabisiak, director of the Center for Healthy Environments and Communities, referring to the pollution reductions starting in 1990 shown in CEA’s report. “Air improved by setting stricter ambient air quality standards, continuing and enhanced enforcement, and increased control technologies to meet the mandated need to reduce pollution (auto fuel efficiency standards, cle... 

Why do people die young here? Maseru project aims to send 'citizen scientists' out to investigate

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - The cost of being poor can include decades of life. A just-launched partnership between a Homewood-based community group and a University of Pittsburgh research team intends to explore that grim price tag, and to create a corps of "citizen scientists" who could lead the charge to close the life expectancy gap. The team includes BCHS's Noble Maseru, director of the Center for Health Equity and EOH's Jim Fabisiak, directo... 

Tyurina finds genetic engineering could open possibilities for Parkinson’s patients

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MEDICIAL LIFE SCIENCES -  A team of researchers including EOH's Yulia Tyurina unveiled the most promising strategies in applying genetic engineering. The noble method can help study the role of cellular processes in the disease progression, develop new treatment methods and drugs, and estimate their effectiveness using animal disease models.  

EOH alumna Lauren Chubb is looking beyond what the eye can see to keep miners safe.

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PITT MAGAZINE - Lauren Chubb, DrPH, MPH (EOH ’16, ’13) occasionally dons a hard hat to see the results of her work in the lab. Her team at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's Mining Program has developed software to analyze respirable dust samples in just a few minutes, rather than days. And time is of the essence:  The sooner we detect airborne disease-causing particles, the better the mines can protect their workers' he... 

Stacy finds correlation between obesity in mothers, childhood cancer risk in children

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SPECIALTY PHARMACY TIMES - A new studying has found a correlation between children born to pre-pregnancy body-mass index (BMI) and the likelihood of developing childhood cancer, even after correcting for known risk factors, such as newborn size and maternal age. "My hope is that this study can be, in a way, empowering and also motivating for weight loss," said lead author Shaina Stacy (EOH '15 '12).   

Hill, Fabisiak talk to KDKA radio about asthma and the Clairton Coke Works

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KDKA RADIO – The Clairton Coke Works is one of the biggest emitters of air pollutants in the area and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence about poor health in that area. EOH’s Jim Fabisiak and Brandy Hill (EOH ‘21) talk about their work and the importance of scientific investigation learning about asthma patients in the county, following hot spots of asthma, and preliminarily finding about the Mon Valley’s lung health.   

Fabisiak comments on Clairton air quality, an ongoing concern

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PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE REVIEW - A fire at the U.S. Steel Clairton Plant knocked pollution controls offline and heightened concerns about pollution. Allegheny County ranks in the top 2% for cancer risk from about 200 potentially cancer-causing pollutants identified by the EPA, according to a 2013 Pitt Public Health report. "That risk is going to be much more elevated the closer you are to those point sources," said EOH's Jim Fabisiak.   

Goldstein among experts wary of EPA rush to revise carcinogen testing

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SCIENCE - The EPA plans to quickly revap its guidelines for evaluating whether environmental contaminants can cause cancer or other ailments, a move Trump administration critics fear is part of a broader effort to weaken the basis for regulating a wide range of pollutants. "The problem is, there's no way it can be done in any serious way," said EOH's Bernard Goldstein, dean emeritus. "The danger is you'll just get it wrong and for 15 years, you'... 

Beyond Clairton: Are we ready to really improve Pittsburgh's air? Wenzel comments.

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NEXT PITTSBURGH - While U.S. Steel has recently completed repairs and pledged to spend $1 billion to upgrade facilities, public outrage over violations hasn't been quieted. "I think the economic factors have outweighed the health factors," says EOH's Sally Wenzel. "I think that has been an issue with the Pittsburgh area for a while."   

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