EOH Faculty & Research News

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."   

Wenzel's new drug for people with severe asthma

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - EOH Chair Sally Wenzel was an investigator in the clinical trial for the new biologic drug dupilumab, marketed as Dupixent and approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration last fall. The drug is part of the effort to help patients with severe asthma who don’t get control by using their regular long-term control medications, such as inhaled corticosteriods and bronchodilator medication, to open up and reduce swel... 

Goldstein: If I were still working at the EPA, I would resign

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THE WASHINGTON POST - A powerful op-ed from Bernard Goldstein, dean emeritus and former head of the EPA's Office of Research and Development under Ronald Reagan. "I would have resigned either position had the agency’s overall advisory processes been subject to its current destructive alterations."   

Fabisiak explains how sulfur dioxide affects the human body

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WESA FM - It’s been more than three months since a fire at U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works significantly increased emissions of sulfur dioxide, and Mon Valley residents say it's still affecting their quality of life.  On the debut of a new occasional series, "Moment of Science," 90.5 WESA’s Liz Reid talked with EOH's Jim Fabisiak about how sulfur dioxide affects the human body.  

Wenzel identifies corticosteroid response phenotypes for severe asthma

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MEDPAGE TODAY - With the aid of a computational tool, Wenzel says they have identified key phenotypes among patients with severe asthma that can help predict who may benefit and not benefit from treatment with systemic corticosteroids (CS). Aware of the possible side effects, EOH's Sally Wenzel said, “physicians would like to prescribe them only to patients they know will benefit from them.”  

Wenzel's new method identifies which asthma patients respond to system corticosteroids

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While important in the treatment of the common and often life-long respiratory disease, corticosteroids aren't without side effects and for some patients, the treatment just isn't as effective. EOH Chair Sally Wenzel and colleagues used a machine learning algorithm and identified variables that allowed them to cluster patients based on response.   

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