Epi Department News

Bacterial metabolism of dietary soy may lower risk factor for dementia

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NEUROSCIENCE NEWS - A metabolite produced following consumption of dietary soy may decrease a key risk factor for dementia--with the help of the right bacteria.  According to a discovery by EPI's  Akira Sekikaw a , elderly Japanese men and women who produce equol--a metabolite of dietary soy created by certain types of gut bacteria--display lower levels of white matter lesions within the brain.  

COVID-19 & Health Disparities (video)

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As part of the Conversations about COVID-19 seminar series, EPI doctoral candidate Chantele Mitchell Miland , and Pitt's director of health sciences diversity, equity, and inclusion, Mario Browne (BCHS '05), discuss COVID-19 and health disparities.  

Staying social can boost healthy ‘gray matter’ in aging brains

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US NEWS (HealthDay News) — Older adults who get together with friends, volunteer, or go to classes have healthier brains, which could help them ward off dementia, according to a new study led by postdoc Cynthia Fox of EPI. Being socially engaged—even moderately—with at least one relative or friend activates parts of the brain needed to recognize familiar faces and emotions, make decisions, and feel rewarded. "We need to do more research on the d... 

The opioid crisis didn’t disappear amid the pandemic. It still calls for urgent action.

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THE WASHINGTON POST - Despite the predominance of the coronavirus pandemic among national priorities, the paper's editorial board urges the dedication of public health funds and attention to the ongoing opioid crisis, citing data gathered by HPM's Hawre Jalal and EPI's Donald S. Burke which suggests that the 2018 decline in mortality traced to a short-term drop in the supply of a particularly deadly Chinese-made synthetic opioid, carfentanil, ra... 

CDC awards PERU $3.5 million to establish suicide prevention program to for veterans in northwest Pa.

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ERIE NEWS - The CDC will award Pitt's Program Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) $700,000 in funding annually for the next five years to create the Northwest Pennsylvania Veteran Suicide Prevention Program, a comprehensive public health approach to suicide prevention, focusing especially on service members, veterans, and their families. Led by Jan Pringle (EPI '86), PERU employs several Pitt Public Health alumni in its various programs.  

Frailty factor: How well you walk when you’re older may depend on one gene

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STUDY FINDS  – While many seniors try to keep frailty at bay through diet and exercise, a PItt study finds that who becomes infirm may come down to one gene. “Most people think about dopamine’s role in mobility in the context of Parkinson’s disease, but not in normal aging," says lead author EPI's Caterina Rosano, "We found that in older, frail adults, those who have a high-dopamine genotype are more likely to maintain a faster gait and may be ... 

Global Responses to COVID-19 (video)

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Organized and moderated by Pitt Public Health's Global Health Student Association, a panel of researchers from around the world discusses critical questions around the current pandemic. Panelists in this intriguing discussion include Dr. Solomon F. Ofori-Acquah (Accra, Ghana), Dr. Jean Nachega (EPI; Capetown, South Africa), Dr. Andrew Martin (London, England), and our student moderator Bethany Flage (GHSA president).  

Nace: Nursing homes need more federal help for COVID-19 testing, PPE

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POST-GAZETTE – David Nace (EPI '95), UPMC Senior Communities, was one of two dozen geriatric care experts tapped by the Trump administration to draw up recommendations on improving care and preventing future outbreaks. He said we needed to be rapidly investing in testing and PPE, but it never happened. And the report didn't include the creation of a database to quickly reach top officials at each facility, which “makes no sense.”  

Van Panhuis discusses current vaccination trends

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WALLETHUB - EPI's Wilbert van Panhuis joins expert panel to discuss vaccination trends, safeguarding at-risk populations, and the media's role in educating the public.  “One important issue is that we need strong advocacy about the value of vaccination,” he states in response to the current anti-vaccination trend. “Also, using scientific evidence and good data can help to keep reminding people of the importance and possible threat of infectiou... 

Van Panhuis on new, secretive data system shaping federal pandemic response

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CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY - “It is a big leap forward,” said EPI's Wilbert van Panhuis, who is working to get access to the platform for a group of 600 researchers. “They are making major progress in this pandemic,” but much of the data was designed with federal government users in mind, not academic researchers or the public. “It’s a bit disappointing,” he said. “Currently we have to invent that part of the system.”  

Summer of 2020: Evolution of our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and ability to forecast COVID-19 (video)

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What we have learned during the summer of 2020 that puts SARS-CoV-2 into perspective with other emerging viruses and explores the current state of COVID-19 forecasting for the next few months. IDM's Amy Hartman talks what we know (and don't know) about SARS-CoV-2 and EPI's Donald Burke discusses the epidemiological and environmental factors that will shape the likely phases of the epidemic in our region.    

Mendez receives national recognition for maternal and child health research

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PITTWIRE - The Coalition for Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology and 15 national health organizations selected EPI's Dara Mendez as the recipient of the 2020 Award for Effective Practice at the Community Level. Mendez specializes in understanding and addressing racial and socioeconomic inequity in pregnancy, birth, and women's health. The award recognizes her significant work toward improving public health practice through effec... 


Bodnar on sending her kids back to school

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TIME - EPI's Lisa Bodnar said her children's schools will begin the year all-remote. While spring “was not a good learning experience,” she feels encouraged by efforts to add more structure to the digital school day this fall. “I’m much more hopeful that it will be closer to what it could be in school. I know that they will be safer,” but she's not fully convinced that all of their needs will be met.  

McTigue among researchers collecting stories of COVID-19 patients in Story Booth project

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TRIB LIVE - Story Booth dates back to 2016 and features stories of patients with ailments from cancer to organ transplantation. "In the long term, we think that these kinds of studies may be particularly well-suited to provide the data that patients and their health care teams need to make better decisions," said Division of Internal Medicine's Kathleen McTigue, also an associate professor of epidemiology.   

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