Blogs > The Examining Room

The latest in medical research, news and commentaries, from New Haven and around the world.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2 Yale professors win Endocrine Society awards

Two Yale University professors are among 11 winners of The Endocrine Society’s 2012 Laureate Awards. The awards were established in 1944 to recognize the highest achievements in endocrinology including science, leadership, teaching and service.

The awards will be presented at ENDO 2012, the 94th Annual Meeting and Expo, being held June 23-26, in Houston.

The winners from Yale are Tamas Horvath and Gerald Shulman.

• Tamas Horvath, Ph.D., won the Ernst Oppenheimer Award. This annual award is presented to young investigators in recognition of accomplishments in the field of basic or clinical endocrinology. Horvath’s work over the last 15 years has played a key role in the development of the currently accepted model of neuroendocrine regulation of energy balance. His research has helped explain several of the missing links of periphery-brain communication in the control of body weight and metabolism. Horvath resides in New Haven.

• Gerald Shulman, M.D., Ph.D., is winner of the Clinical Investigator Award Lecture. This annual award honors an internationally recognized clinical investigator who has contributed significantly to the pathogenesis, pathophysiology and therapy of endocrine diseases. Over the past three decades, Dr. Shulman has conducted groundbreaking basic and clinical investigative studies on the cellular mechanisms of insulin resistance in humans that have led to several paradigm shifts in our understanding of Type 2 diabetes. His seminal discoveries and their clinical translation are leading to development of exciting new strategies to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes. Shulman resides in New Haven.

The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Md. For more information, go to

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Report says marketing of sugary drinks to youths on the rise

A new report by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity says that the marketing of sugary sodasLink and other soft drinks has increased in the last several years and is targeted toward children and teenagers, especially toward minority and low-income youths. Read the story on The report and a response from the American Beverage Association are attached.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Blumenthal bill seeks to promote new antibiotics to fight resistant bacteria

From an edited press release:

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., this week introduced a bill to spur development of new antibiotics to combat the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
While antibiotics are widely used by doctors to treat common infections, an increasing number of strains of bacterial infections are immune to existing antibiotics. The bill will provide incentives to increase the commercial value of innovative antibiotic drugs and streamline the regulatory process so that pioneering infectious disease products can reach patients.
Antibiotic-resistant infections are on the rise, causing tens of thousands of deaths each year — disproportionately affecting children and the elderly — and leading to $26 billion in extra costs annually to the U.S. health care system.
“Superbugs or mutant germs resistant to present antibiotics are a growing public health horror — now targeted through this bipartisan proposal to speed creation and approval of new drugs against them,” Blumenthal said in a statement.
“The threat of these new resistant bacterial infections, particularly threatening to children, seniors and our returning troops, requires innovative antibiotics. Incentives for research and development and fast-track FDA review are needed to stop these bacteria and infections from spreading.”
“Without putting any federal dollars at stake, our bill provides meaningful market incentives to encourage development of new antibiotics that will help save lives and reduce health care costs,” Corker said.
“By strengthening this segment of the market that currently has only a handful of new drugs in the pipeline, we can help ensure Americans at home and our troops abroad have access to treatments capable of combating these deadly infections.”
Sharon Ladin, director of the Pew Health Group’s Antibiotics and Innovation Project, said, “The bill creates incentives to spur antibiotic innovation and brings us one step closer to delivering new, life-saving medicines to the growing number of Americans who urgently need them.”
Antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” have been on the rise for the last decade, with the rate of antibiotic-resistant staph infections approaching 50 percent. Currently, antibiotic-resistant MRSA infections are responsible for more than 17,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, the statement said.
The issue increasingly affects troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, as many of them have been exposed to a new, highly resistant and contagious strain of Acinetobacter bacteria. Eighty-nine percent of infections caused by mutant strains of Acinetobacter are resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics and 15 percent are resistant to all forms of treatment.
The proposal has been endorsed by 39 groups, including the National Military Vets Alliance, American Medical Association, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Children’s National Medical Center.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Private suites offered for dialysis treatment

Dialysis patients now have an opportunity to receive treatment in private suites. Avantus Renal Therapy says Connecticut is the first state to offer them.

Avantus opened the kidney dialysis suites as a partner with Saint Raphael Healthcare System at its dialysis clinic at 137 Water St.Link
According to Avantus’ press release, private suites “create a warm, homelike, family-friendly environment. Each suite features comfortable guest seating, large-screen TV, books, Internet access, DVDs and games.” The clinic is open 24 hours a day.

“Avantus Renal Therapy is raising the bar in terms of standards of care for dialysis patients, and our New Haven dialysis center will serve as a regional and national example, demonstrating the importance of combining a high standard of quality benefits with an environment that is truly geared to meet the physical and emotional needs of patients,” said Dr. Paul Zabetakis, president of the associated Renal Research Institute, in the release.

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Lyme disease may not be all ticks are spreading

Lyme disease is fraught with controversy, largely because of the apparent chronic condition some sufferers experience long after antibiotics should have killed the bacterium that causes it.

Now, Yale School of Public Health researchers are investigating whether a second disease, caused by another bacterium common in Russia, is being spread by deer ticks. It has similar symptoms and has been found in ticks in this country, but the question is whether it spreads to humans.

Fortunately, the same antibiotics, including doxycycline, that kills the Lyme bug also kill this one. But it would be good to know if there is a second disease out there, to make sure the best treatments are used.

Dr. Peter Krause, one of the researchers, says there is no evidence that this bacterium, Borrelia miyamotoi, is the source of the chronic form of Lyme.

Read my full story.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Connecticut nursing homes get mixed ratings

I apologize for not posting in some time. Vacation, special projects and -- oh yes -- a hurricane have gotten in the way.

New Haven Register staff reporter Angela Carter writes about a new report that ranks Connecticut first in nursing home staff retention but in the bottom half of the states in affordability. Overall, Connecticut is 11th, while Minnesota ranks first and Mississippi last.

Read the whole story.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Yale report: Coke gets around no-ad pledge by putting sodas on "American Idol"

Coca-Cola and other snack food and beverage companies have promised not to advertise to children, so Saturday morning cartoons are free of such commercials. But a new report by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity says that by using product placements on shows such as "American Idol," kids are getting Coke's message loud and clear. The Rudd Center has done a lot of work about how sugar-sweetened sodas and junk foods lead to obesity, diabetes and other problems. Read the full story.