UTSW Researcher Awarded for Decades of Circadian Rhythm Research

UT Southwestern Medical Center Neuroscience Chairman Dr. Joseph Takahashi has received the Gruber Neuroscience Prize for his work on the molecular and genetic bases of circadian rhythms in mammals. The international award honors discoveries that advance understanding of the nervous system. Takahashi discovered Clock, the first mammalian gene controlling circadian rhythm that regulates other genes. The prize includes a $500,000 award to be presented later this year. “Takahashi has made groundbreaking discoveries in the neurobiology of circadian rhythms,” the Gruber Foundation stated in its news release announcing the award. “His use of innovative approaches to observe clock oscillations throughout the… Full Story

New Rules for Safety Net Hospitals Reduce Readmission Penalties, UTSW Research Shows

In order to reduce health system costs nationwide, legislation created penalties for hospitals if patients are readmitted within a certain time frame after being treated, but new research from UT Southwestern Medical Center reveals that a rule adjustment  is causing penalties to drop for hospitals that treat riskier patients. Hospitals such as Parkland that care for socioeconomically disadvantaged patients are more likely to have patients who leave the hospital and go back to unstable environments where they can’t or don’t follow doctor’s orders closely, which can result in a return of symptoms. Patients may have transportation hurdles that keep them… Full Story

Texas Ranks 49th in the Country for Children’s Healthcare

Texas ranked near the very bottom when indicators of cost, quality and access were analyzed for children’s healthcare by WalletHub. The study revealed that children will cost around $230,000 to raise, and that while insurance rates have increased, costs have also risen nearly 20 percent between 2013 and 2017. The rankings rated each state and the District of Columbia based on health and access to healthcare, nutrition, physical activity and obesity, and oral health. Texas’ overall rank was 49 out of 51, and ranked 50 in access, 38 in nutrition, and 31 in oral health, ahead of only Louisiana and… Full Story

UT Southwestern Researchers Identify Rare Genetic Diseases with New Technique

Local scientists are using a new technique to find the causes of rare genetic diseases in children, which will allow providers to identify treatment options more quickly. The approach, which is being implemented by researchers at Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern, uses DNA sequencing and chemical analysis to find mutant genes that create defective metabolic pathways in patients. Around a quarter of pediatric hospital admissions come from diseases with a genetic basis, causing metabolic issues and the inability to break down sugars, proteins and fats in food, which can result in chemical imbalances, death, or permanent disability… Full Story

UTSW’s GammaPod Makes Breast Cancer Treatment More Precise

UT Southwestern Medical Center is home to the world’s second GammaPod, which delivers high doses of radiation to a targeted area for treating breast cancer. The technology allows patients to have fewer treatments in less time. A CT scan reveals the tumor’s location, and the GammaPod uses vacuum suction like a breastfeeding pump that immobilizes the breast so that the radiation can target the cancer to within three millimeters without damaging healthy tissue. Radiation is administered while the patient is laying face-down, avoiding radiation that may penetrate the heart or lungs.  Rather than the four to six weeks of treatment… Full Story

When a Liver Mutation is a Good Thing

Researchers at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern have found that not all liver mutations are created equal. A liver mutation was previously thought to be an indicator of cancer or another disfunction, but researchers using gene sequencing have found that some adult liver mutations promote regeneration after liver damage. “Mutations that arise in normal cells are most often viewed through the lens of cancer. While certain mutations can represent steps toward the development of cancer, other mutations may actually promote tissue healing without causing cancer,” said Dr. Hao Zhu, an Associate Professor at CRI and of… Full Story

UT Southwestern Researchers Find Proteins That Could Help Fight Inflammation and Cancer

Researchers at UT Southwestern have found proteins that help reduce a potentially life-threatening response to chronic infection. The work may provide a way to control inflammation, which could lead to new medicine and can explain how cancerous cells develop resistance to chemotherapy. When a patient is experiencing chronic inflammation, the immune system can over-respond to something like the flu, causing what is called a cytokine storm, which can be life-threatening. The proteins that were identified help reduce the potentially deadly response. “This work provides insight into the molecular components required to limit tissue damage associated with uncontrolled inflammation, such as… Full Story

UT Southwestern Scientist and States At Odds Over Daylight Saving Time

A UT Southwestern scientist is joining the international coalition taking aim at daylight saving time. Some countries in Europe are looking at eliminating the practice that can negatively affect our circadian rhythms, while other American states are looking to keep it year-round for economic purposes. UT Southwestern’s Dr. Joseph Takahashi, who discovered the first circadian gene in mammals, says that disrupting our internal clocks is linked to higher rates of obesity, heart attack, cancer, and depression. “It is now well established that waking up even an hour earlier adds to stress on our body and sleep deprivation,” said Takahashi, who isChairman and… Full Story

Virtual Reality Hypnosis is Improving Surgery Recovery

Virtual reality hypnosis is being explored as an option to treat postoperative pain and anxiety in children at UT Southwestern. A pilot study based in Europe analyzed 21 young patients and found that the hypnosis reduced anxiety, opioid consumption and vomiting in children after scoliosis surgery. The patients experienced 20 minutes of virtual reality hypnosis within three days of surgery, donning virtual reality goggles and experiencing beaches, underwater swims, hiking in the mountains, with soothing words and music which induced hypnosis. UT Southwestern reported the following results via release. “Only 20 percent required pain medication (IV morphine), compared with 62.5… Full Story

Magnets May be the Key to Treating Severe Depression

A clinical trial at UT Southwestern may change the way physicians treat depression with a treatment that has similar impacts to the often stigmatized electroconvulsive therapy. ECT has often caused temporary memory loss in its treatment of depression, but a new form of brain simulation may avoid the risks and have similar impacts. The new treatment, called Magnet Seizure Therapy, uses magnetic fields to reduce depression without cognitive side effects, meaning it could become a primary treatment for the severely depressed. UT Southwestern is partnering with the University of Toronto Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in a five-year clinical… Full Story