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

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

Southwestern Health Resources Network is No. 1 in the U.S.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services gave the local Southwestern Health Resources Accountable Care Network a quality score of 100 percent after saving $30 million in 2017. The savings made it the top organization in CMS’ Next Generation Accountable Care Organization model. All 44 ACOs participating in CMS’ most high-risk model saved around $208 million in gross savings according to data from CMS. SHR is a joint effort from Texas Health Resources and UT Southwestern Medical Center whose network includes 30 hospitals and 4,000 physicians. The accountable care network manages nearly 69,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the region, and as CMS… Full Story

Remembering Dr. Adi Gazdar, Prolific Author and Award-Winning Cancer Researcher

Dr. Adi Gazdar, one of the world’s most cited authors whose collected cancer cells helped researchers around the world study the disease, died in late December. He was 81. Gazdar spent 27 years at UT Southwestern researching the basis of human cancers and their therapies. Prior to UTSW, where he held the W. Ray Wallace Distinguished Chair in Molecular Oncology Research, he worked at the National Cancer Institute for 23 years. “Adi Gazdar was one of the first great lung cancer ‘molecular pathologists’ who combined great experience in clinical pathology with the development and application of molecular techniques to help characterize… Full Story

The ‘Magic’ of Make-a-Wish Reduces Hospital Visits for Recipients

When 16-year-old Christina Riccio was in the depths of her treatment for stage four Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, she threw pancakes at her mother because they were the wrong flavor. As a teenager who wanted to be anywhere but the hospital, she took out her frustration on the one who was there to receive the abuse. She didn’t understand why her mother was always so upset. Wasn’t she the sick one? Thankfully, Riccio would make it through the treatment, and go on to be a physician herself at UT Southwestern, where she is on faculty as an anesthesiologist. Along the way she had… Full Story

Research Shows This Additive Makes You More of a Couch Potato

Researchers at UT Southwestern have found that laziness might be compounded by an additive that is in 70 percent of the American diet. Inorganic phosphate, which is used in fast food, processed foods, and bottled drinks, has been shown to decrease mice’s ability to exercise. Phosphates occur naturally in fruits, dairy products, meat and fish, but the organic version isn’t absorbed by the body and doesn’t have an impact. But food labels make it difficult to avoid the more harmful inorganic phosphates, as they don’t have to label how much are included in foods. According to Dr. Wanpen Vongpatanasin, Professor of… Full Story

Cary Council Recognizes UT Southwestern Doctors for Promising Research

The Cary Council has recognized three UT Southwestern doctors with grants for their early stage research. Dr. Prasanna Alluri, Dr. David Greenberg, and Dr. Animesh Tandon were this year’s recipients at the DocStars event this fall. The Cary Council is a group of young leaders who support the Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern Medical Center, and the Cary Council Steering Committee selected this year’s winners. The organization gifted over $220,000 this year. Alluri’s work focuses on overcoming treatment-resistant breast cancer and has identified a drug that inhibits the cancer’s growth. Greenberg is working to predict strains of bacteria that… Full Story

UTSW Researchers Hope to Predict Dementia

UT Southwestern researchers say the identification of a molecular Alzheimer’s trigger can be used to predict which type of dementia will develop in patients. The knowledge can be used to diagnose and possibly treat the degenerative neurological disorder. A new study has identified how the tau protein’s shape gives information about which type of dementia will develop, and was created with the help of a larger network of researchers who hope to improve treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. An earlier study from the same lab found a molecular clue to how Alzheimer’s disease forms. “Our expanded understanding of the tau protein structure… Full Story

UT Southwestern’s Response to Nurses’ Deaths From Fentanyl Abuse

Over a 16-month span, two nurses were found dead in bathrooms at Clements Hospital after overdosing on fentanyl, a painkiller meant for patients, according to the Dallas Morning News. In a wide ranging investigation, DMN looked into the frequency of stolen drugs from the hospitals, finding 200 employee thefts across Texas. UT Southwestern declined to say what measures they took to prevent further abuse after the two deaths, though they reported no interruptions of patient care, according to the story. The report details UT Southwestern employees who allegedly stole and abused drugs, including nurse Patricia Norman, who was taken to… Full Story