Hypothermia helps brain heal after cardiac arrest

Cooling body temperature to levels consistent with hypothermia improves survival when induced after cardiac arrest and also promotes growth factors important for the brain’s recovery, suggests a study performed by researchers in the department of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Preliminary results of their study were reported today at the 2003 Annual Meeting of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) in Boston.

Normal weight elderly still may be at risk for developing diabetes

Elderly men and women with normal body weight still may be at risk for developing type 2 diabetes if they have large amounts of muscle fat or visceral abdominal fat, according to a University of Pittsburgh study published in the February issue of the journal Diabetes Care. “Our study found that, even though an elderly person may not be overweight, he or she might still be at risk for developing diabetes,” said Bret H. Goodpaster, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh division of endocrinology and metabolism and principal investigator of the study. “An important factor is where in the body their excess fat is stored.”

Sepsis on the rise in the United States

Severe sepsis, the leading cause of death in America’s non-coronary intensive care units, is a rapidly growing problem in the United States in terms of the number of patients afflicted by the condition and the complexity of their cases, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh reported Saturday, Feb. 1, at the 32nd Critical Care Congress in San Antonio, Texas. Investigating trends in severe sepsis over a seven-year period, this study is the first to identify the changing epidemiology of the life-threatening disorder and its potential financial impact on intensive care units (ICUs).

sepsis: (n) the presence of pus-forming bacteria or their toxins in the blood or tissues.

High school sports concussion victims show memory impairment

High school athletes who sustained even mild concussions showed significant decline in memory processing and other symptoms within one week post-injury, in a study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Sports Medicine Concussion Program. The study, published in the February Journal of Neurosurgery, is the first to evaluate recovery from mild concussion in high school athletes and the first to show that even mild concussions can have significant effects, suggesting the need for more cautious return-to-play guidelines.

Army team testing ‘breathing’ catheter; bypasses lungs to supply oxygen

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center are partnering with U.S. Army scientists to evaluate the merit of the experimental Hattler Respiratory Catheter for use in battlefield medicine ? particularly as a possible treatment for lung injuries sustained in biochemical attacks. Made up in part of a tightly bound fabric of microporous polypropylene hollow-fiber membranes, the catheter is inserted temporarily through a vein into the leg or neck and threaded into a major vein near the heart called the vena cava. Early tests show that it can substitute 40 percent to 60 percent of a patient?s compromised lung function.

Researchers find genetic link to bulimia nervosa

A team of researchers has linked an area of chromosome 10p to families with a history of bulimia nervosa, providing strong evidence that genes play a determining role in who is susceptible to developing the eating disorder. The finding, gleaned from blood studies of 316 patients with bulimia and their family members, is the result of the first multinational collaborative genome-wide linkage scan to look exclusively at bulimia. Earlier this year, another linkage scan found evidence of genes for the eating disorder anorexia nervosa on chromosome 1.

Gene linked to depression in women

Researchers in Pittsburgh have made significant progress in identifying the first susceptibility gene for clinical depression, the second leading cause of disability worldwide, providing an important step toward changing the way doctors diagnose and treat major depression that affects nearly 10 percent of the population. Research results show significant evidence for linkage of unipolar mood disorders to a specific region of chromosome 2q33-35 in women.