Our School in the news

The Daily Beast
How Skinny is Too Skinny? Israel Bans ‘Underweight’ Models
Jan. 8, 2015
In a discussion about Israel’s decision to prohibit the use of fashion models whose BMIs are less than 18.5, Dr. Cynthia Bulik explores the the differences between eating disorders and disordered eating. “Disordered eating is not healthy eating even if it is etiologically unrelated to eating disorders, and if [Israel’s new] law has positive effect on reducing disordered eating, that would be a positive public health outcome,” Bulik said.

Herald Sun (Durham)
What Ferguson tells us about ourselves
Jan. 3, 2015
Joseph Lee (guest column): How is it that an officer comes to feel threatened enough to reach for a gun more often when confronted with an African-American man or youth than with a white one? The difference is evident enough in the U.S. National Violent Death Reporting System.

Wall Street Journal
Severe flu cases on the rise in U.S.
Dec. 30, 2014
Dr. David Weber, UNC epidemiologist, said what differentiates this year is the spike in cases in mid-December and the flu’s relative severity. The UNC Health Care system has had 323 patients test positive for flu so far this season. The majority are H3N2, the strain for which this year’s flu shot has proved “less than a perfect match,” Dr. Weber said. Patients, particularly very old or very young ones, are showing up more sick than they might be in an average year, he added.

Scientific American
The weight of the world: A look at global obesity prevalence and dietary trends
Dec. 18
Dr. Barry Popkin, professor of nutrition at the Gillings School, has found that the opening of South Korea to global food markets has shifted its diet in a new direction. Although vegetable consumption remains relatively high, factors including membership in the World Trade Organization and the increasing presence of fast-food restaurants and processed foods have contributed to dietary changes including increased levels of fat and increased consumption of calories from sugar sweetened beverages.

National Public Radio
Scientists debate if it’s OK to make viruses more dangerous in the lab
Dec. 16
Scientists at a recent National Academy of Sciences meeting debated an issue that has divided the scientific community – whether some experiments with viruses are so risky that the dangers aren’t worth the potential benefits. The Gillings School’s Dr. Ralph Baric argued that scientists aren’t doing anything worrisome with these viruses. They had been dragged into the discussion and had their work halted only because they study respiratory viruses that can be highly pathogenic in people.

Reuters Health
HPV infections common among gay, bisexual teen males
Dec. 4
Many young men who report having sex with other young men have the human papillomavirus (HPV) that can lead to genital warts and anal cancer, according to a new study from Australia. The results suggest that vaccination could help lower infection rates in this population. “[The study also] suggests that gender-neutral vaccination is important,” said Dr. Noel Brewer. “Parents should get HPV vaccination for their children whether they’re boys or girls.” Brewer, a UNC expert on the HPV vaccine, was not a study author.

PRI International
Mexico’s soda tax is starting to change some habits, say health advocates
Dec. 3
“Taxation, just like it did for tobacco, is the most effective way to get people to change their behavior,” says Barry Popkin, who teaches global nutrition at the University of North Carolina. He’s working with researchers from Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health to document the impact of that country’s soda tax.

APA Monitor
Losing weight, but not healthy
Dec. 3
Eating disorder symptoms among people who were once overweight can be exacerbated by well-founded fears of weight gain, particularly if they were bullied about their size in the past, says Cynthia Bulik, PhD, who directs the University of North Carolina’s Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders. She says patients with anorexia who have histories of overweight or obesity often worry that treatment will cause them to balloon back to their former weight, rather than to settle at a happy medium.

The New York Times
When their workday ends, more fathers are heading into the kitchen
Nov. 24
A study published last year by researchers at the UNC-Chapel Hill showing that the percentage of men who spent time cooking on any given day jumped to 42 percent in 2008 from 29 percent in 1965 is mentioned in this article.

USA Today
Cook more, be healthier (and stress less on T-day)
Nov. 24
Professor of nutrition Barry Popkin says sales of ready-to-eat foods leveling off though ready-to-heat frozen foods sales are actually increasing ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Reuters Health
Few schools adhered to USDA nutrition standards before 2013
Nov. 18
“There will be significant challenges in many schools to adhere to these standards,” said Leslie A. Lytle.Lytle wrote an editorial on the new results. “Over the past decades, our schools have moved toward a model where individual schools don’t have cafeteria workers who know how to prepare food, and where there are not kitchen facilities for preparing food,” she said. “Without onsite kitchens and trained staff, schools will be challenged to find healthy, quick foods to offer in their competitive food venues.”

U.S. News & World Report
Navigating Weight Loss After an Eating Disorder
Nov. 4
When people with histories of disordered eating want to slim down, their approach sometimes needs to be more sensitive…“They might go to see their primary care physician and [he or she] says, ‘Hey, you really need to lose some weight,’ but the physician may not even have a clue that the patient has a history of an eating disorder,” says Cynthia Bulik, director of the University of North Carolina’s Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders.

The Daily Mail Online (United Kingdom)
Ebola breakthrough as researchers reveal mouse that suffers human symptoms when infected – allowing vaccines to be tested
Nov. 4
Researchers have developed the first genetic strain of mice that can be infected with Ebola and display symptoms similar to those that humans experience…Research conducted at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and published in the current issue of Science will significantly improve basic research on Ebola treatments and vaccines, which are desperately needed to curb the worldwide public health and economic toll of the disease.

International Business Times
Ebola: Mouse Model Gives Clues For Vaccine Development
Nov. 2
Researchers have been able to show that a combination of genes was able to produce Ebola symptoms in mice models, with one of the genes that encodes for a protein TEK, accounting for maximum genetic variation in mice…By breeding together eight variants of mice, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Washington and the NIH Rocky Mountain National Laboratory could test the infected mice for Ebola symptoms as seen in humans.

The News & Observer (Raleigh)
Obituary: Irving Rimer
Oct. 31
The Carolina community expresses condolences to Barbara Rimer, dean of the Gillings School of Global Public Health, and her family for the loss of her father.

Health Canal (Health and Medicine Breakthrough News Agency)
UNC scientists create mouse model to accelerate research on Ebola vaccines, treatments
Oct. 30
A study published in the latest issue of Science details how researchers from UNC and their colleagues at NIH Rocky Mountain National Laboratory and the University of Washington have developed a new genetic strain of mice that will significantly improve opportunities to test the initial efficacy of potential vaccines and treatments for Ebola and other emerging pathogens.

The Herald-Sun (Durham)
Duke-UNC research center to focus on healthy food choice promotion
Oct. 29
A new research center at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will develop strategies to promote healthy food choices, particularly among Americans receiving federal food benefits.

National Geographic
What to do about pig poop? North Carolina fights a rising tide
Oct. 29
On an overcast day in September, I was buzzing over eastern North Carolina’s flat coastal plain in a single-prop Piper Arrow with retired river keeper Rick Dove and pilot Bob Epting.

Science World Report
5 percent of US children suffer from a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
Oct. 29
Numerous studies have shown just how alcohol can affect the development of a fetus. “Knowing not to drink during pregnancy and not doing so are two different things,” especially before a woman knows she is pregnant, said lead researcher Philip May, a professor of public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in a news release.

MedicalXpress (Medical and Health News Service Website)
More kids harmed by drinking in pregnancy than expected, study reports
Oct. 28
Although drinking during pregnancy has long been considered taboo, new research suggests that as many as one in 20 U.S. children may have health or behavioral problems related to alcohol exposure before birth. “Knowing not to drink during pregnancy and not doing so are two different things,” especially before a woman knows she is pregnant, said lead researcher Philip May, a professor of public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Associated Press
Clinics recommend hospitals for Ebola testing
Oct. 20
When a Dallas County sheriff’s deputy who had entered the apartment of the first patient to die from Ebola in the U.S. started feeling ill himself, he didn’t rush to the nearest hospital. He chose an urgent care clinic. “That would be an even less controlled situation,” said Dr. David Weber, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina’s hospital.

The Charlotte Observer
NC Research Campus seeks faster growth after slow start
Oct. 19
A billionaire pineapple and produce company owner’s vision for the future of nutrition science rises next to Main Street in this former mill town. UNC-Chapel Hill’s Nutrition Research Institute studies the genetic basis for differences in metabolic diseases.

Business Insider
Family dinner-table dynamics linked to childhood obesity
Oct. 19
Families who express more warmth, group enjoyment and positive reinforcement at family meals have children with reduced risk of obesity, according to a new study. Observing twins helps to partially rule out the possibility that heavier children are genetically predisposed to have poorer eating self-regulation, or that they were shaped by their environment, since twins have the same genes and environment, said senior author Myles S. Faith from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Australian
To burn off a can of Coca-Cola you need to run 6.8km: Scientists
Oct. 17
Would you still drink that bottle of Coca-Cola if you knew it would require a run of nearly seven kilometres to burn off the calories? And scientists from the University of North Carolina have called for the same approach on fast food restaurant menus.

The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
Adding soil to east bank levees before armoring could cost $40M-$50M, levee authority told
Oct. 16
Raising New Orleans area east bank earthen hurricane levees by a foot or two before allowing the Army Corps of Engineers to install a combination of geotextile mat and Bermuda grass sod as armoring against erosion caused by overtopping. Authority member Rick Luettich, a civil engineer and professor of marine science at the University of North Carolina, questioned whether existing estimates of how high the levees should be are adequate, given a recent study for the authority that indicated the corps’ storm surge modeling was already outdated.

North Carolina Health News
In search of healthy offerings at the State Fair
Oct. 16
Call me quixotic, but I think it’s possible to eat healthy food at the North Carolina State Fair. “I see people walking around with ears of corn, which is good,” said Sue Havala-Hobbs, a nutritionist who teaches at UNC-Chapel Hill and writes a food and health column for the News & Observer.

The Charlotte Observer
NC Research Campus seeks faster growth after slow start
Oct. 16
A billionaire pineapple company owner’s vision for the future of nutrition science rises next to Main Street in this former mill town. UNC-Chapel Hill’s Nutrition Research Institute studies the genetic basis for differences in metabolic diseases.

USA Today
Language, cultural disconnects fuel Ebola fear
Oct. 15
When the Chinese community in New York City developed a sudden and irrational fear of Ebola-carrying salmon last week, New York Hospital Queens fielded the strange calls and quashed the rumor. “The No. 1 challenge for communication is cultural trust,” says Bill Gentry, director of disaster preparedness at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.

The Associated Press
Texas nurse was familiar with risks of Ebola virus
Oct. 15
A Texas nurse who caught Ebola from an infected patient was no stranger to the risks of working around one of the world’s most feared viruses. “Even in the best of hospitals following all the protocol, we can minimize the risk to hospital personnel, but we can never eliminate it,” said Dr. David Weber, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina’s hospital.

Health Canal (Health and Medicine Breakthrough News Agency)
Would you eat that doughnut if you knew you had to walk two miles to burn it off?
Oct. 13
A new study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will examine whether adding the amount of walking it takes to burn off the calories in food items will lead consumers to make healthier choices.

The Atlantic
Getting pregnant when one partner has HIV
Oct. 12
In 1999, when Poppy Hillsborough walked into work in her newly adopted home of San Francisco, she wasn’t expecting to fall in love…At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Myron “Mike” Cohen has four different titles in immunology, global health, and infectious diseases.

Triangle Business Journal
UNC nets $3.75M to help prevent obesity and related chronic diseases
Oct. 10
The Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) at UNC-Chapel Hill received $3.75 million to renew its status as a Prevention Research Center.

Chapelboro (WCHL-AM website)
UNC infectious disease expert: AIDS lessons should inform Ebola strategies
Oct. 8
A UNC expert on global health and infectious diseases said Wednesday that the lessons learned from the AIDS outbreak during the `80s should guide today’s medical community when dealing with West Africa’s Ebola crisis.

NC officials report three more cases of enterovirus
Oct. 7
State health officials report three more cases of an unusual respiratory virus that has been affecting children across the U.S., raising the total number of cases in North Carolina to nine since late September. Dr. David Weber, a pediatrician and epidemiologist at UNC Hospitals, said EV-D68 has been around for years, but he said it’s unusual to see this many cases early in the season.

The New York Times (Opinion Column)
The next battleground for soda
Oct. 7
Tolstoy wrote that time and patience are the two most powerful warriors, and a poll conducted by the University of North Carolina and Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública estimated a 10 percent drop in consumption within the first quarter.

UNC doctor explains Ebola threat, treatment
Oct. 6
Dr. David Weber, the director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UNC School of Medicine, spoke with WNCN’s Steve Sbraccia about preparations for any evidence of Ebola.

The Boston Globe
Adults over age 45 should be screened for diabetes
Oct. 6
Primary care physicians should screen all adults over age 45 for diabetes, according to new recommendations proposed Monday by a government-sponsored panel of experts. ”More evidence has emerged since then on the benefits of lifestyle interventions,” said Task Force member Dr. Michael Pignone, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

The Savannah Morning News (Opinion Column)
Richard Williams: Cheers to big food
Oct. 6
Let’s all join together and give big business — particularly large packaged food and beverage companies — a round of applause. The food industry’s most recent accomplishment of helping decrease caloric intake by an average of 99 calories per person (per day) was announced through an independent study by University of North Carolina scholars.

WJHL (Johnson City, Tennessee CBS affiliate)
Many women with breast cancer get too little exercise
Oct. 2
The majority of women with breast cancer get too little exercise for optimum health, a new study suggests.” Strategies that may be successful in increasing physical activity among breast cancer patients need to be comprehensively evaluated and implemented,” Brionna Hair, a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in a journal news release.

The New York Times
Growing, and growing vulnerable
Sept. 30
As the president of the Fire Island Association, Suzy Goldhirsch has a message she says she often offers property owners. These can be “inappropriate incentives” according to the panel’s head, Richard A. Luettich Jr., a professor of marine sciences at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The Charlotte Observer
Hurricane effect: A big case of ‘burping’ estuaries
It’s hurricane season, but so far we’ve been spared from the tropical weather that causes wind damage, flooding and storm surge. Hans Paerl, Kenan Professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Sciences, explains.

Triangle Business Journal
UNC gets $28M to study teen obesity and other young adult health issues
Sept. 26
UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina Population Center received $28 million to continue studying health issues in adolescents and how those issues affect high schoolers into adulthood.

Circle of Blue (Water Resource News)
World stands by as algae and dead zones ruin water
Sept. 25
Decades of research and billions of dollars spent to understand the causes of toxic algae blooms and oxygen-starved aquatic dead zones around the world. “Overnight, the city had no drinking water,” Hans Paerl, a professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill who has done extensive work on the lake, told Circle of Blue.

The Henderson Daily Dispatch
New health campaign seeks to increase awareness of STI
Sept 25
“Get tested. Get talking. Get protected.” Granville-Vance District Health Department is partnering with the University of North Carolina Institute for Public Health and People Designs Inc. of Durham to create and evaluate the campaign.

The News & Observer (Raleigh)
Experts to debate ACA in Raleigh
Sept 19
Three health care experts will debate the Affordable Care Act in Raleigh and offer their own solutions, including a total repeal of the law and an expansion to socialized medicine. Jonathan Kotch, a research professor at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, will make a case for a single-payer system, a version of which is used in Canada and the United Kingdom. Kotch is president of Health Care for All North Carolina, a chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program.

U.S. News & World Report
6.4 trillion calories cut from unhealthy grocery store foods
Sept. 17
Obesity continues to plague the country, but it appears as though food companies are beginning to take strides in helping alleviate the problem. In a study published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that companies took 6.4 trillion calories off supermarket shelves and out of the diets of Americans in 2012, a move that obesity experts say could pave the way for the next generation to be the healthiest in decades.

Think Progress
Oregon residents warned to stay away from river after potentially toxic algal bloom
Sept. 17
An algal bloom in Oregon’s Willamette River prompted a health advisory from the Oregon Health Authority Tuesday, with the agency warning Oregon residents not to touch, drink or inhale droplets from the river. Hans Paerl, Kenan Professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, told ThinkProgress that these fears aren’t unfounded.

The Herald-Sun (Durham)
Winning against AIDS
Sept. 11
In the decade or so after the first cases of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) were reported in the United States in the summer of 1981, the disease had devastating effects. Dr. Myron Cohen, chief of the UNC School of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases, was matter-of-fact about the hopeful point we have reached.

The New York Times
In the emergency room, a hidden ailment
Sept. 11
Many seniors who seek care in emergency departments may be malnourished, a small study by researchers at the University of North Carolina suggests. The study is among the first to attempt to document the extent of this problem.

Science Newsline (Science and Technology News)
Hog workers carry drug-resistant bacteria even after they leave the farm
Sept. 8
A new study suggests that nearly half of workers who care for animals in large industrial hog farming operations may be carrying home livestock-associated bacteria in their noses, and that this potentially harmful bacteria remains with them up to four days after exposure.

The Southland Times (New Zealand)
Counting calories: women’s greatest threat?
Sept. 9
In a 2008 survey by SELF magazine and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 75 percent of women reported disordered eating patterns, 37 percent regularly skipped meals to lose weight, and 26 percent cut out entire food groups.

Health Canal (Health and Medicine Breakthrough News Agency)
Common diabetes drug not linked to short-term risk of pancreatic cancer
Sept 5
Researchers at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and the UNC School of Medicine have found that a popular class of diabetes medications called DPP-4 inhibitors does not increase the short-term risk of pancreatic cancer, as was previously reported by other researchers.

The Charlotte Observer
NC clean air law saved lives, study finds
Sept. 3
North Carolina’s 2002 crackdown on power plant emissions may have saved 1,700 lives a decade later, UNC Chapel Hill researchers say. The Clean Smokestacks Act, adopted in 2002, was aimed at pollutants billowing from coal-fired power plants. Power plants are major sources of the fine sulfate particles the study targeted.

Asian Scientist Magazine
The mixed results of India’s total sanitation campaign
Sept. 4
A study published in PLOS Medicine on large-scale rural sanitation programs in India highlights challenges in achieving sufficient access to latrines and reduction in open defecation to yield significant health benefits for young children. In an accompanying perspective, Clarissa Brocklehurst from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at Chapel Hill in North Carolina says: “There is an urgent need to continue to expand global understanding of what works, as well as what does not work, and keep focused on the important task of winning the sanitation battle.”