News Clips for Sept. 13, 2019

What’s Causing Vaping’s Mystery Illnesses? New Study Might Offer Some Answers

A study from the University of Utah may confirm some working theories about the epidemic. The study examined six vape-related and found that they may be linked to a certain type of white blood cells called macrophages, which help protect your immune system by essentially trapping potentially dangerous viruses and bacteria and digesting them. In people with healthy immune systems, macrophages are able to distinguish between “good” and “bad” cells; in people with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s, it is believed that the macrophages in the intestinal system are unable to make this distinction, and end up attacking the wrong types of cells.

Utah doctor: Youths often can’t tell real vaping cartridges from black market

University of Utah doctors say they continue working to get to the bottom of a vaping-related illness affecting dozens of youth in the state and hundreds around the country. As of last report, 35 people in Utah have been affected by the illness that causes shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain and coughs. All patients reported vaping nicotine, THC or both. “I think it’s fair to call it early phases of an epidemic. This is something that has really spiked since this summer, so it’s pretty new,” said Dr. Cheryl Pirozzi, assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the U.

Researchers Find Unexpected White Blood Cells in Patients With Mysterious Vaping Illness

Clinicians from the University of Utah highlighted six vaping injury cases at Salt Lake City’s University Hospital. In the most serious case, a 21-year-old man who was vaping nicotine and THC daily developed shortness of breath and abdominal pain. He was vomiting and nauseous, and X-rays revealed dark spots on his lungs. The man was diagnosed with pneumonia, but soon grew worse and had to be treated for respiratory failure. However, when his doctors tested him, they found no trace of infection. No bacteria, no fungi, no viruses, nothing.

How a student run group is providing support for those impacted by suicide

It is National Suicide Prevention Week. Although a tough subject to discuss, it is an important issue to bring awareness to. And one organization shedding light and lending a hand is Yellow For Life. Yellow For Life is a student organization at the University of Utah, that aims to reach out in a real and productive way to those impacted by suicide and suicidal ideation and to create communities where people are valued.

Study: Pregnant Women’s Sleep Positions Don’t Matter During First 2 Trimesters

Many doctors recommend that pregnant women sleep on their left side to optimize blood flow to the baby. But a new study from the University of Utah suggests sleep position probably doesn’t matter. Researchers looked at data on almost 9,000 pregnant women before 30 weeks gestation or about six months along. They found that women who slept on their right side or back were no more likely to have serious complications like high blood pressure, stillbirth or a small baby than women who slept on their left side.

'Fire inversions' lock smoke in valleys

There's an atmospheric feedback loop, University of Utah atmospheric scientist Adam Kochanski, that can lock smoke in valleys in much the same way that temperature inversions lock the smog and gunk in the Salt Lake Valley each winter. But understanding this loop can help scientists predict how smoke will impact air quality in valleys, hopefully helping both residents and firefighters alike.

Cannabis vape crisis, CA banking bill fails, public corruption in MA & more

While the move likely will increase business opportunities, advocates believe even more dispensaries will be needed to meet demand. The program is scheduled to launch next year. Similar concerns have been voiced about cultivation: The state issued only eight grower licenses, two short of the allowed 10. A University of Utah researcher, however, has estimated that the state’s MMJ market could be slow to develop, perhaps reaching only 11,000 patients the first year and 50,000 after five years.

Two-Level Optogenetic Device Could Broaden Options for Large Mammal Behavioral Studies

An implantable microLED optrode array, developed by researchers at the University of Strathclyde and the University of Utah, is capable of exciting below-surface neurons in large mammal brains both by structured-light delivery and by large-volume illumination. Through its depth of access, heat control, and an electric delivery system that will be compatible with future wireless applications, the new array could advance the use of optogenetics in studies of large mammal brains.


The inaugural 5K run is scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 5 at Mary’s Park in Pullman, at the intersection of Johnson Avenue and Old Moscow Road. The race is in honor of Lauren McCluskey, a standout athlete from Pullman who was murdered by a man she briefly dated while she was attending the University of Utah. All proceeds that are raised will go to the Lauren McCluskey Foundation.

Tips to grow volume sales for potatoes

One way to prop up potato sales is to counter the bad rap spuds have received from proponents of a plethora of low-carb diets. “Low carb diets in general have been unfortunate for carbohydrate-rich foods like potatoes,” said Katherine Beals, associate professor in the department of nutrition and integrative physiology at the University of Utah.

What we know about the US vaping illness outbreak

Immune cells containing oily droplets have been found in the lungs of some patients. These large cells, called macrophages, are the cleanup crew of the immune system. University of Utah doctors think this could be a marker for vaping injury. They wrote up their findings about six patients in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Talkback: How to make nature a bigger part of your life

You know that feeling you get after a few days in the country or the bush, like your body and mind are completely refreshed? It turns out that feeling is not just in our heads.There's growing evidence that nature is good for us. So how do we get more of it? David Strayer, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Utah, was a guest.

John A. Moran eye center researcher, patients, play key role in genetic discovery linked to rare eye disease

John A. Moran Eye Center physician-researcher Paul S. Bernstein and his patients at the University of Utah played a key role in the recent discovery of the first genetic cause for a rare eye disease. Macular telangiectasia type 2 (MacTel) affects about one in 5,000 people, causing a gradual loss of central vision, typically after age 40. As part of an international research effort directed by the Lowy Medical Research Institute (LMRI), Bernstein has spent 15 years working with MacTel patients, sifting through family genetic histories. “We believe this will be the first of many genes linked to MacTel,” said Bernstein, one of three senior authors on the NEJM paper and a retinal specialist who directs clinical research at Moran. “This discovery gives patients hope for new treatments, and our research has important implications for other retinal eye diseases.”

Homepage Round-Up: Excessive Social Media Use Among Adolescents Linked to Mental Health Problems, Many Physicians Lack Knowledge Regarding Diabetes Prevention, and More.

Researchers from University of Utah (U of U) Health have characterized the nascent respiratory illness associated with e-cigarette vaping by the presence of fat-laden cells, which they identified with the use of oil red O staining tests. The findings, which may enable physicians to accurately diagnose the syndrome, were published in The New England Journal of Medicine. “While it is too soon to be sure, these lipid-laden macrophages may turn out to be useful to confirm or rule out this disease,” said the study’s senior author Scott Aberegg, M.D., a critical care pulmonologist at U of U Health in a press release about the findings. “They may also be helpful in understanding what is causing this illness.”

Study Targets Suicide Risk Among Gun Owners On Active Duty

Troops who have contemplated suicide, and who own a personal firearm, are much less likely to store them safely than troops who haven't expressed suicidal thoughts, according to Craig Bryan, executive director with the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah, which lead the study. “We need to realize there is a relationship between the method and the outcome," he said. "In that, we’re going to have to be more creative in how we approach suicide prevention. I think downrange, or further down the road, what we’re probably going to find is we need to have conversations about safe storage practices.”

Study Says It’s Safe For Pregnant Women To Sleep On Their Back

Previous studies suggested that sleeping on the back or right side could increase the risk of pregnancy complications since being on such positions could affect blood vessels connected to the uterus. The latest research aims to give women peace of mind as they don’t have to worry about harming their baby during sleep. "There is downside to encouraging the avoidance of supine (back) sleep," Dr Robert Silver, lead study author and chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, told Reuters. "Even with careful messaging, there is potential to increase anxiety in women who wake up on their backs and guilt, shame and self-blame in women suffering adverse pregnancy outcomes such as stillbirth."

Screwy Transit Logic

According to a study from University of Utah researchers done in cooperation with UTA, transit is less polluting than driving. Never mind the fact that Salt Lake City’s light-rail cars are powered by electricity generated from coal-fired power plants. Those power plants are “outside the Wasatch Front,” say the researchers, “hence the emissions aren’t in Salt Lake’s air.”