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San Diego Group Repurposes Sleep Apnea Machines to Help India Fight COVID-19

June 11, 2021.   India has been devastated by a catastrophic second wave of the virus, overwhelming hospitals and already suffering from a dire lack of oxygen and ventilators while other parts of the world are transitioning from COVID-19 to recovery mode I’m out.

“You can’t build a medical ventilator in your garage, but you can do this in your garage,” said Dr. Sakya Tripathy, a biomedical engineer, while holding a donated CPAP machine. “It’s in most homes, and when assembled with tubes and masks, it’s a very good and cheap ventilator. It’s a very interesting and innovative solution to very complex problems.”

 Manu Prakash, PhD, associate professor of bioengineering of Stanford University, a roommate at Tripathy University, said at the start of the pandemic that CPAP and BiPAP sleep apnea devices would be reused for non-invasive ventilators at his Bay Area Institute. Developed a cost-effective idea.


Maternal care and race: ‘Birth equity is where a whole life starts’

June 8, 2021.   The United States has the highest maternal death rate of any wealthy nation, and the proportion of women who experience severe, nonfatal childbirth complications has nearly tripled since 1993.

"We all deserve to be able to expect equal treatment when we receive medical care," said Stanford epidemiologist Stephanie Leonard, PhD, whose research -- featured in the article "Childbirth's unequal burden" -- has helped illuminate how pregnant and birthing women are not equally treated.


Stanford explainer: Social cost of carbon

June 8, 2021.   Carbon emissions not only are causing widespread and potentially irreversible damage to the environment but also may have significant impacts on the economy. Here, Stanford University economists Marshall Burke (faculty fellow at the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences) and Lawrence Goulder explain one tool for understanding those impacts: the social cost of carbon. Burke and Goulder describe what the social cost of carbon is, how it is calculated and used in policymaking, and how it relates to environmental justice.


Theranos is history, but big blood testing breakthroughs are coming post-Covid

June 7, 2021.   Medical researchers say within a few years major breakthroughs in blood testing technology that use immune system response and genetic analysis to identify disease quickly and cost-effectively will be on the market.

While neither the FDA nor any European regulators have approved these kinds of gene-based pathogen detection systems, Purvesh Khatri, an associate professor at the Stanford Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection and Department of Medicine, and faculty fellow at the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences, Khatri, who is helping launch a related commercial venture, says they’re coming soon. “In the next year or two, there will be several that will be available on the market.”


Stanford’s Dr. Latha Palaniappan Helps Measure Impact

June 4, 2021.   Dr. Palaniappan is a diabetes expert and researcher at Stanford Medical Center, and the founder of its Center for Asian Health Research & Education (CARE), who is focused on the study of diverse populations, chronic disease, and prevention. Given the alignment of her research and Arogya’s mission, she is spending her sabbatical this year with Arogya World.

India has the greatest number of people with diabetes. Arogya’s programs, including its Healthy Workplaces, mDiabetes, MyThali, and Healthy Schools, all focus on helping people make healthy lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes. Dr. Palaniappan and her students will study the impact of these programs including how digitization can affect change. The use of contactless mobile technology, such as text messaging has been shown to be successful in affecting self-reported behavioral changes. And, as Dr. Palaniappan says “digitization makes chronic disease prevention efforts more scalable.”


Toolmakers aim to untangle fundamental challenges in neuroscience

June 3, 2021.   But two groups of Stanford researchers are tackling these long-standing problems head on. As part of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute’s Big Ideas in Neuroscience program, they are forging new technologies and connections between disciplines that have the potential to transform the field:

The Neuro-Omics Initiative is bringing to bear new technologies to bridge long-standing gaps in understanding between molecular and systems-level descriptions of the brain, while the Stanford Brain Organogenesis Program is developing new laboratory models of human brain circuits to allow the field to study the human brain’s unique development — and how its complex circuits go awry in neurological and psychiatric disease.

Joining the effort are a multi-disciplinary team of collaborators, including machine learning expert and faculty fellow with the Stanford Center for Population Health SciencesJure Leskovec, PhD, evolutionary and organismal biologist Lauren O'Connell, PhD, and bioengineer and developmental biologist Bo Wang, PhD.


Do College Application Essays Favor the Wealthy?

June 3, 2021.   Everyone has heard that the SAT and ACT correlate with family wealth. Wealthier students generally attend high schools that are focused on the college application process, and many offer special programs for students to stretch their skills. Wealthier students can afford to hire SAT or ACT tutors and to take the tests as many times as possible.  

So what are colleges to do?

Inside Higher Ed posed that question to the authors of the paper, AJ Alvero, Sonia Giebel, Anthony Lising Antonio, Mitchell L. Stevens, Benjamin W. Domingue of Stanford, assistant professor, Graduate School of Education, and faculty fellow with the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences, and Ben Gebre-Medhin of Mount Holyoke College. They provided a joint answer:

"While individual lab members necessarily have their own points of view, we all agree on the following:  Read More Here>>


The environmental case for remote working

June 3, 2021.   Anyone searching for a silver lining to the pandemic should look to the clear, blue skies above them. A reduction in pollution worldwide has been an unintended benefit of the lockdowns and stay-in-place orders imposed to control the spread of COVID-19.

The fall in pollution during China country’s lockdown in January and February “likely saved 20 times more lives in China than have currently been lost due to infection with the virus in that country”, calculates Marshall Burke of Stanford University’s Department of Earth System Science and faculty fellow at the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences, as reported in Forbes in March. He adds: “The fact that disruption of this magnitude could actually lead to some large (partial) benefits suggests that our normal way of doing things might need disrupting.”


Countering decades of racism in medicine

June 3, 2021.   Race and health in the United States are traditionally intertwined and, often, it's at the expense of people of color. Recent public health data makes that abundantly clear: People in Black and Latino communities are more likely to be exposed to, contract and die from COVID-19. African Americans have the highest mortality rate for all cancers when compared with any other racial or ethnic group. When compared with white adolescents, Indigenous American and Alaska Native adolescents are 30% more likely to be obese.

Food as medicineLisa Goldman Rosas, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology and population health and of medicine and associate faculty director, community engagement, PHS, is testing the power of leafy greens in a study designed to determine whether healthy foods can mitigate chronic disease risk. Goldman Rosas and others are collaborating with local sustainable farmers to connect people at high risk for chronic disease with weekly boxes of vegetables and recipes to prepare them.


After Decades On The Rise, U.S. Life Expectancy Has Stalled

May 24, 2021.   Americans live shorter lives than people in other high-income countries. Many experts believe the culprit is socioeconomic inequality.

Ample evidence suggests that low-income populations face a health disadvantage throughout life. They are more prone to smoking. They are less physically active, often living in landscapes unsuited to exercise. Those same environments may lack nutritious food, green space, clean air and other essential components of wellbeing. Many of the direct causes of premature death are individual choices, but research finds them associated with economic choices made, ultimately, by governments. “This is driven by pretty intentional decisions over time, in terms of our federal policies and state policies,” says David Rehkopf, a social epidemiologist and co-director at the Center for Population Health Sciences at Stanford University. 


COVID aid to India: Stanford scientists rally to combat crisis

May 20, 2021.   Nidhi Rohatgi, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine and many of her colleagues -- including Aruna Subramanian, MD, clinical professor of medicine; Manu Prakash, PhD, associate professor of bioengineering; and Sonoo Thadaney, executive director of presence and program of bedside medicine -- are leading an effort from thousands of miles away to provide assistance and combat harmful misinformation circulating in India about COVID-19 and how to treat it.


Health Policy researcher uses modelling to assess disparities in COVID-19 vaccine uptake and promote equity at the state level

May 19, 2021. This news release covers the first event in PHS's New Frontiers of Health Equity & Precision Population Health Seminar Series, which took place virtually on April 28, 2021. Health Policy graduate student, Marissa Reitsma, and her team demonstrate how modelling highlights disparities and charts paths to unlocking more equitable COVID-19 vaccination for disadvantaged populations within states and across the US. 


With hugs and haircuts, U.S. epidemiologists start returning (carefully!) to everyday life

May 12, 2021.  In a new informal survey this month by The New York Times, 723 epidemiologists in the United States responded to questions about their life now and how they are navigating this in-between phase of the pandemic, when vaccines have become widespread and cases are declining nationally, but herd immunity is not assured and Covid-19 remains a threat.
“I would be more comfortable taking risks if I did not have young, unvaccinated children whom I want to keep healthy and who need to be in day care for me to keep working,” said Stephanie Leonard, an epidemiologist at Stanford.


Silent calamity: The health impacts of wildfire smoke

May 12, 2021. Marshall Burke, an associate professor of Earth system science at Stanford is lead author of a 2021 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on the evolving, multipronged threat posed by increasing U.S. wildfires.

In an October 2020 policy brief, Burke and two Stanford colleagues noted that wildfire smoke likely is responsible for 5,000 to 15,000 U.S. deaths in a typical year, and that especially smoky years like 2018 or 2020 will have a much higher death toll.


Stanford researchers map how people in cities get a health boost from nature

May 11, 2021.  Your local city park may be improving your health, according to a new paper led by Stanford University researchers. The research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, lays out how access to nature increases people's physical activity - and therefore overall health - in cities. Lack of physical activity in the U.S. results in $117 billion a year in related health care costs and leads to 3.2 million deaths globally every year.
Bibek Paudel, postdoctoral researcher at Stanford School of Medicine is one of the authors on this paper.


Oxygen, Removing Vaccine Patent Barriers Seen as Key Needs in India COVID Crisis

May 10, 2021.  Manu Prakash, associate professor of bioengineering at Stanford University’s Center for Innovation in Global Health, is helping to scale up devices that conserve the oxygen that typically gets wasted when using a nasal tube.

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Warming Temperatures Causing Allergy Season to Arrive Earlier, More Severe 

May 10, 2021.  Now, researchers at Stanford have analyzed this data from 2002-2019.  "The number of weeks in which pollens are active is going up." said Bibek Paudel, postdoctoral researcher at Stanford School of Medicine.


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