June 17, 2016


In the News:

Study shows opioids increase risk of death when compared to other pain treatments

Long-acting opioids are associated with a significantly increased risk of death when compared with alternative medications for moderate-to-severe chronic pain, according to a Vanderbilt study released today...Lead author Wayne Ray, Ph.D., and colleagues with the Vanderbilt Department of Health Policy studied Tennessee Medicaid patients between 1999-2012 with chronic pain, primarily back and other musculoskeletal pain, who did not have cancer or other serious illnesses.  Researchers compared those starting a long-acting opioid to those taking an alternative medication for moderate-to-severe pain. The study was supported by a grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [and a grant from] the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases...MORE

Study gives new meaning to the term ‘bird brain’

The macaw has a brain the size of an unshelled walnut, while the macaque monkey has a brain about the size of a lemon. Nevertheless, the macaw has more neurons in its forebrain – the portion of the brain associated with intelligent behavior – than the macaque. That is one of the surprising results of the first study to systematically measure the number of neurons in the brains of more than two dozen species of birds ranging in size from the tiny zebra finch to the six-foot-tall emu, which found that they consistently have more neurons packed into their small brains than are stuffed into mammalian or even primate brains of the same mass. The study provides a straightforward answer to a puzzle that comparative neuroanatomists have been wrestling with for more than a decade: how can birds with their small brains perform complicated cognitive behaviors? MORE

VUMC part of national effort to improve genomic science laws, regulations 

Experts in medicine and the law at the University of Minnesota and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) are leading a national effort to analyze and recommend improvements in genomic law. Many current laws and regulations governing genomic science and its application to improving human health are “misunderstood, uncertain or unclear,” said Ellen Wright Clayton, M.D., J.D., Craig­ Weaver Professor of Pediatrics at VUMC...To provide some clarity, Clayton and her colleagues...will convene a working group to build a searchable public online database of current laws and regulations, and recommend improvements in the legal framework.The goal of the study, supported by a three-year, $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, is to optimize the successful translation of genomics into clinical use. MORE

MEDIA TIP SHEET: Education researchers available to comment on Metro Schools’ next steps

The new director of Metro Nashville Public Schools, Shawn Joseph, faces many challenges as he takes office July 1, including developing and retaining strong school leaders, improving student outcomes, turning around failing schools and closing achievement gaps for vulnerable populations. Researchers at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development have considerable expertise on these subjects and are available for comment. MORE

Zeppos tells Rotary Club that success of Vanderbilt and Nashville are entwined

Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos told civic leaders this week that the missions of Vanderbilt University – discovery, excellence and diversity — mirror those of Nashville, and the two institutions are each made stronger by that relationship. “The city and the university are transforming themselves,” Zeppos said in a wide-ranging presentation June 13 to about 200 members of the Downtown Rotary Club. “Our interest is the long-term sustainability of our community. Here at Vanderbilt, we want to be good citizens and good partners, and we will continue to help shape and drive our community. We’re in an amazing partnership with a rising trajectory.” He noted Vanderbilt’s economic impact on Tennessee, estimated at $8.9 billion in 2015. MORE


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