32 episodes

Show Me the Science is the new podcast from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Our podcast features stories that highlight the latest in groundbreaking research, clinical care and education at Washington University.

Show Me the Science Washington University School of Medicine

    • Health & Fitness
    • 5.0 • 22 Ratings

Show Me the Science is the new podcast from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Our podcast features stories that highlight the latest in groundbreaking research, clinical care and education at Washington University.

    Remaining resilient while the pandemic drags on

    Remaining resilient while the pandemic drags on

    Even as the numbers of COVID-19 cases around the country decline again, with cooler weather and people moving back indoors, we’re being warned about the possibility of another swing upward in cases. Such an increase would represent yet another wave of illness during this pandemic. And after all these months, the stress is getting to many people. Groups particularly vulnerable to such stress are older adults — who face the greatest risk from the virus — and young children. But as the pandemic continues, we’ve been hearing more about resilience in these groups. In this episode, we speak with a pair of experts on resilience. Psychiatrist Eric J. Lenze, MD, director of the Healthy Mind Lab at Washington University, recently was awarded a $9.1 million grant from the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study resilience in older adults, as well as the pandemic’s potential cognitive and emotional effects on them, such as depression, anxiety and even dementia. His team is looking in particular at the impact? of exercise and mindfulness on resilience in seniors. We also speak with Neha Navsaria Kirtane, PhD, an associate professor of child psychiatry, about resilience in children and adolescents. During the pandemic, they’ve faced changes in schooling and in how they are allowed to interact with friends. Some kids can’t get vaccinated yet, but almost all are back at school, in person. She says adult mentors who can point out to children when they are doing well and provide examples of resilience are important in helping kids remain hopeful as we head toward an uncertain future.
    The podcast, “Show Me the Science,” is produced by the Office of Medical Public Affairs at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

    • 19 min
    Boosters? Vaccines for kids? Where do we stand heading toward winter?

    Boosters? Vaccines for kids? Where do we stand heading toward winter?

    Recently, the federal government decided that vaccine booster shots will be made available for Americans 65 and older, those with compromised immune systems and others in high-risk jobs. In addition, Pfizer has submitted data asserting its vaccine is safe and effective for children ages 5-12. The next step could be an emergency use authorization from the Food & Drug Administration, allowing younger children to be vaccinated. Despite breakthrough infections involving vaccinated people, suggesting the shots don’t prevent infection in everyone, health officials say vaccines continue to protect the vast majority of people from severe disease. Meanwhile, in the St. Louis region, sporting events, concerts, restaurants and theatrical productions are drawing crowds again. At some such events, patrons are asked to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to get in the door. But health officials in the region continue to worry that crowded events combined with high COVID-19 case numbers and the start of the flu season could make for a dangerous fall and winter. In this episode, we speak with two leaders in the field of infectious diseases: Victoria J. Fraser, MD, the Adolphus Busch Professor of Medicine and head of the John T. Milliken Department of Medicine at Washington University, and William G. Powderly, MD, the J. William Campbell Professor of Medicine, the Larry J. Shapiro Director of the Institute for Public Health and co-director of the Infectious Diseases Division. Both say that despite the highly infectious delta variant, we are winning in the fight against COVID-19 at the moment. But they warn that the game isn’t over yet. And neither expects we’ll be getting rid of our masks anytime soon.
    The podcast, “Show Me the Science,” is produced by the Office of Medical Public Affairs at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

    • 21 min
    Shutdowns in COVID-19's early days helped St. Louis area avoid thousands of deaths

    Shutdowns in COVID-19's early days helped St. Louis area avoid thousands of deaths

    In March 2020, the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in the St. Louis region, and health officials in St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis issued emergency orders to try to halt the virus’ spread. A new study from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis determined that those orders may have saved hundreds of lives and prevented thousands of hospitalizations. An analysis conducted by infectious diseases specialist Elvin H. Geng, MD, a professor of medicine, indicates that had the orders been delayed by as little as two weeks, the number of deaths in the city and county could have increased almost sevenfold. Geng says it’s important to be proactive and do whatever possible to stop a virus’ spread, especially in the early days of a pandemic. Over time, restrictions may become more reactive to a given scenario, in response to peaks in the spread of infection. Now confronted with the highly infectious delta variant, public health officials again have been considering stricter measures to slow the number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
    The podcast, “Show Me the Science,” is produced by the Office of Medical Public Affairs at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

    • 18 min
    Vaccines and COVID-19 infection generate protective antibodies, even against Delta

    Vaccines and COVID-19 infection generate protective antibodies, even against Delta

    It’s been a busy summer in the laboratory of Ali Ellebedy, PhD, an associate professor of pathology & immunology and of molecular microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Studying samples from patients with COVID-19 infections and others who have been vaccinated against the virus, he’s found hopeful signs in the immune system — even regarding the vaccine’s response to the highly infectious Delta variant. His laboratory has reported that the immune system continues to make protective antibodies for many months after both natural infection and vaccination, but he says that as long as anyone on the planet is infected with COVID-19, the rest of the world can’t be fully protected. As his research continues to show that vaccines are effective at preventing severe disease, Ellebedy says it’s important to increase access to vaccines and to encourage people to get vaccinated. The current vaccines are effective at protecting the vaccinated from severe disease in the lungs, but to eliminate most  breakthrough infections, Ellebedy says it may be important to develop vaccines that better protect tissues in the nose and throat.
    The podcast, “Show Me the Science,” is produced by the Office of Medical Public Affairs at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

    • 19 min
    New threats from highly contagious delta variant

    New threats from highly contagious delta variant

    As patients infected with the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus fill hospitals in parts of Missouri, and the virus spreads new infections around the country, Washington University data scientists and infectious diseases specialists are urging people to mask up again, regardless of vaccination status. The researchers say that although vaccination remains remarkably effective, masking and other public health practices that slowed the spread prior to the availability of vaccines are necessary again. Clay Dunagan, MD, a professor of medicine, senior vice president and chief clinical officer for BJC HealthCare and a member of the Metropolitan St. Louis Pandemic Task Force says that as case numbers rise, public health measures have become more important. Dunagan, and fellow infectious diseases specialist Hilary M. Babcock, MD, a professor of medicine and medical director of infection prevention and occupational infection prevention for BJC HealthCare, say even if more people get vaccinated, it will be weeks before they are protected, and during those weeks, people will need to turn back to the practices that protected them before vaccines became available. Meanwhile, Philip R.O. Payne, PhD, the Janet and Bernard Becker Professor and director of the Institute for Informatics, associate dean for health information and data science and the chief data scientist at the School of Medicine, says computer models his team has created continue to predict a rapid increase in infections in St. Louis and in the surrounding area. And he says those models don’t show a peak yet, meaning we could be in the current wave of infections for quite some time.
    The podcast, “Show Me the Science,” is produced by the Office of Medical Public Affairs at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

    • 19 min
    Pregnant women, new moms and vaccines

    Pregnant women, new moms and vaccines

    Pregnant patients who get COVID-19 have much worse outcomes than women who don’t get infected. They are three times as likely to end up in intensive care, three times as likely to need a ventilator to help them breathe and twice as likely to die. Ebony Boyce Carter, MD, an assistant professor of obstetrics & gynecology, has delivered babies throughout the pandemic while promoting health equity for high-risk pregnant women and their babies. Carter herself has three young daughters, and she says the pandemic has been challenging, not only in terms of keeping her patients safe and healthy but also because of the steps she must take to avoid exposing her children — who are too young to be vaccinated — to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. While Carter has delivered babies and encouraged new moms to get vaccinated, Heather A. Jones, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology, gave birth to a baby during the pandemic. Her pregnancy was particularly stressful because she has to be physically close to patients while examining them, including times when patients unmask to receive thorough skin exams. Jones became eligible for, and received, the vaccine a couple of weeks after giving birth. Now she says her main concern is for her older child, who, unlike her infant, is not getting COVID-19 antibodies through breast milk and also is too young to get vaccinated.
    The podcast, “Show Me the Science,” is produced by the Office of Medical Public Affairs at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

    • 20 min

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