51 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 • 23 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.

    Treating the whole patient all at once

    Treating the whole patient all at once

    In this episode, we visit the team at the Washington University Living Well Center. It was launched to improve outcomes for patients with orthopedic issues. For example, if someone needs hip-replacement surgery, that person also can receive help losing weight, stopping smoking and taking other actions to make it more likely the outcome from their surgery will be as good as possible.
    The center uses dietary counseling, physical therapy, massage, acupuncture and behavioral therapy to prepare some patients for surgery, while helping others improve without surgical intervention. In addition to orthopedic issues, health professionals at the center work with cancer patients, long COVID-19 patients and others. The idea, according to Devyani M. Hunt, MD, a professor of orthopedic surgery and the center’s medical director, is to treat the whole patient and to do it all in one place.
    Specialists at the center work together to apply the “pillars of lifestyle medicine including using food as medicine, encouraging physical activity and exercise, addressing sleep issues, managing stress and addressing anxiety and depression, avoiding risky substances such as tobacco, and encouraging patients to make positive social connections. The center has had more than 200 patients come through its doors the last few years, and the outcomes for those patients suggest the approach is working.
    The podcast, “Show Me the Science,” is produced by WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

    • 17 min
    Updated boosters and progress toward a nasal vaccine

    Updated boosters and progress toward a nasal vaccine

    As we get deeper into autumn and winter approaches, we discuss COVID-19 vaccines. New boosters have been developed to rev up the immune system not only to fight the original strain of the virus but also to boost the immune system against more recent omicron strains of SARS-CoV-2. In this episode, we discuss the boosters — now approved for use in children as young as 5 — with infectious diseases specialist Rachel M. Presti, MD, PhD, an associate professor of medicine and medical director of Washington University’s Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Unit.
    New vaccines may be on the horizon, too. A nasal vaccine developed by Washington University scientists recently was approved for emergency use in India, and that technology has been licensed to Ocugen, a U.S.-based biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing novel gene and cell therapies and vaccines. Ocugen plans to seek approval for the nasal vaccine in the U.S., Europe and Japan. The nasal vaccine was developed by Washington University virologist and immunologist Michael S. Diamond, MD, PhD, the Herbert S. Gasser Professor of Medicine and a professor of molecular microbiology, and of pathology & immunology; and David T. Curiel, MD, PhD, the Distinguished Professor of Radiation Oncology. The hope is that the nasal vaccine will stoke the immune response in the nose and throat so that the virus never gets farther into the body. Current vaccines require a person to be infected before antibodies revved up by the vaccine can fight it. As a result, Diamond and Curiel say a nasal spray may be more effective at preventing infections and at keeping vaccinated people from spreading the virus to others.
    The podcast, “Show Me the Science,” is produced by the Office of Medical Public Affairs at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

    • 17 min
    What if it’s not COVID-19?

    What if it’s not COVID-19?

    If you were coughing, running a fever and felt short of breath, what would you think? Those are common symptoms of COVID-19. But not everyone with such symptoms is infected with the virus.
    In this episode, we tell the story of a Michael Moffitt, a young man who grew up in St. Louis but was been working in the oil and gas fields of New Mexico. He got sick in November 2020 with a cough, fever and shortness of breath, initially leading his doctor to assume he had COVID-19. Moffitt's tests for the virus came back negative, but for weeks, his health-care providers in New Mexico wondered whether the tests were accurate. He was being treated with antibiotics, but when Moffitt lost 30 pounds in three weeks and needed supplemental oxygen, he knew he needed another opinion.
    After his wife and mother-in-law drove 14 hours to bring him to St. Louis, Moffitt saw infectious diseases specialist Andrej Spec, MD — an associate professor of medicine and a specialist in fungal infections. Spec put him in the hospital and quickly solved the medical mystery. Moffitt had a fungal infection, likely acquired while exploring caves in New Mexico. Spec started him on strong antifungal medications, and he fully recovered. Spec says the majority of people who have symptoms of COVID-19 actually do have that viral illness. But when treatments don’t work, he says, it’s important for doctors to think a little differently and consider other factors that may cause illness. Many people have fungal infections in their lungs at some point in their lives, he says. Most of those infections are asymptomatic or feel like bad colds, but in some instances, the infections can become life-threatening without proper treatment.
    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 COVID-19 variants causing re-infections

    New COVID-19 variants causing re-infections

    Infections and hospitalizations are rising again. During this latest wave of COVID-19 infections, many fully vaccinated people are getting sick, as are people who previously were sick with the virus, even those infected in the very recent past. The new strains of omicron — BA.4 and BA.5 — have stricken some well-known, fully vaccinated people, including President Joe Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
    In this episode, we speak with William G. Powderly, MD, the J. William Campbell Professor and co-director of the Infectious Diseases Division at Washington University. Powderly says the recent increases in cases and hospitalizations are a reminder that, even after two-plus years, the pandemic is not over.
    Vaccines seem to protect many people from serious disease, but infections among those who are fully vaccinated have become more common as BA.4 and BA.5 have become the virus’s dominant strains. Rachel M. Presti, MD, PhD, an infectious diseases specialist and an associate professor of medicine at Washington University, is among those testing new vaccine boosters engineered specifically to target those new strains. Presti, medical director of the university’s Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Unit, says it’s still too early to be certain but that the updated boosters seem to provide better protection than the currently FDA-approved vaccine. Of course, how long protection provided by the updated booster might last may depend on how quickly the virus continues to evolve.
    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
    Giving stroke patients a hand

    Giving stroke patients a hand

    Brain-computer interfaces connect activity in the brain to an external device by means of a computer. Research has shown it’s possible to use such interfaces to move robotic arms and perform other tasks. Almost 30 years ago, Washington University researcher Eric Leuthardt, MD, a professor of neurosurgery, demonstrated that he could hook electrodes to the brains of epilepsy patients who were waiting to have brain surgery, and those patients then could play video games just by thinking about moving things on a screen. Over the years, Leuthardt’s team has learned to detect similar brain signals noninvasively. He co-founded the Washington University startup company Neurolutions Inc. to develop a brain-computer interface to help stroke patients recover function in their hands and arms.
    In this episode, we learn about that device, known as the IpsiHand Upper Extremity Rehabilitation System. The IpsiHand involves a sort of cap that picks up brain signals from a stroke patient and transmits the signals to an exoskeleton fitted over the patient’s paralyzed hand. While wearing the system, patients think about moving the affected hand, and the IpsiHand translates that intention into actual hand movement.
    Over time, the patient’s brain slowly learns how to move the hand by itself. In addition to Leuthardt, we’ll also speak to a man who helped test an early version of the device years after a stroke left him unable to use his right hand. After working with the IpsiHand, the stroke patient, Mark Forrest, regained enough use of his right hand that he was able to build himself a boat. We’ll ride on that boat with him as he catches some fish and discusses his recovery.
    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
    Long COVID-19 a lasting battle for many

    Long COVID-19 a lasting battle for many

    As many as 30% of those who get COVID-19 will continue to have problems in the weeks and months after their infections. Long COVID-19 is defined as a condition in which issues persist for at least three months. But for many, the difficulties last much longer. Extreme fatigue, shortness of breath and what many call brain fog lead the list of long-term complications. Some people also develop heart problems, diabetes, psychiatric issues and trouble with pain in the weeks and months following the initial illness.
    In this episode, we speak with Maureen Lyons, MD, an assistant professor of medicine and director of the Care & Recovery After COVID-19 Clinic at the School of Medicine. The clinic was designed specifically to work with so-called long-haulers. She says many of her patients are frustrated at their inability to get back to life as they knew it before COVID-19. We also hear from one of Lyons’ patients, Michelle Wilson. She’s a nurse who became ill with COVID-19 in November 2020 and is still having problems with fatigue, shortness of breath and other difficulties. And we’ll hear from epidemiologist Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University who treats patients in the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System. He has found that vaccination provides some protection against long COVID-19, but just as vaccinated people still can get breakthrough infections, they also can develop long COVID-19. It’s not as common in vaccinated people, but there’s still a significant risk.
    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

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