Research Roundup

For the complete stories on this research, click on the title of each summary.

Unintended consequences: Immune response to influenza may trigger life-threatening bacterial infections

A Yale School of Medicine study provides insight into why the influenza virus can lead to dangerous bacterial infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia. The research reveals that the flu causes a systemic suppression of the body’s innate immune response. While necessary to prevent an excessive and perhaps lethal inflammatory response, the immune suppression reduces the body’s ability to fight off secondary bacterial infections. The paper is published in the Feb. 18 issue of Cell Host and Microbe. Lead author is Ruslan Medzhitov, professor of immunobiology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Medzhitov is also the winner of the 2010 Lewis R. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Science.

Yale study finds lack of social support after heart attack affects women more than men

Poor social support following heart attacks contributes to worsening health and symptoms of depression, particularly for women, reveals a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health. The research, published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, measured whether patients had someone available to listen, give good advice, and provide love and affection and other types of emotional support. Those with low support, particularly women, had an increased risk of angina, more depressive symptoms, lower mental functioning and poorer heart-related quality of life. Lead author is Erica Leifheit-Limson, a doctoral candidate in the Division of Chronic Disease Epidemiology. Senior author is Judith H. Lichtman, associate professor in the Division of Chronic Disease Epidemiology.

Yale study finds minorities less likely to use high-volume hospitals

African Americans are much less likely to receive surgical treatment at hospitals and from physicians who perform high volumes of specialized procedures, a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health has found. The study is published in Archives of Surgery, a journal of the American Medical Association. Lead author is Andrew J. Epstein, assistant professor at the School of Public Health. His team found that African Americans were significantly less likely than their white peers to get surgery for many potentially life-threatening conditions at hospitals and by surgeons who performed the highest number of procedures for various cancers, cardiovascular diseases and hip replacement.

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