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Medical News
September 24, 1998
The Record

Hormonal advantage

Researchers find gender difference in the handling of fats

By Barbra Rodriguez

Keyy: Lipid researcher
Women may be the weaker sex when it comes to chocolate cravings, but new findings suggest they might be better at handling fatty foods. Studying mice, School of Medicine researchers have found that females might have a hormonal advantage for processing dietary fats.

Organs that use large amounts of energy, such as the heart, usually prefer to break down lipids (fats) rather than carbohydrates (sugars) for fuel. Daniel P. Kelly, M.D., and colleagues at the medical school have shown that male mice whose cells can't sense lipid levels die when the major cellular pathway for metabolizing lipids is shut down. But only a quarter of female mice die under the same circumstances. The study, published in the Sept. 14 issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation, also revealed that the distinction disappeared in male mice treated with estrogen.

Kelly, senior author and an associate professor of medicine and of molecular biology and pharmacology, said that the results could help explain why women are less susceptible to certain diseases such as atherosclerosis, which results from a build-up of lipids in blood vessels. The risk for women rises after menopause when estrogen levels plummet.

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Shapiro named director of pediatric allergy and pulmonary medicine

Steven D. Shapiro, M.D., associate professor of medicine and of cell biology and physiology, has become director of the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Pulmonary Medicine.

The appointment was announced by Alan L. Schwartz, M.D., Ph.D., the Harriet B. Spoehrer Professor and head of pediatrics at the School of Medicine and pediatrician-in-chief at St. Louis Children's Hospital.

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Grupo Atlantico's Norka Carr (left), Marta Perez
and others will perform from noon to 1 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 25, at Steinberg Auditorium in
Barnes-Jewish Hospital North. Music, songs and
dance from Latin American countries and Spain
will be featured in honor of National Hispanic
Heritage Month. The event is sponsored by the
offices of diversity at the School of Medicine
and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Salkoff studies genes that encode certain bioelectronic nervous system components

Lawrence B. Salkoff, Ph.D., professor of neurobiology and of genetics, has received a four-year $1.2 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. He is taking a novel approach to studying the genes that encode certain bioelectronic components of the nervous system.

"This is the first attempt to use the complete DNA sequence of a multicellular organism to create a comprehensive picture of potassium channels in a single animal," Salkoff said.

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