Entries in University of Chicago (5)


University of Chicago Student, 21, to Become Youngest to Attain M.D.

ABC News(CHICAGO) -- Sho Yano says that even though the reference to the popular ’90s show Doogie Howser M.D. amuses him and makes him feel “pretty good,” he doesn’t want to be known as a “whiz kid.”

“I kind of want to be the doctor,” he said. “I got through training early [but] my dream is to have a real achievement. Finding anything that would be helpful to people in general. Just knowing that I’m gonna help someone. That would be great.”

A doctor is just what Yano will become Saturday when the 21-year-old becomes the youngest student to attain an M.D. from the University of Chicago.

In 2000, when ABC News interviewed him as a 9-year-old college freshman at Loyola University, he said he eschewed the word “genius.”

“I’m not a genius. I’m gifted,” he told ABC News. “I got a gift from God and I may be accountable to God for using it wisely. Besides, I have to work for it.”

When he was 12 — having already graduated in three years from Loyola University — Yano entered the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, participating in a program where students get both their doctorate and medical degrees.

He completed his first year of medical school, got his Ph.D. in molecular genetics and cell biology and then pursued the rest of medical school so that he’d be at least 18 when it came time to work with patients.

Yano was reading by the age of 2, writing by the age of 3 and composing music by 5. At the age of 8, he scored a 1,500 out of 1,600 on the SAT.

He said Monday that despite a lot of flak from psychologists, he was not socially stunted and that he appreciated his parents for allowing him to follow his own path and molding him into a well-rounded person.

Yano is now an accomplished pianist with a black belt in tae kwon do. He said for fun he played the piano and worked with computer and electronic hardware, calling himself a “hand-radio enthusiast.”

He’s not the only prodigy in the family, though. His only sister, Sayuri Yano, 15, is working on her second bachelor’s degree in violin performance at Johns Hopkins University.

Next up for Sho Yano? A five-year residency in pediatric neurology.

“I really don’t regret anything I did,” he told ABC News on Monday. “I have a good idea of how kids and teenagers act. I’m not sure that I would’ve enjoyed that. I don’t think I missed all that much. ”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Beehive Glue Stops Prostate Cancer in Mice

Comstock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Researchers at the University of Chicago found that a compound made in honeybee hives seems to stop the spread of prostate cancer cells in mice.

The compound, called caffeic acid phenethyl ester or CAPE, is made from propolis, the resin honeybees use to patch holes in their hives. The product has been known and used for centuries as a natural remedy for teeth and skin, as well as a defense against viruses and bacteria.

When the researchers fed CAPE to mice that had early stages of the human form of prostate cancer, it seemed to stop the cancer in its tracks.

“Their tumors simply stopped growing,” said Richard Jones, the study’s author and a cancer researcher at the University of Chicago. “When we stopped feeding the mice CAPE, their tumors returned.”

After six weeks, the tumors in mice eating CAPE were 50 percent smaller than the tumors in mice not getting the compound, whose tumors kept growing unchecked. The CAPE mice also didn’t lose any weight during the treatment, which researchers said indicated that the compound was not overly toxic.

The researchers said the compound didn’t kill the cancer, but it appeared to stop the growth of the cancer cells by masking their ability to use a system of signals to detect nutrition. If cells don’t sense the presence of the food they need, such as glucose, they will stop growing.

The study was only in mice, and the compound has not yet been tested in human cancer patients. But Jones said the cell pathways targeted by CAPE are found in all mammal cells. He said he is hopeful that CAPE will prove useful against cancer in humans, most likely in combination with other available cancer therapies.

“One can imagine in the context of cancer prevention or early stage cancer, administering this molecule as a natural low-risk way to reduce proliferation of this and other types of cancer cells,” Jones said.

A next step will be for clinicians to test the compound in human patients.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Benefactor Gives U. of Chicago $42 Million to Work on Bedside Manner

Hemera Technologies./Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A benefactor who believes doctors need to work on their bedside manner is giving $42 million to the University of Chicago Medical Center to train physicians to be good communicators.

The donation from Carolyn "Kay" Bucksbaum and her husband, Matthew, will create the Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence, the medical center announced Thursday.

Kay Bucksbaum, whose husband made his fortune developing shopping centers, said she was inspired by Dr. Mark Siegler, a leading medical ethicist at the University of Chicago who became the couple's internist when they moved to Chicago from Iowa about 10 years ago.

"He keeps front and center getting to know his patient," she said.

In contrast, she recalled a doctor years ago who didn't listen to her when she told him what she thought was wrong with her -- and didn't apologize when she turned out to be right.

When her husband needed surgery, she said, Siegler "took my husband by the hand to meet the surgeon, introduced him, and told the surgeon something about my husband."

He even scrubs up and watches his patients' surgeries when he can, she said. And he encourages patients to call him "Mark."

That kind of emphasis on bedside manner and developing a relationship with the patient is being eroded in modern medicine, said Dr. Matthew Sorrentino, a cardiologist who is co-director of the new center.

"The way I was taught, you sit down and look directly at the patient," he said.

That communication is crucial for good diagnosis, Sorrentino said. "If you listen carefully to the patient, 95 percent of the time people will tell you what's wrong."

Preliminary data show that good doctor-patient relationships can improve patients' health and well-being, he said.

Nowadays, he added, doctors are doing less looking at and listening to their patients.

"Medicine has become much more technology driven," he said. "Everything's become electronic these days. We start looking at computer screens and less at the patient."

Even the little things matter, Sorrentino said, such as avoiding using a patient's first name while they call you "doctor."

The new center has designated three second-year students as the first Bucksbaum fellows and anticipates supporting up to 15 such fellows by its third year of operation. It will recruit "master clinicians" to be role models for developing top-notch patient communication skills.

Kay Bucksbaum believes many students entering medical school today are altruistic and motivated by idealism.

"By the time they're into practice, that feeling seems to have gotten beaten out of them," she said. "It's not just the education beating it out of them, it's the red tape, the bookkeeping."

But in spite of those pressures, she said, some doctors manage to retain their humanity and rapport with patients. If the Bucksbaum Institute can teach young doctors how to achieve that balance, she added, then the $42 million will be "money well spent."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Writing Can Help Avoid Choking Under Pressure

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Jasmin Sultana, 24, of Queens, N.Y., knows only too well what it means to choke under pressure.

The first time she took her driving test, tears welled up in her eyes and she could not see the road. She pulled over mid-test, stopped the car, and told the tester, "I just can't do this."

"Even though I was prepared for it, leading up to it I was really sweaty," said Sultana. "I started to feel nervous, and during the test I started crying."

The second and third time she took the test, Sultana could feel her stress level building. Again, she choked.

"I just couldn't concentrate," she said. "It became such a long process to pass this test."

Sultana was wrapping up her final college year before she got the nerve to try it again. This time she brought a friend along. Right before the test, her friend assured her there was nothing to worry about.

Sultana thought about failure, she told her friend. She thought about what her tester thought about her. She thought taking a deep breath to quell the anxiety won't work for her. But she also thought, "I've got to pass this thing." She didn't want to take this test again.

"Telling someone put things in perspective for me, that it's just a test that I've been prepared for," said Sultana, who went on to pass the test.

Letting out all of her fearful thoughts before test time may have done the trick, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Science. The study suggests that simply writing about your anxiety just a few minutes before a high-stakes event can help you perform significantly better.

Researchers conducted four separate studies that focused on test-taking anxieties of high school and college students. Before giving the students a test, researchers assigned different groups of students with high performance anxiety to either write down their anxieties about taking the upcoming test, write freely about any topic, or not write at all.

"I am afraid I am going to make a mistake," wrote one student in the expressive writing group.

"I just want to stop thinking about how I am going to fail," another student wrote.

The study found that those who wrote about their test anxiety in some cases received a whole grade letter higher than those who wrote about an unrelated event, or did not take the time to write.

"It's really a counterintuitive finding -- that dwelling on your worries can have a positive impact," said Sian Beilock, an associate professor in the department of psychology in The University of Chicago and co-author of the study.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


‘Anthropomorphism’ Could Ease Cancer Diagnosis

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(CHICAGO) – How doctors describe cancer to patients who have just been diagnosed has a lot to do with how they react to the diagnosis, according to a new study reported by consumer affairs.

By describing cancer using human characteristics and behavior – known as anthropomorphism – patients feel more confident they can beat the disease, according to authors Sara Kim and Ann L. McGill of the University of Chicago.

"The present research shows important downstream consequences of anthropomorphism that go beyond simple liking of products with humanlike physical features," the authors said. The research examines the effect the practice has on an individual’s risk perception.

The authors found that people felt they could better control a disease like skin cancer if it had "humanlike evil intentions to hurt people."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio