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A conversation with Robert H. Eckel, MD



September 12, 2021

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Eckel RH. Award for Luminary in Cardiometabolic Medicine. Presented at: Heart in Diabetes Annual Meeting; 10.-12. September 2021 (hybrid meeting).

Eckel does not report any relevant financial information.


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To the Robert H. Eckel, MD, The desire to learn more about the underlying mechanisms that cause disease sparked an early interest in groundbreaking research in the areas of lipid metabolism and cardiometabolic health.

“Halfway through my specialist training in internal medicine, I realized that medicine is more than just making a diagnosis and making people better,” said Eckel, professor emeritus for medicine in the fields of cardiology and endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism Professor of Physiology and Biophysics and Charles A. Boettcher II Chair of Atherosclerosis at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, Healio said. “I became incredibly curious about disease mechanisms and why certain drug paradigms weren’t working. I felt the need to get answers and research experience. “

Eckel is Professor Emeritus of Medicine in Cardiology and Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Professor Emeritus of Physiology and Biophysics, and Charles A. Boettcher II. Chair of Atherosclerosis at the Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado.

Eckel, also a past president of the American Heart Association and past president of medicine and science for the American Diabetes Association, would have an outstanding career in lipid and lipoprotein metabolism, nutrition, obesity, and cardiovascular risk prevention. He was one of the world’s leading researchers in understanding the biology and pathophysiology of lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and showed that LPL activity in humans is regulated by insulin. For his life’s work, Eckel received the Luminary in Cardiometabolic Medicine Award at this year’s Heart in Diabetes CME Conference.

Healio spoke to Eckel about his many mentors, his interest in lipids and cardiometabolic health, and the importance of staying curious.

Healio: What brought you to cardiometabolic medicine?

Eckel: At medical school, I worked in a bacteriology lab, so that’s where I learned some basic science. Ultimately, when trying to decide on a medical and research scholarship, I made my choice between infectious diseases or endocrinology and metabolism. By that time, in the mid-1970s, lipids were an emerging area of ​​interest, and we were all learning more about the link between cholesterol and heart disease. I’ve also had type 1 diabetes all my life. I decided that if I didn’t feel like doing research, I could go into practice as an endocrinologist.

The late one Edwin L. Biermann, MD, the department head at the University of Washington tried me. I am infinitely grateful to him for taking this opportunity. My scholarship years have been an outstanding, career-changing experience.

I had five great job opportunities resulting from my scholarship. I chose the University of Colorado – where I’ve stayed for 40 years – because of Jerrold M. Olefsky, MD, the then new head of department. He brought many cutting-edge technologies to understand insulin sensitivity and related aspects of metabolism, diabetes and obesity. Under his guidance, I was able to develop some of the earliest technologies applied to lipid and lipoprotein metabolism, including euglycemic brace and adipocyte biology in the laboratory. This started a career for me that brought lipids and diabetes and CVD together very well for me.

Healio: How did you start your work to learn more about LPL?

Eckel: In the laboratory, this began with the cultivation of preadipocytes. Today this is a well developed technology. The late one Howard Green, A pioneer of regenerative medicine, at MIT at the time, recently discovered that stromovascular cells – so-called fibroblasts – can be removed from adipose tissue and shown in the laboratory that these cells can be differentiated into adipocytes. That paper was 1 or 2 years old when I asked, “Is it possible that these fat cells contain lipoprotein lipase?” That started a 40-year career that has focused in part on LPL as a protein involved with metabolism and less with atherosclerosis related. When I arrived in Denver, I was among the first to use the euglycemic bracket to understand the tissue-specific regulation of LPL and fatty acid metabolism and other aspects of lipid and lipoprotein metabolism.

Healio: Your research also turned to the brain. What did this work focus on?

Eckel: Work with Richard J. Robbins, MD, and Daniel H. Bessen, MD, Over the next decade, we identified LPL in the brain and its regionalization. We finally identified the presence of LPL in the peripheral nerve and its relationship to diabetic neuropathy and to nerve injury and regeneration.

More recently, for the last 5 to 6 years, now headed the laboratory for Kimberly D. Bruce, PhD, We worked on how LPL is related to neurodegenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s.

Healio: What does this work have to do with obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes?

Eckel: We have used clinical research and animal models to show that the LPL in adipose tissue is increased in obesity, but increases significantly, especially after weight loss, as a predictor of weight gain. We also conducted a number of studies that showed that LPL in adipose tissue is regulated by insulin and that the regulation is resistant in obesity. However, once people lose weight, they become insulin sensitive.

Later I took down a piece of work Scott M. Grundy, MD, and Paul Z. Zimmet, MD, in The Lancet in 2005 that helped define metabolic syndrome and I was later part of redefining metabolic syndrome. We described the mechanism of the metabolic syndrome as being insulin resistant. We eventually worked with coworkers to develop a model that turns off LPL in skeletal muscles, and these animals developed metabolic syndrome and had weight gain.

We also did some work in the diabetes field to investigate how a decrease in LPL activity is related to nerve dysfunction. We also showed how prediabetes can be distinguished from obesity using muscle biopsies.

Healio: How do these conditions converge to increase CV risk, and what can be done to reduce risk?

Eckel: The 1990s marked the beginning of a new era for metabolic syndrome. Ronald M. Krauss, MD, and I published an article in Circulation in 1998 entitled “The American Heart Association Call to Action: Obesity as a Major Risk Factor for Coronary Artery Disease.” This paper began in depth the AHA’s interest in this important topic.

As part of my AHA presidential address in 2005, I sketched a 3-minute lifestyle interview that has now been incorporated into the AHA Lifestyle Guidelines and used as the standard approach for cardiologists and other busy practitioners to assess a patient’s lifestyle in the Assess clinic. relating to diet and physical activity. As obesity continues to rise, metabolic syndrome follows, along with a higher incidence of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The idea of ​​a new subspecialty in cardiometabolic medicine is something I was promoting Michael J. Blaha, MD, and we have published a number of articles on this idea.

Healio: You are the only person who serve as a former president the AHA, the ADA and the Obesity Society. What perspective did that give you?

Eckel: All of my research is metabolism driven. Anyone who knows me knows that I am interested in these areas. I waved the flag for the Obesity Society to promote obesity as the main comorbidity of many diseases. The management of the AHA came as a surprise – I was an endocrinologist. But in 2005 they felt the time was right to focus on metabolic disorders. At ADA, it has always been important to me to go beyond glucose. For example, there is so much about diabetes related to CVD that goes beyond glucose. Of course, that doesn’t mean that glucose isn’t important.

Curiosity is an incredibly important motivator for me. I am still so curious. But the more you learn, the more you realize what you don’t know. This is what drives you scientifically – to know more and better understand mechanisms.


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Investigating how the Massachusetts mental-health system was failing those who needed it most



Spotlight editor Scott Allen looked through a window at the Globe office in Dorchester and saw protesters. There were dozens, maybe more than a hundred. And they were angry, not at the corruption or other outrage the Spotlight team had exposed, but at everyone and the reporters themselves. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” he says.

A few weeks earlier, on June 26, 2016, the Spotlight team released the first of a series of reports on how the Massachusetts mental health system is failing those who need it most. The article was invigorating and, as critics said, inflammatory. It was titled The Desperate and the Dead project and led with the agonizing report of Lee F. Chiero, a man with a mental illness who had killed his mother.

The article and the project itself were born from the team that saw a disturbing trend. In the 2010s, Massachusetts saw a spate of murders in which mental health appeared to be a factor. Sometimes the killer suffered from severe mental illness. In other cases, the victim, who was often killed by police officers, was in a psychiatric crisis. Spotlight reporter Michael Rezendes has put together a database of examples. Then the team went on a mission to answer one of the most basic journalistic questions: Why?

Why did so many serious mental illness cases end in tragedy in a state that boasted world-class health care?

During more than a year of coverage, the team found that the Massachusetts mental health system was more or less gone. Decades earlier, the state was littered with inpatient psychiatric hospitals. But these institutions had often been brutal, inhuman places, and the state had closed them. The result: people who urgently need help without turning.

The seven-part series documented the consequences of this story of neglect: relatives who had to work as unskilled caregivers, police officers who step in where social workers were needed, prisons that fill the void left by closed hospitals. The series also examined the types of modern, evidence-based mental health programs that Massachusetts may have but had not previously implemented.

The team intended that the series should serve as a call to action to get distracted policymakers to focus on an issue they had been ignoring for too long. But that’s not how some mental health advocates saw it. “The headline is incredibly dramatic and fear-driven,” says Sera Davidow, who helped organize the protest at the Globe. Fear, Davidow says, can lead policymakers to force mandatory treatment on people with severe mental illness. Fear of mental illness can also lead police officers and ordinary citizens to jump to violence, says Davidow: “These attitudes kill us.”

Some members of the Spotlight team took the protest harshly. “It has been difficult for respected people to say you do harm,” says Spotlight reporter Jenna Russell.

But there were also strong voices that supported the team’s reporting. Some families reprimanded activists who opposed mandatory outpatient treatment programs. One man whose stepdaughter relied on a New York State program to take her medication and get off the streets said of the activists, “I have a feeling these people are trying to kill them.”

Allen went outside to speak to the activists on the day of the protest. He listened to them, but also stood behind what the team found in their coverage that would later be named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. “If you want to talk about difficult things,” says Allen, “you have to say the hard things.”

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Fry Construction Selected for a Major Medical Imaging and Radiotherapy Addition by The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Arlington, TX



CARROLLTON, Texas, September 22, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Fry Construction, a specialist in the precision design and construction of cancer treatments, medical imaging facilities, and surgical centers, has announced the award of one of its most demanding multi-modal medical construction projects.

Fry Construction, Inc. logo

TrueBeam variant

TrueBeam variant

The center will include a Varian TrueBeam LINAC and a GE CT on the first floor of a multi-story building with little clearance for pillar drilling, with all shaping and casting of the vault required after hours. A further complicating factor is that the ER access is located directly outside the investigation area and is housed in such a way that constant access is guaranteed.

“We are used to delivering the most demanding construction projects in the shortest possible time and we are proud that Fry Construction is repeatedly selected to overcome these obstacles to completion. Our 38 years of experience specializing in this highly focused sector of medical construction has taught us how to get our jobs done on time, on budget, and to build to the manufacturer’s strict specifications to meet device warranties. The criteria required by the CCBD are no exception, “said Ben Fry, President of Fry Construction.

The Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders was recently recognized through national certification through the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) certification program, a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). This expertise was acquired through adhering to strict cancer treatment standards – matched by only 23 oncology practices in the country. The CCBD requires the same level of experience and professionalism from its medical contractor.

Alex Carr, Varian’s Radiation Oncology Medical Device Planner, said, “By selecting Fry Construction, a Varian Preferred Contractor, to complete this complex project, CCBD has reassured Varian that the site is also preparing to the highest quality standards is deemed to be compliance with Varian’s Site Readiness Specifications as required by Varian’s infrastructure planning processes. Fry Construction has an excellent history of working not only with Varian but also with our shared customer base of cancer control specialists. I look forward to continuing this complicated and challenging project with this great team. ”

About Fry Construction Company, Inc.

Fry Construction is a leader in precision engineering of radiation therapy and imaging facilities throughout the Southwest. Fry pioneered the practice of precision medical engineering at the 1984 University of Texas Health Science Center and has since completed over 1,500 specialized facilities in nearly four decades. All have been signed with the major radiotherapy and imaging manufacturers in the United States while retaining their Preferred Contractor status.

Media contact:
Bruce Fry
[email protected]

SOURCE Fry Construction, Inc.

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Here’s how to report your USA food problem directly to USDA or FDA



Food Safety Month

Whenever you think you are seriously ill, see a doctor. And if you believe food caused your illness, make sure it is reported. Most foodborne illnesses are “reportable,” which means your doctor informs the local health department.

For example, if you had an outbreak in multiple states, you could become a “confirmed case”. Your confirmed test result will be reported to the health department, your name will be kept secret.

However, if you don’t want to take medical action, you can report your bad food experiences directly to federal regulators. Both the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the US Food and Drug Administration welcome consumer reports of contaminated or adulterated food.

But how?
Both FSIS and FDA explain how on their websites. With Food Safety Month coming to an end in September, Food safety news forwards this information along with some explanations to help consumers find the right agency. The FSIS and the FDA are responsible for protecting various segments of the food supply. If you have a problem with a food, be sure to contact the relevant health authority.

To reach them by phone:

  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) call 888-723-3366 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT. Closed on Thursdays 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Before calling FSIS or FDA, it is important that you understand how the responsibilities of federal agencies are divided among the various agencies. The FDA, which has the most authority in these areas, provides an overview of their breakdown.

In general, the FDA regulates foods and other products as follows:

  • Food supplements
  • bottled water
  • Food additives
  • Baby food
  • other foods (although the U.S. Department of Agriculture plays a leading role in regulating some meat, poultry, and egg products)

The FDA also regulates medications, including:

  • prescription drugs (both branded and generic)
  • non-prescription (over-the-counter) drugs

Biologics, including:

  • Vaccines for humans
  • Blood and blood products
  • Cell and gene therapy products
  • Tissue and tissue products
  • allergenic

Medical devices including:

  • simple items like tongue depressors and bed pans
  • complex technologies such as pacemakers
  • dental equipment
  • surgical implants and prosthetics

Electronic products that emit radiation, including:

  • Microwaves
  • X-ray machines
  • Laser products
  • Ultrasound therapy equipment
  • Mercury vapor lamps
  • sun lamps

Cosmetics, including:

  • Color additives in make-up and other personal care products
  • Moisturizers and cleansers for the skin
  • Nail polish and perfume

Veterinary products including:

  • fodder
  • Pet food
  • Veterinary medicines and devices

Tobacco Products Including:

  • Cigarettes
  • Cigarette tobacco
  • Roll tobacco yourself
  • smokeless tobacco

By subject and subject, the FDA also has “functions” that relate to these federal agencies:

  • Advertising – The Federal Trade Commission is a federal agency that regulates many types of advertising. The FTC protects consumers by stopping unfair, fraudulent, or fraudulent practices in the market. Consumers can write to FTC at 6th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20580; Telephone 202-326-2222.
  • Alcohol – The Department of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulates aspects of alcohol production, import, wholesale distribution, labeling and advertising. Consumers can write to TTB, 1310 G St. NW, Box 12, Washington, DC 20005; Phone 202-453-2000 or visit the TTB contact page.
  • Consumer products The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) works to ensure the safety of consumer products such as toys, cribs, power tools, lighters, household chemicals, and other products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. Consumers can direct written inquiries to CPSC, Washington, DC 20207. CPSC operates a toll-free hotline at 800-638-2772 or TTY at 800-638-8270 to enable consumers to report unsafe products or receive product information and recalls.
  • Drugs of Abuse – The Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is committed to enforcing United States controlled substance laws and regulations, including the manufacture, distribution, and dispensing of legally manufactured controlled substances. Inquiries about DEA activities can be directed to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of Diversion Control 8701 Morrissette Drive Springfield, VA 22152; Telephone 202-307-1000.
  • Pesticides – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates many aspects of pesticides. The EPA sets limits on how much of a pesticide can be used on food during cultivation and processing, and how much can be left on the food you buy. Public inquiries regarding EPA should be directed to the US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs Public Docket (7506C), 3404, 401M St., Washington, DC 20460; Telephone 202-260-2080.
  • Vaccines against animal diseases The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Center for Veterinary Biologics, regulates aspects of veterinary vaccines and other types of veterinary biologics. Public inquiries regarding APHIS’s Center for Veterinary Biologics should be mailed to Center for Veterinary Biologics, 1920 Dayton Ave, PO Box 844, Ames, Iowa, 50010; Phone 515-337-6100 or visit the APHIS contact page.
  • water The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates certain aspects of drinking water. EPA develops national standards for drinking water from municipal water supplies (tap water) to limit the level of contaminants.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service regulates this the following:

FSIS regulates aspects of the safety and labeling of traditional (non-wild) meat, poultry, certain egg products and catfish. For a USDA investigation into an issue with these products, please provide:

  • The original container or packaging
  • Any foreign objects that you may have discovered in the product
  • Any part of the meal not eaten (chilling or freezing)

Here is the information the FSIS Hotline needs from you:

  1. Name, address and telephone number;
  2. Brand name, product name and manufacturer of the product
  3. The size and type of packaging
  4. Can or package codes (not UPC barcodes) and dates
  5. Establishment number (EST), usually found in a circle or sign next to the phrase “USDA passed and tested”;
  6. The name and location of the store and the date you purchased the product.
  7. You can complain to the store or the manufacturer of the product if you don’t file a formal complaint with the USDA.
  8. If an injury or illness is alleged to result from the use of a meat or poultry product, you must also inform the hotline staff about the nature, symptoms, time of occurrence and the name of the treating doctor (if applicable).

The FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, known as CFSAN, provides services to consumers, domestic and foreign industries, and other outside groups regarding field programs; Administrative tasks of the agency; scientific analysis and support; and policy, planning, and dealing with critical issues related to food, nutritional supplements, and cosmetics.

How to Report a Food Problem to the FDA

  • Please contact USDA for any questions or issues related to meat and poultry.
  • As a consumer, health professional or in the food industry, if you would like to voluntarily report a complaint or adverse event (illness or severe allergic reaction) related to a food, you have three options:
  • If you are a member of the food industry who is required to file a Reportable Food Register report when there is a reasonable likelihood that an article on food will cause serious health effects or death to people or animals, please visit the Reportable Food Register page.

How to Report Seafood Related Toxins and Sccombrotoxin Fish Poisoning Diseases

To help the FDA conduct effective investigations, remove unsafe seafood products from the market, and develop new prevention strategies, the FDA relies on disease reports from public health officials and health care providers. While most foodborne outbreaks are tracked through the FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) network, seafood-related diseases caused by natural toxins have a unique reporting mechanism.

To contact the FDA by email:
US Food and Drug Administration
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Mediation and information center
5001 campus drive, HFS-009
College Park, MD 20740-3835

The FDA requests that products not be sent to this address.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

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