About Shelley Schlender


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Shelley Schlender has written 121 articles so far, you can find them below.


Harvard Epidemiologist Dariush Mozaffarian on Salt (extended version)

Here’s an extended version of Shelley Schlender’s interview with Dariush Mozaffarian on Salt.  Note that in the interview, Shelley asks Dr. Mozaffarian to comment on some of the assertions made in the popular press, Scientific American story, It’s Time to End the War on Salt.”  The interview mentions a citation in the popular press article about the Cochrane Collaboration’s view on salt.  After the interview, Mozaffarian’s pointed out this more recent assessment from the Cochrane Collaboration:

The most recent on salt and blood pressure is below:
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(3):CD004937.
Effect of longer-term modest salt reduction on blood pressure.
He FJ, MacGregor GA.

Here are the verbatim conclusions from that report:
“CONCLUSIONS: Our meta-analysis demonstrates that a modest reduction in salt intake for a duration of 4 or more weeks has a significant and, from a population viewpoint, important effect on blood pressure in both individuals with normal and elevated blood pressure. These results support other evidence suggesting that a modest and long-term reduction in population salt intake could reduce strokes, heart attacks, and heart failure. Furthermore, our meta-analysis demonstrates a correlation between the magnitude of salt reduction and the magnitude of blood pressure reduction. Within the daily intake range of 3 to 12 g/day, the lower the salt intake achieved, the lower the blood pressure.”

Additionally, Mozaffarian suggests that people interested in this topic check out a meta-analysis by the British Journal of Medicine Titled, Salt intake, stroke, and cardiovascular disease: meta- analysis of prospective studies.

Last but not least, for a recent speech by Mozaffarian that provides even more detail on these topics, click here.

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Cell Phone Safety – Extended Version

 

Here is the extended version of the interview with CU Electrical Engineering Professor Frank Barnes about cell phone safety.

 

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Cavemen Stayed Local while Women Left Home

We talk with Sandi Copeland, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at CU, about this story:

Two million years ago, two-legged apes roamed the African landscape. Many of these ancient hominins,  lived in limestone caves in what is now South Africa. We know this through fossilized skull fragments and teeth from those caves.

But fossils only tell us where an individual died—not where it grew up, or where it traveled during its life. Or do they? New research from the University of Colorado that’s been published in the journal Nature, reveals that male hominins in South Africa grew up in the caves where they died, while the females who died there grew up elsewhere and migrated to the caves as adults.

The research not only sheds light on the behaviors of early human relatives; it makes use of a new technique, pioneered by the CU researchers, to quickly and cheaply analyze the birthplace of fossilized creatures.

Producer: Shelley Schlender
Co-hosts: Joel Parker, Ted Burnham
Engineer: Shelley Schlender

For Headline Features, read on . . .

(more…)

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The Future of Space Flight: Alan Stern & Elon Musk

We share excerpts from a talk about the Future of Spaceflight, presented at CU-Boulder in April, featuring Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute and Elon Musk of Space X.

Producer: Shelley Schlender
Co-hosts: Joel Parker, Ted Burnham
Engineer: Shelley Schlender

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2011 GoldLab Symposium – Speaker Sessions

Here are audio recordings from the 2011 GoldLab Symposium at CU-Boulder, with both Friday and Saturday sessions.  For power point slides and videos of the session, go to GoldLabColorado.com

FRIDAY – PART 1:  Health and Medical Problems Everywhere

Moderator: Fintan Steele, CIMB at CU, Boulder

 

9 AM:  “Our Dialogue, One Year Later”

Larry Gold –  MCDB, CU and SomaLogic “Our Dialogue, One Year Later”

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(more…)

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Gold Lab Symposium & Fat for Stronger Muscles

We learn about new research that indicates that the combination of exercise plus eating high cholesterol foods may help build lean body mass, even in older adults.

What’s more, eating high cholesterol foods such as cheese, beef fat and eggs, when combined with exercise, also seems more heart safe than most people think, according to new research published by Steve Riechman, in the Journal of Gerontology.

And we talk with Larry Gold, founder of the  Gold Lab Symposium.  The 2011 symposium features scientists, researchers and policy makers discussing how health and science can intersect with healthcare policy, and how to make each one  better.

The 2011 GoldLab Symposium was held at CU-Boulder’s Muenzinger Auditorium May 13 – 14th.  For audio recordings of the sessions, go here.  For videos and powerpoint presentations from the sessions, go to GoldLabColorado.com

Producer: Shelley Schlender
Co-hosts: Joel Parker, Ted Burnham
Engineer: Shelley Schlender

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Moonwalking with Einstein // Pledge Drive Show

In this Spring Pledge Drive Show, we share an update on the crisis in Japan from Kathleen Tierney of CU-Boulder’s Natural Hazards  Center, and then Joel Parker interviews Joshua Foer, author of the runaway bestseller, Moonwalking with Einstein:  The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. (the full interview can be found here)

Hosts: Joel Parker, Ted Burnham, Breanna Draxler, Tom McKinnon, Shelley Schlender

Show Producer:  Joel Parker & Shelley Schlender

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Colorado Growth Model is Replacing CSAPs // Boulder Valley Science Fair

Boulder Math Scores - How they rank statewide (from schoolview.org)

In honor of KGNU’s Kid’s Week, we go to the Boulder County Science Fair with How on Earth’s Tom McKinnon.  In turns out three of the five students Tom interviewed before the judging began ended up as winners at the science show!  Then, we look at CSAPs-Colorado’s Student Assessment Program.  That style of standardized test for Reading, Writing, Math and Science is being phased out, in favor of The Colorado Growth Model that’s so innovative, it’s being adopted in several other states.  How on Earth’s Shelley Schlender interviews cognitive scientist Bill Bonk, who’s on the team developing the Colorado Growth Model, which you can see at schoolview.org.

Hosts: Joel Parker and Tom McKinnon

Producer: Shelley Schlender

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CU Medical Professor Shares Love of Science


CU Medical Professor John Cohen. Image courtesy of John Cohen.

This week we’ll feature CU Medical School Immunologist John Cohen, who has just received the American Association for the Advancement of Science top award for promoting public understanding of Science.  In addition to teaching at the Medical School, Cohen is the founder of Mini Med and the lead “disorganizer” of the Denver Cafe Sci.  We’ll also talk with Emory University researcher Zixu Mao about a new link between Parkinson’s disease and the health of the mitochondria within a cell, and we’ll hear from BBC Science in Action about some top choices in Europe for new Astronomy pursuits.

Hosts: Joel Parker, Susan Moran

Producer: Shelley Schlender

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Mitochondrial Health Influences Risk of Parkinson’s Disease – Scientist Zixu Mao

. . . Short Feature from this week’s How on Earth:

Parkinson’s and Mitochondria (6 minutes)

EDITOR’S NOTE:  The written version below includes further clarifications from Emory scientist Zixu Mao:


We all know about how our blood can give clues about our health, and disease.  But it turns out levels of some health markers aren’t always evident just by looking in the blood.  Inside a cell, some substances can be higher, or lower.  That’s true, for instance, for calcium.  For sugar.  And even for something such as uric acid.  So scientists have been figuring out better ways to check the amounts of these substances not just in our blood, but INSIDE our cells.  The need to look closely doesn’t stop there–it can extend to the organelles within the cells.  And researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have just made a breakthrough about why to look inside these tiny components of a cell.  Their discovery involves a disease made famous by Michael J. Fox.   It’s Parkinson’s, also known as, “The Shaking Disease.”  And the thing inside a cell — which needs to be monitored — is mitochondria.   Mitochondria are often called the miniature power plants within our cells.  But they do much more, according to Zixu Mao, a researcher at Emory University School of Medicine who’s been studying mitochondria and Parkinson’s.  Mao says if mitochondria are sick, the entire cell can be sick.

Emory Research Scientist Zixu Mao

MAO
If mitochondria disfunction, it sends out signals to the rest of the cell and may even execute cell death.  In addition to that if mitochondria is disrupted, it produces toxic signals to cells that stress cells.  That’s oxidative stress.  So it does multiple things.

In other words, if enough mitochondria are sick, not only does the cell lack energy . . . the mitochondria can generate signals that range from stressing the cell to directing the cell to kill itself.

One protein that helps cells deal with stress is called MEF2-D.  MEF2-D is important, because it helps protect a cell’s DNA from damage when oxidative stress starts going high.  Many researchers have believed that inside our cells, healthy levels of MEF2-D, and healthy mitochondria, both play a role in reducing the chance of Parkinson’s disease.  But there’s been a puzzle, because sometimes, people have Parkinson’s even when they have adequate levels of MEF2-D inside their cells.

That’s where Mao’s team has made a breakthrough, and their breakthrough came from a basic understanding of those tiny cellular power-stations, the mitochondria.  You see, mitochondria are actually tiny cells themselves that, billions of years ago, took up residence inside our cells.  It’s a great team – our cells give mitochondria food and a safe place to live, and in return, the mitochondria generate easy-to-use energy for the cell.  There’s plenty that’s interesting about a mitochondria.

A key thing that interested Mao’s team is that mitochondria have their own DNA that’s distinct from the larger cell’s nuclear DNA.  Because MEF2-D affects the health of the larger cell’s DNA, the Emory researchers wondered whether MEF2-D might play a role in the mitochondria’s DNA.  This was a new idea, because scientists have generally assumed that MEF2-D is only important for the nuclear DNA.

It took meticulous lab work to figure out, but Mao’s team did discover that MEF2-D is, indeed, inside the mitochondria.  What’s more, levels in the mitochondria can be deficient — even when MEF2-D is abundant in other areas of the cell.  As further evidence of a link to disease, Mao’s team documented that certain pesticides and illegal drugs known to increase the risk of Parkinson’s also reduce the level of MEF2-D inside the mitochondria . . . even when the level of MEF2-D is normal in the rest of the cell.  So it’s looking like MEF2-D, in the mitochondria, may be a strong signal about Parkinson’s.

Mao says that right now, it’s too early to use this new-found knowledge for diagnostic purposes.  But he says it does have potential, and someday, instead of requiring complicated work in a science lab, it might even be possible to check the mitochondrial MEF-2D levels by going to a clinic and giving a tube of blood.

MAO
We did some unpublished work and we showed that we could take a patient’s blood and isolate the white blood cells from patients, then isolate the mitochondria from white blood cells and take the MEF2-D in that prep.
There’s more to work out, involving the network of problems that may link levels of MEF2-D in the mitochondria to the shaking disease known as Parkinson’s.  As for when this surprising new signal about cell health might lead to a blood test for disease, Mao says this:

MAO
I have no idea!  But we are working very hard at it.  We know it’s there.  We can detect it.  The hurdle next is to link its change to specific pathological situations.  And that’s a much harder task, I think.

It’s a harder task to do, but if Mao and his team succeed, they might unlock clues about  mitochondrial disorders observed in other neuro-degenerative diseases, plus heart disease, and how these might be linked to MEF2D.  The Emory research about Parkinson’s and mitochondria is published online this week in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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