LabBook September 21, 2012

Our new hospital pavilion, as seen from the northwest near Cottage Grove.

Welcome to LabBook, our weekly roundup of University of Chicago Medicine & Biological Sciences research news from around campus and the world wide web. Each Friday, LabBook will recap the week on the blog, link to news stories about our faculty and studies, and briefly summarize a handful of recent publications by our researchers.

THIS WEEK ON THE BLOG

Sports fans have always been obsessed with statistics, but in the past decade this passion has taken on a more scientific zeal. Sports franchises have adopted advanced mathematical models to try to predict a player’s future performance, and decide whether or not he’s worth a bazillion dollar contract. It was only a matter of time before other fields incorporated similar statistical calculations in their hiring decisions as well. Science Life editor emeritus Rob Mitchum, now at the Computation Institute, wrote about a study by Stefano Allesina that looked at how academic hiring committees can use quantitative data from a scientist’s CV, such as number of publications and prestige of the journals, to decide if he’s a worthy hire.

The hemoglobin A1C is a blood test that can tell diabetics how well they’re managing their disease. The lower the number, the better. But aggressively managing blood sugars and shooting for the lowest A1C possible doesn’t make sense for all patients. Neda Laiteerapong calculated the A1C goals for a nationally representative sample of people with diabetes and found that half of the time it’s higher than the standard rule of thumb.

RESEARCH IN THE NEWS

Health care providers often focus on sexual health in the LGBT community, hosting screenings for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. But the outreach often doesn’t extend to other basic health issues such as hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes. In her column in the Chicago Tribune this week, Dawn Turner Trice writes about John Schneider, and his work to bring a more holistic approach to health care for black gay men in Chicago.

Infertility is no longer an absolute diagnosis like it once was. New treatments and technologies now give couples a myriad of options for conceiving a child, but the science is far from perfect. What works for one couple may not work for another. In this article in Chicago Health, Mary Stephenson talks about her work as an obstetrician and the role she plays in determining the cause of infertility for couples, then using that to help them choose the right treatments.

About Matt Wood (514 Articles)

Matt Wood is a senior science writer at the University of Chicago Medicine and nonfiction editor for Another Chicago Magazine.

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