WXXI AM News

Brett Dahlberg

Health reporter and producer

Brett is the health reporter and a producer at WXXI News. He has a master’s degree from the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, and before landing at WXXI, he was an intern at WNYC and with Ian Urbina of the New York Times. He also produced freelance reporting work focused on health and science in New York City. 

Brett grew up in Bremerton, Washington, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. 

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University of Rochester Medical Center

The University of Rochester Medical Center is expanding an effort to bring cancer services to people in the Rochester area.

The Cancer Services Program of the Finger Lakes Region grew out of a smaller program at the University of Rochester Medical Center that served only Monroe County.

University of Rochester Medical Center

The University of Rochester Medical Center unveiled upstate New York’s first mobile stroke unit Thursday, describing the vehicle as a “high-tech emergency room on wheels.”

It looks like a large ambulance from the outside. Inside, the unit is equipped with specialized equipment including “a portable CT scanner that is capable of imaging the patient’s brain to detect the type of stroke they are experiencing,” URMC said in a press release.

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The University of Rochester Medical Center has received a multi-million dollar federal grant to fund new research into e-cigarettes.

There’s a public impression that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to conventional smoking, the university said, but precious little research has corroborated that idea.

Cornell University

Brian Wansink, the Cornell professor who authored six articles retracted by the Journal of the American Medical Association Wednesday, has been removed from all teaching and research at the university, and will retire at the end of this academic year.

“I have been tremendously honored and blessed to be a Cornell professor,” Wansink said.

Cornell University

The Journal of the American Medical Association has retracted six articles by a prominent Cornell researcher.

Brian Wansink, listed as an author on all the studies, heads Cornell's Food and Brand Lab and the university's Behavioral Economics and Consumer Choice institute.

Wansink's work has been featured in The New York Times and O, the Oprah Magazine, and on the Today Show, but the American Medical Association has now said it cannot verify that the results of at least a half-dozen of his studies are valid.

National Institute on Aging

Most American adults are worried they’ll develop Alzheimer’s, but they’re also optimistic that there will be a cure for the disease in their lifetimes, according to survey results released Monday.

The nationwide survey, conducted by Harris polling on behalf of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and pharmaceutical companies Novartis and Amgen, also showed that most American adults want to participate in medical research.

More than a third of the respondents said they were “very willing” to be part of a study.

Ontario County Department of Public Health

It’s like “delivering nutrition through the back door,” Maggie McHugh said.

McHugh is the senior nutritionist for Eat Smart New York’s Finger Lakes region. Her organization is partnering with Ontario County to encourage food bank donors to make healthier contributions.

“We provide resources and tools for community members to learn more what healthy food items that they can donate to their local food pantries are,” said McHugh.

Low-sodium canned vegetables or canned fruit packed in water instead of heavy syrup are examples of easy healthy donations, McHugh said.

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Apple’s newest watch also offers a new medical device: one of the first over-the-counter electrocardiograms, or EKGs.

Apple watches have had onboard heart-rate monitors since their introduction in 2014, but the fourth generation watch, due to be released Sept. 21, offers an FDA-approved ability to analyze heart rhythm, too.

Heart rhythm analysis allows the watch to detect signs of conditions including atrial fibrillation, which the Centers for Disease Control and prevention says affects millions of Americans.

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Childhood lead exposure is down in Monroe County, according to the public health department’s most recent data, even as children in some areas remain much more susceptible than others.

The data, which come from blood samples taken from children less than 6 years old in Monroe County last year, showed that elevated blood lead levels are concentrated in the city of Rochester.

Of the 20 children whose tests measured the highest blood lead level, 19 of them were in the city. That’s no surprise, said county health commissioner Michael Mendoza.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Federal officials called it a blitz — “the largest coordinated enforcement effort in the FDA’s history” in response to concerns that e-cigarette use has become an “epidemic” among youths.

After a nationwide undercover operation aimed at identifying stores selling e-cigarettes to people under 18 years old, the agency sent more than 1,300 fines and warning letters to businesses that it said violated the rules.

Eight of those letters went to businesses in New York state: two in Buffalo; one in Getzville in Erie County; two on Long Island; one in Rockland County; and two in New York City.

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