These experts from the UW-Madison faculty and staff have agreed to comment on breaking news, ongoing developments and trends in their areas of expertise. If you need help arranging interviews, email University Communications.
Experts on today’s news…
Beth Burnside, MD, MPH on: Improving breast cancer screenings
Starting breast-cancer screenings based on personal risk factors instead of age in women 40-49 years of age may significantly delay the detection of some early-stage breast cancers while also decreasing the number of false-positive mammograms and biopsies that reveal growths that are benign, according to new research from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH).
The results of the study, published in the journal Radiology, question whether new guidelines that advocate mammography screening for women ages 40-49 based on breast cancer risk factors are sufficiently supported by existing risk prediction models.
“Almost all of the women in our study between the ages of 40-45 that developed a cancer detectable by mammography did not meet the threshold for risk-based screening at the time of their diagnosis and would not have been recommended for screening using the risk prediction model,” says Burnside. “Our study suggests that current risk models and thresholds may not identify young women who will get breast cancer and will not include these women in screening programs. The short-term outcomes of risk-based screening may lead to lengthy diagnostic delays, missing the opportunity for therapy in earlier, more treatable stages of the disease. These results suggest we need to continue to improve risk prediction models to make risk-based screening effective for women in this age group.”
Breast cancer is the leading cause of death for women 35-49 years old. Mammography has been shown to reduce mortality for women between the ages of 40-49, but the benefits-to-harms ratio is less favorable compared to women in older age ranges.
Toni Ziegler on: Father's Day
Human dads may get their due this Father's Day weekend, but they could learn a thing or two from one of nature's closest families. Research by Wisconsin National Primate Research Center scientist Toni Ziegler shows the boost marmoset babies get from attentive fathers, and the ways that fatherhood changes the small monkey dads' temperaments and bodies to prepare them for family life.
Irwin Goldman on: Public plant breeding
Irwin Goldman, an expert on public plant breeding, can comment on chef Dan Barber's call for more public, organic plant breeding to improve diversity and resilience in agriculture. Goldman, a breeder of carrots, onions and beets, helped found the Open Source Seed Initiative, a collaboration of public plant breeders that seeks to make improved vegetable lines more widely available so breeders can continue improving them. The only public beet breeder in the U.S., Goldman can discuss the importance of publicly funded plant breeding at America's land-grant universities.