Media Coverage

Science Outlets Highlight Sloth Study

Jan 10, 2023

New Scientist,, and other sites featured findings from NYITCOM anatomy researchers, which found that sloths have double the grip strength of humans and other primates. In the New Scientist article, D.O./Ph.D. student Melody Young and Postdoctoral Fellow Edwin Dickinson, Ph.D., discuss their study, which is the first to measure sloth grip strength. The team measured the grip strength of each foot on five brown-throated three-toed sloths at the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica. Measurements were collected using a self-built device that consisted of a broom handle connected to a wooden frame and a force-measuring plate. The team found that, with a single foot, sloths can muster a pound-for-pound grip force far greater than what humans and other primates can exert with their hands and feet. Strangely, they also found that sloths are consistently stronger on their left side. The research was completed in the laboratory of Assistant Professor of Anatomy Michael Grantosky, Ph.D., who is also listed as a study co-author.


Child Development Expert Featured in HealthCentral

Jan 09, 2023

Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy Beth Elenko, Ph.D., OTR/L, is quoted in HealthCentral’s Your Healthy Baby Guide. Elenko, who is an expert in child development, discusses the importance of playtime for babies, emphasizing the need for parents to get on the floor with their little ones and provide meaningful and stimulating experiences.

Once the baby is old enough to sit supported, she encourages parents to sit on the floor, and place their baby in between their legs, with the baby facing away from them. Next, the parent should model actions for the baby to replicate. “Hold some colorful objects in front of them—like toy blocks or colorful rings from a ring toss—and show your baby how you clap the toys together. Then, wait to see if they can do this too,” says Elenko. She adds that this should be done multiple times stating, “Repetition and practice are very important.”


News 12 Speaks with Jarkon about Youth Mental Health

Jan 09, 2023

In a segment of News 12’s series “The New Normal,” NYITCOM Psychiatrist Liat Jarkon, D.O., director of the Center for Behavioral Health, joined reporter Elizabeth Hashagen for a conversation about parenting and children's mental health. Among other timely issues related to the youth mental health crisis, Jarkon discusses how a New York State bill aimed at instituting K-12 mental health days could be used most effectively to ensure that children receive the help they need.

“The issue is that we need to make sure that they are used appropriately and that there are parameters to make sure that if the child does take a day off, it's used as a mental health day,” says Jarkon, who supports the idea of mental health days for K-12 students. “Whether it's to see a therapist or have conversations with the family, it should be useful, not just [time used] to sit home and avoid going school.”


Salon Publishes Op-ed Advocating for More School Counselors

Jan 09, 2023

A Salon op-ed by School Counseling (M.S.) Assistant Professor Cameka Hazel, Ed.D., calls for expanded access to school counselors as a concrete strategy for improving youth mental health.

School counselors are trained to help K-12 students reach their goals by addressing academic, career development, emotional, and social challenges. Their skillset goes beyond assisting students with navigating classroom conflicts and college readiness; they also are trained to recognize mental health warning signs. And yet they remain all too uncommon, Hazel writes.

“If we're to have any hope of reversing the alarming youth mental-health deterioration, we must improve access to school counselors,” Hazel notes. Nationwide, all schools should be required to provide counseling services to students and maintain appropriate counselor-to-student ratios. At the state level, curriculum designers should incorporate social and emotional learning as standard practice for K-12 students.


Nizich Lends Expertise to Newsday Cybersecurity Story

Jan 06, 2023

Michael Nizich, Ph.D., director of the ETIC and adjunct associate professor of computer science, lent his cybersecurity expertise to Newsday’s continued coverage of the Suffolk County ransomware attack. In response to a recently released forensic report, Nizich notes that it’s not clear how investigators could know for sure if the county's health department data was stolen. However, he advises Suffolk County residents whose data may be on any of the identified servers to operate as if it’s been viewed by signing up for ID theft protection and blocking new credit signups through credit monitoring services.


Rajnarayanan Featured in XBB Subvariant Coverage

Jan 04, 2023

As seen in Salon, Boston Globe, CBC News, Forbes, New Atlas, and other media outlets, Raj Rajnarayanan, Ph.D., assistant dean of research and associate professor at NYITCOM-Arkansas, lends his biomedical insight to news stories about the new COVID-19 XBB subvariant. The subvariant has been found in around 70 countries and has caused COVID-19 case surges in places like Singapore and India during fall 2022.

Rajnarayanan tells Salon, “XBB is a different ballgame. With a recombinant, you get mutations that make it more evasive. And as we expected, [XBB.1.5] changed one small mutation, a V changed to a P at the 486 position. And that's it. All of a sudden, it binds to the host receptor better than most variants that we know so far.”


As Seen on News 12: Jarkon Shares Tips to Manage Holiday Stress

Dec 21, 2022

News 12 interviewed Psychiatrist Liat Jarkon, D.O., director of the Center for Behavioral Health, in a live segment about the importance of caring for mental health during the holiday season. While the holidays can bring out a range of emotions—from feeling anxious in social situations to the stress of hosting parties—Jarkon encourages viewers to let go of the need to strive for “holiday perfection.” She also urges people to continue self-care practices, be mindful of alcohol consumption, and manage feelings of “FOMO” (fear of missing out) brought on by social media.   


Dec 20, 2022

School of Health Professions Assistant Dean and Chair of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Mindy Haar, Ph.D., is featured prominently in an Everyday Health article about the kosher diet. Throughout the article, Haar explains the factors used to determine whether food meets kosher guidelines, the laws of eating kosher, and kosher food preparation. She notes that there are two variables in determining whether a food is kosher: the source of the ingredients and the status of the production equipment. 

“Certification involves having an inspector come on regular, unannounced visits to verify that kosher ingredients and equipment are used, basic hygienic practices are followed, there’s been no cross-contamination between meat and dairy products, and that all produce is washed and free of insects and worms,” says Haar. She adds that you may also see food with the K symbol, meaning the manufacturer feels the food is kosher, but it has not been officially inspected.


Huey Interviewed for Healthline Story

Dec 19, 2022

Healthline featured comments from Melissa Huey, Ph.D., assistant professor of behavioral sciences, in an article regarding teens’ exposure to harmful social media content. Huey, whose research focuses on the psychological impact of technology, reacts to a recent study that finds harmful TikTok content can appear within minutes of creating an account. Researchers from the non-profit Center for Countering Digital Hate set up TikTok accounts posing as 13-year-old users from the United States and several other countries. Within 2.6 minutes after joining, they were recommended content related to suicide, while eating disorder content was recommended within eight minutes.

In response, Huey calls upon social media companies to have greater accountability, noting that this harmful content is targeting teens at a time when they are “highly susceptible to peer influence.” She says, “Instead of pushing things that exacerbate an eating disorder, [social media platforms] should provide resources that help, like eating disorder or suicide prevention helplines.” Huey also reminds parents to get involved in and place limits on their child’s online activity.


Nizich Quoted in Communications of the ACM

Dec 15, 2022

Communications of the ACM quoted Michael Nizich, Ph.D., director of the ETIC and adjunct associate professor of computer science, in an article regarding Bluetooth security research. The findings, which were published by another university, suggest that more than 50 market-available Bluetooth devices, including smartphones, earbuds, and even hearing aids, could potentially be hacked to reveal the user's location. Nizich notes that securing Bluetooth technology, which was never designed to communicate secure data, will not be an easy task. 

“You can patch Bluetooth software on a device's operating system, but this newly found flaw in the general Bluetooth protocol will not be amenable to an easy fix while maintaining backward compatibility with existing devices,” he says.