Week of Aug. 23 - 27, 2010

Students warned to beware of 'laptop-itis'
USA Today
The very design of laptop computers encourages bad posture among college students and other heavy users, which can lead to headaches, muscle strain and debilitating neck, shoulder and hand injuries, researchers caution. The issue stems from the unified body construction that defines laptops, researchers at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, explained in a university news release. With an inseparable keyboard and monitor, users are not free to configure their equipment in a way that minimizes risk.

Students: "Laptop-itis" Can Cause "Debilitating Physical Problems," Says UNC Doctor (Blog)
CBS News
As if students didn't have enough to worry about, a new warning suggests that laptop computers may be causing them serious harm. Doctors at the Chapel Hill School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina (UNC) call it "laptop-itis," and in their opinion "incorrect posture and computer overuse can cause debilitating physical problems, such as sore muscles or repetitive stress injuries. Typing can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome, an injury to the nerve that passes through the wrist." That comes from Dr. Kevin Carneiro from the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Most Carolinas parents still spank

The News & Observer (Raleigh)
Though spanking children who misbehave has been a source of debate among child development researchers, the traditional corporal method remains popular with parents in North Carolina, according to a recent study from UNC-Chapel Hill. ..."What was really surprising was how common spanking was in children ages 3 to 5," said Dr. Adam Zolotor, assistant professor of family medicine in UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, who led the study. "Previous analysis of this data [had] thought that spanking was declining."

Can DNA tests really predict diseases?
The Triangle Business Journal
Even federal regulators are beginning to show heightened interest in the field of genomics testing – the use of DNA or other cell chemicals to predict disease or treatment outcomes. ...It’s an approach that represents the future of the industry, says Dr. Paul Watkins, a UNC-Chapel Hill professor of toxicology and founding director of The Hamner-UNC Institute for Drug Safety Sciences. “It’s really already arrived in some areas, cancer for example. Cancer is very much in the vanguard of the personalized medicine approach. And once something like that arrives, there is no going back.”

Flu vaccine for all except babies
United Press International
U.S. government officials urge everyone age 6 months and older to get an influenza shot, which contains vaccine against H1N1 and two other strains of flu. ..."The message is simple now," Dr. David Weber, professor of medicine, pediatrics and epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says in a statement. "If you're more than 6 months of age, get the (influenza) vaccine."

HIV said to differ in blood, semen

The News & Observer (Raleigh)
HIV-infected blood and semen hold different versions of the virus that causes AIDS, a finding that could help researchers working to find an effective vaccine, according to a new study by researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill. ..."If everything we know about HIV is based on the virus that is in the blood, when in fact the virus in the semen can evolve to be different, it may be that we have an incomplete view of what is going on in the transmission of the virus," said Dr. Ronald Swanstrom , senior author of the study and professor of biochemistry, microbiology and immunology at the UNC School of Medicine.

Flu shots urged for all over 6 months

The Chapel Hill Herald
Flu vaccine will soon be available at local pharmacies and doctor's offices, and government officials are urging everyone over 6 months of age to receive it. This year's vaccine protects against H1N1 and two other strains of seasonal flu. The recommendation represents a break from past years, when the government focused on vaccinating people in certain "high-risk" groups and those in contact with people at high risk. "The message is simple now," said David Weber, professor of medicine, pediatrics and epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "If you're more than 6 months of age, get the vaccine."

UNC’s Roper named 98th most powerful in health care
The Triangle Business Journal
UNC Health Care CEO Dr. William Roper has won a place among Modern Healthcare’s 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare 2010. Roper, who also serves as the dean of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine, claimed the No. 98 spot on the list. He was the only Triangle-based selection among the top 100, who were selected by readers of Modern Healthcare magazine.
Spanking remains popular form of discipline (Blog)
Fewer kids are spanked today than in 1975, but nearly 80 percent of preschoolers are still spanked in the United States. And corporal punishment remains common around the world even though two dozen countries have banned it since 1979. So say three separate, recently published studies of corporal punishment led by researchers at the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center.

Genetics underlie formation of body's back-up bypass vessels
The Chapel Hill Herald
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have uncovered the genetic architecture controlling the growth of the collateral circulation -- the "back-up" blood vessels that can provide oxygen to starved tissues in the event of a heart attack or stroke. ..."This has really been the holy grail in our field, how to get new collaterals to form in a tissue with few in the first place" said senior study author James E. Faber, professor of cell and molecular physiology at UNC.

An adventure beyond description
The Chapel Hill News
...The trip was about more than bikes and bonding, however. The team of riders -- students from Chapel Hill High School, East Chapel Hill and Carrboro high schools -- was cycling to raise funds for cancer research at UNC Lineberger. "We're just so excited to have them back and just so much in awe of what they've done and this journey they've taken for us," said Dianne Shaw, Deputy CommunicationsDirector for the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. She added that it was likely the youngsters would now and forever be intimately aligned with the fight against cancer.

New UNC Study Reveals New HIV Cause Details

WCHL 1360-AM (Chapel Hill)
A new study led by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill finds that the virus that causes AIDs may change in the male genital tract, which makes the virus different in semen than what it is in blood. Senior study author Ronald Swanstrom is a professor of biochemistry, biophysics and microbiology at the UNC School of Medicine. He says the issue now is finding why the virus is different in semen.

UNC Hospitals staff participate in weight-loss challenge
WRAL-TV (CBS/Raleigh)
When a person enters the UNC Hospitals Stroke Center, the first thing they see is a poster about stroke symptoms and causes - plaque buildup in the arteries, which can lead to clots that could break off and block blood and oxygen to the brain. The poster inspired staff to get serious about a hospital-wide weight loss challenge. “We did it for 12 weeks, so that's a long time to keep up that change,” UNC nurse Sonya Lester said. “One of the reasons why we did it for 12 weeks was to make it a habit.”

Getting Tested for Herpes (Blog)
The New York Times
Does testing positive for herpes mean you will inevitably have outbreaks? Does a positive herpes test result always mean you can spread genital herpes to others? These are among the questions raised by readers of the Consults blog. Dr. Peter Leone, associate professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and Public Health, addresses testing for the two types of herpes simplex virus: HSV-2, the main cause of genital herpes, and HSV-1, responsible for most cases of oral herpes, or cold sores.

$215K grant for cancer research
The Chapel Hill Herald
UNC scientists have received a $215,000 grant from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to study genomics, genetics and clinical breast cancer behavior. UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center scientists will conduct research on how genetic variations in individual patients affect their ability to metabolize chemotherapy.

National cardiology group honors UNC Hospitals
The Chapel Hill Herald
UNC Hospitals received an American College of Cardiology Foundation award that was given to just 26 hospitals nationwide for 2010. The NCDR ACTION Registry-GWTG Silver Performance Achievement Award recognizes UNC Hospitals' commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients. It signifies that UNC Hospitals has reached an aggressive goal of treating coronary artery disease patients with 85 percent compliance to core standard levels of care outlined by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association clinical guidelines and recommendations.

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