Jan. 31 - Feb. 4

The Mammogram Hustle
“A lot of medical interventions have been oversold, and [digital mammography] is another one,” says Dr. Russell Harris, a professor and preventive-medicine expert at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. “The people who make the machines, who benefit by selling newer machines, have triumphed.”

Value of bed rest for pregnant women questioned
Chicago Tribune
"There's no evidence-based way to keep someone from delivering prematurely," said John Thorp, a maternal-fetal specialist at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill who helped draft the ACOG statement. By prescribing bed rest, Thorp said, "we're ruining lives, at least temporarily."
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GSK workers can drop Aetna
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
At least one major Triangle employer will allow workers to switch their health coverage if Aetna's contract with the UNC Health Care System is terminated next week. GlaxoSmithKline, which employs about 5,000 people in this region, has told workers who are signed up for Aetna coverage that they can transfer to a similar health plan offered by UnitedHealthcare. ..."We're not going to subsidize Aetna," UNC Health CEO Bill Roper told the UNC Chapel Hill Board of Trustees on Thursday. "So we are about to end that relationship unless they change their minds."

Duke-UNC-CH team testing diagnostic tool
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
Scientists at Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill have teamed to test a new diagnostic tool that may offer a more accurate way of identifying precancerous cells in the esophagus. The tool, a tiny light and sensors on an endoscope, was developed by biomedical engineers at Duke University and successfully tested on patients during a clinical trial at UNC-CH.

New fitness routine takes time
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
You're a month into your new fitness program and you're not seeing the results you expected. Take a deep breath, then keep going. ..."Your entire body composition changes, not just the number on the scale," says Logan Washburn, fitness director for the UNC Wellness Center at Meadowmont in Chapel Hill.

Phys Ed: More Bone (and Less Fat) Through Exercise (Blog)
The New York Times
For those requiring additional reasons to show up at the running path or at the gym in the dreary heart of winter, science has come up with a compelling new motivation. Exercise can, it appears, keep your bone marrow from becoming too flabby. This idea is the focus of a series of intriguing recent experiments by Janet Rubin, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina and other researchers.

Digital-mammography report shows how profits can trump science (Blog)
The MinnPost.com (Minneapolis, Minn.)
...With so much money to be made, we can expect these kinds of stories to proliferate. “We are living in a time when a lot of medical interventions have been oversold, and [digital mammography] is another one,” Dr. Russell Harris, a professor and preventive medicine expert at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, told the center’s reporters. “What’s happened is that the people who make the machines, who benefit by selling newer machines, have triumphed.”

Wrong way to go smoke-free (Opinion-Editorial Column)
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
So, now R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company wants to help smokers "break free" from tobacco? That statement should make parents, health care providers and smokers nervous. Last month, Reynolds promoted its Camel Snus (a "spit-free" tobacco pouch) with advertisements in national magazines that read "If you've decided to quit tobacco use, we support you," under a large "2011 Smoke-free Resolution" banner. Reynolds then offered its smoke-free snus as the solution. (Joseph Lee is a social research specialist with the Department of Family Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill.)

Swine, 'super' bacteria linked
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
...The finding comes as public health officials grow increasingly worried about bacterial infections that defy treatments - an outcome blamed on overuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals. Misuse of the drugs spurs resistance by killing vulnerable bacteria while leaving hardy strains to multiply and spread. "It's a huge problem," said Dr. David Weber, an infectious disease specialist at UNC-Chapel Hill. "We have all seen patients die from infections that no antibiotics work on."

Hospital conflict of interest policies getting revised
The Herald Sun
Revisions of conflict of interest policies are coming along at Duke Medical Center and UNC Hospitals to make the relationships between doctors and drug companies more transparent.

Duke, UNC hospitals aim for greater transparency
The Associated Press
Hospitals at Duke University and the University of North Carolina are trying to make the relationship between drug companies and health providers more transparent...UNC Hospitals implemented a policy this month that's in line with new federal laws taking effect in two years that require greater disclosure from drug companies.

NC Dems, others protest GOP's anti-HCR mandate bill
Dr Charles van der Horst from UNC School of Medicine called on state House Republican leaders to come up with alternative ways to fix the health care system. “The Republicans do not have a plan. They’ve never had a plan for how to take care of these issues,” van der Horst said “They’re wasting our taxpayers dollars here in North Carolina. They should focus on the issues that are important to North Carolinians, such as more jobs and balancing the budget.”

North Carolina may join others in opposing federal health care bill
The Daily Tar Heel
UNC Hospitals has been looking toward health reform to increase the number of insured patients to curb its rising number of charity cases. “What we’ve been concerned about from the beginning is that there are so many without health insurance who need it,” said UNC Hospitals spokeswoman Karen McCall. “Our health care finance system is broken down.”

UNC program helps doctors to adopt electronic records
The Daily Tar Heel
A program headquartered at the UNC School of Medicine is helping more than 1,500 primary health care centers around the state adopt electronic health records and other technology upgrades. The N.C. Area Health Education Centers program was awarded a $13.6 million federal grant last year as part of a national federal initiative to improve health care quality and efficiency.

Researcher's demotion hurts UNC image
The News & Observer
From afar, Oregon scientist Patty Carney has long held UNC-Chapel Hill in high regard. But no longer, she says. Not after the way it has dealt with prominent cancer researcher Bonnie Yankaskas..."The university comes out looking not so good," said Michael Knowles, a UNC-CH medical school professor who helped put the petition together. "If I was considering coming here, I might have second thoughts."

Researchers developing computer models for pediatric airway problems
A multidisciplinary team of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers has been awarded a $3.6 million grant to develop computer models that will allow physicians to predict which treatments will work best in children with upper airway problems.

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