June 20 - 24, 2011

Medicare Claims Show Overuse for CT Scanning
The New York Times
UNC Healthcare in Chapel Hill, N.C., performed nearly 2,000 scans in 2008 and none were doubles. “I would be very surprised as to why that would occur,” said Dr. Paul L. Molina, the hospital’s executive vice chairman of radiology. “Someone’s got to educate me as to why they see the need to do both.”

Many hospitals overuse double CT scans, data show
The Washington Post
Hundreds of hospitals are routinely performing a type of chest scan that experts say should be used rarely, subjecting patients to double doses of radiation and driving up health-care costs. ...Ninety-four of those hospitals performed double scans on at least half their patients getting chest scans. The highest rates “really raise a red flag,” says Paul L. Molina, chief of chest imaging at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

Hospitals Performed Needless Double CT Scans, Records Show
The Star News (Wilmington)
...UNC Healthcare in Chapel Hill, N.C., performed nearly 2,000 scans in 2008 and none were doubles. “I would be very surprised as to why that would occur,” said Dr. Paul L. Molina, the hospital’s executive vice chairman of radiology. “Someone’s got to educate me as to why they see the need to do both.”

10% of women depressed during pregnancy or shortly after
The Triangle Business Journal
Women with eating disorders or who have been abused are at a higher risk for depression during pregnancy and should receive counseling as part of their prenatal care, according to researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel School of Medicine. One in 10 women experience depression during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth; researchers know little about what causes that depression, but know it can have detrimental effects on the baby “including impaired bonding and attachment which has been associated with the development of anxiety and depression in the children,” wrote Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, director of UNC’s Perinatal Psychiatry Program, in an email.

Dethroned tobacco unwelcome on campuses
The Herald-Sun (Durham)
Tobacco is no longer king in North Carolina. And now we have evidence that it's also very unwelcome on university campuses. A recent survey by the UNC School of Medicine found that 88 percent, or 97 of the state's 110 colleges and universities, have rules against outdoor smoking. In the UNC System, 12 of the 16 universities have policies that ban smoking at building entrances and exits. Four of those universities also ban smoking within 100 feet of all buildings to protect students from exposure to secondhand smoke.

Lung cancer patients don't get equal symptom care
Reuters (Wire Service)
...And an earlier study led by Dr. Samuel Cykert, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina, found that African Americans are more likely than whites to forego surgery for early stage lung cancer - the best treatment for the disease. "There were probably unintended biases in physicians," Cykert suggested. "When they looked at a sick patient who had less resources in a really difficult situation, they would be less apt to recommend surgery than to someone in a similar situation who had good resources."

Hepatitis study hits upon clue

The News & Observer (Raleigh)
..."Nobody understands how hepatitis C becomes a chronic infection," says Dr. Stanley Lemon, professor of microbiology and immunology and a member of UNC-Chapel Hill's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Center for Translational Immunology. Lemon collaborated with a team from several institutions to try to unravel the mystery, and their findings were published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Depression During Pregnancy Linked to Abuse and Eating Disorders
WUNC-FM (Chapel Hill)
A study from UNC-Chapel Hill has found elevated levels of abuse and eating disorders in pregnant women who experience depression. Doctors at the UNC School of Medicine say about one-third of pregnant women with depression also experienced eating disorders. About 1 percent of the general population has an eating disorder. Doctor Samantha Meltzer-Brody is the lead author of the study.

There’s an app for that which ails you
The Rocky Mount Telegram
...New apps are being added to the market every day that will give people more control over their health and care, which is wonderful for patients, said Dr. Ryan Madanick, assistant professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Some are being developed by hospitals and some by college students, and neither should be dismissed or accepted out of hand.

Panel to study WakeMed/Rex sale
The Herald-Sun (Durham)
A blue ribbon panel has been assembled by UNC to study the $750 million offer by WakeMed Health and Hospitals to purchase Rex Healthcare from the university system. ..."The UNC Health Care System is an integrated health care system, and all of its components are critical to our ability to meet its teaching, research and clinical care missions," William L. Roper, dean of the School of Medicine, vice chancellor for medical affairs and Chief Executive Officer of the UNC Health Care System, said in a written statement released on Monday.
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Recycle and give back with aluminum cans
The Lake Norman News
...Empty aluminum cans can be deposited in one of the trailers behind each of the three Denver fire stations. The cans then are sold to a recycling center, with all proceeds supporting the Lincoln County Chapter of the North Carolina Firefighters Burned Children's Fund. ...One of the most noteworthy of the Burned Children's Fund's programs, Camp Celebrate, is operated in conjunction with the North Carolina Jaycees Burn Centers at the University of North Carolina Hospitals. Created in 1981, Camp Celebrate was the first camp in the United States devoted exclusively to pediatric burn survivors.

Suspicion about vaccines common but misplaced (Opinion-Editorial Column)
The Chapel Hill News
In "No Convincing Evidence" (CHN June 5), Yang Shulian asserts that there is no proof of vaccine safety and efficacy. A mountain of evidence refutes this. All FDA-approved vaccines must undergo extensive laboratory testing and then rigorous clinical trials that must demonstrate both safety and efficacy. (This guest column was written by David Alain Wohl M.D., David Margolis M.D., David Weber M.D., and Tom Belhorn M.D. of UNC and Coleen Cunningham MD. and Charles Hicks M.D. of Duke University.)

Child gun safety just a call away (Letter to the Editor)
The Chapel Hill Herald
Every day we lose eight children across the country to gun violence, we hear outrage at the senselessness of the tragedy, but rarely do you hear about a tangible opportunity to do something to prevent more children from dying. I am writing about one such opportunity. It is called the ASK campaign. The ASK (Asking Saves Kids) campaign urges parents to ask their neighbors if they have a gun in the home before sending their children over to play. (Kasey A. Joyner, Chapel Hill. The writer is a resident in the UNC School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics.)

Eating Disorders May Raise Risk of Depression in Pregnancy
HealthDay News
Although depression strikes one in 10 women during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth, those who have had an eating disorder or suffered physical or sexual abuse are more likely to develop the condition, according to a new study. This means that screening for mental health problems should become a routine part of prenatal care, concluded researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

High-Dose Statins May Cause Diabetes
MedPage Today
Overall, the results are not a cause for concern or for tossing out intensive statin dosing, agreed Cam Patterson, MD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "No class of drugs has been demonstrated more clearly to reduce cardiovascular risk than statins," he told MedPage Today in an email. "This report warrants further study, but it is not a cause for concern."

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