March 21 - 25

Help for when talking is tough
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
Patients recovering from stroke or the sort of traumatic brain injury suffered by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords are at the mercy of people around them to interpret their needs and make decisions. Their inability to communicate, called aphasia, can hamper recovery. So scientists at UNC-Chapel Hill have been working on new ways to bridge the communication gap with aphasia patients, giving them better tools to help them express themselves and set their own recovery goals.

Radiation risks unknown
... Steve Wing, an epidemiologist from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, points out that even the low levels of radiation that remain in the environment could be significant in the long run "because so many more people are exposed, even though the dose per person decreases farther from the plant".

The Kidney Kare's success is no mistake
The Chapel Hill News
... The Kidney Kare event is the Center's biggest fundraising effort. "This is an effort to raise money for our outreach efforts which we do across the state trying to encourage patients to ask, 'Hey, Doc, how are my kidneys?'" UNC Kidney Center director Ronald Falk said. "This is also for patients who simply can't afford simple things like paying for their electric bills or blankets."

Drug slashes risk of diabetes
The San Antonio Express-News (San Antonio, CA)
... The use of a similar drug, rosiglitazone, sold as Avandia, has been suspended in Europe and restricted in the U.S. after studies found it increased the risk of heart disease deaths among diabetics. A review of 16 studies involving 810,000 patients, published last week in the British Medical Journal, found piaglitazone did not carry the same risk. “I think it's a very exciting result, but doctors and patients need to balance the risks and benefits of using this drug for prevention,” said Dr. John Buse, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who wasn't involved in the research.

UNC Family Medicine Is #2 In America
WCHL 1360-AM (Chapel Hill)
UNC’s Department of Family Medicine is the #2 family medicine program in America, according to the latest rankings issued by U.S. News and World Report.  It’s no surprise, given the department’s track record, but Vice Chair Tim Daaleman says the honor is still much appreciated.

Award In Excellence For Clinical Pharmacology Honours Bryan Roth
Medical News Today
Bryan L. Roth, PhD, the Michael J. Hooker Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, has received the PhRMA Foundation Award in Excellence in Pharmacology/Toxicology. Roth is also professor in the departments of pharmacology, medicinal chemistry and natural products and he holds the Michael Hooker Chair of Protein Therapeutics and Translational Proteomics.

UNC offers new treatment for atrial fibrillation
Dr. Andy Kiser, a cardio-thoracic surgeon at UNC Hospitals, pioneered the convergent procedure, a new minimally invasive method that uses both approaches at the same time. It offers 80 to 90 percent success rates. “This is a great example of teamwork to have the cardiac surgeon working side by side with the cardiologist,” Kiser said. “When we work together, the patient gets the best of both worlds,” UNC cardiologist Dr. Paul Mounsey said.

Health Care Hero - John Boggess
Triangle Business Journal
John Boggess, MD, was honored as a Health Care Hero as an Innovator/Researcher by the Triangle Business Journal.

Four Years After a Death, a Gift Continues to Inspire
The New York Times
...The Rays have established a foundation to promote organ donation and an annual golf tournament to promote awareness. In Chapel Hill, there is a drive to attach Ray’s name to the organ transplant center of the University of North Carolina Hospital.

Chapel Hill to open clinic for town employees
The Daily Tar Heel
By summer, Chapel Hill employees will have a new a clinic aimed at providing them with basic and preventative health care in order to cut insurance costs for the town. The new clinic is the result of a collaboration with UNC Hospitals and would provide free services to all town employees for minor injuries and illnesses. The clinic is projected to open in May or June.

HealthFirst: Gene screen for breast cancer
ABC 12
UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine experts say rare and less common gene variants may cause inherited risk for some diseases. UNC has identified over 100 families whose pedigree suggests a link to cancer. But clinical testing came up empty for all 100. If that specific mutation is found, they could test and identify at-risk patients before they get sick.

Kid Catches For Carolina Pediatrics
After raising $10,000 for UNC Health Care, ten-year-old Wilmington resident Zion Kinlaw will be behind the plate for the first pitch of the Duke-UNC baseball series this weekend at Boshamer Stadium. Kinlaw is an aspiring catcher and a UNC Pediatric Neurosurgery patient who had a brain cyst removed last October.

Medicaid, hospital funding may rise
The Daily Tar Heel
A new payment plan the N.C. General Assembly passed last week could bring some hospitals more money from the federal government. But UNC Hospitals will not benefit. If the bill is signed into law, hospitals will be required to pay the state a fee based on their Medicaid costs, which will be used by the state to draw more money from the federal government.

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