May 23 - 27, 2011

Drugs Stop AIDS. Take Your Medicine.
The New York Times
...Several AIDS clinicians interviewed for this article said the idea of forcing treatment onto a patient was repulsive to them. “It was unthinkable when we had this debate in the early 1980s, and it’s unthinkable in 2011,” said Dr. Myron S. Cohen of the University of North Carolina, who led the study that found the 96 percent protection rate. During a long discussion, he called the idea “medieval” and “a violation of civil rights.”

Genes Tied to Severity of Cystic Fibrosis Identified
HealthDay News
The severity of cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening hereditary condition that affects the lungs and digestive system, seems to be influenced by genetic variations, researchers have found. ...The study, published online in Nature Genetics, used DNA from 3,467 patients -- including unrelated patients from the Genetic Modifier Study out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Canadian Consortium for Genetic Studies out of the University of Toronto, and related patients and their parents from the CF Twin and Sibling Study at Johns Hopkins.

N.C. Children's Hospital one of nations best (Column)
The Chapel Hill Herald
Kudos to the N.C. Children's Hospital, which has been ranked as one of the nation's best. The hospital has been ranked in six of 10 U.S. News Media Group's "America's Best Children's Hospitals" ranking categories, including a Top 10 ranking in pulmonology -- the only top 10 ranking achieved by any children's hospital in North Carolina. In addition to being ranked 10th in pulmonology, the hospital was 37th in diabetes and endocrinology, 39th in gastroenterology, 42nd in orthopaedics, 43rd in cardiology and heart surgery and 44th in neonatology.

Vaccines are safe, save lives (Opinion-Editorial Column)
The Chapel Hill News
We have read, with dismay, that some individuals are protesting vaccination incentives offered to children and youth in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district. Efforts to educate and encourage youth and their parents to complete important immunizations should be applauded. Those immunizations will save lives. (Coleen K Cunningham, MD, Charles Hicks, MD, David Wohl, MD, David Weber, MD, Tom Belhorn, MD, and David Margolis, MD on behalf of 69 physicians in the practice of infectious diseases at Duke University or UNC and supported by William L. Roper, MD, MPH, dean of the School of Medicine, vice chancellor for medical affairs and CEO of UNC Health Care System.)

WakeMed will boost mental care - if it gets Rex (Under the Dome)
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
..."There is no doubt that we, as the state's health care system, must work with our state's leadership to find the best ways to provide these critical services to patients throughout the state," UNC Health spokeswoman Karen McCall said in a prepared statement. "We have and fully intend to play a role in bringing mental health care to North Carolinians. That is why we've been working with Wake County officials for several months on how Rex and UNC Health Care can continue and expand the care we provide to mental health patients in Wake County."

UNC Professors Lead Groundbreaking HIV Study
WCHL 1360-AM (Chapel Hill)
The UNC School of Medicine recently constructed a model that could eventually help slow the worldwide spread of HIV and AIDS. UNC Professors Paul Denton and J. Victor Garcia managed to give a mouse a human immune system. Each BLT mouse was infected with HIV and six trial drugs were used to treat them. Denton says using the mice can create a mirror effect of sorts.

In Oakland, Redefining Sex Trade Workers as Abuse Victims
The New York Times
...In Oakland, a handful of organizations that grew out of Asian Health Services have developed new programs for Southeast Asian minors that “take into account the complex culture of foreign-born parents and their American-born children,” said Dr. Sharon Cooper, a forensic pediatrician and child abuse expert at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

Legislative leaders don't support Rex sale (Under the Dome)
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
The state Senate is in a generous mood when it comes to helping the UNC Health Care System. For starters, the Senate will introduce a budget this morning that includes a $25 million subsidy for the system's flagship UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. That's a big improvement from the House version, which slashed the subsidy to nothing. And three key Republican leaders said Monday that they aren't interested in forcing a sale of UNC Health's Raleigh subsidiary, Rex Healthcare.

WakeMed might push bill to force Rex sale
The Triangle Business Journal
WakeMed Health & Hospitals officials have discussed with lobbyists a strategy in which legislation would be introduced in the N.C. General Assembly that would force a sale of Rex Healthcare. ...On May 12, WakeMed announced an unsolicited bid to buy cross-town rival Rex, owned by UNC Health Care, for $750 million, plus the payoff of more than $100 million in Rex debt. Officials from both Rex and UNC Health Care have rejected the offer, but UNC Health has set up a committee to consider any further offers or information.

Pelvis widens throughout lifetime: Study
The Toronto Sun (Canada)
...Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill wanted to investigate whether the pelvis continued to widen as people age after finding evidence of pelvis widening in an unrelated study. "I think it's a fairly common human experience that people find themselves to be wider at the age of 40 or 60 than they were at 20," said Dr. Laurence E. Dahners, senior author of the study.

Smart phone apps can help people stay healthy
WRAL-TV (CBS/Raleigh)
...Even some doctors are using smart phone health and weight loss apps. "Personally, I've found it very helpful. I've lost 25 pounds," said Dr. Ryan Madanick, a gastroenterologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Madanick uses an app called "My Fitness Pal," which counts the calories in restaurant items – a McDonald's hamburger, for example, which weighs in at 300 calories without the cheese.

AIDS Fight Hits Hurdle Over Funding
Wall Street Journal
Earlier this month, a landmark study proved that AIDS drugs, known as antiretrovirals, not only restore health to people with HIV but also make them strikingly less infectious. Compared with people not yet taking drugs, those on treatment were found to be more than 96% less likely to transmit the virus to their sexual partners. The study was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and led by Myron Cohen, director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

UNC Health proposes to manage, not own, mountain hospital
Triangle Business Journal
UNC Health Care has moved a step closer to a partnership with Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville, nearly 250 miles from Chapel Hill in the North Carolina mountains.

Cancer patients' ER visits studied
The Herald Sun
A first-ever study of emergency room use by oncology patients in North Carolina was published in the May 23 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Authors hope the study can give them information so that they can target clinical problems to improve delivery of quality cancer care, thus avoiding emergency room visits.

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