May 9 - 13

Autism rates may be higher than thought
http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-autism-korea-20110509,0,524140.story
The Los Angeles Times
...The study "is different in the sense that they are screening the entire population of children" including those who have never been flagged with a potential problem, said Geraldine Dawson, chief scientific officer of the research and advocacy group Autism Speaks and an autism researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "It raises a question, I think, of whether we are underestimating the prevalence in the U.S. as well as elsewhere."

UNC Health tries to head off budget setback (Under the Dome)
http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/05/08/1183171/unc-health-tries-to-head-off-budget.html#storylink=misearch
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
The $19.3 billion budget the House passed Wednesday is causing some serious heartburn at the UNC Health Care System. Gov. Bev Perdue's proposed budget included a $44 million subsidy - up from the $36 million UNC Health received this year. But the House version contains no money for UNC Health, one of several areas where Republican lawmakers are seeking to slash costs.

Breach costly for researcher, UNC-CH
http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/05/09/1185493/breach-costly-for-researcher-unc.html
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
A prominent cancer researcher at UNC-Chapel Hill spent at least $350,000 fighting for her job. It wasn't enough. Bonnie Yankaskas, an epidemiologist in the medical school, retires at the end of 2011, as stipulated in a settlement that restores her rank and full salary.

Some get colonoscopies too frequently: study
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/09/us-colonoscopies-idUSTRE7486DB20110509
Reuters (Wire Service)
...Dr. Christine Kistler of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who led the study, and her colleagues found that while a few of the patients who didn't have a follow-up colonoscopy were diagnosed with colorectal cancer later, about half of them died within 5 years from a different cause - suggesting the first test may not really have been necessary for many of them in the first place.

Study Questions Overuse of Colonoscopy in Medicare Patients
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/cancer/articles/2011/05/09/study-questions-overuse-of-colonoscopy-in-medicare-patients
HealthDay News
...In the second study, Dr. Christine E. Kistler, a research assistant professor at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and her colleagues collected data on 212 patients aged 70 and older who had a positive fecal occult blood test while being seen at VA hospitals. "A little more than half of people who had a positive fecal occult blood test received follow-up colonoscopy and found serious disease, but half of those who did not receive follow-up colonoscopy died within five years of causes other than colon cancer, " Kistler said.

Mindful Meditation Might Ease Irritable Bowel Syndrome
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/diet-fitness/digestive-disorders/articles/2011/05/09/mindful-meditation-might-ease-irritable-bowel-syndrome
HealthDay News
A simple meditation technique can help ease the torment suffered by people with a chronic bowel disease, a new study has found. The research, done at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, found that women with irritable bowel syndrome who practiced "mindful meditation" had more than a 38 percent reduction in symptoms, far surpassing a nearly 12 percent reduction for women who participated in a traditional support group.

Some patients receive repeat colonoscopies too soon, and some elderly get unnecessary ones
http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-colonoscopy-cancer-screening-05102011,0,2726064.story?track=rss
The Los Angeles Times
...Dr. Christine E. Kistler of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her colleagues studied 212 patients, age 70 and over, at VA medical centers who had a positive outcome on an FOBT. More than half of the patients (118) had a colonoscopy, while the rest did not. All the patients were followed for seven years.

UNC Hospitals tops patient satisfaction scores (Blog)
http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/blog/2011/05/unc-hospitals-tops-patient.html
The Triangle Business Journal
UNC Hospitals ranks No. 1 among Triangle health care systems in all 10 patient satisfaction scores measured by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the most recent Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Provider Systems survey. ...The results were satisfying to everyone at UNC, said Dr. Mary Tonges a UNC Hospitals senior vice president and chief nursing officer. “These are the most credible patent satisfaction scores that we have,” she said. “They are really important to us.”

Rival to bid for Rex hospital
http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/05/12/1192374/rival-to-bid-for-rex-hospital.html#storylink=misearch
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
WakeMed officials plan to announce today that they're making a $750 million bid to buy cross-Raleigh rival hospital Rex Healthcare. WakeMed executives have accused Rex and its Chapel Hill-based parent, UNC Health Care System, of using "predatory" efforts to compete in the fast-growing Wake County medical market.

Mind the gap: Genetic knowledge and medical power
http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/73309/title/Comment__Mind_the_gap_Genetic_knowledge_and_medical_power_
Science News
Since the completion of the Human Genome Project a decade ago, much excitement has swirled around the possibility that determining a person’s genetic makeup could help doctors personalize the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. But James P. Evans, a physician and geneticist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says the promises of genomic medicine have been overblown. He talked with Science News molecular biology writer Tina Hesman Saey about the hope and hype.

Preventing tobacco use pays off for N.C. (Opinion-Editorial Column)
http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/05/13/1193873/preventing-tobacco-use-pays-off.html
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
Pending decisions by the legislature to eliminate the Health and Wellness Trust Fund and its tobacco programs must be reversed, stopped or vetoed. These programs are highly successful, save thousands of lives and lead to large health care savings. If the trust fund is eliminated, it will cost the state a magnitude more than any potential cost reductions. (Adam O. Goldstein, M.D., is a professor of medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill and director of the UNC Tobacco Prevention and Evaluation Program.)

Drug shortages plaguing local hospitals
http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/print-edition/2011/05/13/drug-shortages-plaguing-local-hospitals.html
The Triangle Business Journal
Local hospitals are facing drug shortages that leave their pharmacists scrambling daily, forcing doctors to use alternatives that are not always a perfect match. ...In other hospitals, it’s the same story, says Maryann Oertel, clinical specialist with the Department of Pharmacy at UNC Health Care. Her hospital has 64 drugs listed on the “critical shortage list” among 90 total items being monitored.

Early drug treatment greatly cuts spread of HIV
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/12/us-aids-drugs-idUSTRE74B4NB20110512
Reuters (Wire Service)
Men and women infected with the AIDS virus who take antiretroviral drugs immediately rather than waiting to become more ill dramatically cut the risk of infecting a sexual partner, U.S. researchers said on Thursday. ...Dr. Myron Cohen of the University of North Carolina, who led the study, said it was the first randomized clinical trial to definitively indicate that an HIV-infected individual can reduce sexual transmission of HIV to an uninfected partner by beginning antiretroviral therapy sooner.

Use of Antiretroviral Drug Could Prevent the Transmission of Virus to Partners
http://frenchtribune.com/teneur/115128-use-antiretroviral-drug-could-prevent-transmission-virus-partners
The French Tribune (France)
A recent study has claimed that the use of antiretroviral drugs could reduce the risk of transmitting the HIV virus to the partners by 96%. It was a large study carried out by the AIDS experts from Institute of Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The study involved mainly heterosexual couples in Africa, India and the Americas. ...Myron Cohen, Lead Investigator of the study said that the trails were designed to find out the benefits of using antiretroviral drugs for the partners of HIV patients and the results found that the drug was significantly beneficial.

Early HIV therapy cuts virus spread
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health/Early-HIV-therapy-cuts-virus-spread/articleshow/8290867.cms
The Times of India
...The US National Institutes for Health (NIH) trial, known as HPTN 052, found antiretroviral treatment to be 96 per cent effective in reducing sexual transmission of HIV. ...Led by study chair Myron Cohen, director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the trial began in April 2005 and enrolled 1,763 couples, all at least 18 years of age.

Anti-HIV drugs prove highly effective in preventing transmission of virus
http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-aids-prevention-20110513,0,705918.story
The Los Angeles Times
In what is being hailed as a breakthrough in HIV prevention, a new study has shown that giving antiretroviral drugs to HIV-positive people can reduce transmission of the virus to partners by 96%, U.S. researchers said Thursday. Though some uncontrolled studies of populations had previously suggested that treatment of patients with antiretroviral drugs could slow transmission of the virus, the results announced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases represent the first large clinical trial to confirm those suggestions — and they showed that the drugs are unexpectedly effective. ..."We were very, very surprised" by the magnitude of the reduction, said Dr. Myron Cohen of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who led the study.

Early H.I.V. Therapy Sharply Curbs Transmission
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/13/health/research/13hiv.html
The New York Times
...On Thursday, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Myron Cohen, an AIDS specialist from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the study’s director, announced that the data collected since the study began in 2005 had been “unblinded” to an independent safety review panel, which is standard procedure in clinical trials. When the panel realized how much protection early treatment afforded, it recommended that drug regimens be offered to all participants. Although participants will still be followed, the trial is effectively over because it will no longer be a comparison between two groups on different regimens.

HIV drugs sharply cut risk of transmission, study finds
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/hiv-drugs-sharply-cut-risk-of-transmission-study-finds/2011/05/12/AFmFdV1G_story.html
The Washington Post
AIDS researchers announced Thursday that a study conducted in nine countries has proved the long-standing hunch that HIV-infected people on treatment are much less likely to transmit the virus than people who aren’t taking the drugs. ...The leader of the study, Myron Cohen of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said the results are “probably generalizable” to all heterosexuals. But that’s not absolutely certain.

Scientists See Breakthrough in the Global AIDS Battle
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703730804576319043572865406.html
The Wall Street Journal
In a landmark finding that scientists say could help stem the global AIDS pandemic, researchers announced Thursday that treating HIV patients with AIDS drugs makes them strikingly less infectious. ...The $73 million study, conducted in nine countries, was funded by the 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.

Early HIV Drug Therapy Protects Sex Partners From Virus
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/sexual-and-reproductive-health/articles/2011/05/12/early-hiv-drug-therapy-protects-sex-partners-from-virus
HealthDay News
..."We set out to prove that if you took earlier therapy you could benefit your own health and you could prevent the transmission of HIV," said lead researcher Dr. Myron Cohen, director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

HIV Treatment Dramatically Prevents Heterosexual Transmission
http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/05/hiv-treatment-dramatically-preve.html?ref=hp
Science
Earlier observational studies had shown a similar impact of ARVs reducing sexual transmission in heterosexual couples, but this was the first to demonstrate the prevention power of the drugs in a randomized, controlled clinical trial. “This applies exclusively to heterosexual couples,” cautioned Mike Cohen, a researcher at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who headed the so-called HPTN 052 study. Cohen noted that they had hoped to include men who have sex with men in the study, but few volunteered to participate.

Early Drug Treatment Greatly Cuts Spread of HIV
http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/05/12/early-drug-treatment-greatly-cuts-spread-hiv/
Fox News
Dr. Myron Cohen of the University of North Carolina, who led the study, said it was the first randomized clinical trial to definitively indicate that an HIV-infected individual can reduce sexual transmission of HIV to an uninfected partner by beginning antiretroviral therapy sooner.

HIV treatment shown to prevent spread of virus
http://blogs.nature.com/news/2011/05/hiv_treatment_shown_to_prevent.html
Nature
Today, however, NIAID director Anthony Fauci and the leader of the trial, Myron Cohen of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, said that they are stopping the trial early because a data review panel found that the benefit of early treatment was clear.

UNC study finds way to slow spread of HIV
http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/05/13/1194326/spread-of-hiv-slows-in-study.html
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
A multinational study headed by a UNC-Chapel Hill researcher has led to a discovery that could help slow the spread of HIV. Early treatment of heterosexual HIV patients with antiretroviral drugs sharply reduces the chances they will transmit the virus, according to results of the nine-nation study released Thursday. ...Dr. Myron Cohen, a professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology, and public health at UNC and director of the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, is the principal investigator of the study, which he designed and organized.

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