April 9 - 13, 2012

National News

Autism science is moving 'stunningly fast'
USA Today
...Across the country, researchers are scanning the brains of hundreds of autistic children like Nicky, looking for insights into a condition that has proved frustratingly hard to understand. Autism, which now afflicts more than 1 million children in the USA, is associated with a spectrum of disabilities, including repetitive behaviors and problems socializing and communicating. ...Structural changes in these fiber tracts are evident in the brains of children later diagnosed with autism, even as young as 6 months old. That's six months to a year before autistic children typically begin to show any outward signs of their condition, says Joseph Piven, a researcher at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

State and Local News

Angel-backed startup focuses on eating issues
Triangle Business Journal
... Besides Veritas and Carolina House, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have eating-disorder treatment centers, each led by a prominent expert in the field. One of the most important aspects in treating an eating disorder is to incorporate the family, say Nancy Zucker of Duke and Cynthia Bulik of UNC-CH. ... UNC-CH has 10 inpatient beds and 12 partial hospitalization slots. For inpatient services, patients stay at the hospital for an average of 32 days; UNC-CH has treated more than 1,000 patients and performs about 220 evaluations per year.

Tiny technology growing in N.C.
The Winston-Salem Journal
... In addition, more than 40 nanobiotechnology companies can be found across the state – driving innovation in drug delivery, drug discovery and advanced medical technology. One of the companies, Liquidia, was founded in 2004 by Joseph DeSimone and his colleagues at UNC-Chapel Hill, and based on his research in material science and drug delivery, Liquidia just received a $10 million investment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to bolster the development of safer and more effective vaccines and therapeutics.

N.C. law makers discuss future of Rex Hospital today
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
A legislative committee will meet this morning to discuss an ongoing dispute between Wake County’s two largest hospitals: WakeMed and Rex. The committee has been examining the role of Rex as a state-owned hospital and whether it ought to be sold. UNC Health Care, the state’s public hospital anchored in Chapel Hill, bought Rex in 2000.

UNC health changes narrowly OK'd by House panel
The Associated Press
A divided legislative committee recommended Tuesday placing more oversight and restrictions on the University of North Carolina Health Care System after legislators and a privately-held rival hospital questioned a series of expansions by the state-owned hospital chain. ...The chief of staff to UNC Health Care System chief executive Dr. Bill Roper said after the meeting the system would vigorously fight the bill, which he said would "gut our system." Kevin FitzGerald said the flexibility the UNC Health Care System received in 1998 from the Legislature to expand and be more fiscally nimble would be gone if the bill became law.
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Construction to begin on Raleigh surgery center
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
Construction begins Thursday on a new surgery center in West Raleigh that is the result of a joint venture between Rex Healthcare and Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic. ...The center hopes to offer the lowest prices for outpatient procedures thanks to smaller overhead costs compared to hospitals, said Steve Burriss, chief operating officer at Rex, which is owned by UNC Health Care.

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