Feb. 20 - 24, 2012

Patents on Genetic Data Raise Legal Questions on Rights to DNA
Bloomberg News
...Patents on individual DNA molecules including Myriad’s are becoming “increasingly irrelevant” because the latest platforms sequence genes en masse to avoid the need to isolate a particular DNA molecule -- and potentially infringe a patent, said James Evans, a professor of genetics and medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Brain Imaging Could Detect Autism Risk in Infants as Young as 6 Months
...“The findings suggest that early on, there is something different going on in children who develop ASDs,” says Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer of Autism Speaks who is also a professor of psychiatry at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and a co-author of the paper. “Very early on, before the emergence of behavioral symptoms, these neural networks that connect different brain regions are not developing normally.”

Study questions prostate cancer therapy
The Houston Chronicle
...In a new study, records of Medicare patients with prostate cancer show that those treated with a more precise form of radiation known as proton therapy had more bowel complications, such as bleeding, than those who underwent the conventional technique. "Proton radiation is receiving a lot of attention as a new way to treat prostate cancer," said Dr. Ronald Chen, a professor of radiation oncology at the University of North Carolina and the study's lead author. "It's the most expensive radiation technique today, but it is unclear if it actually improves patient outcomes."

Aging: Harmful Drug Abuse, Eating Disorders And Plastic Surgery In Middle Age
The Huffington Post
...Dr. Cynthia Bulik, director of the UNC Eating Disorders Program at The University of North Carolina, told The New York Times that women age 50 and beyond are not only using Botox and plastic surgery to look younger, but are engaging in extreme weight- and shape-control behaviors as well. Her clinic is treating an increasing number of midlifers who routinely binge and vomit, abuse laxatives, starve themselves and engage in compulsive, self-destructive activities as they deal with midlife issues.

UNC dances all day, night as charity for hospital
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
Katie Barbee had not had a wink of sleep in more than 24 hours. Her feet ached, and what she really wanted to do was stretch her legs across her bed. But Barbee, a UNC-Chapel Hill junior from High Point, was among the 2,000 students in Fetzer Gym standing for a cause. And she was not about to let a little discomfort sideline her from the 2012 UNC Dance Marathon, the last 24 hours of an annual fundraising project to support the patients and families at the N.C. Children's Hospital.

Nortin Hadler, author of several books on medical overtreatment, turns his attention to what he calls the ‘medicalization’ of aging.
The Washington Post
Nortin Hadler, a professor of medicine and microbiology/immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been warning for years about the lack of evidence supporting many popular medical treatments and tests. His work is controversial. In books such as “Stabbed in the Back: Confronting Back Pain in an Overtreated Society” and “Worried Sick: A Prescription for Health in an Overtreated America,” Hadler argues for holding medical interventions to a high standard: Do they reduce mortality or substantially lessen the burden of illness?

Study: Brain scans detect early signs of autism
CBS Evening News
"During infancy, it's a time when an infant is organizing their brain, the wiring is rapidly developing," said Dr. Joseph Piven, who led the study. "We were able to detect changes in that wiring or differences in the wiring by six months of age in those children who went on to develop autism."

Brain scans show signs of autism
Dr. Joseph Piven, who led the study, gives an interview.

Baby brain development may signal autism
The Baltimore Sun (Maryland)
Babies who develop autism later in life may show signs of the disease in their brain development as early as six months old, new research has found. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and other institutions looked at brain scans taken on babies at night while they were sleeping.

Women less likely to get immediate heart attack treatment
USA Today
Women having heart attacks are less likely than men to get immediate treatment and more likely to die in the hospital, says a groundbreaking new study that tracked more than 1.1 million patients. ...The study actually may underestimate the gender gap, because many female heart attacks never make it to the hospital, says Cam Patterson, chief of cardiology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, who was not involved in the study.

Local health officials hope FDA moves will reduce drug shortages
The Triangle Business Journal
As hospitals continue to face drug shortages in staggering numbers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced steps that it hopes will give doctors access to equivalents for at least two critical cancer drugs. The move comes as a welcome relief to Dr. Maryann Oertel, a clinical specialist in the UNC Health Care department of pharmacy. Already, UNC has dedicated one full-time position, hers, to managing drug shortages, which for UNC run as high as 150 at any given time.

Carrboro man to get stem cell transplant
The Chapel Hill News
..."He's young and otherwise healthy, and we think this is the right thing for him," said Dr. Paul M. Armistead, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology, a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and leader of Alston's transplant team. "This is his best chance for being cured."

Drug shortage patients file lawsuit against DHHS, FDA
WNCN-TV (NBC/Raleigh)
Patients say their health has been endangered and their treatment options have been limited by on-going drug shortages. ..."We are tracking 150 drugs right now that we are concerned about the supply situation," UNC Health Care Clinical Pharmacist Dr. Maryann Oertel said.

Pinpointing Genetic Risk for Osteoarthritis
Arthritis Today
“Osteoarthritis is probably a multi-gene disease and there’s likely an interaction between the environment and genetic susceptibility,” says Joanne Jordan, MD, an arthritis researcher and chief of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Hypnosis may help kids' stomach woes long-term
Many people may think of hypnosis as someone waving a pocket watch in front of your face, then making you do strange things, noted Miranda van Tilburg, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Body image issues
"Nine to Noon" Radio New Zealand
Why are so many women uncomfortable in their own skin? Kathryn talks to Cynthia M. Bulik, psychologist and eating disorders professor at the University of North Carolina. She is the author of two books on eating disorders.

Men find emotional support on hospital bathroom's dry erase board
WRAL-TV (CBS/Raleigh)
When UNC designed the North Carolina Cancer Hospital, they built it with patients in mind and included dry erase boards in a few restrooms. Nothing much appeared on the boards for the first year, but that eventually changed. Cancer clinic nurse John Collier says the board in one restroom began with one note: “Please pray for my wife Charlotte."

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