Jan. 17 - 20, 2012

Combination Chemotherapy Meds Shrink Breast Cancer
"World News with Diane Sawyer" ABC
Combining heavy hitting medications for early stage patients with an aggressive form of breast cancer can shrink the tumor and stop its progression, according to two new studies released Monday in the journal Lancet and Lancet Oncology. ...Doctors can "get an answer about drugs in early breast cancer in months rather than years, and it takes only a few hundred patients rather than thousands," said Dr. Lisa Carey, medical director of the University of North Carolina Breast Center.

Food allergies require vigilance
The Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia)
...Dr. Wesley Burks, recently appointed chief of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, led the immunotherapy research at Duke. His studies will continue, but move to UNC with him. "We have over 150 subjects in studies right now. We are getting ready to start a series of new studies that will enroll from (age) 12 months on up," Burks said.

Cancer Decisions Need Support
WUNC-FM (Chapel Hill)
A new study finds that breast cancer survivors had limited knowledge about their surgical options, including decisions that can help prevent recurrence of the disease. The findings are reported in this month's issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Clara Lee, a surgeon at UNC Hospitals, is a co-author of the study. She says the quality of decisions patients make is directly related to how well health providers inform patients about their choices.

Hospital buys property
The Chapel Hill News
UNC Health Care will continue paying taxes on Eastowne Office Park property it bought this month from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, a spokeswoman said. UNC paid $14.2 million for the seven buildings that Blue Cross vacated last year as part of a cost-cutting effort.

Spotlight falls on music therapists
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
...(Elizabeth) Fawcett splits her time between pediatric patients - most with cancer - and the psychiatric ward, where she does morning programs for patients who mainly suffer from Alzhiemer's. UNC bumped her to full-time this summer after it became clear that the sessions for psychiatric patients were noticeably improving their behavior and quality of life.

2020: Where is UNC? (Opinion-Editorial Column)
The Chapel Hill News
On Jan. 5, Dr. Bill Roper (UNC Health Care) and Brad Wilson (Blue Cross and Blue Shield) discussed Carolina Advanced Health, their recent joint venture, as part of a Chapel Hill 2020 program. While I am sure many appreciated hearing more about this project, 2020 participants expected to learn more about the future plans of UNC Health Care and Blue Cross and how those plans will impact our community.

Study suggests how often to test bone density
Reuters (Wire Service)
Older women with thin bones should be screened every year and those with denser bones can safely wait up to 17 years to have their next bone mineral density test, according to new research. Current recommendations have relied on bone mineral density readings to try to predict the speed at which bones weaken with time, said lead author Dr. Margaret Gourlay of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. "This is the first U.S. study to do it based on patients."

Women Receive Bone Tests Too Often for Osteoporosis, Study Finds
Bloomberg Businessweek
Many women who get screened for osteoporosis may not need it, suggesting current guidelines may spur extra tests, increasing costs and unnecessary treatment, a study found. ...“There’s strong belief that the more we test, the more we are helping patients,” said Margaret Gourlay, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researcher and study author. “This is a good example of why that doesn’t hold up at all.”

Osteoporosis Patients Advised to Delay Bone Density Retests
The New York Times
Bone loss and osteoporosis develop so slowly in most women whose bones test normal at age 65 that many can safely wait as long as 15 years before having a second bone density test, researchers report in a new study. ...Dr. Margaret Gourlay, the study’s lead author and a family practice specialist and osteoporosis researcher at the University of North Carolina, said she and her colleagues were surprised by how slowly osteoporosis progressed in women.

How Often Should Women Be Screened for Osteoporosis? (Blog)
The Wall Street Journal
...The goal of screening is to diagnose a woman when she has osteoporosis and can benefit from bone-building drugs, but before she has fractures. Spine and hip fractures are particularly dangerous, says Margaret Gourlay, lead author of the new study and an assistant professor in the University of North Carolina Department of Family Medicine. (For example, recent research found that women in their mid-to-late 60s who break a hip are five times as likely to die within a year compared to women of the same age who didn’t break a hip.)

Less-frequent bone scans may be OK

The Associated Press
...The research, published in today's New England Journal of Medicine, was led by Dr. Margaret Gourlay of the University of North Carolina. She worries that her findings might be misinterpreted and cause some women to wait longer than they should for their next test. She cited earlier research suggesting not enough women get the recommended initial scan.

Many Older Women May Not Need Frequent Bone Scans
"Morning Edition" National Public Radio
The bone-thinning disease called osteoporosis is a big problem for women past menopause. ...Dr. Margaret Gourlay of the University of North Carolina, who led the study, told Shots her team didn't expect older women with normal or near-normal bone density would take so long to develop osteoporosis. Of the 5,000 women in the study, half were in this low-risk group at the age of 67.

How Often Do Women Really Need Bone Density Tests?
...In the study, lead author Dr. Margaret Gourlay of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, sought to stratify these lower-risk women in order to determine how often screening would be necessary to catch the first signs of bone disease while avoiding overtesting.

New flu vaccine features smaller needle
WRAL-TV (CBS/Raleigh)
Some people like to gamble and play against the odds, even when it comes to the flu. They don't get the flu vaccine either because they don't think they'll get sick or they're afraid of the needle.  ...“It's just into the skin. It's not deep into the muscle,” said University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill epidemiologist Dr. David Weber. “What you do is you get a little more redness and maybe a little more swelling, but beyond that, you have similar side-effects to the standard influenza shot.”

Share This: