July 16 - 20, 2012

International News

Analysis: U.S. governors make risky political bet on healthcare funds

...Jonathan Oberlander at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine agrees: "It depends on how the issue is framed. If they look like they are being fiscally conservative, a rejectionist governor could win." And hard-line stance may not be about ideology or fiscal discipline. Instead, it could be a bargaining tactic.

Pills to prevent HIV raise many questions: studies
Yahoo! (Philppines)
..."Why the results differ across the various studies reported to date is unclear," said an accompanying editorial by Myron Cohen from the University of North Carolina and Lindsey Baden of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Learning more through future study is important because PrEP is increasingly being seen as a part of an integrated HIV prevention approach, they wrote.

Egg allergies 'treated with egg
BBC News
...One of the researchers Dr Wesley Burks, from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, said: "This study gives us hope that we're closer to developing a treatment. "Almost a third of the children had a permanent change and were no longer egg-allergic."
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National News

Frequently asked questions about Propecia
Originally approved by the FDA to treat benign prostate problems, Propecia had a welcome side effect: hair growth. But the medication also has sexual side effects. Now, a new study says the medication may cause permanent problems. ... Dr Samantha Meltzer-Brody discusses.

PoliGraph: Bachmann's health care claim misleading
Minnesota Public Radio
...Jonathan Oberlander, who teaches health policy and management at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, said there's evidence that the rate of health spending is actually slowing down. Premiums are still growing, but at a slower pace, Oberlander said.

Diagnosing Autism In Babies: New Survey Could Identify Disorder In First Year Of Life
The Huffington Post
..."Identification of children at risk for [autism spectrum disorder] at 12 months could provide a substantial number of children and their families with access to intervention services months or years before they would otherwise receive a traditional diagnosis," study co-author Lauren Turner-Brown, a researcher with the Program for Early Autism, Research, Leadership and Service at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine said in a statement.

HIV breakthroughs boost researchers' optimism
USA Today
Treating people infected with HIV not only helps them to stay healthy, but it also can virtually eliminate their ability to spread the AIDS virus to others, says Myron Cohen, a professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill who led this research, published in 2011 in The New England Journal of Medicine. The key is to reduce the amount of AIDS virus in a patient's body to "undetectable" levels. Achieving this reduces their risk of spreading the virus by 96%.

The AIDS epidemic: Beginning of the end?
USA Today
..."There are big gaps between what we have the potential to do in terms of prevention, and what we're actually accomplishing," says Adaora Adimora, a professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. "We need to be able to get treatment to more people who need it, and make sure that care is delivered to them properly."

Milk Thistle of Little Help Against Hepatitis C: Study
HealthDay News
Many patients with chronic hepatitis C turn to an alternative herbal treatment known as milk thistle, but a new study finds that it has little effect on the liver disease. However, milk thistle doesn't appear to be harmful and it's still not clear if a treatment derived from the plant might have benefits when given through an IV drip.

Autism survey for parents may catch disorder early
Fox News
A survey given to parents when their children are 1 year old may help identify kids at risk of autism, a new study suggests. ... Lauren Turner-Brown, of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and colleagues analyzed information from about 700 children whose parents had completed the First Year Inventory when their children were 12 months old. The survey asked 63 questions about infant behaviors, including questions about the infants' communication, imitation and repetitive behaviors.

Egg allergies reduced by desensitization, study finds
USA Today
... Besides avoidance, "we currently don't have an adequate treatment for food allergies," which can trigger severe and sometimes life-threatening reactions, says Wesley Burks, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a lead author of the study.
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AIDS Cure Is Back on Agenda
The Wall Street Journal
... In March, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced they had successfully used lymphoma drugs to make latent HIV infection detectable in six male patients, even though they were on antiretroviral drugs. David Margolis, the UNC professor who led the work, called the findings "a significant step towards eradication of HIV infection." The study will be published later this month.

State and Local News

Joe DeSimone to head Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
Joe DeSimone, a star chemistry professor who developed several spinoff companies from his research at two Triangle universities, will take on a new role to drive innovation and entrepreneurship. He has been named the new director of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, part of the Kenan-Flagler Business School. He replaces John Kasarda, who stepped down as director last month after 22 years.

Despite health care act, we're free (Commentary)
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
...Bright, assistant dean for admissions and director of the Office of Special Programs for the UNC School of Medicine, said the act “has always been seen by (the NMA) as a way to improve access for people who didn’t have access to affordable care. ... The uninsured will have a chance to go into the marketplace and get insurance at affordable rates.”

A look at the Triangle's best hospitals
The Triangle Business Journal
U.S. News & World Report has released its latest rankings of the best hospitals in the Raleigh-Durham area, and Duke University Medical Center tops the list. UNC Hospitals came in second, followed by Durham Regional Hospital Durham Regional Hospital. 

Sen. Kay Hagan's TREAT Act to fast track drugs to fight rare diseases
The Fayetteville Observer
A federal law that puts treatments of rare diseases on the fast track for approval has come too late for Luke and Logan Hendren of Lumberton. ... The Hendrens' doctor, Joseph Muenzer, a professor of pediatrics and genetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said Luke and Logan's disease has progressed too far for any drug to reverse its effects.

UNC Hospitals honored for quality, safety, patient care
Herald Sun
UNC Hospitals was among four U.S. hospitals recognized Thursday for quality care and patient safety by the American Hospital Association (AHA).

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