April 15 - 19, 2013

National Coverage

Justices Consider Whether Patents on Genes Are Valid
The New York Times
The Supreme Court is poised to take up the highly charged question of whether human genes can be patented. But another question could trump it: Has the field of genetics moved so far so fast that whatever the court decides, it has come too late to the issue? ...“Events on the ground have overtaken the law,” said Dr. James P. Evans, a professor of genetics and medicine at the University of North Carolina. He said the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision “will be much more ideological than it will be practical.”

Breast Cancer Drugs Urged for Healthy High-Risk Women
The New York Times
... “There is evidence of benefit for certain women,” said Dr. Wanda K. Nicholson, a task force member and an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. Dr. Nicholson said she recommended the drugs for some of her own higher-risk patients. Some take them; some choose not to. “The take-home point for women is to have that initial conversation with their provider,” she said.

The Doctor Trying To Solve The Mystery Of Food Allergies
"Fresh Air" National Public Radio
No one is certain why food allergies are on the rise. By now nearly 15 million Americans have a food allergy, ranging from moderate to severe. One of every 13 children has one. Nuts, soy, milk, egg, wheat and shellfish are some of the foods that most commonly set off allergic reactions. ...So people - peanut therapy was being given at University of Arkansas, University of North Carolina, and then milk and egg was being looked at in Mount Sinai. And milk was being looked at at Johns Hopkins. And so a lot of exciting data was coming out and still is.

A Roller Derby of Bacteria
The New Yorker
...After a press conference two years ago, I had a long conversation with Balfour Sartor, a gastroenterologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who specializes in inflammatory bowel diseases, like Crohn’s. These autoimmune conditions are thought to be caused in part by an imbalance of bacteria in the gut—too much of one kind, too little of another—and the genetic factors that abet this lopsided growth.

Can we talk about gun violence?
The Washington Post
...David Jacobs, associate trauma director at Carolinas Medical Center and professor of clinical surgery at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, called interpersonal violence a “disease” of young men of color, and said “it diminishes all of us” with its lost potential and contributions to society. “It’s not going to be solved by a law here and a law there.” Violence is big business, Jacobs said, in music, movies and games.

Regional Coverage

Runners and spectators raced to save lives
The Boston Globe
When Natalie Stavas and her father finally reached mile 26, drained but determined to finish, they heard the boom of the explosions and watched as police began erecting barricades to block runners from continuing to the finish line. ...Meanwhile, her father, Joe Stavas, 58, a radiologist who now works in North Carolina, was helping tend to some of the thousands of runners who were halted at Hereford Street. Many were growing cold quickly after sweating, which can be dangerous for marathon runners. (Dr. Joe Stavas is a professor of radiology at the UNC School of Medicine.)

Human gene patent case goes to Supreme Court
HealthDay News
...Others are less convinced that the ruling will have an enormous impact, especially since the Myriad patents will expire over the next two years. Dr. James Evans, a professor of genetics and medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, told the Times that the significance of the nine justices' decision "will be much more ideological than it will be practical."

State & Local Coverage

Public benefit should define health success
Smithfield Herald
Johnston Health leaders did not enter lightly into their partnership with UNC Health Care; in fact, they spent months conducting due diligence before settling on UNC. But like all business deals, the success of this one remains to be seen.

Success, of course, can be measured in many ways, depending on one’s perspective.

NC Children's Hospital brings prom to its patients
News 14 Carolina
With the help of members of the UNC Dance Marathon organization and hospital staff, the play atrium at the N.C. Children's Hospital was transformed into a dance floor for a kids' “prom” on Thursday night. ..."We do have some fun makeup and boas and things for them to wear," said Dr. Mary Beth Grimley, N.C. Children's Hospital pediatric psychologist. "A lot of people get sad when they're here, but I think it will make a lot of people happy and just let them have fun," said Shores.

Food allergist educates public about latest testing, causes
News 14 Carolina
Medical experts learned more about the latest testing and causes of food allergies this weekend. A food allergy specialist from North Carolina Children's Hospital in Chapel Hill gave a presentation Sunday at a free educational seminar. ..."I was invited by the Food Allergies Families of the Triad group to come give a talk about an update with respect to food allergy, both the clinical progress that's been made and also the status of a research program at UNC Chapel Hill," said food allergist Dr. Brian Vickery.

N.C. Hospital installs entertainment for kids receiving treatment
The Daily Tar Heel
The N.C. Children’s Hospital is set to unveil a new piece of equipment today aimed at helping pediatric patients race toward recovery.

A Dream Racer — a miniature race car for patients to sit in while they receive medical treatments — will be installed in the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology on UNC’s campus.

The car will be equipped with a PlayStation, DVD player and CD player, as well as an IV and oxygen tank holder.

Gov. McCrory's medicaid proposal to be reviewed
Daily Tar Heel
Gov. Pat McCrory’s recent announcement of proposed changes to the state’s Medicaid program has elicited mixed reviews from members of the UNC health care community.

Earlier this month, McCrory announced his plan to alter the state’s Medicaid program, entitled “Partnership for a Healthy North Carolina.”

…Dr. Bill Roper, CEO of the UNC Health Care System, said in a statement that he supported McCrory’s willingness to re-evaluate Medicaid.

“I look forward to working with them and other hospitals on this important endeavor to better serve North Carolina’s patients and determine the best solution for Medicaid,” Roper said.

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