June 10 - 14, 2013

International Coverage

Restrictive drug laws censor science, researchers say
Reuters (Wire Service)
...(David) Nutt and Leslie King, both former British government drugs advisers, and co-author David Nichols of the University of North Carolina, called for the use of psychoactive drugs in research to be exempted from severe restrictions. "If we adopted a more rational approach to drug regulation, it would empower researchers to make advances in the study of consciousness and brain mechanisms of psychosis, and could lead to major treatment innovations in areas such as depression and PTSD," Nutt said.

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Scant data on seizure drugs for women's genital pain
Reuters (Wire Service)
... "Definitely the open label studies have been encouraging," said Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, director of the perinatal psychiatry program at the University of North Carolina Center for Women's Mood Disorders. "This may be a very useful treatment for some women, but until there are the gold standard, double-blind studies, there is a need for further scientific investigation," said Meltzer-Brody, whose study on lamotrigine was included in Leo's review.

National Coverage

U.S. lung allocation system aims for objectivity, fairness (Opinion-Editorial Column)
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
There is another solution on the horizon. My lab at the University of North Carolina has pioneered the idea that lungs might be suitable for transplant even if retrieved after death from so-called "non-heart-beating donors." These are people who have died of cardiac arrest outside the hospital or in the emergency room; circulation has stopped for a period of time (conventional organ donors have been on a ventilator before brain death and organ retrieval). (Dr. Thomas M. Egan is professor of surgery in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.)

Whole Different Ball Game
Inside Higher Ed
...Holden Thorp, the departing chancellor at UNC-Chapel Hill whose decision earlier this year to step down was closely tied to athletics and academic controversies, has become outspoken about the need to get university presidents out of the day-to-day operations of athletics departments, inspiring high-profile columnists to weigh in on the subject.

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Baldness Drug Propecia May Put Some Men Off Alcohol: Study
HealthDay News
..."The biggest challenge with this finding is that it is naturalistic rather than a controlled study so cause-and-effect is hard to establish," said James Garbutt, a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "This is more of a cloud on the horizon than a clear-cut effect." If these findings are confirmed it suggests there may be a subgroup of people, perhaps identifiable by their experience of sexual side effects, who will experience reductions in alcohol consumption, said Garbutt, who was not involved with the study.

State and Local Coverage

UNC School of Nursing helps start new Snow Camp health center
The Herald-Sun (Durham)
A new nurse-managed health center opened this month at an Alamance County elementary school to offer primary care services in rural North Carolina. The Sylvan Community Health Center, based out of Sylvan Elementary School in Snow Camp, held its ribbon cutting Thursday. The center is part of a collaboration between the UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing, the Alamance-Burlington School System and Piedmont Health, according to a UNC news release.

UNC drive collects 804 units of blood
The Herald-Sun (Durham)
The 25th annual Carolina Blood Drive June 4 collected 804 units of life-saving blood at the Dean E. Smith Center. “The blood can be turned into more than 2,400 products that will help sustain the lives of the sick and injured,” said Caroline Allison, donor recruitment representative for the Carolinas Region of the American Red Cross.

UNC Release:

Science museum to showcase health innovation on Saturday
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
...The event will highlight cutting-edge medical treatments and the “diversity of types of care providers we have in our community,” said Dr. William Goodnight of UNC-Chapel Hill. At the event, he will share his pioneering efforts in using fetal surgery to treat babies before birth.

UNC: Residency programs need to expand to curb doctor shortages
Triangle Business Journal
Those deeply entrenched in North Carolina health care policy have known for some years that the best way to get more qualified doctors into practice isn’t to increase the students at medical schools, but to increase the number of residency slots in this state. In a recent policy paper, a research arm of UNC-Chapel Hill came out and said it bluntly: “Expanding enrollments in North Carolina’s medical schools without concurrently expanding residency training will do little to increase physician supply in the state. If residency expansion does occur, a data-driven system that addresses how to best distribute new positions between specialties, geographies and institutions must be put in place so that new dollars are spent addressing the health care needs of North Carolina’s population.”

Virtual ICU lets doctors monitor patients from afar
Charlotte Observer
Around the country, the virtual ICU – also called tele-ICU or eICU – is rapidly becoming more common. …[But] not all hospitals are adopting the approach. For example, officials at UNC Health Care and Duke Medicine said they already have sophisticated hardware and software for monitoring ICU patients and have staffs large enough to provide top-flight care.

N.C. children’s hospitals miss honors
Triangle Business Journal
Four North Carolina hospitals ranked as top children’s hospitals, but none made the official honor roll published by U.S. News and World Report. The group identified four hospitals in North Carolina, including two in the Triangle, that qualified as a “Best Children’s Hospital,” but did not rank them against each other or nationally. In the Triangle, Duke Children’s Hospital and Health Center in Durham and North Carolina Children’s Hospital at UNC in Chapel Hill made the list.

The failure of quick mental health fixes in North Carolina
News & Observer
North Carolina has a long history of adopting simple, quick-fix solutions to complex problems facing the mental health system.
Elizabeth La, Michele Easter and Sean Sayers, who also contributed, are research fellows in the UNC Training Program in Health Services Research and the UNC-Duke Mental Health and Substance Abuse Systems and Services Fellowship Program.

New data show no looming shortage of nurses
Triangle Business Journal
…The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC-CH has found strong growth in numbers of physician assistants, nurse practitioners and registered nurses. Expanding these professions is one way health care experts say the nation can reduce health care costs. These positions require less schooling than an MD degree and typically charge less for services, but they’re still qualified to perform a wide range of medical procedures or diagnoses. Matching these health care professionals with patients that have lower-level medial needs could reduce overall costs.

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