June 17 - 21, 2013

International Coverage

Surgeon shortage linked to burst appendices
Living in an area with few general surgeons may make people with appendicitis more likely to turn into ruptured appendix cases by the time they get to surgery, according to new research. "The study shows that access to surgical care, especially general surgical care, is important and low access can have real impacts that affect peoples' health," coauthor Thomas Ricketts of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill told Reuters Health by email.

America's diabetes epidemic threatens quality-of-life
The Canadian
Diabetes is becoming a mere epidemic in America. It is estimated that at least 21 million Americans have a form of diabetes. ...“It is a disease that does have the ability to eat you alive,” said Dr. John B. Buse, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine who is the diabetes association’s president for medicine and science. “It can be just awful — it’s almost unimaginable how bad it can be.”

National Coverage

Dads whose wives died of cancer turn to NC group
The Associated Press
...A group that organizers say may be the only one of its kind in the country helped him on his journey to that other side. Therapists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said they started Single Fathers Due to Cancer because they saw a need to help men struggling with their own grief and their children's grief. The group first met in October 2010 after therapists and doctors at the UNC Comprehensive Cancer Support Program realized several young mothers with poor prognoses were being treated there.

As States Limit Abortion, Future Doctors Fight for Training
The Chronicle of Higher Education
... The teaching of abortion is, of course, fraught with controversy. Many medical schools, with active Christian Medical & Dental Associations and other antiabortion groups, are careful about "not offending people," said Michelle Brown, a student at the University of North Carolina's School of Medicine, at the activism meeting. And state universities rely on legislatures to vote for, and governors to sign, financing measures for new buildings. An administrator, not wanting to offend antiabortion lawmakers, would be reluctant to "ask why students aren't afforded the opportunity to learn comprehensive reproductive health, including abortion," said Dr. Laube.

With exposure to babies, rodent dads’ brains, like moms’, become wired for nurture
The Washington Post
...Sue Carter, a behavioral neurobiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has spent her career studying prairie voles: “Sometimes they midwife the birth. They grab the baby and start licking it before it’s even out of the membrane it’s born in.” Carter’s studies, like Lambert’s, have found that virgin male prairie voles, when exposed to pups, experience a surge of the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, the so-called “love” hormones that encourage social bonding, much as mothers do.

Peer Pressure for Teens Paves the Path to Adulthood
The Wall Street Journal
...In terms of who is most resistant to peer pressure, researchers have identified some characteristics of kids who are resilient against peer influence, such as those who are more popular, have families with low dysfunction and have high communication skills. But they still don't know why these kids are less susceptible, according to Mitchell Prinstein, a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who studies popularity and peer influence.

Keeping Up With Medical Knowledge (Letter to the Editor)
The New York Times
I use textbooks to keep informed about the latest treatment methods in medicine and nursing. Most textbooks today are edited with authors selected for knowledge, experience and ability to synthesize periodical literature into disease and treatment descriptions used in health science schools to teach initiates.
(Edward J. Halloran, Chapel Hill, N.C. The writer, a registered nurse, teaches nursing at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.)

‘I don’t want to be only person cured of HIV’
The Seattle Times (Washington)
Early reports identified him only as “the Berlin patient.” But Timothy Ray Brown, the first person cured of HIV, was born and raised in Seattle. ...In a sign of the growing optimism about a cure, two other labs also received major NIH grants at the same time as the Hutch. Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, are working to rev up patients’ immune systems to fight the virus. At the University of North Carolina, the focus is on drugs that will roust out hidden pockets of infection.

How Long Can You Wait to Have a Baby?
The Atlantic
...A study headed by Anne Steiner, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, the results of which were presented in June, found that among 38- and 39-year-olds who had been pregnant before, 80 percent of white women of normal weight got pregnant naturally within six months (although that percentage was lower among other races and among the overweight). “In our data, we’re not seeing huge drops until age 40,” she told me.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hopes player safety is legacy
USA Today
...Kevin Guskiewicz, who directs the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at the University of North Carolina, is a member of the NFL's Head, Neck and Spine Committee. "What I like about Roger is he's a good listener," Guskiewicz says. "He takes in a lot of information and the decisions he makes are informed. He appreciates that there is a trickle-down effect to the college, high school and youth levels and I think his legacy will be that across the board he cares about health and safety."

Iron Dosing Tricky for Dialysis Patients: Study
HealthDay News
..."Although administration of iron is necessary to manage anemia in hemodialysis patients, our results suggest that providing a large amount of iron over a short time may increase the risk of serious infections in dialysis patients," study author Maurice Alan Brookhart, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in a journal news release. "Smaller, less frequent doses of iron appear to be safer."

State and Local Coverage

UNC Med. Mourns Loss Of Two Respected Colleagues
WCHL-FM (Chapel Hill)
The UNC Health Care System is morning the loss of two respected and cherished doctors this week. Dr. Keith Amos, assistant professor of surgery, and surgical oncologist, died unexpectedly while traveling as a visiting scholar in Scotland. Dr. George Sheldon, who chaired the UNC Department of Surgery from 1984 to 2001, died due to illness at UNC Hospitals Sunday. He was 78 year old.

For Returning Vets, Challenges On The Homefront
"The State of Things" WUNC-FM
The latest research suggests that for veterans, social support is just as important as medical care. Host Frank Stasio talks with UNC Chapel Hill Associate Professor of Psychiatry Eric Elbogen, about his study showing that vets lacking social and financial stability are more likely to engage in violent behavior than those with posttraumatic stress disorder. Joining the conversation are Pete Tillman, public affairs officer for the Durham VA Medical Center, and Jason Hansman of Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America.

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OWASA will continue fluoridating water in southern Orange County
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
An agency serving southern Orange County will continue to fluoridate its drinking water, and the Durham County Board of Health has recommended that Durham do the same. ...Dr. Gary Slade, professor and director of the Oral Epidemiology Ph.D. program at the UNC School of Dentistry, recently co-authored an Australian study that concluded that adding fluoride to drinking water reduces tooth decay in adult men and women. There is no known scientific evidence linking controlled amounts with adverse health effects in humans.

Supreme Court ruling isn't a game-changer for start-ups that rely on gene technology
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that “naturally occurring” genes can’t be patented isn’t viewed as a game-changer for start-ups that rely on cutting-edge gene technology. Essentially, the possibility that the nation’s highest court might rule as it did already has been factored into the startup universe, said venture capitalist James Rosen of Durham’s Intersouth Partners. ... GeneCentric Diagnostics, a tiny Durham startup founded in 2011 with technology licensed from the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UNC School of Medicine, is one gene-oriented company whose patent strategy hasn’t been altered by the Supreme Court ruling.

UNC Hospital gets top 100 award for leadership
Triangle Business Journal
University of North Carolina Hospital was awarded a top 100 ranking by Cleverley + Associates in its annual Community Value Index (CVI) Leadership Award. It was one of four North Carolina hospitals named to the list and the only one from the Triangle. According to Cleverley, the CVI was created to provide an assessment of a hospital’s performance in four areas: financial strength and reinvestment, cost of care, pricing, and quality of care.

Be wary of food-drug reactions (Column)
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
If you’re taking medication, you may need to lay off the licorice or give away the grapefruit. Some foods and drugs just don’t get along, and mixing the two can mean trouble. The fact that the efficacy of your medication can be affected by what you eat may be news to some people. (Suzanne Havala Hobbs is a registered dietitian and a clinical associate professor in the department of health policy and administration in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill.)

UNC Hospital gets top 100 award for leadership
Triangle Business Journal
University of North Carolina Hospital was awarded a top 100 ranking by Cleverley + Associates in its annual Community Value Index (CVI) Leadership Award. It was one of four North Carolina named to the list and the only one from the Triangle.

Academia deals with fewer dollars
The Triangle Business Journal
Since 2005, it’s gotten about 50 percent harder for UNC System researchers to win a research grant. For major research institutions like UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State University, research makes up one of the three main funding legs on which the universities are propped. With budget cuts at the state and federal level, universities must work harder just to keep that leg at the same strength.

Alliance Behavioral Healtchare manages behavioral health services for Wake County
http://www.garnercleveland.com/2013/06/18/2971835/alliance-behavioral-healthcare.html - storylink=misearch
Garner-Cleveland Record
Alliance Behavioral Healthcare has taken over managing behavioral health services for almost 3,000 Wake County residents who had received services from Wake County Human Services, according to Doug Fuller, an Alliance spokesman. …UNC Hospitals will provide outpatient care for approximately 500 other adults with special high-level care needs, according to Fuller. In February UNC also assumed management of the WakeBrook Recovery Center and the Wake Crisis and Assessment Center, a 24/7 facility for individuals who are experiencing behavioral health crisis, Fuller said.

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