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January 2007

Jan. 31 - Feb. 2 Howard Markel’s flu study garners attention world-wide

The Centers for Disease Control have released new flu pandemic guidelines for cities and states. The guidelines are partly based on a study by Howard Markel, M.D., and Alexandra Stern, Ph.D., director and associate director respectively of the Center for the History of Medicine, of how 44 cities fared in the 1918 pandemic. They have been interviewed several times in the last several days, including by BBC’s The World, broadcast in this country via National Public Radio, and the New York Times, whose distribution network includes the International Herald Tribune.

Jan. 30 - Dr. Birla in Chicago Tribune

The health section of today's Chicago Tribune contains a major story (free subscription required) on the work of Ravi Birla, Ph.D., Cardiac Surgery, and his team in the U-M Artificial Heart Laboratory. Their efforts to grow heart muscle tissue from rat heart cells have resulted in some very exciting results that were published last month; the Tribune article focuses on their achievements and on the potential for such research to lead to treatments for patients with heart-muscle damage. The UMHS press release on this research that led to the Tribune story is online here.

Jan. 29 - Steven Gay in American Medical News

In today's edition of American Medical News, dated Feb. 5, Steven Gay, M.D., assistant dean for admissions, is quoted in an article looking at the impact of Proposal 2 on racial diversity at Michigan medical schools. Dr. Gay said he is optimistic about maintaining racial diversity and affirmed that all students who are accepted meet the school's academic standards.

Jan. 24 - Rick Boothman in Wall Street Journal

Today's Wall Street Journal contains a column about medical centers that are taking a fresh approach to disclosing and apologizing for medical errors and near-misses, and to handling malpractice claims. As a leader in this area, UMHS is prominently featured, and Chief Risk Officer Rick Boothman is quoted. The story is available online to subscribers only here; for a copy, call UMHS Public Relations at 764-2220 or send a message to For a summary of the UMHS approach to disclosure, apology, and malpractice, see this page; for information on where Rick Boothman and others have been talking about it, see this page.

Jan. 23 - Dr. Nafiu in New York Times

The risks associated with the growing problem of obesity among young people may be extending to the operating room table, says an article in the New York Times. The story refers to a U-M Health System study - led by Bukky Nafiu, M.D., of Anesthesiology, and Josephine Kasa-Vubu, M.D., of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases - that found that nearly a third of children having surgery are overweight or obese. While all age ranges in the study involved high rates of overweight and obesity, the highest was in boys and girls ages 8 to 12, typically the age just before entering puberty.

Jan. 22 - Dr. Huffnagle in New York Times article on probiotics

An article in today's Business section of the New York Times takes a look at the increasing number of foods containing probiotics as a business trend, and whether manufacturers' claims on the benefits of probiotics are substantiated. Gary Huffnagle, Ph.D., Internal Medicine - Pulmonary and Critical Care, commented on the emerging field of probiotics for treating bowel and digestive problems.

Jan. 19 - Dr. Griggs on NBC Nightly News

Jennifer Griggs, M.D., MPH, Cancer Center/Internal Medicine, was featured in a story on NBC Nightly News describing her research. Dr. Griggs' study found women of lower socioeconomic status were more likely to receive reduced doses of chemotherapy. Stories also appeared in Bloomberg News, HealthDay, and on WXYZ-TV (Channel 7). Read more about the research in the UMHS press release.

Jan. 18 - Dr. Fendrick in national AP story

The news that cancer deaths have declined for the second straight year broke on Wednesday afternoon, and the Associated Press turned to Mark Fendrick, M.D., General Medicine, to help explain why this might be happening -- including the impact of screening tests that can find early signs of cancer and help patients get treatment when it is most likely to be effective. Dr. Fendrick led a study of colonoscopy rates that found increased colon cancer screening after Katie Couric allowed her colonoscopy to be shown on national TV and kicked off a campaign to urge Americans to be screened. The story that quotes him is available here and a press release from Entertainment Industry Foundation, which partnered with Couric to promote cancer screening, is here.

Jan. 15 - Drs. Lee, Sandberg discuss growth hormones in LA Times

Two experts for the Department of Pediatrics & Communicable Diseases are featured today in the Los Angeles Times in two separate stories about the use growth hormones for kids. Focused on the use of estrogen therapy to stunt growth, the first story highlights details of a recent historical review paper on the topic recently published by Joyce Lee, M.D, MPH, member of the CHEAR Unit in the Division of General Pediatrics. The paper explores how the use of estrogen therapy to stunt girls' growth has evolved during the past 50 years as societal norms have changed. The next story, which extensively quotes David Sandberg, Ph.D., director of the Division of Child Behavioral Health, questions whether being taller truly is better for kids. Sandberg, who has spent decades studying the psychological effects of height on children, says he worries that FDA approval of growth hormone therapy for healthy, short kids may send mixed messages about how a child should look.

Jan 12-15 Dr. Davis in the news

Medicare prescription drug prices are in the news this month, as both the U.S. House and Senate take up the issue of reforming the Part D prescription drug benefit. A new study led by Matthew Davis, M.D., MAPP, Pediatrics/Internal Medicine, shows how important that reform might be to the pocketbooks and wallets of America's seniors. Published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the study shows tremendous variation in costs paid by between members of the lowest-cost Part D plans in each state, as well as major variation within states. Already, the story has been picked up by the HealthDay and Ivanhoe health newswires and by Michigan Radio, heard locally on 91.7 FM. It has also attracted the attention of members of Michigan's Congressional delegation. Read the UMHS press release here.

Jan. 14 Drs. Rogers, Fazzalari in Observer-Eccentric papers

The 20 Observer-Eccentric newspapers that serve residents of western Wayne County and southern Oakland County featured a major Sunday health story based on research led by Mary Rogers, Ph.D., General Medicine/Patient Safety Enhancement Program. The story, on infection risks from blood tranfusions given to surgical patients, also included comments from physicians in the area about how their hospitals minimize the use of blood. One of those quoted was Frank Fazzalari, M.D., Cardiac Surgery, who operates on patients at Crittenton Hospital through a special joint program with Cardiac Surgery. Read the story online here and the UMHS press release about Dr. Rogers' research.

Jan. 9 - Dr. Sabel on Today Show

Michael Sabel, M.D., Cancer Center/Surgery, will appear on NBC's Today Show on Wednesday to discuss a recent study he published. Dr. Sabel and his colleagues at the Cancer Center's Breast Care Center found that more than half of breast cancer patients who came to a multidisciplinary center for a second opinion received a change in their recommendation for surgery. The study has already received extensive coverage, including the New York Times and the Associated Press. Today has more than 6 million viewers. Read more about the study in the UMHS press release.

Jan. 4 - Mott top-hospital ranking in Ann Arbor News, Detroit News, WJR

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital today has been ranked as the top children’s hospital in the state and among the best in the nation by Child magazine. News of Mott Hospital's No. 13 ranking, as well as pediatric cardiac care's No. 7 ranking, has appeared in the Ann Arbor News and the Detroit News online.

In addition, Valerie Castle, M.D., chair of the Department of Pediatrics, will be on the WJR (760 AM) Lloyd Jackson show today between 7 and 8 p.m. On Friday, Pat Warner, MPH, associate hospital director for Children's and Women's Services, is scheduled for a live interview on WAAM (1600 AM) with Lucy Ann Lance at 6:50 a.m., and she also will be on Ann Arbor's Clear Channel radio stations (W4 Country and before 9 a.m.

To learn more about Mott Hospital's ranking follow this link or visit Child magazine online.

Jan. 1/4 - Dr. Chan on Ch. 7, in Detroit Free Press

A new study led by Paul Chan, M.D., M.Sc., a fellow in Cardiovascular Medicine and a member of the VA Ann Arbor Health Services Research & Development Center of Excellence, is making headlines today. Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the study finds that one-third of implanted defibrillator patients may get little benefit from their heart-shocking devices, but that a simple heart-rhythm test called MTWA might be able to tell ahead of time which patients will benefit most. The Detroit Free Press put the story on the front page of its business section this morning and syndicated the story to many other newspapers across the country including the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Ivanhoe health news wire also has a story - read it here. Dr. Chan was also interviewed by Channel 7 Detroit WXYZ-TV and by Michigan Radio, which reaches public-radio listeners across lower Michigan. Read the UMHS press release about the study here.

Jan. 2 - Dr. Sabel in Associated Press

A study by Michael Sabel, M.D., Cancer Center/Sugery, was covered by the Associated Press and carried in newspapers and Web sites across the country, including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC, Fox News and Salon. Dr. Sabel and his colleagues at the Cancer Center's Breast Care Center found that more than half of breast cancer patients who came to a multidisciplinary center for a second opinion received a change in their recommendation for surgery. The study has already received extensive coverage, including the New York Times. Read more about the study in the UMHS press release. Dr. Sabel was also interviewed Tuesday by WWJ-AM.

Jan. 2 - Dr. Walton on AP Wire, CNN Radio

A new paper in the journal Pediatrics by Edward Walton, M.D., Emergency Medicine and his colleague at Phillips Exeter Academy is making headlines today. The authors compiled research and advice for parents and children's doctors on the topic of homesickness prevention and treatment among children during camp, boarding school, college or hospitalization. The Associated Press has written a story on the paper that is reaching a national audience via the Web, TV, radio and newspapers - read it online here. The authors were interviewed on CNN Radio, which supplies newscasts to stations nationwide, and they were heard live this morning on WAAM-AM's Lucy Ann Lance Show. Other stories are expected. Read the UMHS Press release here.



For more information:

Recent press releases written by the U-M Health System and Medical School

To contact a Health System or Medical School media coordinator to suggest a story idea, e-mail

List of media coordinators, and more information on the Department of Public Relations and Marketing Communications


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