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For May, 2008

May 29 - Ann Arbor News remembers pioneering heart patient

The front page of Thursday's Ann Arbor News featured a touching farewell to Maddie Shaw, the four-year-old Mott Hospital patient who was kept alive for more than a year on the Berlin Heart device while she waited for a transplant. Though Maddie lost her fight, she will be remembered by the Michigan Congenital Heart Center team, and all who participated in her care at Mott, as a pioneer in helping show how this new device can be used to sustain children with severe heart failure. In fact, she and her care team set a new U.S. record for number of days on the Berlin Heart. Her funeral will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, 120 S. State St. At her family's request, donations in Maddie's memory may be made to the Pediatric Cardiothoracic ICU (or PCTU), where Maddie lived since early 2007, via this web form. (Click " I want to choose the areas my gift should help." and type "PCTU" in the "other" box.)

May 28 - Proton beam consortium makes local news

Local media outlets including the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News and Crain's Detroit Business all featured stories today about a newly formed consortium to bring proton beam therapy to Michigan. UMHS is part of the consortium, which currently includes six local health systems. Proton beam therapy is an innovative form of radiation treatment with potential to cause fewer side effects and less damage to healthy tissue compared to state-of-the-art photon-based radiation. We believe a consortium approach is the right way to pursue this expensive but exciting new therapy. News stories also appeared in the Ann Arbor News, Modern Health Care and the Oakland Business Review. The consortium has formed a Web site with more information. Read the press release.

May 21 - Study by Drs. Kerr and Hofer makes news

A new study on blood pressure treatment among people with diabetes, led by Eve Kerr, M.D., MPH, and Timothy Hofer, M.D., M.S., General Medicine/VA Ann Arbor, is receiving attention this week after being published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The study finds that many patients aren't receiving adjustments to their BP treatments even when they have high readings during clinic visits, and explores the reasons why this might be happening. So far, the HealthDay newswire and Reuters newswires have carried stories that are being used by many news organizations, and more stories are planned on Michigan Radio and CNN. Read the UMHS press release here.

May 20 - Hear Drs. Chervin & Arnedt on NPR this afternoon

Two U-M sleep experts will discuss insomnia during the second hour of today's episode of Talk of the Nation, a live call-in show heard across the country on National Public Radio stations. Ronald Chervin, M.D., the director of the Sleep Disorders Center and the Michael S. Aldrich Sleep Disorders Laboratory, and Todd Arnedt, Ph.D., Director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program, will both appear on the show in the 3 p.m. hour, along with the author of a new book on insomnia. You can hear the show locally on Michigan Radio 91.7 FM. A recording of the show will also be available here after 6 p.m. today.

May 18 - Dr. El-Kashlan on WZZM-13

Last month, WZZM-13 followed Jessica Stone's surgery for neurofibromatosis and the difficult days afterward. Jessica is  a 22-year-old who had brain surgery to remove a tumor, knowing that the surgery would save her life but likely cost her ability to hear. Her story continues one month later when she returns to the University of Michigan to see a hearing specialist, Hussam El-Kashlan, M.D., an otolaryngologist. After she completes some hearing tests, Dr. El-Kashlan tells her that she'll need to have another test during her next visit. He says, "This is a wonderful result. I'm very happy to see her doing as well as she is." The station will continue to follow Jessica's story.

May 18 - NY Times features UMHS malpractice strategy on front page

The front page of Sunday's New York Times featured a major story on a growing trend in American medicine: a new approach to malpractice claims, medical errors and near-misses that has physicians and hospitals engaging with patients and their attorneys outside of court. UMHS is widely recognized as a national leader of this trend, both in offering settlements for actual errors and in defending physicians against unfounded claims. We're also known for our practice of constantly applying the lessons learned from patient complaints to reduce the chance of similar situations in the future. Read the Times story here and read more about the UMHS approach to malpractice claims here.

May 15 - Heart patient, Dr Pagani on Toledo TV

A major story Thursday night on WTOL-TV, the CBS station in Toledo, featured a patient who received a HeartMate II heart-assist device at the U-M Cardiovascular Center, after suffering heart failure in his 30s. Dr. Francis Pagani, Cardiac Surgery, who led the team that implanted the device, was also featured. To watch the story online, visit this page and click the small headline next to the video camera icon, just above the picture of a heart. This story may be aired on CBS stations nationwide in coming weeks. The HeartMate II recently received approval from the FDA as a bridge to heart transplant, after a national clinical trial co-led by Dr Pagani. Read more about the U-M heart-assist device program here.

May 14 - Dr. Eitzman on TV nationwide

Earlier this year, Daniel Eitzman, M.D., and his team from Cardiovascular Medicine published a study linking "belly" fat directly to inflammation and atherosclerosis, an important milestone in understanding why fat in certain areas of the body is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease. The ScienCentral news service, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, has just prepared a story on this research, and has distributed it to TV stations nationwide. The story has already appeared on stations in Portland, OR, Seattle and Salt Lake City, and on the Spanish-language Univision network. Watch the story online here and read the press release on the study here.

May 13 - Dr. Lichter in New York Times

Paul R. Lichter, M.D.,
glaucoma specialist and Chair, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, is quoted in today's New York Times on the detection and treatment of eye diseases that commonly affect the general population. Glaucoma, for example, affects 2.2 million people, and requires surgical or medical treatment to avoid permanent loss of vision. Dr. Lichter also comments on advances in cataract surgery and on the need to monitor the vision of patients with age-related macular degeneration.  Treatments are emerging for wet AMD, while dry AMD is more difficult to treat, but is the focus of intense research.  Learn more about eye diseases and treatment here.  Read about research on visual development and disease at Kellogg's Web site.

May 13 - Dr. Worden in New York Times

Francis Worden, M.D., Cancer Center/Internal Medicine, is quoted in today's New York Times in a story about new research from the Cancer Center's Head and Neck Oncology Program. The researchers found a series of markers that indicate which patients are more likely to survive cancers of the base of the tongue and tonsils. Most notably, they found that cancers linked to HPV, or human papillomavirus, are the most responsive to current chemotherapy and radiation treatments. In addition to the New York Times, an article appears in Web MD quoting study author Thomas Carey, Ph.D., Cancer Center/Otolaryngology. Read more about the research from the UMHS press release.

May 11 - Stroke survivor on Ch. 4, in Free Press

Kristy deCastro of Canton is just 39, but she's already a stroke survivor - and a new mom! She survived her stroke with the help of advanced emergency treatment from the U-M Stroke Program, and had her baby a year later with the help of the U-M Obstetrics & Gynecology team. Now, she's sharing her story with the public through stories in Sunday's Detroit Free Press, and on Channel 4 WDIV-TV Detroit. Read the Free Press story here and a text version of the Ch. 4 story here.

May 9 - Dr Zubieta in the news

A new depression study by a team led by Jon-Kar Zubieta, M.D., Ph.D., Psychiatry/MBNI, is getting attention in the news media this week. The study results show that depressed people's brains have fewer receptors for certain "feel good" neurotransmitters than the brains of non-depressed people, and that there's variation among depressed people too. What's more, that variation among depressed people appears to be linked to how severe their symptoms are and whether they respond to treatment. The study has already been covered by the HealthDay newswire, the Canadian CTV network and WWJ-AM in Detroit, among others. Read the UMHS press release on the study.

May 6 - Howard Markel in the New York Times

In an essay in today's New York Times, Howard Markel, M.D., Ph.D., Center for the History of Medicine, discusses the impact of court-ordered monitoring devices on people struggling with substance abuse, and the implications for true recovery.

May 5 - UM-CareLink article in Healthcare IT News

The Healthcare IT News reported today that the UMHS completed implementation of its UM-CareLink online order entry system. This system allows physicians, nurses and technicians to order laboratory tests, procedures, medications, and nutrition services online from any computer. Quoted in the article were Robert Kelch, M.D., U-M executive
vice president for medical affairs and CEO, U-M Health System, Douglas L. Strong, CEO of U-M Hospitals and Health Centers, and Jocelyn DeWitt, Ph.D., chief information officer, U-M HHC.

May 5 - Dr. Carmen Green in Time magazine

People in households earning less than $30,000 a year are in pain 20 percent of the time, compared with just 8 percent in households earning more than $100,000. An article in Time magazine focuses on this disparity, and quotes Carmen R. Green, M.D., about a 2005 study she led. That study found that minorities and poor people have less access to pain medications because pharmacies in their neighborhoods do not have adequate supplies of oxycodone, morphine and other drugs. "I have patients who have to drive 30 miles or more just to get their pain medications," says Green, associate professor of anesthesiology and director of the Pain Research Division.


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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