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For December, 2010

Dec. 30 - Dr. Lydic announces anesthesia is closer to a coma than sleep in new study

Ralph Lydic, Ph.D., professor of anesthesiology and associate chair for research in U-M’s departments of Anesthesiology and Molecular and Integrative Physiology, talks with ABC News about a three-year study he worked on that explores the similarities and differences of sleep, anesthesia and coma. On Wednesday, Lydic and his colleagues announced general anesthesia is more like a reversible drug-induced coma than sleep - a revelation that could lead to better treatments for coma and anesthesia.

Dec. 29 - Drinking alcohol to reduce social stress may all be in your head, says Dr. Himle

Joseph A. Himle, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and associate director of the U-M anxiety disease program, tells the Chicago Tribune that there is no solid evidence showing alcohol can reduce social stress. "The anticipated benefits are more likely psychological than biological," he says. Himle's explanation is included in the newspaper's various strategies to help readers quit or cut back on alcohol.

Dec. 27 - Dr. Zubieta offers explanation, discusses research on why placebos work despite people knowing it's fake

Jon-Kar Zubieta, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and radiology at the U-M Medical School and a member of the U-M Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, weighs in on a recent study showing placebos work even when patients know they're fake. Time speaks with Zubieta, who was not involved in the study, about the results and his research on the effects of placebos on the brain.

Dec. 26 - Dr. Silveira discusses new end-of-life policy with New York Times, Toledo Blade

Dr. Maria J. Silveira, assistant professor of internal medicine, speaks about a new policy that says the government will pay doctors who advise patients on their end-of-life options with the New York Times and the Toledo Blade. The policy is outlined in a Medicare regulation and, Silveira says, gives doctors an opportunity to learn a patient's wishes before a crisis occurs. Silveira says in a recent study of 3,700 people near the end of life, she found many participants lacked decision-making capacity in their final days.

Dec. 25 - 12-year-old girl returns home for holidays after undergoing heart transplant at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

Twelve-year-old Claire McCorkle of Sault Ste. Marie will get to become a teenager this year, thanks to an unknown heart donor and Dr. Richard G. Ohye, associate professor of surgery and head of U-M's pediatric cardiovascular surgery. Claire, who was diagnosed with a progressive heart disease known as restrictive cardiomyopathy, waited more than 10 months for a new heart. Ohye performed Claire's transplant five weeks after he had to tell the family the first heart she was supposed to receive was too damaged. Detroit News.

Dec. 24 - Dr. Ohye gives family "best Christmas present ever" after performing heart transplant on 10-week-old

Yesenia and Ignacio Ruelas counted their blessings this Christmas after their 10-week-old son, Emilio, received a life-saving heart transplant at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. Dr. Richard G. Ohye, associate professor of surgery and head of U-M's pediatric cardiovascular surgery, performed Emilio's transplant, reports the Grand Rapids Press. Yesenia, Emilio's mother, says her baby's new heart was the "best Christmas present ever."

Dec. 23 - Young ovarian cancer survivor spreads holiday cheer at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

Eight-year-old Mariel Almendras spent the holiday season last year at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, receiving treatment for ovarian cancer. She says presents and cards from her friends at Dicken Elementary made her happy and she wants to do the same for others, reports On Wednesday, Mariel delivered Beanie Babies and cards from her and her classmates. Linda McAlister, a pediatric oncology doctor who treated Mariel, says Mariel maintained an "amazingly positive" outlook during treatment.

Dec. 23 - U-M Cancer Center's $10.7M grant represents major effort to help patients, says Dr. Brenner

The U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center's upcoming five-year study of colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer could lead to technological improvements that would benefit patients, says Dean E. Brenner, M.D., professor of internal medicine and pharmacology at the U-M Medical School and the Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System. Brenner is the principal investigator of a new $10.7 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, reports and the Detroit News. UMHS Press Release.

Dec. 23 - Baby born with malformed lungs beat the odds, says Dr. Mychaliska

Doctors didn't expect Jadon Jenkins to survive after he was born with congenital diaphragmatic hernia, which prevents normal lung growth because of a hole in the diaphragm. Dr. George B. Mychaliska, assistant professor of surgery, obstetrics and gynecology and director of the U-M Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center, says Jadon was put on the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine. The machine performed the work of his malformed lungs and kept him alive. Now, Jadon is no longer on oxygen or medication reports Fox 2 News.

Dec. 22 - Dr. Gruis helps grandmother regain control of her life

Two years ago, 65-year-old Marie McMillan couldn't bake, walk, swallow or keep her eyes open because of a previously undiagnosed neuromuscular disorder. But her strength improved almost immediately after her first treatment with Kirsten L. Gruis, M.D., M.S., associate professor of neurology and director of the U-M Motor Neuron Disease Center. Gruis talks with Fox 2 News about McMillan and U-M's efforts to find the right treatment. UMHS Press Release.

Dec. 21 - Think a full moon induces labor? It's a myth, says Dr. Van De Ven

One question that seemingly always comes up in labor and delivery is whether a full moon induces labor, says Dr. Cosmas Van De Ven, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the chief of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. The verdict? "It's a complete myth," he tells

Dec. 21 - Dr. Baker gives progress report on developing respiratory syncytial virus intranasal vaccine

Dr. James R. Baker Jr., director of the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences at the U-M Medical School, speaks with the New York Times about a nearly $6 million grant his U-M spinout company NanoBio Corp. recently received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a thermostable respiratory syncytial virus intranasal vaccine. Five years ago, Bill Gates first started funding research aimed at tackling some of the world's biggest health problems. The New York Times reports on the progress of Baker's grant and several others. UMHS Press Release.

Dec. 20 - Dr. Rubenstein says for most, chronic heartburn not a big risk for esophageal cancer

Dr. Joel H. Rubenstein, M.Sc., assistant professor in the U-M’s Department of Internal Medicine and an investigator with the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Clinical Management Research in Ann Arbor, says gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is not as high a risk factor for esophageal cancer for most as previously thought. Rubenstein, who led a study on it, tells BusinessWeek and Reuters that about 1 in 4 people have symptoms of GERD, but 25 percent of people won't get esophageal cancer. UMHS Press Release.

Dec. 20 - Minnesota becomes first state outside Michigan to endorse U-M's pacemaker recycling program

A pacemaker recycling program developed by U-M doctors is now being promoted in Minnesota, reports the Minnesota Star Tribune. The Minnesota Funeral Directors Association recently endorsed the program, making the state the first outside Michigan to participate in the voluntary program. "The [Minnesota funeral directors] feel as though these devices are currently a wasted resource that could potentially change the lives of many in Third World countries," says Dr. Timir S. Baman, a U-M cardiology fellow and one of the program's founders. UMHS Press Release.

Dec. 17 - U-M's vice president for research says scientists will benefit from new Detroit patent office

The University of Michigan and Ann Arbor-based technology companies will soon have better access to federal intellectual property resources. Stephen R. Forrest, U-M's vice president for research, says the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's decision to open its first satellite office in Detroit in 2011 will generate benefits for U-M scientists and engineers. The Ann Arbor Business Review reports that the U-M filed for 151 patent applications in its 2009 fiscal year and 1,184 since 2001.

Dec. 16 - Congenital heart patient shares special bond with his surgeon, Dr. Ohye

Eight years ago, a then-6-week-old Caden Bowel, of Ft. Wayne, Ind., received a heart transplant at the U-M C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. Caden returned to the U-M after being diagnosed with cancer and reconnected with his heart surgeon, Dr. Richard G. Ohye, associate professor of surgery, director of U-M Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and the Pediatric Cardiovascular Transplant Program. The News-Sentinel reports on the special bond Caden shares with Ohye.

Dec. 16 - Listen to Dr. Markel on NPR's Science Friday

"Comet" is the scientific term that Dr. Howard Markel will discuss at 3:50 p.m. Eastern Time on, Friday, Dec. 17, on National Public Radio's Science Friday. Markel is director of the Center for the History of Medicine, and is the featured expert for "Science Diction," a monthly Science Friday segment examining scientific and medical words. Listen to all of Dr. Markel's Science Diction segments, or read more on the Science Friday blog here.

Dec. 16 - Depression during pregnancy may affect unborn child's brain development, says Dr. Vazquez

Up to 1 in 5 women may experience depression during pregnancy and it may affect the development of their unborn children's brains, says Dr. Delia M. Vazquez, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the U-M Medical School. Vazquez was the lead investigator in the study showing babies born to mothers who are depressed during pregnancy have higher levels of stress hormones, decreased muscle tone and other neurological and behavioral differences, reports BusinessWeek and U.S. News & World Report. UMHS Press Release

Dec. 15 - Depression drug may relieve breast care treatment pain, says Dr. Henry

New research from the U-M Health System shows duloxetine, a popular antidepressant drug, helps alleviate pain stemming from breast cancer treatment, reports AOL Health News. "Duloxetine appears to be effective at reducing the muscle and joint pain many women experience from aromatase inhibitors, with only mild additional side effects," says study author N. Lynn Henry, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of internal medicine. UMHS Press Release.

Dec. 14 - U-M, Indiana University communities mourn loss of Mark Pescovitz, husband of UMHS CEO Ora Pescovitz

On Dec. 12, 2010, a motor vehicle accident took the life of Mark Pescovitz, M.D., transplant surgeon at the Indiana University School of Medicine and husband of Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., the CEO of the University of Michigan Health System and executive vice president for medical affairs of the U-M. Multiple media outlets, including, Crain's Detroit Business and the Indianapolis Star, report on Mark Pescovitz's tragic death. UMHS Press Release.

Dec. 14 - Dr. Nallamothu explains why doctors should use X-ray contrast dye sparingly to Wall Street Journal

Brahmajee K. Nallamothu, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of internal medicine and cardiologist at the U-M Health System, cautions doctors against using contract dye to enhance X-ray images after a Brazilian study shows a generic drug thought to protect kidneys has no benefit. The drug, acetylcysteine, is one of four strategies commonly used to treat cardiovascular disease that recently failed to show benefits in recent studies, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Dec. 13 - Hormones may be one reason why adult women especially at risk for severe concussions, says Dr. Kutcher

A recent study showed women, especially those of child-bearing age, took longer then men to recover from concussions. Fluctuating hormones may affect how the brain recovers from trauma, says Jeffrey S. Kutcher, M.D., assistant professor of neurology and director of the Michigan Neurosport Program. Recent media attention has focused on concussions in pro football players, but research indicates that adult women may be especially at risk, reports MSN.

Dec. 13 - Depression Center director says holiday season not filled with "happy, Hallmark moments" for many

Melvin McInnis, director of the Depression Center at the UMHS, tells the Detroit Free Press that stress and anxiety increase during the holiday season. The Free Press speaks with several community members, from ministers or rabbis to help-hotline operators and bartenders, who listen and offer relief to those feeling the holiday blues.

Dec. 10 - Dr. Rosen identifies, disproves nine common eating disorder myths

Dr. David S. Rosen, professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases, internal medicine and psychiatry, shares nine common and potentially deadly eating disorder myths with CBS News. Some of the myths to make the list are that eating disorders affect only women and someone must have extreme thinness and starve themselves to have anorexia.

Dec. 10 - Dr. Pearlman offersexplanations for why mammogram testing may be on the decline

Only half of insured women ages 40 to 85 had a mammogram between 2006 through 2009, according to a new study led by Medco Health Solutions. Mark D. Pearlman, M.D., professor and vice chair the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, offers WWJ Newsradio several explanations for this new information, such as discomfort with the test or lack of access due to mammography facilities shortages.

Dec. 9 - Dr. Simeone talks about pancreatic cancer with the Detroit News

Aretha Franklin, a beloved Detroit musical artist, is suffering from pancreatic cancer, according to multiple media reports. Diane M. Simeone, M.D., professor of surgery and director of the U-M Multidisciplinary Pancreatic Tumor Clinic, tells the Detroit News that those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer typically have a 5 percent chance of living five years.

Dec. 8 - Dr. Robinson weighs in on study showing 'mindfulness' therapy works for depression

A new study suggests teaching people how to meditate and pay attention to emotional triggers - called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy - may be as effective as medication in preventing depression relapses. Elizabeth A. R. Robinson, M.P.H., Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, teaches mindfulness-based cognitive therapy classes and tells Fox News it is an alternative for those who don't like the side effects of medication.

Dec. 8 - Medical School dean helps campaign to bring high-speed fiber-optic network to Ann Arbor

As Ann Arbor continues to wait to hear whether its won a competition for Google fiber, a high-speed fiber-optic network, U-M Medical School Dean James Woolliscroft, M.D. is helping grassroots efforts to catch Google's attention. Woolliscroft is one of several local leaders to submit a video to A2Fiber, a campaign to pitch Ann Arbor as a Google fiber community.

Dec. 8 - Decision to stop therapy for metastatic breast cancer is difficult, says Dr. Hayes

One day after announcing she stopped all cancer treatment, Elizabeth Edwards died from metastatic breast cancer. Daniel F. Hayes, M.D., professor of internal medicine and clinical director of the Breast Oncology Program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, talks with ABC News about the "gut-wrenching" decision facing doctors: When to stop chemotherapy and focus on symptom management.

Dec. 7 - Health System CEO praises U-M's research efforts so far, looks toward future discoveries

Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., U-M executive vice president for medical affairs and CEO of UMHS, wrote an article about the U-M's success in technology transfer and its limitless potential to continue developing innovative paths in health services research and medical devices. Pescovitz's article, which appears in Crain's Detroit Business, also discusses the importance of legislation and policies to support U-M's research efforts.

Dec. 7 - Dr. Jackson talks with CBC News about doctors' unhealthy habits, effect on counseling patients

Dr. Elizabeth A. Jackson, M.P.H., clinical assistant professor of internal medicine, talks with CBC News about a study showing doctors who don't exercise and eat well are less confident about counseling patients about diet and exercise. Jackson, the study's senior author, says physicians who are trying to become healthier are more likely to feel their counseling was effective.

Dec. 7 - UMHS chief risk officer discusses impact of program that encourages medical error disclosures

In honor of its upcoming tenth anniversary, a UMHS program encouraging doctors to inform patients of medical mistakes is featured in the Michigan Daily. Richard Boothman, UMHS's chief risk officer, started the program in 2001, but says the Health System has always been "a highly ethical place."

Dec. 7 - Gender, race increases risk of high blood pressure, says Dr. Levine

A person's race, gender and where they live can strongly affect their risk for high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, says Deborah A. Levine, M.P.H., assistant professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School. Levine led a study that examined data from more than 3,000 people in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Minneapolis and Oakland, Calif., reports BusinessWeek and MSN.

Dec. 6 - Organ donation, transplant at U-M saves life of NHL referee's son

Devin O’Halloran was on skates when he was 3-years-old, learning to skate like his dad, who is a National Hockey League referee. O’Halloran, who was born with a rare disease, was 5 years old when he received a liver transplant from the U-M Health System, reports Fox 2 News. Jeffrey D. Punch, M.D., professor of surgery and chief of the Division of Transplantation, says about 15 percent of U-M patients placed on the waiting list for a liver transplant die before getting a chance at the operation. UMHS Release.

Dec. 2 - U-M hospitals recognized for patient safety, reports local media

The U-M Health System received top honors this week from the Leapfrog Group, a respected independent health care quality rating organization. Local media, including and the Detroit News, report that the Health System is among 65 institutions named 2010 Leapfrog Top Hospitals. Darrell Campbell Jr., M.D., chief medical officer, U-M Hospitals and Health Centers, and Henry King Ransom Professor of Surgery at the U-M Medical School, leads U-M's patient safety program. UMHS release.

Dec. 1 - NanoBio. Corp., Michigan Nanotechnology Institute to work together on developing vaccine

The Ann Arbor-based NanoBio Corp., a U-M spinoff company, is receiving a $6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences (MNIMBS) at the U-M Medical School will receive a subcontract in the amount of $2,054,757. reports that the grant is to develop an intranasal vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus. If approved for the market, the foundation has the rights to distribute the vaccine to the developing world and NanoBio maintains rights to sell it in the developed world, says James R. Baker, Jr., M.D., founder and CEO of NanoBio Corp., and director of the MNIMBS.

Dec. 1 - Dr. Kutcher weighs in on experimental method for detecting athletes' brain injuries before death

A new study suggests a noninvasive imaging technique may help doctors detect chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition caused by repeated concussions, in athletes. Currently, the only test to diagnose it is done after death. Jeffrey S. Kutcher, M.D., assistant professor of neurology and director of the Michigan NeuroSport program, tells the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times and the Seattle Times that the study - which he is not involved in - provides intriguing evidence that chemical changes in the brain are a symptom of the condition.

Nov. 30 - Dr. Rosen talks about the rise of anorexia and bulimia in children and teens

BusinessWeek, CBS News and other media outlets quoted Dr. David Rosen, professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases and psychiatry, on the rise of anorexia and bulimia in children and teens, saying "eating disorders are equal-opportunity disorders."

Nov. 29 - Dr. Kutcher featured on NPR's Morning Edition program

After 14-year-old Megan Lindsey suffered her second concussion this fall while playing soccer, her parents took her to see U-M sports concussion expert Dr. Jeffrey S. Kutcher, assistant professor of neurology and director of the Michigan NeuroSport program. NPR's Morning Edition program spoke with Kutcher about concussion risks amid new research showing that girls may be more likely to end up in the emergency room than boys.

Nov. 29 - Dr. Divi discusses new oral cancer treatment with the Detroit Free Press

The U-M is among the first health care systems in the country to offer oral cancer patients a new treatment that could save their speech and ability to eat while possibly helping them avoid radiation, reports the Detroit Free Press. Vasu Divi, M.D., clinical lecturer of otolaryngology, performs the TransOral Robotic Surgery and says an advantage of the robotic surgery is that patients can still have radiation or chemotherapy is their tumors recur.

Nov. 26 - U-M wins annual organ donor challenge against Ohio State

For the first time since the contest began in 2006, the U-M won the annual organ donor challenge by registering 79,958 donors to Ohio State’s 57,083. "We all enjoy winning a victory against our rival from Ohio,” says Tony Denton, executive director of University Hospitals and chief operating officer of U-M Hospitals and Health Centers. “But the real winners will be the people who rely on these life-saving gifts, organs and tissues that will give thousands of people a second chance at life."

Nov. 24 - Japanese mayors, hospital leaders visit U-M to study family medicine practices

A delegation of Japanese mayors and hospital executives visited the U-M Hospital and its Japanese clinic at Domino's Farms last week to learn more about family medicine, reports the Ann Arbor Journal. The officials want to revamp their medical practice and needed a family medicine model to study, says Michael D. Fetters, M.D., M.P.H., M.A., associate professor of family medicine and director of U-M's Japanese Family Health Program. UMHS release

Nov. 23 - Dr. Kazerooni explains how to reduce radiation exposure from medical imaging tests

Ella A. Kazerooni, M.D., M.S., professor of radiology and director of the Division of Cardiothoracic Radiology, says the best way to reduce radiation exposure from CT scans and other medical imaging tests is to avoid them when possible. The Detroit Free Press and USA Today reports on a growing concern over patients receiving potentially harmful doses of radiation from medical imaging tests and new campaigns encouraging imaging centers to follow measures to cut exposure.

Nov. 22 - U-M plays crucial role in landing largest federal medical home pilot project

With help from University of Michigan leaders, Michigan is one of eight states selected to participate in a three-year Medicare demonstration project to prove the value of medical homes. Jean M. Malouin, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of family medicine and associate medical director for ambulatory care services at the U-M Medical School, is co-leading the project, which aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of health care, strengthen the patient and primary care physician relationship, and reduce health care costs. Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of the the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation (CHRT) at the University of Michigan, tells Crain's Detroit Business that the award showcases Michigan as the state with the largest ongoing medical home project. UMHS Press release

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