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For February, 2011

Feb. 28 - Dr. Fink's research featured in Time Magazine

Time Magazine talks with David Fink, M.D., Robert Brear Professor of Neurology and chair of the Department of Neurology, about his gene-therapy study for a cover story on chronic pain. In the first study of its kind, Fink's team is testing whether using a viral vector to inject cancer patients with the gene associated with enkephalins - a type of opiate that the body naturally produces to dull pain sensations - can boost levels of the opiate and address the subjects' pain. In cases of chronic pain, enkephalins appear not to flow in sufficient quantities. The body's natural painkilling system — the opioids and analgesics we all produce — work by stopping pain signals from speeding along neural highways into the spinal cord and brain, reports Time.


Feb. 25 - Dr. Conroy talks to ABC 12 in Flint about dangers of long-term use of sleeping pills

While it's OK to use sleeping medication if you're having a particularly difficult time falling asleep, Deirdre A. Conroy, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and the clinical director of the University of Michigan's Behavioral Sleep Medicine program, warns about the dangers of becoming dependent on the pills. "...you get used to the fact, oh well, I can sleep better on this. So that becomes the next night and the next night, and you kind of end up with almost a reliance on that medicine, whatever it might be, whether it's over the counter or prescription," she tells ABC 12 in Flint.


Feb. 25 - Dr. Kazerooni discusses radiation risk from medical imaging tests with AnnArbor.com columnist

Ella A. Kazerooni, M.D., M.S., professor of radiology and director of the Division of Cardiothoracic Radiology at the University of Michigan, helps Ann Arbor resident Betsy de Parry evaluate radiation risk from CT and PET scans in today's installment of "Cancer Candid," de Parry's weekly column in AnnArbor.com. While there is no definitive answer about the risk for any given individual, Kazerooni says people shouldn't fear radiation exposure all by itself because the risk associated with these tests, when used wisely and considered individually, is smaller compared to its benefits.


Feb. 25 - Convenient blood test is not as effective for diagnosing diabetes in children, Dr. Lee tells the Seattle Times

The Seattle Times reports on a new University of Michigan study showing a commonly used blood glucose test may not be the best way to diagnose diabetes in children. Joyce M. Lee, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases and a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, tells the Seattle Times that although the hemoglobin A1c test is convenient because it doesn't require overnight fasting, it was not always reliable and missed finding the condition in some of the 1,156 overweight children, adolescents and teens in the study.


Feb. 24 - Detroit Free Press talks with Dr. Lee about study challenging diabetes test for children

A commonly used blood glucose test may not be the best way to diagnose diabetes in children, says Joyce M. Lee, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases and a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. Lee speaks with the Detroit Free Press about the hemoglobin A1c test, which measures longer-lasting blood-sugar levels in the blood, that the American Diabetes Association recommends using to diagnose diabetes in children and adults. Lee and other U-M researchers analyzed A1c test results of 1,156 overweight children, adolescents and teens, finding that the test was not always reliable and missed finding the condition in some children.


Feb. 24 - Dr. Hollingsworth discusses increase in outpatient surgery centers, potentially unnecessary surgeries with national media

John M. Hollingsworth, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of urology, talks with Reuters and MSNBC about a study showing the number of potentially unnecessary surgeries increased as the number of outpatient surgery centers increased. Hollingsworth, who is one of the study authors, says the centers save patients time and money, but the increase in potentially unnecessary surgeries may offset whatever money is being saved.


Feb. 23 - AnnArbor.com reports on ways to stay safe while sledding this year, talks with Mott trauma expert

Head injuries stemming from sledding accidents have doubled this year at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and Amy Teddy, the hospital's injury prevention program manager, gives AnnArbor.com three tips to keep sledding safe. The most important way to keep kids safe is to always wear a helmet, says Teddy.


Feb. 22 - U-M exercise physiologist and researcher tells NPR that older adults can increase muscle mass by lifting weights

The time in which physicians tell older adults not to do more exercise is long gone, says Mark Peterson, Ph.D., a research fellow in the Medical Rehabilitation Research Training program in the U-M Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. Peterson, an exercise physiologist and researcher with the U-M Health System, tells NPR that in an analysis of 39 studies, he found that among more than 1,300 adults over the age of 50, muscle mass could be increased by an average of nearly 2.5 pounds in just five months.


Feb. 22 - ABC News features Dr. Mobley in article on ways to alleviate recurrent urinary tract infections

For the better part of 25 years, ABS News reports that Harry L.T. Mobley, Ph.D., Frederick G. Novy Professor and chair of the U-M Department of Microbiology and Immunology, has devoted his time to alleviating the "considerable human misery" created by urinary tract infections. Mobley says he and his research team spend six days a week in the lab trying to develop a nasal spray for the infections. Despite his team's labors, Mobley says a safe and effective vaccine is at least a decade away. UMHS release   


Feb. 21 - Dr. Merajver talks to the Detroit Free Press about line of breast cells from Northville woman

For more than a decade, Sofia D. Merajver, M.D., Ph.D., professor of internal medicine and director of the U-M's Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk and Evaluation Program, has been using parts of 63-year-old Sue Cutting for cancer research. Breast cells taken from Cutting a quarter-century ago have been shipped to labs worldwide after a Michigan Cancer Foundation scientist found her cells began reproducing without end, reports the Detroit Free Press. Merajver tells the Free Press that the cells are valuable in that "you can culture them again and again and again, and they don't get old and die. ... It's a tremendous contribution to science."


Feb. 21 - Dr. Jackson explains why you shouldn't judge a doctor's ability to give healthy-living advice based on their looks

Elizabeth A. Jackson, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of internal medicine, responds to a Woman's Day reader who asks "If my doctor's less than fit, does it mean he won't deliver the best healthy-living advice?" Jackson says even if a doctor is overweight, it doesn't mean they can't offer you the best healthy-living advice. "...there are many reasons why a person might be overweight, and doctors are human, too. So don’t just focus on what your doctor looks like; consider what advice he is (or isn’t) giving you," Jackson writes. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor what they think you should do in regards to diet and exercise, she says.


Feb. 20 - Dr. Jackson suggests ways to keep your heart healthier to the Detroit Free Press

Elizabeth A. Jackson, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of internal medicine and a cardiologist at the University of Michigan Health System, shares tips with the Detroit Free Press for improving your heart health. Diet plays a critical role in preventing heart disease, but parents often don't practice what they preach to their children, says Jackson. "As moms, we tend to tell our kids to eat right. We have to tell ourselves to eat right," she says.


Feb. 18 - Dr. Brower discusses potential treatments for Detroit Tigers star with the Detroit News

Potential treatment for Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera -- who was arrested Wednesday night in Florida on suspicion of driving under the influence -- will depend on an assessment of Cabrera's issue with alcohol, says Kirk J. Brower, M.D., FASAM, professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School and executive director of the U-M Addiction Treatment Program. Brower speaks with the Detroit News in general terms regarding potential treatments and says that although the Tigers slugger faces a challenge, his career isn't over. Cabrera went through counseling more than a year ago following an October 2009 drinking incident.


Feb. 17 - UMHS's most popular video featured in AnnArbor.com

AnnArbor.com highlights the most popular U-M Health System video to date: Spring cleaning for your nose. In the video, Melissa A. Pynnonen, M.D., associate professor of otolaryngology and the co-director of the Michigan Sinus Center, tells listeners that nasal irrigation "does a great job in treating symptoms that otherwise aren't well treated with medicine." Pynnonen also offers advice on how to make your own irrigation solution. AnnArbor.com reports that as of Thursday, the nasal irrigation video had 45,798 hits.


Feb. 17 - WDIV Detroit will talk with Dr. De Vries on Tuesday about cameras in the delivery room

Watch Raymond De Vries, Ph.D., professor of medical education, obstetrics and gynecology and professor in the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine at the U-M Medical School, discuss cameras in the delivery room with WDIV Detroit between 6-7 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22. Earlier this month, the New York Times published De Vries' commentary on "picturing" birth and how it alters the intimate experience.


Feb. 17 - Dr. Davis explains to national media why parents giving young kids cough, cold meds is troubling

Despite a warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration more than two years ago, many American parents of children aged 2 and younger still give over-the-counter cough and cold medicines to their kids, says Matthew Davis, M.D., associate professor in the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the U-M Medical School and director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health. He tells the Los Angeles Times, MSN and U.S. News & World Report that a "new generation" of parents must be educated each year and physicians seem to not be heeding the FDA's warning. UMHS Release


Feb. 17 - Dr. Lee weighs in on new study showing stunting tall girls' growth may impact their fertility

MSNBC asks Joyce M. Lee, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases and a pediatric endocrinologist at the U-M Health System, to weigh in on a new Dutch study showing that tall girls who previously received hormones to stunt their grown now have more difficulty becoming pregnant compared to women who weren't treated. "There's always going to be unknown consequences of any medical therapy," says Lee, who was not involved in the study. "The important lesson is, (estrogen) wasn't really prescribed for life-threatening causes," just as growth hormone treatment isn't generally a life-or-death matter today.


Feb. 16 - Alcohol disrupts women's sleep more than men's, says Dr. Arnedt

Alcohol appears to cause more sleep problems in women than in men and may be related to differences in alcohol metabolism, says J. Todd Arnedt, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and neurology at the U-M Medical School. Arnedt, the study's lead author, tells CNN, BusinessWeek and MSN that women who consumed alcohol had fewer hours of sleep, woke more frequently and for more minutes during the night, and had more disrupted sleep compared to men who drank alcohol. UMHS Release


Feb. 16 - Dr. Hussain tells media that drug may slow growth of prostate cancer, but many men may not need it

A new study shows that a drug may slow the growth of tumors in men with early, low-risk prostate cancer -- and that most of these men do very well with no treatment at all, says Maha Hussain, M.D., FACP, professor of internal medicine and urology, the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center's associate director for clinical research and a U-M cancer specialist. Maha, who is program chair of a cancer conference in Florida where the study will be presented later this week. This is the first time that a drug for treating enlarged prostates also has been shown to help treat prostate cancer in a rigorous study, reports the Washington Post, Detroit News and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


Feb. 15 - U-M Lung Transplant Program reaches milestone, reports WDIV Detroit

Jack Wagner and Dan Roy became a part of the University of Michigan Transplant Center's history when they each received a lung transplant -- Wagner a left lung and Roy a right lung -- last month, becoming transplant No. 499 and No. 500 for U-M. Rishi Reddy, M.D., assistant professor of thoracic surgery, and Jules Lin, M.D., assistant professor of thoracic surgery, were in two separate operating rooms and performed the milestone lung transplants at the same time. Kevin M. Chan, M.D., clinical associate professor of internal medicine and director of the U-M Lung Transplant Program, tells WDIV Detroit that "numbers are important, but it's also important for quality of care, survival and patient satisfaction."


Feb. 15 - Artificial kidney created by Dr. Humes is featured in National Geographic

National Geographic highlights work by H. David Humes, M.D., professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School, in a recent article on organ regeneration. Humes created an artificial kidney from cells seeded onto a synthetic scaffold and the cell-phone-size kidney has passed tests on sheep. Although it's not yet implantable, National Geographic reports that it's wearable and it makes hormones and performs other kidney functions in addition to filtering toxins from blood.


Feb. 14 - Dr. Levine tells ABC News why some stroke survivors skip prescribed medications

Young, uninsured stroke survivors and Medicare beneficiaries with Part D prescription drug coverage often can't afford their prescribed stroke medication, says Deborah A. Levine, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of internal medicine and neurology. Not taking the medication puts these survivors at a higher risk for another stroke or other cardiovascular-related events, Levine says. But Levine says there are solutions, such as ensuring clinicians screen for cost-related medication underuse in stroke survivors and using lower-cost medications. ABC News


Feb. 14 - Mott experts talk sledding injuries with the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News

Last month, 9-year-old Bailey Knight lost control of her plastic sled and crashed head-first into a light pole, fracturing her cheekbone in three places. She wasn't wearing a helmet. Knight is one of 11 children who have been admitted to C.S. Mott Children's Hospital over the past two months after suffering serious injuries from sledding -- two times more than in a normal year, Mott's Injury Prevention Program Manager Amy Teddy tells the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News. Mark S. Molitor Jr., M.D., a pediatric trauma clinical lecturer at Mott, says that many people do not consider sledding an activity requiring a helmet. UMHS Release


Feb. 11 - Dr. Freed tells the Wall Street Journal that few doctors stock all recommended adult vaccines

The Wall Street Journal talks to Gary L. Freed, M.D., M.P.H., professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases, chief of the Division of General Pediatrics and director of the University of Michigan’s Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit, about a new study that shows few doctors stock all recommended adult immunizations. Freed, the study's lead author, says 96 percent of the surveyed family physicians and internists who provide primary care to adults stock at least one adult vaccine, only 27 percent stock them all. The cost of purchasing and storing vaccines that may or may not be used “was one of the reasons” physicians did not fully stock up, Freed says. UMHS Release


Feb. 9 - Dr. Kales explains to Reuters why doctors are prescribing fewer antipsychotic medications for dementia

An official warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about the possible deadly side effects of newer antipsychotics in elderly patients with dementia seems to be having its intended effect, says Helen C. Kales, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry at the U-M Medical School and researcher at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. Kales, who worked on a study examining new and old antipsychotics in elderly patients with dementia, tells Reuters that researchers found the use of the newer drugs dropped after the warning was issued in 2005, appearing to cause some doctors to stop prescribing them. UMHS Release


Feb. 10 - Listen to Dr. Markel on NPR's Science Friday

"Antibiotic" is the medical term that Dr. Howard Markel will discuss at 3:52 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, Feb. 11, on National Public Radio's Science Friday. Dr. Markel, who is director of the Center for the History of Medicine, is the featured expert for "Science Diction," the program's monthly 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. 


Feb. 8 - L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune report on Dr. Mickey, colleagues' research on genes and stress response, depression

The Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune report that a team of University of Michigan-led researchers have found that people who produce lower levels of the brain molecule Neuropeptide Y (NPY) appear to be at an increased risk of developing a major depressive disorder. Brian Mickey, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at the U-M Medical School and researcher at the U-M Molecular and Behavioral Neurosciences Institute, and colleagues tested whether people who had different versions of NPY scored differently in a few tests linked to depression and stress. UMHS Release


Feb. 8 - Dr. Huang helps CBS News separate colon cancer facts, myths

Emina Huang, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at the U-M Medical School, helps CBS News bust 10 myths about colon cancer, including the popular belief that you don't have colon cancer if you don't have any symptoms. Huang says this is "one of the most common misconceptions" related to colon cancer. "In fact, the most common symptom is no symptoms at all," she says.


Feb. 8 - Medical School Dean announces school's record-setting $368.7M from National Institutes of Health in 2010

James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., U-M Medical School Dean, announces that the Medical School's $368.7 million in research funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2010 set a school record -- and places it as No. 9 in the country for medical schools. “We are pleased to announce that each year our faculty and researchers attract significant funding for this important work,” he says. Overall, the U-M medical school took in $481.8 million in research funding from a total of 866 grants last year, a 10 percent increase from 2009. Crain's Detroit Business and UMHS release


Feb. 7 - Dr. Eagle discusses link between childhood obesity, school lunch with the New York Times

U-M researchers found that regularly eating school lunches is a risk factor for childhood obesity, Kim A. Eagle, M.D., professor of internal medicine, director of the U-M Cardiovascular Center and the paper's senior author, tells the New York Times. In a study of more than 1,000 sixth graders in multiple southeastern Michigan schools, Eagle and his colleagues found those who regularly ate the school lunch were 29 percent more likely to be obese than those who brought lunch from home.


Feb. 7 - Dr. Christner cautions against energy drinks, tells Toledo Blade about drink-related problems

You shouldn't believe everything you see when it comes to energy drinks, says Jennifer G. Christner, M.D., F.A.A.P., clinical assistant professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases who specializes in teen and young adult medicine. Companies advertise how some of its ingredients - such as Taurine - is naturally found in the human body and can help eliminate toxic substances, but Christner tells the Toledo Blade that the nutritional value is questionable.


Feb. 3 - New York Times publishes Dr. De Vries' commentary on cameras, child birth

Raymond De Vries, Ph.D., professor of medical education, obstetrics and gynecology and professor in the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine at the U-M Medical School, questions the place of cameras in the delivery room in his commentary published by the New York Times.


Feb. 3 - Better nutrition seems to help premature babies with lung disease, Dr. Filbrun tells media

U-M researchers found that premature babies with bronchopulmonary dysplasia - a severe lung disease - show significantly improved lung volumes if they had above-average weight gain, revealing a possible association between lung growth and improved nutrition. Study lead author Amy G. Filbrun, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases and director of the U-M Apnea and Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia Program, tells U.S. News & World Report that these results are consistent with animal studies showing the harmful effects of malnutrition on lung development. UMHS Press Release


Feb. 2 - Mott trauma expert talks sledding injuries, safety with CBS Detroit, WDIV Detroit to feature Mott tonight

With several weeks of winter left, U-M's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital reports the number of sledding-related injuries has doubled from previous years. Mott’s Injury Prevention Program Manager Amy Teddy tells CBS Detroit that using helmets while sledding could have reduced the severity of the injuries seen at Mott so far this year. At 5 p.m. tonight, WDIV Detroit will feature Mott in a story on sledding injuries and safety. WDIV Detroit airs locally on Channel 4.


Feb. 2 - Dr. Hayes discusses doctors' dilemma on the cancer drug Avastin

Avastin -- one of the world's most financially successful cancer drugs -- increases the rate of fatal side effects by nearly 50 percent when added to traditional chemotherapy, but its benefits for slowing tumor growth still can outweigh any harm for many patients. The problem is that doctors have no way to know which patients will benefit, says Daniel F. Hayes, M.D., professor of internal medicine, clinical director of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center's Breast Oncology Program and co-director of U-M's Breast Care Center. Hayes wrote an accompanying editorial to a new study that reveals the drug's rate of deadly side effects. USA Today and Bloomberg


Feb. 2 - Dr. Rubenfire gives AnnArbor.com tips for avoiding injury, death from shoveling snow

Are you the lucky person who will clear the driveway and sidewalks buried in yesterday's winter storm? Then Melvyn Rubenfire, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.C.P., professor of internal medicine, a U-M cardiologist and director of preventive cardiology, wants you to know how to avoid a potentially deadly heart attack, cardiac arrest or stroke. Rubenfire tells AnnArbor.com that people who have had previous heart attacks, who have had angina (symptoms of heart disease), and those who have had heart failure should avoid shoveling snow if possible because they are more at risk. Dressing in layers and easing into shoveling also will help prevent injury.


Feb. 1 - Unhealthy habits linked to childhood obesity, Dr. Eagle tells the Detroit News

Kim A. Eagle, M.D., professor of internal medicine, a U-M cardiologist and a director of the U-M Cardiovascular Center, tells the Detroit News that lifestyle -- not genetics -- is the main factor in childhood obesity. Eagle and his colleagues studied check-ups of more than 1,000 Michigan sixth-graders in a school-based health program and found that obese children tended to eat lunches from school instead of packed ones, failed to engage in regular physical activity and spent two hours daily watching television or playing video games.


Feb. 1 - Dr. Haig gives WebMD advice on how patients with low back pain can avoid unnecessary imaging tests

A simple step -- seeing a back pain specialist such as a physiatrist -- can help reduce unnecessary imaging tests and subsequent spinal surgeries by as much as one-third, says Andrew J. Haig, M.D., professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and a U-M physiatrist who practices in the U-M Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation's Spine Program. Haig talks with WebMD amid the release of new guidelines from the American College of Physicians, which say immediate imaging tests are not recommended for all patients with acute low back pain.


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