News

News

UofL educators honored by Louisville Business First for preparing future physicians to care for LGBTQ patients

Amy Holthouser, M.D., and Stacie Steinbock receive “Best Innovators” award for UofL’s eQuality Project
UofL educators honored by Louisville Business First for preparing future physicians to care for LGBTQ patients

Amy Holthouser, M.D., and Stacie Steinbock

Amy Holthouser, M.D., and Stacie Steinbock were honored by Louisville Business First as “Best Innovators” for their work in educating future physicians regarding the best care for LGBTQ patients at the 2017 Health Care Hero Awards. Holthouser, associate dean for medical education at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and Steinbock, director of the UofL LGBT Center Office at the Health Sciences Center, received the award for their work in launching the eQuality Project, a national pilot program at UofL for developing curriculum for medical students to better meet the health-care needs of LGBTQ patients. The event, held Feb. 23 at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, recognized professionals making a significant impact in the Louisville health-care community.

“We are proud to be recognized by leaders in our business community with this award,” Holthouser said. “By teaching physicians how to take better care of all patients, we believe we make the Commonwealth of Kentucky a healthier environment for businesses to invest in the future.”

The eQuality Project was established at UofL to ensure that individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), gender nonconforming or born with differences of sex development (DSD) receive the best possible health care. The UofL School of Medicine is the first in the nation to incorporate competencies published in 2014 by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) related to provision of care for LGBT and DSD individuals.

“While this category only allowed up to two people to be named, the success of this project is due to a huge team of people contributing in many different ways,” Steinbock said. “This innovative work is made possible by the compassionate, brave leadership within the School of Medicine.”

Holthouser and Steinbock were among five winners at the 2017 Health Care Heroes program honored for their impact as a manager, provider, innovator or in community outreach. A total of 19 health-care professionals and a specialty health-care facility were finalists for the awards. Finalists for the innovator award from UofL also included Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, and Darryl Kaelin, M.D., chief of the Division of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. Kathrin LaFaver, M.D., the Raymond Lee Lebby Chair for Parkinson’s Research, was a finalist in the provider category, and the Kentucky Racing Health Services Center through the UofL School of Nursing was a finalist for the community outreach award. Winners were selected by a team consisting of Business First editors and the publisher.

Call for summer research projects

Call for summer research projects

Proposals are now being solicited from faculty to submit a biomedical summer research project for medical students at the University of Louisville.

The student’s stipend support and poster production costs are covered by the School of Medicine’s Summer Research Scholar Program (SRSP) and NIH training grants. 

To submit a project, visit http://louisville.edu/medicine/research/students/srsp/faculty-project-submission      

Deadline is March 10, 2017.

 

 


Full-size image:262 KB | View imageViewDownload imageDownload

Science fiction into reality: What can artificial intelligence really do for us – or against us? Beer with a Scientist Mar. 15

UofL computer science professor will discuss safety, security and economic possibilities of artificial intelligence
Science fiction into reality:  What can artificial intelligence really do for us – or against us? Beer with a Scientist  Mar. 15

Roman Yampolskiy, Ph.D.

From TheJetsons to I, Robot, science fiction writers have illustrated both exciting and frightening visions of the impact computers, robots or other forms of artificial intelligence (AI) could have on society and mankind. As technology has become increasingly integrated into our lives, the prospect of living with super-intelligent machines has become not only conceivable, but perhaps inevitable.

Roman Yampolskiy, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Computer Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Louisville Speed School of Engineering, will share his insights into the current and future reality of artificial intelligence at the next Beer with a Scientist event.

“Many scientists, futurologists and philosophers have predicted that humanity will achieve a technological breakthrough and create Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), machines that can perform any task as well as a human can,” Yampolskiy said. “It has been suggested that AGI may be a positive or negative factor in all domains, including technology and economy. I will attempt to analyze some likely changes caused by arrival of AGI.”

Yampolskiy is interested in AI, AI safety, cybersecurity, digital forensics, pattern recognition and games related to artificial intelligence. He has written a book, “Artificial Superintelligence:  A Futuristic Approach,” that addresses issues related to ensuring this technology remains beneficial to humanity.

 The event begins at 8 p.m. onWednesday, Mar. 15, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.

Admission is free. Purchase of beer, other beverages or menu items is not required but is encouraged.

Organizers add that they also encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook. Upcoming dates:  April 5, May 17, and June 14.

Erica Sutton and UofL medical students improve access to colon cancer screening

Sutton and Surgery on Sunday Louisville receive award for providing colonoscopies for uninsured and underinsured
Erica Sutton and UofL medical students improve access to colon cancer screening

Erica Sutton, M.D.

Erica Sutton, M.D., assistant professor and director of community engagement for the University of Louisville Department of Surgery, and Surgery on Sunday Louisville (SOSL) were honored last week by the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) for efforts in colorectal cancer prevention. SOSL was presented an 80% by 2018 National Achievement Award during a live webcast on March 1 in honor of Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

Sutton, also assistant dean of medical education, clinical skills at the UofL School of Medicine, founded Surgery on Sunday Louisville, which provides colonoscopies and other surgical procedures for individuals who are uninsured or underinsured. Sutton, along with UofL medical students Sam Walling and Jamie Heimroth, who volunteer for SOSL, traveled to New York City to receive the award and participate in the live event.

National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable was co-founded by the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 80% by 2018 National Achievement Award recognizes individuals and organizations who are dedicating their time, talent and expertise to advancing needed initiatives that support the shared goal to regularly screen 80 percent of adults 50 and over by 2018. SOSL was one of five honorees recognized, along with the grand prize winner, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.Left to right:  Mary Doroshenk (Director of NCCRT), Jamie Heimroth (2nd year medical student at UofL, involved in SOSL), Christopher Head (SOSL Board Member), Erica Sutton, M.D. (Executive Director of SOSL, UofL School of Medicine faculty), Sam Walling (Medical Director of SOSL, 4th year medical student at UofL), Emily Bell (Associate Director of NCCRT), and Richard Wender, M.D. (Chief Cancer Control Officer, American Cancer Society)

Sutton, who practices with UofL Physicians and is chief of surgery at Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, has special expertise in minimally invasive procedures and surgical endoscopy. Through Surgery on Sunday Louisville, she and other physicians and health-care professionals provide in-kind outpatient surgical and endoscopic care to income-eligible members of the Louisville community who are uninsured or underinsured. Among the services provided are colonoscopies for patients who may be at high risk for colon cancer but who do not have adequate health insurance coverage to obtain the recommended colonoscopies to screen for the disease.

Despite a sharp increase in the percentage of individuals who have health insurance coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Sutton said some individuals still cannot obtain the tests they need.

“We have had a very successful rollout of the ACA here in Kentucky. However, there are still gaps,” Sutton said. “We have people in Kentucky who cannot afford their ACA deductibles or insurance premiums. They are falling into those gaps. There are high risk people for colon cancer whose insurance doesn’t cover the recommended screenings so they would have to pay for endoscopies.”

Last year, Sutton, Walling and others published research in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons showing that providing free colonoscopies to high-risk individuals who could not afford the tests was cost-neutral compared with individuals who developed advanced colon cancer.

“One of the biggest messages we give is that Kentucky is doing a great job, but we still have a need for this program.”

In her role as director of community engagement for the UofL Department of Surgery, Sutton says she sees department-wide support for health equity.

“Our department as a group really does want to see surgical access for all people in our community. Individually, our surgeons stand behind that and put forth their time and resources so anyone who needs surgical specialist gets the help they need. I am very proud of how they do that.”

Walling, a fourth-year medical student at UofL, has volunteered with SOSL since its inception and now serves as the group’s medical director. He helped develop a program to formalize medical student participation in SOSL, which he says will enable a higher percentage of medical students to gain clinical experience prior to entering residency, allow them increased understanding of health disparities and the role of humanism in medicine. Walling will report on the effort, done in conjunction with the Distinction in Medical Education program, at the Association for Surgical Education Annual Meeting in April in San Diego.

Surgery on Sunday Louisville, Inc.

Founded in 2013, Surgery on Sunday Louisville is modeled after Surgery on Sunday, Inc., of Lexington, Ky., which has been serving Kentucky residents since 2005. Physicians and other volunteers provide surgical services to uninsured or underinsured patients every other month. Patients are seen twice a month in clinic for screening and post-op visits. Since its founding, more than 500 Surgery on Sunday volunteers have treated more than 270 patients in Louisville.

Surgery on Sunday receives award

Left to right: Mary Doroshenk (Director of NCCRT), Jamie Heimroth (2nd year medical student at UofL, involved in SOSL), Christopher Head (SOSL Board Member), Erica Sutton, M.D. (Executive Director of SOSL, UofL School of Medicine faculty), Sam Walling (Medical Director of SOSL, 4th year medical student at UofL), Emily Bell (Associate Director of NCCRT), and Richard Wender, M.D. (Chief Cancer Control Officer, American Cancer Society)
Surgery on Sunday receives award
Full-size image:549 KB | View imageViewDownload imageDownload

UofL health science schools rise in 2018 U.S. News rankings

UofL health science schools rise in 2018 U.S. News rankings

Dean Toni Ganzel: "This ranking is a symbol that shows we continue to be on the right track in meeting the medical needs of our state, nation and world.”

 The University of Louisville School of Medicine and School of Nursing both jumped in U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings for 2018, with the medical school rising to its highest ranking in one category in three years.

The rankings were released March 14 and are available at www.usnews.com/grad.

In the category of “Best Medical Schools-Research,” the UofL medical school ranks 73rd, five points better than 2017 and 10 points better than 2016.

In the category of “Best Medical Schools-Primary Care,” UofL ranks 88th, a four-point drop from last year but still nine points higher than 2016’s ranking of 97th.

The UofL School of Nursing’s “Best Nursing Schools-Master’s” ranking saw a significant increase — 12 points — rising to 76th this year from 88th in 2017. The school ranked 68th in 2016.

Both schools’ leaders attribute the success to hard work by students, faculty and staff, and a shared commitment to improving standards and quality even as the university faces budget cutbacks.

“I am so gratified by this recognition of the effort put forth by everyone at the UofL School of Medicine,” said Toni M. Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the medical school. “For the past four years, we have made significant investments in upgrading our instructional facilities, enhancing and modernizing our curriculum and strengthening wherever possible our research enterprise. This ranking is a symbol that shows we continue to be on the right track in meeting the medical needs of our state, nation and world.”

“We are thrilled our graduate program is recognized for excellence and rigor,” said School of Nursing Dean Marcia J. Hern, Ed.D., C.N.S., R.N. “Our graduates become nurse leaders who meet evolving health care demands by using evidence-based advanced practice knowledge to improve outcomes of diverse patient populations.”

In addition to medicine and nursing, U.S. News ranks graduate education programs annually in business, education, engineering and law. The magazine also periodically ranks programs in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, the health arena and other areas as identified by academic experts.

The rankings are based on two types of data, according to the magazine’s statement of methodology: expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research and students.

The chart below shows the U.S. News & World Report “Best Graduate Schools” rankings for UofL HSC schools over the past three years:

Category

College

2018 Ranking

2017 Ranking

2016 Ranking

Best Schools of Nursing - Master's

Nursing

76

88

68

Best Medical Schools - Primary Care

Medicine

88

84

97

Best Medical Schools - Research

Medicine

73

78

83

Prepared by the UofL  Office of Institutional Research & Planning

U.S. News logo

U.S. News logo
Full-size image:120 KB | View imageViewDownload imageDownload

NYU researcher will discuss heart’s conduction system April 26

NYU researcher will discuss heart’s conduction system April 26

Glenn Fishman, M.D.

An accomplished researcher from New York University will discuss the heart’s specialized conduction system in the next Leonard Leight Lecture at the University of Louisville.

Glenn I. Fishman, M.D., will speak at noon, Wednesday, April 26, at the Jewish Rudd Heart & Lung Center Conference Center, 201 Abraham Flexner Way.  Admission is free and parking also is available free of charge in the Jewish Hospital Garage, 450 S. Floyd St.

Fishman is the William Goldring Professor of Medicine and Director of the Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology at New York University School of Medicine.  He also serves as Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine and a professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Physiology and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology.

His research focuses on the formation and function of the specialized cardiac conduction system. This complex network comprises pace-making cells that establish the normal rhythmicity of the heart, as well as rapidly conducting specialized cells that facilitate highly synchronized excitation and contraction of the working myocardium, which is the muscle substance of the heart that enables it to pump.

Continuing education credits are available to both physicians and nurses who attend the lecture. For additional information, contact 502-852-1162 or monica.sivori@louisville.edu.

The Leonard Leight Lecture is presented annually by the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and funding is provided through the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation. For 30 years until 1996, Leight was a practicing cardiologist in Louisville and played a major role in developing cardiology services and bringing innovative treatment modalities in heart disease to Louisville.

The Leonard Leight Lecture series was established at the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation in 1994 by gifts from Dr. and Mrs. Kurt Ackermann and Medical Center Cardiologists.

 

 

 

Match Day 2017!

Match Day 2017!

Match Day 2016

Fourth-year students in the UofL School of Medicine learned where they will embark on residency training during the Match Day celebration, Friday, March 17 at noon. Each student received an envelope informing the soon-to-be doctors where they will live, what medical specialty they will pursue, and who will join them for the next three to seven years of their training. Fourth-year students at medical schools across the nation all learn their residency destinations at noon EDT on Match Day.

UofL students celebrated Match Day at Mellwood Arts Center beginning at 11 a.m.

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) provides a uniform process for matching medical school applicants with residency programs based on the preferences of both. The students interview with officials at residency programs in the fall of their final year of medical school. Students then submit their preferences to the NRMP, and residency programs submit their preferences for applicants. A matching algorithm uses those preferences to match individuals into positions, and students throughout the United States receive their match notices precisely at noon on the third Friday of March – Match Day.

Watch a video of the 2016 event.

Nominate a deserving medical resident for inaugural awards

Nominate a deserving medical resident for inaugural awards

Mark Amsbaugh, president, House Staff Council

The University of Louisville House Staff Council has launched the inaugural Outstanding Resident Awards to recognize achievement among the medical house staff.

Nominations are accepted through March 31, and anyone in the university community is eligible to submit a nomination. Three awards will be presented:

  • Resident of the Year Award: Presented to the resident who overall best embodies the mission of the university to provide excellent patient care, either directly or indirectly, advance his or her field through scholarly activity, educate other residents and students, and is an excellent example of professionalism.  
  • Resident with Outstanding Achievement in Scholarly Activity: Given to the resident who has achieved the most to further his or her field through scientific pursuit. Publications — both number and quality — as well as other scholarly activity such as presentations, quality improvement programs, grand rounds and others are considered.
  • Resident with Outstanding Achievement in Community Engagement: Awarded to the resident who has best embodied the university mission of service to and engagement with the community, state, nation or world.  A leadership role, over part or all of a project, is essential.

Nominations are made online  and must include the resident’s name and a 2-4-sentence description of the nominee’s qualifications for the award.  All nominations will be anonymous. Winners will be selected by the House Staff Council and will be announced in May or June.

For additional information, contact House Staff Council President Mark J. Amsbaugh, M.D., at mjamsb01@louisville.edu.

International Americans help make up Louisville MOSAIC

Three from UofL among five receiving annual awards
International Americans help make up Louisville MOSAIC

2017 MOSAIC Award recipients, left to right: Anna Faul, John La Barbera, Vik Chadha, Barry Barker and CoCo Tran.

Two University of Louisville faculty members and an entrepreneur affiliated with the university’s co-working space iHub are among the five honorees of the 2017 MOSAIC Awards, scheduled for presentation May 18 at the Hyatt Regency Louisville.

Named to recognize “Multicultural Opportunities for Success and Achievement In our Community,” the MOSAIC Awards benefit Jewish Family & Career Services and honors international Americans who make a significant contribution in their profession and in the local and global communities.

From UofL, faculty members Anna Faul, Ph.D., and John La Barbera and iHub co-founder Vik Chadha will be honored, along with J. Barry Barker, director of Transit Authority of River City (TARC), and restaurateur Huong “CoCo” Tran.

“JFCS was founded to assist newcomers to Louisville, and this event honors its original mission,” Judy Freundlich Tiell, JFCS executive director, said. “To date, the event has recognized 57 international Americans who make our community a richer and more interesting city, creating a mosaic of many colors and perspectives.”

At the event, a cocktail reception will start at 5:30 p.m., featuring a showcase of new micro-businesses that have received training and financial assistance from the JFCS Navigate Enterprise Center. Dinner and the awards presentation will follow.  

Tickets to the event are $150 per person, and table sponsorships begin at $2,000.  For reservations, contact Beverly Bromley, JFCS director of development, at 502-452-6341, ext. 223 or bbromley@jfcslouisville.org.

Title sponsor of the MOSAIC Awards is the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence. Kindred Healthcare is the new American sponsor. WLKY32 is the media sponsor and Papercone Corp., PharMerica, TARC and Churchill Downs are major sponsors.  Rachel Greenberg is this year’s event chair.

About the 2017 MOSAIC Award winners

Annatjie Faul, Ph.D. – South Africa

Faul originally hails from South Africa and is Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging at the UofL Health Sciences Center and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Kent School of Social Work. A specialist in gerontology, Faul has been awarded multiple grants to develop rural health collaborations that address serious diabetes problems in the outlying rural areas of the state. She has established outreach programs to Latinos and Hispanics, created services in rural Kentucky, and most recently was awarded more than $2 million to help primary physicians in the region better serve the geriatric populations.

John La Barbera – Sicilian Descendant

The son of Sicilian immigrants, La Barbera is a first-generation American and Grammy-nominated composer/arranger whose music spans many styles and genres. He is a professor emeritus of music at the UofL School of Music and is an international music clinician and lecturer whose topics range from composing and arranging to intellectual property and copyright. His works have been recorded and performed by Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Mel Torme, Chaka Kahn, Harry James, Bill Watrous and Phil Woods, to name a few. Though his major output has been in jazz, he has had works performed and recorded for symphony orchestra, string chamber orchestra, brass quintet and other diverse ensembles. He is a two-time recipient of The National Endowment for the Arts award for jazz composition. His published works are considered standards in the field of jazz education.

Vik Chadha – India

A native of India, Chadha is the co-founder of two successful technology companies - Backupify and GlowTouch -  that collectively employ more than 1,300 people globally. He was instrumental in conceptualizing and creating the high-tech, co-working space, iHub, at UofL’s J.D. Nichols Campus for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. His roles at EnterpriseCORP, the entrepreneurial arm of Greater Louisville Inc., and Nucleus allowed him to help create hundreds of high-paying jobs within the city of Louisville, and he has played an instrumental role in developing the city’s entrepreneurial environment. Chadha is a board member of the Jefferson County Public Education Foundation and was recently appointed by the governor to the board of the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative.

J. Barry Barker – Great Britain

Barker is from England and has been a leader and innovator in the fields of public transit and community planning for over four decades. Currently he manages a $64 million budget serving as the director of TARC. His primary contributions in the field include introduction of service innovations, priority on and increasing customer centric services, initiating improvement in labor-management relations, and improved safety and environmental leadership. Also, he has added hybrid and electric buses and significantly increased outside funding for Louisville’s transit authority. He has served as a board member and chaired many community boards and has been recognized and awarded for his contributions by many local and national organizations.

Huong “CoCo” Tran – Vietnam

A Vietnamese refugee in 1975, Tran opened the first Chinese fast food restaurant in Louisville. Since opening the Egg Roll Machine, she has opened a total of nine restaurants. She hired many of the first Vietnam refugees who came to Louisville. She has impacted the community greatly by promoting healthy eating. She encourages and guides other Asian entrepreneurs by mentoring them. For the past 16 years, each of her vegetarian restaurants has provided free meals on Thanksgiving Eve. She is a member and a strong supporter of the Vietnamese Community of Louisville and served on the Advisory Community Board.

 

 

Fourth-year medical students matched with residency training programs

Fourth-year medical students matched with residency training programs

Dexter Weeks

Fourth-year students in the University of Louisville School of Medicine learned where they will embark on residency training on Match Day, March 17. Students at UofL and medical schools across the nation received envelopes with the information about medical specialty they will pursue, where they will live and who will join them for the next three to seven years of medical training.

“We are really appreciative of our faculty. I think we have an education that is phenomenal and we are ready to go out and serve our patient populations,” said Matt Woeste, president of the UofL medical school class of 2017.

UofL students matched to prestigious programs including Beth Israel Deaconess, Case-Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, New York University, Tufts, University of Louisville, University of Texas-Galveston and Vanderbilt. While 27 percent will remain in Kentucky, others are heading across the nation to Washington and New Hampshire, to Florida and Hawaii, and many other locations. A record-high 10 couples all matched together.

  • 27 percent will remain in Kentucky
  • 39 percent matched in primary-care specialties
  • 3 will pursue military residency
  • 10 couples matched to programs in the same city

“These students definitely are ambassadors for the University of Louisville,” said Michael Ostapchuk, M.D., associate dean for medical student affairs. “Our students go to a residency and the residency directors in those programs see what the University of Louisville is all about and they want our students in the future.”

Fourth-year student MeNore Lake matched to Mount Auburn Hospital, where she will train as a radiologist.

“I can’t be any more excited than I am today,” Lake said. “It’s exactly what I wanted. I am very grateful.”

During her medical education at UofL, Lake pursued her passion for global health in the Distinction in Global Health track, one of the school’s distinction tracks, which allow students in the School of Medicine to explore a specific area of medicine.

“I’ve been in the Global Health Track and it’s meant a lot of growth for me. I’ve had great community and support here as well. I’ve felt well supported here,” she said.

Dexter Weeks believes UofL provided him with the comprehensive education he needed to earn a position in integrated plastic surgery residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston.

“I felt like I got a lot of hands-on experience, being able to do things at the level of a resident even though you are a student, getting an idea of what it’s like in your working environment. I felt like it really helped me make a decision about what I wanted to do with my future,” Weeks said. “I’m excited. I’m ready for the next adventure in residency.”

 

 ABOUT MEDICAL TRAINING AND RESIDENCY MATCH

After graduating from medical school, physicians must complete training in residency programs in a medical specialty such as internal medicine, pediatrics or general surgery. The physicians obtain this training at academic medical centers, teaching hospitals and other health-care centers.

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) provides a uniform process for matching medical student applicants with residency positions in the United States based on the preferences of both the students and the programs. The students interview with officials at residency programs in the fall of their fourth year of medical school. Students submit their specialty and program preferences to the NRMP and residency programs submit their preferences for applicants. A matching algorithm uses those preferences to match individuals into positions, and students throughout the United States receive their match notices precisely at noon on the third Friday of March – Match Day.

The 2017 match was the largest in the program’s history, matching students in 27,688 PGY-1 positions.              

Photos of UofL students in the match are available on Flickr.

Video of Match Day is available on Youtube.

Detecting Alzheimer’s disease earlier using … Greebles?

Difficulty distinguishing novel objects is associated with family history of Alzheimer’s disease
Detecting Alzheimer’s disease earlier using … Greebles?

Which Greeble is different?

Unique graphic characters called Greebles may prove to be valuable tools in detecting signs of Alzheimer’s disease decades before symptoms become apparent.

In an article published online last week in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Emily Mason, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Louisville, reported research showing that cognitively normal people who have a genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have more difficulty distinguishing among novel figures called Greebles than individuals without genetic predisposition.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive, irreversible neurodegenerative disease characterized by declining memory, cognition and behavior. AD is the most prevalent form of dementia, affecting an estimated 5.5 million individuals in the United States and accounting for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. The ability to detect the disease earlier may allow researchers to develop treatments to combat the disease.

“Right now, by the time we can detect the disease, it would be very difficult to restore function because so much damage has been done to the brain,” Mason said. “We want to be able to look at really early, really subtle changes that are going on in the brain. One way we can do that is with cognitive testing that is directed at a very specific area of the brain.”

AD is characterized by the presence of beta amyloid plaques and tau neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. Tau tangles predictably develop first in the perirhinal and entorhinal cortices of the brain, areas that play a role in visual recognition and memory. Mason and her colleagues developed cognitive tests designed to detect subtle deficiencies in these cognitive functions. They hoped to determine whether changes in these functions would indicate the presence of tau tangles before they could be detected through imaging or general cognitive testing.

Working in her previous position at Vanderbilt University, Mason identified test subjects age 40-60 who were considered at-risk for AD due to having at least one biological parent diagnosed with the disease. She also tested a control group of individuals in the same age range whose immediate family history did not include AD.

The subjects completed a series of “odd-man-out” tasks in which they were shown sets of four images depicting real-world objects, human faces, scenes and Greebles in which one image was slightly different than the other three. The subjects were asked to identify the image that was different.

The at-risk and control groups performed at similar levels for the objects, faces and scenes. For the Greebles, however, the at-risk group scored lower in their ability to identify differences in the images. Individuals in the at-risk group correctly identified the distinct Greeble 78 percent of the time, whereas the control group correctly identified the odd Greeble 87 percent of the time.

“Most people have never seen a Greeble and Greebles are highly similar, so they are by far the toughest objects to differentiate,” Mason said. “What we found is that using this task, we were able to find a significant difference between the at-risk group and the control group. Both groups did get better with practice, but the at-risk group lagged behind the control group throughout the process.”

Mason would like to see further research to determine whether the individuals who performed poorly on the test actually developed AD in the future.

“The best thing we could do is have people take this test in their 40s and 50s, and track them for the next 10 or 20 years to see who eventually develops the disease and who doesn’t,” Mason said.

In recent years, a great deal of research has focused on identifying early biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease. However, not everyone who has an individual biomarker ultimately develops the disease. Brandon Ally, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurological surgery at UofL and senior author of the publication, said the tests with Greebles can provide a cost-effective way to identify individuals who may be in the early stages of AD, as well as a tool for following those individuals over time.

“We are not proposing that the identification of novel objects such as Greebles is a definitive marker of the disease, but when paired with some of the novel biomarkers and a solid clinical history, it may improve our diagnostic acumen in early high-risk individuals,” Ally said. “As prevention methods, vaccines or disease modifying drugs become available, markers like novel object detection may help to identify the high priority candidates.”

Robert P. Friedland, M.D., professor and Mason and Mary Rudd Endowed Chair in Neurology at UofL, has studied clinical and biological issues in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders for 35 years. He believes that early detection will enhance the ability of patients and physicians to employ lifestyle and therapeutic interventions.

“This work shows that the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on cognition can be measured decades before the onset of dementia,” Friedland said. “The fact that the disease takes so long to develop provides us with an opportunity to slow its progression through attention to the many factors that are linked to the disease, such as a sedentary lifestyle, a high fat diet, obesity, head injury, smoking, and a lack of mental and social engagement.”

The article, “Family history of Alzheimer’s disease is associated with impaired perceptual discrimination of novel objects,” will appear in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Volume 57, Issue 2.

 

 

 April 11, 2017

 

 

Answer:  Greeble No. 4 is different.

Cody Clark

Cody Clark
Full-size image:1.64 MB | View imageViewDownload imageDownload

2nd Annual Knock Out Stroke! May 12 at Muhammad Ali Center

2nd Annual Knock Out Stroke! May 12 at Muhammad Ali Center

Knock Out Stroke

Kentucky residents suffer stroke at rates among the highest in the nation. Factors increasing the risk of stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and African American and Native American ethnicity. Behavioral risks can be reduced with medical care and lifestyle changes, but it is important to begin reducing the risks as early as possible.

At the 2nd Annual Knock Out Stroke, medical experts from the University of Louisville Stroke Program, the state’s first Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, will share tips on how to manage high blood pressure and other risk factors related to heart disease and stroke. Guests will learn how to monitor their blood pressure, the importance of physical activity and how to incorporate it into their daily routine, recognizing the symptoms of stroke and understanding the latest treatment options. Plus, WAVE 3’s Dawne Gee will share her personal experience in suffering a stroke.

Knock out Stroke will be Friday, May 12, 2017 from 10:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at the Muhammed Ali Center, 144 N. Sixth St., Louisville, Ky.  40202. The event is free and open to the public and includes lunch, door prizes and the opportunity to tour the Muhammad Ali Center museum at your leisure. Attendees are asked to register at UofL.me/kostroke or call 502-852-7522.

Family Health Centers and the UofL Department of Neurology host the program in conjunction with Stroke Awareness Month. Additional partners include the Kentucky Department of Public Health Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program, Louisville Department of Health and Wellness, UofL School of Medicine, and UofL Signature Partnership Health & Quality of Life division.

The UofL Stroke Program is a collaboration of University of Louisville Hospital, a part of KentuckyOne Health, UofL Physicians and the UofL School of Medicine.

UofL Stroke Program again receives top designation

University of Louisville Hospital certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center for third time
UofL Stroke Program again receives top designation

Tele-stroke robot with Jignesh Shah, M.D.

Kentucky is in the stroke belt, among the states with the highest incidence of stroke. Luckily, residents of the Louisville and Southern Indiana region who suffer a stroke can receive the highest level of stroke care possible at the University of Louisville Stroke Program. The program provides inpatient services at University of Louisville Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, first certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC) in 2012. It was the first designated CSC in Kentucky and remains one of only four in the state.

Recertification as a CSC, the highest designation of care for stroke patients awarded by The Joint Commission, the primary independent accrediting body for health-care systems in the United States, assures patients that the physicians, nurses and other providers at UofL Hospital are fully prepared to quickly assess and treat patients suffering from all types of strokes using the most advanced treatments available. The Joint Commission recertified the UofL program for two years, the maximum time period allowed for certification.

“We are proud to serve the citizens of our region with the highest level of integrated stroke care. We will continue to set the bar in Kentucky and Southern Indiana when it comes to stroke prevention and treatment,” said Kerri Remmel, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Neurology at the UofL School of Medicine and director of the University of Louisville Stroke Program.

Patients are treated by the highly trained and specialized physician faculty members of the UofL School of Medicine, including neurologists, neurosurgeons, cardiologists, emergency medicine providers, neuro-radiologists, vascular surgeons, hospitalists and neuro critical care providers. The multidisciplinary team also includes advance practice nurses, social workers, rehabilitation specialists, case managers and dieticians.

Comprehensive stroke centers such as UofL have the ability to care for patients suffering a stroke, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, and perform procedures that may not be available elsewhere. When a patient arrives in the emergency department at UofL Hospital, examination, laboratory studies, cardiac tests and state-of-the-art imaging studies can be performed within minutes of a patient's arrival.

Highlights of the UofL Stroke Program include:

  • Rapid delivery of clot-busting drug - The UofL Stroke Program achieved the highest award status from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, Target: Stroke Elite Plus Honor Roll, in 2016 for prompt IV administration of the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA). UofL met the standard of administering the drug to more than 75 percent of patients who qualify within 60 minutes of arrival to the hospital, and to more than 50 percent of eligible patients within 45 minutes of arrival.
  • Clot-removal techniques – UofL neurointerventional specialists can rapidly open blocked blood vessels by removing blood clots and quickly restoring neurological function to patients.
  • Aneurysm treatment UofL neurosurgeons and interventional specialists are experts with the latest treatments for brain aneurysms, whether with surgery or minimally invasive endovascular coiling techniques.
  • Tele-stroke consultations – UofL neurologists provide their expertise to hospitals in outlying communities in Kentucky and Southern Indiana in real time via tele-stroke services. Using a 5-foot, 6-inch tall robot, physician specialists in Louisville can interact and converse with a patient, the patient’s family, and on-site physicians and nurses through a live, two-way audio and video feed. The remote connection allows neurologists at UofL to more quickly determine the best treatment protocol for patients in their home hospitals and allow them to be treated with IV t-PA or other treatments quickly when appropriate.
  • Post-stroke support – In addition to inpatient care, the UofL Stroke Program provides stroke survivor and caregiver support to improve patients’ wellbeing as they resume their daily lives.
  • Community education – UofL Stroke Program team members reach out to educate community members about reducing the risk of stroke by monitoring their blood pressure and maintaining healthy habits.

Even prior to its designation as Kentucky’s first certified Comprehensive Stroke Center in 2012, the UofL Stroke Program achieved the highest recognition with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, receiving the Get with the Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Award for the last 11 years. The recognition is awarded for meeting performance guidelines for the treatment and management of stroke patients from hospital admission to discharge.

BE FAST to spot signs of stroke

UofL Stroke Program medical experts advocate the use of the acronym BE FAST to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke.

Balance – Sudden loss of balance or coordination

Eyes - Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision

Face – Sudden face drooping

Arm – Sudden weakness or numbness of the arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

Speech – Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech

Time – to call 911 for help. Time saved is brain saved!


BE FAST was developed by Intermountain Healthcare, as an adaptation of the FAST model implemented by the American Stroke Association. Reproduced with permission from Intermountain Healthcare. Copyright 2011, Intermountain Health Care.


April 18, 2017


Assistant dean at UofL medical school selected for national program to train women executives

Assistant dean at UofL medical school selected for national program to train women executives

Kimberly Boland, M.D.

An assistant dean of the University of Louisville School of Medicine has been selected to the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program.
 
Kimberly A. Boland, M.D., has been elected for the 2017-2018 ELAM class. ELAM is a year-long fellowship for women faculty in schools of medicine, dentistry and public health. It provides leadership training with extensive coaching, networking and mentoring opportunities aimed at expanding the national pool of qualified women candidates for executive positions in the academic health sciences. Currently,  ELAM alumnae hold leadership positions at 240 academic health organizations worldwide.
 
The election of Boland brings the total of ELAM fellows from UofL to 19, including School of Medicine Dean Toni M. Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., who participated in 2003-2004.
 
Boland has served as assistant dean of resident education and work environment in the Department of Graduate Medical Education at the UofL medical school since August 2016. Additionally, she holds the positions of vice chair of medical education, director of pediatric residency training and professor in the UofL Department of Pediatrics.
 
Boland is the current president of the Kentucky Pediatric Foundation and immediate past president of the Kentucky Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She also is chair of the Association of Pediatric Program Directors’ Mid-America Region and a member of its Curriculum Task Force.
 
In addition to overseeing the pediatric residency program, Boland oversees eight pediatric fellowship programs at UofL and assisted in the creation of the department’s Development and Behavioral Fellowship, Pediatric Child Abuse Fellowship, Pediatric Pulmonary Fellowship and Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship. She also serves the university on the Promotion and Tenure Committee and the School of Medicine Wellness Committee.
 
She is a past recipient of the Paul Weber Award herself, also with the School of Medicine Master Educator Award and Dean’s Educator Award for Distinguished Teaching along with five clinical teaching awards and seven faculty peer mentoring awards.
 
From Louisville, Boland earned her undergraduate degree from Notre Dame University and her medical degree from UofL. She completed her residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in pediatric critical care at St. Louis Children’s Hospital at Washington University in St. Louis. She is board certified in pediatrics and practices with University of Louisville Physicians.
 
For more information on the ELAM program, visit the program’s website. A complete list of ELAM alumnae selected while they were with UofL is shown below:
 
University of Louisville Alumnae: Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic MedicineProgram

Kathy B. Baumgartner, Ph.D. (2008-2009)
Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health
University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences
 
Anees B. Chagpar, M.D., M.Sc., M.P.H. (2009-2010)
Academic Advisory Dean, School of Medicine
Director, Multidisciplinary Breast Program
Associate Professor of Surgery
University of Louisville School of Medicine
 
Mary Thoesen Coleman, M.D., Ph.D. (2002-2003)
Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine
Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs, Department of Family and Community Medicine
University of Louisville School of Medicine
 
Lourdes C. Corman, M.D. (1996-1997)
Professor and Vice Chair of Medicine
Chief, Division of Medical Education
University of Louisville School of Medicine
 
Connie L. Drisko, DDS (2001-2002)
Professor of Periodontics
Assistant Dean for Research
University of Louisville School of Dentistry
 
Kelli Bullard Dunn, M.D. (2012-2013)
Vice Dean, Community Engagement and Diversity
Professor of Surgery
University of Louisville School of Medicine
 
Susan Galandiuk, M.D. (2001-2002)
Professor of Surgery
University of Louisville School of Medicine
 
Toni M. Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A. (2003-2004)
Interim Dean, School of Medicine
Professor of Surgery, and Otolaryngology
University of Louisville School of Medicine
 
Diane Harper, M.D. (2015-2016)
Rowntree Professor and Endowed Chair of Family and Geriatric Medicine
Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine
University of Louisville School of Medicine
 
Amy Laura Holthouser, M.D. (2016-2017)
Associate Dean, Medical Education
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
University of Louisville School of Medicine
 
V. Faye Jones, M.D., Ph.D., M.S.P.H. (2007-2008)
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Professor of Pediatrics
University of Louisville School of Medicine
 
Linda F. Lucas, M.D. (1999-2000)
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology
University of Louisville School of Medicine
 
Sharmila Makhija, M.D., M.B.A. (2012-2013)
Chair, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health
Donald E. Baxter Endowed Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Professor of Gynecologic Oncology
University of Louisville School of Medicine
 
Barbara J. McLaughlin, Ph.D. (2000-2001)
Professor of Ophthalmology
Associate Dean for Research
University of Louisville School of Medicine
 
Melanie R. Peterson, D.M.D., M.B.A. (2008-2009)
Associate Professor of Dentistry
University of Louisville School of Dentistry
 
Laura F. Schweitzer, Ph.D. (1998-1999)
Professor, Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology
Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs
Associate Dean of Student Affairs
University of Louisville School of Medicine
 
M. Ann Shaw, M.D. (2013-2014)
Vice Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education
Professor of Medicine
University of Louisville School of Medicine
 
Jill Suttles, Ph.D. (2010-2011)
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
University of Louisville School of Medicine

Training the next generation of cancer researchers

UofL training programs renewed to set exceptional students on course as future investigators
Training the next generation of cancer researchers

LaCreis Kidd, Ph.D., M.P.H., with CEP participant Thomas Packer, Jr.

The University of Louisville is making strides not only in conducting cancer research, but also in educating and motivating the next generation of scientists.

The UofL Cancer Education Program is an intensive summer research and professional development program for outstanding undergraduate and health professional students, supporting their pursuit of careers in cancer research.

The UofL Cancer Education Program, funded by an R25 grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, accepts about 30 trainees each summer. The students engage in a 10-week research project under the guidance of UofL cancer researchers and lab mentors in basic, clinical, translational, behavioral and population-based cancer research. The mentors are research-intensive UofL faculty, most of whom are affiliated with the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

This spring, the program was renewed for five years with the leadership addition of director LaCreis Kidd, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor and Our Highest Potential Endowed Chair in Cancer Research in the UofL Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. David Hein, Ph.D., chair of the department, established the program and continues as director along with Kidd. More than 60 UofL faculty members serve as mentors and key contributors to the program.

“The renewal of this program is a clear indication that the trainees are excelling in cancer research during and after completion of the program. In addition, UofL and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center are providing cutting edge research, professional development and networking opportunities for the next generation of cancer research scientists,” Kidd said.

Since it began in 2012, the program has trained more than 150 students, including college undergraduates and medical, public health, dental and nursing students from more than 25 universities across the United States. More than one-third of the trainees have continued their studies as medical, doctoral and MD/PhD students at UofL. Others have continued their cancer research training at institutions such as Johns Hopkins University and Columbia. The five-year award of $1,593,000 supports the students’ research activities, subsistence payments, travel and housing.

To sharpen their professional skills, the trainees participate in engaging professional development activities. The activities include a 90-second elevator pitch contest, speed networking and public speaking activities that allow trainees to connect with their audience and deliver engaging oral presentations.

At the conclusion of the program, the students deliver their work in the form of research posters and oral presentations to faculty, judges and fellow students. Many of the students also present their research at Research!Louisville as well as at regional, national and international scientific meetings. Research conducted in the program is frequently published with a student as first author.

One goal of the UofL NCI Cancer Education Program is to reach underrepresented minorities for participation. Of the 156 students who have completed the program, 53 are underrepresented minority students.

“The NCI R25 Cancer Education Program is well poised to prepare the next generation of young investigators in the field of cancer research or clinical oncology,” Kidd said.

The Cancer Education Program is integrated with other summer research activities on UofL’s Health Sciences Center campus, including the Summer Research Scholar Program for students in the School of Medicine and the School of Dentistry’s Summer Research Program.

UofL Training Program in Environmental Health Sciences renewed

Another training program at UofL, the Training Program in Environmental Health Sciences, was renewed for a five-year term with a $2.4 million T32 grant in late 2016 by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The program funds predoctoral and post-doctoral students on a full-time basis, incorporating numerous centers, institutes, schools and more than 50 faculty mentors to provide cutting edge basic, clinical, computational and population-based research.

Hein established this program in 2004 and served as principal director until 2016. With the program’s renewal, Gavin Arteel, Ph.D., professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, took over as director. The Training Program in Environmental Health Sciences supports six predoctoral and three postdoctoral trainees. Graduates of the program have gone on to positions in the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the pharmaceutical industry, and as faculty members at UofL and other prestigious universities. Kevyn Merten, Ph.D., assistant vice president for research and innovation at UofL, was among the first graduates, completing the program in 2006.

“The grant renewal recognizes that the university supports a critical mass of research to support the training of students and postdoctoral associates in this area,” Arteel said. “Two very strong programs that we have are the Diabetes and Obesity Center and the Hepatobiology and Toxicology Program.”

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., Matthew Cave, M.D., and Hein serve as co-directors for the program.

Before you need that AED, make sure it’s functional

UofL researchers find readiness of public access defibrillators alarmingly low
Before you need that AED, make sure it’s functional

UofL students walk past a public-access automated external defibrillator at the Health Sciences Center. Research led by Brad Stutton shows that a lack of AED registration correlates with an increased chance that the device could malfunction if needed.

No national standards exist for the maintenance of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and their registration with manufacturers, making these practices voluntary and highly variable. What the public may not realize, however, is that regions where there is a high degree of unregistered AEDs also show a much greater chance that these devices will fail if needed.

That’s the finding of a study conducted by cardiologist Brad Sutton, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine and assistant dean for health strategy and innovation at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. The group found that significant variability exists in how AEDs are registered and maintained and because of this variability, the true risk for failure remains unknown.

“We know that rapid bystander CPR and the appropriate use of AEDs increases survival rates for the more than 350,000 victims of sudden cardiac arrest in the United States each year,” Sutton said. “However, we found that the percentage of public access AEDs that fail standardized testing is quite high, and the incidence of potentially life-threatening malfunction is likely underreported.”

“Our data suggests that registering AEDs correlates with increased likelihood that the device will pass testing, and therefore, stand a greater chance of being operational if needed by someone having a cardiac arrest.”

“Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States,” Keisha Deonarine, senior director of community health for the American Heart Association in Kentuckiana, said. “The American Heart Association believes it is important to do a weekly or monthly visual inspection of AEDs to ensure they are in working order. It may be the difference between life and death.”

About the research

The group assessed AEDs in public, non-hospital settings in four geographically distinct regions – Seattle, Suffolk County, N.Y., Central Illinois and Louisville. Each AED was tested according to manufacturer guidelines. A total of 322 AEDs at 190 unique sites were investigated.

The team found that more than one-fifth of the devices – 21 percent – failed at least one phase of testing. Five percent had expired batteries, failing to power on at all and rendering them useless in the case of sudden cardiac arrest.

At the same time, public access AEDs found in areas where there was a higher rate of registration were significantly more likely to pass testing. AED registration was high  -- greater than 80 percent -- in both Seattle and Suffolk County, with zero battery failures found in Seattle and only 2 percent in Suffolk County.

By comparision, both Louisville and Central Illinois had lower rates of registration – less than 25 percent  – and higher rates of test failure at 19.8 percent in Louisville and 38.2 percent in Central Illinois. Central Illinois also had the highest regional battery failure rate at 12.36 percent.

AED registration typically is handled the way it is with consumer products: The AED is registered with the vendor so the purchaser can be updated on potential recalls and advisories. There also is an industry built around AED maintenance, and many sites with AEDs outsource maintenance of the devices for a monthly fee. Sites with AEDs also can register the devices with some municipalities or other local authorities, but again, Sutton said, this varies greatly from region to region.

“Unfortunately, our data suggests that even when you find an AED in the time of need, it may not work,” Sutton said. “These devices require routine upkeep in order to remain functional and ready. This is the major message that our elected officials and community members need to be aware of.”

Sutton’s research group was made up of Jamie Heimroth, Stuart Crawford and Erica Sutton, M.D., of UofL and Josh Matzke of Eureka College in Illinois. The team presented their findings in November at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, and Sutton said he is currently in talks with AED manufacturer Zoll Medical Corp. to expand this line of study across the United States.

“Our study was limited in that results depended upon the voluntary participation of sites with AEDs,” he said. “Those sites that refused to participate in the study may represent yet additional potential device failures, and ultimately, additional potential loss of life.”

 

HSC students tackle storms and heat to run for kids with cancer in Medals4Mettle

HSC students tackle storms and heat to run for kids with cancer in Medals4Mettle

Julie Klensch and Audrey Nethery

Lightning and rain. Heat and humidity. Runners in this year’s Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon and Marathon encountered a variety of weather challenges on Saturday. However, the delays and adverse conditions did not deter 87 students from University of Louisville Schools of Medicine and Dentistry who finished the race so they could present their hard-earned medals to children fighting an even tougher battle.

It was the ninth year students from the School of Medicine have participated in the UofL chapter of Medals4Mettle, running the Derby Festival races in honor of patients in the UofL Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation. This year, students from graduate programs and the School of Dentistry also participated.

Julie Klensch, a fourth-year medical student, presented her miniMarathon medal to Audrey Nethery in a special ceremony following the races. Klensch has run all four years for Nethery, an eight-year-old with Diamond Blackfan Anemia, a rare genetic syndrome that causes her bone marrow to produce too few red blood cells.

Running has become an important stress reliever for Klensch during her years in medical school, but she says she is even more grateful for the relationship she has built with Nethery and her family.

“When it’s raining or I don’t want to run some days, I remember that I could be in treatment for years for a condition that’s out of my control,” Klensch says. “It helps me remember the bigger picture of the people we are treating. It has shaped how I will do things and treat patients as a physician.”

Medals4Mettle (M4M) is an international organization that allows endurance athletes to donate their awards to critically ill individuals in honor of their courage in the face of life-threatening illnesses. The UofL program helps health professional students see the struggles of the children and their families who are dealing with cancer and life-threatening diseases, giving them a deeper understanding of the patients they will treat as practicing physicians.

This year’s UofL Medals4Mettle program was supported by Stock Yards Bank and Trust, Pacers and Racers, Pure Barre, Home Fit, 413 fitness and UofL Pediatrics. To support the UofL Medals4Mettle program, visit http://medals4mettle.org/donate.html and designate "University of Louisville" in the comment.

Daniel A. Durbin named associate vice president for health affairs at UofL

Daniel A. Durbin named associate vice president for health affairs at UofL

Daniel A. Durbin

Daniel A. Durbin has been named associate vice president for health affairs/chief financial officer for the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center. The appointment is pending approval from the UofL Board of Trustees.

Durbin currently is the senior associate vice president for administration and finance at West Virginia University.

Gregory C. Postel, M.D., UofL interim president and interim executive vice president for health affairs, highlighted Durbin’s extensive experience within academic medicine and higher education.

“Dan brings to Louisville more than 30 years’ experience with the finances at universities and academic health centers,” Postel said. “During this significant time of transition for UofL and our health sciences center, this expertise is invaluable.”

Durbin joined the WVU Division of Finance in 2006. He maintains overall responsibility for central finance functions comprising more than 140 staff members in areas including institutional accounting, budget planning, procurement, payment services, revenue services, risk management, grants accounting, payroll and financial compliance. Durbin also serves as the treasurer for the WVU Research Corporation and the WVU Innovation Corporation. Before joining the finance division, he held financial and administrative leadership positions at the WVU Health Sciences Center for nearly 20 years, ultimately becoming its director of budget and financial operations.

Durbin serves as a Peer Reviewer with the Higher Learning Commission. He also is a member of the National Association of College and University Business Officers, as well as the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Glenville State College in Glenville, W.Va., and his master’s in public administration from West Virginia University.

UofL developing program to guide other universities in teaching palliative care

UofL experience to help build curriculum for faculty at other schools
UofL developing program to guide other universities in teaching palliative care

Barbara Head, Ph.D. and Mark Pfeifer, M.D.

Faculty members at the University of Louisville School of Medicine have begun developing a national training program to instruct educators at universities across the United States in teaching interprofessional palliative care to those who care for cancer patients. A team of interdisciplinary faculty members will incorporate expertise gained in the development of an interprofessional education program for UofL health professional students in oncology palliative care.

The National Cancer Institute recommends that patients diagnosed with cancer receive palliative care from the time they receive the diagnosis to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family through relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. It requires patient-centered care from physicians, nurses, social workers and others to meet the complex needs of cancer patients. However, many institutions instruct health professional students in palliative care within each discipline, known as silos, rather than as an interprofessional team.

Funded by a $1.4 million award over five years from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the UofL training curriculum will build on a successful interprofessional program in education for palliative care in cancer already in place at UofL. The Interdisciplinary Curriculum in Oncology Palliative Care Education (iCOPE) was developed at UofL beginning in 2010 with support from a grant from the NCI. More than 1,500 students in social work, medicine, nursing and chaplaincy at UofL have completed the training, which remains a required curricular component.

“This is a first-of-its-kind program and we are fortunate to have an experienced team here as well as the continued support of the National Cancer Institute,” said Mark Pfeifer, M.D., the V.V. Cooke Chair and professor in the UofL Department of Medicine. “People diagnosed with cancer are best served by teams of professionals working together to provide patient-centered care.”

Through webinars, on-line training modules, a workshop, and mentoring through video conferences and one-on-one contact, the UofL faculty will instruct 160 health educators from 35-50 other institutions over a period of 10 months in developing curricula to teach oncology palliative care and teamwork to students across health disciplines. The program will include four-months of work at the home institution and a 2 ½-day face-to-face workshop, followed by six months of mentoring. Recruitment for learners in the program is expected to begin in early fall.

Faculty trained in this program will be able to overcome the effects of training in silos – within each discipline – and reinforce their students’ interprofessional skills by helping them understand the strengths, capabilities, skills, roles and cultures of the other professionals and instruct them in communication and collaboration among the team members.

“The new project includes evaluation of the home institution’s strengths and weaknesses to take on interprofessional education in oncology and faculty development, which will enable them to overcome barriers and successfully implement programs designed for their institutions,” said Barbara Head, Ph.D., associate professor in the UofL Department of Medicine.

UofL’s experienced interdisciplinary faculty, under the leadership of Pfeifer and Head, will serve as the core instructional team, guided by a committee of national experts and internal advisors. The iCOPE curriculum will be available to the trainees for use or modification as one approach to developing their own programs.

At the completion of the project, participating educators and others will be invited to a national summit on interdisciplinary palliative oncology education where they will share their experiences and present their own initiatives.

Native son, Nobel laureate Phillip Sharp, Ph.D., to discuss genetics research at UofL May 25

Native son, Nobel laureate Phillip Sharp, Ph.D., to discuss genetics research at UofL May 25

Phillip Sharp, Ph.D.

A Kentucky native who won the Nobel Prize for research that advanced the understanding of gene structure, Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., will visit UofL on May 25. His presentation is titled, “40 years from split genes to convergence of life sciences with engineering and physical sciences.”

Sharp shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Richard Roberts, Ph.D., for 1977 research that revealed the first indications of “discontinuous genes” in mammalian cells. The discovery fundamentally changed scientists’ understanding of gene structure.

Sharp is an institute professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Biology. His research centers on the molecular biology of gene expression relevant to cancer and the mechanisms of RNA splicing. The author of more than 400 publications, Sharp is a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Royal Society, United Kingdom. The Kentucky native earned his B.A. in chemistry and mathematics from Union College in Barbourville, Ky.

The lecture begins at noon, Thursday, May 25, at the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building, room 101-102. The event, hosted by the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics of the UofL School of Medicine, is part of the Austin and Mary Frances Bloch Lecture Series, established in 1999 in honor of Austin Bloch and his wife, Mary Frances Bloch. Austin Bloch practiced medicine in Louisville for many years and served as an adjunct clinical instructor for the UofL School of Medicine. 

Sharp also will present a research seminar on Friday, May 26 in room 102 of the UofL School of Medicine instructional building on the topic, “Super-enhancer-associated microRNAs and phase transitions.”

Sharp is the second Nobel laureate to visit UofL this month. Peter Agre, M.D., spoke on Belknap Campus on May 8. Agre shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2003, with Roderick MacKinnon for his work in the discovery of water channels in cell membranes. 

Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building is located at 505 S. Hancock St., Louisville, Ky. 40202.

 

Photo © Peter Badge / Typos1 in coop. Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings—all rights reserved, 2016

May 17, 2017

Rasheda Ali joins the fight to knock out Parkinson’s disease

Ali to be featured speaker at Knock Out Parkinson’s Disease, June 9
Rasheda Ali joins the fight to knock out Parkinson’s disease

Rasheda Ali

Rasheda Ali has made it her mission to help people better understand and manage Parkinson’s disease, a condition her father, Muhammad Ali, battled for more than 30 years. Rasheda Ali will be the featured speaker at Knock Out Parkinson’s Disease, a special event at the Muhammad Ali Center, Friday, June 9, organized to raise awareness of the disease and the most advanced treatments available.

The event begins at 5 p.m. Following Rasheda Ali’s talk and a buffet dinner, medical experts in Parkinson’s disease from University of Louisville Physicians will discuss the treatment and management of Parkinson’s disease.

“We want to make sure everyone with Parkinson’s disease has access to the best treatments available,” said Kathrin LaFaver, M.D., director of the UofL Physicians Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center and Raymond Lee Lebby Chair for Parkinson’s Disease Research in the UofL School of Medicine. “We are dedicated to helping each Parkinson’s patient achieve the best quality of life regardless of race or socioeconomic status.”

There is no cost to attend Knock Out Parkinson’s Disease, but reservations are required. Register and learn more at http://bit.ly/2oHCvfT or call 502-582-7654.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that causes tremor, slowed movements and other physical and cognitive problems. Parkinson’s affects about 1 million Americans and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. It is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease and is the 14th leading cause of death in the U.S.

Knock Out Parkinson’s Disease is a kickoff event for Louisville’s first Moving Day® Walk for Parkinson’s disease, to take place on Saturday, June 10 at Waterfront Park. Moving Dayis sponsored by the National Parkinson Foundation to engage the community in the fight against Parkinson’s disease. It will feature a family friendly walk course, a kids’ area, a caregivers’ relaxation tent and a Movement Pavilion featuring yoga, dance, Tai Chi, Pilates, and other activities, all proven to help manage the symptoms of PD.

Knock Out Parkinson’s Disease 2017 also is part of the I Am Ali Festival, a six-week series of events commemorating Muhammad Ali’s six core principles. I Am Ali runs June 3 – July 15, 2017.

To learn more about UofL Physicians Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center, visit http://www.uoflphysicians.com/parkinsons-disease-and-movement-disorders or call 502-582-7654.

UofL Hospital earns Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

American Heart Association recognizes commitment to quality stroke care
UofL Hospital earns Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

University of Louisville Hospital has earned the Get with the Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Award continuously for the past 12 years.

University of Louisville Hospital, a part of KentuckyOne Health, has earned the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and achieve 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures to receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.

To qualify for the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite or Elite Plus, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability.

These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams follow the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

May 2017“University of Louisville Hospital has been recognized with the Stroke Elite Plus award again as we continue to strive for excellence in the acute treatment of stroke patients,” said Kerri Remmel, M.D., Ph.D., chair of UofL’s Department of Neurology and director of the UofL Hospital Stroke Center. “This recognition further reinforces the UofL stroke team’s hard work and commitment to caring for patients with stroke.”

UofL Hospital now has received the Get with the Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Award for the past 12 years. In 2004, UofL Hospital became Kentucky’s first Joint Commission-certified Primary Stroke Center and in 2012, the hospital became Kentucky’s first Joint Commission-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, the 20th in the nation.

“Stroke is 80 percent preventable. High blood pressure, diabetes, cigarette smoking, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation and sedentary lifestyle are treatable and modifiable risk factors. If we could give the community one message for the prevention of stroke, it would be to know your own risk factors and be aggressive about controlling them,” Remmel said.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes, and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.  

About Get With The Guidelines®
Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines in stroke, heart failure, resuscitation and atrial fibrillation. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 6 million patients since 2001.

Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke puts the expertise of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to work for hospitals nationwide, helping hospital care teams ensure the care provided to patients experiencing stroke is aligned with the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal to save lives and improve recovery time, Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke has had an impact on more than three million patients since 2003. For more information, visit heart.org.

Kerri Remmel, M.D., Ph.D.

May 2017
Kerri Remmel, M.D., Ph.D.
Full-size image:309 KB | View imageViewDownload imageDownload

UofL oncologist leads study showing combination therapy better than single drug in treating melanoma

UofL oncologist leads study showing combination therapy better than single drug in treating melanoma

Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D.

Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D., acting director of the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center, was study investigator on the Phase 2 ‘264 study that demonstrated Imlygic® (talimogene laherparepvec) in combination with the immune checkpoint inhibitor Yervoy® (ipilimumab) more than doubled objective response rate, defined as the proportion of patients with tumor size reduction, compared to Yervoy alone in patients with unresectable stage IIIB-IV melanoma. The results were presented at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology on June 3.

The analysis showed that 38.8 percent of patients treated with Imlygic plus Yervoy achieved an objective response versus 18 percent of patients treated with Yervoy alone. Patients in the combination arm also experienced nearly double the complete response rate compared to Yervoy alone (13.3 percent versus 7 percent).  It was the first randomized study to evaluate the combination of Imlygic, an oncolytic viral therapy, with a checkpoint inhibitor.

“The results from this study demonstrate the potential of combining the complementary mechanisms of action of an oncolytic viral immunotherapy and a checkpoint inhibitor to enhance anti-tumor effect in patients with advanced melanoma,” one of the most difficult-to-treat types of cancer, said Chesney, who also serves as chief of the Division of Medical Oncology in UofL’s Department of Medicine.

Responses in the study were not limited to injected lesions. Among patients with visceral disease treated with IMLYGIC plus YERVOY, 35 percent had a reduction in size of visceral lesions by at least 50 percent. The rate was 14 percent in patients in the YERVOY arm.

The ‘264 study is a Phase 1b/2, multicenter, open-label trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of IMLYGIC in combination with YERVOY compared to YERVOY alone in patients with unresectable stage IIIB-IV melanoma. The primary endpoint of the Phase 2 portion of study is ORR. Secondary endpoints include duration of response, disease control rate, PFS, OS and safety. The study randomized 198 patients, 98 in the IMLYGIC plus YERVOY arm and 100 in the YERVOY arm.

Patients in the IMLYGIC plus YERVOY arm experienced a median progression-free survival (PFS) of 8.2 months (median follow-up at 68 weeks) versus 6.4 months in the YERVOY arm. While the effect was not statistically significant, the PFS analysis was not event-driven and is still ongoing, with only approximately 50 percent of PFS events reported at this time.

IMLYGIC is designed to rupture cancer cells causing the release of tumor-derived antigens, which along with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), may help to initiate an anti-tumor immune response. However, the exact mechanism of action is unknown. This may be complementary to YERVOY’s mechanism of action, as the blockade of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 has been shown to augment activation and proliferation of tumor infiltrating T-effector cells.

For more details, including safety information,  visit the Imlygic website.

How to work less and play more

Learn to reduce stress and enjoy life from psychologist Jacquelyn Graven at Beer with a Scientist, June 14
How to work less and play more

Charles, Graven and Levinsky

Wouldn’t life be great if we could just play all the time?

Of course, few of us can simply abandon our work, but there are ways to take the drudgery out of day-to-day life and bring our focus on the brighter side. At this month’s Beer with a Scientist, Jacquelyn Graven, Psy.D., of Graven and Assoc., along with two of her colleagues, Aaron Levinsky, Psy.D., and David Charles, Ph.D., will offer research-based tips for keeping life under control, reducing stress and allowing for a more relaxed day.

Graven and Associates is a private group practice that provides psychological and neuropsychological testing, therapy and treatment of psychological issues for people of all ages. The trio of licensed psychologists say it is possible to keep the play in your life through time management, prioritizing, balance and self care.

“A lot of people today work so darn much and they don’t take breaks. They don’t stop and manage their time very well,” Graven said. “That leads to burnout, depression and anxiety. Our talk is about managing your schedule and learning what to let go of. Research shows that reducing stress leads to greater efficiency, productivity, overall health and life happiness.”

Graven says one way to start is by controlling stress in your morning.

“Don’t just hit the floor and start running or your whole day will be pressure, pressure, pressure,” she said. “Give yourself time, whether you go to the gym or read a book or sit on your deck with a cup of coffee. Setting that pace in the morning will determine how you handle your day.”

Graven, Levinsky and Charles will elaborate on these and other ways to turn work into play beginning at 8 p.m. onWednesday, June 14, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

Admission is free. Purchase of beer, other beverages or menu items is not required but is encouraged.

Organizers add that they also encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science. For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook. Upcoming dates: 

  • July 12 – Lee Dugatkin of UofL – How to tame a fox and build a dog

Event to provide HIV-prevention resources to women June 27

Women’s PrEP Summit aims to halt spread of HIV in women and transwomen
Event to provide HIV-prevention resources to women June 27

Nearly one-fourth of people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the United States are women, with 86 percent of these diagnoses attributable to heterosexual activity. For transgender women in the South, 43 percent received a diagnosis of HIV from 2009-2014.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), safer sex, protective devices and preventive treatments can reduce the spread of HIV. PrEP involves a daily pill, Truvada, which, when combined with safer sex techniques, can reduce the risk of HIV transmission up to 92 percent.

The University of Louisville and Project Compassion are hosting the free Women’s PrEP Summit, June 27, 2017, 5:15 p.m. - 8 p.m. at Redeemer Lutheran Church. The goal of the event is to educate women about their risk of HIV and empower them with the knowledge to prevent infection.

“Even one woman contracting HIV in our community is one too many,” said Karen Krigger, M.D., director of health equity in the UofL Health Sciences Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Those at the event will receive information on PrEP, including how to get it and how to pay for it, as well as safer sex instructions and tips for using both female and male condoms. HIV testing and treatment information also will be available. June 27 is designated National HIV Testing Day.

Also available will be education about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and information on post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which can help prevent infection up to 72 hours after HIV exposure through sexual contact. IV drug users and their partners can obtain information about needle exchange and reducing risks from sharing needles.

Individuals at risk of getting HIV include:

  • Anyone who does not know if their partner has HIV or is being faithful
  • Anyone who has a partner with HIV
  • Anyone who uses IV drugs or their partner uses IV drugs
  • Anyone with multiple sexual partners

 

Women’s PrEP Summit:

June 27, 2017, 5:15 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Redeemer Lutheran Church, 3640 River Park Dr., Louisville, KY 40211

The FREE event includes dinner and childcare with registration. Transportation may be available with early registration. All participants will be eligible for door prizes and giveaways.

Space is limited. Register at UofL.me/womenprep or call 502-852-7181.

This event is sponsored by Project Compassion, Redeemer Lutheran Church, University of Louisville Health Sciences Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion, UofL HSC students, Volunteers of America, Kentucky AIDS Alliance, Louisville Metro Department of Health and Wellness, UofL LGBT Center, UofL School of Nursing and School of Public Health and Information Sciences, and other supporters. 

###

More about HIV prevention

The United States is making headway in the fight against HIV infection and AIDS. The number of annual diagnoses declined 19 percent from 2005-2014, but more than 1.2 million people in the nation are living with HIV. Individuals should be aware of steps they can take to protect themselves and others from infection.

  • Get tested for HIV as recommended by the U.S. Preventative Task Force.
  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) involves a daily pill, Truvada, which, when combined with “safer sex” techniques, can reduce the risk of HIV transmission up to 92 percent.
  • Condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV when used consistently and correctly.
  • Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) may be an option within 72 hours of exposure to HIV during sex.
  • Antiretroviral therapy (ART) reduces the likelihood that a person infected with HIV will transmit it to someone else.

Fireworks Eye Safety Guide

Fireworks can be a fun way to celebrate Independence Day, but too often celebrations end with injuries or a trip to the emergency room. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that nearly 12,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries in the United States in 2015, and about 2,000 of those were eye injuries. Fireworks can cause eye damage through chemical or thermal burns and injuries to the eyeball, resulting in permanent vision loss.

PDF document icon 2017 Fireworks Eye Safety Flyers from UofL Physicians A.pdf — PDF document, 1.41 MB (1479542 bytes)

Keep an eye on fireworks safety

Keep an eye on fireworks safety

Don’t let July 4th celebrations end in eye injury

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Fireworks can be a fun way to celebrate Independence Day, but too often celebrations end with injuries or a trip to the emergency room. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that nearly 12,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries in the United States in 2015, and about 2,000 of those were eye injuries. Fireworks can cause eye damage through chemical or thermal burns and injuries to the eyeball, resulting in permanent vision loss.

Sidharth Puri, M.D., a resident physician with the University of Louisville Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, was alarmed by the number of fireworks-related injuries he witnessed during his first weekend in the emergency room. He hopes to prevent injuries this year by making Louisville residents aware of the dangers posed by fireworks.

“These are not benign, safe, colorful toys. They are miniaturized explosions and they have to be treated with care. These injuries are preventable,” Puri said. “If we can reach one child or one family member and prevent a firework from going off too near their face and blinding them, that is our goal – to save at least one person’s vision.”

Puri offers the following safety tips:

  • Do NOT let young children play with fireworks of any type, even sparklers.
  • Always wear protective eyewear when handling fireworks and ensure that all bystanders are also wearing eye protection.
  • Leave the lighting of professional-grade fireworks to trained pyrotechnicians

If an eye injury from fireworks occurs:

  • Seek medical attention immediately!
  • Do not rub your eyes
  • Do not rinse your eyes
  • Do not apply pressure
  • Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye
  • Do not apply ointments or take any blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen

Download a printable PDF file of the eye safety guide here.

 

 

June 15, 2017

How to Tame a Fox … and Build a Dog

Hear about the Siberian experiment in domesticating foxes at Beer with a Scientist, July 12
How to Tame a Fox … and Build a Dog

Dugatkin and Trut

Take adorable, furry creatures involved in revolutionary scientific research, add soviet-era politics and intrigue, set them in the often brutal -35° winters of Siberia and you have the makings of an incredible story.

Lyudmila Trut has spent nearly 60 years domesticating silver foxes at her research location in Siberia where she and Dmitri Belyaev set out to recreate the evolution of wolves into dogs in real time. Starting with essentially wild foxes, they selectively bred the animals, which developed dog-like physical characteristics and gentle temperaments in only a decade.

Lee Dugatkin, Ph.D., professor of biology at the University of Louisville, spent time with Trut and the foxes in the dead of winter in 2012 and 2014, gathering information for his new book with Trut, “How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog).” He will tell their story at the next Beer with a Scientist event July 12. A science historian in addition to biologist, Dugatkin will describe how Trut and her mentor risked not just their careers, but to an extent their lives, to achieve scientific history, developing a loving bond with their animal subjects along the way.

“It's one of the most important experiments ever undertaken, and layer on to that the political intrigue and human-animal love stories and how could I not fall in love with this project?” Dugatkin said.

Dugatkin’s talk begins at 8 p.m. onWednesday, July 12, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

Although Dugatkin does not have one of Trut’s domesticated foxes on hand, he will have plenty of photos and intriguing details.

Admission is free. Purchase of beer, other beverages or menu items is not required but is encouraged.

Organizers add that they also encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science. For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook.

Upcoming Beer with a Scientist dates: 

  • Aug. 9
  • Sept. 13

UofL Health and Social Justice Scholars launch plans to improve health equity in Louisville

UofL Health and Social Justice Scholars launch plans to improve health equity in Louisville

HSJS first cohort and directors

The first cohort of the University of Louisville Health and Social Justice Scholars (HSJS) is ready to begin implementing strategies to improve health equity in the Louisville community.

The four Health Sciences Center students, who began the program last summer, presented project plans to a group of faculty members, program directors and future scholars that include research and action aimed at improving the health of Louisvillians. Each of the students worked with a faculty or community mentor to develop a plan for a project to be completed over the next two years. Their projects focus on improvements in access to fresh food, community trust in health-care providers, dental care for HIV patients and diversity in the health-care work force.

“The diversity of the projects speaks volumes. Although they receive guidance from mentors, this is truly their work, based on their vision for a more equitable Louisville. I can only imagine where these initiatives will lead,” said Katie Leslie, Ph.D., program director in the UofL HSC Office of Diversity and Inclusion and director of the Health and Social Justice Scholars program.

The HSJS cohort includes one doctoral student from each of the four schools on the UofL HSC campus:  School of Dentistry, School of Medicine, School of Nursing and School of Public Health and Information Sciences. The students are selected based on their commitment to social justice and health equity to engage in a three-year program designed to help them learn techniques for working interprofessionally and with community members to improve the overall health of local residents. Their projects are to include community-based research conducted along with a faculty mentor and a report prepared for scholarly publication. In addition, they participate in community service projects and attend monthly discussions.

Ashton Green – School of Dentistry                               

Mentor:  Karen Krigger, M.D.

“Improving Access to Dental Care and Resources for Individuals Living with HIV”

Oral signs are often the first indication of larger health problems, and related oral conditions occur in 30 to 80 percent of HIV-infected individuals. Green hopes to improve dental care compliance in this population by developing and testing educational materials that will reinforce the importance of oral health and encourage them to seek and continue dental health care.

Diana Kuo – School of Public Health and Information Sciences

Mentor:  Brandy Kelly Pryor, Ph.D.

“Examining and Addressing the Effects of Food Systems on Health Outcomes in Louisville”

Neighborhoods with limited access to healthy food, known as food deserts, are associated with reduced health among residents. A number of areas in central Louisville have been identified as food deserts. Kuo plans to evaluate whether neighborhood international markets are good sources of fresh food for the community.

Jade Montanez – School of Nursing

Mentor:  Vicki Hines-Martin, Ph.D.

“Confronting Health Disparities Through Post-Secondary Health Sciences Degree Attainment”

Montanez hopes to support an increase in the number of underrepresented minorities in nursing by strengthening a program that prepares junior high and high school students for post-secondary education. She anticipates that a more diverse health-care workforce will benefit not only the students themselves, but also the community through reduced health disparities.

Mallika Sabharwal – School of Medicine

Mentor:  Theo Edmonds, J.D., M.H.A., M.F.A.

“Understanding Medical Mistrust in Smoketown”

Mistrust of the medical community can prevent individuals from receiving care and cloud interactions with health-care providers. Sabharwal plans to survey residents of Smoketown and UofL students and providers to assess mistrust of health professionals. She then will develop tools to improve cultural competency among providers and improve communication between providers and Smoketown residents. She hopes to include a focus group for creative expression by Smoketown residents, providers and students, possibly resulting in a creative project.

 

In developing the HSJS program, V. Faye Jones, M.D., Ph.D., M.S.P.H., associate vice president for health affairs – diversity initiatives at UofL, hoped to tap into the students’ interests and aptitudes while instructing them in techniques for addressing community issues.

“Our original vision for the program was to educate our students of the complexity of the problems facing our communities,” Jones said. “Each one has found a unique avenue for integrating their passion into a community project to address health disparities. Although each project has a connecting theme of social justice and health equity, the diversity in the approaches ignites excitement for the program.”

New scholars announced

The second cohort of Health and Social Justice Scholars has been selected and will begin matching with mentors and developing their projects this summer.

  • Morgan Pearson – School of Dentistry
  • Devin McBride – School of Medicine
  • Charles (John) Luttrell – School of Nursing
  • Tasha Golden – School of Public Health and Information Sciences

UofL pathology chair: McCain glioblastoma “bleak, but not hopeless”

Personalized medicine with emphasis on genetics holds key to treatment options
UofL pathology chair: McCain glioblastoma “bleak, but not hopeless”

Eyas Hattab, M.D.

Sen. John McCain’s glioblastoma diagnosis is bleak, but not hopeless, said Eyas Hattab, M.D., chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the A.J. Miller Endowed Chair in Pathology at the University of Louisville, because of a recent development known as personalized medicine.

Hattab – who also is the current chair of the College of American Pathologists’ Neuropathology Committee – said  personalized medicine holds the key to the tests that pathologists will be conducting this week and beyond. While glioblastoma tumors appear identical under the microscope, genetics determine a patient’s course of treatment. 

“Personalized medicine today allows for the classification of glioblastomas into two main categories based on their genetic makeup,” Hattab said. “About 90 percent of glioblastomas are ‘bad actors,’ usually with survival periods under one year while the remainder of patients may live for about five years or longer.

Glioblastoma is a tumor that starts in the brain. It affects glial cells, which are glue-like cells that surround neurons. Glioblastoma tumors are especially hard to treat because they aren't contained in a defined mass with clear borders. Instead, the tumor includes thread-like tendrils that extend into nearby areas of the brain, rendering the task of complete surgical resection virtually impossible. Chemo- and radiation therapies present the patient with additional treatment options. 

That is why personalized medicine, with its emphasis on the patient’s tumor genetic makeup and practiced by a pathologist, is important in treating glioblastoma tumors, Hattab said.

“In addition to rendering the diagnosis of glioblastoma, the role of the pathologist is to determine to which genetic group a patient belongs,” he said. “While these tumors appear identical under the microscope, a tumor’s response to therapy and subsequently its clinical behavior differs from one patient to another depending on certain molecular characteristics.

“Through molecular testing, the laboratory is able to predict which tumors will respond better to certain chemotherapeutic and radiation therapies.”

 

UofL hosts international conference on the internet and hearing health

Presenters will address potential ethical issues and big data collection

The internet has had a significant impact on medical research and practice, allowing researchers to collect data on a much larger scale and conveniently provide certain types of health care. This week, audiologists, specialists in hearing disorders, from around the world will meet in Louisville to discuss benefits and pitfalls of using the internet for research and hearing health care (telehealth) for individuals with hearing impairment.

Jill Preminger, Ph.D., director of the Program in Audiology at UofL, is co-chair of the Third International Meeting on Internet & Audiology, July 27-28 on UofL’s Health Sciences Center campus. It will be the first such meeting outside Europe.

The first two meetings were organized by Swedish researchers, Gerhard Andersson, Ph.D., and Thomas Lunner, Ph.D., in 2014 at Linköping University in Sweden and in 2015 in Denmark. Preminger presented talks at both conferences and was asked to co-chair the first one to be held in the United States. Ariane Laplante-Lévesque, Ph.D., of Eriksholm Research Centre in Denmark and Linköping University in Sweden also is an event co-chair.

“I attended the first meeting because I was beginning to conduct research in which I hoped to develop an internet-based rehabilitation program for adults with hearing loss,” Preminger said. “At the second meeting, Dr. Lunner asked if I would be interested in hosting the next meeting.  They wanted to bring the meeting to the United States in order to open it up to a new audience.”

Research audiologists and engineers, as well as clinical audiologists and student researchers are expected at this year’s event from the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, Africa and Asia. Consistent with the event’s focus, five presentations and more than half of the 84 attendees will participate from remote locations via internet connections.

Conference sessions will address four themes:  Barriers and facilitators to telepractice, ethical issues related to internet-based research and services, big data, and methods for research and service delivery.

Elizabeth Buchanan, Ph.D., director of the Center for Applied Ethics at the University of Wisconsin - Stout, will give a keynote address on “Ethical Issues related to internet-based research and service delivery.” Internet-based programs to collect data and to provide clinical service can reach many more individuals, but new programs must consider the ethical issues that may arise. Buchanan will discuss whether it truly is possible to get informed consent for internet-based research or clinical service, and how to protect the privacy of participants and patients in online discussions.

Harvey Dillon, Ph.D., director of the National Acoustics Laboratory in Australia, will deliver a keynote via remote broadcast on the “Potential of Large Scale Data in Hearing Rehabilitation.” With the internet it now is possible to collect “Big Data,” from participants across a country or around the world. Dillon will address concerns about ethical and legal issues related to collecting data across countries as well as exciting possibilities for very large datasets that will allow for better decisions about the effectiveness of treatments across diverse populations.

The conference is sponsored by the Oticon Foundation and through a NIH (NIDCD) Conference Grant. Oticon, Inc. creates hearing aids, cochlear implants, other implantable hearing devices and diagnostic equipment related to audiology.

###   

About the Audiology program at the University of Louisville

The University of Louisville developed and implemented one of the first Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree programs in the nation. The program has received national attention because of its early inception as well as the medical and business model used as the basis for instruction. Clinically, the program continues to set the community standard in the provision of hearing and balance care services, particularly in the areas of new technologies and pediatric services. The inclusion of the doctoral students in the clinical environment is an integral part of the program. Faculty members continue to be leaders on a national level in the development of the effective classroom and clinical teaching models through involvement in national committees and programs.

Life experience fortifies incoming medical students

UofL School of Medicine welcomes class of 2021 in White Coat Ceremony, July 30
Life experience fortifies incoming medical students

Shayna Hale and her children

Shayna Hale set her sights on becoming a doctor at age 15, when her father passed away suddenly. However, life threw some obstacles in her path.

Working to support herself, the first-generation graduate didn’t start college until she was 20. Being a single mother to three children added challenges – but also motivation.

“I was uneducated in the resources available to me, and I underestimated my ability to manage studies and work simultaneously,” Hale said. “After succeeding for a year as a single mom working full time, I gained the confidence to pursue my goal once again. I realized that if I kept waiting for the right time, that time would never come. I decided the best thing for me to do for myself and my family was apply for medical school.”

Evan Meiman took a detour on his road to a career in medicine to spend time helping people in need. After graduating from college in 2015, he joined AmeriCorps VISTA, serving at the Rhode Island Free Clinic in Providence as a volunteer coordinator for a full service medical home for uninsured patients.Evan Meiman

“When you work for a not-for-profit you wear many hats. I was in charge of the volunteer staff – doctors, interpreters, medical recorders, assistants, nurses,” Meiman said. “I coordinated medical recorders, Spanish interpreters and the medical assistants. It was close to 300 people.”

After a year with AmeriCorps, Meiman worked enrolling patients for clinical trials and research studies at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital, where he learned valuable lessons about working with people in stressful situations.

“Some would laugh at you and kick you out. Others would sit and talk with you all day long. It was great interacting with people seeing a different side of medicine,” he said. “The two years I was out in the communities with sick and healthy people confirmed it’s exactly what I want to do. It showed me that people aren’t just cells that process sugars, they are human beings that have stories and lives.”

This Sunday, Meiman, Hale and 159 other students will be welcomed as first-year students in the University of Louisville School of Medicine at the school’s White Coat Ceremony.

UofL School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony
Sunday, July 30, 3-5 p.m.
Crowne Plaza
830 Phillips Lane, Louisville, KY 40209

In the ceremony, members of the class of 2021 receive a white coat, a gift of the Greater Louisville Medical Society, and a stethoscope, provided by an alumnus of the school through Stethoscopes for Students. The future physicians then recite the Declaration of Geneva, promising to serve humanity and honor the traditions of the medical profession.

“It’s one thing to say you want to go to medical school, but to be given the tools to do it, I am honored. And it is exciting to be on the brink of it,” Meiman said.

Becoming a physician is a long process. Four years of medical school are followed by three or more years of residency training in a medical specialty. Meiman and Hale both have experience in planning for the long run. In his spare time, Meiman is a marathon runner.

“What I like about marathons is it’s so much more about what you put into it before the race. And it’s a great meditation and stress reliever.”

Hale hopes to have a positive impact on as many lives as possible.

“While we all hope to change the world, I will be fulfilled in the ability to change individual lives for the better, giving families more time together and providing a better quality of life.”

 

 

Evan Meiman

Evan Meiman
Evan Meiman
Full-size image:744 KB | View imageViewDownload imageDownload

UofL physicians explain why you need certified eclipse glasses when viewing the eclipse

UofL physicians explain why you need certified eclipse glasses when viewing the eclipse

Photo showing solar photo-toxicity in the central retina, the yellow-white pigment irregularity highlighted by the arrow. Image © 2017 American Academy of Ophthalmology.

It may be tempting to take a peek at the August 21 eclipse without eye protection. After all, we are told it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event. However, a University of Louisville ophthalmologist says that peek could leave you with a not-so-pleasant, permanent reminder of the event.

“You may have heard that you can do a lot of damage to your eyes when viewing an eclipse, and it’s true,” said Mark Mugavin, M.D., M.P.H., of the UofL Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. “During an eclipse, our normal reflexes that protect us from sun damage, such as blinking and pupil constriction, are more relaxed because the sun’s light intensity is significantly reduced.”

During the August 21 total eclipse, the moon will directly block all or part of the sun for up to three hours and will be visible across the United States. The “Path of Totality,” in which the entire sun will be covered, cuts across the southwest corner of Kentucky, but does not include the Louisville area.

"At no point should solar filter glasses be removed when you are looking at the eclipse in Louisville,” said Patrick A. Scott O.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the UofL Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences. “Although the sun may appear completely blocked, observers in Louisville will still be exposed to the sun's harmful rays, which can cause damage to the eyelids, ocular surface and internal structures of the eye."

Looking directly into the sun causes a condition known as “solar retinopathy.” The increased UV light exposure creates toxic free radicals that damage the photoreceptors and specialized pigment of the eye. This damage can leave a person with a mild to moderate reduction in vision, as well as central blind spots. Those most at risk for solar retinopathy are younger people, those with an intraocular lens implanted after cataract surgery and patients who are on photosensitive drugs such as tetracycline and amiodarone. Even though the Louisville area will see approximately 96 percent of the sun blocked, the remaining 4 percent can cause damage.

“The UofL Department of Ophthalmology sees approximately 10 cases a year of patients with solar retinopathy from high intensity laser pointers or high intensity sunlight exposure, such as viewing an eclipse,” Mugavin said, adding that he expects more cases this summer from people viewing the eclipse without proper eye protection.

There is no treatment available for solar retinopathy so the best strategy is to avoid it.

To safely view the eclipse, use glasses with special purpose solar filters. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) website reviews the various “eclipse glasses” that are available. Approved glasses should meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard and be manufactured by a U.S. manufacturer.

 

 

August 2, 2017

So, why haven’t we cured cancer yet?

Get the lowdown at Beer with a Scientist, Aug. 9
So, why haven’t we cured cancer yet?

Levi Beverly, Ph.D.

With all the research and effort that has gone into it, why does it seem we still are so far from finding a cure for cancer?

Levi Beverly, Ph.D., a cancer researcher with the UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center, will attempt to answer that question at the next Beer with a Scientist, August 9.

Beverly will provide a brief history of cancer and cancer research and discuss recent breakthroughs in our understanding of cancer research. He also will answer the questions he is asked most frequently about cancer:  "What exactly is cancer?" "Is cancer a ‘new’ disease?" "Why can't we cure cancer?" "Do other animals get cancer?" "Is there a cure for cancer that the government doesn't want us to have?"  "Why do some cancers have such high death rates?"

Beverly, an associate professor at UofL in the Department of Medicine, studies lung cancer and leukemia. He talked on this topic at the first Beer with a Scientist event in 2014. This month’s edition will include a look at the progress cancer researchers have made in the past three years. The talk begins at 8 p.m. on  Wednesday, August 9, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

Admission is free. Purchase of beer, other beverages or menu items is not required but is encouraged.

Organizers add that they also encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

In 2014, Beverly created the Beer with a Scientist program as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science. For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook or email Beverly.

Next Beer with a Scientist:  Sept. 13

 

 

August 3, 2017

Spike it to Cancer sand volleyball event benefits UofL cancer center, Aug. 12

Spike it to Cancer sand volleyball event benefits UofL cancer center, Aug. 12

2016 Spike it to Cancer tournament

Benefactors of a fund to support patients at the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center are sponsoring their fifth annual sand volleyball event to raise money for the fund.

The Mary Jane Gift Quality of Life Fund was established in 2013 by Alex and Tommy Gift in honor of their late mother, who passed away from breast cancer in 2010. The fund helps patients and their families enjoy life while facing a cancer diagnosis. For the past four years, the fund has provided Thanksgiving turkeys for patients at the cancer center.

To benefit the fund, the Gifts are sponsoring the Fifth Annual Spike it to Cancer Sand Volleyball Tournament at Baxter Jack’s sand volleyball complex, 427 Baxter Ave. on Saturday, Aug. 12. Player or spectator admission is $20 per person. The Open Pro division (co-ed quads) play starts at 8 a.m. (check in at 7:30 a.m.). The Fun division (co-ed sixes) play will start at about 2 p.m. (check in at 1:30 p.m.).  

To register a team, purchase admission or make a donation, go to the event’s online link. All registration fees go directly to the fund. Last year’s event raised $13,466 for the fund.

Additionally, Ward 426 on Baxter Ave., directly across the street from Baxter Jack’s, has once again agreed to donate a portion of all food and beverage sales throughout the day to the fund.

“Mary Jane taught us countless lessons throughout the course of her life. Stay Positive. Be thankful. Step away from it all,” Alex Gift said. “The fund can help do this by providing simple gifts to patients that could help improve their quality of life, even if it’s for a short period of time.”

The event has brought in more than $45,000 over five years.

For additional details, contact Lisa Ward at 502-852-2794.

UofL medical student wins essay contest for perspective on patients with mental illness

UofL medical student wins essay contest for perspective on patients with mental illness

Natalie Spiller

Natalie Spiller, a fourth-year student at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, believes patients with mental health disorders need a physician’s empathy, compassion and best medical attention. In her experience, they do not always receive it.

Spiller’s essay on the topic won the Physician-in-Training/Student category in the eighth annual Richard Spear, M.D., Memorial Essay Contest, sponsored by the Greater Louisville Medical Society. This year’s theme was:  “What Drives you Crazy in Health Care?”

In her essay, Spiller calls attention to discrimination shown by health-care professionals toward patients with mental health disorders. Spiller opens her piece by describing a situation in which a woman arrives alone in an emergency room with incoherent speech and disheveled appearance, along with a history of drug abuse and mental illness. While the physician-narrator assumes her symptoms were due to drugs or mental illness, it turns out the woman is suffering from a stroke. The patient dies.

“While our society is making its way to de-stigmatize the diagnosis of mental health disorders, we in the medical community have a long way to go in creating comprehensive medical care for those suffering from ‘invisible illness,’” Spiller wrote.

For the winning essay, published in the July issue of Louisville Medicine, Spiller received a plaque and $750 award at the 2017 GLMS Presidents’ Celebration in May.

The awards are named for Richard Spear, a respected Louisville general surgeon who also served on the faculty of the UofL School of Medicine. When he died in 2007, Spear left GLMS a bequest to fund the annual essay contest. Spear wished to support high quality writing about the practice of medicine.

 

Photo courtesy GLMS.

August 11, 2017

UofL Hospital emergency nurses take first place in competition

‘SIMS WARS’ judges skills
UofL Hospital emergency nurses take first place in competition

UofL Hospital emergency nurses, from left, Frankie Parra, Beth Sum, Nate Davison and Bridget Genardi won the SIMS WARS emergency simulation competition at a conference held by the Kentucky State Council of the Emergency Nurses Association in Lexington.

A team of emergency nurses from University of Louisville Hospital took first place in a state competition of emergency medical skills.

UofL Hospital beat six other teams from hospitals in the region to take top honors in the “SIM WARS” emergency simulation competition. The competition took place this month at a continuing education conference held by the Kentucky State Council of the Emergency Nurses Association at The Campbell House in Lexington. 

Each team of four emergency nurses was presented with an emergency scenario in which they had to apply their skills to save a patient. The patient was a life-like mannequin programmed to talk and interact with the team, telling them what was wrong and where he was hurt. The mannequin had a heartbeat and was breathing as a person in distress would.

The team made an assessment and treated the mannequin in detail, just as they would a real patient that was brought in by EMS. The competition took place in front of a panel that was in the room, judging their skills and timing.

The team from UofL Hospital included Frankie Parra, Beth Sum, Nate Davison and Bridget Genardi, all BSN. “I have to say I am really proud of these guys,” said Patricia “Trish” Higgins, interim director of emergency services for UofL Hospital. “It meant a lot for them to win.”

The Emergency Nurses Association was formed for nurses in emergency health care to pool resources, set standards and improve emergency nursing, and currently has more than 40,000 members in more than 35 countries. Its mission is to advocate for patient safety and excellence in emergency nursing. The association has chapters in each state, and three chapters in Kentucky.

SIMS WARS was sponsored and judged by Air Evac Lifeteam, an air ambulance company.

Parra, who is the emergency nurse educator at UofL Hospital responsible for training new nurses, said he had attended the conference last year and wanted to return home this year with a win. Parra has been an emergency nurse for seven years, and at the hospital for nine. 

“It’s neat to put our name out there and what we do,” Parra said. “We focus our training on what it would be like in real life.”

He said it takes a special type of person to be an emergency nurse. “You have to be flexible, and handle whatever comes at you,” he said. “It can start as an easy day, but very quickly turn around. It’s all about being ready. You have to be prepared for the worst.”

While he trains new nurses, he said the rest of the team would have been just fine in the competition without him.

“They are very talented,” he said.

Higgins said Parra and the team are part of a younger, up-and-coming generation of emergency nurses.

“This is how we work every day,” said Higgins, who has worked in emergency medicine for 17 years. “There is a lot of teamwork in the emergency department. I’ve worked in a lot of other emergency departments, and I’ve really noticed the teamwork here. The ER nurses here are a special group.”

Sum has been an ER nurse for a year after graduating from college. Parra said that speaks to Sum’s talents. 

“To work at a Level 1 trauma center as a new graduate is quite a challenge and accomplishment,” Parra said. “Those like Beth who do really have what it takes, it’s an elite group of nurses.”

Sum said she loves her job.

“You never know what you are going to get. It’s a lot of variety, but you have to be able to handle the stress.

“It’s a great group of people to work with. Just when you think you’re flooded, there are three people behind you saying, ‘How can I help?’ That’s what makes us different.”

She and Parra said that in the end, it’s all about the patient. 

“We have to be prepared - for them,” Parra said. “They are the motivation for the good work we do here.”

UofL researchers discover procedure to regenerate dormant cone cells, potentially to improve vision in retinitis pigmentosa

Henry Kaplan, M.D., presenting findings at national and international medical conferences
UofL researchers discover procedure to regenerate dormant cone cells, potentially to improve vision in retinitis pigmentosa

Henry J. Kaplan, M.D.

Researchers at the University of Louisville have discovered a way to revitalize cone receptors that have deteriorated as a result of retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Working with animal models, Henry J. Kaplan, M.D., and a group of researchers in the UofL Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences discovered that replenishing glucose under the retina and transplanting healthy rod stem cells into the retina restore function of the cones.

The research, conducted by Kaplan, chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Douglas Dean, Ph.D., and Wei Wang, Ph.D., and published in December in Cell Reports, could lead to therapies for preserving or recovering central vision in patients with RP. Kaplan will present the research findings at five conferences in the United States and abroad beginning this month.

Retinitis Pigmentosa is an inherited disease in which the photoreceptor cells in the retina – rods and cones – deteriorate over time. Photoreceptors absorb and convert light into electrical signals, which are sent through the optic nerve to the brain. Rods, located in the outer regions of the retina, allow peripheral and low-light vision. Cones, located mostly in the central part of the retina, allow perception of color and visual detail.

In RP, rods deteriorate first, causing the peripheral and low light vision loss typically associated with the disease. In later stages, the cones also deteriorate. Without cone function, RP patients lose the high-resolution daylight vision necessary for reading, facial recognition and driving. As a result, this stage of RP vision loss is more debilitating than the loss of nighttime or peripheral vision. RP affects 1 in 4,000 people globally.

Recent research has shown that as the rods deteriorate, the cones are no longer able to access glucose, which becomes trapped in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). As a result of glucose starvation, the cones go dormant and eventually die.

The UofL researchers found that the cones remain dormant for a period of time before they are completely lost, and if the glucose supply can be replenished during dormancy, the cones can be regenerated. The researchers were able to successfully restore cone access to glucose in either of two procedures. First, by transplanting rod-specific induced pluripotent stem cells beneath the retina, and second by injecting glucose directly into the subretinal space.

“Following rod stem cell transplant, we observed reassembly of the cone inner segments, regeneration of cone outer segments and increased electrophysiologic function within 1,000 microns from the transplant margin for at least three months after the transplantation in all directions,” Kaplan said. “However, the recognition that glucose starvation of cones occurred because of the trapping of glucose in the RPE provides multiple new possible treatments to restore lost central vision including drug therapy, gene editing and regenerative medicine.”

Kaplan will present these findings at the 6th China Ocular Microcirculation Society Annual Meeting - International Ophthalmology Conference, Beijing, China, and the American Society of Retina Specialists, Boston, this month, at the Indiana Academy of Ophthalmology, Carmel, in September, the Retina Society, Boston, in October, and the5th World Integrative Medicine Congress, Guangzhou, China in December.

This research has the potential to lead to therapies that preserve or restore central vision for individuals with RP.

“If therapy can prevent or reverse the onset of cone degeneration within the macula, most patients would be immeasurably helped and able to live a normal life despite the loss of peripheral vision and decreased dark adaptation,” Kaplan said.

This research is supported by grants from the National Eye Institute (RO1 EY026158), Research to Prevent Blindness and KY Research Challenge Trust Fund.

 

August 15, 2017

UofL’s Bolli helps raise profile of major medical journal

Impact factor of 'Circulation Research' jumps
UofL’s Bolli helps raise profile of major medical journal

Roberto Bolli, M.D.

A University of Louisville physician and researcher has helped raise the profile of a leading medical journal to an all-time high.

The journal Circulation Research, edited by UofL’s Roberto Bolli, M.D., has achieved its highest-ever “impact factor,” a measure of its importance in the medical field. Circulation Research is an official journal of the American Heart Association and is considered the world’s leading journal on basic and translational research in cardiovascular medicine. Its impact factor, calculated yearly and just announced for 2016, places it among the top 2 percent of medical journals.

Bolli, chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at the UofL School of Medicine and UofL Physicians, took over as editor of the journal in 2009, and has worked to raise the journal’s profile since. He also serves as director of UofL’s Institute of Molecular Cardiology and scientific director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute.

The impact factor (IF) is a measure of the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in other articles and medical literature in a particular year. The more cited a journal is, the more “impact” it has on the community. The impact factor for Circulation Research is 13.96. When Bolli took over as editor-in-chief, it was 9.4. From 2015 to 2016 alone, the impact factor jumped 2 points.

“Just as a major newspaper helps shape public opinion, the journal Circulation Research has an impact on what is considered important,” Bolli said. 

Impact factors are calculated by the Institute for Scientific Information and tracked by the Journal Citation Reports for more than 12,000 journals. Factors range from 0 to more than 10; only 2 percent of journal titles have a 2016 impact factor of 10 or higher.  Approximately two-thirds have a 2016 impact factor equal to or greater than 1. Those with very high impact factors include such notables as The New England Journal of Medicine and Science.

Since becoming editor-in-chief, Bolli and the Circulation Research editorial board have made dozens of changes at the journal to help increase its quality and impact factor.

“That’s a huge jump,” he said. “Four-point-five points in seven years is unprecedented. It’s very hard, as there are an increasing number of medical journals competing for articles.”

Bolli noted that the jump is even more meaningful given that Cardiovascular Research only publishes research into the cardiovascular system, where other journals publish multiple or all areas of medical research. “Our focus is much narrower, yet despite this the impact factor has gone up,” he said.

He said the impact factor of a journal is one of the main elements authors look at when deciding where to submit their best work. A journal’s ability to receive high-quality work for publication depends on how high its impact factor is, he said.

“It is a big deal to have a paper published in Circulation Research, and it is considered a significant achievement,” Bolli said.

The journal is widely read in the field, and its website receives more than 10 million hits per year. It receives approximately 2,000 submissions of articles per year, he said.

Bolli was selected as the journal’s editor-in-chief from more than 40 candidates, all leading scientists from top medical schools around the country. He called his selection an “incredible honor.”

He said that not only was it an honor for him personally, it was notable for the University of Louisville, as having the editor of a leading medical journal housed at the School of Medicine raises its profile internationally.

“I view it as my most important contribution to science, more than anything else I’ve done,” he said. “The journal helps steer the field of cardiovascular research.”

Membership on the journal’s editorial board is also very competitive, and is reserved for the top cardiovascular researchers in the world.  “It is an honor just to be included,” Bolli said.

One of the changes he and the board made was raising the bar for article acceptance. Only 7 percent of articles submitted are now accepted, compared with 16 percent before.

“If we select an article to be published, it is truly novel, methodologically immaculate, and likely to be important for others,” Bolli said.

Another change was an acceleration of the review process, making acceptance of articles more efficient. He said the journal now has the shortest turnaround time in the field. The journal also was opened up to clinical studies involving patients, and has launched more than 20 new article categories.

For Bolli, seeing the journal rise in prominence after years of hard work is meaningful not just for himself, but for the patients that ultimately benefit from research in the field.

UofL goes to the fair

Variety of health services, information offered at the Kentucky State Fair
UofL goes to the fair

Health care providers with the University of Louisville will be featured at the Kentucky State Fair, Aug. 17-27. All services will be provided at the UofL booth in the Health Horizons Pavilion. Most services will be provided between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the days shown, but fair-goers should check the booth for exact scheduling. Some services require that participants meet certain criteria; staff in the booth can provide information.

    THREE UofL PROGRAMS PROVIDE SERVICES DAILY AT THE KENTUCKY STATE FAIR

    University of Louisville health care providers will be on-site in the Health Horizons Pavilion at the Kentucky State Fair, Aug. 17-27, at the Kentucky Expo Center, and three programs will be available each day of the fair:

    • Mammogram screenings: Providers affiliated with the UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center and Kentucky Cancer Program will provide mammograms. All screenings will take place in the privacy of the Horses and Hope Cancer Screening Van. For more than 25 years, the Brown Cancer Center and Kentucky Cancer Program have brought the mobile van to the fair to remove barriers to screening, providing women a key service in early detection. Mammogram screenings will be billed to insurance, so participants should have their health insurance verification and photo identification handy. Yearly mammograms are covered by Medicare and most private insurance providers for women over 40. Special discounted rates are available to those without insurance.
    • Vascular screenings, including carotid artery screen and ankle brachial index: Provided daily at the fair, Aug. 17-27. A carotid artery screen is ideal for anyone with dizziness, ringing in the ears or anyone with a family history of carotid artery disease. It also is indicated for smokers and people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes or is over the age of 50. The test is administered by a registered technologist and uses ultrasound technology. The ankle brachial index screening is ideal for anyone with leg pain while walking or resting or anyone with a family history of peripheral arterial disease. It also is indicated for smokers and people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or is over the age of 50. This test utilizes blood pressure cuffs to determine the amount of blood flow to your legs.
    • Education, prevention and survivorship information from the Kentucky Cancer Program: The Kentucky Cancer Program is a statewide cancer prevention and control program, bringing together local organizations, providers and other partners in planning, implementing and evaluating cancer prevention and control efforts. The KCP staff and volunteers will be on-site providing information and giveaways to fair-goers with the goal of reducing cancer incidence and cancer death in Kentucky.

    WOMEN’S HEALTH INFORMATION PROVIDED AT THE STATE FAIR

    Staff from UofL Hospital’s Center for Women & Infants and UofL Physicians-Ob/Gyn & Women’s Health will be on hand at the fair to help women of all ages. The Center for Women & Infants specializes in both high-risk obstetrics and general maternity services and gives expectant families their choice of care from board-certified obstetricians and certified nurse midwives who practice with UofL Physicians-Ob/Gyn & Women’s Health.

    At the fair, staff will be on hand to discuss urogynecology with providers  from the Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery practices, fertility specialists in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, the certified nurse midwifery program, family planning services, and our newest offering – Centering Prenatal Care. Women enter centering groups of 8-10 other expectant mothers and they receive both individualized care as well as the benefits of group discussion.

    Women’s health services will be offered each day beginning Thursday, Aug. 17 through Saturday, Aug. 26.

    EMERGENCY CARE INFORMATION, TRAINING PROVIDED BY UofL

    The UofL Hospital Level I Trauma Center and the Burn Unit will both provide a variety of services at the fair.

    The Trauma Center is the region’s only Level I trauma unit. Staff will train fair-goers to “Stop the Bleed” on Friday, Aug. 18. This innovative program uses a lifelike replica of the human thigh – complete with faux blood – to train participants in handling bleeds from wounds at the scene where they occur. On Tuesday, Aug. 22, the Trauma Center will participate in Senior Day at the Fair, and feature a walk-through demonstration to help older adults identify potential hazards, help prevent falls and improve balance. The Trauma Center staff will return on Saturday, Aug. 26, with more trauma prevention activities.

    The UofL Burn Unit is the region’s only dedicated adult burn unit and will provide safety information and fun for the entire family. Fair-goers can spin a prize wheel to learn about fire safety and burn care. They also will be able to see the “smoking house” – an animated educational tool with tips on how to keep homes safe from fire. Burn Unit personnel will be at the fair on Wednesday, Aug. 23.

    SENIOR DAY FEATURES PHARMACY, VOLUNTEER INFORMATION

    Senior Day at the Fair will feature two programs that will only be available to fair-goers on that date, Tuesday, Aug. 22:

    • UofL Hospital Pharmacists will share information of interest to older adults, including diabetes, vaccinations, pharmacy services at UofL facilities and more. They also will be available to answer questions one-on-one with fair-goers about their medications and treatments.
    • UofL Hospital Volunteers will be at the fair to provide information on how fair-goers can serve others as a hospital volunteer. Each year, volunteers gain pride in providing meaningful service through their collective thousands of hours of service, helping the staff provide high quality care to patients, their families and the community. A wide array of service opportunities are available, from greeting guests to clerical service and more.

    Also on Senior Day, the UofL booth will provide mammogram screenings, vascular screenings, colon cancer screenings, blood pressure checks, stroke assessments, women’s health information and a walk-through demonstration for older adults to help them avoid falls.

    SPECIALTY SCREENINGS, INFORMATION OFFERED BY UofL

    Several specialty services will be provided by UofL staff at the fair:

    • UofL Physicians-Pediatrics will be at the fair Saturday, Aug. 19, offering vision and blood pressure screenings and a child safety demonstration. UofL Pediatrics provides children and their families with doctors and other providers to see them through the milestones of childhood.
    • UofL Physicians-Diabetes & Obesity Center will be at the fair Wednesday, Aug. 23, providing screenings for prediabetes and diabetes. The screening requires a finger stick and the participant does not have to be fasting.
    • UofL Hospital Infection Control will be at the fair Thursday, Aug. 24, with information on the importance of hand hygiene in preventing the spread of disease. The staff also will show fair-goers the benefits of getting annual flu vaccinations and provide information on when antibiotics should be used and when they should not.
    • Carbon monoxide screening will be available during the final four days of the fair, Thursday, Aug. 24 through Sunday, Aug 27. The carbon monoxide breath test shows the amount of carbon monoxide in the lungs and blood in an indirect, non-invasive manner. Breath carbon monoxide also is an indicator of the levels of approximately 7,000 toxic substances present in cigarette smoke, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. Participants will blow into a small handheld device for several seconds.

    GET CANCER SCREENINGS AND MORE AT THE FAIR

    Staff with UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, the Kentucky Cancer Program and the UofL School of Dentistry will be on hand to provide information, screenings and more:

    • Education, prevention and survivorship information from the Kentucky Cancer Program: Provided daily at the fair. The Kentucky Cancer Program is a statewide cancer prevention and control program, bringing together local organizations, providers and other partners in planning, implementing and evaluating cancer prevention and control efforts. The KCP staff and volunteers will be on-site providing information and giveaways to fair-goers with the goal of reducing cancer incidence and cancer death in Kentucky.
    • Mammogram screenings: Provided daily at the fair. Providers affiliated with the Brown Cancer Center and Kentucky Cancer Program will provide mammograms. All screenings will take place in the privacy of the Horses and Hope Cancer Screening Van. For more than 25 years, the Brown Cancer Center and Kentucky Cancer Program has brought the mobile van to the fair to remove barriers to screening, providing women a key service in early detection. Mammogram screenings will be billed to insurance, so participants should have their health insurance verification and photo identification handy. Yearly mammograms are covered by Medicare and most private insurance providers for women over 40. Special discounted rates are available to those without insurance.
    • Head and neck cancer screenings: Provided Saturday, Aug. 19, Sunday, Aug. 20, Tuesday, Aug. 22, Saturday, Aug. 26 and Sunday, Aug. 27. The UofL School of Dentistry and the Kentucky Cancer Program are observing the 25th anniversary of their collaboration in providing head and neck assessments at the fair. Dental students and faculty have conducted more than 3,800 screenings since the collaboration began. This oral head and neck exam is painless and quick, and open to everyone. Participants wearing dentures will be asked to remove them during the 10-minute exam.
    • Prostate cancer screenings: Provided Saturday, Aug. 19-Sunday, Aug. 20. Prostate screenings are recommended for men with average risk starting at age 50. African-American men and anyone with a brother, father or son who had prostate cancer before age 65 should begin getting screened for prostate cancer at age 45. Testing will involve a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test that involves taking a small amount of blood. A digital rectal exam also will be performed in the privacy of the Horses and Hope Cancer Screening Van to feel for any lumps, bumps or other abnormalities. The results of the PSA will be mailed about two weeks after the fair ends. The entire testing process takes approximately 20 minutes.
    • Colon cancer screenings: Provided Monday, Aug. 21 through Sunday, Aug. 27. Colon cancer screenings with FIT kits are available to anyone over 50 who has not had a colonoscopy within the past 10 years or a stool test in the past year. A free take-home kit will be available for men and women 50 and older and to younger participants who are cancer survivors or have a history of cancer in close relatives. The participant will complete stool collection at home and then mail it to UofL Hospital in special packaging provided.
    • Cancer resources and Reiki demonstration from the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center at the Brown Cancer Center: Provided Thursday, Aug. 24. The Krista Loyd Center provides a peaceful environment for patients with cancer to learn, relax and heal emotionally. A wealth of support services is available along with cancer education and information. One service provided is the Japanese technique of Reiki for stress reduction and healing promotion. Personnel from the Loyd Center will demonstrate the technique.

    UofL STAFF HELP YOU GET HEART-HEALTHY AT THE FAIR

    A variety of screenings and information will be provided to help fair-goers lessen their risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke:

    • Vascular screenings, including carotid artery screen and ankle brachial index: Provided daily at the fair, Aug. 17-27. A carotid artery screen is ideal for anyone with dizziness, ringing in the ears or anyone with a family history of carotid artery disease. It also is indicated for smokers and people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes or is over the age of 50. The test is administered by a registered technologist and uses ultrasound technology. The ankle brachial index screening is ideal for anyone with leg pain while walking or resting or anyone with a family history of peripheral arterial disease. It also is indicated for smokers and people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or is over the age of 50. This test utilizes blood pressure cuffs to determine the amount of blood flow to your legs.
    • Coronary artery disease screenings:Provided Thursday, Aug. 17. This simple blood test is ideal for individuals with a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, heartburn or high cholesterol. This test measures to see if you have blockages in your coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to your heart.
    • Hands-only CPR: Provided Thursday, Aug. 17. This award-winning program trains fair-goers to be lifesavers in the event of cardiac arrest. UofL staff will train participants in hands-only cardiac pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) which is pushing fast and hard in the center of chest. For every minute’s delay in starting CPR, a cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival decrease by 10 percent. Hands-only CPR helps beat those odds.
    • Stroke risk assessments and blood pressure screening: Provided Tuesday, Aug. 22 and Saturday, Aug. 26. The UofL Hospital Comprehensive Stroke Center was the first certified stroke center in Kentucky. Staff will provide free stroke risk assessment and blood pressure checks to fair-goers.

    Baby boom comes to UofL Center for Women & Infants in July

    Birthing center sees highest number of deliveries for a single month in 10 years
    Baby boom comes to UofL Center for Women & Infants in July

    Giving babies such as sleeping Fred Crosthwaite IV the best possible start in life is the goal of the Center for Women & Infants. In July, the center witnessed the highest number of deliveries for a single month – 200 – in a decade.

    The final numbers are in, and oh, baby, July was booming at the Center for Women & Infants at University of Louisville Hospital.

    The center witnessed its highest number of deliveries for a single month in 10 years – 200 in the month of July alone.

    CWI Director Libby Smith said the last time the center witnessed that level of deliveries was in July 2007, when 211 babies were delivered.

    She attributes the high number of deliveries to the high quality care provided by the staff and to the number of birthing options offered by providers who deliver at the Center for Women & Infants.

    “We offer expectant moms more choices than virtually any other birthing facility in our region,” Smith said. “Women can receive prenatal care and have their babies delivered by an obstetrician or a certified nurse midwife. They can experience labor in or out of water. They can receive traditional individual care or be part of our new centering groups in which expectant moms receive support from other expectant moms.

    “And if a cesarean birth is medically called for, our family-centered cesarean delivery with the clear drape option allows moms and dads to see their little ones as they are born.”

    The center also provides evidence-based care for high-risk pregnancies and deliveries. “We have exceptional maternal-fetal specialists – doctors who specialize in high-risk pregnancies – leading our multidisciplinary teams who are ready and able to handle virtually any situation,” Smith said. 

    The center also practices Kangaroo Care, the placing of newborns skin-to-skin with moms and dads to comfort baby and foster bonding. The Center for Women & Infants has earned Baby-Friendly Designation by Baby-Friendly USA, for providing an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding. Also, La Leche League of Louisville meets monthly at the center, giving new moms support in breastfeeding, and the center’s Beautiful Beginnings prenatal care classes help expectant moms and dads prepare for their new baby.

    Even with July’s record number of births, the center is ready to accommodate even more expectant families and bring new lives into the world, Smith said. “Delivering babies and giving them the best possible start in life is what we are all about,” she said.

    For details about the Center for Women & Infants at UofL Hospital, visit the center website or call 502-562-3325.

    UofL faculty member named ‘Research Exemplar’

    Bhatnagar among 28 nationwide named by P.I. Program at Washington University in St. Louis
     UofL faculty member named ‘Research Exemplar’

    Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D.

    The director of the Diabetes & Obesity Center at the University of Louisville has been named one of just 28 “Research Exemplars” in the biomedical field by the P.I. Program through the Center for Clinical and Research Ethics at Washington University in St. Louis and in collaboration with St. Louis University.

    Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine, was cited for conducting high-quality, high-impact research and exemplifying professionalism and integrity in research. The Research Exemplars were selected for their leadership and management skills in successfully running research laboratories and mentoring junior faculty.

    “Aruni Bhatnagar’s commitment to research and to the development of the next generation of researchers is well known within the University of Louisville community,” William Pierce, Ph.D., executive vice president for research and innovation, said. “For his efforts to be distinguished by the Exemplar Project solidifies his place as one of the standard-bearers of research quality and integrity.”

    UofL’s director of research integrity concurred. “Washington University in St. Louis and St. Louis University have a position of national leadership in the area of research professionalism. This award recognizes decades of Aruni's work and affirms the critical role mentoring plays in the responsible and successful conduct of research,” Allison Ratterman, Ph.D., said.

    About Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D.

    Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., holds dual professorships in medicine and in biochemistry and molecular biology. He joined UofL in 1998. Bhatnagar is a Distinguished University Scholar, director of the UofL Diabetes and Obesity Center and a Fellow of the American Heart Association.

    Bhatnagar is a leading environmental health scientist who led the creation of the field of environmental cardiology. Through multidisciplinary approaches, he has identified the influence of environmental factors that contribute to systemic inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk. His work has extended from basic bench research to national and global policy.

    With more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and $100 million in research support, colleagues hold him in the highest esteem an intellectual leader and as an exemplary mentor, teacher and public servant. He has been a member of more than 50 review panels of the National Institutes of Health, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Defense. He currently serves as the deputy editor of the journal, Circulation Research. Under his mentorship, more than 15 junior investigators have obtained independent funding.

    Colleagues describe Bhatnagar as an innovative, productive scientist who is extraordinarily skilled at leading large research programs and who ensures the highest standards of scientific integrity.

    “I am honored to join my peers from across the United States as a Research Exemplar,” Bhatnagar said. “This program focuses on the intersection of leading a research lab and conducting high-quality, high-impact research with integrity and professionalism.

    “To be included among this group is extremely gratifying and reaffirms my commitment to the role of research scientist.”

     

    University Writing Center ready to help in new HSC location

    University Writing Center ready to help in new HSC location

    Writing

    No matter what kind of writing project you may have this year, the University Writing Center can help you make your writing stronger. The University Writing Center’s Health Sciences Center campus office is now in K-Wing, Room 2028 and is open for appointments on Tuesdays from 10-4 and Thursdays from 9-1.

    The University Writing Center works with all members of the UofL community – students, faculty, and staff – to improve their writing. Writing Center consultants provide one-on-one consultations that help writers address concerns about their drafts and provide strategies for improving writing skills. Consultants work with writers at any point in the writing process, from planning and organization to revision. At the HSC office, consultants work with writers on science and technical writing, including research articles, grant proposals and dissertation chapters and proposals, as well as IRB applications and other professional and scholarly work. Consultants can help writers with personal statements, job letters, CVs and other genres of writing. The Writing Center is not an editing service, but works with writers to offer responses to their drafts and suggestions for revision.

    To make an appointment through the online scheduling system, log in to the University Writing Center website using your UofL user name and password, and click on “Appointments.” To make an appointment in our HSC location, select that schedule in the drop-down menu at the top of the schedule page. You also are welcome to make appointments at our Ekstrom Library location.

    In addition to consultations, the University Writing Center offers workshops on writing through courses, campus organizations and online. You also will find handouts and videos about common student writing issues and answers to common writing questions.

    If you have questions or want to know more, visit the website, email writing@louisville.edu, or call 852-2173.

     

    Image by Pete O'Shea.

    August 30, 2017

    NIH institute director George F. Koob, Ph.D., to speak on neurobiology of addiction at Research!Louisville

    NIH institute director George F. Koob, Ph.D., to speak on neurobiology of addiction at Research!Louisville

    George F. Koob, Ph.D.

    A greater understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying addiction could help communities such as Louisville and Southern Indiana cope with the opioid crisis, alcoholism and other problems related to substance use. George F. Koob, Ph.D., an internationally-recognized expert on alcohol and stress and the neurobiology of alcohol and drug addiction, will discuss his research on this topic in the keynote address for Research!Louisville.

    Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, one of the National Institutes of Health, will discuss “The Neurobiology of Addiction: View from the Dark Side,” on Friday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m. in the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building (KCCTRB) at the University of Louisville.

    Koob’s talk will address how addiction is perpetuated by the motivation to alleviate emotional and physical distress created by abstinence from the drug. Addicted individuals compulsively use the drug in order to reduce the hypohedonia, anxiety, irritability and other symptoms of drug abstinence. Such negative reinforcement is known as the “dark side of addiction.” Koob’s research presents compelling evidence that plasticity in the brain’s emotional systems adapts to repeated drug taking and contributes to the development and persistence of compulsive drug seeking.

    Research!Louisville is the annual exposition of health-related research in the Louisville Medical Center. The 2017 event, scheduled for Sept. 12-15, showcases scientific research, lectures and activities for scientists of all ages. Investigators from high school through professional faculty will present their research in five poster sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Awards for top research presentations will be announced on Friday following the keynote address. Research!Louisville is co-sponsored by UofL, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation/KentuckyOne Health and Norton Healthcare.

    Events during the week include:

    • Women innovators – A panel of women entrepreneurs and innovators will discuss their experiences with the commercialization of university research by licensing to an established company and/or forming a new start-up company.  Panelists will share lessons they have learned and will discuss the "commercialization culture shift" of moving from academic research to working with industry. Tuesday, Sept. 12, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. in KCCTRB, 550 S. Hancock St., Room 124.
    • Kentucky Science Center – A preview in health-care training for biomedical-focused middle and high school students. Co-sponsored by UofL and Jewish Hospital and St. Mary's Foundation/KentuckyOne Health and in collaboration with the Greater Louisville Medical Society and Louisville Women in Medicine and Science (L-WIMS), students will work in sessions and hear from leaders in the science community. Students will be introduced to alternative science career opportunities and educational advancements with a biomedical focus. Pulse of Surgery will be one of the highlights, providing students the opportunity to observe a live-streamed open-heart surgery while asking questions of the operating room staff in real time. Pre-registration is required. Sessions are Wednesday, Sept. 13, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Kentucky Science Center, 727 W. Main St.
    • Beer with LOTS of Scientists – This evening gathering will be a get-to-know-you event, with seven or more UofL researchers introducing themselves and their work, then mixing and mingling with guests. Topics will include 3-D printing, pain, nanoparticles, cancer, aging and precision medicine. Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 8 p.m. at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St.
    • Translational Research Symposium – Seven areas of translational research will be highlighted with 10-minute presentations. Areas include cancer, environmental health, neurosciences and spinal cord injury, digestive health, cardiovascular disease, the microbiome, and clinical trials research and services. Thursday, Sept. 14, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. in room 124 of KCCTRB.
    • Across Sectors, Across Generations:  Achieving Health Equity for All – Rachel Thornton, M.D., Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research focuses on childhood obesity and cardiovascular disease risk, health disparities and social determinants of health. She has expertise in racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care. Thornton is committed to informing the development of novel interventions to eliminate health disparities by addressing individual, family and community level factors that contribute to disparities in child and adolescent obesity and cardiovascular disease risk. Thursday, Sept. 14, at noon in room 101/102 of KCCTRB.

    For additional information, poster abstract booklet and a program of events for the 22nd annual Research!Louisville, visit http://ResearchLouisville.org.

    UofL hosting international meeting on health effects of histidyl dipeptides carnosine and anserine

    Relatively new field of study holds potential in variety of diseases, conditions
    UofL hosting international meeting on health effects of histidyl dipeptides carnosine and anserine

    Presentations for the 4th Annual International Congress on Carnosine and Anserine will be held at UofL's Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, 305 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd.

    The 4th Annual International Congress on Carnosine and Anserine will meet in Louisville Sept. 12-14, drawing participants from around the globe.

    The Diabetes and Obesity Center at the University of Louisville organized the congress to share new research on the health effects of histidyl dipeptides such as carnosine and anserine. It will be held at UofL’s Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, 302 E. Muhammad Ali Blvd., and the Brown Hotel, 335 W. Broadway.

    Carnosine is known as an endogenous dipeptide that is naturally produced in the body. It is concentrated in skeletal muscles, the heart, the brain and other parts of the body. Carnosine is thought to prevent aging,  alleviate diet-induced metabolic syndrome, nerve damage, eye disorders and kidney problems.

    Anserine is a derivative of carnosine and is normally absent from human tissues and body fluids. Anserine is present in the skeletal muscle of birds and certain species of mammals, notably the rabbit, rat and whale. It is an antioxidant and helps reduce fatigue. 

    The conference will draw leading scientists as presenters from four continents, with countries such as Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and the United Kingdom represented as well as the United States.

    The conference oral  presentations will cover the impact of carnosine and anserine in exercise and sports,  chronic metabolic diseases, cardiovascular disease, cancer, the nervous system, renal disease and the biochemical pathways of carnosine and its derivatives.

    Carnosine and anserine are referred to as novel dipeptides in science – meaning they consist of two amino acids and exhibit multifunctional properties. Recent clinical trials demonstrate that  these dipeptides enhance the walking ability of patients with heart failure and alleviate metabolic syndrome in patients with diabetes.

    “This congress  provides an opportunity for researchers and scientists from around the world who are working in this area to interact and forge new collaborations,” said Assistant Professor of Medicine Shahid Baba, Ph.D., who is congress chair. “It allows investigators to interact with one another and forge collaborations that will help us advance research in this field.”

    For details about the conference, contact Baba at 502-852-4274 or spbaba01@louisville.edu

    UofL lecture will help you ‘Maintain Your Brain’

      UofL lecture will help you ‘Maintain Your Brain’

    David Casey, M.D.

    A healthy body’s connection to a healthy mind will be the topic of the next “Building Hope” lecture on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

    David A. Casey, M.D., chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Louisville, will present “Maintaining Your Brain: Tips on preserving thinking and memory with the aging process.” The event is part of the “Building Hope” public lecture series sponsored by the UofL Depression Center and will be held at 7 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church, 3701 Old Brownsboro Road.

    Casey will discuss lifestyle changes that can be helpful to maintain brain processes. He also will explain how optimal management of medical conditions can help preserve brain power.

    Board-certified in both general psychiatry and geriatric psychiatry, Casey joined the UofL faculty in 1985 and was named chair in 2015. His research interests are focused on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, geriatric depression, psychiatric education and the history of psychiatry. He practices with UofL Physicians-Psychiatry.

    The University of Louisville Depression Center is Kentuckiana’s leading resource for depression and bipolar disorder treatment, research and education. It is a charter member of the National Network of Depression Centers, a consortium of leading depression centers that develops and fosters connections among members to advance scientific discovery and provide stigma-free, evidence-based care to patients with depressive and bipolar illnesses.

    For more information, contact the Depression Center at 502-588-4886.

    Culinary medicine program gives future doctors hands-on skills to help patients eat better

    UofL’s Eat 2B Well provides in-the-kitchen instruction to guide medical students in improving health with food
    Culinary medicine program gives future doctors hands-on skills to help patients eat better

    Eat 2B Well

    A doctor, a dietitian and a chef walk into a kitchen …

    No joke. They are there to teach medical students about choosing and preparing food that will sustain their own health as well as give them the tools to talk about food realistically with their patients.

    The Eat 2B Well culinary medicine program is a new eight-week elective for students at the University of Louisville School of Medicine designed to help future physicians understand the challenges their patients face in obtaining, selecting and preparing foods. Eat 2B Well was conceptualized by Toni Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the school of medicine, Jon Klein, M.D., Ph.D., vice dean for research, and Karan Chavis, the dean’s chief of staff. UofL nutritionist Diana Pantalos, Ph.D., R.D.N., developed the curricular content. Eat 2B Well was modeled on The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University, developed by Timothy Harlan, M.D.

    With increasing evidence that a poor diet causes or exacerbates many chronic diseases, it is more important than ever for physicians to help their patients eat well. However, physicians traditionally learn about nutrition in terms of science and clinical impact, which doesn’t always translate to helping patients eat better. Eat 2B Well is aimed at helping future doctors understand the issues their patients face in terms of resources, time and food preparation skills.

    “Many of the chronic health problems that burden the Commonwealth, such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, can be prevented through good nutrition. The goal of Eat 2B Well is to equip UofL medical students with the real-world practical knowledge of nutrition and healthy cooking so that they can best help their future patients,” Klein said.

    Each Eat 2B Well class includes instruction on practical nutrition, disease association, and food preparation from a team that includes a registered dietitian/nutritionist, a professional chef and a member of the medical school faculty. Local chefs, including Anoosh Shariat of Anoosh Bistro and Noosh Nosh, Kathy Douglas of the Fresh Chef Experience and Bobby Benjamin of Butchertown Grocery provide instruction for the food preparation portion of the class.

    Joining the medical students in the classes are students from the culinary track of YouthBuild Louisville, an education, job training and leadership program for low-income young adults ages 18-24.Classes include discussion of issues associated with food insecurity and the health problems resulting from poor nutrition. Class groups will then prepare meals utilizing cost-conscious ingredients readily available at grocery stores and markets in West Louisville, and prepared with equipment available in low-income homes.

    “To talk comfortably about food, medical professionals need to be respectful of individuals’ food cultures, to understand how complex social factors influence food habits and to have hands-on experience preparing food themselves,” Pantalos said.

    In the near future, organizers are planning to extend the program to include community engagement activities, providing at-risk families with food preparation education.

    Whole Foods Market is providing food for the classes, which take place at Cooking at Millie’s, 340 W. Chestnut St. Additional sponsors include Gordon Food Service (GFS) and Save-A-Lot Grocery. New Roots, Inc. and the Sullivan University and Jefferson Community and Technical College culinary arts programs have provided logistical support.

     

    Celebrity Chefs:

    Eneitra Beattie, Brown Forman Corporation, Bourbon Street Café

    Bobby Benjamin, Butchertown Grocery

    Kathy Douglas, Fresh Chef Experience

    Tina Lee, Fresh Stop Market, Dare to Care

    Lorita Rowlett, Fresh Stop Market

    Anoosh Shariat, Anoosh Bistro, Noosh Nosh

    Gabe Sowder, Wiltshire Pantry

    Andrea Wells, Farm to Baby Louisville

     

    More about The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine

    Developed in 2012 by Timothy Harlan, M.D., at Tulane University, The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine is directed by Chef Leah Sarris. Support for the center includes a director for research and development and the Teaching Kitchen Medical Student Club, which coordinates community outreach, medical student service learning and children’s programming.

    Improved DBS device offers a better solution for tremor

    UofL, Jewish Hospital physicians first in region to offer refined DBS technology
    Improved DBS device offers a better solution for tremor

    Kathleen Prezocki with Joseph Neimat, M.D.

    Kathleen Prezocki finally had enough.

    Her essential tremor had progressed to the point that writing was nearly impossible, she always ordered sandwiches instead of soup or salad when eating out, and she was forced to use a card-holder so she could continue to play bridge.

    “It was affecting me in eating, in writing and in speech. The medicine was not allowing me to control the symptoms anymore,” Prezocki said. “Trying to put a necklace on and trying to get that hook in there – my goodness that was frustrating!”

    Prezocki’s UofL physicians suggested deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy, in which surgeons implant in the brain a wire lead that is attached to a battery controller, similar to a pacemaker used for the heart. The lead provides electrical stimulation to a precise point in the brain to mitigate the tremor. DBS has been in use for nearly 20 years, but a new device allows more precise control over the stimulation, avoiding side effects, and is controlled with an iPod touch, a more intuitive control device than previous DBS technology.

    The St. Jude Medical Infinity™ DBS system was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patients with Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. The St. Jude system is the first in the United States to feature a directional lead designed to precisely customize therapy to help maximize patient outcomes and reduce side effects. The more precise control of the direction of the electrical stimulation allows for reduced strain on the battery, leading to longer battery life. In addition, the iPod Touch controller is more intuitive and familiar for patients.

    When Prezocki learned of this improved DBS device, she decided it was time to take the next step, and was the first patient in the region to receive the St. Jude device. Joseph Neimat, M.D., a neurosurgeon with UofL Physicians, recently provided the implant for Prezocki at Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, to control tremor in her right hand. Neimat, also chair of the UofL Department of Neurological Surgery, has implanted several hundred DBS devices.

    “This therapy can make a dramatic difference in a patient’s quality of life, particularly if they like to write, to play piano, to eat soup,” Neimat said. “And even though it is brain surgery, it’s a relatively low-risk surgery.”

    Neurologist Victoria Holiday, M.D., clinical director of the Deep Brain Stimulation Program at UofL Physicians, has monitored Prezocki’s condition for several years and programmed her Infinity system to provide the proper stimulation. Holiday said the ability to more precisely control the stimulation allows doctors to achieve stimulation in the desired location while avoiding side effects.

    “Think about a wire inside the brain and electricity is surrounding that wire in a ball shape. With this device, we can cut that ball into pie pieces. It allows us to steer away from areas of the brain that may be causing trouble,” said Holiday, also an assistant professor in the UofL Department of Neurology.

    Since activating the device, Prezocki has been able to stop taking tremor medications. Her ability to write is improved and she is able to play bridge without a card-holder.

    “I can write again!” Prezocki said.

    “Her handwriting is much better than expected. Ms. Prezocki was not able to write at all prior to surgery and is now scrutinizing how her Zs look,” Holiday said. “She is successfully using the patient programmer at home and seems very pleased with how the system works.”

    Department of Medicine's Carrico named president-elect of Kentucky Nurses Association

    Department of Medicine's Carrico named president-elect of Kentucky Nurses Association

    Ruth Carrico, PhD, RN

    Ruth Carrico, PhD, RN, associate professor of medicine at the University of Louisville Department of Medicine and the associate founding director of UofL’s Global Health Initiative, has been named president-elect of the Kentucky Nurses Association.

    Each year, the members of the KNA elect nurses to leadership of the premier nursing nonprofit professional association in the Commonwealth. The candidates will be inducted into office on Friday, Nov. 3, during the bi-annual KNA Education Summit in Lexington, Ky.

    The following nurses filed to be candidates and were elected to leadership positions:

    KNA Board of Directors: President-Elect, Ruth Carrico, PhD, MSN, FNP-C, RN; Vice-President, Beverly Rowland, PhD, RN; Secretary, Misty Ellis, MSN, APRN-PC/AC; and Directors, Ann W. Christie, MSN, RN, and Jodie V. Rogers, MSN, RN, NEA-BC

    Education & Research Cabinet: Nurse Administrator, Karen Newman, EdD, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Nurse Faculty, Kimberly Tharpe-Barrie, DNP, RN; and Staff Nurse, Loretta Elder, DNP, RN, CNE

    Governmental Affairs Cabinet: Staff Nurse, Michael D. Gordon, MSN, ARNP, RN, CNS, Adult Health ANCC Certified,

    Professional Nursing Practice & Advocacy Cabinet: Clinical Practice, Lisa Lockhart, MSN, MHA, RN, NE-BC, Traci L. Lorch, MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, RNC-OB, and Danielle Angeli House, RN, HN-BC; Clinical Practice Staff Nurse, Stephanie J. Fugate, MSN, ARNP-ACNP-BC; Administration, Michelle Speicher, MBA, BSN, RN, FACHE, ME-BC; and Education, Jessica Wilson, PhD, APRN, RN

    Ethics & Human Rights Committee: Secretary, Angela Combs, BSN, MSNED, RN; and  Members, Rhonda Vale, MSN, RN, and Pam Azad, MBA, Ph.D, RN

    Nominating Committee: Members, Deb Chilcote, DNP, RN, RNC-MN, Leslie Jeffries, MSN, BSN, RN; Lynn Roser, Ph.D, RN, CIC; and Maribeth Wilson, Ph.D (c), MSN, MSPH

     

     

     

     

     

     

    =

    LIAM

    Leadership and Innovation in Academic Medicine
    LIAM
    Full-size image:90 KB | View imageViewDownload imageDownload

    UofL developing leaders in academic medicine

    School of Medicine launches Leadership and Innovation in Academic Medicine program with 16 faculty members
    UofL developing leaders in academic medicine

    2017 Class of LIAM

    The University of Louisville School of Medicine is training its future leaders.

    Sixteen members of the UofL School of Medicine faculty began a 10-month training program on Sept. 21, aimed at developing future leaders for academic medical institutions. Leadership and Innovation in Academic Medicine (LIAM) is designed to develop innovative thinking skills in early to mid-career faculty who may be interested in pursuing leadership roles in the future.

    “This program will equip the future leaders of the UofL School of Medicine with the foundational platform to build their leadership skills for the rest of their careers,” said Gerard Rabalais, M.D., M.H.A., associate dean of faculty development.

    Participants will attend monthly three-hour meetings, work independently and prepare interdisciplinary projects designed to improve some aspect of the school. Leaders in the UofL School of Medicine, as well as faculty from the UofL College of Business, College of Education and Human Development and members of the business community, will lead the monthly meetings. The curriculum will address leading oneself, leading others and leading an organization, all focused on leadership challenges specific to academic medicine.

    “I hope they gain an appreciation for the importance of emotional intelligence, and an understanding that the key role of the leader is to provide more than operational effectiveness, but to cast the vision and devise the innovation strategy that provides new and sustainable value to the academic medical center and the communities we serve,” Rabalais said.

    The 2017-18 participants, below, were selected from 54 applicants. Rabalais and Staci Saner, M.Ed., program manager of faculty development, part of the Office of Faculty Affairs and Advancement, developed the curriculum.

    “We anticipate that the innovative solutions they develop as part of their projects will be directly applicable to current challenges in the School,” Rabalais said.

     

    The 2017 class of LIAM

    Christine Brady, PhD                            Pediatrics

    Elizabeth Cash, PhD                              Otolaryngology-HNS & Communicative Disorders

    Jeremy Clark, MD                                 Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

    Luz Fernandez, MD                              Family Medicine

    Brian Holland, MD                                Pediatric Cardiology

    Adrienne Jordan, MD                          Pathology

    Farid Kehdy, MD                                   Surgery

    Kathrin LaFaver, MD                            Neurology

    Sara Multerer, MD                               Pediatrics

    Alexander V. Ovechkin, MD, PhD     Neurological Surgery

    Sara Petruska, MD                                Ob/Gyn and Women's Health

    Carolyn Roberson, PhD                       Microbiology and Immunology

    Tyler Sharpe, MD                                  Internal Medicine

    Hugh Shoff, MD                                     Department of Emergency Medicine

    Leah J. Siskind, PhD                              Pharmacology and Toxicology

    Laura Workman, MD                           Internal Medicine-Pediatrics

    Leadership and Innovation in Academic Medicine

    LIAM Class of 2017

    Leadership and Innovation in Academic Medicine
    LIAM Class of 2017
    Full-size image:676 KB | View imageViewDownload imageDownload

    Let's do the time warp again

    Rocky Horror Halloween Party honors breast cancer survivors Oct. 10
    Let's do the time warp again

    The Kentucky Cancer Program at the University of Louisville invites breast cancer survivors to do the time warp again in celebration of survivorship at “The Rocky Horror Halloween Party,” an event to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

    The event will be held Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Buckhead Mountain Grill, 707 W. Riverside Dr., Jeffersonville, Ind. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6 p.m. Admission is free and open to breast cancer survivors only. Participants must register to attend by calling 502-852-6318.

    Attendees are invited to dress for the occasion with prizes for the best Halloween costume and the best “Rocky Horror Picture Show” costume.

    Rachel Platt of WHAS11’s “Great Day Live!” will emcee. The nonprofit theater company Acting Against Cancer will present “The Rocky Horror Halloween Party,” marking the fourth consecutive year the company has staged the production for Kentuckiana audiences.

    The event is made possible with support from Buckhead Mountain Grill, Anthem BlueCross BlueShield and Rocky’s Italian Grill.

    The Kentucky Cancer Program is the state mandated cancer control program jointly administered by the University of Louisville (West Region) and the University of Kentucky (East Region). At UofL, the program is sponsored by the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The mission of the Kentucky Cancer Program is to reduce cancer incidence and mortality by promoting cancer education, research and service.

    UofL receives $13.8 million to study use of promising new adult stem cell to treat heart failure

    Award is one of university’s largest-ever federal grants for medical research
    UofL receives $13.8 million to study use of promising new adult stem cell to treat heart failure

    The research team on the Program Project Grant is shown on the steps of the Abell Administration Center at the UofL Health Sciences Center in October 2016, with principal investigator Roberto Bolli, M.D., at front center.

    The University of Louisville has received one of its largest grants for medical research in the school’s 219-year history, a $13.8 million award from the National Institutes of Health to study a promising new type of adult cardiac stem cell that has the potential to treat heart failure.

    The announcement on Friday was made by Gregory Postel, M.D., interim president of UofL, and the study’s principal investigator, Roberto Bolli, M.D., director of UofL’s Institute of Molecular Cardiology. Bolli also serves as scientific director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute at UofL and as a professor and chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the School of Medicine.

    “This is a prestigious grant reflecting the magnitude of the work being conducted here,” Postel said. “Being awarded this grant is a huge, huge accomplishment.”

    Bolli thanked the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the NIH for their support. “It is critical that we have this type of support for the important research programs that we carry out, which can help patients around the world,” he said.

    Heart failure affects millions of people, and the most common cause is a heart attack. When a person suffers a heart attack, part of the heart muscle dies from lack of oxygen and is replaced with scar tissue, which does not contract. Because of the loss of muscle, the heart becomes weaker and less able to pump.

    Until now, conventional treatments for heart failure have consisted of surgery or medications, which can alleviate symptoms but do not cure the disease. In contrast, Bolli’s focus has been on how to repair the heart itself and actually cure heart failure using a patient’s own stem cells. It is an approach that could revolutionize the treatment of heart disease.

    The NIH grant is a continuation of a Program Project Grant (PPG) that Bolli and his team were originally awarded in 2005. The overall goal of this PPG is the use of stem cells to repair the damage caused by a heart attack by regenerating heart muscle in the area that died, replacing the scar tissue with new muscle and thereby making the heart stronger and able to pump more blood.

    A PPG is a cluster of several projects with a common focus relating to one theme, in this case, the use of adult stem cells to repair the heart. It involves a collaboration among different investigators working as a team, a collaboration that otherwise might not be able to occur without funding.

    The latest round of funding comes after Bolli and his colleagues discovered a new population of adult stem cells, called CMCs, in the heart three years ago.

    “CMCs seem to be more effective,” Bolli said. “In addition to showing more promise than those we have used in the past, these cells also offer several advantages in that they can be produced more easily, faster, more consistently and in larger numbers than other adult stem cells, which have proven tricky.”

    He said this would make them easier to apply for widespread use, as specialized labs to isolate the cells would not be needed as with other types of adult stem cells.

    Bolli and his team want to find out what CMCs will do when transplanted into a diseased heart in mice and pigs, ultimately laying the groundwork for clinical trials in patients.

    On Friday, Postel noted that the NIH didn’t just approve UofL’s grant application - a long, multistep process involving more than a dozen reviewers who are experts in the field - it funded the project with a perfect score and rare high praise. In fact, the committee reviewing the application concluded Bolli’s program was, quote “exceptional,” with “significant translational impact, an exceptional leader and investigative team and an exceptional environment.”

    “We are continually striving for new and better ways to treat heart disease,” Bolli said. “I’m confident we are not that far from a cure.”

     

    Pride Week keynote to address meeting the health-care needs of LGBT older adults

    The 2017 Pride Week HSC Campus keynote address will feature leading scholar and researcher Noell Rowan, Ph.D., addressing the unique challenges of the aging LGBT population, the clinical and social needs of LGBT communities and specific strategies professionals can employ to improve the health of LGBT populations, especially in later life.

    Rowan is professor and associate director at the School of Social Work, University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is the former director of the bachelor of social work program at the Kent School of Social Work at UofL (2007-2013). She earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Georgia and her doctorate in social work from the University of Louisville/University of Kentucky joint program. She has authored more than 20 publications in the research areas of gerontology, LGBT populations, alcohol and other drug addictions, and interprofessional education.

    Presented by the University of Louisville LGBT Center and the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging, the event will be held in the HSC Auditorium in Kornhauser Library, on Tuesday, Oct. 31 from noon to 1:00 p.m. Lunch is provided by the School of Public Health and Information Sciences Student Council.

    A part of the LGBT Health Certificate as well as Grand Rounds for the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine, this lecture is designed for mental health and primary care professionals, however it is open to all community members. Medical CME and Social Work CEU credit are offered. 

    Click here to register. 

    Professor with bipolar disorder will discuss genius, mania at UofL Depression Center annual dinner

    Professor with bipolar disorder will discuss genius, mania at UofL Depression Center annual dinner

    Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D.

    A Johns Hopkins University psychiatry professor and New York Times bestselling author will discuss her experience overcoming bipolar disorder and her latest book on the relationship between mental illness and art at a University of Louisville-sponsored event in October.

    Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD, will speak at the UofL Depression Center’s Annual Benefit Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. Sixth St. A book-signing featuring Jamison will begin at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m.

    The dinner benefits the UofL Depression Center, Kentuckiana’s leading resource for depression and bipolar disorder treatment, research and education. Tickets are $125 per person and can be ordered by phone at 502-588-4886 or by email.

    Jamison’s current book, “Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania and Character,” published in February, brings a fresh understanding to the work and life of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Lowell, whose intense, complex and personal verse left a lasting mark on the English language and changed the public discourse about private matters.

    Jamison brings her expertise in mood disorders to bear on Lowell’s story, illuminating the relationships among mania, depression and creativity, as well as the details of Lowell’s treatment and how illness and treatment influenced the great work that he produced and often became its subject. 

    Jamison herself battled mental health issues as early as her teenage years. While pursuing her career in academic medicine, Jamison found herself succumbing to the same exhilarating highs and catastrophic depressions that afflicted many of her patients, as her disorder launched her into ruinous spending sprees, episodes of violence and an attempted suicide. Her memoir, “An Unquiet Mind,” rose to the best-selling list upon its release in 1995 and was cited for its candor in its examination of bipolar illness from the dual perspectives of the healer and the healed, revealing both its terrors and the cruel allure that at times prompted her to resist taking medication. 

    Oct. 9, 2017

    Show support for breast cancer research with the James Graham Brown Cancer Center Facebook frame

    Show support for breast cancer research with the James Graham Brown Cancer Center Facebook frame

    The UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center has made this frame available for Facebook cover photos to show support for breast cancer research.

    October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at UofL invites you to show your support on your Facebook page all month long.

    The stats are sobering: Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women, and about one in eight women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.

    You can show support for all that the Brown Cancer Center does to end breast cancer by adding our Facebook profile frame. It’s easy:

    From your phone: 1. Click on your profile picture. 2. Click “Add Frame.” 3. In the search function, type in “Brown Cancer Center.” 4. Click “Change Frame.”

    From your desktop or laptop: 1. Go to www.facebook.com/profilepicframes. 2. In the search function type in “Brown Cancer Center.” 3. Once you have found the correct frame, click “Use as Profile Picture” to save.

    While you are at it, like the Brown Cancer Center on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep up-to-date with the latest news and events.

     

    Current, retired UofL faculty to be honored at 22nd Annual Doctor’s Ball

    School of Medicine alumna also will be recognized
    Current, retired UofL faculty to be honored at 22nd Annual Doctor’s Ball

    Entertainment at the 2017 Doctor's Ball will feature a James Bond theme.

    For 22 years, the annual Doctors’ Ball, hosted by the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation, part of KentuckyOne Health, has honored the service of local physicians and community leaders, and in 2017, four current and two retired faculty members and one alumna of the University of Louisville are among the honorees.

    This year’s event is planned for Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Marriott Louisville Downtown, 280 West Jefferson Street in Louisville.

    The black-tie event will include cocktails and silent auction beginning at 6:30 p.m., then dinner and an awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy a Casino Royale experience during cocktail hour and after the program concludes. Live entertainment will be provided by Stretta. Tickets are $300 each.

    The 2017 Doctors’ Ball will recognize some of the area’s most innovative and caring doctors and community leaders including:

    Gordon Tobin, M.D. – Ephraim McDowell Physician of the Year
    University of Louisville Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Dr. Gordon Tobin became a surgeon because he was attracted to the challenges of intervening in major illnesses and injuries – addressing acute needs to alleviate pain and suffering. In 1978, Tobin came to the University of Louisville where he established himself as a triple threat: skilled clinician, teacher and researcher developing innovative approaches to problems arising from surgeries to treat cancer and heart disease, and from critical injuries like burns.

    Dawne Gee, WAVE 3 News – Community Leader of the Year
    Dawne Gee gives time to many causes, hosting as many as 200 charity events in a year. The Louisville native got into TV news more than two decades ago, while also enjoying 17 years in radio, including at WLOU, Kentucky’s first African American station. She currently anchors newscasts Monday through Friday at 5:30, 7:00 and 7:30 p.m., along with WAVE Country with Dawne Gee weekdays at Noon, profiling people working on behalf of the community. Gee has previously suffered from health issues including cancer and stroke, and has used her platform to help educate community members, also connecting them to the proper resources for help.

    Valerie Briones-Pryor, M.D. – Compassionate Physician Award
    Dr. Valerie Briones-Pryor is described by coworkers as a “team player who advocates for patients, treating them like a member of her own family.” The University of Louisville School of Medicine alumna is not only directing care during a patient’s hospital stay, but also looking after details like transportation, follow-up appointments and funds to cover medications over the long haul. Briones-Pryor continues to see patients in the hospital about one day a week, but her main focus is on the role of hospitalists like herself – physicians who work exclusively in the hospital, quarterbacking in-patient care and serving as liaisons with patients’ private doctors.

    David Casey, M.D. and Valerie Casey – Excellence in Mental Health
    Dr. David Casey, chair of the University of Louisville Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Valerie Casey, director of the University of Louisville Women’s Center, work both separately and together to empower individuals and improve lives, one person at a time. Dr. Casey introduced the field of geriatric psychiatry to Kentucky. Under Valerie Casey’s leadership, the UofL Women’s Center likewise promotes advocacy and empowerment by mentoring and educating women to successfully transition into the workforce. The Caseys have extended their focus on empowerment to victims of human trafficking.

    Norton Waterman, M.D. – Excellence in International Humanitarian Service
    Retired surgeon Dr. Norton Waterman died on Oct. 6, but his legacy in the community lives on. Waterman noticed years ago that significant quantities of unused hospital supplies – from scrubs and bandages to wheelchairs and incubators – were getting tossed into landfills or left to gather dust in storerooms. Waterman, a clinical assistant professor of surgery at the University of Louisville, enlisted the participation of Louisville area hospitals and private doctors’ offices, collecting unused supplies, old model beds and medical equipment, to send to impoverished countries and overseas doctors. The collection project was later dubbed Supplies Over Seas, which is now one of only 15 medical surplus recovery organizations nationwide. The organization has collected and distributed nearly 1.5 million pounds of medical equipment and supplies since Waterman founded it. At the upcoming Doctors' Ball, Waterman's family will be presented with a posthumous award in his honor – the Excellence in International Humanitarian Service Award – recognizing the impact Waterman had on the community.

    Gerald Temes, M.D. – KentuckyOne Health Excellence in Leadership Award
    Former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson describes Dr. Temes as “a listener who seeks facts” whose “confidence and compassion enable him to lead organizations to the next level.” Temes’ portfolio of community leadership is extensive, including spearheading development and then serving as founding chair of the Jewish Hospital Rudd Heart and Lung Center, two terms on the Louisville Metro Board of Health, and decades of service to the Jewish Community of Louisville. The retired University of Louisville Professor of Thoracic Surgery says he is most proud of the creation of the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence in 2012, when he served as board chair of what was then Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services.

    Sarah Moyer, M.D. – Humana Physician Excellence in Community Health Award
    University of Louisville Assistant Professor of Health Management and Systems Science Dr. Sarah Moyer loves solving complex problems. Named director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness this past July – just seven years after graduating from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia – Moyer draws a parallel between treating individual patients, which she continues to do one day a week, and looking out for the health of the 750,000 residents of Metro Louisville. Moyer says she went into medicine because she wanted to help people stay healthy, and then became increasingly aware of the impact of social and environmental factors on every individual’s well-being. She went into public health, she says, “because I wanted to go upstream to help make a bigger difference in people’s quality of life.”

    Proceeds from this year’s Doctors’ Ball will benefit the Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center patient assistance fund. The Trager Transplant Center is nationally recognized for performing Kentucky’s first adult heart, pancreas, heart-lung and liver transplants, as well as the first minimally invasive kidney donation in Kentucky. More than 5,000 organs have been transplanted at Jewish Hospital since 1964 including 500 hearts, 900 livers and 3,000 kidneys.

    To purchase tickets to the Doctors’ Ball, visit kentuckyonehealth.org/DoctorsBall. For sponsorship opportunities, email Carol Wade at carolwade@kentuckyonehealth.org or call 502-587-4543.

    UofL Physicians recognized as a Partner in Care by National Multiple Sclerosis Society

    University of Louisville Physicians has been recognized for its commitment to providing exceptional, coordinated care for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Partners in MS Care program has designated UofL as a Partner in MS Care, Neurologic Care, for its commitment to MS care and a continuing partnership with the society to address the challenges of people affected by MS. UofL Physicians is the only Partner in MS Care in Louisville and western Kentucky.

    “It takes a variety of medical and non-medical professionals to empower patients with multiple sclerosis and their families,” said David Robertson, M.D., who leads the UofL Physicians Multiple Sclerosis Center and is an assistant professor in the UofL Department of Neurology. “The MS Society has a variety of resources for patients that we cannot offer through the University of Louisville. In any situation when you find a person or an institution that does good work in a responsible way, it is worth developing a mutually beneficial relationship that ultimately benefits the patients.”

    Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body. Symptoms vary from person to person and range from numbness and tingling to walking difficulties, fatigue, dizziness, pain, depression, blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with two to three times more women than men diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

    “We are so proud to partner with the University of Louisville Physicians to enhance coordinated, comprehensive care for the people who live with MS in Louisville, Ky.,” said David Haddock of the National MS Society, Mid South. “In earning this recognition, the University of Louisville has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in MS care, making a tremendous impact on people affected by MS in our community.”

    The society’s Partners in MS Care program recognizes committed providers whose practices support the Society’s initiative of affordable access to high quality MS health care for everyone living with MS – regardless of geography, disease progression and other disparities.

    “We treat all of our patients differently because MS treats all of our patients differently,” said Jacinta Lockard, coordinator for the Neuroimmunology Clinic at the UofL Physicians MS Center. “We have access to many different resources for our patients, and the National MS society is a big part of that.”

    The UofL Physicians MS Center includes experts who can address all of a patient’s needs, including medical care, physical/occupational/speech therapies, neuropsychology and social work. 

    “We offer patients access to all 13 FDA-approved drugs to treat MS. The newer drugs often require the patient to come for an infusion and we have an excellent infusion center in our building,” Lockard said. “We treat patients from all over the state and southern Indiana and we try to make medication accessible to everyone a priority, no matter their location.”

    About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

    The National Multiple Sclerosis Society mobilizes people and resources so that everyone affected by multiple sclerosis can live their best lives as we stop MS in its tracks, restore what has been lost and end MS forever. Last year alone, through our comprehensive nationwide network of services, the society devoted more than $100 million to connect approximately one million people affected by MS to the connections, information and resources they need. To move closer to a world free of MS, the society also invested $42 million to support more than 380 new and ongoing research projects around the world.

    Early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can make a difference for people with multiple sclerosis. Learn about your options by talking to your health care professional. For more information, visit http://www.nationalMSsociety.org/partnersinMScare or call 1-800-344-4867.

    Beer and science with a twist, Oct. 18

    For October, in lieu of the regular Beer With a Scientist, you are invited to a special “world tour mini event” at an ALTERNATE VENUE, Holsopple Brewing (https://www.facebook.com/holsopplebrewing/) in Lyndon. At this informal event, you will have the chance to discuss science and ask questions about anything related to biomedical science (especially cancer) with Levi Beverly, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Medicine at UofL.

    When

    Oct 18, 2017
    from 07:00 PM to 09:00 PM

    Where

    Holsopple Brewing, 8023 Catherine Ln., 40222

    Contact Name

    Betty Coffman

    Contact Phone

    502-852-4573

    Add event to calendar

    vCal
    iCal


    On Nov. 15 at 8 p.m., BWAS returns to its normal format at Against the Grain. Speakers will be Miriam Krause and Kelly Pagidas. The title of their talk will be: “Is the designer baby a reality?”

    As usual, there will be no event in December. Dates are set for the first quarter of 2018.

    Jan. 17, 2018
    Feb. 21, 2018
    Mar. 14, 2018

    UofL physiatry chief named president of national professional organization

    UofL physiatry chief named president of national professional organization

    Darryl L. Kaelin, M.D.

    Darryl L. Kaelin, M.D., assumed the role of president of the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) on Saturday, Oct. 14, at the organization’s annual assembly in Denver. Kaelin, professor and chief of the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Louisville, practices with University of Louisville Physicians and is medical director of the Frazier Rehab Institute. He will serve as AAPM&R president for one year.

    Kaelin is the University of Louisville Endowed Chair for Stroke and Brain Injury Rehabilitation and specializes in neuro-rehabilitation with a focus on traumatic brain injury and stroke. He speaks nationally and internationally on concussion, spasticity management and neuropharmacology.

    “I am honored to have been chosen to lead such a wonderful organization as the AAPM&R,” Kaelin said. “In the changing health-care landscape, it is important to promote a focus on function and quality of life. The academy advocates for patients with disabling conditions and for physiatrists to serve as essential members of the health-care team, involved early and throughout the continuum of care.”

    Kaelin is an alumnus of the University of Notre Dame and the UofL School of Medicine. He received graduate medical education at Kettering Medical Center Network and Medical College of Virginia, where he was chief resident. Kaelin is a board member of the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky and a member of the Association of Academic Physiatry. Prior to assuming his current positions at UofL, Kaelin served as medical director of the Acquired Brain Injury Program at Atlanta’s Shepherd Center, a catastrophic care hospital for people with spinal cord and brain injuries. While at the Shepherd Center, he also served as the medical director of Brain Injury Research in Emory University’s School of Medicine.

    About the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
    The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) is the national medical specialty organization representing more than 10,000 physicians who are specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). PM&R physicians, also known as physiatrists, treat a wide variety of medical conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons. Founded in 1938, the mission of AAPM&R is to foster excellence in physiatric practice. AAPM&R also offers education, advocates for PM&R and promotes PM&R research. For additional information about the Academy, go to www.aapmr.org.

    UofL Physicians Family & Geriatric Medicine receive patient-centered designation

    UofL Physicians Family & Geriatric Medicine receive patient-centered designation

    Lisa Leon, C.C.M.A., Sean Warren, M.D. and Luz Fernandez, M.D.

    Patients at all four UofL Physicians Family & Geriatric Medicine practices can be assured their care is highly focused and coordinated. Each facility has received recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long‐term, participative relationships. This is a renewal of the designation originally achieved in 2014.

    “NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and coordinated care focused on patients,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “Recognition shows that UofL Physicians Family & Geriatric Medicine has the tools, systems and resources to provide its patients with the right care, at the right time.”

    Earning the NCQA’s Level 3 designation – the highest recognition level -- is a significant accomplishment, says Jonathan Becker, M.D., chair of the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine.

    “We strive to make sure each patient experiences continuity of care and a team-based approach to care - it’s the way medicine is supposed to be practiced,” Becker said.

    Medical homes foster ongoing partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians, instead of approaching care as the sum of episodic office visits. Each patient’s care is overseen by clinician-led care teams that coordinate treatment across the health care system. Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and can improve patient and provider reported experiences of care.

    At UofL Physicians Family & Geriatric Medicine practices, patients experience access to not only physicians, but also a social worker, chronic care nurse, nutritionist and marriage and family therapist, a team that can provide a holistic approach to care.

    Anne Banks, Ph.D., compiles data for the NCQA application. She says UofL Physicians Family & Geriatric Medicine practices are making continual improvements to better serve patients.

    She says such changes as keeping a number of appointments open each day for those who need immediate care has prevented emergency room visits for something that could be treated in the office. Patients also have greater continuity in seeing the same doctor, as opposed to a different physician each visit. And, Banks says registered nurse case managers are reviewing patient charts periodically to assure individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes are appropriately tracked and seen in a timely manner.

    “We are striving to break-down all barriers to great care,” Banks said. “Empathy and commitment to the patient should resonate throughout the practice - from the front-desk all the way through to physician interactions.”

    The Lancet Oncology: Major report sets out how to accelerate cancer research and care, delivering on U.S. Cancer Moonshot initiative

    UofL School of Medicine’s Dr. Kelly McMasters Contributes to Report
    The Lancet Oncology: Major report sets out how to accelerate cancer research and care, delivering on U.S. Cancer Moonshot initiative

    Dr. Kelly McMasters

    A fundamental shift in how cancer research is conducted and how cancer care is delivered in the United States is required in order to deliver on the U.S. Cancer Moonshot initiative, according to a major new report published today in The Lancet Oncology journal.

    The report sets out a detailed roadmap to deliver on the Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations, including a focus on prevention, a new model for drug discovery and development, a vast expansion of patient access to clinical trials, and an emphasis on targeted interventions to improve cancer care for underserved groups, specifically children, cancer survivors and minority groups. The report emphasizes the importance of addressing health disparities in all recommendations.

    The Lancet Oncology Commission on Future Research Priorities in the USA is authored by more than 50 leading oncologists in the United States, including University of Louisville surgical oncologist, Kelly M. McMasters, M.D., Ph.D., and other members of leading U.S. cancer organizations, and sets out 13 key priority areas, each with measurable goals, to focus the $2 billion of funding released to the National Cancer Institute as part of the 21st Century Cures Act.

    It highlights how technological advances, including understanding and mapping pre-cancer biology and the rapid adoption of big data, as well as new collaborations across industry, patient groups, academia, government and clinical practice will be critical to advancing research, and ultimately improving patient care.

    “Among the thousands of technical details necessary for the success of an actual Moonshot, some fundamental principles remained the same; chief among them was the necessity of reaching the moon. The Commission brought together experts from across the spectrum of oncology research to help define the proper trajectory for the mission ahead,” says McMasters, president, Society of Surgical Oncology and Ben A. Reid, Sr., M.D., professor and chairman, The Hiram C. Polk, Jr., MD Department of Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine.

    The Commission will be launched on Nov. 1 at an event on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. and presented on Nov. 3 at the United Nations Association of New York Humanitarian Awards, where former Vice President Joe Biden is being honored for his work on improving cancer outcomes as part of the U.S. Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

    Professor Elizabeth Jaffee, president-elect of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and co-chair of the Commission from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, says: “The U.S. 21st Century Cures Act provided nearly $2 billion in funding to accelerate cancer research, but strategic allocation of resources will be crucial to accelerate research, treatment and ultimately patient care. This commission maps an ambitious path ahead to guide researchers, funders, industry, and policy makers in prioritizing the best research to benefit patients.”

    Professor Chi Van Dang, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, New York and The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia; and co-chair, says: “The cancer research community has embraced the extraordinary opportunity of the Moonshot initiative with remarkable energy. To ensure that cancer research in the United States continues to be world-leading, it is imperative that investment is concentrated into specific research areas. The commission identifies key areas to prioritize across technology, clinical research, public health and drugs policy to achieve this goal.”

    Commenting on the commission, Gregory Simon, president of the Biden Cancer Initiative, says the report “provides a roadmap to change the course of cancer in our lifetime—a journey in which we should actively participate. Patients, caregiver, doctors, researchers, nurses, and scientist all need to embark on the course of action proposed by the report, without delay. Time is of the essence, and so action must be taken now.”

    The commission highlights the importance of cancer prevention, including the development of a premalignant cancer atlas to identify small changes in healthy tissue at the earliest stages of cancer development, opening up new opportunities for precision-based cancer prevention. The need to move towards targeted screening will also be important.

    Professor Scott Lippman, University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Center, co-author, says: “Past efforts to prevent cancer have been limited and sometimes hindered by serious and substantial disparities. A one-size-fits-all strategy does not work. That’s the premise of precision medicine and it should be for prevention efforts as well, such as screenings, which should be tailored by age, risk, demographics and other factors. Colorectal screening, for example, is extremely poor in Latinos, especially of low income, but there are new programs that overcome language and social barriers to boost breadth and success. Obesity research is crucial given the growing global epidemic and promise of recent work in special energetics, sedentary behavior and meal timing. These strategies will have a great effect on minimizing morbidities and mortality from cancer in future generations.”  

    Data sharing and patient-centered priorities will be critical to advancing research and improving care. The report strongly supports developing data systems that allow patients to input their own personal data for use by the cancer community and, in return, provide outputs to patients that allow them to identify the most scientifically sound clinical trials for which they might be eligible. The ultimate goal is to align research and care in a seamless continuum such that all patients have access to clinical trials as part of standard care and their clinical course and experience informs future research.

     An unprecedented increase in the number of therapies have been approved for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the past two to three years, but this continues at immense costs, with hundreds of drugs failing in clinical trials. Bringing a single new therapy to the market is estimated to cost $2.6 billion. Among the commission’s recommendations is the need for an overhaul of the drug discovery process so that projects can be discontinued earlier in the clinical development phase, and to transform how academia, industry and clinical groups collaborate to vastly improve efficiencies.

    Patients with cancers that were once lethal are now living longer with cancer as a chronic condition, meaning that guidelines must be developed to address the long-term health care needs of patients while undergoing therapy and of survivors. Finally, patient outcomes are greatly affected by racial, cultural, and socioeconomic background and there is a need both to better understand the context of care, and ensure equitable access to care that is financially sustainable for the individual and society.

    Professor Jeffrey Peppercorn, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, co-author, says: “As we make advances in cancer care, one of our priorities must be to ensure that all patients who may benefit have access to high quality care. We need to better understand and address costs of cancer care and disparities in care in the United States and internationally. This is an exciting time in cancer care and research and we need to make sure that the oncology community comes together, working beyond national borders whenever necessary, to accelerate global effort to control cancer and improve the lives of patients.”

    Clifford Hudis, chief executive officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and former chief of breast medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and co-author, says: “Although clinical research has been challenged by reduced support as well as regulatory and administrative burdens, we have recently seen truly remarkable progress across a range of malignancies. The blueprint laid out by the BRP and this commission should help us prioritize our efforts to accelerate meaningful clinical advances in the next four to five years. The provisions provide an opportunity for cancer investigators, federal agencies, universities and research institutes, and private philanthropic supporters worldwide to direct their investments and help the global community meet the ambitious goal of delivering ten years progress in half that time. The time for action is now.”


    Meet the newest Health and Social Justice Scholars

    Meet the newest Health and Social Justice Scholars

    Health and Social Justice Scholars

    One doctoral student from each of the four schools on the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center campus has been selected for the second cohort of the Health and Social Justice Scholars program. From applications received from doctoral students in the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Public Health and Information Sciences, scholars are selected based on their commitment to social justice and health equity. They will engage in a three-year program designed to help them learn techniques for working interprofessionally and with community members to improve the overall health of local residents. Scholars will develop projects that include community-based research conducted along with a faculty mentor and a report prepared for scholarly publication. In addition, they participate in community service projects and attend monthly discussions.

    Tasha Golden, School of Public Health and Information Sciences

    A doctoral student in the School of Public Health and Information Sciences, Tasha Golden works with the Youth Violence Prevention Research Center and the Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky. Golden’s community-oriented research at the intersection of art and public health is informed by her career history. As the frontwoman and songwriter for the band Ellery, her songs have been heard on the radio and in major motion pictures, TV dramas and Starbucks. Golden’s prose and poetry have been published in “Ploughshares,” “Pleaides” and “Ethos Review,” among others, and her debut book of poems, “Once You Had Hands” (Humanist Press), was a finalist for the 2016 Ohioana Book Award. Her critique of gender inequities in the juvenile justice system appears in the Spring 2017 issue of peer-reviewed journal “Reflections.” Golden’s background as artist, entrepreneur and researcher often leads to new and unique networks, and allows her to draw connections among disparate ideas and initiatives. She continues to write and record, and has led trauma-informed creative writing workshops for incarcerated teen women since 2012. 

    C. John Luttrell, School of Nursing

    C. John Luttrell obtained a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication from Murray State University in 2005, and a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Louisville in 2013. While he was a student at UofL, he served as the academic affairs liaison on the Nursing Student Council, and received the Helen C. Marshall Award for Outstanding Leadership. While working as a trauma nurse at University of Louisville Hospital in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit from 2013-2016, Luttrell completed the one-year nurse residency program, often served as the charge nurse during his scheduled shifts, and served as a clinical capstone preceptor for nursing students at the UofL School of Nursing. Luttrell is a full-time Ph.D. student in the School of Nursing, where he holds a position as a graduate research assistant. His research interests focus on health disparities among homeless adolescents and engaging with community organizations to provide services to homeless youth.

    Devin McBride, School of Medicine

    Originally from Ithaca, N.Y., Devin McBride received a bachelor of science in economics from Syracuse University in 2008. She graduated with a degree of distinction after completing a thesis project on the impact of mega-multi mall development on local communities. While earning a second bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering, she was involved in multiple research projects including biomedical research, which first sparked her interest in medicine. After moving to Louisville in 2012, McBride began working in the emergency room as a scribe and volunteered with the Kentucky Waterway Alliance. She has been involved in numerous other research projects in Louisville, and presented posters at the Kentucky Academy of Science Annual Meeting and Research!Louisville. Currently, McBride is a student director at the Family Community Clinic, is co-president of the student LGBTQ group HSC Pride, and is involved in health-care politics as a member of Students for a National Health Plan. She plans to research health disparities in the LGBTQ community.

    Morgan Pearson, School of Dentistry

    A native of Louisville, Morgan D. Pearson is a second-year student in the School of Dentistry. As a child, Pearson experienced a traumatic injury, resulting from an automobile accident that required her to have multiple surgeries. Because of the expert and compassionate care she received, she decided early on that she wanted a career in the health sciences field, ultimately choosing dentistry. Pearson is a 2015 graduate of Murray State University, where she earned a bachelor of science in biology with minors in music and chemistry. She attended UofL’s Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) and MCAT/DAT workshop before deciding on a career in dentistry over medicine. Pearson has had a heart for service since she was a child. From age 11 through 17, she volunteered at the VA Medical Center in various capacities. After going away to college, she volunteered at the VA during summer breaks. At Murray State University, Pearson mentored and tutored incoming freshmen to ensure their success. As a dentist, Pearson will focus on community dentistry, continuing to serve those who are disadvantaged because of their inability to pay or to access care.

    UofL’s HSC Health and Social Justice Scholars program is administered by the HSC Office of Diversity and Inclusion and directed by Katie Leslie, Ph.D.

     

    #WeAreUofL

    UofL lab helps discover new disease that causes kidney failure

    UofL lab helps discover new disease that causes kidney failure

    Jon B. Klein, M.D., Ph.D., UofL School of Medicine vice dean for research and professor of medicine, and James Graham Brown Foundation Chair in Proteomics.

     Researchers at the University of Louisville were part of a group that discovered an insidious new autoimmune disease that causes kidney failure.

    The discovery of anti-brush border antibody (ABBA) disease was made in the UofL Core Proteomics Laboratory, led by Director Jon B. Klein, M.D., Ph.D., UofL School of Medicine vice dean for research and professor of medicine, and James Graham Brown Foundation Chair in Proteomics. Klein worked with the laboratory’s Co-Director Michael Merchant, Ph.D., associate professor in the Division of Nephrology & Hypertension in the Department of Medicine at UofL.

    Klein and co-investigators will present their findings Friday, Nov. 3, at the American Society of Nephrology’s annual meeting in New Orleans.

    “It’s the first time in my career that I’ve described a new disease, and truthfully, most people in their career don’t stumble on this,” said Klein, who is internationally recognized for his expertise in biomarker discovery related to kidney disease and practices with UofL Physicians-Kidney Disease Program. “We don’t know yet whether this causes kidney failure in a lot of people. It’s early in the story.”

    The UofL lab identified ABBA after analyzing biopsied kidney tissue from 10 patients who had developed acute kidney injury, a sudden episode of kidney failure or damage that happens within a few hours or days. The condition causes a build-up of waste products in the blood and makes it difficult for kidneys to maintain adequate balance of fluid in the body.

    For the first time, researchers discovered that in the nephrons, the functional units of the kidneys, antibodies had coated a specialized part of cells called brush borders, which help reabsorb and process proteins.

    “The disease is rather insidious,” Klein said. “It was documented in a group of older men who simply turned up with abnormal kidney function, and there were no symptoms until they had very advanced kidney failure.”

    Since it is an autoimmune disease, different approaches to suppress the immune system were used to treat the patients, but those efforts were unsuccessful, Klein said.

    Further research will focus on defining demographics of patients with ABBA and the disease’s prevalence. Also, determining where on the protein megalin – which acts as a sponge to absorb proteins and other compounds that enter the nephron – the antibody binds is key to treating the disease, Klein said.

    It’s unknown what stimulates the antibody formation.

    “Antibodies have very specific targets; they bind to only certain proteins in autoimmune kidney diseases, and then to only certain portions of that protein,” Klein said. “That’s where you learn how to begin to block the antibody binding.”

    Klein said the disease had gone undetected because most people with abrupt kidney failure recover and do not get biopsies. In cases of ABBA, however, kidneys do not improve.

    Lead investigators of the study are Laurence H. Beck, M.D., Ph.D., of Boston University School of Medicine, and Christopher P. Larsen, M.D., a nephropathologist at Arkana Laboratories in Little Rock, Ark.

    Co-investigators include: Klein, Merchant, and Daniel W. Wilkey of UofL; Claire Trivin-Avillach, Paige Coles, Hong Ma and David J. Salant of Boston University School of Medicine; A. Bernard Collins, Ivy A. Rosales and Robert B. Colvin of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Josephine M. Ambruzs, Nidia C. Messias, L. Nicholas Cossey and Patrick D. Walker of Arkana Laboratories; and Thomas Wooldridge of Nephrology and Hypertension Associates in Tupelo, Miss.

    UofL researcher Bart Borghuis, Ph.D., proves process allowing adult retinal neurons to form new synaptic connections

    UofL researcher Bart Borghuis, Ph.D., proves process allowing adult retinal neurons to form new synaptic connections

    Bart Borghuis, Ph.D.

    Research published online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences could lead to therapeutic advances for recovery from injury and diseases affecting the central nervous system. Bart Borghuis, Ph.D., assistant professor in the University of Louisville Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, worked with researchers in Idaho and Puerto Rico on the research, which stimulated the formation of new neural connections in adult retinal cells through genetic modification.

    Typically, adult neurons cannot make new synaptic connections as easily as developing neurons. That limits the potential for recovery from injury to the brain and spinal cord. One type of neurons in the retinas of mice, OFF-type retinal bipolar cells, has the unusual ability to make new connections into adulthood. Under normal conditions however, these cells only develop new connections with a few cells and within a limited area known as a tile. The function of these cells is to receive information from photoreceptor cells and send it along the optic nerve to the brain.

    “These neurons continue to develop and elaborate their connections within their established group of cone cells in the retina,” Borghuis said. “This suggests synaptic plasticity, or the ability for the neurons to create new connections with other neurons. This is significant because in brain disease, you want to transplant and regenerate neurons and integrate them through the formation of new synapses with other neurons.”

    In the first stage of the work, a team of researchers at the University of Idaho led by Peter Fuerst, Ph.D., determined that removing the gene encoding a protein known as Down syndrome cell-adhesion molecule (DSCAM) allows these cells to extend neuronal connections beyond their normal tile barriers. They genetically modified the mice to omit DSCAM from those cells, after which the cells were seen to form apparent contacts with neurons outside their tiles.

    However, the researchers were unable to determine whether those apparent neural connections were, in fact, functional and capable of transmitting visual information.

    That’s where Borghuis comes in. Using a unique imaging and recording technique pioneered in his laboratory at UofL, two-photon fluorescence-guided electrophysiology in deep layers of the neural retina, Borghuis recorded the bipolar cells’ responses to visual stimulation. His measurements showed enlarged visual receptive fields in the genetically manipulated retinal neurons, demonstrating that the extended cells made new, functional synapses onto cones.

    “Right off the bat we could see that the receptive fields were larger, so we could tell that their visual responses were consistent with neural outgrowth and new synapse formation,” Borghuis said.

    These tests proved the neural outgrowth seen by the Idaho team led to stable, functional connections with new cells.

    A new joint research grant from the National Institutes of Health, awarded equally to Borghuis and Fuerst, will fund the collaborative research for another two years. During that time, they will induce the DSCAM knockout later in the lifespan to determine the identity and strength of the new synapses. In addition, they also will perform studies of neurons at later synaptic stages within the retina to determine other potential consequences of increased neuron growth at the level of the visual input.

    “We have known about the tiling or mosaic structure of these cells for decades, and there are models and ideas for why neurons should tile. Now that we have a genetic tool that allows us to disrupt tiling within a neuron population experimentally, we can finally test these models,” Borghuis said.

    The ability to stimulate neural outgrowth with new synaptic connections may ultimately improve humans’ ability to recover from brain and spinal cord injury or disease by supplying new neural connections. Even more promising, it could lead to neural regeneration and transplantation-based therapies for restoring visual function in retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.

     

     

    November 8, 2017

    AHEC programs improve Kentuckians’ health by increasing supply of health-care providers

    Area Health Education Centers awarded $4.12 million continued funding
    AHEC programs improve Kentuckians’ health by increasing supply of health-care providers

    Kentucky AHEC offices

    Kentucky ranks among the worst states for access to quality health care, and 96 of its 120 counties are medically underserved. Educating health-care providers within the state is vital to combating the shortage of health workers and is the heart of the mission of Area Health Education Centers (AHEC).  Kentucky AHEC has been awarded $4.12 million in continued funding from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to continue that mission through Aug. 2022.

    Administered by the University of Louisville School of Medicine in collaboration with the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Kentucky AHEC has worked to improve Kentuckians’ access to health care since 1985. Kentucky AHEC is composed of eight centers that promote healthy communities and health-care delivery in the state’s regional service areas by increasing the number of health-care workers of all disciplines, particularly in underserved areas.

    “The AHEC centers contribute to the education of health professionals at UofL and at other institutions throughout Kentucky. Having an adequate number of well-trained, dedicated health professionals is a vital component to reducing health disparities, increasing access to health-care and improving the health of all Kentuckians,” said Gregory Postel, M.D., interim president of the University of Louisville. “This renewed funding is assurance that these programs will continue to support health education in the Commonwealth.”

    Since its inception, Kentucky AHECs have facilitated the training of medical students in primary care, in many cases, introducing the students to issues faced by patients in underserved communities. All third-year students in the UofL School of Medicine complete a four-week clinical rotation in family medicine in rural or urban underserved communities throughout the state. The Kentucky AHEC program also provides education and rotations for nursing and dental students.

    Kelli Bullard Dunn, M.D.

    “Students gain a deeper understanding of the needs of the patients by working in these communities. It encourages then to consider practicing primary care in rural or urban underserved communities,” said Kelli Bullard Dunn, M.D., vice dean for community engagement and diversity at UofL, Kentucky AHEC program director and the principal investigator of this HRSA award.

    To facilitate training, AHEC staff work with the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing to identify physicians and other professionals to coordinate students’ rotations in their communities. This provides a framework for the students to complete rotations in clinics, medical offices and community hospitals across the Commonwealth.

    “This is a way for health-professions students to come out and serve in rural and underserved communities where they are exposed to different cultures and the practice of medicine without the innovative technologies available at the health sciences campuses. They get to see real medicine, real people,” said Brenda Fitzpatrick, director of the Northwest AHEC, based at the Family Health Center in Louisville’s Portland neighborhood.

    In addition to educating health-professional students, AHECs in each region develop programs that further their mission in ways best suited to their communities.

    For Fitzpatrick, that is developing a true pipeline of health-care professionals, from physicians and dentists to nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, nurse’s aides, bioengineers and computer technology professionals.

    “While HRSA encourages AHECs to promote careers in the health professions to high school students, we take that a step further and work with middle school students,” she said. “By the time they reach eighth grade, it may be too late.”

    Fitzpatrick adds that the Northwest AHEC collaborates with several medical magnet schools in Jefferson County to help students obtain certifications during high school.

    “This will get them in the workforce sooner and allow them to then continue their education and move on up the chain.”

    In the latest round of program funding, HRSA has instructed AHEC programs to encourage patient-centered medical homes, which coordinate patients’ care in a single office, improving overall health-care delivery and reducing costs.

    Another new directive from HRSA is the development of the AHEC Scholars program. Each center will instruct 15 -25 health-profession students from a variety of disciplines in interprofessional education, behavioral health integration, social determinants of health, cultural competency, practice transformation and current and emerging health issues. Interprofessional education fosters collaboration among physicians, nurses, social workers, allied health and other providers.

    “In a time of significant federal cutbacks, we were pleased to receive funding under HRSA’s extensively revised criteria,” Bullard Dunn said.

    In addition to the federal funding, Kentucky AHEC is supported by Kentucky General Assembly appropriations, UofL and UK. AHEC is part of UofL’s Signature Partnership, a university effort to enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of West Louisville.

     

     

     

    November 9, 2017

    Dedication of UofL Hospital nurse forges strong friendship

    Gretta Walters ‘truly the mom when mom can’t be there’
    Dedication of UofL Hospital nurse forges strong friendship

    UofL Hospital nurse Gretta Walters was nominated for a DAISY Award for exceptional nurses from The DAISY Foundation by a former patient.

    Gretta Walters is “truly the mom when mom can’t be there.”

    A nurse at University of Louisville Hospital, she cares for infants in the neonatal intensive care unit of the Center for Women & Infants. And she can say something a lot of people can’t say – she never dreads going to work.

     “I get to care for babies,” she said. “And I love UofL Hospital, it’s a warm, caring place to work.”

    Four years ago, Gretta’s love for what she does changed the life of one of her patients, and her own. Tabby Cooper’s son was born at 26 weeks via an emergency Cesarean section. Gretta was there, doing her job, wrapping Sulli Cooper’s tiny body and placing him in an incubator, where he would live the first two months of his life.

    Twenty-three weeks’ gestation is considered the age at which a baby is viable. Little Sulli beat that by three weeks, and he had a long road ahead of him. A few hours after he was stabilized, Gretta came to talk with Tabby.

    “She gave me two pictures of my baby boy and told me everything about him,” Tabby said. “And she warned me of the roller coaster ride I was about to endure.”

    But she would not have to ride that roller coaster alone. Gretta was there, every step of the way.

    “The first few days were agonizing, when I looked at this tiny baby and I wasn’t able to help him,” Tabby said. “I was so afraid to put my hands in the box. He was so fragile. One day, Gretta asked if I’d held him. When I said no, she said ‘We’ll change that.’ She had me place my hands inside his incubator and placed his tiny two-pound body in my hands. She asked if two pounds was heavier or lighter than I imagined. He was heavier than I thought.”

    Then one day, Sulli took a turn for the worse, and became very ill.

    “Gretta stood by my side, holding me as I cried, not knowing what the future held,” Tabby said. “She sat across from me in the dark as I sat at his bedside, because he was not going to be without his mommy while he was sick.”

    Gretta often brought Tabby magazines or books, trying to give her a break.

    Eventually, he recovered, and it was finally time for him to go home. “She showed so much love to our tiny baby, and she also cared for me and my husband,” Tabby said.

    But once Sulli left the hospital, that wasn’t the end of the family’s time with Gretta. The experience had forged a bond between the two, who became close friends, taking walks at the zoo or park, talking on holidays and sharing stories.

    “We do a lot of things with the kids, who I love seeing,” Gretta said. “We spent months together, almost every day and night. It made us close.”

    Three years later at UofL Hospital, Gretta was back at Tabby’s side again when Tabby’s triplet daughters came into the world – eight weeks early. “Once again, Gretta reminded me of the crazy ride we were in for. And there she was, encouraging me and my husband, just like before,” Tabby said.

    This May, Gretta will have her own special moment as she gets married. Her flower girls will be none other than Tabby’s daughters, who were born as Gretta and her fiancé had just met.

    “We talked through the night, and I told her about him,” Gretta said.

    Tabby says she’ll never be able to thank Gretta enough. She recently nominated her for a DAISY Award for exceptional nurses from The DAISY Foundation.

    “She showed my son, daughters and all the infants she cared for so much love and affection. She provided a tremendous amount of support to the patients, parents and their families. She is truly the mom when mom can’t be there. She is an extraordinary nurse.”

    Gretta, who is from Brandenburg, Ky., said she always knew she’d be a nurse or a veterinarian from the time she was 13 years old. She doesn’t have her own children, but caring for others comes naturally for her.

    “I love being a nurse,” she said. “It’s a challenge, as you never know what you are going to get. And I love being a nurse at UofL Hospital.”

    She said the staff is like a second family, working as a team and spending long days and nights together, and supporting each other during rough times.

    “It’s like home,” she said. “I think our patients feel that.”

     

    UofL receives $6.7 million to create Superfund Research Center

    Researchers to study how exposure to pollutants contributes to cardiometabolic disease
    UofL receives $6.7 million to create Superfund Research Center

    Sanjay Srivastava, Ph.D.

    The University of Louisville has received a $6.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to become one of fewer than two dozen Superfund Research Centers across the United States.

    The five-year grant comes after a 20-year effort by the university to secure Superfund money for environmental study and will establish a new, multidisciplinary center at UofL that will support the federal Superfund Hazardous Substance Research and Training Program.

    UofL was one of five new Superfund Research Center sites funded in 2017, bringing the number across the nation to 23, including such institutions as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University and Duke University.

    “The University of Louisville is joining an elite group of research enterprises in this growing field of study examining the impact of environmental determinants to health conditions,” said Gregory Postel, M.D., interim president of the University of Louisville. “The work performed here will impact the field for generations to come, not only from the research findings that come from the program, but from the next generation of researchers who will be educated and trained.”

    “This is a very prestigious grant for the university and will help raise the awareness of environmental issues as they relate to health, and train the next generation of environmental scientists,” said Sanjay Srivastava, Ph.D.,a professor and researcher in cardiovascular medicine at the UofL School of Medicine who will lead the project.

    Researchers will study how chemical exposures, particularly to chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), contribute to the incidence, prevalence and severity of cardiometabolic disease as it relates to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and fatty liver disease, all big problems in Kentucky.

    The Superfund program, created in 1980, is part of a federal government effort to clean up land in the U.S. that has been contaminated by hazardous waste, and identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a potential risk to human health or the environment. The program was started in part by the discovery of a waste site near Louisville in Bullitt County. Known as the “Valley of the Drums,” the site contained thousands of steel drums full of chemical waste that accumulated over decades.

    Currently, there are hundreds of Superfund sites across the country, and Louisville has one near the Rubbertown industrial area along Lees Lane in the western part of the city.

    The grant to UofL comes through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Program, which funds university-based research on human health and environmental issues related to hazardous substances. The program’s goal is to understand the link between chemical exposure and disease, reduce that exposure and better monitor the effects on health.

    While the government tried to make Superfund sites safe, it was not completely known exactly how toxic some of that waste was, or how it could exacerbate diseases. Waste at Superfund sites includes such substances as industrial solvents, pesticides, metals, dry-cleaning solvents, paints, wood preservatives, cleansers, disinfectants and gasoline and other petroleum products that generate VOCs such as butadiene, trichloro ethylene, benzene, acrolein, vinyl chloride, and formaldehyde.  When disposed of together, these substances can react and form compound chemicals that are even more toxic.

    “The task of cleaning up those sites proved easier said than done,” said Srivastava, who also is a Distinguished University Scholar at UofL.

    In its heyday, Rubbertown was a booming industrial site with multiple factories and plants. Today, manufacturing in the area is down about 90 percent and the EPA closed the Superfund site to waste disposal about five years ago, satisfied that the waste disposed of there no longer posed a threat. But residents have continued to complain about chemical odors from the site, and the EPA has made multiple visits back as it considered reopening the site for remediation, Srivastava said.

    Studies already have associated certain chemicals with heart disease and metabolic disorders. Excessive rates of type 2 diabetes and stroke have been found in an evaluation of 720,000 people living within a half-mile of 258 Superfund sites associated with excessive VOCs in drinking water.  “There is strong evidence that insulin resistance, type-2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease are associated with environmental exposures” Srivastava said.

    UofL’s Superfund Research Center will focus on residents around the Lees Lane Landfill, a 112-acre landfill in Southwest Louisville. The site was used for a quarry in the 1940s and 1950s and was used as a landfill through 1975. The EPA placed the site on the Superfund program in 1983 because of contaminated ground water, surface water, soil and air resulting from landfill operations. Steps were taken to clean up the site and the EPA removed the site from the National Priorities List in 1996. However, the most recent estimates were inconclusive regarding remedy protectiveness, Srivastava said.

    The Superfund team will measure pollutant exposure at the site, and compare pollutant levels at this site with those in the Rubbertown site with its multiple factories and plants. Nearly 38,000 people live within three miles of the site. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and death records from 2005-2009, UofL researchers have observed a 48 percent higher cardiovascular mortality in 26 neighborhoods around Rubbertown than in nearby Louisville areas.

    The UofL team hopes to enroll 500 participants from three geographic areas in the project: one near the Superfund site on Lees Lane; one farther away, but still in Rubbertown; and one not nearby, in Oakdale. Researchers will set up continuous air monitoring at the sites, as well as mobile monitoring in different areas to help determine how far the level of gaseous pollution from the ground extends.

    They will collect current health and demographic data and medical history, and look for evidence of chemical exposure in blood, urine and other samples. Participants’ blood chemistry, obesity and cardiovascular and liver function will be monitored after 18 months and 36 months. The team also will study the cardiometabolic effects of VOCs in animal models.

    The other part of the project will focus on developing sensors for measuring VOCs in the air and constructing a land-use model to decrease ambient VOCs. The project also will test whether planting trees – known to help reduce the effect of exposure to toxic particles and VOCs in the air and soil – would improve the health of residents in the Oakdale area under the Green Heart project, launched last month. 

    Kelli Bullard Dunn, M.D.

    Kelli Bullard Dunn, M.D.
    Kelli Bullard Dunn, M.D.
    Full-size image:216 KB | View imageViewDownload imageDownload

    Can parents genetically design their children? Beer with a Scientist, Nov. 15

    Hear from medical experts in reproduction
    Can parents genetically design their children? Beer with a Scientist, Nov. 15

    Baby feet with hands

    Leading experts in reproductive endocrinology, Kelly Pagidas, M.D., and Miriam Krause, M.D., will address issues and possibilities surrounding parents’ ability to determine specific genetic traits in their children at the next Beer with a Scientist event, Wednesday, Nov. 15.

    Pagidas and Krause will answer the question:  Can we really engineer our children? They also will provide an overview of current genetic testing available with in-vitro fertilization and the ethical considerations that go along with that capability.

    Pagidas practices with Ob/Gyn & Women’s Health at UofL Physicians and is a professor and the division and fellowship program director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in the UofL Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Women’s Health. Krause practices with Fertility and Endocrine Associates.

    The talk begins at 8 p.m. on  Wednesday, Nov. 15, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

    Admission is free. Purchase of beer, other beverages or menu items is not required but is encouraged.

    Organizers add that they also encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

    UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science. For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook.

    Beer with a Scientist will take the month of December off. Dates are set for the first quarter of 2018:  Jan. 17, Feb. 21, Mar. 14.

    Micah Whited, M.D.

    Micah Whited, M.D.
    Full-size image:6 KB | View imageViewDownload imageDownload

    Older donor lungs should be considered for transplantation

    UofL research suggests more aggressive use of lungs from donors over the age of 60
    Older donor lungs should be considered for transplantation

    With a scarcity of lungs available for transplantation, the use of lungs from donors older than age 60 has been shown to achieve reasonable outcomes and should be considered as a viable option, according to research published online Thursday in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

     "The availability of suitable donor lungs for transplantation continues to be a major obstacle to increasing the number of lung transplants performed annually, and this study demonstrated that reasonable outcomes are possible with the use of advanced age donors," said William Micah Whited, M.D., of the University of Louisville Department of Surgery. "Research such as this that explores the means of expanding the donor pool is of critical importance."

    Whited, along with senior author Matthew Fox, M.D., of the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery and other colleagues from UofL, queried the United Network of Organ Sharing thoracic transplant database to identify lung transplant recipients age 18 years or older.

    Between January 2005 and June 2014, 14,222 lung transplants were performed. Of these lung transplant recipients, 26 percent were age 50 years or younger, with 2 percent receiving lungs from donors older than age 60. Among this group of younger patients who received older donor lungs, there was no significant difference in five-year survival when compared to patients who received lungs from younger donors.

    The researchers also examined the impact of double versus single lung transplant on long-term survival, finding that younger patients who received older donor lungs experienced much better outcomes when a double versus a single transplantation was performed.

    The study showed that in younger patients who received a single lung transplant using organs from older versus younger donors, there was a lower five-year survival: 15 percent versus 50 percent. However, with a double lung transplant, there was no significant difference in five-year survival: 53 percent versus 59 percent.

    “Ideal donor” criteria vary by hospital, but the researchers said that the criteria generally consist of brain death, age less than 45 to 50 years, minimal smoking history, and no evidence of pneumonia or trauma. Donor organs that do not meet all of the ideal donor criteria are sometimes accepted, but not always.

    Whited said that while the use of extended criteria donor lungs varies from program to program, most surgeons should be willing to accept non-ideal donors, especially those who are older but otherwise good candidates.

    "The vast majority of potential donors do not meet the relatively strict donor criteria," he said. "As a result, we need to continue exploring options that would expand the donor pool and more aggressively utilize extended criteria donors. Much like the general population, the donor pool has continued to grow older. Now more than ever, we have to rely on older donors."

    The U.S. Organ Procurement & Transplant Network (OPTN) reports that 1,399 people currently are waiting for a lung transplant in the United States. The overall median waiting time for candidates on the wait list is four months, while more than 200 people die annually waiting for a lung transplant, according to an OPTN report.

    UofL researchers discover key signaling protein for muscle growth

    MyD88 protein controls fusion of myoblasts during muscle formation, may enhance therapies for cancer, muscular dystrophy

    Researchers at the University of Louisville have discovered the importance of a well-known protein, myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88), in the development and regeneration of muscles. Ashok Kumar, Ph.D., professor and distinguished university scholar in UofL’s Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, led a team of researchers who have described the protein’s critical role in the growth and repair of skeletal muscles, both in post-natal development and in the regeneration of injured adult muscles.

    UofL post-doctoral fellows Sajedah M. Hindi, Ph.D., and Yann S. Gallot, Ph.D., along with Jonghyun Shin, Ph.D., formerly of UofL and now with Yonsei University in South Korea, conducted the research in Kumar’s lab. It is published today in Nature Communications.

    In the formation of muscle, specialized progenitor or stem cells multiply. They then differentiate into preliminary muscle cells called myoblasts. The myoblasts fuse together and subsequently form muscle fiber. Using animal models, the UofL researchers worked with both neonatal cells and adult cells to determine that MyD88, a key signaling protein in the human body, is required in sufficient quantity for myoblasts to fuse.

    Hindi believes that MyD88 eventually may be used to improve the effectiveness of therapies using donor cells for the treatment of degenerative muscle disorders such as muscular dystrophies.

    “Since MyD88 promotes only the fusion of myoblasts without affecting their proliferation or differentiation, enhancing the levels of MyD88 levels could be a means to enhance engraftment of exogenous myoblasts in cellular therapies,” Hindi said.

    Kumar adds that increasing the expression of MyD88 could be used in the treatment of rhabdomyosarcomas, cancerous tumors that develop in skeletal muscles and often affect children.

    “We are investigating whether augmenting the levels of MyD88 inhibits growth of rhabdomyosarcoma in animal models,” Kumar said. “Finally, we are investigating whether the loss of MyD88 is responsible for the diminished muscle regeneration capacity in the elderly.”

    Research in Kumar’s lab focuses on understanding the molecular and signaling mechanisms that regulate the acquisition and maintenance of skeletal muscle mass. For the past eight years, they have been investigating the proximal signaling mechanisms that regulate skeletal muscle atrophy, regeneration and muscle hypertrophy, in addition to the signaling mechanisms that regulate self-renewal and differentiation of satellite cells in myogenic lineage.

    In 2015, research from Kumar and Hindi published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation described the role of TNF receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) in maintaining satellite cells and their ability to regenerate injured muscles. Just ten days later, research from the lab published in Nature Communicationsrevealed how the protein transforming growth factor-ß-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) is vital in the self-renewal of satellite stem cells.

    Research reported in this press release was supported by the National Institute of Health grants AR068313, AR059810, and AG029623 to Ashok Kumar and AR069985 to Sajedah M. Hindi.

    Kumar, Hindi, Gallot and Shin

     

     

    November 20, 2017

    Kumar, Hindi, Gallot and Shin

    Kumar, Hindi, Gallot and Shin
    Kumar, Hindi, Gallot and Shin
    Full-size image:65 KB | View imageViewDownload imageDownload

    Kentucky offers specialty license plate supporting Alzheimer’s Association

    UofL’s Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging provides support for the effort
    Kentucky offers specialty license plate supporting Alzheimer’s Association

    End Alzheimer's license plate

    License plates supporting the Alzheimer’s Association are available for purchase in Kentucky, making the Bluegrass the first in the United States to offer a specialty plate for Alzheimer’s.

    In 2016, the University of Louisville’s Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging provided underwriting for the final applicants to help move the plates into production and raise awareness of the disease that affects nearly 70,000 Kentuckians.

    “Our institute is honored to support the Alzheimer’s Association and all Kentuckians who have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease. This license is a powerful symbol of our enduring love for those affected by Alzheimer’s, our unwavering support for their family members, and our commitment to working with our communities and the Alzheimer’s Association to end Alzheimer’s,” said Dr. Anna Faul, Ph.D., executive director of the institute. 

    “The Alzheimer’s specialty plate has been a dream of ours for years,” said DeeAnna Esslinger, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana chapter. “Not only will the plates be a very visible reminder of those suffering with Alzheimer’s, but their sale will also help raise funds for local education initiatives.”

    The license plate features a forget-me-not flower on a purple background with the words: ‘Honor. Remember. Care. End Alzheimer’s.’ Drivers may purchase the plate when renewing their tags at any county clerk office. Specialty plate purchasers also can give an additional $10 donation to help fund Alzheimer’s awareness and education activities in Kentucky.

    For information visit: https://www.alz.org/kyin/

    About the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter:

    The Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association provides service and education to 125 counties across greater Kentucky and southern Indiana. Over 5 million Americans are living with the disease and more than 90,000 of them reside in our service territory. Services provided include education programs for persons with dementia, caregivers, professionals and the general community as well as support groups and a 24/7 Helpline. Further, the Chapter advocates at the state and national level of government for research and support services on behalf of the people of Kentucky who suffer from Alzheimer's disease.

     

    Toxicology researchers help prep rural high school students for academic competition

    Toxicology researchers help prep rural high school students for academic competition

    John Pierce Wise, Sr., Ph.D., talks with Kentucky high school students

    Researchers in the University of Louisville Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology spoke with Future Problem Solvers this week from two rural Kentucky high schools in hopes of prepping them for the district level academic competition.

    Students from Adair County High School in Columbia, Ky. and Russel High School in Ashland, Ky. visited UofL’s Wise Laboratory of Environmental and Genetic Toxicology researchers. They toured labs and participated in a seminar on toxic materials - the topic for the district challenge of Future Problem Solving, a program of the Kentucky Association for Academic Competition that encourages critical thinking.

    “Science unlocks the secrets of the universe and the keys to technology, including current ideas and those yet to be imagined,” said John Pierce Wise, Sr., Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and toxicology and University Scholar. “Engaging young people in science opens their hearts and minds to a whole new world of imagination, discovery and possibility, and starts them on a journey that will transform both their own lives and society as a whole." 

    Tayler Croom-Perez, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate and Rachel Speer, M.S., doctoral candidate, explained the work of the Wise lab, which embraces a “One” environmental health philosophy.

    “The concept considers how human health, animal health and ecosystem health are intertwined and interdependent, such that there is only “one” health,” Speer said.

    Wise lab researchers study and compare human health with that of whales, alligators and sea turtles along with ecosystem changes. The goal, Speer says, is to better understand the impact on health, to discover novel adaptations in animals that may give insights into human health, and to use human health data in an effort to conserve wildlife and protect the ecosystem.

    The toxicology investigators also study how environmental chemicals convert normal cells into tumor cells that cause cancer. In this work, scientists focus on structures inside cells called chromosomes, which contain the cell’s DNA. The researchers study how chemicals damage DNA and interfere with the ability of cells to repair that damage.

    Nov. 30, 2017

    UofL Hospital first in region to use advanced new imaging system

    Discovery IGS 740 exceptionally accurate, faster and safer than traditional systems
    UofL Hospital first in region to use advanced new imaging system

    UofL’s Douglas Coldwell, M.D., Ph.D., with the new Discovery IGS 740 system at University of Louisville Hospital

    NOTE: Watch a video of Dr. Coldwell talking about the new Discovery IGS 740 system at UofL Hospital here

    University of Louisville Hospital is the first in the region to install and use a new imaging system that is more accurate, faster and safer than traditional units.

    “This is the most advanced piece of arteriographic equipment in the world at the moment,” said Douglas Coldwell, M.D., Ph.D., director of vascular and interventional radiology and interventional oncology at UofL Hospital and a professor of radiology and bioengineering at the UofL School of Medicine. “And we are the only ones to have it in this area. This really is a big deal.”

    The Discovery IGS 740 provides exceptionally detailed, 3-D images in real time of patient anatomy, which Coldwell said is invaluable in trauma cases.  Doctors can accurately determine the site of bleeding and close it off, saving lives.

    He said Discovery’s laser-guided tools give doctors the ability to be much more precise in treatment.

    “With this new system, we’ve taken a leap forward in patient care in this community and region,” Coldwell said.

    With its unique mobile platform, the Discovery has the power and capability of traditional fixed imaging units, but rides on the floor, moving around the patient as necessary, free of interference from fixed floor or ceiling structures. At the touch of a button on bedside controls, doctors can use its laser guidance mechanism to precisely position it just about anywhere for the best possible images of parts of the anatomy. It can then be moved aside so medical professionals can work efficiently and have unobstructed access to patients.

    Its exceptionally high-quality images allow doctors to perform delicate procedures such as blood vessel interventions with accuracy and confidence, Coldwell said.

    “It allows us to get in, treat a patient and do it without complications, and have a better patient outcome,” he said. Even arteries can be looked at in 3-D, allowing doctors to “plan exactly where we’re going to go in treatments,” such as for stent and angioplasty.

    Its large digital detector also gives doctors the ability to see more in a single exam with fewer X-ray images, and fewer injections of contrast dye, and carries just a fraction of radiation of traditional units, making it much safer for patients and staff.

    “Everyone is concerned about radiation,” he said. “With this equipment, we get 1/10th to 1/100th of the radiation of other units.”

    The Discovery unit’s precision makes it perfect for use in patients at the UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

    “It allows for amazingly targeted radiation,” Coldwell said.

    Tumors can be treated by injecting radioactive beads the size of talcum powder particles into them via arteries. “This requires precise placement, which we can do with the Discovery system,” Coldwell said. “A very high dose of radiation can be given to the tumor, while sparing the surrounding tissues. That means fewer side effects for patients.”

    The equipment has its own dedicated room at the hospital. Mike Goode, the hospital’s director of imaging and neurodiagnostic services, said installation was finished last month at a cost of around $2 million, including precision leveling of seamless floors to hold the sensitive, heavy equipment, which took nearly a month.

    Doctors have been seeing patients with the system for a few weeks, and the difference is profound, Coldwell said.

    “We’re pretty excited about it,” he said. “It’s a game-changer.”

    UofL’s LGBT-inclusive medical school curriculum recognized for innovation in medical education

    UofL’s LGBT-inclusive medical school curriculum recognized for innovation in medical education

    Members of the eQuality steering committee with AAMC president/CEO Darrell Kirch, MD

    The University of Louisville continues to lead in educating future physicians to provide the best possible health care for patients who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), gender nonconforming and those born with differences in sex development (DSD). UofL’s eQuality Project, the initiative to embed training in the care of these patients throughout its medical school curriculum, has won the 2016-2017 Innovation in Medical Education Award from the Southern Group on Educational Affairs (SGEA).

    The SGEA presents a single Innovation in Medical Education Award each year for a good, replicable idea for other medical education institutions to consider. Chosen over three other nominees, UofL’s eQuality Project won thanks to the timely topic and the unique but practical approach, according to Karen “Sam” Miller, Ph.D., director of graduate medical education and research at UofL and chair of SGEA, a regional subgroup of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

    In 2014, UofL became the pilot program for the development of curriculum to incorporate competencies published by the AAMC related to provision of care for LGBT and DSD individuals.

    “Every patient deserves to be cared for with respect and competence,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “The faculty and staff members who have devoted so many hours in the eQuality Project have made it their mission to provide the best education for our future physicians in the care of LGBTQ patients. I am extremely proud of their work and pleased that the SGEA is recognizing it as a model for other institutions.”

    Susan Sawning, M.S.S.W., director of undergraduate medical education research, and Laura Weingartner, Ph.D., research manager, were recognized for the award at the SGEA Business Meeting during the 2017 AAMC Learn, Serve, Lead conference in Boston earlier this month. The award will be presented formally at the SGEA Regional Conference in April 2018 in Jackson, Miss.

    “This has been a beautiful team effort,” Sawning said. “I am most proud that our LGBTQ community is feeling empowered and better cared for, and that makes it all worth it.”

    The project included Sawning, Weingartner and other members of the eQuality Steering Committee:  Chaz Briscoe, M.A., Dwayne Compton, M.Ed., Amy Holthouser, M.D., Charles Kodner, M.D., Leslee Martin, M.A., David McIntosh, Ph.D., Emily Noonan, M.A., M. Ann Shaw, M.D., M.A., Stacie Steinbock, M.Ed., and Jennifer Stephens, B.A.

    The AAMC is the not-for-profit association representing all 145 accredited United States and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and nearly 90 academic and scientific societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC represents 148,000 faculty members, 83,000 medical students, and 110,000 resident physicians.

     

    #WeAreUofL

     

    November 28, 2017

    Ken Marshall

    Ken Marshall
    Ken Marshall
    Full-size image:20 KB | View imageViewDownload imageDownload

    Jason Smith, MD, PhD

    Jason Smith, MD, PhD
    Full-size image:6 KB | View imageViewDownload imageDownload

    Sarah Bishop

    Sarah Bishop
    Full-size image:214 KB | View imageViewDownload imageDownload

    Acting on and investing in the commitment to reduce patient infection

    UofL Hospital is first in region to utilize latest infection-control technologies
    Acting on and investing in the commitment to reduce patient infection

    Two new technologies -- copper fixtures such as the sink shown at left and an electronic badge system, right -- are helping to control infection at University of Louisville Hospital.

    Putting action and investment behind commitment is evident at University of Louisville Hospital with two new technologies put into place that advance the goal of controlling infection.

    The hospital, in conjunction with UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, recently renovated and enlarged its Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit, including the installation of all new copper fixtures that utilize the metal’s antimicrobial properties to control infection. UofL Hospital is the first facility in the Kentuckiana region to install the new fixtures.

    The hospital also is the first in the area to begin using a new hand hygiene system that reminds staff to wash their hands, if they forget. Staff members wear a badge that displays a red, yellow or green hand that automatically communicates compliance status to patients, reassuring them they are safe. The system collects compliance data that can be shared with staff and administrators.

    These efforts are not isolated events but are part of a dedicated effort to improve patient safety, said University Medical Center (UMC) Interim President/CEO Ken Marshall. UMC is the parent organization that has operated the hospital and cancer center since July 1.

    Ken Marshall“While we meet or exceed national standards of care once a hospital-acquired patient infection has been identified, our opportunity is around earlier recognition to prevent infection,” Marshall said. “To this end, we have enhanced the use of tools available to us through new technologies and have put in place a continual education and training process.”

    While it is too soon to have verified data on the results of these efforts, hospital leaders are confident that the new measures will enable the hospital to increase its rates of infection control and reduce the incidence of hospital acquired infections (HAIs) in patients.

     “HAIs can happen in any health care facility,” said UofL Hospital Chief Medical Officer Jason Smith, M.D., Ph.D., including hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, long-term care facilities and others. “They are caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses or other less common pathogens. The new systems installed at UofL Hospital will have a significant impact in reducing the incidence of HAIs.”

    HAIs can be a cause of illness and death, and they can have emotional, financial and medical consequences. At any given time, about 1 in 25 inpatients has an infection related to hospitals or other health care facilities in the United States. These infections lead to the loss of tens of thousands of lives and cost the U.S. health care system billions of dollars each year.

     “As front-line care providers, our nurses know better than anyone about the toll that HAIs can have on patients and their families,” said Chief Nursing OfficerShari Kretzschmer, R.N. “Nurses at UofL Hospital and James Graham Brown Cancer Center play a key role in preventing the spread of HAIs and we are excited to embrace these new tools introduced for the first time in our region to help strengthen infection control.”

    The effort was a worthwhile investment, Marshall said. “On July 1, a health care resource that has been vital to this community for nearly 200 years entered a new era of service to the people of Metro Louisville and Southern Indiana,” he said. “Our necessity to change, improve and grow is mandatory, and we will work to implement whatever investment is needed to achieve that growth.”

     “Incorporating new technology shows our commitment to providing a safe environment for patient care,” said Director of Infection Prevention and ControlSarah Bishop, A.P.R.N., at UofL Hospital. “I’m proud to work for an organization that is an early adopter of these emerging technologies.”

    The new technologies are CuVerro Bactericidal Copper Surfaces and the BioVigil Hand Hygiene System.

    About CuVerro Bactericidal Copper Surfaces

    Copper has been known to have inherent bactericidal properties for thousands of years. While its exact mechanism of action is not yet fully known, research suggests that copper surfaces affect bacteria in two sequential steps: the first step is a direct interaction between the copper surface and the bacterial outer membrane, causing the membrane to rupture. The second is related to the holes in the outer membrane through which the cell loses vital nutrients and water, causing a general weakening of the cell. CuVerro works with manufacturers to leverage this quality into the development of products that kill almost 100 percent of the bacteria that cause HAIs within two hours of contact.

    CuVerro and JRA Architects of Louisville partnered with UofL Hospital in the renovation of the Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT) Unit. Patients requiring BMT take anti-rejection drugs that compromise their immune systems, making them highly susceptible to bacterial infection. The copper surfaces on the fixtures in the BMT unit are an added protective measure against infection.

    The surfaces are found in virtually every fixture touched by human hand: patient room sinks, bathroom sinks, faucets, electrical switch plates, door hardware, cabinetry hardware and shower safety grab bars. There are approximately 20 separate surfaces in each of the 16 rooms in the unit plus another 10-20 fixtures in each hallway, common area, office and treatment room.

    About the BioVigil Hand Hygiene System

    The BioVigil electronic hand hygiene solution reminds hospital staff to perform hand hygiene if they forget. BioVigil also visually communicates to and reassures patients and families that hand hygiene has been performed via a colored hand displayed on a badge worn by health care workers. Green confirms that hand hygiene has been performed. Yellow is a reminder that staff must wash their hands, and red means that staff must stop and wash their hands. To comply with hand hygiene, users apply sanitizer and place their hand over the badge, which detects the alcohol from the sanitizer.

    Hand hygiene activities are automatically recorded by a badge and then securely downloaded to a cloud-hosted database once the badge is returned to a base station. The hospital retrieves monitoring and compliance reports through the system’s data suite or via email.

    The system makes it easy for health care professionals to comply with hand hygiene, empowers patients to take an active role in their care and helps hospitals combat HAIs. The technology works with all sanitizer and soap products. It has been introduced in nine units thus far in UofL Hospital and will continue to be introduced to other units over time.

    The system is manufactured by BioVigil Healthcare Systems Inc. of Ann Arbor, Mich.

    #WeAreUofL

    CuVerro, with brand headquarters in Louisville, is manufactured by GBC Metals LLC, doing business as Olin Brass, a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Brass and Copper Inc. which is a subsidiary of Global Brass and Copper Holdings Inc., the leading manufacturer and distributor of copper, copper‐alloy and bactericidal copper sheet, strip, plate, foil, rod, ingot and fabricated components in North America and one of the largest in the world. GBC Metals engages in the melting, casting, rolling, drawing, extruding and stamping of specialized copper and copper alloys finished products from scrap, cathode and other refined metals (OB-0047-1711). For more information visit cuverro.com or contact cuverro@olinbrass.com.

     

    Shari Kretzschmer, RN

    Shari Kretzschmer, RN
    Full-size image:411 KB | View imageViewDownload imageDownload

    Shari Kretzschmer, RN

    Shari Kretzschmer, RN
    Full-size image:318 KB | View imageViewDownload imageDownload

    Louisville Society for Neuroscience top in the nation for encouraging interest in science

    Louisville Society for Neuroscience top in the nation for encouraging interest in science

    Kristopher K. Rau, Ph.D., receives the Next Generation award from Eric Nestler, M.D., Ph.D., 2016-17 president of the national Society for Neuroscience

    How would scientists go about encouraging interest in their field and educating the public about science? Members of the Louisville chapter of the Society for Neuroscience found more than 30 ways to accomplish that goal, developing interactive exhibits at the Kentucky Science Center, speaking about scientific topics at public events and organizing seminars to encourage K-12 students’ interest in science and more.

    For their work, the Louisville group was named the 2017 chapter of the year by the National Society for Neuroscience (SfN) earlier this month at the organization’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

    The Society for Neuroscience is an organization of nearly 38,000 basic scientists and clinicians in more than 90 countries who study the brain and nervous system. The Louisville SfN chapter includes nearly 300 members, about 280 of whom are faculty, staff and students at the University of Louisville. Members also represent Bellarmine University, Morehead State University and Northern Kentucky University.

    The SfN presents its Chapter-of-the-Year Award in recognition of a chapter’s accomplishments in outreach to the public, providing neuroscience resources for K-12 education and advocacy for issues related to research and science.

    The Louisville chapter organized or participated in more than 30 events between June 2016 and July 2017 related to this mission. Members hosted 25 minority high school students interested in health professions for a tour at UofL, held a seminar to encourage middle school girls’ interest in STEM-related careers, developed “Brain Days:  An Interactive Neuroscience Experience” at the Kentucky Science Center, and helped organize the local March for Science in Louisville. The club estimates that through these and other events, 171 volunteers helped educate more than 5,000 people about the field of neuroscience.

    In addition to the chapter award, the group’s outgoing president, Kristofer K. Rau, Ph.D., earned the organization’s Next Generation Award for junior faculty for his efforts to share neuroscience with the public throughcommunication, education and outreach activities. Rau, a senior research associate in the UofL Department of Anesthesiology, spearheaded community outreach efforts for SfN’s Louisville chapter designed to increase science education and literacy focused on nervous system function and careers in neuroscience research. Rau helped to establish adult education programs, initiated neuroscience awards at regional science fairs, and prepared materials and mobilized volunteers for a walk to end multiple sclerosis.

    The Louisville SfN chapter will receive $3,000 for the two awards.

     

    November 30, 2017

    UofL Hospital opens new center to treat hepatitis C

    Kentucky has highest infection rate in country; disease can now be cured
    UofL Hospital opens new center to treat hepatitis C

    The new UofL Hospital Hep C Center opened on Wednesday.

    University of Louisville Hospital opened a new center today to treat hepatitis C, a particular problem in Kentucky, which has the highest infection rate in the country.

    A ribbon-cutting and open house marked the UofL Hospital Hep C Center’s official opening Wednesday morning, with the first patients scheduled later in the day.

    “While Kentucky has the highest rate of new hep C cases in the U.S., few places exist here for treatment,” said Barbra Cave, a family nurse practitioner specializing in gastroenterology and hepatology who leads the center. “This is a much-needed service in the community.”

    In the past, treating hepatitis C was difficult. It involved a triple therapy with interferons that lasted almost a year, with multiple side effects. Not everyone was a candidate for treatment. Doctors found it challenging, and some patients opted to not get treated at all.

    “Many patients were scared off by treatment, knowing it was going to be hard,” Cave said. “Maybe they saw a friend go through it. But we want them to know it’s not hard anymore. We can help so many people.”

    Today, treatment is one pill, once a day, for 8-12 weeks – with minimal side effects, said Ashutosh Barve, M.D., Ph.D., the center’s medical director and a gastroenterologist with the hospital and UofL Physicians. The center also uses FibroScan, which allows staff to perform a non-invasive assessment of the liver without a biopsy.

    “This is truly a success story of modern medicine,” he said. “We went from discovering the basic science of the disease in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, to finding a cure in 2014.”

    Up to half of patients who have it may not know they are infected, Cave said. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended screening for all baby boomers.

    “People may carry the disease for decades before they have symptoms,” she said.

    Hepatitis C is a blood-borne illness. It may have been contracted from a blood transfusion prior to 1992, contaminated tattoo equipment or IV drug use. Older veterans are particularly at risk due to the use of the old “jet gun” vaccinators by the military and combat injuries, Cave said.

    Contaminated dental equipment can also spread hepatitis C, and the disease can be passed from mother to baby.

    “The virus can live on a surface for weeks, if not sterilized properly,” Cave said.

    Though hepatitis C is now easily curable with proper treatment, the disease can cause major complications if left untreated. It can cause cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer. Barve, who also directs the Liver Cancer Program at the UofL School of Medicine, said hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver transplant.

    Hepatitis C may predispose those infected to diabetes and depression, and it has an association with joint pain, regardless of the amount of liver damage.

    The new center will see patients every weekday, and the hospital is expecting 2,000 patient visits per year, with space to expand as volume grows. 

    Survey for older adults designed to assess social service needs

    Survey for older adults designed to assess social service needs

    ISHOA and KIPDA

    Senior citizens who live in Jefferson and surrounding Kentucky counties are encouraged to take a brief survey online or over the phone to help analyze social service needs for older adults and individuals with disabilities.

    For the second year, the University of Louisville Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging will conduct a community needs assessment on behalf of the Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency (KIPDA).

    Led by the institute’s Executive Director, Anna Faul, Ph.D., and Director of Health Innovation and Sustainability, Joe D’Ambrosio, Ph.D., the 2018 KIPDA needs assessment surveys people across the seven KIPDA counties – Bullitt, Henry, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, Trimble and Jefferson. It looks at each county in regards to housing, outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation and streets, health and wellness, social participation, inclusion and education opportunities, volunteering and civic engagement and job opportunities.

    The survey results, together with an analysis of current community services and gaps, will allow the institute to make specific and strategic recommendations to KIPDA. If adopted, these recommendations are designed to ensure that older adults and individuals with disabilities have their immediate social service needs met while more broadly enabling them to lead lives of dignity and independence.

    Anyone living in the designated counties is invited to complete the Community Needs Assessment Survey. The more people that participate, the more likely service gaps can be addressed. Older adults, caregivers, and persons with disabilities are especially encouraged to participate in this research study. Survey participants do not have to be recipients of KIPDA services.

    The assessment can be found online or by calling 502-852-8953. The institute can provide a paper copy upon request or at senior centers within the seven counties. The deadline to complete the assessment is Feb. 1, 2018.

    For more information, visit www.optimalaginginstitute.org/kipda or contact Dr. D’Ambrosio at joe.dambrosio@louisville.edu or 502-852-7811.

    Medical residents’ toy drive collects nearly 900 gifts for local kids

    Medical residents’ toy drive collects nearly 900 gifts for local kids

    The UofL House Staff Council collected nearly 900 toys for its Toys for Tots campaign this month. Resident physicians pictured are, clockwise from lower left, Svetlana Famina, M.D., Jason Messinger, M.D., Jamie Morris, M.D. and Paul Parackal, M.B.B.S.

    Nearly 900 toys swamped a Christmas tree in the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center administration building, ready to be delivered to local children who would otherwise go without presents this year.

    For the third year, the UofL School of Medicine House Staff Council, the representative body for resident and fellow physicians, led a weeklong collection for Toys for Tots. Donations were received from individual residents and fellows as well as School of Medicine faculty, staff and students.

    “Unfortunately, there are so many families in Louisville who cannot afford toys for their children,” said Svetlana Famina, M.D., a third-year psychiatry resident. “We work with these families a lot on a daily basis, so we know how much things like this are appreciated by children and their parents.”

    Stock Yards Bank & Trust will provide a luncheon and plaque to the three residency programs that donated the most toys.

    The winning program for the third straight year, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, collected about 430 toys. Aside from gathering donated toys, psychiatry residents raised about $1,000 to buy additional gifts, Famina said.

    The Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health donated the second-most number of toys and the Department of Radiology finished third.

    Jamie Morris, M.D., a radiology resident, said the annual toy drive has become an important way for UofL medical residents to give back to the community, especially children.

    “It’s important to share what we have,” Morris said. “The residency program is a strong coalition and we have a lot to give the Louisville community.”

    Staff members of the Office of Graduate Medical Education sorted and packed the toys in donation boxes, which were picked up by a Toys for Tots volunteer on Dec. 11.

    The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distributes those toys as Christmas gifts to underprivileged children in the community in which a campaign is conducted.

    Robert Friedland proposes new term for the role of microbiota in neurodegeneration: Mapranosis

    Robert Friedland proposes new term for the role of microbiota in neurodegeneration:  Mapranosis

    Possible routes for microbial amyloid to influence the CNS

    Research in the past two decades has revealed that microbial organisms in the gut influence health and disease in many ways, particularly related to immune function, metabolism and resistance to infection. Recent studies have shown that gut microbes also may cause or worsen Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.

    University of Louisville neurology professor Robert P. Friedland, M.D., and Matthew R. Chapman, Ph.D., professor at the University of Michigan, have proposed a new term to describe an interaction between gut microbiota and the brain in an article released today in PLOS Pathogens.

    Friedland and Chapman propose the term “mapranosis” for the process by which amyloid proteins produced by microbes (bacteria, fungi and others) alter the structure of proteins (proteopathy) and enhance inflammation in the nervous system, thereby initiating or augmenting brain disease. The term is derived from Microbiota Associated Protepathy And Neuroinflammation + osis (a process).

    Friedland hopes that giving the process a name will facilitate awareness of the process, as well as research leading to therapeutic opportunities.

    “It is critical to define the ways in which gut bacteria and other organisms interact with the host to create disease, as there are many ways in which the microbiota may be altered to influence health,” Friedland said.

    Research into the multitude of microbes that inhabit the human body has expanded considerably in recent years. Genomic analysis has begun to reveal the full diversity of bacteria, viruses, fungi, archaea and parasites living in and on the body, the majority of them in the gut. Even more recently, researchers have begun to explore how the proteins and other metabolites produced by microbes inhabiting the gut influence functions in other parts of the body, including the brain. However, we do not yet have a full understanding of how these systems work. The relationship between the microbiota and the brain has been called the “gut-brain axis.”

    It is understood that the clumping of misfolded amyloid proteins, structures produced by neurons in the brain, are associated with neurodegeneration and conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

    “It is well known that patterns of amyloid misfolding of neuronal proteins are involved in age-related brain diseases. Recent studies suggest that similar protein structures produced by gut bacteria, referred to as bacterial amyloid, may be involved in the initiation of neurodegenerative processes in the brain,” Friedland said. “Bacterial amyloids are produced by a wide range of microbes that inhabit the GI tract, including the mouth.”

    In research published in 2016 in Scientific Reports, Friedland and colleagues showed that when E. coli microbes in the gut of rats and worms (nematodes) produced misfolded amyloids, the amyloids produced in the animals’ brains and intestines also misfolded, a process called cross-seeding.

    “Our work suggests that our commensal microbial partners make functional extracellular amyloid proteins, which interact with host proteins through cross-seeding of amyloid misfolding and trigger neuroinflammation in the brain,” Friedland said.

    In today’s article, Friedland and Chapman also address other factors related to the microbiota and its products and how they influence neurodegenerative disorders.

    1. The microbiota modulates (enhances) immune processes throughout the body, including the central nervous system.
    2. The microbiota may induce oxidative toxicity (free radicals) and related inflammation that contributes to neurodegeneration.
    3. Metabolites produced by the microbiota may be either beneficial (health sustaining) or damaging (pathogenic).
    4. Host genetics influence microbiota populations, illustrating that the gut-brain axis is bidirectional.

    Friedland believes further research in this area may lead to therapies for these neurodegenerative diseases, which are increasing in frequency and for which there are few effective treatments.

    Chapman’s research is supported by the National Institutes of Health. Friedland’s work has been supported by The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

     

    December 21, 2017

    Can technology be used to treat eating disorders? Beer with a Scientist, Jan. 17

    Can technology be used to treat eating disorders? Beer with a Scientist, Jan. 17

    Cheri Levinson, Ph.D.

    Eating disorders affect about 8 million people in the United States at any one time. Although a large majority is young women, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and other types of eating disorders can affect men and people of any age. Cheri Levinson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and director of the Eating Anxiety Treatment Laboratory at the University of Louisville, will share some of her research in the treatment of eating disorders at the next Beer with a Scientist event, Wednesday, Jan. 17.

    Levinson will discuss the lab’s research on the association between eating disorders and anxiety. In addition, she will describe therapies that incorporate technological innovations.

    “The most common treatments for eating disorders only work for about 50 percent of individuals,” Levinson said. “In the Eating Anxiety Treatment Lab, we are working on developing novel treatments personalized to the individual,” Levinson said. “Many of our treatments use technology to help improve treatment and reach more people.”

    Levinson’s talk begins at 8 p.m. onWednesday, Jan. 17, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

    Admission is free. Purchase of beer, other beverages or menu items is not required but is encouraged.

    Organizers add that they also encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

    UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science. For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook.

    Upcoming Beer with a Scientist dates:  Mar. 14, Apr. 18.

     

     

     

    January 9, 2018

    UofL research finds depressive symptoms linked to shorter survival in patients with head and neck cancer

    UofL research finds depressive symptoms linked to shorter survival in patients with head and neck cancer

    Liz Cash, Ph.D.

    In a study of patients with head and neck cancer, even mild depressive symptoms were associated with poorer overall survival. Published early online today in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings indicate that patients should be screened and treated for depressive symptoms at the time of diagnosis. In addition, studies should examine parallel biological pathways linking depression to cancer survival.

    Many patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer experience symptoms of depression, which can make it difficult for them to manage treatment side effects, quit smoking, or maintain adequate nutrition or sleep habits. A team led by Elizabeth Cash, Ph.D., of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, was interested to see if depressive symptoms might also affect patients’ health outcomes.

    The researchers studied 134 patients with head and neck cancers being treated at the UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center multidisciplinary head and neck clinic from October 2012 to October 2013 who reported depressive symptoms during the planning of their treatment. In this group, 67.2 percent expressed measureable depressive symptoms. When the investigators examined the patients’ clinical data over the following two years, they found that patients with greater depressive symptoms had shorter survival, higher rates of chemo-radiation interruption, and poorer treatment response.

    “We observed that head and neck cancer patients who reported more depressive symptoms at their initial appointment were more likely to miss scheduled treatment appointments and were more likely to have tumors that persisted after medical treatment,” said Cash, who serves as the director of research for the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Communicative Disorders at UofL. “We also observed that patients with depressive symptoms suffered greater two-year overall mortality rates, and this was especially true for those who did not achieve optimal response to medical treatment.”

    Poorer treatment response partially explained the depression-survival relationship; however, there were no significant effects from factors commonly used to determine cancer prognosis—such as the patient’s age, the stage of tumor advancement or extent of smoking history.

    “This suggests that depressive symptoms may be as powerful as the clinical features that physicians typically use to determine the prognosis of patients with head and neck cancer,” Cash said.

    She also noted that most patients in the study did not meet criteria for diagnosis of major depressive disorder, suggesting that even mild symptoms of depression may interfere with head and neck cancer treatment outcomes. She said that while the findings need to be replicated in a larger study, they do suggest that depressive symptoms may affect head and neck cancer patients’ survival through mechanisms that potentially coincide with the activities of their tumor.

    “We want patients to know that it is normal to get depressed when they are diagnosed, but it is important to seek help for any depression symptoms because (not doing so) may lead to poorer outcomes related to their cancer treatment,” Cash said.

    She and her colleagues are hopeful that this information can facilitate discussions between patients and psycho-oncologists or behavioral oncology specialists to expedite the development of targeted behavioral interventions, which may have high potential to complement medical treatment efficacy.

     

    UofL resident physician to deliver research at national ophthalmology conference

    UofL resident physician to deliver research at national ophthalmology conference

    Joshua C. Gross, M.D.

    Joshua C. Gross, M.D., a first-year resident in training with the UofL Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, will present his research at the annual meeting of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO) on Jan. 26 in Austin, Tex. At the RPB/AUPO Resident and Fellow Research Forum. Gross has conducted research into the association between blood flow in the retina and the progression of open-angle glaucoma and diabetes mellitus.

    Working with colleagues at Indiana University School of Medicine and in Italy, Gross found that patients who had reduced retinal blood flow and optic nerve damage consistent with glaucoma who also had diabetes experienced faster visual deterioration than patients with similar characteristics but who did not have diabetes.

    Open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of glaucoma, accounts for at least 90 percent of all glaucoma cases, affecting about 3 million Americans. It is caused by the slow clogging of the drainage canals, resulting in increased eye pressure. 



    January 25, 2018