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May 10 - 14, 2010

Lyme disease increasing in N.C. (Blog)
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
The N&O has a story today from medical writer Sarah Avery on the increasing threat of Lyme disease in North Carolina. Victims of the disease and their advocates lined up last month, pleading with the Chapel Hill Town Council to do something about the growing deer population. Some believe deer carry the ticks that carry Lyme disease, an illness that can cause long-term fatigue, brain inflammation, muscle pain and facial paralysis. ..."When they had typhoid in Rome, they had to kill the rats," said Dr. David Clemmons, a professor at UNC's medical school. "This is a serious public health problem."

A new model for health care (Opinion-Editorial Column)
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
In the last few weeks, patients have been asking me about the health care law that was signed by President Barack Obama, and many of the nation's doctors find themselves answering similar questions. Although the legislation mainly addresses health care insurance, my patients' questions - and their fears - revolve around how the new law will impact the health care that they will receive, or may not be able to receive. What will this care look like? (Dr. Timothy P. Daaleman is vice chair of the Department of Family Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill.)

Glaxo Said to Pay $60 Million in Avandia Settlements
Bloomberg News
GlaxoSmithKline Plc agreed to pay about $60 million in the first settlements of lawsuits alleging the company’s Avandia diabetes drug causes heart attacks and strokes in some users, people familiar with the accords said. ...The report, by Senators Max Baucus and Charles Grassley, also said Glaxo officials sought to intimidate doctors who criticized the drug. Dr. John Buse, a University of North Carolina Medical School professor, gave presentations highlighting Avandia’s risks, the senators said.

Scientists to test ultrasound as a male contraceptive
BBC News
Scientists are beginning tests to see if ultrasound can be used as a reversible contraceptive for men. Based on early work, University of North Carolina experts believe a blast of ultrasound to the testes can safely stop sperm production for six months. With a grant of $100,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation they will push ahead with more clinical trials. The researchers ultimately hope it could offer a new birth control option to couples throughout the world. Lead researcher Dr. James Tsuruta said: "We think this could provide men with up to six months of reliable, low-cost, non-hormonal contraception from a single round of treatment.

Genital wart virus may raise men's risk of HIV
Reuters (Wire Service)
Men who carry the virus that causes genital warts may be at increased risk of HIV infection, a study of Kenyan men suggests. Researchers say the findings raise the possibility that vaccination against the virus, known as the human papillomavirus (HPV), could help curb the world's HIV pandemic. ...All of this suggests that HPV vaccination, along with circumcision, could help stem the HIV pandemic, according to lead researcher Dr. Jennifer S. Smith, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Millions of Women in Childbirth, Newborns Dying
Voice of America
Despite data showing sharp declines in maternal mortality, half a million women still die every year in childbirth. In addition, three and a half million newborns die within the first 30 days of life.  There's an effort to save these lives with proven maternal and childcare techniques. ...The University of North Carolina School of Medicine conducted a study that shows that by training local birth attendants in a method promoted by the World Health Organization, the number of still births was reduced by about 30 percent.

'Babies cry' is the message (Column)
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
Two years after launching a campaign to educate new parents about how much newborn babies cry, Dr. Desmond Runyan was eager to see its effect on the incidence of shaken-baby syndrome in our state. ..."We still have some number crunching to do," said Runyan, a professor of social medicine and pediatrics at UNC-Chapel Hill, "but maybe we had more of an impact than we thought." The campaign is called the Period of PURPLE Crying, and it is focused on a simple message: Babies cry - on average five hours a day.

Here comes the sun
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
As the heat and sun settle in for summer, the calls to protect your skin from damaging rays begin. But with so many choices of sunscreens, sunglasses, hats and even sun-protected clothing, it might seem easier to hide out in a dark closet. Go ahead, break out the bathing suit. We've got the skin-care basics from two experts in the field: doctors Nancy Thomas, associate professor at UNC's Department of Dermatology Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Kelly Nelson, assistant professor at Duke University Medical Center's Department of Dermatology.

Ultrasound waves 'a male contraceptive'
The Telegraph (United Kingdom)
A one-off blast every six months could provide a temporary and reversible form of birth control, early findings suggest. The search for a male ‘Pill’ has intrigued researchers for decades. ...Dr James Tsuruta, from the University of North Carolina, said: "We think this could provide men with up to six months of reliable, low-cost, non-hormonal contraception from a single round of treatment. "Our long-term goal is to use ultrasound from therapeutic instruments that are commonly found in sports medicine or physical therapy clinics as an inexpensive, long-term, reversible male contraceptive suitable for use in developing to first world countries."

When Good Medicine Goes Bad
ABC News
...The story has appeal, but now a journal published by the American Medical Association is taking steps to highlight the perils of assuming that extra tests and treatments are always a good thing. Editors hope to spotlight the fact that those extra tests can often lead to unnecessary treatments or even hurt the patient. ...Dr. Nortin Hadler, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina who has written extensively on the overuse of medications and treatments, called the Archives' efforts a long-overdue step. "There are a number of us who have been beating that drum for a while," he said.

UNC researchers use ultrasound to zap sperm, create new male contraceptive (Blog)
The Star News (Wilmington)
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers will look at using ultrasound on testes as possible new form of contraception. The school announced this week it won a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to pursue the work. Researchers James Tsuruta and Paul Dayton already have shown that using therapeutic ultrasound instruments on testes can make them stop producing sperm. The grant will be used to improve the process “for maximum effect and safety,” according to a statement from UNC’s medical school.

Scientists find new role for ultrasound — as a male contraceptive
The Times (United Kingdom)
A one-off blast of ultrasound could work as a reversible contraceptive for men, according to scientists. If preliminary results are confirmed, applying therapeutic ultrasound to the testes for ten to fifteen minutes could be provide protection for up to six months. James Tsuruta, of the University of North Carolina, who led the research, said: “We think this could provide men with reliable, low-cost, non-hormonal contraception from a single round of treatment.”

A way to keep sperm at bay?
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
When it comes to new male contraceptives, the ideas might make some cringe: Injections. Plugs. Implants. But a UNC-Chapel Hill researcher is hoping ultrasound technology - the same energy used to treat sore muscles - will temporarily shut down the sperm factory, providing painless and inexpensive birth control. Ultrasound has been suggested as a male contraceptive since the 1970s, but James Tsuruta, a reproductive health biologist at UNC-CH, won a $100,000 grant this week from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to move the science forward.

Stroke research grant targets Lenoir County
Kinston Free Press
A new $10 million grant will help researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and East Carolina University collaborate with health-care practitioners and community leaders in Lenoir County to tackle heart disease, the county’s leading cause of death. ...The project will be based at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. The center’s director, Alice Ammerman, a professor of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, will be leading the project along with Dr. Cam Patterson, Chief of the Division of Cardiology at UNC School of Medicine and director of the UNC McAllister Heart Institute.

UNC seeks more hospital beds
WRAL-TV (CBS/Raleigh)
UNC Hospitals has filed a request with state regulators to add 36 acute-care hospital beds as part of a $28.3 million renovation and expansion, officials said Wednesday. The project also involves renovating 46,000 square feet of space for support services in the hospital and shifting 18 existing beds to a different use, officials said. No other details of the project were immediately available. A public hearing on UNC Hospitals' Certificate of Need application is scheduled for 11 a.m. June 17 at the Chapel Hill Public Library.

UNC Hospitals names new COO
The Triangle Business Journal
UNC Hospitals has named Dr. Brian Goldstein its new executive vice president and chief operating officer, effective July 1. In his new role, Dr. Goldstein will be responsible for overseeing an operating budget in excess of $1 billion and a staff of more than 7,000 people. Dr. Goldstien, who also has an MBA degree in addition to his medical degree, currently serves as the hospital’s chief of staff and as executive associate dean for clinical affairs for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine.
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