Health

The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Lyme disease is spread through blacklegged tick bites, and its prevalence has most notably been in the eastern U.S. and southeastern Canada.

The CDC reports that if the disease is left untreated, the "infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system."

Researchers say incidence rates of the disease have steadily increased as the ticks, and the bacterium they can carry which causes the disease, expand their range.

Now researchers from Michigan State University, the Yale School of Public Health, and many other institutions have mapped the risk areas for Lyme disease.

The researchers say their map provides a baseline for tracking the spread of Lyme disease:

This risk map can assist in surveillance and control programs by identifying regions where human cases are expected and may assist treatment decisions such as the use of antimicrobial prophylaxis following a tick bite.

The map show high risk areas in the northeast, and Wisconsin and Minnesota - and a potential emerging risk spot in southwest Michigan.

More from the Associated Press:

Researchers who dragged sheets of fabric through the woods to snag ticks have created a detailed map pinpointing the highest-risk areas for Lyme disease.

The map shows a clear risk across much of the Northeast, from Maine to northern Virginia. Researchers at Yale University also identified a high-risk region across most of Wisconsin, northern Minnesota and a sliver of northern Illinois. Areas highlighted as "emerging risk" regions include the Illinois-Indiana border, the New York-Vermont border, southwestern Michigan and eastern North Dakota.

The map was published this week based on data from 2004-2007. Researchers say the picture might have changed since then in the emerging areas, but the map is still useful because it highlights areas where tick surveillance should be increased and can serve as a baseline for future research.

A new University of Michigan study finds most parents are hesitant to insist their young children use booster seats when they carpool.  

Public service announcements remind us that children between 4 and 8 years old,  under 4 feet 9 inches tall, must be in a booster seat when riding in a car.    But that message is not convincing most parents to insist on a booster seat when their kids carpool with other children.

A Michigan hospital is working with a robot that’s designed to help people with spinal cord injuries walk again.

DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan in Detroit is one of 10 hospitals in the nation trying out Ekso – a battery-powered exoskeleton.

Patients with spinal cord injuries fit entirely into the robotic frame, which helps them stand and walk.

Diane Patzer was one of three RIM physical therapists who worked with patients during the initial trial of the Ekso.

The Michigan State University Board of Trustees have agreed to move ahead with a half billion dollar nuclear research project, even though federal funding for the project is in some doubt.    

The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams could make MSU a top location for nuclear research.  But U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu suggested earlier this month that federal officials were reevaluating budget priorities and hinted the MSU project may be one of those cut.  

cancer.med.umich.edu

University of Michigan researchers say a drug used to treat advanced breast cancer actually led to an increase in the number of tumor-forming cells.  The FDA revoked its approval of the drug last year.

The drugs Avastin and Sutent were used to shrink tumors and slow the progress of breast cancer.  But the effects didn’t last and when the tumors returned, they were more aggressive.

Dr. Max Wicha is director of U-of-M’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

msu.edu

Michigan State University will use a $5.8 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study bacterial diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, the leading cause of death for children in the region.

The AP writes:

The bacterial diseases include pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis and they kill more people in the area than malaria. The Nigeria-based project involves collecting local data on the diseases and promoting the use and development of vaccines.

NASA

Here's some amazing footage of what NASA is calling the largest solar storm in the last eight years. NASA says the storm began at 10:38 p.m. ET on Jan. 22, peaked at 10:59 p.m. and ended at 11:34 p.m.

After the flare, the solar particles hit the Earth this morning. From NASA:

The coronal mass ejection CME collided with Earth's magnetic field a little after 10 AM ET on January 24, 2012. The influx of particles from the CME amplified the solar radiation storm such that it is now considered the largest since October 2003. NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center has categorized it as a "strong" -- or S3 (with S5 being the highest) – storm. Solar radiation storms can affect satellite operations and short wave radio propagation, but cannot harm humans on Earth. Auroras may well be visible tonight at higher latitudes such as Michigan and Maine in the U.S., and perhaps even lower.

How a solar storm turns into northern lights (or southern lights) was always a mystery to me until I saw this video explaining how it works. 

DMC

The Detroit Medical Center has broken ground on a $78 million dollar heart hospital.

It’s part of a broader expansion plan announced when Vanguard Health System purchased the DMC last year.

Theodore Schreiber is president of the Cardiovascular Institute, which will run the hospital. He says financing the facility would have been “inconceivable” without the DMC’s acquisition by for-profit Vanguard.

"Nationally as a whole, non-profit hospital institutions have tremendous difficulty obtaining capital, let alone the flagship institution in center city Detroit at the heart of the economic crisis," he said.

Schreiber says the hospital will be the only facility of its kind in Michigan, with diagnosis, prevention and treatment of heart disease.

It’s expected to be completed in early 2014.

(courtesy of HIVandHepatitis.com)

A new University of Michigan study finds a particular type of liver disease is becoming increasingly common among the elderly.  

Cirrhosis is a chronic condition that slowly deteriorates the liver. Long associated with alcoholism and Hepatitis C,  obesity now  is linked to a growing percentage of Cirrhosis patients.   

screen grab from YouTube video

As the debate continues in Michigan over how to enforce the state's medical marijuana law, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concludes that regularly smoking marijuana does not impair lung function.

Here is one of the co-authors of the research, Dr. Stefan Kertesz, explaining what they found.

Dr. Kertesz is an associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and a physician at the Birmingham VA Medical Center.

He says other studies on the subject showed mixed results.

"What this study clarifies," Kertesz explains in the video, "is that the relationship to marijuana and lung function changes depending on how much a person has taken in over the course of a lifetime."

"At those very high levels of use, there could be harm. However, at those lower or moderate levels of use… there’s no real evidence of harm to air flow rate or to lung capacity," said Kertesz.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Michigan Supreme Court today will consider a case that affects the 131,000 medical marijuana patients in Michigan. The case centers on where patients can grow their marijuana.   

Larry Steven King grew his medical marijuana plants in a locked dog kennel at his home in Owosso. King has a medical marijuana card. But police charged him with growing marijuana illegally. The kennel did not have roof.  

Prosecutors say that means it did not meet the state requirement for an ‘enclosed, locked facility’ . 

Attorney John Minock represents Larry King. Minock says the problem is with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, which he says is vague on what exactly an ‘enclosed, locked facility’ actually entails.   

“Larry was trying to comply with the law, as he understood it," says Minock, "The law on this area is not really clear.” The case split the lower courts. The trial court dismissed the charges, finding that the marijuana had been stored properly. But the Court of Appeals sided with prosecutors that the kennel did not meet the law’s requirements.

(photo courtesy of MSU's Facility for Rare Isotope Beams)

The future of Michigan State University’s half billion dollar nuclear research project is somewhat in doubt. 

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu declined to discuss future federal funding for the research facility during an appearance today in Detroit. Chu says the MSU facility is one of several worthy scientific projects on the Energy Department’s drawing board. 

“But in the end it all boils down to what our budget is going to be and how do we...spend that budget," says Chu.   

The federal government approved the MSU nuclear research project in 2008.  

MSU has already started work on the half billion dollar facility, based on the federal government’s commitment to help fund the project.  

Michigan Senator Carl Levin says it would be “unconscionable if the federal government failed to live up to its commitments.”

51-year-old David Smith faces one count of failing to disclose his HIV status to a sexual partner.

The Kent County Health Department issued a press release Thursday afternoon that said it’s treating this as “an extremely serious health concern”:

Police say the suspect, 51 year old David Smith from Kent County, made statements that suggested his activities may have included people from outside of the area, including individuals he met over the internet.

The University of Michigan's Taubman Medical Research Institute will reward a $100,000 prize to the top "translational science" practitioner each year starting in 2012.

Translational science is the practice of moving scientific research from a "bench" in a lab, to the "bedside" of a patient - or developing ways to move "laboratory discoveries to clinical applications."

From a Taubman Medical Research Institute press release:

The $100,000 award will be presented at the institute’s annual symposium, held each fall, to the clinician-scientist making the most significant contribution to translating basic research findings into medical practice. The winner will be asked to serve as keynote speaker for the event...

Nominations will be judged on their contribution to translating basic research findings into clinical applications and by the manner in which their clinical practice connects to their research. All clinician-scientists, regardless of country, are eligible, excluding U-M researchers.

A panel of scientists will choose the winner each year. The deadline for the first year's nominations is April 1, 2012.

The initial announcement of the contest came last October in an event with A. Alfred Taubman and Governor Rick Snyder. From AnnArbor.com's Juliana Keeping:

Billionaire A. Alfred Taubman will fund a $100,000 science prize — a carrot meant to lure the most talented “clinician-scientists” in the world to the University of Michigan, the university announced today.

Eva Feldman, the director of the 4-year-old A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute at the University of Michigan Health System, said Taubman wants “a 100,000 gift given to the best clinician scientists in the world.” We anticipate this person will come speak at our annual symposium each year; and anticipate it will bring exceptional clinician scientists to the University of Michigan.”

(courtesy of the Alpha 1 foundation)

University of Michigan researchers says many people waiting for a liver transplant want more of a say in their care. Nearly half are willing to make a potentially life risking decision.   

Last month, there were 16,000 people in the United States waiting for a new liver. One out of five is expected to die while waiting.  

But University of Michigan researchers say they were surprised to find 42 percent of people waiting for a liver transplant were unwilling to accept anything less than an ideal organ, even if doing so could cost them their lives.

“I think the interpretation would be they felt they would be able to work on their health via their diet, lifestyle, etc…and were not willing to take the gamble of a high risk organ," says Michael Volk, an assistant professor in U-M’s Department of Internal Medicine.  

Volk says transplant surgeons should take more time to educate patients about relative risks and benefits of ‘lower quality’ organ transplants.  

The U of M study appears in the journal Liver Transplantation.

A new study in the December issue of the American Sociological Review comes up with some findings that lots of women may feel they already know too much about: Working mothers spend significantly more time multitasking at home than working dads. And those mothers aren't happy about it.

You've heard of canaries in coal mines. Or search and rescue dogs. But how about sending a team of beetles into a disaster zone? Marketplace's Tech Report Blog wrote about the idea today:

Researchers at the University of Michigan have figured out how to use the vibrations of beetles to harness energy that powers “tiny backpacks” that said beetles would carry to help with disaster area search and rescue. The idea would be to release the insects, equipped with microphones and other sensors, into disaster zones. Kinda creepy, but I’ll take a beetle crawling over my face any day, if it means I can get a collapsed roof off me. 

From a U of M press release on the research:

"Through energy scavenging, we could potentially power cameras, microphones and other sensors and communications equipment that an insect could carry aboard a tiny backpack," Najafi said. 

Researchers at the university hope to patent the idea, and they're looking for business partners to bring the technology to market.

An academic paper on the work is published in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering.

Spectrum Health

Spectrum Health is launching a new clinic in Grand Rapids to target people who visit its emergency rooms more than 10 times a year.

Doctor Corey Waller identified the problem while working in Spectrum Health's emergency rooms. The non-profit health system says there were 950 of these high-frequency visitors in 2008. That’s an average of 21 times per person. Combined, their visits cost at least $40 million a year.

user hipsxxhearts / Flickr

People in Michigan who use a specific drug to treat attention deficit disorder are having trouble getting it because of a national shortage.

Adderall is a prescription medicine used by children and adults. It’s an amphetamine that helps people who have attention deficit disorder control their symptoms, such as lack of focus.

Caroline Holsonbeck is an Ann Arbor pharmacist.

She said she noticed a shortage of Adderall about a year ago.

Holsonbeck said while there are similar medications, they don’t work for everyone.

"If it was substitutable, we would substitute it. It's not substitutable. It is a highly controlled medication, so the doctor would have to write for something in the same therapeutic category," she said.

The Food and Drug Administration’s Web site shows most manufacturers can’t keep up with demand for Adderall.

The drug is sometimes called “the study drug” by students.

It’s also commonly illegally sold on the street.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A Lansing attorney believes Michigan’s Attorney General is trying to dismantle the state’s medical marijuana law.   

Thursday, Attorney General Bill Schuette issued a formal legal opinion that police officers may seize pot from medical marijuana patients. In the opinion, the Attorney General says police could face federal drug charges if they return to the marijuana to the patients.   

Attorney Eric Misterovich represents medical marijuana patients. He believes the attorney general will next try to stop the state from issuing medical marijuana permits.  

“You know, we can see where it’s going. And I’m not sure what the attorney general’s plans are, but I think this is a step…toward…invalidating the (Michigan Medical Marijuana) act as a whole," Misterovich says.

Before he was attorney general, Bill Schuette led the campaign against the 2008 state referendum on medical marijuana. Since he was elected Michigan Attorney General, Schuette has supported legal efforts to curb access to medical marijuana.

Michigan Attorney General's office

There’s a new challenge to the rights of Michigan’s medical marijuana patients.   

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette issued an opinion Thursday saying police can seize marijuana from medical marijuana patients. 

In the opinion, the attorney general also said it would be illegal for police to return the pot, even after they confirm that the patients possess a medical marijuana permit.  

Under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, a patient with a valid state issued identification card may possess up to two and a half ounces of usable marijuana. That same state law prohibits police from seizing marijuana or drug paraphernalia from authorized medical marijuana patients. 

But Attorney General Schuette said the state law conflicts with federal law on the subject of marijuana forfeiture. Schuette said federal law preempts state law. The opinion also said police could face federal drug charges if they returned the confiscated marijuana to legitimate patients.

A family from Michigan's Upper Peninsula is refusing additional chemotherapy and radiation treatments for their 10-year-old son, according to a report from WLUC-TV in Marquette, MI.

Jacob Stieler of Skandia, Michigan was diagnosed with a rare form cancer known as "Ewing Sarcoma." He was treated, an is considered cancer-free, but doctors say he still needs additional treatments.

'Fall Back' asleep

Nov 5, 2011
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 Michiganders will be ‘Falling Back’ tonight as we turn back our clocks one hour.   Daylight Saving Time not only disrupts people’s work and play schedules.  It also disrupts many people’s sleep schedule.   

CreativeCelebrationsMagazine.com

Twice as many children die in car-pedestrian accidents on Halloween than on an average day the rest of the year. That’s according to the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.   

Michelle Macy is a clinical lecturer of emergency medicine at the U-M Medical School. She says adults should be more cautious than usual when taking young children trick or treating in busy neighborhoods. 

"While they’re in elementary school, kids don’t have the ability to judge the distance that a car is or the speed that it’s approaching at…they need to be told to wait and stop and let the cars go past before they try to run out ahead of it," said Macy.   

Macy urges parents to make sure their children dress in costumes that don’t restrict their vision this Halloween.

A West Michigan dairy farm that sold cows for slaughter  with illegal levels of antibiotics will be in court Monday.

Scenic View Dairy has about 10,000 cows at its five farms. The dairy has been repeatedly warned about selling cows with excessive levels of antibiotics, but it says public health was never at risk.

Now Scenic View is fighting an order requiring veterinarians to diagnose all sick cattle at its farms.

Professor Dan Grooms is with Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. He said state inspectors used to do that work, but because of budget cuts, farm employees or members of milk co-ops do it now.

“They train them how to -- if it’s something that looks unusual -- that’s when you need to be calling me as a veterinarian," Grooms said. "So they train them to recognize common diseases, and then the appropriate intervention strategy for that disease."

Drug residues in food can lead to long-term resistance of bacteria to antibiotics.

user vvracer / Flickr

Michigan optometrists say be careful if you plan on wearing decorative contact lenses as part of your costume this Halloween.  

The cat’s eye and other eerie looking contact lenses have grown in popularity in  recent years. 

Matt Maki is the president of the Michigan Optometric Association. He said if worn inappropriately decorative contact lenses could seriously damage a person’s eyes.   

Assuming they fit appropriately …worn appropriately….handled appropriately by the patient they’re fine.   I have personally fit these for patients.  Like I said, as long as it’s done appropriately there’s not an issue," said Maki.  

Maki urged people planning on wearing decorative contact lenses this Halloween should learn how to properly clean and disinfect them.

Student-made satellites launch into space

Oct 28, 2011
Ben Cooper / Spaceflight Now

Students at the University of Michigan got to see two satellites they built blast into space today.

Engineering Professor James Cutler said it was an exciting moment for his students to be able to watch the NASA rocket that carried the satellites fire up and launch.

"They see all their theoretical knowledge come to life," said Cutler. "They get to apply everything they’ve been learning to a real-world problem. They get to see things that are real-world and unscripted."

RAX is the name of one of the satellites. It will do atmospheric experiments and measurements for the National Science Foundation.

Noah Klugman is a junior who worked on the second satellite, called M-Cubed. It's flying a technology demonstration mission for NASA. He’ll help operate the satellite from Ann Arbor, and take pictures of Earth.

"I plan on having a lot of fun with that, and getting better with that," Klugman said. "I can’t wait for my first picture to come down."

Video of the launch was provided by NASA:

 

taylorschlades / Morguefile

A disease that can quickly kill dogs has resurfaced in metro Detroit after almost 40 years.

It’s called leptospirosis.

The bacterial disease is spread by rats, and from dog to dog. It can also infect humans.

Dr. Carole Bolin is a professor at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

She said the onset of symptoms in dogs can be very sudden.

“The inside of their mouth may be yellow-tinged, and they may be severely vomiting, and obviously very, very ill," Bolin said. "And those animals, when taken to the veterinarian, have very severe abnormalities which are consistent with liver and kidney failure.”

Bolin said more than 20 cases of leptospirosis have been reported in Detroit-area dogs in the past three weeks. Most were pets and most had to be euthanized.

A vaccine is available to prevent the disease.

MAPLE RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Two children and one adult have been sickened by E. coli bacteria in the state. The Mid-Michigan District Health Department says both children from the Maple Rapids area have been hospitalized, while the adult is recovering. The source of the bacteria is under investigation.

Cleveland Clinic

Detroit is the latest metro area vying to become a medical destination. The hope is that its hospital systems can draw patients from outside its region, helping the local economy.

In short, Detroit wants to be more like Cleveland.

But Cleveland could be tough to copy.

Cosgrove comes to Cleveland

In 1975, a young cardiologist arrived in Cleveland.

“I came here in a rented truck with a Vega on the back end because it was too sick to pull,” Toby Cosgrove says.

Jump ahead 36 years and that newbie with a beater of a car is now CEO of the Cleveland Clinic.

Cosgrove presides over a medical empire vastly larger than when he came to town hoping to get better at heart surgery.

“We were about 140-150 doctors. We’ve grown a bit since that time. We’re now about 3,000,” he says.

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