Tagged: Boston Medical Center

SICKLE CELL TRAIT: Neglected opportunities in the era of genomic medicine

March 7th, 2014 in 2014, Health & Medicine, News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

March 6, 2014, 11 am EST

Contact: Gina DiGravio, 617-638-8480, gina.digravio@bmc.org

(Boston)–While acknowledging the potential of genomics to prevent and treat disease, researchers from Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) believe it is long past due to use current scientific data and technical advances to reduce the burden of sickle cell disease (SCD), one of the most common serious single gene disorders. The work, reported as a Viewpoint in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), highlights the gaps in knowledge and care in terms of SCD and the need to address this issue expeditiously.

 

The inexpensive identification of the mutated hemoglobin and the technical capacity to screen populations have been known and operative for decades. Sickle Cell Trait (SCT) is estimated to affect 3 million people in the US: approximately 8 percent of African Americans and .5-3 percent of Hispanics. While the screening indications and contexts for life limiting diseases such as cancer, Down syndrome and SCD differ, timely knowledge of genetic vulnerability and genetic counseling are necessary for informed decision making in all screening contexts.

 

According to the researchers few individuals of child-bearing age born in the United States know their SCT status. “First, parents are routinely notified by NBS (newborn screening) programs if their child has SCD, but only 37 percent are notified if their child has SCT. In addition, for the parents who do receive SCT screening results, it is unknown whether they understand the implications or remember to share them with the affected child during adolescence to inform future reproductive decisions,” explained corresponding author Barry Zuckerman, MD, a pediatrician at BMC and a professor of pediatrics at BUSM. In addition, while NBS programs notify listed primary care physicians at the time of birth, results often are not readily available during routine clinic visits, and counseling or referrals to genetic counsellors are not provided in any standard fashion.  Furthermore, patients may not have the same physician between birth and adolescence. The lack of knowledge of SCT status information represents a missed opportunity to provide appropriate health and prenatal counseling and testing.

 

“While the screening indications and contexts for life limiting diseases such as cancer, Down syndrome and SCD differ, timely knowledge of genetic vulnerability and genetic counseling are necessary for informed decision making in all screening contexts.  In the case of SCD, similar to thalassemia and Tay-Sachs disease, it is important to increase the number of adolescents and young adults who know their SCT status to decrease the number of individuals inheriting SCD,” said Zuckerman.

 

To increase awareness of SCT status and facilitate informed decision-making about reproductive options, the researchers recommend that two areas be improved in the health care system. First, the results of positive screens for SCT by NBS programs need to be reliably communicated to primary care clinicians, recorded in the patient’s medical record as part of a problem list, and shared with parents as well as with the individual. The second area for improvement is to provide effective communication and information through genetic counseling on reproductive options for those with SCT.

 

The researchers also stress that schools and community organizations have potentially important roles in communicating the importance of SCT status for adolescents and young adults. “By working together, the health care system, schools, and community organizations may be able to improve SCT knowledge and awareness so that informed individuals have increased access to reproductive options,” he added.

 

This work was supported in part by a Health Resources Service Administration grant U38MC2215.

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Local researchers Awarded Grant from the DeGregorio Family Foundation for Gastric and Esophageal Cancer Research & Education

January 17th, 2014 in 2014, Health & Medicine, News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, January 17, 2014

Contact: Gina DiGravio, 617-638-8480, gina.digravio@bmc.org

(Boston) –Tony Godfrey, PhD, associate chair of research in the department of surgery at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC), was recently awarded a two-year, $225,000 grant from the DeGregorio Family Foundation for Gastric and Esophageal Cancer Research & Education. Godfrey, who is also an associate professor of surgery at BUSM, will use the funding to study Barrett’s Esophagus (BE). People with BE are at increased risk for a type of cancer called esophageal adenocarcinoma.

 

Esophageal adenocarcinoma is an aggressive tumor that is often diagnosed after it has already spread to other sites. Currently, the only way to detect esophageal adenocarcinoma is with an endoscopy, which is an invasive procedure that requires a hospital visit, sedation and a day off work.

 

The research team is developing a new approach for esophageal cancer detection that could be performed simply in a primary care physician’s office or even at home. The approach uses a sponge-containing capsule attached to a string. When swallowed, the sponge expands in the stomach and can then be pulled back through the esophagus and out of the mouth. Esophageal cells are rubbed off onto the sponge as it is pulled through the esophagus and can be examined to look for cancerous changes.

 

“Our project, clinically conducted in our Barrett’s Esophagus Program at Boston Medical Center, will attempt to find cancer cells using a sensitive method to detect mutations that are known to cause esophageal adenocarcinoma,” said Godfrey, who is also principal investigator of the study. “If successful, this project may lead to more wide-spread esophageal cancer screening, earlier detection of tumors and improved survival,” he added. “We are grateful for the funding provided by the DeGregorio Family Foundation which will allow us to perform vital experiments to determine if this approach is feasible.”

 

Lincoln Stein, MD, PhD, from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) and Virginia Litle MD, director, Barrett’s Esophageal Program at BMC, are collaborating with Godfrey on this project.

 

The DeGregorio Family Foundation seeks to promote and facilitate education and collaborative research on the pathogenesis, early diagnostic and treatment of upper gastrointestinal malignancies. It was founded in 2006 after a tenth member of the DeGregorio family succumbed to stomach cancer and was found to have possessed a rare gene that causes the disease and other common cancers. Her surviving siblings, who both tested negative for the gene, created the Foundation to raise funds for research on the hereditary and non-hereditary varieties of stomach and esophageal cancer. Since its inception, the Foundation has made tremendous progress in providing the private support needed to learn more about these cancers, which has had an enormous global impact.

Founder Lynn DeGregorio looks forward towards the advancement in early detection and treatment of these diseases.

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Geriatric Health Professionals Experience Added Burden When Caring for their Own Family Members

January 17th, 2014 in 2014, Health & Medicine, News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, January 14, 2014
Contact: Gina DiGravio, 617-638-8480, gina.digravio@bmc.org

(Boston) –In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, researchers from Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that in addition to the well-known burdens of caring for an older family member, a further set of complex stressors is imposed on geriatric health care professionals serving in this capacity. These findings, which appear online in Gerontologist, highlight the critical challenges facing all caregivers, even those who deal with these patients daily on a professional basis.

Caregiving for older adults is a major social issue with enormous implications for health care
 and with an estimated cost of $450 billion in the United States alone. More than 60 million Americans were family caregivers in 2009 that involved hands-on help and supervision, financial management/support, emotional support, medical and legal decision making and health care needs.

The research team recruited 16 geriatric health care professionals who participated in 60- to 90- minute individual interviews, based on a semi-structured guide. Questions explored participants’ dual experiences as geriatrics professionals and as family caregivers. The authors identified three major themes: dual-role advantages and disadvantages, emotional impact of dual roles, and professional impact of family caregiving.

Participants described their health care expertise as a huge advantage in caring for older family members. All participants used their skills and knowledge as geriatric health care providers to aid in their caregiving role. However, because of the participants’ professional backgrounds, they had high expectations for their own performance as caregivers, and many experienced conflicts and disappointment.

Participants’ professional experiences impacted their ability to intervene in ways other nonprofessional caregivers might not have been able to do so. And though the impact of their interventions were usually positive, respondents described internal angst over their use of health care knowledge. “All participants described multiple ways in which the child/health professional dual role caregiving experience affected them emotionally. Caregivers gladly provided care and felt a strong sense of reward, but there was a significant theme of emotional struggle,” explained lead author Clare M. Wohlgemuth, RN, GCNS-BC Nursing Director, Geriatric Services at BMC and a clinical instructor at BUSM.

The researchers also found that the participants’ experiences as caregivers resulted in using what they learned to improve the care of their patients and to reduce caregiver stress. “Although their expertise introduced a significant emotional intensity to their personal caregiving experiences, those experiences positively influenced their professional insight, empathy and advocacy for the caregivers of their own patients,” added Wohlgemuth.

The participants experienced emotions common to all caregivers of any background: emotional exhaustion, guilt and stress from struggling with multitasking to provide and coordinate care.

According to the researchers, given the challenges reported by experienced geriatric health care professionals, attention must also be focused on the lay caregivers who have more limited experience coping with aging and end of life.

“All caregivers need support in the use of communication and negotiation skills to effectively engage with providers regarding concerns about care. Both lay and professional caregivers would benefit from developing tools and techniques to discuss the many difficult issues and decisions related to increased frailty, dependence and dignity of risk. It is imperative to focus on empowering and teaching all caregivers and providers how best to have these difficult conversations with family members and with each other,” she added.

This work was supported by an Interdisciplinary Pilot Grant through the Section of Geriatrics at Boston University School of Medicine.

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Marathon Bombing Victims Aided by Rapid Response, Imaging of Injuries

August 19th, 2013 in 2013, Health & Medicine, News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

Media Contacts:
Dawn Peters (US) +1 781-388-8408
Ben Norman (UK) +44 (0) 1243 770375
sciencenewsroom@wiley.com

The Boston Marathon bombing brought international attention back to the devastating effects of terrorism. There were numerous victims with severe injuries that needed immediate attention. A novel study in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal published by Wiley on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), presents cases from Boston-area hospitals where victims were treated, examining the medical response and imagining technologies used to save lives and limbs.

On April 15, 2013, at approximately 2:49 p.m. two pressure-cooker bombs exploded one after the other at the Boston Marathon finish line. As a result of the bombings, there were three fatalities and 264 casualties, with the most severe injuries involving lower extremities of those located closest to the blasts. Shrapnel disbursed by the bombs included pieces of metal, nails and ball bearings. Injuries resulting from the Marathon bombing are relevant to the fields of rheumatology, rehabilitation, orthopedics and musculoskeletal imaging.

“In an era of terrorism, even clinicians serving non-military patients need to understand the spectrum of injuries caused by bomb explosions,” explains lead author Dr. Ali Guermazi, Professor of Radiology at Boston University School of Medicine and one of the many specialists treating bombing victims at Boston Medical Center. “Critically ill bomb-blast patients needed quick assessments of their injuries, which had the most devastating effects to the lower limbs.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bombing survivors have the highest incidence of injury to soft tissue and musculoskeletal systems with the most extreme injury being traumatic amputation, which is reported in up to 3% of cases. The CDC defines primary blast injuries as those caused by the blast wave—extremely compressed air moving away from the explosion—that can damage the lungs, bowel and ears. As the wave moves from the site of the explosion it creates a vacuum, which pulls materials and debris back toward the source of the bomb blast—the refilling of this void is known as the blast wind.

Victims from the Boston Marathon bombing were subject to blast waves and blast wind resulting in soft tissue damage, limb fractures, and amputations. The study demonstrates the systematic need to exam each extremity for musculoskeletal, neurological and vascular damage. In accordance with previous evidence, radiography (X-ray) and computed tomography (CT-scan) should be used liberally to detect foreign objects, to define basic penetration patterns, and assess bony and soft tissue injuries.

Dr. Guermazi concludes, “While blast injuries within civilian populations are rare in the U.S., when they do occur it challenges the medical community to rapidly respond to concurrent evaluation and treatment of many victims. We suggest that in urgent situations, like the Boston Marathon bombing, radiology resources be used liberally to save the lives and limbs of patients.”

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BMC, BUSM Geriatrician Honored with Ewald W. Busse Award

July 3rd, 2013 in 2013, News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 28, 2013
Contact: Gina Orlando, (617) 638-8490, gina.orlando@bmc.org

BMC, BUSM Geriatrician Honored with Ewald W. Busse Award

(Boston) – Thomas Perls, MD, MPH, a geriatrician at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), has been honored with the Ewald W. Busse Research Award. One of the most prestigious in the field of gerontological research, the award is given every four years in conjunction with the World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics in Seoul, Korea.
The award recognizes the achievements of late junior or mid-career scientists, encouraging their continued contributions to aging research. Perls presented a lecture based on his research and received a certificate and a $6,000 award.
The award is named after Ewald W. Busse, MD, one of the world’s foremost authorities on human aging and a founder of the field of geriatric psychiatry. He was founding director of the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. This award is supported by an endowment made by Gerontology International in honor of Busse.
“I’m honored to receive this award. My hope is that this tremendous recognition will help spread awareness about the importance of research in healthy aging,” said Perls.
Perls has dedicated much of his career to deciphering the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to exceptional longevity. He is the director of the New England Centenarian Study (NECS) at BMC, the largest study of centenarians and their families in the world, as well as a principal investigator of the National Institute on Aging’s Long Life Family Study.
The recipient of numerous honors and grants for his work on aging, Perls co-authored the award-winning book, Living to 100: Lessons in Living to Your Maximum Potential At Any Age. He has appeared on the Today Show, NBC’s Dateline, CNN, NPR and the BBC and his work has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal. In addition, he served as an issue expert at the 1995 and 2005 White House Conferences on Aging.

Perls earned his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and completed his residency and internship in internal medicine at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He completed his geriatrics fellowship at Harvard Medical School and his master’s degree from the Harvard School of Public Health.

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About BMC
Boston Medical Center is a private, not-for-profit, 496-bed, academic medical center that is the primary teaching affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine. Committed to providing high-quality health care to all, the hospital offers a full spectrum of pediatric and adult care services including primary and family medicine and advanced specialty care with an emphasis on community-based care. Boston Medical Center offers specialized care for complex health problems and is a leading research institution. Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine are partners in the Boston HealthNet – 14 community health centers focused on providing exceptional health care to residents of Boston. For more information, please visit www.bmc.org.
About Boston University School of Medicine
Originally established in 1848 as the New England Female Medical College, and incorporated into Boston University in 1873, Boston University School of Medicine today is a leading academic medical center with an enrollment of more than 700 medical students and more than 800 masters and PhD students. Its 1,246 full and part-time faculty members generated more than $335 million in funding in the 2009-2010 academic year for research in amyloidosis, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, infectious disease, pulmonary disease and dermatology among others. The School is affiliated with Boston Medical Center, its principal teaching hospital, the Boston and Bedford Veterans Administration Medical Centers and 16 other regional hospitals as well as the Boston HealthNet.

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Robert J. Vinci, MD, Appointed Chief/Chair of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine

April 3rd, 2013 in 2013, News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 2, 2013
Contact: Gina DiGravio, 617-638-8480, gina.digravio@bmc.org

(Boston) – West Roxbury resident Robert J. Vinci, MD, has been appointed Chief of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and the Joel and Barbara Alpert Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at BU School of Medicine (BUSM).

For the past 20 years, Vinci has served as Vice Chair and Clinical Chief of the Department, providing leadership for the significant expansion of pediatric clinical services. “We are fortunate to have someone of his skill level to lead the department. His commitment to the community and to our patients is highlighted by his central role in a number of initiatives at BMC,” said BMC President & CEO Kate Walsh. He co-founded the Kids Fund at BMC, which provides assistance for children’s most basic needs to give them a foundation for a healthy and bright future. He led the campaign to establish a window fall prevention program for children in Boston, called Kids Can’t Fly, which has led to a dramatic decrease in the number of window fall-related injuries. And in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Vinci provided leadership to establish the Massachusetts Emergency Medical Services Program for Children, which created training protocols and guidelines for children in the statewide EMS system.

Vinci received his medical degree from the College of Medicine and Dentistry-Rutgers Medical School, now known as the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.  He completed his pediatric residency at the former Boston City Hospital (now BMC), serving as chief resident, in 1983. He joined the Department of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine in 1984 and two years later he established the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Boston City Hospital.

An innovative leader in medical residency education throughout his career, he founded the fellowship program in Pediatric Emergency Medicine BMC in 1988 and has directed Pediatric residency training at BMC since 1989. In 1996, Vinci, along with Frederick H. Lovejoy, MD, established the Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics, one of the nation’s leading Pediatric residency programs. “He has championed research activities, global health training and flexible training opportunities for pediatric residents,” said BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD.

Vinci has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters on the topics of pediatric emergency medicine and pediatric education. He also has received numerous awards for teaching and mentoring, among them BUSM’s Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award in 2010.  He is a member of the National Board of Directors for the Association of Pediatric Program Directors, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academic Pediatric Association and the Academic Pediatric Society.

BMC Medical Center is one of the largest providers of pediatric services to low-income children in Boston and is known for its innovative approach to chronic illnesses, including asthma, sickle cell anemia, type 1 diabetes, HIV and failure to thrive.

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New Orthopaedic Surgeon joins BMC and BUSM faculty

August 1st, 2012 in News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

Contact: Gina Orlando, (617) 638-8490, gina.orlando@bmc.org

(Boston) – Robert J. Nicoletta, MD has joined Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) as an orthopaedic surgeon and assistant professor and co-director of sports medicine in the department of orthopaedic surgery. Nicoletta will see patients at both the Shapiro Ambulatory Care Center at BMC and the Ryan Center for Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation at Boston University starting August 1.

Nicoletta is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon with specialty training in the field of sports medicine. His clinical interests include arthroscopic procedures of the knee and shoulder including anatomic and double bundle ACL reconstruction, cartilage injuries in the knee and shoulder rotator cuff injuries and instability.

Team physician for numerous local high schools, collegiate and professional athletic teams, Nicoletta most recently served as a team physician at Boston College, the Boston Cannons Men’s Professional Lacrosse team and the Boston Breakers Women’s Professional Soccer team. Before coming to Boston University Medical Campus, Nicoletta served as chief of orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center.

Recently named to the national List of 65 Outstanding Shoulder Surgeons and Specialists by Becker’s Orthopedic and Spine Review, Nicoletta completed a fellowship in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery at BMC after earning his medical degree from Syracuse University.

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Boston University dentists’ invention picked by Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation: Center sees medical need and marketing potential

June 12th, 2012 in Goldman School of Dental Medicine, News Releases 0 comments

Contact: Jackie Rubin, 617-638-4892, jackier@bu.edu

(Boston) – The Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation has selected Drs. Robert Gyurko and Serge Dibart’s idea for a novel piezoelectric knife design and implant to accommodate narrow ridges as one of two research projects to support this year.  This is the first time the Center, which collaborates withh BU, BMC, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Children’s Hospital Boston, chose a research project fromm the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM).

The BU–Fraunhofer Alliance for Medical Devices, Instrumentation and Diagnostics expedites the time necessary for new technologies to get from research to patient use. The Center employs full-time engineers and applied scientists who turn design concepts in to medical instruments and devices. The finished designs attract ventuure funding, potential licensors, and government funding.

The GSDM  team proposed a flat implant system, using  flat piezoelectric knives (miniature bone saws vibrating at ultrasonic frequencies and sub-millimeter amplitudes) and flat titanium implants.  “This piezoelectric knife can create various shapes of non-round bone cuts, as opposed to current implant drills that only make cylindrical holes,” said Dr. Gyurko. “The flat profile implant would address the need of patients with narrow residual jawbone without compromising implant stability and longevity.”

In March 2012, Drs. Gyurko and Dibart responded to a Boston University Medical Campus request for proposals “with high potential clinical impact that are ready to move out of the basic research laboratory.” Gyurko and Dibart were invited to present a full proposal to The Alliance Advisory Board showing the medical need for and potential impact of the design. The group is now in talks about prototype development.

“This is a wonderful accomplishment and one that Dr. Dibart and his team should feel very proud ofachieving,” said Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter. “In addition, the project will bring well-deserved recognition toresearch at the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine.”

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'Tis the Season (for Seasonal Affective Disorder that is)

October 18th, 2010 in Health 0 comments

It’s October and while that crisp autumn air is a refreshing change from the dog days of summer, fall also means the days are growing shorter and shorter. With decreased daylight, many people start to feel the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). For more info about SAD and how to combat it, check out the video below with Dr. Sanford Auerbach, Director of the Sleep Disorders Center and Associate Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center.

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Controlling Healthcare Costs: Your Money or Your Life

October 1st, 2010 in Campus Events, Health care, Public Health 0 comments

cutler

Today starting at 9AM ,  leading experts will debate heathcare ideas and others as part of the 2010 William J. Bicknell Lectureship in Public Health at the Boston University School of Public Health. This year’s topic is “Controlling Healthcare Costs: Your Money or Your Life?”  featuring lecturer David Cutler. Panelists include Alice Coombs, M.D. President of the Massachusetts Medical Society; William C. Van Faasen, CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; and Kate Walsh, M.P.H. President and CEO of the Boston Medical Center. The event will take place at 670 Albany Street on the Medical Campus.

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