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The long road to heart transplant

U-M patient shares the pain and joy

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Daniel Silverman has faced death more times that he’d like to think about. But through the years — 21 to be exact — and the many heart-related emergencies he’s experienced, he has never once asked: “Why me?”

This 59-year-old heart transplant patient is especially grateful to be alive today, and is thankful for his heart donor and for the cardiovascular team at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center. But the road to his successful heart transplant has been a long and difficult one.

From the beginning

Daniel’s heart issues were first discovered during a routine physical in 1995. While living in Chicago, the then 39-year-old was diagnosed with premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) or irregular heartbeats. He had no symptoms at the time and was treated with ACE inhibitors to keep his heart beating at a steady rhythm. Continue reading

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Internet technology meets cancer care

Technology connects us with information – and each other – to transform the patient experience

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At the Cancer Center, IT experts start with the patient, try to understand his or her experience, then find creative ways to improve that experience.

Smart phone applications, social media, video-on-demand – just when we embrace the latest advance in information technology (IT), another promises to make us smarter, more organized or better connected. Change happens just as swiftly in cancer care, bringing us not only advances in screening and treatment, but more information, more options, and all too often, more questions.

Where do the two roads meet?

We asked Larry An, M.D., director of the Center for Health Communications Research at the University of Michigan, to help us understand how IT improves cancer care. The center includes behavioral scientists, health counselors, and software and media professionals who, in partnership with doctors and researchers from across the university, develop and test ways to help people access information and make more informed health decisions. Continue reading

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‘Creating the OR of the future’

U-M neurosurgeons continue to expand imaging technology

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It can be difficult to see everything necessary, and in great detail, during brain tumor surgery. Often, a neurosurgeon is choosing between breadth (microscope glasses known as “loupes”) and depth (a microscope sitting outside the surgical field) as the surgery goes on.

A new technology coming to our new operating rooms in July combines the two views into one, mounted on a robot. The whole surgical team will be able to see everything the surgeon sees, in high definition on a large monitor.

“This type of technology can change our perspective to further refine and improve how we do surgery,” says Karin Muraszko, M.D., chair of neurosurgery at U-M.

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Scalds, burns and fires, oh my! Easy tips to keep your family safe from burn injuries

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According to the American Burn Association, a burn injury serious enough to require treatment happens every minute in the U.S.

It doesn’t stop there. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that each day over 300 children are seen in an emergency room for burn injuries.

The University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center, one of the nation’s oldest and most respected centers for treating patients who have suffered from burn injuries, admits an average of 1,400 multiple-trauma and burn patients each year in the hospital.

While most people would assume those burn injuries result from fires or flames, hot liquids and steam can burn the skin just as easily! In fact, the leading cause of burn injuries in children less than 5 years old is scalding from hot liquids. Moreover, 95 percent of these injuries occur in the home!

This week (the first week of February) is observed as National Burn Awareness Week. The week serves as a great reminder to local communities to become more aware of burn injuries and learn how to prevent them in their own homes. Continue reading

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Don’t cheat on good sleep during Super Bowl weekend

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Many of us will stay up late this Sunday night to watch the Super Bowl (It’s projected to end around 10:30 p.m.). Even though we’ll be cheering on the couch past the time we’re normally in our bed, those job, school, and family obligations will still require most of us to wake up early on Monday.

The good news: it’s possible to avoid cheating yourself on sleep while catching the big game.

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How worried should you be about Zika virus?

U-M virologist offers perspective on brain-affecting infection

Zika virus

Seen through a microscope, Zika virus particles (like the one at the tip of the arrow) don’t look too dangerous. But they’re suspected of causing lasting harm in a growing number of infants and others. Image courtesy of CDC

It seemed to burst onto the scene overnight, with tragic pictures of babies born with small heads and damaged brains. Now, the world’s health authorities have shifted into high gear to deal with Zika virus.

How does this virus compare to others, and what will it take to detect or defeat it? U-M virologist Katherine Spindler, Ph.D., offers some key information and a dose of perspective. She’s a member of a national team that hosts a weekly podcast on viruses, aimed at the general public, called This Week in Virology.

Dr. Spindler and her laboratory team in the U-M Medical School study how viruses cross a protective barrier to the brain and what viruses do once they’re there. They also look at how some viruses can cause mild illness in most people – but in immunocompromised individuals, cause serious damage. Working with scientists in Brazil, Spindler’s lab team studies other viruses that can cause brain problems.

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