Hairstylist almost cuts off arm, but is back in salon after hand reattachment surgery

Surgeon leading hand transplant program rebuilds patient's arm, reattaches hand

Robert Ruffer was working on his farm with a saw, cutting up pieces of wood, when a horrible accident happened.

His sleeve got  caught on the blade. The blade ripped through his arm and his bones.  His son fashioned a quick tourniquet out of a belt and waited for an ambulance to arrive.

Ruffer arrived at the University of Michigan Health System with his arm hanging by just a flap of skin.

Ruffer ended up in the care of Kagan Ozer, M.D., the hand surgeon who is leading U-M’s new hand transplant program. Ozer reconstructed Ruffer’s arm, building back bone, tendons and nerves. Continue reading

Continuing the quest to understand food allergies

Generous gift from Weiser family to allow U-M to conduct groundbreaking research

Editor’s note: James R. Baker, Jr., M.D. is the director of the U-M Food Allergy Center, which is committed to providing comprehensive care for those with food allergies and their families.

Today we are proud to announce the renaming of our center to the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center following a generous $10 million gift from the Weiser family.

The Food Allergy Center will now share a name with a remarkable woman who has tirelessly served as a champion for those with food allergies. Mary is an Ann Arbor mother of two children with severe allergies and has become a nationally recognized advocate for children globally who suffer from food allergies.  What excites me about this gift is the amazing potential it has to advance our understanding of food allergies and to advance the work Mary has led in accelerating toward better treatments.

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Be a hero, sign up as an organ donor

Donate Life month a great time to make life-saving donation routine

As a transplant surgeon for both kids and adults, I spend my days and nights waiting for the call that a precious, life-saving organ is available for one of our desperate patients — a call that doesn’t come nearly often enough. But I have faith that one day signing up as an organ donor will be as normal and routine as wearing a seat belt, a bike helmet or putting on sunscreen.63205_10151310087771566_622603263_nblog

Every day 17 people across the country die waiting for an organ. There are 123,253 souls currently on the wait list who hope, pray, beg or bargain for someone to be their hero. At the same time, an untold number of people took their organs with them when they died instead of leaving them to live on in someone else.

It’s not only a loss for the patients waiting for organs, but a missed opportunity for family and friends of organ donors to experience the comfort and pride that comes from knowing their loved one saved a life or many lives – leaving this world as a hero.

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Concussions not a death sentence for athletes

UM expert to present insight at SXSW festival

Every March, the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas becomes the epicenter of hip. At first glance, a neurology presentation doesn’t fit alongside the bands, innovative documentaries, and showcases of transformational technologies. Actually, at second glance it doesn’t either!Dejected

This is exactly why I’m partnering with Super Bowl champion and brain trauma patient advocate Ben Utecht to bring some sports neurology to SXSW. Ben is an accomplished musician and entertainer as well, so I’m hoping he can bring the hip.

Ben and I will be joined by New York Times sports contributor and Michigan State University sports journalism professor, Joanne Gerstner. Together, we hope to use the incredible social reach of SXSW to bring a well-measured, yet passionate, conversation about sports concussion to the masses. Our panel discussion “Does Playing Sports Equal Brain Damage” will be Friday, March 13, at 5 p.m. CT.

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New treatment for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis on horizon

U-M leads worldwide MS clinical trial

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a major autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the insulating
membranes (myelin) that surround the nerves within the central nervous system. MS onset is generally at the prime of life, between ages of 15 and 45. More than 500,000 people in the U.S. have MS, and there are 10,000 new cases every year. The University of Michigan Health System is actively involved in finding newer, better treatments for MS—and its related diseases.xray blog

As a physician and researcher in the area of multiple sclerosis (MS), I am often asked if there are new treatments and medications on the horizon. Thanks to years of research, the answer is yes, and I’m pleased to say that the University of Michigan is a major leader in some of the most important issues surrounding MS today. We’re trying to find the links between MS and other autoimmune diseases. We’re also conducting a new clinical trial and mechanistic study that may uncover a new treatment for secondary progressive MS. Approximately 85% of patients with newly diagnosed MS have relapsing-remitting MS . About 10-15 years after diagnosis, 50% of these patients will develop secondary-progressive MS , which is associated with significant disability. Finding a new treatment for this large group of people will make a significant impact on people’s lives. We’ve recently been given the tools to combat a disease that is a leading disabler of young adults.

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