Teen waits for second gift of life

Donate Life Month: 19-year old Kyle is among more than 3,000 people waiting for an organ in Michigan

For Amy and Pat Petrlich, it all feels too familiar.

Seventeen years later they are at the same hospital, with the same fears and hopes, waiting for the same news – that a heart may be available to save their daughter’s life.

Last time, Kyle was just a toddler. Today, she’s 19.

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Walk for heart health!

Get ready now for National Walking Day on April 6

National-Walk-Day-low-res

Walking is great for many reasons, especially if you find yourself sitting at a desk all day. That applies to quite a few of us because, according to the American Heart Association, sedentary jobs have increased 83 percent since 1950. So it’s important to get moving during lunch, after work and on weekends for heart health and overall well-being. 

You can get started by gearing up for National Walking Day on Wednesday, April 6. Then, make a commitment to incorporate walking into your daily routine. Continue reading

First grade ‘Miracle Class’ earns special nickname in small Michigan town

Four Little Victors, four difficult journeys- one classroom

(From left to right) Kaine, Thomas, Maddie and Brody have given their 1st grade classroom the nickname "Miracle Class."

Photo courtesy of Lindsay Wilkinson Photography: (From left to right) Kaine, Thomas, Maddie and Brody have given their 1st grade classroom the nickname “Miracle Class.”

The first grade class at St. Joseph School has become locally famous in the rural, one-stoplight village of Pewamo.

It’s the classroom of seven-year-old Thomas Kramer, who had his first of three open heart surgeries at three days old. There’s Brody Smith, who began fighting leukemia just as he was learning to talk. Kaine Simon underwent an hours- long surgery on his skull at five months old.  And Madeline George’s biggest gift came two days after her first birthday: a new heart.

Their stories are what have earned Mrs. Connie Warczinsky’s classroom in this small town outside of Lansing an affectionate nickname: “The miracle class.”

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What should U-M medical researchers study next? You can help decide

New WellSpringboard.org site combines crowdsourcing and crowdfunding

Iwsb homepagecropf you wish scientists would figure out a solution for a medical problem you face, or find answers for a loved one who struggles with a health condition, here’s your chance.

The University of Michigan wants your ideas for what its medical researchers should study. You can also lend your voice to ideas suggested by other members of the public, and help them gain steam.

And once a U-M researcher agrees to take up the idea and run with it, you can help make the research happen by donating online or volunteering to take part. U-M will even kick in funds for the hottest ideas.

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From patient to advocate

February 29 is Rare Disease Day

cropped IMG_1244His wife Nancy couldn’t take the snoring anymore, so after a couple of months Dan Nagridge went to ask his doctor if he had sleep apnea.

He ended up at the University of Michigan Health System, with a surprise diagnosis: cancer at the base of his skull. It was chordoma, a slow-growing cancer that’s extremely rare, pushing on the back of Dan’s throat that made him start snoring.

“The cancer starts from tissue that was left when he was forming as an embryo in his mother’s womb,” says Erin McKean, M.D., MBA, a U-M otolaryngologist, or ear, nose and throat doctor, and Dan’s surgeon. “We don’t know why people develop this cancer, so we’re very invested in advancing the research.” Continue reading

A rare achievement for a rare disease

U-M researchers’ work goes from discovery to drug, for Gaucher disease and perhaps more

James Shayman, M.D., one of two U-M scientists who led the development of the drug eliglustat tartrate, now sold as Cerdelga

James Shayman, M.D., one of two U-M scientists who led the development of the drug eliglustat tartrate, now sold as Cerdelga

It took more than 40 years, and a lot of dedication. But an idea born and nurtured in University of Michigan laboratories is now making a difference in the lives of patients with a rare disease.

For one of the first times, a drug developed first at U-M, and then further by a company, made it through all the steps it takes to reach patients around the world.

And even though the disease it treats only affects about 10,000 people worldwide, it’s become a product that a company can sell and doctors can prescribe to their patients. In this case, it’s patients with the debilitating and potentially fatal rare condition called Gaucher disease.

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