FMD: Racing toward an answer

Motivated patients make a difference in demystifying fibromuscular dysplasia

Pam_Mace_blogAfter suffering a stroke at age 37, Pam Mace, of Gross Ile, learned she had a disease she’d never heard of: fibromuscular dysplasia. The diagnosis would inspire her to start a movement around the hidden threat to middle-aged women.

FMD is a little-known form of vascular disease that puts people at risk for artery blockages, stroke, coronary artery dissection and aneurysm. Because the signs and symptoms are so vague – high blood pressure, headache and swooshing in the ears – it can take years to get the right diagnosis. Continue reading

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

How worried should you be about Zika virus?

U-M virologist offers perspective on brain-affecting infection

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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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Break Out of the Diet Cycle

Overcoming Roadblocks to Successful Dieting

Diet CycleKeeping up the momentum to win the battle for weight loss can be challenging. In a matter of days to weeks, many dieters begin to experience confusion and frustration of following a complicated and restrictive diet plan. U-M dieticians say The Diet Cycle could help us understand our roadblocks to weight loss.

For some diets, meal planning can be difficult. When allowable foods are restrictive, a dieter can be left feeling deprived or even hungry. Facing a mounting sense of confusion, frustration and deprivation, many dieters find temptation to give in to cravings to be overpowering. This cycle of restriction, deprivation, and cravings, followed by guilt and defeat is known as The Diet Cycle. Although this is a familiar path for many dieters, it doesn’t have to be this way. Continue reading

Real women, Real stories – Go Red for Women

On Feb. 5 wear red and learn your risk for heart disease

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Heart survivors Jolette Munoz and Sharon Gillon are living stronger.

Heart disease has long been thought of as a men’s issue, when it is actually the leading cause of death in both men and women. In fact, since 1984, more American women than men have died of heart disease.

Women have the power to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke and the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign offers tips to set you on a heart-healthy path for life. Wear Red on Friday, Feb. 5 to show your support for better prevention, treatment and research of women’s heart disease.

Still need inspiration? Meet amazing women who are in the fight for their lives against heart disease. Continue reading

How lead poisoning affects children

Flint water crisis shines light on dangers of lead- contaminated water – but water is not the most common source of lead exposure for kids

lead-poisoningThe Flint water crisis has captured national headlines after reports that the city’s water had been contaminated with dangerously high levels of lead – and that children and other residents had unknowingly been drinking this water for more than a year.

This is upsetting and concerning news to pediatricians like me. We know lead is a neurotoxin. We know children are experiencing major brain development. Science tells us that this toxin could hinder learning, long term achievement, classroom performance and cause behavior and other issues for young people.

There is simply no safe level of lead, period.

What some people may not realize; however, is that water is not the most common source of lead exposure in our country. Lead from water accounts for an estimated 10-20 percent of elevated lead levels in children. The bigger risk for lead exposure is found in the buildings where children spend most of their time, usually their home, and sometimes a family member’s home, daycare, or school.

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