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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

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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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ICE: End of term reflection paper

Cancer Center patients and staff play important role in educating future doctors

 ICE, or Initial Clinical Experience, is a program for new University of Michigan medical students.

Medical student writes of his experiences in the Breast Cancer Clinic and says he learned more about life and the role of healthcare providers in caring for patients than he ever thought possible.

 

Editor’s note: ICE, or Initial Clinical Experience, is a program for new University of Michigan medical students. Instead of spending their first term only in lecture halls, they are assigned to shadow clinical faculty and other health professionals. This gives them early connections with patients and families and an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of all healthcare team members within the system.

Where is the line between disease and life drawn? This was a question I constantly thought about during my Initial Clinical Experience during my first term as a medical student. I remember the moment I found out I would be placed in the Breast Cancer Clinic and my feeling of dread. I was worried that so early in medical school I would come face-to-face with cancer, and through it, with death. Continue reading

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8 more therapies and treatments for Parkinson’s

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More_Parkinson_treatmentsMost neurologists treat people who have Parkinson’s disease with a medication called carbidopa/levodopa or Sinemet, as it is known by its brand name. We also offer several new FDA-approved therapies, surgery and other therapies that can greatly improve the quality of a patient’s life.

Recommendations will depend upon the course of the disease, the patient’s medical history and the neurologist’s estimation of which option is best for this particular patient.

New FDA-approved Parkinson’s therapies

Neurologists typically use these therapies in more advanced Parkinson’s disease or in special circumstances. Both therapies aim to increase “on” time, while reducing “off” time. “On” time refers to periods when Parkinson’s symptoms are adequately controlled. “Off” time refers to periods of the day when the medication is not working well, making symptoms worse.  Continue reading