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What are small cell and non-small cell lung cancers?

Non-small cell lung cancer makes up most of the diagnoses

lung cancerWhile lung cancer is less common than cancers of the breast or prostate, it is responsible for nearly a third of all cancer deaths in the United States – 27% according to the American Cancer Society. The stigma of lung cancer being a “smoker’s disease” still persists despite the fact that 20% of deaths from lung cancer occur in those who never smoked. The last few years have been very exciting for lung cancer research. New immune and targeted therapies are available to treat this very deadly cancer.

Surprisingly, lung cancer is not one disease. It is classified into three types based upon the type and location of cell involved: small cell, non-small cell and lung carcinoid tumor. Continue reading

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Stroke and sleep apnea: Strange bed partners

Stroke and sleep apnea manStroke researchers now know that sleep apnea is very common after stroke. We have found that about 75% of stroke patients have sleep apnea. This is important because sleep apnea has wide-ranging consequences for stroke patients.

Why it’s important for sleep apnea to be diagnosed in stroke patients

Sleep apnea is a predictor of poor outcomes following stroke, such as greater disability and higher mortality. The exact reasons for this are unknown at this time and warrant further study.

In addition, it is possible that sleep apnea contributes to increased stroke risk by promoting atherosclerosis, hyper coagulability (an abnormally increased tendency for the blood to clot) and adverse effects on cerebral hemodynamics (the forces involved in the circulation of blood in the brain).  Continue reading

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‘A small timetable to get healthy’

Off-the-track concussion brings Olympic hopeful athlete to Michigan NeuroSport

Neuro_Medsport_061_BLOGShe’s no stranger to sports injuries, but hurdler and Olympic hopeful Candice Price had no idea what to do next when she was hurt in a bad car crash this fall. Price found herself with a concussion, and then debilitating headaches and some trouble keeping her balance.

“This has been one of the most challenging injuries,” Price says, “and there’s nothing visual I can point out to people, it’s just an injury to my brain.”

Price, an Ann Arbor-area native, visited sports neurologist Andrea Almeida, M.D., at the Michigan NeuroSport clinic right away to figure out how to improve her symptoms and get back to preparing for Rio de Janeiro this summer for the 2016 Olympics.

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Pulmonary arterial hypertension took the life of singer Natalie Cole

U-M expert weighs in on the disease

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The recent death of singer Natalie Cole from complications of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) has raised many questions about this rare lung disease.

Dr. Vallerie McLaughlin, director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Program at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, offers insight into this challenging disease:

  • Approximately 25 to 50 people per million have pulmonary arterial hypertension.
  • The condition predominantly affects women in their 40s and 50s. In fact, women diagnosed with PAH outnumber men with the condition 3:1.
  • Shortness of breath is the most common symptom. Others include lightheadedness, fatigue, chest pain and lower extremity edema.
  • Diagnosis is typically suspected based on an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) and confirmed with a right heart catheterization.

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Why is the Cancer Center called comprehensive?

The term comprehensive says a lot about cancer care

comprehensive cancer center

Cancer centers called ‘comprehensive’ by the NCI have an especially broad range of patient care, education and research programs.

Even though it’s a mouthful to say “University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center,” comprehensive is one of the most important words in that name. We say it a lot. In fact, many pages on our website point out that we are designated comprehensive by the National Cancer Institute. It’s a big, important-sounding word, but what does it mean?

When the NCI recognized us as a cancer center in 1988 and designated us comprehensive in 1991, we joined what was then a handful of cancer centers working with the NCI on a special goal: to form a backbone for government-funded programs studying and controlling cancer. Continue reading

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Guard your heart when shoveling snow

Tips to make shoveling a winter event, not a cardiac event

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When the snow starts piling up, many who pick up their shovels and head for their driveways and walkways are putting themselves at risk for an adverse cardiac event. These include heart attacks, where a blockage cuts off the heart’s blood supply leading to tissue damage, and cardiac arrest, when the heart beats irregularly and then stops. But for those at risk, there are ways to guard your heart when shoveling show.

Who’s at risk?

Men are more at risk than women, but certain people with health problems have higher risk than others for a cardiac event. These include anyone who:

  • is in poor physical condition
  • has a history of heart disease, including heart attacks, heart failure and stroke
  • has hypertension or diabetes

The greatest risk is with people who are still recovering from a heart attack, or who are being treated for heart failure. People in these groups should avoid snow shoveling entirely. Continue reading