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Heart device gives patient freedom during wait for heart transplant

Michael Richards feels “lucky” to be alive after heart failure diagnosis

Michael Richards, 25, has a total artificial heart controlled by wearable technology, giving him the freedom to visit Ann Arbor's Hands On Museum with his 2-year-old daughter.

“I was a nervous wreck,” says Michael Richards, Jr., 25, about the first time he and his family changed the battery for the backpack-sized device that controls his heart.

When most people hear “wearable technology,” they think of fitness trackers and enhanced glasses. The total artificial heart works on a higher level — allowing heart patients independence as they wait for a heart transplant.

The 14-pound Freedom® Driver, which Richards carries in a backpack, powers the total artificial heart with precisely calibrated pulses of air. The University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center is the only Michigan heart program to send patients home with the wearable technology. Continue reading

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Urgent spine surgery spells relief

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When his doctors asked Samuel Jones to rate his back and spine pain on a scale from 1 to 10, he said it was 15 to 20. And it’s no surprise. Jones, a retired patent agent from Midland, Michigan, had had an operation to repair a ruptured disc in 1974 with no further problems. Then, when he came back in 2014 from a wonderful vacation with his family in Hawaii, everything was different.

“I went from a little pain now and then to excruciating pain,” Jones says. He couldn’t walk without help. He couldn’t go up or down stairs. To make matters worse, it was hard to diagnose his problem because his previous quadruple bypass and pacemaker prevented an MRI.  Continue reading

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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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Healthy eating tips for a spring tune-up

healthy eating tipsLately, there have been a lot of questions and speculations concerning sugar consumption and cancer risk. While researchers are working on finding any such connection between the two, it is important to remember the role sugar plays in the body. Understanding sugar and following our healthy eating tips can serve as a spring tune-up for the body.

Carbohydrates and sugar break down into glucose, also known as blood sugar.

Carbohydrates come from foods such as fruits, starches, beans/peas, and vegetables. During times of low carbohydrate intake or intense exercise, glucose can also be made from fat and protein. Continue reading

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Advanced stenting procedure improves U-M patient’s quality of life

Jolette Munoz discovers “a better version” of herself

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Jolette Munoz says her quality of life has improved tremendously over the course of her treatment for various heart issues at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center. But it’s her most recent advanced stenting procedure that has brought the most dramatic improvement in her quality of life, she says.

Jolette’s health issues began with a massive heart attack in 2009, which was followed by triple bypass surgery to treat a 90 percent blockage in her left anterior descending (LAD) artery. Then, later that year, she was treated for peripheral artery disease (PAD), a vascular arterial disease that causes blockages in the arteries to the legs.

Although Jolette’s surgeries improved her quality of life, over the next six years she experienced complications from her bypass. This led to multiple stenting procedures of her bypass arteries, which unexpectedly failed due to weakened blood vessels from radiation treatment for lung cancer several years prior to her heart attack. “It seemed like every other month I landed in the hospital for issues with my stents,” she says. Continue reading

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Don’t do this if you want a good night’s sleep

World Sleep Day is March 18, 2016

Sleep is crucial for our health and well-being, and research shows this. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours every day to function properly, but many people don’t get all they need. In celebration of World Sleep Day, March 18, 2016, the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center is offering a few tips to help you get a good night’s sleep.

Instead of counting sheep, look at how you may be sabotaging your sleep and then strive to change your habits.

Recipe for a Good Night's Sleep


Next steps for sleep

Neurosciences logoThe University of Michigan’s multidisciplinary neuroscience team is made up of more than 70 nationally recognized neurologists and neurosurgeons. Leading the way in brain, spine and nervous system care for close to 100 years, patients have access to services that can be found at only a handful of places as well as cutting-edge treatments with the latest research. Neurology and Neurosurgery at the University of Michigan Health System have been recognized by U.S. News & World Report numerous times for excellence in patient care.