Renee Prince (behind and to the immediate right of the flag holder) with members of the U.S. Army’s 948th surgical team.
Renee Prince wasn’t sure what path she wanted to pursue after high school, but helping people was high on her list. While her friends were busy senior year deciding which college to attend, Renee was trying to figure out what direction her future should take. As fate would have it, a United States Army recruiter visited her St. Clair Shores high school that year, and she was certain she had found her calling.
“At that point,” Renee says, “I realized I wanted to serve in the U.S. Army Reserve.”Continue reading →
Tyler Staab was a healthy, active 7-year-old in 2005, when his arm started shaking while shooting baskets. His symptoms increased while his family struggled to find a diagnosis.
Eventually, genetic testing confirmed a diagnosis for Tyler: a complex neurological disease known as dystonia.
Dystonia causes involuntary muscle spasms that twist the body. Genetic forms of the disease generally begin in childhood and worsen throughout adolescence.
Tyler’s dystonia is caused by an inherited DNA mutation, and is known as DYT1 dystonia. Tyler has grown into an incredible young man, but at 16, involuntary dystonic movements make it challenging for him to walk, eat or even to speak. His sister, Samantha, has been diagnosed with the disease as well. Their younger brother is at risk.
It’s been 14 years and six surgeries since the Korcal family learned the phrase “Chiari malformation.”
The anomaly of the brain is characterized by a protrusion of a small part of the brain through the bottom of the skull and into the spinal canal.
First, eldest son Andrew Korcal was diagnosed at age 14, and then they realized it was also the reason for teen daughter Amanda’s lifelong struggle with headaches. Once her children were stable, mom Layna went to get her diagnosis, but her Chiari likely won’t require a surgery. She’s hoping her youngest son continues not to display any symptoms.
“Andrew and Amanda had different complications, but they both had really good outcomes,” Layna said.
Along with the latest high-tech tools and procedures, the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Michigan Health System also depends on one talented woman with a pencil.
Megan Foldenauer, Ph.D., a certified medical illustrator (CMI), was recently featured in the news for her work as a UMHS medical illustrator.
An aneurysm image by U-M Medical Illustrator Megan Foldenauer, from the Department of Neurosurgery.
“There’s an art to taking a photograph and then reducing it to its essential components,” she told Local 4 News in a July segment about the continued relevance of low-tech medical sketches.
Foldenauer was studying biology as a high school senior when a teacher explained that her talent for illustrating her lab reports might turn into more than a hobby. She continued to study science, along with art, so she’d be able to illustrate the most important parts of medical images. Foldenauer’s pieces aid understanding that a complex photograph tends to muddle.
“Part of what I do is to offer that kind of visualization of that information for patients so that they can learn about their body,” Foldenauer told Local 4 News.
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