Dec 162014
 

flu4583-1Recent news about the emergence of a mutated flu virus should serve as a wakeup call to those who haven’t gotten a flu vaccination this year, according to Dr. Paul Cook, infectious diseases specialist at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. And despite speculation that the current vaccine may not protect against this new virus, he says those who have gotten vaccinated already shouldn’t worry that it was for naught.

The Centers for Disease Control recently reported that over half of the H3N2, or Influenza A, virus samples they’ve tested thus far this season were found to be antigenetically different – or “drifted” – from the virus used in this year’s vaccine. Because this H3 virus seems to be dominating the current flu scene, the CDC is predicting a heavier flu season, with more hospitalizations and deaths than in past years.

“This happens all the time with influenza viruses; it’s nothing new,” says Cook. “The mutated virus was recognized back in the spring, but by then this year’s vaccine had already been developed and was being manufactured. Next year’s vaccine will take the mutated H3N2 into effect.”

But even with the prospect of lower protection rates, Cook says vaccination is still the best protection against the flu, and especially important for those at high risk for serious complications from it, like pregnant women, the elderly and people whose immune systems are compromised due to HIV or cancer.

“The current vaccine still covers H1N1 effectively, as well as influenza B, and those viruses are still out there,” he said. “We think it may even be providing some immunity against the mutated virus. Besides, the vaccine itself is pretty innocuous.”

Cook urges people to visit the doctor early if they begin experiencing symptoms like fever, sore throat, cough or body aches. And he echoes the CDC’s recommendation for primary care providers to be vigilant about prescribing antiviral medications like Tamiflu and Relenza as soon as flu is suspected. These medications can lessen the duration and severity of the illness when started within 48 hours of symptom onset.

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Dec 022014
 

Paws for Study Break pic 1

As medical students near the end of the semester, the stress of finishing assignments and taking final exams mounts. Students welcome brief periods of relaxation during busy days of studying… and more studying. Students enjoyed spending time with Canopy the therapy dog during Paws for Study Breaks held on October 27 and November 13. Research indicates that interaction with therapy dogs can temporarily affect the release of various neurotransmitters in the brain; levels of oxytocin and dopamine are increased, while cortisol levels are decreased.

 Canopy is a 7-year-old hound mix. She is from Louisiana, where she was obtained from a rescue. She’s been a registered therapy dog for just over 2 years. She is also registered as a READ dog which means that she often travels into public schools to help students strengthen their reading skills by allowing students to read to her.Paws for Study Break pic 3

 Her handler, Amy, is a doctoral student in psychology, working on her dissertation on the stress reducing benefits of interacting with therapy dogs. As a therapy dog-handler team, Amy and Canopy visit hospitals, libraries, nursing homes, and schools. They even created a therapy dog program at Kennedy-King College in Chicago in 2013.Paws for Study Break pic 2

The study breaks were sponsored by the Office of Student Development and Academic Counseling along with Pet Partners International.

Nov 182014
 

Eighty-eight East Carolina University faculty and staff were honored Nov. 11 for their published works at the William E. Laupus Health Sciences Library’s annual Health Sciences Author Recognition Awards ceremony.

Faculty and staff submitted 240 entries including 206 peer-reviewed journal articles, 21 book chapters and 13 books published between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014.

“The awards pay tribute to those who expand the scholarly work of the university and the research reputation of the Division of Health Sciences through their published works,” said Dr. Gregory Hassler, interim director of Laupus Library. “We express gratitude to our authors for their hard work and impressive scholarship.”

The library hosted the awards ceremony and dinner reception for honorees at the Greenville Hilton. The event was co-sponsored by the Friends of Laupus Library, which provide needed support for special programs and activities of the library.

Other sponsors were Matthews Book Company, Dr. John Papalas, Springer, Dr. and Mrs. Donald Hoffman, Dr. and Mrs. Dan Shingleton, Dr. Lorrie Basnight, Dr. Greg Hassler, Dr. Jackie Hutcherson, Dr. and Mrs. James Hallock, Eastern Carolina Foot and Ankle Specialists, Dr. and Mrs. Jon Tingelstad, The little bank, Drs. Bob Thompson and Marie Pokorny, Dr. and Mrs. Richard Eakin, Dr. Mary Raab, Mr. Dwain Teague and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Rogers.

Authors recognized in the College of Allied Health Sciences were Jason Brinkley, Leigh W. Cellucci, Martha Chapin, Anne Dickerson, Denise Donica, Elizabeth Forrestal, Susie Harris, Robert Kulesher, Jane Patton, Balaji Rangarathnam, Leonard Trujillo, and Heather Harris Wright.

The Brody School of Medicine authors were Abdel Abdel-Rahman, Emily Askew, Yan-Hua Chen, W. Randolph Chitwood Jr., David Collier, Irma Corral, Kay Craven, Doyle Cummings, Paul Cunningham, Moahad Dar, Ronald Dudek, Chris Duffrin, Clinton Faulk, Jonathon Firnhaber, Annette Greer, Eleanor Harris, Katherine Jones, Gregory D. Kearney, Susan Keen, Brett Keiper, Cheryl Knudson, Warren Knudson, Kathryn Kolasa, Brandon Kyle, Hope Landrine, Suzanne Lea, Myon-Hee Lee, Darla Liles, Qun Lu, Robert Lust, Christopher Mansfield, Laura Matarese, William Meggs, Assad Movahed, Rajasekhar Nekkanti, Ronald Perkin, Stephanie Pitts, Walter Pories, Stephanie Richards, Jacques Robidoux, Rachel Roper,  Maria J. Ruiz-Echevarria, Susan Schmidt, George Sigounas, Robert Tanenberg, Danielle Walsh, David Weismiller and Li Yang.

The School of Dental Medicine authors were Carol Anderson, Grishondra Branch-Mays, Joseph Califano, Gregory Chadwick, C. Ervin Davis, Waldemar de Rijk, James Hupp, Lamont Lowery, Linda May, John Stockstill, and Margaret Wilson.

The Laupus Health Sciences Library authors were Kathy Cable and Carrie Forbes.

Those recognized in the College of Nursing were Sylvia Brown, Robin Webb Corbett, Patricia Crane, Martha Engelke, Laura Gantt, Sonya R. Hardin, Candace Harrington, D. Elizabeth Jesse, Ann King, Nanette Lavoie-Vaughan, Michele Mendes, Janice Neil, Elaine Scott, and Melvin Swanson.

Highlighting the awards ceremony was the presentation of the Laupus Medallion to seven book authors. The Medallion is a smaller version of the Laupus Bronze sculpture which hangs in the atrium of the health sciences building at the entrance to the Laupus Library. Both the Bronze and Medallion were designed by Hanna Jubran and Jodi Hollnagel-Jubran of ECU’s School of Art and Design.  This year’s book authors are Leigh Cellucci (CAHS), W. Randolph Chitwood (BSOM), Ronald Dudek (BSOM), Carrie Forbes (LL), James Hupp (SODM), William Meggs (BSOM) and Laura Matarese (BSOM.

A copy of the bibliography is available on the Library’s website www.ecu.edu/laupuslibrary/HSAR with additional information and photographs from the event.

 

Oct 302014
 

CRAVENAs the holiday season approaches, many of us look forward to fun events full of family, friends and food. However, those who are working to achieve or maintain a healthy weight may also worry about gaining extra pounds amidst the celebration.

Registered dietitian nutritionist Kay Craven of ECU’s Department of Family Medicine points out a few simple strategies that can curb weight gain during all the festivities.

  • Plan ahead. When you enter a party, take a few minutes to survey the foods that are available before you fill your plate. Decide which ones are most appealing to you and choose small portions of those. Rather than trying it all, take the time to savor and enjoy the foods you chose. Then move away from the food and focus on the friends and fun.
  • Don’t skip meals. Many people are tempted to skip lunch in order to splurge in the evening. But arriving at a party with an empty stomach often increases the temptation to overindulge. Instead, eat a small meal or snack such as vegetable sticks, fresh fruit, low fat yogurt or cheese, or a few nuts prior to the party. Don’t skip breakfast, either; research shows that will only lead you to consume more calories later in the day.
  • Choose vegetables first. Holiday meals are usually large and involve multiple helpings. Opting for vegetables and salad with low fat dressing first can fill you up early and stave off the desire for large portions of higher calorie meats and desserts.
  • Slow down. Mom was right. Eating slowly gives your brain timeto register how full you really are. Wait ten minutes to evaluate your hunger before going back for seconds.
  • Bring a healthy dish. Many celebrations are potluck. If you offer to bring something on the lighter side, you know a healthy option will be available. And other guests willprobably thank you.
  • Keep moving. Consider wearing a pedometer and set goals – or have a contest between family members – to increase your steps during the holidays. Take a walk with family members during gatherings. Or plan outdoor games with the kids.

 

Oct 282014
 

pink-ribbon-hi

It is estimated by the American Cancer Society that 235,030 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2014 and that 40,430 deaths will occur as a result of breast cancer.  With the exception of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women.  United States mortality data shows a steady decrease in death rates for breast cancer since 1989.  This is mostly likely a result of improved early detection and treatment. 

Since breast cancer usually produces no symptoms in the early stages, the key to early detection is having regular breast exams and mammograms.  With early detection treatment options are increased.  Every woman should discuss appropriate screening options depending on their individual risk factors.

Brody School of Medicine’s talented and dedicated physicians treat patients at Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center, an East Carolina University and Vidant Health Collaboration in Cancer Care. Specialties include gynecologic oncology, hematology oncology and surgical oncology. To learn more about the Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center visit www.leowjenkinscancercenter.com.

To learn more about breast cancer prevention, detection and treatment visit on-line the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.