WVU Medicine Cabinet News Stories

WVU Pharmacy students receive national and regional honors

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University School of Pharmacy students received two awards during the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) 2011 Annual Meeting in Seattle, Wash., in March. The students are members of the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists (ASP). The students won a regional award for educating the community about diabetes through the 2010 Operation Diabetes campaign. The Region 2 award includes student chapters from Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, West Virginia, Virginia and Washington D.C.  The students in the WVU School of Pharmacy chapter worked to achieve this award by performing blood glucose screenings, conducting health fairs for seniors and children and participating in a variety of health education events to inform the community about preventing or managing diabetes. The students also raised awareness about diabetes through participation in the West Virginia State Fair and holding activities to observe World Diabetes Day. The national award honored the chapter for advancing the profession of pharmacy and protecting the health of the public by participating in the Operation Diabetes, Heartburn Awareness Challenge, Operation Heart and Operation Immunization campaigns. The campaigns focused on managing or preventing diabetes, heartburn and heart disease and educating the community about the importance of vaccinations. The student chapter also received recognition for attracting 90 percent or greater of eligible members to join. Only eight chapters of the approximately 120 chapters at schools of pharmacy across the nation received this award for the 2010 school year.   [...]

WVU study examines trauma in dementia patients

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As the elderly population of West Virginia increases, the number of patients with dementia who will require hospital admission for trauma will also increase as this population is at a higher risk of falls and injury. A recent study by the West Virginia University Department of Emergency Medicine shows that when these traumas occur, family members and healthcare providers must answer difficult questions in regard to the future care of the dementia patient. According to Charles Whiteman, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and lead author of the study, the two most difficult questions for family members and caretakers of dementia patients to answer involve the patient’s driving privileges and whether the patient should be moved to a long-term care or nursing facility. To conduct this study, Whiteman and his team used data from the trauma registry at WVU’s Jon Michael Moore Trauma Center from 2005 to 2008. During that time, there were 6,151 major trauma visits to the Center by patients at least 40 years old. Of those, 4.9 percent had dementia listed as a pre-existing condition and averaged 82 years old. The two most common injuries were those secondary to a fall – broken bones, head trauma, etc. – and motor vehicle accidents. Although most injuries occurred from ground-level falls, 10 patients were injured in motor vehicle crashes. Six of the 10 were the driver of the vehicle. “The decision to terminate a person’s driving privileges can be a really ugly discussion to have. It’s really tough on everyone involved,” Dr. Whiteman said. “Family members are more likely to notice difficulty with driving than the patient’s primary care provider. The loss of driving privileges is a really big deal for any person regardless of age or medical condition. Family members need to have this discussion with the patient’s doctor when they notice changes in driving performance. It’s a very challenging and tricky discussion to have.” Whiteman said that some patients in the early stages of their disease can be allowed to continue driving on familiar roads for short distances. While no family member wants to take away a loved one’s independence, at some point as the disease progresses, the patient’s driver’s license should be pulled. “This is a public health issue,” Whiteman said. “It’s not just the patient who’s at risk but everyone else on the roads as well.” Whiteman said that in the cases where the patients were injured as the result of a fall, most of them did not return home but were instead transferred to a nursing facility. “A lot of them were clinging onto residing at home, and the injury was the tipping point,” he said. “In addition to their cognitive impairment, they were then dealing with a physical impairment that often made it impossible for them to return to their homes.” Whiteman’s team did encounter one surprise in conducting this study. Of the elderly trauma patients with dementia who were admitted for their traumatic injuries, 20 percent had intracranial hemorrhage, bleeding within the skull. Patients with dementia are susceptible to falls for many reasons – the dementia itself, medication effects, worsening vision and arthritis, among others. Ninety-five percent of the injuries in the study were the result of ground-level falls. And, when a person falls, the highest point – the head – reaches the highest velocity, resulting in injuries to the head, face and neck. This finding presents a challenging treatment decision for healthcare providers. Many older people take aspirin or other anti-thrombotic medicines to treat atherosclerotic diseases, such as coronary artery disease and stroke. These medications increase the risk for an intracranial hemorrhage in even relatively minor traumas. The incidence of stroke and heart disease increase with age, just as the incidence of dementia increases with age. When an older person develops an unsteady gait and falls or is at risk of falling, the decision to start or continue anti-thrombotic therapy is a complex one for healthcare providers. “This further complicates the treatment of these patients,” Whiteman said. “On one hand, they could die from the bleeding in their heads after a fall, but on the other hand, they could die of a stroke or heart attack. It can be a no-win situation.” The 2000 census showed that 15.3 percent of West Virginia’s population was age 65 or older. That same year, the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources estimated 40,000 West Virginians suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. Co-authors of the study include Roger Tillotson, M.D., Nicolas Denne, M.D., and Stephen Davis, M.P.A., all from the WVU Department of Emergency Medicine. It appears in the May/June issue of the “West Virginia Medical Journal” as a continuing medical education article.   [...]

Globetrotting WVU Healthcare specialist shares travel wisdom

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Whether the purpose is work or leisure, almost anyone who travels to another country comes home with an altered world view. After five years of treating patients and offering medical training in the remote Andes of southern Peru, Brian D. Riedel, M.D., a pediatric digestive diseases specialist for WVU Healthcare, returned with a clear understanding of the dedication and commitment required for international work. In the current issue of the American Gastroenterological Association’s “AGA Perspectives” magazine, Dr. Riedel shared his insights for other medical professionals considering heading abroad. Riedel’s “Lessons from the Southern Andes: A North American’s Perspective of Healthcare Challenges in Rural Peru” is a collection of reflections and observations gained from years of international medical outreach. Riedel’s travels began early in his career, through shorter mission trips to developing areas, each lasting a couple of weeks. “I appreciated the magnitude of the need and at the same time was frustrated by the inability to make lasting, meaningful changes in such a short time,” said Riedel. “During this same period, I was involved back home in community development projects in impoverished urban neighborhoods. From this, I became a student of community development and began to understand the concept of ‘health’ as having much broader implications than simply medical care.” That frustration led to a serious commitment, as the physician and professor packed up his family and left for the Peruvian mountains. The transition was a challenge for Riedel’s three sons, and the situation demanded adaptability of everyone. A willingness to go with the flow is one of the major requirements for the experience, said Dr. Riedel. “If considering this type of work, especially on a long term basis, it’s important to be flexible and adaptable, to have an entrepreneurial spirit, a lot of patience and a good sense of humor. As the bedrock foundation for it all, you have to be passionate about and deeply committed to your purpose in going. It’s that teeth-gritted passion and commitment that will keep you on the ground and effective when the challenges invariably come.” Riedel noted that the stress of immersing oneself in a completely different culture can be overwhelming. Just learning the language and adapting to societal expectations takes a great deal of energy and the sudden lack of modern conveniences can come as a shock. In short, a doctor has to be willing to persevere and perform to the best of his or her abilities with the given resources.   “International work is not a place for someone who can’t make it in their field in the U.S.  Social conscience and dedication to justice demand that we give our very best and insist on the same standards of quality even in the most remote and underserved places,” he said. Riedel plans to remain active in improving healthcare around the world. He is currently part of a committee to develop a fellowship training program in gastroenterology in Ghana. “It’s been more than a year now since I’ve left U.S. soil,” he said. “And I’m getting itchy feet.” Photo captions: Riedel and dentist: International field medicine requires the development of new skills. Dr. Riedel (left) learns emergency dental care from a visiting dentist. Morning commute: The morning commute: a river crossing en route to a remote jungle village for a health outreach campaign. [...]

Golf outing raises $14,000 for WVU Children’s Hospital

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Michael Late Benedum Chapter of the American Association of Professional Landmen (MLBC-AAPL) raised $14,000 for West Virginia University Children’s Hospital through its Third Annual Charity Golf Outing and Dinner Meeting on May 12 at the Oglebay Resort and Conference Center in Wheeling. [...]

Bonnie’s Bus to offer mammograms in Keystone, Sophia and Peterstown

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Bonnie’s Bus, a digital mammography center on wheels, will visit McDowell, Raleigh and Monroe counties this week, offering digital mammograms and breast care education to women. A service of WVU Healthcare, Bonnie’s Bus will be parked behind the Old Bank Building in Keystone from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24. It will then head to the Municipal Parking Lot at 401 West Main St. in Sophia from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25. On Thursday, May 26 and Friday, May 27, it will stop at the Monroe Health Center in Peterstown from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.   The mammograms are billed to insurance, Medicaid or Medicare if available. Mammograms for women who do not have insurance will be covered by the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program or through special grant funds. A physician’s order is needed for a mammogram. For a Bonnie’s Bus appointment in Keystone call the Tug River Clinic at 304-448-2101. For an appointment in Sophia call New River Health at Gulf Family Practice at 304-683-4304. For an appointment in Peterstown call the Monroe Health Center at 304-753-4336. [...]

WVU study finds DVD helps teens better understand sexually transmitted infections

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The methods used to teach teens about sexually transmitted infections (STI) could have a real impact on the amount of information retained, suggests a study led by Maria Merzouk, D.O., an obstetrician and gynecologist for WVU Healthcare and assistant professor in the WVU School of Medicine. [...]

WVU using video game to study stroke, nervous system trauma

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Motion capture in home gaming systems is being used every day in different and inventive ways, even to help people recover from injury and illness.  Valeriya Gritsenko, Ph.D., a recent addition to the West Virginia University Center for Neuroscience, is using motion capture in the XBOX Kinect to learn how the nervous system deals with damage that may be caused by a stroke or other nervous system related trauma. Motion capture is the process of recording movement and translating that movement on to a digital model. “For example, your arm is a very complex machine. It has many bones and many joints that are moving in different directions. There are many muscles that flex and extend the joints in multiple directions. The nervous system has to figure out what muscles to use and when to activate them,” Dr. Gritsenko said. “People who have had a stroke or any neural trauma have damaged some of these pathways. So, the idea is to use motion capture to understand these pathways, look at how they are damaged and how it can be worked around.” Tracking motion of rehabilitating patients while they are at home may reveal a lot about the speed and/or degree of total recovery. “I have collaborated with clinical faculty on a grant submission that deals with bringing motion capture into people’s homes,” Gritsenko said. “The XBOX Kinect sensor tracks the movement of the body. The idea is to use technology like that for rehabilitation to track people’s movements. For example, if they play games, we can track their recovery.” Currently in its preparation stages, Gritsenko’s XBOX research is scheduled to begin in June and will continue for at least a year. Participants are currently being recruited for the study.   [...]

WVU Children’s Hospital to host annual gala

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – They may be “easy like Sunday morning,” but the Commodores will be working hard on the night of Saturday, May 21 when they take to the stage at the West Virginia University Children’s Hospital Gala at the Morgantown Event Center at Waterfront Place. For the eighth annual black-tie event, guests will partake in “An Evening of Elegance,” which begins at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception and silent auction. At 7 p.m., Richard Vaughan, M.D., professor and chair of the WVU Department of Surgery, will receive the WVU Children’s Hospital Award and the Friends of WVU Hospitals will receive the WVU Children’s Hospital Community Leader Award. Wyatt Smith, West Virginia’s 2011 Children’s Miracle Network Champion Child, will share his story about cystic fibrosis and the care he received at WVU Children’s Hospital. Following dinner at 7:30 p.m., guests will have the opportunity to participate in a live auction that features several big ticket items, including a Tuscan getaway, escape to Puerto Rico, instant wine cellar, a 12-month fine dining package, jewelry and an autographed Taylor Swift guitar. The Soul Train Dancers will take the stage at 9:30 p.m. followed by the Commodores at 10 p.m. The Grammy Award-winning band will perform some of its greatest hits, including “Easy,” “Just to Be Close to You” and “Brickhouse.” “This is our largest fundraiser in terms of the number of people involved and money raised for a single event. We are so grateful that we have such an amazing network of supporters who come out year after year to make this event a success,” Cheryl Jones, R.N., director of WVU Children’s Hospital, said. “The money raised from this event supports our programs and allows us to buy the equipment we need to provide cutting-edge care to every child who walks through our doors.” This year’s gala is open to the public. Those interested in attending can purchase tickets online at www.wvuchgala.com or by contacting Andrea Parsons, WVU Children’s Hospital development officer, at 304-598-4346 ext. 5 or parsonsa@wvuhealthcare.com.   [...]

WVU to celebrate 50 years of accredited graduate medical education

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In 1961, the West Virginia University School of Medicine received accreditation for four Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs: Surgery, Anesthesiology, Pediatrics and Internal Medicine. This month, WVU is celebrating 50 years of accredited GME with a system that now includes more than 50 specialties and 385 residents. “What started as accredited GME in 1961 when the University hospital opened its doors has grown substantially. We have become the largest sponsor of graduate medical education in West Virginia, offering more than 50 specialties – half of which are the only training program in the state,” Norman Ferrari, M.D., senior associate dean for medical education, said. “This links to our mission of serving West Virginians and providing them with a variety of specialists to meet their complex healthcare needs. We are really proud to be of such great service to the state.” Currently, WVU School of Medicine faculty members supervise residency programs at six West Virginia hospitals. Thirty-eight of those are in specialties for which Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education accreditation is possible, and all are fully accredited. In addition to the programs at WVU Hospitals in Morgantown, WVU sponsors training for physicians at City Hospital in Martinsburg, Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson and the Veterans Administration Medical Centers in Clarksburg and Martinsburg. In Charleston, WVU faculty physicians supervise training of residents in programs sponsored by Charleston Area Medical Center. The largest programs are in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. The Emergency Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Ophthalmology programs are among those at WVU that are the only ones of their kind in the state. “This milestone is well worth celebrating. We are here for West Virginians, and one of the best ways that we can fulfill our commitment to improve their health and wellness is through our GME programs,” Arthur J. Ross III, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the WVU School of Medicine, said. “I am ever grateful to the many individuals who work hard every day to see that our GME programs are as strong and successful as possible.” To celebrate 50 years, the Office of Graduate Medical Education has four days of events planned for GME Week 2011 at the WVU Health Sciences Center. The week kicks off at noon on May 17 with a box lunch in the Okey Patteson Auditorium. On May 18, podium research presentations will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Fukushima Auditorium. GME program directors and coordinators will meet from noon to 5 p.m. on May 19 in Room 1909 for educational development sessions. A coffee station grab-n-go will be set up from 7 to 9 a.m. on May 20 in the John E. Jones Conference Center. In addition to GME Week, the Department of Anesthesiology will hold a special celebration luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on May 26 in the John E. Jones Conference Center.   [...]