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Dr. Julian Bailes inducted into LSU Hall of Distinction

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Julian Bailes, M.D., chair of the West Virginia University Department of Neurosurgery, was honored by his alma mater on April 1 when he was inducted into the Louisiana State University (LSU) Alumni Association’s Hall of Distinction. “Since its inception, 216 individuals have been inducted into the LSU Alumni Association Hall of Distinction, a prestigious group of individuals who have made outstanding contributions to our university, our state and our nation,” Charlie Roberts, president and CEO of the LSU Alumni Association, said. “This year’s honorees are no exception. This year, countless nominations were received from the fields of art, business and industry, music, politics, medicine, research and sports. Each of our honorees has distinguished himself in their careers, personal and civic accomplishments, volunteer activities and loyalty to LSU.” Dr. Bailes, a native of Louisiana, earned his bachelor’s degree in general studies from LSU in 1978 and graduated from the LSU School of Medicine in 1982. “For Louisianans, attending LSU is both an honor and a great opportunity. I deeply appreciate being inducted into the Hall of Distinction and hope that I have put to good use all that I learned while in school there,” he said. Upon graduation from LSU, Bailes completed his residency training at Northwestern University Medical Center in Chicago and his fellowship training at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. Prior to assuming his current position at WVU in 2000, he worked in Pittsburgh and Orlando. He is board certified in neurosurgery. Bailes is co-founder and director of the Brain Injury Research Institute at WVU, chairman of the West Virginia Health Information Network, medical director of Pop Warner Football and director of the NFL Players Association’s Second Opinion Network. For eight consecutive years, Bailes has been honored as one of the best neurosurgeons in the country by America’s Best Doctors and as one of the America’s Top Surgeons since 2006. Bailes was one of seven individuals honored by LSU this year. [...]

WVU Balance Center helps with dizziness

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Dizziness – that awful feeling of spinning or falling – can be associated with a number of different health issues. Feeling dizzy or off balance can also be dangerous, so finding the problem and fixing it is important. The new West Virginia University Balance Center is treating people living with dizziness and balance problems. “Many people come to me with dizziness, but the cause may not always be easy to detect,” Stephen Wetmore, M.D., chairman of WVU’s Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Department, said. “Dizziness can be inner-ear related. Meniere’s disease, viral or bacterial infections and head injuries can affect the inner ear, throwing off the delicate system that controls balance.” Older people may have trouble with dizziness and balance, conditions related to age and muscle weakness. Sometimes stroke victims have lingering neurological issues. Even some medications can impair a person’s balance. “First, we determine if the dizziness is ENT-related. If it’s not, we recommend another doctor who can help,” Dr. Wetmore said. “Most problems can be resolved through medication, surgery or therapy.” The ENT Clinic and the Balance Center are located in the Physician Office Center, next to WVU’s Ruby Memorial Hospital. Call 304-598-4825 for an appointment.   [...]

WVU School of Nursing receives grant for pilot study on home telemonitoring for lung cancer patients

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The National Cancer Institute has awarded the West Virginia University School of Nursing $366,000 over two years for a pilot study aimed at reducing high healthcare costs associated with lung cancer patients while improving their quality of life. The study, to be implemented by Georgia Narsavage, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the WVU School of Nursing, and co-principal investigator, Yea-Jyh Chen, Ph.D., R.N., proposes home telemonitoring as a way for patients to manage their health, stay connected to healthcare professionals and spend less time in the hospital. “High costs of care for patients with lung cancer have been related to frequent hospitalizations and emergency room visits,” Dr. Narsavage said. “There is a critical need to help people with lung cancer recognize changes in their condition and contact a clinician before emergency care is needed. The home telemonitoring study at WVU will teach lung cancer patients how to do that and get them used to monitoring their health.” The study will involve 60 lung cancer patients at WVU Hospitals who live within a 50 mile radius of Morgantown. They will be randomly assigned to either the telemonitor group or usual care group before being discharged from the hospital. Those in the test group will have a telemonitoring system set up in their homes and be guided on how to use the device to transmit important health data such as blood pressure and oxygen readings to a clinical research nurse at WVU. The telemonitor group will also answer 10 yes or no questions relating to their symptoms. The research nurse will call the patients every day throughout a 14-day period to help them understand their symptoms and coach them on when and how to contact their physician. Each patient and a family member will complete a survey to measure the patient’s quality of life during that time. The nurse will also do a 30 and 60 day follow-up. The goal of the study is to decrease unplanned and repeat hospital admissions or emergency visits and to support the patient’s ability to live in his or her personal home most of the time. “Home telemonitoring using a self-management model has been successful in reducing healthcare costs associated with heart patients, but there is no literature indicating it’s ever been used to benefit lung cancer patients,” Narsavage said. Another part of the WVU study will assess the potential cost savings in healthcare for lung cancer patients by using home telemonitoring. “Addressing health disparities for adults with lung cancer by cost-effectively reducing risks for rehospitalization and emergency care and improving quality of life is critical to Healthy People 2010,” said Narsavage.  Healthy People 2010 is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to prevent disease and promote health for the nation.   [...]

Kentucky Derby party to benefit cancer patients

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center will host a Kentucky Derby Party to benefit cancer patients. The Run for the Roses party, scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. on May 7 at the historic Clarion Hotel Morgan, is a fundraiser for the Comfort Fund, which helps cancer patients experiencing financial issues. Participants will watch the derby on a 70-inch screen and follow the fortunes of their favorite jockeys and horses, while sipping on mint juleps. There will also be hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, a silent auction, a hat contest and prizes. Those entering the contest should pre-decorate their hats and wear them to the party. Attire for the derby party is casual cocktail. The cost is $50 per person and reservations are required.  All proceeds will benefit the Comfort Fund, which was established in 2005 to help patients actively being treated at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. The intent of the Fund is to provide temporary, short-term assistance for immediate needs, until patients can be linked with appropriate community, state or national resources. The derby party is sponsored in-part by Huntington Bank.  For more information call Jessica Spatafore at 304-293-0789.   [...]

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WVU awarded $1 million endowment

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at West Virginia University (OLLI at WVU) has received a $1 million endowment that will help to enrich the educational programs it offers to people age 50 and older. The endowment is from The Bernard Osher Foundation, a 34-year old philanthropic organization that supports higher education and the arts. OLLI at WVU conducted a drive last year to recruit more than 500 members, one of the criteria for the endowment from the Osher Foundation. “People come to OLLI because they have a love of learning,” Suzanne Gross, president of the OLLI Board of Directors, said. “The students have bright minds and want to keep them engaged through retirement. Our teachers have a lifetime of expertise. Bring them all together and it makes for a very rich classroom experience.”   About 40 active and retired WVU faculty members have supported OLLI by teaching classes.  Instructors also include state and local experts in public programs, business professionals and artists. Classes for Spring 2011 run the gamut from Basic Computer Skills and Basic Italian to T’ai Chi, Opera and Ibsen. Gross said OLLI at WVU gives people a chance to explore topics they didn't have time to tackle in their working lives – with no tests, no grades, no pressure. “It’s learning for pleasure,” she said. ”The progress the program has made since receiving initial support in December 2006 has been outstanding,” said Osher Foundation President Mary Bitterman.  “We salute the Institute’s dedicated volunteers and staff — as well as the leadership of West Virginia University — for developing such an exceptional educational program for seasoned adults in the Morgantown area.” Gross said previous support from the Osher Foundation has helped to build the program over the last several years.  The endowment, she said, will help to sustain OLLI at WVU into the future. “We are also very grateful for the support we’ve received from University President (James) Clements,” Gross said. “He feels very strongly that the University has a responsibility to the community and has committed support that allows us to occupy our space here in Morgantown and offer unlimited classes at no additional charge to our members.” Annual memberships are $85 for anyone 50 and older. Memberships can also be purchased for an individual season term for $45. There is no limit on the number of courses an individual can take. Dues, along with gifts, grants and investment interest cover the costs of the courses, office expenses and teaching materials. OLLI at WVU, founded in 1993, is part of the Center on Aging at WVU Health Sciences.  Its classrooms are at the Mountaineer Mall on Greenbag Road in Morgantown. For more information on OLLI, see www.olliatwvu.org or call 304-293-1793. About the Osher Foundation The Bernard Osher Foundation was founded in 1977 by Bernard Osher, a respected businessman and community leader.  The Foundation provides post-secondary scholarship funding to colleges and universities across the nation, with special attention to reentry students. It also benefits programs in integrative medicine in the United States and Sweden, including centers at the University of California, San Francisco; Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston; and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.  In addition, the Foundation supports a national network of personal enrichment educational programs for seasoned adults, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes, which now operate on the campuses of 117 institutions of higher education from Maine to Hawaii.  Finally, an array of performing arts organizations, museums, and selected educational programs in Northern California and in Mr. Osher’s native state of Maine receive Foundation grants. The Foundation is chaired by the Honorable Barbro Osher, Consul General of Sweden in California. (www.osherfoundation.org)   [...]

WVU Healthcare to hold Donate Life Ceremony

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Hundreds of patients have benefited from the generosity of others through the Donate Life program in West Virginia. By choosing to become a donor, one person can save up to eight lives through organ donation and help heal more than 50 by tissue and cornea donation.  WVU Healthcare will hold its annual Donate Life Ceremony at 2 p.m. on April 27 in conference rooms 3A and 3B on the fourth floor of WVU's Ruby Memorial Hospital. The event recognizes donor patients, families and the healthcare workers who care for donors and donor recipients. Robert Nicklow, from the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) will present WVU Healthcare with the Silver Medal Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration. WVU Healthcare also received the West Virginia Governor’s Award for Life in recognition of donor efforts. The celebration will feature a sneak peak at the new Donor Memorial Wall. The event is open to donor families, organ recipients, hospital employees, as well as the general public. Nearly 100,000 people in the United States are awaiting organ transplants;170 are West Virginians.    Organ donation decisions are made by individual donor designations on a driver’s license or state identification card. On driver’s licenses and photo ID cards in West Virginia, the symbol for medicine, a caduceus, appears on the front of the card. West Virginians can also designate themselves as organ donors by logging onto www.donatelifewv.org.   [...]

WVU trials of breast PET scanner show promise

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Healthcare providers agree that the importance of regular mammograms cannot be overstated; yet, for women with denser breast tissue, traditional X-ray imaging can fail to identify some tumors. In a recent West Virginia University clinical test, a new 3-D breast scanning system developed at WVU has proven successful in finding difficult-to-detect breast lesions. A leading cause of cancer-related death among women, breast cancer is often difficult to diagnose in women with denser breast tissue, as traditional X-ray imaging can fail to identify small tumors. The current second-line screening method for women with denser breasts and higher risk factors is MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). False positive results are common in MRI, however, which can result in the unnecessary biopsy of benign lesions. WVU’s Breast-PET (positron emission tomography) imaging system uses the physiology of the breast measured with a radioactive agent to produce 3-D images. “Since diseased tissue, such as tumors, often has different physiology than normal tissue, it is possible to visualize breast tumors more effectively, even in dense breasts,” Raymond R. Raylman, Ph.D., professor of radiology and vice chair of radiology research at the WVU School of Medicine and the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, said. “Since Breast-PET produces three-dimensional images, we do not have the problem of overlaying tissue obstructing tumors, and the breast does not have to be compressed.” “This technique has the potential to replace or at least supplement breast-MRI as the second-line method for imaging these hard to interpret cases, due to PET’s low false positive rate compared to MRI,” Dr. Raylman continued. “In addition to detecting some hard-to-image lesions, we were able to see disease infiltrations into areas not seen on mammograms in this study. In the future, such findings could be used by physicians to help improve treatment planning.” The WVU system is the only 3-D PET imaging device designed to also perform biopsies and is also the only system that has the demonstrated ability to measure metabolic activity of tissue, including tumors. For patients in treatment for known breast lesions, the Breast-PET scan can be combined with full-body PET imaging to see if cancer is spreading beyond the breast. “In addition to detecting tumors, we have the capability to measure the changes in tumor tissues in response to treatments, like chemotherapy,” said Raylman.  “We could potentially tell fairly early on if a treatment is being effective in attacking the disease. If it is not, the treatment plan can be altered. Currently, it can take weeks to months to determine if a therapy is working.”  Raylman’s team is continuing development of Breast-PET. The system will eventually gain the ability to perform tomographic X-ray images of the breast (CT scans). The combination of PET and CT will allow clinicians to better determine the size, shape, position and metabolic activity of suspicious breast lesions. “The work of Dr. Raylman and the team that developed this leading-edge technology will make a worldwide impact,” Scot Remick, M.D., director of the Cancer Center, said. “This is a prime example of WVU research shaping the future of cancer diagnosis and treatment.” The study, authored by a team of WVU researchers led by Raylman, appears in the current issue of the “Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology.”   For more information on the WVU Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, visit www.wvucancer.org.   [...]

WVU Stroke Center earns awards for excellence

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) has awarded West Virginia University Hospitals’ Stroke Center its Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award for its commitment and success in continued excellent care for stroke patients. “This is a team effort achieved by the physicians, nurses and quality improvement professionals involved with the WVU Stroke Center,” said Laurie Gutmann, M.D., WVU Stroke Center director. “WVU Hospitals is one of only two centers in the state of West Virginia to achieve this status.” Stroke patients at WVU receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations. The WVU Stroke Center has an emergency response team available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to evaluate a stroke and perform the appropriate treatment in time to minimize damage to the brain. Get With The Guidelines is an AHA/ASA quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. To receive the award, the WVU Stroke Center achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care. In addition to the Get With The Guideline-Stroke award, the WVU Stroke Center has also been recognized as a recipient of the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll, for improving stroke care. Over the past quarter, at least 50 percent of eligible ischemic stroke patients have received intravenous clot-busting medication within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital (known as ‘door-to-needle’ time).   “The care our patients receive is our number one priority," Dr. Gutmann said. "Our greatest reward is serving our patients and seeing the lives we are impacting. That’s why we’re committed to turning treatment guidelines into lifelines.” [...]

Let’s talk about health: Department of Community Medicine to sponsor student poster presentations

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University Department of Community Medicine will host its annual Student Poster Presentation Session on Tuesday, April 26. The session will feature more than 150 health-related poster presentations from both undergraduate and graduate students. “Every year, we see unique and interesting research done by the students on topics ranging from human trafficking to different types of cancers in men and women to body piercing,” Ruth Kershner, Ed.D., professor in the Department of Community Medicine, said. “We encourage students, faculty, staff and members of the community to attend and enjoy an evening of discussion and enlightenment about numerous health topics.” Arthur Ross, M.D., dean of the WVU School of Medicine will deliver opening remarks at 6 p.m. in the John E. Jones Conference Center near the Health Sciences Center cafeteria. The poster session will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria.  Classes participating in the session include: Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Gender and Violence and Environmental Health. Light refreshments will be served, and the students will be present to discuss their topics and answer questions.   [...]

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