Cedars-Sinai Medical tipsheet for July 2003

July 22, 2003

CARDIOLOGISTS ADVANCE SEARCH FOR ROUTINE VACCINE TO PREVENT HEART ATTACKS AND STROKES

Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis. Measles, mumps, rubella. Atherosclerosis? Cedars-Sinai cardiologists and their colleagues in Sweden are leading a quest for a vaccine that one day could become part of routine childhood immunization programs. Instead of preventing infections, they hope to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Recent results in mice suggest they may be on the right track. In their quest for a vaccine that may one day routinely protect against heart attacks and strokes, cardiologists at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and their colleagues in Sweden have isolated a key step in the mechanism that leads to vascular plaque buildup and blood clot formation.

UNIQUE CENTER TARGETS BOTH EXCESSIVE AND INSUFFICIENT LEVELS OF MALE HORMONES IN WOMEN

Although commonly referred to as "male" hormones, androgens also circulate in the bloodstreams of women. If they rise or fall out of balance, bothersome symptoms and serious complications can occur. The first-of-its-kind Center for Androgen-Related Disorders, located at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, offers specialized testing and treatment for androgen excess and insufficiency, as well as their underlying disorders.

CHILREN MORE VULNERABLE THAN ADULTS IN THE EVENT OF A CHEMICAL SPILL OR CHEMICAL WEAPONS ATTACK

Children are more vulnerable than adults in the event of a chemical spill or chemical weapons attack, says Lloyd Brown, M.D., Associate Director of the Pediatrics Residency Training Program at Cedars-Sinai, and Medical Director of the hospital's C.O.A.C.H. for Kids Program. In addition, because chemical agents - unlike biological agents - have an almost instantaneous impact, immediate intervention is needed to help minimize injuries and damage. Also unlike some biological weapons, there are no vaccinations available for chemical exposure. All of this combined means that parents and teachers should know and be prepared to provide on-site "chemical" first aid for their children and students.

INCREASINGLY BETTER TREATMENT OPTIONS ARE NOW AVAILABLE FOR WOMEN DIAGNOSED WITH ENDOMETRIOSIS

More than five million girls and women in North America suffer every month with blinding, excruciating and debilitating pain that robs them of the joy of every day living. They are suffering with endometriosis, an incurable condition caused by the spread and growth of tissue from the lining of the uterus (called endometrium) outside the uterine walls, typically in and around the pelvic and abdominal areas where it should not grow.

INTENSIVE IN-HOSPITAL MONITORING REDUCES PREMATURE DELIVERY OF MONOAMNIOTIC TWINS, IMPROVES SURVIVAL

With intensive and constant in-hospital fetal monitoring of monoamniotic (MA) twins, delivery can be delayed to beyond 34 weeks, and the live discharge rate can approach that of other twin pregnancies. This is significant because, historically, twins who shared a common amniotic sac had only about a 50 percent chance of both twins surviving. Those who did survive were typically delivered prematurely, resulting in a higher risk of severe health challenges and lengthy stays in neonatal intensive care units.

RAPIDLY RISING NUMBERS OF OBESE, UNFIT CHILDREN RESULTING IN PRECIPITOUS JUMP IN TYPE 2 DIABETES IN THE YOUNG

Baby fat may be cuddly to new parents but pediatricians are increasingly warning families about serious medical problems resulting from baby fat that never goes away. Type 2 diabetes is on the increase in overweight and obese children in America. According to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center pediatric endocrinologist David Geller, M.D., Ph.D., "Childhood obesity is the primary reason we are seeing such a huge increase in type 2 diabetes in kids today. Clearly there is an inexorable increase in body girth and body mass in our children which needs to be taken seriously in order to avoid a lifetime of physical and psychological problems."

FROM SNAKE BITES TO SKATE SPRAINS, SUMMER SERVES UP SPECIAL HAZARDS FOR KIDS

Although summertime won't officially be here for another three weeks, kids are already taking advantage of the warmer weather and longer days and spending more time outdoors. According to two pediatricians at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, summer brings with it a special set of hazards - and increased injuries - to children. Injuries of all types - including drowning, sunburn, food poisoning, insect bites and stings, barbecue burns, skateboarding, bicycling, rollerblading and even fireworks injuries - all increase during the summertime. Following are tips for protecting kids this summer.

OUTPATIENT STAPLING PROCEDURE SPARES "PAIN FIBERS" AND GIVES IMMEDIATE HEMORRHOID RELIEF

When ointments, suppositories and physician-prescribed rubber band ligation fail to provide relief, 150,000 American hemorrhoid sufferers each year finally give in and undergo hemorrhoidectomies, only to experience weeks or months of pain and limitations resulting from the surgery itself. But a relatively new outpatient procedure may bring an end to the long-term discomfort of internal hemorrhoid removal. With the Procedure for Prolapse and Hemorrhoids (PPH), surgeons use a circular stapling device that lifts hemorrhoidal tissue up to its original position and trims out a band of tissue above the "pain" line, resulting in much less pain, faster recoveries and fewer recurrences.

37-YEAR-OLD FORMER TELEVISION NEWS ASSIGNMENT EDITOR RECEIVES HEART TRANSPLANT JUST FOUR DAYS BEFORE HIS BIRTHDAY

In March, Vincent Rankin, then age 37, bought his casket and began planning his funeral. He had virtually given up on receiving a heart transplant. Because a transplanted heart ideally comes from a donor of relatively similar size and compatible blood type, Rankin knew that at 6-feet, 6 inches tall, a suitable organ might not become available for him in time. However, Cedars-Sinai is one of the few heart transplant centers in the nation to utilize a procedure known as "under-sizing" a heart, which involves transplanting the heart of a smaller donor into a larger recipient. This procedure can be done if the recipient's pulmonary artery pressure is normal because the heart will actually grow to accommodate the needs of the larger person. Mr. Rankin and his transplant surgeon are available for interviews.
-end-


Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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