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Phoenix-headquartered Banner Health has reached an agreement with the University of Arizona Health Network (UAHN) and the University of Arizona (UA) to create a statewide health care organization and a comprehensive model for academic medicine.
With the coming of the monsoon season, Saguaro National Park is expected to begin helicopter spraying of herbicides on Park buffelgrass infestations. Arizona has declared Penisetum ciliaris a “noxious weed” but the federal government and Texas state agencies continue to develop more hardy strains and Mexico’s government subsidizes planting el zacate buffel in Sonora. Buffelgrass crowds out native plants and can fuel devastating wildfires. The park’s action come despite a majority of public comments opposing aerial spraying. So just what is “public comment” and is it working?
As people age, staying active becomes more and more important. Maintaining fitness is important for overall health and longevity. Exercise improves a person’s chances of living longer, and also means a better quality of life while spending those extra years on the planet.
The development of the University of Arizona’s presence in downtown Phoenix continues, with another milestone hit this week.
At the University of Arizona, students and employees have long been actively engaged in efforts to aid in the statewide and global drive to improve individual wellness, access to care and the population’s overall health.
As the United States’ longest running conflict – the Afghanistan War – draws to a close, the demand for medical, social, financial, educational and other services for veterans is increasing dramatically.
What happens when you bring a medical doctor, an immunologist and a marine biologist together to take medicine from the lab to the patients? Great things.
University of Arizona researchers have been awarded a $200,000 two-year seed grant by theFlinn Foundation through its Promoting Translational Research in Precision Medicine grants program to find out how a virus that flies under the radar of the body's immune defense may influence health, disease and even behavior. The goal of the seed grant program is to foster collaborative efforts between physician-scientists and bench researchers in order to translate findings more rapidly to actual patient treatments.
"Precision medicine" – also known as "personalized medicine" – is one of the strategic initiatives of the UA's Never Settle strategic plan, with considerable investments planned for new infrastructure and 50 new faculty hires over the next 10 years. Precision medicine aims at closing the gap that currently exists between scientific advances and clinical practice. The more researchers discover about the molecular mechanisms underlying diseases, the clearer it becomes that one treatment does not fit all. By integrating such knowledge with clinical data on individual patients, precision medicine entails tailoring treatments to individual cases and improving outcomes for the patients.
The unique research team consists of UA associate professor of medicine Ken Knox, who specializes in pulmonary medicine and has a strong track record in clinical and translational research; UA associate professor of immunobiology, BIO5 Institute member and biomedical researcher Felicia Goodrum, who is an expert in viral persistence; and UA associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and BIO5 member Matthew Sullivan, an expert in viral metagenomics.
The team will unravel which viruses make their homes in the lung without causing symptoms. Specifically, they will home in on one such virus, the cytomegalovirus, known as CMV, which belongs to the herpes virus family.
The human body is home to a vast number of bacteria, viruses and fungi that collectively make up the human microbiome. Much of our microbiome does not cause disease, but rather is critically important to maintaining human health. Recent studies in humans document the enormous impact bacteria have on normal health (e.g., obesity), disease states (e.g., diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders), and even behavior. The role of viruses, by contrast, represents uncharted frontiers for study.
Human CMV is one of eight human herpes viruses and infects 60-90 percent of the population worldwide and, like all herpes viruses, persists in the infected host indefinitely by way of a latent infection. CMV’s primary infection of healthy individuals is typically asymptomatic and, therefore, goes completely unnoticed. When CMV is reactivated from latency to an active state of replication, there are life-threatening disease risks in immunocompromised people, including transplant and cancer patients. CMV infection is also the leading cause of infectious disease-related birth defects, affecting 1 percent of live births in the United States.
Persistent viruses represent emerging health threats that contribute to chronic inflammation, cellular stress and cancer risk. In addition, latent viral coexistence is just beginning to emerge in association with age-related pathologies, including atherosclerosis, immune senescence and frailty. Health costs of persistent viral infections, whether chronic or latent, can be significant.
Knox, Goodrum and Sullivan will study CMV as a model of persistent viral infection upon which to base questions related to how to specifically prevent lung infections.
Just as genetic makeup is different among individuals, so are their immunological reactions to invading viruses, which in turn influences how disease states manifest from individual to individual. By using advanced informatics to analyze metagenomic data sets from the study, the team will investigate correlations between the presence of human CMV and what scientists call the background virome: the "zoo" of viral populations present in a given individual.
“Translational research – moving discoveries from the lab to patient care – is a crucial element of precision, or personalized, medicine as well Arizona’s bioscience strategy,” said Jack B. Jewett, president and CEO of the Flinn Foundation, a philanthropic organization committed to improving the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. “This exciting collaboration among Drs. Knox, Goodrum and Sullivan is an outstanding example of a potentially groundbreaking research project that could ultimately yield great benefits to human health.”
“This study is extremely important and timely, as known and yet-to-be discovered viruses are undoubtedly influencing human health and contributing to disease states," said Janko Nikolich-Zugich, Elizabeth Bowman Professor in Medical Research and head of the UA Department of Immunobiology.
Fernando Martinez, MD, UA Regents’ Professor of Pediatrics and director of both the Arizona Respiratory Center and the BIO5 Institute, agreed, adding, "Defining the viruses present in the human lung will be an important step in expanding our knowledge base of the pulmonary virome. In addition, techniques used to identify viruses hold promise for rapid diagnostics and treatments."
Other members of the study team at the UA include PhD candidates Katie Caviness and Ann Gregory, senior research scientist Bonnie Poulos, Heidi Erickson, and Lance Nesbit. The current study also will examine viral reservoirs in the context of lung transplants and thus is likely to have broad implications for our understanding of pulmonary immunity and rejection.
Welcome to the 10th Anniversary Edition of the Arizona Distance Classic Half Marathon, Quarter Marathon and Splendido 5K Presented By Northwest Medical Center, hosted by Ventana Medical Systems and in partnership with the Town of Oro Valley and All About Running And Walking.
Encouraging people to live a healthy lifestyle, Beth Ernst, the life enrichment manager at Splendido, has been selected to be the honorary race director for the Arizona Distance Classic.
Truly groundbreaking cancer research is reserved for those who find new ways to look at the disease. Ghassan Mouneimne is doing just that.
PHOENIX – For Doris Goodale’s grown daughter, drug addiction didn’t begin with a party and a syringe. It was a doctor and a pill.
U.S. Rep. Ron Barber has acted to spur research into preventing suicides – an especially troubling problem in Arizona which has a suicide rate almost 30 percent above the national average with one person dying by suicide every eight hours.
The University of Arizona's world-renowned College of Optical Sciences has received a $10 million gift for graduate student scholarships, the largest gift toward any scholarship in the University's history.
While people in the East and Midwest have been suffering through an intense cold system drifting in from the Arctic, those in the Southwest have been enjoying beautiful, warm weather – and rubbing it in to family and friends in cooler climates by boasting about it on social media.
WASHINGTON – Laid off and with a pre-existing medical condition, Tucson resident Sue Voelker said it was a struggle to get health insurance – until the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
A study by researchers at the University of Arizona Department of Surgery, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, showed that an innovative, customized exercise program applied to clinical practice substantially improved care for dementia patients.
The UA study combined high-intensity strength and functional exercises with specifically designed strategies for patients with dementia to promote exercise training in a hospital setting. The new exercise program was implemented in a hospital rehabilitation unit and compared with a usual-care rehabilitation program.
"Rehabilitation of basic functional tasks, such as the ability to rise from a chair or walking, is of utmost importance to reduce fall risk, prevent loss of independence and increase mobility-related quality of life in patients with dementia," said Michael Schwenk, lead author of the paper and a research associate with the UA Interdisciplinary Consortium on Advanced Motion Performanc, or iCAMP. "However, there has been a lack of evidence whether patients with dementia can benefit from more intensive rehabilitation exercise programs."
In addition to cognitive deﬁcits, people with dementia experience declining basic motor performances, such as walking, during the course of the disease. Motor deﬁcits worsen by the reduced physical activity and increase the fall rate in these patients, causing an additional disability burden. Based on motor and cognitive deﬁcits, people with dementia have a threefold risk of falling compared with those without cognitive impairment, Schwenk said.
Results of the UA study showed that the higher-intensity, tailored exercise program greatly increased the benefits of functional performances in patients with dementia as compared with the traditional rehabilitation program. The patients who received the novel intensive training improved substantially in basic motor functions, such as lower-extremity muscle strength and postural balance, which are linked to the high fall risk in this population.
"Improvement in lower extremity strength was four times higher in the group that received the new training program compared to the group that received usual rehabilitation care only," said Schwenk. "Results indicate that medium to high training adherence can be achieved in the majority of geriatric inpatients despite cognitive impairment and acute functional impairment."
Several studies have identified cognitive impairment as a negative predictor for functional rehabilitation outcomes and that memory loss, language impairments or lack of motivation may be barriers for effective rehabilitation. Schwenk said geriatricians and therapists struggle with which type of exercise and what level of intensity is appropriate for these patients, and that little guidance is available as to which exercise program is the most suitable. Specific exercise programs incorporating strategies to promote exercise training in patients with dementia have not been adequately developed, he said.
"The UA study provides important insight as to how geriatric rehabilitation exercise programs in patients with dementia can be adjusted and rendered more effective," Schwenk said. "Current findings may help to establish specifically designed rehabilitation exercise programs for patients with dementia and may provide guidance to clinicians as to which rehabilitation protocols are the most effective."
Schwenk, who also is a member of the UA's Arizona Center on Aging, collaborated on the study with a multidisciplinary team that included Bijan Najafi, iCAMP director, UA associate professor of surgery and engineering, and member of the Arizona Center on Aging, the UA Arthritis Center and the UA Cancer Center; Jane Mohler, iCAMP clinical adviser, associate director of the Arizona Center on Aging and associate professor of medicine with co-appointments in the UA colleges of Nursing and Pharmacy and the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health; Ilona Dutzi, William Micol and Klaus Hauer, all with the Department of Geriatric Research, Bethanien-Hospital/Geriatric Centre at the University of Heidelberg, Germany; and Stefan Englert, with the Institute of Medical Biometry and Informatics, University of Heidelberg, Germany.
Tucsonans Cole and Jeannie Davis have committed a $6 million leadership gift to the University of Arizona in order to initiate the first phase of renovations to McKale Memorial Center.
The Fox Tucson Theatre presents a concert featuring Mandy Barnett performing a tribute to Patsy Cline and other classic American music. This event is presented by the Skin Cancer Institute at the University of Arizona Cancer Center as a benefit concert to fight melanoma. Proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the fundraising goal for Melanoma Walk 2013, which will be held on Saturday, November 2nd from 2 - 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.fightmelanomatoday.org.
The University of Arizona's Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques Center is recognized in a new survey as an international model for higher education institutions when it comes to aiding students with learning and attention challenges.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Globally, this disease is diagnosed every 29 seconds and every 69 seconds someone dies from breast cancer. Men are not spared by this disease; over 2,000 men will be diagnosed this year and approximately 400 will die. Each year in Arizona about 4,660 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 790 die.