School of Medicine in the news

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The politics of fear: How it manipulates us to tribalism

Arash Javanbakht, assistant professor of psychiatry, wrote an article about the murder of 50 people in New Zealand, which he described as “another tragic reminder of how humans are capable of heartlessly killing their own kind just based on what they believe, how they worship, and what race or nationality they belong to.” Javanbakht, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist specializing in fear and trauma, offers some evidence-based thoughts on how fear is abused in politics. 
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Med students learn empathy and skills in Detroit street care programs

The Michigan State Medical School's Detroit Street Care program and Wayne State University's Street Medicine Detroit are helping medical students see past stereotypes to build relationships between homeless people and medical professionals to improve their quality of care, put them in touch with other resources like housing, and overcome some of the structural problems that make being homeless in Detroit especially deadly. In the process, the students themselves are engaging in a form of back to basics medicine that puts patients first. These programs allow medical students to reach out to homeless people on the street, carrying backpacks with medicine and diagnostic equipment, as well as necessities like hats, gloves, and food. They also meet with patients at places like the Tumaini Center, working under the tutelage of other medical students, nurse practitioners and doctors. On the street, they go out with a "peer support specialist," a formerly homeless person who helps them approach people.  
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Carry on John Dingell's legacy by making health care more affordable

Theresa A. Hastert, assistant professor in the Department of Oncology at Wayne State University School of Medicine, wrote an op-ed about the need to make healthcare more affordable. Hastert points out: “While Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA have expanded Americans’ access to health insurance coverage, it is no secret that our system has serious problems, and many still have trouble accessing care.” “The most fitting tribute to the late John Dingell, is to continue his decades-long legacy of improving Americans’ health and access to health care. His 60-year career in the House of Representatives included involvement in the most significant health care legislation in our nation’s history, including presiding over the House of Representatives in 1965 when it passed Medicare and sitting next to President Barack Obama when he signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. 
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Do student-athletes make good doctors?

In 2012, researchers published the results of a retrospective study looking at which candidates admitted to a otolaryngology residency program turned into the most successful clinicians as ranked by faculty. What they found was that those who got the highest faculty ratings were those with an “established excellence in a team sport.” While the researchers cautioned that not all residency program directors should rush to look for student-athletes, the study did isolate two traits of student-athletes that might translate into success in medicine: time management skills and teamwork. Indeed, it’s not specific athletic skills that matter, says M. Roy Wilson, M.D., president of Wayne State University and former chair of the AAMC Board of Directors, but the ability to juggle sport and academic responsibilities and excel at both. “Learning how to manage time efficiently is critical, and the main complaint that medical students have is just the volume of material they have to digest. So much of medicine is really about personality, or the ability to deal with people effectively and the ability to lead people. Those are characteristics we see in student-athletes who have been successful in team or individual sports.” 
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To live your best life, live the life you evolved for

Arash Javanbakht, assistant professor of psychiatry, wrote an article about dealing with life’s challenges that may instill fear and uncertainty in people. Javanbakht wrote: “As a psychiatrist specialized in anxiety and trauma, I often tell my patients and students that to understand how fear works in us, we have to see it in the context where it evolved. Ten thousand years ago, if another human frowned at us, chances were high one of us would be dead in a couple minutes. In the tribal life of our ancestors, if other tribe members did not like you, you would be dead, or exiled and dead. Biological evolution is very slow, but civilization, culture, society and technology evolve relatively fast. It takes around a million years for evolutionary change to happen in a species, and people have been around for about 200,000 years. 
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Letter: WSU programs aim to help patients

Dr. David R. Rosenberg, professor and chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, psychiatrist in chief at Wayne State University and the Detroit Medical Center, wrote a letter to the editor. Our team at Wayne State University has developed innovative programs targeted at our most vulnerable and high-risk populations that both improve outcome and reduce cost. We have published these results in prestigious peer-reviewed journals demonstrating significant reductions in lengths of stays and repeat visits of behavioral patients in the ED, and a 94 percent reduction in inpatient psychiatric hospitalization from the ED.
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Letter: WSU programs aim to help patients

Dr. David R. Rosenberg, professor and chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, psychiatrist in chief at Wayne State University and the Detroit Medical Center, wrote a letter to the editor. “As chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Wayne State University, I read and applaud the recent focus of Crain's on the growing behavioral health care crisis in our nation's emergency departments. Patients with serious emotional and behavioral problems in the emergency department remain the diagnostic and therapeutic orphans of the American health system. Sadly, in a system dominated by politics, posturing and "paying the bills," these patients are often short-changed. 
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Michigan health fund grants $500,000 for LGBT senior support

Corktown Health Center got $500,000 from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to offer care and support for older LGBT adults. The Detroit health center is the first focused on LGBT health in Michigan, according to its website. The two-year grant will fund its Silver Rainbow Health Initiative, according to a news release. The program will be a collaborative effort between Corktown Health, SAGE Metro Detroit and the Wayne State University School of Medicine. SAGE Metro Detroit grew out of the LGBT Older Adult Coalition. It works to build awareness and change for elderly members of the LGBT community. The Corktown Health Center opened in 2017 in a renovated 24,000-square-foot facility at 1726 Howard St., aiming to alleviate a lack of LGBT-focused care in the area. It partnered with Wayne State University and the Wayne State University Physician Group late that year to increase its capacity and expand its resources. The health center's services include primary care, health insurance help, behavioral health, and comprehensive HIV care and treatment. Pharmacy services are coming soon, according to its website.
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Acute flaccid myelitis: Cause of polio-like illness stumps doctors

Acute flaccid myelitis is a rare but serious condition affecting the nervous system causing the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak. While the condition or clinical manifestations of AFM are not new, the outbreak of cases that have been reported to the Center for Disease Control Prevention since 2014, when the agency began its surveillance for the condition, are new. "It's a clinical phenomenon that could be caused by a variety of causes," said Li, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Neurology and Scientific Director of Translational Neuroscience Initiative at Wayne State University. Li was among the doctors in Michigan who helped solve the mysteries surrounding West Nile, during its earliest outbreak in New York City. It was his research that produced scientific evidence showing that West Nile patients had damage to the spinal cord. "
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Become a blood donor during National Blood Donor Month

January is National Blood Donor Month: a time to raise awareness on the importance of donating blood. According to Dr. Martin Bluth, professor of pathology with Wayne State University, blood is used every two seconds in the U.S., which is why there's a constant need. "The different kinds of products that are required for blood utilization -- whether it's red cells, or plasma, or platelets -- are in constant demand simply because there's a shelf life to them." he told WWJ's Deanna Lites.
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To feel happier, we have to resolve to the life we evolved to live

As a psychiatrist specialized in anxiety and trauma, I often tell my patients and students that to understand how fear works in us, we have to see it in the context where it evolved. Ten thousand years ago, if another human frowned at us, chances were high one of us would be dead in a couple minutes. In the tribal life of our ancestors, if other tribe members did not like you, you would be dead, or exiled and dead.
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Blood markers suggest heart damage in amateur marathoners

Some of the same blood markers that spike following a heart attack also skyrocket in amateur long-distance runners, especially those who do a full marathon, researchers say. The small study in Spain tested non-professional runners before and after 10K, half-marathon and full-marathon races and found that a protein called troponin, which indicates damage to the heart muscle, surges to many times its normal level after a full marathon. It's not clear if this represents long-term damage, however, the study team writes in the journal Circulation. While deaths in long distance races are relatively rare, we shouldn't forget that the runner who sparked the marathon competitions, the Greek herald, Pheidippides, who in 490 BC ran a distance of about 26 miles from Marathon to Athens with the news of the victory his people had over the Persians died shortly after delivering that news, said Dr. James Glazier, a cardiologist at Detroit Medical Center and a clinical professor of medicine at Wayne State University, who wasn't involved in the study. The increase in troponin levels "suggests that marathons put quite a strain on the heart," Glazier said. "Other studies that looked at MRIs of the hearts of runners showed that they can become very enlarged after a race and we worry that with competitive running you might get some scarring of the heart and then maybe some rhythm problems."
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How two women in Detroit neighborhoods are bridging the city’s divide

Sonia Brown — known to many as "Auntie Na" — works with the Kresge Foundation and Wayne State University. She has created a health clinic, food pantry, clothing distribution center, and tutoring center called "Auntie Na's House." The “village,” as Brown refers to it, is on Yellowstone Street on Detroit's west side. “Our programs are community-based. It started off with just trying to help some of the young mothers in the community with day-to-day living and responsibilities: clothes and food," Brown said. Now, the program helps in a variety of ways including babysitting children, providing educational opportunities, and holding meet and greets for neighbors.
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Improving Detroiters' health is focus of Wayne State summit

Residents of Wayne County are the unhealthiest of Michigan's 83 counties, according to a ranking by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Bridging that disparity was the target of a Wednesday summit at Wayne State University. Participants suggested ways to promote healthy eating, behaviors and environments. But the focus was on disparities affecting Detroit’s population, including asthma, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The university brought together leaders of corporations, health care systems,  community organizations, foundations, policymakers and academics.
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Cardiosound wades into blood pressure monitoring

Turning a university research project into a for-profit company typically takes a veteran of the startup ecosystem, someone familiar with defining market opportunity and figuring out how to find customers in that market and make them pay for what you have. That was true for Cardiosound LLC, which formally launched in August. The company grew from efforts by Gaurav Kapur, a physician and associate professor of pediatrics at Wayne State, to find a better way to measure blood pressure, particularly in infants, where current methods are notoriously inaccurate. Kapur reached out to some colleagues at WSU — Sean Wu, a professor of mechanical engineering; Yong Xu, a professor of electrical and computer engineering; and William Lyman, a professor of pediatrics.
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Corktown Center partners with WSU to bring health care to underserved

Brianna Sohl, 23, is among a group of Wayne State University Medical School students involved with furthering health care for LBGT patients. Sohl volunteers at the Detroit-based Corktown Health Center, the first clinic of its kind in Metro Detroit to offer a safe, affirming space for people in the lesbian, bisexual, gay, transsexual community. “Many patients who self-identify as members of this community have not found physicians or clinics where they feel comfortable,” says Laytona Riddle-Jones, M.D., the medical director at Corktown and an assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at Wayne State. 
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The big data disruption: How big data analytics can impact health care

In health care, big data is being used to predict epidemics, improve care, prevent unnecessary diseases and deaths, motivate patient fitness and lower costs. As assistant vice president of Translational Science and Clinical Research Innovation at Wayne State University and associate chair of Clinical Research for WSU’s Department of Emergency Medicine, Phillip Levy and his team develop, design and conduct studies on the determinants of health and diseases in the Detroit area based on massive sets of data.
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An Hour with ... Dr. M. Roy Wilson

Wayne State University has always been a cornerstone of Detroit’s giving spirit, and since appointing Dr. M. Roy Wilson as president in 2013, the university has revved up its efforts to rehabilitate the urban community that surrounds it. Wilson brings years of experience in both university and health care administration. In 2016, President Wilson introduced Wayne Med-Direct, a program that guarantees tuition-free, direct admission to Wayne State School of Medicine to 10 talented high school students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds across the city.