Aug 15 2012

It’s not just all about fruits and veggies

Our Registered Dietitians help our patients heal

A typical American diet consists of 30 to 40% fat, 10% protein, and 60 to 65% carbohydrates, but when you’re a young child with epilepsy, food becomes a medical therapy that can reduce or eliminate your seizures.

Such is the case with a three-year-old Health System patient whose EEG showed he was having about 100 seizures a night. But only two weeks after Health System registered dietitians put him on the Ketogenic Diet—85% fat, 10% protein and 5% carbohydrates—the boy was having fewer than two seizures a day. One month later, after a few tweaks to the diet, he was seizure free.

Three months later, he traveled with his family to Disneyland, an amazing feat for a child who had been exhausted and practically housebound for months.

“Patients tell us all the time, ‘I have my kid back,’” says Registered Dietitian Denise Potter, RD, CDE, who is part of the Ketogenic Diet program. “Up until then, they’d virtually lost them to the seizures—mentally and emotionally. Now they can go to school. They can grow and develop to their full potential.”

“These are the kinds of results our registered dietitians see daily with all sorts of patients throughout the Health System—adults and pediatric alike,” says Sandhya Padiya, MS, RD, CSP, manager, Clinical Nutrition Services and C&W. “The pediatric dietitian works with the medical team by understanding the medical necessities and the parents’ desires to feed their child.”

Typically, treatment also includes hours of teaching and counseling families before, during and after the special diet has begun. Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 1 2010

Seeing Crohn’s clearly

U-M research may help bowel disease sufferers avoid unnecessary surgery

The problem

Peter Higgins, M.D., Ph.D.

Crohn’s disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease so debilitating at times that patients may choose to drop out of college, hesitate to take risks, or decide to not have children simply because they don’t know when they’re going to get sick again.

The condition is often diagnosed in young people between the ages of 15 and 25 and brings pain, vomiting, nausea and other unpleasant symptoms caused by uncontrolled inflammation of the intestine.

Peter Higgins, M.D., Ph.D.Current therapy is effective at treating the inflammation, but over time damage to the intestine causes scarring, narrowing or even blockages. Patients may come back to the hospital multiple times in a given year and, until now, clinicians were unable to determine whether symptoms were caused by inflammation or by a blockage that requires surgery. Typically, a physician might prescribe steroids in hope that the problem is inflammatory; the same patient may be back in six months only to have surgery after all. Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 1 2010

Eluding Lupus

U-M researchers aim to conquer short-term and long-term effects

The problem

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects an estimated 500,000 to 1.5 million Americans, most of them women of child-bearing age. Symptoms range from rash, arthritis, hair loss and chest pain to more severe problems like kidney and neurologic disease. “There is a price that people pay for early menopause,” he says. Women who go through menopause before age 40 have increased mortality, cancer, cardiovascular and neurologic diseases, and osteoporosis, and are up to six times more likely to suffer from depression. This, in addition to not being able to have children.

Additionally, Health System researchers have found that lupus patients suffer rapid and severe damage to blood vessels, which causes a markedly higher incidence of heart disease.  So, even if lupus symptoms are controlled for 20 years, patients still have a 5- to 50-fold increased risk of heart disease.

The concept

The use of Cytoxan, a drug that is highly toxic to a woman’s ovaries, resulted in infertility in 20 to 50 percent of women who were treated with the drug.  An early step to reduce toxicity was to introduce sequential therapy — using the toxic drug just long enough to induce a remission and then switching to a safer drug. Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 1 2010

Meeting of the Minds

Center for Organogenesis bridges scientific and clinical work on organ-specific diseases

The issue

Gary D. Hammer, M.D., Ph.D., understands the challenges of linking scientific research, or “bench work,” to a patient’s bedside. He leads the Multidisciplinary Endocrine Oncology Destination Program in the Comprehensive Cancer Center. It includes the Adrenal Cancer Program, one of only a few programs in the United States recognized as an international center of excellence for the treatment of adrenal cancer.

After many years of research and much collaboration, the adrenal team is beginning to identify a variety of genetic alterations that they hope will serve as targets for potential therapies. Indeed the program now coordinates most of the national and international clinical trials for adrenal cancer.

“Translational science is an interactive process of discovery,” Hammer says. “This requires a team approach. Since many faculty walk strictly along clinical or scientific lines, you need groups of scientists and clinicians who together can inform the bedside about the bench and vice versa.”

So, in a world where translational science has become a priority, how can we truly transform the University of Michigan into a translational campus? Hammer believes that scientists and clinicians who study the development of organs will play an essential role. And that’s where the U-M Center for Organogenesis comes in. Read the rest of this entry »