Feb 23 2012

Advances in Stem Cells

U-M human embryonic stem cell line placed on national registry

The University of Michigan’s first human embryonic stem cell line will be placed on the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s registry, making the cells available for federally-funded research. It is the first of the stem cell lines derived at the University of Michigan to be placed on the registry.

A stem cell line is a family of constantly dividing cells, the product of a single group of stem cells. The cells can replicate for long periods of time in a research lab.

“This is significant, because acceptance of these cells on the registry demonstrates our attention to details of proper oversight, consenting, and following of NIH guidelines established in 2009,” says Gary Smith, Ph.D., who derived the line and also is co-director of the U-M Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies, part of the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute.

“It now makes the line available to researchers who can apply for federal funding to use it in their work; this is an important step.”

Researchers envision a future where “normal” stem cell lines and disease-specific stem cell lines can be used together to discover treatments and cures for genetic diseases.

Read the full press release.

Feb 16 2012

Donor as First Patient

Anatomical Donations Program gives students foundation for careers in medicine

Medical student Halley Crissman’s first patient was an 80-year-old male with a history of cancer. But before she even began her basic anatomy class, the patient gave Crissman an amazing gift: his body for study.

“We were told by our professors on the first day that the body we were receiving for anatomy was our first patient,” says Crissman. “My experiences learning anatomy through my donor have been humbling and moving.”

Crissman is one of several hundred U-M undergraduate students, medical students and researchers who benefit every year from body donations to U-M’s Anatomical Donations Program. Anatomy, the study of the structure of the human body, is one of the most important courses in the education of physicians, dentists, and other health professionals such as nurses and physical therapists. In most of these fields, the study of anatomy comes first in the curriculum and serves as the foundation for other courses.

“Working with the body . . . it’s easy and hard at the same time,” says the first-year medical student. “You’re working on the hand, for instance, and you realize this is someone who used their hands for all kinds of things. It does take you aback. But to view the internal structures—there’s no comparison. There’s an amazing difference between looking at the real thing and an artist’s rendition.” Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 9 2012

Pain relief in many forms

U-M nurse anesthetist helps those in need at work, at home, around the globe

It’s not unusual for Elizabeth Studley to spend the majority of her day helping others.

As a nurse anesthetist at C.S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, as well as Henry Ford Hospital, Studley closely monitors multiple patients each day making sure they are safe, comfortable and relaxed.

Working alongside an anesthesiologist, she administers pain control and relief for people of all ages.

“I try to help patients have a great experience from the moment we meet before surgery until when they wake up in the recovery room,” she says.

It took several moving trucks to transport boots, jeans, shirts, MP3 players and more from Studley’s Canton home to the New Directions orphanage last December. She holds similar drives before the children return to school each fall.

Studley’s determination to help others doesn’t diminish when she leaves work. Throughout the year she volunteers at New Directions, an orphanage on an 80-acre campus in Farmington, run by Lutheran Child and Family Service of Michigan. Each holiday season, she encourages co-workers, friends and family to donate to the orphanage so that each of its 200 kids has a great holiday. Since 2008, Studley has raised approximately $35,000 a year in gifts and clothing.    Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 2 2012

Prevent the Spread

Understanding precautions to stop the spread of potentially deadly infections

An emerging breed of germs is concerning patients, health care workers and health care organizations alike. They are called MDRO infections, for multi-drug resistant organisms, and what makes them so scary is they are very difficult to treat with standard antibiotics.

“The Health System effectively prevents outbreaks of dangerous infections among its patient population,” says Lisa Sturm, MPH, CIC, Infection Control and Epidemiology. “Yet, individual cases of these infections appear every month that can become serious and even fatal if not detected early or if a patient’s immune system is compromised.”

The good news is that, most of the time, MDRO infections are preventable if health care workers take the proper Contact Precautions outlined in the recently updated policy. The challenge is ensuring compliance during a caregivers busy and, often times, urgent workday.

“We are trying to break the chain of patient to patient spread,” Sturm says. Read the rest of this entry »