Some noteworthy news recently came out from the UK:
It’s also noteworthy here in Oregon because one of the two techniques (yeah, there are actually two) was developed at OHSU’s Oregon National Primate Research Center.
Forbes summarized both procedures in this recent article:
One is being pioneered by Shoukhrat Mitalipov at the Oregon National Primate Research Center in Beaverton. His method involves inserting the nucleus from an egg with faulty mitochondria into a donor egg that has had its nucleus removed. A second method spearheaded by a team at Newcastle University in the UK involves transferring the nucleus of a fertilised egg into an empty donor egg.
This graphic provides and even clearer picture of the OHSU-developed therapy. (click the graphic for a full size version)
In this case, the UK seems to be a bit ahead of the U.S. in translating the therapy to humans. We’ll keep you posted on the progress.
Vaccines have been in the news a lot this week because Wednesday was exclusion day in Oregon schools. (The first day unvaccinated students aren’t allowed to attend school without records explaining the decision.)
OHSU Oregon National Primate Research Center researcher Mark Slifka, Ph.D., has appeared in several stories to talk about vaccines and the role they play.
Dr. Slifka will talk further about vaccine research and it’s accomplishments during a free lecture tonight at 7:30 p.m. More info here.
Meanwhile, if you want to know how successful vaccines have been in preventing illness over the years, an amazing graphic can be found in this Forbes story.
As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, this year marks OHSU’s 125th anniversary.
It’s a pretty fascinating history and one you can see up close in less than a month.
Starting March 14, the Oregon Historical Society will be home to an exhibit titled: OHSU: 125 Years of Healing, Teaching and Discovery.
Through historic photographs and artifacts, the exhibit explores the histories of the schools, programs, hospitals, and centers that comprise OHSU. Visitors will also discover many of the inventions and innovations that have emerged from OHSU faculty, alumni, and staff that have shaped health care delivery in Oregon and beyond.
For those facing chronic disease, staying out of the hospital can be a big challenge.
It’s uncomfortable for patients and a significant cost within our health system.
Thankfully, several hospitals and health systems are finding creative solutions to address the issue.
This past weekend, the Associated Press reported on these efforts in a story that appeared in news outlets across the country.
A couple excerpts:
Hospital readmissions are miserable for patients, and a huge cost — more than $17 billion a year in avoidable Medicare bills alone — for a nation struggling with the price of health care.
Now, with Medicare fining facilities that don’t reduce readmissions enough, the nation is at a crossroads as hospitals begin to take action.
“Patients leave the hospital not necessarily when they’re well but when they’re on the road to recovery,” said Dr. David Goodman, who led a new study from the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care that shows different parts of the country do a better job at keeping those people at home.
The Dartmouth study was commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which then invited the AP as a partner to explore through focus groups it organized what happens at the hospital level that makes readmissions so difficult to solve.
In Portland, Ore., nurses at Oregon Health & Science University start teaching heart failure patients what they’ll need to do at home on their first day in the hospital, instead of just on their last day.
In heart failure, a weakly pumping heart allows fluid to build up until patients gasp for breath. Spotting subtle early signs like swelling ankles or creeping weight gain is crucial. But at the Oregon Health & Science University, nurse practitioner Jayne Mitchell spied as patients were told what to watch for as they were discharged — and they barely paid attention.
The new plan: Learn by doing.
Every morning, hospitalized patients weigh themselves in front of a nurse, record the result and get quizzed on what they’d do at home. Gained 2 pounds or more? Call the doctor for fast help. Lots of day-to-day fluctuation? A weekly log can help a doctor tell if a patient is getting worse or skipping medication or having trouble avoiding water-retaining salty food.
Step 2: These patients need a check-up a week after they go home. The hospital makes the appointment with a primary care doctor before they’re discharged, to ensure they can get one.
And for some high-risk patients who live too far away to easily track, Mitchell is pilot-testing whether a high-tech option helps them stick with care instructions.
During that first vulnerable month at home, those patients record their morning weight, blood pressure and heart rate on a monitor called the Health Buddy. It automatically sends the information back to Mitchell’s team at OHSU and also will flash instructions to the patient if it detects certain risks.
In recognition of OHSU’s 125th Anniversary, a very special speaker visited campus on Monday.
Amanda Bennett is a Pulitzer Prize winner, former Oregonian editor and a remarkable author.
During her visit, she talked about her book, the Cost of Hope which chronicles her husband’s lost battle with cancer.
One reason the book is so compelling is its insights into some of the problems within our health care system. Hopefully it will also point to some solutions.
While your chance to hear Amanda’s story in person has come and gone, she did appear on OPB’s Think Out Loud program
Could the next big cure be resting at the bottom of the ocean?
That just might be to case according to some recent news out of OHSU.
From an OHSU press release:
OHSU researchers, in partnership with scientists from several other institutions, have published two new research papers that signal how the next class of powerful medications may currently reside at the bottom of the ocean. In both cases, the researchers were focused on ocean-based mollusks – a category of animal that includes snails, clams and squid and their bacterial companions.
Sea life studies aid researchers in several ways, including the development of new medications and biofuels. Because many of these ocean animal species have existed in harmony with their bacteria for millions of years, these benign bacteria have devised molecules that can affect body function without side effects and therefore better fight disease.
The findings are getting a significent amount of press attention. A few links to articles below:
New research from OHSU’s Oregon National Primate Research Center suggests this theory: external factors may influence the timing of puberty, just might be true.
The research, published this week by Nature Neuroscience, gained the attention of several news outlets including KGW-TV here in Portland.
An excerpt from our press release:
The paper explains how OHSU scientists are investigating the role of epigenetics in the control of puberty. Epigenetics refers to changes in gene activity linked to external factors that do not involve changes to the genetic code itself. The OHSU scientists believe improved understanding of these complex protein/gene interactions will lead to greater understanding of both early-onset (precocious) puberty and delayed puberty, and highlight new therapy avenues.
Click below to view the story
KATU came up to OHSU this week to do an interesting story on flu “hot spots” in the Portland region. KATU defined our hot spots as the areas of town with higher kid populations as the flu tends to spread amongst children more significantly that it does with adults.
Interesting topic. However, flu experts would push back a bit on one point made in the story.
The reporter says this info can help people decide “whether” to get a flu shot. Flu experts will tell you it’s actually a good idea to get a flu shot no matter what. More info from the CDC:
During this time, flu viruses are circulating in the population. An annual seasonal flu vaccine (either the flu shot or the nasal-spray flu vaccine) is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and lessen the chance that you will spread it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.