At a time when COVID-19 appears to be receding in much of Georgia, it’s worth revisiting the start of the pandemic in early 2020. Emory virologist Anne Piantadosi and colleagues have a paper in Viral Evolution on the earliest SARS-CoV-2 genetic sequences detected in Georgia.
Analyzing relationships between those virus sequences and samples from other states and countries can give us an idea about where the first COVID-19 infections in Georgia came from. We can draw Read more
Drug abuse researchers are using the social media site Reddit as a window into the experiences of people living with opioid addiction.
Abeed Sarker in Emory's Department of Biomedical Informatics has a paper in Clinical Toxicology focusing on the phenomenon of “precipitated withdrawal,” in collaboration with emergency medicine specialists from Penn, Rutgers and Mt Sinai.
Precipitated withdrawal is a more intense form of withdrawal that can occur when someone who was using opioids starts medication-assisted treatment Read more
The big news out of CROI (Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections) was a report of a third person being cured of HIV infection, this time using umbilical cord blood for a hematopoetic stem cell transplant. Emory’s Carlos del Rio gave a nice overview of the achievement for NPR this morning.
As del Rio explains, the field of HIV cure research took off over the last decade after Timothy Brown, known as “the Berlin patient,” Read more
Researchers at Emory University and the University of Georgia have received funding from the National Institutes of Health to study the neurobiological mechanisms for how regular aerobic exercise may prevent drug abuse relapse. The grant is for $1.9 million over the next five years.
â€œThis research will provide new insight into how regular exercise may attenuate drug abuse in humans,â€ Weinshenker says â€œMore importantly, it may reveal a neural mechanism through which exercise may prevent the relapse into drug-seeking behavior.â€
During the study, Weinshenker and UGA co-investigator Philip Holmes, professor of psychology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, will measure exercise-induced increases of the galanin gene activity in the rat brain.
Allen Dollar, MD, assistant professor of medicine (Division of Cardiology), Emory School of Medicine, andÂ Grady Chief of Cardiology, wanted to help those in developing countries long before he went to medical school. He’s donated his time and expertise in places like Cambodia, Vietnam, El Salvador and Sri Lanka, using his vacations to teach and heal. For the last decade, through Children’s Cross Connections, he’s held clinics and taught medical students in Ethiopia.
International Conference on Medical Volunteerism met at Emory in April
Food service workers in Emory’s hospitals have always been conscientious about reducing waste, trying to walk the fine line between preparing too much food and too little.
But when new pilot programs in composting food waste began recently at Wesley Woods Geriatric Hosptial and then Emory University Hospital, staff were surprised to see how much waste piled upâ€”and how much could be diverted from landfills or garbage disposals and converted into compost, some of which will return to Emory to enrich campus flower beds.
Food composting efforts such as these are some of the fruits of a sustainability task force established in health sciences by Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Fred Sanfilippo, MD, PhD.
Director of Emoryâ€™s food and nutrition services Lynne Ometer, and her team, began connecting Emory’s hospitals with a waste-to-compost program already under way at Emory University.
As the smallest and most compact of the hospitals, Wesley Woods Geritric Hospital went first, focusing on “preconsumer” waste – scraps generated in food preparation or unusable food items left after serving, and on some “postconsumer” waste – food that has already been served to a patient.
One of the most important lessons from this past yearâ€™s pandemic, Fauci said, is the need to â€œconnect the dotsâ€ between seasonal and pandemic influenza and not view them as two separate phenomena.
â€œRather than trying to figure out one priority group over another,” Fauci said, “if we can get into a rhythm of getting most people vaccinated each year, we will have most of the population with some degree of immunity. We will get into a situation where we donâ€™t need to go from a seasonal approach to a crisis approach.
A free weekend conference at Emory, beginning April 16 at 7 p.m., brings together health professionals and the general public to learn more about medical volunteerism. The event features keynote addresses, exhibits and brainstorming panel discussions on a variety of topics. Participants will be able to network with the general public, students, nurses and physicians representing all areas of health care.
Conference organizers say they are offering a diverse array of events and presenters in hopes of inspiring more people to volunteer and create synergies among volunteer organizations and volunteers themselves.
“We want attendees to walk away with new, innovative ways and connections to help improve the overall health of the human race, particularly the underserved,” says Neil Shulman, MD, associate professor at Emory School of Medicine and chairman of the Conference Organizing Committee.
View of MR/PET scanner from front, with Ciprian Catana of MGH and Larry Byars of Siemens
The scanner is one of four world-wide and one of two in the United States, and permits simultaneous MR (magnetic resonance) and PET (positron emission tomography) imaging in human subjects. This provides the advantage of being able to combine the anatomical information from MR with the biochemical/metabolic information from PET. Potential applications include functional brain mapping and the study of neurodegenerative diseases, drug addiction and brain cancer.
Thursday’s event brought together leaders of the three other MR/PET programs in Boston, JÃ¼lich and TÃ¼bingen, the Siemens engineers who designed the device, and the Atlanta research community to explore the possibilities of the technology.
The drugs now available to treat Alzheimer’s address the symptoms of the disease — memory problems — rather than the underlying mechanism of neurodegeneration.
But what if something could do both? Here’s a tantalizing prospect, hinted at by a long-running thread of brain research: compounds that boost the function of certain acetylcholine circuits in the brain might also modify production of toxic beta-amyloid protein.
The possibility grows out of the properties of certain receptors for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, called “muscarinic acetylcholine receptors.” Acetylcholine is a major transmitter of signals in the brain, and there are several varieties of receptors, or receiver dishes for the signals, on brain cells.
While in Atlanta, Chan also visited Emory to meet with President James Wagner and Emory Global Health Institute Director Koplan. She heard presentations about global health field projects by students in public health, medicine, and theology.
Chan recalled the â€œlost decade for development,â€ the 1980s, a dismal time for public health. The 1979 energy crisis followed by a recession made for tighter public health resources and few health care improvements worldwide, she explained. Some developing countries have still not recovered.
In contrast, public health has faired better in the new millennium, when the world has benefited from financial commitments backed by substantial resources, often from innovative sources, says Chan. Read more
A remarkably successful 20-year program of tobacco control in Hong Kong can serve as a best-practices example for China and other nations, says Jeffrey Koplan in an article published online today in The Lancet. Koplan is vice president for global health at Emory and director of the Emory Global Health Institute.
Hong Kongâ€™s successful tobacco control program began with a 1982 health ordinance launching a multi-step approach including legislative amendments (regulation of indoor smoking, pack warnings, ban on tobacco advertising), a steeply increased tobacco tax, school-based education, mass-media campaigns, community events, and leadership from the medical community.
Smoking prevalence in Hong Kong fell from 23.3 percent in 1982 to 11.8 percent in 2008 through the efforts of the Tobacco Control office of the Department of Health and NGOs such as the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health.
An increase in the number of the nationâ€™s elderly and the aging population of doctors is causing a doctor shortage in the United States, with estimates that the demand for doctors will outstrip supply by 2020, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Fred Sanfilippo, MD, PhD, executive vice president for health affairs at Emory, CEO of Emoryâ€™s Woodruff Health Sciences Center and chairman of Emory Healthcare, says, â€œThere is an ever-changing cycle of shortages. Advances in technology and treatment can reduce or increase demand for specialists needed in one area or another much more quickly than it takes to train or absorb them.â€
For instance, the demand for cardiac surgeons has slowed dramatically as a result of better medications and stents. Changes in insurance and Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement can also impact specialties, he says.
â€œSince medical school graduates now carry so much debt, the specialty they choose is often influenced by potential income, which is most evident in the low numbers going into primary care.â€