Archive for April, 2010


April 26, 2010


The Case Western Reserve University Department of Medicine has contributed several historical breakthroughs in the fields of medicine and health. Indeed, the CWRU School of Medicine boasts eight Nobel laureates among its faculty and alumni, including former professor of physiology John J.R. Macleod, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1923 for the discovery of insulin, and alumnus Paul C. Lauterbur, B.S. Chemistry ’51, who shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 2003 with Sir Peter Mansfield for discoveries in magnetic resonance imaging. Other notable research accomplishments by School faculty are the first surgical treatments of coronary artery disease, the first simulated milk formula for infants, development of the first heart-lung machine for use in open heart surgeries, the first successful genetic alteration of human cells in a test tube and creation of the first artificial human chromosome.

Today, research being conducted by faculty and students at the Department of Medicine ranges from examining infectious diseases of the developing world to creating the first stool test that detects colon cancer, and much more. Of additional note, the School of Medicine was awarded $64 million from the National Science Foundation to form the Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative in partnership with three hospital affiliates.

The Case Western Reserve University Department of Medicine is affiliated with some of the best hospitals in the United States and is committed to developing a research portfolio that is aligned with their strategic clinical initiatives. Department affiliates include University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic, The MetroHealth System and Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Through these partnerships, several cutting-edge technologies and research facilities are available to faculty and students. Core facilities of the School are the Case Medical Center, which comprises Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Health System, the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, and the MetroHealth Medical System Rammelkamp Center for Education and Research. Additional prominent facilities include the Case Center for Imaging Research, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Center for Aids Research, National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center (the only one of its kind in the United States), Center for Proteomics and Bioinformatics, and Center for Global Health and Disease.

To maintain such a high standard of biomedical research, the Department of Medicine continually looks to the future.

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Global Emergency – A Conversation with Henry Boom

April 26, 2010
Global Emergency :: Conversation with Dr Henry Boom about TB
Q: What is TB and how does it spread?
A: TB is a bacterial infectious disease that has long plagued humans— it commonly affects the lungs and if untreated, is fatal. One-third of the world’s population, about two billion individuals, is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes the disease, although only one in ten of these latent infections will advance to an active case of TB. It is spread person-to-person by droplets expelled from the lungs by coughing, sneezing, or speaking.

Q: Why is it viewed as a disease of poverty?
A: The threat of TB is greater in the world’s poorest communities because crowded and substandard living conditions increase the risk of contagious infection. In addition, there are often inadequate health systems, limiting access to care, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

Q: Individuals with HIV/AIDS are also at greater risk. Why?
A: Because TB is an opportunistic infection, HIV/AIDS patients with weakened immune systems are more susceptible. In fact, TB is the leading infectious killer of people with HIV/AIDS—and so while they are two diseases, they can often attack as if they were one.

Q: If one in three people carry the disease, why do only some develop an active case of TB?
A: Trying to understand the immune response to TB is a primary focus of our research. Other matters we are examining include better understanding of how the infection is transmitted, why the TB vaccine that is used worldwide to protect newborn and very young children is ineffective in prevention for adolescents and adults, and why there are different rates of patient response to drug treatment of the disease.

Q: Why is a disease that was once deemed conquered on the rise again?
A: Each year there are nearly nine million new TB cases and two million deaths worldwide. While 80% of the cases occur in only 22 countries, mostly in Africa and Asia, it is still a global emergency. The two major factors contributing to the growing incidence of the disease are the surge of drug-resistant strains of TB and its deadly synergy with the AIDS/HIV epidemic.

Q: Is the ultimate goal of TB research to find new vaccines?
A: The world certainly needs new vaccines to combat the problem of TB—and during the last 20 years, great progress has been made in areas essential for new vaccine development, including important work here at Case Western Reserve. In the nearer term, we must discover better screening methods to identify patients in the earlier stages of disease, treatment regimens that are more effective and easier to complete than current options, and drug combinations that treat TB without negatively affecting HIV treatment.

Learn more about Dr Boom at

Posted via email from CWRUmedicine’s blog

Should patients have access to their records?

April 19, 2010

CWRUmedicine Poll

In the growing world of modern medicine and PHR technology should patients have access to their medical records or is too much information for people to handle? Should physicians be involved in the process to ensure accurate analysis and handle emotions?

Share your opinion and tell us what you think.

Take the poll

Appointment of Neal J. Meropol, MD as the Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology

April 16, 2010

April 16, 2010 Case Medical Center

It is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Neal J. Meropol, MD as the Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Medicine at University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Dr. Meropol was recruited 8 months ago as the Lester E. Coleman, Jr. Professor of Cancer Research and Therapeutics and Section Chief of Medical Oncology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University and as Associate Director for Clinical Research in the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. During this period, Dr. Meropol has demonstrated remarkable leadership and administrative abilities in the Division and the Cancer Center.

Neal obtained his undergraduate degree at Princeton University and his MD degree at Vanderbilt University. He undertook his housestaff training in Internal Medicine here at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. His fellowship in Hematology and Medical Oncology occurred at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been a member of the faculty and staff at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Fox Chase Cancer Center before his recruitment to our medical center.

Dr. Meropol’s NIH-funded research program focuses on Medical Oncology clinical trials and outcomes. He has numerous national leadership roles in the American Society of Clinical Oncology and serves or has served on all major editorial boards of the leading journals in the specialty of Oncology. He has authored nearly 200 manuscripts and book chapters related to cancer prevention and treatment.

We look forward to Neal’s leadership of the Division of Hematology/Oncology during a very important period of growth for the Division and the Cancer Center.

Richard A. Walsh, M.D.
John H. Hord Professor and Chairman
Department of Medicine

Posted via email from CWRUmedicine’s blog

CWRU Ranked in the Nation’s Top 20 Medical Schools by U.S.News & World Report

April 15, 2010

Case Western Reserve’s School of Medicine ranked 20th in research by US News and World Report. Congratulations to all CWRUmedicine faculty and staff who contributed to this recognition.

Case Western Reserve University once again ranked as one of the best medical schools in the nation in the annual U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Graduate Schools” rankings. Of the 146 national programs surveyed by the magazine, Case Western Reserve’s School of Medicine ranked 20th in research—and overall, an improvement of five places over last year’s ranking. This ranking once again placed it highest among Ohio medical schools.

“This ranking reflects the extraordinary efforts of our faculty to continue to pursue medical breakthroughs, as well as the excellence of our student body,” said Pamela B. Davis, dean of the School of Medicine. “I congratulate everyone in our academic community on this well-deserved recognition.”

Learn more at

Uninsured heart attack victims delay ER trip :: Watch Dr James Fang as he discusses this issue with NBC

April 14, 2010

Uninsured heart attack victims delay ER trip

A new study of heart attack patients finds those without insurance or patients with very limited coverage are more likely to delay going to the emergency room when they’re having heart attack symptoms.

That’s a huge mistake, according to Arnold’s cardiologist, Dr. James Fang of University Hospitals Case Medical Center  in Cleveland.

“If you can get to somebody within what they call the golden hour, very first hour that this is occurring the chances of their long-term survival is very close to patients who never had a heart attack,” Fang said.

Watch the video ::

CWRUmedicine Annual Research Day

April 13, 2010

CWRUmedicine Annual Research DayResearch Day provides an opportunity for researchers in training at the Case Western Reserve University Department of Medicine to present their biomedical research in a public forum.

This group includes trainees at all levels of programming, including graduate, undergraduate, medical and MD/PhD students, as well as postdoctoral fellows and researchers and clinical residents and fellows.

Research Day also presents an opportunity for colleagues and visitors to learn about the cutting edge research occuring at Case Medical Center.

With multiple posters representing a wide array of research topics are displayed throughout the day, with presenters on hand to discuss their projects and research findings with visitors and guests.

Learn more at

Which tool do you use to keep up with medical news?

April 12, 2010

CWRUmedicine Poll

James Fang discusses LVADs for End-Stage Heart Failure with WebMD

April 11, 2010

More than 5 million Americans have heart failure, a progressive and often lethal condition that weakens the heart and saps its pumping power. The mainstays of treatment — including drug therapy, lifestyle modification, and surgery to implant pacemakers or defibrillators — can be quite effective at managing symptoms of mild to moderate heart failure.

But what about the estimated 150,000 Americans who suffer from chronic, severe heart failure?

Doctors traditionally have had little to offer these patients in the way of lifesaving treatment, short of a heart transplant. But with only about 2,100 donor hearts available each year, the demand for hearts inevitably outweighs the supply. And some patients are simply too old to qualify for a transplant. For them, what’s the alternative?

There’s now an option that could change the outlook for many with severe heart failure: implantable mechanical pumps called left ventricular-assist devices (LVADs or sometimes simply VADs.)

These devices were once just used as a “bridge” — a temporary stopgap to keep heart failure patients alive until they could get a heart transplant. But now, they have become so effective that doctors use them as a treatment in themselves. LVADs are now an alternative to heart transplants, permanently augmenting the action of a heart’s main pumping chamber.

In addition, the continuous-flow LVAD was associated with fewer infections and a significantly lower rate of failure.

“The continuous-flow LVAD has changed the landscape of advanced heart failure,” says James C. Fang, MD, chief medical officer of the Harrington-McLaughlin Heart and Vascular Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland and the author of an editorial on LVADs that accompanied the study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“In addition to being more durable, the new device is a lot smaller – about the size of a D battery. It’s also quiet. You can barely hear it. With the old devices, you could hear them coming down the street.”

Find the full article on

Susan Redline discusses Sleep Apnea Increases Stroke Risk with WebMD

April 9, 2010

Moderate to Severe Sleep Apnea Triples Stroke Risk in Men, Study Finds

WebMD | April 8, 2010

Obstructive sleep apnea more than doubles the risk of stroke in men and also increases the danger in women, new research indicates.

The finding comes from a major study of 5,422 people aged 40 and older who had no history of stroke. Researchers say increased risk of stroke appeared in men with mild sleep apnea and rose with severity.

Men with moderate to severe sleep apnea were about three times more likely to have a stroke than men with mild or no sleep apnea, researchers say.

The increased risk of stroke in women with obstructive sleep apnea was significant only in cases of severe apnea, according to the study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Stroke

Data were taken from the Sleep Heart Health Study, which is ongoing at a number of locations. The participants in the beginning performed a standard at-home sleep test to determine whether they had sleep apnea, and if so, its severity.

They were followed for about nine years, and during that time, 193 suffered strokes — 85 men out of 2,462 enrolled and 108 women out of 2,960.

“Although more women had strokes, relatively more men with sleep apnea than without sleep apnea had strokes, and less so in women,” study author Susan Redline, MD, MPH, of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, tells WebMD in an email. “I think that the relatively greater impact of sleep apnea on risk of stroke in men relates to the likely longer duration of sleep apnea in men than women.”

Researchers say more than 15 million strokes occur worldwide every year, and that about a third are fatal. Increased risk of stroke in people with sleep apnea exists even without other risk factors, such as weight, high blood pressure, race, diabetes, and smoking.

Men may be more at risk because they develop sleep apnea at younger ages, the researchers say, and thus go untreated for longer periods.

Learn more at