Tag Archives: diabetes

bioscience

Helios Scholars at TGen featured at symposium

The 45 interns in the 2014 Helios Scholars at TGen summer internship program graduated today, following a daylong scientific symposium at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.

Arizona’s future leaders in biology and medicine worked for eight weeks in one of the nation’s premier scientific internship programs, sponsored by the Helios Education Foundation in partnership with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

At today’s symposium, students presented scientific posters and oral presentations about their biomedical investigations, which were conducted under the one-on-one guidance and mentorship of TGen researchers. Like their mentors, Helios Scholars use cutting-edge technology to help discover the genetic causes of diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, infectious disease and many types of cancer.

This is the eighth class of Helios Scholars at TGen, funded for 25 years by Helios Education Foundation. Helios is focused on creating opportunities for individuals to succeed in postsecondary education by advancing the academic preparedness of all students and fostering a high-expectations, college-going culture in Arizona and Florida.

“TGen’s summer intern program enables students to learn first-hand what it is like to work in a professional scientific environment, and helps them discover the skills they will need to make important contributions in science and medicine,” said Helios Education Foundation President and CEO Paul Luna. “The Helios Scholars at TGen program is helping prepare students for further academic success and for meaningful careers that not only benefit them, but will improve people’s lives through breakthrough medical and scientific research.”

The program is open to Arizona high school, undergraduate and graduate level students, including those in medical school.

“Our partnership with the Helios Education Foundation helps prepare a new generation of biomedical investigators for Arizona,” said Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen’s President and Research Director. “As we help them explore the biosciences beyond the classroom, TGen provides them with opportunities to participate in potentially life-changing research that can benefit actual patients.”

Helios Scholars also participate in professional development programs in science communication, public speaking, and basic business etiquette. This year’s interns were selected from among more than 500 applications.

“Our students arrive here with a passion for science and medicine,” said Julie Euber, TGen’s Education and Outreach Specialist and supervisor of the Helios Scholars at TGen. “Participating in authentic research projects helps shape their skills and abilities, preparing them for a lifetime of discovery and achievement in the biosciences.”

The program application opens in January of each year for the following summer at www.tgen.org/intern.

technical education career training looking at petri dish

Arizona Students Awarded United Health Scholarships

Six Arizona students have been awarded a scholarship from United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative to pursue a career in health care. The students  joined future health leaders from across the country in Washington, D.C. for the United Health Foundation’s Fifth Annual Diverse Scholars Forum.

Kaitlyn Benally of Tuba City is a sophomore at Northern Arizona University studying biomedical sciences, with the goal of educating people about the risks associated with diabetes.

“I hope to make a difference as a member of the future health workforce by working with children and their parents to help them understand the benefits of healthy living,” she said. “Diabetes is a growing health concern on the reservation. I will educate people about the risks and show them ways to improve their lifestyle to become healthier.”

Another scholarship winner, Cecilia Espinoza of El Mirage, is studying nursing at Grand Canyon University. After watching her father pass away from cancer, she decided to pursue a career as an oncology nurse.

Other Arizona scholarship recipients, and their areas of study, include:

* Regis Maloney of Tonalea, Environmental Health at Dine College
* Jeffrey Sleppy of Chinle, Biology at Dine College
* Lorenza Villegas-Murphy of Litchfield Park, Nursing at Arizona State University
* Mycolette Anderson of Lukachukai, Nursing at Dine College

United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative, through its partner organizations, awarded $1.2 million in scholarships in the 2012-2013 school year to 200 students from diverse, multicultural backgrounds, with nearly $2 million in scholarships announced for 2013-2014. This is part of the foundation’s ongoing commitment to build a more diverse health care workforce.

By the end of 2013, United Health Foundation will have awarded $10 million in scholarships to diverse students pursing health careers. Nearly 70 scholarships have been awarded in Arizona since 2007.

“We know patients do best when they are treated by people who understand their language and culture,” said Kate Rubin, president, United Health Foundation. “United Health Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to support these outstanding students who are demonstrating impressive purpose and passion and who will help lead the way to better health access and outcomes.”

United Health Foundation made the announcement at its fifth annual Diverse Scholars Forum, which brings more than 60scholarship recipients to Washington, D.C., July 24-26 to celebrate the scholars and inspire them to work toward strengthening the nation’s health care system. This year’s event gives these future health care professionals the opportunity to meet and interact with members of Congress and leaders from a variety of health care fields.

According to the American Medical Association and Association of American Medical Colleges, the number of multicultural health professionals is disproportionately low when compared to the overall population. For example, while about 15 percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic/Latino, only 5 percent of physicians and 4 percent of registered nurses are Hispanic/Latino. About 12 percent of the population is African American, yet only 6 percent of physicians and 5 percent of registered nurses are African American.

Given the changing demographics in the United States and the volumes of people entering the health care system due to the Affordable Care Act, there is an even greater need for a more diverse health care workforce.

Research shows that when patients are treated by health professionals who share their language, culture and ethnicity, they are more likely to accept and adopt the medical treatment they receive1. Increasing the diversity of health care providers will reduce the shortage of medical professionals in underserved areas, reduce inequities in academic medicine and address variables – such as language barriers – that make it difficult for patients to navigate the health care system.

“We are pleased to support these exceptional students in their efforts to achieve their educational goals and work to improve our health care system,” said Rubin. “The Diverse Scholars Initiative helps these scholars fund their education, and gives them an opportunity to learn from one another and interact with experts who are leading the way in improving patient care.”

United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative is one facet of the foundation’s commitment to build and strengthen the health workforce. United Health Foundation supports additional programs like STEMPREP, which aims to produce the next generation of researchers in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medical fields. The foundation also supports A.T. Still University’s Connect the Docs Graduate Loanship Program that provides loan repayments to four qualifying graduates who secure jobs in community health centers.

For more information about the Diverse Scholars Initiative, visit www.unitedhealthfoundation.org/dsi.html.

childrens hospital

Phoenix Children's Hospital Ranked in Five Specialties

Phoenix Children’s Hospital has been named to U.S. News & World Report’s 2013-14 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings, the only Arizona hospital to make the highly coveted list.

Best Children’s Hospitals recognizes the top 50 U.S. hospitals in each of these pediatric specialties: cancer, cardiology & heart surgery, diabetes & endocrinology, gastroenterology & GI surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology & neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology. Across the country, 87 hospitals ranked in at least one of the 10 specialties.

The following Phoenix Children’s subspecialties made the highly coveted list:
* Cardiology and Heart Surgery
* Neonatology
* Nephrology
* Neurology and Neurosurgery
* Urology

“It’s very gratifying to be listed among the best children’s hospitals across the country,” said Robert L. Meyer, President and CEO of Phoenix Children’s. “I offer sincere congratulations to the entire staff and physicians at the Hospital for their role in achieving this milestone. We’re delighted U.S. News & World Report has recognized our outstanding team again this year.”

U.S. News introduced the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings in 2007 to help families of sick children find the best medical care available. The rankings offer families an exclusive look at quality-related information at the individual hospital level.

Each hospital’s reputation among doctors was only a small part of what U.S. News factored into its rankings. Three-quarters of each hospital’s score was determined through an analysis of patient outcomes and data on the structural resources each hospital has for pediatric care. To gather data, U.S. News used two surveys: a clinical questionnaire sent to pediatric hospitals and, for the reputational assessment, a survey of 150 pediatric specialists and subspecialists in each specialty. The 1,500 physicians were asked where they would send the sickest children in their specialty, setting aside location and expense.

“Phoenix Children’s Hospital deserves high praise,” said Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow. “Ranking shows the dedication and expertise that Phoenix Children’s brings to the care of children who need those qualities the most. We think it is important to identify and call attention to pediatric centers like this one.”

Survival rates, adequacy of nurse staffing, procedure volume, and much more can be viewed on http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/pediatric-rankings and will be published in the U.S. News Best Hospitals 2014 guidebook, available beginning in August.

childrens hospital

Phoenix Children’s Hospital Ranked in Five Specialties

Phoenix Children’s Hospital has been named to U.S. News & World Report’s 2013-14 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings, the only Arizona hospital to make the highly coveted list.

Best Children’s Hospitals recognizes the top 50 U.S. hospitals in each of these pediatric specialties: cancer, cardiology & heart surgery, diabetes & endocrinology, gastroenterology & GI surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology & neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology. Across the country, 87 hospitals ranked in at least one of the 10 specialties.

The following Phoenix Children’s subspecialties made the highly coveted list:
* Cardiology and Heart Surgery
* Neonatology
* Nephrology
* Neurology and Neurosurgery
* Urology

“It’s very gratifying to be listed among the best children’s hospitals across the country,” said Robert L. Meyer, President and CEO of Phoenix Children’s. “I offer sincere congratulations to the entire staff and physicians at the Hospital for their role in achieving this milestone. We’re delighted U.S. News & World Report has recognized our outstanding team again this year.”

U.S. News introduced the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings in 2007 to help families of sick children find the best medical care available. The rankings offer families an exclusive look at quality-related information at the individual hospital level.

Each hospital’s reputation among doctors was only a small part of what U.S. News factored into its rankings. Three-quarters of each hospital’s score was determined through an analysis of patient outcomes and data on the structural resources each hospital has for pediatric care. To gather data, U.S. News used two surveys: a clinical questionnaire sent to pediatric hospitals and, for the reputational assessment, a survey of 150 pediatric specialists and subspecialists in each specialty. The 1,500 physicians were asked where they would send the sickest children in their specialty, setting aside location and expense.

“Phoenix Children’s Hospital deserves high praise,” said Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow. “Ranking shows the dedication and expertise that Phoenix Children’s brings to the care of children who need those qualities the most. We think it is important to identify and call attention to pediatric centers like this one.”

Survival rates, adequacy of nurse staffing, procedure volume, and much more can be viewed on http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/pediatric-rankings and will be published in the U.S. News Best Hospitals 2014 guidebook, available beginning in August.

child.hospital

UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation Offers Grants

The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) is seeking grant applications from families in need of financial assistance to help pay for their child’s health care treatments, services or equipment not covered, or not fully covered, by their commercial health insurance plan.

Qualifying families can receive up to $5,000 per grant to help pay for medical services and equipment such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, counseling services, surgeries, prescriptions, wheelchairs, orthotics, eyeglasses and hearing aids.

To be eligible for a grant, children must be 16 years of age or younger. Families must meet economic guidelines, reside in the United States and have a commercial health insurance plan. Grants are available for medical expenses families have incurred 60 days prior to the date of application as well as for ongoing and future medical needs. Parents or legal guardians may apply for grants at www.uhccf.org, and there is no application deadline. Organizations or private donors can make tax-deductible donations to UHCCF at www.uhccf.org. Donations are used for grants to help children and families in the region in which they are received.

“The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation is dedicated to improving a child’s health and quality of life by making it easier to access needed medical-related services. The grants enable families to focus on their children’s health instead of worrying about how they’ll pay their medical bills,” said Jeri Jones, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Arizona. “Eligible families are encouraged to apply online for a medical grant today and take advantage of this valuable resource.”

In 2012, more than 36 grants totaling more than $95,000 were awarded to families in Arizona. Nationwide, more than 1,300 grants, worth more than $4.1 million, were awarded for treatments associated with medical conditions such as cancer, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, hearing loss, autism, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, ADHD and cerebral palsy. As successful fund-raising efforts continue to grow, UHCCF is hoping to help more children and families in 2013.

child.hospital

UnitedHealthcare Children's Foundation Offers Grants

The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) is seeking grant applications from families in need of financial assistance to help pay for their child’s health care treatments, services or equipment not covered, or not fully covered, by their commercial health insurance plan.

Qualifying families can receive up to $5,000 per grant to help pay for medical services and equipment such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, counseling services, surgeries, prescriptions, wheelchairs, orthotics, eyeglasses and hearing aids.

To be eligible for a grant, children must be 16 years of age or younger. Families must meet economic guidelines, reside in the United States and have a commercial health insurance plan. Grants are available for medical expenses families have incurred 60 days prior to the date of application as well as for ongoing and future medical needs. Parents or legal guardians may apply for grants at www.uhccf.org, and there is no application deadline. Organizations or private donors can make tax-deductible donations to UHCCF at www.uhccf.org. Donations are used for grants to help children and families in the region in which they are received.

“The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation is dedicated to improving a child’s health and quality of life by making it easier to access needed medical-related services. The grants enable families to focus on their children’s health instead of worrying about how they’ll pay their medical bills,” said Jeri Jones, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Arizona. “Eligible families are encouraged to apply online for a medical grant today and take advantage of this valuable resource.”

In 2012, more than 36 grants totaling more than $95,000 were awarded to families in Arizona. Nationwide, more than 1,300 grants, worth more than $4.1 million, were awarded for treatments associated with medical conditions such as cancer, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, hearing loss, autism, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, ADHD and cerebral palsy. As successful fund-raising efforts continue to grow, UHCCF is hoping to help more children and families in 2013.

Nutrition

Media-Influenced Weight Loss, Nutrition: Make Informed Decisions

“I really don’t eat that badly.” If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that, I’d be retired. If you’re seeking advice on nutrition there’s something about your body you want to change that your current eating habits are not satisfying.

Your nutrition

What is the basis for your nutritional guidelines? Are you following food industry principles and sponsored studies or independent PhD research? Most of the reliable information isn’t new; it has just been overshadowed by business propaganda.

Coincidence?

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, obesity in the U.S. has increased dramatically since 1985; currently one-third of adults are in this category. And the 1980 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans supported a major shift to double the recommended servings of carbohydrates, including starches, whole and enriched grains, as well as a greater reduction in fats. The effort was to reduce the risk of chronic diseases ― but it’s not working. 
Obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer percentages are all on the rise. Furthermore, food is big business, and all major industries have lobbyists influencing government agencies. As food companies’ profits expand, so does your waistline. So whose standards are you following?

More Confusion

Spend this weekend counting how many ads you view in any media for diet/nutrition programs. Now, think back through the last 10 years. Atkins®, Sugar Busters®, Zone®, South Beach®, Weight Watchers®, Nutrisystem®, etc. Which one is the best?

All are based on reasonable medical facts. Try any one and follow the program strictly, no exceptions, and you will lose weight. And then what? Whether it’s because you reach your goal weight or quit during the program, they are all banking on the fact that you will stop.

They are all companies seeking profits, and they have statistics predicting when you will gain the weight back and return to the program or try another one. It’s a vicious cycle that wreaks havoc on your body physically, mentally and emotionally.

What do I do?

Stop focusing on weight loss. This is a short-term goal with little concern for more important factors. Reducing your total body weight doesn’t improve your body. Focus your efforts on improving your overall health ― blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, sleeping better, sustained energy, elevated mood, mental clarity, and so on. The side effect? Long-term fat loss; you won’t be merely losing weight, but losing fat. Remember, it’s possible to stay the same weight while also lowering body fat.

Try this logic. Would Mother Nature provide anything to deliberately harm you? Is she focused on profit? All-natural means you can chase it, pull it out of the water, dig it out of the ground, or pick it off of a plant. Then you can eat it as is (or with minimal cooking because we’re not cavemen anymore).

Ever try Natural Cheetos? Tell me where I can find the Cheetos tree so I can pick a fresh bag. Remember that on your next trip to the grocery store. There are programs such as Paleo or Gluten-free living that are a bit extreme, but they do teach you to make better selections.

Nothing worthwhile is easy

Remember why and how badly you want this. It takes effort, discipline and desire. If it was easy everyone would look and feel great!

Educate yourself to make proper choices for your body and your lifestyle. Are you expected to maintain these choices all the time? Yes! That’s what a lifestyle change means ― for the rest of your life.

And although clean eating can put more demands on your budget, ask yourself this: would you rather spend now on better food or later on increased medical bills?

Sex, Intimacy and Illness

Let’s Talk About Sex, Intimacy … And Illness

For those fighting a serious illness, maintaining a healthy sex life and keeping intimacy alive can be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. During this time of the year, here’s some advice on how to overcome these obstacles and keep your hearts and your relationships healthy.


It’s February – and everyone is seeing red.

Not only are we in “Valentine Month,” but each February we also observe American Heart Month.

Both observances, however, can be quite hard for those in our lives fighting a serious illness. A key reason is intimacy, which affects our hearts — and our heart health — in a myriad of ways.

And, unfortunately, sex, sexuality and intimacy are among the most overlooked topics among patients of either gender while fighting disease such as cancer or diabetes — and all are very different but necessary conversations to have with loved ones and medical professionals. Below, we will take a look at each aspect and offer recommendations on how to deal with matters of the heart if either are fighting illness — or loving someone — who is.

Sex

Serious diseases such as cancer and diabetes can make the physical act of having sex difficult or impossible. This is especially true among those fighting a disease that is focused in or near a sex organ such as ovarian, testicular and gynological cancers. Simply put, some diseases make the act of intercourse impossible.

Diabetes can impact both sexes in a similar way, sometimes restricting blood flow to the point of erectile dysfunction or loss of vaginal lubrication.

And, oftentimes breast cancer patients lose a great deal of sensation in their chests, a pleasure center for many women, making the act of sex less appealing or less satisfying.

So, does a couple’s sex life simply end while one is fighting disease?

Absolutely not!

The key during this sensitive time is understanding and communication.

The patient must make the effort to communicate their loss of libido or ability to maintain arousal, while the partner must communicate their continued desire for the person has not waned during illness. Then, both partners must understand that sex as they both know it will need to change, at least temporarily.

Some suggestions:

  • Invest in a good lubricant
  • Go through the motions a few times
  • Try alternative techniques such as oral or digital stimulation

Even if sex is less pleasurable during an illness, every so often it is worth biting the bullet and going through the motions if you can. The result: you and your partner not just satisfied, but successful in maintaining emotional and physical intimacy during one of the hardest times in your lives.

Sexuality

Certainly, the physical act of sex can be hard enough during illness. But, oftentimes it is truly our desire to have sex that wanes, often due to our complete loss of sexuality from weight gain, scaring, hormones, et al.

During a cancer battle, for example, emotions are running high — and our perception of ourselves often starts to run dangerously low.

While in the acute phase, some of the most common side-effects that drain sexuality are:

  • Weight gain or loss
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Altered sex organs
  • Altered sense of self

Sadly, there is no magic mojo pill to help. But, there are support systems ready and waiting to talk both the patient and the partner, who can also lose his/her sense of sexuality while tending to patient needs and becoming the primary caregiving the household.

While the patient’s doctor should have a handy list of recommendations, the Wellness Community has some fabulous resources in a group setting. And, one-on-one and/or couples counseling can be critical at this time.

Intimacy

From kissing to the sharing inside jokes or fears, intimacy is at the core of all relationships in our lives. It includes all of the physicality of sex and all of the emotions of sexuality — and then some.

The loss of this crucial element in a relationship often means the eventual loss of the relationship itself.

But, keeping intimacy alive during illness is hardly a walk in the park. It means that the patient has to share their fears about the future and health rather than going through the motions of everyday life. It also means that the partner must share frustrations and fears as well. It means sweating the small stuff together — often.

Loved ones deserve to be a part of the process of disease — the good, the bad and the ugly.

For more information about how you and your loved one can maintain a healthy sex life and keep the intimacy alive, please visit canceraz.com.

 

Food Basket

Listen To Mother: Eat Your Vegetables And Reduce Your Diabetes Risk

Eat your vegetables. Your grandma said it, your mom said it — even Popeye said it — and now your doctor should be saying it regularly as well. A new analysis of existing research suggests that eating more green, leafy vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Why is this important? Nearly one in five hospitalizations in 2008 involved patients with diabetes, according to a recent federal report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. And, the cost of caring for those patients was $83 billion for 7.7 million stays, or nearly one in four dollars of hospital costs that year, according to the report. The report also says the average cost for each of those diabetes-related hospitalizations was $10,937, nearly $2,200 more than the cost of a stay for a patient without a diagnosis of diabetes.

The rates of type 2 diabetes have been going up in the United States as the population has become more overweight, the authors of the analysis noted. So, one of the consequences of not eating our vegetables is that it hits our wallets as drastically as it hits our waistlines. For decades, scientists have been trying to understand the role that diet plays in the development of the disease. Researchers, led by nutritionist Patrice Carter at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, examined six studies that looked at the links between diet and the incidence of type 2 diabetes. They found that compared with those who ate the least amount of green, leafy vegetables (0.2 servings daily), people who ate the most (1.35 servings daily) had a 14 percent reduction in risk for type 2 diabetes. However, the analysis didn’t show that increasing overall intake of fruit, vegetables, or a combination of both, would make a significant difference in risk, Carter and colleagues reported in the Aug. 19 online edition of the BMJ (British Medical Journal).

Still, in the analysis, the authors concluded that “increasing daily intake of green, leafy vegetables could significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and should be investigated further.” Evidence also indicates that these vegetables may play a role in prevention of certain cancers, as well as obesity and its consequences. So, what are some green, leafy veggies of choice? Well, spinach, of course, but also broccoli, kale, sprouts and cabbage can reduce the risk by 14 percent when eaten daily, because they are rich in antioxidants and magnesium, which has been linked to lower levels of diabetes. Whether we like it or not, no matter who it comes from, “eat your vegetables” is sound advice.