Tag Archives: MD

AZ Big Media honors Most Influential Women

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They are the best business minds in Arizona. They are innovators, trailblazers and leaders of men.

They are Az Business magazine’s Most Influential Women in Arizona Business for 2014, as selected by the editorial team at Az Business magazine and a panel of industry experts. The Most Influential Women were honored Thursday at a reception at The Venue in Scottsdale.

“While their resumes and career paths may differ, the women we selected have all procured influence in their respective fields through hard-earned track records of profitability, business ethics and leadership,” said AZ Big Media Publisher Cheryl Green. “Az Business magazine is proud to congratulate the women who earned the right to call themselves one of the Most Influential Women in Arizona Business. They are changing the face of Arizona business.”

The women selected to this prestigious list for 2014 are:

Nazneen Aziz, Ph.D, senior vice president and chief research officer, Phoenix Children’s Hospital
Trish Bear, president and CEO, I-ology
Dr. Amy Beiter, president and CEO, Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital and Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute
Janet G. Betts, member, Sherman & Howard
Kristin Bloomquist, executive vice president and general manager, Cramer-Krasselt
Delia Carlyle, councilwoman, Ak-Chin Indian Community
Luci Chen, partner, Arizona Center for Cancer Care
Mary Collum, senior vice president, National Bank of Arizona
Kathy Coover, co-founder, Isagenix International
Janna Day, managing partner, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Karen Dickinson, shareholder, Polsinelli
Michele Finney, CEO, Abrazo Health
Susan Frank, CEO, Desert Schools Federal Credit Union
Leah Freed, managing shareholder, Ogletree Deakins
Deborah Griffin, president of the board of directors, Gila River Casinos
Mary Ann Guerra, CEO, BioAccel
Deb Gullett, senior specialist, Gallagher & Kennedy
Diane Haller, partner, Quarles & Brady
Maria Harper-Marinick, executive vice chancellor and provost, Maricopa Community Colleges
Catherine Hayes, principal, hayes architecture/interiors inc.
Camille Hill, president, Merestone
Chevy Humphrey, president and CEO, Arizona Science Center
Heidi Jannenga, founder, WebPT
Kara Kalkbrenner, acting fire chief, City of Phoenix
Lynne King Smith, CEO, TicketForce
Joan Koerber Walker, CEO, Arizona Bioindustry Association
Karen Kravitz, president and head of conceptology, Commotion Promotions
Deb Krmpotic, CEO, Banner Estrella Medical Center
Jessica Langbaum, PhD, principal scientist, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute
Georgia Lord, mayor, City of Goodyear
Sherry Lund, founder, Celebration Stem Cell Centre
Teresa Mandelin, CEO, Southwestern Business Financing Corporation
Shirley Mays, dean, Arizona Summit Law School
Ann Meyers-Drysdale, vice president, Phoenix Mercury and Phoenix Suns
Marcia L. Mintz, president, John C. Lincoln Health Foundation
Martha C. Patrick, shareholder, Burch & Cracchiolo, P.A.
Stephanie J. Quincy, partner, Steptoe & Johnson
Barb Rechterman, chief marketing officer, GoDaddy
Marian Rhodes, senior vice president, Arizona Diamondbacks
Joyce Santis, chief operating officer, Sonora Quest Laboratories
Gena Sluga, partner, Christian Dichter & Sluga
Beth Soberg, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Arizona
Scarlett Spring, president, VisionGate
Patrice Strong-Register, managing partner, JatroBiofuels
Sarah A. Strunk, director, Fennemore Craig, P.C.
Marie Sullivan, president and CEO, Arizona Women’s Education & Employment
Nancy K. Sweitzer, MD, director, UA’s Sarver Heart Center
Dana Vela, president, Sunrise Schools and Tots Unlimited
Alicia Wadas, COO, The Lavidge Company
Ginger Ward, CEO, Southwest Human Development

In addition to the Most Influential Women in Arizona Business, Az Business also selects five “Generation Next” women who are making an impact on Arizona, even though they are less than 40 years old. Those women selected for 2014 are:

Anca Bec, 36, business development officer, Alliance Bank of Arizona
Alison R. Christian, 32, shareholder, Christian Dichter & Sluga, P.C.
Jaime Daddona, 38, senior associate, Squire Patton Boggs
Nancy Kim, 36, owner, Spectrum Dermatology
Jami Reagan, 35, owner, Shine Factory Public Relations

To select the best and brightest women to recognize each year, the editor and publisher of Az Business magazine compile a list of almost 1,000 women from every facet of Arizona’s business landscape — banking, law, healthcare, bioscience, real estate, technology, manufacturing, retail, tourism, energy, accounting and nonprofits. Once that list is compiled, we vet the list, narrow it down to about 150 women who we feel are most deserving, and then submit the list to 20 of their peers — female leaders from a variety or industries — and ask them to vote. If they want to vote for someone whose name is not on the list of those submitted for consideration, voters are invited to write in the names of women who they think deserve to members of this exclusive club.

Az Business also does not allow a woman to appear on the list most than once.

health

Arizona Telemedicine Program names advisory board

The award-winning Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) at the Arizona Health Sciences Center of the University of Arizona has announced the appointment of the National Advisory Board of the Telemedicine and Telehealth Service Provider Showcase (SPSSM), to be held Oct. 6-7 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix.

The 24 nationally recognized thought leaders and health-care innovators have made major strides in the telemedicine arena. Members of the board are:

• Joseph S. Alpert, MD, professor of medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson; editor-in-chief, The American Journal of Medicine

• David C. Balch, MA, chief technology officer, White House Medical Group, Washington, D.C.

• Rashid Bashshur, PhD, senior adviser for eHealth, eHealth Center, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor

• Anne E. Burdick, MD, MPH, associate dean for telehealth and clinical outreach, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

• Robert “Bob” Burns, commissioner, Arizona Corporation Commission, Phoenix

• Daniel J. Derksen, MD, director, Center for Rural Health; professor of public health policy; University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Tucson

• Charles R. Doarn, MBA, editor-in-chief, Telemedicine and e-Health Journal, family medicine, University of Cincinnati, Ohio

• Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, UA senior vice president for health sciences; interim dean, UA College of Medicine – Tucson; professor of medicine, Arizona Health Sciences Center, University of Arizona

• Robert A. Greenes, MD, PhD, professor of biomedical informatics, College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University, Phoenix

• Paula Guy, chief executive officer, Global Partnership for Telehealth, Inc., Waycross, Ga.

• Deb LaMarche, associate director, Utah Telehealth Network, Salt Lake City

• James P. Marcin, MD, MPH, professor, pediatric critical care, University of California – Davis Children’s Hospital, Sacramento

• Ronald C. Merrell, MD, editor-in-chief, Telemedicine and e-Health Journal, emeritus professor of surgery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond

• Thomas S. Nesbitt, MD, MPH, associate vice chancellor and professor, family and community medicine, University of California – Davis Health System, Sacramento

• Marta J. Petersen, MD, medical director, Utah Telehealth Network, Salt Lake City

• Joseph Peterson, MD, chief executive officer and director, Specialists On Call, Reston, Va.

• Ronald K. Poropatich, MD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh

• Lisa A. Robin, MLA, chief advocacy officer, Federation of State Medical Boards, Washington, D.C.

• Brian Rosenfeld, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer, Philips Telehealth, Baltimore, Md.

• Jay H. Shore, MD, MPH, associate professor, Centers for American Indian & Alaska Native Health, University of Colorado, Aurora

• Joseph A. Tracy, MS, vice president, telehealth services, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allentown, Pa.

• Wesley Valdes, DO, medical director, Telehealth Services, Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City, Utah

• Nancy L. Vorhees, RN, MSN, chief operating officer, Inland Northwest Health Services, Spokane, Wash.

• Jill M. Winters, PhD, RN, FAHA, president and dean, Columbia College of Nursing, Glendale, Wisc.

“This is the first national meeting addressing telemedicine service provider issues. It’s long overdue!” said Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, ATP director and SPS honorary co-chair.

SPS will focus on building partnerships for bringing quality medical specialty services directly into hospitals, clinics, private practices and even patients’ homes. The goals are to improve patient care and outcomes and to increase market share for both health-care providers and telehealth service providers they partner with.

The convention is co-hosted by the ATP, the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center and the Four Corners Telehealth Consortium, which includes the Arizona Health Sciences Center at the University of Arizona, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and the Utah Telehealth Network.

More information about SPS is at www.TTSPSworld.com.

cancer

UA Shows Curcumin Effect on Colon Cancer

A team of researchers led by the University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center discovered that curcumin—the bioactive molecule derived from the spice turmeric—blocks the protein cortactin in colon cancer.

Cortactin, a protein essential for cell movement, frequently is overexpressed in cancer, thus facilitating cancer cell metastasis to other organs in the body.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and the third most common cancer in men and women. When cancer metastasizes to other organs, a patient’s chances of survival are greatly diminished. Thus, finding novel ways to prevent cancer metastasis remains an urgent need.

The National Institutes of Health-funded research recently was published in PLOS One.

The study was led by co-investigators Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, professor and head, UA Department of Pediatrics and director of the UA Steele Children’s Research Center; Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD, associate professor, UA Department of Pediatrics; and Vijay Radhakrishnan, PhD, assistant scientist, UA Department of Pediatrics. The study was conducted in collaboration with Jessie Martinez, PhD, professor, UA Cancer Center, and Eugene Mash, PhD, professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Turmeric gives curry its yellow color and flavor. It is part of the ginger family and has been used for thousands of years to treat colds, inflammation, arthritis and many other ailments, including cancer.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and has been scientifically studied in many types of cancer. It has been shown to have a chemopreventative effect—the ability to reverse, suppress or prevent the development of cancer.

“What’s novel about our research is that our study identified one of the mechanisms by which curcumin can prevent cancer cell metastasis in colon cancer,” said Dr. Ghishan.

The research team discovered that the active part of the cortactin protein, known as Phopsho Tyrosine 421 (pTyr421), is hyper-activated in malignant tumors of the colon.

“We showed that the cortactin protein was hyper-activated due to a process called excessive phosphorylation,” said Dr. Kiela.

Phosphorylation is the addition of a phosphate group to a protein, and is responsible for turning proteins on and off, altering the protein’s function and activity. Too much cortactin, and its activation by phosphorylation, has been linked with cancer aggressiveness.

The researchers treated human colon cancer tumor cells with curcumin. “We discovered that curcumin turns off the active form of cortactin,” explained Dr. Radhakrishnan, who led the experiments in the lab. “Thus, when cortactin is turned off, cancer cells lose the ability to move and can’t metastasize to other parts of the body.”

More specifically, curcumin “turned-off” cortactin by interacting with, and activating, an enzyme known as PTPN1. This enzyme acts as a phosphatase to remove phosphate groups from cortactin—a process known as “dephosphorylation.”

“This effect, essentially known as ‘dephosphorylating cortactin’ correlated with reduced ability of colon cancer cells to migrate,” said Dr. Kiela. “This suggests that curcumin reduces cancer cells’ ability to migrate, meaning the cancer can’t metastasize.”

“By identifying the mechanism of action—that curcumin activates the enzyme PTPN1, which then ‘turns off’ the active component of cortactin pTyr421, we believe that chemopreventative drugs can be developed to target cortactin in cancer cells to prevent the cancer from metastasizing,” said. Dr. Radhakrishnan.

“Treatments aimed at the suppression of cancer metastasis remain an urgent therapeutic need,” said Dr. Ghishan. “Our findings have laid the foundation for future research to develop treatments using curcumin to prevent cancer’s deadly spread to other organs.”

pt

UA Study Shows Glucosamine Is Ineffective

A short-term study led by C. Kent Kwoh, MD, director of the University of Arizona Arthritis Center, and a collaborative team of researchers has found that oral glucosamine supplementation is not associated with a lessening of knee cartilage deterioration among individuals with chronic knee pain.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Boston University, Texas Woman’s University in Houston and Klinikum Augsburg in Augsburg, Germany. Dr. Kwoh, who previously was with the University of Pittsburgh and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, is corresponding author of the study.

“Our study found no evidence that drinking a glucosamine supplement reduced knee cartilage damage, relieved pain or improved function in individuals with chronic knee pain,” said Dr. Kwoh. An internationally recognized expert in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other joint diseases, he also is UA professor of medicine and medical imaging, The Charles A.L. and Suzanne M. Stephens Chair of Rheumatology, and chief of the Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.

The findings, published online March 11 in Arthritis & Rheumatology, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), indicate that glucosamine does not decrease pain or improve knee bone marrow lesions—more commonly known as bone bruises and thought to be a source of pain in those with osteoarthritis (OA).

According to the ACR, 27 million Americans over age 25 are diagnosed with OA—the most common form of arthritis and primary cause of disability in the elderly. Patients may seek alternative therapies to treat joint pain and arthritis, with prior research showing glucosamine as the second-most commonly used natural product. A 2007 Gallup poll reported that 10 percent of individuals over the age of 18 in the United States use glucosamine. According to the website www.nutraingredients-usa.com, global sales of the supplement in 2010 totaled more than $2.1 billion.

“The Joints on Glucosamine (Jog) Study: The Effect of Oral Glucosamine on Joint Structure, A Randomized Trial” is the first study to investigate whether the supplement prevents the worsening of cartilage damage or bone marrow lesions.

For the double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, Dr. Kwoh and colleagues enrolled 201 participants with mild-to-moderate pain in one or both knees. Participants were randomized and treated daily for 24 weeks with 1,500 mg of glucosamine hydrochloride in a 16-ounce bottle of diet lemonade or a placebo. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to assess cartilage damage.

Trial results showed no decrease in cartilage damage in participants in the glucosamine group, compared to the placebo group. Researchers report no change in bone marrow lesions in 70 percent of knees, 18 percent of knees worsened and 10 percent improved.

The control group had greater improvement in bone marrow lesions compared to treated participants, with neither group displaying a worsening of bone marrow lesions. Glucosamine was not found to decrease urinary excretion of C-telopeptides of type II collagen (CTX-II)—a predictor of cartilage destruction.

In addition to Dr. Kwoh, researchers who contributed to the study included Ali Guermazi, MD, Boston University; Frank W. Roemer, MD, Boston University, Mass., and Klinikum Augsburg, Augsburg, Germany; Michael J. Hannon, John M. Jakicic, MD, Stephanie M. Green, Rhobert W. Evans, PhD, and Robert Boudreau, PhD, University of Pittsburgh; and Carolyn E. Moore, PhD, Texas Woman’s University, Houston.

The study was funded by the Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness, The Coca-Cola Company and the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (P60 AR054731).

stroke

Deer Valley Hospital Now Primary Stroke Center

John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital in North Phoenix has become the Valley’s newest hospital certified as a Primary Stroke Center by DNV Healthcare, an international certifying agency approved by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, according to John Harrington Jr., hospital CEO and senior vice president, Scottsdale Lincoln Health Network.

John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital was accredited as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations in 2007 and by DNV Healthcare in 2011.

“Deer Valley Hospital demonstrated that its stroke care program follows national standards and guidelines that can significantly improve outcomes for stroke patients,” said Chief Medical Officer Mary Ann Turley, DO, Deer Valley Hospital, who led the stroke certification task force that started preparing the hospital for stroke certification last year.

“We received only one finding when the surveyors visited from DNV and awarded John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital certification as a Primary Stroke Center,” Turley added. “I could not be more proud of our entire stroke certification team and hospital co-workers who all jumped at the opportunity to earn this recognition for our caregiving capability.”

Strokes are the third most prevalent cause of death, the leading cause of adult disability, and affect 700,000 Americans every year. A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted by a blood clot (ischemic) or by bleeding from a burst blood vessel (hemorrhagic), either of which impairs the brain’s ability to function, but which require opposite treatments.

Because diagnosing the cause is key to ensuring appropriate and effective care, it’s important for patients and families to insist that EMS providers take them to a Primary Stroke Center, said Donna Sells, administrator for the Health Network’s Neurosciences/Orthopedic Service Line. “A Primary Stroke Center is where staff is trained not only to recognize symptoms of stroke, but more importantly, to correctly identify the cause,” she explained.
When people have strokes, time is of the essence. Rapid medical treatment – started less than 3 hours after onset of symptoms and completed within 45 minutes of the patients arrival at the hospital – can save many stroke patients from a lifetime of disability.
“Time loss equals brain loss,” said Sells. When stroke symptoms begin, people should call 9-1-1 without delay.

DNV Primary Stroke Center certification is based on submitted documentation and a site visit by DNV surveyors, during which the hospital staff demonstrates its commitment to excellence, Harrington said. DNV’s PSC Certification program incorporates elements from federal CMS hospital standards as well as requirements from the guidelines of the Brain Attack Coalition and recommendations of the American Stroke Association.

Members of the Deer Valley Stroke Team Include: Alice Montoya, RN, Nelson Faux, MD, Anil Goud, MD, Patrick Sciara, MD, Clark York, DO, Bonnie Fuerst, MT, Kevin Veale, DO, Patty Erickson, RN, Danny Blanco, RN, Lalit Mansukhani, PharmD, Peter Burrows, RT, Linda DeLuca, RN, Lawrence Finkel, MD, Renee Featherly, David Price, Linda Ott, RN, Donna Sells, RN, Karrie Smith, RN, Lisa Hughes, RN, Susan Hoffmeister, RN, Holly Grems, RN, Maria Soriano, MD, Tracy Moroney, RN, Jennifer Gallegos, MA, Mary Ann Turley, DO, Victor Zach, MD, Jessica Rivas, MSN, Matt Sainsbury, MHA, and Joanne Motley, RN.

breast.cancer

John C. Lincoln offers state’s 1st Low Dose 3D mammograms

John C. Lincoln’s Breast Health and Research Center in North Phoenix is now Arizona’s first site to offer low dose 3-D mammography, the latest innovation in breast cancer screening.

The new low dose 3-D system from Hologic requires less compression time and reduces radiation exposure. It does this by creating 2-D images from the 3-D data set, thus eliminating the separate digital X-ray that was part of the original 3-D imaging process.

“Even though groundbreaking 3-D mammograms met FDA safety standards while providing never-before seen image clarity, some patients worried about the level of exposure,” said breast radiologist Linda Greer, MD, medical director of the John C. Lincoln Breast Health and Research Center. “This new low dose technology completely eliminates that concern.”

Hologic’s new ‘C-View’ imaging software was approved May 16 by the FDA. The new, low dose 3-D mammograms are now available at the same cost as conventional 2-D mammography at John C. Lincoln’s Breast Health and Research Center, 19646 N. 27th Ave., #205. Also, the new technology is clinically proven to significantly reduce unnecessary patient recalls while simultaneously improving cancer detection.

“Lower dose 3-D mammography is an important evolution in breast cancer screening,” Dr. Greer says. “Large-scale clinical studies in the U.S. and Europe have shown that screening with 3-D mammography allows radiologists to visualize the breast in greater detail than with 2-D mammography alone. That results in earlier detection of cancers, while at the same time reducing the false positives associated with conventional 2-D mammography.”

False positives are unclear results that require patients to return for additional medical imaging to rule out cancer and can cause unnecessary anxiety and cost. “No matter how you look at it,” Dr. Greer said, “lower dose 3-D breast cancer screening provides a better patient experience.”

Being first to offer low dose 3-D mammography is typical for John C. Lincoln’s Breast Health Center, which has a history of being at the forefront of breast cancer screening. It was first in the Valley to offer breast imaging in a spa-like setting; first in Arizona to offer 3-D screening that is rapidly becoming the worldwide standard of care; and one of the first in the nation designated a Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.

For more information, visit JCL.com/breasthealth.

breast.cancer

John C. Lincoln offers state's 1st Low Dose 3D mammograms

John C. Lincoln’s Breast Health and Research Center in North Phoenix is now Arizona’s first site to offer low dose 3-D mammography, the latest innovation in breast cancer screening.

The new low dose 3-D system from Hologic requires less compression time and reduces radiation exposure. It does this by creating 2-D images from the 3-D data set, thus eliminating the separate digital X-ray that was part of the original 3-D imaging process.

“Even though groundbreaking 3-D mammograms met FDA safety standards while providing never-before seen image clarity, some patients worried about the level of exposure,” said breast radiologist Linda Greer, MD, medical director of the John C. Lincoln Breast Health and Research Center. “This new low dose technology completely eliminates that concern.”

Hologic’s new ‘C-View’ imaging software was approved May 16 by the FDA. The new, low dose 3-D mammograms are now available at the same cost as conventional 2-D mammography at John C. Lincoln’s Breast Health and Research Center, 19646 N. 27th Ave., #205. Also, the new technology is clinically proven to significantly reduce unnecessary patient recalls while simultaneously improving cancer detection.

“Lower dose 3-D mammography is an important evolution in breast cancer screening,” Dr. Greer says. “Large-scale clinical studies in the U.S. and Europe have shown that screening with 3-D mammography allows radiologists to visualize the breast in greater detail than with 2-D mammography alone. That results in earlier detection of cancers, while at the same time reducing the false positives associated with conventional 2-D mammography.”

False positives are unclear results that require patients to return for additional medical imaging to rule out cancer and can cause unnecessary anxiety and cost. “No matter how you look at it,” Dr. Greer said, “lower dose 3-D breast cancer screening provides a better patient experience.”

Being first to offer low dose 3-D mammography is typical for John C. Lincoln’s Breast Health Center, which has a history of being at the forefront of breast cancer screening. It was first in the Valley to offer breast imaging in a spa-like setting; first in Arizona to offer 3-D screening that is rapidly becoming the worldwide standard of care; and one of the first in the nation designated a Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.

For more information, visit JCL.com/breasthealth.

Americas Taco

America’s Taco Shop Expands, Plans Future Growth

America’s Taco Shop is growing throughout the country with new locations opening in Bethesda, Md., Lake Forest, Calif., Corpus Christi, Texas and inside terminal 4 at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. In late 2012, America’s Taco Shop announced a partnership through Scottsdale-based Kahala, a franchise development company. Led by the vision of entrepreneurial industry leaders and an experienced support team, Kahala has spent more than two decades building a company that allows its franchisees independence through interdependence.

“It is important to us to keep our product authentic and Kahala has allowed us to do that,” says Terry Bortin, co-founder of America’s Taco Shop with his wife America Corrales-Bortin. “We are excited for the growth that comes with the franchise concept. Sharing America’s mother’s quality recipes with the entire country has always been a dream of ours.”

Started in 2008 by the Bortin’s, this fast-casual concept specializes in authentic carne asada and al pastor, which is used in their tacos, burritos, tortas and more. America’s Taco Shop has been dubbed “the home of the greatest carne asada” through many accolades in the Phoenix market including 20 Favorite Places for Tacos, 2011 Five Favorite Mexican Restaurants, Best Phoenix Mexican Food, Top 10 Mexican Restaurants, Best Sandwiches, Best New Restaurants, 2009 Best BBQ, Best Carne Asada, and more.

America Corrales-Bortin grew up in the city of Culiacán in Sinaloa, Mexico. As a young child she would watch her mother prepare the dishes that became the recipes at America’s Taco Shop. After years of cooking authentic meals for her family and friends, America and her husband decided to open their first location in Phoenix 2008.

Visit www.americastacoshop.com for more information and follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/americastacoshop. For franchising opportunities call 855-55-CARNE (855-552-2763).

medical.research

A Saliva Gland Test for Parkinson’s Disease?

Described as a “big step forward” for research and treatment of Parkinson’s disease, new research from Mayo Clinic in Arizona and Banner Sun Health Research Institute suggests that testing a portion of a person’s saliva gland may be a way to diagnose the disease.

The study was released Friday and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16–23.

“There is currently no diagnostic test for Parkinson’s disease,” says study author Charles Adler, MD, PhD., a neurologist with Mayo Clinic in Arizona. “We have previously shown in autopsies of Parkinson’s patients that the abnormal proteins associated with Parkinson’s are consistently found in the submandibular saliva glands, found under the lower jaw. This is the first study demonstrating the value of testing a portion of the saliva gland to diagnose a living person with Parkinson’s disease. Making a diagnosis in living patients is a big step forward in our effort to understand and better treat patients.”

The study involved 15 people with an average age of 68 who had Parkinson’s disease for an average of 12 years, responded to Parkinson’s medication and did not have known saliva gland disorders.

Biopsies were taken of two different saliva glands: the submandibular gland and the minor saliva glands in the lower lip. The surgical team was led by Michael Hinni, MD, and David Lott, MD, at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, and the biopsied tissues were tested for evidence of the abnormal Parkinson’s protein by study co-author Thomas Beach, MD, with Banner Sun Health Research Institute.

“This procedure will provide a much more accurate diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease than what is now available,” Dr. Beach says. “One of the greatest potential impacts of this finding is on clinical trials, as at the present time some patients entered into Parkinson’s clinical trials do not necessarily have Parkinson’s disease and this is a big impediment to testing new therapies.”

The abnormal Parkinson’s protein was detected in nine of the 11 patients who had enough tissue to study. While still being analyzed, the rate of positive findings in the biopsies of the lower lip glands appears much lower than for the lower jaw gland.

“This study provides the first direct evidence for the use of submandibular gland biopsies as a diagnostic test for living patients with Parkinson’s disease,” says Dr. Adler. “This finding may be of great use when needing definitive proof of Parkinson’s disease, especially when considering performing invasive procedures such as deep brain stimulation surgery or gene therapy.”

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson’s disease, the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement. No tests exist to diagnose Parkinson’s disease. Now diagnosis is made based on medical history, a review of signs and symptoms, a neurological and physical examination, and by ruling out other conditions. Yet up to 30 percent of patients may be misdiagnosed early in the disease.

Although Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, medications may markedly improve symptoms.This study was funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.