July 31, 2016
Neurologist Burk Jubelt, MD, explains polio and post-polio syndrome, and a survivor from a 1950s epidemic shares her story. Bioethicists Robert Olick, JD, PhD, and Thomas Curran, MD, discuss a real-life case involving medical ethics.
July 24, 2016
Respiratory therapist Theresa Hankin goes over the dangers and new regulations of e-cigarettes. Neonatologist Michelle Bode, MD, explains the effect of a mother’s opiate use on her baby. Gastroenterologist Divey Manocha, MD, talks about digestive diseases with one of his patients.
The need for living kidney donors is growing, partly because people are living longer on dialysis, explains Vaughn Whittaker, MD, a transplant surgeon at Upstate. Everyone has two kidneys and can live with just one, and a kidney from a live donor tends to be of higher quality, he says. While some people fear live donation, Whittaker explains the safety factors and support system that let almost any healthy adult donate, as well as breakthroughs like the ability to donate to someone with an incompatible blood type. Questions about kidney donation may be made to Upstate’s transplant clinic at 464-5413.
Opioid addiction presents many challenges for the medical world, including how to get people off the drug successfully. Habitual use of these painkilling drugs can make people more sensitive to pain, notes Brian Johnson, MD, director of pain medicine and addiction medicine at Upstate. Johnson, who is also a professor of psychiatry and anesthesiology, explains how opioid use got out of control and how Upstate uses a unique, holistic system to detoxify addicts while dealing with their other medical and psychiatric problems as well.
Life-and-death decisions were once made exclusively by doctors, but nowadays those matters are largely in the hands of patients. This can create conflict as relatives disagree over how to treat a failing patient, for example, and that’s where ethics consultants can help. Two such consultants at Upstate University Hospital – neonatologist Thomas Curran, MD (at right in photo), and attorney Robert Olick, JD, PhD (at left), who are both bioethics and humanities faculty members at Upstate – explain how they try to clarify and resolve the issues and offer non-binding advice. Using a real-life case, they stress the importance of making one’s end-of-life wishes known, in advance, and choosing a health care proxy who will help carry out those wishes.
Polio epidemics are a thing of the past in the U.S., wiped out since the 1950s by vaccines. But some survivors of those epidemics are stricken decades later by post-polio syndrome, which brings back the weakness and pain they battled in their youth. There is no medication for this syndrome, but patients can be helped to manage and stabilize the condition, such as through carefully limited exercises, says neurologist Burk Jubelt, MD, who runs a post-polio syndrome clinic at Upstate. Jubelt, who is a professor of neurology, microbiology and immunology and the neuroscience graduate program, also gives an overview of polio and describes recent developments in polio vaccines.
July 17, 2016
Neurologist Amy Sanders, MD, explains mild cognitive impairment. Infectious disease specialist Timothy Endy, MD, tells about the Zika virus. Two pancreas transplant recipients share their experiences with diabetes and kidney disease.
Upstate psychologist Rich O’Neill, PhD, discusses how to change a habit of negative predictions by pausing and choosing how to make a better life, in this week’s “Check Up from the Neck Up” essay.
Mild cognitive impairment is when some brain processes are not functioning the way they should at one’s age. This state, short of full-on dementia and not serious enough to interfere with daily life, might involve problems with memory, language use, reasoning, or visual and spatial abilities, says Upstate neurologist Amy Sanders, MD, who runs a clinic that tests for the condition (call 315-464-4243 for information). Sanders touches on screening methods, the role of memory, the relationship to dementia and tips to keep the aging brain healthy.
For the first time in their lives, Patrick Nolan, 52 (at left in photo), and Harry Tynan, 39 (at right), are doing what most people take for granted: living without having to constantly check their blood sugar or inject insulin. Each man was diagnosed as a child with Type 1 diabetes and has spent his life dealing with the disease and the kidney damage it can cause. Each man has also received a kidney transplant, and each recently received a transplanted pancreas at Upstate, in effect curing their diabetes. “I’m reliving my youth again. … I just wake up and go, ‘Wow!’“ says Nolan of Syracuse. “It’s a complete change just to look forward and not have to do injections,” notes Tynan of Oswego. “I’m ready to pick up the insulin pen, and I don’t have to.”
Electronic cigarettes, promoted as producing water vapor instead of smoke, actually produce an aerosol with tiny particles that could cause lung problems, says Theresa Hankin, a respiratory therapist at the Upstate Cancer Center. The tobacco-derived liquid in e-cigarettes and related devices contains highly addictive nicotine and traces of elements including heavy metals, Hankin notes. Although some tout the devices as a way to quit smoking, many people end up using both kinds of cigarettes. She notes that much research needs to be done and that the Food and Drug Administration has just begun to regulate the e-cigarette or “vaping” industry, which has been marketing its products to young consumers.
Education and awareness underlie the best ways to prevent drowning, says Robert Newmyer, MD, a pediatric critical care physician at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. Learning the basics of swimming and water safety is most important, and learning CPR too, if possible, explains Newmyer, who is a former lifeguard and swimming instructor. Other points he discusses include checking for potential hazards in a swimming area, the buddy system, the limits of lifeguards, the concept of “dry drowning” and how children perceive risk.