Cinnamon May Help Halt Parkinson’s Progression

cinnamonNeurological scientists at Rush University Medical Center have found that using cinnamon can reverse the biomechanical, cellular and anatomical changes that occur in the brains of mice with Parkinson’s disease.  Results of the study were published in the June 20 issue of the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.

“Cinnamon has been used widely as a spice throughout the world for centuries,” said Kalipada Pahan, PhD, study lead researcher and the Floyd A. Davis professor of neurology at Rush.  “This could potentially be one of the safest approaches to halt disease progression in Parkinson’s patients.”

“Cinnamon is metabolized in the liver to sodium benzoate, which is an FDA-approved drug used in the treatment for hepatic metabolic defects associated with hyperammonemia,” said Pahan.  It is also widely used as a food preservative due to its microbiocidal effect.

Chinese cinnamon (Cinnamonum cassia) and original Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamonum verum) are two major types of cinnamon that are available in the U.S.

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See How Much Fun Science Can Be

Dominos fell, “elephant toothpaste” foamed and a dummy spoke as Rush’s Science and Math Excellence (SAME) Network held its second annual Math and Science Celebration in the Atrium Building lobby on Thursday.

Nearly 300 students from public and Catholic schools near Rush attended the event, which included exhibits that students from six of the schools assembled at SAME’s offices as well as science and nutrition demonstrations by Rush employees.

Part of the Rush Department of Community Affairs, the SAME Network seeks to provide students in schools in the communities surrounding Rush with the same opportunities to learn math and science that are available to students in more affluent areas.

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Lake Michigan Swim to Benefit Cancer Research

Swim Across America events have raised roughly $50 million for cancer research nationwide.

Swim Across America events have raised roughly $50 million for cancer research nationwide.

As many as 10 former Olympians, along with scores of others, will participate in the Swim Across America (SAA) fundraiser Saturday, July 26, at Ohio Street Beach in Chicago. It is SAA’s 21st annual Chicago event.

Swim Across America is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money for cancer research, prevention and treatment through swimming events across the country.

The fundraiser benefits the Rush University Cancer Center, which comprises all of the clinical, research and educational efforts at Rush University Medical Center. SAA is aiming to top the more than $400,000 raised at last year’s event.

“What Swim Across America has achieved in Chicago and around the country is incredible,” said David McClellan, SAA Chicago event director. “We always set our sights high, but we expect a record-breaking 2014 event in hopes of funding groundbreaking cancer research at Rush.”

Read the news release.

Red Cross Honors Rush Nurse For Volunteer Work

Stephanie Krienitz-2By Kevin McKeough

Until 2006, Stephanie Krienitz never had traveled outside the U.S. Since then, she’s made eight trips to foreign countries to perform volunteer work, including three medical missions to the Philippines, while also working as a nurse at Rush University Medical Center.

In recognition of her service at Rush and around the world, the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago has chosen Krienitz to receive its 2014 Nurse Hero award. She was one of the honorees at the Red Cross’ Heroes Breakfast held on April 30 in Chicago.

“It’s not heroic, anything I’ve done. It’s more of a pleasure and a privilege that I get to do it,” Krienitz says. “It’s a fulfilling job helping other people, and it’s really cool when you get to do that job outside your normal arena and see how different things are in other parts of the world.”

Krienitz made the first of her trips to the Philippines in 2006 and the third in early 2013. The trips were arranged by Calvary Church of Naperville, of which she is a member, and led by Filipino physician who also is a member of the congregation.

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Alzheimer’s May Be More Prevalent Among African-Americans

ImageA new study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center reviews research that suggests that the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease among older African-Americans may be two to three times greater than in the non-Hispanic white population and that they differ from the non-Hispanic white population in risk factors and disease manifestation. The study results are published in the April issue of Health Affairs.

“The older African-American population is growing at a rapid pace, and the burden of aging-related cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease will continue to present a tremendous challenge,” said Lisa Barnes, PhD. “This study highlights the importance of research among minority groups within the communities in which hospitals serve.”

Barnes is the primary author and director of the Rush Center of Excellence on Disparities in HIV and Aging in the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, and professor of Neurological Sciences and Behavioral Sciences at Rush University Medical Center.

“The lack of high-quality biologic data on large numbers of racial and ethnic minorities poses barriers to progress in understanding whether the mechanisms and processes of Alzheimer’s disease operate the same or differently in racial and ethnic minorities and, if so, how, particularly in the high-risk African-American population,” said Barnes.

In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau indicated that 20 percent of the population ages 65 and older was a racial or ethnic minority member. Current projections suggest that by 2050, 42 percent of the nation’s older adults will be members of minority groups. Among those ages 85 and older, 33 percent are projected to be a minority.

Read the entire release for more information on the study.