Alzheimer’s Deadlier Than Previously Thought

Bryan James, PhD

Bryan James, PhD

A study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center indicates that Alzheimer’s disease contributes to nearly as many deaths in the United States as heart disease or cancer. The study, published today in Neurology, shows that the disease may be an underlying cause of five to six times as many deaths as currently reported.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alzheimer’s disease is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the United States following cancer, the second leading cause of death; and heart disease, the number one cause of death.

This data is reported on death certificates.

“Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are under-reported on death certificates and medical records,” said study author Bryan James, PhD, an epidemiologist with the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center. “Death certificates often list the immediate cause of death, such as pneumonia, rather than listing dementia as an underlying cause.”

Read the news release or view the video below for more information on the study.

Patients Help Make St. Baldrick’s a Success

Caitlynn Riblet (middle), a patient at Rush diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, waits her turn to shave heads.

Caitlynn Riblet (middle), a patient at Rush diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, waits her turn to shave heads to raise money for cancer research.

High school sophomores have plenty of major life events to look forward to: learning to drive, prom and graduation among them. Caitlynn Riblet would like to check off beating cancer on her own milestone list.

Riblet, 15, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a particularly rare form of cancer, at Rush University Medical Center in mid-December. She was one of a handful of pediatric patients with cancer who participated in the St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser at Rush today, shaving the heads of volunteers on the first floor of Rush’s hospital building, the Tower.

Riblet made the nearly two-hour trip with her family from Paxton, Ill. partly to participate in the event. She shaved heads of volunteers, including medical students and physicians, to help raise money for research while showing support for children with cancer, who often lose their hair during treatment.

“I’m excited — it’s nice to get out of my hospital room,” Riblet said. “It’s been a great experience to come out and help.”

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Preckwinkle Talks Health Care, More During Rush Visit

Clapp AwardsBy Kevin McKeough

Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, discussed increasing health care access, decreasing the county prison population, transparency and corruption in government and her own political plans during an appearance at Rush on Wednesday. Preckwinkle was the guest speaker at the J. Robert Clapp, Jr., Diversity Achievement Award ceremony, held in the Searle Conference Room of Rush’s Professional Building.

Much of Preckwinkle’s talk, which took the form of a question and answer session with the audience, focused on the county health system. She began by noting that 80,000 previously uninsured people in Cook County have enrolled in County Care, the expansion of Medicaid with funding provided by the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. An additional 50,000 people have applied for the program, according to Preckwinkle. “We see county care as the future of our health care delivery system,” she said.

Providing a larger number of people with health insurance in turn enables a shift from emergency room care to primary care, which “is what our uninsured and underinsured desperately need,” Preckwinkle said. She observed that this shift also reduces costs in the health care system. For example, she said, a person who reports at an emergency room with a headache may receive a costly MRI, while one who sees a primary care doctor will be asked about stress levels and water intake.

“It’s to great credit to President Obama that he expanded access to care. It’s dramatically expanded the resources we have to provide care,” Preckwinkle said. However, she added later, in passing the Affordable Care Act, Congress and the President “made a deal with the devil, because they excluded the undocumented.”

Why Rush Is Posting ‘No Guns’ Signs on Our Buildings

NoGunsThis week, Rush will begin posting stickers at all entrances to Medical Center buildings indicating that guns are not allowed on our campus.

We are taking this step in response to the recent implementation of a new state law (Public Act 98-63), known as a concealed carry law, which makes it legal for individuals to keep a concealed handgun with them in most public places if they have received the required permit.

The law permitting individuals to carry concealed weapons does not apply to hospital facilities, clinics and higher education facilities, and we want to make sure visitors, patients and others realize this when they walk into Rush.

Rush has always prohibited weapons on our campus except for law enforcement officials. As a place of health and healing, it is only natural and appropriate that we do not allow patients and visitors to come to Rush University Medical Center with weapons that could cause themselves or others harm.

Toni Preckwinkle to Speak at Rush About Diversity

preckwinkle_Toni-StandardToni Preckwinkle, president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, will speak about diversity in conversation with Dr. David Ansell, chief medical officer at Rush University Medical Center on Wednesday, Feb. 26, as part of Rush’s annual diversity leadership award ceremony. The event will take place at Rush’s Professional Building at 1725 W. Harrison St. in Chicago.

Prior to the conversation, Rush CEO Dr. Larry Goodman will present the fifth annual J. Robert Clapp, Jr., Diversity Achievement Award to Tanya Friese, RN, continuing nursing education manager at Rush University and instructor in the Rush University College of Nursing.

The annual J. Robert Clapp, Jr., Diversity Achievement Award honors a members of the Rush community for his or her contributions to diversity and inclusion. The Clapp award ceremony is part of diversity week, an annual series of presentations and activities at Rush that helps members of the Rush community to understand each other better and to work together better in providing patient care, educating future health care providers, and conducting research that may lead to new medical treatments.

The award is named for a former executive vice president of Rush University Medical Center and executive director of Rush University Hospitals, who passed away in 2012 at age 54. Clapp also was chair of Rush’s Diversity Leadership Council, which sponsors diversity week and established the award in 2010 to honor him as a leader of Rush’s diversity efforts.

U.S. Special Forces Receiving Trauma Training at Rush

U.S. Amy Special Ops medical personnel will ride in ambulances as part of their trauma training at Rush.

U.S. Special Ops personnel will ride in ambulances as part of their trauma training at Rush.

Though the Iraq War is over and the Afghanistan War is coming to a close, U.S. armed forces remain in harm’s way every day. Injuries are inevitable, so medical military personnel have to be ready to react under pressure.

Starting Monday, Feb. 24, four U.S. Army Special Forces medical service members will sharpen their skills just prior to their next deployment, participating in a monthlong advanced trauma training course at Rush University Medical Center.

Participants will train in Rush’s emergency department and surgical intensive care unit, and see and treat trauma cases — including lung injuries, extremity trauma, head trauma, penetrating chest injuries and smoke inhalation — at both Rush and the burn unit and trauma bay at nearby John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital. They will also ride along in ambulances as part of their training, which is led by Dr. Louis Hondros, course director and emergency medicine specialist at Rush.

This will be the first time U.S. Army Special Forces medical personnel will conduct training in the Chicago area. Rush, which runs similar courses for all military services, was selected through a competitive process to ensure a setting that will allow the soldiers to best absorb training.

Read more about the advanced trauma training program at Rush.

Thyroid Specialist Dr. Antonio Bianco Joins Rush

Bianco_Anthony_photoDr. Antonio Bianco, a physician scientist working in the thyroid field, has joined Rush University Medical Center as professor of medicine, senior vice chair in the Department of Internal Medicine and division chief of endocrinology effective February 3rd.

Bianco joins Rush from the University of Miami Health System where he served as professor of medicine and chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.

“Bianco brings to Rush more than 30 years of experience in thyroid research,” said Dr. Jochen Reiser, chairman, Department of Internal Medicine at Rush. “Tony has been recognized with a number of national and international awards, membership in prestigious medical societies and is currently a member in the board of scientific counselors of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

“The fact that he has been recently asked by the American Thyroid Association to lead two task forces charged with drafting guidelines for Thyroid Research (chair) and for Treatment of Hypothyroidism (co-chair) illustrates what a well-rounded thyroid investigator he is.”

Read the news release.