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.

New, Comprehensive, State-of-the-Art Center for Women and Infants to Open at Rush

The New Rush Family Birth Center to Be the City’s Most Advanced Facility for Women’s and Children’s Services

Ivy's Story

Ivy’s Story

The opening of the new Rush Family Birth Center will offer every service related to delivery and caring for a baby on the same floor.

“As part of the Rush Transformation plans that led to our new Tower building, the new Rush Family Birth Center was designed with the mindset of meeting families’ needs and providing patient safety and optimal outcomes,” said Dr. Larry J. Goodman, CEO at Rush.  “We have always provided advanced, quality care that is evidence based.  Now, we have a new facility that matches the type of care we provide mothers and their newborns.”

The new Rush Family Birth Center is located on a single floor at Rush and scheduled to open on March 9.

The space was designed with four key care concepts, which were to provide adjacency, privacy, family space and mother baby bonding. The new center has large, individual rooms to keep moms, babies and families together throughout their journey.

No other hospital in Illinois has located its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit immediately adjacent to labor and delivery to afford newborn infants in distress specialty care in the first minutes of life. Patient safety as well as convenience inspired the design.

“The first 10 minutes of life are critical to newborns who come into the world in distress,” said Dr. Robert Kimura, neonatologist at Rush.  “Because of the way we designed these new facilities, babies that need special care can be put in the hands of neonatal medicine intensive care specialists within seconds after delivery.

“At Rush, the birthing suites and operating rooms are right next to the NICU resuscitation room, so that a team of specialists can immediately and optimally care for babies in crisis,” said Kimura.

The antepartum rooms also are near labor and delivery, so in urgent situations women and their babies can promptly get the care they need.

Keeping services close and right next door to each other limits how far and how often babies need to move, which helps limit their risk of infection and reduces exposure to light and sound to help with the baby’s development.

For more information about the new Rush Family Birth Center, visit Rush Transformation.

 Read the Discover Rush story.

 Read the entire news release.


Lung Cancer Expert Praises CVS Decision

cigarettes_thinkstockCVS Caremark has announced that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its pharmacies, making it the first chain of pharmacies to take such products off the shelves.

The decision by the U.S.’s No. 2 drugstore chain sets a precedent that may pressure other retailers to take the same stance.  It has drawn high praise from public health officials, including Dr. James Mulshine, vice president of research at Rush University Medical Center and an internationally recognized expert in lung cancer research.

“Tobacco-related disease remains far and away the greatest source of premature death in our society,” he said. “As the first academic campus in the state to go smoke-free, we salute the leadership of CVS in taking a major step in make all our communities much safer. Smoking is a habit started in childhood. Making cigarettes less readily available will save lives.”

Mulshine’s research concentrates on management of early diseases as a key to success in improving outcomes with lung cancer. In 2007, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer selected Mulshine as the recipient of the 2007 Joseph Cullen Award in recognition of lifetime scientific achievement in lung cancer prevention research.

He is also a part of the advisory panel for the American Lung Association, which released its own statement on CVS’ decision.

Helping Cancer Patients Who Have Heart Disease

Williams KimHeart disease is never a welcome diagnosis. It can be particularly daunting for a patient who is already contending with cancer.

With both diseases becoming more and more prevalent, cases of crossover between them are becoming more of a problem. Such patients would benefit from specialized health care, and that’s why Dr. Kim Williams, who was appointed chief of cardiology at Rush in November, hopes to soon tailor a program to meet their particular needs.

Williams, a nuclear cardiologist with a special interest in cardiovascular radiology and heart disease in kidney and cancer patients,  plans to soon establish a cardio-oncology clinic at Rush in collaboration with the Medical Center’s cancer programs. The clinic would provide care for two distinct groups of patients: those whose chemotherapy regimens put them at high risk for heart disease, and those who have both cancer and heart disease.

“In the coming years, cancer will overtake heart disease as the No. 1 killer of Americans,” Williams said. “But with the incidence of heart disease being what it is, there will be a lot of overlap between the two. And patients who have both conditions need specialized management.”

He hopes to add or expand services at Rush for several other groups of patients who need ongoing management: adults with congenital heart disease, patients with heart and renal problems, and patients with heart and metabolic conditions.

Read more about Williams’ background and vision.

How Calcium is Involved in Irregular Heartbeats

heartbeat_thinkstock_edited-1Researchers at Rush have identified the underlying mechanism of calcium-triggered cardiac arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats. The discovery, described in the Jan. 19 issue of Nature Medicine, has major implications for the development of molecularly designed drugs specifically targeted at this form of arrhythmia.

The study was led by Wayne Chen, PhD, professor of molecular biophysics and physiology at Rush and professor of physiology and biochemistry at the University of Calgary-Libin Institute. Michael Fill, PhD, professor of molecular biophysics and physiology at Rush, collaborated on the research.

Cardiac arrhythmias can cause dizziness and fainting, or in severe cases, sudden death. While many factors, including genetics, contribute to the development of arrhythmias, research has shown that a common cause of cardiac arrhythmias is calcium overload. Calcium overload disrupts the finely controlled electrical activity governing contraction of heart muscle.

Calcium is stored inside cardiac cells, much like skeletal muscle cells, in preparation for contraction. The protein responsible for release of calcium is known as the cardiac ryanodine receptor (RyR2), or the calcium release channel, which acts like a safety valve that prevents calcium overload.

Read the news release.

‘Designer’ Fiber May Ease IBS Symptoms

MutluEce_edited-1A newly-developed, “designer” dietary fiber with an added potential prebiotic effect may eliminate the side effects of current treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects 10 to 20 percent of the population, disproportionately women.

The collaboration between a gastroenterologist at Rush and a carbohydrate chemist at Purdue University led to the development of the new product, a natural starch derived from a mixture of seaweed and starch in which the release of starch fiber in the gastrointestinal tract can be delayed, slowed and controlled to occur in the colon, rather than in the stomach and upper intestine.

“This new product prevents the discomfort and bloating associated with current fiber therapies, while getting our new fiber into the colon and specifically distal colon where traditional fiber products typically do not reach and where many diseases of colon-like cancers develop,” said Dr. Ece Mutlu, principal investigator the phase II trial that will begin at Rush in January 2014. “This can provide an effective treatment for IBS, decrease the risk of colon cancer and possibly inflammatory diseases like colitis,” she added. The study seeks 200 people who have been diagnosed with IBS and constipation.

In an earlier Phase I study with 60 patients suffering from constipation, the newly designed fiber was shown to be safe, better tolerated and with fewer side effects than currently available fiber treatments for constipation, and it had a positive effect on intestinal microbiota composition by promoting the growth of “healthy” bacteria in the colon.

Read the news release.