- WSU neurologist co-writes new recommendation on blood thinners to prevent stroke in those with irregular heartbeat
In Headlines on March 7, 2014
Seemant Chaturvedi, M.D.
New recommendations from the American Academy of Neurology, drafted with assistance of a Wayne State University School of Medicine neurologist, recommends that people with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, take oral blood thinners to prevent stroke.
The guidelines, published in the February 2014 print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, note that taking anticoagulants is especially important for people who have already had a stroke or a transient ischemic attack, which is a threatened stroke.
“With these new guidelines, physicians should strongly consider the use of anticoagulants for patients with atrial fibrillation,” said Seemant Chaturvedi, M.D., F.A.H.A., F.A.A.N., co-author of the new guidelines and professor of WSU Neurology. “Patients should definitely bring this up with their doctors since studies show only about 50 percent of atrial fibrillation patients are on proper medication.”
Irregular heartbeat is a major risk factor for stroke. The World Health Organization has determined that atrial fibrillation is nearing epidemic proportions, affecting 0.5 percent of the population worldwide, said the recommendation’s lead author, Antonio Culebras, M.D., of the State University of New York Upstate Medical University.
The uneven heart rhythm with atrial fibrillation allows blood to remain in the heart’s upper chambers. The trapped blood can then coagulate and form clots, which can then travel to the brain, causing stroke. About one in 20 people with untreated atrial fibrillation will likely have a stroke in the next year.
Atrial fibrillation is the most common form of abnormal heart rhythm, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC predicts that as many a 12 million people will have the condition by the year 2050. The condition is responsible for 15 percent to 20 percent of ischemic strokes. Atrial fibrillation increases fivefold the risk of ischemic stroke.
The Michigan Department of Community Health cites stroke as a leading cause of long-term, severe disability and the fourth-leading cause of death in Michigan. Stroke is not limited to the elderly. In 2008, nearly one-quarter of the 27,719 hospitalizations for stroke in Michigan were for patients younger than 65.
While anticoagulants are highly effective in preventing stroke, they carry a risk of bleeding and should be used only under close medical supervision. The new guideline determined that anticoagulant pills such as dabigatran, rivaroxaban and apixaban, are at least as effective, if not more effective, than the established treatment of warfarin and have a lower risk of bleeding in the brain. In addition, the new drugs have the added convenience of not requiring the frequent blood testing that warfarin requires.
The guideline also extends the value of this type of blood thinner to many people who are generally undertreated -- such as the elderly, those with mild dementia and those at moderate risk of falls.
- Dr. Jamil awarded Distinction Grade by Royal Colleges of Physicians
In Headlines on March 6, 2014
Hikmet Jamil, M.D., Ph.D.A Wayne State University professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences has been recognized with a special status by the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom.
Hikmet Jamil, M.D., D.V.D., D.I.H., MS.c, Ph.D., director of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Graduate Courses and a member of the Division of Occupational & Health Sciences for the School of Medicine, has been awarded the Distinction Grade by the college.
The Faculty of Public Health is the premiere public health organization of the United Kingdom. Dr. Jamil was awarded the distinction as a recognition of his dedication to enhancing public health worldwide, and, specifically in Iraq.
“It is a great honor to receive this recognition, which goes to scientists who gave most of their lives to serving people in the area of public health irrespective of their country of origin,” Dr. Jamil said. “This recognition will add an extra emphasis to not only continue in such a great field, but to encourage more scientists to join public health to improve the health of all people who are in need of such services to have a better quality of life.”
Dr. Jamil’s work has previously resulted in a “Special Tribute” from Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature for his studies involving the health disorders of Iraqi refugees and immigrants. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Iraqi Medical Sciences Association.
“Dr. Jamil is a dedicated translationary public health researcher focusing on community-engaged research. He is internationally recognized for his research focusing on environmental determinants of Arab health in general, and, specifically, post-Gulf War health effects among Iraqis,” said Bengt Arnetz, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., WSU School of Medicine professor of Occupational and Environmental Health, and deputy director of the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. “This prestigious award from the Royal Colleges of Physicians clearly recognizes his many years of dedicated public health research and services. We are very proud of his achievements. Dr. Jamil is currently the driver of Wayne State’s efforts to secure a large multi-year research, education and clinical training grant with the Iraqi Ministries of Health and Education and Research.”
He is co-investigator of a National Institutes of Health-funded study that is tracking Iraqi refugees in metropolitan Detroit who have been exposed to war in their home country to determine the effect of post-migration factors such as employment, language classes, and mental and social health services in mitigating stress and post-traumatic stress disorder. Metropolitan Detroit has long been home to one of the world’s largest populations of Arabic peoples outside of the Middle East. Increasingly, more are relocating to the region to escape the horrors of war and ethnic and religious conflict.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 35 percent of U.S. residents who were born in Iraq now live in Michigan. This number includes about 12,000 Muslims and 90,000 Chaldeans or Christian Iraqis. Much of the Chaldean population has settled in Oakland and Macomb counties. Many of these new immigrants suffer effects associated with the horrors they saw and experienced in their homeland.
The study, designed to measure stress resiliency and social programs designed to ease post-traumatic stress disorder among Iraqi war refugees, may be the largest to date that investigates stress resiliency and risk factors in Iraqi refugees who have experienced war as noncombatants. It is also the first study ever of refugees in which there will be a mechanism to study a random sample of immigrants at the time they arrive in their host country.
- Islamic Medical Student Association's annual Networking Banquet set for March 15
In Headlines on March 5, 2014
AbdulRahman El-Sayed, Ph.D.The Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Islamic Medical Student Association will present its fifth annual Networking Banquet this month.
“From the Clinic to the Community: Scoping Our Community’s Vital Signs” will take place March 15 and will feature keynote speaker AbdulRahman El-Sayed, Ph.D., a social epidemiologist, who as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University obtained his doctorate degree in public health.
Dr. El-Sayed is completing his medical degree at Columbia University, where he is expected to join the faculty as an assistant professor of epidemiology in May. His research interests include the social production of health, ethnic and socioeconomic health inequalities, and complex systems approaches in social epidemiology. He received a bachelor’s degree in biology and political science in 2007 from the University of Michigan.
The annual dinner organized by the IMSA provides an opportunity for medical students and residents to connect with mentor physicians in various fields of medicine, said Sumaiya Ullah, a first-year medical student and vice president of the association.
“Our primary target is to bring together the talents and resources of Muslims in the health field and create a network of professionals who can benefit from each other,” Ullah said. “We've continued this tradition for the past four years, and have gained many benefits from its success.”
Ullah stressed that the event is open to all students and faculty of the WSU School of Medicine.
The dinner will begin at 6 p.m. at Habib’s Cuisine, located at 14316 Michigan Ave., Dearborn.
For ticket prices and to register, visit www.imsabanquet2014.eventbrite.com.
- Physical Medicine chief resident to begin Spinal Cord Medicine Fellowship at Harvard
In Headlines on February 28, 2014
Imaduddin Razvi, M.D.Lawrence Horn, M.D., M.R.M., chair of the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Detroit Medical Center - Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, announced that the department’s chief resident is entering a fellowship at Harvard.
Imaduddin Razvi, M.D., has accepted a Fellowship in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Veterans Association Boston Healthcare System.
“Imad will have the opportunity to work with several excellent physicians and scientists, perhaps most prominent among them being Sunil Sabharwal, who is a leader in spinal cord injury medicine as well as physical medicine and rehabilitation,” Dr. Horn said.
- WSU neuroscientists host Brain Day at Michigan Science Center
In Headlines on February 27, 2014
Area families and budding scientists should get a spark out of Brain Day, presented by Wayne State University School of Medicine neuroscientists from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 15 at the Michigan Science Center, 520 John R. St., Detroit.
Curious guests will get the chance to hold a human brain, pick a neuroscientist’s brain and learn some amazing brain facts in the process.
The event is free with paid general admission to the center, and coincides with the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives’ Brain Awareness Week March 10-16, a global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.
WSU’s Brain Day highlights the neuroscience research at WSU through a variety of displays. Topics will include addiction, development and aging, and head safety.
Visit www.dana.org/baw to learn more about Brain Awareness Week.
- Hormone therapy linked to better survival after lung cancer diagnosis in women
In Headlines on February 27, 2014
Ann Schwartz, Ph.D., M.P.H.Survival among people with lung cancer has been better for women than men, and the findings of a recent study indicate that female hormones may be a factor in this difference. The combination of estrogen plus progesterone and the use of long-term hormone therapy were associated with the most significant improvements in survival.
The study was designed to explore the influence of several reproductive and hormonal factors on overall survival of women with non-small cell lung cancer, or NSCLC. After adjusting for the stage of disease at diagnosis, treatment type (surgery or radiation), smoking status, age, race and education level, the only factor studied that predicted survival after a diagnosis of NSCLC was use of hormone therapy.
Among the 485 women, the median survival time was 80 months for women receiving hormone therapy and 37.5 months for women not receiving hormone therapy. Combined estrogen and progesterone was associated with a slightly higher median survival time (87 months) than estrogen alone (83 months). The findings of the study are published in the March issue of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer’s journal, the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.
The use of hormone therapy for 11 years or more was associated with significantly improved survival. This finding remained significant among women who took either estrogen alone or estrogen plus progesterone, and among women who had never smoked or were smokers.
“What has emerged from this study and other published findings is a complex relationship between hormone use and lung cancer outcomes, with variation in results based on years of use,” said the study’s lead author Ann Schwartz, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor of oncology, deputy center director and executive vice president of Research and Academic Affairs and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute.
Studies on the effect of hormone use on lung cancer survival have been limited, and the results have been inconsistent. Because of this, additional research is needed to evaluate the significance of long-term use of hormone therapy on outcomes in lung cancer, with better characterization of tumors in terms of expression of estrogen and progesterone receptors.
“There is more to learn about survival differences between men and women; hormone use may contribute to those differences,” Dr. Schwartz said. “The largest impact on lung cancer outcomes will come from successful early detection and treatment.”