UPMC Physician Resources

UPMC Participates In Kidney Transplant Chain

PITTSBURGH (KDKA), March 4, 2011 — About a year ago, Allegheny General Hospital was part of a large kidney chain, involving 12 transplants and 24 patients. Now, UPMC has surpassed that with an even bigger organ exchange involving 16 transplants, 32 surgeries, 12 medical centers and 10 states.

Read the full CBS Pittsburgh article, including photos and video:

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/03/04/upmc-participates-in-kidney-transplant-chain/

 

Pitt School of Nursing Study Finds Poor Sleep Quality Associated With Greater Pain And Disability In Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 22, 2011 – Poor sleep quality correlated with higher levels of depressive symptoms, more severe pain, increased fatigue and greater functional disability in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), according to a study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing recently published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. The study suggests that addressing sleep problems may have a critical impact on the health and quality of life of patients with RA.

Faith S. Luyster, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Nursing, led the study of 162 patients with RA. Participants completed several questionnaires, which asked about their sleep quality, depression, fatigue, functional disability and pain severity.

Results showed that sleep quality had an indirect effect on functional disability after controlling for age, gender and number of comorbidities. According to results of one of the questionnaires, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, 61 percent of patients were poor sleepers and 33 percent reported pain that disturbed their sleep three or more times per week.

“Not sleeping well at night can contribute to greater pain sensitivity and fatigue during the day, which in turn can limit a patient’s ability to engage in activities of daily living and discretionary activities,” Dr. Luyster said. “These results highlight the importance of addressing sleep complaints among patients with RA. By treating sleep problems either pharmacologically or behaviorally, symptoms and activity limitations associated with RA may be reduced.”  

Collaborators on the study were Jacqueline Dunbar-Jacob, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., dean, School of Nursing, and Eileen Chasens, D.S.N., R.N., assistant professor, School of Nursing.

RA is an inflammatory disease affecting about 1.3 million U.S. adults, and causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in the joints. Dis­turbed sleep has been found to be a major concern among persons with RA.

The study was funded with grants from the National Institute of Health.

New Pitt Projects Will Test Brain Computer Interfaces for People with Spinal Cord Injury

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 17, 2011 – Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have been awarded funding for two projects that will place brain-computer interfaces (BCI) in patients with spinal cord injuries to test if it is possible for them to control external devices, such as a computer cursor or a prosthetic limb, with their thoughts.

The projects build upon ongoing research conducted in epilepsy patients who had the interfaces temporarily placed on their brains and were able to move cursors and play computer games, as well as in monkeys that through interfaces guided a robotic arm to feed themselves marshmallows and turn a doorknob.

“We are now ready to begin testing BCI technology in the patients who might benefit from it the most, namely those who have lost the ability to move their upper limbs due to a spinal cord injury,” said Michael L. Boninger, M.D., director, UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, chair, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pitt School of Medicine, and a senior scientist on both projects. “It’s particularly exciting for us to be able to test two types of interfaces within the brain.”

“By expanding our research from the laboratory to clinical settings, we hope to gain a better understanding of how to train and motivate patients who will benefit from BCI technology,” said Elizabeth Tyler-Kabara, M.D., Ph.D., a UPMC neurosurgeon and assistant professor of neurological surgery and bioengineering, Pitt Schools of Medicine and Engineering, and the lead surgeon on both projects.

In one project, funded by an $800,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, a BCI based on electrocorticography (ECoG) will be placed on the motor cortex surface of a spinal cord injury patient’s brain for up to 29 days. The neural activity picked up by the BCI will be translated through a computer processor, allowing the patient to learn to control computer cursors, virtual hands, computer games and assistive devices such as a prosthetic hand or a wheelchair.

The second project, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for up to $6 million over three years, is part of a program led by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Md. It will further develop technology tested in monkeys by Andrew Schwartz, Ph.D., professor of neurobiology, Pitt School of Medicine, and also a senior investigator on both projects.

It uses an interface that is a tiny, 10-by-10 array of electrodes that is implanted on the surface of the brain to read activity from individual neurons. Those signals will be processed and relayed to maneuver a sophisticated prosthetic arm.

“Our animal studies have shown that we can interpret the messages the brain sends to make a simple robotic arm reach for an object and turn a mechanical wrist,” Dr. Schwartz said. “The next step is to see not only if we can make these techniques work for people, but also if we can make the movements more complex.”

In the study, which is expected to begin by late 2011, participants will get two separate electrodes. In future research efforts, the technology may be enhanced with an innovative telemetry system that would allow wireless control of a prosthetic arm, as well as a sensory component.

“Our ultimate aim is to develop technologies that can give patients with physical disabilities control of assistive devices that will help restore their independence,” Dr. Boninger said.

Sister, donating part of her liver, show the depth of love

Pittsburgh, PA, February 10, 2010–Lisa Mazza broke into tears when doctors wheeled her from her ailing sister.

But it wasn’t until she entered the operating room that her unease turned to terror.

“You see all these instruments and tools, clamps and everything, all sanitized and lined up on that blue sheet,” she said. “There were so many of them. And the breathing instruments, and all the different people in there. … It was very intimidating. It was dawning on me at that moment that I was getting ready to actually do this.”

UPMC Montefiore surgeons were about to open her abdomen, slice off 50 percent to 60 percent of her liver and transplant it into her sister, Christina, who six months before learned she has hereditary amyloidosis.

Page 80 of 80:« First« 77 78 79 80