Reporter May 8 2020
Dr. Jeff Balser on Adapting and Thriving in a New Phase of the Pandemic
May. 8, 2020—As our region begins to reopen businesses, we are entering a new phase of the pandemic. COVID-19 is still with us and remains a major public health challenge. But responsibility is shifting to all of us — as individuals and as institutions — to find new ways to live and work while keeping ourselves, and each other, safe.
Project seeks to help adults with TBI access social media
May. 7, 2020—With more than $2 million in funding, researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center are developing software to make social media platforms more accessible for adults with cognitive disabilities.
Center for AIDS Research lands NIH grant renewal
May. 7, 2020—The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has renewed its support of the Tennessee Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), a four-way partnership between Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Meharry Medical College, the Tennessee Department of Health and Nashville CARES.
May. 7, 2020—Metro Nashville Vice Mayor Jim Shulman and Dena McCormick, vice president of Vanderbilt Health Purchasing Collaborative, pose for a photo after picking up boxes containing thousands of masks that were donated to VUMC by the Ferrell McDaniel Company.
New method captures early viral-host protein interactions
May. 7, 2020—Researchers have developed a method to identify the primary interactions between incoming viral RNA genomes and host proteins.
Erik Hess named new Chair of Department of Emergency Medicine
May. 7, 2020—Erik Hess, MD, MSc, professor and interim chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine, has been named the new chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine for Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He will join the faculty on July 1.
Study finds AI can categorize cancer risk of lung nodules
May. 7, 2020—by Tom Wilemon Computed tomography scans for people at risk for lung cancer lead to earlier diagnoses and improve survival rates, but they can also lead to overtreatment when suspicious nodules turn out to be benign. A study published in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine indicates that an artificial intelligence strategy can correctly assess and categorize these indeterminate pulmonary nodules (IPNs). When compared to the conventional risk models clinicians currently use, the algorithm developed by the team of researchers in a very large dataset (15,693 nodules) reclassified IPNs into low-risk or high-risk categories in over a third of cancers and benign nodules. “These results suggest the potential clinical utility of this deep learning algorithm to revise the probability of cancer among IPNs aiming to decrease invasive procedures and shorten time to diagnosis,” said Pierre Massion, MD, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Medicine at Vanderbilt University, the study’s lead author. Currently, clinicians refer to guidelines issued by the American College of Radiology and the American College of Chest Physicians. Adherence to these guidelines can be variable, and how patient cases are classified can be subjective. With the goal of providing clinicians with an unbiased assessment tool, the researchers developed an algorithm based on datasets from the National Lung Screening Trial, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Oxford University Hospital. Their study is the first to validate a risk stratification tool on multiple independent cohorts and to show reclassification performance that is significantly superior to existing risk models. With IPNs, clinicians are often faced with the dilemma of weighing whether to advise a patient to undergo an invasive surgical procedure, which may be unnecessary, against a watch-and-wait strategy, which may result in delaying needed cancer treatment. A definitive diagnosis of an IPN can take up to two years. Better assessment tools are needed by clinicians as screenings for patients at risk for lung cancer increase. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States and globally. The overall five-year survival rate is 21.7%, but it is much greater (92%) for those patients who receive an early diagnosis of stage IA1 non-small cell cancer. n
New study examines Alzheimer’s disease images and molecular biomarkers
May. 7, 2020—Alzheimer’s disease (AD) involves distinctive wasting away of certain brain regions, such that medical imaging of these regions can distinguish the disease from other subtypes of dementia.
Study to explore memory system’s role in TBI behavior deficits
May. 7, 2020—VUMC researchers are beginning a new five-year study to characterize the role of a memory system in behavioral deficits commonly seen in individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Rheumatoid arthritis patients on Medicare seeing increased out-of-pocket costs for specialty medications
May. 7, 2020—After a sharp drop in out-of-pocket costs between 2010 and 2011, Medicare patients who use specialty biologic medications for rheumatoid arthritis have seen higher out-of-pocket spending for those same drugs because of gradual price increases, a new study finds.
Team to test app for improving HIV care for new mothers in South Africa
May. 7, 2020—As South Africans with HIV move around the country, there is a risk they will disengage from the health care system or otherwise become lost to follow-up care.
Ventricular assist device program hits major milestone
May. 6, 2020—VHVI’s cardiac surgery and heart failure teams recently celebrated a milestone — implanting the 500th adult patient with a ventricular assist device.