The Artistry of Health
The artwork of several patients at Children's Hospital's Music, Recreation and Child Life Therapy Department will grace greeting cards being sold to benefit the New Orleans not-for-profit pediatric medical center.

The "KidCards," which all bear designs of patients at Children's Hospital, cost $10 for a dozen cards and envelops and identify the artist. The cards can be purchased online at (or call the hospital at 896-9373, or at several local retailers, including Beaucoup Books, Black & Gold Sports Shop, Maple Street Book Shop, some PJ's Coffee locations, at Home Teams Sports Apparel and Indonique.

Mouthful of Research
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a dental researcher at LSU Health Sciences Center a $10.7 million grant to fund research facilities and projects dealing with oral infectious diseases.

NIH's Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) Program gave the five-year grant to Dr. Paul Fidel, associate dean for research at LSUHSC's School of Dentistry. Researchers will use some of the funds for four research projects. One will study oral infections in HIV and will try to develop new therapies to reduce oral warts in HIV-positive patients. Another project will treat expectant mothers with a special mouthwash and/or chewing gum to determine whether bacteria that promotes tooth decay can be reduced, stopped or prevented from moving from mother to child. Researchers also will try to reduce the cost of dental care and by developing new fluoride-releasing adhesives and sealants that will reduce the recurrence of cavities in filled teeth. The grant also will fund a project to develop new ways to control periodontal inflammation, which has been linked to heart disease and stroke, by studying how the human immune system responds to the bacteria associated with the problem.

Fidel says the grant also will be used to buy cutting-edge equipment and renovate several research laboratories as well as staff development.

A Good Mix
Dr. Michelle Mix of Mix Family Chiropractic (7942 Hwy. 23, Suite B, Belle Chasse, 393-8675) last month was given The Family Practice Excellence Award for her commitment to providing holistic health care during a national chiropractic convention in Atlanta.

Mix says regular chiropractic care can strengthen the body's immune system, has been shown to increase the production of immune cells in HIV patients and can improve a person's general health.

Improved Alzheimer's Diagnosis
The Buckman Geriatric Assessment Program at Touro Infirmary (1401 Foucher St., 897-7011) now is offering PET Scans to help doctors more accurately diagnose Alzheimer's Disease. Touro officials say they are the first medical center in the city to use PET Scans for such a purpose, and Medicare covers costs of the diagnostic tests.

One of the advantages of PET Scans in diagnosing Alzheimer's, Touro officials say, is that the scans help doctors make the difficult distinction between Alzheimer's and Fronto-Temporal Dementias. The technology also shows promise in helping in early diagnosis of the disease, thus allowing treatment at an earlier stage.

Ethics of Health Care
Tulane University will host a free, monthly lecture series titled "Ethics, Humanities and Health Care" through April, 2005, that will explore how American health care systems are dealing with the ethical challenges of the day.

All lectures, which are free and open to the public, are scheduled from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Tulane's J. Bennett Johnston Health and Environmental Research Building (1324 Tulane Ave.). A reception will follow each lecture.

David S. Jones of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts General Hospital will discuss "Science, History, and Theories of American Indian Depopulation" on Jan. 13, 2005; Conovery Valencius of Harvard's School of Medicine will address "The Health of the Country: How Settlers Made Sense of the Mississippi River Valley" on Feb. 17; Robert J. Levine of Yale's School of Medicine will talk about "Development of Ethical Standards for Research Involving Human Subjects: 50 Years of Evolution" on March 3; and Kenneth Schaffner of George Washington University and The Hastings Center will discuss "Genes, Behavior, and Ethics: Current Issues" on April 7.

A Better Way
The Breast Center at St. Tammany Parish Hospital (201 St. Ann Drive, Mandeville, 985-612-2113) now offers the Mammo Test, a less invasive way to biopsy a suspicious lesion on a breast and detect any problems that need attention early.

The Mammo Test allows doctors to more efficiently examine breast tissue using only minimal local anesthetic. During the 45-minute non-surgical procedure, a doctor inserts a needle into the breast and extracts a small sample for analysis, and the patient does not have to recovery from a surgical procedure. In addition, because the doctor uses a needle instead of cutting into breast tissue, there is no scarring, which in traditional biopsies sometimes caused problems in accurately reading future mammograms.

Heart Savers
Touro Infirmary recently gave the New Orleans Police Department 10 automatic external defibrillators (AED) to help reduce the number of deaths in the city from heart attacks.

Touro President and CEO Gary Stein says the hospital gave the units to the police department in hopes that having the life-saving devices in the community will save lives that might otherwise be lost in route to a hospital. The American Heart Association (AHA) says as many as 95 percent of people who suffer a sudden heart attack die before they make it to an emergency room.

Touro, East Jefferson General Hospital and West Jefferson Medical Center are jointly sponsoring a three-year media to make people more aware of how to deal with a heart attack. The AHA recommends calling 911 immediately, performing CPR, shocking with a defibrillator and finding medical care quickly.

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