In the Media

Exercise for Parkinson's

A story in Washington Post describes the latest findings regarding the benefit of exercise to Parkinson's patients. While riding a tandem bicycle in a long-distance ride with a friend who has Parkinson's disease, Jay Alberts, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, saw that his friend had regained the ability to legibly write her name after the first day. He later heard rumor of such experiences by others with the disease. This prompted research to help understand what was going on. Dr. Alberts has tested 60 patients in a study where participants had to increase their comfortable cycling pace by 35% on stationary bikes. The study, which is not yet complete, has confirmed that leg exercise was improving mobility throughout the body. Brain scans before and after exercise were also part of the study, showing that the exercise increased blood flow and brain activity, akin to the effects of typical medications taken for the disease.

Genetics and cancer

Reuters covered recent research of Charis Eng, MD, PhD, Chair, GMI, that showed how gene combinations can be as important as knowing whether or not an individual gene is expressed in cancer. The report also elaborated on her cancer risk assessment study that compared and verified the accuracy of family health histories versus DNA chip-based applications used by personal genome screening products. [Also see WCPO (Cincinnati)] Dr. Eng's research was also reported by U.S. News & World Report, summarizing that, "Researchers have identified three gene abnormalities that appear to raise the likelihood for developing thyroid cancer, with one in particular – the PTEN gene – implicated in children's risk of the disease." Read the Story

Blood test for concussion

Damir Janigro, PhD, Cell Biology and Cerebrovascular Center, is leading research "studying a simple blood test that could sound warning signals that a player might have a head injury," according to Fox Sports Ohio. Read the Story The idea is that a hit can cause disruption of the blood-brain barrier (indicating compromised brain health), despite the possibility of a player exhibiting no recognizable symptoms – until much later. Drs. Janigro and Marchi, Neurosurgery, have been investigating the ability of a simple blood test to detect a marker (a protein called S100) that indicates a compromised blood-brain barrier. The marker is detectable within minutes of a harmful hit, and its presence/absence can then be used to make decisions regarding whether or not a player should seek further medical attention. Football players at Baldwin Wallace College are participating in the study.

Breath test for diagnosing lung cancer

Dr. Peter Mazzone, Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, is the lead researcher of a study that is testing the ability of a chemical sensor-based breath test to diagnose lung cancer, based on the sensor response to the pattern of chemicals exhaled in the breath. In a preliminary test of 229 people, 92 with confirmed lung cancer and the remaining 137 at risk, the breath test was greater than 80% accurate. Their goal is to be able to use this breath test in combination with a cat scan in order to accurately diagnose lung cancer, and possibly even stage the cancer, in a cost-effective, non-invasive manner. See Voice of America, Read the Study; ABC World News Tonight, Watch the Story; ABC 7 Chicago, Read the Story;, Read the Story; Medical Daily, Read the Medical Daily Story; The Times of India, Read the Times of India Story; WMAQ-TV (Chicago, IL), Watch the Story.

Top Pick from 2011

Richard Ransohoff, MD, Neurosciences, and Claudia Lucchinetti, MD, of Mayo Clinic co-authored a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, (Inflammatory cortical demyelination in early multiple sclerosis. N Engl J Med 2011; 365:2188-2197) that was selected by neurological experts serving on the editorial advisory board of Neurology Today as one of the top 11 most noteworthy studies in 2011. 'Game-changer' status was conferred due to the study's contribution to the redefinition of how multiple sclerosis develops. See