A monthly list of story ideas for journalists
What’s Next For Stents?
Drug-eluting cardiac stents, implanted in previously-blocked vessels, have grown into a multibillion-dollar business, triggering a scramble to develop the next generation of the tiny devices, which have already been installed in the coronary arteries of millions of people. And biomedical device makers are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into research and acquisitions, trying to answer a persistent question from doctors and patients — “what’s next?” Scripps Clinic Cardiologist Paul Teirstein, M.D. is available to share his expert insight on the latest advancements in interventional cardiology and what leading-edge devices are in the works. To arrange an interview, contact Johnny Hagerman at Hagerman.email@example.com.
Have Your Children Had Their Shots?
As National Immunization Awareness Month, August is the perfect time to remind family, friends, co-workers, and those in the community to catch up on their vaccinations. Parents are enrolling their children in school, students are entering college, and health care workers are preparing for the upcoming flu season. Because children are particularly vulnerable to infection, most vaccines are given during the first five to six years of life. Other immunizations are recommended during adolescent or adult years and, for certain vaccines, booster immunization are recommended throughout life. But despite these efforts, today tens of thousands of people in the U.S. still die from vaccine-preventable diseases. How do you know if your immunizations are up-to-date? Just how safe are vaccines? Arrange an interview with a Scripps pediatrician by calling Kristin Reinhardt at Reinhardt.Kristin@scrippshealth.org.
Sunscreen in a Pill May Help Prevent Sun Damage
There’s a new weapon in the war against sunburn and skin cancer, and it comes in the form of a pill. Heliocare is an herbal supplement that you can take daily to prevent sun damage, and although the pill has been available in Europe for years, this is the first summer that it is widely available at major drug store chains in the United States. It is made from the extract of a tropical fern that has been used for generations in folk medicine to treat skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Heliocare works in your blood stream — from the inside out, as opposed to sunscreen which works from the outside in. It mops up the damage that gets past the sunscreen you might be wearing and repairs damage that is done to your skin that leads to skin cancer. To arrange an interview with a Scripps Clinic dermatologist about this topic, contact Johnny Hagerman at Hagerman.firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Diabetes Treatments in the Pipeline
Injections, pumps, pills and now inhalers. With an estimated 20 million Americans currently affected by diabetes, pharmaceutical companies and device makers are racing to develop new therapies for diabetics. Pfizer this month is expected to launch its inhaled insulin Exubera, which will allow diabetics to take pre-mealtime insulin from an inhaler that is roughly the size of a can of shaving cream. Other companies are developing diabetes drugs that will help delay the need for insulin treatment, and some medical device makers have created insulin pumps that “attach to the body and deliver insulin over several days” via a single skin puncture. Learn more about what new diabetes treatments are in the pipeline from a Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla endocrinologist. To arrange an interview or for additional information, e-mail Lisa Ohmstede at Ohmstede.email@example.com.
Mercy Clinic Provides Safety Net for Heart of San Diego
Since 1930, Mercy Clinic has become a critical source of medical care for San Diego’s “working poor,” now treating more than 2,000 patients each month. Thousands of people in the region rely on Mercy Clinic, most of them women, children and seniors who otherwise would have no access to health care. The Clinic operates with more than 200 physicians from Scripps Mercy Hospital who volunteer their time and also serves as a training ground for more than 50 medical residents each year from the hospital. Medical expenses for uninsured patients are absorbed by Scripps, which as a system provided more than $155 million last year in uncompensated care. To learn more about the Mercy Clinic or to arrange an interview, e-mail Kristin Reinhardt Reinhardt.Kristin@scrippshealth.org.
If You Can’t Stand the Heat…
With the temperature is rising, Scripps Mercy Hospital’s emergency physicians treat patients every day for heat-related illnesses, the vast majority of which are preventable. Learn how simple, effective techniques can keep you safe, healthy and cool this summer. To arrange an interview with a Scripps Mercy emergency physician, contact Kristin Reinhardt at Reinhardt.Kristin@scrippshealth.org.
Alcohol Consumption on the Rise
Americans are drinking alcohol more often, and beer is back on top as the beverage of choice, according to a new Gallup Poll. Although the number of Americans who drink alcohol is holding steady, the poll shows those who drink are imbibing more frequently and drinking more drinks each week compared with a decade ago. Experts from the Scripps McDonald Center are available to discuss American drinking habits and those resources available in San Diego for those in need of assistance. To arrange an interview or for additional information, e-mail Lisa Ohmstede at Ohmstede.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know insomnia affects 20-40 percent of all adults in the course of a year – and that 60 percent of those have a chronic disorder? New parents, college students, shift workers… sleep problems plague most every lifestyle. From alleviating the effects of jet lag for business travelers to helping athletes maximize alertness and performance, the nationally-accredited Sleep Lab at Scripps Mercy Hospital has state-of-the-art diagnostic technology to evaluate an individual’s quality of sleep. Visit our Sleep Lab and learn some simple techniques used to increase the efficiency of sleep and how our customized sleep plans have helped patients overcome their insomnia. To arrange a tour or interview with sleep specialist Dr. Cheryl Spinweber, contact Kristin Reinhardt at Reinhardt.Kristin@scrippshealth.org.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Approximately 10% of people have restless leg syndrome, and recent research suggests it may be genetic. Symptoms include a strong urge to move your legs, which you may not be able to resist. Some words used to describe these sensations include: creeping, itching, pulling, creepy-crawly, tugging or gnawing. To learn more about this unique condition and its treatment, contact Kristin Reinhardt at Reinhardt.Kristin@scrippshealth.org.