Scripps Tips- May 2007

A monthly list of story ideas for journalists

Camp Pendleton Marines & Scripps Mark 1-Year Anniversary Of Brain Injury Rehab Program For Military Personnel Injured by IEDs in Iraq
A unique brain injury rehab program for active-duty military personnel – many of whom sustained their injuries in Iraq from improvised explosive devices, or IEDs – turns one year old in late May.Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas teamed up to develop an outpatient program geared toward the recovery needs of military patients with closed brain injuries (those with no visible wounds, often called the “silent injury”). The goal of program is to help military personnel rehabilitate so they can return to full-time active duty status.The program has treated more than 30 patients to date and is expected to ramp up further this year.To arrange a visit to interview a current Marine patient and the program’s key clinical experts, please contact Steve Carpowich at carpowich.stephen@scrippshealth.org.

Breast-feeding Reduces Breast Cancer Risk in Women Who Have Children After Age 25, Study Finds
Physicians and researchers have long-suspected that breast-feeding may play a beneficial role in the prevention of breast cancer. Study results announced at a recent meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Los Angeles indicate that breast-feeding lowers the risk of a particularly aggressive type of breast cancer. Giving birth after age 25 – the average age that women in the U.S. first give birth, according to Census data – was associated with increased risk of hormone receptor negative breast cancer. These results were surprising as it was previously thought that only hormone-responsive breast cancers would be affected. To arrange an interview with John McHugh, M.D., chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Scripps Mercy Hospital, please contact Kristin Reinhardt at reinhardt.kristin@scrippshealth.org.

Trend Toward Greater Survivorship Marks 20th Annual National Cancer Survivor’s Day Celebrations Planned at Scripps Cancer Center in June
The 20th annual National Cancer Survivor’s Day is set for June 3, with celebrations planned throughout the month.The outlook is brightening for many patients with history of cancer.For example, the percentage of people living five years after a diagnosis of any type of cancer is now up to 66% (for those diagnosed after 1995) – compared to about 50% for the previous two decades.San Diego County is showing progress in the fight against cancer, with the number of deaths from several forms of cancer on the decline.Scripps Cancer Center, which has treatment centers at five hospital sites around San Diego County, currently has more than 32,000 cancer survivors in its registry.Scripps is hosting a number of cancer survivor day celebrations (below); to arrange an interview or to make plans to attend an event, please contact Steve Carpowich at carpowich.stephen@scrippshealth.org.

  • June 3, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Scripps Green Hospital
  • June 5, 11:30 a.m. – 2: 30 p.m., Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla
  • June 22, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego

Stroke Symptoms – One-Third of Americans Can’t Name One
May is National Stroke Month
A recent National Stroke Association survey reports 1 in 3 Americans cannot name a single symptom a person might experience while having a stroke. Because fast action is the best treatment, it is important to recognize the early warning signs of a stroke. Clot-busting drugs are available if a patient reaches an emergency room within three hours of the onset of symptoms and are still the most beneficial intervention, according to the guidelines of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke is the third-leading cause of death of Americans and every minute counts – brain damage begins the moment a stoke starts. To arrange an interview with Jonathon Licht, M.D., neurologist and medical director of the stoke program at Scripps Mercy Hospital, please contact Kristin Reinhardt at reinhardt.kristin@scrippshealth.org.

Death Rate of Hospitalized Heart Attack Patients is Cut in Half, Study Finds
A recent international, large-scale study showed that in just six years the percentage of heart attack patients who died in the hospital or who developed heart failure was nearly cut in half. The growing use of cholesterol-lowering drugs, powerful blood thinners, and angioplasty, (the procedure that opens clogged arteries) contributed to these dramatic results. The quick use of aspirin, beta blockers, statins and ACE inhibitors are a few recommendations in the new guidelines from cardiologist organizations in the U.S. and Europe. To arrange an interview with Jerrod Glassman, M.D., Scripps Mercy Hospital cardiologist and chief of staff, please contact Kristin Reinhardt at reinhardt.kristin@scrippshealth.org.

Can A Heart Scan Prevent a Heart Attack?
When calcium deposits begin to form in the arteries of the heart, you are at risk for a heart attack. In less than 15 minutes, a non-invasive heart scan offered at Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine can detect early stages of heart disease, even before symptoms appear. “Heart disease is essentially preventable,” says Mimi Guarneri, M.D., medical director for Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine. “When heart disease is detected early, healing can begin sooner through lifestyle change and medical interventions.”The recently upgraded 64-slice combination PET/CT scanner – the only one currently available in Southern California – gives physicians a more complete and accurate picture than either PET or CT scans alone. In a single procedure this non-invasive, state-of-the-art technology is used to detect early stages of disease, such as heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer. Patients are subject to fewer tests and get results more quickly, and physicians gain valuable time for treatment planning. Patient stories and physician experts are available for interview. For more information, contact Anna-Maja Dahlgren at Dahlgren.anna-maja@scrippshealth.org.

Drinking Green Tea Daily Lowers Risk of Skin Cancer
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, tea antioxidants found primarily in green tea show promise at limiting the damage UV radiation can have on the skin. Researchers say having a cup of tea everyday can help lower the risk of two common forms of skin cancer and the tea’s effect was even greater among those who had been tea drinkers for decades. Dermatologist Bryan Chen, M.D., Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista is available to discuss this recent finding as well as other measures that should be taken to protect yourself from the sun during the summertime. For more information or to set up and interview, please contact Monica MontaƱo at montano.monica@scrippshealth.org.

Ten Hopeful Canines Tryout For “Therapy Dog” Status
Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla will screen its newest class of therapy dogs on Wednesday, May 29 starting at 9 a.m. Ten hopeful canines will undergo vigorous testing by a local pet expert to see how they react to the challenges of a health care setting and see if they have what it takes to become a certified therapy dog. The dogs will be assessed on their responses to such things as loud noises, sudden grabs, tight hugs and being picked up in an ungainly fashion. The dogs must also demonstrate calmness, a love of people and remain in total control under the handler’s direction. For more information or to cover this event, please contact Lisa Ohmstede at ohmstede.lisa@scrippshealth.org.

New Parent Tea – Adjusting to Parenthood
The Parent Connection (a parenting network sponsored by Scripps Health) will host a “New Parent Tea” on Thursday, May 10 from 10-11 a.m at the Scripps Mende Well Being Center. New parents will have an opportunity to speak with a licensed therapist on surviving the first few weeks after baby comes home. Parents can also learn about the nine steps to wellness – education, sleep, nutrition, exercise, sharing, emotional support, practical support, referrals and having a plan of action. For more information or to cover this event, please contact Lisa Ohmstede at ohmstede.lisa@scrippshealth.org.