Scripps Tips - December 2010

A monthly list of story ideas for journalists

Preventing Holiday Emergencies
More than 12,000 people are treated in emergency rooms across the country each year due to falls, cuts, electrical shocks and burns from accidents related to holiday decorating, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians. Scripps Health emergency department physicians have information on how to prevent slips and falls, food-related illnesses as well as cuts and burns that result from cooking holiday meals or toy-related injuries. In addition, they can provide tips to help prevent sports-related injuries resulting from weekend warriors hitting the field or court. For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kristin Reinhardt at 619-686-3787, or reinhardt.kristin@scrippshealth.org.

How to Maintain New Year’s Health Goals of Exercise & Weight Loss
When it comes to making personal health goals for the new year, exercise and weight loss typically rank at the top of many people’s lists. But research shows that more than half of these resolutions are broken within a matter of months. Dr. Ken Fujioka, director of the Scripps Clinic Center for Weight Management, can offer the latest insights to help people stay on track for the long haul. Just a few of his proven tactics include: removing high-calorie, high-fat foods from the home and workspace; disassociating from those who reinforce unhealthy eating habits; and choosing exercises that are fun and convenient to do routinely. Dr. Fujioka can shed light on many common roadblocks that keep people from their health goals, and ways to overcome them. A Scripps employee who has benefitted from this approach is also available for interview. To arrange an interview, please contact Rachel Lichterman at 858-678-7348, or lichterman.rachel@scrippshealth.org.

Charitable Surgery Restores Local Woman to Health, Rekindles Her Decorating Passion in Time to Brighten the Holiday Season
A San Diego woman recuperating from a dire medical condition is now using her decorating skills to brighten the holidays for local residents. Shirley Rogers recently underwent surgery to repair two breast cancer procedures that had deteriorated since being performed in the 1980s. Her health reached a low point last summer, with constant debilitating pain she likened to “a bolt of lightning.” With no health insurance, her husband turned to the San Diego community for help. Last month, Doctors Offering Charitable Services (DOCS) and Scripps Health teamed up to donate $54,000 worth of surgical and hospital services to Rogers at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas. Physicians removed the problem scar tissue, replaced a breast implant and performed revisions of both prior breast procedures. “They gave me back my life, and I’m feeling better with every passing day,” said Rogers, who recently designed and installed holiday decorations at several San Diego gathering spots, including the 94th Aero Squadron. The surgery has enabled Rogers to sustain the small business she started out of her home 24 years ago, San Diego Event Décor. Moving forward, she also plans to create a program to help San Diego women improve their lives after completing cancer treatments. To arrange an interview with Rogers and a DOCS physician, please contact Steve Carpowich at 858-678-7183, or carpowich.stephen@scrippshealth.org.

Top Five Areas Outlined for Genomic Medicine in 2011
Advances in genomic medicine are expected to accelerate most notably in the following five areas in 2011, according to Dr. Eric Topol, chief academic officer of Scripps Health:

  • Prescription Medications: Genomic information provides valuable intelligence to guide more effective use of medications. Pharmacy benefit managers recently started genotyping patients for compatibility with Plavix and other medicines. The trend is likely to expand to more patients and drugs in 2011.
  • Cancer: Genomic sequencing is helping doctors define the “driver” genetic mutations associated with cancer. As sequencing becomes less expensive, the ability to sequence everyone with a serious cancer may soon be within reach. Using genomics to find and target cancer tumors will expand worldwide in 2011.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes has long been perceived in terms of Type 1 and 2, but the genome has revealed numerous variants that predispose people to other forms of the disease. Expanding the number of subtypes of diabetes will help physicians better match up therapies. More efforts will be focused in this area in 2011.
  • Physician Education: Only about 10 percent of America’s doctors believe they have enough knowledge of genetics to use it in their medical practice. Expected to launch in 2011, the College of Genomic Medicine will address this problem. The first-of-its-kind online learning and credentialing program will help arm physicians with important genomic knowledge.
  • Personal Gene Tests: In addition to guiding drug therapy, these tests can help prompt many consumers to get appropriate health screening tests they otherwise may have forgone. There is room for patients to improve their adherence to screening guidelines across all diseases and personal gene tests can provide an important tipping point.

To arrange an interview on this topic, please contact Steve Carpowich at 858-678-7183, or carpowich.stephen@scrippshealth.org.

Understanding Prediabetes
Prediabetes affects an estimated 57 million Americans. It is a condition that can morph into Type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is defined as a sustained elevation in blood sugar, which limits the body’s other cells of fuel and is harmful to the circulatory system. Most people with prediabetes experience no symptoms, but there are a few signs that could indicate you’re at risk. Health experts at the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute in La Jolla are able to discuss these key signs, talk more about the disease and offer prevention tips. To arrange an interview, please contact Rachel Lichterman at 858-678-7348, or lichterman.rachel@scrippshealth.org.