In the News
A machine designed for use in heart-lung bypass surgeries earlier this year is being re-purposed again to save those with extremely severe cases of flu, University of Alabama at Birmingham officials announced.Fifteen severely ill flu patients have received a chance for another breath thanks to the last-resort therapy employing the ECMO.
The end of one gene fused to the beginning of another and, voilà, a new, composite gene was born. In most people the two-component gene does not work. But in a small percentage the gene functions and puts its possessors at increased risk for lupus and potentially other autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, says a team of researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
In a small study, researchers found that the experimental drug — called pritelivir — substantially curbed "viral shedding" in people with genital herpes. That means it decreased the amount of time the virus was active and potentially transmissible to patients' sexual partners. There is still a lot of research to be done, said Dr. Richard Whitley, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who wrote an editorial published with the study. But he said it's good news that drugs that work in new ways are under development.
You may have inherited your mom's slow-mo metabolism, but you’re not stuck with it. New research shows you can trick your body into burning calories more efficiently, especially if you hit the gym. By strength-training just a couple of times a week, for example, you’ll reverse 50 percent of the seemingly inevitable metabolism slow-down that comes with age, said Gary Hunter, professor of human studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
We hear about flu cases every year and that push to get a flu shot. But doctors say this year you may want to heed their advice. "I would say that we're seeing a large number of cases this season and that we have seen a lot more serious illness resulting from positive flu swabs," Dr. Blayke Gibson with UAB Hospital said.
Physicians at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are using a new technology known as ECMO as a last-resort therapy for extremely severe cases of the flu. ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, is a sort of portable heart/lung bypass machine. The machine was first developed for use in heart bypass surgery, but it has now also been used as a bridge to heart or lung transplantation as well as the treatment of severe lung diseases.
The dean who for two decades helped propel the UAB School of Medicine into one of national prominence has died. Pittman was known for his ability to recruit and retain nationally and internationally known doctors and scientists and for his innovations that left a lasting stamp on the institution, according to a statement released today by the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
A very unusual blood transplant appears to have cured an American man living in Berlin of infection with the AIDS virus. The man, who is in his 40s, had a blood stem cell transplant in 2007 to treat leukemia. His donor had a gene mutation that confers natural resistance to HIV. “It’s an interesting proof-of-concept that with pretty extraordinary measures a patient could be cured of HIV,” but it is far too risky to become standard therapy even if matched donors could be found, said Dr. Michael Saag of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Ann Marie Reynolds, now 32, was on a kidney transplant list for a third time and had less than a 1 percent chance of finding a match when she learned of UAB Hospital’s Paired Donation Program. Doctors at UAB used the organ exchange program to match Reynolds with a compatible donor in a three-way organ exchange that also paired two other hard-to-match kidney patients with compatible donors. The UAB program uses a computer system to match living donors with potential recipients.
The Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, a visually stunning building designed by architect Randall Stout, is set to open its doors to UAB art students and the public. Named for principal donors Judy and Hal Abroms and Ruth and Marvin Engel, the institute seeks to bridge UAB’s resources with those of the Birmingham Museum of Art, and [exhibit] “Material Evidence” is the first example.
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