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NEWS from CONSORTIUM MEMBERS
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many researchers are trying to determine which vulnerable populations are at risk of contracting the virus. Pregnant women are among those most vulnerable because the virus could put both the mother and newborn at risk.
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SARS-CoV-2 virus seemed only rarely to have serious complications in children. However, by April 2020, pediatricians had begun recognizing a syndrome in children who tested positive for COVID-19 involving hyperinflammation and some other attributes found in Kawasaki disease (KD). By May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had named the new condition Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). Yet the biology of MIS-C and how it relates to or differs from severe COVID-19 in children has largely remained a mystery.
Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) tracks glucose levels of people with type I or type II diabetes through a device that monitors levels throughout the day. These devices improve control of blood sugar levels by alerting patients when their levels go too high or low, but patients need to use the technology consistently to derive a benefit. Previous studies have shown that youth are less likely than adults to use CGM consistently, so there is a need to identify factors that lead to long-term CGM use in youth.
Substance abuse is a major public health problem in the United States, with some 21 million Americans diagnosed with at least one substance use disorder. Only 10 percent of individuals, however, receive treatment for substance use disorders, and in many instances effective, long-lasting treatments are limited. Compounding those problems is the fact that the biological basis for addiction is incompletely understood.
The human heart is like a sponge, able to expand and grow, increasing its capacity to take up blood. In theory, an enlarged heart can also squeeze out more blood, with more power, than an average-sized heart. But in reality, for most people, this growth – known as cardiac hypertrophy – is abnormal and signals trouble.
Like the infrastructure of an apartment building, a fibrous protein known as curli amyloid that is produced by bacteria provides the supportive framework for biofilms – thick extracellular substances made by bacteria that enable multiple bacterial cells to assemble, survive, and thrive together. Curli amyloid, however, is also a key factor in diarrheal illness brought about by bacterial infection, and its harmful effects may extend well beyond the gastrointestinal tract.
Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide. But significant disparities exist in the incidence and severity of heart disease, particularly between men and women, and major barriers remain for the successful long-term care of heart disease patients. Now, thanks to a $12-million Program Project Grant (PPG) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, scientists at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) are set to break down these barriers by exploring molecular mechanisms of heart injury and repair. Ultimately, they hope to identify new paths to the development of innovative heart therapies.
More than three-quarters of the patients in Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program find their depression decreases, half of patients see their strength nearly doubled and 80% of patients meet their blood pressure goal of 130/80 or lower.
Hershey Medical Center is recognized as “high performing” in six additional specialties: gastroenterology and GI surgery, geriatrics, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, pulmonology and lung surgery and urology. Overall, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Medical Center the best hospital in the Harrisburg metro region, and the #4 hospital in Pennsylvania.
In the wake of COVID-19, appointments through Penn State Health OnDemand have increased by 7,500% over the previous year. With its convenience and high patient ratings — an average 4.85 out of 5 for the OnDemand app — virtual care across Penn State Health is an increasingly important focus for the health system. Chris LaCoe, who led the growth and development of telehealth at Hershey Medical Center in recent years, has taken on a broader, more focused role overseeing virtual care across the system, effective this week.
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