Decoding Patient Care

April 25, 2015

By: Hope Gamper, Editorial Intern

Our understanding of the genetic code kicked off in 1953 when scientists Watson and Crick documented evidence of the double helix structure of DNA. Fifty years later the Human Genome Project, an initiative to map the entire human genome, was completed. Today, we know more about our As, Ts, Gs and Cs than ever before. This National DNA Day, April 25th**, let’s take a look at the ways knowing about genomics is beneficial to health care.

DNA is made up of billions of nucleotide pairs (those As, Ts, Gs and Cs) that are joined by hydrogen bonds. These bonds are very strong, and act as a reliable way to store our genetic information. Your complete set of genetic information is called your genome, which codes for everything from your hair color to how well you do in school, and it is part of what makes you you.

Your genome can also help doctors develop personalized treatment plans.

Patients with coronary artery disease at the University of Maryland Medical Center can receive long-term therapy based on their genetic information. Patients may elect to be tested for abnormal copies of the CYP2C19 gene, which can impact the efficacy of clopidogrel, an anticoagulant. Incorrect doses of drugs like clopidogrel can lead to serious heart attacks and strokes, so knowing a patient’s reaction before prescription is vital.

Advances in DNA sequencing and testing have opened the door for the more commonplace practice of genomic medicine. Every baby born in the United States is screened for inherited genetic diseases at birth, and whole genome sequencing can prevent misdiagnosis of an array of diseases from cerebral palsy to cystic fibrosis.

Applying new findings in genomic medicine on a routine clinical scale is a long and continuous process, but knowing more about the way the human genome works can only mean a bright future for personalized medicine.

DNAday

**Sponsored by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), DNA Day is a celebration of genetics and genomics. For an online education kit, visit the NHGRI website: http://www.genome.gov/

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By: Andrea Rizkallah, Editorial Intern

AndreaVolunteering is a rewarding activity, which is why I love my position as editorial intern in the Corporate Communications department at the University of Maryland Medical Center. I thought that I had to be a medical student in order to volunteer at a medical center, but luckily I was wrong. I was able to get an administrative position that still makes a difference and offers me great experience.

The Corporate Communications department coordinates blood drives that help save lives, updates the website with valuable information for patients and families, keeps Medical Center employees updated on training events and interviews patients to communicate their stories. Even though we are not transplanting lungs or performing surgery, we are still deeply involved with the hospital. I have completed projects that really make me feel like I am part of the team, and these contributions make me feel accomplished and useful.

The volunteer program here at the University of Maryland is great because I am getting hands on experience. I get to learn how the hospital works and what goes into the everyday functions of a medical center.  Although my role is an administrative one, I feel that I am making a difference, and that is a lot to take away from a volunteer position.

Volunteers work in all areas including the Emergency department, Shock Trauma Center, Medical Records department, Dental Clinic, Psychiatry department, and many more.  There are some requirements to volunteering at the hospital:

  • You must be at least 13 years old and be able to commit to four hours a week.
  • To receive credit, recommendations or certificates, you must volunteer at least 75 hours of time.
  • All prospective volunteers must return the required paperwork to the volunteer office prior to interviews.

Learn more about how to have a rewarding volunteer experience.

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By: Andrea Rizkallah, Editorial Intern

nutrition month_final

By March, New Year’s resolution motivation may be dwindling down, which is why it’s the perfect time to celebrate National Nutrition Month and get back into a healthy lifestyle.

National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to promote informed food choices and habitual exercise.

Here are some small changes you can make that will have a big impact on your health:

  • Pack on the go healthy snacks such as apple slices
  • Eat seafood twice a week
  • Visit a physician to get the best advice for you
  • Use an app or website to keep track of your progress

If you need an interactive approach to healthy eating, visit www.choosemyplate.gov, and get to know the different food groups and other important information. It takes equal parts healthy eating and exercise to contribute to your overall health. Adults should aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day and kids need at least 60 minutes.

Some people may think the only form of exercise is running, so they shy away from physical activity. But, there are many ways to fit exercise into your life.

  • Many gyms now offer fitness classes such as Zumba, kickboxing, water aerobics and Pilates.
  • There are at-home videos that incorporate group activities and upbeat music to keep you motivated.
  • Even walking around the block for half an hour after dinner makes a big difference to your health.
  • Eat carbs before your workout to give you energy
  • Eat carbs with protein after a workout for muscle recovery

There are a number of blogs and magazines that have recipes to walk you through eating healthy. EatRight has tips and information categorized by audience; Men, women, kids and seniors can find specialized information on topics like food, health and fitness.

university farmers market lA great way to make buying fruits and vegetables fun is to visit a farmer’s market! And we have one right here! The University of Maryland Medical Center hosts a farmer’s market on Tuesdays from May through November from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Get more information at http://umm.edu/about/green/farmers-market.

So, if you’re looking for some motivation to make a lifestyle change or to keep pursuing your New Year’s resolutions, this is the month to do it!

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Poison Prevention Week: What You Need to Know

March 18, 2015

By: Andrea Rizkallah, Editorial Intern Poisoning can happen at any time, often from everyday household items, and frequently to children under the age of 5. Please make sure you and your loved ones save the Poison Help line phone number (1-800-222-1222) and following these tips provided by the Maryland Poison Center at the University of Maryland [...]

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Public Health Leaders Urge Vaccination Against Measles

March 6, 2015

By Steven J. Czinn, MD Physician-in-Chief, University of Maryland Children’s Hospital It is impossible today to turn on the TV or read the news without hearing about the current debate surrounding childhood vaccinations and the measles outbreaks in the United States. As chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, I [...]

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Making Heart Health a Year-Round Priority

February 26, 2015

By: Hope Gamper, Editorial Intern February and American Heart Month are ending, but just because March is around the corner doesn’t mean you should stop thinking about keeping your heart in tip-top shape. The American Heart Association (AHA), whose mission is to fight cardiovascular diseases and stroke, and the UM Heart Center offer a series [...]

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Thanking Donors with All of Our Heart

February 14, 2015

By: Hope Gamper, Editorial Intern Most people know February 14th as Valentine’s Day,  but February 14th also shares the honor of being National Donor Day. National Donor Day honors donors of organs, tissues, marrow, platelets and blood. This Valentine’s Day, consider giving the gift of life to someone in need and celebrate the amazing generosity of [...]

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Shock Trauma Survivor Stresses Need for Blood Donations, Holds Blood Drive

November 12, 2014

The last thing Katie Pohler remembers from June 28 is pedaling her bike down Route 450 South in the bike lane, heading to the Waterfront in Annapolis with her boyfriend. But then, it all goes black. Katie and her boyfriend, Todd Green, were both hit from behind by an impaired driver, and had to be [...]

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Art Exhibit Showcases Talent of UMMC Staff

October 20, 2014

In 2013, the University of Maryland Medical Center’s C2X Healing Arts Team and the National Arts Program co-sponsored the hospital’s first employee art exhibition. In response to the overwhelmingly positive feedback, this year’s exhibit will remain open two weeks longer than the 2013 exhibition, giving patients, visitors and employees alike extra time to view these [...]

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Mac-and-Cheese Makeover

February 27, 2014

By Anne Haddad Publications Editor The cafeteria at the Medical Center has always made a mac-and-cheese to rival any home-baked version. The trouble was, it was high in fat and sodium. A group of interns in Clinical Nutrition Services accepted the challenge to revamp it without disappointing the hundreds of people who look forward to [...]

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