Live Video Web Chat on Lung Cancer

By Kathy Schuetz
UMGCC Web Site Editor

Last week, the NCI announced initial results of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), which showed a 20 percent decrease in death from lung cancer among heavy smokers who had low-dose CT screening tests. While the study is the first to demonstrate that mortality from lung cancer can be reduced by screening older adult smokers, it also raises questions about who should be screened when and how often, and what screening guidelines may eventually be recommended.

UMGCC lung cancer experts will be available to answer these and other questions about lung cancer topics during a live video Web chat on Wednesday, November 10, 2010, at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Log on and ask pose your questions to Dr. Richard Battafarano, associate professor of Surgery and the chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center, and Dr. Martin Edelman, professor of Medicine and the director of Solid Tumor Oncology at the Greenebaum Cancer Center.


When: Wednesday, November 10 at 1:30 p.m.

In the coming months, we plan to feature other UMMC doctors, who will answer your questions on a variety of health topics. If you have ideas for topics you’d like to see covered, let us know by e-mailing us at: ( and remember to tune in live on November 10th!

When Bad Tastes Good: Discovery of Taste Receptors in the Human Lung

This short video provides an overview of the groundbreaking discovery of taste receptors in the human lung. This discovery, made by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, has the potential to revolutionize the future treatment of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other respiratory illnesses. Featured in the video is Stephen Liggett, M.D., professor of medicine and physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and senior author of the study.

Related Information:

UMMC Hosts First-Ever Online Video Chat

By Michelle Murray
UMMC Assistant Web Site Editor

Are you expecting twins? Wondering what you can do to minimize risks in complicated pregnancies?

It’s easy to get the answers: just log on and post your questions live on Friday, September 24 at 1 p.m. during our first-ever video chat with Dr. Ahmet Baschat, head of fetal therapy at UMMC’s Center for Advanced Fetal Care.

You can chat directly with Dr. Baschat, who will cover topics such as twin pregnancies, complicated fetal conditions and other maternal/fetal issues. Visit our video chat page to send in questions ahead of time and receive e-mail reminders, or just submit your questions live on the day of the chat.


When: Friday, September 24 at 1 p.m.

In the coming months, we plan to feature other UMMC doctors, who will answer your questions on a variety of health topics. If you have ideas for topics you’d like to see covered, let us know by e-mailing us at: ( And remember to tune in live on September 24th!

Dramatic Patient Success Story Highlights Importance of Vascular Screening

Allen Weller nearly died after suffering a ruptured aortic aneurysm in August 2010. Although Allen did not have a detectable blood pressure for nearly 20 minutes, Dr. Rajabrata Sarkar, Chief of Vascular Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center, was able to perform emergency surgery that saved Allen’s life and put him on the road to a full recovery.

However, unlike Mr. Weller, most people do not survive aortic aneurysms once they have ruptured. Below, Dr. Sarkar talks about aortic aneurysms, Mr. Weller’s case and the importance of vascular screenings to locate possible aneurysms before they rupture.

UMMC Nephrologist and Son to Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to Help Support Diabetes Research

By Matthew R. Weir, M.D.
Head, UMMC Division of Nephrology

When my son Ryan and I started talking about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa’s tallest mountain, it was last December, and I thought then — as I do now — that it sounded like a thrilling kind of “bucket list” idea. While we are both avid sportsmen and runners, neither of us has ever taken on a challenge this big.

Getting ready for a trip is almost as fun as the trip itself. The mountain guides have sent us emails and lists upon lists of things we can and cannot carry with us. Hiking boots, waterproof pants, two pair of socks, parkas, gloves, hats, gloves and rain gear. Check. Check. CHECK. Anti-diarrheal meds, bug spray, malaria pills, more bug spray, sunscreen, and typhoid meds. Check. Check. CHECK. High altitude pulmonary edema: Diamox. CHECK!

Now, the countdown has begun. Today, only about a week from leaving, my excitement is now combined with some trepidation and anxiousness. I have worried about everything from cell phone and e-mail access to rechargeable solar batteries. And now, a bath towel. Seriously, we need to carry our own bath towel? I am hoping for a chance to bathe, especially after climbing through a 90-degree plus rainforest. But a towel? Why doesn’t the mountaineering team provide that? Should I bring my own soap, too? Shampoo? Now, I am worried if I need to pack a roll of toilet paper! A little anxious, yes — we are allowed only ten kilos to carry on our back.

We decided we would challenge ourselves even more and raise money to help support research at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Eighteen months ago, a dear friend’s daughter was medivacked to the UMMC Joslin Diabetes Center, where she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 14. Talk about a lifetime challenge for her and her family! We are deeply touched by how well she has managed her disease with maturity and responsibility, so Ryan and I decided JRDF needed a hand.

These tough economic times have hurt the financial coffers of all charities, so for every foot we climb, we hope to raise $1. Our goal is to summit at 19,341 feet, with $20,000 raised being our ultimate target. We hope to drum up a whole lot of excitement back home to help us reach our goal.

If you are reading and following us on our climb, we hope that you will make a contribution to us at: You can also follow us on Twitter at

This should be an interesting two weeks testing both my resolve to climb Kilimanjaro and to live with my son for two weeks in a tent. Wish me luck!

Choosing A Primary Care Physician

By Richard Colgan, M.D.
Director of Medical Student Education
Department of Family and Community Medicine

Editor’s Note: Dr. Colgan is the author of “Advice to the Young Physician: On the Art of Medicine.” Also, get more tips from Dr. Colgan on this topic by listening to this podcast.

Choosing a primary care doctor can be difficult these days, largely because there are relatively few of them available. Those doctors who are serving their communities are often being stretched thin while trying to meet the demands of running a practice, answering to insurance companies and seeing more patients in less time. But you are the patient, and you deserve to be well served. So, here a few tips on how to choose a primary care doctor.

A smart way to choose a primary care doctor is to ask trusted family members or friends who they see, and whether or not they are happy with that person. If so, you may be pleased seeing them as well. Doctors are often chosen by patients who find them to be available, affable and able. This time honored tradition of choosing a doctor based on the three A’s still applies today.

Most practicing physicians have also gone through residency training in their specific fields. This allows these physicians to sit for specialty boards, and while board certification does not guarantee that you “have a good one,” it does lend that physician a certain stamp of approval by his or her respective specialty board.

Because access to primary care physicians is becoming increasingly difficult, a good question to ask is what is your doctor’s policy for urgent visits. Does your physician have a process in place that allows him or her to fit you in for a bad cough or other acute needs? This process could include the doctor having several empty spots in his or her schedule each half day, or being a member of a group practice in which one of the physicians is always available for walk-in appointments.

But perhaps the best way to choose a primary care doctor is by seeing that physician in the office for a consultation. Does the doctor seem to have time for you? Does he or she seem truly interested in you, or do you feel like you are being rushed out the door? At a minimum, the doctor you choose should be kindly, civil and show you respect. I recommend giving the physician-patient relationship a few visits to see if you and the doctor are compatible. After seeing a primary care doctor a few times, you will likely be able to tell if the two of you are “hitting it off.” If not, it’s probably best to keep searching for someone who you believe can meet your needs.

Previous Posts by Dr. Colgan

Teaching Medical Students to Focus on the Patient

By Richard Colgan, M.D.
Director of Medical Student Education
Department of Family and Community Medicine

Editor’s Note: Dr. Colgan is the author of “Advice to the Young Physician: On the Art of Medicine.”

Medical students and residents at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Medical Center are learning lessons from some great doctors — most of whom have been dead for hundreds of years.

Third-year students rotating through the Department of Family and Community Medicine’s Family Medicine Clerkship are being taught how to make the transition from technician to healers by learning about some of history’s greatest physician educators. These include Hippocrates, Maimonides, Osler, Schweitzer and others. Such tips as, “If you listen to the patient, they will tell you the diagnosis,” are emphasized to these soon-to-be doctors of medicine.

Students are taught that looking for the patient’s unique “story” or “poetry of life” will sustain them and help them to become better doctors. The art of medicine is best learned by working alongside a senior mentor, but these students are also looking back to some of the teachings of medicine’s greatest educators to help them learn how to improve their relationships with their patients.

In an age when science has advanced by leaps and bounds, high tech is being complemented by “high touch.” By looking to the past, we hope to teach students and young physicians what some of the giants of medicine have practiced: that, in the final analysis, what matters most is focusing on the patient. Or, in the words of Francis Peabody, that “the secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient.”