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July 2009 Issue

Scott Belcher, PhD, tested polycarbonate plastic bottles like these for BPA.
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July News Extras

By Jill Hafner
Published July 2009

BPA Linked to Heart Disease
Research at UC shows that bisphenol A (BPA) may be harmful for the heart, particularly in women. A UC research team led by Scott Belcher, PhD, Hong Sheng Wang, PhD, and Jo El Schultz, PhD, in the department of pharmacology and cell biophysics, found that exposure to BPA and/or estrogen causes abnormal activity in the hearts of female rats and mice. In addition, these researchers found that estrogen receptors are responsible for this affect in heart muscle cells. BPA, an environmental pollutant with estrogen activity, is used to make hard, clear plastic and is common in many food product containers. It has been linked to neurological defects, diabetes and breast and prostate cancer. This study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the UC Center for Environmental Genetics.

Department of Biomedical Informatics Formed
The UC Board of Trustees has approved the formation of a department of biomedical informatics. This new department is a joint effort between the College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and will allow the Academic Health Center to expand upon the great investment that has already been made in the growing area of biomedical informatics. The new department will allow UC and Cincinnati Children's to recruit more biomedical informatics experts and offer biomedical informatics educational opportunities to students, residents, fellows and current faculty and staff. The chair of this department--who has yet to be named--will report to David Stern, MD, dean of the College of Medicine, and Arnie Strauss, MD, chair of pediatrics and director of the Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation. Look for more information about the biomedical informatics capabilities at UC and Cincinnati Children's in the next issue of Findings.

University Hospital Noted for Cardiac Care Excellence
University Hospital has received designation as a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. Blue Distinction is awarded to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality health care and is founded on evidence-based, objective selection criteria in collaboration with expert physicians' and medical organizations' recommendations.

Protein May Best Indicate Rare Lung Disease
UC Researchers have discovered a protein in the lungs that can help in determining progression of the rare lung disease Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) or scarring of the lung. Researchers, led by Brent Kinder, MD, professor of medicine, say the protein--Serum surfactant protein A--is superior to other IPF predictors and could lead to better decisions about treatment and timing of lung transplantation. Surfactant proteins are lipoproteins that allow the lungs to stretch and function. As IPF progresses, air sacs in the lungs become replaced by fibrotic scar tissue. Lung tissue becomes thicker where the scarring forms, causing an irreversible loss of the tissue's ability to carry oxygen into the bloodstream. This study was funded in part by a Support of Continuous Research Excellence grant from the National Institutes of Health and a UC Dean's Scholars award for clinical research.

UH Air Care Nurse Wins 2009 Lifesaving Award                 
Deb Jump, a flight registered nurse with University Hospital's Air Care and Mobile Care team, has been named the winner of the 2009 Lifesaving Award by the Ohio Association of Emergency Medical Services (EMS). In their nomination letter, colleagues Ruda Jenkins and Teri Grau wrote about Jump's outstanding work ethic by describing a situation when Jump picked up an injured off-duty firefighter from an accident scene: "Deb not only used her strong clinical skills and wisdom to provide him the best care possible that inarguably saved his life, but she continued to visit the patient throughout the course of his recovery.  "It is an understatement to say that without her clinical expertise, the rapid response and decision-making exhibited by Deb, her flight team and the ground EMS personnel, this firefighter probably would not be alive today." Jump was honored at the annual Association of EMS conference, held June 28 in Columbus.

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