The Department of Defense last week announced the establishment of the world’s first brain tissue repository on the Walter Reed Campus to help researchers better understand traumatic brain injury (TBI).
TBI is common among veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which led to the opening of The Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine Brain Tissue Repository for Traumatic Brain Injury at the Uniformed Services University on the campus.
Doctors hope by studying brain tissue with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disorder that disrupts basic human functions, they’ll be able to better address the problem in future patients.
Researchers will look at what blast exposure does to brain tissue and try to figure out if different forms of brain injury common in military veterans lead to the disorder.
Service members exposed to blasts “are coming home with troubling, persistent problems and we don’t know the nature of this, whether it’s related to psychiatric responses from engagement in warfare or related to actual damage to the brain, as seen in football players,” said Dr. Daniel Perl, neuropathologist and director of the repository.
In January, doctors at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda determined former NFL linebacker Junior Seau had chronic traumatic encephalopathy when he committed suicide in spring 2012. The Seau family donated his brain to NIH to be studied.
In September 2012, the NFL announced a $30 million contribution to NIH for the study of brain injury and concussion management and prevention.
The brain repository at the Uniformed Services University will be paid for through a multi-year grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.
“Our men and women in uniform and their families have sacrificed so much to keep our country safe. It is critical that we ensure our veterans receive proper care and treatment for injuries sustained in service to our country,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen said in a statement. “That is why I am pleased that the military has announced the establishment of the first brain tissue repository. This will complement the other outstanding work that is done at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, which we are proud to have in Maryland’s Eighth Congressional District. The repository will help researchers understand the underlying mechanisms of TBI, allowing us to learn even more about how we can treat these injuries and giving our military more information that it can use to work on preventing brain injury in the first place.”
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue officials are urging people to stay safe this weekend with warm weather expected to continue.
Forecasts call for more 90-degree temperatures on Saturday. MCFRS included a list of common sense tips for staying safe in the heat:
1. Pre-hydrate, hydrate and re-hydrate.
During hot weather you will need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Drink plenty of fluids in advance, during and after activities and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to hydrate.
Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluids you drink or has prescribed a diuretic, check with your physician for guidance.
2. Dress for the heat.
Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect some of the sun’s energy. Limit your direct exposure to the sun and wear a hat for extra protection.
3. Monitor those at high risk.
Extreme heat can be hazardous to your health and although anyone can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Those most at risk for heat-related illnesses include children, older adults, those that work or exercise outside and those with pre-existing medical conditions. Elderly, low income or individuals with disabilities in Montgomery County in need of a fan can call 311 for information on free fans.
4. Children and cars – use common sense.
Never leave infants, children, pets or the elderly in a parked car where temperatures can become life-threatening in minutes, even with the windows rolled down. Additionally, hot interior surfaces of a car can burn a child’s skin. Before you put your child in a car that has been parked in a warm/sunny spot, check the temperature of the carseat or upholstery first.
The first heat wave of the year will means a Code Orange air quality day for the area on Thursday and likely again on Friday.
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments has issued the alert, meaning ozone pollution will meet unhealthy levels for children, elderly and people suffering from asthma, heart disease or other lung diseases:
… AIR QUALITY ALERT IS IN EFFECT FOR THURSDAY MAY 30 2013…
THE METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS IN ASSOCIATION WITH MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT, VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY, AND DISTRICT DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT HAS ISSUED A CODE ORANGE AIR QUALITY ALERT SUNDAY FOR THE DC METRO AREA.
A CODE ORANGE AIR QUALITY ALERT MEANS THAT AIR POLLUTION CONCENTRATIONS WITHIN THE REGION MAY BECOME UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. SENSITIVE GROUPS INCLUDE CHILDREN… PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM ASTHMA… HEART DISEASE OR OTHER LUNG DISEASES… AND THE ELDERLY. THE EFFECTS OF AIR POLLUTION CAN BE MINIMIZED BY AVOIDING STRENUOUS ACTIVITY OR EXERCISE OUTDOORS.
More 90-degree days are forecast for Friday and Saturday, when the Council of Governments predicts air quality will fall back to moderate ozone pollution.
Tiger Talks Future Of Congressional Tournament — Tiger Woods was at Congressional Country Club on Monday for an annual press gathering ahead of his AT&T National PGA event (June 24-30) and discussed the possibility of moving the tournament to another course in 2015. Congressional’s membership will vote later this year on whether to bring the tournament back from 2015-2017. The Tiger Woods Foundation, which hosts the event, must also re-up with AT&T or find another sponsor. [Washington Post]
Suburban Hospital Breast Cancer Experts Discuss Risk-Reducing Mastectomies — After actress Angelina Jolie revealed she had a preventive double mastectomy because of a BRCA gene mutation known to raise the risk of breast cancer, two doctors at Suburban Hospital answered questions about the procedure and in what circumstances to pursue the operation. [Suburban Hospital]
Congressman John Delaney Backs Doug Duncan For County Exec — First-term Sixth District Congressman John Delaney (D) endorsed former County Executive Doug Duncan for the same job in next year’s Democratic Primary. Duncan has announced his intention to run for his old job and it’s expected County Executive Isiah Leggett will run against him. The only candidate to have officially filed paperwork is Councilmember Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg). Duncan endorsed Delaney in his Congressional race last year. [Maryland Juice]
MCFRS Celebrates National EMS Week — The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service is celebrating National Emergency Medical Services Week by recognizing its dual role firefighters/EMTs and firefighters/paramedics. [MCFRS]
Flickr pool photo by diarmaid20814
Marriott Begins Layoffs — The Bethesda-based hotel giant issued layoff notices to 34 IT workers in its Bethesda office and warned of more, perhaps hundreds of layoffs at its three Montgomery County offices in Bethesda, Rockville and Gaithersburg. The company is downsizing its technology staff and farming some of the work out to an India-based contractor. [Washington Post]
Woman Starts ‘Laughter Yoga’ Company — Potomac resident Nira Berry started a Bethesda-based company called Laughing RX, which leads small groups, corporations and cancer patients in laugther yoga. Berry, a breast cancer survivor, said laughter yoga helped her cope. She went to Switzerland to get laughter yoga certified. [ABC7]
Suburban Hospital Gets Honorable Mention In Nursing Award — The Bethesda hospital won honorable mention for the 2013 Award for Nursing Certification Advocacy. Since 2009, the number of certified nurses at Suburban has grown each year. The hospital says 22 percent of nurses, 50 percent of nurse managers and 83 percent of nurse administrators are certified. [Suburban Hospital]
Flickr photo by eddie.welker
A Bethesda nonprofit that holds support groups and mind-body classes for cancer patients showed off its new home in the historic Beaumont House on Thursday morning.
Hope Connections for Cancer Support moved to the space, on the Federation of American Societies for Experiemental Biology (FASEB) campus at 9650 Rockville Pike, on April 1. President and CEO Paula Rothenberg said the organization wanted to get out of its previous location, near the Grosvenor Mansion, before that land is redeveloped into a townhome community.
Through a connection to FASEB, Hope Connections was able to claim about a third of the Beaumont House, built in 1929 in a secluded, tree-filled area just south of Pooks Hill Road.
The result is a bucolic new location for the organization’s weekly and monthly cancer support groups, gentle yoga courses, knitting, stich and chat sessions and other free programming.
“We don’t do the medicine. We provide free programs of emotional support,” Rothenberg said. “We don’t charge a penny for the work we do because we don’t want this to be a choice for people. We want our doors to be open to anyone.”
Bonnie and Bernie Kogod started the foundation in 2005 to honor their daughter, Michelle Susan Kogod, who died of cancer at age 18. They were in attendance for Thursday’s ribbon cutting ceremony.
So was County Councilmember Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac) and Del. Bill Frick (D-Dist. 16). They both spoke about the value they felt Hope Connections brings to the area, one that is already full of medical facilities conducting research and treating a wide range of diseases.
Local police will take part in the 6th National DEA Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday with a drop-off location at the 2nd District Bethesda Station (7359 Wisconsin Ave.) and Chevy Chase Village Police headquarters (5906 Connecticut Ave.).
Police at those locations and at all six Montgomery County District Stations will accept expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Drug Take-Back Day is a national initiative meant to get unused prescription drugs out of medicine cabinets and educate the public about prescription drug abuse.
Last April’s Take-Back Day resulted in the collection of 276 tons of prescription medication from more than 5,000 sites nationwide.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says prescription drugs have become the primary contributor to the country’s increase in drug overdose rates.
Flickr photo by deathtiny42
Suburban Hospital (8600 Old Georgetown Rd.) is paying tribute to its certified nurses with a new wall exhibit that includes photos of all 156 members of its growing nursing core.
Since 2009, the number of certified nurses has grown every year, chief nursing officer Barbara Jacobs said. Many of the nurses at Suburban get certified while on the job with tuition assistance from the hospital.
Certifications typically require periodic review, sometimes via continuing education units (CEUs).
“Certification enables nurses to demonstrate their specialty expertise and validate their knowledge to employers and, most importantly, to patients,” Jacobs said in a statement. “Nurses worldwide contribute to better patient outcomes through national certification in their specialty.”
Photo via Suburban Hospital
After Councilwoman Nancy Floreen (D-At large) of Garrett Park introduced the bill in November, the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee made a few amendments, including an expansion of the ban to bus stops and bus shelters. The ban may not apply to county rehab facilities, based on the judgement of the county’s Health and Human Services director.
It also won’t apply on the county’s Falls Road golf course in Potomac or in county-owned or leased buildings that already include private residents.
But it will apply to parks, around recreation centers and outside county buildings. Smoking is already banned inside county buildings and notably, Montgomery was the first county in the state to ban smoking in bars.
Councilman George Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park, who chairs the Health and Human Services Committee, said that culture means the ban likely won’t require much enforcement.
“We think that the culture is changing for the better,” Leventhal said. “We anticipate it will just become improper to smoke at bus stops and bus shelters.”
Those who are cited will be hit with a class C civil violation, which means a fine. Each day the violation exists will be treated as a separate offense.
“There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” Floreen said in a statement.
She said her own experience with breast cancer motivated her to propose the bill, citing smoking’s connection to cancer.
“We are stewards of public health. The passage of Bill 33-12 will help us to protect our residents, employees and visitors from dangerous exposure,” Floreen said. “I applaud my colleagues for standing with me and sending a clear signal that we are a healthy Montgomery.”
Flickr photo by MoneyBlogNewz
When the program began in 1983, between four and six patients came to each session. Now, the Cardiac Rehab staff at Suburban (8600 Old Georgetown Rd.) can work with up to 25 patients at a time after three renovations to accomodate a growing number of heart attack victims and those recuperating from valve replacement and bypass surgeries.
“We know that cardiac rehabilitation after a heart attack or cardiac surgery can prolong the life of people with coronary artery disease,” said Dr. Greg Kumkumian, medical director of the Cardiac Rehab Center at Suburban Hospital, in a prepared release. ”Our skilled staff is uniquely attuned to the needs of cardiac patients. We encourage and teach our patients how they can live a full and active live after a heart event.”
The program includes consultations with a dietitian and monitored exercise that has kept some patients for more than 20 years. Fifty percent of the patients, who range in age from 18 to 97, continue in the rehab program. The department treats more than 350 new patients per year.
Photo via Suburban Hospital
B-CC Girls Soccer Seeks Fifth Straight State Title — The Barons face Anne Arundel County’s South River today at 7:30 p.m. at UMBC with a chance to win their fifth consecutive state championship. Some thought this would be the season others, such as Bethesda rival Walt Whitman, would put an end to B-CC’s run. [The Gazette]
County Basketball Sign-Ups Begin — The Montgomery County Recreation Department is having sign-ups for youth and adult basketball leagues through Dec. 12. For information about adult leagues, call Pat Sullivan at 240-777-6870. [Montgomery County Recreation Department]
Magazine Names Bethesda ‘Second Healthiest’ For Women — Self magazine named Bethesda its second healthiest city for women, behind San Jose, Calif. The description is brief: “It’s supersafe, with half the violent crime average.” It also includes a file photo of a golf course. [Self magazine]
Flickr photo by FourCourses
A Montgomery County councilmember wants to ban smoking on most public property, including in county parks, around recreation centers and outside county buildings. Smoking is already banned inside county buildings.
Councilwoman Nancy Floreen (D-At large) of Garrett Park said her own experience with cancer (Floreen is a breast cancer survivor) motivated her to put together the bill, which will be introduced on Nov. 20 and featured in a press conference on Nov. 15, according to a press release.
“I have unfortunately spent a lot of time over the past year with people who have cancer,” Floreen said in the release. “I want to do everything I can to help prevent this awful disease in all of its forms, and this is a good place to start.”
The release goes on to say that one in 12 adults in Montgomery County smoke cigarettes and that smoking accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths. The Nov. 15 press conference will be held in conjunction with the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout and will include American Cancer Society officials.
The bill would not ban smoking in public right of way spaces, the only public property exempt.
Last year, the Council approved a smoking ban at playgrounds and indoor common spaces, such as privately owned apartment hallways or lobbies. That measure met some resistance, but not as much as in 1999, when the county was the first in the state to ban smoking in bars. The law was enacted in 2003.
Floreen’s proposal has the support of a majority of the nine-person Council, with Councilmembers Nancy Navarro (D-East County), Craig Rice (D-Upcounty), Hans Riemer (D-At large) of Silver Spring, March Elrich (D-At large) of Takoma Park and George Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park on board.
A public hearing on the measure is scheduled for Jan. 15.
Flickr photo by chris@APL
It’s two weeks to election day and if you can navigate your way through the barrage of ads down the home stretch, some local yoga studios are hoping you’ll come in to enjoy a day of free classes.
On Nov. 6, a number of area yoga studios will hold free classes.
“On Election Day, Nov 6th, the Washington DC area yoga community stands for unity by bringing people together in complimentary yoga classes all day,” reads extendYoga’s website.
The North Bethesda studio (12106 Wilkins Ave.) will be one of five Bethesda studios to participate.
Bikram Yoga Bethesda (7832 Wisconsin Ave.), Down Dog Yoga (4733 Elm St.), Simon Says Yoga (4701 Sangamore Rd.) and Yoga Fusion (4609 Willow Lane) will also take part.
Flickr photo by bgill02
Pink Fireman Raises $20,000 For Breast Cancer Research — Marshall Moneymaker, the Bethesda firefighter who wears pink in memory of the three sisters he lost to breast cancer, helped raise more than $20,000 for research at the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk For the Cure. [Bethesda Patch]
The Facts Behind Maryland’s Casino Gambling Question — Dueling sets of ads are both promoting and questioning the impact a new casino in Prince George’s County and live table games would have on state education funding. The truth behind Question 7 is more nuanced. [Washington Post]
Workout Studio Moving In Near Downtown — The Bar Method, a women’s fitness studio with more than 65 locations, is moving in to a ground-floor retail space at the Lionsgate Condominium on Woodmont Avenue. [Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row]
Flickr photo by ehpien
A trio of local organizations got together last weekend to provide medical services to medically vulnerable and homeless without other access to them.
The Sathya Sai Baba Center of South Bethesda, homelessness prevention nonprofit Bethesda Cares and host Bethesda Presbyterian Church joined Saturday to sponsor a medical camp and triage for 33 patients.
Twenty of the 33 were homeless, 13 lived in homes and 20 had no insurance, according to Sathya Sai Center President Siva Sreeni.
Health care professionals included two triage doctors, two internal medicine specialists, an ophthalmologist, dentist, stress reduction expert and doctors to register and check-out patients.
All but five patients received eye exams and all but four got dental exams.
The Sathya Sai Baba Center practices a mix of Hindu and Muslim beliefs from the teachings of Indian guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The Bethesda Presbyterian Church, in conjunction with Bethesda Cares, holds a lunch for the homeless every Saturday that feeds an average of 40 people.
By last official count, there were 72 chronically homeless people from Friendship Heights to the White Flint Metro station.
Photos courtesy of Sanjay Mandhan via Bethesda Cares