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  • Heart disease risk factors in Hispanic women

    Heart disease doesn’t discriminate—it is the leading killer of women of every age and race. However, research has continued to show that heart disease is especially common among communities of color. Among Hispanic communities in particular, women develop heart disease a full decade younger than non-Hispanic women. Despite these risks, only 1 in 3 Hispanic women are aware that heart disease is the leading killer of women. Why is heart disease so prevalent in the Hispanic community? In general, women are at a greater risk for death from heart disease than men but there are also a number of cultural considerations that can contribute to heart disease risk among Hispanic women. First, Hispanic women are often caretakers not only for their partners and children but also for generations of family members who may live under the same roof or nearby. “The Hispanic culture is one that heavily emphasizes family and togetherness. Women are the backbone of this structure; they are often called upon to be caregivers for spouses, children, siblings and parents,” says Maribel Hernandez, MD, an electrophysiologist at Lankenau Heart Institute and medical director of the Women’s Heart Initiative. In being caregivers, many women prioritize the needs of others to the point that they lose sight of their own health and wellbeing. Additionally, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, Hispanic women are more likely to be overweight or obese than non-Hispanic white women. Obesity can lead to higher rates of diabetes and hypertension, two common risk factors for heart disease. Managing your weight can be difficult without access to nutritious food, which can present another issue for many in the Hispanic community. Living in areas or neighborhoods without access to healthy food—“food deserts”—can make managing your weight and heart disease risk even more difficult. This is just one of the socioeconomic factors that can cause heart disease to be more prevalent in Hispanic communities. “Women in Hispanic communities often do not have the same access to comprehensive, affordable care that non-Hispanic women do,” says Dr. Hernandez. “Many Hispanic women are uninsured, do not have an established relationship with a primary care physician, or a hospital or health center nearby that offers providers who speak Spanish or offer adequate translation services.” All of these factors can affect a woman’s willingness to seek routine health care or, sadly, care in an emergency. How Hispanic women can manage their heart disease risk Education is the first step to managing your heart disease risk, says Dr. Hernandez. If you do see a doctor regularly, make sure it’s someone you feel comfortable talking to and who is receptive and respectful of your concerns. If you don’t, find a provider who better meets your needs.“Only one-third of Hispanic women know that heart disease is their greatest risk,” she reminds women. “The more we know about our cultural and personal risk factors, the better equipped we will be to manage these risks. I encourage all women not only to have conversations about heart disease with their primary care provider, but also with the other women in their life.” If it’s been a while since you’ve seen your primary care provider—especially if you have a personal or family history of heart disease, heart attack or stroke—make an appointment for a check-up. This will give you the chance to discuss how you can proactively manage heart disease risk, including knowing key heart health numbers like your blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI, triglycerides and your body weight. If you do see a doctor regularly, make sure it’s someone you feel comfortable talking to and who is receptive to and respectful of your concerns. If you don’t, find a provider who better meets your needs. “If you have the symptoms of heart disease or are concerned there is something wrong with your heart, do not let anybody dismiss these concerns,” says Dr. Hernandez.

  • Study Highlights Novel Approach to Promoting Cancer Cell Death

    PHILADELPHIA (April 14, 2021) – In a study published today, researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center announced that they have discovered a novel approach to triggering a type of cancer cell death called ferroptosis that could have therapeutic potential. Instead of targeting a cancer cell with a drug, the researchers attempted to harness the power of a nutrient—a naturally occurring fatty acid—to act as a type of Trojan horse that is taken up into the cancer cell, where it triggers cell death by ferroptosis. “Ferroptosis was first characterized in 2012 and is still relatively new compared with the more commonly known type of cell death called apoptosis,” said Jeffrey R. Peterson, PhD, a professor in the Cancer Signaling and Epigenetics Program at Fox Chase. He conducted the study with lead author Alexander Beatty, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Peterson’s lab. “There is a lot of excitement around the possibility that ferroptosis can be harnessed to treat cancer. But the question is how,” Peterson added. One of the hallmarks of ferroptosis is the accumulation of lipid-reactive oxygen species, toxic molecules that can accumulate and cause cell death. Peterson and colleagues conducted a study to explore whether ferroptosis in cancer cells could be triggered by using polyunsaturated fatty acids to form lipid-reactive oxygen species. In their study, they were able to use alpha-eleostearic acid, a conjugated fatty acid, to induce ferroptosis in diverse cancer cell types. In a mouse model of triple-negative breast cancer, they orally administered tung oil, which is naturally rich in alpha-eleostearic acid, and found that it limited tumor growth and metastasis. Additionally, Peterson and colleagues found that alpha-eleostearic acid did not alter the activity of glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4), a cellular enzyme that detoxifies lipid-reactive oxygen species. Other researchers have explored the use of GPX4 inhibitors that work to neutralize GPX4 and, thus, the cells’ ability to cope with those lipid-reactive oxygen species, causing their accumulation and leading to cell death. “In principal, these two strategies can be combined therapeutically as two sides of the same coin,” Peterson said. “Inhibiting GPX4 and promoting lipid-reactive oxygen species would work together to drive cancer cell death.” If drugs targeting GPX4 become available, these two strategies may be combined to enhance antitumor activity in patients. The study, “Ferroptotic Cell Death Triggered by Conjugated Linolenic Acids is Mediated by ACSL1,” was published in Nature Communications.

  • Temple Health Achieves Impressive Patient Outcomes During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Leadership matters in a crisis. From the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s exactly what Temple University Hospital provided. Now, patient survival data prove it. “From day one, Temple became a focal point in the fight against COVID-19, both locally and nationally,” says Michael A. Young, MHA, FACHE, President and CEO of Temple University Health System and Temple University Hospital. “We initially treated the most patients in the region, many of whom were at the highest risk of becoming very sick and dying. We also collaborated with other hospitals and governmental agencies to develop a comprehensive COVID response plan, educated the public and healthcare providers about the virus and how to stay safe, and conducted research to better understand and control the virus.” In the most important area — patient survival — Temple outperformed most other hospitals. According to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Medicare Catchment Area Report 2021, Temple’s COVID-19 outcomes compare favorably to state and national benchmarks. The report looked at Temple’s Medicare inpatients with a COVID-19 diagnosis from January 2020 through June 2020. Experience and Expertise Lead to Superior Outcomes “The most noteworthy statistic shows that Temple’s inpatient COVID mortality rate was 15% lower than Pennsylvania and 28% lower than the United States,” says Gerard Criner, MD, FACP, FACCP, Chair of the Department of Thoracic Medicine and Surgery and Director of the Temple Lung Center. “Put simply, that means patients had a better chance of surviving if they were treated at Temple.” Gerard J. Criner, MD, FACP, FACCP Other notable data points include: Within 30 days after leaving the hospital, Temple’s COVID patient mortality rates were 32% and 33% lower than the state and nation, respectively. Temple was 21% lower than the national average for percent of COVID patients who required a ventilator, and just 2% above the state average. The percent of Temple’s COVID patients requiring the Intensive Care Unit was 28% lower than the state and 9% lower than the nation. Temple University Hospital’s average length of stay for COVID patients was just a half-day longer than the state average, and the same as the national average. 13% of Temple’s nearly 3,000 Medicare inpatients had a COVID-19 diagnosis, which is significantly higher compared to 7% in Temple’s 5-county catchment area, 4% in Pennsylvania, and 3% across the U.S. These impressive numbers were made possible because of Temple’s experience and expertise in caring for patients with serious lung disease. “I applaud Temple’s amazing COVID care teams,” said Young. “Temple’s teams were able to achieve these outcomes taking care of a segment of the population recognized as having the highest risk of getting the sickest and dying from COVID.” In February 2021, Temple University Hospital was honored with an “I AM Patient Safety Award” from Pennsylvania’s Patient Safety Authority — the only winner in the “Conquering COVID” category and one of only 11 Pennsylvania facilities recognized for their achievements, outcomes and commitment to patient safety.

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  • The Renfrew Center | Philadelphia International Medicine

    The Renfrew Center LEARN MORE LEARN MORE LEARN MORE LEARN MORE LEARN MORE LEARN MORE LEARN MORE LEARN MORE LEARN MORE LEARN MORE The Renfrew Center was established in 1985 in Philadelphia as the nation’s first free-standing residential eating disorder treatment facility dedicated exclusively to the treatment of adolescent girls and women with eating disorders. In its 30-year history, The Renfrew Center has treated more than 65,000 adolescent girls and women . Treatment programs and services available include residential treatment, day treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, group therapy, individual, family and couples therapy, and nutrition counseling. ALL NETWORK HOSPITALS Featured Physicians Susan Ice, MD Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Renfrew Center ◽ Psychology ABOUT THIS PHYSICIAN ALL PHYSICIANS

  • Magee Rehabilitation | Philadelphia International Medicine

    Magee Rehabilitation LEARN MORE LEARN MORE LEARN MORE LEARN MORE LEARN MORE LEARN MORE LEARN MORE LEARN MORE LEARN MORE LEARN MORE Recognized throughout the United States and the world as a leading provider of physical and cognitive rehabilitation, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital offers comprehensive services for physical, occupational, and cognitive rehab for patients with spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, amputation, and orthopedics. Magee consistently ranks as one of America’s leading rehabilitation hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s annual “America’s Best Hospitals” rankings. Accredited by the Joint Commission and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), Magee was the first facility in the nation to be CARF-accredited for brain injury rehabilitation. Magee, in conjunction with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, serves as the federally designated Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center of the Delaware Valley. Only fourteen such centers exist in the United States. ALL NETWORK HOSPITALS Featured Physicians Barbara J. Browne, MD Medical Director, Stroke Program ◽ Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation ABOUT THIS PHYSICIAN ALL PHYSICIANS

  • The Cornea Program at Wills Eye Hospital | Philadelphia International Medicine

    The Cornea Program at Wills Eye Hospital Wills Eye Hospital is the preeminent center of excellence for the treatment of eye diseases and injuries. Wills Eye’s clinical expertise, state-of-the-art diagnostic testing, and advanced surgical capabilities make them a global referral center for patients worldwide. Since its inception in 1990, the U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals in America” survey consistently ranks Wills Eye as one of the nation’s top ophthalmology centers. In 2020, Wills Eye ranked 2nd in the nation for treatment and 1st for training by U.S. News & World Report. One of Wills Eye’s core strengths is the connection between research and patient care. Wills provides a full range of primary and subspecialty eye care for improving and preserving sight. The Cornea Service of Wills Eye Hospital treats patients with disorders of the cornea and outer layers of the eye, including the conjunctiva and sclera. Additionally, Wills Eye treats conditions affecting the anterior segment of the eye, including cataracts and dislocated intraocular lenses. Finally, they are also involved in the latest refractive surgery procedures to treat nearsightedness, astigmatism and farsightedness, including PRK and LASIK. Contact Us Make an Appointment Today Christopher J. Rapuano, MD Chief of Wills Eye, Cornea Service Christopher J. Rapuano, MD, a nationally and internationally recognized expert in corneal diseases, is Chief of the Wills Eye Cornea Service and a Professor of Ophthalmology at Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Rapuano is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in corneal diseases, with a special interest in refractive surgery. He has published several books, numerous book chapters and over 180 articles in the peer-reviewed literature on corneal diseases, refractive surgery and excimer laser PTK surgery. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Rapuano has received the Honor Award, Senior Honor Award, and Secretariat Award (three times) from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Dr. Rapuano has served on many committees of the AAO including chairing the Refractive Surgery Basic and Clinical Science Course book and Preferred Practice Patterns committees. CONTACT US

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