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Ochsner Ranks High

Ochsner Medical Center has been named one of the the country's top 100 hospitals for cardiovascular care in a recent poll conducted by Thomson Reuters, a leading health-industry analyst. The work of the Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute (OHVI) also placed the hospital among the 30 best teaching hospitals in the category of cardiovascular residency programs.

Data for the poll were collected from 1,000 hospitals across the country and focused primarily on risk-adjusted mortality rates, deaths following surgery and complication rates.

OHVI is a comprehensive care center with 27 cardiologists who diagnose and treat all forms of heart disease. Last year, U.S. News & World Report named the Ear Nose and Throat department at Ochsner the best in the country.

Camp to Boost Youth Health

UnitedHealthcare insurance corporation is partnering with Healthy Lifestyle Choices (HLC), a nonprofit organization that produces curriculum programs for kids, to provide 100 New Orleans-area schools and organizations with an after-school enrichment program. Camp Boost will provide children ages 5-12 with opportunities to socialize and be active while learning about personal health choices.

Camp Boost's curriculum is based on the HLC classroom program already implemented in 300 sites across 29 states, including all Jefferson Parish schools. The lessons, aimed at reducing youth risk behaviors, will now extend into afternoon programs available on a first-come, first-served basis to the first 100 applicants.

Interested groups should contact HLC programming director Donna Betzer at 299-1966.

LSU Dean to Head American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society has named Terry Fontham, dean of the LSU Health Sciences Center of New Orleans School of Public Health, its new president. She is the first nonphysician elected to the position in the organization's 96-year history.

Fontham has had a long career in research. She graduated from Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and joined the staff of the LSU Health Sciences Center in 1980.

During her tenure as an epidemiologist, Fontham studied cancer, notably the effects of secondhand smoke. She is an author of the first U.S. case-control study that examined the increased risk of lung cancer in nonsmokers exposed to cigarette smoke.

LSUHSC research IDs key contributor to Alzheimer's

The cause and development of Alzheimer's disease is difficult to identify, but new research conducted at the LSU Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) may shed light on what triggers this condition. Walter J. Lukiw, associate professor of neuroscience and ophthalmology at LSUHSC, is lead author of a paper that identifies a fragment of ribonucleic acid (RNA) as an early indicator of Alzheimer's.

The focus of the study is a tiny piece of RNA, called miRNA-146a, found in increased amounts in patients suffering from Alzheimer's. It originally was thought to be a byproduct of the disease, but Lukiw's lab has shown it plays a crucial role in the regulation of inflammation and disease-related neuropathology believed to be integral to the Alzheimer's disease process. Lukiw's study is published in the Nov. 14 issue of The Journal of Biological Chemistry.

According to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, the number of U.S. residents affected by the disease could triple to 16 million by 2050.

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