Super Hero Gown-Capes at SDMI

Whimsical “super hero” designs on medical gowns put kids at ease

Steinberg Diagnostic Medical Imaging (SDMI), the largest locally owned and operated outpatient medical imaging company in Southern Nevada with eight locations valley-wide, recently introduced specially designed pediatric gowns featuring “super hero” designs for its youngest and smallest patients.

According to Dr. Ho Nguyen, Pediatric Radiologist, SDMI, putting kids at ease and reducing their anxiety when undergoing imaging was the motivation for this project.  To that end, SDMI’s marketing staff conceived the idea of the super hero gowns.

“The goal is to create a relaxed, friendly atmosphere during what can be a stressful time for families and children,” said Dr. Nguyen.  “Young patients can choose between one of two designs:  a super hero with a blue cape or a super hero princess with a pink cape.”

“Undergoing a medical imaging procedure can be intimidating for adults, and even more so for children,” said Dr. Nguyen. “Wearing a super-hero gown that also includes a cape, is a fun distraction.  We are already encouraged by the response the gowns are getting from both children and their parents.”

The gowns were designed by Las Vegan Kelly Bogda, who started Courageous Capes to honor her brother who passed away. “I started Courageous Capes so every child going through a medical battle can feel like a kid,” she said.   

Initially, the specialty gowns are being offered to children who are undergoing MRIs at all of SDMI’s locations valley-wide.  Eventually, the plan is to use the gowns with all modalities and procedures.

Photo: Super Girls – courtesy of SDMI

Alzheimer’s Treatment Advances

A Conversation with Jeffrey Cummings, MD, ScD
Director Emeritus, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

Q: You’ve been a leader in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia for about three decades now. How has the field changed?

A: When I started, neurodegenerative syndromes such as Alzheimer’s disease were regarded as a death sentence. Once you were diagnosed, you were doomed to a steady decline until you died from it. When the first drug — tacrine — was approved in 1993, the thinking began to change toward a recognition that there are ways Alzheimer’s disease can be controlled, making it a condition one may be able to live with.

Thirty years ago, diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease was based almost solely on symptoms. Now, advances in imaging — MRI, CT and PET scanning — allow us to make the diagnosis with more certainty:
• We can see amyloid protein on PET scans, which is very specific to Alzheimer’s disease.
• PET imaging of tau protein — at this point used only for research — promises to be an important tool for disease staging and therapy monitoring.

Q: What’s coming up next in the field?

A: No new Alzheimer’s-specific drugs have been approved in 15 years! I think we’re very close to approving two exciting new drugs with a mechanism of action very different from existing therapies. Both aim to reduce amyloid plaques and slow neurodegeneration.

Q: What does the future look like?

A: There are few diseases with a greater potential impact on public health. If nothing more is done to combat it, we are facing 130 million cases worldwide by the year 2050, compared with about 50 million now. The costs of caring for these patients are staggering. Even if only one-third of patients could be helped with new therapies, the savings would be enormous.

People often ask me if we’re on the verge of a real breakthrough in Alzheimer’s disease. I have stopped predicting, and I honestly can’t say if we’re one step away or 100 steps away. But I do know that in order to progress, we must take the next step.

You Can Help
Interested in learning more about the trials? Want to help? Cleveland Clinic needs individuals with memory loss as well as those who are cognitively normal. A complete list of trials at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is at clevelandclinic.org/brainhealthtrials.

Contact Cleveland Clinic at 855.LOU.RUVO or healthybrains@ccf.org to see if you or someone you know is a match for any of the trials.

Increasing the number of clinical trials for promising drugs and getting patients enrolled in them are critical challenges we must address immediately. Thank you for your help.

Photo: Jeffrey Cummings, MD, ScD, Director Emeritus, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Courtesy of Cleveland Clinic

AAMC President speaks to students

This story first appeared in “Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson,” April 30, 2019.

As Dr. Darrell Kirch, President and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, spoke to UNLV School of Medicine students recently about physician burnout, the high stress of academia, and his own burnout during medical school, Danielle Arceo listened intently.

His anxiety and depression during his first year of medical school, Dr. Kirch said, were on the verge of derailing his career aspirations. His fear of being judged negatively and the stigma associated with depression kept him from seeking help.

Fortunately, he said, an empathetic administrator steered him to the treatment he needed and he’s gone on to enjoy a remarkable and long career.

“Don’t suffer in silence,” Dr. Kirch said.

Arceo, a first-year medical student who’s seriously thinking about psychiatry as her medical specialty (she’s also considering pediatrics), was impressed by Dr. Kirch’s presentation.

“The thing I appreciated most from Dr. Kirch was his discussion on mental health. Even though culture as a whole is normalizing (struggles with) mental health, I believe there’s still a lot of stigma within the medical field about seeking help for things like depression and anxiety. The medical field harbors a lot of strong independent people. Who wants to admit that they’re burned out and struggling with the stressors their career choice involves? Having Dr. Kirch, a man who’s had an obviously successful medical career…share his story of his struggles with depression is basically the same as telling everyone, ‘Hey, it’s OK to be human.’ I’m human, and I’ve struggled with depression — and it’s neat to see someone in leadership share that they’ve gone through a similar experience, too.”

The more you talk with this 23-year-old woman, one of Cleto and Sheila Arceo’s seven children, the more you want to know about her. And the more you come to appreciate yet again the remarkable caliber of student enrolled in Southern Nevada’s only allopathic medical school — articulate, conscientious, insightful, caring, compassionate, industrious, knowledgeable.

Just what you want in a doctor.

A Las Vegas native who graduated from Pensacola Christian College in Florida, Arceo was homeschooled in the same three-bedroom house that her family still lives in. “All of us siblings were close both literally and figuratively,” she laughs. Arceo says her stay-at-home mother worked outside the home as an engineer for the U.S. Department of Energy for six years prior to having a big family. She believed homeschooling would be best after realizing a college classmate who had been homeschooled was able to engage in conversation with the professor more than any of her peers. She also says her parents (Arceo’s father is a NV Energy Sr. Systems Protection Administrator) wanted to homeschool their children so they could teach a worldview consistent with the Christian faith.

Arceo, a full scholarship student who now lives in an apartment close to campus, says that until sixth grade, her mother largely directed her education with the help of a homeschool curriculum first used nationwide in 1972. After that, she used the lesson plans herself. In 10th and 11th grade, she d took biology and chemistry courses available online through the homeschool curriculum.

“The family physician I shadowed has been an incredible mentor and encourager to me — from MCAT to interview advice, to life advice about reaching out for help when I need it. He’s been a great example of what a good doctor embodies.”

Photo: Dr. Darrell Kirch, President and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, and Dr. Barbara Atkinson, Founding Dean of UNLV School of Medicine. Courtesy of UNLV School of Medicine

Valley Hospital resident physicians using research to advance medicine

In late March, resident physicians with Valley Hospital’s Graduate Medical Education (GME) program hosted a Research Symposium as part of the hospital’s Doctor’s Day celebration.

“Providing an environment of critical inquiry is very important to developing a career of lifelong learning,” said C. Dean Milne, DO, FACOI, FACP, Director of Medical Education for Valley Hospital. “Research conducted during residency training develops critical thinking, analytical and writing skills, and can ultimately be incorporated into clinical practice. It’s a building block to help resident physicians investigate medical issues, share that knowledge, and identify ways it can benefit others.”

A sample of current research conducted by the resident physicians covers specific instances involving pulmonary embolisms; non-bacterial thrombotic endocarditis in a patient with small cell lung cancer; meningitis; malaria, tumor lysis in breast cancer; multisystem organ failure from suspected recreational human growth hormone injections; deep vein thrombosis; coronary embolism due to untreated atrial fibrillation; and acute tubular necrosis.

“The depth and detail of the research is extensive,” said Claude Wise, CEO/Managing Director of Valley Hospital. “They are identifying unique medical situations surrounding diagnosis, treatment plan and outcomes. Today’s research can provide better outcomes for other people.”

In addition to the Symposium, Valley Hospital residents have been invited to present their research at various Research Days and specialty college meetings throughout the United States.

The Graduate Medical Education program at Valley Hospital began in 2006. It offers residency programs in family medicine, internal medicine, neurology and orthopedic surgery, along with fellowships in gastroenterology and pulmonary/critical care. Physicians who complete their residency programs join private practice, work as hospitalists, continue their medical training with the military, or enter fellowships for further specialized training. Many have returned to Las Vegas to establish their own practice and serve as faculty members for Valley Hospital’s program.

Photo: Group from GME’s Research Symposium. Courtesy of Valley Hospital