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A BI-WEEKLY PUBLICATION FROM THE CEDARS-SINAI CHIEF OF STAFF January 12, 2018 | Archived Issues

BET Chairman to Speak at King Day Celebration

Debra Lee co

Debra L. Lee, chairman and CEO of Black Entertainment Television Networks, will be the keynote speaker at the 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration on Monday, Jan. 15. All employees, physicians, visitors and patients are welcome to attend the event, which runs from noon-1 p.m. in Harvey Morse Auditorium. A limited number of free boxed lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

» Read more

President's Perspective

Presidents-Perspective-logo-callout

By Thomas M. Priselac, President and CEO

Although it's customary in a year-end message to enumerate our many accomplishments during the previous 12 months—and in 2017 Cedars-Sinai had no shortage of notable accomplishments—I'd like to take a different approach and highlight a particular aspect of the institution that doesn't get discussed much. Adaptability.

» Read more

Two Executives Start New Duties in January

blaha and lee co

An executive at Cedars-Sinai for ten years, Jennifer Blaha has been promoted to vice president of Operations, while Clare T. Lee will join later this month as vice president of Professional and Support Services.

» Read more

Kick Off 2018 Learning About Wellness at Annual Fair

The Cedars-Sinai Employee Wellness Program is hosting its sixth annual Employee Wellbeing Fair on Friday, Jan. 12, from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. in Harvey Morse Auditorium. Join dozens of vendors and Cedars-Sinai departments to learn about various aspects of health.

» Read more

Physician Is Hip to the Ways of Saber-Toothed Tigers

Klapper Saber-tooth Tiger research co

When the smilodon, or saber-toothed cat, roamed what is now Wilshire Boulevard more than 12,000 years ago, did the predator hunt alone or in packs? If hips don't lie, Robert Klapper, MD, co-director of the Joint Replacement Program at Cedars-Sinai, may have the answer to a long-debated question among paleontologists. Working with the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Klapper brought the best practices of medical diagnostics to bear on the saber-toothed cat in an effort to develop a clearer understanding of how the prehistoric animal lived.

» Read more

Future Physician Aided, From Cradle to College

Research Internship co

Shannon Sullivan, 26, a student at Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., has already co-authored a major study in a prominent neuroscience journal and earned a coveted fellowship. She traces her career ambitions to age 12, when she learned she had spent her first months of life in the Cedars-Sinai Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. "I want to save babies the way the doctors at Cedars-Sinai saved me," Sullivan remembers telling her parents.

» Read more

Bergman Honored by Metabolic Institute

bergman co

Richard Bergman, PhD, an internationally renowned diabetes and obesity researcher, has received the Distinguished Leader in Insulin Resistance Award for his groundbreaking efforts to predict, prevent, treat and ultimately cure diabetes. Bergman, director of the Sports Spectacular Diabetes and Obesity Wellness and Research Center at Cedars-Sinai and the Alfred Jay Firestein Chair in Diabetes Research, accepted the award Dec. 2.

» Read more

Innovative Approach to Prosthetics on Display in Video

Prosthetics on Display in Video co

Some of the innovative work being done by Cedars-Sinai is on display in a video featuring Daniel C. Allison, MD, assistant professor of Surgery, whose use of a bone-anchored prosthetic dramatically improved the quality of life for patient Chris Rowles.

» Read more

FDA Issues New Safety Measures for Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is requiring a new class warning and other safety measures for all gadolinium-based contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging because of concerns about gadolinium remaining in patients' bodies, including the brain, for months to years. The FDA also is removing its most prominent warning about asthma-related death from the drug labels of medicines that contain both an inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta agonists.

» Read more

Core Labs Updating Test Methods

The Core laboratories in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine will update its Abbott chemistry test methods beginning Tuesday, Jan. 30. The new methods replace the former ones performed by Roche and Beckman. Please note new reference ranges (highlighted in yellow) and biases between methods.

» Read more

Biotin Interference with Immunoassays Can Alter Results

Patients who recently have taken biotin can exhibit false low or high results to a host of common tests, including thyroid tests, hormones, cardiac markers and others. The Core laboratories in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, for the most part, do not use immunoassays that suffer from this potential interference. However, not all Cedars-Sinai patients have their samples run in our labs. As such, clinicians should be aware of the potential for biotin interference with immunoassays.

» Read more

Medical Library Offers Classes to Learn New Skills

The Cedars-Sinai Medical Library is offering a variety of classes in January and February. Each 30-minute class begins at noon in the Medical Library – Plaza Level, South Tower, Room 2815.

» Read more

CS-Link Tip: Using the Haiku App

Haiku is probably best known as a short form of Japanese poetry, but it's also the name of a handy phone app for physicians. The app can be used to document a telephone encounter, to e-prescribe, to look at your schedule, examine or take images, and review your InBasket.

» Read more

BET Chairman to Speak at King Day Celebration

Debra L. Lee, chairman and CEO of BET Networks

Debra L. Lee, chairman and CEO of Black Entertainment Television (BET) Networks, will be the keynote speaker at the 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration on Monday, Jan. 15.

All employees, physicians, visitors and patients are welcome to attend the event, which runs from noon-1 p.m. in Harvey Morse Auditorium. A limited number of free boxed lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Named one of The Hollywood Reporter's 100 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment, Lee's achievements over more than 25 years with BET Networks have earned her numerous accolades from across the cable industry and recognition as one of this country's most respected business executives. Lee recently was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame and is affiliated with a number of professional, civic and cultural organizations, including the American Film Institute, Brown University's Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

She earned her juris doctorate and a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University, and graduated from Brown University with a bachelor's degree in political science and a doctorate in humane letters.

In addition to Lee's keynote address, Keith L. Black, MD, chair of the Department of Neurosurgery and director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurological Institute, will lead a short Q&A session during the program. If you are interested in submitting a question, email allison.moore@cshs.org by noon on Thursday, January 11. Because of time restrictions, only a limited number of questions will be asked.

This year's celebration also will feature a musical performance by Chuck Wansley After Hours. Wansley is a world-class singer, bandleader and musician whose blend of blues, soul and jazz honors American jazz greats, including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole and Joe Williams.

Wansley attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston. He has worked with legendary artists including David Foster, Poncho Sanchez, Mary Wells, Richard Marx, Frankie Beverly & Maze and Phyllis Hyman. Chuck also teaches jazz vocals and stage performance at the Mezinarodni Conservatory in Prague, and conducts frequent jazz workshops and clinics in the United States, Japan and Europe.

President's Perspective

By Thomas M. Priselac, President and CEO

Although it's customary in a year-end message to enumerate our many accomplishments during the previous 12 months—and in 2017 Cedars-Sinai had no shortage of notable accomplishments—I'd like to take a different approach and highlight a particular aspect of the institution that doesn't get discussed much.

Adaptability.

It's one of our hidden strengths, and has been since 1902. And over the next several years, given the increasingly rapid rate of change in healthcare (and in everything else, for that matter), it will be more important than ever.

Certainly, our more visible strengths are quality, innovation, expertise and compassion. But adaptability has been a key institutional trait that has enabled us to not only survive but flourish during the many changes in healthcare, medicine and society over the past 115 years.

In some cases, we adapted to major, unpredictable changes in medicine and community needs, such as creating a new facility with a dedicated tuberculosis wing in 1910 in response to a dramatic increase in tuberculosis cases. A similar situation occurred more than 70 years later, when we opened one of the nation's first dedicated inpatient AIDS units. Other adaptations have come in response to big changes in the nation's healthcare system. In the 1980s, for example, we adjusted when the federal government began determining Medicare payments based on diagnoses rather than on services provided. In the past few years, through the dedication and efforts of our physicians, nurses, pharmacists and others, we have advanced our clinical efficiency and quality work, ensuring that our patients receive the care they need for an optimal outcome.

Today, throughout Cedars-Sinai, all of you are demonstrating extraordinary flexibility, innovation and collegiality as we adapt to the many fundamental changes in healthcare and the changing needs of consumers and patients. It's not easy, as it requires an open mind, a willingness to re-examine long-held practices and an acknowledgment that “what got us here may not get us there.” But, as our history has shown, the people of Cedars-Sinai are capable of rising to almost any challenge.

Balance, of course, is crucial. If we are constantly trying to adjust to every little change in the breeze, we are likely to lose our way and end up either spinning in circles or stuck at a dead-end. A key to maintaining balance in adaptability is to never lose sight of the big picture. Some refer to this as understanding the difference between signal and noise. In today's always-connected world, with an infinite amount of information at our fingertips, it's crucial to distinguish between a quickly evaporating buzzword-of-the-day and a significant change in the healthcare landscape.

Fortunately, because you work at Cedars-Sinai you already have had great experience differentiating between signal and noise, and navigating and adapting successfully to change. As we look forward together to 2018, these traits will be even more of an asset to Cedars-Sinai's future.

Thank you for the exceptional commitment, compassion and collegiality that each of you brings to Cedars-Sinai every day of the year.

Two Executives Start New Duties in January

Jennifer Blaha

An executive at Cedars-Sinai for ten years, Jennifer Blaha has been promoted to vice president of Operations, while Clare T. Lee will join later this month as vice president of Professional and Support Services.

Blaha, who began her new duties Wednesday, Jan. 3, most recently served as executive director of the Department of Surgery, where she was instrumental in the successful launch of Orthopaedics as a separate department. In her capacity as executive director, Blaha was responsible for clinical, operational, academic and business development activities. In addition, Blaha translated healthcare policy into sustainable care pathways for bundled payments, established the Boeing Center of Excellence relationship, successfully integrated the Kerlan-Jobe Institute research and education team, and achieved strong patient, employee and faculty satisfaction scores.

Blaha also has extensive experience at Cedars-Sinai in surgery, orthopaedics, performance improvement, research and interventional services. She developed an impressive track record improving clinical quality, patient satisfaction and operational efficiency throughout the hospital with strategies that supported both safety and financial objectives.

In her new role as vice president, Blaha will work in close partnership with chairpersons and institute leaders, to oversee the administrative operations supporting the clinical and academic missions of Department of Surgery, Department of Orthopaedics, Department of Neurosurgery, Department of Neurology, Department of Psychiatry, Comprehensive Transplant Center, Pain Center, Respiratory and Pulmonary Services. Her responsibilities will encompass directing and supporting quality, financial, service and performance-improvement activities in all areas of these departments, as well as across the medical center.

Clare T. Lee

Lee, who begins her new duties on Jan. 15, is an exceptionally accomplished executive who brings with her extensive administrative experience and expertise in clinical support services.

Lee comes to Cedars-Sinai from Dignity Health's 342-bed Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento, Calif., where she served as the chief operating officer. In her role, Lee was the site executive responsible for all hospital operations, including clinical, nursing, ancillary, quality, compliance, finance, facilities, operational efficiency and business development.

Lee helped integrate the system's strategic goals and led the development of patient, employee and physician satisfaction initiatives. She also served as the executive lead for the hospital's co-managed initiatives in orthopaedic and cardiovascular services.

Prior to her experience in Sacramento, Lee served as the vice president of operations at the Houston Methodist Hospital System's flagship 900-bed hospital located in the Texas Medical Center. During her 10 years in that role, she had numerous assignments, including pharmacy services, laboratory services, all cancer programs, imaging, revenue cycle, cell and gene therapy, acute therapies, food/nutrition services, patient transportation, environmental services and valet parking.

In her new role at Cedars-Sinai, Lee will oversee Environmental Health and Safety, Hospitality Services, Plant Operations & Engineering, Pharmacy Services, Food/Nutrition Services, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Imaging.

Kick Off 2018 Learning About Wellness at Annual Fair

The Cedars-Sinai Employee Wellness Program is hosting its sixth annual Employee Wellbeing Fair on Friday, Jan. 12, from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. in Harvey Morse Auditorium. Join dozens of vendors and Cedars-Sinai departments to learn about various aspects of health.

This year, the fair will include information on discounted fitness centers, on weight management programs, healthy eating tips, and support for emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

In addition to representatives from Cedars-Sinai programs such as Work and Life Matters, Healthy Habits and Spiritual Care, vendors such as LA Fitness, Weight Watchers and BoxUnion boxing gym will be present. This year also will feature a Zen Zone, with free massages and oxygen chairs.

"I am really excited about the fair this year. We have some new vendors ready to help tackle things like finances, stress and better eating habits. Also, make sure to stop by the virtual reality booth," said Mitch Martens, Employee Wellness administrator. "We also are encouraging employees to write down their wellness resolutions to help kick-start the new year."

Participants are encouraged to visit vendors and booths that support their wellbeing goals. Employees can collect stamps at the booths and be entered into drawings for a bike, a Fitbit and a pair of tickets to Disneyland.

The annual fair supports the Employee Wellness Program’s mission of creating a culture of employee wellness that focuses on emotional, spiritual, environmental, physical, social, intellectual and occupational wellbeing.

For more information, visit the Employee Wellness Program.

Physician Is Hip to the Ways of Saber-Toothed Tigers

Robert Klapper, MD, co-director of the Joint Replacement Program, examines the results of a CT scan of a bone from a saber-toothed cat found near the La Brea Tar Pits.

When the smilodon, or saber-toothed cat, roamed what is now Wilshire Boulevard more than 12,000 years ago, did the predator hunt alone or in packs?

If hips don't lie, Robert Klapper, MD, co-director of the Joint Replacement Program at Cedars-Sinai, may have the answer to a long-debated question among paleontologists.

Working with the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Klapper brought the best practices of medical diagnostics to bear on the saber-toothed cat in an effort to develop a clearer understanding of how the prehistoric animal lived. He used Cedars-Sinai's most advanced CT scan machines to study the pelvis and femurs of the saber-toothed mammal, so named for its foot-long curving canine teeth.

"The most modern technology allowed these bones to speak to us, and they had a lot to say," Klapper said.

One bone specimen in particular had a lot to tell Klapper. Originally, scientists speculated the animal had died from infection. But Klapper's analysis revealed the animal had been born with dysplasia, an abnormal development of the hip joint.

Jennifer Morales, a CT technologist at Cedars-Sinai, prepares a saber-toothed cat bone for a scan.

When Klapper and a team from the Department of Imaging examined the CT scan closely, they clearly could see a mismatch between the ball and socket, which over years caused distinctive spurs to develop. The finding meant that it was highly unlikely this animal could have survived on its own, said Klapper.

"The fact that there is even one of these animals that was able to survive into adulthood told us a tremendous amount," said Klapper. "If it had been limping since birth and it couldn't run fast enough to chase its prey, it had to have survived in packs.

"If it's a fact that this is how this animal was born," added Klapper, "then it's a fact that someone else had to feed it."

The project began 20 years ago, when Klapper went to the museum as a tourist and stood face-to-face with 400 prehistoric wolf skulls. He saw something the average tourist would not.

"I realized I'm in a museum filled with bones, which is what I do for a living," Klapper said. "The exhibits are gorgeous, showing you the saber-toothed cat, the wooly mammoth and the dire wolf—all these prehistoric fossilized bones from the tar pits.

"Then I became obsessed with the questions: Where is the arthritis? Where are the fractures? Where are the abnormalities?"

The curator led the orthopaedic surgeon to a collection of abnormal saber-toothed cat bones, deep in the bowels of the museum. They have since been brought out into the light thanks to Klapper, researchers from the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, and staff from the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center at Cedars-Sinai.

"I think it's awesome," said Jennifer Morales, CT technologist at Cedars-Sinai. "This happened years ago, and yet we still have the imaging today to reveal more things that we didn't know before."

Aisling Farrell, collections manager for the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, has been working closely with Klapper for six months to coordinate the examination of these bones.

"I've known that we've needed to do this for ages," she said.

Klapper also will use the scans to create a prosthetic hip joint, which will help him treat dysplasia in human patients of similar size. (The saber-toothed cat was about the same size of a modern-day lion.) Klapper credits Barry D. Pressman, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Imaging, for providing his staff's expertise to the study.

"What if you're 7'1"? We don't have prostheses that fit that height," Klapper said. "We also don't have prostheses that fit someone small. What we're doing is taking a CT scan to build the anatomy and then a prosthesis."

Klapper will continue his studies in partnership with the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum.

"The La Brea Tar Pits are one of the crown jewel experiences that you can have in Los Angeles," Klapper said. "They predate everything, including man running around here; you have to go visit it."

To learn more about the saber-toothed cat, visit the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum website.

Future Physician Aided, From Cradle to College

Interns Shannon Sullivan (left) and Sivan Borenstein talk with Charles Simmons, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics, at the 2015 Research Internship Program Poster Day.

Shannon Sullivan, 26, a student at Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., has already co-authored a major study in a prominent neuroscience journal and earned a coveted fellowship. She traces her career ambitions to age 12, when she learned she had spent her first months of life in the Cedars-Sinai Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

"I want to save babies the way the doctors at Cedars-Sinai saved me," Sullivan remembers telling her parents.

Over the years, in her search for medical knowledge, the Los Angeles native has continued her relationship with Cedars-Sinai. She was a teen volunteer in the NICU administrative office and has completed three stints as a research intern.

"My internships at Cedars-Sinai have been beneficial from so many perspectives. They ingrained a strong work ethic because that's what I observed in the people around me," Sullivan said. "My skill set expanded, including learning how to work with a team, manage multiple projects and collaborate between departments and across disciplines. I also walked away with better communications skills, which I'm starting to use with patients."

Sullivan's connection with Cedars-Sinai began Sept. 13, 1991, when she was born 13 weeks ahead of schedule. Weighing a fragile 1 pound, 13 ounces, she spent the next three months in the NICU at Cedars-Sinai, under the vigilant care of doctors, nurses and other medical staff.

Twelve years later, after her parents told her the details of her preterm birth and Sullivan announced her career ambition, her mother and father encouraged her to learn about neonatology—the field of medicine concerned with the care, development and diseases of newborns.

Taking the initiative

"The more I learned, the more I wanted to spend time in the NICU," Sullivan said. When she was 15, she emailed Charles Simmons, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics and director of Neonatology.

"I want to save babies the way the doctors at Cedars-Sinai saved me," Shannon Sullivan told her parents at age 12. The Los Angeles native is now a second-year medical student at Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

Although more than a decade has passed, Simmons readily recalled Sullivan's correspondence. "Shannon said she was starting 10th grade. She also wrote about a special connection she had with Cedars-Sinai that fueled her interest in neonatology," said Simmons, the Ruth and Harry Roman Chair in Neonatology.

At Simmons' suggestion, Sullivan applied to the Cedars-Sinai Teen Volunteer Program, which places teens in clerical and clinical areas of the hospital to interact with patients, answer phones and perform other helpful services. Sullivan spent that summer, and the next two, as a teen volunteer in nursing units and the NICU's administrative office.

Simmons' and Sullivan's paths crossed frequently, and the pair developed a mentor-mentee relationship. Sullivan said she was especially intrigued to discover that when Simmons wasn't caring for the tiniest of patients, he and his team were conducting research to benefit preterm babies. Her interest didn't go unnoticed.

"I could see Shannon was driven, patient and resilient. She also was curious and creative," Simmons said. He told Sullivan these are good traits for doing hands-on science and suggested she keep biomedical research in mind as a possible profession.

A new outreach program for teens

Recognizing that many teens are interested in biomedical science, Cedars-Sinai Academic Human Resources—with the support of Leon Fine, MD, then vice dean of Research and Graduate Research Education—has since established an educational outreach to that age group. Now in its second year, the Cedars-Sinai Minors in Research initiative is for students ages 16 to 18.

This seven-week summer program pairs teens with faculty mentors who introduce them to laboratory techniques and research concepts.

After high school, Sullivan attended Columbia University in New York, earning a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering. Upon graduating in 2014, she again reached out to Simmons. "Dr. Simmons has been such a supportive figure and a great educator and mentor. I told him how much I'd like to work with him," Sullivan said.

Simmons responded enthusiastically, suggesting she apply to the Cedars-Sinai Research Internship Program. Launched that year by Academic Human Resources, this program is aimed at aspiring biomedical scientists who are 18 or older and interested in hands-on research. Since 2014, the program has welcomed more than 600 interns, each paired with a faculty mentor. During fiscal year 2017, 170 participants interned with 56 faculty members across 12 departments.

Sullivan entered the program in October 2014 and served as a pediatrics research intern through July 2015.

"We feel very fortunate to have had Shannon," Simmons said. "The Research Internship Program offers Cedars-Sinai faculty the unique privilege of contributing to the education of future leaders. Seeing those 'eureka' insights through someone else's eyes and realizing you've really benefited that individual—there's a lot of satisfaction in that."

Lab work makes an impact

Sullivan returned to Cedars-Sinai as a neurosurgery intern from August 2015 to June 2016, working in the laboratory of Ueli Rutishauser, PhD, associate professor of Neurosurgery and director of Human Neurophysiology Research at Cedars-Sinai. She was listed as second author of an impactful study on short-term memory published this year in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

"Shannon developed data analysis programs to process our data and also became an expert in anatomical work, including examining structural MRI images," Rutishauser said.

Sullivan's close association with Cedars-Sinai has continued. Now a second-year medical student at Howard University College of Medicine, Sullivan returned last summer to Rutishauser's lab as a research intern. This time, she was supported by a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Summer Medical Research Fellowship, a competitive award from the prestigious, nonprofit medical research organization based in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

In her most recent Cedars-Sinai internship, Sullivan spent nine weeks building on the Rutishauser lab's ongoing investigation of short-term memory.

"Interns change the dynamics of a lab. They bring new ideas, fresh eyes and a new point of view," Rutishauser said.

Sullivan hopes to come back. "Returning to Cedars-Sinai as a physician-scientist is my long-term goal," she said. "I also want, in some way, to serve the neonatal population. Neonatology saved my life, and I need to pay it forward."

For more information about Cedars-Sinai's research education opportunities, please visit the Research Internship Program website.

Bergman Honored by Metabolic Institute

Richard Bergman, PhD

Richard Bergman, PhD, an internationally renowned diabetes and obesity researcher, has received the Distinguished Leader in Insulin Resistance Award for his groundbreaking efforts to predict, prevent, treat and ultimately cure diabetes.

Bergman, director of the Sports Spectacular Diabetes and Obesity Wellness and Research Center at Cedars-Sinai and the Alfred Jay Firestein Chair in Diabetes Research, accepted the award Dec. 2 in Los Angeles at the Metabolic Institute of America's 15th Annual World Congress on Insulin Resistance, Diabetes & Cardiovascular Disease.

Established in 2006, the award celebrates scientific leadership and unique contributions to understanding insulin resistance, obesity and diabetes.

Yehuda Handelsman, MD, the Metabolic Institute of America's medical director and principal investigator, praised Bergman for his stellar career spanning more than four decades.

"Dr. Bergman has contributed significantly to our understanding of the pathophysiology of insulin resistance," Handelsman said. Insulin resistance can cause high blood glucose levels and lead to prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.

Handelsman also cited Bergman's global scientific impact. "He created the Minimal Model for assessing insulin sensitivity, which led to him developing the Disposition Index. The Disposition Index is a powerful predictor of diabetes risk and has impacted diabetes research throughout the world."

A professor in the Cedars-Sinai departments of Biomedical Sciences and Medicine, Bergman has published over 400 peer-reviewed papers, including landmark studies demonstrating the importance of:

  • Insulin's indirect control of liver glucose production
  • Insulin transport from blood to the cells of patients with insulin resistance
  • Elevated nocturnal fatty acid levels in mediating the development of diet-induced insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia (excess levels of insulin circulating in the blood)

Shlomo Melmed, MB, ChB, executive vice president of Academic Affairs and dean of the medical faculty at Cedars-Sinai, saluted Bergman for the award.

"This award is a reflection of the recognition that Dr. Bergman enjoys globally in the field of diabetes and obesity research. His discoveries have rightly earned the accolades of his peers, and this award is further testament to the remarkable contributions he's made," said Melmed.

Bergman has received many honors, but this one was especially gratifying.

"This award is particularly meaningful because it's given by some of the most highly regarded international leaders in the field, and it's presented at an annual conference attended by scientists from around the world," Bergman said. "After a long career, receiving this level of recognition is very fulfilling."

After the award presentation, Bergman delivered a keynote address, "How They Talk! Inter-Organ Communication and Diabetes Pathogenesis."

Innovative Approach to Prosthetics on Display in Video

Some of the innovative work being done by Cedars-Sinai is on display in a video featuring Daniel C. Allison, MD, assistant professor of Surgery, whose use of a bone-anchored prosthetic dramatically improved the quality of life for patient Chris Rowles.

Rowles, a 27-year police officer, lost his left leg above the knee after a work-related injury. Traditional suction-socket prosthetics proved so uncomfortable and ineffective for Rowles that he stopped wearing them for a time. At Cedars-Sinai, the first institution in Southern California to apply the technique of anchoring the prosthetic to the bone, Rowles regained both his prosthetic leg and his confidence.

"Dr. Allison," Rowles says in the video, "he's given me back my mojo."

FDA Issues New Safety Measures for Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requiring a new class warning and other safety measures for all gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) because of concerns about gadolinium remaining in patients' bodies, including the brain, for months to years. Gadolinium retention has not been directly linked to adverse health effects in patients with normal kidney function, and the FDA has concluded that the benefit of all approved GBCAs continues to outweigh any potential risks.

The FDA website has more information.

FDA: Agency Removes Warning About Asthma-related Death

The FDA is removing its most prominent warning about asthma-related death from the drug labels of medicines that contain both an inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and long-acting beta agonists. A review of four large clinical-safety trials showed that treating asthma with long-acting beta agonists in combination with inhaled corticosteroids does not result in significantly more serious asthma-related side effects than treatment with ICS alone.

The FDA website has more information.

Core Labs Updating Test Methods

The Core laboratories in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine will update its Abbott chemistry test methods beginning Tuesday, Jan. 30.

The new methods replace the former ones performed by Roche and Beckman. Please note new reference ranges (highlighted in yellow) and biases between methods.

If you have questions, contact Kimia Sobhani, PhD, at kimia.sobhani@cshs.org.

Abbott Chemistry Test Methods (PDF)

Biotin Interference with Immunoassays Can Alter Results

Recent articles have highlighted the potential for biotin interference with clinical immunoassays. Biotin is a supplement that has grown in popularity in recent years as a health aid, particularly for hair and nail growth. Some patients are taking biotin in "mega" doses of 10,000 mg/day or more.

This trend becomes an issue with clinical immunoassays that take advantage of biotin-streptavidin binding to "capture" antibodies as part of their methodologies. Patients who have recently taken biotin can exhibit false low or high results to a host of common tests, including thyroid tests, hormones, cardiac markers and others. (Roche and Siemens immunoassays, in particular, frequently utilize biotin-streptavidin linking.)

The Core laboratories in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, for the most part, do not use immunoassays that suffer from this potential interference (Roche assays are being discontinued). However, not all Cedars-Sinai patients have their samples run in our labs. As such, clinicians should be aware of the potential for biotin interference with immunoassays.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that the available data is insufficient to support recommendations for safe testing using affected assays in patients taking high levels of biotin, including the length of time for adequate biotin clearance from the blood.

An article from Endocrine Practice discusses the issue in more detail.

If you have questions, contact Kimia Sobhani, PhD, at kimia.sobhani@cshs.org.

Medical Library Offers Classes to Learn New Skills

The Cedars-Sinai Medical Library is offering a variety of classes in January and February.

Each 30-minute class begins at noon in the Medical Library – Plaza Level, South Tower, Room 2815.

PubMed

Learn to create search strategies and search the medical literature. Learn Medical Subject Heading terms and field codes to get a more sensitive search. Create alerts to keep up with the latest research. The class will meet Tuesday, Jan. 16, and Tuesday, February 6.

Evidence Based Resources

Learn to choose the best resource to search among the millions of published reports, journal articles and studies. The one-hour CME class will meet Tuesday, Jan. 23.

EndNote Desktop

Learn how to use this citation manager to organize your search results for manuscripts and grants. The class will meet Tuesday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Classes also are available by appointment; call Caroline Marshall at ext. 3-2315.

RSVP to caroline.marshall@cshs.org.

CS-Link Tip: Using the Haiku App

Haiku is probably best known as a short form of Japanese poetry, but it's also the name of a handy phone app for physicians. The app can be used to document a telephone encounter, to e-prescribe, to look at your schedule, examine or take images, and review your InBasket.

If you don't have Haiku on your phone, it's easy to install. To learn how to use it effectively, read the physician quick start guide on CS-Link™.