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Risk of Potentially Fatal Heart Rhythms with Azithromycin (Zithromax or Zmax)

Pharmacy Focus

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has strengthened a previous warning regarding a small but significant increased risk of fatal arrhythmias associated with azithromycin (marketed as Zithromax® or Zmax®). Also, the FDA is evaluating unpublished findings by a group of academic researchers that suggest an increased risk of pancreatitis and pre-cancerous cellular changes in patients with type 2 diabetes treated with a class of drugs called incretin mimetics.

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Annual Brainworks Event Challenges, Inspires Local Middle Schoolers

Fred Smith, Cedars-Sinai Image Guided Surgery coordinator, teaches students Jayland Davis and Audrey Lam how to use neurosurgical equipment at Brainworks.

About 150 middle school students from throughout Los Angeles County had the chance to participate in neuroscience experiments, meet "Robot-Doc" and get hands-on suture experience at Cedars-Sinai's Brainworks conference this year.

Part of the medical center's commemoration of Brain Awareness Week, the March 11 event was packed with interactive activities and lectures meant to inspire students to question and explore prevention and treatment of brain injuries.

Jose Sarmiento, MD, (right) teaches students from Dana Middle School how to staple an incision.

"If I was exposed to this type of an event as a kid, I would have definitely expressed an interest in the medical field sooner," said Michael Arango, a surgical technician III in OR-Anesthesia. "We want to excite and inspire these students."

That is the goal of the event – to "expose as many young minds as possible to how exciting science is and especially how fascinating the brain is," said Keith L. Black, MD, chair and professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute.

Mia Leccese, a seventh-grader from Dana Middle School in San Pedro, said the suture station was especially exciting, because it gave her the opportunity to practice stitching.

"This is different than what we learn in the classroom," said Leccese, who aspires to be a physical therapist. "It's interesting when you get to actually see and experience it."

The day was focused on hands-on learning, with interactive stations that included a virtual surgery station with 3-D imaging and a phantom skull.

Dana Middle School students speak with Michael Arango, surgical technician III, and Rebecca Burgess, RN, who both work in the operating room.

Among the day's highlights was a demonstration of the InTouch Health RP-7i robot. Students met "Robot-Doc," a key member of the Neuroscience Critical Care Unit. The robot is operated via computer interface and joystick. Equipped with a high-definition monitor, speakers and a microphone, the machine allows doctors to monitor and interact with patients at any time, from any place with a network connection.

Overall, students were engaged and asked well-educated questions, said Aimee Bender, a therapy supervisor in the Department of Rehabilitation.

"We want to educate kids in what we do and our role in treating brain injuries," she said. "We also want the students to be safe and learn about brain injury prevention."

Miranda Sattaar El, mother of an eighth-grader at KIPP Academy of Opportunity, asked that her son's class attend the event after hearing about it on an NPR news segment.

"Students need to explore their curiosity," she said. "They are still very impressionable at this age and willing to take that leap."