NEWS BLOG from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Archive for March, 2016

UPMC Physician Elected American Board of Urology Trustee



Joel Nelson, M.D., chair of the Department of Urology at UPMC,  has been elected trustee of the American Board of Urology. His six-year term began in March.

Dr. Nelson is a Diplomate of the American Board of Urology and an active member of the American Urological Association, American Association for Cancer Research, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, American Medical Association, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Society for Basic Urological Research, Pennsylvania Medical Society, Allegheny County Medical Society, Society of University Urologists, Society of Urology Chairpersons and Physicians Directors, American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons, Society for Urologic Oncology, and Clinical Society of Genitourinary Surgeons.

The American Board of Urology acts for the benefit of the public to insure high quality, safe, efficient and ethical practice of urology by establishing and maintaining standards of certification for urologists.

Dr. Nelson joined UPMC in 1999, and specializes in prostate cancer with a strong interest in basic, translational and clinical urological research. He was nominated by the American Urological Association.

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Filmmaker’s Corner: The Extra Chromosome is Love

A few weeks ago, my wife showed me a Facebook post from a neighbor and friend commenting on a video about Down syndrome. The post (citing a video appearing on The Mighty) mentioned that someone should create a video about what it’s like to live with Down syndrome in Pittsburgh, and what an amazingly supportive community it is to raise a child with the condition. Working with my media relations colleague Andrea Kunicky at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, we spoke to program coordinator Sheila Cannon and Dr. Kishore Vellody at the Down Syndrome Center and received their blessing and help.

So began my Down syndrome journey.

When I took on this project, I knew next to nothing about Down syndrome. I’m not claiming to be an expert now, but what I found in creating this video was something remarkable – I met six wonderful families who opened up their worlds to me.

The picture painted was not always a perfect one. Dr. Vellody points out that the most important thing for a new mother to hear when she delivers a child with Down syndrome is simply, Congratulations! Unfortunately, more than one of the mothers received less-than-stellar reactions that set in motion thoughts of fear and anxiety, something I hope our film will serve to alleviate for new and expectant parents who’ve received a diagnosis of Down syndrome.

I hope that in creating this video, people won’t see these children as different, as challenged, as less-than. I hope they see Ellie as Ellie, who loves music and is my youngest daughter’s classmate and buddy; TJ as TJ, who loves to dance and whisper secrets to his sisters; Josh as Josh, who through his knowledge and experience in and out of doctor’s check-ups can deliver life-changing (albeit imaginary) care to his mom; Mae as Mae, who flies through flash cards and loves playing ponies; Donovan as Donovan, who works hard in school and is an amazingly bold swimmer; and Evan as Evan, the radiant warrior who recovered from two heart surgeries and beams love. 


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UPMC Mercy Hospital’s Lucky Charms


With some help from the Sisters of Mercy, staff from UPMC Mercy Hospital’s labor and delivery team recently wrapped some of its newest and littlest patients in their best St. Patrick’s Day blankets to celebrate the Irish and Catholic roots of the hospital.  The Sisters of Mercy arrived in Pittsburgh in 1843, and four years later, they opened the doors to the world’s first Mercy hospital, which remains Pittsburgh’s only Catholic hospital.

Joining members of the labor and delivery team were UPMC Mercy Hospital President Michael Grace, the Rev. Albert Schempp and Sister Carolyn Schallenberger.

To learn more about UPMC Mercy Hospital’s history, click here.


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Spreading Awareness: What You Need to Know About Colon Cancer

ThinkstockPhotos-495358416March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, a time that many in the cancer community spend spreading awareness about the risks and symptoms of the disease. Below, UPMC Passavant’s James Celebrezze, M.D., answers some common questions about colon and rectal cancers.

Is colon cancer a big problem in the U.S.?

The incidence of colon and rectal cancer is decreasing in the U.S. There are likely many reasons for that. However, colon and rectal cancer represents the third most common cancer and the third most frequent cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. In 2015, the American Cancer Society estimated that 130,000 new cases of colon and rectal cancer were diagnosed, and 50,000 people lost their fight with colon and rectal cancer.

Who is at risk of developing colon and rectal cancer?

In reality, everyone is. The risk of developing colon and rectal cancer may be increased in certain groups, like patients with ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s disease, in patients with a family history of colon cancer or polyps, or in certain hereditary conditions; but everyone, both men and women, are at some risk of developing colon and rectal cancer. (more…)

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National Sleep Awareness Week: Time Change Can Be a Sleep Challenge for Some

ThinkstockPhotos-467819476This weekend’s change to daylight saving time presents a sleeping challenge for many people, when we “lose” an hour of sleep. At 2 a.m.  Sunday, the clocks will be moved forward one hour, essentially “moving” an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening.

Thomas Rice, M.D., medical director of the UPMC Passavant Sleep Center, says that the best way to prepare is to start going to bed about 15 minutes earlier each night for a few days leading up to the change.  Going to bed a whole hour earlier on the first night may lead to insomnia if you are not ready to sleep and thus you will have worse sleep quality.

He also says that you can expect to feel more tired and lethargic if waking at the same “clock time” for the first few days after the change. Therefore, extra care should be taken with important activities like driving first thing in the morning. If you feel really tired in the first few days after the change, you should consider taking a brief nap during the day to help you adjust, but limit it to 20 to 30 minutes with an alarm clock.


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