NEW HAVEN — Newborns whose mothers were exposed during pregnancy to any one of a variety of environmental stressors — such as trauma, illness, and alcohol or drug abuse — become susceptible to various psychiatric disorders that frequently arise later in life. However, it has been unclear how these stressors affect the cells of the developing brain prenatally and give rise to conditions such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and some forms of autism and bipolar disorders.  

Now, Yale University researchers have identified a single molecular mechanism in the developing brain that sheds light on how cells may go awry when exposed to a variety of different environmental insults. The findings, to be published in the May 7 issue of the journal Neuron, suggest that different types of stressors prenatally activate a single molecular trigger in brain cells that may make exposed individuals susceptible to late-onset neuropsychiatric disorders.

The researchers found that mouse embryos exposed to alcohol, methyl-mercury, or maternal seizures all activate in the developing brain cells a single gene — HSF1 or heat shock factor — which protects and enables some of the brain cells to survive prenatal insult. Mice lacking the HSF1 gene showed structural brain abnormalities and were prone to seizures after birth, even after exposure to very low levels of the toxins.

 Responding to the rapid growth of nursing-home and long-term-care industries as baby-boomers begin to enter their senior years, Quinnipiac University’s Long Term Care Administration Certificate Program prepares students for careers in that fast-growing field.

 

In addition to teaching students the skills and prerequisite knowledge they need to become effective administrators, the program prepares them to take the national nursing home administrators exam and the state portion of licensure requirements. It likewise affords them opportunities to connect and work closely with professionals in the field.

 

 

 

The QU program has been approved by the state of Connecticut.

 

 

 

According to Angela Mattie, a QU associate professor of management who also chairs the school’s Health Care Management & Organizational Leadership program, the certificate program fills a growing need.

 

 

 

“There’s a requirement by the state of Connecticut that nursing-home administrators need to be licensed,” she explains. “This involves a residency component and a course component that [covers] the major factors [involved in] running a long-term care facility.”

 

 

 

Coursework includes “everything from how to care for an elderly patient, Medicare requirements for billing, dietary [practices] — all aspects of being a leader in a nursing-home or assisted-living situation,” she adds.

 

 

 

The program also involves long-term care practitioners as part of the curriculum in roles such as guest lecturers and collaborators. 

 

Employment of medical and health-services managers, including nursing-home administrators, is projected to grow, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. "As the large baby-boom population ages and people remain active later in life, the health-care industry as a whole will see an increase in the demand for medical services,” according to the DOL’s website. “Managers will be needed to organize and manage medical information and health-care staffs in all areas of the industry.”

 

The program, which is under the auspices of QU’s business school, also requires two 450-hour residencies that can take place in a licensed facility.

 

Students entering the program range from seasoned professionals who have worked in the field by lack a license, as well as younger people entering the pipeline of nursing home administration for the first time.

 

The long-term-care administration course is a three-credit course, plus two four-credit residencies, for a total of 11 credits needed to attain certification. Costs are in the neighborhood of $800 per credit, according to Mattie.

 

 NEW HAVEN — A faster and less expensive form of radiotherapy for treating prostate cancer may come at a price, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers a higher rate of urinary complications.

The standard external beam radiation therapy for prostate cancer is called intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) is a newer treatment that delivers a greater dose of radiation per treatment than IMRT. As a result, patients receiving SBRT can complete an entire course of treatment in one to two weeks, compared to seven to nine weeks for IMRT. There have been few studies comparing the costs of these treatments, and their toxicity.

Published March 10, the new study by researchers at the Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy and Effectiveness Research (COPPER) Center at Yale Cancer Center— compared IMRT to SBRT in a national sample of 4,005 Medicare patients aged 66 and older receiving prostate cancer treatment. Participants received either SBRT or IMRT as a primary treatment for prostate cancer during 2008 to 2011.

“All the reports we have about the toxicity of SBRT comes from pioneering institutions,” said first author James Yu, MD, assistant professor of therapeutic radiology at Yale Cancer Center. “But now that SBRT is being used nationally, it is important to determine the costs and complications on a national level.”

Yu, senior author Cary Gross, MD and their colleagues found that the mean per-patient cost to Medicare for a course of SBRT was about $13,600, compared to $21,000 for IMRT. The team found that at 24 months after the start of the treatment, there were increased side effects for SBRT compared to IMRT, due to urethral irritation, urinary incontinence, and obstruction. However, even when including the cost of treating complications, the overall medical costs due to SBRT were still lower than that of IMRT.

 WALLINGFORD — Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, a long-term acute care hospital, has formed a five-year clinical affiliation with the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University. Under terms of the agreement, Gaylord staff will work with the leadership of the new QU medical school to recruit physicians as teachers, design clinical components of the curriculum, and create academic policies and procedures.

“We are honored to be part of this new education affiliation agreement with Quinnipiac University School of Medicine,” said Steve Holland, MD, chief medical officer at Gaylord Hospital. “We look forward to this exciting opportunity to partner with Quinnipiac as we collectively work together to create a new approach to medical education.”

"Gaylord Hospital shares our commitment to primary care and medical education,” said Bruce Koeppen, MD, founding dean of the School of Medicine. "I am confident that the physicians and staff at Gaylord Hospital will provide our students with a high quality clinical experience.”

 BRANFORD — A Shoreline Eating Disorder Presentation will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. March 18 at Blackstone Memorial Library,758 Main Street. This year’s speaker is Margo Maine, founder and advisor of the National Eating Disorders Association and founding fellow of the Academy for Eating Disorders. Author of The Body Myth: Adult Women and the Pressure To Be Perfect, the first book to address eating disorders at or beyond mid-life, Maine will discuss the many contributing factors, the unique characteristics and needs of adults, and the importance of identifying the problem and accessing care. Maine is also senior editor of Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention, has numerous other books on the topic of eating disorders, lectures widely and maintains a private practice in West Hartford. The program is free and open to the public. To learn more phone 203-710-6665 or visit blackstonelibrary.org.

 BRIDGEPORT — A new Doctors Express Urgent Care Center has opened for business at 161 Boston Avenue, effective March 3. A fully staffed patient-care facility catering to any age, from pediatric to geriatric, Doctors Express says it is equipped to handle all types of medical emergencies from life threatening and painful physical conditions to pre- and post-treatment assessments and follow-up attention.

Led by veteran Greenwich Hospital emergency room physician Steven Heffer, MD, the first Bridgeport office of the nation’s largest urgent-care franchise positions itself in the market as a quicker, easier, more convenient and affordable alternative to large hospital emergency rooms.

“Not only will Doctors Express help reduce the burden at our area’s busiest emergency rooms, like Bridgeport Hospital and St. Vincent’s, but our services can greatly decrease the wait time for patients and meet their most immediate medical needs,” said Heffer. “Our objective is to help our patients quickly and effectively. The Doctors Express goal is to have all patients treated in 30 to 60 minutes.”

The Bridgeport Doctors Express is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends.

 NORTH HAVEN — Holly Atkinson, MD, medical correspondent and editor at HealthiNation, a digital health network, will deliver a lecture, “The Five Keys to Optimal Health,” in the Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Quinnipiac University’s North Haven Campus. Atkinson will explore five dimensions of optimal well-being, offering practical advice from recent medical research mixed with advice for improving one's emotional, social, intellectual, physical and spiritual well-being.

An assistant professor of medicine at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine who holds degrees in both medicine and journalism, Atkinson has written the best-selling book Women and Fatigue. She wrote a regular health column for New Woman magazine and feature pieces for the South Beach Diet Newsletter.

Atkinson earned her medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry and a master’s degree in journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She was graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Colgate University with a bachelor’s degree in biology.

The talk will take place at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8. Part of Quinnipiac’s Campus Cross Talk series, the event is free and open to the public. To learn more phone 203-582-8652.

 HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wants to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors in Connecticut.

Introduced March 11, Senate Bill 24 would also set fines for violations: up to $200 for the first offense, up to $350 for the second within 24 hours, and up to $500 for any further violation within 24 hours of the first offense.

Electronic cigarettes are not currently regulated in Connecticut.

"Connecticut should join the 27 states that have already prohibited the sale of e-cigarettes and other related devices to minors to continue our progress towards achieving long-term reductions in tobacco use and tobacco-related illnesses," Malloy said in a statement. "More than 75 percent of young people who have tried e-cigarettes also report smoking conventional cigarettes. This legislation will strengthen our prevention efforts and help reduce tobacco use among young people."