HEALTH BEAT:• The National Institutes of Health will provide $2.1 million over four years for Tulane University gene therapy researcher Donald G. Phinney, left.  Phinney’s research, which involves the therapeutic use of adult stem cells in diseases of the central nervous system, may lead to improved treatments of diseases that often cause neurological dysfunction, mental retardation and early death.

• Ochsner Health System filled 50 residency positions through the National Resident Matching Program The hospital’s current medical student population grew from 38 per month before the storm to the current 60 per month. Dr. William Pinsky, Executive Vice President for System Medical Affairs and Chief Academic Officer at Ochsner, is confident in the hospital’s educational opportunities. “Ochsner’s training programs have never been stronger and we have tremendous opportunities for post-training employment,” he says.

• Louisiana State University Health Science Center (LSUHSC) also faired well in the Match. All of the residency program positions have now been filled, 93 percent by the Match program. “Louisiana is retaining more of our graduates this year than last. Almost half of our graduates are staying, and our residency programs matched at a significantly higher rate than even pre-K,” says Dr. Larry Hollier, Chancellor of LSU Health Sciences Center and Dean of the School of Medicine at New Orleans.

• The American College of Surgeons, Commission on Cancer has awarded The East Jefferson General Hospital Cancer program with a three-year approval and Commendation. The facility is now eligible to receive the Commission on Cancer’s Outstanding Achievement Award with further evaluation. In addition, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has granted the hospital’s Sleep Disorders Program a five-year accreditation.

HEALTH BEAT:• The FDA has approved the first new hypertension drug in more than a decade. Novartis owns the new prescription, called Tekturna.

• Ochsner Health System is currently researching a possible link between migraine headaches and a common heart defect, Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO). This condition is a small opening between the upper chambers of the heart and is found in about 25 percent of adults. The study, called the PREMIUM Trial, will confirm whether an innovative, less-invasive PFO repair procedure reduces migraines in patients.

HEALTH BEAT:• Just in time for warm weather, Europe’s leading medical journal on reproduction, Human Reproduction, published research that suggests ice cream and other high-fat dairy foods may help women become pregnant. More research is needed, says lead author of the study Dr. Jorge Chavarro from Boston. However he suggests that women hoping to increase fertility should switch from skim milk and yogurt to whole milk and ice cream, as long as they are keeping within a healthy calorie count for their weight and individual health.

HEALTH BEAT:How to use retinoids – hope in a tube
• Gently wash and clean your face. Pat dry.
• Apply a pea sized amount to the entire face initially avoiding eye and neck areas.
• Use every other night for one to two weeks and gradually increase to every night as tolerated.
• Use the retinoid on the eyelids and neck area 1-2 times a week, increasing as tolerated.
• Avoid using astringents or toners to prevent over drying.
• Occasionally, a burning or stinging sensation may be felt during the first few weeks of use. Redness or a mild rash can also develop which call for a bland moisturizer or mild hydrocortisone cream or lotion for a few days.
• Expect you skin to peel initially as damaged cells are being replaced by new and younger cells.
• A mild exfoliant followed by bland moisturizer can help shed the peeling skin.
• Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen everyday.

Source: Deirdre Hooper, MD, Audubon Dermatology, 3525 Prytania St., Suite 501; 895-3376; www.audubondermatology.com.