LSUHSC-S Receives Level I Trauma Center Verification

SHREVEPORT –– The LSU Health Sciences Center-Shreveport was once again verified as a Level I Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma Verification Review. The center received official notice of the verification on Jan. 25, 2010, and the verification will extend until Nov. 18, 2011.

“Maintaining the infrastructure and quality of care requisite for a Level I Trauma Center designation is critical for our institution for a number of reasons,” Benjamin D. Li, professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery, said in a press release. “These include lifesaving care for the severely injured; training of the next generation of trauma and critical surgeons, physicians and other health care providers; and reducing the risk for trauma through our prevention programs.”

The LSUHSC-S became Louisiana’s first verified Level I trauma center in 1991.

“The Level I Trauma Center designation represents the sustained efforts of all the staff on our trauma team,” Asser Youssef, a trauma surgeon who is also medical director of the trauma center, said in a press release. “Our Level I Trauma Center provides lifesaving care daily to the citizens of our community, and I am proud to be a part of the trauma team.”

Apartment Complex Aims to Keep Residents Healthy

NEW ORLEANS –– Residents of the newly reopened Walnut Square apartment complex in New Orleans East will have access to a community center offering fitness classes and health-focused education programs.

“There [are] ways to incorporate health and wellness into everything we do,” Christopher Bentivegna, assistant national director of resident services for the NHP Foundation, the nonprofit that owns the property, said in an article in the Times-Picayune.

According to a fact sheet put together by the Tulane Prevention Research Center, only about 20 percent of adults in New Orleans consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Forty percent drink sodas every day, and 31 percent eat snack foods every day. The PRC also found that more than 30 percent of elementary schools in the city –– as well as 70 percent of middle and junior high schools and just under 90 percent of high schools –– have vending machines or snack areas where students can buy snack food. There is no readily accessible snack food at Walnut Square, and an after-school program is offered that teaches children and teenagers how to prepare healthy food and snacks in their own homes.

In addition, classes such as Bentivegna’s “virtual vacations” program will expose children and teenagers to healthy foods in other cultures.

LSUHSC Research Yields Promising Stroke Treatment

NEW ORLEANS –– Research led by Youming Lu, professor of neurology and neuroscience at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, has identified a novel mechanism that may trigger brain damage during a stroke and may have come up with a therapeutic approach to block it.

The research focuses on receptors for the neurotransmitter glutamate. Previous clinical trials targeting glutamate receptors have been unsuccessful, mostly due to side effects, inefficient delivery through the blood-brain barrier or a limited window of time for therapeutic intervention.

“It is conceivable that this study not only provides new insights into the cellular and molecular basis responsible for stroke damage but also provides a therapeutic target for stroke therapy,” Lu said in a press release.

Lu’s research, funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, both of the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association, was published in the Jan. 22, 2010, issue of Cell, a top-tier journal.

According to the American Heart Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of serious long-term disability. Research suggests that one in six Americans over the age of 65 will experience a stroke, with 10 to 20 percent of those being fatal. Louisiana is particularly vulnerable: A recent study found that Louisiana and seven other southeastern states had a stroke mortality rate that was more than 40 percent higher than the rest of the nation.