The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, which is committed to addressing the health care needs of the local community, the state and beyond, has announced the opening of a new center for bleeding disorders.

UTHSC also announced it is leading a coalition of primary care providers in the Mid-South to help African-American adults diagnosed with diabetes better manage their disease.

And contact lenses were thought to be a safer way to improve vision than undergoing a surgical procedure, but an analysis by ophthalmologists from the Hamilton Eye Institute at UTHSC indicates otherwise.

New center for blood disorders

The center’s new Hemophilia and Thrombosis Treatment Center is making it possible for individuals with rare and complex benign blood disorders to get the best treatment possible.

Hematology Center

The center, located at 6401 Poplar Avenue, Suite 195, is the only one of its kind within 150 miles offering adults comprehensive, multidisciplinary treatment for hemophilia, which is a reduced ability to clot, and thrombosis, an increased tendency toward clotting. The center also treats conditions, including anemia, thalassemia (abnormal formulation of hemoglobin), Hepatitis C, platelet disorders, abnormal proliferation of blood cells in the bone marrow, abnormal iron metabolism and women’s health issues, such as excessive bleeding and clotting.

One of only 120 in the country, the clinic is a one-stop shop bringing together hematology physician services, nursing, case management and social work, infusion therapy, physical therapy, dentistry, a laboratory, and pharmaceutical services to provide the best care. The clinic also has primary care physicians for routine health needs, and collaborates with specialists.

Dr. Rajan

“Comprehensive care is the guiding force behind treating bleeding disorders,” said Sandeep Rajan, M.D., medical director of the center. “Outcomes are better, and the cost of treatment is reduced.” Historically, patients with bleeding disorders might see several health care providers for the various needs their illness creates. This made coordinated care difficult and outcomes often less than optimal. Sometimes, bleeding disorders were not diagnosed, because providers were not trained to spot them, or providers were reluctant to take on these patients because of the specialization needed for their care.

Rajan, an associate professor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at UTHSC, is promoting the concept of comprehensive care for these disorders by teaching medical students, residents, and fellows at UTHSC to correctly diagnose and treat these patients.

The Hemophilia and Thrombosis Treatment Center is managed by University Clinical Health, a clinical practice group affiliated with UTHSC. To contact the clinic or for more information, call 901-866-8547, email ut_httc@uthsc.edu, or visit http://universityclinicalhealth.com/ut-hematology/.

Helping those with diabetes

UTHSC is leading a coalition of primary care providers in the Mid-South in a program to help African-American adults diagnosed with diabetes better manage their disease.

James Bailey, M.D., MPH, professor of Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine and director of the Center for Health System Improvement at UTHSC, is heading the MODEL (Management of Diabetes in Everyday Life) program, which is recruiting African-American men and women over age 18, who have diabetes with high blood sugar levels.

Participants will be part of a research study to compare three approaches that primary care clinics can use to encourage better self-management of diabetes. The study will compare the benefits of health coaching, motivational text messages, and diabetes education material in helping people with diabetes take better care of themselves.

Stanley Dowell, MD, who leads health care providers in the study, said it gives patients in Memphis with uncontrolled diabetes a unique opportunity to benefit from some of the latest approaches for controlling, or even curing, their diabetes through healthier habits.

The study will last one year, and participants must have a cell phone with text messaging capability. They will receive up to $150 for followup visits.

For more information about the MODEL study, call 901-448-1381.

Keeping eyes healthy

Traditionally, contact lenses were thought to be a safer way to improve vision than undergoing a surgical procedure, but an analysis by ophthalmologists from the Hamilton Eye Institute at UTHSC indicates otherwise.

A meta-data analysis comparing the incidence of microbial keratitis, an infection of the cornea caused by bacteria or a virus, for contact lens wearers versus post-LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) patients indicates that over time the infection rate for the contact lens wearers was higher than for those who had LASIK to correct their vision.

An article on the findings was published in the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery, a highimpact, peer-reviewed scientific journal.

“Microbial keratitis is a relatively rare complication associated with contact lens use and LASIK postoperatively,” the article said. The authors were Jordan Masters, M.D.; Mehmet Kocak, Ph.D; and Aaron Waite, M.D.

Dr. Aaron Waite

Dr. Aaron Waite in LASIK Procedure

“The risk for microbial keratitis was similar between patients using contact lenses at one year, compared with LASIK. Over time, the risk for microbial keratitis was higher for contact lens use than for LASIK, specifically with extended wear lenses.”

The study analyzed literature in the PubMed database between December 2014 and July 2015.

Microbial keratitis can lead to vision loss. Contact lens wear has been associated as a risk factor in the development of the condition. Factors, including hygiene, lens type, and history of use, contribute to the risk.

“It is difficult to compare complications from contact lens use to LASIK, because the complication rate of both is so rare, but our analysis definitely shows that the infection rate is higher with contact lens use comparted to LASIK,” Dr. Waite said. He is the director of the Cornea, Cataract, and Refractive Surgery Program at the Hamilton Eye Institute at UTHSC.

More studies are necessary to focus on other complications, such as vision loss and dry eye, to further explore the safety and risk of complications.

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