Controversial Childhood Illness PANDAS the Focus of a Special Medical Journal Issue

Menlo Park, California (PRWEB) March 05, 2015

The Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology (JCAP) last week released a special issue devoted entirely to scientific studies of experts in the field of PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococci) and PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndromes), an autoimmune reaction triggered by infections such as strep throat, walking pneumonia, viruses and Lyme disease, which result in inflammation of the child’s brain. This inflammation causes a sudden, dramatic onset of obsessive compulsive disorder, or severely restrictive food intake, together with severe anxiety, depression, tics, neurological conditions, sleep disturbances, and a host of other psychiatric behaviors. The children afflicted with this are largely ignored by physicians. Without early diagnosis and treatment, it can lead to lifelong mental and physical disabilities. The syndrome affects roughly 1 in every 200 children in the United States but, until now, has been a controversial diagnosis in the medical field. With this special issue of JCAP, which includes a consensus statement from a consortium of more than 30 physicians and researchers, the broader medical community will have the tools to better understand, diagnose and treat the syndrome.

This consensus statement, along with other newly published research papers, provide a watershed moment in our thinking about PANS, according to Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D., editor-in-chief of JCAP and president of the Child Mind Institute in New York. For too long, confusion and a lack of understanding concerning this syndrome have left severely impaired children with few, if any, treatment options. This effort promises an improvement in the quality of care.

In 2014, the American Society for Apheresis endorsed the use of plasmapheresis, a blood cleaning treatment, as first line treatment for PANDAS. Pheresis is used in invasive blood diseases like sickle cell anemia, encephalitis and more.

Were grateful that the scientific research related to PANDAS and PANS is finally getting proper exposure, said Diana Pohlman, executive director of PANDAS Network, a network for parents of children who suffer from the syndrome. Early detection and treatment of PANDAS is key. A child who is treated early can have a complete remission. Our hope is that this issue of JCAP will raise awareness so more physicians will be able to recognize PANDAS symptoms and intervene right away.

In conjunction with the release of this issue of JCAP, the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University is hosting the PANS, PANDAS, and Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndromes conference on March 14-15 in Rhode Island. It is an evidenced-based educational activity aimed at those who provide care to children and adolescents to bring them up to date on the research, diagnosis and treatment of such children and to dispel the myths around the disorder.

Dr. Louise Kiessling, one the first researchers of PANDAS, is hosting the event, which includes talks by many of the JCAP authors, leading providers and researchers. To register, please visit:

About PANDAS Network

PANDAS Network is dedicated to improving the diagnosis and treatment of children with PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections) and PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome). Armed with an impressive network of doctors, researchers and scientists, PANDAS Network strives to collaborate with subject matter experts, build public awareness, provide family support, and gather data and resources to better inform parents and the medical community about PANDAS and PANS. It is run by parents who have treated and healed their children of this illness and who wish to erase the social stigma and fear surrounding an illness that is largelypreventable. For more information, visit:

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Dr. Mary- Claire King to speak at Morehouse School of Medicine on how genetic screening for all women can lower risk for breast cancer and save lives

Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) March 16, 2015

African American women have higher death rates from breast cancer than do white women. Veena Rao, Ph.D., researcher, professor and co-director of the Cancer Biology Program in the department of OB/GYN at Morehouse School of Medicine, has pointed to multiple factors that contribute to the increased vulnerability of African American women, such as barriers to testing and quality of treatment. Leading medical researchers, including University of Washington geneticist and Lasker Laureate Mary-Claire King, highlight additional factors undetected inherited mutations and now recommend offering genetic testing for all women at about age 30.

Dr. King will make a free, public address at the Morehouse School of Medicine on March 19, to discuss Inherited Breast Cancer: From Gene Discovery to Public Health.

Dr. Kings discovery in 1990 of the BRCA1 breast cancer gene demonstrated a mechanism of inherited cancer and proved that gene mutations could predict vulnerability to the disease.

A 2013 study of inherited predisposition to breast cancer among African American women by Dr. King and Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade, director of The Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics, at the University of Chicago, found that 22 percent of African American breast cancer patients inherited a damaging mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 or another breast cancer gene. Women carrying a mutation of BRCA1 or BRCA2 have a greater than 80 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, as compared with 11% for women without mutations.

Recently, Dr. King showed that women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations had elevated risk for breast cancer, even if they have no family history of the disease. Therefore, she recommends that BRCA1 and BRCA2 testing be made available to all women.

I believe that every woman should be offered testing of BRCA1 and BRCA2 at about age 30 as part of routine medical care, said Dr. King. About half of women who inherit mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes have no family history of breast or ovarian cancer and have no idea that they are carrying cancer-causing mutations. Affordable, accessible early detection is a public health priority for saving lives.

While some within the medical community voice caution that universal screening could lead to anxiety for some women, King and Olopade focus on the benefits. Having a genetic mutation doesnt mean youre definitely going to get cancer, Dr. Olopade told NPR last September. Women at greater risk should work with their doctors closely to make decisions about the best approach to reducing their chances of developing breast cancer.

Within the African American community, access to mammograms and other testing, as well as follow-up care continues to be a challenge. Disparities in availability of breast cancer care is a profound public health concern.

On March 19, Dr. King will give a special lecture, co-sponsored by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation and the Morehouse School of Medicine. In September 2014, the Lasker Foundation awarded Dr. King its prestigious Special Achievement Award in Medical Science for her bold, imaginative, and diverse contributions to medical science and human rights.

For more information on the availability of genetic screening in the Atlanta area, please see:

The Center for Black Womens Wellness, Inc. (CBWW) – A non-profit organization that provides free and low-cost services to empower black women, and their families, toward physical, mental and economic wellnessoffers clinical breast exams and mammogram referrals.

Emory Health Care High Risk Clinic – Provides comprehensive screening and education for patients at increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer. A genetic counseling visit includes a review of family history, personalized risk assessment and discussion of surveillance and genetic testing options.

Gradys Avon Foundation Breast Health Center – A multi-disciplinary breast care program, offering a full spectrum of clinical and support services, from screening and diagnosis to treatment and counseling.

Northside Hospital Cancer Institute Provides – in-depth consultation to examine patients personal history and education about how sporadic hereditary cancer develops, while exploring patient and family’s risk.

Planned Parenthood – Offers womens health services such as breast exams and mammogram referrals.

About the Lasker Foundation

Founded in 1942, the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation envisions a healthier world through medical research. It seeks to improve health by accelerating support for medical research through recognition of research excellence, public education, and advocacy. For much of the 20th Century, the Foundation was led by Mary Lasker, who was America’s most prominent citizen-activist for public investment in medical research. She is widely credited with motivating the White House and Congress to greatly expand federal funding for medical research, particularly through the National Institutes of Health.

About Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM)

Founded in 1975, MSM is among the nation’s leading educators of primary care physicians and was recognized by Annals of Internal Medicine in 2011 as the top institution in the first study of U.S. medical schools for our social mission based on our production of primary care physicians, training of underrepresented minority doctors and placement of doctors practicing in underserved communities. Our faculty and alumni are noted for excellence in teaching, research and public policy, as well as exceptional patient care.

Morehouse School of Medicine is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctoral and master’s degrees. For more information, please visit

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ERT Expands Scientific Consulting Group


March 11, 2015 (PRWEB) March 11, 2015 — ERT, a leading global solution provider for high-quality patient safety and efficacy endpoint data collection, today announced an expansion to its cardiac safety, respiratory, and Clinical Outcome Assessment (COA)/electronic COA (eCOA) consulting group. Colleen A. McHorney, PhD – an internationally acknowledged thought leader in the field of health outcomes assessment and health services research has joined ERT as a Senior Scientist in its COA consulting group.

With 30 years of experience, Dr. McHorney is highly regarded in the field of health outcomes assessment and measurement. Her expertise spans from qualitative research for concept elicitation and patient comprehension to advanced classical and modern psychometric techniques for item analysis and scale validation. A trained psychometrician, Dr. McHorney has contributed to the advancement of patient-experience research through the conceptualization, development, and validation of numerous patient-based symptom, quality of life, and quality of care tools, both generic and disease-specific. These span the areas of osteoporosis, diabetes, female sexual function, and mental health, among others. In addition, Dr. McHorney is a recognized expert in medication adherence research and brings to ERT over seven years of patient-centered research on adherence.

Biopharmaceutical researchers striving to understand the patient experience during new drug development will benefit greatly from Colleens knowledge of health outcomes assessment and measurement, said ERT Vice President, Project Management and eCOA Consulting, Jason Eger. We are delighted to welcome her to our established team of scientific and regulatory thought leaders and to extend her wealth of experience to our biopharmaceutical clients.

I decided to join ERT based on how closely aligned our respective research objectives and approaches are, said McHorney. I am thrilled to join this group of pioneering scientists as they continue to advance the creation and execution of effective COA strategies to meet their clients regulatory and commercialization goals.

Dr. McHorney will share insights of her experience in a complimentary webinar on March 31, 2015, A Primer on Medication Adherence: Nature, Extent, and Determinants of Non-Adherence and its Relationship to Patient Outcomes. For additional information and to registers, visit

About ERT

ERT ( is a leading provider of high-quality patient safety and efficacy endpoint data collection solutions for use in clinical drug development. ERT delivers a combination of technology, services, and consulting that increase the accuracy and reliability of patient data and improve the efficiency of the clinical development process throughout the product lifecycle. ERT delivers the most widely deployed solutions in centralized cardiac safety, respiratory services, suicide risk assessment and Clinical Outcome Assessments (COAs) which includes patient, clinician, and observer reported outcomes as well as data analytics across the trials. By efficiently integrating these solutions through a system built upon a scientific and regulatory foundation, ERT collects, analyzes, and delivers safety and efficacy data critical to the approval, labeling, and reimbursement of pharmaceutical products. ERT is a global organization with headquarters in Philadelphia, PA and offices throughout the U.S., U.K., Japan, and Germany.

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