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Art and Medicine

The UNC School of Medicine has reinitiated IRIS, an online Literary and Arts Magazine.  The magazine celebrates the diversity of talents of the students, faculty and staff in the School of Medicine.

A number of pieces by Thurston's Dr. Amanda Nelson were included in this renewed endeavor.


A reception was held on Friday, May 3, 2013 in the Lobby of the UNC Children's Hospital to showcase a variety of the artistic talents of the participants.

Treating Peanut Allergy

North Carolina legislators are considering a bill that would require that schools have a minimum of two EpiPens and people trained to use them.  An EpiPen is an epinephrine auto-injector used for severe allergic reactions. In a recent interview with WRAL-TV, Dr. Edwin Kim, spoke about the importance of kids having access to appropriate treatment.  Dr. Kim is part of research team that is studying immunotherapies for children with peanut allergies.


Dr. Edwin Kim (right) with his patient in the study, Patrick Campfield (center), and his dad, Ray Campfield (left).

Nelson instructs at CME MSK

Amanda Nelson, MD, MSCR participated as an instructor in the Musculoskeletal Ultrasound in Rheumatology Training Course held at Duke University Medical Center, April 27-28, 2013.  The purpose of the course was to provide rheumatology physicians, fellows, PAs, and NPs with the basic principles and practice of musculoskeletal ultrasound as a diagnostic tool and an aid to therapeutic injections in clinical practice.


Instructors for the Continuing Medical Education course (pictured from left to right): Amanda Nelson, MD, MSCR, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Catherine J. Bakewell, MD, University of Washington Medical Center; Jonathan Samuels, MD, NYU Langone Medical Center; Minna Kohler, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital; Robert T. Keenan, MD, MPH, Duke University Medical Center; and Alvin F. Wells, MD, PhD, Duke University School of Medicine.

NC TraCS Grant Awarded

Joanne M. Jordan, MD, MPH of the UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center; Stephen W. Marshall, PhD of the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center; and Jeffrey T. Spang, MD of UNC Orthopaedics  have been awarded a TraCS Planning Grant for a collaborative study titled Biomarker and Biomechanical Predictors of Osteoarthritis in ACL-Injured Patients.  This grant will establish an interdisciplinary research infrastructure designed to collect biomarker and biomechanical data on patients undergoing ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction.  Patients will be enrolled following ACL injury and prior to ACL reconstruction surgery.  The study will collect samples for biomarker analysis prior to surgery, detailed information about articular cartilage and meniscus damage, as well as fluid samples, during surgery; and evaluate biomechanics six months after surgery.  The study will help to establish the relationship between levels of biomarkers, extent of cartilage damage and future development of osteoarthritis.

The North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute is one of approximately 60 Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) medical research institutions working together as a national consortium to improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country.  The Consortium members share a common vision to reduce the time it takes for laboratory discoveries to become treatments for patients, and to engage communities in clinical research efforts.

Learn about Seasonal Allergy

Edwin Kim, MD MS, appeared recently on WNCN TV to discuss seasonal allergies.  Dr. Kim explained how common seasonal allergy is in the US and in North Carolina, which is the second worst state for seasonal allergy.  He also explained the symptoms and what are the common treatments.  Learn more about seasonal allergy by watching the video.

Get information about services at the UNC Allergy and Immunology Clinic.

The Big Purple Bus

The Thurston Arthritis Research Center was proud to work with the North Carolina Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America to bring the Cruel Mystery National Tour Bus to UNC Hospitals.  The tour bus is part of  The Help Us Solve the Cruel Mystery National Tour, which is a national education and awareness program launched by the Lupus Foundation of America to address this urgent national public health issue.  The conversation about lupus begins with questions about lupus symptoms painted in bold letters all over the outside of the bus.  The first of its kind tour bus has interactive exhibits to help visitors learn about lupus through the experiences of people who live with lupus.  Nationwide stops of the tour also includes an education program for patients with lupus and their families, and a state-of-the-science continuing medical education (CME) program for healthcare professionals.

Christine John-Fuller, President and CEO of the North Carolina Chapter of the Lupus Foundation was on hand with her volunteers to give tours of the bus, answer questions, and advocate for people with Lupus.  Rick Armstrong from WRAL-TV in Raleigh came out to interview local lupus patient, KeKe Grady; UNC Pediatric Nephrologist, Dr. Keisha Gibson, and Christine John Fuller.  (See the story and video here.


Many people stopped by to pick up information, ask questions or get their picture taken with the big purple glasses.  One woman stopped to get information after she had seen the bus on the highway and was answering yes to all the questions painted on the side of the bus.
Thanks to Mary Anne Dooley, MD, MPH; Brenda Meier and Deb MacDonald of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center for organizing and volunteering at this event.

Many people stopped by to pick up information, ask questions or get their picture taken with the big purple glasses.  One woman stopped to get information after she had seen the bus on the highway and was answering yes to all the questions painted on the side of the bus.

Thanks to Mary Anne Dooley, MD, MPH; Brenda Meier and Deb MacDonald of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center for organizing and volunteering at this event.


The Cruel Mystery tour spent the weekend at various locations in Raleigh and Durham.  The tour began in California on December 1 and has visited Colorado, Texas and will be in Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Massachusetts, before ending in New York.

For more information about Lupus or the Cruel Mystery Tour, go to

brenda bus.jpg

Volunteers, Brenda Meier (far left) and Tehesia Wilcox (second from right) providing lupus information.



Maggie Maloney and Christine John-Fuller, Lupus Foundation of America.



KeKe Grady, Lupus advocate.



Dr. Keisha Gibson, UNC Pediatric Nephrologist.



Putting a Stop to OA

In the current issue of Arthritis Today, the article Putting A Stop To OA by Dorothy Foltz-Gray, contributing editor to Arthritis Today, presents some of the new ways of thinking about joints that may help in the fight against osteoarthritis.

There have been several exciting research advances:

  • Stem Cell Research - using stem cells to create micro-organs that will allow investigators to examine the bone and cartilage and figure out why it falls apart and how best to screen potential drugs.

  • Potential drug to slow progression of OA - "This study is very preliminary and needs to be replicated," says Joanne M. Jordan, MD MPH, director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center. Although promising, the drug would need further study to show not only effectiveness against OA progression, but safe to take.

  • New Imaging Technology - New MRI technology will allow enable researchers to detect OA earlier and determine if potential new drugs have any effect on the progression of the disease.

What can you do now? You can help lesson OA progression by making some relatively small changes.

  • Lose Weight - For years, studies have linked obesity to OA progression. “We also know that obesity is associated with OA progression to new sites,” says Dr. Jordan.

  • Exercise Smart - "We recommend low-Impact exercise like walking, using an elliptical machine, swimming or biking,â" says Dr. Jordan. She suggests working with a physical therapist who can provide the correct exercise program to provide the best results.

  • Manage Your Diabetes - A 2012 study, following 927 people for 20 years, found that type 2 diabetes is a predictor of severe OA, regardless of age and weight. To prevent type 2 diabetes, controlling weight and exercising are essential. If you already have type 2 diabetes you should eat healthy and take medications to control your blood sugar to prevent OA from progressing.

  • Improve Your Stride - "We know that malalignment of the knee joins is associated with OA progression," says Dr. Jordan. "So if you have hip or knee osteorarthritis, get evaluated by a physical therapist to make sure that you don’t have legs that are different lengths." There are simple devices that can improve the way you walk.

  • Skip Soda - Research has shown that their may be a correlation between soda consumption and progression of OA. Researchers speculate that either excess weight gained from drinking soda or some soda ingredient may cause the OA to progress. For now, stick with water.


Click here to find out how to get a free issue of Arthritis Today.

Racial Differences in OA

An article on the Arthritis Today website discusses two recent studies which explore racial differences in osteoarthritis. An author on the first paper, Joanne M. Jordan, director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and principal investigator of the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project notes the importance of understanding the risk for progression in OA and early intervention. The paper, Occurrence of radiographic osteoarthritis of the knee and hip among African Americans and Caucasians: The Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project. was published in Arthritis Care and Research in December.

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