Health News Briefs

Meijer Pharmacies Offering Immunization Clinics at 235 Stores Across Midwest

Influenza vaccinations can take up to two weeks to begin protecting against the virus, making the remaining few days of summer the ideal time for children to get their flu shots.

On Saturday, Aug. 12 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Meijer is hosting Back to School Immunization events in all 235 stores across the Midwest to help families guard themselves from the flu virus before the new school year begins.

Meijer pharmacies offer walk-in services with no co-pay, depending on the insurance plan. Customers can also earn credit in the mPerks Pharmacy Rewards Program.

Be Prepared for Back-to-School; Get Your Children Vaccinated

National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) Celebrates Importance of Vaccines

COLUMBUS – Summer is almost over and that means it’s time for parents to begin thinking about back-to-school season. Along with the back-to-school necessities such as folders and backpacks, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) wants to remind parents to make sure their kids are up-to-date on their vaccines against serious diseases.

To emphasize the importance of vaccinations, and to make sure that children are protected with all the immunizations they need, ODH is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month.

“When parents are thinking about their back to school checklists, vaccines should be at the top of the list,” said ODH State Epidemiologist and Bureau Chief of Infectious Diseases Sietske de Fijter. “Getting children all of the vaccines recommended by CDC’s immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s health as well as the health of classmates and the community.”

Unvaccinated children are at an increased risk for contracting vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, mumps and rubella. They also may spread diseases, like pertussis, which are serious or potentially life-threatening for high-risk individuals such as infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated and others who have weakened immune systems due to health conditions.

“If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check with your doctor to find out what vaccines your child needs, and when,” said de Fijter.

This fall will be the second school year that the new meningococcal vaccine requirement is in effect under Ohio Revised Code. All incoming seventh graders must have one dose of the meningococcal vaccine, and all incoming twelfth graders must have a second dose of the vaccine.

ODH is currently running a back-to-school public awareness campaign that features radio and television ads that you can hear and see across the state. Parents should check with their child’s doctor, school or local health department to learn more about specific requirements.

For more information on the meningococcal vaccine and other vaccination requirements, visit

Ohio Moves Forward with Opioid Technology Challenge

Third Frontier Advancing New Ideas Through Competition

The Ohio Third Frontier Commission awarded NineSigma, Inc. (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County) $8 million to manage the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge. The Challenge will focus on getting and advancing new ideas through competition, to find innovative solutions to address prevention, treatment and overdose response.

“The opioid crisis is touching everyone, and we all need to be part of the solution,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency and chair of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission. “Taking ideas and advancing technology is one more way to ensure we leave no stone unturned in the fight against addiction.”

NineSigma has managed similar competitions for Federal agencies including NASA and the Department of Homeland Security. Most of the funding will go to monetary prizes to support organizations, chosen through the Challenge, that will develop and advance new technologies to address the crisis.

At the request of Governor John R. Kasich, the Challenge is part of a two-pronged approach to advance new technology in the battle against drug abuse and addiction. The Ohio Opioid Abuse, Prevention and Treatment Technology Initiative aims to accelerate the development of existing, proven ideas that need an extra push to get them to market faster.

In other business, the Ohio Third Frontier commission awarded $1.6 million to Venture for America to support the Fellowship Grant Program. The program supports the placement of recent graduates into Ohio early-stage technology companies, with a focus on minority graduates. The fellowships aim to attract and retain talent in Ohio, and encourage entrepreneurship for the next generation. Venture for America is a national fellowship program that is expanding operations in Ohio.

Sign up for TechOhio to learn how Ohio Third Frontier is helping grow Ohio’s technology economy. It tells the stories of Ohio’s entrepreneurs, sharing the breakthrough technologies, cutting-edge research and innovative companies being developed across the state. And follow TechOhio on Facebook and Twitter @TechOhioGov.

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center among nation’s best for 25th straight year

COLUMBUS – For the 25th consecutive year, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is among the best hospitals in the nation, according to the latest U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” rankings, released today. The hospital system scored among the top 1 percent of all hospitals in the country.

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center is again named central Ohio’s No. 1 hospital, and is ranked third in the state, behind only Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals of Cleveland.

In the 2017-2018 rankings, Ohio State is recognized as a national leader in seven specialties, including: ear, nose and throat (otolaryngology); nephrology; cardiology and heart surgery; neurology and neurosurgery; cancer; pulmonology; and diabetes and endocrinology. Each specialty improved in rank over the previous year.

Additionally, five specialties were named as high performing: gastroenterology and GI surgery; geriatrics; orthopedics; rehabilitation; and urology. These areas scored nearly as well as nationally ranked programs.

When it comes to common adult procedures and conditions rated by U.S. News, Ohio State is recognized as high performing in abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, aortic valve surgery, heart bypass surgery, heart failure, colon cancer surgery, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer surgery.

The “Best Hospitals” rankings are considered a trusted resource for consumers and a benchmarking tool for the healthcare industry. Rankings are based on several criteria, including clinical outcomes, patient safety and reputation.

“We’re incredibly proud of the progress our teams have made as the region’s leader in health care excellence. Ranking among the top 1 percent of all hospitals in the country is truly an honor. Each member of our staff and faculty give their best every day to improve people’s lives throughout Ohio and beyond,” said David P. McQuaid, CEO of The Ohio State University Health System and COO of the Wexner Medical Center. “Evaluations such as this reflect the long-term commitment we have to serving our communities.”

The “America’s Best Hospitals” issue is compiled using data collected annually on more than 5,000 U.S. hospitals of varying sizes.

Ohio State researchers develop regenerative medicine breakthrough

COLUMBUS – Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Ohio State’s College of Engineering have developed a new technology, Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT), that can generate any cell type of interest for treatment within the patient’s own body. This technology may be used to repair injured tissue or restore function of aging tissue, including organs, blood vessels and nerve cells.

Results of the regenerative medicine study were published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

“By using our novel nanochip technology, injured or compromised organs can be replaced. We have shown that skin is a fertile land where we can grow the elements of any organ that is declining,” said Dr. Chandan Sen, director of Ohio State’s Center for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Based Therapies, who co-led the study with L. James Lee, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering with Ohio State’s College of Engineering in collaboration with Ohio State’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center.

Researchers studied mice and pigs in these experiments. In the study, researchers were able to reprogram skin cells to become vascular cells in badly injured legs that lacked blood flow. Within one week, active blood vessels appeared in the injured leg, and by the second week, the leg was saved. In lab tests, this technology was also shown to reprogram skin cells in the live body into nerve cells that were injected into brain-injured mice to help them recover from stroke.

“This is difficult to imagine, but it is achievable, successfully working about 98 percent of the time. With this technology, we can convert skin cells into elements of any organ with just one touch. This process only takes less than a second and is non-invasive, and then you’re off. The chip does not stay with you, and the reprogramming of the cell starts. Our technology keeps the cells in the body under immune surveillance, so immune suppression is not necessary,” said Sen, who also is executive director of Ohio State’s Comprehensive Wound Center.

TNT technology has two major components: First is a nanotechnology-based chip designed to deliver cargo to adult cells in the live body. Second is the design of specific biological cargo for cell conversion. This cargo, when delivered using the chip, converts an adult cell from one type to another, said first author Daniel Gallego-Perez, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and general surgery who also was a postdoctoral researcher in both Sen’s and Lee’s laboratories.

TNT doesn’t require any laboratory-based procedures and may be implemented at the point of care. The procedure is also non-invasive. The cargo is delivered by zapping the device with a small electrical charge that’s barely felt by the patient.

“The concept is very simple,” Lee said. “As a matter of fact, we were even surprised how it worked so well. In my lab, we have ongoing research trying to understand the mechanism and do even better. So, this is the beginning, more to come.”

Researchers plan to start clinical trials next year to test this technology in humans, Sen said.

Funding for this research was provided by Ohio State’s Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell-Based Therapies, Ohio State’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center and Leslie and Abigail Wexner.

Study Finds Knee Surgery Holds Even in Heavier Patients

Success rates for meniscus surgery were similar for those with average and higher BMI

COLUMBUS – A new study by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found that heavier patients had no greater risk of their meniscus repair surgery failing than those who weren’t as heavy. The results may be surprising to some orthopaedic surgeons who may assume that more weight means more pressure on the knee joint and a higher risk that the surgical repair might fail.

“Logically thinking about it, they’re carrying a greater load. That load is even greater across the knee joint, and we know higher loads across the knee joint can cause increased risk of arthritis,” said Dr. David Flanigan, lead author of the study and orthopaedic surgeon at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “So our thought process was that increased load would be detrimental to a repair.”

To see if that was the case, Dr. Flanigan followed more than 400 patients for two years after surgery and found that there was no difference in the meniscus repair success rates of patients with a body mass index (BMI) over 25 than those with BMIs under 25. “This tells us that we should not consider weight as a factor when deciding if a patient is a good candidate for repair surgery,” Flanigan said. “If a meniscus is repairable and surgery is appropriate for that patient, you can do the surgery and they would have the same success as someone who is not as heavy.”

In fact, research shows that repairing the meniscus whenever possible, as opposed to removing it, actually prevents knee issues in the future. “That structure is so vital to the knee and provides a cushion to the joint,” Flanigan said. “Repairing it can prevent some of the arthritic changes from progressing in the knee. So if a meniscus is repairable, I’m very aggressive to perform that procedure.”

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Staff Reports