Tag Archives: Medical College of Georgia

Receptor that helps protect brain cells has important role in support cells for the retina

A receptor that is already a target for treating neurodegenerative disease also appears to play a key role in supporting the retina, scientists report.

Without sigma 1 receptor, the Müller cells that support the retina can’t seem to control their own levels of destructive oxidative stress, and consequently can’t properly support the millions of specialized neurons that enable us to transform light into images, scientists report in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

Without support, well-organized layers of retinal cells begin to disintegrate and vision is lost to diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, said Dr. Sylvia Smith, retinal cell biologist and Chairwoman of the Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University

The surprising finding makes the sigma 1 receptor a logical treatment target for these typically progressive and blinding retinal diseases, said Smith, the study’s corresponding author. It has implications as well for other major diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer as well as neurodegenerative disease, where oxidative stress plays a role.

What most surprised the scientists was that simply removing sigma 1 receptor from Müller cells significantly increased levels of reactive oxygen species, or ROS, indicating the receptor’s direct role in the oxidative stress response, Smith said. They expected it would take them giving an oxidative stressor to increase ROS levels.

So they looked further at the sigma 1 receptor knockouts compared with normal mice, and found significantly decreased expression in the knockouts of several, well-known antioxidant genes and their proteins. Further examination showed a change in the usual stress response.

These genes that make natural antioxidants contain antioxidant response element, or ARE which, in the face of oxidative stress, gets activated by NRF2, a transcription factor that usually stays in the fluid part of the cell, or cytoplasm. NRF2 is considered one of the most important regulators of the expression of antioxidant molecules. Normally the protein KEAP1 keeps it essentially inactive in the cytoplasm until needed, then it moves to the cell nucleus where it can help mount a defense. “When you have oxidative stress, you want this,” Smith said of the stress response, which works the same throughout the body.

Deleting the sigma receptor in the Müller cells altered the desired response: NRF2 expression decreased while KEAP1 expression increased. The unhealthy bottom line was that ROS levels increased as well.

The study is believed to provide the first evidence of the direct impact of the sigma 1 receptor on the levels of NRF2 and KEAP1, the researchers write.

“We think we are beginning to understand the mechanism by which sigma 1 receptor may work and it may work because of its action on releasing antioxidant genes,” Smith said.

While the ubiquitous receptor was known to help protect neurons in the brain and eye, its impact on Müller cell function was previously unknown. The significant impact the MCG scientists have now found helps explain the dramatic change they documented after using pentazocine, a narcotic already used for pain relief, in animal models of both retinitis pigmentosa and diabetic retinopathy. Pentazocine, which binds to and activates the sigma 1 receptor, seems to preserve functional vision in these disease models by enabling many of the well-stratified layers of photoreceptor cells to survive.

Next steps include clarifying whether it’s actually preservation or regeneration of the essential cell layers and how long the effect lasts. “We do see some retention of function, that is clear and that I am very excited about,” Smith said.

Müller cells are major support cells for the retina, helping stabilize its complex, multi-layer structure, both horizontally and vertically; eliminating debris; and supporting the function and metabolism of its neurons and blood vessels. Typically bustling Müller cells can become even more activated when there is an insult to the eye, such as increased oxidative stress, and start forming scar tissue, which hinders rather than supports vision. Problems such as diabetes, can increase ROS levels.

ROS are molecules produced through normal body function such as breathing and cells using energy. The body needs a limited amount of ROS to carry out additional functions, such as cell signaling. Problems, from eye disease to cancer, result when the body’s natural system for eliminating excess ROS can’t keep up and ROS start to do harm, such as cell destruction.

Normally humans have about 125 million night-vision enabling rods intermingled with about 6 million cones that enable us to respond to light and see color.

The research was supported by the National Eye Institute and the James and Jean Culver Vision Discovery Institute at GRU. MCG Assistant Research Scientist Dr. Jing Wang is the study’s first author.

Stress responder is a first responder in helping repair DNA damage and avoiding cancer

DNA damage increases the risk of cancer, and researchers have found that a protein, known to rally when cells get stressed, plays a critical, early step in its repair.

In the rapid, complex scenario that enables a cell to repair DNA damage or die, ATF3, or activating transcription factor 3, appears to be a true first responder, increasing its levels then finding and binding to another protein, Tip60, which will ultimately help attract a swarm of other proteins to the damage site.

“This protein is a so-called stress responder, so when a cell senses stress, such as DNA damage, this protein can be induced,” said Dr. Chunhong Yan, molecular biologist at the Georgia Regent University Cancer Center and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Medical College of Georgia at GRU.

“One of the things we found is that ATF3 can bind to the Tip60 protein and promote the DNA damage repair function,” said Yan, corresponding author of the study published in the journal Nature Communications.

Like its partner Tip60, ATF3 is expressed at low levels until cells get stressed, and DNA mutation is one of the most common cell stressors. ATF3 then finds and binds to Tip60, increasing the usually unstable protein’s stability and level of expression. “If you look at the DNA under the microscope, you will see the damage site somehow labeled by this protein,” Yan said. Tip60, in turn, modifies the protein ATM, helping it form a sort of scaffold where other worker bee proteins soon assemble.

While it may take years for a cell to recognize DNA damage, once it does, the response occurs within minutes. One of the early arrivals to the ATM scaffold is p53, a known and powerful tumor suppressor. Once on the scene, p53 helps assess whether or not the damage is repairable. If not, it triggers cell suicide. If the damage is fixable, it will arrest cell proliferation and help start the repair.

There is clearly a protein connection. When researchers knock ATF3 down, Tip60 activation and ATM signaling both go down. Cells start accumulating DNA damage and become more vulnerable to additional stress, setting the stage for cancer and other problems. Previously there was no known relationship between ATF3 and Tip60.

Many factors, including sunlight, even chemotherapy, can cause DNA mutations. Mutations can even occur in the normal process of a cell multiplying, as cells do commonly in areas such as the skin and gastrointestinal tract, and tend to increase with aging. Cancer itself can cause additional mutations as it morphs to try to escape whatever treatment is being used against it. In fact, DNA repair likely is a constant in the body that works well most of the time. “That is why understanding DNA damage response is so important,” said Yan.

In human cancer cells, the researchers have shown that ATF3’s role precedes previously known steps. Future studies include finding a drug that could help cells make even more of this stress responder as a possible adjunct cancer therapy.

“We want to find a drug that can increase expression of this ATF3 in the body, and this increased ATF3 can promote Tip60 activity and overall promote cell response to DNA damage,” Yan said. The body naturally increases ATF3 levels in response to stress, including chemotherapy. In fact, many of the older cancer drugs intentionally damage DNA in an effort to promote cancer cell death. Now that ATF3’s connection to DNA repair has been made, that synergy likely explains another way chemotherapy works. However, additional study is needed to find a more targeted ATF3 activator without the numerous, known side effects of chemotherapy or other known stressors, Yan said.

While the protein ATF3 was known to be a stress responder, just how it responded has mostly remained a mystery. “We really don’t know much about this protein,” said Yan said. A decade ago, his research team found that ATF3 directly regulates the tumor suppressor p53.

“A next logical step is how can we make more ATF3?” While it’s not yet done clinically, in his lab, Yan has measured ATF3 levels in the tissue of cancer patients and found the levels are low and/or that the ATF3 gene itself is mutated. One day, measuring ATF3 levels might also help predict who is at highest risk for cancer, he said.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health. Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Hongmei Cui, is the study’s first author.

Type 1 diabetes patients have lower blood levels of four proteins that protect against immune attack

Patients with type 1 diabetes have significantly lower blood levels of four proteins that help protect their tissue from attack by their immune system, scientists report.

Conversely, their first-degree relatives, who share some of the high-risk genes but do not have the disease, have high levels of these proteins circulating in their blood, said Dr. Jin-Xiong She, director of the Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.

Healthy individuals without the risky genes also have higher levels of the four proteins, IL8, IL-1Ra, MCP-1 and MIP-1β, according to the study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The findings point toward a sort of protein cocktail that could help at-risk children avoid disease development as well as new biomarkers in the blood that could aid disease diagnosis, prognosis and management, said She, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Genomic Medicine and the study’s corresponding author.

The scientists looked at a total of 13 cytokines and chemokines, which are cell signaling molecules involved in regulating the immune response. They first looked at blood samples from 697 children with type 1 diabetes and from 681 individuals without antibodies to insulin-producing cells, a hallmark of this autoimmune disease. They then analyzed the blood of a second and larger set of individuals, which included 1,553 children with type 1 diabetes and 1,493 individuals without any sign of antibodies.

In this largest study of its kind, they consistently found a higher percentage of type 1 diabetes patients had significantly lower levels of the same four proteins.

“Their pancreatic cells are not secreting enough of these proteins,” said Dr. Sharad Purohit, MCG biochemist and the study’s first author. “Normally you are secreting enough of these cytokines so you prevent attack by the immune system.”

Individuals who have three of the known high-risk genes for type 1 diabetes but high serum levels of these four proteins are less likely to have disease, suggesting that these proteins may provide dominant levels of protection against type 1 diabetes even in a genetically high-risk group, Purohit said.

“If the individuals with high-risk genes weren’t making more of the proteins, they likely would have diabetes, said Dr. Ashok Sharma, an MCG bioinformatics expert and study co-first author.

One of the proteins found at low levels in patients, MIP-1β, has been shown in animal models to protect against type 1 diabetes development. A recombinant version of IL-1Ra, already used to combat rheumatoid arthritis, is also under study for both type 1 and 2 diabetes. And, human studies have shown that newly diagnosed patients with type 1 diabetes who go into remission have higher levels of IL-1Ra than those who don’t.

Cytokines and chemokines can promote or inhibit inflammation – cytokines such as MIP-1β can do both – and the proper mix helps keep inflammation in check. As an example, IL-1Ra, a cytokine secreted by several cell types, including immune cells, is a natural antagonist of the inflammation promoting cytokine IL-1β.

“We are providing evidence that clinical trials with any of these four molecules may work, and if we use them in combination, they may work even better,” She said. “One of the major research foci in our group is to identify biomarkers for various diseases, diabetes, cancer and others. We also want to identify new therapeutic strategies or targets through the discovery of biomarkers.”

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which primarily surfaces in childhood, where the immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, leaving children facing a lifetime of daily insulin therapy to try to keep blood sugar levels under control.

Some of the 13 cytokines and chemokines originally screened for the study were known factors in type 1 diabetes, and the scientists were curious about the role of others.

Research funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Endocrine clinics based in Atlanta, including Atlanta Diabetes Associates, Pediatric Endocrine Associates and Southeastern Endocrine and Diabetes, contributed to the study.

Rawson selected to design, lead new Commission on Patient Experience for American College of Radiology

Dr. James V. Rawson, chairman of the Department of Radiology and Imaging at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, will design and lead a new Commission on the Patient Experience for the American College of Radiology.

Rawson, who also holds the P.L., J. Luther, Ada Warren Chair of Radiology at MCG, was recently elected to a three-year term on the 33-member Board of Chancellors of the American College of Radiology.

He has lectured and consulted nationally on bringing the patient centered focus to radiology. Leading this new commission, he will help his big machinery, high-tech specialty shift its focus even more toward patients.

“We have to put the patient in the center of health care,” said Rawson, an advocate for doing just that during his 15-year tenure as MCG’s Radiology chairman. “Everything has to be about the patient,” from how appointments are scheduled to parking to care delivery to timely receipt of study results, he said.

Rawson had sick family members throughout his medical school years at Tufts University in Boston and while completing a diagnostic radiology residency at New York Medical College, and a Body Magnetic Resonance Imaging Fellowship at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University. He believes those experiences made him a better doctor and encouraged him early on to build care around the patient.

“I never was very far from the experiences patients and families were having in health systems because I was always on both sides of the table,” said Rawson. He serves on the Patient Experience Operations Committee of Georgia Regents Medical Center and works closely with the GRHealth Center for Patient and Family Centered Care to ensure patient advisors are involved in every facility and service decision made in radiology, from the patient-friendly Breast Health Center to extensive changes still underway in the Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

“The challenge was and is to think about how you can improve a child’s experience coming to a strange place that is potentially scary,” Rawson said of changes being made at the children’s hospital that will include color, lighting, and child-friendly technology. Even large imaging machines, such as MRIs, for adults already have lighted overhead boxes with soothing scenes for patients to focus on as they prepare for their exam. Adult waiting rooms also now have the look and feel of a coffee shop. Review of patient satisfaction surveys are part of regular radiology faculty meetings.

Mounting evidence indicates that a patient and family focus also yields shorter hospital stays and better outcomes; in fact, hospital reimbursement from federal health insurance programs are now tied to patient satisfaction. “Patient satisfaction surveys are part of the culture of medicine now,” said Rawson, who is excited and honored to help further incorporate this approach into his chosen specialty. He plans to populate the new American College of Radiology commission with a strong cross section of radiologists, related administrators, as well as patients with experience and/or interest in enhancing the philosophy and practice.

Rawson’s other leadership roles with the American College of Radiology include serving as Chair of the Committee on Governmental and Regulatory Issues in Academic Radiology, and the Committee on Economic Issues in Academic Radiology. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of the American College of Radiology and just completed an 11-year term as Chair of Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System/Ambulatory Payment Categories for the college.

MCG alumna named fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners

Dian Dowling Evans
Dian Dowling Evans: Photo courtesy of Emory University

Earlier this month, Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing announced that Dian Dowling Evans (BSN, ’85), a graduate of the MCG School of Nursing, had been named a fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Evans is a second-career nurse and specialty coordinator for Emory’s Emergency Nurse Practitioner program. She currently serves as chair-elect of the American Academy of Emergency Nurse Practitioners and has a joint appointment in Emory University Hospital’s Department of Emergency Medicine.

High blood levels of growth factor correlate with smaller brain areas in patients with schizophrenia

High blood levels of a growth factor known to enable new blood vessel development and brain cell protection correlate with a smaller size of brain areas key to complex thought, emotion and behavior in patients with schizophrenia, researchers report in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Higher blood levels of vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF, also correlate with high blood levels of interleukin 6, a cytokine that can cross the protective blood-brain barrier and typically promotes inflammation, said Dr. Anilkumar Pillai, neuroscientist in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. As with many disease types, inflammation is increasingly associated with schizophrenia, and high blood levels of IL-6 already have been found in these patients.

The new findings appear to point toward a blood test as an easier way to confirm the diagnosis of schizophrenia, rather than complicated and expensive imaging studies of the brain, and, ultimately, better disease understanding and treatment, said Pillai, the study’s corresponding author. “We are talking about a molecule where you can just draw blood and look at the lab profile,” he said.

A smaller prefrontal cortex is one of the brain abnormalities identified through brain scans of living patients as well as autopsies. Pillai’s lab had earlier shown low brain levels of VEGF, which could help explain lower blood flow and brain volumes in these patients. “Decreased blood flow leads to decreased brain tissue volume,” he said. Inflammation also can reduce brain size.

While findings of higher blood levels may sound counterintuitive to low VEGF levels in the brain, they likely indicate a “feedback inhibition” with the brain recognizing high circulating levels and deciding to produce less VEGF itself, Pillai said. In fact, high blood levels of VEGF may contribute to the disease process, the researchers write.

More patients need to be studied to see if the correlations hold up, Pillai said, and work also is needed to determine which comes first: high blood levels or low brain levels of VEGF.

The study, in collaboration with scientists at the School of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales in Australia, looked at 96 people with schizophrenia as well as 83 healthy individuals. Brain scans were available on 59 of the patients and 65 healthy controls. Patients were recruited to Neuroscience Research Australia, a not-for-profit research institution based in Sydney that focuses on the brain and nervous system, as well as Lyell McEwin Hospital, a teaching hospital in South Australia affiliated with the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia.

While likely best known for its role in making new blood vessels, VEGF also is key to the brain’s ability to adapt to change, such as respond to an injury, and protect against brain cell loss.

Kidney, bladder stones do not increase postmenopausal women’s risk of osteoporosis

Postmenopausal women with kidney or bladder stones are not at increased risk for osteoporosis, but they do have about a 15 percent increased risk of another painful stone, physician-scientists report.

Researchers looked at data on approximately 150,000 postmenopausal women and found, despite the two conditions being clearly associated in men, the same did not hold true for women, said Dr. Laura D. Carbone, chief of the Section of Rheumatology at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.

“We know in men that if you have a kidney stone, you are more likely to have osteoporosis,” said Carbone, corresponding author of the study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. “We were trying to find out if that is also the case for women. We found that, unlike what has been reported in men, a woman having a kidney stone is not a risk factor for osteoporosis. However, having one urinary tract stone does put women at increased risk for a second stone.”

“We wanted women and their physicians to have this information,” said Dr. Monique Bethel, a research resident in the MCG Department of Medicine and study co-author. “If the two relate, and a patient who has not been screened for osteoporosis comes to the office with a kidney stone, her physician might have been concerned she also has a higher risk for osteoporosis. Our studies indicate she likely does not.”

However, women with a stone likely should work with their physician to reduce their increased risk of a subsequent stone, the physicians said, noting that low water/fluid intake and a high-salt, high-calorie diet are common stone risks. Having a stone also was known to put people at risk for subsequent stones, but the new study helps clarify the risk, Carbone said.

Their data came from participants in the National Institutes of Health Women’s Health Initiative, a major study to address common health problems, such as osteoporosis and cancer, in postmenopausal women. Out of more than 150,000 women followed in the WHI, 9,856 women reported urinary tract stones at the start of or over the course of the study. They were followed about eight years, on average. MCG researchers believe theirs is the largest, most comprehensive study of the association of the two conditions in postmenopausal women. They looked at the data several different ways, adjusting for factors that could also influence outcome, such as physical inactivity, a known risk factor for both osteoporosis and kidney stones. They only looked at whether urinary tract stones increased the risk of osteoporosis, not the reverse.

The incidence of urinary tract stones is on the rise generally, particularly in women, with a 70 percent increase in the last 15 years. Osteoporosis already affects about 1 in 3 postmenopausal women and 1 in 5 older men, although the incidence of hip fractures is trending downward, Bethel said.

The Osteoporotic Fractures in Men, or MrOS, study, which looked at nearly 6,000 men with a mean age of 73.7 to determine risk factors for osteoporosis, identified urinary tract stones are a risk factor.

One link between the seemingly disparate conditions of stones and weak bones is an excess of calcium in the urine, which tends to be more common in men, Carbone said. Sodium and calcium share a common transport mechanism at the kidney, and sodium affects reabsorption of calcium by that organ. When sodium levels are high, from eating too much processed or fast food, for example, more calcium is eliminated in the urine. Also, overactivity of the parathyroid glands, which regulate levels of calcium in the blood, is associated with both urinary tract stones and fractures of the vertebra in the spine, a sign of the typically silent osteoporosis.

Interestingly some treatments for osteoporosis, including calcium supplements, can increase the risk of stones. Conversely, individuals who’ve already experienced a urinary tract stone might avoid calcium to help avoid a subsequent stone and inadvertently increase their osteoporosis risk, the researchers write.

Khan named administrative director for MCG Admissions

Dr. Iqbal Khan, founding dean of the Medical College of Georgia Southwest Campus in Albany, has been named administrative director of the Office of Admissions at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.

Khan, who was assistant dean of the Southwest Campus from 2005-10, also serves as assistant dean of the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy’s Southwest Campus, also in Albany, where he oversaw the design and build-out of the new campus and spearheaded its accreditation process.

In his new role, he will help organize and manage the medical school admissions process, which, each year, includes the processing of more than 3,000 applications, more than 8,000 reference letters and transcripts and more than 1,000 applicant interview reports. Khan will also help with recruitment, advising, enrollment and retention. He will also chair the GRU Medical Scholars Admissions Committee and serve on the MCG Scholarship Committee. He has been a member of the MCG Admissions Committee since 1999.

As assistant dean of the MCG Southwest Campus, Khan established relationships with community physicians and hospitals across a 1,600 square-mile area and negotiated affiliation agreements with 14 hospitals and health care facilities in the region. He recruited 148 new faculty and worked to recruit students from rural communities to the campus, more than doubling the number from five to 14.

Prior to his appointment at the Southwest Campus, Khan, a reproductive physiologist, served as director of undergraduate medical education in the MCG Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology from 1998-2005 and as director of the department’s IVF and Andrology laboratories from 1990-2002.

He serves on the board of directors for the Health Care Ethics Consortium of Georgia and is a member of the National and International Team of Inspectors for the College of American Pathologists for Reproductive Laboratories.

Khan received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physiology from the University of Karachi in Pakistan and his doctoral degree in reproductive physiology from the University of Gothenberg in Sweden.

Higher vitamin D doses may be needed to restore healthy levels in overweight blacks

The current recommended minimum daily dose of vitamin D is not sufficient to restore healthy vitamin D levels in overweight or obese blacks, researchers report.

Rather, daily intake of more than three times the recommended minimum is needed to restore what is generally considered a healthy blood level of vitamin D, said Dr. Yanbin Dong, geneticist and cardiologist at the Georgia Prevention Institute at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.

Overweight blacks are at increased risk for vitamin D deficiency because darker skin absorbs less sunlight – the skin makes vitamin D in response to sun exposure – and fat tends to sequester vitamin D for no apparent purpose.

The study, published in the journal BioMed Central Obesity, looked at the effects of three levels of vitamin D supplementation in 70 overweight-to-obese blacks under age 50 living in the Southeastern United States who appeared healthy, although their circulating level of vitamin D was considered low.

The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily intake of 600 international units of vitamin D for most children and adults; 800 IUs for those age 70 and older. For adolescents and adults, they recommend 4,000 IUs as the upper daily limit; 2,000 was the previous upper limit.

In what appears to be the first randomized controlled study in this cohort, researchers found that 600 IUs did not restore what many experts consider the optimal blood level of vitamin D within 16 weeks.

However, both 2,000 and 4,000 IUs restored the desirable levels of 30 nanograms per milliliter to individuals with previous levels of less than 20 ng/mL, levels which put them at high risk for bone-weakening rickets and potentially other maladies.

The 4,000 upper-limit dose restored the healthy blood level quicker – by eight weeks – and was also better at suppressing parathyroid hormone, which works against vitamin D’s efforts to improve bone health by absorbing calcium, said Dong, the study’s corresponding author.

“We hope these studies will give physicians better guidelines for some of their patients,” said Dong.  “As with many therapies in medicine today, evidence is emerging that a more personalized approach is likely the best approach when determining how much vitamin D is optimal for an individual. Dose definitely matters.”

As an example, participants in the group he studied who had high parathyroid hormone levels likely should take 4,000 IUs daily while the remainder appear to achieve desired results with 2,000 IUs.

Although long known as a way to build strong bones and teeth, there is increasing evidence of vitamin D’s role in the cardiovascular and immune systems, kidneys, mental health, and more. It’s likely, as with high parathyroid hormone levels, patients at high risk for cardiovascular disease might benefit from higher doses, said Dong, noting that much work is needed to identify optimal dosing for specific conditions.

Although wide ranges of daily doses already have been studied and there are no known serious side effects, there is no point in people taking more than they should, even if it’s only to save money, Dong said. Also, correlations are emerging –  but no hard science yet – that at too-high doses, for example, vitamin D can go from being a cancer preventer to a cause, he said.

For the study, researchers gave all doses of vitamin D monthly rather than daily to help ensure that all participants were getting the correct doses. Giving this once-monthly version of even the maximum recommended daily dose was equivalent to spending an afternoon at the beach in a bathing suit, Dong said.

Dr. Jigar Bhagatwala, a research resident in the MCG Department of Medicine, is the study’s first author.  The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.

Rawson elected to American College of Radiology leadership

Dr. James V. Rawson, Chairman of the Department of Radiology and Imaging at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, has been elected to a three-year term on the 33-member Board of Chancellors of the American College of Radiology.

Rawson, who holds the P.L., J. Luther, Ada Warren Endowed Chair of Radiology at MCG, also was recently named President of the Georgia Radiological Society, the Georgia chapter of the national group.

His leadership roles with the American College of Radiology include serving as Chair of the Committee on Governmental and Regulatory Issues in Academic Radiology, the Committee on Economic Issues in Academic Radiology, and the Committee on Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System and Ambulatory Patient Classification.

He is on the editorial board of the Journal of the American College of Radiology and just completed an 11-year term as Chair of Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System/Ambulatory Payment Categories for the college.

Rawson has served on the Georgia Radiological Society’s Executive Committee since 1999.  His other national leadership roles in radiology include serving on the Association of University Radiologists Board of Directors, as a Councilor for the Board of the Society of Chairs of Academic Radiology Departments, and a one-year term on the Society of Health Systems Content and Connections Committee.