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Archive for June, 2016

UT conference encourages living well after cancer diagnosis

The University of Toledo Center for Health and Successful Living is hosting a breast cancer survivorship conference 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 25 at the Academic Services Center on UT’s Scott Park Campus.

“A breast cancer survivor is someone who lives with, through and beyond cancer,” said Amy Thompson, professor of health education. “Whether or not she thrives is a matter of quality of life.”

A cancer diagnosis marks the beginning of a journey filled with physical, emotional, spiritual, social and financial challenges. These challenges are more easily overcome if survivors receive support that empowers them to take control of their well-being.

The Mind, Body, Soul, Spirit: The Journey from Survivor to Thriver conference features keynote speaker Rev. April Hearn, who will share an inspiring message of hope and joy.

Conference breakout sessions include Peace, Tea and You; De-Stressing: Everything You Need to Know You Learned in Kindergarten; Essential Oils: Smelling to Feel Better; and Helping Yourself by Helping Others. The event also features nearly two dozen vendors, door prizes and the opportunity to make connections with other cancer survivors.

The event is co-sponsored by UT Health’s Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center and the African American Women’s Cancer Support Group.

“We especially want to reach out to women in underserved communities,” said Barbara Oxner, community outreach coordinator for the African American Women’s Cancer Support Group. “A cancer diagnosis can be especially challenging for minorities, older women, those with financial difficulties and those who do not have a strong network of family and friends. They need extra support to get the most out of each day and truly thrive during and after treatment.”

Registration is $5, which includes access to the educational sessions, health screenings, vendors, breakfast and lunch. There are a limited number of registration scholarships available to women who need assistance.

“We want to help breast cancer survivors reach a high level of mental, physical and emotional well-being while they adjust to living with a cancer diagnosis,” Thompson said. “It is our goal to help patients live longer, healthier and happier lives.”

To register contact Jeannine Everhart by June 15 at 419.530.5205.

UT students dig into Toledo history during Archaeology Field School at Wildwood

If you walk the red trail at Wildwood Preserve Metropark, you may catch a glimpse of University of Toledo students armed with shovels, trowels and dust pans on an archaeological dig.

Melissa Baltus, archaeologist and assistant professor of anthropology, is running the UT Archaeological Field School on a flat terrace overlooking I-475 as a summer class to combine hands-on learning of archaeology techniques and local history research.

IMG_2549The media is invited to explore the excavation and interview Baltus and her students from 10 a.m. to noon Monday, June 13 on the red trail at Wildwood between trail markers ten and 11.  If it rains, the media availability will be moved to Tuesday, June 14. The media is advised to wear long pants.

“It’s an active field research project to explore our understanding of the prehistoric period of northwest Ohio from right here in Toledo,” Baltus said. “We’re focused on learning more about social interactions between different groups of people and the creation of local community identity during the Late Woodland Period, between A.D. 700 and 1300.”

IMG_2558With permission from the Metroparks of the Toledo Area and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, the UT class is testing the area for evidence of past human habitation, such as house structures or refuse pits.

“Metroparks encourages research, especially where findings will continually build on existing knowledge and assist in the dissemination of information through education,” said Karen Menard, research and monitoring supervisor for Metroparks of the Toledo Area.

“The Metroparks aren’t just preserving the natural environment, they’re preserving cultural resources, too,” Baltus said. “This high, flat area overlooking a stream would’ve been a nice place to live.”

Students are receiving training in excavation techniques, record keeping, artifact identification, processing, cataloguing and classification.

IMG_2557“We’ve already uncovered a few artifacts, including pottery, arrowheads, spear points and small pieces of burnt and broken bones,” said Jacalyn Deselms, a UT graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in sociology. “Those show evidence of hunting and cooking.”

“It’s awesome to be able to do this as an undergraduate,” said Brianna Geer, a UT junior majoring in anthropology, as she scrapes layers of sandy soil with a trowel. “It’s physically rewarding. We’re putting a lot of work into what we’re learning. I want my career to be working at dig sites around the world. I ultimately dream of working in museums and creating my own exhibits.”

“This experience is helping me gain the knowledge and skill set I need to to take me further into archaeology,” said recent history graduate Michael Campbell.

Media Coverage
The Blade (June 13, 2016)

New technology at UT Health is advancing prostate cancer screening and care

Advances in technology now available at UT Health allow physicians to reduce the risk of unnecessary prostate biopsies, more accurately diagnose cancer and provide a clearer picture of treatment options available.

Each year in the United States, more than one million men undergo a prostate biopsy because of an elevated prostate-specific antigen known as PSA or abnormal rectal examination. Unfortunately, up to 800,000 of them will have undergone the invasive and risky biopsy for no reason, as their biopsies are likely to be negative or show non-deadly, non-aggressive disease.

Dr. Samay Jain

Dr. Samay Jain

“For years, the traditional pathway for prostate cancer detection has been to perform a biopsy if a man had an abnormal PSA or rectal exam” said Dr. Samay Jain, vice chief of staff and division chief of urologic oncology at UT Health. “However, prostate biopsies have come under considerable fire as of late because of the significant risks of severe infection and death in certain cases.”

Fortunately, there is a better way, and it is available right here in northwest Ohio.

Advances in magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI technology, enable UT physicians to see inside the prostate in a safe and noninvasive manner to identify men who truly need biopsies.

“Prostate MRI allows us to see the prostate in a way that was never available before,” Jain said. “In the right hands, this information can be crucial in determining whether a man needs a risky biopsy or not.”

“Not only does MRI help in deciding who needs a biopsy, but for those diagnosed with prostate cancer, the imaging we have aids in tailoring individual treatments for each individual patient.”

Should a patient need to undergo a biopsy, images from the MRI allow for more precise sampling from areas of concern and yield much higher cancer detection rates than performing prostate biopsies without the MRI technology.

June is Men’s Health Month and Dr. Jain reminds men the key to early detection is starting the conversation with their physicians.

“It can be an uncomfortable topic. Men don’t like to talk about prostate screenings for a variety of reasons,” he said. “But, it’s important to have the courage to broach the topic, even if their physicians don’t.

“Also, listen to your loved ones. I think there are many men who owe their lives to their wives and daughters for finally convincing them to schedule an appointment and get screened. By staying proactive, we are confident that we can decrease the number of men dying from prostate cancer in the near future.”

Current American Urological Association Guidelines recommend routine screening for healthy men between the ages of 55 and 69 and recommend a PSA and rectal exam every other year. Men outside of this age range should have a discussion with their doctor on whether prostate cancer screening is right for them.

Fun and learning on tap for National Youth Sports Program

A 45-year tradition of fun recreational and educational opportunities for Toledo area youth will continue June 6-24 when The University of Toledo hosts the 2016 National Youth Sports Program.

More than 150 income-eligible Toledoans between the ages of 9 and 16 will spend weekdays from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the UT Main Campus and other area locations participating in activities such as basketball, track and swimming throughout the free three-week program.

Along with the sports programs, the students will learn about nutrition, enhancing their self-image, the value of communication, healthy behaviors, and how to resist peer pressure.

“This program serves as a model for fair play and contributes to the development of life skills that are necessary for success in a competitive society,” said Dr. Ruthie Kucharewski, UT professor and director of the Recreation Therapy Program. “With generous donations from community partners, our program is able to provide its participants with a free summer program that includes a medical exam, transportation, daily sports instruction and educational sessions.”

UT President Sharon L. Gaber will welcome the students to the UT campus and National Youth Sports Program Monday, June 13, at 11 a.m. in the Student Union.

Other activities during the program include the Blue and Gold Field Games Friday, June 10, a trip to the Indian Creek Petting Zoo Wednesday, June 15, and a “Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs” field trip Monday, June 20.

For a detailed daily schedule of activities, click here.

Event June 9 to celebrate cancer survivors

Cancer patients are invited to take a break from the hard work of fighting cancer for an evening to relax, network with other cancer patients and celebrate life.

The Survivor Celebration will be 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday, June 9 at The University of Toledo Health Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center in recognition of National Cancer Survivor Month in June.

“Each year of survivorship is a reason for joy,” said Renee Schick, manager of Renee’s Survivor Shop in the Dana Cancer Center. “We want to recognize and honor our patients and their caregivers for their strength and courage through the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.”

Survivors and their guests will be treated to live music, games, refreshments and door prizes. They also will have the opportunity to participate in a collaborative mural painting with a local artist and others touched by cancer. Free skin cancer screenings will be offered and the Survivor Shop will be open for shopping.

Experts will be on hand to answer questions and provide advice for survivors in caring for themselves during and after cancer treatment. Patients will receive information about survivorship care, options for treating lymphedema, nutrition advice and health coaching.

“The cancer journey is so different for each patient,” said Michelle Giovanoli, UT Health radiation oncologist therapy manager and breast cancer survivor. “We want to be a resource for continuing support as our patients and their families celebrate life beyond a cancer diagnosis.”

Nearly 200 survivors and their loved ones, along with doctors, nurses and other care providers are expected to attend.

The event is free, but reservations are requested. Email or call 419.383.5243.

UT student discovers first grass carp eggs in Great Lakes tributary

A graduate student at The University of Toledo is the first researcher to find direct proof of grass carp, a type of invasive Asian carp, spawning in a Great Lakes tributary.

Holly Embke collected eight grass carp eggs last summer in the Sandusky River, which flows into Lake Erie. She discovered the eggs between Fremont, Ohio, and Lake Erie’s Sandusky Bay after a period of heavy rains.

Grass carp egg

Grass carp egg

The fish eggs, which were confirmed through DNA testing, mark the first direct evidence of the invasive species reproducing in the Great Lakes basin. Embke’s paper is published in the Journal of Great Lakes Research. Embke also will present her work at the annual conference of the International Association for Great Lakes Research on Thursday, June 9 at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

This research was conducted as a follow-up to U.S. Geological Survey findings in 2013 that indicated four young grass carp taken from the Sandusky River were the result of natural reproduction.

UT graduate student Holly Embke

UT graduate student Holly Embke

“Lake Erie commercial fishermen have reported catching grass carp since the mid-1980s, but those catches were thought to be sterile escapees from ponds and small lakes that were legally stocked for aquatic weed control,” said Embke, who is pursuing a master’s degree in biology in the Department of Environmental Sciences. “The discovery of these eggs in the Sandusky River means that this invasive species of Asian carp, which consumes large amounts of freshwater vegetation, is naturally reproducing in our Lake Erie watershed.”

Although considered a species of Asian carp, wild adult grass carp pose significantly different risks to the Lake Erie ecosystem than bighead carp and silver carp, which are the two invasive Asian carp species of great concern in the Mississippi River basin. Both bighead carp and silver carp consume plankton, and if these species were to make their way into the Great Lakes basin they would compete for the same source of food that ecologically and economically important native fish species need to survive. Silver carp are well-known for their jumping ability.

Grass carp pose a risk to waterfowl habitat and wetlands, but they do not eat plankton and are unlikely to compete directly with native fish. Grass carp do not jump and are primarily herbivorous. They can alter habitats for native fish communities near the shoreline by eating submerged, rooted plants and weeds.

Multiple grass carp eggs under the microscope

Multiple grass carp eggs under the microscope

Scientists with UT, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife and the USGS are collecting additional samples from the Sandusky River to continue studying the habitat requirements of grass carp spawning in order to inform methods for control of all invasive species of Asian carp.

“While the discovery of eggs is disconcerting, grass carp continue to remain present in the Lake Erie system in very low abundance,” said Rich Carter, executive administrator for fish management and research with the Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife. “There is currently no evidence of negative impacts to the Lake Erie ecosystem that can be attributed to grass carp. However, it is important that we remain vigilant and continue to build understanding about this species in Lake Erie and throughout the Great Lakes.”

“Given the similarities in reproductive strategies, this ongoing research on grass carp spawning may help us minimize the risk of bighead carp and silver carp from establishing a foothold in the Great Lakes,” said Patrick Kocovsky, a USGS research fishery biologist. “What we learn here also might apply to potential control strategies in tributaries to the Mississippi River.”

Sterile grass carp can be legally stocked in Ohio, as well as Indiana, Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania. They are a popular pond and small lake management tool because they control aquatic weeds. Ohio has banned the stocking of fertile grass carp and Michigan has banned all grass carp. The fish was first imported to the U.S. from Taiwan and Malaysia in 1963.

One of the locations on the Sandusky River where Holly Embke collected grass carp eggs

One of the locations on the Sandusky River where Holly Embke collected grass carp eggs

Researchers will next work to identify the spawning and egg hatching locations for the Sandusky River.

“Predicting locations and conditions where grass carp spawning is most probable may aid targeted efforts at control,” Embke said.

Embke is based out of UT’s Lake Erie Center where she does all of her sample processing and analysis.

The UT Lake Erie Center is a research and educational facility focused on environmental conditions and aquatic resources in Maumee Bay and western Lake Erie as a model for the Great Lakes and aquatic ecosystems worldwide.

“This discovery was student research,” Christine Mayer, UT ecology professor, said. “Our graduate students are doing work that is useful. They’re not just in the lab. They’re out in our region’s rivers and lakes providing information that helps solve problems.”

For more information on Asian carp or how to report sightings, go to

Media Coverage
13 ABC (June 3, 2016)