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Administrator of Medicare and Medicaid Visits UH and Rainbow (VIDEO)

CLEVELAND -- Seema Verma, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, visited University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital where she met with University Hosptials CEO Tom Zenty, Rainbow President Patti DePompei, UH Cleveland Medical Center President Dan Simon, and Chief Quality Officer Dr. Bill Hannible. Among the topics discussed included regulatory issues.

"Funky" Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign (VIDEO)

CLEVELAND -- It's an iconic comic strip: "Funky Winkerbean" runs in more than 400 newspapers and celebrates its 45th anniversary this year -- and the characters have grown up with its creator, the strip showing marriage, children, and, in the case of Les and Lisa, even more serious issues.

"After they're married, Lisa is diagnosed with breast cancer," says Tom Batiuk, an Akron native, Kent State University graduate, and current Medina, Ohio resident. "Having grown into adulthood, I was starting to hear from friends and family who were dealing with the illness."

Lisa's cancer goes into remission but then an event in Batiuk's life made him revisit Lisa's story.

"Then I was diagnosed with cancer, prostate cancer, and I realized I'd only skimmed over the surface of the story in the first telling," says Batiuk. "It was much more highly charged and emotions were much stronger."

Lisa eventually succumbs to cancer. Batiuk took the entirety of Lisa's story and, this month, released "Lisa's Legacy Trilogy," a three-volume set that chronicles Lisa and Les' life as well as their battle with the disease. A portion of the proceeds go to breast cancer research but Batiuk also wants to raise awareness.

"Use her story as a catalyst, to talk about the disease," Batiuk says. If he has one message, it's get screened early. It saved his life and might've saved Lisa's. Still, according to Batiuk, Lisa lives on.

"With the Lisa's Legacy Fund for Cancer Research, it's nice to see her there and still contributing hopefully in the real world," he says.

"Lisa's Legacy Trilogy" is available at your local bookstore as well as at If you want to donate for breast cancer research at UH Seidman Cancer Center, the link is:

Weinstein accusers similar to child abuse or domestic abuse victims, according to Dr. Lolita McDavid (VIDEO/AUDIO)

CLEVELAND -- The number of women stepping forward with allegations of sexual harassment, impropriety, and misconduct by Harvey Weinstein continues to grow, with dozens now telling their story about the former Hollywood mogul. But after years of alleged abuse, why have the allegations just now started to surface?

"It's like what happens in domestic violence as well as when children are assaulted; people are afraid to come forward," says Lolita McDavid, MD, Medical Director of Child Advocacy and Protection at UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital. "Either they're afraid they won't be believed -- because their assailant has often told them nobody's going to believe them -- or the person who's doing this to them is more powerful than they are and they're afraid there's going to be retribution."

Weinstein was a powerful man in Hollywood, producing hundreds of movies, including "sex lies and videotape," "Pulp Fiction," "Shakespeare in Love," "Clerks," and countless others. The sexual misconduct, according to his accusers, went on for years.

"The interesting thing is how many people knew that this was going on," says Dr. McDavid. "This is the same thing we see in child sexual abuse. People will know and they either feel they can keep an eye on things or they don't want to rock the boat or they don't want it out there that this is going on in their family."

Dr. McDavid says the flood of women coming forward is the result of them feeling empowered now that others have told their stories. 

The board of The Weinstein Company (TWC) fired Harvey Weinstein earlier this month. He has now checked into sex rehabilitation in Arizona this week.

Crohn's Study (VIDEO)

CLEVELAND -- "It's a new world," says Mahmoud Ghannoum, PhD, Director, Center for Medical Mycology at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. "For many years we never really thought about how important these organisms are in our gut."

Crohn's disease and colitis

Dr. Ghannoum

"We started looking at both bacteria and fungi and that's really where the discovery is. It's not only bacteria that's important but also fungi. In fact, they work together strategically to try cause more issues in the inflamatory process.

"People used to think it's bacteria only. Our studies starting to show it's not only bacteria, it's not only fungus (but) it's really these organisms they come and work together to form what we call digestive plague." That plague or biofilm start to cause issues to our intestinal lining

Diet biofilm antifungal agents probiotics, good fungus and good antibiotics
keep the balance back intestinal lining

"We want to bring this balance back," says Dr. Ghannoum. "A lot of the time, we can't do much about  genetics but we are able to do something bringing harmony to our gut."
interaction between bacteria and fungus

Inflammatory issues, diarhea, pain, 

New SmartCurve Makes Mammography More Comfortable (VIDEO)

CLEVELAND -- Mammograms are an important weapon in the battle against breast cancer but not the most pleasurable. Women have complained about the paddle (the vice-like device that holds the breast in place for the imaging) pinches the skin, digs into the arm pits, and puts pressure on the neck.

University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center is testing a new system called SmartCurve which uses a softer, friendlier paddle.

"It has curved edges, it's much easier for the technologist to use, and the patient prefers it in the studies we've done so far," says Donna Plecha, MD, Director of Radiology and Mammography at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center. "It just seems more comfortable and the more comfortable we can get the mammogram exam for patients the better and hopefully more patients will have less complaints and more patients will come in for screening mammograms.

Dr. Plecha extols the virtues of early screening for breast cancer, citing research that finds early detection can result in death rates dropping by 40 percent as well as less aggressive and invasive treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.

Other new technologies like 3D mammographies and an abbreviated MRI for women with dense breasts (taking less than 10 minutes) are other advances for early detection, according to Dr. Plecha.

"I think it can be a deterrent," says Dr. Plecha of the current, more inconvenient mammogram devices. "Anything we can do to make it more comfortable to patients and more accessible, the better." She expects the SmartCurve could hit the market as soon as six months.

The American College of Radiology recommends yearly mammographies for women starting at age 40.

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