Faster, Better Testing For COVID; Physician Researchers At Renown Health And UNR Med Seek Convalescent Plasma Study Participants
Physician researchers seek to understand how the immune system responds to COVID-19 and create a healthier Nevada. During the early stages of the pandemic, convalescent plasma was considered the only viable treatment option available for patients with COVID-19. Convalescent plasma is the component of the blood from recovered patients that may contain COVID-19 antibodies that help fight the infection. The National Institutes of Health has since developed treatment guidelines for COVID-19 based on clinical trial data and many studies are still underway worldwide assessing various additional treatment options. Convalescent plasma was in high demand but difficult to locate for COVID-19 patients in the northern Nevada area. A 24-year-old nursing assistant, Austin Meegan, was hospitalized and spent weeks staving off kidney and lung failure before learning he was eligible for an experimental blood transfusion that showed promise in treating COVID-19. Doctors estimated Meegan had only about a 3% chance of tracking down a donor to match his rare blood type. A COVID-19 survivor, Thomas Gibson, a Texas resident with the same blood type, traveled to Reno to donate his viral antibodies and a convalescent plasma donation credited with helping to save Meegan’s life. Physician clinical researchers and scientists at Renown and the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) knew they needed to create better options for patients and physicians. Clinical researchers developed a study to help other patients like Austin, and pleaded for donations from recovered COVID-19 patients to donate their convalescent plasma. The researcher teams looked to understand how the body’s immune system responds to the virus over time, to aid them in developing new treatments for COVID-19. “The world’s capacity to get through the COVID crisis will depend on four things — science, technology, innovation and partnerships, says Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, President and CEO of Renown Health. “Taking lab bench discoveries to the bedside of patients in an efficacious and timely manner is not easy, but with UNR Med and our partners, we are making great strides in advancing clinical research which has the power to save lives and to create a healthier Nevada.” “It’s tremendously promising to partner on clinical research that will not only help us better understand the disease, but help inform treatment for those combatting COVID-19 that has had such a devastating impact on Nevadans, our nation and the world,” says UNR Med Dean Thomas L. Schwenk, MD. Renown, UNR Med and other area health care partners collaborated with Vitalant to collect plasma from recovered donors for a study on the treatment's efficacy. Eligible donors are at least 18 years old, weigh more than 110 pounds and are healthy. Donors had fully recovered from a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. Project coordinators at the Renown Research Office were overwhelmed by the community’s support and plasma blood donations. Additional partnerships with the Washoe County Health District, the State of Nevada and the Governor’s office, Saint Mary’s Medical Center, Northern Nevada Medical Center, Carson Tahoe Health and the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System, along with many area health care providers helped the team meet their goals of enrolling 120 eligible participants in the study. “Our success in this study rests heavily on the support of our great community, as well as the innovation and collaboration demonstrated by Renown and UNR Med,” said Sara Healy, MD, MPH, principal investigator of the study and a pediatric infectious disease physician at Renown Children’s Hospital and UNR Med. “We are proud to be at the forefront of conducting essential research during such a pivotal time in history, and look forward to our continued partnership as we continue this important work.” “The control of COVID-19 in our communities relies on testing. The study that is being launched to develop a sensitive, specific and easier way to collect specimens (blood) is advancing the field and brings promise towards getting to our common goal of having the right diagnostic test for the right clinical situation at the right time,” says Mark Riddle, MD, DrPH, FISTM, associate investigator of the study and associate dean for clinical research and professor at UNR Med's Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Research. The research team is now asking area residents to participate in a study to analyze the efficacy of two COVID-19 tests. Participants will undergo two blood tests: one being a finger stick to provide results for a rapid test, and the other is a traditional venipuncture draw confirming the presence or absence of COVID-19 antibodies. This study is a collaboration with InBios International, Inc., a leading biotechnology company based in Seattle. Researchers are seeking: Individuals who have confirmed positive for COVID-19 and who have recently recovered from the virus. Study participants must be within 7-28 days from the onset of their symptoms. Individuals who have recently tested negative for COVID-19 and have never tested positive. Those who are interested in participating in the study may contact project coordinators at the Renown Research Office at (775) 982-3646, or via e-mail at email@example.com, 7:30 A.M. – 5:00 P.M., Monday through Friday. Individuals aged 18-75 in general good health are encouraged to consider participating in this ongoing study. There is no cost to participate in this study and participation is voluntary. An individual’s decision to participate will not affect their current or future relations with their health care provider(s), health district, or the community. Those who decide to participate are free to withdraw at any time. “Time is of the essence with COVID. If we can get test results to people and their clinicians in a more timely way, we can make a faster diagnosis of a patient's condition, says Christopher M. Kozlowski, MD, MHA, Renown's institutional research officer and Medical Director/VP of Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health. “As we refine the accuracy of our testing; we are applying sensitivity and specificity testing for true negative and true positive results. This provides people with more timely and accurate results and better quality care.” About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to improve the care and the health of our community. About the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med), Nevada’s first medical school, is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision for a healthy Nevada. Established in 1969, UNR Med is improving the health and well-being of all Nevadans and their communities through excellence in student education, postgraduate training and clinical care, research with local, national and global impact and a culture of diversity and inclusion. For more information, visit med.unr.edu.
Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute At Renown Now Offering Rtms Treatment For Major Depression
Treatment offers patients safe, non-drug and non-invasive repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) therapy to treat symptoms of major depression. Renown Health is committed to improving access to vital mental health services in northern Nevada. Today, clinical leaders at the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at Renown announced they will offer repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) therapy for people experiencing Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) under the guidance of a Renown psychiatrist. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. The disease causes people to experience sadness and helplessness, and in some cases, may prevent people from carrying out their daily routines. “We at Renown are proud of our national reputation as an innovator in implementing new models, technology and systems of care for our community,” said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, President and CEO. “We are working to transform care and demonstrate value in a way that appeals to patients and helps clinicians improve outcomes and reduce costs. There is now a sufficient body of evidence to accept the analgesic and antidepressant effect of high-frequency rTMS, and we are pleased to offer this promising therapy.” rTMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. It is typically used when other depression treatments haven't been effective. This treatment for depression involves delivering repetitive magnetic pulses, so it's called repetitive TMS or rTMS. “Depression can be treated; however, for some people, medications and talking with a behavioral health expert may not be enough,” said Renown’s Division Chief of Behavioral Health, Richard A. Charlat, M.D., M.P.H. “We are pleased to offer rTMS therapy for people looking for a new way to fight depression and for whom other treatments may not have given them relief. We are committed to working closely with our patients to find the treatment that works best for them, so they can live their best lives.” “Nevada has the highest prevalence of mental illness and substance use in the nation,” said Steve Shell, vice president of the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute. “Combine that with the added stress and isolation many are feeling with the COVID-19 pandemic, and we know that offering patients safe, non-drug and non-invasive treatments- as well as essential mental health and addiction services are more important than ever.” How rTMS Works During an rTMS session, an electromagnetic coil is placed against the person’s scalp near their forehead. The electromagnet painlessly delivers a magnetic pulse that stimulates nerve cells in the region of the person’s brain involved in mood control and depression. It's thought to activate regions of the brain that have decreased activity in depression. Though the biology of why rTMS works isn't completely understood, the stimulation appears to impact how the brain is working, which in turn seems to ease depression symptoms and improve mood. There are different ways to perform the procedure, and techniques may change as experts learn more about the most effective ways to perform treatments. On average, patients undergo rTMS treatments for four to six weeks, five days a week for about 40 minutes a day. In all cases, a patient’s doctor will determine a treatment plan that’s best for the patient. This video shows what patients can expect during rTMS therapy. What Does rTMS Feel Like? rTMS therapy is an easy, in-office experience designed to be positive for patients. During treatment, people are awake, alert, and comfortably reclined in a spa-like chair. The first few treatments may cause discomfort at or near the treatment site, however, this is unlikely to last beyond the first week of treatment.1, 2 “The effects of depression can be devastating for the people battling it, as well as for those who love them,” said Stacie Mathewson. “No matter how dark life may seem, always know, there are incredible behavioral health experts at Renown ready to support and empower you as you seek the help you deserve.” Charles N. and Stacie L. Mathewson established the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at Renown in 2018 to expand community access to prevention and intervention services for mental health disorders and alcohol and drug addiction. Renown is working to expand intensive outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization and medication-assisted treatment programs to better serve those struggling with mental illness and addiction. The Renown team is also passionate about prevention, mental wellness and is actively working to decrease stigma and encourage more people to seek the help they need. TMS therapy is cleared by the FDA and available by prescription only. It is commonly covered by most insurance plans. Patients must be referred by a behavioral expert to seek rTMS treatment. For more information and to make a patient referral, please call the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at 775-982-5318. About Renown Health Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally owned and governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown’s institute model addresses social determinants of health and includes: Child Health, Behavioral Health & Addiction, Healthy Aging and Health Innovation. Clinical institutes include: Cancer, Heart and Vascular Health, Neurosciences and Robotic Surgery. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. For more information visit, www.renown.org. Sources Trivedi MH, et al. (2006). Evaluation of Outcomes with Citalopram for Depression Using Measurement-Based Care in STAR*D Implications for Clinical Practice. Am J Psychiatry, 163(1):28-40 Rush AJ, et. al. (2006) Acute and longer-term outcomes in depressed outpatients requiring one or several treatment steps: a STAR*D report. Am J Psychiatry, 163(11):1905-1917.
Under Steve Shell's leadership, the Institute will continue to expand community access to prevention and intervention services for mental health disorders and alcohol and drug addiction. Renown Health is excited to announce Steve Shell is joining the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at Renown as its vice president. In this role, Shell will oversee the Institute, which provides intensive outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization programs and medication-assisted treatment to serve those struggling with mental illness and addiction in our community. “We are pleased to welcome such an experienced and talented leader like Steve to our organization,” said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, president and CEO, Renown Health. “As vice president of the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at Renown, Steve will continue the Institute’s work to change the status of mental health and addiction in northern Nevada.” Shell comes to Renown after opening and serving as chief executive officer of Nevada’s two newest behavioral health hospitals since 2013. He was instrumental in establishing Reno Behavioral Healthcare Hospital in 2016 and helped to design, set up and manage operations for the 124-bed psychiatric and addiction treatment facility for all ages. He also launched the 152- bed Desert Parkway Behavioral Healthcare Hospital in Las Vegas in 2013, a psychiatric and addiction treatment facility for all ages. “Nevada has the highest prevalence of mental illness and substance use in the nation combined with limited access to treatment and a shortage of care providers,” said Steve Shell. “I am passionate about improving the health of our community and have dedicated my career to advocating for mental health, working diligently to further elevate the care offered in our state.” Renown Health and Charles N. and Stacie L. Mathewson established the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at Renown in to expand community access to prevention and intervention services for mental health disorders and alcohol and drug addiction. The Institute is working to expand intensive outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization programs and medication-assisted treatment to better serve those struggling with mental illness and addiction and is working to decrease stigma and encourage more people to seek help. “Moving the needle and improving the heartbreaking statistics of our state is a key focus for the Institute,” said Stacie Mathewson, executive director at the Stacie Mathewson Foundation. “I believe Steve’s leadership will have a positive impact on our efforts to improve the care and treatment of mental illness and addiction.” About Renown Health Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally owned and governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown’s institute model addresses social determinants of health and includes: Child Health, Behavioral Health & Addiction, Healthy Aging and Health Innovation. Clinical institutes include: Cancer, Heart and Vascular Heath, Neurosciences and Robotic Surgery. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. For more information, visit renown.org.