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Health notes for April 30

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Grant to boost sarcoidosis study

An Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist has received a $3.2 million federal grant to continue research into a rare immune disease called sarcoidosis. The four-year grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute will help OMRF researcher Courtney Montgomery and her team determine the roles of specific immune cells associated with the disease.

Sarcoidosis is a poorly understood disease where cells in the immune system that cause inflammation overreact and cluster together to form tiny lumps called granulomas. They can form in the eyes, liver, skin and brain and most often are found in the lungs. If too many form in a single organ, they can cause the organ to malfunction or even fail.

The disease disproportionately affects African-Americans. It led to the deaths of actor-comedian Bernie Mac and NFL Hall of Fame defensive lineman Reggie White.

The grant will help Montgomery recruit new patients and healthy volunteers to collect samples for the research. The goal is to enroll 200 patients and the same number of people without a sarcoidosis diagnosis. Participants will be compensated $20 per visit. To participate in the study or for more information, call 405-271-2504 or 800-605-7447 or email sru@omrf.org.

Obesity summit to be in OKC

The 13th annual Southern Obesity Summit will be Oct. 28-30 at the Cox Convention Center. The summit is the largest regional obesity prevention event in the United States, drawing hundreds of participants from 16 states.

The summit is presented by the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) and the Texas Health Institute. This year’s focus will be on improving systems to promote healthy people and resilient communities. The 16 most Southern states have some of the highest obesity rates in the U.S. The summit brings together leaders from those states to learn and develop strategies for positive change around obesity prevention, said Julie Bisbee, executive director of TSET.

Proposals are being accepted through May 24 for presentations on topics, including healthy eating, active living, game-changing science and medicine, social forces, and approaches to state and national policy change.

Summit organizers also are seeking sponsors and exhibitors from the conference. For more information, email Sjonna Paulson at Sjonnap@tset.ok.gov.

OKC VA doctor receives honor

Dr. Mohammad Madhoun, a gastroenterologist at the Oklahoma City VA Health Care System, was awarded the 2019 James F. Hammarsten Physician of Excellence Award. Madhoun was selected as this year’s honoree in part because of his extraordinary efforts and accomplishments in clinical service, research, education and administration.

Madhoun is director of endoscopy at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center and VA site director for the Gastroenterology Fellowship Program. He has served as the associate director of the gastroenterology/hepatology course for first-year medical students at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center since 2014. His students selected him in 2017 for the prestigious Aesculapian Award for excellence in teaching. Based on his accomplishments as an educator, he was inducted in the OU College of Medicine Academy of Teaching Scholars in 2016.

Staff reports

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