Health Notes column for June 12, 2013

Major diabetes study gets underway here

Pennington Biomedical Research Center, along with 36 other sites in the U.S., are recruiting volunteers for a clinical study into the effectiveness of common combinations of medicines to treat Type 2 diabetes.

The most common first-line medication is metformin and physicians may also add one of several other drugs to lower glucose, according to Pennington.

But there have been no long-term studies of which combination works best and has fewer side effects.

Pennington hopes to enroll 150 patients from the Baton Rouge area.

Investigators are seeking people ages 30 and older who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes within the last five years. They may be taking meformin, but not other types of diabetes medication.

Participants will have their diabetes medications managed free of charge and will have at least four medical visits per year.

The study, called GRADE for Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes, is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. William Cefalu, recently named Pennington’s executive director, is the local principal investigator of the trial.

For more information about the study, visit

To determine eligibility, call (225) 763-3000 or visit

LSU medical school named ALS center

The LSU Health Sciences Center School of Medicine in New Orleans has been designated as an MDA/ALS clinic by the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The designation makes the medical school the first such clinic in Louisiana and recognizes the high standards of care offered at the school for patients with ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease, according to the association.

The LSU medical school is the 44th MDA/ALS clinic in the country and is now part of a network providing a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals and participating in clinical research trials.

Free workshop on breast cancer set

A free, two-part CancerCare series on “Living with Breast Cancer: Treatment Updates” will be available over the phone or online from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 19 and from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. July 31.

Speakers will include physicians from the Mayo Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Cooper Cancer Institute.

Part 1 will provide updates on the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer. Part 2 will cover treatments of ER-positive and PR-positive breast cancer and triple negative breast cancer.

To register, call 1-800-813-4673 or go online at CancerCare is a national nonprofit providing support to people with cancer and their families.

Health care coalition gains 100 members

A health care education coalition launched in March recently saw its 100th community partner come onboard.

The Louisiana Healthcare Education Coalition is a civic organization, founded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, with a goal of providing guidance concerning health care reform, according to the coalition.

It’s made up of health care, community, business, trade and faith-based organizations. For a complete list of members, visit

Book review




Growing up with an Obsessive-

Compulsive Hoarder

Frances Boudreaux


$16.95, paperback

Reality TV about hoarders may touch on how the situation affects family members, but author Frances Boudreaux, of the small town of Ball, La., tells in compelling detail what it was like to grow up with a mother who was a hoarder.

It was difficult, isolating, traumatizing. Despite the hardships she faced as a child growing up in the 1950s, though, Boudreaux’s warm, thoughtful personality comes through, and, along the way, she faithfully captures vignettes of rural and small-town Louisiana life.

Compiled by Ellyn Couvillion

Advocate staff writer

Editor’s note: This story was changed on June 12, 2013, to correct the fact that investigators are seeking people ages 30 and older who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes within the last five years, not two years.