Morning Medical Update Monday 3-13-23

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


      The University of Kansas Health System is treating a total of 50 COVID patients today, same as Friday. Other significant numbers:

  • 27 with the active virus today, 25 Friday
  • 7 in ICU, 5 Friday
  • 5 on a ventilator, 2 Friday

Key points from today’s guests:

Morning Rounds – Roundup of Current News

Dr. Saurav Luthra, sleep medicine specialist, The University of Kansas Health System

  • It is quite unnatural to shift the clock one hour because our internal biological systems do not move like that -- so there is increased risk of health issues as well as social issues with this shift in the time.
  • Eventually in a couple of weeks, the body will automatically adjust because it will be sleeping and waking up with a new clock.
  • Sleep is extremely important for brain health. It’s important for maintaining a healthy mood, your cognitive functioning, attention, focus, etc.

Focus Topic

Dr. Gary Gronseth, chair, Department of Neurology, The University of Kansas Medical Center

  • New Alzheimer’s drugs are designed to remove some of those plaque proteins (amyloid), so there are antibodies that attach and remove it from the brain.
  • Now the hope is that will translate to a clinical benefit.
  • Addiction involves affecting the “want system” of the brain and it's disconnected from the pleasure system of the brain.
  • So a drug that used to give you pleasure, as you become tolerant, you may not find it enjoyable anymore -- you know that it's associated with problems, yet you still want to do it.

Dr. Paul Camarata, chair, Department of Neurosurgery, The University of Kansas Medical Center

  • There are some experimental trials in a branch of neurosurgery called functional neurosurgery and we're trying to improve some of the deficits that Alzheimer's causes.
  • There are devices that can be implanted experimentally to improve memory because that's the major deficit and Alzheimer's as we hope for a cure sometime in the near future.
  • Addiction involves the repetitive activation of certain pathways in the brain -- the more times those pathways are activated, the more people tend to go toward that disorder.

Dr. Kausik Si, Ph. D., scientific director, Stowers Institute for Medical Research

  • Addiction is actually a disease of memory.
  • Drugs create an extremely strong memory of what happens during taking the drug and the subsequent events, so if we really want to understand and treat chronic drug related disorders, we really need to understand how we treat memory related disorders.
  • One thing about the brain we need to understand which is absolutely fascinating, the brain is actually not seeing, hearing or touching or sensing anything – it is receiving electrical signals from other parts of the body.

COVID Updates

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control, The University of Kansas Health System

  • Early research shows that people with past COVID infections, regardless of variant, they did seem to have a little bit quicker time to clearance of those viral particles.
  • As people are getting vaccine-induced immunity and infection-reduced immunity, less and less people are going to be severely affected.

Tuesday, March 14 is the next Morning Medical Update. It's not your game face, it's your "headspace" that mattes when you want to stay competitive. The first installment of our Women in Sports series focuses on getting your mind game ready. The expert advice from a college athlete and a sport psychologist.

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