Research has long shown the negative effects cigarette smoking has on cardiovascular health.
But now, a new study from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania corroborates early evidence showing that cigarette smoking leads to longer healing times and an increased rate of post-operative complication and infection for patients sustaining fractures or traumatic injuries to their bone.
The full results of the study are being presented this week at the 2013 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons annual meeting in Chicago.
“Cigarette smoking is widely recognized as one of the major causes of preventable disease in the U.S., but there has been a lack of evidence showing other side effects of smoking, such as how it changes the way our bones heal,” said Samir Mehta, MD, chief of the Orthopaedic Trauma and Fracture Service at Penn Medicine. “Our study adds substantial support to a growing body of evidence showing that smoking presents a significant risk to fracture patients. These risks need to be addressed with the patient both at the time of injury and when considering surgical treatment.”
Results of the study show that for all injury types, fractured bones in patients who smoke take roughly six weeks longer to heal than fractured bones in a non-smoker (30.2 weeks compared to 24.1 weeks).
Additional results show that fractured bones in patients who smoke are 2.3 times more likely to result in non-unions (non-healed fractures) than in non-smokers.
Using Medline, EMBASE and Cochrane computerized literature databases, the researchers collated previous studies that have examined the effects of smoking on bone and soft tissue healing.
By analyzing these studies, the team sought to find an association between smoking and healing time, and various complications such as post-surgical infection. Studies included in the analysis focused on fractures of the tibia, femur or hip, ankle, humerus, and multiple long bones. In total, 6,480 patient cases (treated both surgically and non-surgically) were evaluated in the studies.
With approximately 6.8 million fractures requiring medical treatment in the US annually, the researchers say the overall burden of musculoskeletal disease is substantial.
Though recent efforts have been made to promote bone health through vitamin and mineral supplements and nutritional support, the research team says that altering social factors such as encouraging smoking cessation have been under-addressed.
This void is causing both a disconnect in the short-term treatment for patients and a missed opportunity to improve long-term health.
“The effects of smoking intervention programs need to be discussed and instituted to promote better outcomes for post-fracture patients,” Mehta said. “We have an opportunity to help patients understand that it’s about more than just heart health, and that smoking puts you at a higher risk of complications and leads to longer healing times.”
Philadelphia has the fourth-highest drowning rate among children, and drowning is the leading cause of death among those aged 1-4. In 2005-2009, African-American children aged 5-14 were three times more likely to drown than whites.
Some students at the University of Pennsylvania are taking aim at those sad statistics by teaching life-saving skills in the pool to youngsters from Penn’s West Philadelphia neighborhood.
Palmer has been swimming on the varsity team at Penn for the past three years. Growing up, she one of the only African-American swimmers on her team in Randolph, Mass.
“I believe in turning my uniqueness into a ‘normalcy’ for the upcoming generation,” Palmer explains.
She is one of the three co-founders of “We Can Swim!” It is a new program at the Sheerr Pool in Penn’s David Pottruck Health and Fitness Center. Palmer’s goals are to diversify the field of competitive swimming and to reduce drowning rates among minorities younger than 14.
Each Saturday morning for eight weeks, students from the Henry C. Lea Elementary School will work with instructors who have volunteered to teach young, underserved urban children how to swim. It’s not only a great way to keep cool and stay fit, but knowing how to swim could save that child’s life.
Palmer saw a need for the children in Lea that warranted attention, and she worked closely with Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships to bring “We Can Swim” to fruition.
This pilot program began in mid-March. The only requirements are that each child is a second-, third- or fourth-grade student at Lea and the parents sign the necessary paperwork. The fee is $10, which covers eight Saturdays of 30-minute swimming lessons.
Organizers are looking to eventually branch out, offering the program year after year and opening it up to more students in other grades.
“I want to teach every child enrolled in the Lea School how to swim –- and have them be our model,” explains Dan Schupsky, another co-founder of “We Can Swim.” A graduate student at Penn, he will earn his masters of environmental studies, with a focus on sustainability in athletics, in May 2014. He also works as Penn’s aquatics coordinator and varsity assistant swim coach for the men’s and women’s teams.
Schupsky says “We Can Swim!” offers long-term staying power.
“Penn shares a proud history with Lea School for many years,” says Glenn Bryan, assistant vice president of community relations in the Office of Government and Community Affairs. “This reflects a renewed collaborative spirit of engagement between Penn and its community partners.”
There are 15 participating Lea students paired with 15 volunteer instructors. The swim teachers are mostly members of Penn’s varsity teams.
I’m glad to know that I could do something that will affect others for the better. This program is like my baby,” Palmer says. “I’m a proud parent, nurturing it and helping it grow. When I graduate, I hope to be that parent that lets their kid thrive on its own, because they already did all they can do to help their child have a solid base.”
“I once told Clarissa,” Schupsky says, “that many students come here and positively transform their worlds, stepping into new leadership roles and inspiring those around them. And now she has done just that. It is going to be a powerfully positive legacy and community connection that she leaves here at Penn.”
Drexel University President John A. Fry and a delegation recently traveled to Ethiopia to explore possible University programs in the country’s urban and rural areas.
Fry was joined by Shannon Marquez, associate dean of Drexel’s School of Public Health, and philanthropists and University benefactors Dana and David Dornsife. A 1983 Drexel alumna, Dana Dornsife together with David helped establish Drexel’s Dana and David Dornsife Center for Community Partnerships with a $10 million gift to the University.
The Drexel delegation witnessed firsthand the impact of Ethiopia’s existing water projects and explored areas for future partnerships focused on access to clean and safe water and health care practices.
The group visited well-drilling, sanitation and hygiene program sites in Yekasha, Kechema and Sekekelo as well as other projects near Addis Ababa, Waliso, Walkite and Gimbichu. Marquez, who is also the director of Global Health Initiatives at Drexel's School of Public Health and an expert in safe water systems, also visited sites in Ghana.
“Innovative faculty experts like Dr. Marquez are the foundation of Drexel’s sustainable, long-term partnerships to address global challenges such as clean and safe water,” Fry said. “This type of mutually beneficial partnership also offers educational and service opportunities for students, and inspires benefactors like Dana and David Dornsife.”
World Vision, an international organization that has built over 1,500 wells in 10 African countries, providing almost 1 million people with access to safe water, organized the trip. Access to safe water is especially important in many African countries, as contaminated water and poor sanitation are among the most common preventable causes of death for children under five.
Through World Vision, the Dornsifes support microeconomic enterprise, agriculture and literacy programs in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and, in partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, well-water drilling in Mali, Ghana, Niger, Ethiopia, Zambia and Malawi.
A number of events highlighting the importance of access to safe water will be held around the globe on March 22 in commemoration of World Water Day.
State Sen. LeAnna Washington (D- Montgomery/Philadelphia) recently participated in a news conference to formally roll out the package of bills that resulted from the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection.
“Today is a very important day in the fight against child abuse in Pennsylvania,” she said. “We have spent months working together to draft these bills based on the recommendations of the task force and I am so pleased to take part in today’s announcement.”
This package of 16 bills represents an extensive series of hearings, meetings, and planning sessions to overhaul the current laws regarding the definition of child abuse, the prosecution of perpetrators, the care for victims of child abuse, as well as the integration of reporting standards.
Washington emphasized that her bill, Senate Bill 20, provides a common sense guide for what is and what is not child abuse, while allowing parents to continue to parent.
The bill includes provisions for intentionally or knowingly causing a child physical harm, enumerating several specific examples, including kicking, punching, suffocating, or sexually abusing a child, as well as putting a child in situations involving meth labs or sexual predators registered under Megan’s Law.
“Now is the time to work together to make this entire bipartisan child protection package law,” Washington said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this important package of bills and to ensure that children may one day live in a world where they are free from harm.”
She participated in the press conference with Senators Fontana (D-Allegheny), Mensch (R- Bucks, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton) and Ward (R-Westmoreland); Child Protection Task Force Member and Bucks County District Attorney, David Heckler; as well as Senators Baker (R- Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming), Vulakovich (R- Allegeheny/Butler), and Teplitz (D- Dauphin/York); and Child Protection Task Force Member Jason Kutulakis.
Immaculata University has joined Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) University Center initiative and will soon offer its Doctor of Education in Higher Education (Ed.D.) program at MCCC’s Central Campus in Blue Bell.
First introduced in 2006, MCCC’s University Center framework offers an entrepreneurial approach to expanding higher education opportunities for residents of Montgomery County and surrounding areas. Through partnerships with four-year institutions, students can choose from eight bachelor’s degrees, two master’s degrees, one graduate certificate, and now – for the first time – a doctorate.
“These partnerships are so important in higher education, and they show a great deal of entrepreneurship,” said Karen A. Stout, MCCC president. “The University Center framework builds crucial pathways by which our students and faculty, and the community at large, can conveniently pursue advanced degrees from our outstanding partner colleges and universities.”
While the institutions have enjoyed a long-standing and popular transfer agreement that paves the way for MCCC associate’s degree graduates to seamlessly transfer into bachelor’s degree programs at Immaculata, this is the first time Immaculata will have a physical presence in Blue Bell.
“This agreement with MCCC is really what we were hoping for when we developed the new degree in Higher Education,” said Sr. R. Patricia Fadden, IHM, Ed.D., president of Immaculata University. “MCCC is our first partner in this program, and we’re very excited to bring it to the Montgomery County community.”
Immaculata’s Ed.D. in Higher Education program is designed for higher education administrators and faculty who are seeking to advance their career opportunities by expanding their knowledge of current trends in higher education and developing leadership skills. The program is also ideal for individuals working in related fields who are seeking a career change.
The program features a hybrid course model that blends online with face-to-face interaction; a cohort model that builds a learning community among students; and a practicum experience that enables doctoral students to demonstrate and apply their knowledge while networking in their field.
Immaculata University joins four existing University Center partners -- Albright College, which offers courses at MCCC’s campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, and Chestnut Hill College, Temple University and Villanova University, which offer courses at MCCC’s West Campus in Pottstown.