Penn Medicine News Blog: Posts by Lee-Ann Donegan

Lee-Ann DoneganLee-Ann comes to Penn Medicine after more than 10 years experience in media relations, publications writing and production and internal communications, primarily in hospitals and health care settings. She has also led media relations efforts for clients in the retail, education and entertainment sectors. Lee-Ann previously worked for Penn Medicine as Senior Communications Officer at Pennsylvania Hospital from 2007 to 2011. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Villanova University, and received her MBA in marketing from Rutgers University, Camden in 2008.

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Penn Leads the Way in Alzheimer’s Research and Care

November 19, 2015 // Comments image from

It’s an exciting time in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research, declared a recent article. Enhanced investment in research has led to new and improved treatments for cancer and other common illnesses, with Alzheimer’s perennially lagging in both available treatments and federal funding. But leading researchers, those at Penn among them,... Read more

Brain Health Registry Offers Promise of New Avenues for Clinical Trial Recruitment

October 22, 2015 // Comments Brain image

At my doctor’s office, there is a small sign in the waiting room that says “today’s treatments were yesterday’s research trial.” The sentiment couldn’t be more true. Medical researchers rely on subjects to participate in clinical trials to help them test new medications and treatments for diseases from Alzheimer’s to... Read more

5K Supports Aging Research at Penn Medicine (Slideshow)

September 23, 2015 // Comments

The 4th Annual 5K for Penn’s Institute on Aging (IOA) is now in the record books. Last Sunday, 435 committed Penn Medicine faculty, staff and friends and families of those affected by age-related diseases were up early on a windy, late summer morning to run and walk to raise money... Read more

Does Medical Marijuana Work? Penn Professor Embarks on First-of-its-kind Research

August 31, 2015 // Comments MBM

Twenty-three states and Washington, D.C., have new laws that allow the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, thus spurring an increase in the use of the drug for a variety of medical conditions, including chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), epilepsy, sleep problems, nausea during cancer treatment, and more. But... Read more

Trigeminal Neuralgia: A Patient’s Story

July 31, 2015 // Comments image from

Visual distribution of the trigeminal nerve, the major nerve that transmits sensation from the face to the brain. When pressure is placed on the nerve, most often from a blood vessel, trigeminal neuralgia can result. Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also called tic douloureux, is a facial pain disorder that affects over... Read more

Repairing Shorts In the Brain’s Electrical Circuitry

July 1, 2015 // Comments

A “short” in the brain’s electrical circuitry is implicated in many neurological and psychiatric disorders, including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, attention disorders and major depression to name a few. How? “In many ways the brain resembles a large-scale computer network, with hubs and connections that communicate information, divvy up demanding processing... Read more

Is Atrial Fibrillation to Blame for Most Strokes?

June 8, 2015 // Comments Stroke_care

At the end of 2014, the American Heart Association reported that stroke had dropped from the nation’s fourth-leading cause of death to number five, according to new federal statistics. It is the second time since 2011 that stroke has dropped a spot in the mortality rankings. This is good news.... Read more

New Research on Fungus Aims to Help Asthma Sufferers

May 13, 2015 // Comments

“Asthma is a chronic disease without a cure,” said Reynold Panettieri, MD, the Robert L. Mayock and David A. Cooper Professor of Medicine in the Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care division and chief of the Asthma Section in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. But new fungal research from him and... Read more

Thinking More about Cognitive Aging

April 18, 2015 // Comments

The subject of aging is something I’ve thought about a great deal this week, having just celebrated a milestone birthday. But the thing that gets me upset much more than my own aging, is the aging of my parents and older relatives. This week, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), an...

“Real Mission and Passion for Me:” Penn Patient Organizes First ‘Mind Your Brain’ Symposium

March 24, 2015 // Comments

The body’s response to a concussion or other forms of traumatic brain injury (TBI) varies widely depending upon the person and the injury. “We don’t know, to be honest with you, why she had such a dramatic recovery and others have not,” M. Sean Grady, MD, chair of Neurosurgery recently... Read more

A Unified Front in Penn Neuroscience

February 26, 2015 // Comments IMG_1530

There’s a lot of construction going on around here. While this is not unusual, there seems to be an avalanche of new buildings opening lately, from Penn Medicine University City to the Pavilion for Advanced Care to the Henry Jordan Center for Medical Education. Now, add to the list the... Read more

Dr. Aaron Beck and the Dalai Lama

February 4, 2015 // Comments Dr Beck with Dalai Lama

As my colleagues have mentioned, this past September kicked off the Perelman School of Medicine’s 250th birthday year. We’ve come a long way from the days ofJohn Morgan and William Shippen, Jr., the first two professors of medicine in the College of Philadelphia in 1765, the beginnings of what would... Read more

Advancing Neurotrauma Care—and Research—at Penn’s New Pavilion for Advanced Care

January 12, 2015 // Comments

As we look toward the opening of our new Pavilion for Advanced Care (PAC) and the transition of our trauma center from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, throughout the month of January, the News Blog is highlighting some of the latest news and... Read more

Perhaps We are Not What We Eat After All

December 12, 2014 // Comments Wu_gary

It’s no accident that we’re talking a lot about food on here these days. ‘Tis the season, as they say. Here at Penn Medicine, we’re finding that what we eat has a greater effect on us than we ever thought. For example, the common thought has always been that a... Read more

Using Neural Tissue Engineering to Restore Brain Function and Form Bionic Connections

November 19, 2014 // Comments Cullen neuron.axon image November 2014

Restoring Brain Connections using Micro-Tissue Engineered Neural Networks (TENNs): Micro-TENNs are miniature preformed capsule-like constructs (shown above) that consist of neurons spanned by long axon tracts. These are grown outside the body and mimic the anatomy of axon pathways in the brain. They can then be implanted in the brain... Read more

Penn Researchers Begin Work to Stop Rare Eye Disorder Stealing Men’s Vision

October 27, 2014 // Comments Snapshot Benelli

“You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.” These words were made famous by singer Joni Mitchell and ring true of many circumstances in life. Perhaps nowhere more so than when we talk about our vision. In this case, I am referring to the rare eye disease known as... Read more

Detecting Lung Cancer Before It's Too Late

October 3, 2014 // Comments image from

Anil Vachani, MD, director of the Lung Nodule Program and assistant professor of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Veteran's Administration Medical Center; Attending Physician, Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center. Lung cancer is the deadliest of all cancers, and cigarette smoking causes 85 percent of... Read more

Catching up with Edna Foa: From OCD to Her Latest Degree

September 12, 2014 // Comments GEO_2561

Last month, Edna Foa, world renowned for being the creator of prolonged exposure therapy, a treatment for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) whereby patients revisit the traumatic event in order to help them heal, received her second honorary doctorate degree for her work in psychiatry—a career that spans four decades.... Read more

An Inside Look at an Academic Medical Journal

July 29, 2014 // Comments ACER image

Henry Kranzler, MD, Penn professor and director of the Center for Studies of Addiction, has been a leader in research on alcohol dependence for 25 years. His work has contributed to an understanding of the genetic risk factors that contribute to alcohol dependence, and he has designed and conducted several... Read more

Eating, Competitively: Penn Gastroenterologists Break It Down

July 7, 2014 // Comments image from

The names Bill ″El Wingador″ Simmons, Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, and Joey Chestnut might ring a bell to followers of the Wing Bowl, the annual speed eating competition that takes place right here in the City of Brotherly Love on the Friday before the Super Bowl. Chestnut is, as... Read more

Knowing Yourself and Ending Invisibility: LGBT Health Takes the Spotlight

June 13, 2014 // Comments image from

Harvey Makadon, MD Photo credit: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center The Penn Medicine Program for LGBT Health hosted long-time health care leader Harvey Makadon, MD, for its inaugural John E. Fryer Lecture in Medicine held last week. Dr. Makadon is director of the National LGBT Health Education Center at the... Read more

Cognitive Behavior Therapy Helps Children Cope with Anxiety Disorders

May 20, 2014 // Comments Franklin

Penn’s COTTAGe program expands services Children as young as five years old can show signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety disorders, says Martin Franklin, PhD, director of Penn’s Child and Adolescent OCD, Tic, Trich and Anxiety Group (COTTAGe). And, says Franklin, a psychologist, kids that young can also benefit... Read more

Penn-Developed Mobile App Speeds Lifesaving Information to EMS During Allergy Emergencies

April 24, 2014 // Comments Rescufy Screen Shot

David Edwards, MBA, is Director of Major Gifts at the Perelman School of Medicine and the brains behind the new app Rescufy, winner of Penn’s “AppItUP” mobile application idea challenge. The challenge, organized by Penn’s Center for Technology Transfer (CTT) and UPstart, CTT’s business incubator, gathered the best app ideas... Read more

Relieving the Burden

March 26, 2014 // Comments

It sounds like a provocative idea for a health care practitioner: Frank Leone, MD, MS, and his team call themselves “pro-smoker.” That’s because smoking, he says, is a disease – one that should be treated with compassion and evidence-based therapies like any other. “Getting people to quit is good for... Read more

Penn Medicine: Caring for Philly’s Hometown Team

March 3, 2014 // Comments image from

Athletics has been in the news lately, with the recent Olympic Games. For a fortnight, we watched as triumphant athletes celebrate the highest highs and ascended the medals podium to claim their reward. But as skiers tumbled down mountains, snowboarders navigated the half pipe, sometimes within inches of their life,... Read more

New Hope on Horizon for Hepatitis C Patients

January 31, 2014 // Comments

The 3.2 million Americans with hepatitis C may get some much-needed relief through a new regimen of all oral medications that are proving to cure most disease, with fewer side-effects than the current treatment options. The new medications are being testing in clinical trials here at Penn Medicine. Hepatitis C... Read more

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