Friday, September 9, 2011

Mark Your Calendars: Autism Grand Rounds

As part of this year's Autism Grand Rounds, Dr. Donna Wooster, assistant professor of occupational therapy at USA, will present "The Impact of Sensory Processing Dysfunction in Children with Autism."

The professional conference will take place Sept. 9, 2011, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the College of Education, Room 3212, at University Commons.

The meeting is designed to provide a forum for discussion of research and service provision within the University community related to autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities. The event is open to faculty, staff, and students at USA.

For additional information, contact Amy Mitchell at (251) 415-8643 or e-mail

September Med School Café - “Surgical Treatment of Epilepsy”

The September Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. W. George Rusyniak, associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

His lecture, titled “Surgical Treatment of Epilepsy,” will take place September 22, 2011, at the Mobile Museum of Art in Mobile. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation begins at noon.

During the talk, Dr. Rusyniak will discuss epilepsy, a brain disorder in which a person has repeated seizures over time. He will also explain available epilepsy treatments, including epilepsy surgery, an operation on the brain that can control seizures and ultimately improve the patient’s quality of life.

Dr. Rusyniak is part of a new epilepsy team at USA. The comprehensive epilepsy program provides unique and highly specialized care with state-of-the-art technology for patients with epilepsy and other neurological conditions.

Dr. Rusyniak earned his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, N.Y., where he also conducted his residency. In addition, he completed a fellowship at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Mobile Museum of Art is located at 4850 Museum Drive in Mobile. To view a map, visit

The Med School Café lecture and lunch are provided free of charge, but reservations are required. For more information or to make reservations, please call Kim Partridge at (251) 460-7770 or e-mail

Med School Café is a free community lecture series sponsored by the USA Physicians Group. Each month, faculty from the USA College of Medicine share their expertise on a specific medical condition, providing insight on the latest treatment available.

USA College of Medicine Welcomes New Bariatric Surgeon

Dr. Sheetal Nijhawan was recently appointed assistant professor in the department of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. She will serve as a laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon for the USA Physicians Group with special qualifications in robotic surgery.

Prior to her appointment to USA, Dr. Nijhawan completed a fellowship in minimally invasive, robotic and bariatric surgery with the University of California at San Diego.

Dr. Nijhawan earned her medical degree from Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute in Bangalore, India. She completed a categorical surgery residency program at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.

Dr. Nijhawan is a member of the American College of Surgeons, Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeon and the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

She is now accepting new patients. For appointments, call (251) 445-8282.

Novel Treatment for Dupuytren’s Disease

In February 2010 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an injectable treatment for Dupuytren’s disease, a contracture of the hand where the fingers cannot be fully extended.

Dr. Frederick N. Meyer, professor and chair of orthopaedics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, has performed upwards of 65 of the procedures. He is the only physician in the area to offer the novel treatment.

According to Dr. Meyer, Dupuytren’s disease is a relatively common syndrome that primarily affects men rather than women, as well as people of Scandinavian or Northern European ancestry or those with a family history. It is also more often associated with conditions such as diabetes and seizure disorders.

In Dupuytren’s disease, the tissues under the skin on the palm of the hand thicken and shorten so that the fingers cannot straighten. The new treatment involves the injection of a collagen-eroding enzyme into the affected collagen cord, which weakens the cord.

“Dupuytren’s disease is usually not painful,” Dr. Meyer said. “It develops over time and has a variable course.”

Although surgery has until recently been the standard treatment, Dr. Meyer, who specializes in hand surgery, said the complications are much lower with the injection.

“This procedure has radically changed how I now treat Dupuytren’s disease,” he said. “I’m really enthusiastic about the procedure, and patients absolutely love the results.”

According to Dr. Meyer, there are three main qualifiers for the injection. “There must be a palpable cord from Dupuytren’s disease and a contracture of about 30 degrees, which basically means that you are unable to lay your hand flat on a table,” he said. “In addition, patients must be off any blood thinners for up to seven days prior to the procedure.”

Dr. Meyer said the entire procedure is done in just a couple of office visits. “We do the injection one day and a manipulation at the next visit,” he said. “Post-op rehabilitation is only necessary if there is a severe contracture.”

“One of my patients was playing golf within a week of the procedure, which would not be possible if they had chosen surgery,” Dr. Meyer added. “With the injection, you are able to do what you want to do much sooner.”

To make an appointment with Dr. Meyer, call (251) 665-8200.