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SAU faculty and students to conduct research with UM Brachial Plexus Program on disabling childhood disorder

Spring Arbor and Ann Arbor, Mich. – Faculty and students at Spring Arbor University plan to collaborate with researchers and clinicians at the University of Michigan Brachial Plexus Program to conduct research to improve the lives of patients with a serious childhood disorder, Neonatal Brachial Plexus Palsy (NBPP). NBPP is a chronic, disabling condition that occurs during the perinatal period, resulting in paralysis and loss of sensation in the affected arm.

The number of children impacted by this debilitating condition rivals cerebral palsy – one to four of every 1,000 children born in the United States. However, unlike cerebral palsy, NBPP is largely unknown. This anonymity results in a dearth of research as well as treatment options for children who are afflicted.

“We believe the affiliation between Spring Arbor University and the University of Michigan Health System program would not only result in much-needed research to address this debilitating condition, but will also develop the ways and means to improve the quality of life of these patients through new solutions for the management of treatment for NBPP,” says Dr. Charles Webb, Spring Arbor University president. The program also will offer SAU students the opportunity to work with and learn from faculty at one of the premier interdisciplinary brachial plexus programs in the US.

Dr. Lynda Yang, Director of the UM Brachial Plexus Program, states “we are fortunate to partner with Spring Arbor University faculty and students in our mission to improve the lives of patients with NBPP through collaboration, research and innovation.” Dr. Yang is a Board-certified Associate Professor of Neurosurgery in the University of Michigan Health System. She received her medical and doctorate degrees from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and completed her neurosurgical residency at the University of Michigan. She has special interest in patients with nerve disorders, including the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with brachial plexus and peripheral nerve disorders.

While surgery and physical therapy can improve some of the disablement associated with NBPP, new research is necessary to forward advances in the management of this chronic lifetime condition. Most funding for medical research attempts to address cause, prevention, and disease cures, but efforts stops short of supporting research to find what will be required to improve the quality of life and management of the condition for a lifetime. Consequently, the MedSAU Fund has been established to step in and make an impact. Supported research will address various aspects of NBPP including: motor and sensory function and adaptations, psychosocial aspects of childhood disablement, and transitioning into adulthood. MedSAU will also support the production of multimedia patient educational materials created for University of Michigan Health System patients. These publications also can be used to educate patients, medical professionals, school administrators and teachers, as well as the general public about NBPP.

MedSAU Fund is a 501(c)3 organization chaired by David Hockenbrocht. It has been established to receive philanthropic gifts, currently to benefit Pediatric Brachial Plexus Research.

To learn more about MedSAU, visit www.arbor.edu/medSAU.

Founded in 1873, Spring Arbor University (SAU) is a Christian liberal arts institution with its main campus in Spring Arbor near Jackson, Michigan. The University delivers a lifetime of benefits associated with a Christian college education to its more than 4,000 enrolled students and provides an excellent return on investment. More than 70 undergraduate majors and programs, seven degree-completion, two associate, and eight graduate programs are available online and at 18 locations across Michigan and Ohio. For more information, visit www.arbor.edu.

 The University of Michigan Brachial Plexus Program does not have any religious affiliation or endorse any particular denomination or faith. We are part of a non-sectarian, non-profit organization that does not discriminate based on a person’s race, religion, color, gender (including pregnancy), national origin, age, disability or genetic information. Our program faculty and staff are committed to providing an inclusive clinical care, learning, and recreational environment where patients/caretakers of all religions, and none, can integrate. For more information, please visit www.med.umich.edu/brachialplexus.


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