Utah Neuro-Ophthalmologist Receives Jahnigen Career Development Award

Utah Neuro-Ophthalmologist Receives Jahnigen Career Development Award

Apr 2, 2007 6:00 PM

SALT LAKE CITY--Dr. Bradley J. Katz, M.D., Ph.D. has been awarded a Jahnigen Career Development Scholars Award by the American Geriatrics Society. The Jahnigen award is funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies, and includes a two-year, $200,000 grant to help young faculty initiate and ultimately sustain a career in research and education in the geriatrics aspects of his/her discipline. The award is named for the late Dennis W. Jahnigen, M.D., a leading geriatrician, educator and advocate of introducing geriatrics training into all medical specialty areas.

The award will allow Dr. Katz to carry out important research on giant cell arteritis (GCA) research. Dr. Katz will perform the research at the John A. Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah with support from Dr. Kathleen Digre, M.D. Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Neurology, and Dr. Mark Supiano, Chief of the Division of Geriatrics. Dr. Katz will be collaborating with neuro-ophthalmologists throughout the United States to establish a GCA tissue bank at the Moran Eye Center.

Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is a type of vasculitis or arteritis, a group of diseases whose typical feature is inflammation of blood vessels. In the case of GCA, the vessels most commonly involved are the arteries of the scalp and head, especially the arteries over the temples, which is why another term for GCA is "temporal arteritis." GCA is exclusively a disease of elderly patients and its cause is unknown. Patients often feel ill, with headache, decreased appetite, and joint and muscle aches. If blood vessels supplying the eye, brain or heart are affected, patients can experience vision loss, stroke, or heart attack. The only effective treatment is high-dose corticosteroids. These medications can have serious side effects of their own, especially in elderly patients. Dr Katz hopes his research will lead to an improved understanding of the causes of GCA and safer, more effective treatments.

Dr. Katz's clinical interests include cataract, general ophthalmology and neuro-ophthalmology. He also evaluates patients with diseases that affect the optic nerve, diseases that affect eye movements and diseases of the brain that affect vision. He is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences and Neurology-University of Utah School of Medicine.

For information please contact: Steve Brown, Communications Manager, Moran Eye Center, 801/587-7693, steven.brown@hsc.utah.edu.

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