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UTHealth Research, Clinical Care Merge in Aortic and Vascular Disease Clinic

Posted on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012, by with Comments Off

Thanks to a cousin’s warning that thoracic aortic disease ran in their family, Houstonian Pat Arthur discovered that he carried a genetic defect that could cause his aorta to dissect and rupture with little or no warning. He also learned that this particular defect resulted in an aggressive form of the disease and the growing aneurysm spotted with a scan needed to be surgically corrected sooner than later.

It was life-saving information.

Now a new clinic devoted to integrated care for aortic disease is able to merge personalized genetic information with clinical care at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). (more…)

Gene Defect for New Syndrome Discovered – Systemic Complications Include Life-threatening Thoracic Aortic Disease

Posted on Monday, July 9th, 2012, by with Comments Off

HOUSTON – (July 9, 2012) – Research teams from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and Paris, France have discovered a gene defect linked to a cluster of systemic complications, including life-threatening thoracic aortic disease and intracranial aneurysms. The new syndrome is similar, but distinct from known syndromes such as Marfan and Loeys-Dietz syndrome. (more…)

Dr. Dianna Milewicz and Amy Yasbeck to Be Interviewed on Doctor Radio

Posted on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012, by with Comments Off

Doctor Radio is going to focus on aortic dissection this Friday, May 25, 2012.  The program airs on Sirius XM from 6:00 – 8:00 a.m. Eastern time.  Two NYU surgeons will be interviewed, followed by National Marfan Foundation President and CEO Carolyn Levering (at 7:00 a.m.), and then Dr. Dianna Milewicz, professor and director of the John Ritter Research Program at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, and Amy Yasback, founder of the John Ritter Foundation (at 7:30 a.m.).  Set your alarm and tune in!

John Ritter Foundation Selected to Be a Charity of the 2012 ING NYC Marathon

Posted on Wednesday, April 11th, 2012, by with Comments Off

The John Ritter Foundation (JRF) announced it was selected as an official charity of the 2012 ING New York City Marathon to take place on Sunday, November 4, 2012.  What a great opportunity to increase awareness of thoracic aortic disease, as well as raise funds to support education and research!

Watkins “Zeddie” Little (Ridiculously Photogenic Guy) shared the good news during his interview on Good Morning America (GMA) this a.m.  Watkins will also run the marathon with Team Ritter.  Check out Watkins’ GMA interview here.

JRF is currently recruiting runners to join Team Ritter.  For more information or to sponsor the team, please read the announcement on the JRF website.  Team members will be announced on May 1, 2012.

If you are not a runner but would like to support Team Ritter, click here.  Donations to JRF can also be made through the JRF website

Congratulations, John Ritter Foundation!!

Dr. Dianna Milewicz and Amy Yasbeck to Be Interviewed on Robin Craig LIVE

Posted on Friday, April 6th, 2012, by with Comments Off

On Tuesday, April 10, 2012, Dr. Dianna Milewicz and Amy Yasbeck will be phone guests on Robin Craig LIVE at 9:00 p.m. Central time (7:00 p.m. Pacific / 10:00 p.m. Eastern). They will discuss thoracic aortic dissection, the John Ritter Research Program, the John Ritter Foundation, and more. To watch the show, log on to and click the “TV Show” tab. The show airs in lieu of the photo montage above the chat room. If you log on early, hit “Refresh” until the show is live. Viewers will be able to join the conversation via a live interactive chat room.

Robin Craig LIVE is a weekly live web TV show that broadcasts on (viewers only need a computer and Internet access to watch). This show, in its third year of production, is produced and hosted by Robin Craig, a 3-time Emmy Award-Winning TV Producer. It airs at 9:00 p.m. Central time (7:00 p.m. Pacific / 10:00 p.m. Eastern) on Tuesday evenings. Robin was widowed in 2005 and this show, while covering an array of topics, is geared to help the widowed and grieving.

Adler Paddler Stand Up Paddling Fundraiser Event

Posted on Wednesday, March 14th, 2012, by with Comments Off

The 2nd annual ADLER PADDLER will be held this Saturday, March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day) at 9:00 a.m. in Long Beach, California.  The event is being held in memory of Steve Adler and to raise awareness for aortic disease, the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health, and the Thoracic Aortic Disease Coalition.  Funds raised will benefit the John Ritter Foundation.

If you enjoy stand up paddling or prone paddling or just want to have fun supporting a worthy cause, come on out!

WHERE:  Belmont Shores, Long Beach, California

WHAT:  A FREE 2.8 mile Stand Up Paddle & Prone Paddle Race/ Fun Paddle around Naples Island

Sources for more information: 



Event poster:  2nd Annual Adler Paddler

John Ritter Research Program and UT Physicians Launch Aortic Disease Clinic

Posted on Monday, March 12th, 2012, by with Comments Off

The John Ritter Research Program is pleased to announce the opening of the Aortic Disease Clinic as a collaborative partnership with UT Physicians Cardiology, Medical Genetics, and Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery.  The clinic’s mission is to provide expert risk assessment, personalized management and integrated clinical care for individuals and families with aortic aneurysms and aortic dissections, along with other vascular diseases and cardiac valve abnormalities.

The clinic, which opened on February 22, 2012, focuses on patients with thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections, congenital vascular disorders including bicuspid aortic valve, and other congenital vasculopathies.  The clinic offers long-term cardiology follow-up for patients with imaging surveillance, same-day interpretation of echocardiograms, and timely referrals for surgery or medical genetics evaluation and genetic counseling as appropriate.

Appointments can be made by calling (832) 325-7211.

The John Ritter Research Program’s Work Is Highlighted by the National Marfan Foundation

Posted on Tuesday, February 14th, 2012, by with Comments Off

The Winter 2012 edition of the National Marfan Foundation newsletter, Connective Issues, included a story on the collaborative research finding of an association with a common genetic variant in the population that predisposes people to thoracic aortic aneurysms (  Click here for the letter published in Nature Genetics.  This finding was announced previously on our website here.

Connective Issues also included a story on what we know about the genetic predisposition to thoracic aortic aneurysm or dissection in the absence of other syndromes, known as familial thoracic aortic aneurysm or dissection – FTAAD (  Read it to hear what the Director of our program, Dr. Dianna M. Milewicz, has to say about what we know today.

Thank you, National Marfan Foundation, for sharing this information with your readers!

Family Health History, Research, and the Holidays

Posted on Friday, December 23rd, 2011, by with Comments Off

Family gatherings over the holidays are perfect for collecting important family medical history information.  Read more here.  Now is also the perfect time to discuss enrolling in research.  Please tell your family about the research we are doing at the John Ritter Research Program.

Sofia Gutierrez Brain Aneurysm Awareness Fund Raiser Event Was a Wonderful Success

Posted on Friday, December 16th, 2011, by with Comments Off

The community really turned out to support the Gutierrez family for this event.  Local businesses sold products and food, offered wellness checks and flu shots, and sponsored fun activities for kids.  The Blood Alliance was there accepting blood donations, and the fire department was on hand with fire engines, including a pink engine supporting breast cancer awareness and signed by hundreds of people.  A local helicopter emergency service got a lot of attention when it flew in and landed nearby for people to view.  There was an honor guard, a children’s choir, a live band, and a luminary ceremony.  A silent auction was also held.  All proceeds benefited the Sofia Alejandra Gutierrez Brain Aneurysm Research Fund at the John Ritter Research Program at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston. 

Thank you, Monica and Omar Gutierrez, for planning and organizing this event, for your support of the research being done on intracranial aneurysms at the John Ritter Research Program, and for your tireless commitment to increasing public awareness that some individuals may be predisposed to these aneurysms based on their family history.




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