Understanding and Preventing Overuse Injuries

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 23, 2015

Overuse injuries can be extremely difficult to treat, and their effects tend to linger.

Today’s post comes from Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin, Surgical Director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Team Physician for Stonehill College Athletics, and Dr. Matthew Riedel, an orthopedic resident at BWH.

With warmer weather headed our way and more people running more frequently, we would like to focus this segment of our running/marathon blog series on overuse injuries and how to avoid them. As opposed to acute injuries, which happen suddenly, overuse injuries are more subtle and occur as a result of repetitive microtrauma (small injuries) to the musculoskeletal system. Given the subtle and chronic nature of these injuries, they can be extremely difficult to treat and their effects tend to linger and can be bothersome for weeks to months. These injuries occur when there is an imbalance in your body’s remodeling process – the natural breakdown and rebuilding of tissues that occurs with exercise and rest. Ramping up your exercise too quickly, not allowing adequate recovery between workouts, or using poor form/technique can lead to these injuries by overly stressing a specific muscle group, tendon, ligament, bone, or joint. Unfortunately, the treatment for these injuries is mainly supportive – greatly scaling back your exercise/training routine or resting the injured body part altogether, using anti-inflammatory medications and ice, and, most importantly, giving yourself time to heal. The good news is that many, if not all, overuse injuries are 100 percent avoidable by listening to your body and following a few simple guidelines.

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Facing Gynecologic Surgery While Experiencing Infertility

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 21, 2015

Antonio Gargiulo, MD, Medical Director, Center for Robotic Surgery

Today’s post is written by Antonio Gargiulo, MD, Medical Director, Center for Robotic Surgery and a fertility expert in the Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery (CIRS) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts and the Center for Reproductive Care at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire.

Often my patients experiencing infertility need gynecologic surgery because certain conditions can either cause infertility or impair infertility treatments. Most of these conditions can be treated through minimally invasive surgical techniques, resulting in fewer complications and quicker recovery.

The following post provides information about conditions requiring gynecologic surgery and your treatment options. I recommend that all women of reproductive age that need gynecologic surgery should consult a reproductive surgeon (infertility specialists who practice gynecologic surgery). These physicians have received highly specialized surgical training, which is critical in successfully treating gynecologic conditions that may affect your fertility. I also remind patients that obtaining a second opinion before agreeing to any surgical plan is an essential step in their care.

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Boston Marathon – Getting Ready for Race Day

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 16, 2015

Dr. Cheri Blauwet is a member of the Women’s Sports Medicine team and two-time winner of the Boston Marathon women’s wheelchair division.

Today’s post is from Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin, Surgical Director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Team Physician for Stonehill College Athletics, and Dr. Cheri Blauwet, a member of the Women’s Sports Medicine team and two-time winner of the Boston Marathon women’s wheelchair division.

As we move into spring, road race season has come into full gear. Distance running is a great form of cardiovascular exercise and is available at distances from the mile to the marathon – and everything in between! Perhaps you are even training for the big event, our own Boston Marathon.

When thinking about race day, it is important to keep some basic principles in mind. By being well-prepared, your event is assured to be more fun and successful. Below are some tips.

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Turning Tragedy into Hope

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 15, 2015

Gillian Reny (second from left) and her family after the 2014 Boston Marathon

In honor of the spirit, resiliency, and strength our city showed in response to the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013, Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh declared April 15 as One Boston Day. With this new tradition, the mayor invites Bostonians to “come together, spread goodwill throughout the city, and recommit ourselves to our deepest values.”

The bombings tested our community and our hospital as never before. But as Betsy Nabel, MD, President of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) said, “As I reflect upon that day and our hospital-wide response, my most vivid memories are of the acts of humanity that shone through the tragedy.”

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Patient Turned Researcher Helps Advance Understanding of Brain Tumors

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 13, 2015

Steven Keating (right) holds a 3-D printed model of his brain.

Interested in seeing images of his brain, Steven Keating, currently a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab, volunteered for a research study while attending school in Canada in 2007. When researchers returned his brain scans, they delivered some startling news.

“The researchers told me I had an abnormality near the smell center in my brain, but that lots of people have abnormalities and I shouldn’t be alarmed,” says Steven. However, as a precaution, researchers advised Steven to get his brain re-scanned in a few years.

Steven’s next set of brain scans, performed in 2010, showed no changes. But in July 2014, he started smelling a strange vinegar scent for about 30 seconds each day. He immediately had his brain scanned and learned that the strange smell was associated with small seizures due to the presence of a brain tumor called a glioma. Steven’s glioma had grown to the size of a baseball.

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PCOS – Better Health Today and Tomorrow

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 9, 2015

PCOS symptoms typically develop around puberty, but the diagnosis does not occur until early adulthood.

Today’s post is written by endocrinologist and Co-Director, Margo Hudson, MD, and Meg Kruithoff, Patient Coordinator, of the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Program at the Gretchen S. and Edward A. Fish Center for Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The PCOS Program at the Fish Center provides women with coordinated, individualized care from experts in endocrinology, gynecology, dermatology, and nutrition.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is one of the most common endocrine disorders of reproductive age women. PCOS is characterized by irregular menstrual periods, high levels of androgens (male hormones), and, sometimes, ovarian cysts.

Obesity also is strongly associated with PCOS. At least half of women with PCOS are obese. Excess adipose tissue, or fat, contributes to the hormone imbalance. Obesity also puts a stress on the pancreas and increases the risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

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Understanding COPD

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 7, 2015

Anne Fuhlbrigge, MD

One of the more common and serious lung conditions among older adults worldwide, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with chronic inflammation.  The majority of cases of COPD are caused by exposure to tobacco smoke, but there are some other exposure factors that may contribute to the development of COPD, including indoor and outdoor air pollution and industrial chemicals.

In this video, Dr. Anne Fuhlbrigge, Clinical Director of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, discusses current COPD treatment and new therapies being studied. “Earlier identification and treatment for COPD, along with management of other health conditions, are important for improving outcomes of patients with COPD,” says Dr. Fuhlbrigge.

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Five Things You Should Know about Precision Medicine

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 2, 2015

Precision medicine involves testing DNA from patients’ tumors to identify the mutations or other genetic changes that drive their cancer.

When President Barack Obama rolled out his Precision Medicine Initiative, it included increased funding in the 2016 federal budget. Precision medicine is changing the way cancer is studied and treated. Here are five important things to know about it.

1. Precision medicine can improve diagnosis and treatment 

Physicians have long recognized that the same disease can behave differently from one patient to another, and that there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. Precision cancer medicine makes diagnosis of cancer and other diseases more accurate and evaluates the specific genetic makeup of patients (and, in cancer, of their tumors) to select the safest and most-effective treatments for them.

In cancer, precision medicine involves testing DNA from patients’ tumors to identify the mutations or other genetic changes that drive their cancer. Physicians then may be able to select a treatment for a particular patient’s cancer that best matches, or targets, the culprit mutations in the tumor DNA. While such therapies are not widespread yet, many cancer specialists believe precision treatments will be central to the future of cancer care.

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Innovative Stroke Treatments

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital March 31, 2015

Dr. Ali Aziz-Sultan

Each year, stroke impacts approximately 750,000 to 800,000 individuals in the United States. A leading cause of disability, many stroke survivors are left with significant speech, motor, and memory difficulties. More than half can’t return to work.

“Stroke takes a tremendous toll on patients, their families, and society in general,” says Dr. Ali Aziz-Sultan, Chief of Vascular/Endovascular Neurosurgery in the Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

In this video, Dr. Aziz-Sultan presents the two major types of stroke – ischemic stroke caused by a blood clot in the brain and hemorrhagic stroke caused by bleeding in the brain (the result of a ruptured aneurysm). In addition, he discusses the newest catheter-based stroke treatments for both conditions.

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Groundbreaking Alzheimer’s Trial Featured on CBS News

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital March 26, 2015

Reisa A. Sperling, MD

Helene lost her mother to Alzheimer’s. Now, her sister is battling the disease. While Helene is not showing symptoms, scans of her brain show the buildup of amyloid plaques that are believed to lead to the development of Alzheimer’s.

CBS News interviewed Helene, who is participating in a groundbreaking international clinical trial that is the first to examine early treatment of older adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease – with the hope of preventing memory loss before it begins. Led by Dr. Reisa Sperling, Director of the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s Disease (A4) Study is for people without symptoms, but whose brain scans show the buildup of amyloid plaques. The A4 study is currently enrolling 1,000 participants at 60 sites in the United States, Canada, and Australia. To learn more about the A4 study and other studies for Alzheimer’s disease, please contact the BWH Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment.

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