Recognizing American Heart Month

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 9, 2016

heart-stethoscope
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death among both men and women in the United States, but many advances are being made in the fight against heart disease. In recognition of American Heart Month, we have compiled videos from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Heart & Vascular Center experts to provide you with information on many of the latest approaches in heart disease treatment and prevention.

Targeting Inflammation– A Key to Preventing Heart Disease

Research led by Dr. Paul Ridker, Director of the BWH Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, determined that people with higher blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a measure of inflammation, are at increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the future. In this video, Dr. Ridker discusses the role of inflammation in heart disease.

Read More »

No Time to Exercise? – Try High-Intensity Interval Training

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 4, 2016

High-intensity interval training (HITT) is a form of exercise in which short periods of intense exercise are alternated with less intense recovery periods.

High-intensity interval training (HITT) is a form of exercise in which short periods of intense exercise are alternated with less intense recovery periods.

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.

What is high-intensity interval training?

High-intensity interval training (HITT) is a form of exercise in which short periods of intense exercise are alternated with less intense recovery periods. It also may be called high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE), sprint interval training (SIT), or Tabata (after the professor who studied this type of training in Olympic speed skaters).

Any form of cardiovascular exercise can be used to develop a HIIT program. A session usually lasts from five to 30 minutes, and intervals can range from five seconds to eight minutes. The high-intensity interval should be performed at 80 to 95 percent of your maximal heart rate. Recovery periods should be performed at 40 to 50 percent of your maximal heart rate. The workout then continues with alternating high-intensity and recovery periods until completion.

Read More »

The Benefits of Reading Begin at Birth

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 2, 2016

By reading to their babies, parents are not only bonding with them and reducing some of the stress of being in the NICU, but they’re also aiding in their children’s brain development.

By reading to their babies in the NICU, parents are aiding in their children’s brain development.

During a newborn’s time in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU), critical brain development is occurring, including the development of the pathways that control language skills. By reading to their babies, parents are not only bonding with them and reducing some of the stress of being in the NICU, but they’re also aiding in their children’s brain development.

“More than half of babies born at very low birth weight have language delays during childhood,” says Carmina Erdei, MD, a neonatologist in the Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). “This is not a coincidence, and there is something we can do about it.”

Read More »

The Zika Virus: What We Know Today

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 29, 2016

The Zika virus is spread by aedes mosquitoes.

The Zika virus is spread by Aedes mosquitoes.

Seemingly hot on the heels of the Ebola outbreak, the news headlines in recent days are dominated by the Zika virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus is spread by Aedes mosquitoes, and the most common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The cause for alarm, according to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, is that the “arrival of the virus in some cases has been associated with a steep increase in the birth of babies with abnormally small heads.” In a statement calling for the convening of a WHO emergency committee on the virus, she added: “A causal relationship between the Zika virus and birth malformations and neurological syndromes has not yet been established – this is an important point – but it is strongly suspected.”

Read More »

Cervical Cancer: Screening, Symptoms, and Prevention

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 28, 2016

PrintCervical cancer screenings, which typically include a pelvic exam and Pap smear, have significantly reduced the number of cervical cancer incidence and death rates in the United States. These screenings are especially important, because symptoms of cervical cancer often go undetected until the disease is more advanced.

“The vast majority of cervical cancers are early stage and often asymptomatic, which is why screenings are important,” says Alexi Wright, MD, MPH, a medical oncologist with the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

Read More »

New Heart Failure Therapy May Increase Life Expectancy

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 26, 2016

New Brigham and Women’s Hospital research suggests that certain heart failure patients may extend their life by switching medications.

BWH research suggests that certain heart failure patients may extend their life by switching medications.

New Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) research suggests that certain heart failure patients may extend their life by switching medications. The BWH-led study finds that patients with reduced ejection fraction (reduced ability to pump blood from the heart) can expect to live one-and-a-half to two years longer when treated with sacubitril-valsartan instead of enalapril, the current standard of care in heart failure.

Heart failure, the leading cause of hospitalization for Americans over the age of 65, accounts for more than one million hospitalizations in the U.S. each year. About one-half of the nearly six million Americans living with heart failure have the reduced ejection fraction form of the disease, which bears a markedly increased risk for future cardiac events and death.

Read More »

Eating for Optimal Health and Energy During Winter

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 19, 2016

Half of your plate should be filled with non-starchy vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower.

For a healthy meal, fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Today’s post is written by Erin Reil, RD, LDN, Senior Clinical Bariatric Dietician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Center for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery.

Whether your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight or to begin living a healthier life, many of us vow to improve our diets in January. Yet some of us also may be in need of an extra energy boost during the shorter, colder months of winter. Learn how you can improve your health and boost energy levels to make 2016 your healthiest year yet.

Plan Your Plate

Set aside time at the beginning of each week to plan and prepare meals. This technique will save you time, reduce stress, and make it less likely you’ll resort to unhealthy convenience foods when your schedule gets busy.

Read More »

Aspirin-Exacerbated Respiratory Disease: Recognition and Treatment

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 14, 2016

Patients with AERD may lose their sense of smell.

Patients with AERD may lose their sense of smell.

Aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD), also known as Samter’s triad or aspirin-sensitive asthma, is a chronic medical condition that affects patients with asthma. Along with asthma, patients with AERD also experience recurrent sinus disease with nasal polyps, loss of sense of smell, and sensitivity to aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). AERD affects about seven percent of all adults with asthma, or about a million patients in the United States. Because each of these symptoms may be treated by different physicians, many AERD patients may remain undiagnosed for years.

Read More »

Improving Quality of Life after Bariatric Surgery

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 12, 2016

zcvzcxv

After bariatric surgery, our patients report that they are able to move more easily, have increased energy, experience less aches and pains, and sleep better.

Today’s post is written by Laura Andromalos, MS, RD, LDN, Bariatric Nutrition Manager and Senior Clinical Bariatric Dietitian, Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Weight loss surgery, or bariatric surgery, is about much more than weight loss. In fact, it’s often called metabolic and bariatric surgery because it can lead to an improvement in many health conditions. Diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and sleep apnea may improve after metabolic and bariatric surgery. Many patients see improvements in their health before they begin to lose weight.

If your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 40 or greater than 35 and you have weight-related conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery. It’s important to emphasize that bariatric and metabolic surgery is not a quick fix. It requires preparation and a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle.  The Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital comprises a team of experts that can support you throughout your journey.

Bariatric and metabolic surgery also can lead to significant improvements in the quality of patients’ lives. After surgery, our patients report that they are able to move more easily, have increased energy, experience reductions in bodily aches and pains, and sleep better. These improvements enable our patients to enjoy their lives more fully. They are able to try new activities, such as dance, take long walks, travel with their families, or perform activities of daily living without becoming winded.

Read More »

Understanding and Preventing Ski and Snowboard Injuries

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 7, 2016

Downhill skiing and snowboarding are great ways to stay active during the winter months.

Downhill skiing and snowboarding are great ways to stay active during the winter months.

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; Nicole Durand PT, DPT, a physical therapist in the Rehabilitation Department at Brigham and Women’s/Mass General Health Care Center; and Emily Brook, BA, a research assistant in the BWH Women’s Sports Medicine Program.

Downhill skiing and snowboarding are great ways to stay active during the winter months; however, it’s important to recognize that injuries can happen, no matter what your skill level is. Before you hit the slopes this winter, make sure you are aware of the unexpected things that can happen. As always, see a doctor if you suspect an injury. Below, we describe some of the most common injuries associated with skiing and snowboarding and some tips to prevent injuries.

Read More »