Don’t Let Your Man Skip Breakfast, for His Heart’s Sake

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 24, 2014

Men who skip breakfast are putting their heart health at risk.

If the important men in your life are not eating breakfast, this might help you to convince them they should.

Men who skip breakfast have a 27 percent higher risk of suffering a heart attack or developing heart disease than those who start the day with something in their stomach, according to BWH and Harvard School of Public Health research that was published in Circulation.

“Men who skip breakfast are more likely to gain weight, to develop diabetes, to have hypertension, and to have high cholesterol,” says BWH researcher Eric Rimm, senior author of the study.

For example, breakfast skippers are 15 percent more likely to gain a substantial amount of weight and 21 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, earlier studies have reported.

This study, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, found that these men also indulged more heavily in other unhealthy lifestyle choices. They were more likely to smoke, engage in less exercise, and drink alcohol regularly. The researchers analyzed data culled from a 16-year study of nearly 27,000 male health professionals that tracked their eating habits and overall health from 1992 to 2008. During the study period, 1,572 of the men developed heart disease.

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Cocoa and Multivitamins: Two Keys to Better Health?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 23, 2014

Does the cocoa bean contain heart health benefits?

Is there something valuable for your heart inside the cocoa bean?

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Mars, Incorporated are partnering to conduct the largest-ever clinical investigation of the heart health benefits of cocoa flavanols – especially their role in reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease.

Flavanols are natural compounds that can be found in cocoa beans and a variety of other food sources. Although cocoa flavanols can be found in some forms of chocolate, they can be provided in significantly higher concentrations as a capsule or powder (mix). In this particular trial, the cocoa flavanols will be provided in a capsule and compared to a placebo.

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Helping People Step Strong after Trauma

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 21, 2014

Gillian and her family hope that the Stepping Strong Fund helps others with traumatic injuries.

Imagine a world where patients with severe limb injuries – like survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings – could hope for better recoveries, with muscle, cartilage, and bone regenerated.

That vision draws closer every day, according to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) researchers. They are hopeful that a new initiative, the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund, will fuel breakthroughs for patients with traumatic, athletic, military, and disease-related injuries.

A year ago, Audrey Epstein Reny and Steven Reny were standing near the Boston Marathon finish line with their daughter Gillian, cheering on the runners and waiting for their oldest daughter Danielle to cross. When the bombs went off, the Renys were among the many innocent bystanders who were injured, Gillian critically.

The family was rushed to BWH, where clinicians worked to save Gillian’s life — and both of her legs. On that tragic day, dozens of patients were treated at BWH for similar injuries.

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Robotic Sleeve Gastrectomy – Latest Option for Bariatric Surgery

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 17, 2014

Dr. Scott A. Shikora, Director of The Center for Metabolic Health and Bariatric Surgery

Patients considering bariatric surgery have several options. The newest of the weight loss operations is sleeve gastrectomy, an alternative to  laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding or Roux-En-Y gastric bypass. With this procedure, the outer crescent of the stomach is removed, resulting in a stomach that resembles a tube. Patients lose weight because the capacity of the stomach to hold food is reduced by about 75 percent.

Additionally, the portion of the stomach that is removed is the area where a major hormone that regulates appetite is produced. Patients generally experience a dramatic reduction of hunger after the procedure. The sleeve gastrectomy is a bariatric surgery option for weight loss and metabolic treatment in patients with a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 40 or a BMI greater than 35 with co-morbid conditions.

At Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), surgeons are using the robot to further improve the sleeve gastrectomy procedure. In this video, Dr. Scott Shikora, Director of the Center for Metabolic Health and Bariatric Surgery at BWH discusses and demonstrates the robotic sleeve gastrectomy.

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Voice Matters: Spreading Awareness for World Voice Day

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 16, 2014

Conor O'Brien, second from right, will be participating in BWH's World Voice Day celebration.

Conor O’Brien, senior project manager in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, travels around the country educating firefighters about the importance of getting a good night’s rest. O’Brien depends on his voice to do his job, and he was hard at work when he first noticed some trouble.

“I was in Seattle, training a group of firefighters, and I was struggling to speak,” O’Brien said. “It was a big concern.” His anxiety was heightened due to the fact that he also sings in a band and teaches private voice lessons.

Conor was seen by BWH otolaryngologist Dr. Jayme Dowdall, who diagnosed him with laryngopharyngeal reflux, a condition linked to stomach acid that causes heartburn and irritates the larynx. Conor received intensive speech therapy with BWH speech pathologist Chandler Thompson, DMA, MS, CCC-SLP, and was soon back to work, singing and teaching.

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Treatment Differences May Increase Heart Disease Risk in Women

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 15, 2014

Women are less likely to be treated with potent cholesterol-lowering statins.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Yet a new research study led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) finds that women often remain unaware of their risk for heart disease and that differences exist in the treatment patterns and outcomes between men and women presenting with heart disease.

The study, titled “Women are Less Likely to Receive Evidence-Based Lipid Lowering Therapy:  Insights from a Managed Care Population,” is co-authored by Dr. JoAnne Foody, Medical Director of the Cardiovascular Wellness Service, and Dr. Fatima Rodriguez, senior resident, Cardiovascular Medicine.

Dr. Foody and her team compared high-risk men and women treated with cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins over a four-year period. Women in the study were less likely than men to achieve optimal levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), because they were less likely to receive treatment during the study period. The women were also less likely to receive treatment with more potent statins.

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Defying the Odds: Heart Patient Welcomes New Baby

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 10, 2014

Ali Barton with her newborn son, Ethan.

When Ali Barton, 31, was about 18 weeks pregnant, she began experiencing “bizarre” swelling in her legs, sudden weight fluctuation, and intense nausea after just a few bites of food. Her local care team at the time attributed these symptoms to her pregnancy, but a few weeks later, Ali went to her community emergency department, worried that she may have a virus.

Following an echocardiogram, she was immediately transferred to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), where a team of high-risk obstetricians and heart failure specialists were intensely focused on her care. Ali previously had been diagnosed with endomyocardial fibrosis, a rare disease that causes a thickening of the walls of the heart, resulting in difficulty pumping and fluid retention.

Ali’s physicians at BWH had never seen a case of endomyocardial fibrosis in a pregnant woman, and with no experience to go on, they were deeply concerned for the health of both Ali and her unborn baby.

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Myths and Facts about Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 8, 2014

The underlying cause of IBD is biological, not emotional.

Yesterday, Dr. Joshua Korzenik, Director of the Crohn’s and Colitis Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, along with Michael Currier PA-C, Beth-Ann Norton NP, and Annie Coe RN, gave us a valuable overview of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Today, the Crohn’s and Colitis Center team dispels some common myths about this gastrointestinal disease.              

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes two types of diseases: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. As the name suggests, these diseases involve inflammation in the upper (esophagus, stomach and small intestine) or lower (colon) gastrointestinal tract. IBD may be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which shares similar symptoms but is a completely different disorder. Patients with IBS do not have inflammation in the intestines. There is no cure for IBD, but proper care and treatment can help patients minimize the symptoms and prevent complications.

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What You Need to Know: Understanding Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 7, 2014

Dr. Joshua Korzenik

Today’s post was written by Dr. Joshua Korzenik, Director of the Crohn’s and Colitis Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, along with Michael Currier PA-C, Beth-Ann Norton NP, and Annie Coe RN, also members of the Crohn’s and Colitis Center.                       

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes two types of diseases: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. As the name suggests, these diseases involve inflammation in the upper (esophagus, stomach, and small intestines) or lower (colon) gastrointestinal tract. IBD may be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which shares similar symptoms but is a completely different disorder. Patients with IBS do not have inflammation in the intestines. There is no cure for IBD, but proper care and treatment can help patients minimize the symptoms and prevent complications.

IBD: A Common and Debilitating Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a fairly common condition. There are estimated to be more than one million people in the United States with these diseases, split equally between Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

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Last-Minute Tips for Marathon Runners

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 3, 2014

Make sure that you're prepared for race day before you head to Hopkinton – and the finish line. (Photo by Steve Gilbert)

Last month, Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin, Surgical Director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Women’s Sports Medicine Program and Team Physician for Stonehill College Athletics, offered runners important advice on how to prevent overuse injuries, which account for over 20 percent of running injuries in the leg. Now, with the Boston Marathon only days away, she has some last-minute tips for avoiding injuries and other problems on race day.

Hopefully, you and the thousands of runners training for the Marathon have avoided the most common overuse injuries of the legs by having trained properly over the past few months. The numerous hours and miles of training are now complete, and the last bits of preparation can begin.

Here are a few last-minute tips for avoiding injuries and other problems on April 21:

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