After participating in a brain research study, Steven Keating avidly collected and examined his personal medical data. Steven’s curiosity ultimately helped to identify his own brain tumor, a glioma, which was removed in the Advanced Multimodality Image Guided Operating Suite (AMIGO) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2014. Based on this experience, Steven is now a vocal advocate of providing patients with open access to their medical information. In this video, Steven shares the incredible story of how his life-long curiosity helped identify his brain tumor – and how curiosity about medical data also can help others.
Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 24, 2016
Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 19, 2016
A new Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) study has found a significant association between depression and patients being treated for localized prostate cancer (PCa) – cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate – with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Through drugs or surgery, ADT reduces a patient’s level of androgen hormones to prevent prostate cancer cells from growing.
“We know that patients on hormone therapy often experience decreased sexual function, weight gain, and have less energy – many factors that could lead to depression,” says senior author Paul Nguyen, MD, of Radiation Oncology at BWH. “After taking a deeper look, we have discovered a significant association between men being treated with ADT for PCa and depression.”
Nguyen calls this discovery “a completely under-recognized phenomenon.” Around 50,000 men are treated with ADT each year.
Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 17, 2016
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 Emily Brook, a research assistant in the Women’s Sports Medicine Program.
Golf season is here, with warmer spring weather and manicured greens. Golf is a lifetime sport – people of all ages and activity levels can participate. It is a great way to get outside and stay active, especially if you choose to walk the course. On average, a golfer playing 18 holes on foot will walk anywhere from three to six miles. Injuries are common at all levels of play, from first-time golfers to professionals. Before you take your inaugural swing of the season, be sure to check out the tips below on signs, symptoms, and prevention of common golf injuries.
Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 12, 2016
A meningioma is a type of tumor that develops from the meninges, the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. About 85 percent of meningiomas are categorized as benign tumors. Because most benign meningiomas grow slowly, they may reach a relatively large size before causing symptoms, such as headaches, blurred vision, seizures, numbness, weakness in the arms or legs, or speech difficulty.
There are generally three treatment options for meningiomas: observation, surgery, and radiation. The BWH Department of Neurosurgery is also conducting clinical trials to identify new therapies.
Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 10, 2016
Women with endometriosis, especially those 40 years of age or younger, may have a higher risk of heart disease, according to a recent study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). The study examines the link between coronary heart disease – which occurs when plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries and causes damage in the heart’s major blood vessels – and endometriosis, a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus. Researchers reviewed the records of 116,430 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II. Endometriosis was diagnosed using surgical examinations in 11,903 women.
Women age 40 or younger with endometriosis were three times more likely to develop heart attack, chest pain, or need treatment for blocked arteries, compared to women without endometriosis in the same age group. Researchers noted that surgical treatment of endometriosis – removal of the uterus or ovaries – may partly account for the increased risk of heart disease. Surgically induced menopause prior to natural menopause may increase the risk of heart disease, and this elevated risk may be more evident at younger ages.
Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 5, 2016
Historically, brain tumors have been some of the most challenging types of cancers to treat. A protective barrier around the brain – called the “blood-brain barrier” – can prevent cancer treatments from reaching the tumor. Recently, increased interest in immunotherapy has given new hope to getting through this barrier.
“We know the immune system can get into the brain to fight infections and inflammatory conditions,” says David Reardon, MD, Clinical Director in the Center for Neuro-Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. “Our current research is moving forward to a level where we’re critically confirming that these immunotherapy drugs are getting into the brain and making a difference.”
Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 3, 2016
Current trends in breast cancer management incorporate a “less is more” approach in many cases. This includes surgical treatment for breast cancer.
“We are finding that we can perform less extensive surgery and offer easier approaches for many patients with breast cancer, while still achieving excellent outcomes,” says Dr. Tari A. King, Chief of Breast Surgery and a member of the Breast Oncology Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.
Previous surgical treatment plans, for example, included full lymph node surgery for the presence of any cancer in the lymph nodes located under the arm. This can result in long-term arm swelling, a condition known as lymphedema. Recent studies have shown that, in patients with a limited amount of cancer in the lymph nodes (cancer in one or two nodes), it is not necessary to remove all of the remaining nodes. The lymph nodes can remain in place and the cancer can be successfully treated with other modalities, such as medical and radiation therapies.
Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 28, 2016
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and the most common of all cancers among 25- to 29-year-olds in the U.S. The American Academy of Dermatology designates the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday®, a day to focus on raising awareness about this dangerous disease and other types of skin cancer.
Reducing your exposure to ultraviolet rays, from sunlight and artificial light, is one of the most significant ways to reduce your risk of developing melanoma. Although it isn’t summer yet, the effects of the sun now are similar to that of a mid-August day. Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) dermatologist Dr. Deborah Scott offers some tips to help you stay safe in the sun.
Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 26, 2016
Why do people have an increased risk for heart attacks in the morning? Why is asthma more severe at night? Why are epilepsy symptoms more prevalent at certain times of the day? Research suggests that these and other tendencies are driven by our circadian rhythms (body clock).
Understanding Circadian Rhythms
Circadian rhythms are biological processes that regulate numerous body functions throughout the day and recur according to roughly a 24-hour cycle. The timing of these processes is controlled by the brain’s central clock, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (located in the hypothalamus), as well as peripheral clocks located in virtually all organs and tissues. Although circadian rhythms are inborn, they adjust according to external cues – especially the presence or absence of light.
Studying Their Impact on Health
Researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Medical Chronobiology Program study how the circadian system impacts our health. They have shown, for example, that the system signals the body to increase production of a certain protein that promotes blood clotting at about the same time as a person normally wakes up. This may partially account for why we observe more heart attacks, stroke, and sudden cardiac death during the early morning hours.
Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 21, 2016
Dr. Yi Lu, a neurosurgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), was moved to tears when 23-year-old Anthony Hodges walked into the Neurosurgery clinic for a follow-up appointment.
“I couldn’t believe it,” says Dr. Lu, who performed emergency spine surgery on Anthony after a car accident left him paralyzed. “With his type of complete spinal cord injury, Anthony had less than a five percent chance of ever walking again. His case was a miracle.”
In July 2015, Anthony, the former captain of the Salem State University basketball team, was riding in the passenger seat during a car accident. The crash left Anthony unable to move his hands, legs, or feet. He was rushed to BWH for surgery, where doctors determined that he had a complete spinal cord injury – an injury that often results in the permanent loss of function below the injury site, which, in Anthony’s case, was a spinal disc near the back of his neck. During surgery, which occurred just six hours after the accident, a surgical team removed a broken vertebra that was pressing on Anthony’s spinal cord and replaced it with a bone graft that was stabilized with a titanium plate.