Ebola Preparedness at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 31, 2014

We're conducting extensive training to prepare for the unlikely arrival of a patient with Ebola at one of our sites.

Ebola continues to be a public health concern. As of this posting, no Ebola cases have been reported in Massachusetts; however, to ensure the safety of our patients and our staff, clinical leaders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital (BWFH) are conducting extensive training and preparation for the unlikely arrival of a patient with Ebola at one of our sites.

Eric Goralnick, MD, Medical Director of Emergency Preparedness, and Deborah Yokoe, MD, Hospital Epidemiologist and Medical Director of Infection Control, describe our Ebola preparedness plans.

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Five Things Young Women Should Know about Breast Cancer

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 29, 2014

Cancer experts from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) work together to provide cancer patients the latest therapies, including access to innovative clinical trials through Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. Today’s post originally appeared on Insight, the blog of DFCI.

While the majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer are age 55 or older, about 14,500 women age 45 and younger are diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. each year. Here are some facts about breast cancer all young women should know.

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First Do No Harm – An Opportunity to Stop Domestic Violence

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 27, 2014


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, offering us a good time to talk about this problem. Today’s blog post is written by Marta Chadwick, JD, Director, Violence Intervention and Prevention Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Center for Community Health and Health Equity.

Domestic violence remains a pervasive public health issue that impacts the health and well being of the communities in which we live, work and play. We have heard a lot about the issue in the last month, with a number of high profile cases in the media. Statistics indicate that one in four women and one in seven men have experienced sexual violence, domestic violence or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime.

Given the attention to this problem, many people are asking, “What can I do to stop this? How can I be part of the solution?”

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Stroke: Five Things You Need to Know

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

Call 911 immediately if someone is having difficulty smiling completely, lifting both arms, and repeating a simple phrase.

The American Stroke Association estimates that a stroke occurs every 40 seconds. It is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Here is some valuable information from our multidisciplinary stroke team that can help save lives.

  • Anyone can have a stroke. 

Many people assume that stroke only happens in older adults, but it can occur at any age, even in children.

  • Time is critical. 

Stroke deprives brain tissue of essential oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood, resulting in the death of brain cells. Every minute is critical. The faster a stroke patient receives treatment, the better the chance of recovery. That is why recognizing the signs of stroke is so important.

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Fostering New Collaborations in Integrative Medicine

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

Research shows that many areas of integrative medicine, including acupuncture, offer significant benefits for certain medical conditions.

Research shows that many areas of integrative medicine, including acupuncture, chiropractic care, tai chi, yoga, meditation, and movement therapy, offer significant benefits for many medical conditions when incorporated as part of a holistic approach to treatment. In fact, new supportive studies of the value of integrative medicine are being published every day.

“There is a tremendous amount of information about new uses and benefits in integrative medicine, as well as extensive ongoing research in integrative medicine, but it is difficult for everyone to remain abreast of each new finding or current study,” says Dr. Helene Langevin, Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

To help bring together leading integrative medicine researchers, clinicians, and educators in order to share ideas and collaborate with other researchers, the Osher Center has introduced a new online resource map and is holding its inaugural Integrative Medicine Research Forum.

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What’s a NICU Mom Thankful For?

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

The boys celebrate their first birthday with NICU nurses Kathy Moran (left) and Mary Ellen Musynski.

The breadth of medical expertise and advanced technology available in a Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is invaluable for treating and monitoring babies born with dangerous medical conditions. But helping these babies and their parents involves much more than providing state-of-the-art medical care.

Karyn, a North Shore mother of triplets born at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), is well aware of the scope of care provided in a NICU. She’s thankful for all the people who helped take care of her triplet sons – and her – while the boys recovered in the BWH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the fall of 2012. That includes people she saw nearly every day and people she never saw at all.

Her boys Tyler, Caleb, and Nathan were born at 27 weeks that fall. As expected with any child born that early, they all had issues with lung development, breathing, and feeding.

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Prostate Cancer Care – Determining Risk Is Key

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 14, 2014

Dr. Anthony D'Amico

Prostate cancer  is the second most common and deadly cancer among American men. About 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, and about 1 in 33 men will die from the disease.  Yet, despite the disease’s potential dangers, many men diagnosed with prostate cancer shouldn’t be treated aggressively, and others shouldn’t be treated at all (but still be closely monitored). This is why Dr. Anthony D’Amico, Chief of the Prostate Cancer Radiation Oncology Service at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, says that determining a prostate cancer patient’s risk level is critical to determining their treatment. Watch the video below to learn more.

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Innovations in Organ and Tissue Transplantation

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 9, 2014

The face transplantation team worked for more than 20 hours to restore the face of Charla Nash.

In 2013, nearly 29,000 people received a second chance at life through the generosity of organ and tissue donors. Organ transplantation was made possible due to the pioneering work of Joseph E. Murray, MD, who performed the first successful human organ transplant in 1954 at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, which later became Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

Dr. Murray received a Nobel Prize in 1990, in recognition of his contributions to the field of organ transplantation, including the development of immunosuppressive therapy to reduce organ rejection. Since that time, transplant specialists at BWH have achieved more firsts in organ transplantation in New England, including multiple organ transplants on the same day from an individual donor and multiple transplants on the same day from multiple donors.

Recently, BWH physicians achieved another transplant milestone by completing composite tissue allograft transplantation. This procedure allows surgeons to take something as complex as a face or arm and transplant it. In 2009, surgeons at BWH performed the first full face transplant in the U.S.

In this video, Michael J. Zinner, MD, Chairman, Department of Surgery, and Bohdan Pomahac, MD, Director, Center for Facial Restoration and Director, Burn Center, discuss transplant innovations at BWH over the past 60 years and the future of organ and tissue transplantation.

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Heart Failure Treatment Continues to Evolve

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

Ventricular assist devices soon may exist entirely within the body.

Heart failure patients have benefited greatly from treatment advances developed during the past several decades, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has long played a key role in this evolution of care. This includes the discovery that an ACE inhibitor could immediately stop the progression of heart failure and the first successful implantation of a total artificial heart in New England.

Dr. Mandeep Mehra, Executive Director of the BWH Center for Advanced Heart Disease, says that today’s heart failure patient has a number of options for effectively repairing, replacing, or recovering their heart function, and the future of heart failure care is similarly bright. Among his expectations is the gradual shrinking of ventricular assist devices, which will soon exist entirely within the body without the need for an external power source or any other external component. In the video below, Dr. Mehra further details how heart failure treatment has developed over the past 30 years and what we can expect for tomorrow.

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Imaging Technique May Reduce Need for Follow-Up Breast Cancer Surgery

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 2, 2014

The researchers' new breast imaging approach will be tested in the AMIGO suite.

Currently, up to 40 percent of patients undergoing breast-conserving surgery to treat cancer require re-operation because of a failure to remove all of the cancerous tissue during the initial operation. Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) researchers, however, have successfully tested an innovative tissue imaging approach that accurately distinguishes cancerous breast tissue from normal breast tissue and precisely defines the margins between the two – an advance that could significantly decrease the need for follow-up surgery.

The tool the researchers used for their study is called desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) mass spectrometry imaging, a technology that allows physicians and researchers to promptly evaluate human tissue. It works by electrically charging (ionizing) molecules in a tissue sample through the application of a microscopic stream of solvent. The mass of these ionized molecules is then measured and their distribution within the tissue is mapped.

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