Unhealthy Impact of Differences in Generic Pill Appearances

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 26, 2014

Generic versions of the same prescription drug may look significantly different in both shape and size.

All generic drugs are approved by the FDA as being interchangeable with each other, and studies show that they have similar clinical effects. However, depending on the manufacturer, generic versions of the same prescription drug may look significantly different in both shape and size. Not surprisingly, these inconsistencies can cause problems for consumers.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) researchers recently studied the activity of a large group of patients who recently suffered heart attacks and found that variations in the appearance of generic drugs were associated with a greater risk of patients stopping their essential post-heart attack medications.

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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: What You Need to Know

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

There are a number of treatment options for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Today’s post is written by Dr. Rachel Ashby, Director of the Donor Egg and Gestational Carrier Program at the Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. This article originally appeared in the Resolve New England newsletter.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affects between five and ten percent of women. This common endocrine disorder can cause disruption in ovulatory and menstrual cycles, as well as an excess production of male type hormones, all of which can cause infertility. The cause of PCOS is likely a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There is a twenty to forty percent incidence of PCOS in women where either a mother or sister has also been diagnosed with the disorder.

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Eating and Living to Keep Your Eyes Young and Healthy

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 19, 2014

A variety of lifestyle changes can help improve your eye health.

Today’s blog post comes from Dr. Donald B. Levy, Medical Director of the Osher Clinical Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of visual loss in older adults. Your risk of developing AMD is related to genetics, diet, blood pressure management, smoking, and other factors.

Diet and Exercise

A healthy diet, especially one rich in green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and collard greens, along with whole grains, nuts, and some fish, is good for eye health. Regular physical activity and avoidance of tobacco products also is recommended to avoid or slow the progression of AMD.

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Should You Go without Gluten?

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

Should you avoid eating grains that contain gluten?

Today’s post is written by Caitlin Hosmer Kirby, RD, a nutritional health coach at the Osher Clinical Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, led by Dr. Donald B. Levy, Medical Director.

You’ve probably noticed an increased number of food items marked as “gluten free.” Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, certain forms of oats, and in many processed foods.  Many people are becoming increasingly concerned about eating foods containing gluten. Gluten is responsible for the reaction that damages the lining of the small intestine in celiac disease. It also has been linked to less serious gastrointestinal complaints, such as diarrhea and bloating. Today’s post looks at how gluten can affect your health and what the benefits are of avoiding it.

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Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Treatment

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 12, 2014

Howard L. Weiner, MD

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease in which a patient’s immune system malfunctions and attacks the brain and spinal cord, causing neurologic injury. Dr. Howard Weiner, Director of the Partners Multiple Sclerosis Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), describes research focused on improving multiple sclerosis treatment and finding a cure for this debilitating autoimmune disease.

Areas of BWH research include an observational study of MS patients to understand the various forms of MS and its long term impact, development of therapies to stop MS attacks, the use of stem cells to regenerate the nervous system, and development of a vaccine based on the body’s immune system.

Watch a video of Dr. Weiner discussing multiple sclerosis research at BWH.

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Keys to Preventing Lyme Disease

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 6, 2014

Interactive training, including games, appeared to help children improve their confidence and ability to prevent Lyme disease.

It is often said that “knowledge is power.” Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) rheumatologist Dr. Nancy Shadick, however, has discovered that knowledge alone is not enough when it comes to effectively preventing Lyme disease,a tick-borne infection that can cause neurological and joint problems.

Through her research, Dr. Shadick has found that increasing knowledge about Lyme disease is a good start, but that we also need to proactively increase people’s motivations and readiness in order to change their behaviors. That’s why her team developed interactive programs to not only increase people’s knowledge about the disease, but also heighten the sense of their susceptibility and the potential consequences of the disease, promote the perception that taking preventive measures will provide worthwhile benefits, and, most importantly, increase people’s confidence that they can do something on their own to prevent it (self-efficacy).

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Vaccinations – Not Just for Kids, Adults Need Them Too!

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 5, 2014

Immunity against some diseases can gradually fade away over the years.

Adults who have never received childhood vaccinations can have serious complications from diseases such as the flu, pertussis, or pneumonia. And for adults who did receive all the recommended vaccines as children, immunity against some diseases can gradually fade away over the years, meaning that booster shots are needed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults (19 to 65+ years) receive the following vaccines:

Pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccine

This vaccine protects against serious infections caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae. Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but certain people are at risk for complications. You should get the pneumonia vaccine if you are 65 or older. If you are younger than 65, you should get this shot if you have a chronic illness, such as diabetes, heart or lung diseases, sickle cell disease, alcoholism, or cirrhosis. Other people who should get this shot are people with a weakened immune system, such as those with kidney failure, a damaged spleen or no spleen, HIV/AIDS, certain types of cancer, or those who smoke.

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Twenty-Two Years and Counting – Brigham and Women’s Hospital Ranked on U.S. News Honor Roll

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

BWH has been named to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals.

For the twenty-second year in a row, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has been named to the U.S. News & World Report’s Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals, ranking ninth. The Honor Roll highlights just 17 hospitals, out of nearly 5,000 nationwide, for their breadth and depth of clinical excellence.

We’ve gathered a few recent blog posts in our top ranked clinical categories to recognize the dedication and accomplishments of our doctors, nurses, researchers, and other members of our clinical teams.

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Cord Blood: Life Sustaining, Life Saving

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 30, 2014

Cord blood collection is a safe procedure for both mother and child.

Did you know that babies are born with a precious, potentially life-saving resource?

By donating your baby’s umbilical cord blood, the same blood that helped sustain your child while in the womb, you are providing something that could save the life of a patient with leukemia, lymphoma, or another type of life-threatening genetic disease. This is because cord blood has an abundance of blood-forming stem cells. These cells can be collected, preserved, and later transplanted to an adult or pediatric patient to help treat their disease. Building a bank of this resource is critical, as 70 percent of patients who need these cells don’t have a family member who is a matching donor.

It’s important to emphasize that cord blood collection is a free, medically safe procedure for both the mother and child, and the procedure doesn’t change the birthing process. The blood is collected from the cord after the baby is born, and no blood is taken from the baby. If the cord blood isn’t collected, this valuable resource is thrown away.

Mothers with a singleton pregnancy (one child) and who have no history of cancer or tuberculosis are eligible to donate their baby’s cord blood through the BWH Cord Blood Donation Program. Talk to your doctor, midwife, or nurse if you’re interested in donating. If you have further questions, please e-mail us at CordDonor@partners.org.

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Sleep – The Third Pillar of Good Health

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

Charles Czeisler, PhD, MD, Professor of Sleep Medicine

Most of us understand that good nutrition and exercise are essential to good health; however, many of us overlook the importance of sleep. Dr. Charles Czeisler, Chief, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, explains that sleep is essential to both our brains and our bodies.

During sleep, the brain is flushed of toxins and new learning experiences are integrated, says Dr. Czeisler. Inadequate sleep, he continues, can have wide-ranging effects on our physical health, including a dampening of the immune response, disruption of hormones that regulate weight, reduction in the effectiveness of insulin metabolism, and increased risk for calcification of the arteries. Dr. Czeisler also describes how artificial light exposure can lead to shortened sleep cycles or insomnia by disrupting our circadian rhythms.

Watch a video of Dr. Czeisler discussing the impact of sleep on health and innovative sleep research being conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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