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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Preterm Birth May Increase Asthma Risk

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

Research suggests that preterm birth increases the risk of asthma and wheezing disorders during childhood.

Recently published research findings strongly suggest that preterm birth (prior to 37 weeks gestation) increases the risk of asthma and wheezing disorders during childhood. Furthermore, the risk of developing these conditions increases as the degree of prematurity increases.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH); Maastricht University Medical Centre and Maastricht University School of Public Health in the Netherlands; and The University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom reviewed and analyzed 30 studies investigating the association between preterm birth and asthma/wheezing disorders among 1.5 million children. These studies were conducted between 1995 and the present, a time span chosen to allow for recent changes in the management of prematurity.

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New Way to Study Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 1, 2014

New Way to Study Alzheimer's Disease

This image illustrates neurons derived from stem cells of a living patient with a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease. Neuronal protein is shown in green. Red depicts a subset of neurons affected in the disease process.

Using cells from blood relatives with familial Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a team of researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has been able to study the underlying causes of AD and develop new ways to test treatment approaches.

People with familial AD have a genetic predisposition that leads to early development of the disease. More than 200 different mutations are associated with familial AD. Depending on the mutation, patients with familial AD can begin exhibiting symptoms as early as their 30s and 40s.

“Our research using human cells affected by AD has been limited to tissue samples from patients who have already died from the disease,” says Dr. Tracy L. Young-Pearse, corresponding author of the study recently published in Human Molecular Genetics and an investigator in the BWH Center for Neurologic Diseases. “AD is characterized by the presence of amyloid-beta protein plaques and Tau protein tangles, but observing living cell behavior and understanding the role of these abnormal protein deposits and tangles and their relationship has been challenging.”

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Blue Light Boosts Daytime Performance

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

Blue light

Blue light exposure during the day immediately improves alertness and performance.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) researchers have found that exposure to short-wavelength (blue) light, which is abundant in daylight, during the biological day directly and immediately improves alertness and performance.

“Our previous research has shown that blue light is able to improve alertness during the night, but our new data demonstrates that these effects also extend to daytime light exposure,” says Shadab Rahman, PhD, a researcher in BWH’s Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders and the study’s lead author. “These findings demonstrate that prolonged blue light exposure during the day has an alerting effect.”

To determine which wavelengths of light were most effective in warding off fatigue, the BWH researchers teamed with George Brainard, PhD, a professor of neurology at Thomas Jefferson University, who developed the specialized light equipment used in the study. During a 6.5 hour period, one group of study participants was continuously exposed to blue light while a comparison group was exposed to an equal amount of medium-wavelength (green) light. Throughout the exposure period, brain electrical activity was monitored, reaction times were measured, and participants were asked to rate how sleepy they felt.

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