Avoiding Injuries while Being Active

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 25, 2016

During the late summer and fall, popular outdoor activities include tennis, golf, and running. In this blog roundup, Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin, Surgical Director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), offers some helpful advice on ways to avoid common injuries while enjoying these activities.


Women's Tennis doublesUnderstanding and Preventing Tennis Injuries

Tennis has many proven health benefits, such as improving cardiovascular fitness, balance, motor control, hand-eye coordination, bone strength, and flexibility. Learn how to avoid some of the most common tennis injuries, whether you’re a pro or a beginner.



golf shot manGolf Injuries – How to Avoid the Rough

Golf is a terrific way to enjoy the outdoors 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. Read our tips on the prevention of common golf injuries and how to recognize the signs of injury.




female athleteAvoiding Bumps in the Road while Training for a Road Race

In order to get ready for a long-distance running event, every runner should have a training plan that gradually builds intensity as race day approaches. This post explains some of the most common running overuse injuries and what you should do to get back on track.



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Mom with Breast Cancer Finds Care Close to Home

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 23, 2016

Breast cancer patient Cathy McCue (consent # 8413). Photographed at Dana Farber South Shore in Weymouth for Turning Point magazine Spring Summer 2016. Cathy McCue is a patient at South Shore who benefits from the expanded Young Women with Breast Cancer program.

Cathy, a 44-year-old mom from Hanover, Massachusetts, received breast cancer care close to her home through Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in clinical affiliation with South Shore Hospital.

When Cathy McCue, 44, tried to find words to tell her 8-year-old twin boys about her cancer, she turned to books like “Mom Has Cancer” and “Nowhere Hair.”

Her own story began in June 2015, when she felt a pain in her right breast while at the gym. After finding a lump later that night, Cathy, a homemaker in Hanover, Massachusetts, went to see her primary care physician, and was guided quickly through detection to diagnosis.

A biopsy revealed that she had triple negative breast cancer, in which the cancer cells do not have estrogen, progesterone, or HER2 receptors, and therefore do not respond to some commonly used breast cancer drugs.

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Preventing Premature Birth

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 18, 2016

Cropped shot of a young pregnant woman standing in her homehttp://

Medical and surgical treatment approaches can help prevent or delay preterm birth.

One in nine babies in the United States is born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy). These babies have a higher risk of short- and long-term complications, and the risk increases the earlier the delivery.

“There are a number of effective treatment approaches that are available to help prevent or delay preterm birth, depending on the patient,” said Dr. Thomas F. McElrath, director of the Preterm Birth Clinic in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). “Medications and, in some cases, surgery can be used to minimize risks associated with preterm delivery.”

To provide additional support to the cervix and help prevent preterm labor, specialists sometimes use a soft flexible ring (pessary) or a stitch (cerclage) at the cervical opening. Other approaches include the use of progesterone, a hormone, to prolong pregnancy.

In addition to a history of preterm delivery, other risk factors for preterm birth include prior cervical surgery, reproductive tract or uterine anomalies, multiple gestation pregnancy (twins, triplets, or more), low or high maternal age, and high blood pressure. Read More »

Psoriasis: Five Things You Need to Know

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 16, 2016

psoriasis on a mid age mans elbow. Not isolated.

An autoimmune disorder, psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that impacts an estimated 7.5 million Americans.

An autoimmune disorder, psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that most often appears as red, scaly patches that itch, crack, and bleed. The most common areas of skin that are impacted by psoriasis include the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. An estimated 7.5 million Americans are living with this condition that, when treated, can be managed.

With August being Psoriasis Awareness Month, here are five things you need to know:

  • The cause of psoriasis is still largely unknown. While the exact cause of psoriasis is not known, researchers are actively studying treatments that help skin not react to the immune system. They also are looking at the association between the disorder and other conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Generally, though, psoriasis is thought to be caused by abnormally fast-growing and shedding skin cells. The skin cells multiply quickly, causing the skin to shed every three to four days. It is also thought that the condition can be caused by a trigger – such as injury, sunburn, certain medicines, infection, stress, alcohol, or tobacco.
  • Psoriasis is not contagious, but it does run in families. Anyone can get psoriasis and it affects both women and men and all ethnicities at the same rate. One risk factor for the disorder is if someone in your family – father, mother, grandparent, aunt, uncle – has psoriasis.

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How Does Your Gut Impact Your Health?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 11, 2016

Beautiful vector illustration of bacterial flora in human internal organs. Abstract medicine concept. Useful for poster, indographics, placard, leaflet, brochure, print, book and ad graphic design.

Microorganisms in the gut produce important nutrients that are essential for your health.

Believe it or not, the bacteria and organisms living in your gut (constituting most of the human microbiome) affect your health more than you may think.

“The microbiome has as much influence on health and disease as our genomes and other environmental exposures,” said Dr. Lynn Bry, Director of the Massachusetts Host-Microbiome Center in the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

Microbes (microorganisms) in the gut, for example, produce important nutrients. These include Vitamin K, which provides appropriate clotting of the blood, and B vitamins (such as Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12) that are essential for a healthy brain and production of blood cells. They are also essential in maturing the immune system, gut, and other tissues.

Diet has major effects upon microbial communities. Changes in diet, including sudden changes in carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake, can rapidly alter the composition of the microbes in the gut and also impact what they do. Other factors that affect microbiota include antibiotic exposures and even factors such as exercise and sleep.

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Join Us to Learn about the Latest in Prostate Cancer

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 9, 2016

D'Amico blog

Dr. Anthony D’Amico, Chief of the Genitourinary Oncology Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, is one of the featured speakers at the Annual Symposium on Prostate Cancer.

Would you like to learn about the latest in prostate cancer prevention, detection, and treatment? Join prostate cancer experts from Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center at the 18th Annual Symposium on Prostate Cancer on the evening of Wednesday, September 7, 2016 in Newton, Massachusetts. (See below to register.)

Featured speakers will include Dr. Anthony D’Amico, Chief of the Genitourinary Radiation Oncology Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center; Dr. Mary-Ellen Taplin, Director of Clinical Research for the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center; Dr. Adam Kibel, Chief of Urologic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, and Dr. Jerome Richie, Chief of Urologic Surgery (Emeritus) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

Our team of pioneering, nationally and internationally prominent specialists will discuss:

  • Prevention with lifestyle modifications, including diet and exercise
  • Controversies about early detection and screening using PSA and other novel biomarkers
  • Surgical and radiation approaches, including newer less invasive techniques and procedures
  • Prostate cancer staging
  • Novel treatment for advanced prostate cancer
  • Management of side effects of prostate cancer treatment

PLEASE NOTE THAT REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO ATTEND THIS EVENT. To register, please call us at 1-877-DFCI-BWH or register online.

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More Good News about Nuts

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 4, 2016

Assorted Roasted Nuts in Small Bowl

BWH researchers discovered that greater intake of nuts is associated with lower levels of inflammation.

In a study of more than 5,000 people, investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have found that greater intake of nuts was associated with lower levels of biomarkers of inflammation, a finding that may help explain the health benefits of nuts. The results of the study appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“Previous studies have consistently supported a protective role of nuts against cardiometabolic disorders such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and we know that inflammation is a key process in the development of these diseases,” said corresponding author Dr. Ying Bao, an epidemiologist in BWH’s Channing Division of Network Medicine. “Our new work suggests that nuts may exert their beneficial effects in part by reducing systemic inflammation.”

Previously, Bao and her colleagues observed an association between increased nut consumption and reduced risk of major chronic diseases and even death, but few studies had examined the link between nut intake and inflammation. In the current study, the research team performed a cross-sectional analysis of data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which includes more than 120,000 female registered nurses, and from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which includes more than 50,000 male health professionals. The team assessed diet using questionnaires and looked at the levels of certain telltale proteins known as biomarkers in blood samples collected from the study participants. They measured three well-established biomarkers of inflammation: C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6 (IL6) and tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 (TNFR2).

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Five Things You Need to Know about Barrett’s Esophagus

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 2, 2016

A male patient in a doctor's office describes his symptoms.

A complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Barrett’s esophagus can be a precursor for esophageal cancer.

Barrett’s esophagus is a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and can sometimes be a precursor for esophageal cancer. The condition occurs when the tissue lining the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach) begins to resemble tissue that lines the intestines as a result of chronic regurgitation of stomach acid into the esophagus.

The condition is surprisingly common. Approximately one in six Americans has reflux symptoms weekly, and about 10 percent of these Americans have Barrett’s esophagus.

“Barrett’s esophagus is considered a pre-cancer, but with careful monitoring and treatment, specialists can help prevent it from turning into cancer,” says Charles Fuchs, MD, MPH, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

Here are five things you should know about Barrett’s esophagus:

What are the symptoms of Barrett’s esophagus?

Because Barrett’s esophagus is often a complication of GERD, many people show symptoms of GERD. These include chronic heartburn, nausea, pain in the chest or upper abdomen, vomiting, problems swallowing, or respiratory problems.

How does Barrett’s esophagus relate to esophageal cancer?

Having Barrett’s esophagus slightly increases your risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma, a cancer of the esophagus. If diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus, it is important to have regular exams to detect precancerous cells. If the cells are caught early, they can be treated before they spread.

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Controlling the Hunger Hormone

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 28, 2016

A young caucasian woman standing in front of the open refrigerator at late night, contemplating and wondering about a midnight snack in a domestic home kitchen. She is dressed in a bath robe hungry and looking for food. A symbol of dieting lifestyle. Photographed in vertical format.

Research has shown that ghrelin, also known as the hunger hormone, is impacted by sleep patterns and weight loss surgery.

Today’s post is contributed by Malcolm K. Robinson, MD, FACS, Director of the Nutrition Support Service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Laura Andromalos, MS, RD, LDN, Bariatric Nutrition Manager at BWH, and Hassan S. Dashti, PhD, a dietetic intern at BWH.

Have you ever thought about what makes you feel hungry or full? There are many signals in the body that help to control the amount of food we eat. Ghrelin, which is sometimes called the hunger hormone, is one of these signals.

Produced in the upper part of the stomach, ghrelin is a hormone that increases hunger. When the stomach is empty, ghrelin travels through the bloodstream and tells the brain to signal hunger. After eating, the stomach stops releasing ghrelin. Ghrelin levels change throughout the day. They are high just before eating a meal, letting you know that you are hungry, and low just after eating, letting you know that you are full.

When you eat less food through dieting, your ghrelin increases to high levels. This is your body’s attempt to make you eat more and slow weight loss. It also is part of the reason why people tend to feel hungrier during weight loss diets. On the other hand, overeating decreases ghrelin to lower levels, which results in less hunger, a sense of fullness, and less urge to eat. People with stable weights have fewer changes in their ghrelin levels and a more balanced sense of hunger and fullness throughout the day.

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What Are Precursor Blood Conditions?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 26, 2016

Irene Ghobrial, M.D. in her lab with a microscope.

Researchers in the Center for Prevention of Progression of Blood Cancers are seeking to understand why some patients with precursor blood conditions develop cancer and others do not.

Precursor conditions are early phases of blood diseases that may develop into cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia, Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, and multiple myeloma. Most people do not experience symptoms, and since doctors rarely screen for precursor conditions, they are often diagnosed after routine blood tests.

“Many diagnoses are purely incidental,” says Irene Ghobrial, MD, co-principal investigator at the Center for Prevention of Progression of Blood Cancers and medical oncologist in the Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

Patients with a precursor condition are often told to “watch and wait.” In other words, the condition is monitored and treatment only begins if it develops into cancer. Not every person diagnosed with a precursor condition will be diagnosed with a blood cancer, but many cases of blood cancer do develop from precursor conditions.

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