Walk from Obesity – Raising Awareness

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

This year's Boston Walk from Obesity winds through the Arnold Arboretum.

This year’s Boston Walk from Obesity winds through the Arnold Arboretum.

This year’s Boston Walk from Obesity, sponsored once again by the Brigham and Women’s Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (CMBS), will take place on Saturday, June 4, from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The walk begins and ends at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital (BWFH) and winds through the beautiful Arnold Arboretum. Everyone is invited to participate by either walking or cheering on the walkers. Funds raised through the event will be used to support obesity-related research, education, and awareness programs promoted by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation.

Sheila Fitzgerald, 57, of Dedham, MA, will be participating in the Walk from Obesity again this year. Last year, she was among the top fundraisers in the country. Her focus this year, however, is more on raising awareness than raising money.

“I think it’s important to talk about obesity and educate people,” says Sheila.

She wants others to be more informed than she was. A lack of understanding is why it took her so long to consider weight loss surgery, she explains. The need for a knee replacement, however, pushed her to learn more about surgical options for weight loss.

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Brain Cancer Patient: Can Access to Medical Data Save Lives?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 24, 2016

The MRI image above shows a tumor in Steven Keating’s frontal left lobe.

The MRI image above shows a tumor in Steven Keating’s frontal left lobe.

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.

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Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer May Increase Risk of Depression

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 19, 2016

Paul Nguyen, MD, radiation oncologist

Paul Nguyen, MD, radiation oncologist

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.

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Golf Injuries – How to Avoid the “Rough”

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 17, 2016

Golf injuries are common at all levels of play.

Golf injuries are common at all levels of play.

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.

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Treatment Options for Meningioma

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 12, 2016

Dr. Ian F. Dunn

Dr. Ian F. Dunn, BWH Department of Neurosurgery

In observation of Brain Tumor Awareness Month, today’s blog post was written by Ian Dunn, MD, Department of Neurosurgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

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.

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Heart Disease Risk and Endometriosis

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 10, 2016

Stacey Missmer, ScD, Director of Epidemiologic Research in Reproductive Medicine at BWH.

Stacey Missmer, ScD, Director of Epidemiologic Research in Reproductive Medicine at BWH.

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.

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The Latest Research and Treatment for Adult Brain Tumors

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 5, 2016

Patrick Wen, M.D. and David Reardon, M.D. look at a computer with an image of an MRI. Photographed for BWH onclolgy advances.

Patrick Wen, MD, (left) and David Reardon, MD, are exploring new treatment options for adult brain tumors.

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.”

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Breast Cancer – New Surgical Advances

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 3, 2016

Breast cancer management today often incorporates a “less is more” approach.

Breast cancer management today often incorporates a “less is more” approach.

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.

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Melanoma – What You Should Know

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.

 

Sun-SafetySun Safety – Reducing Your Melanoma Risk

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.

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Circadian Rhythms’ Impact on Your Health

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

The circadian 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.

Circadian rhythms are biological processes that regulate numerous body functions throughout the day and recur according to roughly a 24-hour cycle.

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.

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