Using Light-Emitting Devices Before Bed May Impact Sleep

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 22, 2015

Using certain light-emitting electronic devices in the hours before bedtime may negatively impact overall health.

Can the way you read before bedtime affect the quality of your sleep?

Recent research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) suggests that the use of light-emitting electronic devices – tablets, some e-readers, smart phones, and laptops – in the hours before bedtime can negatively impact overall health, alertness, and the circadian clock, which synchronizes the daily rhythm of sleep to external environmental cues.

“We found the body’s natural circadian rhythms were interrupted by the short-wavelength enriched light, otherwise known as blue light, from these electronic devices,” says Anne-Marie Chang, PhD, corresponding author and associate neuroscientist in BWH’s Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders. “Participants reading a light-emitting e-book took longer to fall asleep and had reduced evening sleepiness, reduced melatonin secretion, later timing of their circadian clock, and reduced next-morning alertness.”

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Conversations that Matter: Living Life to the Fullest as Long as Possible

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 20, 2015

Atul Gawande, MD, MPH

There were a lot of subjects that Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, learned about in medical school, but mortality wasn’t one of them.

“My professors, fellow students, and I thought we wanted to learn about how the human body works, how it goes wrong, and ways we can fix it,” said Dr. Gawande during a recent lecture at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). Dr. Gawande is a renowned BWH surgeon, writer, researcher, and executive director of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation at BWH and the Harvard School of Public Health.

After caring for patients nearing the end of their lives and contending with health problems that couldn’t be solved, Dr. Gawande felt he didn’t fully understand how to be helpful in these situations. Wanting to learn more, he set out to interview patients, family members, physicians, home health aides, and others from BWH and across the country about what matters in the end.

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Evaluating Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Infertility

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 15, 2015

Studies show that acupuncture has a placebo effect in improving pregnancy rates during IVF cycles.

Today’s post was written by Dr. Elena Yanushpolsky, an infertility specialist with the Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). Dr. Yanushpolsky is also the Director of the Brigham and Women’s Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery at South Shore Hospital in South Weymouth.

When conventional fertility treatments do not result in successful pregnancies, couples suffering from infertility often search for alternative or complementary treatment options. Before considering these complementary treatments, it’s essential that patients have a good understanding of the associated risks and benefits, and overall effectiveness, much as they would with conventional therapies.

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Using 3-D Printing to Improve Face Transplantation

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 13, 2015

3-D models give physicians an opportunity to plan and test techniques before performing face transplant surgery.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is now using 3-D printing to help physicians prepare for face transplant surgeries and to help monitor the progress of their patients after face transplant surgery.

Dr. Frank J. Rybicki, Director of the BWH Applied Imaging Science Laboratory and Dr. E.J. Caterson from the Department of Surgery have developed 3-D models – before and after surgery – of the skeletal structures and the overlying soft tissue of two BWH face transplant recipients thus far. The precise 3-D models, which are based on CAT scan images, give physicians a more thorough, and tangible, representation of a face transplant recipient’s facial tissue.

“The tissues that are 3-D printed in one piece are much better than photographs,” says Caterson. “They provide a better understanding of a patient’s facial structure than any two-dimensional representation can.”

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New Evidence that a Mediterranean Diet May Lead to a Longer Life

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 8, 2015

Researchers have found that sticking to a Mediterranean diet may lead to a longer life.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have found that sticking to a Mediterranean diet may lead to a longer life.

The findings are based on the study of telomeres, the repetitive DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes. These chromosome tips get shorter every time a cell divides, and their length is a reliable biomarker (biological indicator) of aging in humans. Shorter telomeres have been associated with an increased risk of aging-related diseases (particularly cardiovascular diseases) and a decrease in life expectancy, while longer telomeres, correspondingly, have been linked with longevity.

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Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases – New Home for Medical Advances

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 6, 2015

The Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases will soon move to the Brigham Building for the Future.

Today, more than 50 million people worldwide suffer from complex neurologic diseases. In recent years, however, researchers have made significant advances in their understanding of these conditions. To leverage this progress, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has developed the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases. Led by Co-Directors Howard L. Weiner, MD, and Dennis J. Selkoe, MD, the Center is a collaborative, global effort designed to accelerate treatment, prevention, and cures for five of the world’s most complex neurologic diseases – multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Parkinson’s disease, and brain tumors.

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Countdown to the New Year – Top Ten Posts for 2014

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

The blog team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is counting down to the New Year by revisiting our top 10 blog posts published in 2014, beginning with number ten. We’d also love to hear from you – what were your favorites? Thank you for your comments, questions, and continued interest in HealthHub. We wish you a healthy and happy New Year.

#10 – Video – Comprehensive Spine Care

Certain spinal conditions, such as back pain, are very common. However, treating these conditions can require the expertise and coordination of more than one medical specialty. Often, the first step is conservative, non-operative treatment by physiatrists, pain management physicians, and other specialists. Learn how our surgical and non-surgical spine specialists collaborate on care for patients with spinal disorders.

#9 – Improving Joint Replacement:  Consultation through Recovery

Based on the work of the Care Improvement Team, led by orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Wright, Brigham and Women’s Hospital uses a standardized approach to total knee replacement that guides how patients should be treated, from the time they arrive at the hospital for a consultation to the care they receive after discharge. This process has improved patient outcomes.

#8 – Colorectal Cancer: Do Men and Women Have Different Symptoms

Risk factors for colorectal cancer — which include age, family history of the disease, or having Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis — are similar for men and women. However, lifestyle choices that may impact the risk can differ between men and women. These include obesity, lack of physical activity, low vitamin D, and consuming a high amount of red meat.


#7 – Should You Go without Gluten?

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. Read more about how gluten can affect your health and the benefits of avoiding it.


#6 – Keys to Preventing Lyme Disease

Dr. Nancy Shadick, a rheumatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), and her team have developed entertaining, interactive programs to increase people’s knowledge about Lyme disease, the consequences of the disease, and prevention techniques. Play the game to learn how you can prevent Lyme disease, a tick-borne infection that can cause neurological and joint problems.

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Year-End Inspirations

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

Ali Barton with her newborn son, Ethan.

It’s been an inspiring year of life-giving medical breakthroughs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital (BWFH). Today, with just 48 hours left in the calendar year, we reflect on some of the incredible stories of medical breakthroughs that have saved and changed the lives of patients and families this past year.

Stories like that of Ali Barton, a young heart patient who defied the odds to give birth to a beautiful son she describes as her “miracle baby.”

Or stories like that of Will Lautzenheiser, who had a successful double arm transplant this fall that restored his ability to feed himself and hug his loved ones.

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Heart Transplant Patient Celebrates 25 Years with Donor Heart

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

Heart transplant recipient Marie Larner (seated in front) and her family.

This holiday season, 81-year-old Marie Larner, a patient at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), says she has a lot to be thankful for.

Twenty-five years ago, the Swansea, MA resident became the recipient of a healthy new heart. Her own heart had enlarged to three times its size due to an infection, causing heart failure. She remembers being at her local hospital when she first heard there was a donor. “When they told me, I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “Everybody was so excited, including my doctors. It came so fast, which was fortunate for me, because I don’t think I had much longer to go.”

Marie is one of hundreds of patients who have received a second chance at life due to the efforts of BWH’s Heart Transplant Program, which is celebrating its 30th year. In 1984, a surgery team led by cardiac surgeon Lawrence H. Cohn, MD, performed New England’s first heart transplant. Today, the team-based program consists of cardiac surgeons, cardiologists, and nurse practitioners. The BWH Heart Transplant team has performed over 600 heart transplants, the most of any New England hospital. It remains one of the busiest cardiac transplantation and mechanical circulatory support programs in the region.

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It’s Your Turn – Guide the Future of Sleep Apnea Research

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 18, 2014

MyApnea.Org relies on partnerships and inclusion in its mission to improve sleep apnea treatment and research.

Do you or a family member suffer from sleep apneaMyApnea.Org wants to hear from you!

MyApnea.Org is a new initiative that aims to create partnerships among patients with sleep apnea, clinicians, and researchers. MyApnea.Org is one of 18 patient-powered networks that together are building a national network to support new models for finding answers to questions patients are most interested in. The initiative is funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and is led by  Susan Redline, MD, MPH, Associate Clinical Director, Sleep Disorders Service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and partners at  the American Sleep Apnea Association,  the largest sleep apnea advocacy group. The vision is to create a new model for future clinical research, where patients help direct the work needed to understand which treatments are most effective and what further research is needed to improve the quality of life for patients with sleep apnea.

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