Understanding the Role of Integrative Medicine

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 16, 2014

Osher Clinical Center leadership (left to right): Donald B. Levy, MD; Helen Langevin, MD; and Peter Wayne, PhD

Many of us believe integrative medicine is an alternative to traditional medical therapy or a complement to it. Yet, neither of these is an accurate description according to Donald B. Levy, MD, Medical Director, Osher Clinical Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

Dr. Levy defines integrative medicine as a philosophy of healing that focuses on non-invasive therapies and lifestyle habits to enhance the body’s ability to heal. Integrative medicine, which includes therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, and massage, is particularly beneficial for patients with chronic health conditions, says Dr. Levy.

In this video, Dr. Levy describes the role of integrative medicine and how physicians at the Osher Clinical Center work collaboratively with physicians in other medical specialties at BWH to optimize patient care.

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Options for Losing Weight and Staying Healthy Throughout Life

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 11, 2014

Dr. Ali Tavakkoli

Losing weight is about more than looking good. It’s also important for your long-term health, especially if your body mass index is over 35. According to Ali Tavakkoli, MD, Co-Director of the Center for Weight Management and Metabolic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), if an individual’s weight reaches a BMI of 40, life expectancy is reduced by eight to ten years, equivalent to being a lifelong heavy smoker.

Options for losing weight include lifestyle changes (diet and exercise), medications, and surgery (for patients with a BMI over 40 or a BMI of 35 with certain conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension). Within each of these options, patients have many additional choices.

The BWH Center for Weight Management and Metabolic Surgery was created to help patients evaluate their weight loss options and streamline care. At the Center, weight management specialists, dieticians, and appropriate medical specialists provide each patient the appropriate dietary, nutritional, behavioral, and medical support to help them improve their health.

Watch a video with Dr. Tavakkoli to learn what patients can expect during an evaluation at the Center and the treatment options that are available.

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Five Things You Need to Know About Glioblastomas

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 9, 2014

Glioblastoma is the most common type of primary brain tumor.

The Center for Neuro-Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center brings together cancer experts from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to offer state-of the-art treatment for patients with brain tumors, spinal cord tumors, and neurologic complications from cancer. Today’s post originally appeared on Insight, the blog of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Glioblastomas are the most common primary cancer of the brain. Although it is a fast-moving cancer, doctors know a lot about this type of tumor and are finding ways to fight it.

Here are five things you need to know about glioblastomas:

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A Link between Insomnia and Depression?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 4, 2014

People with insomnia are twice as likely to develop depression compared to those without insomnia.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly seven percent of adults in the U.S. experienced at least one major depressive episode during 2012. Women, in particular, are twice as likely as men to experience depression. Therapy and antidepressant medications are common treatments for depression, but can treating insomnia be another route to combating the mood disorder?

People with insomnia are twice as likely to develop depression compared to those without insomnia. Chronic primary insomnia, which is defined as sleep problems not associated with other health conditions, may increase a person’s risk for depression later in life. So what makes a person with insomnia more susceptible to future depression?

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Treatment Options for Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers

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

Chrysalyne D. Schmults, MD, MSCE

When people think about skin cancer, they usually think about melanoma; however, basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers are much more common, explains Chrysalyne D. Schmults, MD, MSCE, Director, Mohs and Dermatologic Surgery Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. There are approximately 80,000 cases of melanoma in the U.S. each year, versus more than one million cases of basal and squamous cell cancer. Additionally, the incidence of basal and squamous cell cancers is increasing, particularly among younger adults in their twenties and thirties.

While melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer, basal cell and squamous cell cancers are serious conditions that still need to be treated. Treatment options for cases where basal and squamous cell cancers are limited to the skin’s surface (the epidermis) include topical medications, light therapies, and  freezing techniques. In cases where basal and squamous cell cancers have invaded the deeper layers of the skin (the dermis), the affected areas must be surgically removed.

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Better Sitting Posture for Better Health

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 28, 2014

Slight slouching

Today’s blog post was written by Arthur Madore, MT, a licensed massage therapist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Osher Clinical Center .

I am often asked for advice on the best sitting posture. The problem is that there is no one position that will be comfortable for everyone over a prolonged period of sitting. But there are some steps you can take to avoid strain and pain.

Prolonged sitting at a computer can be particularly problematic. Despite our best efforts, most people begin to slouch and thrust their head forward within a short period of time in front of a computer. This creates a number of problems, such as:

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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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