Artificial Meniscus Offers Patients Real Relief

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

The artificial meniscus stays in place – even when squatting – without being attached to bones or any other surrounding tissue.

The artificial meniscus stays in place without being attached to bones or any other surrounding tissue.

Injury to the meniscus is one of the most common knee-related ailments and is often accompanied by pain, swelling, and difficulty with knee function.  Many patients with this problem will be able to regain normal function through a variety of well-known treatments. For those who aren’t that fortunate, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Andreas Gomoll, is working to offer an alternate solution.

Dr. Gomoll recently became the first physician in New England to perform a new type of knee surgery that replaces a patient’s damaged meniscus with an artificial implant made from synthetic polymers (plastics). The procedure is being offered to certain patients as part of a clinical trial studying the experimental device’s effectiveness at relieving pain and restoring function in the knee.

The artificial meniscus is inserted into a patient’s knee through a small incision (two to three inches). Because of its special design, featuring a thick rim and a thinner center, the device stays in place – even when squatting – without being attached to bones or any other surrounding tissue. Over time, the implant molds itself to the patient, creating a secure, comfortable shock absorber for the knee. This design is a significant advance from a similar approach that uses a metal device, which, due to its hardness, doesn’t provide shock absorption or mold itself to the patient’s anatomy.

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Ski and Snowboard Injuries and How to Prevent them

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 7, 2016

Downhill skiing and snowboarding are great ways to stay active during the winter months.

Downhill skiing and snowboarding are great ways to stay active during the winter months.

Authors: 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; Nicole Durand PT, DPT, a physical therapist in the Rehabilitation Department at Brigham and Women’s/Mass General Health Care Center; and Emily Brook, BA, a research assistant in the BWH Women’s Sports Medicine Program.

Downhill skiing and snowboarding are great ways to stay active during the winter months. However, it is important to recognize that injuries can happen, regardless of your skill level. Before you hit the slopes this winter, make sure you are aware of the unexpected things that can happen. As always, see a doctor if you suspect an injury. Below, we describe some of the most common injuries associated with skiing and snowboarding and provide tips to prevent injuries.

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Top Ten HealthHub Posts in 2015 – Share Your Favorite

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 31, 2015

We crunched the numbers and the results are in:  the most-viewed HealthHub posts published in 2015. This year’s list includes a wide range of topics, from a diet that may promote longevity to 3-D printing of blood vessels needed for organ regeneration. Share your favorite with family, friends, and followers. We wish you a healthy New Year!

 

#1 – New Evidence that Mediterranean Diet May Lead to Longer Life

2015-1

BWH researchers have found that following 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, which are a reliable biomarker of human aging. The researchers found that greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with longer telomeres.

 

#2 – Top 10 Health Care Innovations for 2015

2015-2Innovations that increase patient engagement, reduce costs, and advance digital health technology were voted among the most important innovations for 2015 by physicians, researchers, and other members of the health care community. Learn how big data, telehealth, wearables, apps, and other innovations will transform health care in the future.

 

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Brigham and Women’s Hospital Jumps to #6 on U.S. News Honor Roll

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

For the twenty-third year in a row, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has been named to U.S. News & World Report’s Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals, moving up three spots to number six. The Honor Roll highlights just 15 hospitals, out of nearly 5,000 nationwide, for their breadth and depth of clinical excellence.  

In today’s post, we’ve gathered a collection of videos highlighting life-giving breakthroughs in our top-ranked clinical specialties.

#2 Gynecology

Christopher P. Crum, MD, Division Chief of Women’s and Perinatal Pathology, discusses ovarian cancer risk and techniques for detecting ovarian cancer at earlier stages of the disease.

The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology supports women through all the stages of their lives, offering specialized evaluation and treatment for complex women’s health conditions, including gynecologic cancers.

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Growing New Cartilage in Novel Clinical Research Study

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital June 2, 2015

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Andreas Gomoll

An active 34-year-old and new father, Sean has been sidelined from physical activity for nearly a year and a half due to severe knee pain. Ten weeks ago, he underwent surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) to implant stem cells derived from the donated umbilical cords of healthy babies to repair a cartilage defect in his knee. The procedure was performed as part of a clinical trial, and BWH is one of only two hospitals in the nation to participate.

“For young patients like Sean, knee replacement is just not a good option,” says Dr. Andreas Gomoll, an orthopedic surgeon who is leading the trial at BWH. “Current options, such as using cartilage cells harvested from the patient’s knee or donor tissue, are good, but they have limitations that we are trying to improve upon with these new stem cell transplants.”

Sean was interviewed by WCVB-TV during his most recent follow-up appointment with Dr. Gomoll to discuss his recovery and plans for the future.

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Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 19, 2015

Dr. Michael E. Weinblatt

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common type of chronic arthritis caused by the immune system, affecting 1.3 million Americans. It’s a disease that mainly affects young people, so it typically begins at 20 to 40 years of age – but it can occur at any age. It’s characterized by an inflammatory reaction in the joints, which can lead to joint destruction. However, it also can impact other organs in the body, including the lung and heart.

There is no cure for RA. However, advances in rheumatoid arthritis treatment have led to a remarkable improvement in many patients. As a result, early diagnosis and treatment is critical. Fortunately, there have been exciting advancements in rheumatoid arthritis treatment that have slowed the progression of joint damage.

Michael E. Weinblatt, MD, Co-Director of Clinical Rheumatology in the Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), discusses rheumatoid arthritis treatment, along with an overview of promising research being conducted at BWH.

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Understanding Lupus

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 5, 2015

Lupus is a multisystem disease that can affect the skin, the joints, the heart, lungs, kidneys, and central nervous system.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body makes antibodies that contribute to inflammation, which results in tissue damage. It’s a multisystem disease that can affect the skin, the joints, the heart, lungs, kidneys, and central nervous system.

Lupus can occur throughout anyone’s lifetime. Though it can impact men, lupus is more common in women. Nine times as many women as men will develop lupus. It’s also more common in women of African American, Asian, or Latino backgrounds. Lupus may start during the teen years, with the peak incidence among women in their twenties and thirties. It’s estimated that there are about 500,000 to one million people affected with lupus in the United States.

Bonnie Lee Bermas, MD, Director of the Lupus Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), describes how BWH rheumatologists collaborate with physicians in other disciplines, such as nephrology, cardiology, neurology, and obstetrics, to provide comprehensive, advanced lupus treatment. She also describes BWH research on the causes of lupus and evaluation of new lupus treatments.

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Osteoporosis: Six Steps to Reduce Your Risk

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 4, 2015

Dr. Meryl LeBoff (right) specializes in educating and treating patients with osteoporosis.

Contributor: Dr. Meryl LeBoff, Director of the Skeletal Health, Osteoporosis Center, and Bone Density Unit in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. LeBoff specializes in educating and treating patients with osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the bones and increases the risk of fractures. Overall, approximately 54 million Americans have low bone mass or osteoporosis. The good news is that there is a lot you can do to prevent osteoporosis and new or repeat fractures.

“Although we have extremely effective therapies to treat osteoporosis, only about 25 percent of patients who experience a fracture are evaluated and treated for their underlying osteoporosis, resulting in a high risk of repeat fractures in the future,” says Dr. Meryl LeBoff.

  • Know your risks – Knowing your risks is the first step to prevention. Risk factors for osteoporosis include increasing age, being female, low bone mass, history of fractures, smoking, certain medical conditions (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis), and the use of prednisone and a number of other medications. At BWH, experts use a tool that combines a patient’s bone density testing results with other key risk factors to determine a patient’s likelihood of a fracture. This score is used to help guide treatment. They also use a special bone density test to identify vertebral fractures that can indicate the presence of osteoporosis. Read More »

Understanding and Preventing Overuse Injuries

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 23, 2015

Overuse injuries can be extremely difficult to treat, and their effects tend to linger.

Today’s post comes 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 Dr. Matthew Riedel, an orthopedic resident at BWH.

With warmer weather headed our way and more people running more frequently, we would like to focus this segment of our running/marathon blog series on overuse injuries and how to avoid them. As opposed to acute injuries, which happen suddenly, overuse injuries are more subtle and occur as a result of repetitive microtrauma (small injuries) to the musculoskeletal system. Given the subtle and chronic nature of these injuries, they can be extremely difficult to treat and their effects tend to linger and can be bothersome for weeks to months. These injuries occur when there is an imbalance in your body’s remodeling process – the natural breakdown and rebuilding of tissues that occurs with exercise and rest. Ramping up your exercise too quickly, not allowing adequate recovery between workouts, or using poor form/technique can lead to these injuries by overly stressing a specific muscle group, tendon, ligament, bone, or joint. Unfortunately, the treatment for these injuries is mainly supportive – greatly scaling back your exercise/training routine or resting the injured body part altogether, using anti-inflammatory medications and ice, and, most importantly, giving yourself time to heal. The good news is that many, if not all, overuse injuries are 100 percent avoidable by listening to your body and following a few simple guidelines.

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Turning Tragedy into Hope

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

Gillian Reny (second from left) and her family after the 2014 Boston Marathon

In honor of the spirit, resiliency, and strength our city showed in response to the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013, Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh declared April 15 as One Boston Day. With this new tradition, the mayor invites Bostonians to “come together, spread goodwill throughout the city, and recommit ourselves to our deepest values.”

The bombings tested our community and our hospital as never before. But as Betsy Nabel, MD, President of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) said, “As I reflect upon that day and our hospital-wide response, my most vivid memories are of the acts of humanity that shone through the tragedy.”

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