Patient Turned Researcher Helps Advance Understanding of Brain Tumors

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

Steven Keating (right) holds a 3-D printed model of his brain.

Interested in seeing images of his brain, Steven Keating, currently a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab, volunteered for a research study while attending school in Canada in 2007. When researchers returned his brain scans, they delivered some startling news.

“The researchers told me I had an abnormality near the smell center in my brain, but that lots of people have abnormalities and I shouldn’t be alarmed,” says Steven. However, as a precaution, researchers advised Steven to get his brain re-scanned in a few years.

Steven’s next set of brain scans, performed in 2010, showed no changes. But in July 2014, he started smelling a strange vinegar scent for about 30 seconds each day. He immediately had his brain scanned and learned that the strange smell was associated with small seizures due to the presence of a brain tumor called a glioma. Steven’s glioma had grown to the size of a baseball.

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Innovative Stroke Treatments

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

Dr. Ali Aziz-Sultan

Each year, stroke impacts approximately 750,000 to 800,000 individuals in the United States. A leading cause of disability, many stroke survivors are left with significant speech, motor, and memory difficulties. More than half can’t return to work.

“Stroke takes a tremendous toll on patients, their families, and society in general,” says Dr. Ali Aziz-Sultan, Chief of Vascular/Endovascular Neurosurgery in the Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

In this video, Dr. Aziz-Sultan presents the two major types of stroke – ischemic stroke caused by a blood clot in the brain and hemorrhagic stroke caused by bleeding in the brain (the result of a ruptured aneurysm). In addition, he discusses the newest catheter-based stroke treatments for both conditions.

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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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OR of the Future – Merging Precise Imaging with Precise Surgery

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

AMIGO houses a vast array of advanced imaging equipment and interventional (minimally invasive) surgical systems.

The Advanced Multimodality Image Guided Operating (AMIGO) suite at Brigham and Women’s Hospital is a state-of-the-art medical and surgical research environment that houses a vast array of advanced imaging equipment and interventional (minimally invasive) surgical systems. Multidisciplinary teams of specialists use the suite’s advanced technology and unique design to efficiently and precisely guide treatment — before, during, and after surgery — without the patient or medical team ever leaving the operating room.

The AMIGO suite gives physician-researchers an optimized setting for innovatively merging imaging and surgery to improve standard clinical procedures and to develop new therapeutic approaches. With the primary goal of improving the effectiveness of patient care, success already has been demonstrated in several treatment areas, including: image-guided therapy in open brain surgery, radiation treatment of prostate cancer and gynecological tumors, breast-conserving therapy, MRI-guided cryoablation (destroying diseased tissue via extreme cold), treatment of atrial and ventricular fibrillation, and brain tumor laser ablation (destroying diseased tissue with focused heat). In the following video, Dr. Steven Seltzer, Chair of the Department of Radiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Dr. Michael Zinner, Chair of the BWH Department of Surgery, offer an inside look at the AMIGO suite and detail its potential for improving the effectiveness of image-guided therapy.

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Stroke: Five Things You Need to Know

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

Call 911 immediately if someone is having difficulty smiling completely, lifting both arms, and repeating a simple phrase.

Do you know who is at risk of having a stroke?

Do you know the signs of a stroke?

Do you know what to do if someone is having a stroke?

The American Stroke Association estimates that a stroke occurs every 40 seconds. It is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Here is some valuable information from our multidisciplinary stroke team that can help save lives.

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Twenty-Two Years and Counting – Brigham and Women’s Hospital Ranked on U.S. News Honor Roll

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

BWH has been named to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals.

For the twenty-second year in a row, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has been named to the U.S. News & World Report’s Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals, ranking ninth. The Honor Roll highlights just 17 hospitals, out of nearly 5,000 nationwide, for their breadth and depth of clinical excellence.

We’ve gathered a few recent blog posts in our top ranked clinical categories to recognize the dedication and accomplishments of our doctors, nurses, researchers, and other members of our clinical teams.

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Comprehensive Spine Care: Surgical and Non-Surgical Treatment

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 6, 2014

Treating back pain can be very challenging, requiring the expertise and coordination of more than one medical specialty.

Certain spinal conditions, such as back pain, are very common. However, treating these conditions can be very challenging, requiring the expertise and coordination of more than one medical specialty, including physical medicine, pain management, and surgery.

“Back pain is a very common complaint, but a very non-specific complaint. Back pain and leg pain can be caused by many different things, including spinal stenosis, disk herniations, and instability. The procedures that we offer are really tailored to the specific patient with a specific disorder, based on imaging and exam,” says orthopedic surgeon Dr. Chrisotopher Bono, Co-Director, Brigham and Women’s Comprehensive Spine Center.

To ensure the correct diagnosis and treatment for spinal disorders, patients who are referred to the Brigham and Women’s Comprehensive Spine Center are evaluated with state-of-the-art diagnostic procedures and imaging. Often, the first step is conservative, non-operative treatment by physiatrists, pain management physicians, and other specialists.

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Meningiomas: Five Things You Should Know

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 30, 2014

A meningioma may reach a relatively large size before it causes symptoms.

Contributor: Ian Dunn, MD, is a neurosurgeon in the Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Dunn’s interests include surgery for meningiomas, chordomas, and other skull base tumors.

A meningioma is a type of tumor that develops from the meninges, the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Most meningiomas (90 percent) are categorized as benign tumors, with the remaining 10 percent being atypical or malignant. In many cases, benign meningiomas grow slowly. This means that depending upon where it is located, a meningioma may reach a relatively large size before it causes symptoms.

Meningiomas account for about 27 percent of primary brain tumors, making them the most common tumor of that type. Here are some common questions about meningiomas, with answers from our neurosurgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH):

What are the risk factors of meningiomas?

Meningiomas are most common in people between the ages of 40 and 70, and are more common in women than in men. Meningiomas are very rare in children, with pediatric cases accounting for only 1.5 percent of the total. There are not many predisposing factors associated with the development of meningiomas, but a few include:

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Spine Surgery: When Nothing Else Will Do

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

Cervical spine surgery patient - Diane Daigneau

Diane is back to work and play after cervical spine surgery.

For many years, Diane Daigneau of Woburn, MA, was able to successfully manage her back and neck pain. Through occasional chiropractic treatments and mild pain relief medications, she was able to continue to work and play.

A few years ago, however, she discovered that circumstances can change dramatically, to the point where even the best non-surgical care fails to provide adequate relief. Such was the case during the summer of 2013, when the pain radiating through Diane’s back, neck, and arms had become so debilitating and persistent that no physician was recommending anything other than cervical spine (neck) surgery.

From Manageable to Intolerable

Diane likes making things pretty. More than that, it’s her job.

She often spends several hours hovering over a single piece of furniture while meticulously applying delicate gold or silver leafing, or some other type of elegant exterior. It’s a mentally and physically demanding job, particularly for someone who has struggled with back and neck pain. But Diane’s pain was never so bad that she ever worried about not being able to do her job or any other enjoyable pursuits. That changed suddenly during a family vacation at the end of July 2013.

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It’s a Wrap – Top Blog Posts in 2013

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 30, 2013

The blog team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is wrapping up 2013 with a selection of our most popular posts.  We’d also love to hear from you – what blog topics would you like to see in 2014?

We wish you a safe, happy New Year and thank you for your support.

 

Face Transplant Recipient Focuses on Her Gifts

Carmen Tarleton, got a new start on life when she became the fifth BWH patient to receive a face transplant. A team of more than 30 physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists and others worked for 15 hours to complete the surgery. Carmen’s story demonstrates how the generosity of neighbors, friends, and strangers can restore hope and healing.

 

Morning Heart Attacks: Blame It on Your Body Clock

Have you ever wondered why most heart attacks occur in the morning?  According to recent research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Oregon Health & Science University, you can probably place some of the blame on your body clock which drives day/night variations in a protein known to be a risk factor for heart attacks and ischemic strokes.

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