Hip-Spine Syndrome: It’s Complicated (and Often Overlooked)

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

A patient with hip arthritis may experience hip or groin pain as well as trouble walking, while a patient with lumbar spinal stenosis may have pain down their leg, or neurologic symptoms such as numbness, tingling or weakness.

3d rendered illustration of a man having backache

Hip-spine syndrome is a condition where both hip and spine problems are occurring in tandem.

“Hip-spine syndrome is a distinct syndrome where both hip and spinal problems are occurring together,” said James D. Kang, MD, Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

And yet, because hip and spine disorders have overlapping presentations and symptoms, it can often be challenging for physicians to determine if a patient’s symptoms originate from the hip, spine or both. This can delay diagnosis and treatment, and many patients with hip-spine syndrome have seen several physicians and therapists, or may have undergone various procedures that did not relieve their pain. Read More »

How Does Your Gut Impact Your Health?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 11, 2016

Beautiful vector illustration of bacterial flora in human internal organs. Abstract medicine concept. Useful for poster, indographics, placard, leaflet, brochure, print, book and ad graphic design.

Microorganisms in the gut produce important nutrients that are essential for your health.

Believe it or not, the bacteria and organisms living in your gut (constituting most of the human microbiome) affect your health more than you may think.

“The microbiome has as much influence on health and disease as our genomes and other environmental exposures,” said Dr. Lynn Bry, Director of the Massachusetts Host-Microbiome Center in the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

Microbes (microorganisms) in the gut, for example, produce important nutrients. These include Vitamin K, which provides appropriate clotting of the blood, and B vitamins (such as Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12) that are essential for a healthy brain and production of blood cells. They are also essential in maturing the immune system, gut, and other tissues.

Diet has major effects upon microbial communities. Changes in diet, including sudden changes in carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake, can rapidly alter the composition of the microbes in the gut and also impact what they do. Other factors that affect microbiota include antibiotic exposures and even factors such as exercise and sleep.

Read More »

Join Us to Learn about the Latest in Prostate Cancer

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 9, 2016

D'Amico blog

Dr. Anthony D’Amico, Chief of the Genitourinary Oncology Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, is one of the featured speakers at the Annual Symposium on Prostate Cancer.

Would you like to learn about the latest in prostate cancer prevention, detection, and treatment? Join prostate cancer experts from Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center at the 18th Annual Symposium on Prostate Cancer on the evening of Wednesday, September 7, 2016 in Newton, Massachusetts. (See below to register.)

Featured speakers will include Dr. Anthony D’Amico, Chief of the Genitourinary Radiation Oncology Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center; Dr. Mary-Ellen Taplin, Director of Clinical Research for the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center; Dr. Adam Kibel, Chief of Urologic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, and Dr. Jerome Richie, Chief of Urologic Surgery (Emeritus) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

Our team of pioneering, nationally and internationally prominent specialists will discuss:

  • Prevention with lifestyle modifications, including diet and exercise
  • Controversies about early detection and screening using PSA and other novel biomarkers
  • Surgical and radiation approaches, including newer less invasive techniques and procedures
  • Prostate cancer staging
  • Novel treatment for advanced prostate cancer
  • Management of side effects of prostate cancer treatment

PLEASE NOTE THAT REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO ATTEND THIS EVENT. To register, please call us at 1-877-DFCI-BWH or register online.

Related links:

How Nuts Can Protect Your Heart

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 4, 2016

Assorted Roasted Nuts in Small Bowl

BWH researchers discovered that greater intake of nuts is associated with lower levels of inflammation.

Contributors: Dr. Ying Bao is an epidemiologist in Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). Dr. Paul Ridker is Director for the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at BWH.

In a study of more than 5,000 people, investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have found that greater intake of nuts was associated with lower levels of biomarkers of inflammation, a finding that may help explain the health benefits of nuts. The results of the study appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“Previous studies have consistently supported a protective role of nuts against cardiometabolic disorders such as cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, and we know that inflammation is a key process in the development of these diseases,” said corresponding author Dr. Ying Bao, an epidemiologist in BWH’s Channing Division of Network Medicine. “Our new work suggests that nuts may exert their beneficial effects in part by reducing systemic inflammation.”

Previously, Dr. Bao and her colleagues observed an association between increased nut consumption and reduced risk of major chronic diseases and even death, but few studies had examined the link between nut intake and inflammation. In the current study, the research team performed a cross-sectional analysis of data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which includes more than 120,000 female registered nurses, and from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which includes more than 50,000 male health professionals. The research team assessed diet using questionnaires and looked at the levels of certain telltale proteins known as biomarkers in blood samples collected from the study participants. They measured three well-established biomarkers of inflammation: C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6 (IL6) and tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 (TNFR2).

Read More »

Sleep More to Eat Less: How Sleep Affects the “Hunger Hormone”

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 28, 2016

A young caucasian woman standing in front of the open refrigerator at late night, contemplating and wondering about a midnight snack in a domestic home kitchen. She is dressed in a bath robe hungry and looking for food. A symbol of dieting lifestyle. Photographed in vertical format.

Research has shown that ghrelin, also known as the hunger hormone, is impacted by sleep patterns and weight loss surgery.

Contributors: Malcolm K. Robinson, MD, FACS, Director of the Nutrition Support Service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Laura Andromalos, MS, RD, LDN, Bariatric Nutrition Manager at BWH, and Hassan S. Dashti, PhD, a dietetic intern at BWH.

Have you ever considered what makes you feel hungry or full? Many signals within the body help control the amount of food we eat. Ghrelin, which is sometimes called the hunger hormone, is one of these signals.

Produced in the upper part of the stomach, ghrelin is a hormone that increases hunger. When the stomach is empty, ghrelin travels through the bloodstream and tells the brain to signal hunger. After eating, the stomach stops releasing ghrelin. Ghrelin levels change throughout the day. They are high just before eating a meal, letting you know that you are hungry, and low just after eating, letting you know that you are full. Read More »

Healthy Eating May Help You Maintain Mobility as You Age

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 14, 2016

Fruits and vegetables

BWH researchers found that women who maintained a healthier diet were less likely to develop physical impairments later in life.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have found an association between women who maintain a healthy diet and a reduction in the risk of developing impaired physical function as they age. The findings were published this month in the Journal of Nutrition.

“There has been little research on how diet impacts physical function later in life,” says Francine Grodstein, ScD, senior author of the study and a researcher in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at BWH. “Our goal was to look at diet patterns and try to learn how our overall diet impacts our physical function as we get older.”

BWH researchers examined the association between the Alternative Healthy Eating Index, a measure of overall diet quality, with reports of impairment in physical function among more than 54,000 women involved in the Nurses’ Health Study. Physical function was measured every four years (from 1992 to 2008), and diet was measured by food frequency questionnaires, which were given to participants approximately every four years beginning in 1980.

The data indicate that women who maintained a healthier diet were less likely to develop physical impairments later in life compared to women whose diets were not as healthy. They also found a higher intake of vegetables and fruits, a lower intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, trans-fats, and sodium, and a moderate alcohol intake, were each significantly associated with reduced rates of physical impairment.

Read More »

Multiple Sclerosis: Can the Microbiome Offer Clues to New Treatments and a Possible Cure?

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

In a recent study, BWH researchers discovered that bacteria living in the gut may influence the activity of brain cells involved in controlling inflammation and neurodegeneration – key factors in the development and progression of MS.

BWH researchers have discovered that bacteria living in the gut may influence the activity of brain cells involved in controlling inflammation and neurodegeneration.

Contributor: Francisco Quintana, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His research aims to outline the mechanisms that control the activity of the immune system, with the ultimate goal of identifying new therapies.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) are looking to the gut microbiome, a collection of microorganisms that live inside the intestines, for new treatment approaches and a potential cure for multiple sclerosis (MS).

In a recent study, the research team discovered that bacteria living in the gut may influence the activity of brain cells involved in controlling inflammation and neurodegeneration – key factors in the development and progression of MS. The team’s results, published in Nature Medicine, may point to potential therapeutic targets for patients with MS. Previous research has suggested a connection between the gut microbiome and brain inflammation. How the two are linked and how diet may influence this connection, however, has remained largely unknown.

“For the first time, we’ve been able to determine that food has some sort of remote control over central nervous system inflammation,” says Quintana, the senior investigator of the study. “What we eat enables bacteria in our gut to produce small chemicals, some of which are capable of traveling all the way to the brain.” Read More »

Why Does Cancer Risk Increase as We Get Older?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital June 28, 2016

Cancer risk increases significantly after age 50, and half of all cancers occur at age 66 and above.

Cancer risk increases significantly after age 50, and half of all cancers occur at age 66 and above.

Today’s post originally appeared on Insight, the blog of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Age is the biggest single risk factor for cancer. Risk increases significantly after age 50, and half of all cancers occur at age 66 and above. According to the National Cancer Institute, one quarter of new cancer diagnoses are in people aged 65 to 74.

The median age of diagnosis varies in different cancer types – 61 years for breast, 66 years for prostate, 68 years for colorectal, and 70 years for lung – but the disease can occur at any age. Bone cancer, for example, is most frequently diagnosed in people younger than 20, and neuroblastoma is more common in children than in adults.

Read More »

Take Charge of Your Health: Five Tips from a Physician-Athlete

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital June 23, 2016

Healthy food and fitness background concept

Wellness includes healthy eating, exercise, and mindfulness.

Dr. Claire Twark is a third-year resident in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Department of Psychiatry and a seasoned triathlete. In this post, she offers some valuable wellness strategies that she uses in her own work and training.

I believe that wellness is a lifestyle. It includes healthy eating and exercise, as well as mindfulness and wellness within relationships. I recommend proactively thinking about your own wellness and setting improvement goals for yourself. I often advise patients to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) goals, such as going to the gym for 30 minutes twice in the next week or increasing their daily step count by a few thousand steps.

Here are five tips to consider:

  • Wellness opportunities are all around you. We are all busy, so use the wellness opportunities that are readily available. Try walking to work, taking the stairs, and choosing healthy food options.

Read More »

Planning A Healthy Pregnancy

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

A pre-pregnancy exam is one of the most important steps in helping you prepare for a healthy pregnancy .

A pre-pregnancy exam is one of the most important steps in helping you prepare for a healthy pregnancy .

If you are thinking about becoming pregnant, it is never too soon to start taking healthy steps for you and your baby-to-be. There are things you can do today to help reduce health risks for the both of you and increase your likelihood of healthy pregnancy.

The first few weeks of pregnancy are crucial in a child’s development. However, many women do not realize they are pregnant until several weeks after conception. Planning ahead and taking care of yourself before becoming pregnant is the best thing you can do for you and your baby.

One of the most important steps in helping you prepare for a healthy pregnancy is a pre-pregnancy exam (often called preconception care) performed by your health care provider. This exam may include:

Read More »