Step Strong and Cast Your Vote!

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 27, 2016

Each year, the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation supports a groundbreaking project in innovative trauma treatment and recovery through its Stepping Strong Innovator Awards. The Stepping Strong Center was established by the Reny family following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, which left Gillian Reny, a student and aspiring dancer, with severe injuries to both of her legs. The Center aims to turn tragedy into hope for the tens of thousands of civilians and military personnel worldwide who have suffered from the devastation of traumatic injuries and events.

You have the opportunity to help chart the course for trauma research by voting for a deserving research project in this year’s competition. The winning team will receive a $100,000 Stepping Strong Innovator Award grant to support its research project. Watch the video below the learn about the three finalists and then cast your vote! This year’s winner will be announced on October 17, 2016.

Differentiating Mild Traumatic Brain Injury from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital June 16, 2015

PTSD and mTBI share many symptoms, such as depression, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) are collaborating to develop a reliable method for determining whether a patient has mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),or both conditions.

Although PTSD is a psychological condition, and mTBI is a neurological disorder caused by physical trauma, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two. This is because they share many symptoms – depression, mood swings, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and memory problems – an overlap that can lead to misdiagnosis and improper treatment.

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Helping People Step Strong after Trauma

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 21, 2014

Gillian and her family hope that the Stepping Strong Fund helps others with traumatic injuries.

Imagine a world where patients with severe limb injuries – like survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings – could hope for better recoveries, with muscle, cartilage, and bone regenerated.

That vision draws closer every day, according to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) researchers. They are hopeful that a new initiative, the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund, will fuel breakthroughs for patients with traumatic, athletic, military, and disease-related injuries.

A year ago, Audrey Epstein Reny and Steven Reny were standing near the Boston Marathon finish line with their daughter Gillian, cheering on the runners and waiting for their oldest daughter Danielle to cross. When the bombs went off, the Renys were among the many innocent bystanders who were injured, Gillian critically.

The family was rushed to BWH, where clinicians worked to save Gillian’s life — and both of her legs. On that tragic day, dozens of patients were treated at BWH for similar injuries.

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Does Pre-Surgery Diet Affect Post-Surgery Recovery?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 16, 2013

Dr. C. Keith Ozaki (center) and his research team suggest that your pre-surgery diet can affect your post-surgery recovery.

Dr. C. Keith Ozaki (center) and his team suggest that a patient's pre-surgery diet can affect their post-surgery recovery.

Does it matter what a patient eats before surgery?

According to a new study led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers, the type of food that patients eat in the days leading up to surgery, as well as their long-term dietary habits, may have a significant impact on their recovery. Partners from the Center for Cancer Computational Biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and from the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health also contributed to the findings.

Specifically, the research team found that consuming a high-fat diet, as compared to a low-fat diet, leads to higher levels of post-surgical inflammation in the fatty tissue traumatized during major surgery. This inflammation, in turn, may drive complications such as heart attacks and wound problems.

The pre-clinical study suggests that patients who habitually follow a low-fat diet may fare best in minimizing post-surgical fat inflammation. Importantly, the researchers also observed that short-term behavior modification can reap benefits. Their findings revealed that in the setting of a high-fat diet, patients might significantly lower their levels of post-surgical inflammation simply by shifting to a low-fat diet for a short time frame before surgery.

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Simple Advice for a Fun and Safe Fourth of July

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 3, 2012

4th of July safety tips

A fun and safe way to celebrate the Fourth of July.

The Fourth of July is a time for celebration in the United States (US), often synonymous with the tradition of fireworks displays. However, this celebratory day has become a dangerous one, with fireworks causing thousands of injuries in the US around this time each year. In 2010, about 1,900 people were seen at an emergency room for firework-related injuries in the 30 days surrounding Independence Day. At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, physicians note having seen multiple burns, amputations, and eye injuries over the years – ranging from minor burns to devastating disfiguring injuries, and even death.

“The combination of crowds of people, alcohol consumption, and often dark settings provide a hazardous mix, making fireworks use even more dangerous,” explains Dr. Robert Riviello, associate surgeon in the Division of Trauma, Burns and Surgical Critical Care at BWH. The basic message, says Dr. Riviello, is to enjoy the public display of fireworks, leaving the danger to professionals who are trained and knowledgeable.

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When a Fall Isn’t Just a Fall

Posted by Blog Administrator June 11, 2012

elderly man with walker

Falls among the elderly are reaching epidemic proportions.

What does geriatric medicine have to do with orthopedic trauma? A lot, actually.

Falls among the elderly are reaching epidemic proportions. And, as baby boomers age, the incidence is going to continue to rise. But, what’s most troubling is that one out of four elderly patients dies within 12 months following a serious fall.

“Falls are frequently symptomatic of cognitive or medical decline,” says Dr. Michael Weaver, an orthopedic surgeon in the Orthopedic Trauma Service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). “When an elderly patient with a multitude of medical issues suffers a hip fracture, there’s a lot to consider at one time.”

The BWH Orthopedic Trauma Service has taken the unusual step of incorporating a geriatrician as an integral part of its team. Geriatricians specialize in the care of older adults and coordinate with other specialists to provide optimal treatment.

“Older people often have multiple complex medical conditions and have fewer reserves for handling trauma and illness compared with young people,” says Dr. Houman Javedan, a geriatrician who sees every patient over the age of 70 in the BWH Orthopedic Trauma Service and also is a member of the BWH Center for Older Adult Health. “I provide simultaneous evaluation and recommendations for treatment in order to improve recovery and longer-term health among elderly patients after a fall.”

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Treating Violence as a Disease

Posted by Blog Administrator May 2, 2012

violence prevention team

From left: Nurse Dawn MacDonald, Dr. Selwyn Rogers, David Crump. “We find ways to manage other diseases and prevent them – we need to work with victims of violence in the same way.” – Dr. Selwyn Rogers

It started on a July Fourth weekend, when a 17-year-old who had been shot in the neck a few days earlier returned to the hospital with a bullet in his stomach. “That’s when I knew there was something wrong with the system,” recalls Dr. Selwyn Rogers, now chief of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Trauma, Burn, and Critical Care Surgery.

The problem, Rogers realized, is that violence – whether experienced as the victim or the aggressor – needs to be addressed as a disease. “For diabetes, you take insulin and glucose every day, not just when you don’t feel well,” Rogers notes. “We find ways to manage other diseases and prevent them – we need to work with victims of violence in the same way.”

That’s where David Crump – a Boston streetworker who has worked throughout his career to support victims of gang-related and other forms of violence – comes in. Last fall BWH recruited Crump to help launch a new Violence Intervention and Prevention Program.

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