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Insufficient evidence to support complementary and alternative therapies for multiple sclerosis

James D. Bowen, MD

A guideline was recently published about the use of complementary and alternative medicine in multiple sclerosis (MS).

The guideline process involves identifying all of the scientific articles about potential therapies and evaluating them based on their scientific merits. The evaluation process follows a strict set of requirements related to the conduct of the research.

The review included a wide variety of complementary and alternative therapies that have been proposed for MS. Not surprisingly, most therapies did not have sufficient scientific data to determine whether or not they were effective. Some cannabinoid preparations (marijuana extracts) were shown to be effective, primarily for spasticity. This reflects a relatively large number of studies done with these compounds and the availability of a commercially available extract in some countries. A handful of therapies were shown to be ineffective. Most therapies had insufficient studies to determine their effectiveness.

The importance of this review is that it ...

Spiders and Bees and Bugs, Oh My! Treating insect bites and stings

Benjamin M. Starnes, MD, FAAP

Benjamin M. Starnes, MD, FAAP
Pediatric Physician

Another beautiful Seattle summer is just around the corner.  As we stare out windows and wait for our long days of sunshine to begin, know this – the bugs are doing the same thing!  Any day now all our biting, stinging, and pinching friends will begin to appear.  Make sure you prevent bites with insect repellants.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using repellants containing 30% or less of DEET for all children older than 2 months of age.  But if a bite happens, arm yourself (and your medicine cabinet) with a treatment plan to get your kids back outside ASAP.
 
Treatment for ...

How we do recycling at Swedish Ballard

Rose Yates, RNC, BSN

Rose Yates, RNC, BSN
Charge Nurse, Ballard Family Childbirth Center

Did you know that the health care industry in the United States is the second largest producer of waste sent to the landfill?
 
Swedish works to improve our efforts each year by reducing waste and increasing recycling and composting. The Ballard campus had a recycling rate of 59% in 2013, one of the highest recycling rates in the country. The industry average is 36%. This campus composted 132,480 pounds of yard and food waste, and recycled 77,300 pounds of comingled materials. We accomplish this by the combined efforts of employees, patients and guests.
 
How do we do this?

Why a career in medicine

J. Bruce Williams, MD

J. Bruce Williams, MD
Internal Medicine

My great grandfather graduated from the University of Louisville Medical School in 1901. My grandfather would have followed suit, but for the Great Depression. My father finished his MD at the University of Louisville in 1961, and my turn came at the University of Oregon Medical School in 1981.
 
I think I can say a few things about medicine. First, it’s never been easy to be a doctor taking care of real people. My great grandfather set up practice in Appalachia, far from any urban center, and using ether and the most crude of instruments, set about bringing the beginnings of the surgical era to backwoods Kentucky.  He carried a pistol to defend himself from angry family members if things got out of hand.
 
Second, the rate of change induced by scientific discovery, is far from slowing, and in fact, seems to be accelerating. My father’s career in particular, spanning the era of specialization, witnessed the fruits of research from the National Institutes of Health in the first decades after World War 2. Broad scientific developments drove the discovery of hundreds of new medicines and the specialists who could understand and prescribe them. Lifespans have ...

Helping kids heal with music and technology

Nicole Roehrig, MSN, RN

Nicole Roehrig, MSN, RN
Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist

A young girl is cowering in the corner - it is the first day her care-taker has left her side. She has backed herself into a corner as far from anyone as possible. She appears to be filled with anxiety. Staff members and nurses try calming her, but nothing seems to work.

With her back turned, the little girl doesn’t notice a young man entering the room. He is holding a tool, one of which the full power and potential is still unknown to most. Even though he has witnessed its abilities before, what happens next still takes even him by surprise.

Not knowing what to say, he says nothing at all. He lifts his instrument and strikes the first chord. The girl stops. He continues to play. The girl turns and slides to the floor. The young man sinks to his knees, the same level as the girl. Strumming his ukulele the young man begins to sing. The little girl begins to scoot herself across the floor, 20 feet to where the young man kneels, closer and closer until her knees touch his.

There are gasps coming from the doorway, as a handful of hospital staff and nurses witness to an amazing transformation. In a flip of a switch, the little girl went from utter anxiety to calm and happy, soothed by the sound of music. As the young man finishes his song, the little girl smiles, reaches out her hand to touch his, then falls back, smiling and laughing.


This is the story of Melodic Caring Project Founder, Levi Ware, on his most recent visit to provide live music to pediatric patients at Swedish First Hill.

“I've been playing music for a long time and I've seen a lot of amazing things happen when music is introduced into certain situations. What happened on the Pediatric Unit at Swedish was one of the most wonderful, beautiful and undeniably powerful music experiences I've had.  ...

Living our legacy

Anthony A. Armada, FACHE

Anthony A. Armada, FACHE
Chief Executive, Swedish

I officially joined Swedish as chief executive in November 2013. One of the many things that drew me to Swedish was its powerful legacy of innovation, care quality, and its focus on serving every member of our communities, regardless of their ability to pay.
 
Today, this legacy lives on through our team of dedicated caregivers, our leadership and our community partners. We challenge ourselves to think beyond the status quo to find the best outcomes for our patients.
 
It is an incredibly exciting time here at Swedish. During a period of unprecedented changes in the health care industry, I am proud to tell you that Swedish is stronger now than ever. Just a few years ago, our institution was stabilizing following significant financial challenges. Today, we are strongly positioned to continue delivering high quality, accessible care to the communities of Western Washington.
 
One of our most effective strategies for improving the health and well-being of those we serve is our affiliation with Providence Health & Services. I continue to hear questions about how the affiliation benefits Swedish and I want to provide you with specific examples of how the affiliation has strengthened our ability to serve more people across our communities, regardless of their ability to pay.

Last year, we:

Think about injury prevention when returning to baseball season

Melissa Ballance AT/L, ATC

Melissa Ballance AT/L, ATC
Athletic Trainer, Swedish Pediatric Specialty Care, Sport and Dance Medicine

Baseball season is finally here! As we watch our Major League Baseball heroes take the field this April, kids of all ages will be returning to the field after winter break and time off from practicing. 

It is important that our kids return safely to help prevent overuse injuries from occurring during the season. Common overuse injuries in baseball are injuries to the elbow (ulnar collateral ligament, UCL) and shoulder in the throwing arm. A proper warm up, maintaining an age appropriate pitch count and good throwing mechanics are essential to preventing overuse injuries. 
 
Here are some specifics to keep in mind:
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