May 2012
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May 2012 posts

All About Organics

Far too often the word organic is misused and misunderstood. I think it’s most important to understand the reasons behind the difference staring back at you on the price tag, and then only you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth the financial, physiological, and environmental costs.

Educate Yourself

Organic standards prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones and genetically modified organisms. Additional organic requirements are set to support the environment, including soil improvements and prevention of soil erosion.

What does this mean for you as a consumer? Potentially a greater chance of a reduction in your exposure to harmful chemicals. As an environmentally-conscious consumer? Hopefully refraining from further contributing to soil erosion, energy use, and water pollution while contributing to biodiversity.

Side tantrum: Just because it’s organic does NOT mean it’s healthy. Organic jelly beans (my favorite) are packed with organic cane sugar, tapioca syrup, and full of fruit juice and natural flavors. Can I consume them obliviously thinking I’m fulfilling my quota of that “rainbow” of fruit and veggie servings for the day? Not exactly. Anything full of sugar (even organic sugar) is not a “healthy” food. I would say the importance of selecting organics is greatest for items in the perimeter of the grocery store (think produce, meats, dairy, eggs). Easy, right?

What’s With the Seal?

The USDAs National Organics Program ensures ...

Healthy Traveling Tips

It’s officially summer and many of us—over 36 million Americans—have embraced international travel recently. For students and families in particular, this is the season for exciting adventures overseas. It may not be very glamorous, but, before heading off with passports in hand, how can we ensure the healthiest trip possible?

Your mother was right: plan ahead

  • Check if your health insurance goes beyond the US border. If not, it is easy to purchase a short term travel insurance policy.
  • Find out as much as you can about your destination’s health risks or dangers.
  • Most diseases are preventable. Talk it over with your doctor or see a travel doctor who specializes in such advice.
  • Be certain you have the needed vaccinations and medicines before heading out.
  • Don’t let ....

Culinary Herbs

Like most bright ideas, this one was sparked while sipping a mojito – why am I not growing mint? Well, this “little project” turned into a full-blown garden last year. So my challenge this year is to share with you how to grow some culinary herbs.

Why Growing Herbs at Home is Great…

  • It’s fun. Trust me, the smell of basil straight from the ground will take your mind on a direct flight to southern Italy.
  • It’s economical. How many times have you purchased a ginormous bunch of parsley, only to use a few sprigs? Having live plants means you can take as little (or as much) as you need, when you need it. One $3 basil plant can save you well over $20. You will waste less, and likely will use herbs more frequently since they will always be available.
  • It encourages creativity. When you have an assortment of plants begging to be used, you might take a handful of each and add it to the recipe. You can create endless combinations of herbs and spices to a variety of dishes.
  • It’s easy. Whether you have an amazing boyfriend that will yank rose bushes to make room for your gardening experiment, a balcony that sees the sun, or just a naked windowsill, you really can grow herbs anywhere.

Getting Started…

KING 5 TV Interviews Multiple Sclerosis Specialist from Swedish about Study that Looked at Marijuana Use for Spacicity in People with MS

SEATTLE, May 15, 2012 - KING 5 Television (NBC) aired a story last night about a study published yesterday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that looked at smoking marijuana as a treatment for spacicity in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Swedish Neuroscience Institute-affiliated neurologist James Bowen, M.D., who is medical director of the new MS Center at Swedish - along with one of his patients who has experienced spacicity relief from this treatment - were interviewed for the two-minute piece.

Why standardization?

You may be hearing more talk about standardization in medicine these days. What does it mean and why is it important to everyone? People who are not in the medical field may worry that standardization will result in their care being less personalized and more “cookie-cutter.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

For several years, medical providers, healthcare administrators, healthcare quality experts and others have been talking about improving medical care and health outcomes through increased use of data and standardization. The term “evidence based medicine” is used to indicate that medical recommendations and decisions are based, to the extent possible, on data – rather than just doing things because they have always been done that way.

Data can be obtained through clinical trials (where patients are randomized to various treatments and then the outcomes are compared), observation (where the outcomes of various treatments are analyzed to see which are more effective), or expert opinion (where experts in the field agree on best treatments based on experience or “best practices”).

Standardization means that patients will be offered treatment based on the best available knowledge. Those treatment recommendations are also influenced by the patient’s individual situation, so that care is personalized.

For breast cancer patients, this may be evident in various ways. We know that ...

Thank you, nurses

Happy National Nurses Week. On behalf of all of those who you have provided pain relief and comfort for, thank you.

Being in the hospital has many negative connotations and can be an incredibly humbling experience. Nurses have the ability to magically bring warmth and tenderness at a time when we are vulnerable. It takes a special person to do all the little things that make a hospital feel less scary and somehow manage to create a serene environment.

Simply put, nurses make hospitals less intimidating. You care for us when we are at our lowest points and ‘nurse us back to health.’ From all the minor things that we can’t do for ourselves during our hospital stay to all the major things like keeping our hearts beating so that we can get back to a normal life, you go the extra mile because you have a special gift.

Thank you this week, and every week, for all that you do!

Rate of Babies Born Electively Before 39 Weeks Falls Dramatically Statewide, Including at Swedish

SEATTLE, May 9, 2012 - Washington state hospitals, physicians and expectant mothers have teamed up to deliver a dramatic increase in the number of babies born at full term – 39 weeks – instead of earlier in their pregnancies. They did this by rapidly changing established obstetric practices in place for many years. This change came about because of new research demonstrating the short- and long-term hazards of delivery prior to 39 weeks.

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