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The anti-inflammatory diet and multiple sclerosis

We have all seen inflammation on the surface of our bodies. Redness, heat, swelling or pain after a cut or sprain are examples of this process at work. In these cases, inflammation benefits the body by bringing more nutrients and immune activity to the injured or infected area, helping it to heal.

When inflammation occurs without purpose or is persistent, it can cause damage and illness. This type of abnormal inflammation is the root of many chronic diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS).

Many factors contribute to chronic inflammation including stress, exposure to toxins such as cigarette smoke and dietary choices. We have control over some of the causes of inflammation. Learning what foods have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body may be beneficial in reducing long-term disease risk.

The anti-inflammatory diet is a balanced, sensible way of eating. It not only influences inflammation but also provides your body with adequate energy, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and fiber. Here are a few recommendations for eating to reduce and prevent inflammation:

Handling stress with kids in the hospital

As the back to school sales begin, we are reminded that soon our kids will be back on the bus and returning to school routines.  As adults we may look forward to the return of a consistent routine or dread the increased activity that comes with sports, homework and friends.  For our children school can be both exciting and anxiety producing as well.

Stress can be a contributor to many illnesses and is something that we all can use help managing. (Want to find out how much you know about stress and your kids? Take this 5 question quiz here.) The questions bring up some great ways to manage stress daily for our kids; but what about the stresses of chronic illness or hospitalization?  What can you do for your child to decrease their anxiety in the hospital?

A New Contribution to Cardiothoracic Surgical Education

There is nothing more satisfying for a clinician than when a patient understands their ailment, comprehends the nature of the pathology involved, and is clear on the treatment/procedure they are about to undergo. This "satisfaction" is a joyous emotion reflecting successful communication -- it is what parents feel when their children first begin to read, and what educators aspire to when their students master the material at hand.

It is a privilege to share our most recent contribution to the cardiothoracic surgery community, the TSRA Primer of Cardiothoracic Surgery...

 

Heat Sensitivity and Multiple Sclerosis: Resources to help cool off MS symptoms

The summer months have arrived and the weather is warming up. While many sun-deprived residents of the Pacific Northwest are enjoying more sunshine, many people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience a temporary worsening of their symptoms when the weather gets warmer.

Air conditioners, fans, and cooling products like vests and neck wraps can help keep the body cool and prevent or reverse the symptoms. But what if you can’t afford it, or think your income is too high to get financial assistance?

Multiple Sclerosis Center welcomes new pet therapy pup

We are very excited to welcome the newest volunteers for the Leo Project to the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center: Peggy and her chocolate lab Gracie! Peggy and Gracie will be at the MS Center on Mondays from 9:00-11:00 a.m. Just like Kathy and Ocho, Peggy and Gracie will be here for two hours at a time and will be circulating around the lobby, the Wellness studio, and the physical therapy gym.

Peggy and Gracie are old friends with Swedish. They also visit people in inpatient rehabilitation and the Swedish Behavioral Health Program at the Cherry Hill Campus.

 

Through the Leo Project, we hope to...

What to tell kids when a loved one is ill or in the hospital

When a loved one in the family is in the hospital or dealing with a chronic illness it can be hard to know what to say to the youngest family members.  It’s natural to want to “protect” them by not telling them or talking to them, but chances are the kids already know that something is going on.  An honest conversation can help to ease any misunderstanding they may have. 

Here are some important areas to cover when navigating a discussion about the illness or hospitalization of a loved one:

  • Honesty – Use words and descriptions that are appropriate for their age. If they are older they may ask specific details about the illness.  It’s good to call the diagnosis by name.  They may come back at a later date with other questions or even ask the same questions more than once. 
  • "Can I catch it?" – Children often have the fear that they can “catch” illnesses. They need to know, if in fact it isn’t a contagious disease, that they can not catch the illness from their loved one by being near them, hugging them and visiting with them.  This is particularly important if it is a brother or sister who is ill.
  • "Did I cause this?" – Many ....

What is aphasia?

Stroke patients often suffer from communication challenges called aphasia.  Aphasia is complex and there are many potential communication challenges including, but not limited to:

  • Trouble speaking – this may be displayed as hesitancy or stuttering, use of words that seem out of context, or the inability to speak at all (mute)
  • Trouble finding words – inability to put thoughts into words
  • Problems understanding what others say
  • Problems with reading, writing, or math
  • Inability to process long words and infrequently used words

This is often frustrating for the patient and their care partners.  It is important to remember that aphasia is related to the ability to communicate and does not reflect a change in intelligence.

There are several great resources for patients living with aphasia and their care partners:

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