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'neuroscience' posts

Eliminating your risk for stroke

In the clinic, we work with stroke patients and their families to help them understand the risk of having a second stroke and what they can do to reduce their risk. Lifestyle and medical conditions determine your risk for a first, or second, stroke.

  • Do you have high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol?
  • Do you have diabetes?
  • Have you been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Are you overweight?
  • Do you avoid exercise?
  • Has a close relative had a stroke?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re at greater risk for having a stroke. If you’ve already had a stroke, your “yes” answers mean you’re more likely to have another one.

Your lifestyle can help you avoid a first or second stroke. And, because family history is a stroke risk factor, your entire family can benefit from a healthy way of life. Pledge to help each other stick to a routine that includes:

  • No smoking
  • Healthy eating
  • Regular exercise
  • Taking medications are directed
  • Losing weight if you are overweight or obese
  • Drinking alcohol only in moderation
  • Taking low-dose aspirin or a similar medicine (if recommended by your doctor)
  • Managing your blood sugar if you have diabetes.

Essential Tremor: What it is and how to treat it

Do you or someone you know shake when raising a glass of water to drink or have problems writing a check at the grocery store?

If so, essential tremor may be the cause. Essential Tremor (ET) is the most common movement disorder and those suffering from it experience uncontrolled movement , usually of the hands and arms. Over 10 million Americans are diagnosed, yet many people have never heard of it. Some assume shaking is just a sign of aging or they fear they may have Parkinson’s disease. ET differs from Parkinson's in many ways, one being ET is an "action" tremor (more pronounced when trying to complete a task) where a person with Parkinson's has tremors more often at rest and the shaking may actually lessen during activity.

Essential Tremor is caused by overactive cells in the area of the brain called the thalamus. The thalamus is about the size of a walnut and within the brain there are two of them. If there are overactive cells in the right thalamus, the person will have signs of tremor on the left side and vice versa. Some patients suffer from tremor on both sides.

It is important to know Essential Tremor is a treatable condition.

There are three common methods of treatment:

Be a Brain Surgeon for a Day!

Dr. Greg Foltz, a brain surgeon from the Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle is inviting 25 people (including students) to join him on Friday, Aug. 24 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to become a “Brain Surgeon for a Day.” (Enter by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, August 9, 2012.)

Randomly selected individuals will spend time learning about the brain and its key parts. These individuals will see how Swedish surgeons are using the latest research to find new treatments for brain cancer. As part of the event, these individuals will:

  • Walk away with their own pair of Swedish medical “scrubs”, just like a doctor
  • Participate in a behind the scenes tour and gain special access to places within the hospital most visitors do not get to see
  • Rub elbows in the confides of the “green room” and meet some of the smartest physicians of the Pacific Northwest region
  • Learn about brain tumors and why some are so deadly

At the conclusion of the tour, Dr. Foltz and other neuroscientists will host a lunch session with participants about his every day battle against brain cancer, a disease he hopes will be cured one day soon.

“Brain Surgeon for a Day” Schedule of Events:

  • 11:00 AM: Scrub Up with your new pair of medical scrubs
  • 11:05 AM: Meet and Greet with Dr. Greg Foltz of the Ivy Brain Tumor Center at Swedish
  • 11:15 AM: Take part in an interactive session with brain tissue samples at the Seattle Science Foundation
  • 11:50 AM: Guided behind-the-scenes tour of the Ivy Brain Tumor Center research lab, clinic and research partners
  • 12:05 PM: Visit a behind-the-scenes location
  • 12:20 PM: Lunch and Q&A session with Dr. Foltz and other special guests
  • 1:00 PM Conclusion

Other possible events during the two-hour event:

  • See the first commercial Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Core Facility in the U.S. and how it is being used for brain cancer.
  • Explore the genome sequencing machines that help decode DNA in tumors.
  • Meet ....

Finding Art in the Multiple Sclerosis Experience Third-Annual MS Art Show Set for June 16

SEATTLE, June 11, 2012 – Multiple Sclerosis (MS) sucks, as the painting says, but it also inspires art. The MS Center at Swedish is set to unveil its third-annual Art Show. Those touched by MS and living in the Pacific Northwest have been invited to submit their work. No visual media is off limits; all people living with and affected by MS from the Northwest region are accepted. The show's goal is to enhance wellness and quality of life for individuals affected by the disease.

Swedish Set to Open State-of-the-Art Multiple Sclerosis Center; New Facility Has Been Under Development for Several Years and Largely Funded Through Philanthropy

SEATTLE – April 6, 2012 – Swedish Neuroscience Institute (SNI) is set to open its new MS Center to patients. Carefully designed for easy accessibility and to promote the well-being of people with MS, the new 11,700-square-foot center gives SNI the ability to consolidate all of its MS services into one facility. An additional 1,500-square-feet of outside therapy terrace will provide a safe environment for patients to work with a therapist on improving their gait over different terrain.

The new center also enables scientists, researchers, physicians and patients to work collaboratively toward new treatment options for those diagnosed with MS. In a move that further establishes Swedish’s neuroscience program as a leader in the region, the MS Center at Swedish is the largest, most comprehensive facility of its kind on the West Coast and one of only a handful in the country.

Announcing New Swedish Cerebrovascular Support Group

It is with great pleasure that I announce the beginning of the Swedish Cerebrovascular Support Group. Over the last several months, the care team here at Swedish has had many patients reach out and ask if a service like this was available. I am so glad that the answer is now yes!

Receiving a diagnosis like a cerebral aneurysm is for many a scary and stressful situation. Support groups are a fantastic way for people to alleviate fear and anxiety through discussion and education. These meetings will be a place to connect patients, family members, and caregivers together to share their experiences and advise with one another. The group is open to patients and family members of patients that have been diagnosed with or treated for a cerebral aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation (AVM).

Using Ultrasound for Treatment of Brain Hemorrhage

In September, I co-authored this cover article in the Journal of Neurosurgery on the results of a study using ultrasound for the treatment of brain hemorrhage. The study involved 33 patients with spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage who were screened for inclusion in a SNI clinical study known as “SLEUTH” (Safety of Lysis with Ultrasound in the Treatment of Intracerebral and Intraventricular Hemorrhage). You can the abstract and full text of the article or see background information on the study, and watch a related video on WebMD.

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