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Roundtable on neuromyelitis optica (NMO)

James D. Bowen, MD

The neurologists from the MS Center recently attended the Guthy Jackson Charitable Foundation roundtable on neuromyelitis optica (NMO) in Los Angeles. This organization is devoted to improving the care of patients with NMO and promoting research towards finding a cure.


Neurologists from the MS Center at Swedish, Pavle Repovic, MD, PhD, Peiqing Qian, MD, and James Bowen, MD met with Tony Traboulsee, MD, head of the University of British Columbia Hospital MS and NMO programs

NMO often mimics MS, but has characteristic changes on MRI that allow it to be identified. A blood test is available to help with the diagnosis. It is important to recognize the disease because the treatment differs from MS treatments.

Because it is such a rare disease, there are ...

Advancing care for patients with liver disease

Kris Kowdley, MD

Kris Kowdley, MD
Director, Liver Care Network, Organ Care Research

The burden of liver disease continues to increase in the USA and worldwide. An estimated 5-7 million people have chronic hepatitis B and C and more than 20% of the US population has nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.  Liver Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide.  The CDC and US Preventive Services Task Force recently issued screening recommendations for hepatitis C in the “baby-boomer” cohort, namely those born between 1945 and 1965.  Part of the reason to identify patients with hepatitis C is that dramatic new advances have been made in treatment, with more than 95% of patients able to achieve a cure with the recently approved all-oral regimens for as little as 8 weeks.

What does a cake represent?

Eric Vallieres

Eric Vallieres
Medical Director Division of Thoracic Surgery

On any given day at the Swedish Thoracic Surgery and Interventional Pulmonology Clinic, a patient will arrive with a very significant cake. This setting may seem like a strange place for such things but for the patient and the treatment team, this cake signifies 5 years of survival. It also represents the relationship the patient has with his or her doctor, nurses and care team in the clinic.


As a surgeon taking care of people diagnosed with lung cancer, the personal connections developed over the years is palpable and incredibly rewarding. We see these people at the scariest times in their lives and to have the honor of sharing a piece of cake 5 years later is so gratifying and humbling for our team. These moments keep us pushing to provide the best care we can for all of our patients.

Ed. note - March 30 is when we celebrate Doctors' Day - thank you to all of our doctors at Swedish for their compassionate care of all of our patients!

Guide to milk alternatives

Leah Goldstein, RD, CD

Leah Goldstein, RD, CD
Clinical Nutrition Specialist

Navigating the world of dairy-free living can be overwhelming! There are so many milk alternatives on the market these days and unfortunately, not all are created equally.

The following guides break down the pros and cons of each milk substitute while looking into specific nutrients, availability, use in cooking, and other allergens. Remember that if your child is not drinking milk, we need to ensure they receive enough fat, protein, calcium and vitamin D, so always compare food labels to make sure you are making the best choice for your dairy-free child.

What you should know about recent studies on pathology diagnoses

Kathi Adamson, MD

Kathi Adamson, MD
Pathologist

If recent media coverage questioning the accuracy of pathology diagnoses on breast biopsies has you worried, you’re not alone. 

A recent study published by Elmore et al investigated diagnostic agreement for breast biopsies between individual pathologists and “consensus-derived reference diagnoses” rendered by a panel of three pathologists.  While variable rates of diagnostic disagreement were identified, it is important to realize that the strict study design and methodology are not applicable to the daily practice of pathology. 

In real life practice, pathologists are not restricted by the number of slides available for review, and typically evaluate multiple slides/tissue levels for each breast biopsy sample.  In addition ...

Dealing with MS is different for men

Bobbie (Barbara) J. Severson, ARNP

Bobbie (Barbara) J. Severson, ARNP
ARNP, Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) care for men and women--is it a surprise that their MS health care support needs may differ?  As with many things in life, one should not assume that everyone has the same needs regardless of gender.  The prevalence of MS affects women about 3 times more often than men. And much of what we know, from social support research in MS, has been done with a predominantly female population.  The reality is that men and women do have different needs.  For example, evidence suggests men spend less time focused on their health and participate in fewer health prevention activities (poorer nutrition, higher alcohol and tobacco use) than women. Men also differ than women in how they experience MS and the type of support/interventions required to address their needs. An article from International Journal of MS Care (What Are the Support Needs of Men with MS, and Are They Being Met? ) by Dominic Upton, PhD and Charlotte Taylor, MSc, addresses this subject and more.

One of the aims of the article was to identify support needs of men with MS and evaluate whether these needs were being met by current services. (My conclusion, probably not.)

The article  ...

Choosing a specialty center for colonoscopy and complex polypectomy instead of surgery for large colon polyps

Drew Schembre, MD, FASGE, FACG

Drew Schembre, MD, FASGE, FACG
Medical Director, Swedish Gastroenterology

It is widely known that colonoscopy not only detects colon cancers but enables the removal of pre-cancerous polyps.  Large polyps are sometimes detected during a colonoscopy that the physician feels are too large to safely remove by standard polypectomy techniques.  Many patients with large benign polyps are sent for surgery because their physicians feel they cannot remove them through the colonoscope.

However, the vast majority of large, non-cancerous colon polyps can be completely removed by colonoscopy at specialized centers, allowing patients to avoid the discomfort and potential risks of partial colon resection.  Studies have shown that
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