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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

Move over Angry Birds and Words with Friends… make room for hearing apps!

Brenna Carroll
Smartphone technology has led to an explosion of cell phone apps.  Originally created as games and entertaining diversions, hearing assistance technology is climbing on the app bandwagon with the creation of helpful apps to assist those with hearing loss.

Many hearing assistance apps exist, ranging from traditional amplifiers and tinnitus maskers to devices designed to control hearing aids.

Worried about getting a colonoscopy?

Damarise Navarro, MPH

Damarise Navarro, MPH
Health Education Specialist, Swedish Cancer Institute

Are you worried or anxious about getting a colonoscopy?  Have you been putting off getting a colonoscopy?  If so, no need to worry, you are not alone because most individuals are nervous, too.  However, it is important to remember that a colonoscopy may be a lifesaving procedure.

It is recommended that beginning at 50 both men and women start being screened for colon cancer.  A common screening for colon cancer is a colonoscopy which searches for polyps.  An early detection of colon cancer increases survival rates.

Raman Menon, M.D., from the Swedish Colon and Rectal Surgery Clinic, will be speaking at a free upcoming event in Edmonds and answering your questions.The goal of the event is to help you become educated about what a colonoscopy entails in order to ease any anxiety and/or fear you may be experiencing.  The event will be interactive and Dr. Menon will explain the role a colonoscopy plays as a preventative measure of colon cancer.  He will speak about each step of the colonoscopy procedure and will be available to answer any questions you may have.

What the Americans with Disabilities Act says about service animals

Michelle T. Toshima
What does a dog, cat, horse, bird and fish have in common?

These animals and many others share the ability to provide assistance, support, comfort and companionship to humans.  Dogs are the most commonly used animal for therapeutic purposes; however, cats, horses, birds and even fish have been used in this capacity.  There are many benefits to pet ownership that have been well documented including the health benefits of reduced stress, reduced blood pressure, improved physical fitness, improved emotional well-being to name a few.  Many individuals with disabilities have also experienced the benefits of having an animal to assist with specific tasks and/or to provide companionship and support.

More about Vision Assessment in Multiple Sclerosis

Eugene F. May

In my blog post from last September, I discussed a questionnaire that is being studied to evaluate the visual quality of life in people living with MS, the “NEI-VFQ-25.” This questionnaire, along with vision function tests and tests of optic nerve and visual pathway health, are being used increasingly to assess the quality of vision and vision’s impact on the function and quality of life of those with MS.

Another vision-related test that is being studied in people with MS is called the King-Devick (K-D) test, which is more of a visual performance test than a test of vision itself. The K-D test involves the person reading aloud a list of numbers on three separate cards in order as quickly as possible. The numbers on each successive card become progressively more crowded, making it increasingly harder to read them quickly. The amount of time it takes to read all three cards is the K-D time score. The whole test takes less than two minutes.

Unlike more simple tests of vision (visual acuity, low contrast acuity, color vision, peripheral vision) that are used in evaluating MS, performing well on the K-D test requires  ...

The “Leaky Gut” Hypothesis

Uma Pisharody, MD, FAAP

Uma Pisharody, MD, FAAP
Pediatric Gastroenterologist

Have you heard of the term “leaky gut”? It’s used to describe a (scientifically unproven) theory, which proposes that the lining of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract could be abnormally permeable to dietary and other environmental substances, which then “leak” into the blood stream to trigger inflammation. Sometimes, the “leaky gut” theory is put forth as the cause of a variety of poorly understood diseases, ranging from autism to autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis.

As a gastroenterologist, trained with the knowledge of how the internal mechanics of the gut lining are designed to make it an effective barrier, I have always found it hard to accept this hypothesis. I wanted to share the findings of a recent publication showing that in a group of children known to have food allergies and gut inflammation, their GI tract was no more “leaky”, compared to the intestinal tracts of healthy children.
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