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Do the unexpected when living with multiple sclerosis (MS)

September 30, 2015
Sixty seconds of free fall at 120 miles per hour followed by a six minute float from 12,500 feet above the ground. Scary? Nah. Not to Jenel Kludsikofsky.

Jenel has been skydiving five times since being diagnosed with MS, and she was decidedly not nervous the first time. After making the decision to float the sky before turning 40, Jenel immediately fell in love with the sport. "I find it liberating, and it puts me on a 'normal' level with non-MS people." Having always jumped tandem, Jenel says the instructors treat you as though you are without disability. When you are one with the clouds, your physical shortcomings no longer provide any complications.


Trying "medical play" at home

September 28, 2015
When a child hurts it is upsetting to everyone. It is natural for the first response to be alarm and fear. New pain in a child needs to be investigated with tests and examinations. There are times a clear reason for the pain is found. Other times, the reason for the pain is not well understood. In both cases, a child that is hurting is important and deserving of care.

One of the hardest elements of pediatric pain is to know how to support the child.

Why we're "walking now" for Autism Speaks

September 21, 2015
A team from the Pediatric Neuroscience Center will proudly represent Swedish at Walk Now for Autism Speaks, Saturday, September 26, at the Seattle Center. Our entire staff will be there – doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, medical assistants and patient care coordinators.

We know we’ll see many familiar faces walking for a common cause: to improve the care and quality of life for children and families living with autism.

MS neurologist Pavle Repovic talks about TRANSFORMS trial in Neurology Today

September 18, 2015

A post-hoc analysis of follow-up data from the TRANSFORMS trial suggests that early disease activity during a patient’s first year on fingolimod predicts longer-term outcomes in multiple sclerosis. Click here to read the analysis by Pavle Repovic, a neurologist at the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center.

"Life goes on" despite multiple sclerosis

September 03, 2015
Ed. Note: This blog post was written by Ed Johnson about his experiences before and after being diagnosed with MS.

I miss coaching college and high school volleyball. I was a college volleyball coach for 15 years with various schools. Perhaps the high point was when our Missouri Valley College men’s team was ranked number two in the entire nation. We were so good that year that many bigger-name schools refused to play against us, fearing embarrassment if our smaller school won. That was before M.S.

Bladder drips and gullywashers improve after anti-incontinence surgery

September 02, 2015
When a woman has bothersome bladder leakage and is seeking to get her bladder back under her control, the first thing her provider will diagnose is whether the leakage is stress-type incontinence ("drips" small amount of urine with cough, sneeze, exercise), or urge-type incontinence (loses large volume of urine, "gullywashers" soaking pads and clothing). Stress-type drip patterns are more common, but urge incontinence can put a huge dent in your quality of life and can be terribly bothersome. Urge incontinence is also called overactive bladder, and may involve a spectrum of symptoms with urinary frequency, urgency, and leakage. Many women have a combination of symptoms and both types of leakage patterns, i.e. mixed-incontinence, and this situation can pose a dilemma to providers since the treatments for stress or urge incontinence are different - which to treat first?

Mental health apps: help when you need it

August 28, 2015
Millions of Americans suffer from some form of mental health problems. It is estimated that in the U.S., about 40 million adults suffer from anxiety, about 20 million adults suffer from depression, and another 8 million suffer from PTSD. Many more people, about 78 million, report suffering from high levels of stress with poor health in self or a family member being the primary reason for the stress. Unfortunately research consistently shows that two-thirds of these people do not seek out treatment for their problems. And those who are interested in help often run into barriers that prevent them from receiving treatment. Barriers can include lack of or inadequate health insurance, lack of mental health resources in rural or impoverished areas or the stigma of getting help for mental health problems. 

Apps on smart phones could help address some of these barriers. There are hundreds of apps focused on helping people with anxiety, depression, PTSD, stress and other symptoms.  

Updated diagnostic criteria for neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD)

August 27, 2015
Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a neuroinflammatory disorder characterized by optic neuritis and extensive myelitis. Like multiple sclerosis (MS), it can have a relapsing remitting disease course. Some of the NMO patients tend to run a more aggressive disease course. Most patients with NMO have Ig G antibodies to the aquaporin-4 water channel (AQP4).

In July 2015, experts from International Panel for NMO Diagnosis (Wingerchuk DM et al. Neurology 2015 Jul 14) provided updated consensus recommendations for NMO spectrum disorders (NMOSD). 

Five day radiation option for women with breast cancer

August 26, 2015
Research shows that 90% of all local breast cancer recurrences happen within one centimeter from where the cancer was removed. Could we focus the radiation treatment into that area at highest risk but spare the remaining breast tissue?

I am excited to report that we have recently added a new breast cancer radiation treatment alternative for patients treated at the Swedish Cancer Institute. SAVI is a form of accelerated partial breast radiation that provides an alternative to the 6 weeks of treatment usually recommended to breast cancer patients. About a week after surgery, once we know that the cancer has been completely removed, a catheter is placed into the breast to deliver radiation treatment directly into the surgical cavity. Treatment now is delivered over five days instead of the standard 6-7 weeks of daily sessions.

Update on the proposed changes to food labels by the FDA

August 24, 2015
In a previous blog post, I mentioned that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is making changes to nutrition facts labels (originally introduced 20 years ago to help consumers make informed and healthy food choices).

On July 27, 2015, the FDA added a supplement to the initially proposed changes (originally published March 2015). It proposes that food manufacturers not only list the grams of added sugar, but also declare the percent daily value (%DV) for added sugars, which is a major step forward in aligning with international standards for sugar intake, and a totally novel concept in terms of food labelling in the U.S.
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