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Why Have a Day Dedicated to Hepatitis?

July 28, 2015
Viral hepatitis is the most common cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. In fact, the two most common forms, hepatitis B (HBV) or hepatitis C (HCV), infect over 500 million people around the world – compared to 31 million with HIV. Chronic HBV is the most common cause of viral hepatitis followed by HCV. These two viruses are responsible for up to 2 million deaths a year. Therefore, it makes sense to call attention to this important global issue and this is why July 28 is World Hepatitis Day.

Screen Time Suggestions for Kids

July 27, 2015
Like everyone else, I like making resolutions from time to time. While some goals have been easier to attain than others, one resolution that has been frustratingly difficult to achieve has been “digital disconnection.” Especially in today’s hyper-connected world, it is almost impossible to “unplug.” While it may be desirable, and even necessary to be proficient at computers and technology, it is equally important that we also learn to be healthy “netizens”, and serve as smart examples for our kids. Children, even infants, are being exposed to a barrage of electronic devices. If smart phones, tablets, computers, televisions and video games weren’t enough, we now have toy versions of the same! In fact, the iPad has even become the go-to baby sitter for a lot of families. The negative effects of such unrestricted and early exposure are very wide ranging, and only of late has science been able to shed light on some of these.

What can we do to mitigate this epidemic? There is no one-size guidance for all, but here are some suggestions. Like anything else in life, common sense should be our guiding light. 

How to Make a Behavior a Habit

July 22, 2015
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle

We are constantly inundated by “advice” from our doctors, family, friends and even advertisements to make lifestyle changes to improve our health and well-being. This is all well and good but for many of us the mere thought of trying to make behavior changes, can be overwhelming and daunting. We often stop ourselves before we even start. If you happen to be one of the few who actually makes changes, you may struggle to keep it up over time.

So what’s the secret to making behavior changes? And for these changes to become habits?

What is Gastrointestinal Bleeding

July 20, 2015
Gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) is blood loss from your gastrointestinal tract from any site from your mouth to your rectum. The level of bleeding can range from mild to severe and life threatening. Small amounts of bleeding over a long period of time can cause iron deficiency anemia with symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, and weakness. GIB is divided into two different types: upper GIB and lower GIB. 

Here is what you should know about upper and lower GIB:

Helping Kids Deal with Chronic Pain

July 13, 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.

MS Center BBQ

July 09, 2015
Come join the Swedish MS Center for the Summer BBQ on July 25! There will be a catered lunch with live music, as well as a talk by Dr. James Bowen.

When: Saturday, July 25
Time: 12:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Where: MS Center at Swedish
1600 E. Jefferson St., A Level
Seattle, WA 98122
RSVP: Janice Huertas, 206.320.2200

Fatty Liver Disease in Children: It's About Sugar, Not Fat!

July 08, 2015
It’s common knowledge that over the last few decades there has been a significant increase in the number of children with obesity in the U.S. One of the complications of obesity is a condition termed metabolic syndrome, which consists of the combination of high cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, and waist circumference. Having metabolic syndrome has long been a well-known risk factor for heart disease, but less known is the relationship between obesity, metabolic syndrome and liver disease.

As a pediatric specialist who treats children with liver diseases, I am often asked to see children with a condition called “fatty liver disease.” In fatty liver disease, fat accumulates within the liver as a direct result of obesity and metabolic syndrome. The curious thing about this type of liver disease, however, is that it is identical to the liver disease seen in alcoholics.

Rehabilitation Enhances Brain Plasticity

July 06, 2015
If you overhear a research meeting at the Swedish MS Center, it may come up that the rehabilitation studies are not sub-listed under, "disease modifying therapy trials." That is when I usually pipe up and say, "Rehabilitation is disease modifying in MS!" In fact, it is one the of proven disease modifiers in progressive MS. Below is a summary of the recent article from the Italian MS group that reviewed improvements in brain plasticity from motor and cognitive rehabilitation in patients with MS. The Italian researchers do an excellent job in quantifying outcome measures from rehabilitation interventions using imaging.

Top 5 Things to Know about Your Child's IBD

June 29, 2015

As tears well-up in her eyes, I notice her husband's arms reaching over to comfort my patient’s mother. I continue to describe the disease that has been ravaging at their son's intestines, probably for the last several months.  Although his parents had suspected something was seriously wrong when their son’s abdominal pain and diarrhea (which had initially seemed like the “stomach flu”) got progressively worse, nothing could’ve them prepared them for what I had just confirmed during his colonoscopy: Crohn’s disease.  

What is a Urogynecologist and FPMRS Physician?

June 29, 2015
Doctors called urogynecologists diagnose and treat women with pelvic floor disorders which may include bothersome bowel, bladder or sexual symptoms. Although your primary care physician, gynecologist, or urologist may have knowledge about women's pelvic floor disorders (PFDs), an urogynecologist offers expertise in treating women's PFDs.
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