2012

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Getting a mammogram

July 16, 2012

Frequently women will ask me: Where should I get my mammograms? There are several things to think about.

First, you want to go to a Center that is accredited by the American College of Radiology. This means that they have high quality images and well-trained radiologists. It is preferable to have a digital mammogram but if that technology is not available, then film mammograms are better than not having one done. While it is not clear that digital mammograms improve survival, they do allow the radiologist to examine the images more clearly and to use computer assisted diagnostic tools.

The radiologists’ experience is also important. Dedicated breast centers usually have radiologists who are specialized in breast imaging. These sub-specialized radiologists are very experienced in using mammograms, ultrasound, and breast MRI to diagnose breast disorders and are less likely to miss abnormalities.

Convenience is also a consideration. You want to make it ea...

Radio-What? Radiosurgery is a treatment that sounds like surgery but isn�t.

July 13, 2012

If you have never heard the term radiosurgery, you are in good company. This sci-fi sounding word may conjure images from Star Trek but radiosurgery is anything but fiction.

Radiosurgery uses multiple beams of radiation from a variety of directions to destroy diseased or damaged tissue. Although the name sounds like a surgical procedure, this is a non-invasive way to treat many different conditions. The CyberKnife and Gamma Knife technologies are very precise and avoid injury to surrounding, normal tissue and the course of treatment lasts from a single session to less than 2 weeks...

 

The Facts (and Fiction) About Ear Infections

July 11, 2012

The most common bacterial illness in children accounting for millions of doctor visits each year is otitis media — a middle ear infection. Acute otitis media typically occurs during or after a cold, upper respiratory infection or bout with allergies when the Eustachian tube that connects the middle ear to the throat becomes swollen and traps fluid. The fluid can cultivate bacteria or viruses, causing an infection.

Is there any way to protect your child from this potentially painful illness? How do you know if treatment is needed? We spoke with Swedish Otolaryngologist Linnea Peterson, M.D. who helped us separate fact from fiction regarding middle ear infections.

There is no way to avoid repeated ear infections; they’re just a part of childhood.

FICTION.

  • “Though it’s true that otitis media is one of the most common childhood ailments, parents can t...

Gluten-Free in a Gluten-Filled World

July 09, 2012

For this French/Italian girl that grew up on bagels and loaves of bread, it wasn’t easy to read the lab results telling me gluten was the source of all my problems (digestive anyway). Despite a degree in nutrition, I’m here to break the news that it’s far from easy, not just for me, but the unfortunate waiter, the distressed party hostess, or the sibling that doesn’t quite understand why you are no help in devouring the Oreos.

This post is for anyone with a new diagnosis, those just coming to terms with an old diagnosis, and those that think that gluten intolerance might be a possibility. It’s also for the friends and family of those affected by celiac disease or gluten intolerance, and for those that just want to learn more about it.

What’s the deal with wheat, gluten, and these allergies?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. You can be allergic to wheat, which is different than being gluten-intolerant (a broader category...

July is Global Health Month

July 06, 2012

Swedish, Washington Global Health Alliance and the Seattle Center’s Next Fifty (celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair) are part of the solution in combating global health issues globally and locally with the Global Health Nexus - Global Health Month. Global Health Month will feature our region’s strengths in combating malaria, diabetes and cancer, and in improving mother and child health and access to safe water.  

Here are some events where you can participate in Global Health Month:

  • The Global Health Experience Exhibit, July 3 - August 19, Seattle Center, Next Fifty Plaza
  • "Groundswell: A night for global health" a public event featuring Melinda Gates, Saturday, July 14 at McCaw Hall, Seattle Center
  • AGENCY (formally Party with a Purpose), Saturday July 14th at McCaw Hall, Seattle Center
  • "Be the Change Student Competition" winners honored, Saturday, July 14th ...

Vomiting in the newborn: when is spit-up something to worry about?

July 06, 2012

I have never met a baby that didn't on occasion spit-up. Many perfectly healthy babies can even spit-up quite a bit. Reflux is often the label given to babies who vomit, and this rarely amounts to a significant problem.

However, there are a few things that a parent should watch out for:

The most important thing is the color of what a baby is throwing up. Dark yellow and especially green vomit is never normal in a baby and demands immediate medical evaluation as this could represent a dangerous twisting of the intestines (midgut volvulus), which is linked to abnormally positioned intestines (intestinal malrotation).

Another consideration is quantity. If a baby is throwing up...

Utilizing Botox for tremors associated with multiple sclerosis

July 03, 2012

As many as two-thirds of patients with multiple sclerosis have tremor as one of the manifestations. Tremor predominantly affects the upper extremities, adds to disability, and can be severe in as many as 15 percent of cases.

Dr. Angeli Mayadev, a physiatrist with the MS Center at Swedish, talks about the use of Botox for MS-related tremors based on positive results from a small, randomized crossover trial showed that upper limb tremor in patients with multiple sclerosis improved significantly within 6 weeks after a single injection of botulinum toxin A. Click here to watch and learn more.

 

Grant support awarded to Ivy Center

July 03, 2012

Through its Foundation, Northwestern Mutual is awarding its Seattle office with the company’s 2012 Community Impact Award for its work with The Ben and Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment. To honor the office’s outstanding volunteer efforts, the medical center will receive a $50,000 grant that will be put into an endowment with the interest generated by the fund will help fund research.

The Ben and Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment is the first multidisciplinary treatment and research center in the Pacific Northwest dedicated solely to the treatment of brain tumors. See the full story here: Northwestern Mutual supports Ben...

Swedish's Perspective on the SCOTUS Ruling of the Affordable Care Act

June 28, 2012

As you have likely heard by now, the Supreme Court this morning issued a landmark decision that will allow implementation of the new health-care law to move forward.

Swedish aligned with the Washington State Hospital Association in support of the passage of the Affordable Care Act because it provides for better access to care for more individuals throughout the country. We recognize there are many supporting and opposing voices around this topic, and while not a perfect piece of legislation, the law will provide coverage for 30 million people who otherwise have no access to insurance by 2014.

While the Court’s decision brings additional clarity to national health reform, our commitment to improving health care regionally remains the same. For the past six years, Swedish has worked diligently to improve quality, reduce costs and increase access to health care, and 0 comment(s)|Read More

Pain after surgery

June 27, 2012

If you are scheduled to have surgery, it is normal to be concerned about pain you may experience after surgery.

The best time to talk about post-surgical pain is actually before your operation. Make sure you:

  • Talk to your surgeon about your experience with different methods of pain control.
  • Bring a current list of all your medicines and any drug allergies with you to your appointment.
  • Be honest about your alcohol and drug use. If you are abusing alcohol or drugs, you may experience withdrawal from these substances making your postoperative recovery difficult. If you are a recovering from alcohol or drug abuse we can design a pain management plan to reduce the chance for relapse.
  • Ask questions about the post-surgical pain: the severity, how long it will last, how it will be treated, what medications will be used, how they work, and their possible side effects.
  • Discuss any concerns you have about taking pain me...