2014

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Swedish Lung Screening Program Meets and Exceeds the Standard of Care

December 01, 2014
Lung cancer screening is conducted by low dose CT scan and now widely accepted as a standard of care for those who are at high risk for lung cancer.  A low dose CT (LDCT) scan is about 8 times less the radiation exposure than a standard diagnostic CT scan and very sensitive to picking up something as small as a grain of rice in the lungs including an early stage lung cancer; this is when you want to pick up a lung cancer.  In fact, this sensitivity means there is a 24%-30% chance there will be abnormal findings on CT scan but largely, these findings will not be cancer or ever pose a problem.

This is an exciting and pivotal time for those at risk for lung cancer and those caring for patients on the front lines of healthcare.  This recent recommendation and understanding that LDCT screening in high-risk people saves lives and also means ...

Medical mission in Ethiopia - week 8

November 30, 2014

November 30, 2014

What a week. I wish I had been writing as the week progressed, but here we are, it is Sunday night, and I will try to capture the events and emotions.

This week the French were here. Three urogynecologists from Paris and Lyon came to the University of Gondar to help teach the faculty some advanced urogynecology techniques for patients with extreme pelvic organ prolapse. Dr Bertrand (“Bertie&rrdquo;), Dr Georges, and Dr Stephan are as French as French can be. I was delighted to try my French language skills and they were gracious enough to let me try. Their English was very good, but in true French form they would prefer to avoid using that language. The French and English have a long history of granting each other plenty of autonomy. These three were no exception. They are also fabulous surgeons. My interest was piqued, and I decided to Google one of their names. Dr Georges’ name surfaced to the top of a dozen prominent gynecology studies, and a few patents involving one of the most successful urinary incontinence procedures available today – worldwide. And here he was in Gondar, Ethiopia!

Over the counter medications to avoid for gastrointestinal health

November 28, 2014

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like Celebrex, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Excedrin, Alleve, Advil, Diclofenac, and Naproxen are medications frequently used to treat general aches and pains like headaches, musculoskeletal, and joint pains. However, these medications may cause harm to the gastrointestinal system.

Subtle, early symptoms of head & neck cancer

November 26, 2014
Patients often ask me how long they have had the cancers that they are consulting me for. This question is not intended to shift any responsibility nor accountability, but patients are genuinely trying to understand what they could have done differently. Although the treatment course would not have changed regardless, there were probably some early subtle symptoms that patients might have ignored:

Power of reflection: Mirror therapy in MS

November 25, 2014
The great wisdom traditions teach us that internal reflection is a useful means to grow.  Reflecting upon that. I thought that we could spend some time reviewing a technique of external reflection in rehabilitation known as mirror therapy. This was first described in 1995 by Ramachandran and his team who studied phantom limb pain.

Many concepts in multiple sclerosis (MS) rehabilitation come from stroke and pain rehabilitation fields.  There is evidence in these fields that supports the use of mirror therapy to help rehabilitation of the weaker side.  It also helps reduce neuropathic pain in patients who have phantom limb ( arm or leg) pain after an amputation.

There is very limited published research on the use of mirror therapy in MS.  We think that adding this type of therapy in the care of MS patients might be beneficial to reduce pain and weakness, and perhaps reduce "learned disuse" of the limb.

A brief summary of how to perform M...

Parents: talk to your kids about e-cigarettes

November 24, 2014
Do you know what an e-cigarette is?  Does your child?  You may be surprised.  In 2012, 1.78 million U.S. students reported having used e-cigarettes.  And that number has only continued to increase.  Our communities have been slow to realize the impact of electronic cigarettes on our children, but this is an issue parents and pediatricians need to tackle head-on ...

Rising Colorectal Cancer Rates in Young Adults

November 21, 2014

Most people know that colorectal screening is on the “to do” list when they reach 50 years of age, barring any high risk concern for where screening would begin earlier.  Screening saves lives and prevents many colon cancers.  With the increase in public awareness and availability of colonoscopy screening, the rates of colon and rectal cancers have been declining and survival rates increasing for people between the ages of 50 and 74. This is great news for our mature population, but a recent study indicates a concerning trend of increased risk of colorectal cancer in young people, ranging from ages 20 to 34 and 35-49 year olds. 

Lemtrada is FDA approved for people with relapsing MS

November 21, 2014
On November 14, 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) for the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) who have responded inadequately to two or more MS drugs.  Lemtrada is already approved in over 40 countries around the globe including the EU, Canada and Australia.

The FDA approval of Lemtrada is a significant milestone for people living with relapsing MS.  Lemtrada demonstrated superior efficacy over Rebif on annualized relapse rates in two pivotal randomized Phase III open-label rater-blinded studies in patients with relapsing remitting MS which were the basis for approval.  The clinical development program for Lemtrada involved nearly 1,500 patients including patients at the Swedish MS Center with more than ...

Winter 2014 Life to the Fullest Newsletter from Swedish Cancer Institute

November 20, 2014
The Winter 2014 Life to the Fullest newsletter has hit the stands and this issue is packed with helpful hints and resources. Written by three health education interns at the Swedish Cancer Institute, the focus of this issue is to offer assistance in becoming your own advocate and discusses what resources are available to you and your family. The newsletter also discusses ...

June Altaras named Chief Executive of Swedish Seattle

November 19, 2014

Long-time Swedish leader also recognized as Puget Sound Business Journal ‘Woman of Influence’

SEATTLE – Nov. 19, 2014 – Swedish Health Services announced today it has appointed Senior Vice President, Chief Nursing Officer and Swedish Seattle Chief Operating Officer June Altaras, R.N., M.N., as the new chief executive of Swedish Seattle, which includes the First Hill and Cherry Hill hospital campuses. Altaras will begin work in her new role on Jan. 1, 2015.

Swedish Chief Executive Officer Anthony Armada, FACHE, announced the promotion to Swedish caregivers on Nov. 18, the same day Altaras was recognized at an event by the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of the community’s ‘Women of Influence.’

“June embodies the very spirit of Swedish’s promise to provide every patient with extraordinary care and extraordinary caring,” Armada said. “June is well known and greatly respected throughout our system for her commitment to patient safety and quality, her relationship and dedication to our caregivers and for her vision as a transformative health care leader. Swedish, and our community, are very fortunate to have her and I am very pleased she will continue to support a legacy we enjoy of strong senior leadership and excellent caregivers at Swedish Seattle”