2014

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Putting the science into action: helping children benefit from reading

October 29, 2014
It is astonishing to me how important it is to read to children from an early age. Research tells us there are short term and long lasting benefits from exposing children to books and language from the beginning. In an exciting progression, the idea of early literacy has moved from academia to policy. Supporting parent engagement and early literacy programs is a core part of Washington’s Early Learning System.

Early literacy does not mean early reading. Early literacy emphasizes positive exposure to a literacy-rich environment. Many important reading concepts begin before kindergarten. Studies show us that a child’s early literacy environment (age 0-3) plays a crucial role in school success and reading ability. Children enter kindergarten with different knowledge levels. Those who enter with the least knowledge of beginning reading skills are at academic risk.

The benefits of early literacy do not stop at kindergarten; it continues throughout the school years. Frequen...

Can food allergies be undiagnosed?

October 29, 2014
With food allergies on the rise in the past several years, you probably know at least one person who is allergic to cow’s milk, eggs, soy, wheat, nuts, or seafood. Individuals with a food allergy typically experience symptoms every time they eat a particular food. These symptoms range from relatively mild like hives and swelling to more severe such as coughing, vomiting, or loss of consciousness.

Unfortunately, there are no approved treatments for food allergies today. Individuals cope by avoiding the food and having proper medications nearby in case of an allergic reaction. As most children eventually outgrow some food allergies, it’s important to get tested for an accurate diagnosis.

To diagnose a food allergy, allergy specialists usually ...

Breastfeeding, Disease Modifying Therapies (DMTs), and Postpartum Relapse in Multiple Sclerosis

October 27, 2014
Women with multiple sclerosis (MS) have higher risk of relapse during the postpartum period.  Can exclusive breastfeeding alone prevent relapses? How soon after delivery should disease modifying therapies (DMTs) be reintroduced? Are any DMTs safe to take while breastfeeding? 
 
While disease modifying therapies (DMTs) have been shown generally to reduce relapse rates, none of them are indicated for use during pregnancy and lactation. Therefore, the question of when to restart DMTs postpartum remains a difficult one for physicians counseling MS patients who wish to breastfeed their children.
 
Trying to predict the risk of relapse for any one individual is very difficult. The risk factors for postpartum attacks include ...

Rare infection occurs in patient on Tecfidera

October 24, 2014
On Tuesday 10/21/14 Biogen announced that a patient treated with Tecfidera developed a rare infection, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). This patient was from Europe and had been treated with Tecfidera for 54 months. For approximately 3 ½ years, this person’s lymphocyte counts were very low, in the 200-500/mm3 range. After an illness lasting about 4 months this patient died from complications of the infection.
 
PML is an infection caused by the JC virus. About half of the population has the JC virus. Once a person has the JC virus, the immune system quickly brings it under control, but the virus remains hidden in the kidneys after that. From the kidney, the virus can periodically flare up and the immune system quickly brings it under control again. There are many other viruses that have this ability to periodically flare up, for example a virus that remains hidden in the nerves of the face can periodically flare up causing fever blisters, or chicken pox virus r...

October Pet of the Month at the Multiple Sclerosis Center

October 23, 2014

Name:   Bootsy

Age: 6 years old

Born: Bootsy was ...

A (Slightly) New Medication for Multiple Sclerosis Comes Out in November

October 21, 2014
Interferons have been used for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) since 1993. The existing line-up of interferons for MS (Avonex, Betaseron, Extavia and Rebif) will soon be joined by Plegridy, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in August 2014. Plegridy will become commercially available in November 2014.

Plegridy is a pegylated form of interferon beta. Pegylation is a process, used by several other non-MS medications, whereby a long string of polyethylene glycol molecules is attached to the interferon beta molecule, to extend its half-life by reducing clearance via kidneys or other elimination pathways in the body. This modification allows less frequent dosing of Plegridy – once every two weeks – although it is still administered as an injection under the skin.

In the ADVANCE trial, Plegridy was ..

Physical activity and lung cancer

October 20, 2014

Can physical activity help treat or prevent lung cancer? According to a 2007 study presented at the American Association for Cancer Researcher’s 6th Annual International Conference on Cancer Prevention, the answer is yes! 
 
Physical activity is linked with a lower risk of developing lung cancer. The benefits of physical activity extended to men, women, current smokers, former smokers and never smokers. The activities did not require hours a day or an expensive gym membership. Even gardening twice a week reduced the risk of developing lung cancer.
 
A growing body of research shows that it is safe for patients with lung cancer to exercise before, during and after treatment. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs have

What you should know about Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives or IUDs

October 17, 2014
Does it seem that more of your friends are using IUDs or contraceptive implants?  IUDs, intrauterine devices, and contraceptive implants are becoming more popular in the United States.  In this post, we will discuss these birth control methods and why they are gaining in popularity. 

IUDs are plastic devices that are placed in the uterus by a healthcare provider.  There are three products available in the U.S.:

Swedish Specialty Dental Clinic for low-income residents receives national recognition

October 16, 2014

Swedish Community Specialty Clinic’s oral surgery program receives Golden Apple award from the American Dental Association

SEATTLE—Oct. 16, 2014—The Swedish Community Specialty Clinic’s dental program, which has provided complex oral surgery care for more than 1,800 low-income adults, announced today that it received the American Dental Association’s Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Access to Dental Care Programs. The specialty dental program—a partnership between the Seattle - King County Dental Society, Project Access Northwest, Seattle Special Care Dentistry and Swedish — has provided more than $2.4 million in free care since its inception in 2011.

“Before this clinic opened, many low-income adults had nowhere to go but the emergency room when they had painful, acute dental conditions,” said Tom Gibbon, manager of the Swedish Community Specialty Clinic. “This program ensures that everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, has access to specialty dental care in the right place, at the right time.”

How to deal with temper tantrums in toddlers

October 15, 2014
We’ve all been there during that screaming fit in the grocery store because your 2 year old just HAS to have that particular treat off the shelf, and when we say no….it (a temper tantrum) all begins.

Why do toddlers tantrum?

A tantrum is the expression of a young child's frustration with the challenges of the moment and their inability to manage that frustration in any other constructive way. This is part of the normal development of children. For some toddlers, tantrums happen when they can’t figure out a particular task; for others they just can’t find the words to express his or her thoughts or feelings. Whatever the challenge, frustration with the situation might trigger anger — resulting in a temper tantrum. Since tantrums are an expression of powerlessness, toddlers who feel some control over their lives may have many fewer tantrums. Remember, if your child is thirsty, hungry or tired, his or her threshold for frustration ...