Neuroscience SNI

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Eat a garden of nutrition to celebrate Earth Day

April 22, 2013

Today is Earth Day, the day to recognize and support environmental protection around the world. You can show your love for our Earth (and your health) by increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables.

To eat organic or not to eat organic?

One of the most common questions I’m asked is about organic produce. My first response is always that eating any fruit or vegetable is better than eating NO fruits or vegetables. The health benefits of consuming produce far outweigh the potential side effects of exposure to pesticide contamination.

However, there are recommendations of certain fruits and vegetables to purchase organic.
This list of fruits and vegetables (known as “The Dirty Dozen”) are considered to contain the highest levels of containments and pesticides. Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has now been controlling the use of toxic pesticides, some foods still test positive for high levels of harmful toxins.<...

Dizziness from loose crystals in your head

April 22, 2013

This sounds a bit like the punch line of a bad joke, doesn’t it? But believe it or not, it’s true.

Dizziness can be caused by loose crystals called “otoconia” in your inner ear, which is known as BPPV. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV, is the most common cause of vertigo, and is also the most common vestibular (inner ear) disorder. BPPV occurs when tiny calcium crystals are displaced from either one or both of the otolith organs of the inner ear and fall down into one of the semicircular canals, disrupting the flow of the fluid of that canal.

What results from that disruption of fluid is essentially a false sense of motion. People with BPPV will most often report experiencing short episodes of severe vertigo with change in head and/or body position, such as turning over in bed or getting up and out of bed, tilting their head back in the shower to wash their hair, or turning their head from side to side while driving. The onset of vertigo can be ver...

Misconceptions & Misunderstandings About Genetic Testing For Hereditary Cancer: Don�t Test Me, Test My Family!

April 19, 2013

As a genetic counselor with 30 years of experience, I have met with many families who have been concerned about their hereditary risks to develop cancer and other disorders. I have found that the complexity of genetics can sometimes cause misunderstandings about some critical information.

A common question that patients ask is this: I already have cancer, it makes no sense for me to have genetic testing, so why don’t you test my family instead?

As it turns out, the best strategy for most families is to for genetic testing to start with a relative who has already been diagnosed with cancer.

  1. If that person has a normal genetic test result, there is usually no need to test any other healthy family members.
  2. Because of the complicated nature of cancer genetics, accurate interpretation of a negative result usually requires an affected relative to have a positive genetic test.
  3. If a patient has a positive genetic test, the cost of testing all oth...

Is Robotic Surgery Right For You?

April 14, 2013

In recent years, there has been a surge in the popularity of robotic surgery. This is an exciting new technology that is being actively used by many specialists here at Swedish. In General Surgery, we have been using a minimally invasive approach called laparoscopy for many years. This allows us to use smaller incisions, giving the patient much less pain and a quicker recovery.  Robotic surgery is very similar.

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about robotic surgery:

Are incisions smaller with robotic surgery than with laparoscopy?

No. The incisions are pretty much the same. As a patient, you might not be able to tell much of a difference from the surface.

Do the robotic instruments allow the surgeon to perform a better operation?

Carotid Stenosis: What you need to know

April 11, 2013

Carotid stenosis is a build of up plaque in the large arteries that supply the brain with blood. This buildup of plaque increases the risk of transient ischemic attack (TIA) and stroke. Risk factors for carotid artery stenosis include hypertension, hyperlipidemia, obesity, and tobacco use. Symptoms of carotid artery stenosis include facial droop, weakness or numbness on one side of the face and body, slurred speech, garbled speech, gait instability, dizziness, and visual disturbances including blurred vision, loss of vision and double vision.

Carotid artery stenosis can be diagnosed with several diagnostic studies including carotid ultrasound, MR angiography (MRA), CT angiography (CTA), and cerebral angiogram.

Treatment options for carotid artery stenosis vary depending upon the severity of stenosis, history of TIA or stroke, and...

Current Exercise Concepts for People with Parkinson�s Disease

April 09, 2013

Research over the last several years has shown the positive benefits of exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease. Participants in physical therapy exercise programs demonstrate improved reaction time and balance, increased endurance and augmented strength. These gains in function can result in decreased falling, more energy to get around the home or community, and ultimately a better quality of life.

 

Evidence also points to HOW you exercise as an important variable in slowing the disease process. Concepts such as neural priming, movement visualization, whole body exercise, and intensity of practice all contribute to functional gains for people with PD.

 

Come to Swedish/Issaquah on April 22 to hear about these concepts AND get a chance to practice these exercises in class. The event is FREE. Please...

Dystonia Forum at Swedish Cherry Hill

March 26, 2013

We are excited to offer our annual Dystonia Forum coming up this Thursday at the Swedish Cherry Hill Campus. Click here to see the event flyer. It is not too late to register for lunch and a session that is sure to be informative and supportive. Hope you can join us!

The benefits of DBS and neuromodulation: helping patients

March 13, 2013

After working in the field of neuromodulation for the past 25 years, I have seen many advances in the field; both in our understanding of the nervous system, and new technology designed to target specific neuronal pathways that will offer the best outcome for patients. It is an exciting field with new investigations that lead to ever expanding knowledge. However, what really keeps me interested in the field after all these years is the opportunity and privilege to be a part of our patients lives on a daily basis. The picture and comment shared below from a grateful patient who had DBS with us two years ago says it all…

"I look back on my experience at Swedish with a grateful heart... thankful for every day I've been given.."

The Art of Nursing Complements the Science of Medicine

March 04, 2013

I first had the opportunity to speak with Sue Averill, one of Swedish's many incredible nurses, last year. As you may have read in her prior post, she's doing incredible work to serve in communities around the world, and shared a story from her recent work in Haiti that illustrates the art of nursing:

Last month I traveled with other nurses and doctors to Port Au Prince, Haiti, with Project Medishare, working at Bernard Mevs, the only neuro-surgical and trauma facility in the region. Project Medishare’s goal is to train Haitian doctors and nurses and to establish sustainable programs so the facility can function independently beyond the departure of expats. Among my role as ER and Triage nurse, I was anointed “The Hysteric Whisperer."

Many teenage girls and young women came to the hospital via ambulance or private vehicle...

How to deal with minor breakouts or major acne

March 01, 2013

Most of us experience acne at some point in our lives. It is most common in adolescents and young adults, but various forms can affect people well into adulthood. Knowing what you can treat with over the counter products and when to see a physician is the first step to improving acne.

The most common form of acne is comedonal acne and is characterized by whiteheads and blackheads. The next most common is inflammatory acne where deeper, pinker bumps appear on the skin. Milder cases of both comedonal and inflammatory acne can often times respond to over the counter (OTC) treatment with salicylic acid cleansers and topical benzoyl peroxide products. If you try OTC treatment for 6-8 weeks and see good benefit, you can avoid a trip to the doctor and keep using the OTC products.

More severe comedonal or inflammatory acne will commonly not respond to OTC treatment or get limited benefit. If a 6-8 week treatment trial with OTC products doesn’t control your acne, it’s time to see a...