Tuesday, March 31, 2009

100 measly calories

Did you know if you consume 100 fewer calories per day you could lose 10 pounds in a year? If you burn another 100 calories every day through exercise, you could lose up to 20 pounds per year.

Megan Larson, RD, LDN, a clinical dietitian with ARAMARK Healthcare at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, offers these simple ideas for cutting 100 calories per day:
  • Put mustard instead of mayo on a sandwich.
  • Try a light or fat-free salad dressing instead of regular.
  • Substitute Canadian bacon for regular bacon.
  • Eat fresh fruit instead of juice or dried fruit.
  • Order thin crust pizza instead of pan pizza.
  • Order your coffee skinny with skim milk instead of cream.
  • Use a smaller bowl for your morning cereal.
  • Drink club soda with lime instead of regular soda.
Burn 100 more calories with these ideas:
  • Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier and go out for a morning walk.
  • Stand up and walk around while on the phone at work.
  • Take your kids out for a bike ride after dinner.
  • Join a tennis league and play several times each week.
  • Go for a 15-minute walk on your lunch break.
  • Get off the subway or bus a stop earlier and walk the extra distance
What are some other ideas you'd recommend for cutting calories without much pain?
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Congestive heart failure management program at Northwest Hospital

Are you suffering from congestive heart failure (CHF)? The Northwest Hospital Congestive Heart Failure Management Program can help you manage your health so that you will feel better and improve your quality of life.

Heart failure is a common condition that usually develops slowly as the heart muscle weakens. The heart needs to work harder to keep blood flowing through your body. Heart failure develops after an injury to the heart, such as the damage caused by a heart attack, long-term high blood pressure or an abnormality to one of the heart valves. The weakened heart must work harder to keep up with the demands of the body, which is why people with heart failure often complain of feeling tired.

Heart failure symptoms can include:
  • Shortness of breath, even during mild activity
  • Difficulty breathing when lying down
  • Weight gain with swelling in the legs and ankles from fluid retention
  • General fatigue and weakness
Only your doctor can diagnose you with heart failure. When you visit your doctor, he or she should review your medical history and conduct a full physical examination.

CHF Management Program staff seek to prevent worsening of CHF symptoms. Patients determined to improve their quality of life, maintain adequate levels of physical activity and functional status and minimize hospital admissions and emergency room visits are ideal candidates.

Patient care at the Northwest Hospital CHF Program can include inpatient visits with patient and/or family as well as home visits by a registered nurse, who place follow-up telephone calls. Each patient has different needs, which are coordinated with the physician. Patients receive a “Survival Tool Kit” to maintain wellness.

You can expect to learn several things about congestive heart failure by enrolling in the Northwest Hospital Program. Patients are educated about the signs and symptoms of CHF and learn to monitor and report them. Medication usage is reviewed, and the importance of cutting salt from your diet is emphasized. Patients also are instructed on the importance of follow-up appointments and lifestyle modifications.

If you are under the care of a Northwest Hospital or a Sinai Hospital physician and would like to be a part of this free program, call 410-601-WELL (9355).
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Build strong growing bones

Yogurt, cheese and pudding are all calcium-rich, bone-building foods. So are calcium-fortified juice, soy beverages and tofu, as well as dark green vegetables like broccoli and kale.

Still, it takes more than good nutrition to build strong bones. Regular weight bearing activities such as dancing, soccer, running, weight lifting, tennis and volleyball are important since they trigger bone tissue to form.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Don't let "Yucky!" discourage you

Many parents get discouraged when their child exclaims “Yucky, what are those?” at the sight of brussels sprouts or broccoli. But don’t stop trying to feed your kids healthy vegetables and snacks.

The entire world is new to a child, so it can be overwhelming. New food can be uncomfortable, so kids frequently decide they don’t like a new food before they try it. Give children the opportunity to get used to a new food by serving it again and again and by letting him see others eating and enjoying it.

It’s OK if your kids push new foods aside or declare them “yucky”. Be persistent and soon enough, they’ll be begging for their new favorites.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Simply the best

If you've heard a sound of the train in the distance, it's because we're going to take a moment to toot our own horn.

The LifeBridge Health Marketing department won several awards at the annual Alfred Knight Awards luncheon held today, including the Vicki Rosen Best in Show Award for the LifeBridge Health Facebook site. The department had nominees in several categories, including two for Best in Show - the LifeBridge Health Facebook site and the LifeBridge Health 10th Anniversary Celebration. One judge commented that the anniversary celebration was "beyond outstanding" while others commented that LifeBridge Health was leading the field in social media.

Other honors included:

-First Place, Social and Interactive Media, LifeBridge Health Facebook site
-First Place, Special Event Over $25,000, LifeBridge Health 10th Anniversary Celebration
-Second Place, Web site, www.lifebridgehealth.org
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Sinai infectious disease expert weighs in on new Human papillomavirus study

You'd have to be living under a rock this week to not have heard about a New England Journal of Medicine study that shows circumcised men reduced their risk of infection with HPV, or human papillomavirus, by 35 percent and herpes by 28 percent. The findings have generated great debate over everything from the methodology used and the subjects studied to the more basic question parents of newborn boys face every day: to circumsize or not.

The prevention of human papillomavirus infection and it's complications is of great public health importance, says John Cmar, M.D., an infectious disease specialist here at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. "Circumcision, if proven effective in this regard, would be a simple and low cost method to reduce the spread of HPV and the incidence of new cases of genital warts and cancers in both men and women."

Dr. Cmar notes that neonatal circumcision has always been a subject of some debate, without strong medical evidence for or against it as a practice.

"Studies like this one are important to help define the role of circumcision in preventing the spread of human papillomavirus later in life," he says.

For a thorough look at both sides of the argument, Dr. Cmar recommends checking out Science-Based Medicine's blog.
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Spotlight on The Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism

Endocrinology is an ever-evolving field, and the Division of Endocrinology at LifeBridge Health (LBH) is very busy keeping up! However, with the help of the LBH Clinical Research Support Unit based in the Department of Research, this small but dynamic group now has a rapidly expanding clinical research program.

Endocrinology has a diverse and unique group of physicians, each with a keen interest in research. They have a team approach to their clinical research program, and when possible, all faculty participate as coinvestigators on each study protocol.

Henry Fein, M.D., has conducted research in the areas of obesity, diabetes, pituitary disorders and thyroid diseases, and is currently a member of LBH’s Administrative Review Board (ARB). Dr. Fein is the Principal Investigator (PI) for the Thyroid Cancer Treatment Registry, and is the PI of a study designed to assess the safety and efficacy of a new treatment for Cushing’s syndrome.

Esther Krug, M.D., directs the Sinai Hospital Center for Bone Health and has a special interest in managing osteoporosis and androgen disorders in women. Dr. Krug is currently the PI of a clinical trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of a growth hormone-inhibiting implant in patients with acromegaly (extremities enlargement), a study examining osteoporosis in women with high multiple births, and a medical record review of the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus that are referred to endocrine clinic.

Sally Pinkstaff, M.D., PhD, directs the Sinai Diabetes Program and has clinical and research interests focused on that disease. She is currently the PI of a clinical study examining exenatide, a drug that enhances insulin secretion, and may help to better regulate glucose metabolism in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Division Director Asha Thomas, M.D., is a clinical research endocrinologist with interests in nutrition, bariatrics, preventive cardiology, lipid management, and the metabolic complications of HIV. In addition to her coinvestigator activities within the department, Dr. Thomas serves as a mentor in the Internal Medicine resident research program and serves on the LBH Institutional
Review Board (IRB).

Keep your eye on this division’s expanding research program which will enable them to offer LBH patients greater access to clinical trials that test promising new therapies for a variety of endocrinological disorders.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Add healthy foods to your recipes

Learning to incorporate healthy foods into recipes can make it easier to get the variety of nutrition you need. Megan Larson, RD, LDN, a clinical dietitian for ARAMARK Healthcare at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, recommends trying some of these ideas:
  • Mix rolled oats into meat loaf.
  • Bake vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and squash with fish or chicken breasts.
  • Add frozen or fresh vegetables to canned soup.
  • Steam vegetables along with pasta and serve with tomato sauce.
  • Use chopped fruit in breads or muffins.
  • Add chopped apricots, apples or pears to a green salad.
You’ll soon find eating the recommended 2 cups of fruits and 2-1/2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily is easy and fits into a lot of your favorite recipes.
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Have you had your flu shot yet?

The Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene has recommended that influenza vaccinations be offered to all hospital staff and patients through Saturday, May 23. This recommendation is due to the increase in influenza cases throughout the state.

As of March 18, there have been 94 confirmed cases of influenza here at Sinai Hospital, most of which were pediatric cases.

It's not to late to get the flu shot. Protect yourself and your family by calling your primary care doctor today. Need help finding a physician? Baltimore residents in need of an internist can consult our physician finder by clicking here.
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Ballerina's career saved by pioneering surgery at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore

Inspired by an older sister who danced, 32-year-old ballerina Kara Bruzina began her training when she was 8. Over the years, she learned to manage the pain from twisted ankles, shin splints and other minor, nagging injuries. But two years ago, Bruzina began experiencing severe hip pain while performing with Ballet Memphis. After a season ending performance, she could barely walk off the stage.

When a Nashville doctor diagnosed a torn labrum in her left hip, Bruzina realized her career was in jeopardy. She turned to the Internet for help and found Barry Waldman, M.D., of Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, a leading expert in the field. Dr. Waldman recommended Bruzina undergo a pioneering form of hip arthroplasty surgery.

Once considered an option of last resort reserved for seniors living with severe arthritis, young people are increasingly turning to joint replacement surgery to end their chronic pain and regain lost mobility.

Click here to read more about joint replacement surgery and Bruzina's story.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Five easy ways to enjoy more fruits and vegetables

Our series of posts on nutrition continues with a look at five easy ways to enjoy more fruits and vegetables. Adding fruits and vegetables to your eating plans is as easy as 1, 2, 3…plus 4 and 5.
  1. Wake up to fruit. Make a habit of drinking juice or complementing cereal, yogurt or pancakes with sliced or dried fruit.
  2. Try these “grate” ideas: Add grated, shredded or chopped vegetables, such as zucchini, spinach and carrots to lasagna, meatloaf, mashed potatoes or pasta dishes.
  3. “Sandwich” in fruits and vegetables. Add pizzazz to sandwiches with sliced pineapple, apples, peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes as fillings.
  4. Get creative with pizza. Make it a “deluxe” with vegetable toppings like broccoli, carrot shreds, thinly sliced zucchini, chopped spinach, read and green peppers strips, chopped tomato or any other vegetables.
  5. Stuff an omelet with vegetables. Turn any omelet into a hearty meal with broccoli, squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes and onions.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Can fruits and vegetables really improve brain power?

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables definitely adds variety and nutrition to your eating plan, but what other health benefits do they provide?

Phytochemicals are plant compounds found in many fruits and vegetables that are thought to help prevent certain disorders. Researchers are looking at these compounds found in blueberries, strawberries and spinach and how they may affect memory.

Some plant compounds also aid in preventing macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness after the age of 50.

Enjoying more broccoli, kale, spinach and kiwi may help preserve memory and prevent other vision problems. Although research continues, increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables will provide you with the vitamins and minerals your body needs and give variety and color to your meals.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Healthy eating tips

When looking for healthy foods, here are some quick tips to keep in mind:

Love fish but worried about mercury levels? Fish with the lowest levels of mercury include tilapia, freshwater trout or whitefish. For a complete list, and guidelines on how much fish is safe to eat, visit the National Resources Defense Council.

Want to quit smoking? Try a glass of milk. A recent Duke University study shows that certain foods — fruits, vegetables, water and juice — make a cigarette taste worse, while meat, caffeine and alcohol make it taste better.

Olive oil may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, due to its content of monosaturated fat. But don’t overdo it — two tablespoons a day is the recommended amount.
Food and Drug Administration

Don’t skip breakfast if you are trying to lose weight. Out of the close to 3,000 people in a NationalWeight Control Registry study, 78 percent report eating breakfast every day. The NWCR tracks those who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for at least a year.
NationalWeight Control Registry

When the power is out, try not to open the freezer door. A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Wellsphere.com awards LifeBridge Health blog "Top HealthBlogger" status

Wellsphere. Health knowledge made personal.

The LifeBridge Health blog has been awarded "Top HealthBlogger" status on Wellsphere.com, one of the leading consumer health Web sites.

Wellsphere is the Internet's largest and highest quality network of leading health writers, with more than 1 million unique visitors each month. Individuals who write quality blogs relating to health and wellness topics are invited by Wellsphere to join its Health Bloggers Network. Wellsphere will republish our blog postings on their site in exchange for links back to our site. In addition, we receive a profile page on Wellsphere.com highlighting our blog and the topics it covers.

The colorful, special badge you see to the right recognizes us as a Top Health Blogger. Ultimately, we hope partnering with Wellsphere will increase traffic to our site and help us gain even more subscribers. So drop us a line if you come across any of our posts on their site.

Click here for more information on the Top HealthBloggers network.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Workplace diversity prized at LifeBridge Health

In our ever-changing world and workplace one thing is guaranteed: diversity is a fact of life.

"At LifeBridge Health, we embrace a culture of inclusion and mutual respect by valuing the unique contributions of each employee," says Taylor Foss, vice president of Human Resources. "We are committed as an organization to weaving diversity into the fabric of the organization."

To honor and strengthen that commitment, LifeBridge Health has launched a diversity initiative with President and CEO Warren Green as its champion.

Taylor received 50 applications for the Diversity Council's 25 seats. Members chosen represent each LifeBridge Health center and include people of various races, ages, genders, sexual orientations and lengths of employment with the organization.

"As they gathered together around a conference room for the first time, all had chosen to be there. Some knew one another, but most did not," says Ann Ray, a Human Resources director.

The council, which meets monthly for two hours, is charged with developing guiding principles and a comprehensive, measurable, three-year Diversity Project Plan. Success will be measured on a scorecard, Ann says.

"The ultimate goal," Ann says, "is that both employees and the community would say LifeBridge Health embraces the culture of inclusion and mutual respect by valuing the unique contributions of each employee."

That commitment to promoting workforce diversity is one reason the Baltimore Business Journal recently named LifeBridge Health the Best Place to Work among large employers in Baltimore for a third consecutive year.

If you are job hunting and are interested in working for a company that values diversity, or to learn more about Sinai and Northwest hospitals, Levindale and Jewish Convalescent & Nursing Home, check out our latest job offerings here.

Gastric sleeve procedure helps bariatric patients lose weight, improve blood pressure and diabetes

I've previously posted about the health advantages of bariatric surgery. The gastric sleeve is a relatively new approach. It involves re-shaping the stomach into a narrow tube, or sleeve. Unlike the gastric bypass or the band, the sleeve does not involve any “re-routing” of bowel or implanting foreign bodies into the abdominal cavity.

The gastric sleeve can help you get your energy back, lower your cholesterol and improve both your diabetes and high blood pressure.

Alex Gandsas, M.D., M.B.A., head of the Division Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery at Sinai, will speak at a free lecture about this novel approach on Monday, April 6, at 6 p.m., in Zamoiski Auditorium at Sinai Hospital. To RSVP, please call 410-601-4486.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Four LifeBridge Health employees named Health Care Heroes winners

Once a year, the Maryland Daily Record sponsors a day to recognize those heroes that walk among us – Health Care Heroes.

LifeBridge Health is proud of all its finalists: Donald Abrams, M.D., Lee David Chiat, R.T., Susan Golden, Lynn Harris R.N., Shawn Standard, M.D., Garrick Williams, Harry Zemel and Project LIGHT. The winners were Dr. Abrams, Harris, Williams and Zemel.

Dr. Abrams, the chief of Sinai Hospital’s Department of Ophthalmology, was recognized for his work with glaucoma patients and the free screenings held regularly at Krieger Eye Institute through a partnership with the Polakoff Foundation.

Harris, a nurse who is the manager of the Mother-Baby Unit at Sinai Hospital was recognized for her work with new mothers experiencing postpartum depression.

Zemel was a top winner in the Volunteer category for his 20-plus years of service at Sinai, from the Post Anesthesia Care Unit to the Volunteer Advisory Council.

Williams won for his work as a youth outreach worker, running support groups for young men as well as the 8-year-old Park Heights Saints football league.

Congratulations to all!

Winners (from left) Dr. Abrams, Zemel, Harris and Williams

following a breakfast ceremony this morning.

President of Sinai Hospital of Baltimore to lead American Heart Association

The American Heart Association (AHA) has announced its national officers for the 2009-10 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Neil M. Meltzer, president and chief operating officer of Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and senior vice president of LifeBridge Health, is chairman. Meltzer will be responsible for the association's business affairs, public relations and fund raising, and will preside over all Board of Directors and Administrative Cabinet meetings.

Meltzer began volunteering for the association in 1995 and has been a member of the national Board of Directors and Administrative Cabinet since 2005. He is a past member of the association's Mid-Atlantic Affiliate Board of Directors.

Founded in 1924, the AHA is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. To help prevent, treat and defeat these diseases -- America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers -- the AHA funds cutting-edge research, conducts lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocates to protect public health.

Eat more fiber - your body will thank you

Fiber is often called “your body’s broom.” Eating enough fiber helps bowels function properly, can alleviate symptoms of chronic constipation and diverticular disease and may lower your risk for heart disease and some cancers.

Here are some quick and easy ways to add fiber to your eating plan:
  • Look at fiber-rich fruits as ingredients in a meal as well as snacks: pears (4 grams of fiber), apples (3 grams), strawberries (3 grams per cup) or a banana (2 grams). Add these fruits to salads, cereal, yogurt, salsas or as a topping for any dessert.
  • Read the label when buying cereal and choose those that provide at least two grams of fiber per serving.
  • Try the rich, nutty flavor of short-grain brown rice (4 grams of fiber per cup).
  • Vegetables are a great natural source of fiber, so add them to your meals whenever you can: soups, pizza, sandwiches, pasta dishes and more.
Remember, March is National Nutrition Month. Check back frequently for more healthy eating strategies.

Monday, March 16, 2009

LifeBridge Health blog debuts on eDrugSearch.com's top ranked health care blogs

Well, we must be doing something right. Today we learned that our blog has been ranked on a popular list of the top rated health and medicine blogs in the world. We debuted at #604. And while it will be a long climb to the top, we want to thank all our subscribers and faithful readers for your continued interest.

In the near future, we'll be adding some new features like opinion polls and other cool gadgets. In the mean time, please help spread the word about our blog. You can do so by linking to us in comments you leave on other health-related blogs you frequent. If you haven't subscribed yet, please do now by clicking on the new Bloglines link to the right. It will help us grow our ranking - and keep you up to date on our latest posts.

Thanks all!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Are You a Good Role Model?

Did you eat your fruits and vegetables today? Did you go for a bike ride, walk or go to the gym? Did you drink low-fat milk?

Do you think your children noticed?

Along with everything else, children learn their eating and physical activity habits from role models: their parents, older siblings or other caregivers. Whether you intend it or not, role modeling may be the most powerful, effective way for you to help your child eats smart and be physically active.

The next time you super-size a fast-food meal, eat because you’re stressed or bored, or decide to spend the afternoon in front of the TV, think about the message you are sending your children.

The best way to help your child live a healthy lifestyle is for you to do so!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cooking with Your Kids

Preparing food with your children is not only an opportunity to spend time together, but it helps them learn how to handle foods in a safe, healthful way. Consider these guidelines for kitchen success:
  • Choose foods and recipes that match your child’s abilities. For young cooks, use illustrated children's cookbooks that show pictures of the foods, measurements and steps along the way.
  • Ask your child to suggest foods he or she would like to make and shop for the ingredients together.
  • Go over safety and sanitation tips, beginning with hand washing. Sing two choruses of “Happy Birthday” while you lather up - cleaning your hands for 20 seconds.
  • Supervise children as they learn to work with knives, the stove and other potentially dangerous appliances and tools.
Have your child help you store food properly for food safety.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Rooms available at Hackerman-Patz House at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore

We currently have vacancies at The Hackerman-Patz House at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. The front door of the Hackerman-Patz House is just steps from Sinai's Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics, the International Center for Limb Lengthening and Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital .

For patients traveling to Sinai for procedures that require lengthy stays or rehab, the Hackerman-Patz House is a comfortable and convenient place to stay - like a home away from home. Designed with the patient and family in mind, guest suites at The Hackerman-Patz House resemble deluxe hotel rooms. They are equipped with beds, a sitting area, private bathrooms, microwaves, refrigerators, coffee post, a room safe, telephones, wireless internet and cable television with a VCR/DVD combination.

Please contact the house for eligibility requirements and current room rates. Visit the Web site for a virtual tour.

For more information about the Hackerman-Patz House or to inquire about accommodations, please call Director William Turner at 410-601-5163.

Dr. Barry Waldman featured in the Baltimore Sun today

The Baltimore Sun this week featured a question-and-answer column on arthritis with Barry Waldman, M.D., co-director of the Center for Joint Preservation and Replacement at the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. The column also appeared in the Cape Cod Times.

Here's a transcript of the conversation:

Question: What is arthritis?

Answer: The word means inflammation of the joint. This inflammation causes the cartilage in the joint to wear out. As it wears out, it causes four problems: pain, redness, swelling and deformity.

Q: Are all those symptoms usually present?

A: No. They don't have to be. And there are all kinds of arthritis. The one we're most familiar with is osteoarthritis, the premature wearing out of the joints. There are other kinds caused by a number of diseases called inflammatory arthritis.

Q: Who is most susceptible to osteoarthritis?

A: Past trauma and family history can play a role. But the vast majority of people just get it, and we don't know why.

Q: How is it diagnosed?

A: Generally by X-ray.

Q: What are the most common symptoms?

A: Pain and swelling. The pain tends to be worse when sedentary. With activity, the joint hurts less.

Q: Why?

A: We don't know, but cartilage tends to be healthier when it's moving.

Q: When should someone seek treatment?

A: When the symptoms are interfering with things they want to do, whether it is walking or exercising.

Q: Does delaying treatment make the condition worse?

A: We encourage people to see a doctor because there are some kinds of arthritis that can be slowed with medication.

Q: Some people say weather makes their arthritis worse. Does research support that?

A: There have been a lot of studies done on arthritis and weather, and it seems that weather doesn't make a difference in arthritis pain.

Q: What are the treatment options for osteoarthritis?

A: The best early treatment is exercise. Getting the muscles stronger around the joint will help. The next thing we try is acetaminophen, otherwise known as Tylenol. Then we move on to anti-inflammatory medicines like Motrin or Aleve. If that doesn't work, there are medicines we can inject into the knee or shoulders. We can try anti-inflammatories like cortisone. We have one injectable medicine made of cartilage that can act as a cushioning agent.

Q: Do over-the-counter remedies such as glucosamine help?

A: There was recently a large study that National Institutes of Health did that found that glucosamine and chondroitin didn't help. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons now recommends against taking it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Living with frontal lobe disinhibition

Imagine for a moment having no filter to censor your thoughts before you speak.

That's the fate that befell Adrian Walker-Pittman of Woodlawn, Md., after she was tragically struck by a car 14 years ago. The incident left her in a coma for 15 days, and she missed a year of work while recovering from her injuries. Fourteen years later, she is still receiving treatment for a serious brain injury called frontal lobe disinhibition, which was featured on this week's episode of the popular medical drama "House".

With the help of RETURN!, a brain injury day treatment rehabilitation program at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Adrian has regained her independence.

"You have to learn how to go to the bathroom. You have to learn how to do personal hygiene. You have to learn everything all over again," Adrian says. "It takes a lot of work and it is not easy. But you can go on with your life after a brain injury."

The condition is most commonly caused by trauma to the brain. There is no telling when or if it will ever go away. Some people fully recover; others only improve marginally, says Melanie Brown, M.D., a RETURN! program physician.

Click here to see a Fox 45 News report on the condition and interview with Adrian and Dr. Brown.

Eating Out with Kids

In recognition of National Nutrition Month, I'll be sharing some healthy eating posts through the rest of this month. Let's start with a look at eating out with kids.

We parents all battle the temptation of settling for an unhealthy fast food meal when pressed for time and dining out. But whether it’s part of your busy lifestyle or a special treat for the family, eating out at restaurants with your kids can be both a healthy and pleasant experience. Jennifer Whitlock, Clinical Nutrition manager for Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center & Hospital and Jewish Convalescent Nursing Home offers the following tips for healthy dining out experiences:
  • Choose a restaurant that caters to children with healthier children’s menus
  • Order your kids plain foods and keep the sauce on the side
  • Substitute healthier sides dishes, such as carrots or apple slices, for fried foods like french fries
  • Choose two or three suitable menu items, then let your child pick one; let the child place the order if he or she wants.
  • Let kids order familiar favorites when they eat out. For new foods, offer a bite or two from your plate

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Feeding Your Teen Machine

Bigger appetites, busy lifestyles, mood swings, struggles for independence, peer pressure - they all challenge how and what your teenager eats. As a parent, there are ways you can positively influence the eating habits of your teen.
  • Stock your kitchen with easy-to-grab nutritious snacks, such as whole fruit, yogurt, hummus, cut vegetables and string cheese.
  • Make time for family meals. Even if you have to schedule around after-school activities and jobs, put family meals on the calendar days in advance.
  • Discuss the options at fast-food restaurants with your teen.
  • Help kids learn about healthy portion sizes by buying small bags of snacks.
  • Set a good example by leading a healthy lifestyle yourself, complete with regular physical activity and healthful eating.
Did you know March is National Nutrition Month? For more ideas on how to improve your family's diet, consider signing up for the next Healthy Shopping Tour on Thursday, March 26, at the Whole Foods Market in Mt. Washington neighborhood of Baltimore. Northwest Hospital Community Health Educator Kristen Diaz, M.S., instructs a group on how to select healthy foods and shares strategies for keeping junk food from filling your cart or basket.

Breast cancer support group to meet at Northwest Hospital

A breast cancer support group for women will be held on March 18 at Northwest Hospital’s Education Center from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required. Call 410-601-9355, for more information.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Driver safety class offered at Northwest Hospital

Recently I blogged about a Fox 45 News report on the Sinai Hospital driving rehabilitation program that helps people recovering from stroke or other conditions get back on the road. But healthy seniors in need of a driving skills refresher should check out Northwest Hospital's AARP Driver Safety Class for people age 50 and older.

The two-part classroom driving skill review course identifies ways of compensating for the physical changes of the maturing driver. The classes will be held at Weinberg Village II on March 17 and 19, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The cost is $12 for AARP members and $14 for non-members. Pre-registration is required. For more information, call 410-521-5968.

Friday, March 6, 2009

International Center for Limb Lengthening at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore

The International Center for Limb Lengthening (ICLL) is widely recognized as the most experienced center for limb lengthening and reconstruction in the world, committed to providing the most comprehensive and technologically advanced treatments available for children and adults with upper and lower limb length discrepancies, short stature, limb deformities, nonunions, bone defects, bone infections, joint contractures, and arthritis.

In addition, the ICLL has become a major referral center for the Ponseti method of clubfoot treatment and distraction treatment of Perthes disease, two new methods for the treatment of two common pediatric disorders. The ICLL also offers a state-of-the-art gait laboratory for motion and function analysis and other specialized studies. With an international reputation for excellence, the Center's physicians have treated patients from all 50 United States and more than 50 countries from six continents around the world.

The ICLL, part of the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics (RIAO), opened at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore in July 2001 in a brand new six-story facility designed by the Center's co-founders, Dror Paley, M.D., John E. Herzenberg, M.D., and Michael Mont, M.D. Paley and Herzenberg were the first team in the United States to dedicate their practices to limb lengthening and deformity reconstruction. Janet D. Conway, M.D., and Shawn C. Standard, M.D., and a podiatrist, Bradley M. Lamm, DPM, F.A.C.F.A.S., complete the team.

International Patients
Because many of our patients come from overseas, we offer special services. Each year, many patients from more than 40 countries come to the ICLL for special medical treatment. Our patients benefit from proven expertise, state-of-the-art research, and cutting edge treatments offered by the orthopedic specialists at the RIAO.

For more information about the International Center for Limb Lengthening, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chris Brown, Rihanna case puts spotlight on domestic violence

The Chris Brown-Rihanna domestic violence story is back on the front page today. Brown, a 19-year-old R&B singer, was formally charged with two counts of felony assault. He remains free on $50,000 bail.

The incident, though unfortunate, provides us a good opportunity to talk about domestic violence and resources available to victims in northwest Baltimore. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 out of every 3 women in the U.S. will experience domestic violence at some point in her life.

Maryland does not require mandatory reporting of domestic violence. But in 1996, Sinai Hospital was identified as one of three sites in Maryland to develop a model for domestic violence intervention in hospitals. The Family Violence Program (FVP) trains medical providers to identify and assess victims of domestic violence when they enter the health care setting. While other hospitals in the area may provide training and/or some crisis intervention, the Sinai Hospital Family Violence Program is the only program that provides ongoing counseling on site. Women who have witnessed the abuse receive services from FVP staff, which may include crisis intervention, individual or group counseling, and referral to community resources. In addition to the core direct services to victims, the FVP also provides consultation and education to local medical providers for developing domestic violence intervention services in their communities.

The Sinai FVP Women’s Support Group offers survivors of domestic violence a safe place to discuss their shared experiences and learn new skills to become free of violence. The group meets weekly, day or evening, and is free of charge. For more information, call 410-601-8692.

Sad to say, incidents like the Chris Brown - Rihanna story occur everyday in communities like ours, far more often than many of us know. Maybe you or someone close to you is a domestic violence victim. If so, where did you turn for services? How were you able to become free of violence?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sleep quantity and quality are key to good health

In observance of National Sleep Awareness Week (March 1-8), representatives from the Northwest Hospital Sleep Disorders Center will be in the Old Court Cafe March 2 - 6, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Sleep quantity and quality are key factors to our health and well being, so if you think that you may not be getting enough sleep, stop by our cafeteria booth to speak with our staff. Northwest Hospital is home to a state-of-the-art sleep disorders center with hotel-like rooms with Comfort Select sleep number beds. The center can perform diagnostic testing, evaluation, and treatment of sleep disorders and has private physician clinics. All physicians affiliated with the Sleep Center are board-certified in the area of sleep medicine.

For more information about sleep disorders, see us at lunch during Sleep Awareness Week or contact the Northwest Hospital Sleep Disorders Center at 410-601-WELL (9355).

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Break the habit - sign up for the Up in Smoke program

Up in Smoke is a free, five-week program to help Baltimore-area residents quit smoking. The program includes nicotine replacement (gum, patches, lozenges), behavior modification and support. Classes are held weekly at Sinai Hospital’s Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute beginning March 10, from 6 to 7 p.m.

To register in advance, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Did you or someone you know quit smoking? What tips and tricks can you share for fighting off the nicotine cravings?

Photo courtesy of the United States National Library of Medicine.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

M.D. or D.O. - What type of doctor is best for you?

Pop Quiz – Is your physician a M.D., or a D.O.? Should it matter to you?

Many people don’t realize that in the United States there are two groups of physicians fully licensed to prescribe medicine and to practice in all specialty areas, including surgery.

In many respects, there is little difference between the two. Both types must graduate from an accredited medical school. Before they can start their careers, newly minted M.D.s and D.Os receive additional, on-the-job graduate medical training through internships and residencies, which typically last three to six years.

But it is the type of training they receive that sets them apart. M.D.s, or medical doctors, learn to treat specific symptoms or illnesses, whereas D.O.s, or doctors of osteopathic medicine, practice a “whole person” approach to medicine with an emphasis on preventive health care. They are trained to consider the health of the whole person and use their hands to help diagnose and treat their patients.

According to the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), "D.O.s receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system – the body’s interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones, providing them with an in-depth understanding of the ways that illness or injury in one part of the body can affect another. With this knowledge, D.O.s incorporate osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) into their patient care, using their hands to diagnose illness and injury and to encourage the body’s natural tendency toward good health."

I bring this up because National Osteopathic Medicine (NOM) Week begins today. NOM Week brings supporters of the osteopathic medical profession together to focus on one common goal – increasing awareness of osteopathic medicine and osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) in communities across the country.

If you’re in the process of selecting a new primary care physician, the AOA lists several questions to ask yourself before considering an osteopathic physician. Another great resource for Northwest Baltimore residents in selecting a doctor is the Physician Directory of Md.MD For Life magazine, which you can see here.

What do you think? What factors do you consider when selecting a doctor? What is more important - reputation or experience and training?