Health Matters Blog


Published February 11, 2016

By: R. Mark Burke, MD, FACC and Phaedra McDonough At the Center for Cardiovascular Health at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital we take high blood pressure seriously. We know that 1 in 3 Americans will develop high blood pressure over their lifetime and half of those people don’t have it under control. Many of the symptoms that bring people to the Center originate from high blood pressure. Sometimes our patients are resistant to having their blood pressure treated, as they perceive the risk of blood pressure lowering medications to be higher than that of having high blood pressure. There is also the misperception that if you don’t have s...

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Personalized Medicine and Breast Cancer

Published February 4, 2016

Joseph Rosen, MD by: Dr. Joseph Rosen, MD, FACS As noted in Siddhartha Mukherjee’s book, “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer”, it is very difficult to treat a problem when you don’t understand the cause. Although we have been treating cancer for millennia, it is only very recently that our understanding of genetics and molecular biology, the true cause of the problem, is beginning to provide us with information we can act on. We are now beginning to understand why some families with an inherited gene mutation have a much higher incident of cancer. Once those families are identified, we can institute customized prevention and risk re...

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The role of the midwife in primary care

Published January 28, 2016

Heather Ferreira By: Heather Ferreira, CNM References to the practice of midwifery have been found as far back in history as notations on an Egyptian medical papyrus dated 1900 BC. Throughout human history midwives have attended to the healthcare needs of women, focusing primarily on labor and delivery, but over time the role of the midwife has expanded to include routine gynecological and primary care for women. Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) are registered nurses who have graduated from a nurse-midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education and have passed a national certification examination to receive ...

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Published January 14, 2016

Judith H. McBean, MD by: Judith McBean, MD Millions of women in the United States will face difficulty in conceiving each year. While we are hearing a great deal more about infertility in the news these days, the incidence has not actually increased in the past few decades. Greater awareness of the issue, advances in treatment technology, the increase in the number of baby boomers and a greater openness in discussing infertility have drawn greater attention to the issue in recent years. What is infertility? Infertility is a common condition, affecting approximately 1 in 10 couples. The World Health Organization defines infertility as “the failure to a...

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Who will speak for you when you are unable to speak for yourself?

Published January 11, 2016

By Martina Sczesny, MD “Expect the unexpected,” goes the old saying. Despite this, most of us prefer not to think about life-changing events like a serious illness or accident. Yet a vehicle could come out of nowhere, perhaps with a drunk driver at the wheel, or a slippery New England road might spin an 18-wheeler’s tires out of control. In an instant, your life could be on the line. An unexpected illness could suddenly change your life and your ability to think for yourself, or a progressive, debilitating condition could eventually compromise your control over decision-making. If you were unable to speak for yourself, who would y...

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Heat Stress: What to look for, how to respond

Published July 23, 2015

By Jeff Meckling PA-C During the hottest days of summer the terms “Heat Stroke”, “Heat Exhaustion”, “Sunstroke”, “Heat Cramps” and others can get used interchangeably in an attempt to describe our bodies’ responses to extreme heat. But did you know that each of those terms describes a different medical condition, each with its own set of symptoms and requiring different First Aid responses? Here’s a guide to help you identify different types of heat related conditions and how to respond. Those particularly susceptible to heat stress are: Infants and young children Elderly people Individuals with heart or circ...

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Summer Sun Safety

Published June 25, 2015

Kari Dickey, DO By Kari Dickey, DO Many of us welcome the arrival of summer with open arms, charging into the outdoors to soak up as much sun and fresh air as we possibly can before another New England winter rolls in. While all medical providers encourage our patients to be active outdoors, there are some important safety considerations to keep in mind if you’re going to be exposed to the sun. Sunlight consists of two types of ultra violet rays – UVA and UVB rays. Both can damage the skin and cause skin cancer with prolonged or cumulative exposure. UVA rays are the ones responsible for freckles, wrinkles and age spots and UVB rays are the primary ...

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Seasonal Allergies

Published June 18, 2015

John Todd, APRN By John Todd, APRN It’s a beautiful time of year here in Vermont, yet some of us just can’t appreciate it because of our sneezing, stuffy noses, watery eyes, and our unending battle with mucous. Some of us have these same symptoms through the winter as well due to dust, dust mites or mold in our apartments or houses. The body’s response to allergens and irritants is a part of our immune system called the histamine response. It is supposed to protect us, but some of us with heavier allergy symptoms don’t experience this as protection; it can be a nuisance, make us feel unwell and impair our ability to work or enjoy the company of fa...

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Lyme Disease: Reduce Your Exposure and Enjoy Your Summer

Published June 11, 2015

Richard A. Fletcher, RN, MSN, FNP By Richard Fletcher, APRN While at times during the long winter of 2015 it seemed like we might never see summer again, it has finally arrived, and with it a renewed concern about tick bites and Lyme Disease. The disease is concentrated heavily in the northeast and upper Midwest and we see cases in our practice every year. In 2013, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed 674 cases in the state of Vermont, and according to the VT Department of Health, the highest incidence of Lyme Disease occurs in Rutland, Windham and Windsor counties. What is Lyme Disease and how is it transmitted? Lyme Disease is caused by a bacterium called Bo...

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Putney Family Healthcare Unveils Its New Space, Expanded Services

Published June 4, 2015

By Debbie Hebert On May 1, 2015 we were pleased to host an Open House, officially unveiling Putney Family Healthcare’s expanded and renovated facility to the community. The gathering celebrated the completion of a four-month-long project that added 680 square feet to the building’s footprint and upgraded our existing treatment facilities in order to serve our patients most effectively. We’ve always loved being located in Putney and accessible to the community, but we needed additional space to provide more clinician hours, improve patient privacy and comfort, and give our staff the room they need to work effectively. We also wante...

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