Health Matters Blog

Occupational Therapists on the Job to Help You Play

Published June 5, 2012

Chris Vitello Occupational Therapists on the Job to Help You Play By Chris Vitello I can’t tell you how frequently I explain that Occupational Therapy doesn’t apply solely to job-related injuries. In the rehabilitative services world, “occupation” is a synonym for everyday activities. A hobby like tending the garden is an occupation as is getting dressed or cooking a meal. The role of the occupational therapist is very much like a guidance counselor for an injury. We help the patient get back to doing what he or she likes to do or needs to do—not just get back to work. [caption id="attachment_5151" align="alignright" width="300"] Chris Vit...

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Aquatic Therapy Gives Some Patients a Leg Up in Rehab

Published May 31, 2012

Aquatic Therapy Gives Some Patients a Leg Up in Rehab By Carol Bailey Water has been used for healing purposes for centuries. Because the human body is primarily composed of water, it feels like a natural place for many people in need of rehabilitation from injury or to help manage chronic pain conditions. Aquatic therapy continues to evolve as an option within the world of physical therapy. It is important for people to understand whether or not it’s a viable treatment option for their particular condition. There are documented uses of water in medicine dating as far back at 1500 B.C., when it was used to combat fever. Prior to beco...

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No Soft Landing with P.A.D.

Published May 25, 2012

No Soft Landing with P.A.D. By Marcy Rushford Peripheral Artery Disease (P.A.D.) is a condition that frequently goes undiagnosed until it is in the advanced stages of the illness. But there is a fairly simple test that can help detect P.A.D. during the early stages and hopefully prevent some of the potentially fatal consequences. [caption id="attachment_4905" align="alignright" width="300"] Marcy Rushford[/caption] P.A.D. stems from a build-up of plaque along the arterial walls of the body. The plaque reduces blood flow, especially when a person is exerting themselves physically. A person with P.A.D. may feel pain or numbness in her...

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Understanding Risks Key to Preventing Heart Disease

Published May 18, 2012

Mark Burke, MD Understanding Risks Key to Preventing Heart Disease By R. Mark Burke Following is part two of a two-part column about heart disease prevention and treatment. Among the many issues a cardiologist must deal with, the one most people understand is a “heart attack,” or myocardial infarction (MI), a sudden obstruction of blood flow to a portion of the heart, which if not relieved, can be fatal. Each year, 1 million Americans suffer a heart attack and about half of them do not survive. While most people understandably fear cancer, an MI and its consequences are worse, causing more fatalities and more incapacity and disability. [captio...

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The Cardiologist as ‘Life Consultant’

Published May 11, 2012

Mark Burke, MD The Cardiologist as ‘Life Consultant’ By R. Mark Burke, MD, FACC Following is part one of a two-part column about heart disease prevention and treatment. Although the work of a cardiologist is centered on the heart beating in the chest, it turns out that an essential piece of that work centers on the figurative heart, as well. There’s a great deal that happens around the heart which has nothing directly to do with the pumping of blood to our brain and vital organs, but which has an enormous amount to do with our overall well-being and the health of our hearts. In the end, it’s all interrelated, in the way of the old song ‘Dem Bon...

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Breast MRI: The Role of Advanced Technology in Detection of Breast Cancer

Published May 4, 2012

Breast MRI: The Role of Advanced Technology in Detection of Breast Cancer By Marcy Rushford You may be asking what the big deal is about Breast MRI? Isn’t mammography or ultrasound enough? For some patients, the answer is yes, mammography is enough. Mammography is still considered the “gold standard” to screen for breast cancer. That means it is the best method we have to find breast cancer, often finding cancers years before they can be felt. But mammography is not foolproof. [caption id="attachment_4905" align="alignright" width="300"] Marcy Rushford[/caption] So your doctor may recommend an ultrasound. Often, ultrasound ...

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Genetic Risk Assessment

Published April 27, 2012

Agnes Mikijaniec Genetic Risk Assessment by Agnes Mikijaniec There have been great strides in the field of cancer genetics this past decade. It is now considered the standard of care in community and comprehensive cancer programs. However many individuals who would be appropriate for genetic risk assessment are not being tested. Barriers include distance to regional cancer programs, lack of insurance and lack of knowledge. City of Hope (COH) Cancer Center, a regional cancer in California and leader in cancer genetics, is working to improve outreach and access to genetic counseling. COH has received a National Cancer Institute grant to provide cancer genet...

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Lessons Learned from Surviving Prostate Cancer

Published April 20, 2012

Josh Hart Lessons Learned from Surviving Prostate Cancer By Josh Hart When I was first told I had prostate cancer, the first thing I did was swear. Just once. Then I asked myself what am I going to do about it? I can’t whine about it. I’ve got it. Let’s get rid of it. [caption id="attachment_4641" align="alignright" width="220" caption="Josh Hart"][/caption] The story of my cancer survival began in my thirties, when my mother recommended I start getting screened for prostate cancer. She had battled cancer and also worked in a healthcare-related field. So I took her advice to heart and began getting my prostate-specific antigen (PSA) lev...

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Gratitude for Volunteers

Published April 13, 2012

Gratitude for Volunteers By JoAnne Rogers National Volunteer Week (April 15-21 this year) was established in 1974 to recognize those who, as President Obama proclaimed in 2011, are “the lifeblood of our schools and shelters, hospitals and hotlines, and faith-based and community groups.” The 110 people who volunteered at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital logged an astounding 19,500 hours of service last year, and every minute of it made a difference in how patients receive care here. [caption id="attachment_4545" align="alignright" width="229"] JoAnne Rogers[/caption] Many of our volunteers come to us after accessing hospital service...

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Putting a Face to Cancer

Published April 3, 2012

Walter C. Wagenknecht, MD Putting a Face to Cancer By Walter Wagenknecht, MD Long ago, there were politicians who advocated spending large sums of money on medical research, specifically with the goal of waging and winning “the war against cancer.” That appealed to many of us, especially the many whose lives had been touched directly or through family and friends by this all too common scourge. Perhaps a better analogy might be to compare the fight against cancer to a police action rather than a military engagement, in which civilian law enforcers try to round up those members of our own community who refuse to live by the rules and thereby protect the majo...

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