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All About Triple Negative Breast Cancer

18/10/2018 jleff 0

If you think breast cancer is just breast cancer, it’s not. There are many different varieties.

Two out of three breast cancers that are diagnosed contain receptors that pick up signals from hormones or proteins—estrogen, progesterone or HER2—tha…

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Pounds Regained After Weight-Loss Op Can Tell Your Doc a Lot

17/10/2018 jleff 0

HealthDay News

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 17, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Tracking pounds regained after weight-loss surgery can help predict a patient’s risk for serious health problems like diabetes, a new study says.

“Clinicians and patients want to know the extent of weight regain following bariatric surgery and how it may affect their health,” said study lead author Wendy King, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Our study will help clinicians and patients understand the timeline, magnitude and impact of weight regain, as well as lead to further studies on how to best avoid and manage weight regain for better health outcomes,” King said in a university news release.

The study included more than 1,400 adults who had a type of weight-loss surgery called roux-en-Y gastric bypass. They had their weight checked eight times over almost seven years after surgery, on average.

Maximum weight loss occurred two years after surgery on average, but there was significant variation. About 20 percent of the patients continued to lose weight more than four years after surgery, the study found.

But no matter when maximum weight loss occurred, the rate of weight regained was highest in the first year following greatest weight loss. And the percentage of weight regained helped predict major health problems, according to the study authors.

As an example, the researchers pointed to someone who lost 150 pounds after bariatric surgery, and then put back on 28 pounds. That person regained 19 percent of the maximum weight lost.

The researchers said this level of weight regain was tied to a 51 percent higher risk of diabetes progression and a 28 percent higher risk of decline in physical health-related quality of life.

Doctors should realize that this level of weight regain may lead to the progression or development of various health problems. Besides diabetes, these problems include high blood pressure and high cholesterol, the researchers said.

King noted that five years after maximum weight loss, patients maintained an average of 73 percent of their maximum weight loss.

“So despite weight regain, in general patients are much healthier having had surgery,” King said.

Study senior author Dr. Anita Courcoulas is chief of minimally invasive bariatric surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She said the study “highlights the importance of longer-term, close follow-up to help maximize weight and health results following bariatric surgery.”

The study was published Oct. 16 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

SOURCE: University of Pittsburgh, news release, Oct. 16, 2018

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Flu Shot Myths

16/10/2018 jleff 0
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It happens every year, just as we turn the calendar to October. Along with the pink signs reminding us that it’s breast cancer awareness month are signs imploring us to get our flu vaccines.

It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to become fully protective, so it’s recommended you get yours sometime before the end of October, before the flu starts to spread. (Note that getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial and protective, because the season can last as late as May.)

Sure, the flu is not typically as serious as cancer, but this highly contagious virus does pose a real threat and can indeed be deadly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tracked the number of deaths in the U.S. from flu-related complications to be anywhere from a low of 12,000 during 2011-2012 to a high of 56,000 during the 2012-2013 season.

Yet, although the flu is a serious disease that causes illness, hospitalizations and deaths every year in the United States, many people skip their flu shot. Their reasons vary, and most are not based on fact:

  1. I’m allergic to eggs. Although flu vaccines are manufactured by growing viruses in eggs (and have been done this way for more than 70 years), you can still get a vaccine if you have an egg allergy. If your egg allergy involves just hives, it’s safe to receive any licensed flu vaccine (and it’s no longer necessary to wait 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine). If your allergy is more severe—meaning you have needed a shot of epinephrine or some other emergency intervention—you can still have a flu vaccine, but it should be given in a medical setting and supervised by a health care professional trained in managing and treating any severe allergic conditions.

  2. The flu vaccine will give me the flu. The vaccine is manufactured from an inactivated virus, so if you get sick after receiving a vaccine, chances are you were already sick with something. It’s also possible you’ve come down with another form of respiratory virus besides the flu virus. (While there can be some side effects from the vaccine—like soreness, low-grade fever, headaches or muscle aches, which will dissipate within a day or two—those are side effects and not the flu.)

  3. My child (or grandchild) is too young for a vaccine. The vaccine is safe and encouraged for anyone 6 months or older. If it’s their first time getting vaccinated, they’ll need two doses spaced at least four weeks apart.

  4. I don’t have a doctor, so I can’t get the vaccine. Aside from a doctor or nurse, flu vaccines are available in many other settings, including health departments, pharmacies (pharmacists are trained in immunization techniques), urgent care clinics and many times your place or employment or school.

  5. I’ve never had the flu—therefore, I’m immune to it and don’t need a vaccine. Age and certain chronic health conditions can affect immunity, and you can become susceptible to the virus even if you’ve never caught it. The flu viruses also change from year to year. The fact is that anyone can get the flu, even if they’re otherwise healthy.

  6. The nasal spray flu vaccine is ineffective. While it might have been that way in the past, this year is different. It’s a recommended option for non-pregnant women and people between ages two and 49.

  7. If I’m pregnant, I shouldn’t get the vaccine. Both the CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend the flu shot for all pregnant women, regardless of which trimester they’re in. And since infants are at an increased risk of severe flu symptoms (and can’t receive vaccines until they’re six months old), the vaccine is beneficial to your baby as well, as the antibodies you’ll develop will pass onto the baby through your placenta and breast milk, if you’re breast-feeding.

  8. Antibiotics can help treat the flu. Because the flu is a viral infection and antibiotics work against bacterial infections, they won’t help treat flu symptoms. However, if you develop a secondary bacterial infection as a complication of the flu, antibiotics may be helpful.

  9. I received a flu shot last year, so I don’t need one this year. Each year, the influenza virus changes and mutates. What you were protected against last year is not necessarily what is the same projected threat this year (but even if the circulating viruses are the same, a yearly vaccine is still recommended). Also, your body’s immune response fades over time.

  10. The stomach flu is a type of flu. Many people use the term “flu” to describe feeling ill with nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, but these symptoms are not the hallmarks of influenza. The flu is a respiratory disease, not a stomach or intestinal one.

Check out our Flu Education Resource for HCPs.

Some people may still get the flu after getting the vaccine, especially older people and those with compromised health, and some years the flu vaccines are not a perfect match for what is actually circulating—but it’s smart to lower your odds.

If you get the flu, you should stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

If your symptoms are severe and you’re at high risk for complications, you can be treated with a prescription drug known as an antiviral, which can speed your healing and help prevent serious complications. These work best if taken within 48 hours of getting sick.

People at high risk for complications include those 65 years of age or older, those with chronic diseases like asthma, heart disease or diabetes, children younger than five but especially children younger than two, pregnant women and women who are up to two weeks postpartum and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

This year, in addition to the nasal spray, there are three vaccines: the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV), the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV4) and the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV4). The CDC says there is no preference for any one over another. The vaccines protect against either three and four viruses (the fourth being an additional B virus) and are known as “trivalent” or “quadrivalent” vaccines.

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How to Know if You Have Abnormally Heavy Periods

16/10/2018 jleff 0

Do you wonder if you have abnormally heavy periods? Take this quiz: Are you changing your pad or tampon every one to two hours for the first one to two days of your period? Are you bleeding for more than seven days? Are your periods sho…

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Signs of Liver Cancer That Can Fly Under the Radar

15/10/2018 jleff 0

The largest organ in our bodies, the football-shaped liver sits on the upper right side of the upper abdomen, behind the lower ribs and close to the pancreas, gallbladder and intestines. The liver stores nutrients; removes waste products from the blood; filters and processes chemicals in food, medication and alcohol; and manufactures bile, which aids in digesting fats and eliminating waste from the body.

But sometimes things go wrong, and the cells of the liver turn dangerous or deadly. Liver cancer is the fourth most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in the world, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The disease is not very common in the United States, but it is increasingly fatal. Although cancer mortality rates have been falling, death rates from liver cancer have increased 43 percent between 2000 and 2016, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. Each year, about 33,000 people get diagnosed with liver cancer in the United States, and 26,000 will die from it.

Some cancers that affect other areas of the body will spread to the liver (known as metastasis). These are not considered liver cancer but are instead named for the organ in which it began (and would be known as metastatic colon, lung or breast cancer, for instance). Liver cancer begins in the cells of the liver, when the cells become unhealthy and spread.

Liver cancer, which usually results from liver damage, is twice as common in men as in women. Risk factors include:

  • Cirrhosis of the liver

  • Long-term hepatitis B and hepatitis C (which often lead to cirrhosis)

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • Obesity and diabetes (these are associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which increases the risk for liver cancer, especially in heavy drinkers or those with viral hepatitis)

  • Various genetic liver diseases

  • Prolonged exposure to aflatoxins (poisons produced by molds if food is improperly stored; most commonly found on corn, peanuts, cottonseed and tree nuts)

  • Being Asian American, Pacific Islander, American Indian, Alaska native, Hispanic/Latino or African American

  • Having family history of liver cancer

  • Having an autoimmune disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or inherited hemochromatosis leading to liver cirrhosis

  • Having primary biliary cirrhosis

There may not be any signs of liver cancer in its earliest stages that can be felt or seen. Always check with your health care professional if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Losing weight without trying

  • Loss of appetite

  • Feeling full after a small meal

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Swelling of the abdomen

  • Itching

  • Upper abdominal discomfort on the right side

  • A firm lump on the right side below the ribcage

  • An enlarged spleen (felt as a mass under the ribs on the left side)

  • Discomfort near the right shoulder blade or in the back

  • Bruising or bleeding easily

  • Unusual fatigue

  • Jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)

A diagnosis can be made through a physical examination, blood tests, liver biopsy or imaging tests like ultrasound, CT scan, MRI or angiogram.

In addition to the above possible warning signs, there are other symptoms that might require a bit of detective work to figure out that they might be pointing to liver cancer. These include:

  • Fever

  • Enlarged veins on the abdomen that are visible through the skin

  • Abnormal bruising or bleeding

Falling further under the radar are these symptoms that can be caused by hormones created by some liver tumors which, in turn, create changes in organs other than the liver:

  • Fatigue or fainting caused by low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia)

  • Nausea, confusion, constipation, muscle problems or weakness caused by high blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia)

  • Enlarged breasts (gynecomastia) and/or shrinkage of the testicles in men

  • Redness or flushing due to high counts of red blood cells (erythrocytosis)

  • Elevated cholesterol levels

Take steps to reduce your risk of the growing threat of liver cancer by having a conversation with your health care professional about viral hepatitis prevention. This includes vaccinations against hepatitis A and B. Of course, it’s wise to prevent your exposure to hepatitis B and hepatitis C and treat it if you already have it, because chronic exposure can lead to cirrhosis of the liver.

And be sure to talk to your health care professional if you have other risk factors like being overweight, obese or diabetic, or are a heavy drinker.

Regular screening for liver cancer is not recommended, but the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases recommends it if you are at high risk.

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How Flexible Work Schedules Can Make You #HealthiHer

15/10/2018 jleff 0

By Jennifer Owens Are you stressed? I certainly am — and it’s nothing new. Indeed, the only thing that surprises me about my own stress is how it finds new ways to manifest: neck and shoulder pain that leads to trouble sleeping that leads to over…

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The Skinny on Fats

11/10/2018 jleff 0

HealthDay News

THURSDAY, Oct. 11, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Even when you’re trying to lose weight, you need some fat in your diet for good health. While fat in general has gotten a bad rap, some types of fat — particularly plant-based fats — are good for you in moderation.

READ: Healthy Fats You Should Be Eating

Good-for-you fats:

  • Olive, flaxseed oil and other plant-based oils.
  • Fatty fish.
  • Avocados.
  • Walnuts, other nuts and their oils.
  • Sunflower seeds and other seeds.

Based on their chemical composition, plant-based fats are either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, though many have a combination. Both types have health benefits. Olive oil is the top choice among the mostly monounsaturated fats, which also include canola and peanut oils, avocados, walnuts, and many other nuts and seeds. Flaxseed in particular is exceptionally rich in ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid, one of the omega-3 fatty acids. Grind the seeds before you eat them or use flaxseed oil to get the most nutrients.

Plant foods high in polyunsaturated fats include soybean and sunflower oils, and some nuts and seeds. But one of the healthiest sources of polyunsaturated fats are fatty fish because they contain the other important omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The best fatty fish are salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, sardines and herring.

The fats to limit are saturated fat, found mostly in animal foods such as red meat, full-fat dairy, butter and lard.

The fats to completely avoid are trans fats, which are oils that undergo a process that extends their shelf life, but makes them extremely unhealthy. Manufacturers are in the process of removing them from foods, but check labels because the deadline to fully comply with this U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruling has been extended to 2020.

Fats do help you feel more satisfied, but they’re also the most calorie-dense foods, so watch quantities, even when choosing the best sources.

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Early Warning Signs of a Troubled Relationship

10/10/2018 jleff 0

Sometimes, despite your best efforts and intentions, your relationship is still unsatisfying. That’s when it may be time for relationship life rings—resources you can go to for extra help, one of which is counseling.

Ann McKnight, a clinica…

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The Ideal Weight Makes for a Healthier Pregnancy

10/10/2018 jleff 0

HealthDay News

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 10, 2018 (HealthDay News) — If you’re overweight and thinking of starting a family, there’s compelling evidence that you should lose the excess pounds before you get pregnant.

READ: Preparing Your Body for Pregnancy

For starters, some health conditions associated with being overweight, like polycystic ovary syndrome (or PCOS), can make it harder for you to conceive.

Once you get pregnant, being overweight increases your risk for high blood pressure and diabetes (gestational diabetes), as well as the risk for miscarriage, preterm birth and even some birth defects. You may also have a higher risk of complications during labor.

Just as it’s now recommended to start taking supplemental nutrients such as folic acid before getting pregnant, talk to your primary care doctor or your ob-gyn about steps you can take to lose weight. Those steps can include improving your diet and getting more exercise as part of a multi-prong way to shed pounds well before you try to conceive. Also work with your healthcare provider to get any medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, under good control.

Know that your starting weight is now used to determine what you should gain during pregnancy. The guideline for an average weight gain during pregnancy is 25 to 35 pounds if you’re at normal weight.

But if you’re overweight, with a body mass index between 25 and 29.9, you should gain only 15 to 25 pounds. And if you’re obese, with a body mass index of 30 or higher, the recommendation is for a pregnancy weight gain of between 11 to 20 pounds.

It’s very hard to get through pregnancy without gaining more weight than you planned. But if you can start out close to your ideal weight, you’ll have fewer pounds to lose to regain your shape after baby comes.

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Menopause and Panic Attacks: What’s the Connection?

09/10/2018 jleff 0

Your hands tremble, your chest heaves, you’re sweating and clammy and feel like you’re having nervous breakdown or a heart attack. You feel out of control and detached from the world. (Keep in mind that chest pain from a panic attack usually feels like a sharp or stabbing, localized pain in the mid-chest area, while pain from a heart attack is usually a pressure or squeezing sensation that can radiate outward to the jaw, shoulder blades or arm.)

But that sudden and intense sense of doom could be a panic attack—especially if you’re going through menopause. And you’re not alone. Plenty of women, around their menopausal years, are along for the (unpleasant) ride on that bumpy roller coaster chock full of emotion.

Panic attacks hit unexpectedly and at any time—when you’re at the mall, watching television, in the middle of a business meeting, while driving, and even when you’re sleeping.

Learn more about Signs of a Panic Attack.

The likely culprit for this surge of adrenalin, your body’s “flight-or-fight” response against danger (only this time, there is none)? Fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone.

And when you consider that menopause ushers in other life changes that can make you more prone to developing panic attacks—like sleep problems, worries about body image, changing relationships, loss of fertility and an overall decreased sense of well-being—it’s no wonder that so many women suffer from them around this time. If you were prone to anxiety in the past or experienced PMS or postpartum depression, then you might be more likely to develop panic attacks during the menopause years.

Panic attacks can be frustrating for many reasons, one being that they can be tough to diagnose, as many symptoms of panic attacks (like anxiety, sweating and palpitations) already mirror the ones that you might be experiencing during perimenopause or menopause.

And although many experts agree that once your hormones level out and your life gets in order you’ll get relief, when you’re the one going through it you’re hesitant to believe that dribble—and you swear they’ll never end.

But they will. Here’s how to cope in the meantime, when those 10 to 30 minutes of awfulness feel like 10 to 30 hours of hell.

Know that you will be OK. “No one ever died from a panic attack,” says Sanam Hafeez, PsyD, a New York City-based psychologist and teaching faculty member at Columbia University Teacher’s College. You may feel like you want to, or might, die, but, “It simply won’t happen,” she says.

Consider making lifestyle changes. Gisele Bündchen (who recently revealed she suffered extreme panic attacks) said they subsided when she made lifestyle changes like cutting down on her drinking and smoking; incorporating meditation and yoga and cutting out sugar. If you don’t already do it, eat a healthful diet full of lots of fruits and veggies, avoid alcohol and reduce your consumption of caffeine.

Moderate your breathing. That picture of someone breathing into a paper bag when having a panic attack isn’t just fluff: irregular breathing can actually cause panic attacks, so learning to control your breathing can help control and maybe even prevent them. Here are some helpful and effective breathing techniques to try.

Get enough sleep. “Just how the bleep do I do that?” you might be yelling right now, especially if you are dealing with night sweats and the like. Before you panic, refer to item number 2 here.

Know that there are treatments. If you can’t handle them on your own, your health care professional may treat your panic attacks with hormone therapy and other treatments for menopause symptoms, plus medication for anxiety, says the Cleveland Clinic. Psychotherapy can also help treat your psychological symptoms. “Cognitive behavior therapy, which challenges fearful thoughts, is an effective, lasting treatment for controlling panic attack symptoms,” says Dr. Hafeez.

Get regular physical activity. Personally, this is my treatment of choice for just about everything, but it does help to lower anxiety, which may play a contributing role in panic attacks. Yoga, stretching and other relaxation techniques can help someone get through an attack while it’s happening.

Just like hot flashes and night sweats, panic attacks during menopause will pass. In the meantime, show some self-care and self-compassion and, hopefully, relief will follow.

This post originally appeared on mysocalledmidlife.net.

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Weight-Loss Surgery May Raise Gallstone Risk

09/10/2018 jleff 0

TUESDAY, Oct. 9, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The quick weight loss that occurs after bariatric surgery seems to have an unintended consequence — a greater risk of gallstones, a new study suggests.

READ: Weight Management

The rapid loss of pounds was…

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Prevent Mold Growth at Home

08/10/2018 jleff 0

(HealthDay News) — Mold can thrive in places from logs and fallen trees to bathrooms and kitchens, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology says. It notes there are about 1,000 species of mold.

Here are the group’s suggestions for li…

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One-Third of ‘Gluten-Free’ Restaurant Foods in U.S. Are Not

08/10/2018 jleff 0

HealthDay News

MONDAY, Oct. 8, 2018 (HealthDay News) — If you’re gluten-sensitive, watch out: One-third of the “gluten-free” foods sold in U.S. restaurants actually contain trace levels of the substance, new research suggests.

READ: Going Gluten-Free

The finding will be of particular concern to the 1 percent of Americans with the autoimmune disorder known as celiac disease. For them, even a minuscule amount of gluten — a protein in wheat and other grains — can damage the intestinal lining.

“As awareness of celiac disease and the gluten-free diet have increased in recent years, restaurants have sought to offer selections that are compatible with these restrictions,” said study author Dr. Benjamin Lebwohl. “But some establishments do a better job than others at preventing cross-contamination.”

And some gluten-free foods were riskier than others. For example, more than half of all purportedly gluten-free pastas and pizzas had gluten, according to the study.

Why?

“The fact that gluten was so often found in pizza suggests that sharing an oven with gluten-containing pizza is a prime setting for cross-contamination,” explained Lebwohl, of Columbia University’s Celiac Disease Center. “Gluten-free pasta can be contaminated if prepared in a pot of water that was used to prepare gluten-containing pasta.”

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates packaged foods with gluten-free labeling, there’s no federal oversight of gluten-free claims in restaurants, said Lebwohl.

For the study, more than 800 investigators set out to assess the true gluten content of dishes listed as gluten-free on menus. Armed with portable gluten sensors, they tested for gluten levels that met or exceeded 20 parts per million, the standard cutoff for any gluten-free claim.

Based on more than 5,600 gluten tests over 18 months, the investigators determined that 27 percent of gluten-free breakfast meals actually contained gluten. At dinner time, this figure hit 34 percent. The rise could reflect a steady increase in gluten contamination risk as the day unfolds, the researchers said.

The concerns extend beyond the celiac community alone.

“There are also people who don’t have celiac disease but have symptoms triggered by gluten,” Lebwohl said. People with this problem — non-celiac gluten sensitivity — rely on gluten-free labeling and safe food preparation practices for prevention of uncomfortable symptoms, he noted. These can include constipation, bloating and nausea.

“These results underscore the need for education in food preparation at restaurants, and the need for diners to inquire about these precautions,” Lebwohl said.

Dietitian Lona Sandon agreed. Gluten contamination in restaurants has long “been a concern for those with celiac disease,” said Sandon, an associate professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She was not involved with the study.

“Restaurant kitchens are just not built to assure the prevention of gluten contamination,” Sandon said. A chef may easily set a gluten-free bun down on a cutting board that just had a wheat bun on it while trying to get food out quickly to the customer. Then again, staff may just not know what has gluten in it and what doesn’t, she added.

In the absence of federal enforcement at the restaurant level, it’s up to the person handling the gluten-free product to keep it from becoming contaminated, Sandon said.

The study is scheduled for presentation Monday at a meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology, in Philadelphia. Research presented at meetings is usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

SOURCES: Benjamin Lebwohl, M.D., M.S., director, clinical research, Celiac Disease Center, and director, quality improvement, Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases, Columbia University, New York City; Lona Sandon, Ph.D., R.D.N., L.D., program director and associate professor, clinical nutrition, School of Health Professions, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas; American College of Gastroenterology Scientific Meeting, Philadelphia, Oct. 8, 2018

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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How Do You Feel About Your Migraine Treatment?

04/10/2018 jleff 0

If you are a consumer, complete this survey below:

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Bone Health Ambassador Will Run for a Cause

04/10/2018 jleff 0

When, at age 50, Barbara Hannah Grufferman received a diagnosis of osteopenia, she decided to take action—and run. Eleven years later, at 61, Barbara, a Bone Health Ambassador and trustee of the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), will be r…

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Everyday Health: Hysterectomy: Do You Really Need it?

04/10/2018 jleff 0

HealthyWomen CEO Beth Battaglino, RN, was quoted for an article on hysterectomies for an Everyday Health article.  The article discusses how hysterectomies have become the second most frequently performed surgical procedure after cesarean sections, the risks involved with them, and alternative treatments.  Beth is quoted in the section focusing on fibroids.

Read the article here.

Thursday, October 4, 2018
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