Saturday, November 28, 2015

Your Healing Team: Whose on it? Who should be on it.

Unlike an acute illness, where there is a defined treatment period, chronic conditions last indefinitely and so it’s harder to sustain a team. The purpose of the team is to aid you through their support and guidance to help you sustain a healing approach to living well with your chronic condition

What that in mind, consider the following:

Healing Team Members
• You: Not only are you the captain, but you must be invested in the process recognizing that you nor any member of your team alone can do it all.
• Care provider(s): These can include doctors, counselors, massage therapists, acupuncturists etc.
• Individuals who can support you in mind, body and spirit. These can be family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and/or other community members.
Advocate:This person can go with you to medical appointments, stay at the hospital with you an advocate if you are unable to do so.
• Others with similar conditions: On-line or in person support groups can be a great way to learn more about your condition, what’s being tried etc.

Expectations of your team
• Communication is key. Members need to know what you are doing, what’s needed etc.
•  Sufficient Numbers: Build your team so that there are enough people to help without over burdening one person. If you are relying solely on a spouse or partner for support and caregiving understand that this can become a significant burden that can be reduced by inviting other people to help.
• Express gratitude: Team members need encouragement and expressions of your gratitude. While you are most likely paying for care provider services (e.g. doctor visits, massage therapy etc.) they still appreciate the acknowledgment that what they’re doing matters. For those doing chore services, such as driving to medical appointments or shoveling the side walk after a storm, in addition to a heart felt “thank you,” small things such as a gas card, a plate of cookies or even a cup of tea make a difference.
"No:" You and your healing team need to be comfortable with the word “no,” be it “no” to a test or treatment, “no” to requests or “no” you aren’t a good fit for my team.
• Be there for them: Help your team members by being there for them when they are in need.

Additional Posts

• Creating positive health outcomes for patients

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Take a Break: Celebrate National Tie One on Day

The day before Thanksgiving- could there be a better day of the year to celebrate National Tie One on Day? It’s not about going on a bender. Rather it celebrates the aprons and the generations of women, past and present, who wore/wear them.

While this isn’t an “official holiday,” the sentiment is lovely. Buy or make an apron-thrift stores are great places to look for gently used aprons. Make or purchase bread or a baked good. Wrap in the apron, along with an appropriate note, and give it to someone who could benefit from this gift on Thanksgiving Eve.

To make a simple “half apron,” take a brightly covered T towel and tack ribbon along the length of the towel. You can sew it, as demonstrated in 1 Minute DIY Apron but better tack it down so the binding can be easily removed and the towel used for its intended purpose.

Learn more about Tie One on Day 

Follow Tie One on Day Facebook 

Most importantly, celebrate the day with a simple act of kindness for someone.

Not interested in today’s activity? Check out the Take a Break Pinterest for lots of Take a Break ideas. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Journal Watch November 2015

 Knee Replacement Brings Less Pain, Better Function: Total knee replacement usually results in greater pain relief and better joint function after a year than nonsurgical arthritis treatment, researchers report. The study shows knee replacement is much better for pain relief, but physical therapy is often effective and should be viewed as a viable option, especially for those concerned about the risks of surgery. NEJM 

• Prescription Naproxen as good as Narcotic Painkillers for low back pain: Naproxen -- a drug available over-the-counter and by prescription -- appears to provide as much relief for low back pain as a narcotic painkiller or a muscle relaxant, a new study suggests. JAMA 

• Mindfulness Meditation Trumps Placebo in Pain Reduction: New evidence has been found that mindfulness meditation reduces pain more effectively than placebo. The research, published in the Nov.11 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, showed that study participants who practiced mindfulness meditation reported greater pain relief than placebo. Significantly, brain scans showed that mindfulness meditation produced very different patterns of activity than those produced by placebo to reduce pain. 

 People Can Raise Their Pain Threshold by Altering Brain Chemistry: The numbers of opiate receptors in the brain increases to combat severe pain in arthritis sufferers, researchers have shown for the first time. By applying heat to the skin using a laser stimulator, the researchers showed that the more opiate receptors there are in the brain, the higher the ability to withstand the pain. Pain 

• High Frequency Stimulation in Pain Medicine: Due to disease-related changes in their brain, pain patients often suffer from an impaired tactile ability in their hands. In a new study, high frequency repetitive stimulation was investigated as a therapeutic approach for these patients. The results of this study show that passive stimulation of this kind is a promising new therapy option. Frontiers in Neurology 

Resilience-Mind Body Medicine Reduces Need for Health Care: Resilience is a skill anyone can learn starting with the relaxation response-a physiologic state of deep rest induced by practices such as rhythmic breathing, mindfulness meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, or prayer. People who graduated from a resiliency-boosting program developed by the Benson-Henry Institute used considerably less health care services in the year following the course compared with the year before. PLoS One 

• Pot Use Doubles Among Americans in Past Decade: As laws and attitudes about marijuana have relaxed in the past decade, the number of Americans who say they smoke pot has more than doubled, a new report shows. And with that increase in use, there has come an increase in abuse: Nearly three of 10 marijuana users had a marijuana use disorder in 2012-2013, the researchers said. JAMA Psychiatry

•Acupuncture and Alexander Technique Help Chronic Neck Pain: Researchers provided over 345 people with chronic neck pain with a few months of acupuncture or Alexander Technique and compared them to 170 people who just received usual care for a year. By three months, people receiving acupuncture or Alexander Technique were had about a 10 percent less pain than the people who hadn't received the extra care. The pain relief was also seen at six and 12 months.  Annals of Internal Medicine 

Better Sleep and Tai Chi Reduce Inflammation: A new study published in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry reports that treatment for insomnia, either by cognitive behavioral therapy or the movement meditation tai chi, reduces inflammation levels in older adults over 55 years of age. 

• Approves Praxbind for emergency use with Pradaxa when bleeding can’t be controlled.
• Flibanserin, the little pink pill for women with low libido is now on sale.
• Approved Expanded use of the melanoma drug Yervoy.
• Granted accelerated approval for Tagrisson, an oral medication to treat patients with advanced non small cell lung cancer.
• Approved cobimetinib to be used in combination with vemurafenib to treat advanced melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body or can’t be removed by surgery.
• Determined that long-term use of the blood-thinning drug Plavix (clopidogrel) does not increase or decrease overall risk of death in patients with, or at risk for, heart disease. The drug also does not appear to increase the risk of cancer or death from cancer.
• Approves nasal spray (narcan) to reverse narcotic painkiller overdose
• Finalizes New Food Safety Rules

Poor Sleep Might Harm Kidney: Women who slept five hours or less a night had a 65 percent greater risk of rapid decline in kidney function, compared with women sleeping seven to eight hours a night, according to a study of thousands of women. American Society of Nephrology 

• Dogs in the Home May Lower Kids’ Odds for Asthma: Exposure to dogs or farm animals early in life appears to reduce a child's risk of developing asthma, a new study shows. JAMA Pediatrics 

• Breast Feeding May Reduce Risk of Aggressive Breast Cancer: A new study finds a link between breast-feeding and a woman's reduced risk for an aggressive form of breast cancer called hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer. Annals of Oncology 

• Giving Birth, Breast-Feeding May Help Women’s Long Term Health: Researchers analyzed data from nearly 323,000 women in 10 European countries who were followed for an average of about 13 years. The risk of cancer death was lower in women who had given birth than among those who had not, and was lower among those who gave birth to two or three children than among those with one child. Among women who never smoked or were former smokers, those who used birth control pills were less likely to die of cancer than those who did not. The study also found that women who had given birth, breast-fed and started menstruating when they were 15 or older had a lower risk of death from circulatory diseases, and those who had given birth and breast-fed had a reduced risk of death from heart disease. While the study found an association between childbirth, breast-feeding and life span, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship. BMC Medicine 

• Physical Fitness Linked to Mental Fitness in Seniors: Connections between different parts of the brain weaken with age, but new research suggests that being physically fit can boost long-term brain function. A study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that age-related differences in the brains of older adults varied, depending on their level of aerobic endurance. The researchers found greater fitness is associated with stronger brain connections later in life. However, the study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between the two. Neurolmage 

• Possible New Mechanism for Aspirin’s Role in Cancer Prevention: A new technique called metabolite profiling has been used by scientists to identify a biochemical pathway previously unknown to be regulated by aspirin. Specifically, the researchers found that aspirin substantially decreases the level of a chemical called 2-hydroxyglutarate in the blood of healthy volunteers and in two colorectal cancer cell lines. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention 

B Vitamin May Help Ward Off Some Skin Cancers: A form of vitamin B3 called nicotinamide appears to reduce non-melanoma skin cancers by 23 percent when taken twice daily, the Australian researchers reported. NEJM  

Mediterranean Diet May Keep Your Mind Healthy in Old Age: Eating healthy foods from the so-called Mediterranean diet may help your brain stay in good shape as you get older, the new study suggests. The researchers said that people over 65 who ate more fish, vegetables, fruit, grains and olive oil had a larger brain volume than a similar group who didn't follow a Mediterranean diet. Neurology 

• Sweetened Drinks Might Raise Men’s Risk for Heart Failure: People who regularly consume sodas or sweetened fruit drinks may have a higher risk for heart failure, researchers report. Swedish men who drank two or more servings of sweetened beverages a day had a 23 percent higher risk of suffering heart failure. JACC:Heart Failure 

 Low Fat Diets No Better than Other Plans: We found that low-fat diets were not more effective than higher-fat diets for long-term weight loss.” The key to success seems to have more to do with adherence than a specific weight-loss plan.” "Being able to stick to a diet in the long term will probably predict whether or not a diet is successful for weight loss." The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology 

• Foods May Affect Each Person’s Blood Sugar Differently: A new study from Israel suggests that people have very different blood sugar responses to the same food -- with some showing large spikes even after eating supposedly healthy choices. Researchers said the findings, published in the Nov. 19 issue of the journal Cell, underscore the message that there is no "one-size-fits-all" diet. 

Coffee Drinkers May Live Longer: Coffee lovers may live longer than those who don't imbibe -- with lower risks of early death from heart disease and neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease, a large U.S. study finds. Over 30 years, nonsmokers who drank three to five cups of coffee a day were 15 percent less likely to die of any cause, versus nondrinkers. Specifically, they had lower rates of death from heart disease, stroke, neurological conditions and suicide. Both regular coffee and decaf were linked to longer survival, the study found. Circulation 

• Common Shoulder Injury Heals Well Without Surgery: Those who decide against surgery for a dislocated shoulder joint develop fewer complications and get back to work sooner. But, surgery patients seem more satisfied with the appearance of their shoulder after treatment. Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma 

• Drugs May Be as Good as Surgery for Chronic Sinusitis: Sticking with treatments that can include nasal sprays, antibiotics and antihistamines may be as effective as surgery in helping some patients achieve a better quality of life, the small study found. JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery 

 Many Seniors Given Antipsychotic Meds, Despite Potential Problems: The researchers found that the percentage of people aged 80 to 84 who received a prescription for an antipsychotic drug was twice that of people aged 65 to 69. This increase is occurring despite the known risks of serious side effects such as stroke, kidney damage, and death, they added. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 

New American Cancer Society Guidelines for Mammograms: The American Cancer Society is delaying the recommended age when a woman should start receiving annual mammograms, based on new research that shows the average risk for breast cancer increases near menopause. Most women should receive annual mammograms between the ages of 45 and 54, then transition to screening every two years for as long as they remain healthy, according to the new breast cancer screening guidelines. JAMA 

It’s Time for Flu Shots: The start of flu season is just around the corner and U.S. health officials are urging everyone aged 6 months and older to get their yearly flu shot. October is the ideal time to get vaccinated, Grohskopf said. But it's never too late, even after the flu season starts. 

• Statins May Dampen Protective Power of Flu Vaccines: Two new studies raise the possibility that the popular cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins may blunt the effectiveness of flu vaccines in seniors. But experts caution that more research is needed to better understand the issue, and that older people shouldn't throw away their statins just yet. Journal of Infectious Disease 

• Revascularization Before Exercise Program Improves Patients with PAD: Among patients with peripheral artery disease and intermittent claudication (cramping pain in the legs due to poor circulation in the arteries, aggravated by walking), a combination therapy of endovascular revascularization (an invasive procedure to improve blood flow in an artery) followed by supervised exercise resulted in greater improvement in walking distances and health-related quality-of-life measures at one year compared with supervised exercise only, according to a new study. JAMA Network 

Ozone Gas Injections May do the Trick for Knee Osteoarthritis: Injecting ozone gas into the knee reduces pain and improves functioning and quality of life in people with knee osteoarthritis, according to research presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in San Francisco. 

Light Box Might Help Nonseasonal Depression too: Light therapy, a treatment for a kind of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), may also benefit nonseasonal depression, a new study indicates. "The combination of light and an antidepressant seems to work very well for treating nonseasonal depression.” JAMA Psychiatry 

• Study Refutes Notion That Obese Fare Better Against Chronic Ills:Scientific debate continues to simmer over the so-called "obesity paradox" -- the apparent ability of obese or overweight people to better withstand chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or heart disease, and outlive thinner people with those same maladies. But the obesity paradox is built on a foundation of shaky research, a new study contends. Earlier studies failed to account for two important factors that negate the supposedly protective effects of obesity: weight history and smoking, the researchers said. Obesity 

• Severe Combat Injuries Linked to Risk of Chronic Disease:"The more severely a service member is injured, the more likely they are to develop a wide variety of chronic medical conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and hardening of the arteries.” Circulation 

• Media Often Overplays Cancer Drug Research: News articles that promise "breakthrough, "game-changing" new cancer drugs could irresponsibly raise the hopes of desperate patients, a new report suggests. Just five days' worth of news last June contained 94 articles that lavishly praised 36 different cancer drugs, researchers found by combing Google. Unfortunately, half of the "marvel" drugs had not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and 14 percent had never been tested on humans, the results showed. JAMA Oncology 

• Once-A Week Sex Makes for Happy Couples: An active sex life is important to couples' happiness, and they don't have to go at it like rabbits -- those who make love once a week are happiest, a new study suggests. Social Psychological and Personality Science