danasparks

Dana Sparks @danasparks

About Me

Organization Name
Dana Sparks

Organization Country
USA

Organization Website
mayoclinic.com

Media Formats You Use
MP4

I have read and accept the Terms of Use for the site.
1

I will not release information before the embargo date provided for each resource.
1

Activity by Dana Sparks @danasparks

danasparks

14 hours ago by @danasparks · View  

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Walking easy after minimally invasive spine surgery

After a 37-year career at a petroleum company, Dan Hofferber was looking forward to retirement. But in 2014, Dan started having trouble with one of his legs. The muscle in his left thigh would tighten up, causing unbearable pain that made it hard to walk. “I was used to walking a mile or two, and I couldn’t do that anymore,” says Dan, who travels to Florida for spring training every year with his wife, Carol.” I couldn’t even walk from the parking lot to the baseball stadium.”

The pain prompted Dan to seek care in his hometown of Billings, Montana. After several months without relief, a family member urged him to go to Mayo Clinic. Dan took that advice, traveling to Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus. There, he met neurologic surgeon Mohamad Bydon, M.D. Dan was immediately impressed. “I think Dr. Bydon is wonderful. He has a great sense of humor, and he’s so interested in what’s happening to you,” Dan says. “He makes you feel like you are the only patient he’s seeing that day.” Read the rest of Dan's story.
________________________________________
This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.

Login here to comment.
danasparks

2 days ago by @danasparks · View  

Home Remedies: Coping with cold sores

a close-up of a woman's lips, with cold sores

Cold sores — also called fever blisters — are a common viral infection. They are tiny, fluid-filled blisters on and around your lips. These blisters are often grouped together in patches. After the blisters break, a crust forms over the resulting sore. Cold sores usually heal in two to four weeks without leaving a scar.

Cold sores spread from person to person by close contact, such as kissing. They're caused by a herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) closely related to the one that causes genital herpes (HSV-2). Both of these viruses can affect your mouth or genitals and can be spread by oral sex. Cold sores are contagious even if you don't see the sores. Cold sores are most contagious when oozing blisters are present. But you can transmit the virus to others even if you don't have blisters. Shared eating utensils, razors and towels, as well as kissing, may spread HSV-1. Oral sex can spread HSV-1 to the genitals and HSV-2 to the lips.

Once you've had an episode of herpes infection, the virus lies dormant in nerve cells in your skin and may emerge as another cold sore at the same place as before. Recurrence may be triggered by:

  • Viral infection or fever
  • Hormonal changes, such as those related to menstruation
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Exposure to sunlight and wind
  • Changes in the immune system

There's no cure for HSV infection, and the blisters may return. Antiviral medications can help cold sores heal more quickly and may reduce how often they return.

To ease the discomfort of a cold sore, try these tips:

  • Apply a cold sore ointment. Docosanol (Abreva) is an over-the-counter cream for cold sores. It must be applied frequently and may shorten an outbreak by a few hours or a day.
  • Try other cold sore remedies. Some over-the-counter preparations contain a drying agent, such as alcohol, that may speed healing.
  • Use lip balms and cream. Protect your lips from the sun with a zinc oxide cream or lip balm with sunblock. If your lips become dry, apply a moisturizing cream.
  • Apply a cool compress. A cool, damp cloth may reduce redness, help remove crusting and promote healing.
  • Apply pain-relieving creams. Over-the-counter creams with lidocaine or benzocaine may offer some pain relief.

The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies provides answers you need to take care of common health problems on your own. This reference covers 120 of today’s common health problems in an easy-to-follow, A-to-Z format. Learn what you can do for yourself and when to seek medical attention.book cover of Home Remedies

Login here to comment.
danasparks

3 days ago by @danasparks · View  

Something to Think About: My hope

a stone in the sand with the word hope written on it
Dr. Amit Sood
says, "Do everything you can to protect yourself from the hurtful action without letting go of compassion for the ignorance that prompted the hurtful action."

Dear friend,

I was sitting on a low stool looking to the right. Suddenly someone pushed me from the left, hurtling me to the ground. I fell on the floor, doubling up with pain. That someone was my playful nine-year-old. As I recovered, I noticed my daughter was crying. She was emotionally hurt because she had caused me pain. That’s our natural instinct. When we hurt someone, physically or emotionally, intentionally or unintentionally, we hurt ourselves.

Research shows that your brain senses other people’s pain as its own. Specifically, your brain’s pain-processing areas (particularly the insula) activate when you perceive other brains’ pain areas activating. This is particularly true for people you care about and love.

I should recognize the wisdom in this science. The person who hurt me actually hurt him- or herself. There may be a time lag in this realization, but it will eventually catch up with the person. My default should not be to seek revenge, for revenge won’t undo my previous hurt, nor will it teach me or that person anything new. Revenge will only seed future reasons for hurling hurts. I should instead be compassionate to that person.

I should focus on his or her benign intentions, if they were indeed benign. For intentional hurts, I should recognize their origin in ignorance and, while doing everything I can to protect myself, be compassionate for that ignorance.

With my kindness for others, I will more easily find kindness for myself. I will uncover gratitude and meaning and thus come to acceptance and forgiveness. All these will help inspire the perpetrator to be kind.

There are situations where I have to put up a fight. In most circumstances, I have found the best weapon is kindness.

May you need no other weapon than kindness to negotiate (and win) your daily battles.

Take care.
Amit

Read previous blog posts and follow @AmitSoodMD on Twitter.

Dr. Sood is director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program on Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus in Minnesota. He also chairs the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic.
Login here to comment.
danasparks

3 days ago by @danasparks · View  

Making Mayo's Recipes: Cream of chicken and wild rice chowder

A cornstarch slurry thickens this soup without loads of cream. You can also thicken soup with leftover mashed potatoes or mashed turnips, parsnips or cauliflower. It's hearty enough for a meal.

Each Thursday one of the 100+ tasty video recipes from the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program is featured on the Mayo Clinic News Network, just in time for you to try at the weekend. You can also have the recipes delivered via the Mayo Clinic App.

Journalists: The broadcast-quality video (1:05) is in the downloads.

Created by the executive wellness chef and registered dietitians at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. Find more recipes and other healthy-living insights on the Mayo Clinic App

Ingredients

  1. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  2. 4 cups finely chopped onion
  3. 2 cups finely chopped carrots
  4. 2 cups finely chopped celery
  5. 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  6. 2 1/4 cups water
  7. 1 cup uncooked wild rice
  8. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  9. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  10. 1 bay leaf
  11. 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  12. 8 ounces shredded cooked chicken breast
  13. 2 cups skim milk
  14. 1/4 cup half-and-half
  15. 1/4 cup cornstarch

Directions

Heat a large sauce pot to medium-high heat. Add the oil. Once the oil is heated, add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add the chicken stock, 2 cups water, wild rice, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and pepper to the pot. Bring to a low boil and cook for about 45 minutes. Stir in chicken, milk and half-and-half and cook for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water. When the soup begins to boil, slowly whisk in the cornstarch slurry and cook for a few minutes to thicken. Remove soup from heat, and remove the bay leaf before serving.

Login here to comment.
danasparks

4 days ago by @danasparks · View  

Women's Wellness: Vaginal microbes and endometrial cancer

African-American woman in hospital bed listening to doctor

Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the uterus. Endometrial cancer begins in the layer of cells that form the lining (endometrium) of the uterus. Other types of cancer can form in the uterus, including uterine sarcoma, but they are much less common than endometrial cancer.illustration of uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix, endometrial cancer, gynecological surgery

January 5, 2017 news release - Endometrial cancer triggers remain elusive, despite continued research. But given the typical inflammatory profile in these cases, microbes in the uterine environment are suspected to play a role in the development of this disease.

To probe the microbes directly within the uterine environment and examine how these microbes could influence cancer within the endometrial lining, Mayo Clinic researchers have conducted the first direct assessment uterine microbiome study published in Genome Medicine.

“We set out to discover whether there is a microbiome component in the malignancy of tumors and if its appearance in patients diagnosed with the disease is distinguishable from that of patients without malignancy,” says Marina Walther-Antonio, Ph.D., lead author of the Mayo Clinic study.Illustration of vaginal microbes

As a result of the study, researchers now know that:

  • The uterine microbiome of women with endometrial cancer is different from the uterine microbiome of women without endometrial cancer.
  • The microbes present in the vaginal environment of women with endometrial cancer are also different from the microbes present in the vaginal environment of women without endometrial cancer.

Read the rest of the news release.

Read more about diagnosing endometrial cancer.

Mayo Clinic Q and A: Endometrial cancer — risk factors, screening, treatment

Watch: Tampon test for endometrial cancer.

Journalists: The broadcast-quality video (:59) is in the downloads.

Women's Wellness logo

Login here to comment.
danasparks

4 days ago by @danasparks · View  

Infographic: A healthy resolution you can keep

Other health tip infographics:
mayohealthhighlights.startribune.com 

Login here to comment.
danasparks

5 days ago by @danasparks · View  

In the Loop: Pet therapy gives back by getting some fur in the game

Cindi with her therapy dog

Cindi Thurston's first encounter with a therapy dog may have come under unfortunate circumstances, but the imprint it left would change her life for the better. In a column for Wisconsin's Dunn County News, Cindi writes that first meeting took place while her then 10-year-old daughter was hospitalized with a serious medical condition. "We were hours away from home, spending nights in the hospital, and watching my daughter struggle," she writes. "We tried movies, books, crafts and anything we could think of to take our minds off her condition.

Then one morning a pet therapy team came to visit. "The dog was placed on my daughter's hospital bed, and I could feel some of the anxiety and stress go away for her and me," Cindi writes. "The dog was cute, cuddly and happy, all of which we needed at the time." Though the interaction was brief, its impact was not. "I promised myself I would someday try to pay back that gift given to us by that pet therapy team," Cindi writes. Read the rest of Cindi's story.
______________________________________________
This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.

Login here to comment.
danasparks

Sun, Jan 15 at 10:00am EST by @danasparks · View  

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Finding perspective and changing lives in Ecuador

Kate with children in Equador
For years, Kallie Howerton and Kate Hudson had been listening to Kate Welp talk about the mission trips to Ecuador she organizes every year. The nurses work together on the Cardiovascular Surgery Progressive Care unit at Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Saint Marys Campus.

“My preceptor planted the seed,” says Howerton, who has worked at Mayo Clinic for three years. “She raved about the awesome trip experience she had with Kate [Welp], and, working with Kate, I realized that she’s awesome. I can learn from her.”

In March their schedules aligned, enabling Howerton and Hudson to join Welp on a medical mission trip to Portoviejo, Ecuador, a hot, humid, boisterous, blue-collar town crisscrossed by power lines and brimming with street vendors, chickens, small cars and bicycles. The team was there to provide life-changing operations for Ecuadorian children who cannot get the complex surgeries they need through local resources.  Read the rest of their story.
________________________________________
This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.

Login here to comment.
danasparks

Fri, Jan 13 at 3:00pm EST by @danasparks · View  

Home Remedies: A case of the common cold

a young woman with a cold or allergies, sneezing into a tissue
The common cold is a viral infection of your nose and throat (upper respiratory tract). It's usually harmless, although it might not feel that way. Children younger than six are at greatest risk of colds, but healthy adults can also expect to have two or three colds annually.

Most people recover from a common cold in a week or 10 days. Symptoms might last longer in people who smoke. If symptoms don't improve, see your doctor. Read about symptoms.

Common sense rules

There's no cure for the common cold, but you don't need to feel miserable while you're toughing it out. Drink plenty of fluids. Try chicken soup. Rest as much as you can. Use saline nasal spray to relieve stuffiness. Gargle with warm salt water to soothe a sore throat. Turn on a humidifier. To prevent spreading your cold to others, wash your hands often.

To make yourself as comfortable as possible when you have a cold, try:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids. Water, juice, clear broth or warm lemon water are good choices. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate you.
  • Eating chicken soup. Generations of parents have spooned chicken soup into their sick children. Researchers say that chicken soup may be soothing because of its possible anti-inflammatory and mucus-thinning properties.
  • Resting. If possible, stay home from work or school if you have a fever or a bad cough or are drowsy after taking medications. This will give you a chance to rest as well as reduce the chances that you'll infect others.
  • Adjusting your room's temperature and humidity. Keep your room warm, but not overheated. If the air is dry, a cool-mist humidifier or vaporizer can moisten the air and help ease congestion and coughing. Keep the humidifier clean to prevent the growth of bacteria and molds.
  • Soothing your throat. A saltwater gargle — 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in a 4-ounce to 8-ounce glass of warm water — can temporarily relieve a sore or scratchy throat.
  • Using saline nasal drops. To help relieve nasal congestion, try saline nasal drops. You can buy these drops over-the-counter, and they can help relieve symptoms, even in children.
    In infants, gently suction the nostrils with a bulb syringe (insert the bulb syringe about 1/4 to 1/2 inch, or about 6 to 12 millimeters) after applying saline drops.
  • Taking Vitamin C. In most cases, vitamin C supplements won't help prevent colds. However, taking vitamin C before the onset of cold symptoms may shorten the duration of symptoms. Vitamin C may provide benefit for people at high risk of colds due to frequent exposure: for example, children who attend group child care during the winter.

Read more about Cold remedies.

Prevention

There's no vaccine for the common cold, but you can take common-sense precautions to slow the spread of cold viruses:

  • Wash your hands. Clean your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water, and teach your children the importance of hand-washing. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Disinfect your stuff. Clean kitchen and bathroom countertops with disinfectant, especially when someone in your family has a cold. Wash children's toys periodically.
  • Use tissues. Sneeze and cough into tissues. Discard used tissues right away, then wash your hands carefully.Teach children to sneeze or cough into the bend of their elbow when they don't have a tissue. That way they cover their mouths without using their hands.
  • Don't share. Don't share drinking glasses or utensils with other family members. Use your own glass or disposable cups when you or someone else is sick. Label the cup or glass with the name of the person with the cold.
  • Steer clear of colds. Avoid close contact with anyone who has a cold.
  • Choose your child care center wisely. Look for a child care setting with good hygiene practices and clear policies about keeping sick children at home.
  • Take care of yourself. Eating well, getting exercise and enough sleep, and managing stress might help you keep colds at bay.

The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies provides answers you need to take care of common health problems on your own. This reference covers 120 of today’s common health problems in an easy-to-follow, A-to-Z format. Learn what you can do for yourself and when to seek medical attention.

book cover of Home Remedies

Login here to comment.
danasparks

Thu, Jan 12 at 5:30pm EST by @danasparks · View  

Something to Think About: Healthy anger

a woman wearing glasses, sitting at a desk angry and yelling into a phone
Dr. Amit Sood, "Harness your anger so it seeds transformation, not regrets."

Dear friend,

Just as baboons show their canines, kitties hiss, screech, and beat their tails, and frogs puff themselves up when angry, humans lower their eyebrows, thin their lips, flare their noses, and push up their chins—all designed to convey the message, “Watch out; I have great fighting power.”

Anger can range from mild displeasure or frustration to fuming rage that can become explosive and violent. The higher the temperature, the greater the element of fear and panic mixed in the anger. Anger is a way to vent and feel a sense of control. Not uncommonly, in our effort to blow off steam, we misdirect our anger. We don’t get angry with those we should be angry with. We get angry with those we can be angry with. The latter are often the weak and the vulnerable.

Not all anger is bad, however. Many scientists theorize that anger was designed to increase social bargaining power. Gentle anger thus can be a great negotiating tool. It is a call for change. A reason often sparks such anger, often preceded by a larger story. Similarly, anger against injustice, oppression, or severe wrongs is often justified. Justifiable, gentle anger (details below) prevents violence instead of causing it, by providing a warning before things get worse. Indeed, research shows that most anger (90 percent) does not result in violence.

There are situations, however, where anger is maladaptive. For instance, violent anger can lead to a brawl and much worse. Such anger constricts attention, thereby interfering with the open-minded and free thinking that is necessary to find creative solutions. It is also energy intensive; you can’t sustain such anger for more than a few minutes before feeling depleted. In violent anger, we lose rationality and kindness and seed future embarrassment, particularly if we misdirect it. Further, violent anger seldom serves the reason that evokes it. Instead, it inflames a part of us while improving no one. It provokes counter anger. It isolates us from the world. That’s a heavy price to pay.

A second form of maladaptive anger is the repressed anger that bottles up negative emotions. While it may not hurt immediately, it has long-term consequences, including an increased risk of heart attacks and even early death. It creates inner conflicts, distances you from your loved ones, and sometimes incites passive-aggressive behavior.

How best to work with situations that invite maladaptive anger? I suggest two healthier options.
1. Elevate your anger threshold: The simplest and best alternative is to elevate your anger threshold so you aren’t easily riled by common life situations. The more grateful, compassionate, accepting, and forgiving you are, the higher your anger threshold will be. Completely bypassing anger, however, is not only superbly difficult but also undesirable.
2. Develop justifiable, gentle anger: Be rational in your anger, dial down your anger energy, and direct that energy toward solutions. Slow down, step back, think two steps forward, look at the whole context, and follow these five principles: right reason, right person, right place and time, right extent, and right intention.
Get angry for the right reason, with the right person, at the right place and time, to the right extent, and with the right intention. The reason should be substantial; the person should be the intentional wrongdoer; the place should be private; the time should be one conducive to learning; the extent should be proportionate to the perceived misdeed; and the intention should be to communicate the truth and to inspire.

If you follow these rules, your anger will be more effective. Such anger will less likely seed future regrets or embarrassments. It will also help you reach a point where you don’t bottle up internal anger. That might remove toxic arguments, conflicts, and fights from your life and fill the space so created with love, nurturing, and meaning. Won’t that be nice?

May you seldom get angry; may your occasional anger seed transformation, not regrets.

Take care.
Amit

Dr. Sood 2

Read previous blog posts and follow @AmitSoodMD on Twitter.

Dr. Sood is director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program on Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus in Minnesota. He also chairs the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic.
Login here to comment.
danasparks

Thu, Jan 12 at 4:00pm EST by @danasparks · View  

Making Mayo's Recipes: Banana pecan compote

banana pecan compote2-16-x-9
Serve this flavorful banana topping on pancakes or waffles, or pair with your favorite low-fat yogurt. This sauce is a delicious combination of bananas, orange juice, vanilla, cinnamon and chopped pecans. To add texture, after orange juice reduces add 1 tablespoon of butter and cook until melted.

Each Thursday one of the 100+ tasty video recipes from the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program is featured on the Mayo Clinic News Network, just in time for you to try at the weekend. You can also have the recipes delivered via the Mayo Clinic App.

Journalists: The broadcast-quality video (:50) is in the downloads.

Created by the executive wellness chef and registered dietitians at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. Find more recipes and other healthy-living insights on the Mayo Clinic App

Ingredients

  1. 4 very ripe sliced medium bananas
  2. 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup orange juice
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 2 tablespoons chopped pecans

Directions

Heat a medium saucepan to medium heat. Add bananas and brown sugar and saute until sugar dissolves, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add orange juice, vanilla and cinnamon. Let the orange juice reduce for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Top with pecans before serving.

Login here to comment.
danasparks

Wed, Jan 11 at 4:00pm EST by @danasparks · View  

Women's Wellness: Iron deficiency

a group of women in athletic gear, arms around each other and laughing together
Iron deficiency anemia is a common type of anemia — a condition in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body's tissues. Because women lose blood during menstruation, women in general are at greater risk of iron deficiency anemia.

As the name implies, iron deficiency anemia is due to insufficient iron. Without enough iron, your body can't produce enough of a substance in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen (hemoglobin). As a result, iron deficiency anemia may leave you tired and short of breath.

You can usually correct iron deficiency anemia with iron supplementation. Sometimes additional tests or treatments for iron deficiency anemia are necessary, especially if your doctor suspects that you're bleeding internally.

In a recent study, Mayo Clinic experts found that women who exercise for long periods of time and/or participate in sports where there is repetitive heel striking are especially at increased risk of iron deficiency and iron-deficient anemia. That's important, because, without iron, your body can't perform at its best.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: The broadcast quality video (:57) is in the downloads.

Symptoms

Initially, iron deficiency anemia can be so mild that it goes unnoticed. But as the body becomes more deficient in iron and anemia worsens, the signs and symptoms intensify.

Iron deficiency anemia signs and symptoms may include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Chest pain, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath
  • Headache, dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Inflammation or soreness of your tongue
  • Brittle nails
  • Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or starch
  • Poor appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anemia

Women's Wellness logo

Login here to comment.
danasparks

Wed, Jan 11 at 3:30pm EST by @danasparks · View  

Infographic: Spotlight on dance injuries

performingartists_12-28-2016_final_nosponsor

Learn more about dance injuries and performance training.

Other health tip infographics:
mayohealthhighlights.startribune.com 

Login here to comment.
danasparks

Tue, Jan 10 at 5:30pm EST by @danasparks · View  

Discovery's Edge: Possible drug for aggression control?

a young man driving angry behind the wheel, road rage
For the first time, the stress hormone ghrelin has been linked to aggression control.

Mayo Clinic researchers say this new discovery can potentially lead to a medicine that can benefit people experiencing long term disabilities, post-traumatic stress disorder, or anxiety disorders.

Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota researchers made the discovery while they were researching butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), a common plasma enzyme for a therapy geared towards cocaine addicts.

“The idea behind this treatment is to achieve sustained expression of a natural blood-borne enzyme that has been genetically engineered to destroy cocaine on contact and prevent it from reaching the brain, thereby eliminating its reward value,” says Mayo Clinic pharmacologist Stephen Brimijoin, Ph.D.

“Our encouraging test results in rats and mice showed that a single injection of an optimal gene transfer ‘vector’ will meet this standard, will last for years, and appears to cause zero detectable toxicity or adverse effect,” Dr. Brimijoin adds. Read the rest of the article.
________________________________________________
Find more research news on Discovery's Edge.

Login here to comment.
danasparks

Tue, Jan 10 at 3:00pm EST by @danasparks · View  

In the Loop: Cancer took Joshua's leg, but not his smile

young patient Joshua smiling and resting on his bed
You can't help but be captivated by Joshua Adler's smile. "The kid smiles all the time," Joshua's dad, Dave Adler, tells us. "He's a pretty inspirational little boy." After hearing Joshua's story, we can't help but agree.

That story began early last year, when Joshua began experiencing pain in his right leg. The pain was sometimes so severe that he'd wake up at night "screaming in agony," reports WQOW-TV in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Doctors told Dave and his wife, Pat, that their son, just 4 years old at the time, was likely experiencing normal growing pains.

But this past July, Joshua's pain became so intense that the family made two trips to their local emergency department in one day. That prompted doctors to send Joshua by ambulance to Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus, where an MRI revealed what X-rays hadn't: a mass on Joshua's right femur above his knee. The Adlers would learn that Joshua had cancer. "It was a pretty big shock," Dave tells us of the diagnosis. Additional testing revealed that the cancer, a primitive neuroectodermal tumor, had spread to the lymph nodes behind Joshua's knee. Read the rest of Joshua's story.
______________________________________________
This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.

Login here to comment.
danasparks

Fri, Jan 6 at 11:30am EST by @danasparks · View  

Home Remedies: Anxiety about acne

young teenage boy looking serious with acne on his face
Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. Acne usually appears on your face, neck, chest, back and shoulders. Effective treatments are available, but acne can be persistent. The pimples and bumps heal slowly, and when one begins to go away, others seem to crop up.  Depending on its severity, acne can cause emotional distress and scar the skin. The earlier you start treatment, the lower your risk of lasting physical and emotional damage.

You can try to avoid or control mild acne with nonprescription products, good basic skin care and other self-care techniques:

  • Wash problem areas with a gentle cleanser. Twice a day, use your hands to wash your face with a mild soap and warm water. If you tend to develop acne around your hairline, shampoo your hair every day.Avoid certain products, such as facial scrubs, astringents and masks, because they tend to irritate skin, which can worsen acne. Excessive washing and scrubbing also can irritate skin. And be gentle while shaving affected skin.
  • Try over-the-counter acne products to dry excess oil and promote peeling. Look for products containing benzoyl peroxide as the active ingredient. You might also try products containing sulfur, resorcinol or salicylic acid. Nonprescription acne medications may cause initial side effects — such as redness, dryness and scaling — that often improve after the first month of using them.The Food and Drug Administration warns that some popular nonprescription acne lotions, cleansers and other skin products can cause a rare but serious reaction.
  • Avoid irritants. You may want to avoid oily or greasy cosmetics, sunscreens, hairstyling products or acne concealers. Use products labeled water-based or noncomedogenic, which means they are less likely to cause acne.
  • Use an oil-free moisturizer with sunscreen. For some people, the sun worsens acne. And some acne medications make you more susceptible to the sun's rays. Check with your doctor to see if your medication is one of these. If it is, stay out of the sun as much as possible. Regularly use a nonoily (noncomedogenic) moisturizer that includes a sunscreen.
  • Watch what touches your skin. Keep your hair clean and off your face. Also avoid resting your hands or objects, such as telephone receivers, on your face. Tight clothing or hats also can pose a problem, especially if you're sweating. Sweat and oils can contribute to acne.
  • Don't pick or squeeze blemishes. Doing so can cause infection or scarring.

medical illustration of inflamed skin with acne

Journalists: Broadcast quality video of the reports below is in the downloads.

Watch: Take action against acne.

Watch: Dealing with adult acne.

Alternative Medicine

Some studies suggest that using the following supplements may help treat acne. More research is needed to establish the potential effectiveness and long-term safety of these and other natural acne treatments, traditional Chinese medicine, and ayurvedic herbs.

Talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of specific treatments before you try them.

  • Tea tree oil. Gels containing 5 percent tea tree oil may be as effective as are lotions containing 5 percent benzoyl peroxide, although tea tree oil might work more slowly. Possible side effects include contact dermatitis and, if you have rosacea, a worsening of those symptoms. One study reported that a young boy experienced breast development after using a combination lavender and tea tree oil hair product. Tea tree oil should be used only topically.
  • Alpha hydroxy acid. This natural acid is found in citrus fruit and other foods. When applied to your skin, it helps remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. It may also improve the appearance of acne scars. Side effects include increased sensitivity to the sun, redness, mild stinging and skin irritation.
  • Azelaic acid. This natural acid is found in whole-grain cereals and animal products. It has antibacterial properties. A 20 percent azelaic acid cream seems to be as effective as many other conventional acne treatments when used twice a day for at least four weeks. It is even more effective when used in combination with erythromycin. Prescription azelaic acid (Azelex, Finacea) is an option during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
  • Bovine cartilage. Creams containing 5 percent bovine cartilage, applied to the affected skin twice a day, may be effective in reducing acne.
  • Zinc. Zinc in lotions and creams may reduce acne breakouts.
  • Green tea extract. A lotion of 2 percent green tea extract helped reduce acne in two studies of adolescents and young adults with mild to moderate acne.
  • Aloe vera. A 50 percent aloe vera gel was combined with a conventional acne drug (tretinoin) and tested for 8 weeks on 60 people with moderate acne. The combination approach was significantly more effective than tretinoin alone.
  • Brewer's yeast. A specific strain of brewer's yeast, called CBS 5926, seems to help decrease acne. Brewer's yeast is the only item in this list that's taken orally. It may cause flatulence.

The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies provides answers you need to take care of common health problems on your own. This reference covers 120 of today’s common health problems in an easy-to-follow, A-to-Z format. Learn what you can do for yourself and when to seek medical attention.book cover of Home Remedies

Login here to comment.
danasparks

Thu, Jan 5 at 6:17pm EST by @danasparks · View  

Something to Think About: Instinctive compassion

an adult holding a baby on his or her lap, holding the baby's hand
Dr. Amit Sood
says, "Let compassion become your habit so you do not need intentional effort."

Dear friend,

Joey, right after birth, climbs into his mother’s pouch. Leatherback turtle babies need no instruction to walk toward the ocean after they emerge from the eggs. Human moms come preprogrammed with countless skills to care for their young. These complex behaviors, which are innate to us and have obvious survival value, are called our instincts.

We learn another set of complex behaviors. These entail exercise of a choice. Declining a bowl of ice cream or french fries, forgiving, performing random acts of kindness—these are learned behaviors that need intentionality. Intentionality is the hallmark of a more complex brain. Intentionality is unique to us humans. Intentionality needs deeper thought, often with an active focus on the long term.

Our strongest instincts focus on self-preservation and procreation. Behaviors guided by fear, greed, and selfishness, to preserve and expand what I consider me and mine, dominate my day. A world that works by this rule will remain depleted of altruistic intentions. When everyone is busy taking out energy, who’s putting it back in?

Intentional compassion can offer moments of respite in such a world, but because intentionality is energy intensive, it may not be frequent enough to compensate for instinctive selfishness. That’s the main problem with intentionality—it is effortful and energy intensive. In the tug-of-war between instincts and intentionality, most days instincts win, since instincts need the least amount of attention and energy.

We have to create a world where compassion is the first and most primal instinct. In such a world, I will focus on your pain and you on mine, with both of us wanting to heal each other’s pain. Creation of such a world has to be the legacy of a species as brainy and creative as ours. Once a critical mass of us breathes compassion in and out, it will become the defining force for the world. I hope I am alive when that happens. I hope you are there too.

May the world become more compassionate because you live in it.

Take care.
Amit

Dr. Sood 2

Read previous blog posts and follow @AmitSoodMD on Twitter.

Dr. Sood is director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program on Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus in Minnesota. He also chairs the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic.
Login here to comment.
danasparks

Thu, Jan 5 at 9:26am EST by @danasparks · View  

Making Mayo's Recipes: Apple cinnamon muffins

apple cinnamon muffin1-16-x-9

These hearty apple cinnamon muffins are made with milled oats, Greek yogurt and flaxseed. They’re the perfect for a make-ahead breakfast. You could even buy whole oats and flaxseeds and mill them at home in a food processor.

Each Thursday one of the 100+ tasty video recipes from the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program is featured on the Mayo Clinic News Network, just in time for you to try at the weekend. You can also have the recipes delivered via the Mayo Clinic App.

Journalists: The broadcast-quality video (1:47) is in the downloads.

Created by the executive wellness chef and registered dietitians at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. Find more recipes and other healthy-living insights on the Mayo Clinic App

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 2 tablespoons canola oil
  4. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  5. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  6. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  7. 3/4 cup milled oats
  8. 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  9. 2 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  10. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  11. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  12. 2 medium peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples

Directions

Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly coat 2 muffin tins with cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, eggs, oil and vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, 1 cup sugar, oats, flaxseed, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Turn the mixer to low speed. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Batter should be lumpy. Fold in the apples with a spatula.

Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin well. In a small bowl, combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle over the batter in each muffin well. Bake for about 22 minutes or until tops are golden brown and toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

Login here to comment.
danasparks

Wed, Jan 4 at 2:09pm EST by @danasparks · View  

Women's Wellness: Pregnant later in life

a young pregnant woman sitting at work on a laptop computer
Pregnancy after 35: Healthy moms, healthy babies

Are you considering pregnancy after 35? Understand the issues for older mothers — and know what it takes to have a healthy pregnancy.

[This information is written by Mayo Clinic Staff and can be found on mayoclinic.org.]

If you're older than 35 and hoping to get pregnant, you're in good company. Many women are delaying pregnancy well into their 30s and beyond — and delivering healthy babies. Taking special care can help give your baby the best start.

Understand the risks

The biological clock is a fact of life, but there's nothing magical about age 35. It's simply an age at which various risks become more discussion worthy. For example:

  • It might take longer to get pregnant. You're born with a limited number of eggs. As you reach your mid- to late 30s, your eggs decrease in quantity and quality. An older woman's eggs also aren't fertilized as easily as a younger woman's eggs. If you're older than 35 and haven't been able to conceive for six months, consider asking your health care provider for advice.
  • You're more likely to have a multiple pregnancy. The chance of having twins increases with age. The use of assisted reproductive technologies — such as in vitro fertilization — also can play a role.
  • You're more likely to develop gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes, which occurs only during pregnancy, is more common as women get older. Tight control of blood sugar through diet and physical activity is essential. Sometimes medication is needed, too. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause a baby to grow significantly larger than average — which increases the risk of injuries during delivery.
  • You're more likely to develop high blood pressure during pregnancy. Research suggests that high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy is more common in older women. Your health care provider will carefully monitor your blood pressure and your baby's growth and development. You might need to take medication or deliver your baby before your due date to avoid complications.
  • You're more likely to have a low birth weight baby and a premature birth. Premature babies, especially those born earliest, often have complicated medical problems.
  • You might need a C-section. Older mothers have a higher risk of pregnancy-related complications that might lead to a C-section delivery, such as placenta previa — a condition in which the placenta blocks the cervix.
  • The risk of chromosome abnormalities is higher. Babies born to older mothers have a higher risk of certain chromosome problems, such as Down syndrome.
  • The risk of pregnancy loss is higher. The risk of pregnancy loss — by miscarriage and stillbirth — increases as you get older, perhaps due to pre-existing medical conditions or fetal chromosomal abnormalities. Ask your health care provider about monitoring your baby's well-being during the last weeks of pregnancy.
While further research is needed, studies suggest that a man's age at the time of conception —his paternal age — also might pose health risks for his children.
Women's Wellness logo

Login here to comment.
danasparks

Tue, Jan 3 at 5:18pm EST by @danasparks · View  

Discovery's Edge: At the World Stem Cell Summit

Discovery's Edge Stem Cell conference platformMedical research scientists, academics and clinicians mingled with entrepreneurs and patient advocates at the World Stem Cell Summit recently in West Palm Beach, Florida. In its fourth year as co-sponsor, Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine sent a delegation to discuss the promise and the peril of the advancing science with about 1,200 attendees. Topics ranged from cardiovascular regeneration to growing stem cells in a microgravity environment in space.

An Informed Consumer

About 300 health care consumers were asking questions and engaging in discussions with presenters on Public Day. Karen Krucker, stem cell therapy program manager at Mayo Clinic, explained what patients and their families need to know before receiving stem cell or regenerative medicine treatments. Krucker worked at the Regenerative Medicine Consult Service at Mayo Clinic, the first consult service established in the United States to provide guidance for patients and families regarding stem cell-based protocols. In her role, instead of giving medical advice, she educated patients on how to make an informed decision.

“You need to be very careful. You need to have skepticism,” she told the audience. “Even injecting stem cells from your own fat cells can have risks.” Rest the rest of the article.
________________________________________________
Find more research news on Discovery's Edge.

Login here to comment.
Loading information...