Kaiser Leads Mobile Healthcare

Nearly 9 Million Kaiser Permanente Health Records Securely Available on Mobile Devices

Kaiser Permanente already has the largest electronic medical record system in the world.

The Pew Internet Project reported that 40 percent of American adults access the Internet via their mobile phones, and in some cases, mobile phones are their primary source of Internet access.

Twenty-five percent of smart-phone owners go online primarily using their phone; of these, roughly one-third have no high-speed home broadband connection.

Three months ago, the health care organization announced that 9 million Kaiser Permanente patients now can easily access their own medical information anywhere in the world on mobile devices through a mobile-optimized website.

An additional app for iPhone will be released in the coming months.  Meantime, iPhone users can download a shortcut icon to kp.org

In 2011 alone, more than 68 million lab test results were made available online to Kaiser Permanente patients.

Kaiser Permanente patients will have 24/7 access to lab results, diagnostic information…

direct and secure email access to their doctors, and will also be able to order prescription refills.

Kaiser Permanente had more than 12 million e-visits in 2011 alone, and they expect that number to rise.

The Android app is available now in the Android Market at no charge.

Users of other mobile devices can access the same set of care-support tools at no charge through the new secure, mobile-optimized member website, which is available through smart-phone Internet browsers.

Kaiser Permanente patients or family members who can act on their behalf, now have 24/7 access from their mobile devices to view their secure personal health record, email their doctors, schedule appointments, refill prescriptions and locate Kaiser medical facilities on kp.org

“This is the future of health care. Health care needs to be connected to be all that it can be. This new level of connectivity is happening real time, and it is happening on a larger scale than anything like it in the world,” said George Halvorson, chairman and chief executive officer of Kaiser Permanente.

“The fact that a Kaiser Permanente patient in an emergency room in Paris or Tokyo can simply pull out their mobile device and have immediate and current access to their own medical information is an evolutionary and revolutionary breakthrough for medical connectivity.”

“Our members love our current connectivity tools,” said Christine Paige, senior vice president of marketing and Internet services.

“Now we will extend our entire connectivity tool kit for patients through a mobile phone. Our mobile-optimized site and app take connectivity to the next level by making the mobile experience easy and enjoyable. We believe that convenience, paired with a great user experience, will meet members’ needs and will ultimately result in improved health and patient-physician relationships.”

iPHONE SHORTCUT ICON

  • Go to kp.org on your iPhone mobile Web browser
  • Click on the middle icon at the bottom of your screen
  • Choose “Add to Home Screen
  • A short cut will be added to your iPhone icons

Members using the Android app have access to their kp.org accounts by touching the app icon on their phones.

Those visiting kp.org from a mobile phone Internet browser are seamlessly redirected to the mobile-optimized website, which was designed for optimal viewing on a mobile-phone screen.

In both cases, a streamlined menu of mobile-optimized features helps members find what they need quickly and easily with minimal taps.

“Providing our patients with clear and convenient access to their health information is a step forward in connectivity and improving the health care experience for patients, no matter where they are,” saidJack Cochran, MD, executive director of The Permanente Federation.

“We already have complete connectivity among Kaiser Permanente care sites through Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect®. This new level of connectivity extends the reach of information to our patients in a more convenient and user-friendly format. This new app and mobile-optimized site is very good for patient care and will revolutionize connectivity by bringing health care for the first time to the level of connectivity other parts of our economy have achieved.”

Users’ personal health information is safe and secure while using the new app and the mobile-friendly kp.org, which employ the same security safeguards that protect patient information on the traditional kp.org website, including secure sign-on and automatic sign-out after a period of inactivity.

“The benefits of mobile extend beyond member engagement,” said Philip Fasano, executive vice president and chief information officer of Kaiser Permanente.

“Mobile solutions can have a positive impact on health. Health care, itself, will be much more convenient for many people. The mobile-friendly site and app are also a springboard for new innovations that will inspire members to be aware of their health and take steps to improve it.”

“There has been an explosion in the growth of mobile devices and users are looking for new and improved ways to manage their lives online,” Halvorson said.

“It is time to make health information easily accessible from mobile devices.”

This is a major new connectivity offering, but it is not Kaiser Permanente’s first mobile app. Other, more targeted tools, were released earlier. Kaiser Permanente launched its first mobile application, KP Locator for iPhone, in July 2011.

The facility-finder app has been downloaded 42,000 times.

KP Locator combines the power of kp.org’s robust facility directory and the iPhone’s GPS capabilities to make searching for Kaiser Permanente facilities fast and easy for patients on the go.

It answers three of the most basic, but vital, user questions thoroughly and simply — where are the Kaiser Permanente locations close to me, how can I contact and get to them, and what departments and services can I access there? Kaiser Permanente also released its Every Body Walk! app two months ago to help encourage people to walk and maintain healthy activity levels, and that app was rated No. 5 in the Top 100 Green Apps by Eco-Libris.

Kaiser Permanente is known for its leadership in the use of health information technology. The Kaiser Permanente electronic health record is the largest non-governmental medical record system in the world. KP HealthConnect enables all of Kaiser Permanente’s nearly 16,000 physicians to electronically access the medical records of all 8.9 million Kaiser Permanente members nationwide and serves as a model for other care systems.

Kaiser Permanente has received numerous awards for its health IT expertise, including four 2011 eHealthcare Leadership Awards.

You can learn more about how patients, clinicians and researchers are using My Health Manager and KP HealthConnect by checking out Kaiser Permanente’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/kaiserpermanenteorg. Kaiser Permanente also has what might be the world’s most complete electronic medical library to support its caregivers by providing convenient access to the best and most current medical science. That electronic medical library is for internal use only.

Nearly 9 Million Kaiser Permanente Health Records Securely Available on Mobile Devices

Kaiser Sunset Hospital in Los Angeles, CA
Kaiser Sunset Hospital in Los Angeles, CA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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NYC Hot Hub for Health IT Jobs

New York initiative aims to create hub for health IT jobs

April 26, 2012 | Bernie Monegain, Editor

NEW YORK – The New York eHealth Collaborative, the New York City Investment Fund and the New York State Department of Health have launched a $4.2 million program to foster health IT innovation and create 1,500 new jobs in the state.

Called the New York Digital Health Accelerator (NYDHA), the program’s goal is to make New York a hub for the emerging digital health technology industry.

In upcoming months, the program will choose 12 early- and growth-stage companies that are developing cutting-edge technology products in care coordination, patient engagement, analytics and message alerts for healthcare providers.

Each company will be awarded up to $300,000 along with mentoring from senior-level executives at leading hospitals and other providers in New York. The focus areas of innovation will support the development of products that help the state’s Medicaid Redesign Team and its new “Health Homes” program, an initiative intended to make the state’s treatment of Medicaid patients more coordinated and efficient, officials say.

“Health information technology is helping us transform our healthcare system to provide high-quality, cost-efficient, and patient-centered care for the 21st century,” said New York State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, MD. “The Digital Health Accelerator program will further advance New York’s national leadership in health IT as it will attract leading-edge companies at the forefront of developing the technology necessary for robust electronic health recordsand digital care coordination systems.”

“When the government and the private sector work hand-in-hand to encourage business growth in our state we see results,” added Maria Gotsch, president and CEO of the New York City Investment Fund (NYCIF). “This Accelerator will help New York keep and attract businesses that grow our state’s economy and create jobs in our communities. Our initial investment will go a long way towards attracting additional investment into New York.”

“The economy and healthcare are the two most important issues facing the state, and the New York Digital Health Accelerator will allow us to tackle them both at once,” said David Whitlinger, executive director of NYeC. “This initiative represents the best kind of marriage between the public and private sectors. We are leveraging New York’s investment in our statewide health information exchange network and empowering it with the free market.”

The NYDHA’s unique feature is that it offers participants the opportunity to engage directly with a broad network of providers in New York State, officials say, including hospitals, long-term care providers, community health centersm and primary care providers. Tech companies accepted into the program will receive direct mentorship and feedback from senior-level executives with the participating providers. In addition, companies will have priority access to the technology platform that is connecting electronic health records across New York State, the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY).

More information, including an application for the program, is available atdigitalhealthaccelerator.com. An informational session for companies interested in participating will be held on May 10, 2012 in New York City. Applications for the NYDHA program are due June 1, 2012.

The program aims to create 1,500 jobs over five years. In addition, it is expected that the companies will attract upwards of $150 million to $200 million in investment from the venture capital community post-program. The NYDHA is designed to stimulate a new marketplace, creating the next generation of healthcare tools while positioning New York as the capitol of the health IT entrepreneurial sector, officials said.

The investment capital will be provided by a syndicate of investors, including Aetna, Milestone Venture Partners, New Leaf Venture Partners, New York City Investment Fund, Quaker Partners, Safeguard Scientifics and UnitedHealth Group. The Empire State Development Corporation, Health Research Inc. and NYeC will provide additional funds and/or services to operate the NYDHA.

18 leading healthcare providers have agreed to participate in the program:

  • Albany Medical Center
  • Catholic Health System
  • Community Healthcare Network
  • Continuum Health Partners
  • Ellis Medicine
  • FEGS Health and Human Services System
  • Finger Lakes Community Health
  • Hometown Health Centers
  • Hudson Valley Initiative
  • Institute for Family Health
  • Maimonides Medical Center
  • NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation
  • New York-Presbyterian Hospital
  • North Shore LIJ Health System
  • NYU Langone Medical Center
  • Stony Brook University Medical Center
  • Visiting Nurse Service of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties
  • Winthrop University Hospital

Investors, providers weigh in:

“Aetna is strongly committed to advancing healthcare information technology that will connect the healthcare system to help improve quality and outcomes,” said Lonny Reisman, MD, Aetna’s chief medical officer and a member of board of the NYeC. “The convergence of health IT and healthcare expertise will be extremely critical and powerful in making healthcare more effective, convenient and affordable for everyone. Aetna has been actively involved in NYeC since its inception, and we are pleased to support this important initiative.”

“Albany Medical Center welcomes this important initiative that will help develop innovative approaches to improving patient outcomes at lower costs while helping to attract healthcare entrepreneurs to New York State,” said James J. Barba, president and CEO. “Albany Med has long recognized that the type of collaboration this project is building between healthcare providers, government and the private sector will be the key to reforming our healthcare system.”

“Entrepreneurs require access to potential customers as much as they require access to capital,” said Todd Pietri, co-founder and general partner of Milestone Venture Partners. “The New York Digital Health Accelerator is the first accelerator program we have seen which provides direct access to key decision makers at potential customers.”

“New York City is the place for the creation of next generation digital health companies,” said Philippe Chambon, managing director of New Leaf Venture Partners. “The combination of the digital alley talent, the deep healthcare infrastructure of the state and the availability of venture funding is truly unique.”

“New York is leading the way in healthcare innovation by bringing together hospitals, medical providers, payers, and investors with its rapidly growing Silicon Alley,” said Adele C. Oliva, partner at Quaker Partners. “Quaker believes that this integrated approach will catalyze entrepreneurship and deliver the revolutionary technology the healthcare system requires to improve care and reduce costs.”

“We are looking forward to becoming a part of the New York Digital Health Accelerator,” said Gary J. Kurtzman, MD, managing director at Safeguard Scientifics. “New York is forging an unprecedented path by pulling together investors, hospitals, and other healthcare advisers to collaborate and offer healthcare IT start-ups access to capital, mentorship and expert insights to help them effectively grow their business.”

“Innovation is a key driver in helping make the health system work better for everyone,” said Tom Vanderheyden, vice president, emerging businesses group at UnitedHealth Group. “We believe the New York Digital Health Accelerator model will help bring practical solutions to market in a significantly shorter timeframe.”

“New health information technologies will help people get better care,” said Joseph Twardy, president and CEO, Visiting Nurse Service of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties. “Here in the capital region, the Visiting Nurse Service of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties, Ellis Medicine and Hometown Health Center are already working with other healthcare and social service organizations and physicians to ensure that we provide each person with the right care at the right time-and having the right information will help us do that.”

10 Foods Turn On Genes Related to Fat Burning

1.  Olive Oil

2.  Eggs

3.  Yogurt

4.  Sweet Potatoes

5.  Kiwi Fruit

6.  Edamame (Green soybeans)

7.  Wild Salmon

8.  Apples

9.  Quinoa (People always ask what this is: Quinoa are seeds that an be prepared like whole grains, such as rice or barley. You can find them in any grocery store where you find rice.  Friends who have tried it say it’s yummy.)

10.  Lentiles (Legumes)

T0 find out WHY these 10 foods have super powers, please visit SELF Magazine by copying/pasting this web address into your browser:  http://www.self.com/fooddiet/2012/04/drop-10-top-superfoods-slideshow#slide=5

The above tips are part of a new book published by SELF: http://www.self.com/drop10diet/buy_the_book

Stay healthy!

How to Eat for Better Sleep

Fitness gives us nutrition rules experts swear by for a good night’s rest.

Don’t skimp, then splurge.

by Ana Mantica – Skipping midday meals may seem like an easy way to shed weight, but doing so can throw off your body’s normal sleep pattern. Researchers who followed a group of Muslims during Ramadan (a month of fasting from sunup to sundown) found that the group lost an average of 40 minutes of sleep a night compared with a nonholiday time of year. The likely cause: changes in hormone levels due to fasting. Large, late dinners exacerbate the problem: “A big meal increases the blood flow to your digestive tract, causing your stomach to secrete more gastric acid and making your pancreas and intestinal muscles work harder,” Breus says. This stimulates your system instead of calming it.

Do eat early and often.

“Your body uses up energy during the sleep process; it needs to be restored,” Breus says. Eat a mix of protein and carbs for breakfast (think eggs and whole wheat toast), and have six 250- to 300-calorie mini meals throughout your day. Eating something nutritious every few hours helps your body and brain maintain the right balance of hormones and neurotransmitters, essential for falling — and staying — asleep at night.

Don’t be a party victim.

Just say no to canapes, cheese plates, and mini meatballs. High-fat and spicy foods spark indigestion and reflux, keeping you up long past your bedtime, says Carolyn O’Neil, RD, author of The Dish: On Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!

Do eat carbs for dinner.

A recent study found that people who ate jasmine rice before bedtime fell asleep faster than those who didn’t, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports. The reason? Jasmine rice is high on the glycemic index, so it helps increase the body’s production of tryptophan, an amino acid that makes you sleepy, explains study author Chin-Moi Chow, PhD, senior lecturer at the University of Sydney.

Don’t go to extremes.

When daily calories dip below 1,200, you miss out on key nutrients, and this may affect your sleep, says Susan Moores, RD, a dietitian in St. Paul. Low iron, for instance, may cause symptoms similar to restless leg syndrome. A deficiency in folic acid may lead to insomnia. Studies also suggest that anorexics on extremely low-cal diets limit the time their bodies spend in the slow-wave sleep cycle, necessary for muscle repair and recovery.

Do strike a balance.

A well-rounded diet with foods high in B vitamins, calcium, and zinc will help you rest better. “Vitamin B6 signals your body to produce the calming hormone serotonin,” Breus says. “And calcium and zinc are natural relaxants.”

Don’t overdo the cold cuts or coffee.

Processed foods like deli meats contain a lot of sodium, which can interrupt sleep by raising your blood pressure and dehydrating you, Cornell’s Maas says. Caffeine, meanwhile, stays in your system for up to 12 hours, so the effects of a p.m. latte could linger till midnight. Try skipping the joe tomorrow: Not having caffeine for a single day can improve sleep quality that night, a study in the Journal of Clinical Nursing found.

Do go herbal.

Before bed, have a cup of chamomile tea; the plant it’s made from acts as a mild sedative, Breus explains, calming your body and helping you drift off.

The bottom line is to focus on eating foods in as close to their natural form as possible (for instance, apples, not apple danish). And eat smaller meals, says Breus, but more frequently. Simple, no? And all without counting a single sheep. Sweet dreams.

Vitamins and Minerals for Great Sleep

These vitamins and minerals will help you snooze soundly tonight. Eat ’em and sleep:

B Vitamins

They improve your body’s ability to regulate its use of sleep-inducing tryptophan and produce more system-calming serotonin.

Find Them In: Chicken breast, lean beef, salmon, bananas, potatoes, cereals fortified with B3 or B12

Calcium

This natural relaxant has a calming effect on the body’s nervous system.

Find It In: Low-fat yogurt, milk, cheese, fortified orange juice

Zinc

Deficiency in this mineral has been linked to insomnia.

Find It In: Oysters, beef, Alaska king crab, fortified cereal

Iron

A lack of this mineral can cause symptoms similar to restless leg syndrome.

Find It In: Oysters, clams, beef tenderloin, dark-meat turkey

Copper

This substance regulates serotonin.

Find It In: Whole grains, beans, nuts, potatoes, dark leafy greens

________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Stay healthy!

13 Hot & Healthy Chinese, Japanese & Thai Choices

1.  Brown rice

2.  Summer rolls

3.  Soybeans steamed in water (rather than oil)

4.  Lobster sauce

5.  Shrimp Lo Mein

6.  Broccoli (stir-fry veggies, light on oil)

7.  Snow peas

8.  Peppers

9.  Steamed veggie dumplings

10.  Soft or Plain tofu (not deep fried)

11.  Request a sprinkling of chopped peanuts, almonds or cashews inside or outside your sushi roll

12.  Request crispy salmon skin in your sushi roll

13.  One Chinese or Thai dish can serve 3 people, so split your dishes

14.  Steamed vegetables

Green tea is a good choice too.

HEALTH.COM “Lean to Go”  

Be sure to check out the full article here:  http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20579042,00.html

 

Enjoy!  Stay healthy. ~Maria

New Migraine Prevention Guidelines

According to the journal, Neurology, some over-the-counter meds, such as ibuprofen & naproxen may prevent migraines.

The guidelines also recommend spikey plant petasites, also known as butterbur, beta-blockers and some prescription drugs for migraine prevention.

Dr. Stewart Tepper treats migraine headaches at Cleveland Clinic.

“This is an easy way for a doctor or care provider to look at what is likely to work and on what basis is that drug likely to work.”

Dr. Tepper recommends you seek out a board certified headache medicine specialist if nothing works.

MIGRAINE SYMPTOMS

By Mayo Clinic staff

Migraine headaches often begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. Migraines may progress through four stages — prodrome, aura, attack and postdrome — though you may not experience all the stages.

Prodrome
One or two days before a migraine, you may notice subtle changes that may signify an oncoming migraine, including:

  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Food cravings
  • Hyperactivity
  • Irritability
  • Neck stiffness

Aura
Most people experience migraine headaches without aura. Auras are usually visual but can also be sensory, motor or verbal disturbances. Each of these symptoms typically begins gradually, builds up over several minutes, then commonly lasts for 10 to 30 minutes. Examples of aura include:

  • Visual phenomena, such as seeing various shapes, bright spots or flashes of light
  • Vision loss
  • Pins and needles sensations in an arm or leg
  • Speech or language problems

Less commonly, an aura may be associated with aphasia or limb weakness (hemiplegic migraine).

Attack
When untreated, a migraine typically lasts from four to 72 hours, but the frequency with which headaches occur varies from person to person. You may have migraines several times a month or much less frequently. During a migraine, you may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Pain on one side of your head
  • Pain that has a pulsating, throbbing quality
  • Sensitivity to light, sounds and sometimes smells
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Lightheadedness, sometimes followed by fainting

Postdrome
The final phase — known as postdrome — occurs after a migraine attack, when you may feel drained and washed out, though some people report feeling mildly euphoric.

When to see a doctor
Migraine headaches are often undiagnosed and untreated. If you regularly experience signs and symptoms of migraine attacks, keep a record of your attacks and how you treated them. Then make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your headaches and decide on a treatment plan.

Even if you have a history of headaches, see your doctor if the pattern changes or your headaches suddenly feel different.

See your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if you have any of the following signs and symptoms, which may indicate other, more serious medical problems:

  • An abrupt, severe headache like a thunderclap
  • Headache with fever, stiff neck, rash, mental confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness or trouble speaking
  • Headache after a head injury, especially if the headache gets worse
  • A chronic headache that is worse after coughing, exertion, straining or a sudden movement
  • New headache pain if you’re older than 50

New Guidelines: Treatments Can Help Prevent Migraine

NEW ORLEANS – Research shows that many treatments can help prevent migraine in certain people, yet few people with migraine who are candidates for these preventive treatments actually use them, according to new guidelines issued by the American Academy of Neurology. The guidelines, which were co-developed with the American Headache Society, were announced at the American Academy of Neurology’s 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans and published in the April 24, 2012, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Studies show that migraine is underrecognized and undertreated,” said guideline author Stephen D. Silberstein, MD, FACP, FAHS, of Jefferson Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.

“About 38 percent of people who suffer from migraine could benefit from preventive treatments, but only less than a third of these people currently use them.”

Unlike acute treatments, which are used to relieve the pain and associated symptoms of a migraine attack when it occurs, preventive treatments usually are taken every day to prevent attacks from occurring as often and to lessen their severity and duration when they do occur.

“Some studies show that migraine attacks can be reduced by more than half with preventive treatments,” Silberstein said.

The guidelines, which reviewed all available evidence on migraine prevention, found that among prescription drugs, the seizure drugs divalproex sodium, sodium valproate and topiramate, along with the beta-blockers metoprolol, propranolol and timolol, are effective for migraine prevention and should be offered to people with migraine to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. The seizure drug lamotrigine was found to be ineffective in preventing migraine.

The guidelines also reviewed over-the-counter treatments and complementary treatments. The guideline found that the herbal preparation Petasites, also known as butterbur, is effective in preventing migraine. Other treatments that were found to be probably effective are the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs fenoprofen, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen and naproxen sodium, subcutaneous histamine and complementary treatments magnesium, MIG-99 (feverfew) and riboflavin.

Silberstein noted that while people do not need a prescription from a physician for these over-the-counter and complementary treatments, they should still see their doctor regularly for follow-up.

“Migraines can get better or worse over time, and people should discuss these changes in the pattern of attacks with their doctors and see whether they need to adjust their dose or even stop their medication or switch to a different medication,” said Silberstein.

“In addition, people need to keep in mind that all drugs, including over-the-counter drugs and complementary treatments, can have side effects or interact with other medications, which should be monitored.”

-more-Learn more about the guideline’s recommendations at http://www.aan.com/guidelines.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 25,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

The American Headache Society® (AHS) is a professional society of health care providers dedicated to the study and treatment of headache and face pain. The Society’s objectives are to promote the exchange of information and ideas concerning the causes and treatments of headache and related painful disorders. Educating physicians, health professionals and the public and encouraging scientific research are the primary functions of this organization. AHS activities include an annual scientific meeting,

a comprehensive headache symposium, regional symposia for neurologists and family practice physicians, publication of the journal Headache and sponsorship of the AHS Committee for Headache Education (ACHE). http://www.americanheadachesociety.org

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

SPECIAL ARTICLE

Evidence-based guideline update: Pharmacologic

treatment for episodic migraine prevention

in adults

Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society

ABSTRACT

Objective: To provide updated evidence-based recommendations for the preventive treatment of migraine headache. The clinical question addressed was: What pharmacologic therapies are proven effective for migraine prevention?

Methods: The authors analyzed published studies from June 1999 to May 2009 using a struc- tured review process to classify the evidence relative to the efficacy of various medications avail- able in the United States for migraine prevention.

Results and Recommendations: The author panel reviewed 284 abstracts, which ultimately yielded 29 Class I or Class II articles that are reviewed herein. Divalproex sodium, sodium val- proate, topiramate, metoprolol, propranolol, and timolol are effective for migraine prevention and should be offered to patients with migraine to reduce migraine attack frequency and severity (Level A). Frovatriptan is effective for prevention of menstrual migraine (Level A). Lamotrigine is ineffective for migraine prevention (Level A). Neurology® 2012;78:1337–1345

Cool Allergy Relief Tip

Nearly 20% of Americans will suffer from Spring allergies.

Dr. David Lang, an allergist at Cleveland Clinic brings us a “cool” tip.  He says one of the easiest things you can do this time of year to ease allergies is turn up the AC.

“Air conditioning is a major measure that can be effective.  With the air conditioner on and windows closed, you cut down your indoor pollen count by 90 percent or more.  So air conditioning in buildings and cars is key for reducing level of symptoms, medication reliance.”

Dr. Lang recommends seeing an allergist if symptoms don’t respond to natural or over the counter remedies, and interfere with daily functioning.  Right now, tree and grass pollen are at their peak.  Children and pets can be affected too.

Symptoms of Grass Allergies:

Irritated Nose, Throat and Eyes

  • People who suffer from grass allergies may suffer from watering eyes, sneezing and congestion, post-nasal drip, sore throats and dry, constant coughing. A grass allergy can cause a full range of breathing problems, from wheezing to triggering a full-blown asthma attack. Allergic conjunctivitis can also occur, which is an inflammation of the membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids. This causes red-rimmed, swollen eyes and sometimes even a crusting of the eyelids. Allergic shiners–which are dark circles under the eyes that are caused by increased blood flow in irritated sinuses–may also occur with a grass allergy.

Skin Irritation

  • Irritated skin, including redness, itching, rashes, bumps and hives can all occur due to a grass allergy. These reactions can occur anywhere on the body, but often show up on the hands and fingers. Some doctors call this reaction “hayfever of the skin.” Treatment with antihistamines is usually the best way to handle this symptom. Reactions can be severe (even anaphylactic) if the allergen comes into direct contact with open skin, such as when a soccer player falls and scrapes her leg on the grassy field.

General Unwellness

  • As with other seasonal allergies, many people who suffer from grass allergies also complain of extreme fatigue, and feeling mentally dull or “out of it.” These people complain of feeling spacey, unable to concentrate and foggy much of the time. Headaches, mood swings and even nausea can result from a grass allergy.

Natural Relief and Prevention

  • There are many ways to prevent reactions and naturally provide relief once symptoms occur. Daily nasal cleansing with either a neti pot or nasal squirt bottle can be an effective way to irrigate the sinuses and flush allergens from the nasal passages. Another preventative measure is to always wear a mask when you mow the grass, and keep grass cut short. Use air conditioners indoors and in cars whenever possible. Instead of drying clothes on the line, where they can pick up allergens, dry clothes in a dryer during grass pollen season. Shower each night before bed to wash off pollen. For a sore throat due to post nasal drip or coughing, try gargling with warm salt water.

Medication

  • There are many different kinds of over-the-counter and prescription medications available for sufferers of grass allergies. Eye drops, nasal sprays, decongestants and antihistamines are the most popular. There are also various prescription medications available that work with the body in different ways to hinder the release of histamines. According to Medicine Online, immunotherapy allergy shots help many patients.

Read more: Symptoms of a Grass Allergy | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5057895_symptoms-grass-allergy.html#ixzz1sqHCqlyx

Food for Thought Friday

“Man, he sacrifices his health in order to make money.  Then he sacrifices money in order to recuperate his health.  And then he is so anxious about the future, that he does not enjoy the present;  the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” ~Dalai Lama

Study: Brain Fog Linked with Menopause

 
by Patti Singer
 
Women going through menopause have trouble staying focused and keeping track of things, according to a study from a neuropsychologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center.  The study, financed by the National Institute on Aging, is considered pioneering because few studies have targeted women going through the transition. Even less research made cognition its primary aim.

“There is something to memory complaints,” said Miriam Weber, the neuropsychologist whose findings were published in March in the online version of the journal Menopause.

The results of her preliminary study led to questions such as what exactly happens and why during each stage of the transition, and are there times when women are more vulnerable, she said. For now, the findings provide scientific weight to years of anecdotal evidence.

“To any woman who expects herself to function at a certain level, I don’t think this will come as any surprise,” said Maria Sullivan, 52, of Perinton, N.Y., who was not part of the study. “This validates it.”

Since 2005, Weber has been studying cognition in women who are making the transition toward the end of their menstrual periods. In September, she expanded recruitment, but the published results are from a pilot study that concluded in 2009.

Weber’s team studied 75 women ages 40 to 60, comparing their own assessment of their mental sharpness to objective measures of cognitive function. They were asked about menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, anxiety, sleep disturbances and depression. Blood tests measured levels of two hormones related to menopause. The results showed that complaints about memory were related to the ability to think on the fly and to tasks that required close attention.

“The more complaints they had, the worse they did on those two tasks,” Weber said.

She said researchers also saw a link between memory complaints and depression.

Women who go into a room and forget why, or who can’t find their keys fear that they are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, Weber said. Instead, the women might not be fully concentrating on the task so the information can be stored and retrieved later.

For women like Sullivan, that was more good news.

“To hear that everybody goes through this, this isn’t a harbinger of things to come. It’s reassuring to see this is not the beginning of early onset something,” Sullivan said.

At the same time, “it would be nice to know if there would be an upswing when this passes.”

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‘BRAIN FOG’ OF MENOPAUSE CONFIRMED

Scienceblog.com – The difficulties that many women describe as memory problems when menopause approaches are real, according to a study published today in the journal Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society.

The findings won’t come as a surprise to the millions of women who have had bouts of forgetfulness or who describe struggles with “brain fog” in their late 40s and 50s. But the results of the study, by scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the University of Illinois at Chicago who gave women a rigorous battery of cognitive tests, validate their experiences and provide some clues to what is happening in the brain as women hit menopause.

“The most important thing to realize is that there really are some cognitive changes that occur during this phase in a woman’s life,” said Miriam Weber, Ph.D., the neuropsychologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center who led the study. “If a woman approaching menopause feels she is having memory problems, no one should brush it off or attribute it to a jam-packed schedule. She can find comfort in knowing that there are new research findings that support her experience. She can view her experience as normal.”

The study is one of only a handful to analyze in detail a woman’s brain function during menopause and to compare those findings to the woman’s own reports of memory or cognitive difficulties.

The study included 75 women, from age 40 to 60, who were approaching or beginning menopause. The women underwent a battery of cognitive tests that looked at several skills, including their abilities to learn and retain new information, to mentally manipulate new information, and to sustain their attention over time. They were asked about menopausesymptoms related to depression, anxiety, hot flashes, and sleep difficulties, and their blood levels of the hormones estradiol and follicle-stimulating hormone were measured.

Weber’s team found that the women’s complaints were linked to some types of memory deficits, but not others.

Women who had memory complaints were much more likely to do poorly in tests designed to measure what is called “working memory” – the ability to take in new information and manipulate it in their heads. Such tasks in real life might include calculating the amount of a tip after a restaurant meal, adding up a series of numbers in one’s head, or adjusting one’s itinerary on the fly after an unexpected flight change.

Scientists also found that the women’s reports of memory difficulties were associated with a lessened ability to keep and focus attention on a challenging task. That might include doing thetaxes, maintaining sharp attention on the road during a long drive, completing a difficult report at work despite boredom, or getting through a particularly challenging book.

Weber notes that such cognitive processes aren’t what typically come to mind when people think of “memory.” Oftentimes, people consider memory to be the ability to tuck away a piece of information, such as a grocery item you need to remember to buy, and to retrieve it later. The team found little evidence that women have problems with this ability. Weber notes, though, that the 75 women in the study were more highly educated and on average of higher intelligence thanthe general population, and a decline might have been difficult to detect.

Women who reported memory difficulties were also more likely to report symptoms of depression,anxiety, and sleep difficulties. The team did not find any link between memory problems andhormone levels.

Generally anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of women during this stage of life reportforgetfulness and other difficulties that they view as related to poor memory.

“If you speak with middle-aged women, many will say, yes, we’ve known this. We’ve experienced this,” said Weber, assistant professor of Neurology. “But it hasn’t been investigated thoroughly in the scientific literature.

“Science is finally catching up to the reality that women don’t suddenly go from their reproductive prime to becoming infertile. There is this whole transition period that lasts years. It’s more complicated than people have realized.”

“People are surprised to learn that typically, for example in elderly adults, there really isn’t a lot of evidence that memory complaints are tied to real memory deficits. Menopausal women are different. They are good at rating their memory skills,” added co-author Pauline Maki, Ph.D.,director of Women’s Mental Health Research in UIC’s Department of Psychiatry.

“We don’t know why but perhaps it’s because their memory changes are more sudden and they are aware of other changes that accompany the menopause, like hot flashes. This might help them to better assess their mental abilities,” Maki added.

The latest findings are in line with results from a previous study that Weber did with Mark Mapstone, Ph.D., associate professor of Neurology, as well as results from a study which involved hundreds of women but used less sensitive measures to look at cognitive performance.

“There really is something going on in the brain of a woman at this stage in her life,” Mapstone said. “There is substance to their complaints that their memory is a bit fuzzy.”

For women who feel they are having memory problems, Weber has some advice.

“When someone gives you a new piece of information, it might be helpful to repeat it out loud, or for you to say it back to the person to confirm it – it will help you hold onto that information longer,” Weber said. “Make sure you have established that memory solidly in the brain.

“You need to do a little more work to make sure the information gets into your brain permanently. It may help to realize that you shouldn’t expect to be able to remember everything after hearing it just once.”

Health project coordinator Jennifer Staskiewicz, now of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, also contributed to the study, which was funded by the National Institute on Aging.

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Author and friend, Idelle Davidson speaks extensively about brain fog in her book.  No one believed she was going through it after chemo. Then, lo’ and behold, the medical community confirmed that it did indeed exist, and she was not going crazy. In fact, she’s super intelligent.  The book is a great read to even understand what people go through upon a diagnosis, during and after.

http://www.amazon.com/Your-Brain-after-Chemo-Practical/dp/0738212598

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I post a lot about healthy foods for your brain.  Be sure to check those posts out as I believe good nutrition can counter symptoms.  Knowing you’re not going crazy helps too.  More information at links below.

Stay healthy!

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