Uncategorized

Top 5 Tips to Beat Pollen Sensitivity This Spring

pollen allergy season

*Update*: On March 19, 2012, the pollen count in Atlanta was 8,164, breaking the old record of 6,013 set in 1999.

With today’s pollen count at a startling 2258, we thought it a good idea to share with you some tips for beating sensitivity to pollen as best you can this Spring. Over 35 million Americans are sensitive to pollen, if you’re one of them, this list should help:

Know the Pollen Count

Here’s a great website for residents of the Atlanta, GA area to check the pollen count, which changes daily – http://www.atlantaallergy.com/pollenCount.aspx Staying on top of the pollen count makes it easier to take proactive steps to avoid sensitivity before it starts. As a general guide, here are the ranges for pollen count levels:

  • Low: 0-14
  • Moderate: 15-89
  • High: 90-1499
  • Extremely High: 1500+

Exercise in the Evening

Pollen counts are highest in the morning, but because pollen travels freely on warm, dry and breezy days, pollen levels can often peak midday. If you exercise outdoors, plan on doing so in the evening, after 5 p.m. during days with high pollen counts. For your safety, please be sure to exercise with a partner.

Wear a Mask When Doing Yard Work

If you’re sensitive or allergic to pollen, it is not ideal to also be responsible for yard work. But if you must, wear a mask. You can pick one up at your local hardware store or pharmacy. Try doing yard work very early in the morning, while there’s still dew out, or in the later afternoon/evening, once pollen levels have subsided.

Proactively Treat Your Allergies

If you are allergic or particularly sensitive to pollen, there are plenty of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines available to help you control your symptoms.

You should consult your allergist for the medication and treatment plan that’s best for you, but getting your symptoms under control before they have the opportunity to get out of hand is wise during pollen season.

Protect Your Home, Your Car & Your Body

Keep doors and windows to your residence and car closed as much as possible when the pollen count is high. Pollen particles are no wider than a single strand of human hair, and they can easily pass through holes in window screens. Also, if particularly sensitive, change clothes and shower after returning home to remove pollen from your person and to avoid spreading it throughout your home.

If you’re interested in sinus, nasal, and allergy treatment at Emory, you can visit our Sinus, Nasal & Allergy website. Have any other ideas for how to limit pollen sensitivity this Spring? Feel free to share and leave them in the comments section below!

Quinoa – Hard to Say, Easy to Cook!

Quinoa

Quinoa. Ever taken a stab at pronouncing it? Don’t worry; its’ a tough one. It is pronounced KEEN-wa. With or without being able to pronounce it, have you ever tried it?

Quinoa is a nutty brown grain that sounds intimidating, but is packed with nutrition and is as easy to cook as rice. Bring it to your next dinner party and impress your friends with your new, exotic (but oh so easy) ingredient.

Quinoa plants are colorful, flowering plants grown primarily in South America. In areas where it’s grown, people eat the leaves as well as the abundant seeds that we are more familiar with.

It is a great source of folate, manganese, B vitamins and zinc; however, the unique part of quinoa is its protein content. Quinoa includes all eight essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. Almost all other complete proteins in our diets are animal products. This makes quinoa a sound protein source for vegetarians and infrequent meat-eaters.

Cooking Quinoa

As previously promised, quinoa is simple to cook. As you make it more, feel free to experiment with adjustments and additions to the recipe. As you will find, quinoa is quite forgiving for even inexperienced cooks.

Basic quinoa recipe:

  1. Rinse Quinoa – If you do not have a colander with small enough holes, lay cheese cloth inside your colander to keep the quinoa seeds from escaping.
  2. Add one part quinoa to two parts liquid to a medium-size pot. (Chicken broth works well as a liquid over water for added flavor.)
  3. Bring to a simmer, and then turn on low. Cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes.
  4. Turn off the burner and allow to sit for five to 10 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and serve.

Serve as a simple side item; add to soups; or serve under stews, curries, or thick and chunky sauces. Refrigerate leftovers and add to your salad for lunch the next day.

Join Us for a Voice Center Open House

Melissa Statham, MDThe Emory Voice Center is pleased to welcome Melissa Statham, MD as the latest addition to the Voice Center’s team of voice specialists!

Melissa Statham, MD, is a laryngologist specializing in pediatric voice disorders and care of the adult professional voice, airway and swallowing conditions.

A graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Dr. Statham completed her residency in otolaryngology at the University of Cincinnati, and pursued two fellowships following her residency. The first for laryngology and care of the professional voice at the University of Pittsburgh Voice Center, and the second in pediatric otolaryngology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Dr. Statham has expertise in treating pediatric and adult voice conditions and airway disorders. Her research interests focus on pediatric voice disorders, novel laryngeal electromyography techniques and outcomes from pediatric and adult major airway surgery.

Please join us at the Emory Voice Center for an Open House and reception to help welcome Dr. Statham to the Emory Voice Center. You can register for the open house online, or use the phone number below. Event details are listed below:

What: Welcome Reception and Open House for Melissa Statham, MD
When: Thursday, March 24 at 4 – 6 p.m.
Where: Emory Voice Center

(550 Peachtree Street, 9th Floor, Atlanta, GA 30308)

To RSVP: Please Call 404-778-7777 or Register Online

Eating Right When Your Budget is Tight

Eating right on a budgetPacking your food lineup with nutritious choices doesn’t mean you have to go to the store with a big wallet. With a little strategy, you can eat right even when your budget is tight. In fact, here is a selection of tips to empower you to eat right, while still keeping an eye on your budget.

Shop Sales

  • Choose in-season produce to buy fresh. Out-of-season items tend to be more expensive. Opt for frozen on those.
  • Look for meat sales. Most grocery stores run specials. By watching out for these, you can cut down much of your meat costs.
  • Clip coupons. A $1.50 Sunday paper could save you a lot more than that during your weekly grocery trip. Plan your meals around what is on sale.

Waste Less

  • Freeze. If you think your fruits, vegetables, herbs or meats could go bad before you have time to eat them all, freeze them. Frozen fruits make great smoothies or compotes, and frozen vegetables are great for cooking.

Make Your Own

  • Cook your own sauces and soups rather than buying canned. It can be less expensive and healthier, because you have more control over the ingredients.
  • Shred your own cheese, which is typically less expensive than buying pre-shredded cheese.
  • Wash and cut your own lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, etc., rather than buying the pre-washed and bagged versions.

Buy Store Brands

  • Buy store brands instead of name brands. Check out the ingredients label. They’re usually almost identical.
  • Check the unit price (the price per oz/lb/gm) on the price tag of a certain item and compare across brands and item sizes.

Buy in Bulk

  • Buy in bulk and separate. Get the big bag of rice or pasta and separate.
  • Avoid single serving items, if possible. Buy the bigger item and split into bags or cup-size servings.

Make Things Last

  • Stretch your meats and cheeses. These items are usually the more expensive items in your basket. Think of them more as a garnish or side item than a main dish.

Dip Happily with Hummus!

Hummus RecipeAre you looking for  a healthy and inexpensive alternative to your average high-fat sour cream and onion dip? Try hummus! Hummus is a pureed blend of chickpeas or garbanzo beans, tahini (a sesame seed paste), garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. It is believed to have originated in the Middle East and has been consumed there for thousands of years. Recognized even in ancient times for its nutritional value, hummus is an excellent source of protein, iron, vitamin C, folate and vitamin B6. Furthermore, hummus contains a fair amount of fiber from the chickpeas, as well as healthy unsaturated fats from the olive oil and tahini.

Traditionally, hummus is served as a dip for flatbread, such as pita bread, and may be served warm or cold. However, it is a delicious dip that can be eaten with anything from pita chips to raw vegetables. Some people even use it as a spread on their sandwiches as a healthy replacement for mayonnaise.

Hummus is available at most grocery stores. However, it is also easy to make. There are many variations of hummus recipes, so you can decide which you like best. Add roasted peppers, garlic or jalapenos to put your own spin on this nutritious treat.

Basic Hummus Recipe

Ingredients
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 15-oz cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
2/3 cup of tahini (optional)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Directions

  1. In a food processor, combine the garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, 1/2 cup water and olive oil. Process until smooth. Add salt, starting at a half a teaspoon, to taste.
  2. Spoon into serving dish and serve with crackers; raw dip vegetables, such as carrots or celery; or pita bread.

Makes about 3 cups (Recipe can be halved.)

Recipe adapted by Rachel Stroud, EHC dietetic intern, from http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/hummus/

Do You Need to Be Gluten Free?

Gluten FreeAs companies are increasingly advertising gluten-free on their products, questions are starting to pop up on the benefits or issues with gluten. Diets have been started, books have been written and people have started spending more money to add the phrase “Gluten-Free” to their chosen lifestyle. While this is an excellent advancement for the gluten-intolerant community, there seems to be some misconceptions concerning gluten.

Where is gluten found?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. However, due to the extensive processing of most foods we consume today, we find gluten showing up in places it normally would not. Ice cream, vitamin supplements, toothpaste and even the glue on envelope seals often contain gluten.

Why would someone choose gluten-free?

Celiac disease, gluten intolerance and wheat allergies are disorders that require constant attention and diet adaptation from those who suffer from them.

NOTE: These conditions are the only reasons an individual would be required to eliminate gluten from his or her diet.

What is celiac disease?

People with celiac disease lack the ability to absorb gluten in their intestines. When the gluten goes undigested, the protein triggers an immune response, resulting in damage to the intestines. These continual immune attacks can compromise the body’s ability to adequately absorb nutrients and result in permanent absorption problems.

How do I know if I have gluten intolerance?

Recently, there has been a significant increase in the amount of people with some type of intolerance to gluten. If you find yourself suffering from frequent bloating, diarrhea or abdominal pain, it is certainly worth being tested for. If you have an intolerance, it is best to avoid commercially processed foods completely. Fresh produce or meats and foods bearing the “gluten-free” stamp of approval are the safest way to go.

So, despite the rising confusion and concern, rest assured that gluten-free is not a trend or a fad diet. It is a way to manage the symptoms and prevent the consequences of a serious disease.

What Should I Know About the Dietary Guidelines?

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

In the world of health care nutrition, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans set the standard for what we recommend as far as nutrients and physical activity. In our personal and family lives, the contents of the Dietary Guidelines become a call to action meant to empower and encourage us to continue taking steps in the right direction toward maintaining healthy lifestyles.

What are the Dietary Guidelines?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are the government’s evidence-based recommendations to promote health, prevent chronic disease and reduce the growing rates of overweight and obese Americans. An updated document is released every five years, taking into account recent research and health trends. The most recent update was just released this past January.

What do the Dietary Guidelines have to offer me?

With each new release of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the writers focus on the latest health disparities within our country and seek to offer tips on how to refocus our nutritional efforts. Physical activity, portion control and fat make frequent appearances as headliners. This year’s update also gave us some new, simple and tangible recommendations to consider.

What are some of the most important takeaways from the Dietary Guidelines?

Balance your calories
  • Enjoy your food, but watch your portions.
  • Avoid oversized portions.
Foods to increase
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk.
Foods to reduce
  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread and frozen meals. Choose foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

The full document is far more extensive than the recap above. It includes applicable research and updated recommendations. Read the Dietary Guidelines in full.

Think in Color for a Nutritious Diet

Colorful fruits vegetables for healthDo you ever feel overwhelmed by all the foods you feel you should or shouldn’t consume every day? Ever wish for a more intuitive way to recognize nutritious foods? Well, maybe it isn’t so hard after all! Often, just thinking about incorporating a variety of colors into your diet will put you on the right track. In fact, many of our needed vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are found in the actual coloring of a food.

As such, try using the following colors to liven up and enhance your diet:

White

White foods contain powerful antioxidants that have been shown to help respiratory health, heart health and thyroid function.

  • Key Nutrients: Xanthines, Selenium
  • Examples: Garlic, mushrooms, potatoes, parsnips, bananas, brown pears

Orange/Yellow

These foods contain nutrients important for maintaining healthy vision, immune function and wound healing capabilities.

  • Key Nutrients: Carotenoids (Pre-Vitamin A), Flavanoids, Vitamin C
  • Examples: Carrots, pumpkin, squash, apricots, lemon, mangoes, oranges, peaches

Red

Red fruits and vegetables help lower the risk of prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease.

  • Key Nutrient: Lycopene
  • Examples: Tomatoes, watermelon, beets, cherries, pink grapefruit, red peppers

Green

Green foods contribute ingredients that help digestive health and help keep you feeling full longer. They also contain vitamins that influence the production of new cells and prevent changes to DNA that can lead to cancer.

  • Key Nutrients: Fiber, Folate
  • Examples: Asparagus, leafy greens, avocados, broccoli, artichokes, brussel sprouts, green beans

Blue/Purple

This color group contributes another antioxidant shown to have anti-aging, memory and urinary tract health benefits.

  • Key Nutrient: Anthocyanins
  • Examples: Blackberries, blueberries, grapes, plums, purple cabbage, eggplant, purple potatoes

So, if you find yourself feeling intimidated by all the vitamins and minerals, don’t. In the end, you don’t need to know the chemical names of all the different nutrients; you just have to know your colors!

New Application for an Old Technique

Dr. Gail Peters talks about a non-surgical treatment for uterine fibroids

Many women who have uterine fibroids go through their days with no noticeable symptoms. They may even be unaware they have fibroids at all. However, for a small percentage who have symptoms, daily life can be interrupted continually by pain.

Uterine fibroids can cause a host of disruptive symptoms: unusually heavy or long menstrual periods, pain during sexual intercourse, pressure on the bladder leading to frequent trips to the bathroom, bloating, and pain in the pelvis, legs, or lower back. They affect 20% to 40% of women 20 years or older and occur in half of African American women. So far, doctors are unable to pinpoint why fibroids are more common in African Americans or why women develop them at all. But they do know that heredity and obesity are factors.

Women with problematic uterine fibroids traditionally have had only two options—a hysterectomy or a myomectomy (surgical removal of the fibroids). In fact, unwanted fibroid symptoms trigger approximately 150,000 hysterectomies each year.

Over the past decade, an old technique is providing women who suffer with uterine fibroids with a nonsurgical alternative. Physicians have used embolization for more than two decades to treat pelvic bleeding or trauma, and now they are using the procedure to shrink uterine fibroids too.

“If a gynecologist has offered a hysterectomy, a women should look into uterine fibroid embolization,” says Emory interventional radiologist Gail Peters. “The procedure is less invasive, better tolerated, and requires less time for recuperation.”

Although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recognizes embolization as a viable treatment for uterine fibroids, Peters says that some doctors are failing to talk to women about the option. “Most women come to me on their own and are looking for an alternative to surgery,” she says

What she tells them is that embolization offers fewer complications and a quicker recovery than surgical options. It has an 85% to 92% success rate compared with myomectomy, after which 10% to 30% of patients develop fibroids again. And women who experience embolization can fore-go the three- to four-day hospital stays and four to six weeks of recovery that accompany hysterectomies.

An embolization is performed through a small puncture in a groin artery. Dye is injected into the artery to identify which blood vessels supply the uterus and fibroids. The radiologist then guides a wire and catheter into the identified vessels and injects small particles that block the blood supply to the fibroids. The fibroids and the uterus shrink approximately 60% in the first year. Heavy periods usually take a few cycles to lessen. The procedure takes approximately an hour followed by a day’s stay in the hospital for intravenous pain medication. Patients usually can resume normal activity after a week.

“Most of the women I’ve treated report a significant improvement in their symptoms at their first-month check-up,” Peters says.

Learn more in person at a free seminar on Thursday, February 3rd. Call 404-778-7777 or go online to register. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 404-712-7033.

Putting Patients First – Advancing Brain Treatment Possibilities

Brain cancer injury informationFor those of us who watched the President’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, we were touched by a number of stories, conflicts, and hardships faced by Americans from all walks of life. Health care rhetoric aside, one story, that of James Howard from Katy, TX, was especially touching and relevant. Howard, who is only 28 years old, was diagnosed with brain cancer in March of 2010 and as we listened, we learned of his touching story and the barriers he faced in acquiring treatment. James Howard is not alone. There are many people out there like James Howard, who, without access to the latest medical treatments, wouldn’t be here.

While the debate regarding health care reform continues, what we at Emory can do is to provide access to the latest treatments to save lives like that of James Howard. And through our research and medical advances, that’s exactly what we’ve done for patients like Jennifer Giliberto, Gary Gelb, Neil Cullinan, and Donna Yancey, all of whom underwent brain surgery at Emory Healthcare.

Our neurosciences team of researchers, physicians, surgeons, and staff are dedicated to leading research and development in the world of brain injuries and cancers.

For example, Emory is one of the few places in the country offering minimally invasive neuro-endoscopic procedures for resection of deep-seated brain tumors and 3D endoscopic pituitary tumor removal. We’re also conducting groundbreaking research investigating solutions such as the use of magnetic nanoparticles for targeted imaging and therapy of brain cancer. This dedication advancing the medical possibilities is what drives everything we do, and our efforts aren’t going without recognition.

Recently, Dr. Costas Hadjipanayis, chief of neurosurgery at Emory University Hospital Midtown and assistant professor of neurosurgery at Emory, was named president of the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation. With a mission to “improve the quality of life for brain tumor patients and their families” through research, awareness, and support, the efforts of our team members such as Dr. Hadjipanayis and those of the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation allow us to continue to advance the possibilities in the treatment of brain tumors and injuries.

We honor the dedication shown by our neurosciences team and its members such as Dr. Costas Hadjipanayis, who are making strides in improving the lives of patients and families affected by brain injuries and cancers each and every day.