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What women want to know about ICDs

Four frequently asked questions by women about implantable cardioverter defibrillators

women and ICD blogAn implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is an electronic device that provides immediate therapy to a life-threatening arrhythmia (heart beating too quickly) via a painless pacing sequence or a jolt of electricity. It can also act as a pacemaker if the heart is beating too slowly.

Men and women are equally at risk for arrhythmias and the need for an ICD. However, women have different issues regarding ICD. Here is what women want to know about ICDs.

  1. Can I have routine mammograms?

Depending on your ICD placement, the device may interfere with imaging of breast tissue and may require additional testing for optimal results (possible follow-up ultrasound). Further, the presence of an ICD (typically left or right upper chest area), may make the imaging of the breast more uncomfortable, but it will not cause damage to the device. Continue reading

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5 Ways to Protect Your Memory

Many middle-aged adults are concerned about developing memory loss later in life. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent memory loss, researchers are finding out more and more about how the brain works and how to keep it healthy. Here are five important steps you can take to maintain a healthy brain:

It's important to interact with others.

People are good for our brain.

  1. Eat right

Choose vegetables, fish, eggs, legumes (lentils, beans), nuts, olive oil and fruits. Limit red meat, alcohol and sugar. Avoid processed and packaged food as much as possible. A healthful diet will also reduce the risk for diabetes, which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Exercise

We can’t stress enough the importance of all types of exercise. If you haven’t exercised for a while, start by walking. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. Talk with your doctor before you pursue any formal exercise program.  Continue reading

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How to grow human lungs in a dish

Scientists coax stem cells to form 3D mini lungs for study

Lung organoid recipe illustration (blog)Scientists from the University of Michigan Medical School have figured out how to grow human stem cells into three-dimensional mini lungs. Having the ability to probe a 3-D model could help researchers better understand lung conditions, especially those linked to genetic mutations, and test new therapies.

Working with colleagues from across the country, U-M researchers Jason R. Spence, Ph.D., and Briana Dye, succeeded in growing structures resembling both the large airways of the lungs and the small air sacs.

The advance, published in the online journal eLife, provides an unprecedented view of human lung anatomy and takes research to a new level by devising a system to form self-organizing lung tissue in a dish. Continue reading

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Breast Cancer Summit 2015

Not just for breast cancer patients and survivors

On Saturday, April 18th the University of Michigan’s Comprehensive Cancer Center Breast Oncology and Community Outreach Programs (with support from the Michigan affiliate of Susan G. Komen, U-M School of Public Health, and QVC presents FFANY Shoes on Sales) will give you the opportunity to learn more breast health, the latest advances in breast cancer and learn about the resources available in the community. The Breast Cancer Summit is held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

I have attended the event in the past and was amazed by the uplifting spirit of everyone there. Breast cancer patients and breast cancer survivors have made up the majority of those who attended. However, there also were healthy, non-cancer patients at the summit who wanted to learn more about general breast health and what type of screening is recommended.

Continue reading

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Living with an ICD

University of Michigan Health System promotes ICD peer-mentoring program and a personal connection

Jeanette McDonald - solo blog

Jeanette McDonald’s trip to Yellowstone National Park last September marked the first time in nearly three years this ICD patient was far from medical resources. Today, she is ready to reach out to other patients.

What if you were told you had a condition that required you to have a device implanted in your body to save your life? It would be a hard reality to accept — one filled with uncertainty and fear. But if you met someone who was living with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and had a full, happy life, that person might alleviate some of your fears by sharing their story and proving that life isn’t over — just changing to adapt to a new reality.

This is the concept for a unique peer-mentoring program at the University of Michigan Health System designed to help those facing life-changing procedures, such as an ICD.

The University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center has paired up with the Patient and Family Centered Care (PFCC) Program to pilot peer-mentoring initiatives aimed at helping patients with specific health challenges. The U-M outpatient implantable cardioverter defibrillator clinic has been selected as one of the first five sites to pilot such a program. Continue reading

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Take a bite out of nutrition

Nutrition2In March the days are finally getting longer, which hopefully means that spring is right around the corner! March is also designated National Nutrition Month, when we recognize and promote optimal nutrition and health for all.

Often nutrition campaigns focus on diet, which many people think of as one of those four letter words. But this year, instead of focusing on what NOT to do, the focus is on trying to eat more of the foods that are “good for you.” You may be surprised how embracing this principle alone will help you make more nutritious choices overall. Continue reading