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Women’s Health Resource Center empowers women throughout their lifespan

women's health resource centerJanuary is cervical cancer awareness month, but instead of writing about a specific disease, I’d like to provide information to women (and men) about the Women’s Health Resource Center. This center is found in the University of Michigan Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital and provides women access to educational resources, wellness information and outreach activities.

Its classes are offered throughout Southeast Michigan. This center is staffed by volunteers who assist clients in accessing helpful health and wellness information. They also offer: Continue reading

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Why we can’t diagnose you with CTE

Repetitive head injury is a large concern, but a CTE diagnosis is a postmortem one

FootballCROPFORBLOGIt’s hard to miss all the news articles about CTE, the degenerative disease found in some former NFL players’ brains. Although it’s great that awareness of the dangers of repeated head trauma is up, we can’t diagnose you with CTE in our clinic. No other neurologist can, either.

That’s because CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is pathologically diagnosed, not clinically. Translation: you can’t get a diagnosis while you’re still alive. Pathologists had to examine the brains of deceased former athletes to diagnose them with CTE.

So what happens in our clinic, Michigan NeuroSport, if you’re worried about possible long term consequences of repeated head injury and wonder if you have something you saw in the Will Smith movie “Concussion”? Continue reading

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Heart patients ask: Is it safe for me to exercise?

heart patients and exrcise blog

It’s that time of year when many of us consider a renewed commitment to exercise and getting in shape. But if you have a heart condition, the decision to exercise might not be a matter of resolution. Instead, like many of my patients, you might be asking yourself: Is it safe for me to exercise?

Your ability to exercise depends on your diagnosis and should always be discussed with your healthcare provider. A patient with cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle, for example, typically has some restrictions on competitive exercise, though most habitual exercise-type activities would still be encouraged. Continue reading

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Doll therapy helps people with dementia

Woman_with_dollsThe feelings many people get when they hold a sleeping baby in their arms are ones of warmth, comfort and happiness. Doll therapy can be a very therapeutic activity for those with dementia who don’t have actual babies in their lives.

Many of the behaviors that we see in those with dementia – pacing, agitation, boredom, sadness – are related to the idea that they don’t have a feeling of purpose. Providing a doll to someone with dementia (especially mothers, but this works with males and non-mothers as well) brings out the natural desire and ability to express affection, to nurture and to care for someone.

Doll therapy has been associated with a number of benefits, including a reduction in episodes of distress, an increase in general well-being, improved appetite and more engagement with others around them.  Continue reading

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12-year-old girl with arthritis makes “arthritis animals” to comfort other kids

Star Wars' Darth Vadar, Chewbacca and R2-D2 among creations that bring joy to patients at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

arthritis animalsA red patch of yarn dons the limbs of a stuffed Star Wars’ Chewbacca, pink dragon and polar bear lined up around 12-year-old Juliette Harrison.

The spots on Juliette’s handmade, crocheted animals represent the condition they share with their young creator: arthritis.

“They are like friends that kids can take to appointments, someone who is like them,” says the sixth grader, of Saline. “It makes me feel good that I can help other kids that are going through hard things too.”

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New books on cancer, survivorship and relationships to check out

There’s always something new for patients and families in our library, the PERC

Our library, the PERC, is a warm, inviting retreat at the Cancer Center

Our library, the PERC, is a warm, inviting retreat at the Cancer Center

At the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s full service library, the Patient Family Education Resource Center – or PERC – librarians and volunteers are always ready to help. Books, electronic devices (some can be checked out), suggested reading lists and other resources are available to Cancer Center patients, families and caregivers. Not sure what you want? Staff at the PERC can help you figure it out.

Here are just some of the recently purchased books you can find at the PERC: Continue reading