Friday, June 29, 2012

Presentation to Brian Key’s Evanston NorthShore Rehab Group Tomorrow

If you are part of the Evanston NorthShore Hospital rehab group, I’m giving a presentation tomorrow at noon.

If you aren’t, but for some strange reason are interested in the presentation, the slides are posted on flickr at:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The ABTA’s 7 Keys to a Healthier Diet

It seems like everybody has diet advice these days … and the American Brain Tumor Association isn’t going to be left off the list.  This is their 7 keys to a healthier diet with a nod towards brain tumor victims.

  1. Remove White Food From Your Diet.
  2. Select Vegetables and Fruits with Vivid Colors
  3. Become Aware of Phytochemicals
  4. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
  5. Eat Healthy Fat
  6. Follow the 80/20 Rule
  7. Consult a Licensed, Registered Dietitian

Monday, June 25, 2012

IsoRay announces first cesium-131 mesh treatment for meningiomas

If you haven’t read about this newly announced treatment for meningioma, here’s a snippet from the press release: “IsoRay Inc., a medical technology company and innovator in seed brachytherapy and medical radioisotope applications, today announced another milestone in the treatment of brain tumors using its groundbreaking Cesium-131 (Cs-131) seed sutured mesh for internal radiation therapy. Dr. Kris Alan Smith, surgeon and Medical Director, Gamma Knife Center, supported by Dr. David G. Brachman, Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at St. Joseph's Hospital & Medical Center, Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, performed the world's first Cesium-131 brachytherapy seed sutured mesh implant on a female patient suffering from a recurring meningioma tumor”.

What was more interesting to me was that “The Cesium-131 brachytherapy sutured mesh implant was performed on a female patient suffering from her fourth reoccurrence of a meningioma. The sutured mesh was placed over the resected tumor at the time of surgery to provide immediate radiation therapy to the entire tumor bed and margins, which is aimed at preventing tumor reoccurrence. While the patient's tumor had previously reoccurred as early as 6 weeks following her prior treatments with external beam radiation, now, at 90 days after treatment with Cesium-131 seed sutured mesh, there is no sign of tumor reoccurrence.”

As somebody who has had “external beam radiation” and is worried about reoccurrence, I found this interesting reading and something I will ask my excellent neurosurgeon about should the need arrive.

Here’s a link to the rest of the press release:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Better cognitive health - escape your comfort zone

A recent article in the AARP magazine starts with the headline, “whatever scares you, do it. Now.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been scared a lot over the past year or so. A brain tumor, a post-surgery bone infection, ineffective antibiotics and poor Lumosity scores have all scared the snot out of me at one time or another. 

But, I read a bit more of Ken Budd’s article and found that what he really meant was push yourself out of your routine and try something new, embrace variety.

The article goes onto say that our brains crave challenges and that trying something new can improve out “neurocognitive scaffolding”.  I don’t know what that is, but it sounds like something I need.

The part of the article I found absolutely fascinating is his comments about the risks of not taking risks: “Risk-taking diminishes once we hit age 50, the journal Psychology and Aging recently reported — so if you need incentive, consider this: Boredom kills. Too much tedium can increase health dangers such as smoking and drinking too much, and it can shorten your life span, according to researchers at University College London. Which means, yes, you can literally be bored to death.”

Now there's a lot of ways to die, but the thought of my wife or son or daughter having to call up friends and family and say, while dabbing a tear, "Yes, he died of boredom" sounds so embarrassing that, if I wasn't already dead, I'd die of embarrassment. 

As an Appalachian Service Project volunteer, I admire his commitment to “…volunteering around the world and plunging myself into sometimes scary, always fulfilling experiences”.

I’m also adding his new memoir, The Voluntourist, to my reading list.