At times it may seem that drinking alcohol is embedded into our daily lives. We clink glasses to celebrate milestones
and happy times, while watching sporting events and at social gatherings.
Although a moderate consumption of alcohol — according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans this means no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men—may not directly impact your health, when do you know if you
or someone you know has a problem?
Laura Parise, MD, Psychiatrist at NorthShore, lists some of the common signs of alcoholism and alcohol abuse:
If you or someone you know relates to the above statement, it is recommended you seek assistance from your physician.
What other information would be of interest to you about this topic?
Dust off those running shoes and find that soccer, football and/or basketball equipment in the garage or basement
because warmer weather is here. And, with spring officially in the air, many of us who had limited exposure to exercise and outdoor activities during the winter begin our regimen.
Not only is spring a busy time for high school and college athletes, but it’s also a time for weekend warriors—those who do much of their physical activity during the weekend—to engage in recreational sports.
Adam Bennett, MD, team physician for U.S. Soccer and the Chicago Bears, offers practical advice to weekend warriors, and high school and college athletes, to reduce injury
risk while enjoying outdoor activities:
What sports do you play? What do you do to reduce your risk for injuries?
In Parkinson’s disease (PD) low levels of dopamine in the brain lead to the symptoms of tremor, slowness, stiffness and difficulty walking. There is an easy way to replace dopamine with Sinemet tablets. The levodopa in these tablets is converted to dopamine
in the brain and helps relieve the symptoms. Why then should we consider a surgical treatment for PD?
Over time, patients on PD show a fluctuating response to medications. A dose that would last four to six hours now lasts for two or three hours. In between doses, the symptoms return with a vengeance. In addition there may be involuntary movements called dyskinesias
or a severe tremor not controlled despite increasing doses of medications.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery is a way out of this predicament. While not a cure, it can set the clock back on the severity of the disease. Some patients can reduce medication doses thereby reducing the side effects. Tremor, dyskinesias and muscle rigidity
are symptoms that improve the most. Patients show a longer duration of action of medications following surgery.
The surgery is a three-part process that involves placing an electrode in the brain connected to a pacemaker device placed under the skin in the chest. The first part maps the brain using MRI techniques. To further improve the accuracy of the electrode placement,
the NorthShore DBS team uses a sophisticated brain mapping technique called microelectrode recording. The third part involves placing the pacemaker and connecting it to the brain electrode. Patients typically return home in 2-3 days after surgery.
The NorthShore DBS team has over 15 years of experience with DBS surgery.
Dr. Dalvi has been involved with training neurologists nationally on managing the DBS pacemaker settings following surgery. When medications for PD fail it is time to consider DBS surgery.
Remember the last time you had a good laugh? How about that feeling of amusement you get when you anticipate witnessing something
funny? Mirth—otherwise known as merriment and glee—has been the recent subject of research. While still in its infancy, some of the studies’ early results might surprise you.
John Chamness, a licensed massage therapist at NorthShore’s
Integrative Medicine program lists some of the recent findings behind mirth. After watching funny movies, participants experienced the following health benefits:
Are these the effects of the state of mirth, or the laughter that is often a result? Regardless, you don't have to wait for something funny to enjoy a laugh; laughter can be prolonged as a deliberate behavior.
In Laughter Yoga—a social movement that began in India and is catching on here—participants alternate 45 – 60 seconds of deliberate, sustained laughter with deep breathing and brief stretching for a total of 30 minutes. After seven sessions over three weeks,
Laughter Yoga participants had significantly lowered their blood pressure.
During sustained laughter (through Laughter Yoga or not), the diaphragm increases from working an average of 12 times per minute during regular breathing to 300 forceful times per minute. Over 20 minutes of sustained laughter accounts for 6,000 contractions.
That’s quite a workout!
So, what’s the key take away? Be serious in your pursuit of health, but don't always pursue health with seriousness.
What makes you laugh? Have you ever participated in a Laughter Yoga session?
Nearly one in 100 people are affected by epilepsy, and yet there are many common misunderstandings about this condition. Epilepsy by
definition is characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures. A single seizure episode does not constitute epilepsy.
In recognition of
Purple Day—a day dedicated to increase awareness about epilepsy—Lawrence Bernstein, MD, Neurologist at NorthShore, identifies some of the common misconceptions about
What other misconceptions do you have about epilepsy? Are there other questions you have about this condition?
The contents of your medicine cabinet—if not used properly—could be potentially dangerous or even deadly. Common
items such as vitamins, antacids and aspirin can all be misused and cause harm. However, the most commonly misused drugs are opiods, prescribed for pain relief; central nervous system depressants used for anxiety or sleep regulation; and stimulants most commonly
prescribed for ADD or ADHD.
The Doreen E. Chapman Center at NorthShore reports that the two groups that are most vulnerable to misuse or abuse these drugs are teenagers and
the elderly. The Center offers the following tips to help avoid misuse:
What items do you have in your medicine cabinet? What do you do to ensure that these items are not being misused or abused?
Who’s to blame for the dramatic increase in childhood obesity these days—it has more than tripled in the past 30
years according to the
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)? While there may be many factors at fault—more junk food and sugary drink options, increased television and computer time, lack of physical activity (both at school and at home) and larger portion sizes—it
is important to set a good example to help your children maintain a healthy weight.
The effects of childhood obesity have both short and long-term consequences, which is why addressing the issue before it is too late is imperative. Obese youth and teens are more likely to be obese as adults, and are thereby more susceptible to health problems
commonly associated with being overweight (such as: high cholesterol, heart problems, hypertension, etc.)
Goutham Rao, MD, Primary Care Physician at NorthShore offers the following tips for parents to encourage healthy eating, an active lifestyle and a happy child:
What changes have you made to encourage a healthy lifestyle for your children?
Have questions about childhood obesity? Join Dr. Rao for a live medical chat on Tuesday, March 27 at 1:30p.m. He’ll answer your questions about how to institute incremental behavioral changes into your child’s every day routine to help with weight loss. Save
the date and
submit your early questions today.
The vast majority of poison exposures occur in the household. In fact, according to the American Association of
Poison Control Centers, nearly 90 percent of all exposures are home exposures. These typically involve ingestion of household products (cosmetics, cleaning supplies and personal care items), as well as drug interactions, food poisoning, and acute overdoses
of prescription and non-prescription drugs.
Jerry Leikin, MD, a Medical Toxicologist at NorthShore recommends the following steps for helping to reduce your and your family’s risk of poison exposure:
What precautionary methods do you employ at your house to reduce your risk to poisons? Do you frequently make changes to your home environment to safeguard your home?
The field of Medical Genetics has seen tremendous advancements over the years and is greatly impacting the way healthcare
is delivered. Despite this, one of the best “genetic tests” for guiding your personalized care and estimating risk is to know your family medical history.
By analyzing your family history, you can be alerted to an increased health risk whether it’s heart disease, cancer or another condition. If the risk is high enough, changes in medical management or further testing may be indicated to help personalize one’s
Peter Hulick, MD, Medical Geneticist offers his advice on how to track your family history to personalize your healthcare:
Do you have a family history of health conditions? How many generations of health information do you know?
You are getting sleepy, very sleepy. All hypnosis aside, hopefully when your eyelids get heavy, you yawn uncontrollably
and your head begins to nod up and down, you are not behind the wheel of a car.
According to the
National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America poll, a surprising 60 percent of Americans have felt sleepy and drowsy when driving. The reasons are many: you’ve had a long day at work, you’re powering through exits on a road trip to make it to your final
destination faster or you’re driving in the evening. No matter what the reason, drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence,and puts both you and others at serious risk.
Neil Freedman, MD, Sleep Medicine specialist at NorthShore, offers his insights on how to stay alert at the wheel and avoid injury:
If you exhibit any of these symptoms while driving or know that you are too tired to drive prior to getting into the car, you should either not get behind the wheel, or pull over to the side of the road or to a rest stop.
Have you ever been too sleepy to be driving? What do you do to stay alert behind the wheel?