BMN Blog

NOV 16
Hepatitis C Screening for Primary Care Physicians

An estimated 3.5 million people in the United States are infected with Chronic Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). Many of these people do not know they are infected and are not receiving care or treatment.  The CDC estimates that while Baby Boomers (born 1945-1965) comprise only 27% of the US population, they account for approximately three fourths of all HCV infections.  Therefore, they are at greatest risk for hepatocellular carcinoma and other HCV-related liver disease.  HCV is now the leading cause of liver transplantation and liver cancer in the US. 

 
NOV 06
Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s is recognized as the second most neurodegenerative disorder right behind Alzheimer’s. An estimated 7 to 10 million people have Parkinson’s disease worldwide, with 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s being diagnosed just in the U.S. every year. Parkinson’s is known as a progressive condition and symptoms will affect patients differently. Typically, people diagnosed with Parkinson’s will portray some degree of difficulty with shaking or tremor, slowness of movement or bradykinesia, stiffness in movement or rigidity of the arms, legs and trunk and gait imbalance. Because of the loss of dopamine producing brain cells, patients will see their movements become slower and smaller, creating risk for falls and impairing their quality of life.

 
NOV 01
Robotic Surgery: The How, When, and Why?

Robotic assisted surgery has seen an explosion since it was first introduced about 20 years ago with over 4 million procedures performed. Although minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery has been around longer, certain limitations existed within this field. Laparoscopic surgical instruments lack wristed movement, essentially forcing surgeons to operate with chop sticks. The effect was difficulty performing certain procedures and working at difficult angles. Robotic surgery allows wristed action of the instruments, better optics (depth perception), surgeon control of the camera, and better ergonomics. While there is not any significant change in long term outcomes, there are studies suggesting decreased pain and shorter hospital stays.

 
OCT 31
Recruitment under way for new Alabama genetics initiative

Full scale recruitment is under way for the Alabama Genomic Health Initiative (AGHI), a partnership of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and Children’s of Alabama. Funded by a $2 million appropriation from the Alabama legislature to UAB, the AGHI is one of the nation’s first statewide efforts to use genomic analysis to identify those at high risk for genetic diseases.

 
OCT 24

The state’s first spine procedure using the Mazor Robotic System in conjunction with intraoperative imaging was performed by neurosurgeons with Neurosurgical Associates, PC at St. Vincent’s Birmingham.

 
OCT 24
Does your Patient have Venous Disease?

Venous reflux in the lower extremity is when blood from the foot which should travel towards the heart reverses downwards due to gravity.

 
OCT 23
Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep is a very important activity, that we often take for granted. It is especially important in children as it allows for proper neurological development. One disorder that is more and more common is sleep apnea, or interrupted sleep from breathing issues. We generally associate sleep apnea and distressed breathing while sleeping with adults, but it does occur with children - actually in 3-5% of children.

 
OCT 23
Controlling Myopia Progression

What is myopia?

 

Myopia is a condition that results in distant objects appearing blurry to a patient when not being corrected with glasses or contact lenses.1 Myopic blur typically results from the eye being too long for its optical focusing components (cornea and crystalline lens), which causes distant objects to be in focus in front of the retina (back of the eye) instead on the retina, a requirement for the eye to be able to see clearly.1 About one third of Americans have myopia, and its prevalence is likely increasing because of factors associated with living in a developed country (e.g., decreased time outdoors).2-5 With that said, the scientific community only has a vague understanding of how genetics and the environment influence the development and progression of myopia.1 While myopia’s visual affects can be a costly nuisance and strain on the health care system,6 myopia also places the affected individuals at a greater risk for developing vision-threatening conditions like cataracts, retinal detachments, and glaucoma.1 Once present, myopia cannot be cured; therefore, preventing it or even reducing the amount of myopia that a patient develops is an upmost priority for the scientific community.7

 
OCT 18
How Important is a Mammogram!

For 2017, The American Cancer Society has estimated that around 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and 2,470 diagnosed in men, around 63,410 new cases of Carcinoma in situ(non-invasive and the earliest form of breast cancer) will be diagnosed, and approximately 40,610 cases will be fatal.

 
OCT 16
October is National Audiology Awareness Month.

Over 36 million American adults have some degree of hearing loss.

That is over 4 times the amount of people who live in New York City.

 
SEP 28
Peripheral Arterial Disease

Most people are aware that atherosclerosis can cause blockages in the coronary arteries, resulting in chest pain or heart attack, or in the carotid arteries, precipitating a stroke. But atherosclerosis can lead to another serious but often under-diagnosed condition: peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Defined as atherosclerotic obstruction of the arteries to the lower extremities, PAD causes leg pain and is associated with other cardiovascular disease. Although lower extremity PAD affects an estimated 12 to 20 million people in the United States, only four to five million of them are experiencing symptoms.

 
SEP 27
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among American men? In fact, an average of 480 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every day - that’s one every 3 minutes.

 
SEP 21
Advancements in Asthma, Atopic Dermatitis and Urticaria Treatment through Biologics

Treatment options for asthma and other atopic conditions continue to evolve. In regard to asthma treatment, we primarily use inhaled corticosteroids and bronchodilators, we treat flares with steroids, and we offer allergy shots to patients with allergy triggers. Yet a significant proportion of patients remain poorly controlled and susceptible to morbidity from their asthma and the toll steroids take upon them.

 
SEP 12
Prostate Cancer

The prediction: 161,360 new diagnoses and 26,730 fatalities.

 
SEP 01
Children’s orthopedics department expands staff and services

Every caregiver strives to expand the services they provide to their patients, while also improving quality of care and safety. These are certainly our goals at the Children’s of Alabama orthopedic clinic.

 
AUG 23
Tennis Elbow…? But I don’t even play tennis!

As a hand and upper extremity Orthopaedic surgeon, I see many patients that present to my office with pain in their elbow and forearm. For a certain subsets of these patients, I ultimately diagnose them with lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow. Oftentimes, their reaction is the same. They say, “Doc, I don’t even play tennis, how could I have tennis elbow?!” Unfortunately, many people assume that lateral epicondylitis will only affect those individuals that are active in racquet sports, when in reality; tennis elbow can affect both men and women regardless of their hobbies.

 
AUG 04
Atrial Fibrillation

Bang, bang, bang! If you experience your heart banging against your chest or skipping beats you may be experiencing an arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is an irregular rate or rhythm of the heartbeat, where your heart can beat too fast or slow. Most commonly, this is caused by atrial fibrillation (AFib), when disorganized electrical signals cause the heart’s chambers not to beat in sync or fibrillate. Millions of Americans are affected by this disease and the number increases each year. AFib is the most common abnormal heart rhythm in America.

 
AUG 03
OMNIVR system

"Aspire Physical Recovery Center at Cahaba River is proud to offer its guest use of the OMNIVR system. The OMNI is a virtual reality augmented rehabilitation system that allows trained clinicians the opportunity to work with guests in novel, yet functional ways.

 
AUG 02
New Therapy for Malignant Brain Tumors

Tumor Treating Fields or TTF as it is more commonly known is a recently developed method by which malignant brain tumor cells are prevented from reproducing. Shelby Baptist Medical Center and Generations Radiotherapy & Oncology PC has begun therapy on its first patient using this entirely new approach in the treatment of malignant brain tumors with the Optune TTF system.

 
JUL 20
Prostate Cancer and Modern Medicine

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in American men and the second leading cause of cancer death. While a majority of men will be diagnosed after the age of 65, younger men do need to consider screening for prostate cancer, especially if risk factors are present such as African American heritage or a family history of prostate cancer.

 
JUL 13
Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

Between 2000-2015 the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled, bringing it close to 48 million. With the aging baby boomer population, that number will continue to climb in the coming years.  

 
JUL 12
Hard-to-heal wounds can be a problem for many people

Hard-to-heal wounds can be a problem for many people. One way that Medical West is offering treatment is through hyperbaric oxygen therapy at the Advanced Wound Center.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the application of 100% oxygen that is applied to a patient under pressure. The therapy is used for decompression sickness, for infections, air pockets in blood vessels, and for diabetic wounds that won’t heal.

 
JUL 10
Multidisciplinary liver clinics coming to Children’s of Alabama

With the addition of two more physicians in the coming months, Children’s of Alabama will soon be able to expand the care we provide to pediatric patients with liver disease.

 
JUN 21
Managing Pain Well?

The AAOS (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) has recently sponsored some remarkable multimedia public service campaigns. You may remember the recent “Decide to Drive” initiative about distracted driving /texting. Well, their newest is “Painkillers are easy to get into. Hard to escape.”  Included in the AAOS statement, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports on an average day in the U.S., more than 650,000 opioid prescriptions are dispensed and 78 people die from opioid-related overdose.  It is considered an “epidemic.”  We all have relatives, friends, and patients who have been caught up in and succumbed to the detrimental effects of drug addiction.

 
JUN 13
The CoolSculpting® Trend Continues to Grow – With Good Reason

For years now, I have seen patient after patient frustrated with stubborn fat in areas that do not respond well (or quickly) to diet and exercise. Their concerns are very common, and certainly not something of which to be ashamed. Patients also frequently ask me for my recommendations on non-invasive cosmetic treatments designed to address these issues, like CoolSculpting®, Sculpsure®, Vanquish™ or Zerona™.

 
JUN 06
Birmingham Heart Clinic Uses New Device to Treat Atrial Fibrillation

Birmingham Heart Clinic physicians are now utilizing a new approach to reduce atrial fibrillation stroke risk and eliminate the need for blood thinners over time.

 
MAY 30
Safe Summer Contact Lens Use

Summer is quickly approaching, a season that usually comes with warmer weather and, for many of us, vacation time. Vacations come in a variety of forms. You may prefer a staycation where you simply stay at home and avoid emails for a week. You may favor an once-in-a-lifetime trip to a place like Iceland, or you might head to the southern Alabama coast to catch some sun at the beach. While the travel possibilities are nearly endless, a contact lens wearer needs to be prepared for every situation.   

 
MAY 25
HEARING LOSS AND COCHLEAR IMPLANTATION

Hearing loss is a common problem. 15% of American adults aged 18 and over report trouble hearing. Over the age of 65, one third of the population has significant hearing loss. Most people with Hearing Impairment suffer some social, psychological and physical problems. Social consequences of hearing loss include reduced social activity and problems communicating with family and at work.  Particularly in the elderly Hearing Loss can be isolating.

 
MAY 18
The Importance of a Family Medicine Physician

A family medicine doctor is someone you can always feel comfortable voicing your concerns to and leave an appointment feeling as though you were really listened to. They will help you to become an informed and active member of your healthcare decision-making process.
 

 

 
MAY 08
Melanoma Linked to Tanning and On the Rise

Most people don’t think tanning can cause fatal skin cancer. They just want to get a nice golden color to their skin. In our practice, we hear comments like, “I just wanted to get a base tan before my beach trip,” “I am only going a few times to look good in my prom (or wedding) dress” and “I already bought the package and don’t want to lose money.”

 
MAY 05
The 3 Pillars of Athletic Health: Rest, Conditioning & Nutrition

You may have thought that a sports orthopaedic center would be a place to go only after a catastrophic sports injury—something breaks or tears or starts hurting so badly you can’t physically use it.

 

“Most athletic injuries seen in sports clinics are indeed overuse injuries that have reached a point of taking the patient out of the game,” said Dr. Ricardo Colberg of Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center. “Although 85% of sports injuries do not require surgery, many patients wait until they are unable to compete to start correcting their issues.”

 
APR 28
Pediatric neurology division grows to meet increasing patient needs

As pediatric medicine becomes more specialized, the demand for specialists grows. One need look no further than the Division of Pediatric Neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) for evidence of this trend.

 
APR 20
Pain with intercourse? Vaginal discomfort? Not for me!

As we women age, we do not always know what is coming next. We think we do, but we may not. We all know the stereotypical changes that happen with menopause, and of course, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, etc. that can occur with age.  I can tell you that many women in their late 40s to late 70s are not expecting pain with intercourse, vaginal pain and discomfort, or both. It is honestly a surprise. And not a good one at that. It can make a healthy sexual relationship go sour very quickly, which not only hurts the woman’s quality of life, but her partner’s as well. This can affect the relationship as a whole, and both parties’ overall health, which can then lead to other medical issues. In our practice, we traditionally have treated men for erectile dysfunction and other sexual issues, but we understand that female sexual health is important as well. 

 
APR 18
The Perfect Colonoscopy and How to Get It

A colonoscopy is an endoscopic examination of your large intestine.  The primary indication for the procedure is colon cancer screening.  However, it is also an effective diagnostic tool for the evaluation of chronic intestinal symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea and rectal bleeding as well as unexplained anemia.

 
APR 14

2 pounds asparagus  1 spring onion or scallion (thinly sliced) 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 4 hard boiled eggs (chopped) 1/4 cup toasted breadcrumbs 1/4 grated parmesan 

 
APR 10
Coronary artery calcium score. What is that?

Early detection of coronary artery disease is a significant problem. One third of deaths after 35 are secondary to cardiovascular disease. One half of middle aged men and one third of middle aged women will develop coronary artery disease. Currently our ability to detect early disease is limited. By the time symptoms occur there is usually 70% obstruction of the coronary artery. Data from autopsies on Korean War casualties indicate initial signs of development of coronary plaque in the early 20’s of age. Theoretically it would seem appropriate to begin prevention therapy as soon as possible but who should get it? Obviously, the patients with known vascular disease and equivalents such as diabetes would need this therapy. Those without established disease need an estimate of their risk.

 
MAR 27
Adding a Mid-Level Provider? Pitfalls to Avoid

In the last 10-15 years, the use of mid-level providers has increased to expand the base of patients in many practices.  The Nurse Practitioner scope of practice is more flexible and there are specialty designations available to foster expertise in certain areas.  The insurance companies have expanded the number of plans covering a mid-level provider’s services.

 
MAR 03
Are you sleepy?

Are you sleepy? We would like to introduce you to our Sleep Center here at Medical West!

Have you ever said?:

• I have been told that I snore

• I suddenly wake up gasping for air during the night

• I have been told that I stop breathing while sleeping

• I feel tired during the day even though I slept all night

• I have high blood pressure

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MAR 03
Communicating With Aphasic Patients after Stroke

A common diagnosis patients present at HealthSouth Lakeshore Rehabilitation Hospital is stroke. One of the many deficits a stroke patient may incur is aphasia, a speech and language disorder that causes difficulty using or comprehending words during listening, speaking, reading and writing. Although symptoms may vary from patient to patient, the difficulties and frustrations people with aphasia and their families encounter are consistent. 

 
MAR 03
Moving a medical practice can be a daunting task

Moving a medical practice can be a daunting task. A medical office move can be a result of needing a bigger space, physician retirement, or practice acquisition. While making patients aware of a major change is most certainly a priority, it is equally important to make sure their documents and all office data and service equipment survives the move as well.

 

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