Nutrition Trends – Separating Fact and Fiction

The nutrition world is constantly buzzing with new trends and the latest and greatest “it” diet or food–many of which aren’t backed by sound nutritional evidence. Separating the trends from the facts is a big part of my job as a registered dietitian. Here are a few thoughts on some of the latest newsmakers and trends of 2015:

Gut health.

Research continues to point to an increasingly important role the gut plays in our overall well-being. Probiotics have been shown to help relieve gastrointestinal symptoms (think bloating, constipation and diarrhea), environmental allergic reactions and may even reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms. From fermented foods and drinks (kimchi or kombucha, anyone?) to our favorite yogurt standbys, keeping our intestines happy should be a priority this year. Read more

Mount Sinai First in U.S. to Use Drug-Coated Balloon for Peripheral Arterial Disease

The Mount Sinai Hospital became the first institution in the United States to use a U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration-approved drug-coated balloon to reopen arteries in a patient’s leg. The new device was approved last October to treat arteries above the knee that have been narrowed or blocked by peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a potentially life-threatening condition that may cause leg pain, skin ulcers, and gangrene, and can result in amputation if left untreated. Read more

Overcoming Congenital Glaucoma

In the summer of 1998, Shavanne McCurchin noticed something odd about her 2-month-old son’s right eye. “The entire eye looked white,” she says, remembering that she thought she had accidentally sprinkled powder in his eye while changing his diaper.

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My Doctor Told Me I Have a Heart Murmur: Now What?

WHAT IS A HEART MURMUR?

Normally blood moves through the heart smoothly in a nearly fractionless fashion called laminar flow. However when the velocity of flow increases, flow becomes turbulent and friction increases making flow audible to the healthcare provider using a stethoscope. This noise is called a murmur. Some murmurs occur when flow velocity occurs in response to physical conditions such as pregnancy or fever and do not represent a heart problem. However many murmurs occur from heart valve abnormalities or congenital heart disease and should be evaluated. The most common abnormal heart conditions causing murmurs are when heart valves fail to open properly (called valve stenosis) or when heart valves leak (called valvular regurgitation). Read more

TAVR: A Non-Surgical Solution to Aortic Stenosis

The aortic valve is the gate-keeper for blood to circulate from the heart to all parts of the body.

Narrowing of the aortic valve is aortic stenosis. This is a condition that can be congenital or develop over time as a person ages. Most commonly, as people age, this valve is susceptible to calcification leading to its narrowing.

Eventually as time goes by, symptoms of aortic stenosis such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, exercise intolerance, heart failure, fainting spells, and even death can occur. Read more

Thyroid Nodules: Common, but Most Are Noncancerous

Typing “thyroid nodule” into Google generates more than 683,000 results. Lumps and bumps in the thyroid are exceedingly common, especially in women. By age 50, up to 70 percent of women have one or more thyroid nodules, the vast majority of these are noncancerous. In fact, of all thyroid nodules, up to 95 percent are ultimately characterized as benign.

Largely because of the increased use of radiologic imaging, the incidence of thyroid nodules, and the incidence of thyroid cancer, is increasing. Though this (possibly artificial) rise in thyroid cancer may seem alarming, the fact is that even if a nodule is cancerous, thyroid cancer is by far one of the most curable cancers. In fact, cure rates for the two most common types of thyroid cancer are in the high 90 percentile range, approaching 100 percent. The American Cancer Society estimates that of the nearly 63,000 cases of all types of thyroid cancer occurring in the U.S. each year, and fewer than 1,900 result in mortality. Read more

Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hosts Pediatrics Party

Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s pediatric inpatients from 2014, along with their families, were treated to a “Holiday Carnival,” funded by Protravel International, on Sunday, December 7, at the hospital’s Phillips Ambulatory Care Center. Nearly 100 Protravel volunteers participated in the annual event, which featured a DJ, a magician, face painting, arts and crafts, popcorn, hot dogs, and a visit from Santa. Patients and their siblings also received a variety of toys and games.

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

During Lung Cancer Awareness Month, in November, staff from The Tisch Cancer Institute and the Mount Sinai Lung Cancer Screening Program helped raise awareness of the disease. At a table near the Plaza Café, they distributed information about screenings and passed out giveaways and snacks. They also registered Mount Sinai staff to participate in the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE Walk, scheduled for May 2015. For more information about the walk or to register, go to action.lung.org/goto/MountSinaiThoracicOncology or contact LaVerne Powell at 212-241-2420 or LaVerne.Powell@mountsinai.org.