Advances in Healthcare

By Marianne Reid Anderson

Our community is so incredibly fortunate to have so many devoted healthcare professionals and their continuous dedication in bringing us the best advances for our health and wellness. Previous Advances in Healthcare columns are still available on our website at www.northernconnectionmag.com. In this issue, we are pleased to highlight the following latest developments:

Audiology Advances for Ease of Listening and Cognitive Decline –

Science now proves what we have suspected for years. Untreated hearing loss has ties to cognitive decline. Imagine walking down the street… now imagine walking down the street while juggling. Walking and juggling requires more of our brain power and is referred to as “cognitive load”. It’s very much the same with hearing. When we are unable to hear speech properly, we use additional brain power (cognition) to understand words rather than retaining what was just said. We can now see, through sophisticated brain mapping, how hearing loss requires us to use our brain power in ways that were unintended.  Over time, this can be harmful.

Fortunately, new “Brain Hearing” Technology has been developed to significantly reduce the “cognitive load” secondary to hearing loss. This is accomplished by feeding the brain auditory information in a way that our brain can more readily accept and use this information. This in turn, makes it easier to understand and more of our resources can be used for memory purposes.  Secondly, when people are able to understand more easily, they are more likely to participate in social events which is important stimulation for our mental health and sense of well-being.

For more information please call Francis Audiology at 724-933-3440.

Colon and Rectal Cancer – Colon and rectal cancer is PREVENTABLE, through a procedure known as a colonoscopy. “A colonoscopy is a 20-30 minute procedure that uses an optic probe while the patient is asleep to check the health and wellness of the bowel. Colon and rectal cancer begins as a growth known as a polyp. Should the probe find a polyp, even a very small one, it can be immediately removed via the probe with no invasive surgery required,” explains Dr. Brad Levinson, Board Certified Colon and Rectal Surgeon. Due to the increase in awareness and more people having colonoscopies, rates of colon cancer have dropped about 30 percent over the past ten years. Yet, over 40 percent of people do not have colonoscopies on a regular basis. “For the probe to get the clearest picture of the colon as possible, patients are required to prepare for the colonoscopy by flushing the colon by drinking a colonoscopy prep,” continues Dr. Levinson. “Fortunately, there have been tremendous advances in the prep as well as the procedure. Now patients have easy-to-drink, more flavorful options of only one cupful of prep that works overnight.” This is a dramatic change to the large quantities of liquid that were required only a few years ago. Dr. Brad Levinson is a Board Certified Colon and Rectal Surgeon. His office is conveniently located in Cranberry Township. To schedule an appointment to discuss the procedure and easy alternatives for the colonoscopy prep, call Dr. Brad Levinson, at (724) 473-4047.

Dentistry – The world of dentistry continues to advance to include implants, orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry and more. Pawlowicz Dentistry offers comprehensive dental care for the entire family. Whether you are looking for general dentistry, or a specialized treatment such as implants, orthodontics, sleep appliances and TMJ treatment, they can take care of it all! They also specialize in cosmetic dentistry, including porcelain crowns, veneers, teeth whitening and invisible braces. You can trust them to restore your smile to beautiful form and function.  For those with heightened dental anxiety, they offer sedation dentistry under a certified, licensed anesthesiologist, so you are under the best care possible. For more information about any of their services, please contact Pawlowicz Dentisty today at 724.287.4000 or visit our website www.wowsmilenow.com.

Optometry for Children and Adolescents – “Often, it’s an eye problem, not just a learning problem,” says Dr. Maura E. Massucci, OD, FCOVD. “Many children are often misdiagnosed with a learning or reading problem when there could be an underlying issue with the way the eyes are working as a team. Even if a child has 20/20 eyesight, they can still have a problem with their eyes’ ability to change focus from far to close quickly, or trouble moving the eyes from left to right for reading without skipping words or losing their place. The solution for many is Vision Therapy. Similar to physical therapy, we can help children and adolescents coordinate their eyes so they can read longer and switch from blackboard to computer or desk better.  This can help improve academic performance in many children who are struggling.”

Unfortunately, eye teaming, focusing, and tracking skills often are not assessed when children are examined in school screenings. Do not be misled by believing that 20/20 eyesight alone is all your child needs to reach his or her full potential.

If you or your child experiences any of the following signs or symptoms, schedule an appointment today with Dr. Massucci, one of Wexford’s leading developmental optometrists, to determine if your child is struggling with a learning-related vision problem.

Physical Clues

  • One eye turning in or out
    • Squinting, eye rubbing
    • Excessive blinking
    • Blurred or double vision
    • Dizziness or nausea after reading
    • Head tilting, closing or covering an eye

Performance Clues

  • Avoidance of near work (close distance)
    • Frequent loss of place
    • Omits, inserts, or rereads words
    • Poor reading comprehension
    • Letter or word reversals
    • Difficulty copying from the school board
    • Poor handwriting
    • Inconsistent or poor sports performance

To learn more about secondary symptoms, how vision therapy works and the benefits from vision therapy, visit http://massuccivisionplus.com.  

Peripheral Neuropathy – Peripheral Neuropathy occurs when nerves are damaged or destroyed and can’t send messages to the muscles, skin and other parts of the body. Peripheral nerves go from the brain and spinal cord to the arms, hands, legs and feet. When damage to the nerves takes place, numbness and pain in these areas may occur. Many patients are suffering from symptoms of painful cramping, burning and tingling, difficulty walking, numbness and even interruption of sleep. However, there is now an innovative, specialized treatment that is designed to heal rather than just deal with the symptoms. Locally, this treatment that is healing and giving hope to sufferers of peripheral neuropathy is offered at the Chiropractic Family Health Center. For a FREE Consultation contact Dr. Shawn Richey at (724) 940-9000 or through the website at www.backnline.com.

Safe Sleep for Infants – Every parent wants to keep their baby as safe and healthy as possible. Every parent also wants (and needs!) their baby to sleep. How does a family meet both of these needs so that everyone can rest easy? The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center is proud to be designated a Certified Gold Safe Sleep Champion, the highest designation through The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program. This program, an initiative of Cribs for Kids® and numerous other health and safety organizations, has created guidelines for hospitals to adhere to while babies are inpatients; these guidelines also help hospitals teach families about safe sleep habits that they can continue at home.

In the United States, each year there are approximately 3,500 infant sleep-related deaths due to accidental suffocation, strangulation, or undetermined causes during sleep; this number has fallen by more than 50% in the years since safe sleep guidelines have been introduced. The Children’s Home has committed to join in the continual effort to reduce infant sleep related deaths by: establishing a hospital infant safe sleep policy; modeling infant safe sleep through the hospital; and partnering with Cribs for Kids®. What can you do at home to create a safe sleep environment for your baby? The Safer Way to Sleep Initiative recommends:

  • Placing your infant to sleep on their back – this is where babies sleep safest! (If your baby can roll over well, you do not have to reposition her if she turns while sleeping.)
  • Having your baby sleep on a firm sleep surface, like a safety-approved crib mattress.
  • Keeping loose bedding, stuffed animals, and toys out of your baby’s sleep area. (Nothing should be in your baby’s sleep area but your baby!)
  • Maintaining your baby and her room at a comfortable temperature for an adult – dress your baby in lightweight sleep clothing, like a wearable blanket.

Follow these guidelines for every sleep time – naps and nighttime – to ensure that your baby has the safest sleep environment possible, and that everyone can rest easy! To learn more, visit the Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center at http://www.childrenshomepgh.org.

Varicose Veins – There is an exciting innovative procedure for the treatment of varicose veins: Endovenous Laser Ablation, commonly referred to as Endovenous Laser TreatmentTM (EVLTTM). The procedure enables patients to have their varicose veins treated in a comfortable outpatient setting and can return to their busy daily schedule without the downtime associated with “traditional” surgery. EVLT, uses laser energy to treat veins and close them down. “The small laser fiber creates heat within the vessel causing it to close on itself. The laser gains access to the vessel through a small needle stick, and is then guided through the vessel using an ultrasound. The needle stick used to insert the laser fiber is so small that it does not require stitches but rather a bandage. A local anesthetic is used along the vein so patients experience minimal if any discomfort,” explains Dr. Krysinski of the Vein Institute of Pittsburgh. Endovenous Laser ablation treatment has proven to be up to 97% – 98% effective. EVLA does NOT require hospitalization, it is minimally invasive and performed in the offices at the Vein Institute of Pittsburgh. Generally, the procedure takes less than an hour. Immediately after completion of the procedure, patients are up and walking! After the treatment, Patients are required to wear medical grade support hose for up to two weeks following the procedure. Patients may have minimal soreness, which over the counter non-aspirin pain relievers can alleviate. Bruising is to be expected, but resolves on its own, depending on each individual. EVLA is more effective than traditional vein stripping which is painful and requires considerable recovery time. Recent medical studies show that recurring incidences of varicose vein disease are actually less with EVLA than traditional vein stripping.

For more information about EVLT and to see some before and after photos, visit http://www.veininstituteofpittsburgh.com/endovenous_laser_ablation.html.

Be sure and look for more Advances in Healthcare in our upcoming March 2017 issue! If you have experience with advances in healthcare treatments and procedures, be sure and let us know so that we can create awareness for the community by emailing NorthCon@consolidated.net or calling (724) 940-2444.

 

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