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Can Ancient Technique Help with Modern Opioid Epidemic? (VIDEO/AUDIO)

CLEVELAND -- As the opioid overdoses reach epidemic proportion and the United States sees record numbers of deaths (33,000 in 2015, nearly half from prescription opioids), some physicians are turning to one of the world's oldest treatments for this modern problem.

“Acupuncture is about twenty-five hundred years old," says Christine Kaiser, MS, LAc, a licensed acupuncture therapist at University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network. "We know that when we put needles in the body, the brain releases natural opioids, called endorphins, so people perceive less pain.”

This ancient technique has taken on more significance as physicians and other experts are looking at ways to reduce opioid prescriptions despite an increased need for pain relief.

“Over a hundred million Americans complain of chronic pain," says Francoise Adan, MD, Medical Director of the UH Connor Integrative Health Network. “(The) American College of Physicians just published literally a few months ago a guideline to recommend acupuncture, massage, and mindfulness instead of the treatment of opioids.”

With opioid prescriptions reaching 250 million a year in the U.S., as many as 40 percent of Americans are turning to holistic, alternative, and integrative treatments to avoid the use of opioids. But while opioids are relatively inexpensive, advocates like Dr. Adan are urging Medicare and Medicaid to cover these treatments to potentially save lives.

Paralyzed man uses own arm again through brain-controlled muscle stimulation (BrainGate & FES) (VIDEO) EMBARGOED UNTIL 6:30 P.M.ET MARCH 28

--  Researchers in Cleveland have tested a system that decodes brain signals and transmits them to stimulators in the arm, allowing a man paralyzed from the shoulders down to regain movement in his hand and arm. The Lancet has published the first study to look at results for this new technology, researched by Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.
Fifty-six-year-old Bill Kochevar of Cleveland had not used his right arm in eight years after a traumatic high spinal cord injury from a bicycle accident. In the study, he extended his arm, grasped a cup and brought it to his mouth and fed himself using a fork.
“Bill is the first patient ever who was fully paralyzed to move his fully paralyzed limb under his own control,” says Benjamin Walter, MD, Director of the UH Movement Disorders Program and Clinical Principal Investigator for the study in Cleveland. “It’s incredibly exciting. I can’t think of anything more amazing than being able to help someone who is paralyzed to be able to move again and move under their own free will, their own command, in a very natural way.”
A team of University Hospitals surgeons implanted two electrode arrays – each about the size of a baby aspirin – in the left motor cortex on the surface of the patient’s brain. The brain-computer interface (BCI) uses 96 hair-thin electrodes that sense the electromagnetic waves of neurons controlling the arm and hand. The team then implanted the 36 electrodes of the Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) to animate muscles in the upper and lower arm. The BCI decodes the recorded brain signals into the intended movement command, which is then converted by the FES system into patterns of electrical pulses. These pulses trigger the muscles controlling the hand, wrist, arm, elbow and shoulder, turning thought into action.
To prepare him to use his arm again, Kochevar first learned how to use his brain signals to move a virtual reality arm on a computer screen.
The study, published March 28th, is the first to restore brain-controlled reaching and grasping in a person with complete paralysis. The technology, which is only for experimental use in the USA, circumvents rather than repairs spinal injuries, meaning the participant relies on the device being implanted and switched on to move.
Lead author of the study is Bolu Ajiboye, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University, and senior author is Robert Kirsch, PhD, Chair of CWRU biomedical engineering, and executive director of the FES Center.  

******Please courtesy the b-roll "
Case Western Reserve University."

Women can have babies after cancer but with risks, according to JAMA Study (VIDEO/AUDIO)

CLEVELAND -- For adolescents battling cancer, survival is the first priority. Now, with cancer treatments getting better and more young adults living into adulthood, JAMA Oncology looked at pregnancy after cancer with a study of 2600 women previously diagnosed with cancer.

"They found women were capable of having successful pregnancies after cancer treatment, which was a groundbreaking revelation for us," says Ellie Ragsdale, MD, a maternal/fetal medicine specialist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, "and also found that there was an increased risk of pre-term delivery and small for gestation age babies."

Women who battled breast cancer had a worse prognosis because medications use to treat breast cancer have a larger effect on the reproductive organs. Also, women who had gynecologic cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and those who had cancer during pregnancy had poorer outcomes.

But the news was generally bright.

"Women can have successful pregnancies after successful treatment for cancer," says Dr. Ragsdale. "They're able to have successful pregnancies in the future and they just might need to be monitored more closely by people like me."


5 Eco-Friendly Foods to Help You Go Green this St. Patrick's Day (VIDEO/AUDIO)

CLEVELAND – With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner and March being National Nutrition Month, there’s no better time to think about going green, but we’re not talking about the color. We’re talking about going green with the top five sustainable foods that are good for the environment.
“So when we talk about St. Patrick’s Day, we talk about going green, let’s think about what we can do for the environment to help make our footprint, and try to reduce some of the carbon footprint that we use as consumers,” says Amy Jamieson-Petonic, Clinical Dietitian at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. “By eating these healthy foods, you’re not only going to improve your health, you’re going to improve the environment.”
Here are Amy’s top five eco-friendly food picks to help you “go green”:
1. Kale: It’s known as a “superfood” because it contains a significant amount of vital nutritional requirements and grows quickly in most climates. Kale is a great low-impact food for any season. Add it to salads and burgers for an extra punch of vitamins A, K and C.
2. Pulses (legumes, peas, beans): Rich in complex carbohydrates, B vitamins and dietary fiber. When the plants are decomposed they act as a great source of nitrogen for the soil, reducing the need for fertilizer. Compared to other sources of protein, it uses much less water. (It takes 43 gallons of water to grow one pound of lentils compared to approximately 2000 gallons of water for one pound of beef.) Also, consuming pulses instead of animal protein provides a lower fat option.
3. Barley: Barley can be grown quickly and in harsh environments where other plants can’t survive. They have also been known to be a natural way to keep weeds and pests away. Barley serves as a source of soluble fiber, which binds with cholesterol in the blood and removes it from the body. They’re a nutritious addition to soups and can be found in bread and beer.
4. Cabbage: Cabbage can grow in low temperatures so there’s a high likelihood of buying it in season and at a low price. It has a very long shelf life as a leafy vegetable - usually lasts from three weeks, and up to two months, in your refrigerator. Cabbage is very versatile
and contains high amounts of fiber, vitamins and minerals. It’s also part of a group of vegetables known to reduce your risk of cancer.  

5. Oats: Require less nutrients and no fertilizers to grow leaving the soil well-balanced. Oats use much less water compared to other crops. They also control harmful weeds and pests. Oats are a very good source of soluble fiber and beta-glucans (beneficial for heart health). They also help lower your blood sugar and bad cholesterol levels.
Other ways you can go green in your daily life: reuse grocery bags, shop locally, buy bulk to minimize plastics and packaging and invest in reusable water bottles. 

Road Warriors: NHTSA Combats Drowsy Driving (VIDEO/AUDIO)

CLEVELAND -- Look for public services announcements, education campaigns, tougher laws, and signs on the road to combat the latest menace on the roadways: drowsy driving. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has unveiled its national plan Monday, March 20 to combat fatigued drivers on road, the latest target after the NHTSA first looked at decreasing drunk driving and then went after distracted drivers.

"Drowsy driving impairs your reaction time, impairs your ability to think of two things at once, and it also impairs your memory of where you're going," says Kingman Strohl, MD, Program Director of Sleep Medicine at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.  "So your brain is trying to go to sleep while you're trying to drive a car and that's not a good combination."

That combination, according to the NHTSA, caused 72,000 police-reported crashes, resulting in 41,000 injuries and 800 deaths in 2015. But those official numbers underestimated the real impact, according to the campaign authors, who estimate as many as 7 percent of all crashes and 16.5 percent of fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver, resulting in as many as 8000 deaths a year. And operating a vehicle while sleep deprived affects one group more adversely than others -- risk-takers in the 16 to 24 year old age bracket who are twice as likely as 40 to 59 year olds to fall asleep at the wheel.

"Drowsy driving deaths and injuries are higher than that for drunk driving in the teenage years," says Dr. Strohl. He says 
rolling down the window, turning on the air conditioner, or chewing gum are all not good strategies but coffee and a twenty minute nap might prove more effective. "Any amount of sleep is better for prevention of drowsy driving than any other particular skill or particular medication."

Dr. Strohl recommends at least six hours of sleep a night, which can be difficult in a 24/7 world of babies crying, late night partying, all-night studying, long work days, and holiday travel. "Those long drives on monotonous roads after a night of sleep deprivation can be deadly," says Dr. Strohl.

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