Botox on the rise for feet, Health Capsules
Botox for feet
People who suffer from the painful foot condition known as plantar faciitis might want to consider Botox injections, according to a study published in Foot & Ankle International.
In a clinical trial, researchers in Mexico treated patients with either steroids or botulinum toxin A, also known as Botox, for their foot pain. All patients were shown the same series of physical exercises to aid in their recovery.
At first, patients in both groups seemed to experience a similar rate of recovery, but over time, patients receiving Botox did better in terms of foot pain, function and alignment, researchers said. After six months, the Botox group demonstrated more rapid and lasting improvement than the steroid group.
According to study author Dr. Carlos Acosta-Olivo, while Botox brought better results than steroids, plantar fascia stretching exercises were an important component of successful treatment.
Simple steps to a healthier heart
February is American Heart Month, so cardiologists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., are trying to spread the word that small steps can make a big difference in preventing heart disease.
According to Dr. Martha Grogan, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, most people are surprised to learn that nearly 80 percent of heart disease is preventable.
Because a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of a heart attack nearly as much as smoking does, Grogan encourages people to move 10 additional minutes every day – even if that means simply walking around the house while talking on the phone. For a sedentary person, that extra 10 minutes of movement can reduce the risk of heart disease by 50 percent, she said.
Cardiologist Virend Somers, M.D., a sleep expert at the Mayo Clinic, said that when people don’t get enough sleep, their hearts can pay the price. That is because sleep deprivation can increase the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression.
“Sleep is a necessity, like food and water,” Somers said. “It’s not a luxury.”
Dr. Randal Thomas, a Mayo Clinic preventive cardiologist, said changes can make a big difference in heart health. For example, he said, a 53-year-old male smoker with high blood pressure has a 20 percent chance of having a heart attack within 10 years. If he stops smoking, his risk is cut in half, and if he takes medicine for high blood pressure, his risk drops to 5 percent.
“There’s a saying that heart disease is what nature gives you for breaking its rules,” Thomas said. “But you have a second chance. Healthy lifestyle habits can help you reduce a majority of your risks for heart attack.”
Think ‘F.A.S.T.’ to spot a stroke
Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke, and the sooner a stroke victim receives medical attention, the greater the odds of survival and a better recovery.
To educate the public on how to recognize and respond to a stroke, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and Ad Council have launched an advertising campaign around the acronym F.A.S.T., which stands for:
• Face drooping – Does one side of the face droop, or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
• Arm weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
• Speech difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, such as, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
• Time to call 911 – If the person shows any of the above symptoms – even if the symptoms go away – call 911, and get him or her to the hospital immediately.
According to the American Stroke Association, the more quickly a stroke victim gets to a hospital, the quicker he or she can be assessed for a clot-busting drug that may reduce disability and death from stroke.
A recent national survey conducted by the Ad Council found that 28 percent of Americans did not know any of the warning signs or symptoms of stroke, and 46 percent of those surveyed were not confident that they knew what to do if they felt – or if someone with them exhibited – symptoms of stroke.
Diet drinks and depression
A large-scale study suggests a link between drinking sweetened beverages – especially diet drinks – and depression among adults. The same study ties coffee consumption to a slightly lower risk of depression.
From 1995-1996, researchers tracked how much soda, tea, fruit punch and coffee that more than 250,000 adults aged 50-71 consumed. Ten years later, they asked participants if they had been diagnosed with depression since the year 2000 and found that those who drank more than four cans or cups of soda a day were 30 percent more likely to develop depression than those who drank no soda. Four cans of fruit punch a day was associated with a 38 percent greater likelihood of developing depression. The risk was higher for those who drank diet soda, diet punches and diet iced teas than for those who drank non-diet versions of the drinks.
Conversely, adults who drank four cups of coffee per day were less likely to become depressed than those who drank no coffee.
According to lead researcher Dr. Honglei Chen, of the National Institutes of Health, cutting out or reducing consumption of sweetened diet drinks or replacing them with unsweetened coffee may be a natural way to lower depression risk.
Changes at BJC
Two BJC HealthCare hospitals have named new presidents. Joan Magruder, who has served as president of Missouri Baptist Medical Center in Town & Country, on March 1 will become president of St. Louis Children’s Hospital. John Antes, current president of Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital and Progress West HealthCare Center in St. Charles County, will succeed Magruder as Missouri Baptist’s president, effective March 18.
Magruder and Antes will report to Lee Fetter, BJC group president.
At press time, a search is under way for a new president for Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital and Progress West HealthCare Center.
Results of a 10-year study show that Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) participants who help fellow-AA members increase their own chances of achieving long-term sobriety.
Researchers compared factors such as AA meeting attendance, working the 12-step program and AA-related helping of others to drinking behaviors and consideration of others. They found that sharing experiences with other alcoholics was associated with better outcomes.
“AA-related helping helps the helper stay sober over the long haul and facilitates participation in other core activities like meeting attendance and step work,” said Dr. Maria Pagano, researcher at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland.
The National Institutes of Health supported the study, which appeared in the journal Substance Abuse.
Hearing loss linked to cognitive decline
Elderly people with hearing loss are likely to experience a more rapid decline in memory and cognitive ability than their peers with normal hearing, according to a new study.
Over a six-year period, hearing experts at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore found that:
• The cognitive abilities of people with hearing loss declined 30-40 percent faster than cognitive abilities of people with normal hearing.
• Older adults with hearing loss developed significant cognitive impairment an average of 3.2 years sooner than those with normal hearing.
• Levels of cognitive decline were directly related to the degree of hearing loss.
“Our results show that hearing loss should not be considered an inconsequential part of aging, because it may come with some serious, long-term consequences to healthy brain functioning,” said Dr. Frank Lin, senior study investigator. “Our findings emphasize just how important it is for physicians to discuss hearing with their patients and to be proactive in addressing any hearing declines over time.”
According to Lin, as many as 27 million Americans older than 50, including two-thirds of those 70 and older, have some hearing loss. Only 15 percent of those who need a hearing aid get one, he said.
Lin and his colleagues are planning a larger study to determine if cognitive decline is delayed for those who use hearing aids or other devices to treat their hearing loss.
On the calendar
St. Luke’s Hospital will hold its annual Day of Dance from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton. Participants will have the opportunity to dance, enjoy music, participate in a variety of health screenings and learn easy ways to stay healthy. Prizes, including a trip for two to Mexico and a $100 Visa gift card, will be awarded. There is no charge for admission, but registration is limited. To register, visit stlukes-stl.com. To schedule a cholesterol screening, which requires a $15 fee, call (314) 542-4848.
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Missouri Baptist Medical Center will provide free cholesterol screenings for people age 18 and older from 1:30-5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27 in the pharmacy at Dierbergs’ West Oak store, 11481 Olive Blvd. in Creve Coeur. Glucose, total cholesterol and HDL will be measured, no fasting is required, and results will be given at the screening. Registration is required. Call (314) 996-5433.
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“Stress Management Workshop: Balancing Your Life” will be held from 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday, March 2 at the Mr. and Mrs. Theodore P. Desloge, Jr. Outpatient Center, located on the west side of Hwy. 141, across from St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield. Laurie B. Chappell, R.N., certified holistic stress management instructor, discusses techniques for identifying stressors and dealing with them using humor, journaling, art therapy, time management and more. The workshop will be offered again from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursdays, April 4, 11 and 25. The fee is $15. To register, visit stlukes-stl.com, or call (314) 542-4848.
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“Brain Food,” a free program about neurological health and the importance of good sleep hygiene, will be offered from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5 in the North Medical Building on St. Luke’s Hospital’s campus in Chesterfield. Participants receive an overview of causes, symptoms and risk factors that affect neurological health; learn how “brain food” can affect sleeplessness, migraine headaches, memory and more; and enjoy a cooking demonstration by the Des Peres Dierbergs culinary event wellness team. To register, visit stlukes-stl.com, or call (314) 542-4848.
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Missouri Baptist Medical Center presents “Fit for Function: Prevent Age-Related Muscle Loss” from 1-3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20 at Longview Farm House, 13525 Clayton Road in Town & Country. The free program covers new research proving basic strength training can reverse age-related muscle loss. Through a screening and presentation, attendees age 60 and older learn what it means to be functionally fit and whether or not they pass the test based on national norms. Registration is required. Call (314) 996-5433, or visit missouribaptist.org.