Monthly Archives: September 2015

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Prostate Cancer Awareness: Because Men Matter Too

In 1989 the week of September 17th to September 24th was chosen as Prostate Cancer Awareness Week. For those seven short days, non-profits like Prostate Cancer Foundation worked tirelessly to try to bring attention to a disease that kills over 29,000 men a year, a disease that few people know very much about.

One of the problems prostate cancer awareness advocates have faced is that the disease has a difficult time competing against its’ more popular counterparts. While breast cancer awareness can be fun to campaign for—with little pink ribbons, “save the tatas” bracelets and catchy slogans like “big or small, save them all!”—prostate cancer is one form of cancer that it seems to make people uncomfortable to talk about.

It’s not as glamorous as some other diseases, the slogans aren’t as catchy, and there’s little you can do to make the disease responsible for the second most cancer deaths in the US among men seem lighthearted. You can’t “decorate a prostate”, you’ll never sell “save the prostate” bracelets successfully, and it’s difficult trying to raise awareness about a disease that makes most people blush or cringe when mentioned.

Despite these obstacles, prostate cancer awareness advocates have fought tirelessly to do just that: to get people out of their comfort zones and start paying attention to a very serious disease that impacts a large portion of the population. Over the years, their efforts have finally started paying off.

Ten years after Prostate Cancer Awareness Week was founded, the entire month of September was officially designated as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, bringing more attention to the disease. We’re thrilled that the disease is starting to garner more attention, that it’s something that’s beginning to come to the forefront of conversation in regards to men’s health.

This month, we encourage you all to familiarize yourself with the details of prostate cancer, to get yourself screened if applicable, and to do everything you can to spread awareness among your friends and families about the disease, its prevention, and treatment options. It’s time for ALL of us, not just those of us in diagnostic imaging, to consider Prostate Cancer just as important as Breast Cancer. It’s time to care about our men as well as our women.

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Frequently Asked MRI Questions

When you are told by a doctor that you need an MRI most patients get nervous because they may not understand what an MRI is or does. MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging; it is a safe diagnostic procedure that uses a magnet and radio waves to produce images of parts of the body’s structure without using x-rays or radiation. Listed below are some commonly asked questions about MRIs.

Are the “radio waves” used in MRI like regular radio waves?

No. While the MRI does use a radio wave antenna to send signals to the body and receive signals back during the procedure, the “radio wave signals” are actually a changing magnetic field that is much weaker than the strong magnetic field of the main magnet in the machine.

Why not just get an x-ray?

MRIs are particularly useful for looking at the non-bony parts or “soft tissues” of the body-the same types of body parts and tissues that x-ray machines are not designed to pick up

Are there any disadvantages to MRI?

Aside from those who suffer from claustrophobia, or who have implanted medical devices that prohibit the use of MRI, there are no known medical disadvantages. One financial disadvantage is that the MRI costs more than a regular x-ray or CT scan.

Why are “stress tests” ordered?

Standard stress tests such as treadmill exercise tests, in which the patient walks on a treadmill while being “hooked up” to an electrocardiogram machine, can indicate how well the heart handles increased physical exertion. Stress tests also help physicians to find a blockage or other problem in the blood vessels of the heart.

What is the main difference between x-ray and MRI?

Aside from the fact that MRI does not use radiation to obtain images, the biggest difference is that MRI can “see through” bone and define fluid-filled soft-tissue, while x-rays can only define bone.

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Drafting A Health Care Provider

Football season is finally upon us, but it’s likely that at this point you’ve probably had enough drafting drama to last for a lifetime. Drafting a killer fantasy team isn’t easy, and drafting a killer league in all four of your fantasy leagues? Even less likely. Most of us will be lucky to come out with one or two mediocre teams, and will be even luckier if those players make it to the regular season with a season-ending injury (we’re looking at you, Jordy Nelson).

The best thing you can do to make sure your fantasy team is as great as it possibly can be is to ask yourself a few simple questions. Ironically, they’re pretty similar to the questions you’d ask yourself if instead of drafting Eddie Lacy, you were drafting a health care provider.

 

Did you do  your  research?

We’ve all  been there  before. Your  computer is  starting to  beep at you,  the ticker is counting down, and suddenly you’ve got just 90 seconds to decide who’s worth taking with your first-round pick. Your eyes are frantically jumping back and forth between Adrian Peterson, Eddie Lacy, Jamaal Charles, or if you’re one of those people who wastes first round picks on quarterbacks just to mess the whole draft up…Aaron Rodgers. You start to panic, and before you know it your time is down to 5 seconds. You do probably the worst thing possible—you close your eyes and just click on someone. Shortly later it’s followed up with a “DID I SERIOUSLY JUST TAKE ANDREW LUCK IN THE FIRST ROUND?!” and a face-palm. It never pays to not do your research, in fantasy or in the real world. Being prepared and knowing your options goes a long way towards reducing that last-minute panic and making sure that you end up with a stellar team.

What is the quality of the services offered?

This is obviously a pretty important factor when you’re drafting your fantasy lineup, but it’s also a huge influencer when you’re trying to decide where to go for an MRI or whether or not to choose someone as your PCP. In fantasy, saying “Oh that person’s a wide receiver, I need a wide receiver, I’ll pick them” usually doesn’t end well. Sure, there may be multiple players available for the position that you need, but that doesn’t mean that they’re all the same skill level. The same can be said for your medical needs. It’s not enough to say “I need an MRI, that place offers MRI’s, let me book one”. All MRI machines are not created equal, and neither are all medical imaging centers. There’s a lot of disparity in quality of services and quality of care, and it’s important to know that the center you choose provides you with the best services available.

Do they meet your particular needs?

You may get to some point in the draft where there’s a player left that you really like. Maybe he’s a rookie running back but he’s had a great preseason and you know he’s gonna have an awesome year. If you’re sitting with 3 running backs already and you’re still short on wide receivers, though, you’d better let him pass. Everyone has different needs, but it’s important to focus your decisions around those needs. Don’t draft a player in a position you’re already too heavy on, don’t choose a medical imaging center that charges you more than you can afford. Understand the reality of the situation, evaluate your particular needs, and make your decision accordingly.

Are you taking your personal feelings into account?

At the end of the day, it’s not just about doing your research, assessing the quality, and evaluating your needs. Whether you’re drafting a fantasy team or a medical imaging center, one of the final most important things you can do when trying to make a decision is to make sure you’re taking your personal feelings into account. In real life, the office staff at one center might make you feel more welcomed and cared for, and that might be something you really value that influences your overall decision. In fantasy, it’s the same thing. Maybe you’ll stick your neck out and draft your favorite team’s defense instead of a slightly better one, just because that team pride and loyalty matters to you. And that’s ok!

Researching all your options, determining the quality of the services offered, evaluating exactly how each option meets your particular needs, but then also allowing yourself to let your personal feelings help shape your final decision, are all things that we as either patients of fantasy football whiz’s should do when drafting our medical imaging center or team. In the end, you’ll be a much happier person.

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Childhood Mortality: A Breakdown of the Millennium Development Goals Report

25 years ago, the United Nations released their Millennium Development Goals. The goals were large, and the obstacles many, but nevertheless they pledged to do everything possible to meet these goals that they believed would impact our world for the better. They set goals for eight main categories, then further defined what they wanted to accomplish in each one.

Category 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger

Category 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

Category 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

Category 4: Reduce Child Mortality

Category 5: Improve Maternal Health

Category 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Other Diseases

Category 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

Category 8: Global Partnership for Development

Each goal was designed to be accomplished between 1990 and 2015. Well it’s 2015, and the official Millennium Development Goal Reports are finally starting to trickle in. Some goals fared better than others, but this week we want to talk about the report for “Category 4: Reduce Child Mortality”.

The specific goal for this category was pretty ambitious: Reduce the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. Two-thirds is a pretty big number, and it’s not surprising that we weren’t able to accomplish this goal. What we WERE able to accomplish, however, is still pretty impressive! Here’s the breakdown and overall thoughts on what we accomplished and the current reality of childhood mortality.

 

Although there is still much work to be done in order to address issues like childhood mortality, we think it’s really important to appreciate the work that has already been accomplished. We’ve come such a long way in the past 25 years, and we’re sure the next 25 will see some amazing changes as well!

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A Very Quick “Thank You” & An Adorable Video

As Labor Day quickly approaches, we wanted to take a few minutes to show our appreciation for all the hard workers in our lives. When the first Labor Day was celebrated over 100 years ago, it was dedicated towards celebrating the social and economic achievements of American workers. Labor Day was intended to serve as a tribute to the contributions workers make to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Over 100 years later, the message should still be the same. Many of us have forgotten the original intent of Labor Day—it is now just one more day in the year that’s an excuse for a long weekend. We don’t see any problems with the parties, the picnics, the beach trips, or the general relaxation. In fact, we think each and every hardworking American deserves exactly that! We just want everyone to remember that this coming Monday is for them. It’s something they’ve worked for, it’s something they’ve earned, and it’s something they should be proud of.

With that being said, HAPPY LABOR DAY! We hope everyone has a fabulous time.