Cedars-Sinai Medical tipsheet for Sept. 2004

September 10, 2004

NAME THAT TUNE: PATIENTS SING, DANCE, SWAY AND CLAP WITH MUSICIAN VOLUNTEERS
Caregivers have known for a long time about music's power to elevate a patient's mood, ease their pain and lessen muscle tension. A cadre of volunteer musicians at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is receiving five-star reviews and standing ovations from patients, families, physicians and employees who have experienced the "Music for Healing" program.

ACTIVITY LEVEL PREDICTS AND PREVENTS HEART DISEASE IN WOMEN BETTER THAN FOCUS ON WEIGHT
Although excess body weight is associated with numerous heart disease risk factors, the body mass index (BMI) appears to be a poor predictor of both existing coronary artery disease and future risk of adverse events in women. A more valuable tool may be a self-reported assessment of physical activity and functional capacity. For heart disease prevention, the tendency to focus on body mass, waist circumference, waist-hip ratio and waist-height ratio fails to address the related but more important lack of physical fitness. The results of a new study appear in the September 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

IMMUNE VACCINE FOLLOWED BY CHEMOTHERAPY SLOWS INCURABLE BRAIN TUMORS, LENGTHENS SURVIVAL
A type of malignant, incurable brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme grows quickly, spreads rapidly and usually takes the lives of its victims within months of diagnosis. Although it has been the target of both conventional and experimental treatments, it has remained virtually unstoppable. Now a combination of two therapies appears to slow its progress and significantly lengthen patient survival.

THE HYPERSPECTRAL IMAGING ENDOSCOPE: A NEW TOOL FOR NON-INVASIVE IN VIVO CANCER DETECTION
With traditional biopsy, small amounts of living tissue are removed from the body and examined in a laboratory to ascertain or rule out a diagnosis of malignancy. A newly designed endoscope, capable of providing sub-second polarized spectral images of tissue in vivo (in the body), allows physicians and surgeons to non-invasively survey and sample an entire area without actually removing tissue. Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and their collaborators in Pittsburgh describe the instrument's capabilities and clinical applications in volume 5322 of Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging.

COUPLE WITH PARALYSIS FEELS BLESSED WITH BIRTH OF TWIN BOYS
The couple began researching options for conception about a year after their marriage in June 2002. "Due to my condition we knew there might be challenges," says Shmuel. "We knew that for quadriplegics, the chances of having a child is lowered due to the condition but it is not impossible. Many quadriplegics have children naturally while others need to use other methods to reach that dream. We, of course, wanted to have children as close to naturally as possible so we decided to educate ourselves in all areas. We wanted to be prepared to climb the ladder from natural conception to in-vitro and everything in between," he adds.

STRESS TESTS MAY MISS LATENT HEART DISEASE: ADDITIONAL CORONARY CALCIUM SCREENING MAY HELP WHEN PATIENTS HAVE NORMAL STRESS TEST RESULTS
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have found that stress tests may not adequately screen for latent atherosclerosis - a hardening of the arteries due to plaque build-up - and the leading cause of heart disease. Their findings, published in the August 18th issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, indicate that many patients who have normal stress tests could benefit from additional screening for coronary calcium with x-ray computed tomography, or CT scanning technology. Dr. Daniel Berman, lead author of the study, is available for interviews.
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For more information on other Cedars-Sinai's programs and services, please visit www.cedars-sinai.edu or call 1-800-CEDARS-1 (1-800-233-2771).

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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