Trying A Skin Cancer Drug To Treat A Brain Tumor

Why Doctors Are Trying A Skin Cancer Drug To Treat A Brain Tumor
March 26, 2015
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/03/26/394327128/why-doctors-are-trying-a-skin-cancer-drug-to-treat-a-brain-tumor

Anselmo’s tumor had a BRAF mutation common in skin cancer, but very unusual for a brain tumor.

Her oncologist, David Hyman at Memorial Sloan Kettering, enrolled Anselmo into a new kind of drug trial. Called a basket trial, the study is designed to include people whose tumors have the same kind of genetic fingerprint regardless of where in the body the tumors are found.

Today, Anselmo is doing well. She’s been in the clinical trial for a year now, and continues to take Zelboraf (or vemurafenib generically) daily. The pills have kept her cancer from growing.

There are side effects, of course. She’s lost some peripheral vision, though she’s been able to compensate. And Zelboraf is expensive

After all the misfortunes she’s been through, it would be easy to think Anselmo has been incredibly unlucky. But she doesn’t see it that way. No, she says after rehearsing for her comeback show, “I’m the luckiest.”

Compression Clothing

Compression Clothing: Not The Magic Bullet For Performance
March 30, 2015
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/03/30/392378800/compression-clothing-not-the-magic-bullet-for-performance

… “we found nothing,” Stickford says. No difference.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Two men who did show improvements while wearing the compression sleeves were the ones who believed the garments aided in training, racing and recovery.

“The placebo effect is a real effect. It affects performance,” Stickford says. “So if you think these garments work, there’s not really any harm in trying them out.”

The Treadmill Desk

Sure, Use A Treadmill Desk — But You Still Need To Exercise
March 30, 2015
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/03/30/392580747/sure-use-a-treadmill-desk-but-you-still-need-to-exercise

Federal guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every week.
http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/summary.aspx
That’s walking about 3 miles per hour. Schuna says that’s difficult on a treadmill desk — while working. If you tried to maintain that pace, “you’d likely start to perspire; some people may even start to have more labored or heavy breathing,” he says, and “it’s questionable how productive you could be from a work perspective.”

Videos Ease Tough Conversation

Videos On End-Of-Life Choices Ease Tough Conversation
March 29, 2015
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/03/29/394087394/videos-on-end-of-life-choices-ease-tough-conversation

… these videos, produced by Dr. Angelo Volandes of Harvard Medical School. She thought maybe they could help. So she brought Volandes to Hawaii to give a little show-and-tell for some health care providers.

“I frankly was astounded,” Seitz says, “at how excited people became when they saw these videos.”

Volandes thinks they were excited and — maybe — a little bit relieved.

“Physicians and medical students aren’t often trained to have these conversations,” says Volandes. “I, too, had difficulty having this conversation, and sometimes words aren’t enough.”

Volandes is the author of a book called The Conversation, which tells the stories of some of the patients he encountered early in his career and their end-of-life experiences. He describes aggressive interventions performed on patients with advanced cases of cancer or dementia. In the book, they suffer one complication after another. There is never a happy ending.

related:

Medicare Says Doctors Should Get Paid To Discuss End-Of-Life Issues
August 18, 2015
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/08/18/427041879/medicare-says-doctors-should-get-paid-to-discuss-end-of-life-issues

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/06/11/481422813/this-doctor-wants-to-help-california-figure-out-aid-in-dying

Dementia: listen between the lines

Camp For Alzheimer’s Patients Isn’t About Memories
September 06, 2010
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129607201

Listen between the lines.
As dementia progresses and syntax and word finding falters, “listen with your ears, eyes and heart,” the Family Caregiver Alliance advises. Keep your conversation unhurried and simple, and watch for nonverbal clues and body language to find the meaning underlying the words.