*Cracks Knuckles* So What is Arthritis?

Knuckle cracking can be very stress relieving for most people. Some people enjoy it so much that they can also crack other parts of their body, such as their neck, back, or even their toes. There is a long list of myths and superstitions revolved around knuckle cracking, the most infamous of which is that it can cause arthritis. Arthritis is literally defined as “inflammation of the joint” and can be an informal way of referring to joint pain or disease. Contrary to popular belief, people of all ages can and do have arthritis, and it is the leading cause Read More …

Looking at Healthy Vision Month in a New Light

The phrase “eat your carrots; they’re good for your eyes!” is a staple part of many childhoods. This is part of a larger truth–diets rich with fruits and vegetables are important for keeping your eyes healthy. Research shows there are benefits to eating dark leafy greens (like kale, collard greens, and spinach) and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon and tuna). This blog will focus on understanding how the eye works, different common eye conditions and diseases, and resources to promote healthy vision. The National Eye Institute’s (NEI) NEI for Kids page offers an excellent simplified explanation of Read More …

Climate Change’s Impact on Nutrition

When climate change is discussed, it is often in the context of natural disasters, rising temperatures, and rising sea levels. However, conversations about climate change should also include the impacts that climate change will have on food and nutrition.  Natural disasters such as floods, droughts, heatwaves, and wildfires can impact nutrition by driving down crop yields, hindering the transport of food, and destroying livestock. In addition, the rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere can decrease the nutritional value of global staple crops like rice and wheat. The impact on nutrition is supported by research that was conducted by Sam Read More …

Multiple Sclerosis 101

During the second and third season, The West Wing’s fictional president is diagnosed with a debilitating and difficult disease that ultimately leads to a scandal in Washington. His relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) is portrayed with relative accuracy and was commended by The National MS Society—the president continues on to have a productive life, keeping most of his symptoms out of the public eye. MS is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the myelin– a protective layer around the nerves fibers of the spine made of proteins and fats. The cause of MS is unknown. The resulting injuries Read More …

Pacemakers: A Helping Hand for the Heart

The human body has hundreds of mechanisms in place that keep you healthy and active. But when one of these mechanisms encounters a problem and malfunctions, medical science and innovation steps in to help. One of the best examples of these medical helpers is a pacemaker. A pacemaker keeps heart rhythm steady using electrical signals. It is needed when the heart’s electrical system is faulty. Normally, the heart’s electrical signal starts at the sinus node, which is called the heart’s natural pacemaker. A group of cells creates electrical signals in the top two chambers of the heart, called the atria. Read More …

Kidneys 101

Kidneys play an important role in filtering excess water and waste products from the blood. Located on either side of your spine below the rib cage, they filter about half a cup of blood every minute, creating one to two cups of urine every day. Kidneys also regulate pH, salt, and mineral levels in the blood. Muscles, nerves, and other tissues need proper acidic blood balance to function normally. Kidneys also make hormones that help regulate blood pressure, create red blood cells, and activate a form of vitamin D that helps the body take in calcium for building bones. Kidneys Read More …

Supplements 101

Many people today are looking for affordable, efficient, and convenient ways to ensure that they are receiving all the essential nutrients that they need to maintain their health. For this reason, many turn to dietary supplements as their solution. Dietary supplements include ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and enzymes. These supplements can come in many forms, ranging from tablets to liquids. Beyond ensuring adequate nutrient intake, supplements can also help reduce the risk of diseases. However, supplements are not permitted to be marketed for treating, diagnosing, preventing, or curing disease. Many supplements contain active compounds that could Read More …

Heart Attack Facts: Coronary Artery Disease

A heart attack is the death of part of the heart muscle due to lack of blood flow. The supply of oxygen and nutrients to the heart is brought by the blood stream, so when this flow is blocked, the heart cannot get the nutrients and oxygen it needs to survive. The technical name for a heart attack is a myocardial infarction: infarction refers to the local death of tissue caused by lack of blood supply, and myocardial refers to the heart muscle. In order to learn more about why heart attacks happen, we need to understand how blood flow Read More …

15 Good Minutes: Eric Wagner

For Emory Orthopedic Surgeon Eric Wagner, MD, research isn’t just a side pursuit. Despite maintaining a busy clinical practice, Wagner has managed to make research into what he calls a “second career.” Wagner and his partner, Michael Gottschalk, MD, currently have over 45 ongoing projects, with topics running the gambit from managing opioid addiction to helping tendons heal. Wagner has published over 185 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and his work has had a substantial impact in improving patient outcomes from orthopedic procedures. “We take some complex surgeries where patients don’t traditionally do as well and try to make them better Read More …

Bypass Machines: A Temporary Heart and Lungs

Thousands of surgeries requiring the heart to be stopped are performed in the U.S. every year, including heart and lung transplants. Modern medical technology serves a critical role in allowing doctors to perform these surgeries while keeping patients in stable condition. Perhaps the most important device in this process is the bypass machine, otherwise known as the heart-lung machine. This machine temporarily takes over the role of the heart and lungs, delivering a steady flow of oxygenated blood to the patient throughout the procedure. During any surgery where the heart must be stopped, known as cardiopulmonary bypass surgery, the doctor Read More …