Entries in Cleveland Clinic (5)


March Madness Equals Increase in Vasectomies

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock (CLEVELAND) -- March isn't just madness for sports fans, it can be madness for doctors as well. Urologists say March is well known as the month to get a vasectomy.  As a matter of fact, vasectomies spike approximately 50 percent during this time of year, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Why now? The procedure takes less than a half-hour and patients can even drive themselves home. They are stuck on the couch as they are encouraged to stay off their feet for a few days and what better time to be pinned to a couch than during the NCAA College Basketball Tournament, otherwise known as March madness.

Doctors say March madness isn't the only reason men get vasectomies in March . Some men are taking advantage of spring break time off. Others are preparing for summer vacations, since a vasectomy takes a few months to take full effect.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study Raises New and Troubling Questions About Energy Drinks

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Despite the growing popularity of energy drinks that tout enhanced concentration and the ability to keep you awake for long periods of time, a study released Monday warns that adolescents and young adults should be aware of the potentially unknown side effects of their beverage choices.

The study, Health Effects of Energy Drinks on Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults, was released by a group of doctors at the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami.

The group found that the amount of caffeine and other stimulants in energy drinks, which are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, can be harmful to young adults and adolescents -- especially those with diabetes or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

The survey shows that while 30 to 50 percent of the target group had consumed an energy drink, 46 percent of reported caffeine overdoses in 2007 occurred in those 19 or younger.

A lack of governmental regulation is just one of the many reasons medical professionals say the younger age group needs to be careful with energy drinks and supplements.

"The marketing is usually geared towards children, so you have to educate your child to not listen to these marketing schemes. They do a really great job at making kids feel like they need this product to enhance their performance at school or in their activities, and they don't," said Tara Haywood, a pediatric nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic.

Haywood warns that energy drinks can have caffeine levels up to three times as high as a regular 12-ounce can of soda.

Those with special conditions should be especially aware of what they're putting into their bodies, another doctor warns.

"There's a lot of children who are on medication for ADHD, who would potentially be harmed by high doses of caffeine, also if a child has a heart condition or diabetes, these energy drinks can cause abnormal fluctuations in their blood sugar," said Dr. Kyle Kaufman, assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati.

If those blood sugar levels do get too high, Kaufman said, an abnormal heartbeat can be the dangerous result.

So with pressure to perform both at school and on the job, what are those who can't kick the energy drink habit to do?

"Think critically about what the drink is offering. Certainly certain combinations of energy drinks or supplements with certain medical conditions can be problematic. I would generally recommend [that someone with medical problems] not take those supplements," said Dr. Kaufman.

Because energy drinks and supplements are not regulated by the FDA, the advertisements for these products can make unproven statements, and their ingredients are uncontrolled.

"In a world where a lot of both adults and kids are being asked to be awake for longer periods of time, these type of energy drinks and supplements purport to make you better at what you're doing, help you stay awake longer and that kind of marketing is very persuasive," Dr. Kaufman warns.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Festive Partiers Beware: Holiday Heart Syndrome

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- 'Tis the season for many of us of over-indulging in champagne, spiked eggnog and hors d'oeuvres. And although pounds gained in December can be shed next year, the more immediate effects of holiday excess can be serious.

Dr. Curtis Rimmerman, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, warns that binge drinking and overloading on sodium can trigger abnormal heart rhythms. The condition, known as "holiday heart syndrome," can require emergency medical care.

"Your heart is basically beating very erratically, chaotically, and extremely fast," Rimmerman said. His patients have described the feeling as "like having a Mexican jumping bean inside your chest."

The term "holiday heart syndrome" was coined in 1978 when researchers detected heart rhythm abnormalities in 24 study participants, none of whom had a history of heart disease. What they all did have was too much to drink, too fast.

Since then, several studies have confirmed alcohol's heart rhythm-disturbing effects. The most common abnormal heart rhythm, atrial fibrillation, occurs when the upper heart chambers quiver instead of contracting regularly. Although it's often asymptomatic, it can lead to congestive heart failure or stroke.

As the moniker suggests, holiday heart syndrome peaks on weekends and at holidays.

"Not only will I see more patients," Rimmerman said, "but talk to an emergency room physician and, boy, are the emergency rooms hopping!"

Although alcohol alone can derail normal heart rhythms, its effects are exaggerated when mixed with caffeine. Rimmerman warned against the popular practice of mixing alcohol with energy drinks, calling it a "very bad combination."

Salty foods, such as holiday ham and pre-packaged appetizers, can lead to fluid retention and exercerbate heart rhythm distrubances. So, despite the season's temptations, maintaining a relatively normal diet will lower the risk of holiday heart problems.

Similarly, when it comes to alcohol, moderation is key. If you don't drink much all year, avoid drinking a year's worth in one night. And if you do drink regularly, avoid drinking more than usual, Rimmerman said.

If your heart starts racing or beating irregularly, you should stop drinking and sit down, Rimmerman said. And if the feeling persists for five minutes, you should seek medical attention.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Connie Culp, Recipient of First US Face Transplant, Meets Donor Family

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Since Connie Culp had her face torn off by a shotgun blast in 2004, she's measured her recovery with countless milestones. This weekend, Culp reached another, finally meeting the family of the donor who gave her a new face.

Culp, a 47-year-old mother and grandmother, underwent the first full face transplant surgery in the U.S. in Dec. 2008 at the Cleveland Clinic. Before the surgery, Culp couldn't walk down the street without drawing stares, but the transplant has given her a new chance at life.

"I don't have little kids coming up saying, 'Eww, there's a monster,'" Culp said. "They think I'm amazing. I'm just normal, but we need more people like the donors to help people."

Until now, though, Culp knew little about the woman who provided her face. Doctors would tell her only the donor's age and nothing about the surviving family.

"They've never contacted me," Culp told ABC News this past August.

But two years after losing their beloved wife and mother, the family of donor Anna Kasper was finally ready to step forward. The Kasper family decided to break their silence and share their story, hoping to raise awareness for organ donation.

Two weeks before Christmas in 2008, Anna suffered a fatal heart attack.

Two years after the trauma of losing their loved one, the Kasper family decided that they wanted to meet Connie Culp, having seen her remarkable spirit in Culp's previous interviews.

After waiting and wondering for so long, they finally met this weekend with tears and hugs.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Surgeon Makes Fingers for Baby Born Without

Dr. William Seitz of Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CLEVELAND) -- When Laura Azzopardi gave birth to her son, Gavin, three years ago, she did what many new parents do, counting his fingers and toes. Gavin had five toes on each foot, but was born with just a pinky and thumb on each hand. It was a congenital hand deformity, a condition with unknown causes.

Laura and her husband, Keith, were uncertain Gavin would ever have functional hands, until they found an article in People magazine. The article, A New Hand for Ryan, introduced the family to the groundbreaking work of Dr. William Seitz, an orthopedic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, who was building fingers for another young boy.

At just nine months of age, Gavin began a series of treatments and surgeries at Cleveland Clinic aimed at building him two hands that would eventually help him in everyday life.

Creating two additional fingers per hand would require transferring bone for what was to be his middle and ring fingers and reshaping it into index and middle fingers. The new bones were attached to metal lengthening devices which helped them grow.

The process has been long and arduous, but Dr. Seitz said he sees results in his work. After two years of treatment, he said, Gavin's new fingers are "tubes of skin and bone. They've got muscle attachments to them and they've got some tendon attachments and they move."

Gavin has responded well to the treatment. "He's pretty darn functional right now. There's not much he can't do," Dr. Seitz said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio