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April 2012

Below, find some possible story ideas for media.

For more information about these items, or for other media requests, contact Cleveland Clinic's Corporate Communications at 216.444.0141.

April 2012

Soda and Stroke Risk

Before you reach for another soda, consider that researchers from Cleveland Clinic and Harvard University have found that greater consumption of sugar-sweetened and low-calorie sodas is associated with a higher risk of stroke.

“What we’re beginning to understand is that regular intake of these beverages sets off a chain reaction in the body that can potentially lead to many diseases – including stroke,” said Dr. Adam Bernstein, author of a recent study on soda and stroke risk, and Research Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute.

On the other hand, coffee contains chlorogenic acids, lignans and magnesium, all of which act as antioxidants. When compared with one serving of sugar-sweetened soda, one serving of decaffeinated coffee was associated with a 10 percent lower risk of stroke.

For an interview with Dr. Bernstein, please contact Joe Milicia,, 216.636.5873.

4 Tips for Lowering Your Cholesterol through Diet

To be heart-healthy, ensuring healthy levels of cholesterol is the first step. Cleveland Clinic registered dietitian Julia Zumpano shares these diet tips:

  • Cut back on animal fats. Forgo fatty meats, such as chicken or turkey with the skin; processed meats, such as bologna, salami and pepperoni; and fatty red meats, such as ribs and prime cuts of beef, pork, veal or lamb. Also avoid full-fat dairy products such as cheese, cream, sour cream, cream cheese and butter. These foods contain saturated fat as well as cholesterol.
  • Make friends with fiber. Specifically, get friendly with foods high in soluble fiber. In the gut, soluble fiber can bind to bile (which is made up of cholesterol) and remove it. Look for soluble fiber in oats, flaxseed, barley, dried beans and legumes, fruits and root vegetables, as well as some whole-grain cereals, cereal bars and pastas.
  • Go veggie. Choose at least one meatless meal per week. Substitute beans, tofu or nuts for red meat or poultry in a bean burrito or a tofu stir-fry to decrease your saturated fat intake and increase your fiber intake. Shoot for one meatless meal —breakfast, lunch or dinner — per day!
  • Be a loser. If you’re overweight or obese, shed the extra pounds. Weight loss helps lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. Even small-to-moderate weight loss — just 10 to 20 pounds — can make an impact.

For an interview with Julia Zumpano, please contact Joe Milicia,, 216.636.5873.

Spring Allergies Peaking

Allergy season started early because of the warm winter, and now we’re hitting the season’s peak. Dr. David Lang, an allergist at Cleveland Clinic, says this time of year is particularly difficult for allergy sufferers.

“Tree pollens is March and April, and then late-April and certainly into May the grass season begins, so, if you’re allergic to tree and grass pollen, it’s a double hit,” says Dr. Lang.

Dr. Lang says one of the easiest ways to put pollen in its place is to turn on the air conditioner to cut down the indoor pollen count by 90 percent or more.

For an interview with Dr. Lang, please contact Joe Milicia,, 216.636.5873.

Take a Walking Break to Recharge Your Battery at Work

Are you finding yourself having to do more than ever at your job? You’re not alone. But don’t get trapped in your cube. You will experience greater productivity at work if you keep moving.

Dr. Joe Janesz of Cleveland Clinic recommends taking a five-to-seven-minute walk every 90 minutes. Invite a coworker to join you.

You should also stay hydrated by drinking at least 8 ounces of water every 90 minutes. And choose a healthy snack like an apple or almonds for energy.

For more tips from Dr. Janesz on staying energized at work, please contact Joe Milicia,, 216.636.5873.

Men Get Osteoporosis Too

Men are not immune from osteoporosis, a disease better known for decreasing bone mass in women. Six out of 10 men develop osteoporosis by age 65, and mortality is higher among men who break a hip than among women.

Dr. Angelo Licata of Cleveland Clinic says men can take action by getting enough exercise and vitamin D, and having a bone density test. If needed, some types of osteoporosis medication work for men as well as women.

For an interview with Dr. Licata, please contact Joe Milicia,, 216.636.5873

Health Benefits of Planting a Garden

Spring is a great time to starting planting a garden, and the health benefits go beyond nutritious fruits and vegetables. It’s a great physical activity and it helps to relieve stress.

When you plant your own garden you control what you grow. Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic, says a good place to start is by planting vegetables from the cruciferous, or cabbage, family.

“Spinach is great. Kale is another one. It’s a cruciferous vegetable,” Kirkpatrick says. “And that’s in the same family as broccoli and brussel sprouts and cauliflower, also strong in cancer prevention and great for us in so many ways, and easy to grow.”

Also, studies show that people who plant gardens eat more fruits and vegetables.

For an interview with Kirkpatrick, please contact Joe Milicia,, 216.636.5873

5 Healthy Habits You Can Learn from Your Dog

Instead of just wishing you had a dog’s life, why not pick up some of your pet’s healthy habits, says Dr. Emma Raizman, a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital.

  1. Get out and play. Raizman says: “If you look at your dogs they want to be let out all of the time. They want to run, they want to use their legs and build their muscles, build their endurance and get all of that energy out.”
  2. Learn portion control. You’re typically serving the same amount of food to your dog every day and you should do the same for yourself.
  3. Pay attention to how much sleep your dog gets; you too should make sleep a priority.
  4. Be forgiving. Studies on humans show people who forgive are less angry and less stressed.
  5. Don’t hold back appreciation for the ones you love. Raizman says: “To show gratitude and appreciation for the people that they’re with and the people that they love. You know when you come home your dog is wagging their tail, they’re happy to see you, and they don’t hold it in. They just let all of their emotions show.”

To speak with Dr. Raizman, please contact Abbey Linville,, 216.445.9274.

Early Allergy Season

If you suffer from springtime allergies, you may already be feeling the effects. The warm winter and even warmer March has this allergy season off to an early start, says Dr. David Lang, an allergist at Cleveland Clinic.

“We’re seeing patients who are complaining of allergy symptoms earlier than in previous years where we still had some snowy weather in March,” Lang said.

Dr. Lang says tree pollens are the culprits right now. Later in the spring, grass will cause problems. Typical symptoms include a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes.

“If you’re having these symptoms and it interferes with your daily activities, you’re restricting your activities, your sleep is disrupted, then it’s time for you to see a doctor,” Lang says.

To interview Dr. Lang, please contact Andrea Pacetti,, 216.444.8168.

Preparing for a Child’s Hospital Stay

There are few things scarier than having a child in the hospital. To help ease fears and prepare children, Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital has 10 Child Life specialists on staff. Learn how you can make your child’s trip to the hospital a little easier with these helpful tips from the Child Life Department:

  • Be honest with your child about why they have to come to the hospital. Children often know more than we think they do. Follow your child’s cues and offer simple, but concrete, explanations.
  • Ask if your hospital offers pre-surgical tours to familiarize your child with the area and to help him or her know what to expect.
  • Let your child bring comfort items from home, such as a stuffed animal, blanket or favorite toy.