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November 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.

November 2012

Learn How to Minimize Back Pain Resulting from Chores

Some of the simplest daily chores can literally be a pain-in-the-back. But the chores themselves aren’t to blame, says Cleveland Clinic occupational therapist Michael Milicia. It’s how we do them.

For instance, people may experience back pain while vacuuming or mopping because they tend to reach with their arms, bend at their waist and repeat that movement over and over again, straining their back muscles. The solution is to keep your hips and shoulders moving in the direction of the work instead of twisting your back.

There are also changes that can be made when washing dishes, raking leaves, picking up laundry and other household chores. The key is to learn how to properly reposition your body to prevent and alleviate acute back pain.

To learn more about common mistakes while doing chores and to interview Michael Milicia, please contact Jenny Popis at or 216.444.8853.

Avoid the Norovirus this Holiday Season

More than half of all foodborne illnesses in the United States are caused by noroviruses, which cause flu-like symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea. Each year, noroviruses contribute to nearly 7,000 hospitalizations, mostly among young children and the elderly.

“Noroviruses spread easily through contaminated food or water or by touching an infected surface. In close quarters such as a family reunion, cruise ship or nursing home, an outbreak can become difficult to get rid of,” says Dr. Barbara Messinger-Rapport, Director of the Center for Geriatric Medicine at Cleveland Clinic. “It’s important to wash your hands frequently, wash all fruits and vegetables before eating them and thoroughly clean every surface, especially in the kitchen and bathroom, to prevent infection.”

To coordinate an interview with Dr. Messinger-Rapport, please contact Jenny Popis at or 216.444.8853.

Healthy Decisions to Outsmart Diabetes

If you are living with type 2 diabetes, your daily decisions can actually change the course of the disease. Melissa Li-Ng, endocrinologist at Cleveland Clinic, recommends several healthy tips and lifestyle changes that are key to controlling type 2 diabetes.

  1. Work with your doctor on establishing realistic weight goals.
  2. Portion your meals and calculate how many calories you need to maintain each day.
  3. Get moving and exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
  4. Be aware of your stress factors and avoid unhealthy behaviors like eating for comfort when stressed.

For more healthy tips to outsmart diabetes and to interview Dr. Li-Ng, please contact Caroline Auger at or 216.636.5874.

November is Epilepsy Awareness Month - New Treatments Available

Did you know 1.5 million children have epilepsy and the majority of them are not being treated?

Many are living with this disease and taking medications around the clock not aware that surgery may be an option. Less than 20% of surgical candidates make it to a center to have surgery.

“Kids with focal epilepsy should be evaluated to see if they are good surgical candidates,” says Dr. Deepak Lachhwani, pediatrician and epilepsy specialist at Cleveland Clinic. “Typically 70 to 80 percent of ideal candidates will be seizure-free after surgery.”

To coordinate an interview with Dr. Lachhwani about epilepsy and surgery as an option, contact Halle Bishop at or 216.445.8592.

Tips to Stay Healthy and Avoid Overeating Around the Holidays

Staying healthy over the holidays can be challenging, especially with temptations to overeat and skip workouts. Kristin Kirkpatrick, registered dietitian and manager of wellness nutrition services at Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, offers the following tips on soaring over stumbling blocks during the holiday season.

  1. Weigh in every other day to help keep awareness up so that you don’t wait until January 1st to find out you put on five pounds.
  2. Don’t try to lose weight over the holidays but rather make maintaining weight your goal. Otherwise it can be frustrating and lead to overindulgence.
  3. Keep a diary of everything you eat and drink so you can become more aware of when you are swayed to overindulge.
  4. Enjoy food but don’t go overboard. It’s ok to appreciate a sweet treat just remember that small portions are key.
  5. Buy, don’t bake, party desserts. This way you won’t be tempted to lick the spoon or have additional cookies and treats.
  6. Switch up cookie swapping with your friends with something healthier like swamping teas, spices or whole-grain holiday muffins and breads.
  7. Make new healthy-centered traditions with the family like a walk around the block after Thanksgiving dinner instead of diving face first into pumpkin pie.

To coordinate an interview with Kristin Kirkpatrick, please contact Stephanie Jansky at or 216.636.5869.

Knowing Your Family Health History Can be Matter of Life and Death

The holidays are quickly approaching and that most likely means a lot of time will be spent with family. Dr. Kathryn Teng, Director of the Center for Personalized Healthcare at Cleveland Clinic, suggests that families take advantage of holidays to discuss and update family health history information. Even though you cannot change your genetic makeup, knowing your family health history can help reduce your risk of developing health problems by taking preventive measures and adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Dr. Teng offers several tips on what should be discussed with family members regarding health history:

  1. Start by finding out who your family members are on both sides of the family.
  2. Explain to your family how important this information can be for your own health and the health of others in the family.
  3. Collect their ages, gender and causes of death.
  4. For those who are still living, ask about any medical problems or operations they have had along with any conditions being monitored by a doctor. Sometimes knowing what medications they are taking can be helpful in determining what diseases they have.
  5. Some important diseases to look out for include (but not limited to): cancers, early heart attacks or stroke (below the age of 50), other heart conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, miscarriages or death in childhood, mental health disease and addiction.

For more tips and to coordinate an interview with Dr. Teng, please contact Jenny Popis at or 216.444.8853.

Weather May Trigger a Migraine

Food, stress and even daily habits are all known to trigger migraines. But Dr. Stewart Tepper, staff physician at Cleveland Clinic’s Neurological Center for Pain, says that weather can also cause powerful headaches.

Weather-based migraine triggers are often based on extremes like very high or low temperatures, very high or low humidity and barometric pressure change which comes with storms or shifting weather fronts. It’s important for migraine patients to prepare for weather-related migraines and learn about treatment options.

To interview Dr. Tepper on weather-related migraines and different treatment options, please contact Halle Bishop at or 216.445.8592.

Stomach Aches in Children: Recognize the Difference

Parents often hear their kids complain that their stomach is hurting. Sometimes the pain will go away on its own or with simple remedies like ginger ale and rest. Other times a stomach ache can signal something more serious. Dr. Matthew Wyneski, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, offers parents tips on how to recognize the different stomach aches and when an ache may be signaling something more serious.

If diarrhea and vomiting accompanies the stomach ache, it may be gastroenteritis or influenza and should run its course in 7-10 days. Constipation may cause stomach pain as well and adding more fiber to a child’s diet, along with apple juice, may help. It’s important to remember that kids can get heartburn just like adults. Vomiting and upper stomach pains are strong indicators of heartburn and can be treated with antacids.

To interview Dr. Wyneski or to learn more about the different types of stomach pains in children, please contact Abbey Linville at or 216.445.9274.

Diet Soda Can Still Add on the Pounds

A lot of dieters think that drinking diet soda is harmless and won’t add to their waistline. Current research indicates a possible link between artificial sweetener consumption and weight gain along with other serious health risks.

Kristin Kirkpatrick, registered dietician and wellness manager at Cleveland Clinic, states that several studies indicate that daily consumption of diet soda was associated with a greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome – a risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and stroke. There is also an association between consuming artificial sweetened beverages and type 2 diabetes. She also notes that it’s important to still get your sweet fix but do it without artificial sweeteners by adding fresh fruit or natural juice to your water.

To interview Kristin Kirkpatrick on the impact of artificial sweetener consumption and health issues, please contact Stephanie Jansky at or 216.636.5869.