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October 2013

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.

October 2013

Diabetes and the Flu

People with uncontrolled diabetes are at higher risk to have various complications if they get the flu. While everyone has a chance of getting the flu, having diabetes weakens the immune system making it harder to fight off viruses that cause flu.

Marwan Hamaty, MD, endocrinologist at Cleveland Clinic says that flu can worsen blood glucose control and may lead to more serious conditions like bacterial pneumonia. People with uncontrolled diabetes and those that have other chronic conditions such as chronic kidney disease are at highest risk.

Dr. Hamaty says people with diabetes should take extra precaution to protect themselves from getting the flu. Getting the flu vaccine shot is the most effective way to prevent the flu and is recommended over the nasal spray vaccine option.

To learn more about this topic or to schedule an interview, please contact Caroline Auger at or 216.636.5874.


Cyberbullying, like any bullying, often involves mean behavior such as threats, harassment and negative comments that can demean or embarrass a child or teen. It happens online in texts, emails, video game chats and social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.

Cyberbullying is particularly dangerous because it can happen 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Pictures or messages that are sent can be shared, go viral and cause pain and hurt to a child long after the initial comments or pictures were posted.

Emma Raizman, MD, Cleveland Clinic Pediatrician says there are several warning signs to pay attention to of a child who may be the target of cyberbullying. This includes:

  • They are suddenly withdrawn.
  • They don’t want to go to school.
  • They seem to have low self-esteem.
  • They are scared or anxious without a known reason.

To learn more about this topic or to coordinate an interview, please contact Liz Dunlop at or call 216.445.1991.

Acupuncture for Athletes

More and more athletes are learning about and turning to acupuncture for muscle pain relief, relaxation and performance enhancement. Jamie Starkey, acupuncturist at Cleveland Clinic, says that research shows that acupuncture naturally relieves pain and has an anti-inflammatory effect.

Starkey says acupuncture not only helps with general muscle soreness related to working out or playing sports, but it can also help decrease muscle spasms and cramping. Acupuncture relaxes tight muscles, releases endorphins, reduces inflammation and increases blood flow throughout the body.

Starkey says that acupuncture yields the best result as part of a multi-disciplinary approach to treating sports injuries or muscle soreness in combination with heat, ice and pain medication.

To learn more about this topic or to schedule an interview, please contact Bridget Peterlin at or 216.444.5703.

Scary Halloween Food Allergies

Forget ghosts, goblins and ghouls. For parents of children with food allergies, the most frightening part of Halloween can be the treats. Between harvest festivals, school parties and trick-or-treat night, food is a big part of Halloween.

Unfortunately, children with food allergies often can’t share the treats their classmates enjoy, which can make them feel left out or embarrassed. Here are some tips from Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Sandra Hong, a food allergist, on how you can make sure your treats don’t end up in the trash – or worse yet, accidentally in your child’s mouth if they contain allergens.

  1. Try non-edible goodies: Halloween-themed pencils, erasers or stickers are good alternatives to candy for class parties.
  2. Avoid accepting homemade snacks: “It’s very difficult for parents of children with food allergies to feel comfortable with homemade snacks,” Dr. Hong says.
  3. For baked goods, consider bakery-made: Baked goods from a bakery are a safer bet than homemade, especially if they come with an ingredients list.
  4. Be creative with fruit and veggies: If you must bring food to a Halloween holiday party, Dr. Hong recommends bringing cut-up fruit or vegetables as an option.
  5. Consider fruity, sweet and non-chocolate: Most popsicles are also hypoallergenic, Dr. Hong says. Hard candies and treats that do not contain chocolate are also a safe bet.

To learn more about this topic or to schedule an interview, please contact Bridget Peterlin at or 216.444.5703.

Taking Steps to Prepare for Flu Season

Influenza (the flu) is a serious, contagious respiratory illness that affects 5-20% of the U.S. and hospitalizes over 200,000 people every year due to complications. The flu season typically runs from October – March, peaking in January and February. However, last year was a perfect example of just how unpredictable flu seasons can be.

Susan Rehm, MD, Vice Chair of the Department of Infectious Disease at Cleveland Clinic, says that early flu symptoms can include fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. Sudden onset of symptoms can be a clue that it’s flu rather than a cold. Dr. Rehm offers the following tips to help prevent from getting and spreading the flu.

  1. The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine. Everyone age 6 months and older should get vaccinated each year.
  2. Use everyday preventive actions like frequent hand washing and avoiding touch to your nose, mouth and eyes, to stop the spread of germs.
  3. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of any tissues you use.
  4. If your doctor prescribes them, take flu antiviral drugs.

To learn more about this topic or to coordinate an interview, please contact Jenny Popis at or 216.444.8853.

Recent Breakthroughs that are Transforming Breast Cancer Care

Dr. Jame Abraham, MD, director of the breast oncology program at Cleveland Clinic lists the following breakthroughs that are transforming breast cancer care:

  1. A Pill for Prevention: Women ages 35 or older who are at increased risk for breast cancer should discuss with their doctor the potential benefit of taking one of two FDA-approved selective estrogen receptor modulator medications to combat the threat.
  2. The First Drug for Early-Stage Breast Cancer: The FDA has approved Perjeta, the first drug for pre-surgical treatment of early-stage breast cancer.
  3. A High-Tech Gene Test to Predict Risk of Recurrence: The FDA has cleared a new test that calculates the 10-year risk that woman with certain types of early-stage breast cancer will suffer a recurrence.
  4. A Vaccine against Breast Cancer: Cleveland Clinic researchers have discovered that a single vaccination can prevent breast cancer in mice that are genetically predisposed to the disease. Clinical trials in humans are expected to begin in 2015.
  5. New Weapons against Triple Negative Breast Cancer: Triple negative breast cancer is the most deadly form of breast cancer. Large genetic studies have revealed that triple negative breast cancer has molecular similarities to certain ovarian cancers, a discovery that could lead to new therapies.

To learn more about this topic or to coordinate an interview, please contact Stephanie Jansky at or 216.636.5869.