Stem Cell Transplants: What to Know

Stem Cell Transplants: What to Know

Approximately every four minutes, one person in the U.S. is diagnosed with a blood cancer or disorder such as leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma or myelodysplastic syndromes.

Stem cell transplantation — which replaces diseased or damage stems cells in the patient’s bone marrow with healthy ones — is commonly used to treat various forms of blood cancers and disorders and is one of the most important medical advances in the last 50 years.

It is important for people with blood cancers and disorders to be aware of the two major types of stem cell transplants — autologous and allogeneic — and to know which type of transplant may be right for them.

“When people hear the words ‘stem cell transplant,’ there is a tendency to think about organizing local bone marrow drives to find a suitable donor if a relative is not a match. However, not everyone who could benefit from a stem cell transplant needs a donor,” said Parameswaran Hari, MD, MS, Section Head and Director, Adult Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, and Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “In fact, the majority of stem cell transplants performed in the U.S. are done in patients using their own stem cells. We want to arm potential recipients with the facts so they can have an informed discussion with their physician should the need for a transplant arise.”

Autologous vs. Allogeneic

While both types of stem cell transplants involve infusing healthy stem cells into the patient, the chosen type of transplant depends on the type of blood cancer, the health of the patient’s own marrow, the extent of bone marrow injury caused by prior chemotherapy treatments and the overall health of the patient.

In an autologous transplant, a person receives his or her stem cells, and it’s usually performed so higher doses of chemotherapy can be given to treat blood cancers like multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and amyloidosis.

In an allogeneic transplant, a person receives healthy stem cells from a well-matched donor to replace their own stem cells that have been damaged by disease such as myelodysplastic syndromes.

What are Stem Cells and What Is a Stem Cell Transplant?

The stem cells used in treatment of blood cancers are called hematopoietic or blood forming stem cells. They are located in the bone marrow and mature into either red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets which then migrate into the blood stream. A hematopoietic stem cell transplant is a procedure that collects and stores cells taken from the patient or a closely matched donor. Subsequently, these cells are used to replace damaged stem cells due to disease or cancer treatment. During the transplant, stem cells are infused into the patient’s blood stream and subsequently migrate back into the bone marrow, where they recover and continue to mature into healthy blood cells.

Patients should speak with their physicians to determine whether they are a candidate for a stem cell transplant and to determine which type of transplant may be right for them. Patients and their families can learn more about these procedures by visiting


Taylor And The Makers

Taylor and the Makers
Taylor And The Makers. Renowned for their live performances, this impassioned trio will take you on one of the most engaging musical rides of your life.

Pushing all genres, whilst creating immense atmospheres and personality, is the organic sound of Taylor and The Makers.
This impassioned trio has built a reputation on their live performances.
With a show that’s both absorbing and engaging, they have produced a creative take on roots music.

Since their conception in late 2010, Taylor and The Makers have fast become a festival favourite due to the delivery of an infectious energy and charisma that’s become uniquely their own.

May 2011 saw the worldwide release of T&TM’s debut EP and subsequently saw the band tour the East Coast of Australia, sharing the stage with the likes of Tiki Taane and The John Butler Trio.

2012 will see T&TM back in the studio recording their next release.
Artists We Also Like:
John Butler Trio, Dave Matthews Band, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Ben Harper, Bob Marley, John Mayer, Newton Faulkner.

Click HERE to check out their Gig’s on Facebook.

The Man’s Guide to Selecting Wedding Bands

The Man's Guide to Selecting Wedding Bands

Congratulations to all you soon-to-be grooms. Now that your wedding is only months away, your jewelry collection — just a watch, huh? — is about to increase by as much as 50 percent.

Meaning, it’s time to start thinking about what kind of wedding band you want for yourself.

Wedding bands have become the norm for men in recent years

— 97 percent of grooms in The Knot Market Intelligence’s “2011 Engagement & Jewelry Study” opted for one — so even if you have any doubts, your bride will probably set you straight. That means your only real decision is what kind of band best suits you.

To hear tell it, there are basically two camps: those who “don’t want to compromise” when it comes to quality (platinum bands), and those who feel they cannot afford the best and therefore need to settle (bands made from alternative metals). But, as jewelry expert Michael O’Connor points out, that doesn’t really give the whole picture.

“It’s true that platinum is so rare — 30 times more so than gold — that if all the world’s supply were melted and poured into an Olympic-size pool, it would barely reach your ankles,” O’Connor says. “But men’s platinum bands start at $500.”

That turns out to be pretty comparable to the cost of the two most popular alternative metals: titanium and tungsten carbide. Both are perhaps best known for being used to make fighter jets. Cool, right? Well, yes, but that also means they’re intrinsically lightweight and lack the heft of platinum.

“Most men prefer something that feels masculine on their finger,” says O’Connor.

There are other facts to consider, too. Tungsten and titanium jewelry will need special reconditioning if scratched, and cannot be resized. Even the more popular white gold will require rhodium replating to restore its white color due to wear over time. And while platinum — as all precious metals — can scratch, the metal is simply displaced on the surface of the ring, meaning very little metal is lost in wear. That makes it the most durable family heirloom that will last generations.

Still confused? Then ask yourself this question: How committed are you to your future wife?

If the answer’s what we think, then know that platinum has traditionally symbolized a relationship that will endure since it doesn’t fade or change color. “That’s the kicker for a lot of couples,” says O’Connor.

For more information, visit


Time to Tweak Grandma’s Beloved Recipes

Time to Tweak Grandma's Beloved Recipes

Family matriarchs often covet secret family recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. “My grandmother had some of the best recipes,” said Vivienne Halpern, MD, a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery. “Yet, I know if she were with us today, she would adjust those recipes to provide her family with healthier meals.”

Time-honored recipes are likely high in saturated fats including butter, cream, lard, buttermilk, and fatty cuts of meat. Some family favorites feature fried foods or foods sautéed in fat.

High cholesterol affects one in three adults in America according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although the human body makes cholesterol, foods high in animal fats, such as eggs, cheese and meat, add more cholesterol into the bloodstream.

Over time, the extra cholesterol or plaque inside blood vessels narrows the vascular passageways. This can lead to a stroke, the fourth leading cause of death in America according to the 2010 National Vital Statistics Report. Last year, 137,000 Americans died from strokes.

Dr. Halpern suggests substitute ingredients such as:

* Butter or margarine — replace these ingredients with trans-fat free tub spreads

* Milk — avoid whole milk; use skim or low-fat milk

* Mayonnaise — use cottage cheese or low-fat yogurt instead

* Canned soups — use the low-salt canned soups only

* Breads — select fiber-rich whole grain bread, not highly processed white breads

* Cheese — use the real thing in moderation. Avoid the high-sodium processed “cheese foods.”

Lifestyle changes can also have a positive impact on vascular health. For example, a 10-pound weight loss can result in a five to eight percent reduction in bad cholesterol. Other lifestyle changes include:

* not smoking

* participating in at least 30 minutes of exercise daily

* consuming 1,000 to 1,200 calories daily for women; 1,200 to 1,600 calories daily for men to maintain a healthy body weight.

If lifestyle changes aren’t enough, a vascular specialist can prescribe medication to help lower cholesterol. For vascular health information, visit:


Travelers May Turn to Road Trips as Airfare Climbs

Travelers May Turn to Road Trips as Airfare Climbs
Airlines have attempted to raise airfares 12 different times this year, according to JP Morgan analyst Jamie Baker. Although only four attempts have been successful, the vigor to raise airfares is alarming. With these new pricing demands, road trips could be a more affordable and flexible option as families make travel plans for the holidays.

Those looking to avoid the hassle of spiking airfares, baggage costs and air travel delays may opt to take their trip by car and experience holiday travel from the road. Although gas prices are rising, depending on the length of the trip, the cost of driving could be significantly less expensive than purchasing multiple roundtrip plane tickets at peak holiday prices.

In addition to being inexpensive, road-tripping families may also prefer the flexibility of traveling by car. Driving lets families set their own schedule and gives them the opportunity to stop along their route to enjoy attractions like national parks, beaches or local holiday displays while experiencing local food and culture.

Born from a time when everyone traveled by car, America has a built-in network of small businesses that support road travelers. There are plenty of businesses, including hotels, set along America’s highways that cater to travelers when they need a meal or a rest.

When families need to stop for the night, roadside hotel chains like Knights Inn, which offers affordable room rates, complimentary breakfast and the opportunity for Wyndham Rewards members to redeem their loyalty points for a free night stay, are there to accommodate road-weary travelers.

Being economical does not only mean saving money on airfare. Families who decide to road trip for the holidays will save time and money in the long run by preparing their car for the trip. Getting a tune up and performing small maintenance checks like getting an oil change, checking air pressure in the tires and replacing windshield wipers are recommended before hitting the road. If the family car is not road-ready, renting a car could be a viable and affordable option if it fits within the travel budget.

With the rising cost of airfare possibly putting more cars on the highways this holiday season, a successful road trip will depend on planning. So, travelers should study their route, research local events and investigate cost-saving opportunities like hotel discounts, redeeming points with loyalty programs and preventative car care. It can’t hurt, and it could save on the cost of dinner or a tank of gas.


What it Takes to Overcome Trauma in Your Life

What it Takes to Overcome Trauma in Your Life

When sudden, unexpected things happen that shatter your sense of security, it’s important to keep all lines of communication open. Even if you don’t need the support, someone you care about may.

While you can’t control everything that happens to you or your loved ones in life, you can control your reaction.

David Cunningham, a communication expert and seminar leader for Landmark Education — an international training and development company that offers “The Landmark Forum” and dozens of other programs — suggests the following advice for those coping with loss:

* Accept the reality of the situation. Even when hurricanes, wildfires or other natural disasters approach, many residents are reluctant to evacuate, putting themselves and their rescuers at risk. If your area is told to evacuate, don’t count on a miracle to spare your home — keep your family safe by taking them to a secure location. Make sure that each family member knows what they’re doing, where they’re going and what important documents they must take with them.

* Understand that talking about your experiences will help your family members cope with their trauma and loss. People experience a wide range of emotions after surviving a traumatic event, including anger, grief, guilt, fear and numbness. Open up about your feelings, and others will feel more comfortable sharing theirs.

* Truly listen to others’ thoughts and feelings, even if they perplex you. Maybe you don’t understand a neighbor’s worry over their cell phone or a friend’s frantic concern over a lost pet. But it’s important to create a space in which people can express their feelings. Allow others to speak about their primary concerns without passing judgment or trying to fix the situation — an open ear can mean everything in a time of crisis.

* Become a leader. Maybe you don’t see yourself as a leader in everyday life, but if your family is counting on you, you need to step up. Focus on others. Make sure that everyone is prepared to act calmly and safely, and you will find yourself becoming the leader you never knew you were.

For more tips on surviving traumatic events with grace and resilience, or helping those still coping with loss, visit


Your Ears Could Save Your Eyes


Your Ears Could Save Your Eyes

Podcasts provide a quick and convenient way to learn about your health and wellbeing. On Healthy Vision With Dr. Val Jones, Val Jones, M.D. and a team of experts provide listeners with timely and relevant information and helpful resources to help them manage eye health for themselves and their families. This free series of podcasts is downloadable from iTunes and BlogTalkRadio. Topics touch on vision and everyday activities, from sports and vision to night driving:

UV Protection — Most people know that exposure to the sun can damage their skin. However, did you know that extended exposure to the same harmful ultraviolet rays can also damage your eyes? This episode teaches about the importance of protecting your body from the sun’s rays.

Eye Protection and Protective Eyewear — More than 600,000 eye injuries related to sports and recreation occur each year. In fact, sports represent the number one cause of eye injuries in children under the age of 16. Learn about the importance of eye protection and protective eyewear for children of all ages.

Computer Vision — Studies have found that people who spend many hours a day working or playing games on a computer and/or texting on their cell phones, can suffer from eye discomfort, headaches and fatigue. On this show, an expert explains what happens to our eyes while using these devices and offers tips on what we can do to minimize or prevent eye strain discomfort and fatigue from computer or mobile device use.

Vision and Performance in Sports — Vision, just like speed and strength, is an important component in how well you play your sport. A researcher and an Olympic champion join Dr. Val to talk about the relationship between vision and sports performance.

Driving in the Dark — Nearly one of every three drivers on the road say they have difficulty seeing all or most of the time while driving in the dark. Two experts join Dr. Val to talk about what happens to your eyes in the dark and how you can take better care of your eyes — and your car — to improve your nighttime driving.

Tune in to listen here:

Healthy Vision” with Dr. Val Jones is supported by ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses.

Dr. Val Jones is a paid consultant for VISTAKON® Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

ACUVUE®, VISTAKON® and Healthy Vision” with Dr. Val Jones are trademarks of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

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