Knee surgery goes robotic at Swedish/Issaquah

March 20, 2012

Jeff Pochop, 69, of Bellevue, is happy to be back on his feet so quickly after orthopedic knee surgery with the new MAKOplasty robotic system helped give him a partial knee replacement Jan. 20. By David Hayes

Jeff Pochop said he plans to be physically active until he’s at least 100 years old. Now 69, the former athlete stays fit biking and hiking so he can attend his annual fishing and hunting trips with his buddies.

Unfortunately, an old football injury had been slowing him down lately — he partially tore an interior ligament in his left knee while playing football for the Harvard Crimson back in the 1960s.

Temporary fixes were no longer working — he’d had an orthoscopic procedure to clean it up about 20 years ago and a series of rooster comb injections about six months ago. It was starting to affect his tennis game and his outings hunting chucker and pheasant.

“Even my hunting buddies had noticed I’d developed a limp,” the Bellevue resident said.

So he went back to the well one more time. His doctor, orthopedic surgeon Gregory Komenda, had also operated on injuries to Pochop’s shoulder and elbow. And the timing couldn’t have been better to try something new — robotics.

Pochop became one of Swedish/Issaquah’s first patients to be operated on using MAKOplasty. It’s a new partial resurfacing procedure developed to treat early- to mid-stage osteoarthritis, a viable alternative to total knee replacement or traditional manual partial knee resurfacing, Komenda said.

A surgeon with Proliance Orthopedic & Sports Medicine for the past 15 years, Komenda has been performing MAKOplasty at Swedish’s Seattle location for a little over a year.

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Washingtonians marry less, divorce more, live longer

March 20, 2012

In 2010, 909 couples married on Aug. 21 — the biggest day for weddings in the Evergreen State.

The total — and other figures from the state Center for Health Statistics — offer a snapshot of life and death in Washington.

Washingtonians live longer than the national average. The latest figures from the Center for Health Statistics also indicate more divorces, fewer pregnancies and better prenatal care for expectant mothers.

Statewide, the number of pregnancies, births and abortions continues to drop.

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Dyslexia definition now covers wider range of reading disorders

March 20, 2012

There are several myths about the reading disability known as dyslexia, according to Cornell Atwater, director of Issaquah’s Learning Rx center.

For one thing, and perhaps most importantly, dyslexia has nothing to do with mixing up letters. People who have dyslexia do not necessarily see words differently than other people. Further, persons diagnosed with dyslexia do not have one single form of reading disorder.

“Dyslexia really encompasses anyone who has difficulty reading,” Atwater said.

For her part, Kathy Gottlieb agreed. Gottlieb is a literacy TOSA (teacher on special assignment) with the Issaquah School District. She said the district does not use the word “dyslexia” in describing student reading problems.

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Flu season arrives late in Washington, has not yet peaked

March 20, 2012

Influenza is on the rise in communities throughout Washington, as the slow-to-arrive affliction starts to increase.

State health officials said predicting the timing and severity of each flu season is complicated. Though the flu most commonly peaks in February, peak flu activity has not yet occurred in Washington. The traditional flu season can last as late as May.

Officials said everyone 6 months and older should receive a flu shot each year. Some children under 9 may need a pair of doses for complete protection.

The flu causes fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches and fatigue.

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School leaders prepare for potential problems as food allergies rise

February 14, 2012

Students gather for lunch last week in the cafeteria of Issaquah Middle School. If a student has a food allergy, he or she can be put at an isolated table. By Tom Corrigan

There is absolutely no doubt that instances of food allergies have increased, said physician and allergist Marlene Peng, of Minor and James Medical in Seattle.

“No one knows quite why,” added Peng, though she did say there are several theories.

The issue of food allergies hit home in the Issaquah School District last month when an Issaquah High School student suffered what was described as a severe reaction to kiwi. From the school’s point of view, that specific issue is moot, as the student withdrew from local schools Jan. 26. Withdrawal forms do not require a reason for leaving the school and no reason was given in this instance, Sara Niegowski, district executive director of communications, said in response to a public records request.

In the past, officials have said the district had a personalized health plan in place to deal with the student’s allergy. Creation of a unique health plan is one of several standardized steps the district takes when notified of any student health issue, including allergies, said Jan Stromgren, a registered nurse serving Pine Lake Middle School, who is also the nursing team leader for the district.

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Issaquah youth kicks rare form of epilepsy

January 17, 2012

At its worst, epilepsy with myoclonic absences caused 1,000 seizures a day

Gabe Uribe, 10, a proficient soccer player, shows his prowess by kicking the ball held by his sister Ava, 7, and his mother Cindy. By Greg Farrar

Cindy Uribe can remember when her 10-year-old son was just 16 months old, turning heads on the soccer pitch.

“We’d gone to the Seattle University’s soccer field for a pickup game. Gabe had an infant’s soccer ball and was dribbling it up and down the sideline,” she recalled. “The adults were amazed by Gabe showing such control at such a young age.”

However, Gabe is just now regaining those promising soccer skills. At age 3, something happened. A bout with a rare form of epilepsy sidetracked all of his motor skills.

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Issaquah and Sammamish Health & Safety Fair features free services

January 17, 2012

The eighth annual Issaquah and Sammamish Health & Safety Fair returns Feb. 11 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Pickering Barn, 1730 10th Ave. N.W.

There is no admission fee and all ages are welcome.

More than 40 local vendors will discuss their services and wares, including Balance Physical Therapy, Banic Chiropractic and Dr. Troy Schmedding.

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National Health Observances for January

January 17, 2012

Cervical Health Awareness Month

National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Thyroid Awareness Month

National Birth Defects Prevention Month

National Radon Action Month

National Folic Acid Awareness Week Jan. 8-14

Source: 2012 National Health Observances, National Health Information Center, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.

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Health Support Groups

January 17, 2012

Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Support Group: 6-7:30 p.m. second Thursday, Aegis of Issaquah, 780 N.W. Juniper St., 313-7364

Alzheimer’s and Caregiver Family Support Group: 6-7:30 p.m. second Thursday, Faith United Methodist Church, 3924 Issaquah-Pine Lake Road S.E., 313-7364.

Alzheimer’s Association caregiver support groups: A free information and support group for care partners, family members and friends of individuals with dementia meets the second Thursday from 6:30-8 p.m. at Faith United Methodist Church, 3924 Issaquah-Pine Lake Road S.E. Call 486-7621.

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Prevent the spread of cold and flu germs

December 20, 2011

Ten easy steps to keep you and others healthier this holiday season

Each year, millions of people suffer from a cold or flu, and this year is likely to be no different. Between 15 million and 61 million people in the United States will get the flu this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Temperature taking is a key indicator of flu patterns and should be taken seriously, according to Mary Pappas, the New York-area school nurse credited with first alerting officials about the H1N1 outbreak in 2009.

“The flu usually comes with a fever while the common cold does not, so taking your temperature is the easiest way to tell the difference,” she said.

A high or prolonged fever can be an indicator of when to seek medical attention, so it’s important to monitor your temperature on an ongoing basis when you are sick.

Pappas has been taking temperatures for nearly 30 years and, as a school nurse, takes as many as 50 per day. But whether it’s one temperature or 100, she maintains that the most important consideration is that it be accurate. While there are many types of thermometers available, Pappas favors the Exergen TemporalScanner because of its proven accuracy and ease-of-use; all it requires is a simple swipe across the forehead.

“Whether it’s a student at my school or a parent at home, I know taking a temperature can be a challenge, especially with young children who may be uncomfortable and fussy,” Pappas said. “What I love about the TemporalScanner is that it’s not invasive like an ear, rectal or oral thermometer. No matter what a student comes to see me for, I’m able to get an accurate reading. It’s so easy to use that you can take someone’s temperature even when they are sleeping and not disturb them.”

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