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Samir Becic



Q:  How does eating healthy and exercising impact my health?

A: With proper exercise and nutrition, you can control, manage or completely avoid 60-70% of illnesses such as: heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, colon cancer, breast cancer, stroke, heart attack, arthritis, etc.  Working out improves your confidence and self-esteem. It aids you in getting better sleep and giving you more energy and stamina throughout the day. Exercising slows down the aging process, improves sexual performance and restores libido. Last but not least, a healthy lifestyle builds and maintains healthy bones, muscles and joints while simultaneously increasing your immune system.

Q: How is my social life affecting my health?

A: Being healthy isn’t just a lack of illness, it’s a positive balance between body, mind and soul. In order for your social life to affect your life in a positive way, you need to create a healthy environment to socialize in. Socialize in a physically friendly a environment with walks in the park, meeting in an exercise facility for a class, biking, hiking, volleyball or tennis. Surround yourself with people who believe in healthy lifestyle and encourage your friends to join you. If you need to meet in a restaurant or a bar, choose healthy foods and low calorie drinks to stay on track.

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Health & Wellness

Surgeons Implant Artificial Heart


Doctors at the Texas Heart Institute (THI) at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital (SLEH) have successfully implanted the first continuous-flow device that mimics what might be considered a total artificial heart in a desperately ill patient facing imminent death. Because the implanted pumps provide the blood flow that the sick heart cannot, they act as a total artificial heart.

Drs. Bud Frazier and Billy Cohn earlier this year implanted the two approved devices into 55-year-old Houstonian Craig A. Lewis in a last attempt to save his life.

Lewis had a rare condition called cardiac amyloidosis, a disease in which the heart is infiltrated by an abnormal protein produced elsewhere in the body. Patients with this affliction are not candidates for heart transplantation because the amyloidosis would probably recur in the transplanted heart.

Currently in early market release, preliminary results for the device have been groundbreaking.

“We have seen a significant difference in function in this device over the other 200-plus feet we have used here at the DeBakey VA,” said Mark Benveniste, R.N., B.S., C.P., MEDVAMC certified prosthetist. “It is the most improvement over conventional prosthetics in the last 20 years.”

The continuous-flow device consists of two turbine-like blood pumps implanted to replace the two sides of the patient’s removed heart. The pumps act as a man-made substitute for the natural heart. The devices were used in what is called an off-label use, that is, a use for something other than an originally intended indication. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) allows physicians to use devices off-label in cases when they are clinically deemed the best therapy or, in this case, the only chance the patient has for meaningful survival.

Lewis had been supported by an external blood pump, a dialysis machine, and a breathing machine for two weeks before doctors decided to try this approach.

Because the device produces continuous flow, Lewis does not have a heartbeat, or a pulse. An EKG records no rhythm because the heart has been removed. Extensive research performed at the Cullen Cardiovascular Research Lab has shown that this unusual physiology is well tolerated by mammals. Based on their results over the last five years, Drs. Cohn and Frazier believed that this device was an option for Lewis. Less than one week after the device’s implantation, Lewis was able to sit up in bed and speak with family members.

“This really is medical history in the making. The demonstration that one can support the human cardiovascular system with two implanted continuous-flow pumps is remarkable and very encouraging. With this new concept in cardiac replacement, we are much closer to realizing a meaningful off-the-shelf replacement,” said Dr. James T. Willerson, THI president.

Surgery for Diabetes?

Physicians at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have begun enrollment for a pilot study on a promising surgical approach for the management of type 2 diabetes.

The procedure being tested is designed for adults who have type 2 diabetes and who are overweight or obese but not morbidly obese. Involving surgery to the small intestine and stomach, the procedure, which is called an ileal transposition with sleeve gastrectomy, will be performed at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.

The researchers’ goal is to enhance the ability of a person with type 2 diabetes to maintain a normal blood sugar level by moving a section of intestine closer to the stomach and reducing the size of the stomach.


Deep Brain Stimulation

A 65-year-old woman with Parkinson’s disease has become the first patient in the U.S. to receive a new device for deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy.

Dr. Richard Simpson, neurosurgeon at the Methodist Neurological Institute in Houston, was the first physician to implant Medtronic’s Activa® SC neurostimulator. The single-channel Activa SC is the latest addition to Medtronic’s Activa portfolio of DBS systems, which treat the symptoms of advanced Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor in the U.S. and Europe. The device is also approved for dystonia treatment in Europe.