Tuesday, December 31, 2013

If You Have A Torn Meniscus Read This

A half million U.S. surgeries on knee cartilage may be unnecessary

HELSINKI, Finland, Dec. 30 (UPI) --

Finnish researchers found repairing meniscal cartilage in the knee is no more effective than a placebo and about 500,000 U.S. surgeries may be unnecessary.

Adjunct Professor Teppo Jarvinen of the University of Helsinki and the Helsinki University Central Hospital and Raine Sihvonen of Hatanpaa Hospital in Tampere said the most common diagnosis of the knee that requires treatment is a tear in the meniscus -- the shock-absorbing cartilage of the knee. Most of the treated meniscal tears are degenerative -- caused by aging, not trauma.

The treatment involves the partial removal of the meniscus through keyhole surgery via arthroscopy; a minimally invasive surgical procedure using an arthroscope, a type of endoscope inserted into the joint via a small incision.

The study involved 146 participants, ages 35 to 65. The study participants were randomly assigned to undergo either an arthroscopic partial meniscectomy or placebo surgery where the procedure was simulated.

No one involved in the study -- patients, medical staff or the researchers -- knew if the patient was in the meniscectomy or placebo group.

A year after the procedure, of the patients who underwent the partial meniscectomy, 93 percent would choose the same treatment, while 96 percent of those in the placebo group would choose the same.

"By ceasing the procedures, which have proven ineffective, we would avoid performing 10,000 useless surgeries every year in Finland alone," Sihvonen said. "The corresponding figure for the United States is at least 500,000 surgeries."

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

America's New Ivies

America's New Elite Ivies

By Barbara Kantrowitz and Karen Springen
The nation's elite colleges these days include more than Harvard, Yale and Princeton. Why? It's the tough competition for all the top students. That means a range of schools are getting fresh bragging rights.

You could call it a classic case of supply meeting demand. A generation ago, elite schools were a clearly defined group: the eight schools in the Ivy League, along with such academic powerhouses as Stanford, the University of Chicago, MIT and Caltech. Smaller liberal-arts colleges -- like Williams, Amherst, Middlebury, Swarthmore and Wesleyan -- were the destinations of choice for top students who preferred a more intimate campus. But in the past few decades, the number of college-bound students has skyrocketed, and so has the number of world-class schools. The demand for an excellent education has created an ever-expanding supply of big and small campuses that provide great academics and first-rate faculties.

The bottom line: that one "perfect" school need not break a student's heart. The colleges on the following list -- the "New Ivies" -- are beneficiaries of the boom in top students. We selected them based on admissions statistics as well as interviews with administrators, faculty, students and alumni. In some cases, admissions directors have also provided examples of "overlap" schools -- rivals for applicants to the colleges on our list.

Boston College
Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Founded by Jesuits to teach the sons of Irish immigrants, BC today serves 9,000 undergraduates and 4,500 graduate students. About 70 percent of the student body is Roman Catholic. The school's growing popularity among students from around the country has meant a 39 percent increase in applications in five years. "The greatest thing about BC is that you have the opportunity to pursue your individual passion or take electives," says sophomore Carly DeFilippo of Madison, Conn. Students appreciate the strong academics, but also seek out other opportunities. That means wide participation in student government, theater and intramural sports. High-profile alumni include actor Chris O'Donnell and "Saturday Night Live" star Amy Poehler, who were both onstage while at BC. Boston itself is also a major appeal; the campus is about five miles west of downtown.

Friday, December 20, 2013

BC vs Notre Dame Football At Fenway

This would be so much fun!


Never So Thankful This Christmas

My daughter Shannon received her acceptance to Boston College on Tuesday.    She will be part of the BC Class of 2018 following in the footsteps of her two brothers (Danny, Class of 2011 and John, Class of 2015).   I couldn't be more thankful and blessed.    Boston College has literally made my life both professionally and personally.

I went to school there, met my wife there and have worked there for 25+ years.    There are times when we forget about how blessed we are.    My New Year's resolution is to not lose sight of this fact.

Above is a picture that Shannon posted on Instagram the other day.    She couldn't be more than 5 years old in this picture taken at a BC football game.  (Her brother John is smiling behind her.) I love her post that, "Some things don't change.  Boston College class of 2018."

So proud to be a Boston College Eagle!

Merry Christmas to All!