West Side Health & Fitness News & Notes
AGMC brings Gamma Knife technology to Akron
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Akron General Medical Center (AGMC) officials announced the hospital system now has one of five Gamma Knife systems in the state to treat neurological tumors and other conditions.
The Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion system is now in use at the Neuro Intensive Care Unit at AGMC. The system is the only one between Columbus and Cleveland, hospital officials said.
The incisionless Gamma Knife, an alternative to the traditional surgical tools that neurosurgeons use to remove cancerous tumors, uses high doses of radiation to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors in the brain and neck. Gamma Knife radiosurgery uses many beams of high-intensity gamma radiation to converge on one or more tumors. Each beam itself is of a relatively low intensity, so the radiation has little effect on healthy brain tissue and is concentrated on the tumor itself, according to AGMC officials.
The addition of the Gamma Knife is one of several advancements made at AGMC in the area of neuroscience, officials there said. The Neuro Intensive Care Unit opened earlier this year and features four operating suites with the latest in technology, officials said. The equipment, such as the Brainsuite intraoperative MRI and intraoperative CT, will provide Akron General surgeons with precise and real-time anatomical information on a patient during surgical procedures.
“Patients can now receive the highest quality care without ever having to leave this community,” said Dr. Georges Markarian, a neurosurgeon and chair of Akron General’s new Neuroscience Institute. “Everything they need is right there, close to home.”
County health officials recommend getting flu shot
SUMMIT COUNTY — According to the Summit County Public Health Department (SCPH), health experts now recommend a yearly vaccination for influenza for everyone 6 months of age and older.
Since influenza viruses are constantly changing and immunity can decline over time, annual vaccination is recommended. Flu shots only protect against respiratory influenza; they do not prevent colds, bronchitis, other respiratory infections or the “stomach flu” (nausea/vomiting/diarrhea).
Respiratory illnesses are spread through droplets from the nose and mouth that get into another person’s nose or mouth or onto objects a person can touch and then transfer the germs to his nose or mouth, according to SCPH officials. General steps that can reduce respiratory illnesses include:
• Wash hands frequently; use hand sanitizer gels if hand washing is not available.
• Cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and throw it away promptly.
• In case a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your shoulder or elbow.
• Someone with an acute illness should stay home to avoid infecting those who are well.
• Clean shared surfaces (door knobs, telephones, etc.) frequently.
Influenza is a serious disease in the very young, the very old and for those with certain medical conditions, according to SCPH officials. It is responsible for about 30,000 deaths in the United States each year.
Influenza is an acute viral illness that starts suddenly with fever, headache, sore throat, cough and body aches that can last up to 10 days.
Flu vaccines are offered in many doctors’ offices and clinics, as well as retail pharmacies, schools and colleges and universities.
To find a location to obtain the vaccine, visit www.health map.org/flushot or call 330-926-5660.
Kathleen Folkerth and Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.
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