The Numerous Health Benefits of Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing pic
Rock Climbing
Image: healthfitnessrevolution.com

Dr. Michael Thomas is a neurosurgeon in Orlando Florida who focuses on minimally invasive spine surgery. Outside his work as a neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Thomas enjoys rock climbing.

Rock climbing has proven to be beneficial to one’s physical and mental health. Though it is a difficult sport, the physical effort it requires can help a person gain strength in the arms, shoulders, thigh muscles, back, neck, and forearms. Rock climbing exercises nearly every muscle group in the body, resulting in improvements to each group’s strength, endurance, and speed. Just one hour of climbing can burn over 700 calories, making it a great exercise for both weight loss and muscle building.

Rock climbing also helps people by requiring them to set goals and accomplish them. Accomplishing goals can result in a significant boost in confidence. Because rock climbing requires so much focus on the task at hand, it can help people become more aware of themselves and their surroundings. It can even relieve stress and boost brain function because it requires use of problem-solving skills. Research on rock climbing continues to reveal the numerous health benefits of this sport.

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Techniques and Benefits of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery pic
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Image: spinetech.com

Dr. Michael Thomas, a neurosurgeon in private practice, has 25 years of professional experience. In that time, neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Thomas has developed and pursued a focus on minimally invasive spinal surgery.

By definition, minimally invasive spinal surgery indicates a procedure that uses special equipment to reduce the disturbance to surrounding tissue. The term is applicable to a number of individual procedures, including vertebral fusion and decompression, though most make use of a tool called a tubular retractor. This small device passes through soft tissue and spreads the muscles so that the surgeon can insert the necessary devices that allow him or her to perform the specific procedure. Fluoroscopic images of the patient’s tissues guide the surgeon’s movements and magnify the surgical area.

These techniques allow surgeons to offer common surgical interventions with less blood loss and reduced risk of damage to the muscle. Many patients experience less postoperative pain and thus need less medication to control discomfort. Rehabilitation is often faster as compared to traditional surgery, while the use of a smaller incision minimizes scarring.

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion – A Proven Spinal Surgery Approach

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion pic
Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion
Image: spine-health.com

Dr. Michael Thomas is a respected neurosurgeon who maintained a general practice in Washington state for more than 15 years. Dr. Michael Thomas recently augmented his qualifications as Board Certified Neurosurgeon through a University of Miami spine fellowship that focused on major deformity correction and minimally invasive surgical techniques. As a speaker at the AANS/CNS Joint Section for Spine and Peripheral Nerve in Phoenix in 2015, Dr. Thomas talked on the subject of anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) surgery.

First developed in the 1950s, ALIF was held back from development as a standard procedure by relatively large nonunion rates in the 30 to 40 percent range. In the 1990s, the development of threaded titanium cages, which were superior in holding the disc space, resulted in higher ALIF fusion rates. This success in turn resulted in an upsurge in ALIF treatments, which, unlike posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF), involve approaching the spine via the abdomen rather the lower back.

A main advantage of ALIF is that it leaves the nerves and muscles of the back undisturbed. Unfortunately, ALIF alone is not always adequate, and it is often undertaken in tandem with a posterior PLIF approach.

About Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Thomas recently completed his spine fellowship through the University of Miami, where he focused on minimally invasive spine surgery (MIS). This differs from traditional spine procedures in that it involves a small incision, which in turn results in less blood loss and muscle damage. Moreover, patients often recover faster with MIS, and require less post-operative rehabilitation. Neurosurgeons like Dr. Michael Thomas and his peers rely on MIS to treat a wide range of conditions, including herniated discs and spinal tumors.

When surgeons perform MIS, they must, after making as small an incision as appropriate, move any obscuring muscle tissue in order to access the spine. Surgeons maneuver through muscle with the help of specialized instruments like tiny video cameras and tubular retractors.

The risks of MIS line up with those of traditional spine procedures, though studies suggest that MIS brings with it a lower risk of infection. Patients ought to talk about such risks with qualified surgical professionals before deciding to undergo this procedure.

New Research Suggests Eyes May Provide Clues to Stroke Outcomes

A neurosurgeon based in Yakima, Washington. In addition to managing his private practice, neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Thomas guided the creation of the Yakima Regional Medical Center Neurosciences and Stroke Care Center.

It is often said that eyes are the window to the soul, but when it comes to neurological conditions, they also may be able to provide invaluable insights about the brain. Recently, a team from the Yakima Neurociences and Stroke Care Center presented at the 2015 International Stroke Conference a study that suggested a potential method of predicting stroke outcomes quickly and noninvasively.

The team, headed by lead researcher and assistant professor of neurology Vishnumurthy Hedna, MD, examined the eyes of 86 patients, taking several measurements on both the first and second days after they were hospitalized for strokes. By examining the thickness of the optic nerve via ultrasound, the team looked for signs of increased pressure from brain swelling, which often occurs in the days following a stroke.

According to the team’s findings, patients with larger optic nerves displayed measurably higher risks of death or disability. For each millimeter of additional thickness, the risk of death was four times higher in patients who experienced an ischemic stroke. In patients who experienced a hemorrhagic stroke, it was six times higher.

Current methods to measure brain swelling rely on spinal taps or devices inserted within the skull, though Dr. Hedna suggests that the method of measuring optic nerves may provide a helpful tool to aid physicians in making informed treatment decisions sooner.

An Introduction to Secure-C Arthroplasty

An accomplished neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Thomas has performed arthroplasty and other spinal procedures. In 2013, Dr. Michael Thomas received certification to perform Secure-C Cervical Artificial Disc replacement procedures.

Designed by Globus Medical, the Secure-C cervical artificial disc presents an innovative alternative to traditional anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). Performed on those with severe pain resulting from abnormalities within the disc, it aims to provide patients with greater mobility by allowing segmental spinal motion. In clinical testing, patients who underwent Cervical-C disc replacement reported lower levels of pain and increased functionality.

According to study data, 84.6 percent of patients who received Secure-C replacement discs performed successfully in range-of-motion tests. The majority of Secure-C patients also reported improvement in function and pain levels on several measurement scales, while 96 percent of the same population reported to be “mostly satisfied” with the results. Furthermore, only 2.5 percent of Secure-C patients required additional surgical intervention, a result that contrasts with 9.7 percent of patients who received ACDF treatment.

AOA Advises against Using Wikipedia to Research Medical Conditions

Dr. Michael Thomas, a neurosurgeon at a solo private practice in Washington, has over 20 years of medical experience. An active member of the professional community, Dr. Michael Thomas belongs to several professional organizations, including the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), a group of over 100,000 osteopathic physicians and medical students.

The AOA recently published a study in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association regarding the accuracy of information found in Wikipedia articles about common medical conditions. The study identified America’s top 10 costliest medical conditions and studied the Wikipedia articles most closely associated with each condition. Results showed that nine out of 10 Wikipedia articles contained factual errors when compared to peer-reviewed medical literature about the same conditions.

The authors of the study note that although Wikipedia is convenient, using it as a primary resource is not beneficial. While consulting with a physician is the best course of action, patients can search for websites that contain peer-reviewed information or sites with medical advisory boards when looking for convenient information.