DVT and Birth Control: Anna Frutiger’s Story

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This young woman didn’t know her birth control pills could cause a blood clot in leg that would kill her. Here, Anna’s mother recounts the devastating story.

Anna Frutiger had the world by the tail in the spring of 2010. The 23-year-old Michigan native was busy working toward her longtime dream of becoming a dentist. Athletic, pretty, and smart, Frutiger had just finished her first year at dental school in Pittsburgh when the unimaginable happened. A blood clot in her lungs, called a pulmonary embolism, landed her in a hospital emergency room in mid-May. Frutiger was fighting for her life.

That day was the culmination of a health crisis four months in the making. While training for a triathlon, Frutiger began feeling pain behind her knee and calf. “Her symptoms seemed to come and go — sometimes being very painful and other times they seemed to disappear,” recalled Sara Wassenaar, DDS, Frutiger’s mother, herself a dentist in Alma, Mich. At first she believed her leg pain was muscle-related, but Frutiger told her mother it wasn’t exactly the sort of pain she experienced with other muscle pulls. She was becoming unusually short of breath as well.

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The Microbiome and IBD: A Hot Spot for Research

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If you haven’t already heard about something called the microbiome, you probably will soon. The human microbiome has become one of the hottest areas of medical research, and findings could lead to a revolution in human health. For people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the research could hold the key to future treatment and even prevention.

“The human microbiome is all the microbes that normally live inside the human digestive system,” said Keith Sultan, MD, an assistant professor at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine and a gastroenterologist at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. “For doctors who treat IBD, the big interest is in bacteria that live inside the colon and small intestine. These bacteria may be the key to controlling IBD.”

Everyone has trillions of microbes living inside their digestive tract. These microbes, collectively known as the microbiome, help the body digest food, produce vitamins, prevent digestive tract infections, and control the immune system. Research is showing that a healthy balance of these microbes is essential for maintaining good health.

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5 Health Conditions That Mimic Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Is it RA? Many ailments have similar symptoms. Here’s what you need to know about health conditions that look like rheumatoid arthritis, but aren’t.

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Migraines May Change Brain Structure, Study Finds

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The mind-numbingly painful headaches known as migraines may alter the structure of your brain.

Those excruciating episodes can cause mysterious brain lesions, temporarily destroy gray matter and increase the risk of stroke, according to a study published today in the journal Neurology. Though migraines affect a large segment of the population — at least 18 percent of women and 6 percent of men will have a migraine at some point — scientists are unsure as to why they might change the brain’s structure.

“We found that migraine might be a risk factor for structural changes in the brain, [but] at this point, we don’t know what these abnormalities mean for patients with migraines,” said Sait Ashina, MD, a neurologist at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City and co-author of the study.

Pain in Your Brain

Researchers did a meta-analysis of eight different studies, compiling and summarizing the individual results into one large set of data. The data suggest that patients who have migraines with “auras” are 70 percent more likely to have some sort of brain damage, said Richard Lipton, MD, a neurologist at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York City and also a co-author of the study.

There are two types of migraines — migraines with aura and migraines without. Auras usually indicate that a migraine is on the way and may cause a patient to see flashing lights, bright zig-zag lines or spots of black.

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Dementia Prevention – What Can Be Done?



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Almost everybody knows somebody that has developed dementia.  The progressive loss of cognition and function can have devastating effects on the individual and their family and loved ones.  Furthermore, patients with dementia can develop personality and behavior changes that can significantly strain the function and stability of their personal relationships.

Currently there are no known ways to prevent dementia.  Our inability to prevent dementia is partially due to an incomplete understanding of what causes many of the most common forms of dementia, such as Alzheimers disease.

In the absence of clear treatment strategies to prevent dementia, a plausible next option is to try to treat or prevent risk factors known to cause it.


!!!DementiaPrevention1Dementia, our ‘immoral neglect’


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Welcome to Rhythm of Life

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By T. Jared Bunch, MD

As a practicing electrophysiologist, or heart rhythm specialist, I see daily the effects of heart rhythm disorders.  Unfortunately, electrical problems of the heart are common and are on the rise in our community.  They can present with symptoms that vary broadly from palpitations to sudden death.  The most common heart rhythm problems are often the results of risk factors that we can control or treat such as obesity, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, inactivity, diabetes, and smoking.  These and other risk factors can injure the heart from events such as a heart attack or narrowing of the coronary arteries.  All degrees of injury in turn result in stiffening or weakening of the heart’s pumping chambers (ventricles) and enlargement of the small upper chambers of the heart (atrium).  These injuries in all chambers of the heart leave scar and fibrosis and can cause disruptions to the normal electrical conduction of the heart and electrical disorders develop.


T. Jared Bunch, MD

Dr. T. Jared Bunch a native of Logan Utah graduated from the University of Utah School of Medicine and received alpha omega alpha honors. He completed internal medicine residency and fellowships in cardiovascular diseases and electrophysiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota. He received the Mayo Brothers Distinguished Fellowship Award for clinical care of patients and the Donald C. Balfour Award for meritorious research. He served as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic from 2003-2007, before joining his current partners at Intermountain Heart Rhythm Specialists. He currently directs heart rhythm research at Intermountain Medical Center and is the medical director for heart rhythm services for the Intermountain Healthcare network.


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A Guide to Symptoms of Stroke in Women

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Would you recognize these symptoms of stroke in women? From hiccups to weakness, learn the signs.

Having the hiccups isn’t such a big deal — unless your hiccups are accompanied by other strange symptoms, such as the inability to move an entire side of your body or make your mouth form the words you want to say. You may not know that all these symptoms together can signal stroke in women.

More than 425,000 women will suffer a stroke this year, compared to 375,000 men. Twice as many women die each year from strokes compared to breast cancer. So why aren’t more women aware of the signs of stroke? Time to get educated.

Symptoms of Stroke: Women vs. Men

It’s difficult to predict the signs of stroke in women or in men, says Carolyn Brockington, MD, assistant clinical professor of neurology and director of the Stroke Center at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital’s Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery in New York City. More than any differences between the genders, the unpredictability comes from never knowing what part of the brain will be hit, she explains. Stroke occurs when blood supply is cut off to a portion of the brain, either by a blood clot (ischemic stroke) or by sudden bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). The symptoms caused by the stroke will depend on where in the brain the stroke occurs.




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