Toward Pain-Free Gardening
(NAPSI)—You can lessen the aches and pains that can come from
growing a beautiful garden if you heed the advice of gardening expert and
author Melinda Myers:
• Vertical Gardening—Garden
up. Grow plants on a blank wall, fence or post. Height makes gardening easier
and creates visual interest.
• Choose Your Tools Wisely—Look
for ergonomic grips, long handles and ratcheted tools to keep your posture
upright, give you more power and make the grip easier.
• Leverage Heavy Loads—Split
up large loads into smaller increments. Use everyday items such as a wagon or
winter sled to help you move supplies around.
• Take Breaks-Work five—minute
breaks into your gardening schedule to lower your likelihood of injury. Try
easy back bends from the waist and don't work for more than 20 to 30
minutes straight. Stay attentive to weather and flexibility: Do additional
stretches or warm-ups if you feel stiff or cold.
• Keep Tools Sharp—File
trowels, shears and shovels. Dull tools mean more strain.
If you follow all these tips and still wind up with back pain or you
already have joint or low back pain, here are a few tips to alleviate acute
• Heat and/or ice treatments
• Exercise, stretching techniques
• Visit a health care provider, such as a physical therapist or
chiropractor, if after four weeks the pain has not lessened.
• Try over-the-counter medications such as Omron's 100 percent
drug-free, nonprescription, electrotherapy pain relief unit. It can begin
managing lower back pain, muscle and joint pain in about 15 minutes.
"As an avid gardener with two knee replacements, I'm always in
search of alternative tactics to combat joint pain," said Myers. "Electrotherapy
treatment lets me garden without needing to stop due to the joint pain that
often comes with kneeling, reaching and lifting."
The unit uses Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve
Stimulation (TENS) technology to deliver gentle, massagelike pulses for on-the-spot pain relief. Electrotherapy is commonly used by
physical therapists to treat muscle and joint pain.
"Electrotherapy has proven effective in physical therapy for more
than 30 years," said Dr. Jeffery Mannheimer,
a physical therapist on the forefront of electrotherapy research. "The
effect of such therapy is immediate, repeatable and drug-free, making it an
alternative choice for chronic and acute pain relief."
The unit is the first over-the-counter TENS product available nationally
at major retail stores, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and other
retailers in the pain products area, as well as online retailers such as
Amazon.com, Drugstore.com, Walgreens.com and store.omronhealthcare.com.
To further help people reach their lifestyle goals, including enjoying
gardening more, the company created the Great Garden Makeover Sweepstakes.
Visit www.omronpainrelief.com/sweeps before June 22 and enter for a chance to win $5,000 toward your dream garden,
plus a one-hour free garden consultation with Myers. Additional prize packs,
which will be given away weekly, include a pain relief unit, replacement pads
and "Melinda's Garden Moments" DVD.
For additional tips on gardening and managing lower back and joint pain,
For further information, visit www.omronhealthcare.com.
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It Takes A Global Village To End Multiple Sclerosis
(NAPSI)—Creating a world free of multiple sclerosis (MS) requires an
international collaborative effort. Every May, MS Societies around the world
unite on World MS Day, this year on May 29, to raise awareness about MS.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, unpredictable disease that affects the
central nervous system.
MS can cause blurred vision, loss of balance, slurred speech, numbness,
extreme fatigue, problems with memory, paralysis, blindness and more. These
may be permanent or may come and go. Most people are diagnosed between ages
20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men having the
disease. MS affects more than 2.1 million worldwide.
Advances in research are moving people closer to stopping the disease,
restoring function and ending MS forever. In less than two decades, MS has
moved from being an untreatable disease to one where there are now treatment
options for those with relapsing MS, the most common form of the disease.
More new therapies are in the pipeline offering hope to people with all forms
of MS, but so far there is still no way to stop MS or to restore lost
The National MS Society is supporting 350 research projects around the
world, including the initial launch of the first International Progressive MS
Collaborative, the largest effort to date to speed research to stop
progressive forms of MS.
These efforts to connect those who want to stop MS, restore nerve function
damaged by MS and end the disease for all time are already leading to a
growing number of victories:
• The International MS Genetics Consortium has discovered new MS
• New and creative platforms to bring together top scientists are
advancing research in the link between vitamin D and MS, pediatric MS, and
quality-of-life strategies to improve long-term disease management outcomes.
• There is better understanding of the scientific mechanisms that
lead to disease progression and to accelerating the development of new
But there is still much to do before the world is free of MS:
• Whether you volunteer, bike, walk, advocate, educate, support—every
connection counts and moves us closer to a world without MS.
• Learn more about the World MS Day campaign at national
MSsociety.org and explore the personal mottos of young people affected by MS,
including Breea, who was diagnosed with MS at age 18 and is studying to
become a nurse.
Find out how you can become a part of the global movement and what mottos
help guide people living with MS. Visit www.nationalMSsociety.org.
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Aiding Communication—Baby Boomers' Key To A Healthy Marriage
(NAPSI)—What did you say? Can you repeat that, please? Hearing loss makes
communication a challenge, which unfortunately may put relationships—in
particular, a marriage—in peril. Feelings of anger, frustration and
resentment are often experienced by those suffering from hearing loss, as
well as by spouses who are constantly barraged with having to repeat
themselves or talk louder.
With 36 million people affected by hearing loss, according to the
Academy of Audiology (AAA), there are,
no doubt, a significant number of marriages suffering from a lack of
communication. In fact, in a
survey of baby boomers conducted by Energizer Battery, Inc., nearly half (48
percent) of those surveyed said their marriages have suffered because of
their spouse's hearing loss. While the best way to treat hearing loss is with
a hearing aid, the AAA also cites that only one out of every five adults who
needs a hearing aid actually wears one. What is it about hearing aids that
people avoid? For some, perhaps it is vanity or denial, but for most it is
the cost factor, as hearing aids are not covered by Medicare or most
insurance plans and can cost up to $3,000 per ear.
The good news is that thanks to Dr. Sreek Cherukuri, M.D., Board-Certified Ear, Nose & Throat
Ill., those who can't
afford hearing aids no longer have to suffer through silent marriages.
In 2009, Dr. Cherukuri pioneered the affordable
hearing aid by creating MDHearingAid®, a line of
aesthetically discreet, behind-the-ear-design hearing aids.
Recently, the brand launched its newest innovation, the physician-created,
FDA-registered and audiologist-tested MDHearingAid AIR, one of the smallest, digital and affordable hearing aids-just $350 per
ear-featuring telecoil technology integration (or
t-coil), typically reserved for expensive hearing aids. T-coil in the AIR
functions as a wireless antenna that links to sound systems found in smartphones, landline telephones and loop-equipped public
spaces, such as many churches and movie theaters, to deliver customized sound
and seamless transitions between listening environments.
If you or your spouse experiences any of the signs below, Dr. Cherukuri urges you to see an otolaryngologist or
physician to be examined and counseled on purchasing the best hearing aid
Muffled hearing and asking your
spouse to repeat constantly.
• If your other half is covering his or her ears because the TV is too
loud and you still can't hear it, it's time for a hearing test.
Difficulty understanding what your
partner is saying in public spaces.
• When there are competing voices or background noise and you cannot
distinguish the specific words, it can be a sign of hearing loss.
Avoiding conversation and social
• If you've always loved going out but suddenly it is "too much," once
again being able to hear those you love will make conversation more fun.
• All of the above situations can cause depression and isolation. A good
course of action to pursue is a hearing test and trying a hearing aid to be
sure the depression is not hearing related.
For more information on hearing loss, visit www.mdhearingaid.com.
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Advancements In Metastatic Melanoma
(NAPSI)—Cancer is one of the most widespread diseases and the leading
cause of death worldwide. Nearly one in 24 Americans are living with some form
of cancer, so chances are you know someone with the disease.
While the rates of certain cancers have declined due to increased
screening tests, other cancers continue to grow in numbers. This includes
melanoma, a form of skin cancer in which cells that produce the skin's
pigment—called melanocytes—grow out of control.
Melanoma accounts for about 5 percent of all skin cancers, yet it is the
cause of the vast majority of skin cancer deaths. Metastatic melanoma is the
deadliest form of the disease. It occurs when cancer spreads beyond the
surface of the skin to other organs such as the lymph nodes, lungs, brain or
other areas of the body. For the past 30 years, the number of people
diagnosed with this cancer has been rising.
"Historically, treating metastatic melanoma has been a challenge due to
limited treatment options, resulting in an average survival rate of just six
months and 75 percent of patients dying within a year of diagnosis. However,
we now have additional treatment options that are helping us fight metastatic
melanoma," said Asim Amin, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the immunotherapy
program at the Levine Cancer Institute in
"One of these treatment options is Yervoy, also known as ipilimumab. Upon its
approval by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in 2011, it became the
first treatment for metastatic melanoma to significantly extend survival for
patients in a phase III study, which was a pivotal moment in the treatment of
Yervoy® (ipilimumab) can cause serious side effects in many parts of the
body, which can lead to death. These serious side effects may include:
inflammation of the intestines (colitis) that can cause tears or holes
(perforation) in the intestines; inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) that
can lead to liver failure; inflammation of the skin that can lead to severe
skin reaction (toxic epidermal necrolysis); inflammation of the nerves that
can lead to paralysis; inflammation of hormone glands (especially the
pituitary, adrenal and thyroid glands) that may affect how these glands work;
and inflammation of the eyes.
These side effects are most likely to begin during treatment; however,
side effects can show up months after the last infusion. Healthcare providers
should perform blood tests, such as liver and thyroid function tests, before
starting and during treatment with Yervoy. The oncologist may decide to delay
or stop Yervoy (ipilimumab).
Patients should call their healthcare provider if they have any signs or
symptoms or they get worse. Even seemingly mild symptoms can lead to severe
or even life-threatening conditions if not addressed. Patients should not try
to treat symptoms themselves.
Rick is a patient who was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma. "I was frightened
when I was diagnosed with this disease. I had been through multiple
treatments, but it kept coming back. After much discussion with my physician,
we decided Yervoy may be the best option for me." Throughout the course of
his treatment, Rick had strong support from his family and friends. "Having
that support helped me greatly and gave me renewed hope."
Extending Survival for Some
Yervoy is approved for the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma
or melanoma that cannot be removed through surgery (unresectable), and works
through the immune system. Yervoy may not work in all patients and may affect
healthy cells, too, which could result in serious side effects in many parts
of the body. Some of these side effects may lead to death.
In a phase III clinical study, some Yervoy patients lived much longer than
patients who did not receive it. People treated with Yervoy lived a median of
10 months, compared to a median of six months for those who were treated with
an experimental drug alone. Of the 676 patients in this trial, 137 patients
(20 percent) received Yervoy (ipilimumab) alone, 136 patients (20 percent)
received another experimental drug alone, and 403 patients (60 percent)
received both treatments. In the trial, patients were previously treated with
one or more of the following: aldesleukin, dacarbazine, temozolomide,
fotemustine or carboplatin. The primary goal was to measure how long patients
lived with Yervoy in combination with the experimental drug compared to the
experimental drug alone. Over the course of the study, treatment with Yervoy
decreased the risk of death by about one-third compared to patients who
received the experimental drug. Individual results will vary. It is important
for patients to ask their doctors if Yervoy is right for them.
As follow-up of these patients continued, it was estimated that 46 percent
of patients taking Yervoy alone were alive at one year and 24 percent were
alive at two years. By comparison, 25 percent of patients taking the
experimental drug alone were alive at one year and 14 percent at two years.
In addition to the serious side effects, the most common side effects of
Yervoy are tiredness, diarrhea, itching and rash. These are not all of the
possible side effects of Yervoy. Please see the Important Safety Information
below for additional information.
Talk to your healthcare provider about any questions you may have about
your health or Yervoy. To learn more, visit www.Yervoy.com.
(ipilimumab) can cause serious side effects in many parts of your body, which
can lead to death. These serious side effects may include inflammation of the
intestines (colitis) that can cause tears or holes (perforation) in the
intestines; inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) that can lead to liver
failure; inflammation of the skin that can lead to severe skin reaction
(toxic epidermal necrolysis); inflammation of the nerves that can lead to
paralysis; inflammation of hormone glands (especially the pituitary, adrenal
and thyroid glands) that may affect how these glands work; and inflammation
of the eyes.
side effects are most likely to begin during treatment; however, side effects
can show up months after your last infusion. Your healthcare provider should
perform blood tests, such as liver and thyroid function tests, before
starting and during treatment with Yervoy. Your oncologist may decide to
delay or stop Yervoy.
your healthcare provider if you have any signs or symptoms or they get worse.
Even seemingly mild symptoms can lead to severe or even life-threatening
conditions if not addressed. Do not try to treat symptoms yourself.
side effects may include:
Inflammation of the intestines (colitis) that can cause tears or holes (perforation) in the intestines.
Signs and symptoms of colitis may include:
o diarrhea (loose stools) or more bowel
movements than usual
o blood in your stools or dark, tarry,
o stomach pain (abdominal pain) or
Inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) that can lead to liver failure. Signs and symptoms of hepatitis may include:
o yellowing of your skin or the whites of
o dark urine (tea colored)
o nausea or vomiting
o pain on the right side of your stomach
o bleeding or bruising more easily than
Inflammation of the skin that can lead to severe skin reaction (toxic
epidermal necrolysis). Signs and
symptoms of severe skin reactions may include:
o skin rash with or without itching
o sores in your mouth
o your skin blisters and/or peels
Inflammation of the nerves that can lead to paralysis. Symptoms of nerve problems may include:
o unusual weakness of legs, arms or face
o numbness or tingling in hands or feet
Inflammation of hormone glands (especially the pituitary, adrenal and thyroid
glands) that may affect how these glands work. Signs and symptoms that your glands are not working
properly may include:
o persistent or unusual headaches
o unusual sluggishness, feeling cold all
the time, or weight gain
o changes in mood or behavior such as
decreased sex drive, irritability or forgetfulness
o dizziness or fainting
Inflammation of the eyes. Symptoms
o blurry vision, double vision or other
o eye pain or redness
• Tell your healthcare provider if you are
pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Yervoy (ipilimumab) may cause
stillbirth, premature delivery and/or death of your unborn baby. Before
starting Yervoy, tell your healthcare provider if you are breast-feeding. It
is advised that nursing mothers do not breast-feed while taking Yervoy.
your healthcare provider about:
• Your health problems if you:
o have an active condition where your
immune system attacks your body (autoimmune disease), such as ulcerative
colitis, Crohn's disease, lupus or sarcoidosis.
o had an organ transplant, such as a kidney
o have liver damage from diseases or drugs
o have any other medical conditions
• All the medicines you take including:
o all prescription and nonprescription
o steroids or other medicines that lower
your immune response
o herbal supplements
You should not start a new medicine before
you talk with your healthcare provider who prescribes you Yervoy.
Common Side Effects:
The most common side effects of Yervoy
(ipilimumab) include tiredness, diarrhea, itching and rash.
These are not all of the possible side
effects of Yervoy. If you have any questions about your health or medicines,
talk to your healthcare provider.
Please visit www.Yervoy.com for U.S. Full Prescribing
Information, including Boxed
WARNING regarding immune-mediated side effects, and Medication
Guide, for Yervoy.
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A New Campaign Weighs In On Your Weight And Health
(NAPSI)—An estimated 72 million Americans are affected by obesity,
with nearly one out of three affected by excess weight. Yet, according to
some experts, a weight loss of even 5 percent may improve health and reduce
risks of some diseases.
That is the word from a new campaign called Your Weight Matters. It's
designed to draw attention to the fact that there are many health
implications that accompany excess weight and obesity. For example, diabetes,
hypertension and sleep apnea are some of the many health conditions related
to the issue of weight and obesity.
The campaign-developed by the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC)-encourages
people to measure their weight and discuss it with their healthcare provider.
To prepare themselves for that discussion, individuals can take the Campaign
Challenge and receive the Your Weight Matters Toolkit for free, which is
designed to help them talk to their healthcare provider.
Measuring Your Weight
You may not be aware of how your weight is impacting your health. The Your
Weight Matters Campaign will help you measure your weight and prepare you for
your talk with your healthcare provider. One simple way to measure your
weight is to calculate your body mass index, or BMI, which is a number
calculated by dividing a person's weight by his/her height squared. The
result will fall into one of four main weight categories that healthcare
professionals use when assessing weight. They are "normal," "overweight,"
"obesity" and "severe obesity." The campaign's
website has a calculator that makes it easy to get your BMI and a more
detailed description of how to understand the results.
Taking the Challenge
The OAC encourages you to take the Campaign Challenge by making an online
pledge to talk to your healthcare provider about your weight.
By taking the Challenge, you will receive the free Campaign Toolkit, which
covers a wide variety of valuable information on weight, health, nutrition,
exercise, emotional issues, weight-loss options, benefits of weight-loss and
Most importantly, the Campaign Toolkit will prepare you for your first
appointment with your healthcare provider by providing you with sample
questions for your provider, a food journal, wellness tips and more.
To measure your weight, learn more and take the Challenge, visit www.YourWeightMatters.org.
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Have More Get-Up-And-Go As Time Goes By
(NAPSI)—For optimal health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention recommends that older adults get a minimum of two hours and 30
minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes of
vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week. In addition,
muscle-strengthening activities should be conducted two or more days a week.
Exercise can help prevent many physical problems and chronic conditions
that come with aging, including weight gain, back pain and heart disease.
Plus, it keeps the mind sharp and can help you feel happier, improving
symptoms of depression and even dementia.
To gain these benefits, however, you need to find a fitness program that
provides the physical results desired and is enjoyable, too, so you'll
stick to it. That's where the nation's leading exercise program
for older adults comes in. Healthways SilverSneakers Fitness Program offers physical and group
activities in a comprehensive program that provides full access to a health
club, senior fitness classes, online resources, and social experiences.
"SilverSneakers incorporates a number of
interactive and educational events into our programs because improving
overall well-being includes focusing on both physical and emotional
well-being," said certified personal trainer Sims McMahon. "These
events help to create a sense of community and increase the feeling of
belonging many of our members hoped to find when joining the program."
Research shows that participants enrolled in SilverSneakers for two years have fewer hospital admissions and significantly lower overall
health care costs.
How To Exercise
Before you begin any exercise program, McMahon has the following tips:
1. See your doctor, especially if you have a chronic condition.
2. Start slowly. Begin by walking, say, for 10 minutes or so a day. As you
gain energy and your body builds stamina, increase your activity levels and
make it more challenging.
3. Stay motivated. Have realistic short-term goals you can easily meet.
4. Don't be intimidated. Remember that everyone had to walk in the
door for the first time. Don't let the thought of starting hold you
back. You can do it.
Where To Exercise
To make it all easier, Healthways SilverSneakers Fitness Program is available in 11,000 fitness
centers nationwide. It's free in most cases because it's covered through many Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement and group
The classes are taught by credentialed instructors and focus on older
adult-specific programming. An online program provides a number of resources,
including healthy-living articles and recipes.
Members can also get exercise and nutrition plans and expert advice.
How To Learn More
To find out more information, including nearby locations, visit www.silversneakers.com/info or
call (888) 423-4632.
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Shaping Up For Swimsuit Season-And Beyond
(NAPSI)—There could be good news for all those who think they have a
fat chance of getting and staying slim: a surprising diet, exercise and
nutritional supplements can help.
According to pharmacist, author and lecturer Sherry Torkos,
a potent tool against weight gain is the Glycemic Index (GI).
The diet ranks carbohydrates based on how they affect blood sugar and
insulin levels. Foods that are broken down into sugar more slowly-fruits,
vegetables, whole grains, yogurt and dark chocolate—are low on the GI
and provide sustained energy. Foods that are rapidly broken down into blood
sugar—refined white flour products, baked and fried potatoes, white
rice, candy and soda—causing sudden blood sugar spikes, are high on the
GI and provide bursts of energy followed by periods of fatigue. Getting off
this blood sugar roller coaster can help you feel more energized, promote the
use of fat for energy, and decrease your appetite and food cravings.
For long-term weight loss, Torkos adds, try
1. Avoid refined and processed foods. To satisfy a sweet craving, go for
fresh fruit or dark chocolate.
2. Add cinnamon to your cereal or coffee to improve the insulin action.
3. Include a lean protein and healthy fat in every meal-that also helps
lower the glycemic impact.
4. Eat small meals throughout the day.
5. Be aware of portion size.
6. Exercise regularly. Aim for 30 minutes to an hour a day of
moderate-intensity activity, such as walking, playing tennis, biking or
dancing. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk or bike to your
7. Consider nutritional supplements backed by clinical studies.
• Phase 2, an extract of white kidney beans, improves glycemic control by reducing the digestion of starches.
Total Lean Phase 2 Carb Controller from GNC has
been clinically studied and shown to decrease the caloric impact of carbs.
• Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a
derivative of a fatty acid found naturally in certain foods, such as meat and
dairy. Supplements of CLA are made from sunflower oil and can improve fat
metabolism and maintain or improve lean muscle mass.
• Fish oil supplements are good for heart health and emotional
well-being. Omega-3 fatty acids can increase fat oxidation.
• Chromium can improve glucose tolerance by increasing insulin
You can find further facts and tips online at www.GNC.com.
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A New Way To Treat Children With Chronic Pain
(NAPSI)—There's good news for children who experience chronic
pain. A new approach to pain care will finally offer relief for young
patients and their families.
It's estimated that 25 to 46 percent of children and teens
experience chronic pain: serious pain on a daily basis over the course of
three months or more. Most children and teens who seek help see, on average,
four to five medical specialists—or even more—plus have multiple,
expensive tests without answers for why they hurt, before they find the care
they need. All of this adds up to lost school days and lost workdays for
their parents, which can create significant financial burdens on families.
A New Approach
To help ease pain for children, the Pain Medicine Care Complex at Children's
has developed an innovative, multidisciplinary approach to addressing pain
that is helping patients achieve a higher quality of life.
The pain medicine team has incorporated new interactive video games that
distract patients from their pain, while also collecting important data about
their movements and response to treatment. According to Sarah Rebstock, M.D.,
Ph.D., Clinical Director of the Pain Medicine Program and a Principal
Investigator of the Sheikh Zayed Institute, these "medically meaningful"
video games provide digital medical data collection for the first time ever,
which enables better short-term pain management and long-term research. The
games are based on proven physical therapy activities and help patients build
their range of motion. Additionally, when it comes to treating pain, the Pain
Medicine Care Complex tailors treatments based on the unique needs of each
patient. These treatments can include traditional pain medicines when
appropriate or complementary therapies including psychological support,
acupuncture, massage and biofeedback.
Medically meaningful video games
The video games were developed jointly between Interface Media Group and
the Pain Medicine Initiative of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric
Surgical Innovation at Children's National. The games take patients
through a series of exercises and activities based on current physical
therapy techniques. Some of the games create the feeling of being in a
futuristic Olympic sports event. Others, designed for very young children,
create the feeling of painting large pictures. The interactive aspect of the
games includes proprietary software that gathers patient data to track
improved range of motion.
The Pain Medicine Care Complex also includes a high-tech, interactive POD
bed designed by interior designer Alberto Frias, which serves as a
biofeedback environment for the patient. The POD bed reduces anxiety and
tension for patients, a common symptom of children with chronic pain.
Finally, state-of-the-art teleconference and telemedicine technology
allows the pain medicine experts at Children's National to help
diagnose and treat patients beyond
D.C., and around the world.
Innovation in Research
The Pain Medicine Care Complex is part of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for
Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children's National in
The Institute was launched in 2009 with a gift from the government of
Abu Dhabi on behalf of
the people. This was the largest gift ever given for innovation in pediatric
surgery. The Institute conducts research that will help children all over the
world, and is specifically dedicated to making surgery more precise, less
invasive and pain free.
To learn more, visit www.ChildrensNational.org/InnovationInstitute.
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