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9/11 Blood Drive

Remember those lost by giving the gift of life at historic Fenway Park. Join the American Red Cross, the Boston Red Sox and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, along with Boston City Hall, Boston Police, Fire & EMS, and Legal Sea Foods, for the September 11, 2010 blood drive. The drive runs from 8a.m. until 3 p.m. Participants should enter through Gate D - Fenway Park. Blood donors will receive a Red Sox goodie bag, commemorative t-shirt, souvenir reusable tote bag and a chance to win Red Sox tickets! Plus, the World Series trophies will be on display! For an appointment, please visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

Tai Chi Offers Pain Relief For Fibromyalgia

The ancient Chinese practice of tai chi may offer new hope for the millions of people who live with pain, fatigue, stiffness and sleep issues caused by fibromyalgia, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In a clinical trial conducted at Tufts Medical Center, patients who practiced tai chi for 12 weeks showed significantly better results managing pain, fatigue, physical functioning, sleeplessness and depression than another group of patients who were given stretching exercises and wellness education. The effects of tai chi also appear to last longer - the tai chi patients were more likely to sustain their improvements three months later.

"This could represent an ideal exercise for fibromyalgia sufferers," says Dr. Gloria Yeh, an internist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and lead author of an editorial about the study. "Since it is a low-impact, gentle, non-threatening, accessible activity, it may be a perfect exercise for debilitated patients with fibromyalgia who otherwise cannot or choose not to do other forms of exercise. Also, since tai chi has a meditative component, it may also help to address the stress and anxiety that may be associated with the condition."

The study involved the yang style of tai chi, consisting of slow exercises, breathing and meditation. Study participants took 60-minute classes twice a week led by Boston tai chi master Ramel Rones and were given a DVD to practice with at home 20-minutes each day. Results were measured using a Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire. Patients practicing tai chi showed weekly improvements in sleep, walking, and mental health. A full one-third of the group stopped using medication altogether.

"Fibromyalgia is so common, and we have such a difficult time treating it effectively," notes Dr. Robert Shmerling, clinical chief of rheumatology at BIDMC, who co-authored the editorial. "So, that these results were so positive for something that's very safe is an impressive accomplishment."

The study was small, just 66 patients, but several experts are encouraged by the results because fibromyalgia is such a complex condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent, some five million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia, most of them women. Symptoms vary and often imitate other disorders and diagnosis relies on patients' descriptions of their symptoms, not on lab tests.

"It's defined by what the patient tells you. It's hard for some patients' families and their doctors to get their head around what it is and whether it's real," notes Dr. Shmerling.

But both the study's researchers and experts reviewing the study caution that bigger studies with different styles of tai chi led by other tai chi masters is necessary to confirm the study's findings.

"Whether the study findings can be replicated remains to be seen," suggests Dr. Yeh. "However, given the apparent safety and the promising preliminary results, there is no reason why we should not be open at this time to patients with fibromyalgia exploring tai chi and other mind-body therapies for relief."

Mary Petersen, a 59-year old fibromyalgia patient who participated in the study told the New York Times she could barely walk before learning tai chi, but has now lost 50 pounds and can walk up to seven miles a day.

"You could not have convinced me that I would have ever done this," says Petersen. "I wouldn't say it's a cure. I will say it's an effective method of controlling pain."

Send An E-card - About Colonoscopy!

Do you know someone who should have a colonoscopy but hasn't scheduled one? Send them an e-card reminder!

The cards, designed by the gastroenterology department at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, are free, fun and can be personalized. Or, you could send an e-book which explains in simple terms what a colonoscopy is and why it is important to have one.

Show a loved one that you do care and want them to be screened for colon cancer. Send them an e-card reminder or e-book today!

Need A Doc? Now There's An App For That!

To get the free app, search<br>Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center<br>in the app store.

The Beth Israel Deaconess Find a Doctor application for iPhone puts information about our medical center and physicians directly into your hands. With this free app, you can search our affiliated doctors by name, specialty or even by proximity to your location.

Selecting a physician takes you to their interactive profile, from which you can initiate a phone call, get directions and make notes. You can also add them to your personal contact list or add them to the application's Favorites list so you can locate your preferred providers quickly and easily.

In addition to the Find a Doctor feature, you can learn more about our hospital's specialized centers, including complete contact information, access information beneficial to our patients and open our full website through your phone's browser.

The Beth Israel Deaconess Find a Doctor application lets us keep in close communication with our patients and share valuable information with them. It's all part of our quest to treat our patients with the same respect and compassion we'd show to our friends and family.

To get the free app, search Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the app store.

Coming soon-similar applications for blackberry and android users.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted September 2010