Friday, September 11, 2015

Game, Set, Match

I can't remember a time when I didn't play tennis. My Dad had been a competitive player and it came naturally to me. One summer, I remember being named the most improved tennis player at camp. Later, a friend and I played doubles on our high school team and then attended Syracuse where we also played doubles for the university. As a long time tennis player and fan, this week I have been spellbound by the U.S .Open. I had hoped to see it in person this year, but our plans didn't materialize. With each of Venus William's wins this week, the commentators spoke briefly about her diagnosis with Sjogren’s syndrome. Recognized as an autoimmune disorder, Sjogren's symptoms are diverse and can include multiple dental carries, chronic dry eye, painful intercourse and digestive problems. Researchers have linked many of these symptoms to an attack on the body’s exocrine glands, including salivary and sweat, but its cause remains a mystery. I have been told that even diagnosing the disease can be a challenge. “What we don’t understand is the root cause of the process,” says Johns Hopkins associate professor of otolaryngology and medicine and otolaryngologist–head and neck surgeon Jean Kim. “But what we do know is that this syndrome is excruciatingly debilitating for the patient Through working with numerous patients in Johns Hopkins’ Jerome L. Greene Sjogren’s Syndrome Center, the only clinic in the world dedicated to patients with this condition, she’s perfected a technique for biopsy of the minor salivary glands in the lower lip. The results from this biopsy provide the largest and most definitive clue available for separating Sjogren’s from other conditions with related symptoms. "Thousands of minor salivary glands line the mouth and upper airways, providing the mucus necessary for proper aerodigestive function. These glands are superficial and surrounded by a delicate lacework of nerves, necessitating an approach as noninvasive as possible into the right layer of tissue, rather than a simple wedge resection that often doesn’t produce any of the desired glands and can result in numbness of the lower lip," says Kim. With a standardized diagnostic approach Kim and other physicians at the Sjogren’s Syndrome Center, Kim can more quickly provide therapy to patients. Treating patients effectively often involves experts in rheumatology, neurology, ophthalmology, gynecology and numerous other areas. I hope that you will join us at the annual Johns Hopkins Medicine Women's health conference, A Woman's Journey, on November 14, to learn about inflammation and myositis, another autoimmune disorder. In the meantime, enjoy the remainder of the U.S. Open. Leslie

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your interest and contribution. Because we value the integrity of this blog, we ask that you share appropriate information, questions and insight. Defamatory, private and HIPAA-related, or unsuitable information will not be posted.