MenoDepression

MenoDepression

The illustration depicted was created for the April 2013 26(4) issue of JAAPA feature article, Treatment options for major depression during the menopausal (Bobbie Posmontier, PhD, CNM, PMHNP-BC).
Compared to men, women experience 1.7 times the prevalence of depression, largely because of fluctuations in reproductive hormones. Even without a prior history of depression, vulnerability to depressive symptoms may be especially increased during the menopausal transition as a result of greater sensitivity to the extreme fluctuating levels of estrogen, other hormonal influences, and single nucleotide polymorphisms that are unique to women. PAs need to understand the varying presentations for women with depression, a major health burden and component of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants Blueprint, and to appreciate the nuances of treatment if underlying hormonal fluctuations are driving symptoms. Emerging science is redefining the initial treatment approaches, and traditional therapies for major depression may be inadequate to control the symptom burden of patients with menopausal depression. The purpose of this article is to aid PAs in understanding the hormonal and genetic influences as well as the symptoms of menopausal transition that overlap with symptoms of major depression and to discuss effective assessment and multidisciplinary management of major depression during perimenopause.

Craniopharyngioma

Craniopharyngioma

This illustration was produced for the Johns Hopkins University’s Suburban Hospital Magazine, New Directions, Fall 2012 issue.

A craniopharyngioma is a benign tumor that develops near the pituitary gland (a small endocrine gland at the base of the brain). This tumor most commonly affects children 5 – 10 years of age. Adults can sometimes be affected. Boys and girls are equally likely to develop this condition.
Craniopharyngioma causes symptoms in the following ways:

  1. Increasing the pressure on the brain (intracranial pressure)
  2. Disrupting the function of the pituitary gland
  3. Damaging the optic nerve

Increased pressure on the brain causes headache, nausea, vomiting (especially in the morning), and difficulty with balance. Damage to the pituitary gland causes hormone imbalances that can lead to excessive thirst, excessive urination, and stunted growth. When the optic nerve is damaged by the tumor, vision problems develop. These defects are often permanent, and may get worse after surgery to remove the tumor.

Behaviorial and learning problems may be present. Most patients have at least some vision problems and evidence of decreased hormone production at the time of diagnosis.

Traditionally, surgery has been the main treatment for craniopharyngioma. However, radiation treatment instead of surgery or along with a smaller surgery may be the best choice for some patients. In tumors that cannot be removed completely with surgery alone, radiation therapy is usually necessary. If the tumor has a classic appearance on CT scan, a biopsy may not be necessary if treatment with radiation alone is planned. Stereotactic radiosurgery is performed at some medical centers. This tumor is best treated at a center with experience in treating patients with craniopharyngiomas. [Source: A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.]

Modular Taper Junctions

Modular Taper Junctions

Illustration created for the article Evaluation and Treatment of Painful Total Hip Arthroplasties with Modular Metal Taper Junctions by R. Michael Meneghini, MD; Nadim J. Hallab, PhD; Joshua J. Jacobs, MD. Orthopedics May 2012, Volume 35, Number 5.

Modern primary total hip arthroplasty femoral components have emerged to include modular necks. Subsequently, the additional taper junction provides another interface as a potential source for mechanically assisted crevice corrosion, which is a complex process involving fretting and crevice corrosion. Furthermore, it is becoming evident that an adverse local tissue reaction may result in some patients due to the mechanically assisted crevice corrosion. This article details the clinical, radiographic, and laboratory evaluation of patients with these components who present with persistent pain. The relevant surgical strategies and techniques to address this pathology in symptomatic patients are addressed.

Labor Analgesia

Labor Analgesia

This illustration is one of the latest editorial pieces completed for the American Academy of Family Physicians featuring Labor Analgesia.

Depicted are a montage of images illustrating Epidural analgesia, a commonly employed technique which provides pain relief during labor. Epidural analgesia is a form of regional analgesia involving injection of drugs through a catheter placed into the epidural space. The injection can cause both a loss of sensation (anaesthesia) and a loss of pain (analgesia), by blocking the transmission of signals through nerves in or near the spinal cord.

The epidural space is the space inside the bony spinal canal but outside the membrane called the dura mater (sometimes called the “dura”). In contact with the inner surface of the dura is another membrane called the arachnoid mater (“arachnoid”). The arachnoid encompasses the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the spinal cord.

 

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