Scripps Tips- January 2007

A monthly list of story ideas for journalists

New Technique to Vanish Varicose Veins without Surgery
According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, about 25 million Americans are affected by varicose veins. More commonly developed by women, varicose veins are usually the result of damaged or improperly working valves in the veins, which cause blood to back up and make the vein swell. Scripps board-certified interventional radiologist Zachary Rattner, M.D., will discuss the latest advancement in treating varicose veins Tuesday, Jan. 16, from 6:30 — 8 p.m. This new technique helps treat unsightly varicose veins, spider veins, and leg ulcers without surgery. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Nichole Warren at

Back to Basics
Low carb-diets, high-protein diets, grapefruit diets and gastric bypass surgery, are just a few ways that people can take off the pounds. But most dieticians and physicians agree that the basics – good nutrition, consistent exercise and behavior modification are the best tools to take the weight off and keep it off.Scripps Encinitas registered dietician, Thursday, Jan. 18, from 6 – 7:30 p.m., will discuss how to determine the right plan to last you a lifetime. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Nichole Warren at

A Less Painful and Faster-Healing Knee Replacement
Minimally Invasive Solutions (MIS) Quad-Sparing total knee replacement is a surgical approach that entirely spares the quadriceps muscle and tendons, which control bending of the knee. The technique involves the use of special instruments and a modified surgical technique to place the same, clinically proven implants used in traditional knee replacement surgery, through a significantly smaller incision. By minimizing the incision from eight to 12 inches to three to seven inches, the patient experiences less tissue trauma, less pain and a shortened hospital stay. To arrange an interview with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Peter Wile on this topic, please contact Kristin Reinhardt at

New Alternative to Total Hip Replacements now at Scripps La Jolla
An exciting new alternative to total hip replacement is now available at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. Used successfully for years around the globe, the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System has recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States. Now, patients suffering from hip pain due to arthritis, dysplasia or avascular necrosis can benefit from its conservative approach to treatment. Rather than replacing the entire hip joint, as in a total hip replacement, hip resurfacing simply shaves and caps a few centimeters of bone within the joint. This bone-conserving approach preserves more of the patient’s natural bone structures and stability, covering the joint’s surfaces with an all-metal implant that more closely resembles a tooth cap than a hip implant. Dr. Michael Kimball is among the first surgeons in this country who have been trained in a new, less invasive approach to hip replacement. To view a surgery, arrange an interview, or for additional information, email

New Study Challenges Conventional Wisdom on Prostate Cancer
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that active treatment – not “watchful waiting” – may be the best course for older men with prostate cancer. The study is the first to challenge the conventional wisdom that older men may not need to be treated for early-stage prostate cancer because tumors tend to grow slowly (and patients will probably die of something else first). The 12-year study in Philadelphia of 44,630 men ages 65-80 showed 37 percent of those who opted for watchful waiting had died, compared with 24 percent of those who underwent prostatectomy and/or radiation within six months of diagnosis.Scripps oncologist Pushpendu Banerjee, M.D. is available to share perspectives on the study, and offer the insights to treatment options. To arrange an interview or for additional information, email

Cleaning out the Medicine Cabinet
In today’s modern world we have medications to treat all sorts of ailments. Before reaching into that medicine cabinet this winter, there are some things you should know about storing your medications safely. (Here’s a hint: you shouldn’t keep them in the medicine cabinet.) Harminder Sikand, Pharm.D., clinical director of pharmacy as Scripps Mercy Hospital is available to discuss the dangers of expired medications and how to safely dispose of them. To arrange an interview or for additional information, email Kristin Reinhardt at

Access to Legal Drugs Fueling Teen Drug Culture
A recent study released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows a 23.2 percent decline in the use of illicit drugs like cocaine, marijuana and crack among eighth, 10th and 12th graders over the past five years. However, the study indicates that an increasing number of teens may be using “harmless” prescription and over-the-counter drugs to get high. And with growing availability and recreational use, health experts fear the worst is yet to come. Dr. Fred Berger, medical director of the Scripps McDonald Center for Alcohol and Substance Abuse, is available to provide insight into this study and discuss current trends in adolescent substance abuse. To arrange an interview or for additional information, email

Ten Tips for Better Health in 2007
It’s the start of a new year and another chance to improve your health and it may not be as difficult as you think. From vaccines and vitamins to drinking more water and taking time to relax, we have 10 tips to get you on the path to a healthy 2007. To arrange an interview on this topic, please contact Kristin Reinhardt at