Category Archives: Hospital Services

Northern Westchester Hospital provides services for everybody’s health need.

Neurosurgeon Sheds Light on Former President Jimmy Carter’s Cancer Diagnosis

Posted on: August 27, 2015

Neurosurgeon Sheds Light on Former President Jimmy Carter’s Cancer Diagnosis

By Dr. Ezriel Kornel

Former President Jimmy Carter recently received his first radiation treatment targeting four Kornel, (Ezriel Kornel, MD)spots of melanoma on his brain.

Many people have only heard of melanoma on the skin. However, melanoma has a high rate of metastasizing to the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. In the case of a single metastasis, surgical removal is typically an option. In the case of Jimmy Carter, he has multiple melanoma spots on his brain, and is being treated with radiation.

At Northern Westchester Hospital, we treat many of our brain cancer patients with radiation using a Gamma Knife. Not to be confused with an actual knife or incision, it is a large helmet-shaped device which the patient slides into after having a head-frame placed under brief sedation.  It delivers high doses of radiation in one sitting that lasts  from a half hour to a couple of hours.

The primary goal of this procedure is to stop the cancer from growing, and it has a very high success rate – more than 90% – with minimal if any side effects. It is very successful in that it is so precise that it does not damage surrounding areas in the brain.

While I’m not treating Jimmy Carter, I would say that at the age of 90, if he has no new cancerous lesions elsewhere, he can continue to maintain his current schedule and activities. And if there are new lesions discovered in the future in his brain, he can repeat his radiation treatments.

The melanoma, itself, presents risks. Some patients experience seizures or neurologic symptoms such as balance issues. And melanoma has tendencies to bleed, which can have devastating neurologic consequences.

The good news is that melanoma is to a large extent preventable. Avoiding excessive exposure to sunlight is important, and wearing sunscreen is always imperative with prolonged sun exposure. If you see any questionable spots on your skin, or spots that change, make an appointment with your primary care physician or dermatologist as soon as possible. Like many cancers, if melanoma is caught early, it is treatable.

Editor’s Note: Ezriel Kornel, MD, FACS, is a Neurosurgeon and a Director of The Orthopedic and Spine Institute at Northern Westchester Hospital. 

Read additional blog posts about the gamma knife, melanoma and sun safety.

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Getting a Handle on Hand Therapy

Posted on: August 25, 2015

Getting a Handle on Hand Therapy

By Michele Comen

When you lose the full function of your hand, wrist, elbow or shoulder, whether through injury, surgery, arthritis, or a progressive disorder like Dupuytren’s contracture, your doctor may recommend that you see a hand therapist. Here I explain what hand therapy is, whom it’s for and why it is so important.

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Summer Safety Tips

Posted on: August 5, 2015

Summer Safety Tips

By Dr. Peter Richel

Keeping children healthy and safe through the summer months takes preventive measures. ChildreYoung Family Parents and Boy Son Cyclingn should wear protective gear for whatever activity they may be engaged in—helmets for biking and skateboarding, life jackets for swimming, and so on.

However, there is safety gear for activities you may not consider dangerous. Because ticks are such a concern, I recommend children wear shoes, socks, light pants tucked into the socks, and long sleeves when hiking in the woods. Clothing can be sprayed lightly with Deep Woods Off—but it’s too strong to use directly on children’s skin. For the skin, parents can apply Skintastic or Avon Skin-So-Soft with good repellent quality and demonstrated safety. (However, don’t use these on infants less than 6 months of age.) The best prevention is in daily tick and rash checks—just line up the kids at bath time!

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Surprising Findings for Infants at Risk for Peanut Allergies

Posted on: July 29, 2015

Does early introduction of peanut products reduce the incidence of peanut allergy?

By Dr. Craig Osleeb

Creamy Peanut Butter with PeanutsPeanut allergy is a major problem. It is currently one of the 6 most common causes of food allergy in childhood. The prevalence of peanut allergy has risen over the past decade and currently affects approximately 1.4% of the USA population. While many children will outgrow their food allergy to milk, egg, wheat and soy, 82% of those allergic to peanut will remain so for life. This is a great concern to parents, patient’s and the healthcare community at large. In February of this year the New England Journal of Medicine published a prospective placebo blinded study (Learning Early about Peanut Allergy, LEAP, study) that has far reaching implications for the prevention of peanut allergy.

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Ready to Run

Posted on: July 22, 2015

Ready to Run: Simple Stretches to Stave Off Injury

By Dennis McGovern

Each year, more and more people are inspired to start their own running program. Running provides both physical and mental benefits, the only equipment required is a pair of Runningrunning shoes and you can do it anywhere. I’m a big fan of setting fitness goals, and recommend taking a few precautions to help avoid injury.

A thorough warm up before running is a must. When you do any type of vigorous exercise, you get microtears in your muscles. That’s natural—when your body repairs your muscles, they become stronger. But if you aren’t properly warmed up, you’ll experience many more of these tears and you’ll be much sorer afterward.

While most people think the proper warm up begins with stretching, few know that you need an active warm up to loosen your muscles and get blood flowing before you stretch. Otherwise you won’t get the full benefit of stretching. Try jogging-in-place, jumping jacks, and high-knee stepping for five to 10 minutes. Since running involves your full body, do some arm circles as well: Hold your arms out to your sides and start with small rotations forward and then backward; make progressively larger circles.

Once your muscles are sufficiently warm, the following leg stretches will complete your pre-run regimen and you’ll be ready to go. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds, and repeat it two to three times. Despite what you may have heard, stretching should not be painful. You want to feel the stretch but it should be tolerable.

“Exercise doesn’t take as much effort when your
muscles are loose and ready for action.”

Hamstring stretch: Stand facing stairs and place the heel of your right leg on a step in front of you. Keeping your right knee straight, lean forward and reach toward your toe. Switch legs and repeat.

Quad stretch: Facing a wall, place your left hand on the wall for balance and then lift your right heel up behind you, bending your leg at the knee. Grasp your right ankle with your right hand and pull your heel toward your rear. You should feel a mild stretch in the front of your leg. Be sure not to lock the knee in the leg you are standing on. Switch legs and repeat.

Calf stretch: Stand about arm’s length from a wall, place your hands against the wall and step forward with your left foot. Now lean toward the wall keeping your body straight and your right heel on the ground. Push back through your right heel as you feel the stretch. Switch legs and repeat.

Forward lunge: Keeping your head up and trunk straight, step forward with your right leg into a lunge position. Sink your hips toward the ground. Lower your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle. Your other knee should not touch the floor. Then return to the starting position. (You may want to hold onto a chair or wall for balance.) Switch legs and repeat.

Piriformis stretch: This is especially important for women whose wider hips increase the angle to their knees and leave them susceptible to pain and tightness in this small muscle deep in the buttocks. Sitting in a chair, place your right ankle over your left knee and push down on your right knee while leaning forward. Switch legs and repeat.

IT Band stretch: This is the long flat ligament that runs along the outside of your thigh from your hip to the knee, and it can become very tight in runners. Stand in front of a wall and place your right foot behind and to the left of your left foot. Bend your upper body to the left, pushing your hips gently to the right until you feel the stretch in your right hip and outside of your thigh. Switch legs and repeat.

Exercise doesn’t take as much effort when your muscles are loose and ready for action, and by taking the time for a proper warm up, you’ll not only lessen your chances of injury, you’ll improve your running times.

Editor’s Note: Dennis McGovern, DPT, is a physical therapist at Northern Westchester Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center at Chappaqua Crossing. Visit to learn more about Northern Westchester Hospital’s rehabilitation services.

Northern Westchester Hosptial is a proud sponsor of the Kisco 5K. Join us on september 20th for the 2nd Annual Mt. Kisco Race. Register today!