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5 random facts you would know if you listen to 'HealthLink on Air'

transgender/intersex symbol

Upstate produces a weekly podcast/radio talk show called “HealthLink on Air” that airs on WRVO Public Media at 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Sundays and is available in iTunes or on demand.

The program explores health, medical and scientific topics with a variety of experts from Upstate. Listeners are liable to learn something new, even surprising, every week.

For instance, do you know:

-- does posture cause shoulder pain?

Doctor of physical therapy Adam Rufa reviewed the research on posture and shoulder pain.

“I found very consistent evidence that posture does not play a big role in developing shoulder pain,” he says, adding, “That does not mean if somebody already has shoulder pain, that changing their posture and how they move might not help. The key is just trying to change up your activity and your position.”

-- the most painful injury a human body can endure?

Severe burns.

“Your skin is what protects your body, and when you damage the skin, you‘re affecting all those nerves,” explains nurse Tamara Roberts, manager for Upstate University Hospital‘s Clark Burn Center. “When you affect those nerves, it is extremely painful. The larger the burn area, the more painful the burn is. It sets off an inflammatory response in the body, which also progresses the pain for these patients.”

hard-boiled egg-- what cartilage feels like?

Orthopedic surgeon Todd Battaglia, MD, describes the cushion that coats the bones in our joints as “sort of a rubbery substance.

“It feels somewhat like a slippery hard-boiled egg.”

-- how to tell whether a baby is a boy or girl?

It‘s not always simple.

Specialists estimate one in every 2,000 births at a hospital “involves a child whose genitals are atypical enough to make the sex unclear that day,” says pediatric endocrinologist Susan Stred, MD, from Upstate's division of pediatric endocrinology and diabetes. “One estimate even says that one in 100 persons has some kind of difference in sex anatomy.

“It‘s hard to know for sure. We‘d have to have a consensus first on what is different enough from average to count as a difference of sex development, also known as intersex,” she explains. In complex intersex cases, doctors examine hormone levels, chromosomes and imaging studies to determine whether a baby is a girl or boy.

-- the worst thing you can do after orthopedic surgery?

Smoking delays healing, and in some cases makes proper healing impossible, says orthopedic surgeon Michael Fitzgerald, MD.

“It‘s the worst thing you can do for your recovery,” he says.

Nicotine, a vasoconstrictor, decreases blood flow and the activity of osteoblasts, the cells that help produce bone. Carbon monoxide decreases the blood‘s ability to carry oxygen, which is necessary for bones and soft tissues to heal.

 Upstate Health Fall 2017 coverThis article appears in the fall 2017 issue of Upstate Health magazine.