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Limited Healthcare Copywriting Samples

     We routinely collaborate with graphic designers to create full-service brochures, feature articles and other materials complete with logos and graphics. Here we present only the text, versus bulky PDFs, for ease of viewing.

     Please contact us for additional samples more closely aligned with your project needs, or for more information on our healthcare copywriting services, including a free estimate for your next project.

      Feature Article, The International Rett Syndrome Foundation
      Consumer Article, Stillwater Healthcare Services

      Consumer Article, Fireside Senior Living

      Press Release, Common gene increases risk of heart failure

      Brochure, Statewide Medical Center

      Feature Article, The Breast Cancer Survivorís Network

      Educational Literature, High Blood Pressure

      Pamphlet, Sleep Disorders

      Samples of Online Content

1. Feature Article, The International Rett Syndrome Foundation

"This is without a doubt one of the best Rett Syndrome articles I have ever read. Itís not easy to cover all the science and symptoms of Rett in a single article, but you did a fantastic job, and it is very easy to read and understand. It has already generated a lot of support from our donors and Iím sure it will continue to help our cause and raise awareness. Thanks for a super job." Chuck Curley, Executive Director, International Rett Syndrome Foundation

What the client wanted: A full-length feature article for newspaper/magazine publication to inform and help raise support.

Defying the Odds: Rare neurological disorder changes lives near and far

          Jessalyn Heatonís room says a lot about her. The walls surrounding her inviting pink bed are plastered with posters of shiny teen pop stars. Zac and Joe and Nick grin beneath swept-up hair. Miley Cyrus has the place surrounded, flashing her dimples and posing in various miniskirts on just about every wall.
          But for the cart in the corner piled with medical supplies, it is the room of a typical 14-year-old girl. And but for a tiny, genetic mutation, Jessalyn would have been that girl. The glossy photos of Miley would be idolized because she can sing and act and danceónot because she can talk.

          Rett Syndrome

          Jessalyn, the daughter of John and Cindy Heaton, was born with Rett Syndrome.
          If youíre a fan of this seasonís Celebrity Apprentice, you may have heard Clint Black mention it (heís playing for the International Rett Syndrome Foundation.) But most people know little or nothing about Rett.
          Rett Syndrome is a rare, debilitating neurodevelopmental disorder. It affects areas of the brain responsible for cognitive, sensory, emotional, motor and autonomic functions. This can lead to a number of mental and physical abnormalities, in things like learning ability, speech, sensation, mood, movement and gait, breathing, heart function, and digestion.
          Most babies born with Rett appear normal for their first 6-18 months, and may even progress through early developmental milestones.
          But by age 2 parents will almost certainly see a delay in developmentóparticularly in talking, purposeful hand use, and other motor milestones. Often, as babies become toddlers and the syndrome sets in, affected children will regress. They may start to lose the social and motor skills theyíd previously mastered, leaving parents to watch their children inexplicably slip away, receding into themselves, never to re-emerge.
          One of the most characteristic symptoms of Rett in children is repetitive wringing and clasping of hands as they lose the ability to control them. ApraxiaĀEthe inability to perform motor functionsóeventually interferes with all body movements, including eye gaze and speech. Communication and social interaction are therefore extremely hampered.
          In general, individuals with Rett have no speech ability, no purposeful hand use and poor motor coordination overall. Many are wheelchair-bound from a young age.
          Due to some similarity of symptoms, Rett is most commonly misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy or autism. Indeed, Rett is one of the Autism Spectrum Disorders. But Rett stands out on the spectrum for a few key reasons.
          One, it falls at the far end as the most severe of the autism disorders. It is the most physically debilitating. And itís the only one with a known genetic cause.

          The science of Rett

           Rett could be called a disorder of chance.
          In 1999, scientists discovered Rett is caused by mutations on the MECP2 gene, located on the X chromosome. Itís because of the location that male fetuses with the disorder rarely survive to term (as they have only a single X chromosome), and Rett Syndrome is seen almost exclusively in girls. The discovery also means doctors can now do a simple blood test to confirm a Rett diagnosis.
          Over 99 percent of the time, the genetic abnormality arises by spontaneous, random mutationónot genetic inheritanceóin as little as a single base pair in a single gene. Thatís one gene out of 25,000 in the human genome.
          Roughly 50 percent of the time the mutation occurs, it does so in a girl, and she will continue to develop. Rett is estimated to affect every 1 in 10,000-25,000 girls worldwide.
           For those girls who are unlucky enough to have the spontaneous, and yet painfully precise, Rett mutation, the severity of the disorderóthe extent to which it will interfere with their livesóis also a matter of chance.
          Because females have two X chromosomes, one of the Xs is inactivated in every cell in the body. In girls with Rettówho have one normal X, and one which carries the faulty MECP2 geneóthis means that the severity of their symptoms will depend on the proportion of cells which retain the good X, versus the damaged one.
          Brain cells that randomly inactivate the faulty X will have normal, healthy function. Girls who, by chance, have more healthy brain cells will have less severe symptoms.
          However, brain cells that inactivate the normal X chromosome, leaving the damaged one, will have impaired function. Girls who, by chance, have more of these neurons will be more severely impaired.
          Jessalyn, by chance, falls in the middle.

          "My first baby"

           The living room of the Heatonís house is full of photographs. In one, a dark-haired toddler with enormous eyes sits in a frilly dress and laughs, revealing the edges of two erupting front teeth.
          ďShe was my first baby,ĀEsaid Cindy Heaton, recalling both the joy and the uncertainty of being a new mother.
          She points at the picture, at Jessalynís small hands. ďWe didnít notice it then, but I can see it now,ĀEshe says.
          In this and many of her other childhood photos, Jessalyn holds her hands at awkward angles or balls them up into fists, a symptom only apparent in retrospect.
          Jessalyn, like other girls with Rett, appeared normal at birth and for her first few months.
          But as Jessalyn grew she failed to reach several developmental milestones. By 10 months Jessalyn showed no signs sheíd soon start crawling. She didnít reach for toys or her mother. And she didnít roll over.
          Doctors appointments were a frustrating affair, when the experts assured Cindy and John that Jessalyn was just late. That sheíd catch up.
          But by age 2, their daughter still wouldnít feed herself. And though she was walking and looked normal, she didnít talk.
          After Cindy and John had their second child, Jared, born two years after Jessalyn, the differences were too obvious to ignore.
          ďIíd take him for his check-ups and Iíd sayóBut look at Jessalyn! He was passing her on all the milestones.ĀE
          When Jessalyn was 3, doctors diagnosed her with autism, a determination that never seemed right to Cindy. Jessalyn soon started to have uncontrollable crying spells and seizures. Then, when she was 5, a neurologist said Jessalyn might have Rett Syndrome.
          ďI said ĎWhatís that?ĀEHe gave me a list of symptoms to read and I just knew that was it. That was what she had. If you think something is wrong with your child, you have to keep pushing. You have to make them take you seriously.ĀElt;br>           The diagnosis was bittersweet: A relief to finally have a name for Jessalynís differences, but a name that summoned the dark nightmare of devastating disability.
          ďIt pulls a little bit of your heart out ĀEand itís gone forever. And you walk around like that, with this piece missing ĀEbut somehow you learn to cope. You just learn to take it one day at a time."

          One in 25,000; one in a million.

           In a large frame designed to help Jessalyn maintain good posture and get some exercise, she stands in the living room and stares at the computer screen, bobbing her head to Taylor Swiftís latest video on YouTube.
          Music is one of Jessalynís greatest passions. Perhaps because it is moving, in a world outside the physical. In music, you can transcend the limitations of muscle and bone, of random mutations and discordant brain waves, and escape to the perfect rhythms and smooth movements of melody.
          In her special class at Ellijay Elementary, Jessalyn is one of the most interactive, affectionate students. Her morning ritual includes her own version of ďhelloĀE for teachers and students. At home, snuggling is a necessity.
          She can walk with assistance, unlike many girls with Rett. And though she has never spoken, she can communicate with her eyes, making clear choices between different foods, or pictures that correspond to different activities. ďIf she wants a bath,ĀECindy said, ďsheíll walk into the bathroom.ĀE
          But Jessalyn suffers from frequent seizuresónot a rare, but a potentially debilitating, aspect of Rett. Even as Cindy spoke of her daughterís seizures, Jessalyn silently slipped into one. She didnít shake, but lay still and rigid, her eyes wide open, her expression frozen. And then, after less than a minute, she was back.
          The powerful drugs pumped into Jessalynís 90-pound body to try to control these sporadic firings have taken a brutal toll. She has regressed some physically since starting the regime. Then, last summer, she spent almost a month in the hospital suffering from severe gastrointestinal problems, another common complication of Rett.
          But Jessalyn has refused to relinquish any more independence, and continues to walk. ďSheís a fighter. Everything she does is harder than for other people,ĀECindy said.
          And yet, for all her struggles, making an impact on people comes natural to Jessalyn.
          ďShe brings out the best in people,ĀEsaid Cindy. ďItís amazing. We canít go to McDonalds, and I canít watch her run into school. If I could just hear my childís voice Iíd get down on my knees and praise God. But Jessalyn is here for a reason. She makes you see the things that really matter. Sheís only 14, but sheís changed the world."

           The unknown and the immeasurable

          Immediately after introducing her daughter, Cindy pulled out a packet of papers and turned to a printout of a 2007 scientific study on Rett.
          Not just any study. But a groundbreaking oneóthe results of which rippled through the scientific community, and slammed into the Rett community like a welcomed tsunami.
          ďThey reversed it in mice,ĀECindy said with restrained excitement.
          She and the other parents must be careful not to let themselves be swept away by the siren-swell of hope the study has set off. And yet itís almost impossible not to be somewhat encouraged by the resultsóif not for your own child then for future children with Rett.
          In the study, scientists took genetically engineered mice who were exhibiting severe Rett-like symptomsóand in some cases were even days away from deathóand restored the faulty MECP2 gene.
          The result was a near complete reversal of symptoms. Tremors disappeared, breathing normalized, mobility and brain function were restored.
          While a similar treatment for humans is, if possible, still far-off, the study holds promise for more disorders than just Rett. The MECP2 gene has been implicated in schizophrenia, autism and other learning disabilities. That means the mouse reversal could open up new alleys for treatments for an array of debilitating disorders.
          Chuck Curley is the executive director of the International Rett Syndrome Foundation, and the father of Caroline, 13, who was diagnosed with Rett when she was 3. Though Curley is cautious when it comes to talking about treatments or a cure for Rett in the foreseeable future, heís a strong supporter of scientific research and hopes to see research interest in Rett increase significantly in the coming years.
          ďProgress in Rett opens doors and sheds light on other disorders, including autism. We can look at Rett as a window to other disorders, and a Rett cure as a window to other cures," Curley said.
          But for now there are no treatments for Rett. In addition, since the disorder is so rare and relatively newóit wasnít officially named until 1983ólittle is known about life expectancy. Itís just one more uncertainty families must learn to cope with in the Rett game of chance.
          The good news is that Rett is not a progressive disorder. Most who have it, though they continue to require maximum care, live well into middle-age. Adults with Rett continue to learn, and (like other adults) may become more emotionally stable and communicative as they exit their teens.
          Though Cindy doesnít like to look too far into the future, preferring to ďtake today as today," she has no reason to believe Jessalyn wonít continue to develop new skills.
          Even now, ďShe surprises us all the time," said Cindy. ďYou just donít know what she knows."
          As if on cue, Jessalyn broke out in a smile, struck by something amusing, it seemed, in her internal world of one.
          ďSheís in there," Cindy said, looking down at her daughter.
          ďSome things you just donít know how to measure."

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2. Consumer Article, Stillwater Healthcare Services

What the client wanted: An educational article to inform and engage clients.

Blood. Whatís so special about the stuff?

          Blood. Itís the bodyís communications network, food supplier, waste removal system, and transportation superhighway.
          Adults have about 8 pints of it, and if more than a third of your share should ever leak out, you must either get a transfusion or prepare to meet your mortician.
          Through the ages and across cultures blood has held an interesting place in both medicine and mythology. But what is it that makes blood such a biochemical marvel? What is it on the microscopic level that gives the stuff its mythical status?
          Blood is made up of three main parts that together traverse our veiny interior.
          Red blood cells give the fluid its burgundy blush. They bump along, looking like jelly donuts with their middles caved in.
          Platelets are sticky, misshapen cells that act as the bodyís little Band-Aids. Both of these are suspended in a solution of plasma, the watery portion of blood.
          As a team, the components course through the bodyís 100,000 miles of veins, arteries and capillaries. If all a personís blood vessels were lined up end to end, they could encircle the earth almost four times. A pint makes the journey 60 times an hour.
          A critical pit stopówith each pass, the river runs through the fleshy mesh of the lungs. There, red blood cells, the plump little powerhouses, pick up fresh oxygen as they weave their way through the webs of the lobes.
          The refreshed cells, now oxygen-rich, are then shot back out into the body, about two liters every minute, propelled by the pump of our thickly muscled heart. As red blood cells make the loop, squeezing through capillaries less then half their width, they deliver oxygen to every one of our roughly 100 trillion cells.
          But red blood cells arenít the only ones at work. Platelets floating in their plasma bath patrol the smooth, inner lining of blood vessels, looking for leaks. Using octopoid arms to feel for imperfectionsóany rips and tears in vessel wallsóplatelets are perpetually poised to clot. Should they come across a cut, platelets press themselves against the wall to plug up the hole, thus preventing a small slit from bleeding us dry.
          If a wound is severe, cells recruit the help of a bigger, more powerful protein, which forms a fibrin web to trap more platelets and passing red blood cells at the site, the river magically morphing from liquid to solid.
          Immune system cells also ride the red tide to reach organs in trouble or attack bodily invaders.
          And the vascular currents carry away metabolic trash dumped in the river by surrounding cells, washing things like carbon dioxide and ammonia downstream to one of the bodyís disposal centers.
          Thereís no getting around it: the crimson ribbon that flows through our veins is vital for vibrant life, critical for keeping our cells humming in synchrony.

          Sidebar: In your blood

  • Blood is made of three main components ĀEred blood cells, plasma, and platelets. Donated blood is separated into its three parts at a lab. Patients who get transfusions may need only a single component, or all three.
  • Red blood cells look like a jelly donut with the middle caved in. They supply oxygen to depleted cells. Car accident victims may need up to 100 units of red blood cells. Premature babies may need four units.
  • Platelets are responsible for clotting. Cancer patients and others with compromised immune systems need transfusions of platelets.
  • Plasma is the watery portion of blood. Plasma transfusions are used to bulk up blood volume.

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3. Consumer Article, Fireside Senior Living

What the client wanted: A informative, readable article to include with mailings of marketing materials.

Can ĎCognitive Exercise' Help Alzheimerís Disease? What is Ďcognitive exercise,' anyway?

          Almost everyone knows someone stricken with Alzheimerís Disease.
          Instead of the body, Alzheimerís attacks the brain. It steals into the gray folds that store a lifetime of memories, and erases them, one by one. Victims become confused and frustrated. Family members are forced to watch their loved one fade away.
          Anyone whoís watched this cruel robbery play out knows what a painful process it is. But even though a cure for Alzheimerís remains elusive, new research suggests we may be able to slow the progression of the disease Ā-- or even decrease the chances of developing it.
          Whatís the secret? Itís called Ďcognitive exercise.' And itís not as hard as it sounds.
          First, though, you have to understand some of the basics of Alzheimerís Disease.
          While several factors, such as genetics and general health, may influence the onset of Alzheimerís, the main risk factor is age. The likelihood of developing Alzheimerís doubles about every five years after age 65. After 85, the risk reaches nearly 50 percent. As about 78 million baby boomers enter their senior years, the incidence of Alzheimerís is expected to increase significantly.
          Alzheimerís is a progressive, degenerative disease, which means its victims lose more and more of their brain tissue over time. In its earliest stages, Alzheimerís Disease disrupts normal neuronal function. The leading theory behind the disease is that a proteinóbeta-amyloid, present in the brains of all peopleófor some reason becomes misshapen. Over time, more and more misfolded proteins clump together in the extracellular goo surrounding neurons, forming classic, toxic beta-amyloid plaques.
          Plaques interfere with normal neurotransmission, essentially gumming up the works so cells canít communicate properly. And a cell that exists in isolation ĀEa cell that receives no stimulation ĀEwill wither and die.
          Over time, enough cells die so that the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimerís start to manifest. These include memory loss, loss of motor function, disrupted speech, and general cognitive decline. Symptoms also worsen with time.
          Itís for this reason James Siberski says slowing the progression is so important. The best way to do that, he says, is to keep the brain active.
          Just as the body needs exercise to stay fit and healthy, so too does the brain.
          Cognitive exercise is essentially anything that encourages active thought. This could mean doing crossword puzzles, word games, math problems, strategic or analytical tasks ĀE anything that gets those gray cells firing.
          For people already exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimerís, cognitive exercise, in conjunction with medication, may help slow mental decline, Siberski said, by keeping remaining healthy brain cells healthy.
          In addition, if youíre symptom-free but are at risk of developing the disease (essentially, anyone whoís aging) exercises might help to delay the onset. In some cases, people may technically have Alzheimerís Disease without displaying any symptoms. In well-toned brains, the high-functioning areas can actually assume the duties of the diseased, dead-zones.
          All of which means: Young or old, diseased or dementia-free ĀEexercise canít hurt.
          While several companies advertise products that promise to tone the mind people need not purchase anything. In a recent study from Misericordia University, patientsĀEdementia symptoms improved after doing hidden picture puzzles, mazes, crosswords, mathematical calculations, and decision-making tasks.
          At the studyís end, subjects who had exercised their brains had a decrease in their dementia symptoms.
          The goal is to integrate cognitive exercise into caretaking regimes for the elderly, and to get people of all ages to work their minds throughout their lives.
          There is hope. So until a cure becomes a realityóeat right, exercise body and brain, and you just might increase your chances of meeting Siberskiís mission for mankind: ďLive long and die short."

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4. Press Release

          Common Gene Increases Risk of Heart Failure in South Asians

          After analyzing the DNA of individuals from 63 world populations, scientists have found that 4% of individuals of South Asian ancestry carry a common genetic variant associated with cardiomyopathy (CM), a condition known to contribute to heart failure. The gene increases the risk of heart failure seven-fold.
          Heart failure is a leading cause of death in South Asia and often stems from CM, a condition in which the heart muscle deteriorates leaving the organ unable to pump properly. More than 200 genetic mutations, affecting more than 20 different genes, have been identified in connection with CM. One such gene is MYBPC3, which encodes cardiac myosin binding protein C (cMyBP-C). CMyBP-C helps hold heart muscle fibers together, and is therefore important for both structural integrity of the myocardium and for regulating heart beat.
          For the study, which appears in the January issue of Nature Genetics, an international team of 25 researchers first analyzed the DNA of Indian subjects who either did or did not have a history of CM. They found a MYBPC3 mutation, a 25-bp deletion, was more than seven times more common in patients with CM than in healthy, control subjects. In addition, researchers said homozygous deletion may result in a more severe, early-onset form of CM.
          To investigate how widespread the mutation is, researchers then screened 6,273 individuals from 107 different ethnic populations in 35 states in India. The mutation was present in about 4% of individuals in all major populations, but was absent in Northeast Indians, Siddis (from Africa) and Onges (from the Andaman Islands). Mutation frequencies were significantly higher in populations in southern and western Indian states than in northern states. The finding correlates with the geographical spread of heart failure rates, which is more prevalent in southern Indian.
          Kumarasamy Thangaraj and colleagues then further broadened their study sample. They analyzed the DNA of over 2,000 individuals from 63 world populations including 26 countries on all five continents. They found the same MYBPC3 mutation in individuals from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Malaysia, but not in others.
          The authors conclude that while the mutation is undetectable in other world populations, it is common in individuals from South Asia. Chronologically, the most recent common ancestor for the deletion is 33 plus/minus 23 thousand years. As this postdates the arrival of the first modern human settlers from Africa about 50,000 years ago, the authors suggest the mutation arose within the subcontinent and spread to two populations in Southeast Asia via gene flow.
          The results may help doctors identify and treat individuals predisposed to heart failure.

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5. Brochure, Statewide Medical Center

What the client wanted: This hospital wanted an educational, promotional brochure to generate public awareness and participation in their quarterly blood drives.

Statewide Medical Center and The American Red Cross are rolling up their sleeves and teaming up for local blood drives.

          But whatís so special about blood?

  • Blood is the bodyís river of life. It is our communications network, food supplier, waste removal system, and transportation superhighway.
  • Adults have about 8 pints of blood. Blood circulates the body in blood vessels called veins, arteries, and capillaries. If all our blood vessels were lined up end to end, they would circle the earth almost four times! Every pint makes this journey about 60 times an hour.
  • Blood carries oxygen to every cell in the bodyóover 100 trillion! Without fresh oxygen, our cells would suffocate and die.
  • Blood carries nutrients, like messages in a bottle, from the tips of our toes to the folds of the brain.
  • And blood carries the bodyís own brand of Band-Aid. Sticky little cells that float in our blood seal up any cuts and keep little nicks from becoming big problems.

          Pretty amazing stuff, isnít it?

          Now, imagine if you or a loved one needed blood, and there wasnít any?

          Itís almost impossible to imagine, thanks to The American Red Cross and centers like Statewide. Theyíre working hard to make sure it doesnít happen. But they canít do it alone.

The need for new donations is rising every day!

  • Every two seconds someone in America will need a transfusion. These could be trauma victims, surgery patients, newborn babies, and patients receiving treatments for cancer and other diseases.
  • Victims of car accidents may need up to 100 units.
  • Premature babies may need four units.

Thatís why itís so important for hospitals to have enough on hand.

  • Last year, U.S. hospitals used an average of 80,000 units of blood a day.
  • The need for blood is increasing at about 6% a year.
  • New donations are needed every day.

Be someoneís hero.

Donate today to save a life tomorrow.

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6. Feature Article, The Breast Cancer Survivorís Network

"Hired Gunís staff are just such a pleasure to work with. Becky is attentive and professionalóbut also genuinely caring and creative. She does exactly what she says sheís going to do. That shouldnít be a rare quality, but it is these days. And sheís got it." Lynn Garner, The Breast Cancer Survivorís Network

What the client wanted: An engaging, informative article with a personal touch to educate and raise support.

Support Group Offers Breast Cancer Patients What Doctors Often Can't

           They say the day before, the day of, and the day after chemotherapy you feel great.
          Steroids course through the bloodstream, speeding toward tissues and organs, each molecule like a little shot of espresso for cells soon to come under attack. The body buzzes with the boost. The brain bursts with hope, renewed. Even if only for three days. Even if only as a precursor to the depletion to follow, like how a light bulb gets brighter right before it burns out.
          Because on day three, it hits you.
          ďThe tables turned after that,ĀEsaid Nancy Deal at the monthly meeting of the Breast Cancer SurvivorsĀENetwork, a support group for breast cancer patients and survivors. ďAll of a sudden, I couldnít put one foot in front of the other.Ā"
          Deal, diagnosed last January, was new to the patient role. The disease, though, was somewhat of a lifelong foe.
          As a registered nurse, sheíd dressed the wounds of women whose cancer had gone untreated ĀEwomen whose tumors had eaten away at the surrounding tissue and left weeping sores on their skin.
          Deal didnít wait to seek treatment.
          But even with her experience, ?I didnít know what to expect going in,? she said.
          Breast cancer strikes many, but each attack is personalized.
          Excluding skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among American women. One in eight women who lives to be 85 will be diagnosed with the disease. Doctors diagnose about 180,000 new cases a year in women, and about 2,000 in men. Incidence is expected to increase in 2009.
          High incidence is one reason the Breast Cancer SurvivorsĀE Network, based in Peachtree City, has been forming new groups across Georgia. The nonprofit network offers free breast cancer supplies at six Georgia locations, assistance with medical referrals including help finding affordable mammograms, and provides a traveling library of literature. (The Internet, while potentially useful, can be a frightening world to navigate.)
          Fannin, Union, and Towns counties currently hold monthly SurvivorsĀE Network meetings. The Gilmer group, led by Lynn Garner, met for the first time in October.
          Though itís just getting started, members bring wisdom that spans three decades of breast cancer research.
          At a recent meeting, discussions ranged from personal stories, to new treatments and studies, to what to expect (demand) during doctor visits.
          Words like MammoSite, molecular detection, globular counts, and platelets floated around the room and met with nods of familiarity.
          ďIím down to eight grams,ĀEsaid one woman whose cancer had returned three times.
          ďIf I had it to do over, Iíd do a double mastectomy,ĀEsaid another, their words spoken beneath the buzz of florescent lights, amid the intimacy of strangers who share an implicit bond.
          ďItís the unknown that scares you,ĀEsaid Deal. ďYou have to educate yourself.Ā"
          Garner, diagnosed at age 46 (her doctorís third diagnosis that morning) and now a survivor, is a strong advocate of self-empowerment. At a recent meeting, her face constricted as she told of a patient she once met who knew neither the type of breast cancer she had, nor her doctorís name. Knowledge, Garner believes, must be wielded as both a weapon and a salve.
          Indeed a big part of what makes meetings beneficial is the dynamic mix of members, from long-term survivors to women still in the thick of the fight. Veterans help guide newcomers through the tunnel to the light of remission ĀEoffering invaluable insider information that even the best doctors donít have access to.
          Truth is, some things only come by way of personal experience. Some things transcend medical technicalities: Like what it feels like to have your strength sapped, day after day. Like the thoughts that rob your sleep and try to sneak off with your hope. Like how to throw a proper head-shaving party; that wigs are itchy; chemotherapy is cold-blooded; and sometimes cake and ice cream are the best medicine.
          And, finally, what it feels like to beat the disease and reach out to others.
          Janet Leter, another group member, is a two-time breast cancer survivor. Her first diagnosis came 18 years ago, when she was only 39. Then, last year, doctors found a second tumor in the opposite breast.
          Leterís experiences make her something of an expert in treatments and advancements ĀEan intuitively unwanted title when it comes from personal experience, but one sheís nonetheless embraced to help others fight the disease.
           Indeed, besides the emotional toll, itís the number of treatment options, individual variables, and endless unknowns that can make a breast cancer diagnosis so daunting.
           Lumpectomies, mastectomies, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone-blocking drugs, experimental treatments ĀEmaybe a combination of several. And yet, as daunting as it seems, group members are living proof that the spirit can conquer the injustices of the flesh.
           Today, Deal sports the fuzzy sprouts of remission on her 66-year-old head, and tells her story with the ease that acceptance eventually allows, her cancer fight now folded into the pages of her history.
           ďYouíve got to take ahold of this disease," Garner said. ďYouíve got to wrap your arms around it and be your own advocate."
           But however strong the grip, a group effort will be stronger.
           ďNobody should go through this alone."

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7. Educational Literature, Stillwater Healthcare Services

What the client wanted: A highly readable article to educate their clients on high blood pressure and how to prevent it.

Excerpt: High Blood PressureóWhat it is, and how you can keep your pressure from rising

           Put your fingers against your neck. Feel that pulse? Thatís the blood spurting against the walls of your carotid artery with every beat of your heart, or your blood pressure. Now go sit in traffic. Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood against the walls of the arteries. The higher your blood pressure, the harder the blood is pulsing against your artery walls, and the harder your heart has to work to keep things flowing.
          For example, imagine youíre blowing liquid through a straw. With no resistance--like when the liquid is thin or strawís opening is wide--you donít have to blow very hard. That means there isnít much pressure on the walls of the straw. But increase the resistance--by blowing molasses down the straw, or by covering up most of the strawís end with your thumb--and you have to blow a lot harder. That puts a lot of strain on the inner walls of the straw.
          Your arteries are like the straw, and the engine doing the blowing is your heart. When the heart has to work harder to pump blood through the arteries (as with high blood volume or narrowing arteries), it places more stress on the heart and artery walls, and raises blood pressure.
          A person may be diagnosed with high blood pressure if the force on artery walls stays too high over time. The normal range is less than 120/80. High blood pressure--also called hypertension--is anything above 140/90. The middle ground between normal and high means you are at risk for developing high blood pressure in the future.
          Nearly 1 in 3 Americans has high blood pressure. Middle-aged Americans over the age of 55 have a whopping 90% chance of developing high blood pressure in their lifetimes.


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8. Educational Pamphlet, Piedmont Mountainside Sleep Disorder Center

Excerpt: Common Sleep Disorders

Common sleep disorders include:


          What: Difficulty falling or staying asleep.
          Who is at risk: Stress, depression, poor sleep habits, use of stimulants such as caffeine, chronic pain, and lack of regular exercise may all contribute to insomnia.
          Diagnosis and Treatment: Insomnia is often due to some other cause so doctors may perform a physical exam to assess overall health, or may recommend a sleep study. Treatments include making changes to lifestyle and sleep habits, or medication.

          Sleep Apnea

          What: Patients with sleep apnea stop breathing during sleep when the airways of the nose, mouth, or throat become blocked by the tongue or throat muscles. This causes the person to jerk awake suddenly in order to take a breath. This can occur anywhere from 5 to over 100 times per hour, but patients usually donít know they are waking up at all. Often times it is a patientís bed partner who notices the patient gasps, snores loudly, or wakes up in the night. People with sleep apnea awake in the morning feeling groggy and unrested, sometimes with a headache, and are often tired throughout the day.
          Who is at risk: People who are overweight or use certain medications or alcohol before bed are more at risk.
          Diagnosis and Treatment: A sleep study is usually needed to diagnose sleep apnea. Treatment ranges from weight-loss to surgery to sleeping with a continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine.

          Restless Legs Syndrome

          What: A tingling, itching, or prickling sensation in the legs when lying down or falling asleep. The sensation causes people to feel an irresistible urge to move their legs, which brings short-term relief. Limbs may also jerk or move during sleep, called Periodic Limb Movement in Sleep (also known as ďjimmy-legs").
          Who is at risk: Causes are unknown, but the problem often runs in families.
          Diagnosis and Treatment: Doctors may order a sleep study that records how often the legs jerk or move during sleep. Treatment includes changes to diet and sleeping environment, massage, or medication.


          What: Sudden, uncontrollable onset of sleep during the day, usually with disturbed sleep at night.
          Who is at risk: Causes of narcolepsy are unknown, though there are links between narcolepsy and certain genetic factors.
          Diagnosis and Treatment: A sleep specialist can diagnose narcolepsy. A sleep study may be needed.
          Treatment: Medications, such as nervous system stimulants.


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9. Online Content

Clips of optimized online content for healthcare providers.

For a dermatology group.
Optimized for: acne, causes of acne, acne treatment, acne breakouts, pimples, dermatologist

          Have you ever woken up in the morning and felt another sore spot on your cheekóand wanted to pull the covers over your head for the rest of the day? Maybe even the rest of the week?
          Millions of Americans suffer from acne. Itís not just teenagers. Pimples and breakouts also affect millions of adults.
          Every day, acne sufferers try to treat breakouts with expensive creams and washes. They try strange diets and follow the bad advice of snake oil salesmen. They treat the surface symptoms of acne and hope the problem will go away.
          But unless you start treating the deep causes of acne, you probably wonít see clear skin anytime soon. Of the millions of people living with acne, you donít have to be one of them.
          Today, dermatologists and medical researchers have developed effective acne treatments for all different skin types and types of acne. Once you and your dermatologist identify the type of acne you have, you can immediately start treatment and start seeing real, clinically proven results.
          There are better days ahead. Itís time to face your acne problems head-on.

For a LASIK surgery center.
Optimized for: LASIK, LASIK surgery, vision correction, eye surgery, LASIK surgeon, eye surgeon

          LASIK is the most commonly performed type of vision correction surgery.
          For the procedure, a skilled LASIK surgeon typically uses a laser to make a small cut in a patientís cornea. The cornea is then reshaped so the eye can better focus light onto the retina, thereby providing clearer vision.
          Though some patients may feel some initial squeamishness toward eye surgery, LASIK is rapidly attracting new patients. So why is LASIK so popular these days? And, if you are one of the millions of Americans with imperfect vision, should you continue to turn a blind eye to the procedure?
          For starterís, LASIK eye surgery has advantages over other corrective vision procedures. LASIK patients experience a relative lack of pain during recovery, and most enjoy improved vision by the very next day. With todayís focus on instant gratification, such benefits are crystal clear.

For a medical association for the prevention of heart disease.
Optimized for: heart disease, heart attack, coronary heart disease

          Heart disease is a highly familiar term to just about everyone living in the U.S. today. In fact, most Americans have a close family member or friend who died from a heart attack stemming from heart disease.
          But the term is also a broad one, and includes several more specific heart conditions. The most common heart condition in the U.S. is coronary heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks in addition to serious conditions.

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

          CHD is the most common type of heart disease. CHD occurs when plaque accumulates in the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle, and arteries become hardened and narrowed. This plaque buildup and narrowing and hardening of the arteries is called atherosclerosis.
          A personís blood and oxygen supply to the heart can be reduced or even fully blocked by building plaque in the arteries. Plaques may also rupture and cause blood clots that block arteries.
          All these facts mean that CHD, when left untreated, commonly leads to a full-blown heart attack.

For a health and nutrition site.
Optimized for: emotional eating, how to stop emotional eating, weight gain, overeating

          Stop feeding your feelings! Putting an end to emotional eating.
          We all use food to enhance certain occasions, like family gatherings, watching a movie, or going to a ballgame. These days, a wide variety of social events seem incomplete unless some sort of food is involved.
          Thatís because food not only satisfies our hunger, but also has the potential to satisfy our feelings. Many people turn to food for emotional nourishment even when theyíre not hungry.
          When youíre happy, you might dine on burgers or pizza. When youíre upset or sad, cake and chocolate might fill your plate. And when youíre tired or bored maybe you pull out the potato chips.
          This sort of eating is called ?emotional eating.? Emotional eating is the consumption of comfort foods to satisfy your feelings when youíre arenít actually hungry. And emotional eating is a leading cause of weight gain among Americans.
          So what are the telltale signs of emotional eating? Which foods are the most likely culprits? And how people conquer their emotional eating habits?

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