Tag Archives: risk

Eric Van De Graaff, M.D.

Amusement Parks


Keep Your Hands and Legs Inside the Ride At All Times Last winter my family and I had the opportunity to vacation to Orlando, Florida, where we spent several days enjoying the magic of the happiest place on earth and getting a glimpse of our planet’s future after centuries of unchecked population growth.  During that time I had the opportunity to spend many hours standing in long, serpentine lines waiting to enjoy something that lasts no more than a minute or so: the public restrooms. While waiting to ride on one of my favorite attractions I put some thought to the warning sign posted near the loading platform.  The ride is called Expedition Everest and is meant to simulate the … Continue reading

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Eric Van De Graaff, M.D.

History of Stroke


May is National Stroke Awareness Month, brought to you by the following sponsors: Richard Nixon, Ginger Rogers, Ted Williams, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Ray Bradbury, Joseph Cotton, Ava Gardner, Gerald Ford, Charles Dickens, Woodrow Wilson, Oscar Peterson, Dwight Eisenhower, Cary Grant, Warren G. Harding and Thomas Jefferson. These prominent people share one common characteristic:  they all suffered strokes.  The truly interesting thing about this short list is that is represents only a small fraction of the famous and noteworthy people who have suffered strokes at some time in their lives.  An exhaustive list would take up pages. The reason for this is that stroke is quite literally an everyday occurrence.  It is the second most common cause of death worldwide and … Continue reading

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Alegent Creighton Health

Genetic Testing — Holding the Key to Survival

Patient Stories

I can’t remember much about being nine years old, but I will never forget Thanksgiving of 2000. My mom, Kamie Kay Preston, was diagnosed with breast cancer. From that moment forward, my life would never be the same.My mom was a very active and hands-on type of parent; she coached almost every competitive team I was on up until she got sick. After her diagnosis, in the midst of chemo treatments, she would somehow find the strength to attend my athletic events, even if that meant taking a trip to the car at half time or between games to lie down.  As the weeks, months, and years went on, my mom had several ups and downs. Over time, I saw … Continue reading

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Michael Aaronson, M.D.



Dr. Eric Van De Graaff, Cardiologist at Alegent Health Clinic Heart and Vascular Specialists, wrote a very poignant article in defense of statins. His timing was perfect. It’s almost as if he knew the Archives of Internal Medicine’s June 28th article was going to be published. You will be hearing a lot about this article: Statins and All-Cause Mortality in High-Risk Primary Prevention. The argument the study makes is that there may be little benefit in primary prevention patients to justify using statin medicines to lower your cholesterol level. (Primary prevention is defined as avoiding the development of a disease. Most population-based health promotion activities are primary preventive measures.) Before you stop your Lipitor, please consider Professor Van De Graaff’s … Continue reading

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Eric Van De Graaff, M.D.

The Short End of the Stick


  Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse.  As if it weren’t bad enough already that you spent your school years being picked dead last for basketball teams and that you always had to crane your neck upward to look into the eyes of your prom dance partner, or that you had to put up with that diabolically catchy Short People song getting stuck in your head, the world now comes along and deals one more injustice to those of you who of challenged vertical stature.  Just last week the Associated Press reported the findings of a study out of Finland that allegedly demonstrates a 50% higher risk of death from heart disease among short people as compared … Continue reading

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