in good March 2011 • Issue 135
From Patient to Advocate She lost her mom and dad to colon cancer; then at age 40, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Now she works to help others cope with the disease
Top Docs Meet the Kitturs
He: Kidney transplant surgeon. She: Neurologist conducting research on Alzheimer’s
Do You Need To File a Tax Return This Year?
CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
Why Married Men Are Happier Page 19
Is President Obama Quitting for Good? Page 5
Diet soda linked to heart attack, strokes Drinking diet soda every day was associated with 48 percent increase in risk of heart attack or stroke compared with same-aged people who didn’t drink diet soda Page 14 • HAPPY DUDES Why married men are happier. Several local experts weigh in • TESTICULAR CANCER It strikes young adult, middle-aged men March 2011 •
• HEARING LOSS
Experts explain why men have more trouble hearing better than women do
IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
Premier Joint Replacement: At St. Joseph’s, we approach each surgery as a team, but treat each patient as an individual. Seth Greenky, MD, & Brett Greenky, MD Co-Directors, St. Joseph’s Joint Replacement Program
�������������������������������������������������������������������� At St. Joseph’s, we’re proud of our reputation for joint replacement: outstanding outcomes, shorter lengths of stay and an award-winning program—all while performing the most joint replacement procedures in Central New York. But the fact is, with each new patient who walks through our doors, we’re building a different kind of reputation by working with them and their families as a team—before surgery, during the procedure and throughout recovery. To us, that’s what a higher level of care is all about. ��
Recipient of HealthGrades Joint Replacement Excellence Award™ (2011)
Five-star rated by HealthGrades for joint surgery (2007-2011)
Designated a Blue Distinction Center for Knee & Hip Replacement® by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
13th Annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study. Designation as Blue Distinction Centers® means these facilities’ overall experience and aggregate data met objective criteria established in collaboration with expert clinicians’ and leading professional organizations’ recommendations. Individual outcomes may vary. To ﬁnd out which services are covered under your policy at any facilities, please call your local BlueCross and/or BlueShield Plan. 2011
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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2011
March Madness: Too Drunk to Drive
Auburn Orthopaedic Specialists
After games, 40 percent of sports fans have booze on board
ight percent of fans who agreed to be tested after attending professional football and baseball games were too drunk to legally drive, a new study finds, and 40 percent had booze in their bodies. The study does not disclose where the games took place, it excludes fans not old enough to legally drink and it was limited to those who agreed to participate. But the findings do suggest that there’s a wider problem that could put plenty of people at risk after sporting events, said study lead author Darin Erickson, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota. Drunken people, after all, get into car accidents and cause many other problems when they are let loose from a party or bar. “It may not seem like a lot when you say 8 percent leaving a game were above the legal limit, when you look at a big stadium that has 5,000 attendees,” he said, but over time, “if you look at the hundreds to thousands of games, this is a lot of intoxicated individuals.” The study appears online and in the April 2011 issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. The study authors wanted to know if it would be feasible to ask fans to take Breathalyzer tests and respond to surveys as they leave a stadium. Researchers approached fans as they left 13 Major League Baseball games and three National Football League games in 2006. Guidelines from university lawyers and a review board prevented the researchers from testing or surveying people under age 21, who cannot drink legally, or from approaching people who obviously were drunk, although researchers said that they did not see anybody in that category. Despite the restrictions, the researchers recruited 382 people to participate: 264 after baseball games and 118 after football games. Almost 60 percent of the participants were men and 55 percent were ages 21 to 35. Only
14 percent were 51 and older. Forty percent of the participants had alcohol in their systems at concentrations ranging from 0.005 (a tiny amount) to a whopping 0.22. Eight percent were at 0.08 or higher. Those who had been tailgating before the game were much more likely to have been legally drunk, as were those under age 35. It was not clear how many of those who had been drinking planned to drive home. The numbers provide insight into how many people leave sporting events with booze on board, Erickson said. In turn, the data could help policymakers figure out how to limit the problem, he said. Ruth Engs, a professor at Indiana University who has studied college drinking, questioned the motives of the study. “Although the article does not come out and advocate eliminating alcohol from games, reading between the lines this appears to be the researchers’ possible future agenda,” she said. Engs supports “responsible drinking” and suggests lowering the drinking age can be a way to promote it more effectively. As for the idea of banning booze at sporting events, she said, “Most adults in the United States do drink responsibly. Preventing adults from drinking a beer with their brats and hotdogs before a football game is not likely to succeed.” Erickson denied that the study has a political agenda. “I don’t think there’s anything here that inherently leads toward prohibition.” Another researcher who has studied alcohol use questioned whether the study adds anything new to existing findings. “It corroborates other research demonstrating that tailgating is associated with heavier drinking. However, I don’t think that any more corroboration is needed,” said David Hanson, professor emeritus of sociology at the State University of New York at Potsdam.
Plastic surgery on the rise with rebounding economy More than 13 million people elect surgery in 2010
s the U.S. economy slowly rebounds, the number of Americans freeing up their wallets to go under the knife is on the rise. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 13.1 million plastic surgery procedures were performed in 2010, up 5 percent compared to 2009. Also, more than 5.3 million reconstructive plastic surgery operations were performed last year, up 2 percent from the year before. The ASPS report showed a trend toward more invasive procedures. Facelifts, for example, rose 9 percent in 2010. The operations have not experienced any significant growth since
2007. Breast augmentations increased 2 percent, with silicone implants being used in 60 percent of the procedures. The report stated that all surgical contouring procedures, including breast lifts, lower body lifts and thigh lifts, experienced growth in 2010. “There’s some pent up demand for cosmetic surgical procedures. People have waited a couple of years or more to have procedures, until their finances were at least somewhat back in order. But, all indications are, more consumers are again willing to spend more to look better,” ASPS President Dr. Phillip Haeck said in a statement.
Pictured left to right: Dr. Smallman, Dr. Teixeira, Dr. Sullivan, Dr. Kaempffe and Dr. Clint Basener
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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2011
Sleep apnea discussed at St. Joe’s St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center will host its next quarterly AWAKE meeting, a support program for sleep apnea patients and others who are interested in improving their health through a sleep support group at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2. The free program takes place in the 5th floor meeting room at NorthEast Medical Center in Fayetteville (4000 Medical Center Drive, off North Burdick Street). The AWAKE program (short for “Alert, Well, and Keeping Energetic”) features the presentation “Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Cardiovascular Effects and Diabetes” by Michael Flintrop. Flintrop practices with Pulmonary Health Physicians and specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Refreshments will be served and free parking is available in the medical center parking lot.
Unity House seeks nomination for new award Unity House of Cayuga County, Inc. is seeking nominations for the inaugural Fred Atkins Community Service Award, which was recently created in memory of Cayuga County volunteer Frederick Atkins. The award recognizes an outstanding individual who volunteers in Cayuga County and who exemplifies Atkins’ high moral standards and philanthropic spirit. Nominations forms may be found at www.unityhouse.com/fredatkinsaward.html and are due by March 4. The award carries with it a $500 cash prize. Atkins, a beloved Cayuga County volunteer and 30-year Unity House board member, died in 2009 at the age of 95. He was an exemplary community servant who gave selflessly of his time and considerable accounting expertise. For more information, contact Kelly Buck at 253-6227 x 313 or email@example.com.
St. Joe’s hosts open house for maternity unit St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center will host a public open house for its maternity unit from Noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 6, at the hospital, located at 301 Prospect Ave. in Syracuse. Free parking is available in the Medical Office Centre parking garage. The event will feature personal tours of the mother-baby unit, which is the only one in Syracuse with all private rooms for new moms. Refreshments will be served. The more than 11,000 square foot unit features 20 private rooms, each with a 32-inch flat screen television, loveseat/sleeper for dad, large
bathroom and shower, built-in patient wardrobe, and hairdryer. The nursery also is newly renovated, as well as the reception area, family/patient lounge, which includes a flat screen television and wireless internet access. With unique flooring and décor, the unit is a calm, respite where mothers can easily bond with their new babies.
‘Memory Academy’ offered at St. Camillus Are you concerned about preserving your memory and cognitive health? The Centers at St. Camillus is offering the Memory Academy’s 12-week curriculum that was designed for adults who want to learn more about maintaining their brain health. An expert team of cognitive health educators and physical therapists will help you learn more about maintaining brain health, reduce stress, choose brain healthy food and increase your physical fitness. Classes start on Wednesday, March 9, and meet from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. every Wednesday. Classes will be held at The Centers at St. Camillus, 813 Fay Road, Syracuse. The cost is just $50. For more information, or to register, call 7030841.
Brewerton meeting to help prospective foster parents The Onondaga County Department of Social Services is sponsoring a program that will help people to become foster, adoptive parents. Titled “Learn to Be a Foster/Adoptive Parent,” the program will take place from 10–11:30 a.m. March 10 at the Brewerton Library 5437 Library St., Brewerton. Registration is required. Call the Department of Social Services at 435-3827 or visit www.giveyourlifeasmile.com.
Day-long weight loss seminar for women Dr. Wendy Scinta and Medical Weight Loss of New York will present a one-day wellness seminar for women titled “Living in Balance: Beauty, Weight Loss and the Mind-Body Connection.” It will feature healthy meals, a cooking demonstration and upbeat, inspiring talks and workshops on a variety of topics including spirituality, nutrition, fitness, weight loss, beauty and mental wellness. Speakers include motivational humorist Yvonne Conte, author of six books including “Serious Laughter,” “Bits of Joy” and “Cry Laugh Cook.” The event will take place from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, March 19, at Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel & Conference Center. For more information, visit www.weightlosscny.com/retreat. To register, call 682-1689.
Former Smoker-in-Chief? Reports say President Obama hasn’t smoked for nearly a year U.S. President Barack Obama has not lit a cigarette for almost one year, according to First Lady Michelle Obama. The first lady’s statement in February confirmed what White House then-spokesman Robert Gibbs said in December that he had not seen the president smoke in nine months. Obama started smoking in his teens, but vowed to Michelle that he would stop if she permitted him to run for the presidency. However, even after he won, he admitted lighting up occasionally but never smoked in front of daughters Malia and Sasha. Despite Obama failing to keep his promise to kick the habit, the president’s physician, Jeffrey Kuhlman, encouraged him to continue attempting to quit smoking during the president’s 2010 medical exam. Mrs. Obama said the president wants to go on battling the habit in order to be truthful in his
answer to his daughters if they ask if he smokes. To help Obama quit smoking, the president’s golfing companion and trip director Marvin Nicholson also kicked the habit, according to Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. The president also uses nicotine gums.
More Americans turn to complementary medicine
he use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies experienced a significant growth in the United States in the last decade, and a new analysis finds that CAM use becomes more likely when access to conventional care has been restricted. “In both 2002 and 2007, having unmet needs in medical care, or delayed care due to cost, was associated with a higher chance of CAM use,” said lead author Dejun Su. “Importantly, for Americans without health insurance, who cannot afford medical care, CAM might be their last and only resort.” Su is director of the South Texas Border Health Disparities Center at the University of Texas-Pan American. He and his colleagues analyzed data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey. Based on interviews with more than 23,000 adults, the NHIS showed more pronounced growth in CAM use among whites than among racial and ethnic minorities. This increased an
already existing white-minority gap in CAM use, Su said. Without counting prayer for health purposes, 33 percent of whites report using at least one CAM therapy, while 31.8 percent of Asian Americans, 20.1 percent of African-Americans and 16.9 percent of Hispanics report using these therapies. The use of CAM rose across all these populations between 2002 and 2007, but at different rates. The increase was highest among whites and Asian Americans, at 18.1 percent and 17.2 percent, respectively. Use among African-Americans increased only 6.6 percent. Use among Hispanics increased only 1.01 percent. “So far, we know little about how the difference in CAM use has influenced racial and ethnic disparities in health and mortality,” Su said. “Research is urgently needed to understand the effectiveness, side effects and interactions of CAM therapies with conventional medicine.”
ONONDAGA, OSWEGO, CAYUGA AND MADISON COUNTIES in good A monthly newspaper published by
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In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2011 by Local News, Inc. All rights reserved. Mailing Address: P.O. Box 276, Oswego, NY 13126. • Phone: (315) 342-1182 • Fax: (315) 342-7776. Editor & Publisher: Wagner Dotto • Associate Editor: Lou Sorendo Writers and Contributing Writers: Suzanne M. Ellis, Jim Miller, Eva Briggs, M.D., Gwenn Voelckers, Deborah Banikowski, Deborah Jeanne Sergeant, Anne Palumbo, Aaron Gifford, Melissa Stefanec • Advertising: Donna J. Kimbrell, Tracy DeCann • Layout & Design: Chris Crocker • Proofreading: Shelley Manley • Ofﬁce Manager: Laura J. Beckwith No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher. The information in this publication is intended to complement—not to take the place of—the recommendations of your health provider. Consult your physician before making major changes in your lifestyle or health care regimen.
March 2011 •
IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
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Dr. David B. Duggan Upstate medical director and chief quality officer discusses his new role as president of Onondaga County Medical Society Q: Tell us a little about the history of the Onondaga County Medical Society and what its mission is. A: The society has a long and rich history, dating back to before the medical school was here, and doctors would get together to discuss interesting cases. It is a vibrant organization with a very broad membership spanning from physicians in private practice, medical students, doctors at area hospitals. It is affiliated with the American Medical Association and a chapter of the Medical Society of the State of New York. Q: How long is the term of president, and what are your responsibilities? A: It’s a one-year term, and my responsibility is to help represent the concerns of our members and their patients. [We are] working in collaboration with several other groups in town to develop a computerized connectivity for medical records so patients that are seen at one hospital can have their information available if they have to go to another hospital. It’s called the Health Advancement Collaborative of Central New York. We also take part in statewide conversations about health care reform and health care quality. The society serves as a vehicle to inform our members about issues that may affect them, and we bring our members’ concerns into discussions at the regional, state and national levels. I [was recently] in Washington at the American Medical Association’s National Advocacy Conference to talk about health care reform, where it’s going and what is changing. We discussed ways to reduce the rapid rise in the cost of health care and what we can do as a local community, as well as on a national level, to facilitate change that will reduce costs but maintain quality. I was there with about 400 others from [medical societies] all over the country. Q: You are an internist who specializes in hematology/oncology. Can you explain exactly what that means in laymen’s terms? A: I care for patients with cancer and blood disorders, primarily, and I have for many years also participated in clinical trials for cancer and related diseases. My major role is medical director and chief quality officer for University Hospital. In that role, I work with nurses, physicians and staff to try to identify ways to improve
IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2011
our care systematically and to improve the quality of the care that we provide to our patients. Q: Why did you decide to specialize in hematology/oncology? A: I made that decision in the early 80s because it allowed me to do two things I enjoy very much. The first was working with patients. When the diagnosis is cancer, there are a lot of important decisions to make. It’s a difficult disease for many people, and I enjoy working with people and helping them deal with difficult situations. There is also a very strong scientific underpinning to the understanding of cancer’s causes, and how to treat it, and I thought that that was fascinating. So I got to indulge my scientific interests and also my interest in working with people. This was a nice marriage. It was something that fit, so that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 25 years. Q: What is the most difficult thing about your profession, and what is the most rewarding? A: There are many difficult things about the profession. Medicine is not an exact science and when the outcomes are not good, it is a humbling profession. Many things are out of our control that we can’t fix, and we know that sometimes mistakes are made that we could have perhaps prevented. Those are hard
things to deal with from time to time and I spend most of my days trying to be sure the outcomes are as good as they can be. The most rewarding thing is the relationship you build with your patients and being able to help them. Even if you can’t cure their illness, you can provide a great deal of help and support. Q: We have heard a lot lately about the shortage of doctors in our area, especially primary-care physicians. Do you agree with that assessment and, if so, what can be done to improve the situation? A: I agree with the assessment that we have a major shortage of primarycare doctors, and there are issues that need to be addressed. The practice of primary care is extraordinarily challenging. It requires people to be available at all times, and it’s very difficult to predict or schedule your day. There are phenomenal regulatory and administrative tasks that need to be taken care of in order to care for patients. The insurance companies have their own way of doing things, and we may work with scores of different insurance companies. One of the things that would help primary-care physicians immensely would be to simplify the non-patient care aspects of running a practice. The second thing that would help would be to recognize, financially, the value of the care that primary-care physicians provide. Although they are the key to any successful [health care] system, in this country they are the low end of the income chain. I think it would help us attract more people to deliver primary care if that were different. In other developed countries, England for example, primary-care physicians are among the highest paid. If we could take away some of the hassles and the regulations and pay these people at a rate that’s commensurate with most of their peers, it would attract a lot more physicians. Those are big, discouraging barriers and they need to be fixed. Q: What are the reasons for the majority of hospitalizations? A: The most common causes for admission include respiratory diseases, especially those associated with smoking, heart disease and cancer.
Lifelines Dr. David B. Duggan, an internist with a subspecialty of hematology/oncology, is associate vice president for clinical affairs and a professor of medicine at Upstate Medical University. Date of birth: Oct. 18, 1953 Birthplace: Syracuse Current residence: Skaneateles Education: Jamesville-Dewitt High School, 1971; Hamilton College, 1975; SUNY Upstate, 1979; completed residency and fellowship at the New England Medical Center in Boston, 1985 Afﬁliations: newly elected as the 183rd president of the Onondaga County Medical Society; member, American College of Physicians; trustee, American College of Physicians Foundation, which focuses on health literacy; member, board of directors for the Skaneateles Festival Family: Wife, Lynn Cleary, vice president for education at Upstate Medical University; children, Abby, 23; Joe, 17; Sam, 13 Hobbies: traveling, sailing, downhill skiing
From patient to advocate Martha Raymond lost her mom and dad to colon cancer; then at age 40, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Now, recovered, she works to help others cope with the disease By Aaron Gifford
he only warning sign Martha Raymond had of her colon cancer was a night of agony, keeled over with abdominal pain to the point where she had to visit the hospital emergency room. “I was literally doubled over,” Raymond, of Central Square, recalled recently, sharing her story to increase awareness about the March Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. “It was totally disabling.” Doctors had no choice but to perform surgery. The following morning, they removed a grapefruit-sized tumor from Raymond’s large intestine. She was then informed that she had colon cancer, the same disease that claimed both of her parents. Raymond, who had an 11-year-old daughter at the time of the diagnosis, took the news hard. Raymond was just 13 when her father succumbed to the disease at the age of 57, and Raymond’s mother was 62 when it killed her.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Please consider: • Risk Factors: Increased risk in persons age 50 and older; personal or family history of colorectal polyps; personal history of inflammatory bowel disease; personal or family history of hereditary colon cancer syndromes • Symptoms: Change in bowel habits; cramping pain in the abdomen; fatigue, unexplained weight loss; blood in stool. However, early colon cancer often has no symptoms at all. • Screening guidelines: If you experience any of these symptoms, have a family history or are age 50 years old and older, consult a health care professional about screening. Screening options include colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or tomographic colonography (virtual colonoscopy). For more information: • National Cancer Institute (www.cancer. gov) • Colon Cancer Alliance (www.ccalliance. org) Helpline:1 (877) 422-2030 To join or support the CNY community in the Colon Cancer Challenge Team in Central Park, NYC on March 27, contact Martha Raymond at VoicesOfHope@live.com. Or, visit www. ColonCancerChallenge.org
Knowing that genetics play a major role in a person’s ability to develop cancer, Raymond was maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, limiting her alcohol consumption and eating right. She said she got an upset stomach once in awhile, but nothing so severe that left her too sick to work or keep up with her daily activities, let alone anything that resembled a symptom of cancer. But only 40 at the time of her diagnosis, Raymond had thought the regular screening process was several years away. “You hear the word cancer,” she said, “and it’s automatic fear. You feel vulnerable.” According to the National Cancer Institute, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States among cancers that affect both men and women (lung cancer is the first). Last year, 142,570 people in the United States were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 51,370 people died from it. When the shock of her diagnosis wore off, Raymond collected her thoughts and decided to maintain a positive attitude. She endured chemotherapy treatment and, little by little, got her strength back. Within 10 months, she was cancer free. She then became a vegetarian, limited her intake of processed food and took on a rigorous daily exercise routine. “I did find that I had a new lease on life,” she said. “It changed the way I thought about things. Like today, there may be snow on the ground and it’s 15 degrees out, but the sky is blue and it’s still beautiful out. It totally changes your prospective.” After completing treatment, Raymond took her fight against the disease to another level, dedicating her to helping others and raising awareness. She founded the Syracuse chapter or the Colon Cancer Alliance and made regular trips to the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health in New York City to learn more about the disease and treatment options from some of the top researchers in the field; she continues those visits twice a month. She has shared everything she learned there with patients and caregivers in Central New York, and makes herself available to those in need through her work as a mentor with Cancer Connects at Hematology-Oncology Associates of CNY. “Basically, the way it has worked is by word of mouth. Anyone with a new diagnosis will get my number. I’ve had people call to ask what they can expect during their first day of treatment. Or, I’ll go and sit with someone during radiation or chemotherapy. It helps to have someone with you. What we want people to know is you’re not alone.” She has befriended hundreds of colon cancer patients in the past
Unlike her mom and dad, Martha Raymond has survived colon cancer. Now she devotes part of her time to help raise awareness of the disease. Last March she played host to an event at Hematology-Oncology Associates of CNY, Brittonﬁeld, Syracuse (photo). “At these events I provide free screening and prevention information, and answer questions from patients in treatment or those who are newly diagnosed,” she says. five years, and many of them did not survive. That list includes men and women young and old, those who have a family history of cancer and those who do not. According to the National Cancer Institute, 75 percent of those diagnosed with colorectal cancer have no family history of cancer. That agency also reported that, while the disease mostly affects people over 50, it can occur at any age. Lately, Raymond has helping a 27-year-old woman who has been “fighting, and fighting and fighting.” “I think the big misconception is colon cancer is an old person’s disease,” said Raymond, 47. “That’s not true. The face of colon cancer is changing.” While many patients experience no symptoms of the disease prior to their diagnosis, there are some warning signs to look for, including changes in bowel habits, blood in the stool, cramping pain in the abdomen, fatigue and unexplained weight loss. Those who have a family history of the disease should get a colonoscopy especially early, even if it’s before the age of 40, Raymond explained. “If your dad had it and he was screened at 45, then you should get screened at 35,” she said. Raymond said her parents did not get screened for colon cancer, in part because they did not know much about cancer at the time and there was little, March 2011 •
if any, public education about the disease back then. Raymond also said while there are more resources for colorectal patients than there were even 10 years ago, those who are seeking treatment must still be their own advocate and never hesitate to get a second or third opinion from physicians when reviewing their options and selecting a course of action. “People spend more time shopping for a car than they do selecting a physician,” she said. “If you don’t feel the care is adequate, you need to keep looking. It’s an inconvenience sometimes, but it can be a matter of life and death.” Raymond is currently compiling a book entitled “Colon Cancer Chronicles”. She said it will include stories from patients, survivors, children, caregivers and friends. Some of the contributors also hail from Central New York, while others are from Rhode Island, Florida, Alaska and various other states. She hopes these tales of courage, hope and strength will help other patients and their loved ones. “When it happened [diagnosis] I never thought I would someday end up doing what I’m doing,” Raymond said. “Being an advocate has been a wonderful experience. It’s hard when we lose someone, but we continue our fight in memory of that person. I feel like I’m on a mission.”
IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
Live Alone & Thrive
By Gwenn Voelckers
Practical tips, advice and hope for those who live alone
Living Alone: Moment by Moment
y life has become a little richer. And more whole. I just completed a six-week workshop in mindfulness. I found it pleasantly, quietly transforming, and I want to share my experience with you. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to follow in my footsteps, which — by the way — are now more intentional and joyful, having practiced mindful walking As a “newbie” to mindfulness, I came to understand that it is all about enlightenment and the connection between our mind and our body. It’s the practice of living in the present moment and experiencing things without judgment. It’s about accepting things as they are. I was drawn to the workshop because I was (and continue to be) interested in reducing my stress, managing some physical pain, and cultivating personal awareness. The workshop leader Dr. Michael (“Mick”) Krasner, warmly welcomed the class of about 20 people and introduced a series of practices that encourage self-awareness and acceptance. In a soulful, soothing voice, Mick expertly led us through guided meditation, breathing exercises, and other activities designed to help us be fully present in the moment. Initially restless during the guided meditation and body awareness exercises, I came to appreciate the value of experiencing my thoughts, feelings, and body sensations free of all the “baggage” I typically carry with me. I found the guided meditation
profoundly liberating, and with practice at home, I discovered a measure of inner peace and calmness that has eluded me these past few years. Motivated by the workshop, I am trying my best to live day by day in the only moment I can ever really know or control: the moment of now. Here’s how: Embracing stillness and quiet. Like many of my contemporaries, I am addicted to being busy, to being constantly connected via technology, and to being completely consumed with what’s next. It’s easy for me to ignore or gloss over what really matters. It wasn’t until Mick encouraged us to “quiet the mind” during contemplative exercises that I found tranquil moments in which to really feel. Among other feelings, I found myself overwhelmed with sadness over the loss of my cherished Springer spaniel Lillie this past summer. I was feeling the grief, at long last. These days, I try to find time each day to slow down and meditate. I’m not always successful, but when I am, I feel rejuvenated and more centered. Focusing on what’s right in front of me. During the workshop, we thoroughly examined a raisin. That’s right, a raisin. We inspected it with all our might and noticed its color, texture, weight,
KIDS Corner Teen’s Best Friend: Young Dog Owners More Physically Active
hey’re furry, fun loving and could be the key to getting your sedentary teen off the couch, finds a new study on dog ownership and adolescent physical activity. “You can think of your dog not only as your best friend, but also a social support tool for being active,” said John Sirard, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. In the study, which appears in the March issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Sirard and his colleagues surveyed 618 pairs of Minneapolis adolescents and their parents about the number of dogs in their home and how much time they spent Page 8
in physical activity. For a week, 318 of those teens also wore accelerometers — devices used to collect data on time spent moving. It turns out that teens from dogowning families recorded greater amounts of movement on the accelerometer devices, even after researchers took into account demographic variables, like gender, race and socioeconomic status. That might mean that teens with dogs could log about 15 additional minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week, according to the authors. The association with adolescent physical activity took the research-
IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2011
and flavor. The message was clear: “Stop to smell the roses,” or, in this case, the raisin. A raisin never looked or tasted so good! This simple exercise reminded me to take the time to really see and enjoy what’s right in front of me. It could be what’s outside my window, what’s on my computer screen, or what’s in the eyes of someone I love. I’m determined to be more present in everything I do. Why? Because a deeper understanding and appreciation of life, of love, and of myself is the gift of being fully present. Listening with intention. Mick also emphasized the value and importance of being fully in the moment when communicating with others — that is, being mindful and alert when talking with and listening to others. Mindful communication involves paying close attention, and it asks us to focus on what’s happening in real time, rather than on past negative experiences, prejudices, or threats. It means listening without judgment, which can lead to a beautiful thing: mutual understanding and respect. While I pride myself on being a good listener, I want to become a great listener. Being truly present and empathic with those I’m with at home and at work is where I want to be. I’ve discovered that taking just a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness, in all its manifestations, can help reduce my stress, while increas-
ers by surprise. They expected that if anyone in the family were to walk the dog, it would be the parents. “If dog ownership has an effect, we hypothesized it would have an effect on adults, but we didn’t see that. We saw it in the kids,” Sirard said. Finding ways to encourage teens’ physical activity levels is critical, since time spent exercising drops precipitously after the elementary school years, said Cheryl B. Anderson, Ph.D., a visiting assistant professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine. Despite the link that researchers es-
ing my appreciation for my world and the people in it. When I take time to be still and reflect on the sounds, smells, and sensations of life, my life takes on greater dimension. It’s fuller and more satisfying. I’m hopeful that, with practice, taking time out for pure contemplation will become second nature and a part of my daily routine. If this column has inspired you to learn more about mindfulness, I encourage you to follow your heart and mind. The Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction workshops led by Dr. Krasner are offered through the University of Rochester’s Healthy Living Center. You can find out more by calling (585) 530-2050. Or you can explore other mindfulness opportunities on the Internet. If workshops aren’t your thing, I recommend the book “Wherever You Go There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. One of the country’s leading authorities on mindfulness stress-reduction techniques, his book outlines a method of fully living in the moment to reduce anxiety, achieve inner peace, and enrich the quality of your life. My wellthumbed copy rests peacefully on my bedside stand. Among the many benefits of living alone is glorious time to ourselves — time to spend as we please, with or without company, in silence or not, active or still. We’re in an ideal space, both literally and figuratively, to be fully present and to practice new things. Why not seize the moment? Gwenn Voelckers is the founder and facilitator of Live Alone and Thrive, empowerment workshops for women held throughout the year in Mendon, New York. For information about her workshops or to invite Gwenn to speak, call her at (585) 624-7887 or e-mail gvoelckers@rochester. rr.com.
tablished between dog ownership and teenagers’ physical activity, they said they could not be certain that getting a dog means people will be more active. “It might be that more active people choose to get dogs because it fits their lifestyle already,” Sirard said.“You may walk it, you may not, but the fact that you have this animal in the house makes you get up off the chair more. Every bit of activity is important,” Anderson said. Story by Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health.
Tinnitus defies description Syracuse woman shares experience of living with hearing condition
sk Flora Workman of Syracuse what tinnitus sounds like, and she searches for the right words, the closest experience to which to compare hers. “It’s so hard to describe,” she said. “At first I likened it to the sound a shell makes when you hold it up to your ear to hear the sea. I can also say it sounds like sitting in a car with an open window — the ‘ whoosh’ of the air rushing by.” Tinnitus is a little-understood condition, usually associated with hearing loss and aging, in which a person hears a continuous noise. Workman has been dealing with tinnitus in her right ear for a year. “There’s no letup, no pause,” she said. During the day it doesn’t bother her as much as it does at night, when there are no other noises or distractions. “It’s hard to ignore at night; it’s very evident,” she said. Although there is no cure for tinnitus, there are ways to minimize its disruption. One is a tinnitus masker, which produces a noise that can vary from static to birds to crickets. Maskers can be freestanding or fit into the ear like a hearing aid. Workman keeps a freestanding one in her bedroom. “The white noise masks the noise in the person’s head,” explained David DeFrancis, outreach director at Aurora of CNY, Inc. Aurora is the only nonprofit in Central New York that exclusively serves people with hearing and vision loss. Arlene Balestra Marko, a licensed
audiologist with Hear for Life in Syracuse, said that tinnitus is often called “head noise” and pointed out that entertainers such as Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Neil Young, Steve Martin and William Shatner are among those affected. There are two kinds of tinnitus, Marko explained. One type — objective tinnitus — produces a sound that a physician can hear using specialized equipment; it is usually caused by vein or muscle issues. A second — subjective tinnitus — produces a sound that others cannot hear; researchers have implicated the auditory nerve, the central auditory nervous system, and the hair cells in the ear as possible causes. “Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease,” Marko said. “If you have tinnitus, see your physician for a complete evaluation to determine the cause. An audiologist may be able to do specialized tinnitus tests to determine the pitch and loudness of your tinnitus.” Marko said some medications, biofeedback, yoga, exercise and meditation can help patients deal with tinnitus. Another option is tinnitus retraining therapy, which includes counseling, education and sound therapy. “This is a program based on brain flexibility and its ability to adapt to different situations,” she said of retraining therapy. Research on all of these techniques, she cautioned, reveals mixed results. “The goal of treatment is to reduce your perception of the tinnitus so that you are less bothered,” she said.
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Flora Workman of Syracuse has suffered from tinnitus for a year. Tinnitus is a littleunderstood condition, usually associated with hearing loss and aging, in which a person hears a continuous noise. Workman uses a freestanding tinnitus masker that masks the noise in the person’s head.
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SENIOR CITIZEN HOUSING
Oswego Health begins work at Fulton Medical Center
onstruction crews have begun Oswego Health’s latest project that will transform the former A.L. Lee Memorial Hospital into the Fulton Medical Center. “I am pleased to announce that this long-anticipated project has begun,” said Oswego Health President and CEO Ann C. Gilpin. “The Fulton Medical Center will offer state-of-theart technology in patient comfortable spaces that provide privacy. The building itself will have some unique design elements including light wells and an attractive main entrance where patients will access urgent care, medical imaging and laboratory services and more.” The facility will remain open daily to provide urgent care, medical imaging and laboratory services. “During construction we will be asking patients to receive some outpatient services in the Medical Office Building,” said Jamie Cullinan, Oswego Health’s Director of Facilities
Planning/Construction. The first phase of the project includes demolition of space not in use at the north end of the building. Once this work has concluded, renovation of the new urgent care center will begin that will feature nine private rooms, as well as its own entrance and offices for the related support services. Adjacent to the urgent care center, an occupational health department will be built offering specialized rooms for audio and respiratory testing. As work continues on the project, a new medical imaging department will be built that will offer a separate area for women who need a mammogram, sonogram or bone density test. When this new larger area is finished, the medical imaging services that are now offered at the adjacent Lee Medical Office Building will move into the Fulton Medical Center. The plans further include building a new kitchen and laundry room to be used exclusively by the adjoining
Michaud Nursing Home. The work included in phase one of the project should be completed by the end of the year. Meanwhile, phase two of this major renovation project includes building a new rehabilitation services department on the ground floor that will offer physical and occupational therapies. This area will have an entrance off of Park Street and will also be accessible from the first floor through a new elevator. As work concludes on the second phase, a new three-station lab will be built with a separate waiting room and registration area on the main floor of the Fulton Medical Center. The project is supported by $17 million in HEAL NY funding, along with $4.5 million in state grants. Serving as the project’s construction manager is Hayner Hoyt and providing architectural services is King and King of Syracuse. March 2011 •
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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
Crisis In The Crib: Saving Our Nation’s Babies Wednesday, March 16, 2011 • 2:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Hendrick’s Chapel, Syracuse University
2:15 p.m. - 3 00 p.m. Lobby Reception with Ms. Lewis Lee 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Film and Panel discussion Syracuse Healthy Start and partners invite you to the Syracuse premiere of Tonya Lewis Lee’s documentary on infant mortality in the African American community. This event is free and open to the public. Transportation and childcare available for families with children 2 yrs and under. Please call 424-0009
By Eva Briggs
The Challenges to Cure to Common Cold… … and the daunting task to develop an effective vaccine
The Diabetes Support Project - Upstate Medical University If you or your partner has diabetes, and has abovenormal blood glucose levels, you may be eligible to participate in an Upstate project. Researchers at Upstate are conducting a study of a telephone intervention for patients with type 2 diabetes and their spouses/ partners. To qualify for initial entry into the study, you must have Type 2 diabetes, be in a committed relationship for at least one year, and you and your partner must be 21 years of age or older and both willing to participate. The purpose of this research study is to test a phone intervention that helps partners and patients who have type 2 diabetes better support each other. To reach more people, the intervention will be delivered over the telephone, and Upstate staff can come to your home to do the assessments. Participants will be involved in either 2 weekly sessions, or 12 weekly sessions (Individual or Couples group) of diabetes education. In the Couples group, partners will also be included in the phone sessions. Assessments include a ﬁnger prick for hemoglobin A1c; height, weight, and vital signs; and questionnaires regarding food habits, activity level, emotions, and quality of life. Partners are also assessed with questionnaires and measurements. All couples will receive payment for research assessments. For more information, and to learn if you and your partner are eligible to participate, please contact Upstate’s project staff at (315) 464 - 5619.
IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2011
verywhere I turn, I hear the sound of people coughing, sneezing and sniffling. That’s to be expected in an urgent care facility during the winter, which is prime season for viral upper respiratory tract infections, or the common cold. How common? Most adults get two to four colds per year, and young children, who haven’t yet had time to acquire immunity, often have six or more per year. When they’re clustered in the winter months, it’s no wonder that some kids seem to have perpetually running noses. Because more than 200 different viruses can cause colds, few people will ever become immune to them all. If only there were a way to cure or prevent the common cold! Wouldn’t life a lot easier without mounds of tissues, and medicine cabinets filled with assorted cold remedies? On the treatment side, the dilemma is that any medicine to cure colds would have to be very safe — since colds don’t kill or cause lasting damage, the cure must be safer than the disease. A cold medicine would also have to be cheap, because so many would want to use it. And it would have to be effective, since we already a plethora of not very effective over-the-counter remedies available. From 1997 – 2002, there was a drug under development to treat the common cold. It was called Pleconaril. The press prematurely hailed it as a wonder drug, a cure, and a miracle drug. Alas, Pleconaril wasn’t a panacea: it shortened the duration of colds by just one day. It had serious hormonal side effects, causing women to have bleeding between menstrual periods and interfering with birth control pills. The drug never succeeded in gaining FDA approval. Vaccines, too, have proved elusive. Rhinoviruses, which cause 30 – 50 percent of colds, have at least 100 variants. Rhinoviruses contain a core of RNA (genetic material) surrounded by shell of proteins called a capsid. The capsid binds to the human host’s cells and injects the RNA into the host’s cells. The viral RNA commandeers the cell’s nucleus to turn the cell into a factory that produces more of the virus particles. A hypothetical vaccine would stimulate the body to make antibodies against the capsid so that the virus wouldn’t be able to bind in the first place. But with so many widely varied capsids, it’s proved a daunting task to develop an effective vaccine. But if we could eliminate infection with the common cold, would that be entirely a good thing? Some evidence suggests that all those upper respiratory tract infections may actually boost the body’s ability to avoid infection with more
serious viruses, such as influenza. Another hypothetical possibility is that if we could eliminate the common cold, other more serious infections would move into the niche created. Colds are spread by aerosolized particles (think of a sneeze), by larger droplets, and by hand-to-hand contact with an infected patient. The incubation period for the infection is one to three days. The initial symptoms include cough, sneezing, sore throat, and perhaps a low-grade fever. After a few days, clear watery nasal secretions may become thicker and change color to yellow or green. This is absolutely normal and typical, and is not a sign of bacterial infection that may need antibiotics. The color comes from white blood cells working to eliminate the infection. Even though your sinuses may feel full and plugged as the secretions thicken, this does not indicate a bacterial sinus infection. Most such instances will clear with time. Antibiotics are only needed for symptoms that are not beginning to improve after 10 to 14 days. Scientists do have some ideas for potential future ways to combat the misery of colds. Because most of the symptoms come not from the virus infection itself, but from our immune system’s response, perhaps future therapies will be able to tone down the body’s response to a more comfortable level. Or perhaps vaccines can be developed to the most serious viral strains, such as the ones most likely to trigger severe asthma attacks. In the meantime, pass the tissues. You have plenty of company!
Eva Briggs, a board-certiﬁed physician, works on the staff at Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca, in its two urgent care centers: one in Ithaca, and the other in Cortland.
March 18: World Sleep Day
Sleep expert: Schools should start at 9 to give kids more hours of sleep A good night’s rest is essential to their physical and cognitive growth By Aaron Gifford
eurologist Antonio Culebras has studied sleep for more than 40 years now. The more he learns about the process, the more mysterious it becomes. Culebras knows what happens when we are in a deep slumber, what can happen if we don’t get enough rest and what can be done to help people sleep better. And yet, he and other experts who have shared their discoveries around the globe still cannot answer that one fundamental question. Why do we sleep? “We still don’t know why,” said Culebras, consultant for the Community General Hospital Sleep Center in Syracuse and a professor of neurology at Upstate Medical University. “The closest we can come to an answer is just to say to be fully awake the following day, you have to sleep. That’s it.” As Culebras and other sleep scientists continue searching for that answer, they want to share what they’ve learned in the field so far and promote the importance of a good night’s rest through the upcoming World Sleep Day event on March 18. Culebras, one of the event’s founding fathers and its co-chairman, announced that the 2011 theme focuses on children — “Sleep Well, Grow Healthy.” The World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) established the event in 2009, employing the motto “Sleep Well, Live Fully Awake.” Last year’s slogan was “Sleep Well and Be Healthy.” The celebration actually takes place online, launched from a computer server in China. On the day of the event, The World Sleep Day website (www.worldsleepday.org/World_ Sleep_Day/Welcome.html) will have information, stories and videos that educate viewers about the importance of sleep. Children, Culebras said, need between nine and 12 hours of sleep per night, depending on their age. A good night’s rest is essential to their physical and cognitive growth and development. He cited lab tests that focused on hormone growth during sleep and determined that rats that were deprived of sleep did not fully grow. He also noted a recent long-term study in China that focused on quality of sleep. That study found that infants who used the most moisture-absorbing diapers went on to perform much better in school than children who did not use the higher-quality diapers. “Sleep is a must,” he said. “It’s like eating. We spend one-third of our life sleeping. It’s critical to being healthy.” Although some of the commandments sound obvious (see side story), Culebras said many people that he has treated over the years were not aware of them. He also said experts in the United States, Japan, China and Spain are finding that, despite public informa-
tion campaigns on the importance of a good night’s rest, many children are still sleep-deprived. This is a common problem in households where both parents work long hours and have to get their children up early to go to a day care center before school starts. Culebras also thinks that school simply starts too early in the morning. “If they’re getting up to catch a bus at 7 a.m. or 7:30 a.m. that goes against their biology” he said. “Kids are sleep deprived because of it, and it’s an emerging epidemic around the world. School should start later in the morning, maybe 9 a.m., and just run later into the day, say 4 or 4:30 p.m.” Sound sleeping habits learned at an early age can carry into adulthood, Culebras added. At the nationally accredited Community General Sleep Center, he treats patients with insomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea, a disorder where the patient’s uneven breathing affects their ability to go into a deep sleep. Culebras works alongside a team of subspecialists that includes pediatric neurologists and ear, nose and throat specialists. Culebras, of Manlius, maintains that, despite his busy schedule as a physician, he usually gets eight hours
of sleep a night, “except sometimes when I’m on call and I have to go in.” A native of Spain, Culebras began his sleep research at Boston University in 1970. Back then, sleep apnea was unknown and insomnia was viewed as a psychological problem, not a neurological one. “This area of medicine has advanced so much since then,” said Culebras, who has also worked at the Syracuse Veterans Administration hospital. “With sleeping patients we can look at what centers of the brain are still lit up and active during the night.” Culebras finds that often, someone who is severely sleep-deprived shows the same type of physical behavior as an intoxicated person, including clumsiness, lack of coordination and slurred speech. While lack of sleep is an immediate danger for drivers, over the course of time it also affects your memory, judgment, and other functions of the brain and body. “There are cases where someone had convulsions, or the inability to think straight,” he said. “Lack of sleep is not like cancer where it can kill you in three months, but it can catch up with you over time and decrease the quality of your life.”
■ 10 Sleep Commandments for Children 1. Go to the bed around the same time every night. 2. Avoid overstimulation during the hour before bedtime. This would include television, video games or other electronic devices. 3. Make the child’s bedroom conducive to sleeping. The room should be fairly dark, and not too hot or cold. 4. Encourage your child to sleep independently. “They need to know how to fall asleep when you are not in the room with them,” said Antonio Culebras, consultant for the Community General Hospital Sleep Center in Syracuse and a professor of neurology at Upstate Medical University. “Otherwise, they may never develop good sleeping habits.” 5. Avoid bright lights close to bed time, but expose them to the brightest lights possible at wake-up time. “The brighter the better,” Culebras said. “There’s a function between the retina and the brain that orchestrates rhythms for sleeping and waking up. The bright light increases your chances of being fully awake during the day.” 6. Keep televisions and other electronic devices out of the child’s bedroom. 7. Maintain a regular daily schedule for sleeping, eating, exercising and other activities. “We have to be consistent day to day,” Culebras said. “Otherwise, your brain and body become confused, and you can get sick easier.” 8. Have an age-appropriate nap schedule. Culebras said children 5 and older typically don’t need a daytime nap. 9. Get plenty of exercise. Those who get sleepy around mid-day can simply activate their body’s natural circadian rhythms by getting up and moving around. As your heart pumps faster you will feel more awake. 10. Avoid cola, chocolate and other products with caffeine as often as possible, and never consume them past noon.
■ 10 Sleep Commandments for Adults
Dr. Antonio Culebras, consultant for the Community General Hospital Sleep Center in Syracuse and a professor of neurology at Upstate Medical University. March 2011 •
1. Fix a bedtime and an awakening time. 2. If you are in the habit of taking siestas do not exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep. 3. Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion 4 hours before bedtime and do not smoke. 4. Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate. 5. Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4 hours before bedtime. A light snack before bed is acceptable. 6. Exercise regularly, but not right before bed. 7. Use comfortable bedding. 8. Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated. 9. Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible. 10. Reserve the bed for sleep and sex. Don’t use the bed as an office, workroom or recreation room. IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
GREAT FUN & E X E R C I S E
My Pregnant Life @ 5 Months
By Melissa Stefanec
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Stomach Olympics kick into high gear
t’s been a long day of work, housework and planning. All I want to do is settle down with a book. I lay down and that’s when the stomach Olympics kick into high gear. At first it is adorable and I start talking to my little one, but about five minutes later I feel like I just got off a roller coaster and can’t quite get my innards under control. If I was waiting for movement last month, I find myself sometimes wanting it to wane a little now. I know I’m not winning any mother of the year awards as I roll around a little on my stomach to calm the baby down, but I already am finding myself a little desperate. This whole pregnancy thing is wonderfully strange. As a pregnant woman you find yourself on a proverbial roller coaster in a lot of ways. Some days I’m overly excited and others I’m scared stiff. Some days I feel like a million bucks and others I feel like I’m about to lose my lunch. Sometimes I’m ready to take on the world and other times I find myself tearing up at a kitten photo on the Internet. These are the days of my pregnant life. The most exciting thing to transpire in the past month was my doctor’s visit. I had my mid-pregnancy sonogram. My husband and I wanted to find out the sex and were hoping the baby would cooperate. She did! The sonographer seemed quite certain about the gender and insisted there was little room for error (let’s hope she doesn’t eat those words or my little boy will have one adorable pink nursery). She broke it down for us as how to determine the gender of an 18- to 20-weekold fetus. ‘Boys have hotdogs and girls have hamburgers,’ she said as she twisted the device so we could see our prospective little girl’s bottom and legs. I tried to make out the “hamburger” on the fuzzy little screen next to me. Eventually I gave up and decided to trust in her expertise. Perhaps the more exciting news to come out of that appointment was
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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2011
that the baby was deemed to be healthy. Everything was working and where it should be. My blood tests were all normal. I don’t know that I have ever felt so lucky in my entire life. I may not be able win on the scratch off I buy four times a year, but I felt like I had won some other wonderful lottery. I can only hope my luck continues. When the pregnancy started out my husband and I had our gender preferences. However, as things got a bit more real we decided we didn’t care what the gender was and that we just wanted a healthy little one. Getting some good news on that front was moving and my husband and I held hands a little tighter when we got it. In other developments, I’m getting rounder and more paranoid as the days go by. I find myself hoping strangers know I’m pregnant and not a 20-something woman with a beer gut from too many Friday night beer pong tournaments. I long for the days when strangers are certain I am pregnant and hold open doors and offer me truffles (though just the doors would be nice). I also hold daily inspections with myself to see if I am developing stretch marks or a linea nigra, which is a dark line that sometimes forms between the belly button and the pubic area on a pregnant lady. I’ve read a lot of message boards that say these afflictions
are simply badges of motherhood. I would be happy to do without them and have my child serve as my badge of honor. Even though I have my gender and a baby health assessment, I still have some exciting things on the horizon for the next month. At my next appointment I will have my glucose tolerance test. The baby registry is also on the to-do list and the husband and I plan to sign up for expectant parent classes. It doesn’t seem real that I am already more than half way done with this, but ready or not she should be on her way.
Law to help terminally ill patients goes into effect
ew York State’s Palliative Care Information Act requires physicians and nurse practitioners to offer terminally ill patients information and counseling concerning palliative care and end-of-life options The new law encourages discussions between patient and physician about the goals for care and also the need for a Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) form, as well as ensures optimal relief of pain and other symptoms and a timely referral Bomba to hospice. “Typically, patients are only referred to hospice two or three weeks before their death,” said Dr. Patricia Bomba, vice president and medical director of geriatrics for Excellus
BlueCross BlueShield. “This new law requires physicians and nurse practitioners to discuss palliative care, hospice and all their other options earlier in the course of the patient’s illness.” The aim of palliative care is to relieve suffering and improve quality of life for patients with advanced illness and is offered simultaneously with all other appropriate medical treatment to manage the underlying illness from the time of diagnosis. It also helps patients’ families with their needs. Bomba has led statewide coalitions supporting legislation to improve quality of life in life’s final chapter, and played a key statewide role in the enactment of Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST), which assures patients’ wishes will be respected. She also created CompassionAndSupport.org, a website that offers resources to help patients, families and professionals with end-of-life planning.
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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
HELP US BUILD HOPE A NEW HOME!
Diet Soda Linked to Heart Attacks and Stroke
Already known for its award-winning cancer program, Upstate is striking even harder at this formidable enemy by building a ﬁve-story center of diagnosis, treatment and hope. Opening in 2013, this comprehensive light- and hope-ﬁlled center will integrate Upstate’s extraordinary array of cancer services into one ﬂuid, patient-focused space. The latest in cancer treatment—as well as cancer research, education and prevention programs— will continually intersect, inspiring new insights into cancer, new strategies for ﬁghting cancer— and ever-higher levels of hope. Our community rallied to build the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. We can do it again.
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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2011
team of stroke researchers who studied dietary habits of more than 2,500 New York City residents say that drinking diet soda may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Drinking diet soda — but not regular soda — was associated with a greater risk of stroke, heart attack or death from vascular causes in a study of older residents of neighborhoods in northern Manhattan. Drinking diet soda every day was associated in 48 percent increase in risk of heart attack or stroke compared with same-aged people who didn’t drink diet sodas, said to Dr. Hannah Gardener of the University of Miami in Florida. There was no such association for less-frequent consumption of diet soda or for any level of regular soda consumption. Gardener reported the findings during the opening day of the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in Febraury. Gardener acknowledged some limitations of the study, including the use of self-reported dietary data at a single time point, and concluded that the findings are “too preliminary to suggest any dietary advice.” “If and only if the results are confirmed can we suggest that diet soda may not be an optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages, which have been shown to have various health consequences,” she said. Doctors contacted to comment on the story were also hesitant to declare diet sodas the next great health risk, with many attributing the increased vascular risk to other dietary factors that were not measured in the study, such as the types of foods contributing to the total caloric intake. “Unfortunately, it may be that individuals with poor dietary habits do resort [to] some kind of calorie balancing and continue to eat high-calorie sweet foods but reduce their ‘guilt’ by drinking diet soda,” Dr. Howard Weintraub, clinical director of the NYU Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, wrote in an e-mail. The study “adds to the growing evidence of an association between diet sodas and cardiovascular disease,” according to Dr. Cam Patterson, a cardiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But, he added, that, although the association cannot be ignored, it is too early to interpret what it means. “People need to know about this, but it is important for everyone to realize that no general guidelines should be derived from these types of observational studies,” Patterson wrote in an e-mail. “I’ll continue to pack a diet soda with my lunch, but I’ll look more carefully at what else is in my lunch box and I’ll pay more attention to what I’m doing while I’m drinking my diet soda.”
By Anne Palumbo
The skinny on healthy eating
Wowed by Wheat Berries
ome folks never forget their first kiss; I’ll never forget my first wheat berry. Intrigued by a salad recipe that featured wheat berries, I scooped some up from the bulk section of my local grocery store, made the salad, ate the salad, raved about wheat berries for weeks, wouldn’t shut up about my new discovery, and, well, the rest is history. My family and I now eat wheat berries on a regular basis. Why the big devotion to such a little kernel? Let’s begin with what a wheat berry is. Contrary to its name, there’s nothing fruity about wheat berries: they are the whole, unprocessed wheat kernel – the germ, bran and endosperm (minus the inedible hull). All wheat products are made from wheat berries. Since the kernel is left intact, it’s no surprise that, like any whole grain, wheat berries are packed with a plethora of nutrients and health benefits. First and foremost on my list? Fiber! Fiber, which slows down digestion, stabilizes blood-sugar levels and promotes regularity, can also help to lower cholesterol in two ways: by working with the liver to produce less and by
transporting it out of our bodies. I’m also high on this whole grain because research has shown that substituting whole grains for their refined counterparts can help with weight control. Perhaps, because whole grains take longer to digest, we’re less apt to snack. More kernels to savor: Eating wheat berries and other whole grains may lower our risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Plus, because wheat berries are teaming with selenium — a powerful antioxidant that protects cells against the damaging effects of free radicals — they may ward off certain cancers. Health benefits notwithstanding, I adore the taste and texture of these plump little grains. Possessing a chewy bite and subtle nutty flavor, wheat berries are scrumptious additions to just about everything. Helpful tips: Store wheat berries in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. To extend their shelf life, place them in the freezer. They last for years. Just ask the archeologists who found them in Egyptian pyramids!
Mediterranean Wheat Berry Salad I cup hard wheat berries 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced 2 tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced 1 red pepper, diced 1 carrot, diced 3 scallions, minced (white and light green parts) ¾ cup chopped walnuts, toasted ½ cup crumbled feta cheese 1 clove garlic, minced 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 teaspoons dried mint Salt and pepper to taste Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add wheat berries, reduce heat, cover and simmer gently until tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Drain. Place in large bowl. In small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mint, and salt and pepper. Add remaining ingredients to wheat berries in large bowl, including dressing mixture, and stir well. (To toast walnuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange walnuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer; bake 8 minutes.) Anne Palumbo is a lifestyle columnist, food guru, and seasoned cook, who has perfected the art of preparing nutritious, calorie-conscious dishes. She is hungry for your questions and comments about SmartBites, so be in touch with Anne at email@example.com.
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Yesterday, I got out my ﬁshing rod. I couldn’t help thinking of everyone at HOA. It was last spring when I found out. I was overwhelmed, distraught - and scared. I thought my ﬁshing days were over. Then I went to HOA. My medical team all said, “We have the technology to ﬁght this thing!” and showed my the CyberKnife. It sounded scary, but when I learned how it worked and how safe it was, I had hope for the ﬁrst time. Your attitude really inspired me, your staff always encouraged me and your plan of action worked. I may have had cancer, but cancer never had me. Today, my kids and I are heading up to the lake.
March 2011 •
IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
CAUTION: OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE LARGER THAN THEY APPEAR!
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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2011
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Eye and Tissue Bank urges people to donate organs
he Central New York Eye and Tissue Bank (CNYETB) this month will promote the many benefits of eye donation in 14 Central New York hospitals at which it recovers donated eye tissue. March is designated as National Eye Donor month. CNYETB will distribute its ‘Gift of Sight’ eye donation material in high traffic locations at five Syracuse-area hospitals (Upstate University Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, Community General Hospital, Crouse Hospital, Syracuse VA Medical Center), two Binghamton-area (Wilson Regional and Binghamton General) hospitals, and hospitals in Oswego, Cortland, Chenango, Carthage, Star Lake (Clifton-Fine Hospital), Hamilton (Community Memorial Hospital), and Massena. Included in the information to be available to hospital staff, patients, and visitors will be New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry forms that, when completed and submitted to the state’s Department of Health, represent an individual’s legal consent to the donation of his or her eyes (and if he or
• The corneal is the clear covering over the front of the eye. Over 90 percent of the more than 40,000 corneal transplant operations performed each year successfully restore vision to persons suffering from corneal problems. • Corneal transplant is one of the most frequently performed transplant procedures. Since 1961, more than 700,000 corneal transplants have been performed, restoring sight to individuals ranging in age from nine days to 103 years. • The sclera of the eye (white part) can be used in glaucoma surgeries, eyelid repair, and periodontal surgeries for gum repair. • Donated eye tissue may be used for corneal transplants, other surgeries, medical education, or research. • The upper age limit for eye tis-
she chooses, also his or her organs and other tissue) at the time of death. “The more people we can educate and inform about eye donation and its many benefits, the more they will understand about the indisputable value of giving the Gift of Sight,” said CNYETB community relations coordinator Jessica Duffy, who oversees the organization’s efforts at promoting eye donation. “Although there are over two million New York state residents who have registered as organ and/or eye and tissue donors, our state’s designated donor ratio — the rate at which individuals enroll in a state registry expressed as a percentage of all drivers’ licenses and ID cards issued within a time period — is a lowly 12 percent. We rank fiftieth of 50 states maintaining this proportion and our goal in March will be aimed at helping raise that percentage.” CNYETB will supplement its inhospital education, information, and donor enrollment March 2011 effort with a variety of public service announcements and related publicity. sue donors is 79 years. • Cancer, diabetes, blindness, eye diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, previous cataract surgery are NOT exclusions to eye donation • Eye donation is usually not noticeable at the time of the funeral. The donation process does not delay the funeral arrangements nor does it prevent the family from having an open casket viewing. • The NY State Donate Life registry is checked to find out which registry (consent or intent) if any, the deceased is on. If on intent registry or not on registry, permission from the next of kin must be obtained before any donation can take place. If on consent registry then permission from NOK is not necessary and donation will proceed. • The family is notified of the use of the tissue and is thanked. • A blood sample is drawn on every donor to meet transplant criteria.
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upstate.edu/radonc March 2011 •
IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
Power Couple: The Kitturs.
HE: Kidney transplant surgeon. SHE: Neurologist conducting research on Alzheimer’s By Aaron Gifford
hen they first met, Smita and Dilip Kittur were somewhat unsure of each other. They were college classmates in Kolhapur, India. At the time, Smita was mostly interested in academics, while Dilip preferred the social aspect of college. They had little in common back then. “It’s not that I didn’t like him, but he was very popular,” Smita recalled with a laugh from their Manlius living room, which overlooks Brickyard Falls. “I remember telling the teacher not to bring him in our classroom.” A few years later, the two distant classmates found themselves at the same medical school in Bombay. By then, Dilip was more serious about his education, and they soon found much in common. Smita and Dilip graduated No. 1 and No. 2 in their class, respectively. Sometimes they still debate, lightheartedly, who was the better student. “Neurology is the brainy field of medicine,” Dilip joked. “She’s quite brainy. I’m the brawn.” The two doctors were married, some 37 years ago, after completing medical school. Their careers led them to hospitals in Cincinnati and then Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore before they relocated to Syracuse in 2000. Dilip practices surgery, while Smita has a private neurology practice in Liverpool. Both are also professors at Upstate Medical University. Smita initially chose neurology out of convenience, knowing that she would be marketable wherever Dilip’s career as a surgeon led them. He explored that vocation as a youngster, partially inspired by his father’s work as an ophthalmologist. Smita said Dilip, as a child, used to perform cataract surgery on sheep eyes. Today, both are on the cutting edge of medical breakthroughs in their fields. Smita is involved with clinical trials of a drug for Alzheimer’s disease that combats protein deposits in the brain. And Dilip is leading an effort to use imaging technology in liver surgery that would cut down on excessive bleeding and allow patients to recover quicker. Smita is also researching whether yoga breathing techniques can combat depression and possibly other diseases. Dilip, meanwhile, is researching the long-term effects of herbal medicines in organ transplant recipients. So far, he’s finding that some herbal medicines help patients’ immune systems to acclimate to their new organs. They have two grown children, Nicky and Alvina. Alvina is working on her PhD in psychology while Nicky became a computer engineer. The Kitturs said balancing family and medical careers was no easy task. Despite their busy schedules, Page 18
which often required both doctors to put in more than 60 hours a week, they still managed to have dinner as a family every night. “You learn about the value of time,” Smita said. “What little time you have with children is very precious. At dinner we would have so many stimulating conversations and so many laughs. When we are able to have dinner with both kids now, maybe a few times a year, it’s still like that.” They visit India every other year, and have brought their children there several times. Dilip said it’s important in Indian society to maintain close
The Kitturs at their Manlius home.
IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2011
ties with extended family, including cousins. Even though they are American, their children have embraced that value and maintain contact with cousins overseas. These days, Dilip works 55-60 hours a week, while Smita has scaled back her schedule to about 40 hours. They say the pressures of balancing career and family never put a strain on their marriage. They have common interests in skiing and golf, and they encourage each other to pursue creative outlets. Dilip is working on Bollywood screenplays, while Smita has written a book about the emotional toll Alzheim-
er’s takes on patients’ families. The Kitturs are blown away by the technological changes they’ve seen in the past three decades. As young doctors, they never dreamed they would someday have access to the top experts in their fields via the worldwide web. Smita is confident that emerging drugs will bring major medical advances in treating the cause, not just the symptoms, of Alzheimer’s. Dilip, meanwhile, expects to begin using robots for liver and pancreas surgery within five years. “It’s a very exciting time in the field,” he said, “so we haven’t even talked about ever retiring. I enjoy it a lot. I’ll die with my boots on.” He said the worst part of his job is consulting patients with inoperable pancreatic cancer. Typically, one in three patients with pancreatic cancer is in that category. The best part of Dilip’s job, he said, is performing kidney transplants. About 90 percent of such procedures are successful. Thirty years ago, the success rate was only 50 percent. “Every time you do it,” he said, “the patient always talks about how their life is so much better now. And more living donors are coming through. It really strikes me when people who are not related come through in an altruistic manner to help someone else. They are putting their own lives at risk to help someone else.” Smita said the toughest part about working in the Alzheimer’s field is the fight with insurance companies to cover the costs of home caregivers. “The middle class is not getting help,” she said. “There’s coverage for the poor and the wealthy can afford care in the home 24/7. The disease is discriminating.” Still, Smita said, caring for elderly patients is very rewarding. “They have a lot of wisdom, and they’ve taught me a lot about family. Every day, I learn something from them.” While their specialties and career goals differ, the doctors bring a common approach to medicine. They still see their primary roles as people who care for the sick; their research and teaching roles are secondary to that. Every night, they fall asleep thinking about those they cared for today and those they will care for tomorrow. “I ask myself the same four questions before bed,” Smita said. “Did I get angry at anyone or did I hurt anyone? Was I too afraid to do something that I should have done? Was I greedy? Did I go after fame? If I did do any of those things to hurt anyone, in my mind I apologize to that person.” “When I go to sleep I think about what I’ll be doing tomorrow,” Dilip said. “Not so much about the procedure, but about the reason I’m doing it.”
Men’sHealth Why Married Men Are Happier Single life might be more adventurous but experts say men find happiness in stable relationships, having children and enjoying home life By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
opious bodies of research indicate married men are happier than single men, despite the persistent jokes about the “ball and chain” and that a man’s good times are over once he marries. Considering the increased responsibility and restrictions inherent to marriage, why are married men happier? Dr. Ann Altoonian, licensed psychologist operating self-named practices in North Syracuse, offered a few answers. “Being responsible with marital goals is meaningful,” she said. “The more you have meaningful things in your life, the happier you’ll be.” Maintaining a home, having children, entertaining together, and enjoying home life are all examples of how the responsibilities of marriage add meaning to a man’s life. The freedom of dating around, coming and going when one pleases and indulging in irregular or spontaneous habits of daily living (such as eating at odd hours or staying out late) may be fun for the short-term, but “it doesn’t pay off long term,” Altoonian said. “I’ve come across research that says a single person Altoonian who is depressed gets more psychological benefit from being married than if they were to remain single.” Researchers were surprised to find that adding another layer of complexity to the depressed person’s life in the form of a spouse did not make his life’s problems more overwhelming, but it had just the opposite effect. “It’s easier to deal with the challenges of life [married] than when you do it all by yourself,” said Michael Heath, licensed mental health counselor and minister with the United Church of Christ in Syracuse. Women aren’t the only ones with emotional needs. For many men, marriage meets their deepest emotional needs. “One of the myths people have is sex and romance fades and it all goes downhill,” Heath said. “Although the buzz of infatuation burns off in a few years, in marriage for a long period of time, the warmth continues to grow and deepen throughout the relationship and develops a sense of confidence and trust.” For many men, marriage provides a validation of their manliness and a means of expressing it, not a limitation on their manliness. “Men are far more dependent on a relationship with women than women are with men for emotional satisfac-
tion,” said Ronald W. Heilmann, licensed clinical social worker and licensed marriage and family therapist in Syracuse. “If a man has a woman in his life, he can go on and do great things but without, it’s difficult to rise to the levels most men rise to.” Having someone else rely upon them such as a wife helps men feel needed and wanted. Taking part in daily, weekly, and monthly routines with another person adds more of a sense of stability and comfort. “There are always things you can count on in your relationship with the other person, even in an unhappy person,” Altoonian said. “Even if there are things you don’t like, they provide stability.” In unhappy marriages, partners typically do nothing about it for an average of seven years, according to studies, partially because they are hesitant to rock the boat and because the busyness of married life keeps them distracted from analyzing their relationship. Being married, as opposed to a couple living together without being married, adds another dimension of meaning and responsibility. “It has to do with being committed to something in a way that other people will know about,” Altoonian said. “You’re responsible to everyone else when you’re married. When you’re not married, you have the same level of commitment but because society wouldn’t know about it, it’s a different level of responsibility.” Altoonian said that men who Heath want to make their marriages happier should speak with their wives in the same way in which they’d speak with a guest in their homes and also give 51 percent—or more—to their marriages. “Do not take your partner for granted,” she added. “Don’t hesitate to show appreciation. See what you can do for the other person. Like all things we learn that have to do with giving, the giver ends up being a receiver.” Good communication skills can improve any relationship and marriages are no exception. Many women feel their husbands do not listen but that they are too quick to offer a solution when she has a problem. Most of the time when the wife airs a problem with her husband she’s not looking for him to take action or even offer a solution. “The thing she’s looking for most is for him to understand how she’s feeling about the problem and if a solution is offered right away, then she is
missing out on feeling like he understood and connected which is what is really needed,” Altoonian said. “If she wanted a solution, she could ask any relative or friend.” Improving communication is not just verbal. It can include shared experiences. One way of staying connected is spending time together in a way that is meaningful to both partners. When they first wed, career goals may keep them overly busy. As children arrive, the busyness of childrearing can make date night or hobbies together seem impossible. As a couple approaches the “empty nest” years, a man may feel apprehensive about spending so much time with someone he hardly knows anymore. “Build a structure,” Heath said. “Sometimes people say they’re too busy but it must be a regular part of your life. Get the good seats to the show she’d like to see. Don’t wait until the last minute. Take the time to know what your partner appreciates. Know what she values. If you do these things, it has rewards that are amazing and Heilmann beyond any expectations you could have.” Instigating romance and pleasant surprises is part of every strong marriage. And it’s not something relegated only to newlyweds. “It doesn’t decline over time,” Heath said. “It’s not about mood. It’s not a luxury. It’s not about expressing what’s in one’s heart. It is about love and affection. It’s about being special and novelty as opposed to routine and March 2011 •
boredom. “It’s a necessity and priority. It’s about the partner not your personal ecstasy. Kiss more, be affectionate and considerate, but not as a prelude to sex. Say the words ‘I love you’ and other special expressions. Communicate appreciation. Try unexpected gestures of kindness and consideration: vacuum and do the dishes and other things she’ll like.” The roles and dynamics of the traditional husband/wife relationship alter when the husband stays at home with the children and helps more with household work. Whether spurred by the wife’s higher salary or career options or the husband’s layoff, it’s a growing trend. “In a business, it is run on the terms of the CEO, the person on top. That person has the relationship on his terms,” Heilmann said. “We have to have mutual terms in a marital relationship. Women are more egalitarian in their lives; men are more vertical. There are a lot more women that want a horizontal relationship than men and a lot less women who want a vertical relationship.” Instead of allowing resentment to build when roles shift, couples need to discuss their expectations, and feel comfortable talking about how they’re coping day by day. “Couples should also address issues around power,” Rosen said, “How do we make decisions, how much independence does each person get for example. Addressing issues around financial stability is important, too: how money is divided, spent, and saved.” As with any relationship, a marital relationship requires work; however, the rewards of a happy marriage are worth the effort.
IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
Men’sHealth What They Want You to Know:
Audiologist By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
udiologists are physicians who specialize in and treat disorders of the ear, including balance and hearing loss. They also can help patients prevent hearing damage. all.
■ “Hearing aids aren’t one size fits
■ “Hearing aids may not be an answer for hearing loss. They could have a medical remedy or some other neurological component. ■ “The only way that the problem will be identified is through an audiological evaluation. That’s the only way it can be diagnostically tested. ■ “We’re university-trained professionals who have patients’ best interest at heart. They are our patients and not our customers. We are governed by codes of ethics and licenses that help maintain a practice.” Kimberly Newton, audiologist with Auburn Audiology P.C., Auburn ■ “People should be getting more vigilant about their kids’ consumer electronics. Be aware that exposure may be no worse than their grandparents, but I’ve also seen 12-year-olds with permanent hearing loss. Make them aware that noises are like a dose. One song can be a dose that’s dangerous. Or, it may be a lower volume dose and it may take more than one dose to damage hearing. It’s listening to it at excessive volume that can damage hearing. Personal listening devices should be at no higher than 50 percent their maximum volume.”
■ “I wish the general public would take hearing loss more seriously. Hearing loss is not just an inconvenience. There are huge psychological costs to having untreated hearing loss. ■ “First, hearing loss can exacerbate, exaggerate or masquerade as a cognitive decline. The fact is that hearing loss can make us appear and act older than we are. ■ “Second, the isolation and loneliness of having a hearing loss cuts you off from others. A person who has a hearing loss will pretend to understand a conversation because they don’t want to feel ashamed of appearing stupid. They become less social, participate less and become more isolated. But on the other hand, because hearing loss has this huge stigma surrounding it, people resist getting a hearing aid, the very thing that would enable them to appear and act younger. Ironic, isn’t it? ■ “Research even indicates that it can also affect a person’s job performance. That’s important because a full third of individuals are below retirement age. These people don’t want to admit they have hearing loss because they don’t want to appear inferior to their boss and co-workers. I just saw an individual like this last week. ■ “People who get hearing aids wait an average of seven years after they discover that they have hearing loss. During this time, hearing loss progresses and it becomes harder and harder to adjust to all the new environmental sounds that you should have been hearing all along.”
Andy Giraud, audiologist with Upstate Medical University, Syracuse
Dana Oviatt, PhD. and audiologist with Oviatt Hearing and Balance in Syracuse
■ “There is a difference between a hearing aid salesperson and an audiologist. Audiologists receive advanced degrees, doctoral and master’s degrees, and study the anatomy and physiology of the ear, how to perform diagnostic hearing testing, and the science of prescribing hearing aids to the hearing impaired. This training and skill set is not available in most retail outlets. It’s important to get your ears tested diagnostically so that if there is pathology that can be treated medically. Hearing aid salespeople are not qualified to perform this testing.
Deborah Jeanne Sergeant is a writer with In Good Health. “What Your Doctor Wants You to Know” is an ongoing column that appears monthly to give our area’s healthcare professionals an opportunity to share how patients can improve their care by helping their providers and by helping themselves.
IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2011
Testicular cancer strikes young, middle-aged men If testicular cancer is not treated right away, it metastasizes rapidly. By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
esticular cancer is not a type of cancer that receives much press because it’s pretty rare. “Right now it is not as common as one might think,” said Jason Warchal, community mission manager for the American Cancer Society Central New York Region in East Syracuse. “Really, a man’s lifetime chance [to get testicular cancer] is 1 in 270.” The problem lies in that testicular cancer may be the last thing on the mind of a man in the prime of his life. The American Cancer Society (www. cancer.org) states that nine out of 10 testicular cancers occur between age 20 and 54. These rapidly-growing cancers are rare before adolescence and in older adulthood and it may be because “the testicle is a reproductive organ and these are the peak reproductive years,” said Angelo DeRosalia with AMP Urologists in Syracuse. Klinefelter’s syndrome, a genetic disorder, represents another risk factor. A normal male Derosalia chromosome is XY. A man with Klinefelter’s has a chromosome pattern of XXY. In addition to age, other risk factors include race (whites are more prone than blacks, for example) and testing HIV-positive. A non-descended testicle is also more prone, and places the descended testicle at slightly higher risk. Some researchers also implicate hormonal exposure before birth and through hormonally treated foods such as poultry as contributing to incidences of testicular cancer. “Family history is very important,” Warchal said. “If you have a family history of testicular cancer, you have a greater risk for being diagnosed.” He advises men to avoid tobacco use, maintain an appropriate weight and eat a healthful diet. “Incorporate fruits, vegetables and whole grains and fewer processed meats,” he said. “Get physically active. If you do this every day, you’ll be on your way to decrease your risk of testicular and other types of cancers.” Usually detected by a patient who finds a painless lump, testicular cancer can be easily overlooked because of the commonality of benign blood vessel abnormalities, cysts and other scrotal
masses. Warchall recommends that men know their bodies and check themselves for abnormalities, starting in their teens. “When you’re in the shower, do a check on yourself,” he said. “Do it as often as you can. Everyday can’t hurt. Try to see, feel any types of changes like bumps, lumps and irregularities.” Upon finding any unusual lump, men need to see their primary care physicians who will likely recommend a visit to an urologist, who would likely perform an ultrasound to get a good look at the lump. After an ultrasound, a blood test may also help determine if a lump is testicular cancer. If testicular cancer is not treated right away, it metastasizes rapidly. “You usually proceed to remove the affected testicle,” DeRosalia said. But some will need surgery without chemotherapy or radiation. It depends upon the patient’s age and how far the cancer has spread in the body. Fortunately, it is one of the types of cancers that responds well even after it metastasizes. Usually, younger men can receive the higher doses of radiation and/or chemotherapy and have a good prognosis. Chemotherapy can affect the patient with long-term side effects such as hearing problems and peripheral nerve damage. Most Warchal patients with testicular cancer treated with surgery and radiation are still able to father children afterwards. “It’s particularly disappointing to see a male that delays seeking medical attention, which makes it more difficult to treat testicular cancer,” DeRosalia said. “Patients are not aware of the importance of testing and self exams, or they hope it will go away or attribute it to another cause.” When treated early, men have the best prognosis for a complete recovery, not just remission but a complete cure. Only about one to two percent of testicular cancer patients eventually have cancer in the remaining testicle and need testosterone therapy. “If you look at people who are diagnosed with it, it’s a very, very treatable type of cancer,” Warchal said. “The risk of dying from it is one in 5,000.”
of Diabetics Could Reach 50 Percent in the U.S. By Mike Costanza
he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just released new data regarding diabetes in the U.S., and the news isn’t good. “We’re seeing the numbers for type 2 diabetes increase at a very alarming rate,” says Arlene Wilson, associate director for community initiatives for the American Diabetes Association of Upstate New York. If that trend continues, Wilson says, as many as 50 percent of Americans could have type 2 diabetes within 30 years. Because people who suffer from diabetes are at increased risk of developing conditions that include glaucoma, heart disease and stroke, the trend could have a staggering effect on millions, and on society as a whole. “We’re really at the cusp of being the first generation whose children won’t outlive them,” Wilson says. Though modern medicine describes two forms of diabetes—types 1 and 2—the two are very different, Wilson says. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin, the hormone it needs to convert sugars, starches, and other foods into the energy it needs to function. “The body has certain cells the produce insulin, and the body actually starts to attack those insulin-producing cells,” Wilson explained. In most cases, those who suffer from type 1 diabetes have inherited risk factors for the disease from both parents. Only about 5 percent of those who suffer from diabetes have this form of the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association. Insulin therapy and other treatments can help them remain in good health. Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, is when the body either doesn’t make enough insulin to be able to process foods normally, or the cells of the body do not make proper use of insulin. While this form of the disease has a genetic basis as well, those who are overweight or obese are at greater risk for developing it. “The percentage of body fat has risen to the point that it impacts the ability to produce insulin and utilize insulin,” Wilson says. Unfortunately, obesity is growing in the U.S., driven upward by a combination of poor diet and sedentary lifestyles. Wilson suggests several steps to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. To begin with, check for a family history of the disease. Those who find evidence of it should begin getting tested for the disease at the age of 45, or earlier, she says. Then, begin switching to a healthier diet, and working to reduce or control weight. For example, instead of buying processed foods rife with fat and salt to consume at the end of a long day, bring home prepackaged salads or other healthy foods to use as the basis for meals. “Get a salad, get some meat or fish to throw on top of the salad, and that could be dinner,” she says. Can’t obtain fresh vegetables easily? Wilson suggests that you try frozen, and stay away from white flour, pasta, and rice, in favor of whole or multi-grain foods.
Men and Hearing Loss Men have hearing loss years before women do By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
f your wife complains that you turn up the television too loud, you’re not alone. The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery revealed that 13 percent of men aged 20 to 69 suffer from noise-induced hearing loss. These preventable injuries may not manifest themselves for years after they are inflicted, which means looking at historic opportunities for exposure can reveal what factors have made men more prone to hearing injuries. “Environmental factors such as occupational and recreational noise can accelerate hearing loss, especially in the high frequencies [pitch],” said Debra L. Sandbrook, board certified hearing instrument sciences and New York state licensed hearing aid dispenser with Hear USA’s Auburn location. “Early onset hearing loss in men can be attributed to use of power tools, farming, heavy machinery, loud music, firearms and other high intensity noise over an extended period.” Not wishing to appear wimpy, male workers may flout the rules Giraud and not wear the earplugs provided for them as outlined in OSHA regulations instated in recent decades. Men typically are less likely to use hearing protection for recreational activities because it can interfere with their enjoyment, such as a hunter who wants to hear game approaching. “Shooter’s plugs may not be the most effective in blocking noise, but they do allow some pitches through and dampen some of the low frequencies that can damage hearing,” said Andy Giraud, audiologist with Upstate Medical University. “Musician’s ear plugs can allow you to hear your instrument but not allow you to hear the rest of them.” Giraud recommends the small, inexpensive foam earplugs common to any pharmacy. “They block more noise than the big ones that go on your head if you roll them down slowly so they’re wrinkle free and put them in snugly,” Giraud said. “The big ones won’t seal right if you wear glasses.” Many men may not realize that the loud noises damage their hearing, or they do not want to bother with the nuisance of wearing ear plugs. Although there is no anatomical difference that makes men more prone than women to hearing loss, because men experience a disproportionate amount of noise, their hearing loss usually presents earlier in life, around age 60, compared with age 80 for women. Loud sounds damage hearing by
causing a temporary and, later, permanent shift in hearing. A temporary shift may affect hearing for a prolonged period of time, but the hearing eventually returns to or close to the baseline before the injury occurred. Acute or prolonged exposure to loud noise can cause a permanent shift. The person with permanent hearing loss may also experience tinnitus or ringing in the ears, the reason most men seek help for hearing loss. “They may also have hearing loss and a hearing aid may be the solution to both problems,” Giraud said. “There are so many things they could be having problems with. There may be other treatment options like therapies that try to make the tinnitus more manageable. Tinnitus could be related to dietary and other issues.” Despite its prevalence, hearing loss isn’t a typical condition for which general practitioners screen patients. “That’s why you have to tell your physician if you think you are having difficulty hearing,” said Dana Oviatt, audiologist with Oviatt Hearing and Balance in Syracuse. Unfortunately, most men do not seek help for their hearing loss. It is estimates that women are twice as likely as men to do so. A wife may complain that the television is too loud, for example. Sometimes, these husbands may not think the television or radio is so loud because they don’t realize the extent of their hearing loss Oviatt and may resist seeking help, but that’s not always the case. Some men seek help for their hearing loss if it impacts their quality of life in an important way. “If they’re still in the workforce and it’s negatively impacting them, they will seek help,” said Kimberly Newton, audiologist with Auburn Audiology PC. “I don’t think they’re being dragged in by their wives. They’re not as resistant as they once were, but some are coming in with a family member.” She estimates that the average time between the need for a hearing evaluation and obtaining one is about 14 years for most men. Because most manufacturers allow purchasers of hearing aids a monthlong trial period (except for any applicable fitting fee), people with hearing loss should try hearing aids if recommended by an audiologist. For people who don’t want a cumbersome hearing aid or who believe that a hearing aid detracts from their appearance, today’s hearing aids are much less noticeable than those their grandparents wore. Many hearing aid brands and models are small and unobtrusive, fitting almost entirely in March 2011 •
the ear canal. Unfortunately, many hearing aids cost hundreds of dollars and may be out of reach for people without insurance. Non-fitted hearing amplifiers are more like non-prescription drugstore reading glasses. The Food and Drug Administration defines hearing aids as devices that “rectify medically diagnosed hearing impairment,” but hearing amplifiers “amplify hard-to-hear environmental sounds for people with perfectly normal hearing.” “Use of over-the-counter personal sound amplifiers with a hearing loss often results in frustration,” said Sandbrook of Auburn’s Hear USA. “Yes, sound is louder but it is not clear.” Amplifiers aren’t custom fitted or specific to the user’s level of hearing loss but for some with mild hearing loss, they can provide an affordable means to hear better during times when they need extra help such as during a church service. Some are even made to look like a wireless phone headset and cost around $40. Listening systems such as TV Ears uses a transmitter hard-wired into the television and a wireless headset for the hard-of-hearing person so turning up the television won’t bother anyone else in the room. Hearing aids fitted by an audiologist can help amplify desired sounds without amplifying background noise. “With today’s technology individuals with even a mild hearing loss can experience dramatic improvements in their quality of life,” Sandbrook said. “It is important for the Baby Boomer Sandbrook generation with emerging hearing losses to realize that hearing aids offer something to them of value early on in their lives and they do not need to wait until retirement to receive the benefits of enhanced hearing.” Unlike vision correction with contact lenses or glasses, hearing aids can never restore the auditory sense to its previous acuity. It’s important to keep personal listening devices turned down low, use hearing protection and try to avoid acute and prolonged exposure to loud sounds. These measures may seem extreme to young people; however, the signs of hearing loss do not manifest until years later, long after the damage has already been done.
IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
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Q: How do I show proof of my Social Security benefit amount? A: Here are four ways: You can use your SSA-1099 form as proof of your income if you receive Social Security benefits; You can use your annual notice that tells you your benefit amount for the year as verification of your current benefits; The fastest, easiest, and most convenient way is to go online and request a proof of income letter at www. socialsecurity.gov/bene; and You may call Social Security’s toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Q: I understand that by 2013 I will not be able to continue receiving my Social Security payments by paper check. What are the benefits of using direct deposit? A: The benefits of using direct deposit are: It’s safe; secure; convenient; there are no checks to be lost; you are in control of your money; and you will get your benefits on time, even if you’re out of town, sick or unable to get to the bank. You choose the account where your Social Security payment is deposPage 22
IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2011
ited. If you don’t have a bank account, you can use the direct express prepaid debit card to receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and other federal benefit payments. Learn more about direct deposit and Direct Express at www.godirect.gov. Q: Is Supplemental Security Income (SSI) taxable? A: No. SSI payments are not subject to federal taxes so you will not receive an annual form SSA-1099. However, if you also receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits, those payments may be subject to income taxes. Learn more about SSI by reading the publication “What You Need To Know When You Get Supplemental Security Income” (SSI) at www.socialsecurity. gov/pubs/11011.html. Q: What is a disability trial work period? A: The “trial work period” allows Social Security disability beneficiaries to test their ability to work for at least nine months without losing benefits. During the trial work period, you can receive full benefits no matter how much you earn, as long as you remain disabled and you report your work activity. The trial work period continues until you have completed nine trial work months within a 60-month period. More about this at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10095.html.
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Do You Need To File a Tax Return This Year? More than half of all seniors aged 65 and older won’t have to file income tax returns this year Dear Savvy Senior What are the IRS filing requirements for seniors this year? I had to file income tax returns last year, but my income dropped a bit and I’m wondering if I may be off the hook this year. What can you tell me? Tired of Taxes
• You are a qualifying widow(er) with a dependent child and your gross income was less than $15,050 ($16,150 if age 65 or older).
Dear Tired, According to the Tax Policy Center, more than half of all seniors in the U.S., aged 65 and older won’t have to file income tax returns this year mainly because their incomes are under the IRS filing requirements. Here’s a breakdown of the 2010 filing requirements along with a few other tax tips you should know.
To figure this out, the IRS offers a page on their website called “Do You Need to File a Federal Income Tax Return?” that includes a list of financial situations and a series of questions that will help you determine if you’re required to file, or if you should file (if you’re due a refund). You can access this page at www.doyouneedtofile.info, or you can get help over the phone by calling the IRS helpline at 800-829-1040.
If your “gross income” is below the IRS filing limits, you probably don’t have to file a federal tax return. Gross income includes all the income you receive that is not exempt from tax, not including Social Security benefits, unless you are married and filing separately. You probably don’t have to file this year if: • You are single and your 2010 gross income was less than $9,350 ($10,750 if you’re 65 or older). • You are married filing jointly and your gross income was under $18,700. If you or your spouse is 65 or older, the limit increases to $19,800. And if you’re both over 65, your income must be under $20,900 to not file. • You are head of household and your gross income was below $12,050 ($13,450 if age 65 or older). • You are married filing separately and your income was less than $3,650.
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If you do need to file a tax return, you can get help through the IRS sponsored Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE). This program provides free tax preparation and counseling to middle and low income taxpayers, aged 60 and older. Call 800-829-1040 to locate a service near you. Also check with AARP, a participant in the TCE program that provides free tax preparation at more than 7,000 sites nationwide. To locate an AARP Tax-Aide site call 888-2277669 or visit www.aarp.org/money/ taxaide.
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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
H ealth News Eric Campbell is Oswego Hospital has new CFO Oswego native Eric Campbell has been named the chief financial officer for Oswego Hospital. In his new position, Campbell is responsible for overseeing three key business-related departments of the hospital, including fiscal services, patient financial services and patient access. In addition, he will oversee the preparation of financial and regulatory reports, operating and capital budgets, will direct internal control over financial and regulatory reporting, and manage the 164-bed facility’s revenue cycle including third-party Campbell payer contracting. As the CFO, Campbell supervises some 60 employees. Previously, Campbell had worked for seven years at Fust Charles Chambers LLP, most recently as an audit manager. In his last position, he was responsible for conducting audits at hospitals throughout the region, including Oswego Hospital. “Completing financial statement audits for facilities with varying budget has allowed me to see firsthand best practices that I will use to benefit Oswego Hospital,” Campbell said. Oswego Hospital’s new CFO graduated from George Mason University and is a certified public accountant. He is a member of the New York State Society for CPAs, the American Institute of CPAs and the Healthcare Financial Management Association. In his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball, golfing and spending time with his wife, Angela, and their young son.
ENT physician in Oneida earns fellowship David C. Gordon of ENT Specialists of Oneida has been recognized as a fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (FAAOA). Fellows of the AAOA are boardcertified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and have successfully completed both written and oral components of the AAOA fellow examination. According to the American Board of Otolaryngology, the diagnosis and management of allergic disorders of the head and neck is a fundamental part of the knowledge Gordon base of practicing otolaryngologists. “We encounter allergic conditions of the ear, nose, paranasal sinuses, larynx and trachea daily,” Gordon noted. Fellowship certification in allergy allows Gordon to offer comprehensive treatment of nasal and sinus disease. Along with providing medical and surgical treatment, ENT Specialists of Oneida now offer diagnosis and treatment of environmental and food allergies. “This complement of services Page 24
makes our practice one of the few groups in central New York to provide comprehensive care of all aspects of nose and sinus disease,” Gordon said. In addition to being newly designated fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy, Gordon is board certified by the American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada and also serves a clinical assistant professor at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse.
New director of project management at Franciscan The Franciscan Companies, a member of the St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center network, announced the appointment of Susan Clancy-Magley as director of project management. In this new role, ClancyMagley will oversee the development of new lines of service for The Franciscan Companies. Most recently, Clancy-Magley served as director of development for the Sisters of Clancy-Magley St. Francis. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial relations from Le Moyne College. She is active in the Association for Fundraising Professionals and is a trustee board member for Loretto and on the development board of directors for the Sisters of St. Francis.
Oneida Healthcare opens neurology center Oneida Healthcare has recently opened a new neurology center and appointed Dr. Ravi Patel to direct it. Physicians trained in neurology provide care for wide variety of primary and secondary neurological disorders, including headaches, seizures/ epilepsy, stroke, degenerative diseases, movement disorders, neurological manifestations of systemic diseases and environmental factors influencing the central and peripheral nervous system. Patel obtained his medical degree from the University of Debrecen in Hungary. He then joined SUNY Upstate Medical University where he finished his internship in internal Patel medicine, residency in neurology and fellowship in vascular neurology (stroke). He is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He also holds an MBA in healthcare management from American Intercontinental University located at Hoffman Estates, Ill. Patel has broad knowledge of stroke primary prevention and secondary stroke risk reduction and is partnering with the local American Heart Association to help raise awareness of stroke. He is experienced in the management of neurological critical care patients in the intensive care unit.
IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2011
St. Joe’s Orthopedic Surgeon Seth Greenky Recognized by his Colleagues St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center’s Seth Greenky, an orthopedic surgeon who practices with Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists, was honored Jan. 26 with the third annual Roger W. Pease PEER (Physician Exemplifying Excellence & Reverence) Award. Named for Roger W. Pease, a humanitarian who served as St. Joseph’s first surgeon, the award is presented to the physician who embodies leadership, clinical expertise and social responsibility. Winners of the award are nominated by their peers, or fellow physicians. In his nomination letter, Seth Greenky, orthopedic surgeon and Greenky was cited for his “outstanding ability to be a visionary co-director of the total joint replacement program at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health for his program.” He has “the Center, poses with Marya Gendzielewski, most outstanding results and it committed to excellence.” His is president of St. Joseph’s medical staff. “on top of his profession and generous with his time.” orthopedic surgeon, are co-directors “Working closely with Dr. of the total joint replacement proGreenky, I am in awe of his tiregram. He also is a faculty member less enthusiasm, passion and of the SUNY Health Science Cencommitment to St. Joseph’s, and ter/Upstate Orthopedic Surgical its patients, families, hospital and Resident Program. medical staff,” said Kimberley MurListed annually as part of ray, director of surgical services and America’s Best Doctors, Greenky orthopedic service line administrahas extensive experience in total hip tor. “His focus on excellence, qualreplacements, surface replacement ity and continuous improvement surgery, knee replacement surgery, serve as an inspiration to others. I partial knee replacement surgery, can think of no one more deserving and shoulder replacement surgery. of this honor than him.” A 20-year member of St. Joseph’s Greenky is the chief orthopedic medical staff, he has performed surgeon at St. Joseph’s Hospital thousands of hip and knee replaceHealth Center where he and his ments. brother, Brett Greenky, also an
Podiatrist joins Auburn Memorial Hospital Richard P. Erali, a podiatrist, has joined Auburn Memorial Hospital’s surgical department. Erali is a native of New York and is board certified in podiatric surgery. He has practiced podiatry for 32 years. He is a graduate of Cornell University, earned a master’s degree in education from Cortland State Teacher’s College and received his Doctorate of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) from New York College of Podiatric Medicine. Erali directed podiatric surgery residency programs for Baptist Hospitals and served as president of the state of Tennessee Podiatric Medical Association. He has served as cliniErali cal professor at New York College of Podiatric Medicine and Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine and is an assistant professor of Iowa College of Podiatric Medicine. Erali specializes in corrective foot surgery, pediatric foot evaluations, nail care, diabetic foot care, sports medicine (running clinics) and traumatic injuries. He has a special interest in work-
ing with runners and has himself run in more than 30 marathons.
Seniors Helping Seniors opens in Central New York Brenda Watson and Corey Hutt along with Brenda’s husband, Randy Watson, have established a new Seniors Helping Seniors in-home services franchise location. They will provide services for seniors in the greater Syracuse area as well as Onondaga, Cortland, and Madison counties. Seniors Helping Seniors in-home services offers non-medical services for seniors by seniors to help them live independently with dignity and respect. Seniors Helping Seniors receivers are matched with senior providers. The business provides services that include companionship, transportation, meal preparation, personal care, overnight stays and handyman services among others. “Our inspiration to start a Seniors Helping Seniors center comes purely from the desire to give to our community,” says Corey. “We see so many seniors at home, lonely, and in need of some help with day-to-day living and companionship. Our new service will help connect people in the community who may need a little help with other seniors who can relate to them
H ealth News and help them maintain their independence.” Brenda and Randy owned and operated the Mason Jar restaurant in Vernon for 15 years.
Ilene and Herb Mendel Distinguished Service Award — Crouse Hospital’s chief of surgery Herb Mendel and his wife Ilene Mendel of Fayetteville were honored recently with the Crouse Hospital Auxiliary’s 2011 Distinguished Service Award at the organization’s annual meeting. The presentation is made annually to someone who best exemplifies Crouse values and makes a difference in the
lives of others. Rabbi Charles Sherman of Temple Adath Yeshurun delivered the invocation. In presenting the award, Crouse Hospital Auxiliary Director Nancy Bottar noted that, “Individually, and together as a couple, they have a passion and respect for others, a love of family and faith, thankfulness for the blessing of good friends, professional skills that make a difference in the lives of others and a desire to give back to the community.” Mendel, a partner in CNY Surgical Associates, has served in many capacities as a member of the Crouse Hospital medical staff, serving as vice president and then president of the medical staff and on its executive committee; as a member of the institutional review board; as chairperson and member of the medical quality cost management committee; and as a member of the Crouse Health foundation board of directors since 2000. Ilene Feldman Mendel is a Syracuse native whose volunteer accomplishments are many and reflect her commitment to community, children and making a difference in the lives of others. She has been a member in good standing of the Crouse Hospital Auxiliary since 1994, and served on its board of directors for six years and its executive board for four of those years. She was elected four times to the Fayetteville-Manlius board of education, and served on its finance, audit, community relations, and policy committees. She was elected vice president by the board three years consecutively.
Upstate Medical: Maxine Thompson promoted to assistant VP for diversity Maxine Summerhill Thompson has been promoted to the position of assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion at Upstate Medical University. She has served as the director of the office of diversity and affirmative action since 2004. Upstate officials said the change in title and name of the office reflects the priority being placed by the organization on the importance of advancing diversity as a core institutional value and infusing Thompson it into the campus culture. While affirmative action will continue to be an integral function of the office, the additional title and name change reflects the evolution and direction Upstate is moving toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization, reflective of and responsive to the community it serves, the officials said.
Thompson will retain the title of affirmative action officer to fulfill the compliance function inherent in the role and office. In her roles, Thompson will provide strategic leadership and collaboration with executives, senior leaders, directors, managers and supervisors to assist in moving the organization closer to its diversity and business goals. A New York state-certified clinical social worker, Thompson earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, and master’s degree from the Smith College School for Social Work. She recently completed program requirements for the diversity management certificate, awarded by Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She is a 2009 graduate of Leadership Greater Syracuse, serves on the Central New York Inclusion Conference Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, and is a member of the newly established Research Foundation of SUNY Diversity Initiatives Team.
Joslin Diabetes Center Medical Staff Recognized
Ten members of the Upstate Medical University’s Joslin Diabetes Center medical staff have been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for excellence in the care and treatment of patients with diabetes. They are, from left, Roberto Izquierdo, M.D., Fayetteville; Lewis Johnson, M.D., Fayetteville; Jennifer Kelly, M.D., Fayetteville; Cathy Bazan, FNP, Mattydale; Ruth Weinstock, M.D., Fayetteville; Barbara Mols-Kowalczewski, M.D., Manlius; Rachel Hopkins, M.D., Syracuse; Steven Zygmont, M.D., Manlius; Barbara Feuerstein, M.D., Fayetteville; and Irene Sills; M.D., Syracuse. Ten members of the Upstate Medical University’s Joslin Diabetes Center medical staff have been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for excellence in the care and treatment of patients with diabetes. The nine physicians and nurse practitioner honored participated in the statewide Diabetes Campaign Collaborative, a joint initiative of the Healthcare Association of New York State and the New York State Health Foundation to reverse the diabetes epidemic in New York by promoting excellence in clinical care and fostering a comprehensive, coordinated care system for patients with diabetes. These individuals achieved high scores in the survey process that measures clinical practices and outcomes known to improve the health of patients with diabetes. The survey process is part of the Diabetes Recognition Program established by the National Committee for Quality Assurance and the American Diabetes Association. Those recognized for delivering
Creekside Counseling opens in North Syracuse CreekSide Counseling Services (CCS), —an agency serving adolescents aged 13 and up, and adults in Oswego and Northern Onondaga counties—recently opened an office at 428 S. Main St., Suite 111, North Syracuse. The practice already maintains an office in Oswego. “At CCS, we believe that problems represent an opportunity for personal growth and that mental health counseling is Fiorini a positive approach March 2011 •
excellent care are Barbara Feuerstein, M.D., Fayetteville; Rachel Hopkins, M.D.; Syracuse; Roberto Izquierdo, M.D., Fayetteville; Lewis Johnson, M.D., Fayetteville; Jennifer Kelly, D.O., Fayetteville; Barbara Mols-Kowalczewski, M.D., Manlius; Irene Sills; M.D., Syracuse; Ruth Weinstock, M.D., Fayetteville; Steven Zygmont, M.D., Manlius; and Cathy Bazan, FNP, Mattydale. “This recognition speaks to our ongoing commitment to quality at Upstate and demonstrates to patients and the community the outstanding care Upstate offers in its Joslin Diabetes program,” said David Duggan, chief quality officer and medical director of Upstate University Hospital. Joslin Diabetes Center at Upstate Medical University treats patients from 20 counties throughout Upstate and Central New York, and conducts numerous clinical trials involving patients throughout this region as well. The Joslin Diabetes Center is located at 3229 East Genesee St., Syracuse.
to dealing with life’s challenges and transitions,” said the agency’s owner, Jody Fiorini. “Because there is a shortage of mental health providers in Oswego and Onondaga counties, we are delighted to add this additional location—across from the Geddes Bakery— to reach out and help more people throughout Central New York. “We employ clinicians with a wide range of educational experience including Ph.D. level counselors, master’s level counselors, and master’s level counseling interns.” Fiorini is a licensed mental health counselor and a mational certified counselor. She is also a professor at SUNY Oswego in counseling and psychological services.
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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2011