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S e r v i n g P a l m B e a c h G a r d e n s , R o y a l P a l m B e a c h , We l l i n g t o n , L a k e Wo r t h , L a n t a n a , B o y n t o n a n d B o c a R a t o n

Also in this issue

Hot Topic: Nurse Practioners Are Opening Up Their Own

Clinics: Physician Supervision Not Always Required............2 This little piggy went to

Bodies of 21 babies found in China river


Explaining Sinusitis ..............4

State Cigarette Taxes Not Spent on Anti-Smoking Efforts. PAGE 7

Five Weight Loss Myths .......5 Chocolate could reduce

heart risk...............................6 State Cigarette Taxes Not Spent on Anti-Smoking

Efforts ...................................7 Save power, save money:

6 easy tips to reduce your

electricity usage and bills .....8

Low-Cal Diets May Make You Gain Weight. PAGE 12

Home Health Care

at New Heights.....................9

Get back on your feet.........10 You’ve got the Fever…!!!! ...11 Bodies of 21 babies found

in China river ......................12

2010 Pink Ribbon Gala ......13

2010 Pink Ribbon Gala ......14 Simple Memory Test May

Detect Early Alzheimer's ....15

BEIJING – The bodies of 21 babies, some with hospital identification tags around their tiny ankles, washed ashore on a river in eastern China and two mortuary workers were detained for allegedly dumping them. PAGE 12

Simple Memory Test May Detect Early Alzheimer's. PAGE 15

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2 APRIL • 2010


Hot Topic: Nurse Practioners Are Opening Up Their Own Clinics Physician Supervision Not Always Required pays doctors. An office visit for a Medicare patient in Chicago, for example, pays a doctor about $70 and a nurse practitioner about $60.


By Dr. Mark Schor

Board Certified in Internal Medicine and works for U.S. Hospitalists

he most read article in the Wall Street Journal last week was “Medical Schools Can’t Keep Up� (4/12/2010). Experts warn there won't be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the new federal health care law. At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Florida has less than 12 primary care doctors per 1000 people. The greatest demand will be for primary care doctors. The very next day the AP carried this headline: Doctor shortage? 28 states may expand nurses' role. (4/13/2010)

It is widely expected that for the 32 million new patients to be added over the next few years, a nurse will be their doctor. With a looming shortage of primary care doctors, 28 states are considering expanding the authority of nurse practitioners. The new U.S. health care law expands the role of nurses with $50 million to nurse-managed health clinics that offer primary care to low-income patients.

Most Patients may not mind seeing a nurse practitioner but in the end it is the doctor that they turn to for further advice. There must be protocol for contact in the event of patients issues that exceed the scope of practice of the NP. A physician is generally required to supervise the clinic by signing the NP’s protocols. However, there is an exception to physician supervision in rural areas.

Because most physicians are moving closer to the cities due to the depleting insurance reimbursement causing a void to develop in the rural areas throughout the US. Nurse Practitioners are well suited to practice in rural areas because they are primed from their undergraduate programs to provide hands-on holistic nursing care.

The exception to physician supervision is the Rural Health Care Clinic Act which Congress passed in 1977. This authorizes Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for NP’s without a supervising physician if they are in a federally certified rural clinic.

This arrangement is especially popular in California and is expected to spread to Florida. Medicare, which sets the pace for payments by private insurance, pays nurse practitioners 85 percent of what it

David L. Browne, MSN, ARNP has opened a clinic in Tallahassee and warns that opening his own medical clinic did not occur without some difficulties. The protocols must be filed at the Board of Nursing. The physician supervision can be direct or by communication device, but the physician must be licensed in Florida. The protocols must be renewed every year and if the physician declines to renew, the NP must find another physician. He states that “the pathway from the thought to the completion of the clinic and ultimately the opening is mostly uphill.� The medical establishment is fighting to protect turf. In some statehouses, doctors have shown up in white coats to testify against nurse practitioner bills. The American Medical Association, which supported the national health care overhaul, says a doctor shortage is no reason to put nurses in charge and endanger patients. Nurse practitioners argue there's no danger. States regulate nurse practitioners and laws vary on what they are permitted to do:

 In Florida and Alabama, for instance, nurse practitioners are barred from prescribing controlled substances. Florida and Alabama are the only states that do not allow qualified and educated nurse practitioners to write prescriptions for medications to control anxiety, cough, pain and other ailments. On March 24, 2010, the Florida Nurse Practitioner Network held its first annual “Rally in Tally� to promote passage of Controlled Substance Prescribing by ARNPs SB 188/ HB 677. This bill is sponsored by by Senator Mike Bennett and Representative Juan Carlos Zapata , but is opposed by the Florida Medical Association.  In Washington, nurse practitioners can recommend medical marijuana to their patients when a new law takes effect in June.

CONTACT US P.O. Box 213424 Royal Palm Beach, FL 33421 Phone: 561-716-5054 SALES & ADVERTISING Grace Edwards Phone: (561) 319-6919 Michael Antoine Phone: (561) 685-3245 PUBLIC RELATIONS Phone: (561) 267-5232 WEB SITE CONTRIBUTING ARTICLES U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ARA Content, Hispanic PR Wire, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, METRO Editorial Services, Family Features, Florida Health News is a newspaper published every month in Palm Beach county and surrounding areas. Copyright 2010, all rights reserved by SEA Publications, Inc. Contents may not be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to refuse advertising. The publisher does not accept responsibility for advertisement error beyond the cost of the advertisement itself. All submitted materials are subject to editing. Š SEA PUBLICATIONS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Printed in United States.

Please recycle this newspaper.

 In Montana, nurse practitioners don't need a doctor involved with their practice in any way.

 Many other states put doctors in charge of nurse practitioners or require collaborative agreements signed by a doctor.

 In some states, nurse practitioners with a doctorate in nursing practice can't use the title "Dr." Most states allow it.

The ability for nurse practitioners to own their own clinic is a fairly new idea and one that can offer quality medical care at generally lower prices, with faster service and increased patient satisfaction.

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APRIL • 2010


This little piggy went to market….


Dr. Arthur Hansen, D.P.M., M.S.

ake a good look at your toes. Are they not as cute as they used to be? Do a couple of them look more like claws or mallets? Some of them may even have corns, calluses or sores on them.

If so, you probably have a deformity called hammertoes. Your toes may look odd to you, but don't fret too much. Hammertoes are relatively easy to treat with no rush to surgery to straighten them; unless they are painful and won't fit into shoes.

There is a tendency toward a genetic disposition of hammertoes. For example, you may have inherited an unusually long second toe whose tip is continually squeezed into a bent position. However, most are caused by an uneven balance of tendons that pull on the toe with eventual bending. Also, a tight tendon can prevent a toe from resting flat and a hammertoe begins to form. Or a bunion on the big toe may crowd the second toe into a bent position. Muscle weakness or arthritis can also cause toes to contract into the hammer position. Ill fitting shoes commonly lead to deformed toes, as

splint is worn during the day and a toestretching device is worn at night. Temporary relief can be achieved by lightly taping the protruding toe to hold it down, straight and even with the other toes. Tape is then used to create a sling for pulling the offending digit back into a normal alignment. NSAIDS and/or cortisone injections may be indicated as well.

well as many other foot problems. A short, shallow shoe forces a toe to bend at the joints and bear weight on its tip. After a time, the tendons contract and the toe stiffens into this unnatural position permanently.

Although some people are born with a hereditary contracture, and some acquire a contracture from having a systemic disease such as arthritis, the hammertoes are painful with shoe gear often times making daily standing, walking, and working very difficult. Sometimes the pressure on the bent toes can lead to ulcers and infections if not treated.

If you do suffer from hammertoes, see your podiatrist today. He/She can get you painfree and may be even get those little piggies to do what they are supposed to. Call to make your appointment

Most hammertoes respond to conservative care but surgery is sometimes required for this condition. A surgeon can lengthen the tendon and remove any bone aggravating the condition. Eliminating the contracture of the tendons on the top of the foot strengthens the movement of the hammertoe so it can uncurl and straighten.

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Conservative care of a hammertoe involves exercise and mechanical stretching. The wearing of splints can also be tried. The

Multitasking Has Its Limits For those who think they can juggle several tasks at once with ease, new research from France suggests that humans may not be able to perform more than two complicated jobs at one time. That doesn't mean you can't walk and chew gum simultaneously, but it probably means you can't talk about astrophysics on the phone while doing your taxes. And you definitely can't add solving calculus equations to the mix, at least if you want to perform any of these tasks with some proficiency. "They are suggesting that you can only handle two things at once, but they're cognitively demanding tasks," said Mark Mapstone, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y. The reason: The human brain has two lobes that divide the responsibility equally when two tasks are being carried out at the same time. "Three-tasking [overwhelms] the capacity of human frontal function. Dual-tasking is alright," explained study co-author Etienne Koechlin, whose research appears in the April 15 online issue of Science. "Human higher cognition is dual in essence, which can explain why people like binary choice and have difficulties in multiple choices [people can easily switch back and forth between two options before making a decision, but not across three alternatives]." The results could eventually have some real-world applications. "Frontal lobe function is the most fragile human brain function, and is altered in aging and impaired in most neuropsychiatric diseases [schizophrenia, autism, dementia, depression]," said Koechlin, a professor with the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research in Paris.

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4 APRIL • 2010


Explaining Sinusitis BY DR. CURTIS EMMER

exhibited as a sore throat, cough, bad breath, nausea and/or vomiting.

Ear, Nose, and Throat Surgeon

Have you ever had a cold or allergy attack that wouldn't go away? If so, there's a good chance you actually had sinusitis. Experts estimate that 37 million people are afflicted with sinusitis each year, making it one of the most common health conditions in America. That number may be significantly higher, since the symptoms of bacterial sinusitis often mimic those of colds or allergies, and many sufferers never sea doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. What is Sinusitis?

Acute bacterial sinusitis is an infection of the sinus cavities caused by bacteria. It usually is preceded by a cold, allergy attack, or irritation by environmental pollutants. Unlike a cold, or allergy, bacterial sinusitis requires a physician's diagnosis and treatment with an antibiotic to cure the infection and prevent future complications.

Normally, mucus collecting in the sinuses drains into the nasal passages. When you have a cold or allergy attack, your sinuses become inflamed and are unable to drain. This can lead to congestion and infection. Your doctor will diagnose acute sinusitis if you have up to four weeks of purulent nasal drainage accompanied by nasal obstruction, facial pain-pressure-fullness, or both. The sins infection is likely bacterial if it persists for ten days or longer, or if the symptoms worsen after an initial improvement.

When does acute sinusitis become chronic?

When you have frequent sinusitis, or the infection lasts three months or more, it could be chronic sinusitis. Symptoms of chronic sinusitis may be less severe than those of acute; however, untreated chronic sinusitis can cause damage to the sinuses and cheekbones that sometimes require surgery to repair.

Tips to prevent sinusitis:

As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To avoid developing sinusitis during a cold or allergy attack, keep your sinuses clear by:

-Headache, usually not before age six. -Irritability or fatigue.

-Swelling around the eyes.

-Using an oral decongestant or a short course of nasal spray decongestant.

-Gently blowing your nose, blocking one nostril while blowing the other.

-Drinking plenty of fluids to keep nasal discharge thin.

-Avoiding air travel. If you must fly, use a nasal spray decongestant before take-off to prevent blockage of the sinuses, allowing mucus to drain.

-If you have allergies, try to avoid contact with things that trigger attacks. If you cannot, use over-the-counter prescription antihistamine and/or a prescription nasal spray to control allergy attacks. Allergy testing, followed by appropriate allergy treatments, may increase your tolerance of allergy-causing substances.

Can children suffer from sinus infections?

Your child's sinuses are not fully developed until age 20. However, children can still suffer from sinus infection. Although small, the maxillary (behind the cheek) and ethmoid (between the eyes) sinuses are present at birth. Sinusitis is difficult to diagnose in children because respiratory infections are more frequent, and symptoms can be subtle. Unlike a cold or allergy, bacterial sinusitis requires a physician’s diagnosis and treatment with an antibiotic to prevent future complications. The following symptoms may indicate a sinus infection in your child:

-A "cold" lasting more than ten to fourteen days, sometimes with low-grade fever.

-Thick yellow-green nasal drainage.

-Post-nasal drip, sometimes leading to or

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If despite appropriate medical therapy, these symptoms persist, care should be taken to seek an underlying cause. The role of allergy and frequent upper respiratory infections should be considered.

What treatments are available?

Antibiotic therapy- Therapy for bacterial sinusitis may include an appropriate antibiotic. If you have three or more symptoms of sinusitis, be sure to see your doctor for diagnosis. An oral or nasal spray or drop decongestant may be recommended to relieve congestion, although you should avoid prolonged use of nonprescription nasal sprays or drops. Inhaling steam or using saline nasal sprays or drops can help relieve sinus discomfort. Intensive antibiotic therapy- If your doctor thinks you have chronic sinusitis, intensive antibiotic therapy may be prescribed. Surgery is sometimes necessary to remove physical obstructions that may contribute to sinusitis.

Sinus surgery- Surgery should be considered only if medical treatment fails or if there is a nasal obstruction that cannot be corrected with medications. The type of surgery is chosen to best suit the patient and the disease. Surgery can be performed under the upper lip, behind the eyebrow, next to the nose or scalp, or inside the nose itself.

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is recommended for certain types of sinus disease. With the endoscope, the surgeon can look directly into the nose, while at the same time, removing diseased tissue and polyps and clearing the narrow channels between the sinuses. The decision whether to use local or general anesthesia will be made between you and your doctor, depending on your individual circumstances.

Before surgery, be sure that you have realistic expectations for the results, recovery, and post operative care. Good results require not only good surgical techniques, but a cooperative effort between the patient and physician throughout the healing process. It is equally important for patients to follow pre and post operative instructions.

You Are What Microbes You Eat The trillions of microbes in the human intestinal tract that help everything from digesting food to fending off pathogens may differ from culture to culture because of variations in diet, researchers now report. The finding stems from a study of marine microbiology by researchers in France, who identified genes in a microbe found on decomposing seaweed that enables it to consume the seaweed. When they put genetic information into an international gene-sequencing database, they found that the gene is not only present in other marine species but in a microbe that resides in the guts of people in Japan. Yet they could find no evidence that the microbe, Bacteroides plebeius, had ever been identified in the microbiota, or community of microorganisms, in the guts of people in North America.

"Gut microbiota are shaped by our nutrition, and what energy we take up from our nutrition is shaped by gut microbiota," said study co-author Mirjam Czjzek, a group leader in the marine plants and biomolecules department at the French National Center for Scientific Research. "This clearly is an important factor to be aware of for health." At some unknown point in history, microbes that reside in the Japanese tract probably snatched up genes from seaweed passing through the large intestine, explained Justin Sonnenburg, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Sonnenburg wrote an article accompanying the study, which is published in the April issue of Nature. Those microbes then had an advantage over other microbes because they could digest seaweed, which helped them thrive, Sonnenburg said. Having a microbe that is adept at digesting seaweed presumably makes the Japanese better able to extract calories from seaweed than Westerners, Czjzek said. So does this mean sushi-loving Americans will soon acquire B. plebeius, too? Probably not, the researchers said. Today's food supply is far more sterile than the diets people were eating when this "lateral" gene transfer occurred, the experts said. Back then, people were probably eating seaweed that came directly from the ocean, with a higher microbe load than the nori sheets people eat today.

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APRIL • 2010


Five Weight Loss Myths We've got our health truths down pat. For physical wellness, eat good, wholesome food and get plenty of exercise. But what about the myths out there about diet and exercise? Watch and learn as we bust five of the top diet and exercise myths.

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Myth #1: Carbs are the Enemy

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Experts suggest that carbohydrates play a star role in keep you energized and your organs functioning properly. The carb bad rap should rest squarely on the shoulders of "white carbs" like white bread, white rice, and sugar. These refined carbs, dietitians suggest, are more likely to pack on the pounds. Stick with whole grains like whole wheat pasta and brown rice for a healthier diet.

Myth #2: Never Eat After 8PM

The habit of under-eating all day only to overdo it at dinner time is likely where this myth came from. Eating excess calories at any hour of the day will lead to weight gain. Just remember: It's not when you eat, it's what you eat.

Myth #3: It's Not a Workout Unless You Sweat

A cardio workout that gets you huffing and puffing is vital for a healthy ticker, but that's only half the picture. Low-impact workouts, like weight-lifting and yoga, might not leave you drenched in sweat, but they're equally important to keeping your muscles strong and your body burning calories all day long. Work cardio and resistance training into your exercise regimen and you'll be seeing the full picture of health.

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Myth #4: Weight-Lifting Bulks You Up

Most women don't have the necessary testosterone levels to transform them into the spitting image of Conan the Barbarianera Arnold Schwarzenegger. But if you integrate weight-lifting into your workouts and find you're getting a little too cut, switch to lighter weights and more reps.

Myth #5: Muscle Weighs More than Fat

Here's the deal: a pound of muscle and a pound of fat weight exactly the same amount. A pound! The difference between muscle and fat is an issue of density and volume. Muscle is denser than fat and takes up less space in your body which can give you a leaner look overall.

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Dr. Kishore Dass and Dr. Ben Han spearhead a team of eight highly trained radiation oncologists practicing advanced cancer treatment techniques. We deliver inspired, compassionate care. Our physicians have been trained at esteemed institutions including Cleveland Clinic, National Cancer Institute, MD Anderson, Mount Sinai, Beth Israel, University of Washington, and Stanford. We combine compassionate care and state-of-the-art technology Get Back to Living Your Life. to give you confidence to move on. (561) 795-9845 Isn’t it time you got back to living your life? Don’t wait—contact one of five convenient locations in Palm Beach County today.

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Turmeric ingredient protects liver, say scientists PARIS (AFP) For centuries, practioners of Ayurvedic medicine have counselled patients to use turmeric, a bright yellow spice popular on the subcontinent, to treat liver and digestion disorders.


n a study published on Wednesday, a team of scientists in Europe and the United States give the nod to this piece of advice. In tests on mice genetically engineered to have chronic liver inflammation, curcumin -- a naturally occurring yellow pigment that is turmeric's main ingredient -- appeared to delay damage that eventually leads to liver cirrhosis.

A group of engineered mice were given curcumin in their diet for four and eight weeks and were compared to engineered counterparts who had an otherwise normal diet. The curcumin mice had "significantly reduced" scarring to their livers, damage to liver cells and less bile duct blockage compared with non-curcumin counterparts. Lab-dish tests were also carried out on cholangiocytes -- cells found in the lining of bile ducts -- taken from engineered mice. Curcumin appears to work by interfering with chemical signalling pathways in inflammation, a finding that throws open an alluring avenue for a new liver drug, the investigators believe. "Targeting these pathways may be a promising therapeutic approach," say the authors, led by Michael Trauner, a professor of internal medicine at Medical University in Graz, Austria. The paper appears in Gut, a specialist journal of the British Medical Association (BMA). Curcumin comes from a perennial herb called Curcuma longa.


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6 APRIL • 2010


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Chocolate could reduce heart risk


LONDON – The Easter Bunny might lower your chances of having a heart problem. According to a new study, small doses of chocolate every day could decrease your risk of having a heart attack or stroke by nearly 40 percent.

erman researchers followed nearly 20,000 people over eight years, sending them several questionnaires about their diet and exercise habits. They found people who had an average of six grams of chocolate per day — or about one square of a chocolate bar — had a 39 percent lower risk of either a heart attack or stroke. The study was published in the European Heart Journal. Previous studies have suggested dark chocolate in small amounts could be good for you, but this is the first study to track its effects over such a long period of time. Experts think the flavonols contained in chocolate are responsible. Flavonols, also found in vegetables and red wine, help the muscles in blood vessels widen, which leads to a drop in blood pressure. "It's a bit too early to come up with recommendations that people should eat more chocolate, but if people replace sugar or high-fat snacks with a little piece of dark chocolate, that might help," said Brian Buijsse, a nutritional epidemiologist at the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Nuthetal, Germany, the study's lead author. The people tracked by Buijsse and colleagues had no history of heart problems, had similar habits for risk factors like smoking and exercise, and did not vary widely in their Body Mass Index. Since the study only observed people and

did not give them chocolate directly to test what its effects were, experts said more research was needed to determine the candy's exact impact on the body. The study was paid for by the German government and the European Union. Doctors also warned that eating large amounts of chocolate could lead to weight gain, a major risk factor for heart problems and strokes. "This is not a prescription to eat more chocolate," said Dr. Robert Eckel, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado and a past president of the American Heart Association. He was not linked to the study. "If we all had (a small amount) of chocolate every day for the rest of our lives, we would all gain a few pounds." Eckel said it was amazing to find such a small amount of chocolate could have such a protective effect, but that more studies needed to be done to confirm its conclusions. Alice Lichtenstein, a nutritionist at Tufts University School of Medicine, said it was difficult to link the reduction in heart disease and stroke risk to the chocolate alone, since there may have been other differences between the study participants. "The relationship between chocolate and good health outcomes is still uncertain," she said. "If somebody really enjoys eating chocolate, then they should have a small amount of that and just really enjoy it," she said.

Study links dogs, not cats, to kids' asthma risk


EW YORK (Reuters Health) – For children at higher-thanaverage risk of asthma, having a dog around the house may increase the chances of developing the lung disease, a new study suggests. The study, which followed 380 children at increased risk of asthma due to family history, found that those exposed to relatively high levels of dog allergen at the age of 7 were more likely to have asthma. In contrast, there was no relationship between cat-allergen exposure and a child's risk of asthma, according to findings published in the journal Pediatric Allergy and Immunology. Exactly why dogs were related to a higher risk of asthma, while cats were not, is not entirely clear. But one factor may be endotoxin, a substance produced by bacteria that is known to trigger inflammation in the airways, explained lead researcher Dr. Chris Carlsten, of Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia, Canada.

Carlsten and his colleagues found that children exposed to dog allergen at home were not at increased risk of developing an immune-system sensitization to dog allergen itself. Therefore, greater exposure to endotoxin may at least partly explain the association between having a dog in the home and a child's risk of asthma. "Dogs tend to have a lot of endotoxin on them, because they're dogs," Carlsten told Reuters Health. In contrast, cats have much less, he said. So should families with a history of asthma or allergies opt for a kitten over a puppy, or no fluffy pets at all? "This study doesn't answer it," Carlsten said. "And in general, there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against pets." He said that for now, his advice to parents is to base the decision on their family's desire to have a pet, rather than the potential effects on asthma risk. The findings are based on 380 children who were at increased asthma risk because at least one first-degree relative (meaning a parent, sibling or child) had the lung disease or two or more first-degree relatives had other allergies, such as eczema or hay fever. The children's mothers were recruited for the study during pregnancy, and researchers measured the levels of three allergens -cat, dog and dust mite -- in the families' homes, periodically over the child's first year of life and again when they were 7 years old.


APRIL • 2010



How Virus Puts the 'Pink' in Pink Eye

cientists have figured out how the eye reacts to the virus that causes pink eye -- a finding from an animal study that could lead to a better treatment for the condition. Pink eye (viral keratoconjunctivitis) is highly contagious, and some people with the condition must remain in isolation for up to two weeks. Inflammation causes red, irritated eyes, blurry vision and uncomfortable discharge. Worse, there is no known effective treatment for it. Scientists used a new model to identify what part of the pink eye virus (adenovirus keratitus) caused the inflammation familiar to people suffering from the condition. In tests on mice with pink eye, the scientists found that the protein coat of the virus (viral


capsid) induces inflammation. They also determined that inflammation could be blocked by a peptide containing components of the same protein coat. "We were interested in understanding what part of the human adenovirus causes inflammation. We found that is it the protein coating around the virus that is the most inflammatory in the eye," senior author Dr. James Chodosh, a surgeon at the Massachusetts Eye and Eye Infirmary, said in a news release. "This is important because without inflammation, there would be no discharge from the eye, and therefore no transmission [of the disease]. Now that we know what causes the inflammation, we hope to find a way to block it," he said.

State Cigarette Taxes Not Spent FDA to Re-examine Anti-Bacterial on Anti-Smoking Efforts Many states raised their excise Chemical in Soaps, Cleansers he U.S. Food and Drug Administration Thursday acknowledged that there could be safety concerns regarding triclosan, an ingredient found widely in consumer products, such as antibacterial soaps, toothpaste and cosmetics, clothing and toys. In an update to its Web site, the agency stated that "triclosan is not currently known to be hazardous to humans. But several scientific studies have come out since the last time FDA reviewed this ingredient that merit further review." The FDA did not recommend that consumers change their behavior with respect to these products. At issue is whether or not triclosan alters hormone regulation in humans, as it has been shown to do in animals.


taxes on cigarettes last year, but none are using that new-found money for controlling tobacco use, health officials report.

Such disruptions can cause developmental or other problems. There is also concern that triclosan may contribute to resistance to antibiotics, whereby bacteria develop ways around the potentially lifesaving drugs. One public health advocacy group applauded the FDA announcement.

n 2009, 14 states and the District of Columbia raised their excise tax on cigarettes, increasing the national mean tax from $1.18 a pack in 2008 to $1.34 a pack in 2009, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "We know that increases in cigarette prices are one of our most effective and efficient strategies for both preventing youth initiating and helping young adults and other adults to quit smoking," said report contributor Terry Pechacek, the associate director for science of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health.

But investing taxation-derived funds into tobacco prevention and control would further reduce smoking, Pechacek said. The report is published in the April 9 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Excise taxes on cigarettes vary widely stateto-state. Rhode Island has the highest tax at $3.46 a pack, while South Carolina has the lowest at just 7 cents a pack. Connecticut's tax is also over $3. States that have high tobacco taxes and devote funds to tobacco control programs will save on health costs in the long run, Pechacek noted. "Reducing tobacco is good for the bottom line," he said. For example, California, which devotes its tobacco tax dollars to public health programs, estimates a $50 payback in reduced health care costs for each dollar devoted to these programs, Pechacek said. California's excise tax on cigarettes is 87 cents a pack.

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• Dr. Chandra Venugopal • Dr. Amarnath Vedere • Dr. Mauricio Melhado

• Dr. Jean Foucauld • Dr. Neerav Shah • Dr. Elizier Hernandez

Save power, save money:

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There are a bunch of little tricks you can employ to cut back on power consumption at home— which not only has environmental benefits but keeps you from wasting cash too—and it's highly unlikely you'll even notice a difference. Between the National Resources Defense Council's site and I found some really good tips. Here's a recap of six simple, painless ways to cut back:


Check this: refrigerators suck up a whopping 20% of your household electricity use. Time to turn them down! Aim for somewhere between 38-42 degrees in the fridge, and 0-5 degrees in the freezer. If you've got an energy saver switch, make sure it's flipped on. Doors should be sealed tight: to test, stick a dollar bill between the gaskets and close the fridge door; if the bill is hard to pull out you're in good shape. If not, it's time to replace the gaskets.


Wash only full loads in your dishwasher (yet another reason to learn to pack them efficiently!), and if you have time, let them air dry by turning off the drying cycle manually—this can save 20% of your dishwasher's total electricity usage.


Don't use hot water when doing the laundry. If you must, try warm water, though in most cases cold is probably just fine. Make sure that the amount of water you're using corresponds with the size of your laundry load.


Lower the temperature of your water thermostat to 120-130 degrees (any lower than that might backfire on you, since you might end up running out of hot water).


Clean your air filters regularly. Air conditioners have to work a lot harder to circulate air through filthy filters, which is a totally unnecessary electricity drain.


And while you're sitting in front of the computer, turn on the sleep mode, so it's less of a power drain when you're not using it. Windows users can do this via the control panel, while Mac users can find energy saving settings under system preferences in the apple menu.

Indian military to weaponize world's hottest chili


AP – FILE - farmer Digonta Saikia shows a 'Bhut jolokia' or 'ghost chili' …

AUHATI, India – The Indian military has a new weapon against terrorism: the world's hottest chili. After conducting tests, the military has decided to use the thumb-sized "bhut jolokia," or "ghost chili," to make tear gas-like hand grenades to immobilize suspects, defense officials said Tuesday. The bhut jolokia was accepted by Guinness World Records in 2007 as the world's spiciest chili. It is grown and eaten in India's northeast for its taste, as a cure for stomach

troubles and a way to fight the crippling summer heat. It has more than 1,000,000 Scoville units, the scientific measurement of a chili's spiciness. Classic Tabasco sauce ranges from 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville units, while jalapeno peppers measure anywhere from 2,500 to 8,000. "The chili grenade has been found fit for use after trials in Indian defense laboratories, a fact confirmed by scientists at the Defense Research and Development Organization," Col. R. Kalia, a defense spokesman in the northeastern state of Assam, told The Associated Press. "This is definitely going to be an effective nontoxic weapon because its pungent smell can choke terrorists and force them out of their hide-outs," R. B. Srivastava, the director of the Life Sciences Department at the New Delhi headquarters of the DRDO said. Srivastava, who led a defense research laboratory in Assam, said trials are also on to produce bhut jolokia-based aerosol sprays to be used by women against attackers and for the police to control and disperse mobs.

APRIL • 2010


Home Health Care at New Heights Home health care is a service that enables patients to receive individual health care in the privacy and comfort of their own home. Did you know that you have a right to choose which home health care agency you want to care for you?


t has become a trend of the times for seniors; less time in the hospital and more time at home surrounded by the people and things they love. One local Home Health agency located in Delray Beach, Florida, takes the extra step when it comes to home health by treating each patient like a family member. “Apogee means the highest point; the pinnacle. We provide each of our patients with the highest level of compassionate and professional care, so they can reach new heights of recovery, while providing top-quality health care services...right at home,� explains Nilo Galang, Founder of Apogee Home Health. “We are extremely passionate and dedicated to making our patients feel like family as we help them return to recovery.�

Founded in 2007, Apogee Home Health is privately owned and operated and recognized as a Medicare certified home health agency in Palm Beach County. They are fully certified by The Joint Commission on Accreditation on Health Care Organization (JCAHO), which is a known quality indicator. The Joint Commission has been ac-


Apogee is the only Home Health agency that provides each and every patient with a complimentary USB Medical Bracelet. This bracelet is a fast and efficient communication tool that prevents medical errors between health care providers, patients and caretakers, as it holds valuable patient information including a medication and physician list and emergency contact information. One Apogee client refers to the bracelet as his security bracelet, “I feel more safe knowing that I have this bracelet on my wrist, so I am prepared for the unexpected,� said John from Delray Beach.

There are numerous home health agencies out there to choose from, and every patient has the right to choose which agency they want to care for them. “We want to inform everyone in the community that they can choose their Home Health agency. No one should ever feel stuck or unhappy with their home health care nurses or services,� adds Maria Galang, Apogee Home Health Founder. “We pride ourselves on our excellent services, dedicated and experienced staff and our family atmosphere.� For more information on Apogee Home Health, contact Maria Galang at 561.278.3272 and visit them online at

pas are one of the most popular ways to indulge in self pampering and are a great way to relax and escape the worries of the outside world. However, if you don’t know how to find the right spa for your needs and what to expect, you can easily have a negative spa experience. By following these easy steps, you’ll be able to have a positive spa experience each time you go.

One of the best ways to enjoy your spa experience is to go at a good time when it isn’t super busy. It can be difficult to relax when there are tons of other customers being tended to. For those seeking a truly tranquil environment, find out what time frames and days of the week the spa is busiest and avoid booking a spa appointment during


knowledged as the leader in developing the highest standards for quality and safety in the delivery of health care, and evaluating organization performance based on those standards.

Tips for the Best Spa Experience Ever

To the average person, all spas are the same. Of course this isn’t true and the more you know about the spa world and what to be on the lookout for, the easier it will be to avoid a bad experience. But first thing’s first you have to find the right spa! The typical things you want to take into consideration include: availability of services, location, cleanliness of the facility, customer service, and price. The type of services a spa offers should be looked at closely. Some spas “dress up� their services menu and include a lot of things that don’t actually contribute to healing or promoting relaxation and well being. If you’re really searching for a spa that offers real therapeutic services, you’ll want to pass on spas that offer things such as chocolate baths, or facials that sound more like a fancy drink than an actual service. The services offered should be strictly for health purposes and not designed to simply “impress� the customers.


those times. Another plus to being at the spa when everyone else isn’t is that you’ll be able to be catered to in a timely manner and not rushed in order to make time for the next person. Additionally, it is best to find a time in your schedule when you have more than an hour to devote to the spa. Choosing one quick service that gets you in and out in an hour or so isn’t necessarily enough time to really relax and enjoy the spa. So if time and your budget permits, try to schedule a block of time when you can have more than one service performed. Why just get a quick pedicure when you can opt for a deep tissue massage, facial, and a pedicure? It will definitely be time and money well spent.

The most important thing is to prevent as much stress as possible during your stay. Be sure to avoid alcoholic beverages before heading to the spa (this can lead to dehydration during some treatments) and eat a small meal. You don’t want to feel full or bloated during your appointment. Additionally, if you want to preserve your relaxed state of mind, pay when you first get there instead of afterwards so you can take your calm and serenity right out the door.

From F rom O Our ur F Family... amily... T To oY Yours! ours! “W Wee are are ex extremely tremely passionate passionate and de dedicated dicat dic ated tto o making making our patients ffeel eel likee ffamily wee help them rreturn lik amil milyy as w eturn to to their highest potential potential level level of providing services, home..� rrecovery, ecovery, while pr oviding ttop-quality op-qualit alityy health ca ccare are ser vices es,, right at home –N ilo and M aria G alang, FFounders ounders of Apogee Health C are Nilo Maria Galang, Care


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10 APRIL • 2010


Get back on your feet

Eat less to shrink your stomach? The Claim Your stomach shrinks when you eat less.

Patients who are handicapped by painful fractures caused by osteoporosis and bone cancer can gain relief through vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty


Dr. Sanjog Mathur

any elderly patients develop osteoporosis, due to which they suffer from compression fractures of vertebrae. These are painful and debilitating. Patients are unable to carry on their activities of daily living (ADLs). These fractures do heal in most cases, but it can take a long time. The period of rest comes with its own complications — bed sores, pneumonia, blood clots and urinary infections — leading to morbidity and mortality in the elderly. Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are new procedures that are successful in reducing pain for a selected group of patients who have compression fractures. These are minimally invasive surgical procedures that inject semisolid bone cement into the broken vertebra

which solidifies the bone and instantly makes it pain free. In vertebroplasty, a needle is placed inside the broken vertebra and once confirmed to be in position, cement is injected. This becomes solid and supports the inside of the vertebra. Kyphoplasty involves inserting a needle with a balloon inside the broken vertebra and expanding the balloon to create a void and in some cases, actually expanding the compressed vertebra back to its normal size before injecting the cement. These procedures instantly relieve pain in most patients. Since osteoporosis affects the entire spine, the risk of repeated fractures is high. For patients with multiple compression fractures of the spine, the procedure can be repeated at other levels and has a high success rate and a low risk of complications. However, in cases of complicated spine fractures, where there is compression of the spinal cord, a more extensive surgery is necessary. Bone cancers involving the spine and other tumours can also be treated with vertebroplasty. Many patients have pain that spreads to their spine and secondary fractures of vertebrae. The procedure is use-

For a painless life  Fractures caused by osteoporosis that leave patients bedridden causes bed sores, pneumonia, blood clots, urinary infections and even mortality.  Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty instantly provide relief from pain.  The procedure can be repeated for those with multiple spine fractures.

ful in alleviating pain . For patients with cancers of the breast, prostate, thyroid, colon, lung and marrow cancers like leukaemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, this procedure works wonders. But to avoid risks, the surgeon needs to be trained to perform minimally invasive spine surgical procedures and also in spine surgery as some of these fractures need more extensive surgery as a definitive treatment. The writer, an alumnus of John Hopkins Hospital, is a consultant spine surgeon at Yashoda Hospital.

The Facts Curbing your food intake might lead to a shrunken appetite. But whether dieting actually shrinks your stomach, as many people believe, is not so clear-cut, partly because the stomach’s actual size is difficult to measure with precision before and after a diet. Still, studies have shown that significantly reducing caloric intake does produce measurable reductions in stomach capacity. In one study, for example, scientists recruited a group of obese men and women and split them into two groups: one that ate freely, and another that was put on a highly restricted diet with less than 1,000 calories a day. Scientists used latex balloons to measure


Dr. Narayana Reddy

ecently, Ramya, a newlywed approached me. “My husband has weird fetishes. He wastes a lot of money on sex toys and wants me to use vibrators,” she said.

36 per cent of times. If you assumed only single people used sex toys, you are mistaken. The 1994 Sex in America study found that most users were healthy and “normal” couples. Sex toys are not modern inventions. They have a long history behind them. The Kamasutra has chapters on how to make and use dildos. Dildo-like objects were found in Harappa. Even Cleopatra was said to have had a small container of buzzing bees by her bed as a standby. Sex toys come in various shapes and sizes. You can choose from artificial penises, vaginas, penis

THE BOTTOM LINE Reducing food intake does seem to reduce stomach capacity.

Healthy Living

The ‘stinking rose’… …as garlic is affectionately called, is strong smelling but mighty good for you. What studies suggest  Eating garlinc may help ward off atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and reduce risk of heart attack, stroke.  Like onions, garlic contains compounds that reduce inflammation, may help ease pain of arthritis.  Allicin, one of the sulphur compounds responsible for garlic’s smell, is an antiviral and antibacterial agent.

 Garlic-rich diets may reduce the risk of some cancers, including colon and esophageal cancer.  To get the full benefit, eat at least two cloves a day.

Source: National Academy of Sciences, World’s Healthiest Foods.

Sex toys enhance your pleasure Puzzled, I asked, “Do you dislike them?” And pat came the reply, “No, but aren’t they abnormal?” Several couples are in a quandary when it comes to using sex toys. There is nothing weird about using these toys or accessories. Scientifically known as sexual aids, they help enhance sexual pleasure. Research has documented that several people use them regularly. One study found that 56 per cent of the subjects used porn videos, 46 per cent were connoisseurs of lingerie and 27 per cent used sex toys. Among those who used sex toys, 64 per cent of the times men took the initiative and women only

stomach capacity. Among the dieters, gastric capacity was reduced 27 per cent to 36 per cent depending on how it was measured. There was no significant change in the control group. This effect goes both ways: Repeated intake of large meals, and binging in particular, increases stomach capacity. In some studies, including one in 2001, scientists found that normal-weight binge eaters tended to develop greater stomach capacities than obese subjects of comparable age and sex. And when groups of obese subjects are split into binge eaters and others, the binge groups show larger stomach capacities as well.

rings, clitoral devices, butt plugs, feathery dolls, inflatable dolls with artificial genitals etc. The most popular ones are vibrators, designed in the 19th century as treatment for ‘female hysteria’, a common health complaint thought to be caused by lack of orgasm. The vibrator proved to be a great treatment tool as it triggered what was then known as ‘hysterical paroxysm’ (orgasm). However, those who use sex toys should be careful. Indiscriminate use can desensitise them to such an extent that regular sex will no longer be satisfactory. They should only be used as a prelude to sex.

SOME FACTS  There is nothing weird about sex accessories.

 They are prescribed by sexologists for therapeutic purposes.  Even regular couples use them for enhancing sexual pleasure.

 Both men and women use them.

 Don’t overdo it. Sex toys should only be used as a prelude to regular sex.

APRIL • 2010



Video Games Before Bed May Not Shortchange Slumber

arents who worry that their teenaged son won't sleep well if he indulges in a violent video game right before bedtime may be fretting needlessly. A new study found that teens who played the popular video game "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare" took only slightly longer to fall asleep than teens who watched a documentary. A report on the finding appears in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Australian researchers found that it took teens a median of 7.5 minutes to fall asleep after playing the video game, only slightly longer than the three minutes it took them to nod off after watching the Academy Award-winning March of the Penguins on DVD. The video gamers were only slightly less sleepy than the documentary watchers following each activity, although they displayed a slight increase in cognitive alert-

ness. The researchers found no significant differences in physiologic arousal between the two groups, and both ended up sleeping normally. But the teens played the game under very strict conditions, ones that might be very different from what happens at home, explained lead researcher Michael Gradisar, senior lecturer in clinical child psychology at Flinders University in Adelaide. "The teens only played the video game for 50 minutes, and they only played it on a single night," Gradisar said. "Despite finding that they were mentally stimulated playing the video game, I believe the 'dose' of 50 minutes was too low to have any major ramifications on their sleep." The short amount of time also kept the boys from becoming too wrapped up in the action. "Being limited to 50 minutes didn't allow the teens to become emotionally invested in the video game," Gradisar said. "Thus, if their character died, it didn't matter." The researchers said their study did not receive any funding from the video game industry. The research involved 13 boys between the ages of 14 and 18 who normally fell asleep in less than 15 minutes.

You’ve got the Fever…!!!!

Shekhar V. Sharma, M.D. Board Certified in Internal Medicine

Fever refers to an elevation in body temperature. Any body temperature above the oral temperature of 99 degrees Farenheit is considered to be elevated. Fever can be caused by infections and sometimes by inflammation.


good example that a lot of us have been inflicted, sometime in life is, acute bronchitis. I come across respiratory infections in my practice quite commonly. Someone with cough ,fever and chills could potentially have something as simple as acute bronchitis which is infection due to in-

flammation of the airways of the lungs. The above symptoms could also mean Pneumonia. Pneumonia means infection by either a virus or a bacteria of the lungs which could be more dangerous as a disease if left untreated compared to bronchitis. There are some fevers that can occur from plain inflammation in the body in non infectious diseases like lupus, gouty arthiritis, pancreatitis, heat stroke, etc. Take heed of the following scenarios. A gentleman walks into my office with the complaint of fever and that he has been feeling warm for a few days. A general physical examination reveals nothing. He has no other symptoms like cough, runny nose, flu symptoms , pain anywhere ,or urine problems. But I found that he had an inflammation of the prostate gland by a rectal examination. He was treated with appropriate antibiotics and he came back after 10 days completely cured and feeling fine. In another situation a patient walks into my office with fever only. Sometimes patients are very stoic and do not give me much information. I have to ask them several direct questions which can be time consuming because of the nature of the person’s personality. I find out afterwards that he actually had mild headaches prior to his visit with me which he had initially

failed to mention. This prompted me to come to a diagnosis of acute sinusitis which is inflammation due to infection of the sinuses of the head which caused the headaches and the fever. I can treat a patient with fever either in 10 minutes or an hour based upon the severity of the situation. Therefore, the belief that a physician can complete a visit on a patient who has fever in ten minutes is often incorrect. Patients must realize that a simple matter such as a fever could be more complex than it seems. For any kind of fever seek your physician’s advice. Dr. Sharma is a Board Certified Internist who has been in practice for the past 19 years. His office is located at 3347 State Road 7, (Palomino Park) Suite 200, Wellington, Fl 33449. His office is currently accepting new patients. For an appointment please call (561) 795-9087.

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12 APRIL • 2010


Bodies of 21 babies found in China river Low-Cal Diets May Make You Gain Weight If losing weight feels like a never-ending battle, new research may explain why: Diets that restrict calories can actually make it harder to lose weight and keep it off.

Cutting calories increases production of cortisol, the stress hormone, which is linked to added belly fat, a new study finds. "For the first time in humans, we are finding out that cutting your calories increases cortisol," said lead researcher A. Janet Tomiyama, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of California, San Francisco. "We think this may be one reason dieters tend to have a hard time keeping weight off in the long-term," she said. People who count calories feel stressed, she said, but it's the reduction in calories that increases cor-

tisol, which, in turn, stresses the body and leads to weight retention. "No matter how you cut calories, whether that's doing it on your own, or doing something like Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig, it doesn't matter, it's still going to increase your cortisol level," she said. At any given time, 47 percent of U.S. adults are dieting, but up to 64 percent gain back more weight than they lost, according to background information in the report published in Psychosomatic Medicine. For the study, Tomiyama's team randomly assigned 121 women to one of four diets. One group tracked their calories, keeping them to 1,200 a day; another group ate normally but recorded the number of calories they consumed; a third group ate 1,200 calories a day, but did not have to record them, and the fourth group ate normally without any calorietracking.

BEIJING – The bodies of 21 babies, some with hospital identification tags around their tiny ankles, washed ashore on a river in eastern China and two mortuary workers were detained for allegedly dumping them.


ews footage showed the babies — at least one of whom was stuffed in a yellow plastic bag marked "medical waste" — strewn along a dirt riverbank near a highway overpass. A few wore diapers. All were caked in mud. Some of the babies appeared several months old, while the official Xinhua News Agency said the bodies included fetuses. Local residents and firefighters recovered the bodies Monday after they were discovered under a bridge spanning the Guangfu River on the outskirts of Jining in Shandong province. Interviews with residents who made the grisly find were broadcast on the Web site of the Shandong Broadcasting Company. One said he thought a body was a toy, but then he spotted several others. Another expressed concern be-

cause the river is a source of drinking water for villagers living nearby. Hospital ID tags on eight of the babies helped investigators trace them back to the Affiliated Hospital of Jining Medical University, Xinhua reported. Hospital mortuary workers Zhu Zhenyu and Wang Zhijun were sacked and taken away by police, Xinhua said, citing Jining government spokesman Gong Zhenhua. The babies' families had paid the pair to dispose of the bodies, but they instead dumped them at the river. It was not clear whether Zhu and Wang dumped the bodies directly in the river or if they made an attempt to bury them. Three top hospital officials were sacked or suspended and the government ordered the Jining Municipal Health Bureau to make a public apology, Xinhua said. "It exposes a serious loophole in the hospital's management and indicates a lack of ethics and legal

awareness of some hospital staff," Gong was quoted as saying. "It exerts a very negative impact on society and teaches us a profound lesson." Reports said the babies ranged in age from newborns to several months old. One of the bluishgreen identification tags visible in the news video says, "Boy; mother's name is Man Hongmei; born in April 2009." The reports did not give the number of girls or boys. Xinhua said the bodies of the 21 babies were cremated, though it was not clear whether they had all been identified. In China, most families are permitted to have only one or two children and a traditional preference for sons runs strong. The abandoning, aborting and killing of newborn baby girls is common in rural China, although gender-selection abortions are illegal. Infants who die from disease are often abandoned or buried in unmarked graves, not being old enough to be formally considered part of the family. But those deaths usually occur in small numbers. An official from the information office of China's Health Ministry said she was not aware of the case, while telephone calls to the Jining Health Bureau and the Shandong Health Bureau rang unanswered.

APRIL • 2010



our Bosom Buddies II, celebrated their 4th Annual Pink Ribbon Gala, at Binks Forest Golf Club, Wellington, on March 20, 2010. This non-profit organization, plays an important role in helping women on their road to recovery by encouraging effective communication. Congratulations to Your Bossom Buddies II for 10 years of providing education and support to patients with breast cancer and encouraging them on their journey to survivorship.

Dr. Paul Sohlden and Barbara McGinley.

2010 Pink Ribbon Gala


Board of Directors from left to right: Marie Phillips, Pat Linton, Claudia Cieslak, Teresa Franzoso, Lorna Johnson, Abbe Felton, Susan Donovan & Carmen Feliciano.

Dr. Sue Yan, Shari Zipp - cancer Survivor and mayor Tom Wenham.

Mrs. & Scott Ruehrmund, M.D.

Dr. Alan Pillersdof, Dr. Andrew Shapiro and Ilene Shapiro.

STANDING: Shekhar Sharma, M.D., Dr. Daniel Ghiragossian, Amos Dare, M.D., Rajendran Naidoo, M.D., Faris Fakhoury, M.D. SITTING: Ranjita Sharma, Sarah Gonzalez, Alexandra Ghiragossian, Mrs. Naidoo and Anjari Moorjani.


Dr. Doug Freedman, Shari Zipp, Dr. Sharon Haas and Dr. Anna Ostrovsky.

Alvin & Dr. Colette Brown-Graham.

April & Mark Nosacka, Teresa Franzoso, Beth Giovanelli and Dr. Anne Lewis.

Call Us Today If You Suffer From Any Of The Following: Abdominal Pain Bleeding Chest Pain Cirrhosis of the Liver Colitis Constipation Crhons Disease Diarrhea

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At Palm Beach Surgery Center we provide a safe and friendly enviroment, with a highly qualified and dedicated staff. A variety of procedures such as colonoscopy, endoscopy, gastroplications, ERCP, Liver Biopsy, 24 PH Monitoring/BRAVO can be done at our facility thus avoiding the need for hospitalization.

14 APRIL • 2010


Obesity in Pregnancy Ups Risk of Heart Defect in Baby


Obese pregnant women are at increased risk of having a baby with a congenital heart defect, a new study finds.

Schools Near High-Traffic Areas Increase Kids' Asthma Risks


Air pollution from hightraffic roads increases the risk of asthma in children who attend nearby schools, new research suggests.

n a study that looked at statistics on children's health in Southern California communities, researchers found that those who attend schools near high-traffic areas are 45 percent more likely to develop asthma, although the number of students in the study who developed asthma was small. "Exposure to pollution at locations other than home, especially where children spend a large portion of their day and may engage in physical activity, appears to influence asthma risk," Dr. Rob McConnell, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of

the University of Southern California and lead author of a new study, said in a university news release. The researchers examined a previous study of kindergartners and first-grade students who initially didn't have asthma. In that study, researchers followed-up with the children for three years and examined traffic around their schools and homes. The investigators also monitored air pollution levels around the 13 communities that were studied. Of the 2,497 students, 120 developed asthma. "It's important to understand how these micro-environments where children spent a lot of their time outside of the home are impacting their health," McConnell said. "Policies that reduce exposure to high-traffic environments may help to prevent this disease." The study was recently published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

n average, obesity is associated with a 15 percent increased risk of having a baby with a heart defect. But the risk rises with the level of obesity. Compared to normal-weight women, the risk is 11 percent higher in moderately obese women and 33 percent higher in morbidly obese women.

In general, women who were overweight but not obese had no increased risk, said the researchers at the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the New York State Department of Health.

"The trend is unmistakable: the more obese a woman is, the more likely she is to have had a child with a heart defect," study first author Dr. James L. Mills, of the NICHD's Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research, said in a news release.

The study was published online April 7 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"The current findings strongly suggest that by losing weight be-

fore they become pregnant, obese women may reduce the chances that their infants will be born with heart defects," Dr. Alan E. Guttmacher, acting director of the NICHD, said in the news release.

For this study, researchers compared the records of mothers of 7,392 children born with major heart defects and more than 56,000 mothers of infants born without birth defects. Because the study looked at the records of infants after they were born, it does-

n't conclusively prove that obese women who lose weight before becoming pregnant will reduce their risk of having a baby with a heart defect, the researchers noted.

However, "if a woman is obese, it makes sense for her to try to lose weight before becoming pregnant," Mills said. "Not only will weight loss improve her own health and that of her infant, it is likely to have the added benefit of reducing the infant's risk for heart defects."

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APRIL • 2010

Simple Memory Test May Detect Early Alzheimer's


A researcher has developed a brief memory test to help doctors determine whether someone is suffering from the early memory and reasoning problems that often signal Alzheimer's disease. n a study in the journal Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders, neurologist Dr. Douglas Scharre of Ohio State University Medical Center reports that the test detected 80 percent of people with mild thinking and memory problems. It only turned up a false positive -- wrongly suggesting that a person has a problem -- in five percent of people with normal thinking. In a press release, Scharre said the test could help people get earlier care for conditions like Alzheimer's disease. "It's a recurring problem," he said. "People don't come in early enough for a diagnosis, or families generally resist making the appointment because they don't want confirmation of their worst fears. Whatever the reason, it's unfortunate because the drugs we're using now work better the earlier they are started." The test can be taken by hand, which

Scharre said may help people who aren't comfortable with technology like computers. He's making the tests, which take 15 minutes to complete, available free to health workers at "They can take the test in the waiting room while waiting for the doctor," Scharre said.

"Abnormal test results can serve as an early warning to the patient's family," added Scharre. "The results can be a signal that caregivers may need to begin closer monitoring of the patient to ensure their safety and good health is not compromised and that they are protected from financial predators."

In the study, 254 people aged 59 and older took the test. Of those, 63 underwent an indepth clinical evaluation to determine their level of cognitive ability.

Stranger than fiction!!... The Daily Telegraph’ reported that an international team, led by the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, has found that the “p21” gene could block the healing power which is still being enjoyed by some amphibians. But this healing power is lost by all other animals,- including humans,---through years of evolution. They concluded that, by turning off p21, the process can be miraculously switched back on.


hus, human spare parts kit may someday become a reality, thanks to scientists who claim to have discovered this gene which could allow regrowth of damaged body parts. In their research, the scientists found that mice lacking the p21 gene gain the ability to regenerate lost or damaged tissue. Unlike typical mammals, which heal wounds by forming a scar, these animals begin by forming a blastema, a structure associated with rapid cell growth. According to them, the loss of p21 causes the cells of these mice to behave more like regenerating embryonic stem cells rather thanadult mammalian cells. This means that they act as if they are rebuilding rather than repairing ! The researchers turned off this gene in mice which had damaged ears and they regrew them! Theoretically, the same process could well be applied to humans !


It was reported that Brigham Young University (BYU) researchers in the US used MRI technology to observe what happened in the brain of women,-- who are not seemingly not worried about how they look,--actually do fear getting fat. When they see a stranger who is overweight and a female,

By Larry Jones the brain scan activated at that instant shows an area that processes identity and self-reflection in women's brains. Men did not show signs of any self-reflection in similar situations. "These women have no history of eating disorders and project an attitude that they don't care about body image," said Mark Allen, BYU neuroscientist. "Yet under the surface is an anxiety about getting fat and the centrality of body image to self." When anorexic and bulimic women view an overweight stranger, the brain's self-reflection centre - known as the medial prefrontal cortex - lights up in ways that suggest extreme unhappiness and in some cases selfloathing. The motivation for this new study was to establish a point of reference among a control group of women who scored in the healthy range on eating disorder diagnostic tests. Surprisingly, even this control group exhibited what Allen calls "sub-clinical" issues with body image. Seeing that, Allen and Owens ran the experiments with a group of men for comparison. "Although these women's brain activity doesn't look like full-blown eating disorders, they are much closer to it than men are," Allen said. Spangler says women are bombarded with messages that perpetuate the thin ideal, and the barrage changes how they view themselves, said a BYU statement. "Many women learn that bodily appearance and thinness constitute what is important about them, and their brain responding reflects that," Spangler said. "I think it is an unfortunate and false idea to learn about oneself and does put one at greater risk for eating and mood disorders." "It's like the plant in my office," she continued. "It has the potential to grow in any direction, but actually only grows in the direction of the window - the direction that receives the most reinforcement." These findings are slated for publication in the May issue of Personality and Individual Differences.

Hospice of Palm Beach County provides care to all who need and want it, regardless of insurance or financial status. Donations, grants and proceeds from fundraising events supplement the insurance reimbursement to ensure that cost for services is never an issue for our patients or their families. Nearly 900 highly trained employees and more than 600 caring volunteers make this a program that excels in innovative care and quality service to our community.

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Florida Health News - May 2010 issue  

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