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MVHEALTHNEWS.COM

Prevention and Recovery Brandi Staring is project coordinator of The Mohawk Valley Prevention and Recovery Collaborative, a program of Catholic Charities of Herkimer County.

MARCH 2020 • ISSUE 169

Addiction’s vice-like grip

Page 6

Resources available See Pageto9calm storm

Discover ways in which to protect yourself against cancer. Pages 4-5

DNA testing

Pages 6-7

Dental Health Special Edition • History of dentistry is fascinating

Are you ready to discover who you really are? Page 3

Google it!

• To floss or not to floss? That is the question

Juleen Qandah, emergency medicine physician-director of urgent care at Faxton St. Luke’s Health Care, talks about researching health concerns Page 4 on the Internet.

Pages 8-9

Lovin’ those Lentils Coronavirus: Are we safe? Page 11

Part of the legume family, lentils are high in protein and fiber and low in fat. See ‘SmartBites’, Page 15 March 2020 •

Page 13

Calendar of Health Events Page 15

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Cardiac Emergencies. We Put Our Heart into Saving Yours. •

Door-to-cardiac treatment times among the lowest in the region

Only area hospital designated by American Heart Association (AHA) as a Mission: Lifeline Gold provider

Strong teamwork with our local and regional EMS partners

Joseph Battaglia, MD Chief of Cardiology Miron Cardiac Care Center

Comprehensive Stroke Center “Crouse is the place you go when you have a stroke.

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One of just 15 in New York State

Aggressive door-to-treatment times exceed national average

Earned Gold Plus–Elite Honor Roll status from AHA

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Proud to be the official healthcare provider of Syracuse Athletics. Best of luck this season to Coach Boeheim and the Orange! #CrouseForTheCuse ®

crouse.org Page 2

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2020


DNA testing: The Real You Should DNA testing be on your ‘to do’ list? By Barbara Pierce

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ou can’t escape commercials for DNA tests. Beaming people happily share results from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, CRI Genetics, etc. The market for DNA kits doubled in 2019 for the third year in a row. The popularity of genetic testing kits continues to grow. It’s no surprise they’re in high demand. The things you learn from them are irresistible. The kits use DNA samples to create your personalized genetic report, including ancestry. Before, everything you’ve known about your heritage came from your parents. Now, a DNA test can tell you so much more about who you are and where you’re from. Some tests include health risks, revealing unique traits in your genetics that can put you at risk for certain health conditions. The commercials totally gloss over the potential difficult situations that can result. There are some answers you may not want to know: — Family secrets, in some cases secrets that have been kept for generations, are suddenly open to exposure. — Once that information is out there, it’s impossible to unlearn, which can have seriously awkward repercussions. You may discover that you’re not who you thought you were. — The privacy is sketchy: There’s also the glaring question of what happens to your genetic data after you give it up. They can be legally compelled to share your data through a subpoena. You’ve probably heard how the “Golden State Killer” was found through a DNA kit. Also, there aren’t any laws that prevent companies from sharing your genetic data. This means that they can sell your data. The Federal Trade Commission warned last year that consumers should recognize the risks of handing their genetic information over to a company. A major concern for consumers should be who else could have access to information about your heritage and health.

The science is shaky. Some of the tests can tell you if you have a higher risk of certain diseases. Serious genetic issues can be uncovered, such as whether you have genetic variations associated with a higher risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, Parkinson’s disease, etc. However, the health results you get from an at-home test are hardly certain, and getting the news that you have the gene for a serious disease is not the way to get this information, said genetic assistant Lisa Behr of Ferre Genetics Clinic in Utica. Ferre Genetics Clinic provides access to community-based genetics services for the Mohawk Valley. “A lot of the information people get from a consumer DNA kit is raw data; it’s not medical testing,” said Behr.

Not a diagnosis

Most companies caution that the raw data is only for education and is not suitable for medical purposes, such as diagnosing a disease. It is challenging to interpret this raw genotype data on your own, said Behr. Genetic counselors play an important role as interpreters of complex genetic information their testing discovers; they help people more clearly understand their test results. Also, doctors warn that having the variants for a disease doesn’t mean you’ll get the disease. Other factors play a role as well.

U.S. birth weights drop due to rise in Cesarean births, inductions

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.S. birth weights have fallen significantly in recent decades due to soaring rates of cesarean deliveries and inductions which have shortened the average pregnancy by about a week, new Colorado University at Boulder research shows. “Our data indicate that there has been a dramatic shift in birth timing in this country, it is resulting in birthweight decline, and it is almost entirely due to changes in obstetric practices,” said Ryan Masters, a social demographer with the Institute of Behavioral Science and senior author of the study pub-

lished recently in the journal Demography. Previous research has shown that, after decades of rising, birth weights began to fall in 1990, a trend that has puzzled scientists and alarmed public health officials well aware of the long-term adverse health effects that can arise from low birthweight. Masters and lead author Andrea Tilstra, a Ph.D. candidate in the CU Boulder department of sociology, set out to pinpoint what’s driving the trend, using records from the National Vital Statistics System.

And medical knowledge keeps changing. For example, four women who had their breasts or ovaries removed after being told they were at risk for cancer later learned that new data downgraded their variation to benign. There are huge gray areas between “likely to cause the disease” and “not likely to cause the disease.” If you are told you are at risk, then if the data is further refined, you might not get the updated information. Before taking tests, consider the emotional consequences of finding

out you might be at higher risk of getting certain diseases. Do you really want to know if you are at risk for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s? Is this information really going to be of value to you? Through a DNA kit, 53-year-old Angela of Fort Lauderdale, Florida learned she is at risk for lupus, a serious disease causing much pain and inflammation. She knows how bad it is because her mother had lupus. Now she is anxious all the time, watching for symptoms of the disease. Anytime she is tired, or has a headache (some of the symptoms) she starts feeling pain in her chest, feels even more tired, and is sure that lupus is starting up in her body. “Knowing she is at risk for this disease has really ruined her life,” said her best friend Michelle Crane. “It’s so sad how much she has changed.” Also, learning you are not at risk for disease does not mean you won’t get the disease. “It’s fine to find out if you have risk factors, just find out the right way,” Behr recommended. “Have your doctor refer you to Ferre Genetics and have a legitimate medical test done, interpreted by professionals.” To learn more about Ferre Genetics, see www.ferregenetics.org or call 315-724-4348.

“I had cancer...

cancer never had me.” Meet Tracy: Mother, patient, advocate and blessed!

“When I was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer in 2004, I was a single mom. So when I received my diagnosis, I thought, ‘This, too?’ I was shocked. A friend introduced me to HOA. At HOA, cancer wears a face, and not a number. Let me explain.”

To read more about Tracy’s story, and HOA, visit

HOACNY.com/About/Testimonials

March 2020 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Cancer Integrative Medicine and Cancer Health coach: Integrative care takes compassionate approach By Heidi Baldwin

A fear.

cancer diagnosis is life changing, and often brings about feelings of uncertainty and

Navigating treatment options and making lifestyle changes can be overwhelming and all consuming. Patients worry about making the right decisions, and in the process, many feel like they lose themselves Baldwin and their identity. No one wants to be referred to as the lung cancer in room 5, or the brain tumor in room 3, yet mainstream medicine often compartmentalizes people by their disease process, and loses sight of the whole person. This is where integrative medicine is distinctively different in approach to patient care. The focus is on the whole person, and bringing balance back into their life as they navigate through life-altering decisions.

A patient receives a high-dose IV of vitamin C at Integrative Medicine of Central New York in Chittenango. Integrative medicine addresses not only physical needs of the patient, but emotional, mental, and spiritual needs as well. Patient mindset surrounding the healing process can impact the outcome of the treatment protocol. More importantly, there is a strong connection between outcomes and the attitude and mindset of the

doctor. In integrative care, there is always hope, and this goes a long way in fostering a positive outlook. We often hear stories about the cold indifference patients receive from doctors giving them a second or third opinion, and the lack of regard for them as an individual. Integrative medicine helps to nurture the spirit of the individual as they move through their process, and helps them to focus on the quality of life rather than dwelling on time frames. None of us knows how much time we have left on this earth. For many, a cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence, but rather a much-needed wake up call to address necessary lifestyle changes. Self-care is essential, but often neglected. How much sleep are you getting? Do you get enough exercise? Are you in a toxic relationship? Is your career fulfilling? Are you struggling to find balance in your life and making time to do things you enjoy? Integrative medicine also addresses the importance of proper nutrition. Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” Consider also, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” The body is designed to heal itself, but needs to

be fueled properly in order to do so. You couldn’t fill your car’s gas tank with soda and expect to drive away on vacation. You also cannot feed your body fast food and sugar-laden processed junk and expect the healing process to begin. The foods you eat either harm you or help you, and an integrative approach helps you to navigate your nutritional needs. Complementary therapies also enhance the integrative experience. Healing modalities such as reiki help individuals achieve balance and relaxation. Many incorporate high dose IV vitamin C or other nutraceutical infusions as part of their integrative approach to cancer care. Integrative medicine is as unique as you are, and addresses your individual needs. Remember, you are not your disease process, and there is a place where you can be heard and genuinely cared for during your healing process. — Heidi Baldwin is the practice manager at Integrative Medicine of Central New York in Chittenango. She is an internally board-certified integrative nutrition holistic health coach.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2020


The Balanced Body

By Deb Dittner

Combating Cancer Choice of foods can strengthen your ability to ward off cancer

Let thy food by thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” — Hippocrates

“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” — Hippocrates

Hippocrates was way ahead of his time with his thinking regarding food and how whole nutrient-dense foods keep us healthy. Addressing any chronic condition is best through gut health with proper pounds known as isothiocyanates. — Avoid nitrate-laden meats: nutrients. Processed deli meats and cold cuts, A variety of bacon, sausage and hot dogs contain foods you eat will cancer-causing nitrates. boost your ability — Decrease sugar: Research to stay healthy. cinogenic compounds can form. • Turmeric: One of the spices Dittner shows that sugar may be linked to Let’s explore some — Add Brazil nuts: Brazil nuts used in curries has been shown to aid cancer. Sugar creates inflammation of your options: contain selenium, which is canin the shrinkage of prostate cancer and allows cancer to survive in the — Leafy greens: By eating more cer-fighting. Eat 3 to 6 daily. tumors. leafy greens such as kale, beet greens, body. Use more natural forms of • Curcumin: This spice also aids Orange is the new craze sweetener such as real maple syrup collards and spinach, you boost in fighting prostate cancer as well as — Increase orange: By adding many vitamins and minerals, helping and raw local honey. reducing colon cancer risk. more orange-colored fruits (oranges, — Increase Vitamin C-rich fruits to boost your immunity to fight off — Add beans: Beans are a great mangoes and apricots) and vegeand vegetables: Vitamin C-rich fruits cancer cells. source of fiber, keeping your bowsuch as cantaloupe, kiwi, watermelon tables (sweet potatoes, carrots and — Choose organics: Choosing els moving and removing toxins squash) to your diet, you’re proand berries (strawberries, raspberorganic foods over pesticide-laden associated with cancer. Add beans viding anti-cancer nutrients called ries, blueberries and cranberries) ones decreases your risk of cancer to soups, stews, salads and tomato carotenoids. and vitamin C-rich vegetables such MP Order between 25%-to-73%. sauce. Aim for a minimum of a half Propo — Eat an apple ad will appear at the classification of:a day: The as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, By choosing organic foods, you This cup of beans daily. old saying “an apple a day keeps cabbage, peppers (red and green) lessen the possibilities of developing Keep this list of gut-healing, the doctor away” has been shown Rome NY and sweet and white potatoes carry cancer, specifically through the lymanti-cancer foods on your refrigerator through research to decrease the risk powerful antioxidants, fighting free phatic system consisting of nodes, for quick, daily reference. Enjoy these in Home Date 05/2014 of lung cancer. radicals linked to cancer. tubes and glands that remove waste with nutrient-dense foods and enjoy better — Add spice: — Eat more veggies: When fixing products from tissues throughout the health. Date: A1ZGFE Sales Rep: GRIMALDI, JENNIFER L Size: HCN6 Ad Id: A • Cloves: Research shows that your plate,March make at17, least2014 half of Acct# it body. clove contains anti-cancer com• Deborah Dittner is a family vegetables. Consider eating a daily — Increase cruciferous vegetanurse practitioner and health consalad, homemade vegetable soup and pounds including oleanic acids, betbles: Cruciferous vegetables consist ulinic acids, phenolics and dimethyl sultant. Her mission is to transform add steamed or sautéed vegetables. of broccoli, cabbage (red, napa and cardamonins. Cloves can be sprinas many individuals as possible — Grill on low to medium heat: green), cauliflower and Brussels kled on some of your favorite foods through nutrition and lifestyle When meat is heated on high and sprouts containing glucosinolates and also enjoyed in chai tea and spice changes. For more information, check comes in contact with flames, carthat form cancer-protective comcake. out her website at www.debdittner. com or contact her at 518-596-8565.

Country music event to benefit The Arc

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he Friends of The Arc Foundation is bringing multi-platinum MCA Nashville recording artist Josh Turner to Central New York for a concert on April 3 at the Stanley Theatre, Utica. Tickets are available for purchase at ticketmaster.com, the Stanley Theatre box office, or by calling 315-724-4000. All proceeds

Oneida, Herkimer In Good

and

Health MV’s Healthcare Newspaper

Diabetes?

from the show will benefit The Arc, MP Order Proposal# This ad will appear at the classification of: Flat Feet? Ad Oneida-Lewis Chapter. Letter Rome NY “Not only will fans be treated Plantar Fasciitis? Home Date 05/2014 to a fantastic show with at ainhistoric Date: March 17, 2014 Acct# A1ZGFEYou Sales Rep: GRIMALDI, L Size: HCN6 Ad Id: AMZHMA1 Contract# may be JENNIFER eligible for shoes at little or5544766 no cost! venue, but they’re also helping support a deep-rooted organization that changes lives,” said Adrienne Carbone, Friends of The Arc Foundation board president.

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A monthly newspaper published by Local News, Inc. 20,000 copies distributed. To request home delivery ($21 per year), call 315-749-7070.

In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2020 by Local News, Inc. All rights reserved. Mailing Address: 4 Riverside Drive, Suite 251, Utica, NY 13502 • Phone: 315-749-7070 Email: lou@cnymail.com

Editor & Publisher: Wagner Dotto Associate Editor: Lou Sorendo Contributing Writers: Barbara Pierce, David Podos, Deb Dittner, Jessica Arsenault Rivenburg, Brooke Stacia Demott, Daniel Baldwin, Traci DeLore Advertising: Amy Gagliano Layout & Design: Dylon Clew-Thomas Office Assistant: Nancy Nitz

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Addiction

Attacking addiction Mohawk Valley Prevention and Recovery Collaborative a program of Catholic Charities of Herkimer County By Daniel Baldwin

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he Mohawk Valley Prevention and Recovery Collaborative is a program of Catholic Charities of Herkimer County. In its third year, the program is a regional addiction resource center that serves the counties of Herkimer, Fulton, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego and Schoharie. Its mission is to assist those seeking resources for prevention, treatment or recovery services. The MVPRC Staring provides a referral database, a speaker’s bureau, and provides financial assistance to law enforcement, prevention providers, and recovery and treatment centers. The speaker’s bureau has an active group of presenters and speakers, including but not limited to directors of prevention, treatment, recovery services, community support specialists and navigators, therapists, educators, specialized services and administrative staff. “Our directory of speakers makes it easy to find a substance area expert whose available for media interviews or for organizations who are looking to book a speaker for a meeting, conference, and other community events,” said project coordinator Brandi Staring. She works with providers to

assist in the marketing of events, providing support and resources in the six-county region. The New York Office of Addiction Services and Supports funds the MVPRC as a way to create partnerships which will allow families, service providers, educators, law enforcement, state agencies and local leaders to increase cross-sector collaboration on the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders. “You can also find smoking cessation, problem gambling, peer enPetrie gagement specialists support groups, New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports news and our calendar of events surrounding prevention, treatment and recovery,” Staring said. Individuals and families looking for resources outside the Mohawk Valley region can find their area’s RARC at www.mvprc.com. Executive director Maureen Petrie said the MVPRC fits well with the mission of Catholic Charities of Herkimer County: “to maintain the dignity and improve the quality of life of families and individuals through empowerment of those in need and through advocacy.” The MVPRC is one of the 24 programs offered at Catholic Charities of Herkimer County. CCHC provides substance abuse prevention

and recovery services, runaway and homeless youth program, a domestic violence program including supervised visitation, transportation services, emergency assistance, health information, a food pantry, housing assistance and services for seniors and youth. MVPRC has provided tactical and fentanyl protective masks to law enforcement, funding for various counties’ recovery events, drug identification guides to law enforcement, sponsored Narcan trainings, educational speakers and support for the overdose detection mapping

initiative in Herkimer County. “Collaboration with agencies and enabling them to provide these much-needed services in the Mohawk Valley region is fulfilling the mission of the MVPRC,” Staring noted. To find out more about MVPRC or to become involved, visit its website at MVPRC.com or contact the agency at 315 894-9917 ext. 242. If you would like to find out more about the programs at CCHC, visit its website at www.ccherkimer. org or contact the agency at 315-8949917.

Spring Ahead Changing clock does not have to mean a change to your sleep pattern

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n March 8, we change the clock to “Spring Ahead” to Daylight Savings Time. Losing that hour of sleep may affect your sleep cycle. You may find it hard to get going in the morning because it is darker later and it may be harder to wind down at night when it is lighter longer. Moving our clocks forward changes the principal time cue — light — used for setting and resetting our 24-hour natural cycle, or circadian rhythm. Because of this, our internal clock becomes out of sync or mismatched with our current day-night cycle. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average person sleeps 40 minutes less the night following the springtime change. How the time change will affect you depends on your own personal Page 6

health, sleep habits, and lifestyle, explained Eileen Luley, service line administrator for Rome Memorial Hospital’s Sleep Disorders Center and Cardiopulmonary Services. “Moving the clock forward can cause problems with the sleep-wake cycle causing sleep to be disrupted,” Luley said. “The disruption in our circadian rhythm can also affect mood, our ability to work, even driving.” Luley offers a few ways that you can lessen the effect of the time change on your sleep: — Try to go to bed a little earlier each night, in 15-minute intervals. — Avoid keeping a TV on in bedroom, and avoid electronics, phones or anything that can stimulate your brain when you are preparing to go to sleep. — Always avoid smoking, drinking and caffeine before bed.

“Sleep is vital to health and you should get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. If you regularly have trouble with sleep and wake cycles or wake up in the night frequently, talk with your health care professional as these could be signs of sleep disorders,” Luley advised. “A sleep study may be recommended to help pinpoint the cause of sleep problems and plan appropriate treatment.” A sleep study is a painless test which monitors brain waves, eye movement, chin movement, chest and leg movements, air-flow, and oxygen levels while the patient sleeps. Data collected from the sleep study is interpreted in a report for the referring physician. Sleep studies are done at the Sleep Disorders Center at RMH, which is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2020

center is located within the hospital, which gives the patients comfort in knowing that full-time security is always available as well as critical care trained staff. The center offers: — New Sleep Number® queensized beds in hotel-like rooms — Private bathrooms in each room equipped with towels, soap, shampoo and hair dryer — Flat screen television — Continental breakfast The center is open six nights a week, offering sleep studies for patients aged 2 and older. In addition, studies can be performed during the day or off hours for individuals whose daily routine includes daytime sleep schedules. For more information about the Sleep Disorders Center at RMH, call 315-338-7242.


Addiction Problem drinker in your life? Alcoholics are not the only ones needing help — their friends and family do as well By Barbara Pierce

We’re here for people who have the disease of alcoholism in their family and don’t know what to do,” said Frank, district representative for Al-Anon in Herkimer, Madison and Oneida counties. (As anonymity is essential, members identify themselves by first name only.) “We’re here for anyone whose life is unmanageable because of another person’s drinking.” Frank answered our questions about Al-Anon. • What exactly is Al-Anon? Al-Anon is a group of people who come together regularly to share their experiences as they struggle with the alcoholism of someone they care about. “We don’t give advice!” emphasized Frank. “We tell of our own experiences — how we did or did not cope — whether or not it was helpful. We stress that this is what we did, not necessarily what you should do.” Al-Anon is a 12-step program, modeled after Alcoholic Anonymous. It is spiritual, not religious; atheists and people of all religious beliefs are welcome. • Who is it for? Al-Anon is for anyone whose life has been or is being affected by someone else’s drinking — family members, friends, co-workers, employers, etc. “You have the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others who have faced similar problems,” Frank said. Although the program is primarily for relatives and friends of alcoholics, Al-Anon does have people who are dealing with other addictions. • Will Al-Anon help me get my problem drinker to quit drinking? The biggest misconception when

folks first enter the Al-Anon program is that they think they will find the way to get the person to stop drinking. “Everybody comes thinking they will get answers to this,” said Frank. “Including me. For my first meeting, I came with pen and paper ready to write down what to do. They didn’t do that.” “The program does not focus on the alcoholic; it focuses on ourselves,” Frank said. “It teaches us that we have no control over another’s drinking and that some of the things we might be doing — yelling, showing anger, threatening, hiding or dumping alcohol found in the house — may be hindering or sabotaging the alcoholic from his own recovery.

Out of one’s control

“We come to realize that we can’t control or change another person and that our efforts to do this only frus-

trate us and can even make situations worse. We learn to take the focus off the alcoholic and concentrate on ourselves. We find that we can live happier lives in spite of what’s going on around us.” • What is a meeting like? “We open with a reading from one of our books, followed by a discussion,” Frank said. If a person is new, and if they choose to, they may share their story. Others will tell their stories which may be how they dealt with a similar problem. The meetings last one hour. “We will respect your confidence and anonymity as we know you will respect ours. We hope to let you know that no situation is too difficult to overcome,” he added. • What does it cost? There are no dues or fees. AlAnon is fully self-supported by voluntary contributions and the sale of literature. • What if I don’t connect with

the group? If you don’t like the first meeting you go to, try another. Each has its own personality. Some are small, four to five people, while others are large, 20 to 30 people. Some folks prefer a small group while others opt for a large group. “I recommend people try it out,” Frank said. “Go to six meetings, then make the decision whether it’s for you. At the first few meetings, you may hear a lot of jargon; you don’t quite get everything. It’s tough to assimilate all you hear. “But while you are learning, you come to realize that you are not alone — you have a place of comfort where folks understand what you are going through. • Does it really help? “Yes, it really helps. It helped me, and it helped my relationship with the alcoholic in my life,” said Frank. Some research shows when problem drinkers enter a recovery program, such as AA, their chances for success improve when family members who are in a family recovery program such as Al-Anon provide • What about my teenager? Many children are profoundly affected by alcoholism in the family. They experience many of the same feelings that you do. Alateen is a program for young people aged 12-18. They meet to exchange experiences and to gain an understanding of themselves and the alcoholic, share hope, and encourage on another. Al-Anon.org offers a chat room for teens. • Where can I get more information about Al-Anon in my area? For general information, see https://al-anon.org/. For information on local meetings, see http://www.nyafg.com/ pdf/D06.pdf.

America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk events posted

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merica’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk is celebrating 46 years of saving lives. The 2020 event will be March 6-7. Weekend events include: — The Healthy for Good Expo will be held from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 6 at Utica College. Runners and walkers can register all day long and attend the expo. Health and wellness assessment screenings, sponsored by Mohawk Valley Health System, will take place throughout the day and are free to participants. Parking for the expo is available at the American Heart Association office at 125 Business Park Drive, Our Lady of the Rosary Church at 1736 Burrstone Road, and the Holiday inn at 1777 Burrstone Road. Birnie Bus shuttles will take participants to Utica College. — WIBX Heart Radiothon, spon-

sored by Slocum-Dickson Medical Group, P.L.L.C., will be broadcast on WIBX of Townsquare Media. The Heart Radiothon will be broadcast from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 6 and from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 7. It will be streamed online at www.wibx950. com. — WKTV Heart Telethon, sponsored by Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig Insurance, will be broadcast live by WKTV NewsChannel 2 and streamed online at www.wktv.com. The telethon will be broadcast live from 7-8 p.m. on March 6 on CBS Utica. Volunteers will be taking calls beginning at noon. The telethon will air from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 7 on WKTV NewsChannel 2. — Six run/walk routes will kick off on March 7. Routes include the traditional 18mile, 10-mile, 5-mile and 3-mile runs, along with the 5-mile and 3-mile

walks. The 18-mile run is the earliest, starting at 7:30 a.m. The 10-mile run starts half an hour earlier this year, at 8:10 a.m. The 5- and 3-mile runs start at 9:20 a.m. The 5- and 3-mile walks start at 10:30 a.m.

Shuttle service available

Shuttles will take runners from Utica College to the 18-mile start line at 6:30 a.m. and 10-mile run start line at 7:30 a.m. Shuttle service on March 7 is available starting at 6 a.m. Runners and walkers should park at one of three Park & Ride locations: — Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield 12 Rhoads Drive (Utica Business Park) — Utica National Insurance Group Genesee Street, New Hartford

March 2020 •

— American Heart Association 125 Business Park Drive, Utica The fundraising goal for the event is $1 million. Jeremy Robinson, senior vice president of customer-relations management at NYCM Insurance, is chairing fund-raising events. — The popular Kids Heart Challenge, sponsored by AmeriCU Credit Union, will be held after Heart Weekend. For its third year, the challenge will be held at 7 p.m. April 17 at Accelerate Sports Complex in Whitesboro. The event is an obstacle course for kids aged 5-12. Registration will be available online and starting at 5 p.m. at Accelerate Sports Complex. Participants can find this information at www.UticaHeartRunWalk. org or by calling the AHA at 315-5803964. • For related story, see page 10.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 7


Dental Health Smile with Dr. Suy

By Dr. Salina Suy

The history, evolution of dentistry

S

ince the beginning of time, our teeth have been a huge part of our health. Dental medicine, like all medicine, has its origins and history. Today, dentists are practicing during the apex of the occupation. Innovations affecting all aspects of dentistry are booming in this advancing world. In this month’s column Suy of “Smile with Dr. Suy,” I want to present to readers a brief history of dental medicine in celebration of its wildly impressive progression. Beginning in the ancient Egyptian times, dental medicine had started to spring into the world. Some of the earliest evidence of dental medicine being practiced dates back to 7500 BC. Then, Egyptians tried to replace missing teeth for their people and drill out decay.

A man named Hesy-Re became known as the “Chief of the Toothers” and is known as the first documented dentist of ancient Egypt. Around 300 B.C., the Greeks showed vast interest in dental medicine. Hippocrates, also known as the “Father of Medicine,” started observing patient’s tooth woes. He made recommendations for extractions, ointments and tissue cauterization. Aristotle wrote a book about dentistry, explaining his treatment methods for extraction with forceps and wires to attach to loose teeth. Claudius Galen first deduced that teeth were made of bone with nerves inside and Diocles of Carystus became the first person to recommend regular oral hygiene by rubbing teeth and gums to improve oral health. During the Middle Ages, monks started performing surgical dentistry procedures. The procedures then fell onto barbers when monks were banded from practice. The barbers took up the banned duties of the monks, which included tooth extractions, embalming the dead and of course, cutting hair.

In as early as 700 A.D., the Chinese first used amalgam fillings to restore decayed teeth. In Medieval Europe, textbooks were found regulating dental medicine. By 1210 in France, dental surgeries became routine. In Germany in 1530, a book titled “Little Medicinal Book for All Kinds of Diseases and Infirmities of the Teeth” by Artzney Buchlein was the first known book exclusively about dental medicine. Topics addressed include placing gold fillings, tooth extraction and oral hygiene. In 1723, French surgeon Pierre Fauchard published “The Surgeon Dentist, A Treatise on Teeth,” the first comprehensive guide to dental care ever written. He is considered the “Father of Modern Dentistry” because many of the book’s ideas regarding oral anatomy, restoring teeth and creating dentures form the basis of the practice of dentistry. The book included the revelation that sugar caused tooth decay. It was Fauchard who established dentistry as a distinct profession.

Dentures for the president

In 1766, an English trained dentist, John Baker, moved to America and began practicing dentistry. His most famous case was for his patient George Washington, in which he created a set of ivory dentures. These dentures were made of a combination of bone, hippo ivory, human teeth, brass screws, lead and gold wire. Before the famous Paul Revere was known for being a messenger, he studied under Baker and eventually opened up his own dental practice. Revere was one of the first people

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to use dental evidence in forensics when he identified a battlefield corpse by a dental bridge that he made. In 1840, the first dental school opened, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. In 1859, 26 dentists met in New York and formed the American Dental Association, and social and cultural barriers were broken in the dental profession in the 19th century. The first woman to become a dentist was in 1866, while the first African American man to become a dentist was in 1869. In 1905, the famous novocaine anesthetic was invented, making visits to the dentist much more comfortable. The first hygiene school opened in 1913 with water fluorination entering public health in the 1940s. The high-speed drill was invented in 1957 as was the invention of white composite fillings, the fillings you know of today. The first laser in dentistry was invented in the 1960s and the first at-home whitening kit was introduced in 1989. And fast forward to 2020, today! Dental medicine has expanded outward in so many directions. It continues to innovate and incorporate new technologies for the benefit of the patient. — Dr. Salina Suy is an advocate for dentistry, health & beauty. She practices at Zalatan Dental Modern Dentist in Utica, NY. Suy serves as the 5th district ethics chairwoman for the New York State Dental Association, as treasurer for the Oneida Herkimer County Dental Society and as a hospital attending at MVHS. For more information, call 315-7243197 or visit www.modern.dentist.

Upstate New York’s 2018 uninsured rate is among the lowest ever recorded. According to recently released numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, the uninsured rate in upstate New York was just 3.5 percent in 2018, compared with a New York state uninsured rate of 5.4 percent and a national rate of 8.9 percent. Low health-care costs are a key factor in upstate New York’s low uninsured rate.

For private insurance, Rochester and Syracuse are ranked as having among the lowest health care spending rates among 306 hospital referral regions across the country.* Upstate New York has a proud history of affordable, high-quality health care. It’s the result of regional partnerships and a commitment to nonprofit health care. It helps make our community a great place to live and work.

*Source: “The Experts Were Wrong About the Best Places for Better and Cheaper Health Care.” The New York Times, December 15, 2015 A nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2020


Dental Health

To floss or not to floss? That’s the question — Let’s listen to the dental experts! breath and even tooth damage. A mouthwash doesn’t work; only brushing works. It helps to also use a mouth rinse, suggested Burns. A fluoride rinse will get in between your teeth and help clean there. Rinse with a fluoride rinse or water after brushing.

By Barbara Pierce

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few years ago, The Associated Press reported: “There’s little proof that flossing works.” Its conclusion: There is no evidence to prove that flossing helps prevent cavities and gum disease. Many of us cheered when we heard this. For years, we’ve been told to floss. Dentists have long recommended flossing as a critically important part of taking care of our teeth and gums. But who is right? How useful is flossing really? “Dentists will have a lot more work if people stop flossing! That is absolutely wrong!” emphasized my dental hygienist when I asked her what she thought. “That is completely false. It’s from a lunatic fringe!” agreed Dr. Charles Burns of Slavin, Jackson & Burns, Comprehensive Dentistry in Utica. “We’ll definitely be kept busy if people don’t floss.”

Why floss?

“Flossing is essential in preventing cavities,” Burns said. “The vast majority of cavities start between the teeth where the bacteria are heavy.” Throughout the day, bacteria form naturally in your mouth. These bacteria grow and thrive on the pieces of food that get stuck between your teeth — stuck between your teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. Each tooth has five surfaces. Three of these — front, back and biting edge — can be cleaned with a toothbrush. The two sides of the teeth that sit next to each other can’t be reached with a toothbrush. Unless you floss, these food particles and bacteria, called plaque, will thrive. Flossing is the only way to get rid of the plaque trapped between your teeth. Plaque produces acid, which is what causes the vast majority of cavities, explained Burns. Plaque also irritates the gums, which leads to

What if I have trouble with standard floss?

‘The vast majority of cavities start between the teeth where the bacteria are heavy.’ gum disease. When you get a puddle of acid, it causes bone loss and gum disease. Gum disease leads to sore gums, painful swallowing, an even the loss of teeth. So, yes, it is important to floss — very important. The American Dental Association recommends flossing daily, at whatever time works best for you.

Can you tell if I’ve flossed?

My hygienist always asks me:

“Have you been flossing?” I’ve been known to err on the side of appearing to be more faithful at it than I really was. But it seems she knew the answer all the time. “When we look in your mouth, we can see whether you’ve been flossing or not,” said Burns. “No one flosses nearly as much as they should. That’s almost always why cavities start.”

Floss or brush first?

Some people get into a routine of brushing, then flossing. The problem with this is that any food, plaque, and bacteria that is released from in between your teeth by flossing remains in your mouth until the next time you brush. However, when you floss and then brush, brushing removes these released particles from your mouth. Also, brush your tongue. Your tongue is just as much of a target for bacteria as your teeth because there are crevices and elevations all over your tongue; bacteria will hide in these areas unless removed. These bacteria can lead to bad

Most floss is made of either nylon or Teflon, and both are equally effective. People with larger spaces between their teeth or with gums that are receding tend to get better results with a flat, wide dental tape. If your teeth are close together, try thin floss (sometimes made of Gore-Tex) that bills itself as shred resistant. This is my problem and the only thing that works for me is one called Glide. There are many options other than floss to clean between your teeth, said Burns, such as dental flossers, floss holders, interdental brushes and water picks. If you’re having trouble, ask your dentist or hygienist for advice on how best to do it and what options might work for you. If it’s painful, you’re doing it wrong. Don’t use a floss strand more than once. Used floss might fray, lose its effectiveness, or put bacteria back in your mouth. Discard after each use.

How about my kids?

Even kids should floss. Parents should do the flossing once a child’s teeth start to fit closely together, usually between the ages of 2 to 6. Children usually develop the ability to floss on their own around the age of 10. You do not need special floss, although the smooth type is usually easier to use. You may also want to try floss picks for your child.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Badge of Courage Embattled survivors celebrated at American Heart Association’s annual Rome Indoor Heart Walk By Jessica Arsenault Rivenburg

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hen Peter Corigliano IV was born four years ago, doctors quickly recognized he suffered multiple heart defects. The most apparent was his lower extremities did not receive oxygenated blood without the assistance of medication. At 9 days old, Peter underwent his first open heart surgery. A year later, he endured another. “As a parent, the hardest thing to do is to send your child off to surgery and not know if everything will be OK,” said his mother, Ashley Corigliano. Fortunately for the Corigliano family, both of Peter’s surgeries were successful. Today, he checks in with a cardiologist every six months. While he is doing well, doctors say Peter will need a third surgery some time in the future. On Feb. 8, Peter, along with two other local residents, was honored as a Red Cap Ambassador during the American Heart Association’s 18th annual Rome Indoor Heart Walk. More than 300 people attended the Saturday morning event held at Rome Free Academy’s indoor track. The event proved an emotional one for Ashley Corigliano. “To see so many people come out to help fight all heart issues, it’s kind of overwhelming,” she said. Among those who came out to support heart health research and awareness was Peter King’s Kids Christian Preschool classmates. All donned red capes and masks as part of Team Peter. It’s the schools third year participating in the walk, said school co-founder and teacher Dee Daniels. A student in the preschool has

Four-year-old Peter Corigliano, of Rome, served as one of three Red Cap Ambassadors during the 2020 Rome Indoor Heart Walk held recently. Above, Corigliano’s class at King’s Kids Christian Preschool attended the walk as Team Peter. Pictured at front left are Peter and his mother, Ashley Corigliano, shown seated. been honored as a Red Cap Ambassador for each of the past three years, she said. “We’re glad to be here to show our support,” Daniels said. “This is an awesome event and I’m happy we’re able to take part.”

Fundraising drive

More than showing up to the walk, Daniels said Peter’s classmates spent a month raising money by doing chores at home for quarters. The students proudly presented event coordinators with a sack full of change Feb. 8, during the walk’s opening ceremony. Those quarters, along with more than $11,000 raised at the Rome walk, will be used to fund research, education and advocacy programs in the war against heart disease and stroke, the No. 1 and Nov. 5 killers, respectively, said event chairwoman Brenda McMonagle. Robert Miller, of New Hartford, and Kie Cullings, of Taberg, also

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served as Red Cap Ambassadors alongside Peter. About a year ago, Miller noticed himself getting short of breath easily. He ignored it at first, assuming he was getting out of shape. But when his legs began swelling, he realized it was time to get to the hospital. Once there, doctors informed Miller that he had a leaking heart valve and needed surgery. He ended up requiring a pacemaker as well. “It was traumatic, of course, but I consider myself very lucky,” Miller said. “There’s been a few hiccups and set backs along the way, but I’m making progress. I go to the gym twice a week and do light weight lifting. A year ago I wouldn’t have been able to walk here from the parking lot. “This is sort of a milestone for me,” he noted. “But it’s also my responsibility as a survivor to show people there’s hope and you can get to the other side.” Kie Cullings, now an active 2-year-old, was born with 13 heart defects, said his mother, Dawn Cullings. “One nurse told me it was the

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most he’d ever seen in one baby,” she said. Kie underwent his first open heart surgery at 3 days old, and has had another one since. “Kie has been through a lot in his short little life,” Cullings said, adding that the scariest moment d ­ uring the whole ordeal was when little Kie coded in her arms at the hospital at one point. “He’s a fighter,” she said. “It’s a lot to handle, but his smile gets you through it all. “It’s so important to raise awareness and fund the research and prevent this when we can so no one else has to go through this.” The event was filled with family friendly activities for the children to enjoy, along with entertainment, at Sydney’s Circle. Sydney was a Rome resident who passed away from heart disease and Sydney’s Circle is a way to honor her memory with a funfilled morning of activities. Those interested in forming a fundraising team for America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk March 7 can register for the event at www. uticaheartrunwalk.org. For more information, call the AHA at 315-5803964.

Herkimer HealthNet makes donation

H

erkimer County HealthNet Executive Director Elyse Enea Bellows recently presented a $4,000 check to the Community Transportation Services Ltd. CTS is a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to the elderly, disabled and disadvantaged in the Central Adirondack area by providing necessary transportation, without cost, for medical, health and other related services. Enea Bellows said, “We have partnered with CTS for a number

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2020

of years, supporting their work to provide transportation services. With the significant growth in the numbers of residents needing assistance, HCHN was glad to provide this investment in serving our community and helping to assure people have access to the health care they need.” CTS is an all-volunteer service in the Old Forge area, providing support to people who do not have available transportation. For more information on volunteering, contact 315-369-2830.


A Visit With

who have contracted the flu or have been hospitalized. It is far greater a threat than the coronavirus so far in the United States.”

Your Doctor

4.

By Ernst Lamothe Jr.

Things you should know about coronavirus Editor’s note: With the world’s eyes riveted on the coronavirus — and its potentially devastating effects — In Good Health recently interviewed Dr. Nadia Kousar, infectious disease specialist at Rochester Regional Health for Newark-Wayne Community Hospital and Clifton Springs Hospital and Clinic. She presented five important facts about the dangerous threat.

70,000 in countries that include China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Australia, Germany, Vietnam, France, the United Kingdom and United States. “People who have either been to mainland China or have been in contact with those who have traveled around that region are the highest susceptible people for contracting the virus,” said Kousar.

ith the new strain of coronavirus — 2019-nCoV — hitting more than 2,000 in death toll and tens of thousands affected worldwide, much is still unknown by the general public about how the epidemic has spread. It was first identified in 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Since then, the virus has been identified in multiple other countries, including in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, human coronaviruses are common throughout the world. However, the 2019nCoV virus is a public health concern because of the many unknown factors and the fact that there is more than just one form of the virus.

3.

W

1.

There are multiple coronaviruses

The various coronaviruses can infect people and make them sick. Some human coronaviruses — not the new strain — were identified many years ago and some have been identified recently. Human coronaviruses commonly cause mild to moderate illness in people worldwide. Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and has since caused illness in people in more than 25 other countries, including the United States, according to the CDC. Most people reported to have MERSCoV infection developed severe acute respiratory illness, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. “The [novel] coronavirus that you are hearing about now is new and there is a lot of information that

Coronavirus is less than a threat in the U.S. than the flu

Dr. Nadia Kousar is an infectious disease specialist at Rochester Regional Health for Newark-Wayne Community Hospital and Clifton Springs Hospital and Clinic. people don’t know or make assumptions,” said Kousar. “That is why it is important for people to understand all the aspects of this virus.”

2.

Coronaviruses are most commonly passed from person to person

Most often the virus is spread from person to person, which happens among close contacts about six feet away. It occurs mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Confirmed cases are more than

Flu vaccines are updated to better match viruses expected to be circulating in the United States. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications. “People sometimes don’t take influenza as seriously as they should,” said Kousar. “We continuously have a large number of cases of people

The symptoms are similar to flu

The severity of the new coronavirus symptoms can range from very mild to severe, even death. Although understanding of this disease continues to grow, most people with severe illness have been of an older age or had other significant existing medical conditions. “It can take the form of having shortness of breath, fever or a cough,” said Kousar.

5.

No vaccines yet

Thomas said there are no approved drugs or vaccines to specifically treat or prevent 2019-nCoV infection or disease. Medical experts do offer some suggestions which include washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Kousar suggests avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and staying home when you are not feeling well. Also, adhere to some of the same habits discussed when you have a cold, such as covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throwing the tissue in the trash, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces. “Because as we talked about before, it is called novel because it is new; there is no current vaccine or expectation that a vaccine will be ready for what is currently going on in China,” said Kousar. “There are people likely working on a vaccine but it will take time.”

Bats, snakes may be source of new coronavirus

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study published recently in The Lancet, finds strong evidence that bats are where the infection actually originated. According to study authors, the infection could still have been passed to humans through an intermediary animal. A previous study theorized that it went through snakes before being passed on to humans. “Although our phylogenetic analysis suggests that bats might be the original host of this virus, an animal sold at the seafood market in Wuhan might represent an intermediate host facilitating the emergence of the virus in humans,”

wrote the study authors. Bats have an unfortunate history of passing potentially deadly pathogens to human hosts. A 2017 article in Nature explains how virologists identified a single population of horseshoe bats harboring virus strains with all the genetic building blocks of the SARS virus that jumped to humans in 2002. That worldwide outbreak killed almost 800 people. Research published in Emerging Infectious Diseases confirms that many African bats are also reservoirs of the incredibly dangerous Ebola virus. Source: www.healthline.com

Use of telemedicine for behavioral health increasing year over year

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ehavioral health services delivered via telemedicine now account for nearly one-third of all telemedicine visits, according to a review of 2019 claims data by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. In 2018, behavioral health services accounted for less than 25 percent of all telemedicine visits. The health plan serves more than 1.5 million members across 39 counties of Upstate New York. Telemedicine allows a health

care provider to treat a patient by telephone or a secure, two-way video connection that is similar to Skype or FaceTime. Private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid pay for health care services delivered via telemedicine. Behavioral health services include treatment for mental health conditions and substance use disorders. The top mental health conditions for which health plan members seek telemedicine treatment are generalized anxiety disorders, major

depressive disorders, dysthymic disorders, posttraumatic stress disorders and adjustment disorders. The use of telemedicine for behavioral health services also includes treatment of substance use disorders including opioid use, alcohol use and tobacco use disorders. The top specialists seen via telemedicine for behavioral health treatment include social workers, psychologists, counselors and nurse practitioners. “Patients are realizing that they

March 2020 •

can see a specific behavioral health provider on an ongoing basis from the privacy of their home, where they feel comfortable and can call at their convenience,” said Marya Vande-Doyle, director of workplace wellness and telemedicine for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “Another factor in many parts of Upstate New York may be the shortage of behavioral health professionals, especially those who specialize in treating children and adolescents.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 11


Bucking Tradition Consumers shelving conventional medicine for homeopathic remedies By Jessica Arsenault Rivenburg

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hundred years ago, someone with a cold would probably quell their symptoms by sipping some chicken broth and tea, perhaps taking a shot of brandy or honey. And perhaps they would rub a poultice of almond oil, lavender or other herbs on their chest and stay in bed. Sometime around the 1950s, treating what ails you turned sharply away from the traditional and now “old-fashioned” strategies and moved toward dosing the sufferer with a cocktail of drugs and calling it a day. But in recent years, a growing number of people have been second guessing the modern approach and turning back to the simpler remedies of old, now labeled as homeopathic. The term homeopathy, or homeopathic medicine, is generally used to describe the practice of medicine that embraces using herbs, vitamins and other natural approaches to the treatment of the sick. The growing interest in homeopathy is being reflected in the growing section of alternative remedies offered in most drug stores today. Walking down the cough and cold aisle, consumers will find pills and syrups full of phenylephrine, dextromethorphan, guaifenesin and acetaminophen, but they will also find elderberry and honey-based syrups, balms with lavender and chamomile, blends of echinacea, zinc and vitamin E. Similarly, in the digestive aid aisle, there are the typical famotidine, simethicone and pink bismuth, but there is also peppermint oil, cola syrup and aloe gel. Sales of homeopathic remedies have been steadily increasing since 2011, reaching $174 million in 2018. According to MarketWatch, sales are expected to continue to rise between now and 2023 at an annual growth rate of 12.5 percent. But while drugs like dextromethorphan and acetaminophen are tested, studied and approved by the Food and Drug Administration to perform particular functions such as suppressing a cough, dulling pain or reducing a fever, homeopathic alter-

natives are not studied and approved by the FDA. Many homeopathic remedies have a handful of key and identified ingredients, such as honey, zinc, echinacea or peppermint, and the rest of the concoction is often labeled as a “proprietary blend” and therefore not even detailed. This leads to skepticism by some. “If you separate things into their basic ingredients — peppermint, honey, cola syrup — they do have proven effects and can be effective,” explained Dave Murray, a pharmacist at Kinney Drugs in Ilion. “But things like Oscillo and Airborne are full of stuff that’s homeopathic and some known ingredients. We know what the known ingredients do. We don’t know what the homeopathic ingredients do.” Because the FDA does not study these alternative treatments, manufacturers are required to announce that by including a disclaimer somewhere on the package. It states, “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” “They generally have no restrictions or testing to back up the claims of what they do,” Murray noted. “So do they work? It’s hard to say. Some parts do and some parts are questionable. I would not rule out at

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Page 12

least partial improvement with these products. But if they were a miracle cure or even held a substantial benefit, I believe they would have done extensive studies to prove their claim and make themselves the go-to treatment for whatever they’re claiming to do.”

High on Airborne

Still, many swear by the homeopathic approach, such as Rachel Whitaker of Whitesboro. “I don’t care what anybody says, Airborne works. It’s my savior,” Whitaker said. “I’ve used it for years, just like it says on the package — at the first sign of a cold, or even if I’ve been around someone who’s sick. My husband will have a cold, the kids will have colds, everyone at work will have a cold, but I don’t get it. Or if I do, it’s super mild and lasts about two days.” Whitaker said she has never been a fan of taking medication, a trait she gets from her mother. As an adult, she has gradually begun turning more toward natural and homeopathic remedies. “Other than the odd antibiotic here and there, and Advil or Tylenol for fevers, we’re a drug-free family at this point,” she said. “Honestly, anything that ails you, where most people would instinctively think, ‘oh, time to go get the cough syrup or Imodium,’ or whatever, there’s a natural alternative. Or, another new and crazy idea, is to just let it run its course and let your body do what it does, fight the bug, and then you’ll get better. Robitussin and Sudafed

don’t cure anything. They just mask symptoms.” Kayleigh Marosek, of Ilion, has taken the natural approach even further and has cured more than one ear infection using a homemade infusion of garlic oil. “I swear by garlic. Garlic is my thing. Everyone else hates it,” she said with a laugh, adding that she uses the odiferous bulb for preventing colds and to make a poultice for chest congestion. “There are side effects from drugs,” she said. “But with homeopathic remedies, there are no side effects.” Growing up, Marosek took any and every medicine, she said, describing her family as “a pretty mainstream family.” “I guess I didn’t really realize there were alternatives in food and herbs with no side effects at all whatsoever,” she said. As an adult, working at the Perinatal Network in Utica, Marosek had many conversations with a co-worker on the subject that set her on the path toward a more natural approach to health care. When she had children of her own and was forced to go drugfree while pregnant and nursing, she thought about it more. And when her daughter was diagnosed with Lyme disease a few years ago, she and her family decided to go almost entirely all natural and homeopathic, “unless something major arises,” she said. Now the Maroseks seek out elderberry syrup, raw honey, cod liver oil, raw apple cider vinegar, oscillococcinum, a healthy diet that includes foraging, and of course, garlic. “It seems to be working,” she said. Despite anecdotal evidence that homeopathic alternatives work, there exists extreme skepticism and even outrage about the matter. In 2018, a nonprofit group known as the Center for Inquiry sued CVS for its sale of homeopathic remedies alongside more traditionally accepted remedies, claiming the drug retailer is misleading consumers. In 2019, CFI also sued Wal-Mart for the same reason. According to interviews with vice president and general counsel of CFI Nick Little, the suit does not want the retail giant to stop selling homeopathic remedies, but to separate them from traditional medicines and clearly market them as ineffective. Both lawsuits are currently in the pretrial motions stage.

RMH’s RHCF named 2019-20 Best Nursing Home

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ome Memorial Hospital’s Residential Health Care Facility is among the 19% of U.S. skilled nursing facilities that have been recognized as a Best Nursing Home for 2019-20 by U.S. News & World Report. The home earned Best Nursing Homes status by achieving a rating of “high performing,” the highest possible rating, for short-term rehabilitation. U.S. News awards the designation of Best Nursing Home only to

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2020

those homes that satisfy U.S. News’s assessment of the appropriate use of key services and consistent performance in quality measures. RMH provides short-term rehabilitation for individuals recovering from surgery, an illness or an accident to improve their function and strength so they can return home. Individualized treatment plans may include a combination of physical, occupational and speech-swallowing therapy, along with skilled nursing care.


Health concern? Google it! Got symptoms? Here’s proper way of researching health-related matters By Barbara Pierce

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ou’re going to Google your symptoms — we all do — so you might as well do it right. We asked Juleen Qandah, emergency medicine physician-director of urgent care at Faxton St. Luke’s Health Care in Utica, for suggestions on how to get the best results. — Use the right keyword to search: Use somewhat clinical terms and you’ll get better results, Qandah explained. Qandah For example, use “stomach pain,” not “tummy ache.” Search with a basic keyword like “headache,” rather than adding diagnostic terms such as “headache and brain tumor.” Googling a worst-case scenario will influence your search results and it will deliver you plenty of sites that will cause you unreasonable fears and leave you in a panic. Or it may downplay the seriousness of symptoms and cause you to put off seeing a health care professional when you really should. “When you look up ‘brain tumor,’ instead of ‘headache,’ it can have a very negative effect,” she said. Start simply. “When you look up something and see all the other symptoms, your subconscious can make you develop these symptoms and will make you feel worse,” she said. “It’s called the nocebo effect. You expect to feel worse and you do.” For example, when you anticipate a side effect of a medication, you can suffer that effect even when the medication is actually an inert substance. The opposite, the placebo effect, occurs when you have positive

expectations that improve the outcome. Though both the placebo and nocebo effects are psychological, they can cause real changes in the body. — Don’t stop at just one site in your search. Look it up on a few websites, Qandah recommends. Then put all the information together. Even if you find a site that seems to provide a reasonable explanation for your symptoms, it’s worth reading through several reputable sites to give you a balance of information. — Use creditable websites: Mayo clinic is good. Wikipedia is excellent. Use websites that are national or international, she suggests, like Centers for Disease Control (CDC.gov). The most reputable sites have .gov or .edu after the name. Those are the best; they’re not trying to sell you a product. They may not be pretty but they’re accurate.

Avoid glitz and glitter

— Don’t be swayed by glitzy sites. Beautiful eye-catching graphics are no indication that the information you’re about to read is accurate. Sites that have .com and .net after the name, even when completely health-focused, are generally commercial sites, supported by advertising. That doesn’t mean these sites are necessarily wrong, but they can be biased. When Google says “Ad” above the result, that means that site has something to sell. Be aware that not all information on the web is reliable. — Let your health care professional know you’ve done research on the Internet. “I love it when people come in with information with their questions,” said Qandah. “It can be helpful if they’ve looked up symptoms prior to seeing us. They’re somewhat informed and I know they’re actively interested in their own medical care.” “Tell us what you’re worried about. What do you want us to rule

s d i K Corner

Visits to pediatricians on significant decline

C

ommercially insured children in the U.S. are seeing pediatricians less often than they did a decade ago, according to a new analysis led by a pediatrician-scientist at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.  But whether that’s good or bad is unclear, the researchers say in the study, published in January in JAMA

Pediatrics. “There’s something big going on here that we need to be paying attention to,” said lead author, physician Kristin Ray, assistant professor of pediatrics in Pitt’s School of Medicine. “The trend is likely a combination of both positive and negative changes. For example, if families avoid bringing their kids in because of worry about high co-pays and deductibles,

out to set your mind at ease? Be up front with your concerns,” she said. Discuss what you’ve read with your doctor. — Here’s the bottom line: Never ever make a final diagnosis of yourself based on what you’ve read on the Internet. You and your doctor work together to come up with a diagnosis, stresses Qandah. If you’re wondering what other people are wondering about, here are the top health searches in Google for one year: — Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most-searched disease term across the United States, according to one survey. Considering that 79 million Americans have one or more types of this virus (which may lead to subsequent conditions such as warts and cervical cancer, depending on the type of HPV you have), it’s no surprise it’s such a popular search term. Other top Google searches include celiac disease, diabetes, and asthma, along with AIDS and liver disease.

Another study found the most Googled symptom in the U.S. is stress. The top sources of stress were money, work, the current political climate, the future of the nation, and violence and crime. Other common searches included nasal congestion, stuffy nose and sniffles. Pew Research found that pregnancy is a popular search among the younger demographic. Google data show that there is a lot of worried — or elated — searching on the part of a relatively small group of people. Whatever your search, the Internet might have your answer. While the Internet is a good starting point, it shouldn’t be your final answer. While Google certainly has a vast quantity of information, it lacks discernment and the ability to understand all the other factors that go into making a diagnosis, like personal and family history. As always, if you have a specific question or concern about your health, it’s usually best to ask your health care professional.

that’s very concerning. But if this is the result of better preventive care keeping kids healthier or perhaps more physician offices providing advice over the phone to support parents caring for kids at home when they’ve got minor colds or stomach bugs, that’s a good thing.” Ray and her colleagues examined insurance claims data from 2008 through 2016 for children 17 years old and younger. The data came from a large commercial health plan that covers millions of children across all 50 states with a range of benefit options.  In that time span, primary care visits for any reason decreased by 14%.  Preventive care, or “well child” visits, increased by nearly 10%. This change occurred during the years when the Affordable Care Act eliminated co-pays for such visits. But that increase was eclipsed by a much larger decrease in problem-based visits for things such as illness or injury, with these visits declining by 24%. Among problem-based visits, decreases were seen for all types of

diagnoses, except for psychiatric and behavioral health visits, which increased by 42%. “This means that children and their families are visiting their pediatrician less throughout the year, presumably resulting in fewer opportunities for the pediatrician to connect with families on preventive care and healthy behaviors, like vaccinations and good nutrition,” said Ray, also a pediatrician and director of health system improvements at UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics. “The question is: Why? We don’t have the definitive answer, but our data give us some clues.”  One possible explanation is that children are getting care elsewhere. Visits to urgent care, retail clinics and telemedicine consults for problem-based care increased during the study period. Other factors also could be at play, the research team noted. With more parents working, some may find it difficult to bring children in for care. And there may be less need for some visits. Vaccination has dramatically reduced rates of ear infections and hospitalizations.

March 2020 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 13


Between You & Me

By Barbara Pierce

At the Crossroads Turning points in life: midlife crisis and retirement

I absolutely can’t stand this job!” I thought to myself as I drove home from work, racing down the interstate in my red Toyota convertible. “Maybe I’ll have an accident so I don’t ever have to go back!” That was my midlife crisis. It woke me up. Big time. If I hate this job so much that I’m hoping for an accident so I don’t have to go back, Pierce it’s time to quit. Right now. And I quit. Though I didn’t have another job waiting, and I was a single parent, I walked out for good. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I leaped off that administrator’s perch and got a position in direct contact with people I could help. I loved my career change, leaving as an administrator in a social service agency to become a psychotherapist, learning new skills. It didn’t pay as well, but was so much more fulfilling. I now looked forward to going to work each morning.

Now that I’m retired, I miss that work. Becoming a single parent was another midlife change I made, a consequence of looking at my life and knowing it needed to change. I was a childless single woman in my early 40s, and I knew that I did not want to go through life without a child. Adopting a 9-year-old troubled girl was the best decision I’ve ever made. After a few tough years adjusting to each other, it’s all been good. Midlife crisis is a term that’s been thrown around. Maybe it’s more like a midlife evaluation; it’s a redefining, recognizing that we need to go in a different direction. This kind of redefining is not unusual during our midlife period, which occurs between 45 and 64 years of age for most people. In our teens and early 20s, we made major decisions about our life and career. In midlife, we take a good look at those decisions. Some of those decisions were right for us; others needed tweaking, while others may have been totally wrong for us. Midlife is like the second big phase of decision-making. Our identity has been formed: We know who we are, we’ve built up resources,

and we have the chance to take risks because our foundation is already secure.

Middle age ‘surge’

Some experience a creeping realization that life is not going in the direction that we want, and we have the opportunity to redirect it, to alter our course to give our self a different future, to break out of routines. This shift can be exhilarating. A middle age “surge” some call it. I like that. Another major shift comes as we prepare for retirement. We’re living longer today; we’re healthy and energetic into our later years. Presidential candidates in their late 70s are running for office. This ability to have a vital, active life for many years is another huge opportunity to again take stock of your life and determine where you want your path to go. Your life after retirement can be anything that you want it to be. I like that I can do more of what I want to do, less of what I don’t want to do. It’s another chapter opening up to you — maybe even a whole new book! You can discover what allows you to work in ways that are satisfy-

ing and fulfilling. You can carve out a new place in the world. It’s inspiring. Yes, some of life’s possibilities are now closed, but so what? The remaining possibilities can be seized more bravely, and lived more deeply. What will support you thriving in your later years? What is really important to you? It takes time to find what truly matters in our life and how to achieve it. It takes being patient until the new path becomes clear. I found a new career in writing. My love of writing has led me to teach classes in writing to other senior citizens. It is a thrill to me, and to the student, when he or she comes to class, having no experience in writing, only the desire, and finds his or her voice in writing about his or her life. I love helping people unfold to find something inside them that is a wonderful surprise. And I do a variety of volunteer work, appreciating the opportunity to learn new things and get to know new people. Transitions in life are inevitable — transition during our 40s and 50s, and then again as we plan retirement. There are so many possibilities and so much to discover. The opportunity is there to take an intriguing new path that calls to us. After decades of work, learn to renew, explore, travel, inspire and relax. Embrace life with energy, creativity and passion. Do what calls you. • Barbara Pierce is a retired licensed clinical social worker with many years of experience helping people. If you would like to purchase a copy of her book, “When You Come to the Edge: Aging” or if you have questions for her, contact her at barbarapierce06@yahoo.com.

Dopamine: The molecule of more Brain chemical considered catalyst of desire By Barbara Pierce

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opamine: This single chemical in your brain will determine the fate of the human race, assert the authors of a new book. “The Molecule of More,” by psychiatrist Daniel Lieberman and speechwriter Michael Long, explains how a single chemical in your brain drives love, sex, and creativity. And how it will drive us to our own destruction. Dopamine is the chemical of desire that always asks for more Lieberman — more stuff, more stimulation, and more surprises. Having things is uninteresting; it’s the getting that matters. It makes us want to find love, seek sex, and dominate others. It causes an addict to choose drugs over work, family, everything. It triggers energy and enthusiasm. It’s why diehard liberals and hardcore conservatives can’t understand each other. It’s why diets fall, and much more. “It’s a fascinating topic,” said Lieberman, “And it hadn’t been talked about much. I had to get this information out.” Lieberman became interested in the mystery of dopamine when Page 14

he was a psychiatrist in training. “I learned that three mental illnesses could be traced to dopamine: attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia, and addiction,” he said. “I didn’t understand how three illnesses that on the surface are so different could be related. When I became a teacher, I thought my students might have the same questions. So I wanted to better figure it out.”

What is dopamine?

“Dopamine is related to pleasure, but it’s so much deeper,” Lieberman said. In a brain that’s described as “awash with chemicals,” one chemical always seems to stand out. It’s the Kim Kardashian of molecules. If there were a celebrity among chemicals, it would be dopamine. Dopamine has lots of functions in the brain: It’s involved in everything from regulating movement to the control of attention. In great part, its effects depend on which of the brain’s pathways it is operating in. The brain has several dopamine pathways. For dopamine, it’s not the having that matters. It’s getting something — anything — that’s new. It is undeterred by emotion, fear, or morality. “It’s a focus on the future at the risk of ignoring the present,” Lieberman added. “More and more people do not appreciate what they have.

They’re not in the here and now.” “Some people have more active dopaminegic circuits than others,” the book informs us. These people are more adventurous, always seeking new things, and are difficult to satisfy. They tend to be upbeat, overly optimistic, overly confident and full of energy and plans. They can be difficult to live with. The authors propose that people who possess elevated levels of dopamine, in addition to being prone to divorce and mental illness, also tend to be creative and abstract thinkers, risk takers, and liberals.

Pathway to understanding

It is Lieberman’s hope that people will read this book and gain insight into themselves and their spouses. “We’re getting really good feedback on the book because people are better understanding themselves,” he said. This was one of the reasons for writing the book. “We want people to pay more attention to their brain,” Lieberman added. “We want people to pay attention to whether they’re in a dopamine state or a here and now state. “Also, with the mid-term elections coming up, we’d like to try to have both sides better understand the other side.” The authors said dopamine could

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2020

have been responsible for ancestral migration across the Bering Strait. Those migrants who made it the longest way, to South America, have the highest proportion of dopamine. Or perhaps, with adventurous ancestors, that is what caused them to have a higher proportion of dopamine. The book ends on a grim note: “Dopamine drives us forward, perhaps to our own destruction. It’s possible that we won’t last beyond another half-dozen generations. This is because “dopamine doesn’t stop. It drives us ever onward into the abyss,” the book states. And here’s how: “It drives us to great and greater consumption until we will destroy the planet.” And, “Computers that are smarter than people will fundamentally change the world.” Also, “With virtual reality, the human race may go willingly into the dark night. Our dopamine circuits will tell us it’s the best thing ever.” “We got a lot of criticism about how pessimistic it is,” added Lieberman. If this is making your head spin, you’re not alone. The authors present a great deal of information, some of it complicated. They do make a fascinating rationale for how much of human behavior can be credited to this one chemical. “The Molecule of More” can be purchased online.


SmartBites

By Anne Palumbo

The skinny on healthy eating

Little lentils lead to large benefits A small but mighty member of the legume family, lentils have so much going for them it’s hard to know where to begin. Nutritionally dense and loaded with wide-ranging health benefits, lentils are considered by many to be a “superfood.” Lentils are remarkable high in fiber — both soluble and insoluble — with one cooked cup providing around 16 grams of this cholesterol-lowering nutrient. According to the American Heart Association, the average American adult needs about 25 grams of fiber a day to reap its benefits. On average, however, American adults eat only 10 to 15 grams of fiber a day. Why bump up your fiber intake? Multiple studies have confirmed that eating lots of fiber can reduce your risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes. Lentils’ impressive amounts of folate and magnesium also contribute to heart health. Folate helps lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that when elevated can lead to hardening of the arteries and blood clots, while magnesium helps maintain a steady heartbeat and normal blood pressure. Heart benefits notwithstanding, folate is critical for preventing neural tube defects in newborns. Seeking to increase your intake of plant-based protein? Look to lentils, the bean that delivers the second

most protein per cup (soybeans take top honors): a whopping 18 grams. A building block of bones, muscles and skin, this powerhouse nutrient can also be a dieter’s best friend, as its slower digestion helps to curb snacking, and its metabolic boost (protein takes the most energy to digest) can be a bona fide calorie-burner. Similar to other beans, lentils are packed with antioxidants — those magical compounds that can help prevent a host of age-related maladies, from heart disease to cancer to Alzheimer’s. Lentils’ antioxidants do a body good by helping to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure

Got a health-related activity or event that you would like publicized? Call Lou Sorendo at 315-749-7070 or email lou@cnymail.com.

The Center for Family Life and Recovery, Inc., in partnership with the Parkway Center, will be providing a grandparents support group. The support group will be held from 2-3 p.m. Mondays at the Parkway Center, 220 Memorial Parkway, Utica. The group is open to grandparents who are raising children of loved ones that are experiencing active addiction, working on recovery, in residential-outpatient treatment, are hospitalized, incarcerated, or are dealing with other familial concerns. Those interested may contact

Adapted from Cuisineathome.com 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 cups sliced white or cremini mushrooms (or more) 1 cup chopped onion 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup each sliced carrot and celery 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon tomato paste 2-3/4 cups low-sodium broth: vegetable or chicken 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz.) 3/4 cups lentils 1/4 cup 2% milk 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar salt and pepper to taste

8 to 10 oz. pasta of choice shredded Parmesan Heat oil in a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until onions become soft, about eight minutes. Add the celery, carrots, mushrooms, Italian seasoning, and pepper flakes; sweat, partially covered until softened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste; cook two minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, and lentils; simmer, partially covered, until lentils are tender, 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water according to package directions; drain. Stir milk and vinegar into bolognese; season with salt and coarse black pepper. Serve bolognese over pasta; top with Parmesan.

nist, 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 avpalumbo@aol.com.

HEALTH EVENTS

Grandparents support group takes shape

Lentil Bolognese

Store dry lentils in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to a year (can be stored longer, but taste may deteriorate). Cooked lentils will last about a week in refrigerator or up to six months in freezer. Canned lentils have a similar nutritional profile to dry lentils, but may be slightly higher in calories and sodium. Check label and be sure to rinse well before using.

Anne Palumbo is a lifestyle colum-

CALENDAR of Mondays

and fight free radical damage. A versatile bean that cooks in a jiff, lentils are naturally low in fat, sodium, cholesterol and calories: only 230 per cooked cup. This ancient legume — nearly 10,000 years old — is also a good source of manganese, phosphorous and iron.

Helpful tips

CFLR’s Utica office at 315-733-1709 or the Parkway Center at 315-223-3973.

Tuesdays

Thursdays

Loved one on drugs? There is support CNY Services Milestones is featuring a support group for anyone dealing with another person’s drug and/or alcohol addiction. The support group meets at 6 p.m. Thursdays at 502 Court St., Suite 210, Utica. The support group is free and open to those struggling with a child, partner, wife, husband, mother, father or friend who is battling addiction. For more information, call Tony at 315-717-9153.

March 3

Insight House offers family support group Insight House Chemical Dependency Services, Inc. is offering a family support group meeting from 6:15-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Insight House, 500 Whitesboro St., Utica. The group is free and open to anyone who is concerned about a loved one’s relationship with alcohol, opiates/heroin, or other substances. For more information about the group, call 724-5168, ext. 265, from 8:30-4 p.m. weekdays. All calls are strictly confidential.

Pre-registration events set for Heart Run & Walk America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk is set for March 7. Participants can register online at www.uticaheartrunwalk.org or visit one of several options for pre-registration sites. • March 3, 4-7 p.m., Herkimer College, Robert McLaughlin College Center; Room 282-283, 100 Reservoir Road, Herkimer • March 4, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., New Hartford indoor walk and pre-reg-

March 2020 •

istration, Sangertown Square, 8555 Seneca Turnpike, New Hartford • March 5, 5-8 p.m., Adirondack Diner & Lanes, 8125 state Route 12, Barneveld • March 6, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Healthy for Good Expo, Utica College, 1600 Burrstone Road, Utica Registration is also available at Utica College starting at 6 a.m. March 7. America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk bring thousands of people together to raise funds and awareness for the fight against heart disease and stroke. Participants can find all of this information at www.UticaHeartRunWalk.org or by calling the American Heart Association at 315-580-3964. Follow along on social media on Facebook and Twitter at @HeartCNY and on Instagram at @AHANewYork and with #HeartRunWalk. America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk 2020 is locally sponsored by signature sponsor NYCM Insurance; local sponsors Scalzo, Zogby and Wittig, Inc. Insurance; Slocum-Dickson Medical Group; and AmeriCU Credit Union. A minimum amount of $30 in pledges for participants 16 years and older is required at registration to participate in the Heart Run & Walk.

Continued on Page 23

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 15


Innovations

Fact or fiction? Does copper-infused compression clothing, adaptive wear assist in healing? By David L. Podos

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ou would be hard pressed these days not to turn on the television and see commercials about copper-infused compression garments — everything from socks, T-shirts, gloves, adaptive wear for your hands, fingers, toes, and everything in between. The claims are eye and ear catching to say the least. These involve health benefits including reduced pain, improved mobility, and increased blood flow. They are also thought to aid in the healing process and improve overall athletic ability and stamina. Is it too good to be true? People wear compression stockings for comfort, to do better in sports, and to help prevent serious medical conditions, according to WebMD. Basically, they improve your blood flow, according to WebMD. They can lessen pain and swelling in your legs, and they can also lower your chances of getting deep vein thrombosis, a kind of blood clot, and other circulation problems, WebMD claims. There are a variety of people who use them: —People with or at risk for circulation problems, like DVT, varicose veins, or diabetes — People who’ve just gotten surgery — Those who can’t leave their

bed or have a hard time moving their legs — People who stand all day at work — Athletes — Pregnant women — People that spend long stretches of time on air planes, like pilots

What do they do?

The pressure these stockings put on your legs helps blood vessels work better. The arteries that take oxygen-rich blood to your muscles can relax, so blood flows freely. The veins get a boost pushing blood back to your heart. They also reduce to some extent lactic acid build-up. Most people are somewhat familiar with compression stockings, but perhaps not its history. They were first introduced in Europe prior to World War I, and in the early 1950s were introduced to America. The gradient compression stocking, however, didn’t appear in the United States as a modality for health until the early 1980s. The science behind compression stockings seems to have held true and they do aid in a number of health-related issues. Besides the stockings, there are many other compression garments like shirts, sports tights, arm sleeves, and so forth.

On the contrary

In an article written by Lauren Cooper in Consumer Reports, the

author states there’s little evidence to support manufacturers’ claims about copper-infused compression garments. “Consumer Reports has reviewed the research into the use of copper to ease pain and has found little evidence of the metal’s ability to lessen aches,” Cooper writes. A study of 70 people with rheumatoid arthritis published in the journal PLOS ONE, concluded that wearing a copper wrist strap did not help ease pain. “There are also no reliable studies supporting the healing powers of copper-infused fabrics,” says Consumer Reports’ Medical Director Orly Avitzur. “It’s extremely unlikely that these fabrics would provide any therapeutic benefit beyond compression for arthritis or pain.” A different viewpoint can be found on the website Yogaapproved. com. It lists a number of health benefits from copper that relate closely to what manufacturers of copper-infused compression clothing say about their products ability to aid in health. Here are a few: — Copper destroys and inhibits the growth of microbes, fungi and bacteria, including E. coli. — It is a natural anti-inflamma-

tory; copper can be used to provide relief from aches and pains caused by arthritis or inflamed joints. — It also has bone and immune system strengthening properties. The website suggests a number of ways to absorb copper that include taking supplements, wearing jewelry and copper-infused clothing, and using copper utensils and drink ware.

Tommie Copper

Tommie Copper has been around since 2010. It is a major player amongst the numerous copper-infused compression garments and sportswear businesses. One of the marketing strategies Tommie Copper uses is famous spokespeople like Brett Favre, former NFL quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. Here is a snippet off its web site: “Tommie Copper is the innovative leader in pain relief and recovery solutions and uses. It uses proprietary fabric and patented copper technology that provides superior comfort. Tommie Copper products are designed to be worn 24 hours a day, even while sleeping. Benefits of the compression include pain relief, muscle healing, and improved blood flow, while decreasing inflammation and swelling.”

Bassett features new chief of women’s health Samuel S. Badalian brings top-ranked credentials to health network

S

amuel S. Badalian is among the world’s foremost urogynecologists and an award-winning scientist who has published original research advancing women’s health. As chief of women’s health for Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, Badalian brings previously unavailable surgical and non-surBadalian gical treatments to Bassett Healthcare Network to treat female urinary and reproductive tract problems. In addition to being board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, Badalian is also certified in the subspecialty of female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. Badalian has been practicing medicine for 39 years. He has been a physician in the United States for the last 28 years. Page 16

Earlier in his career, Badalian delivered babies and conducted research on fetal amniotic fluid and the fetal breathing cycle. His PhD research concentrated on the renal function of kidneys in fetuses. “In the last 20 years, my main interest shifted and I concentrated on post-menopausal health,” he said. Being an expert in kidneys led him to combine his interest in urology and expertise in gynecology. He recognized the high demand for medical treatments for women as they age. In 2010, Badalian published groundbreaking research on “The prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency in women with urinary and fecal incontinence.” He noticed that many women with osteoporosis also suffered from incontinence, and he used his research skills to discover and prove there is a correlation. Trained in his native Armenia and respected internationally, Badalian speaks four languages: Armenian, Russian, English, and French. After teaching other physicians and

surgeons around the world in urogynecology, Badalian realized that these treatments were not available to women in the eight counties that Bassett Healthcare Network serves. Since joining Bassett, he has successfully treated women from Utica, Rome, Binghamton and Syracuse.

Bladder leakage common

Do you suffer from involuntary leakage of urine? Known as incontinence, this condition affects 25 million Americans and is almost twice as common in women, according to the National Association for Continence. When the pelvic muscles are stretched and strained during pregnancy and childbirth, this can lead to incontinence in women. Weakening of the pelvic floor is also common in men. A full 50 percent of nursing home residents, male and female, suffer from incontinence, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2015. The same agency notes that uri-

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2020

nary incontinence affects 10-to-30% of the adult female population and 15-to-35% of women over 60 years old. There are three types of incontinence: — Stress incontinence — Urge incontinence — Mixed incontinence Treatments vary for each type. Bassett Healthcare Network now has more treatment options to help alleviate these conditions. The longer incontinence goes untreated, the worse the problem can get. Another pelvic floor disorder is pelvic organ prolapse, which means a dropped bladder, bowels or uterus that needs surgical repair. Education and treatment are essential. Bassett Healthcare Network now offers urogynecology, which blends the specialties of urology and gynecology. Patients are encouraged to talk to their physicians and seek treatment. Learn more at bassett.org or call 607-547-3160 or 1-800-227-7388.


Now hear this! Hearing loops: Life changing for those with hearing loss By Barbara Pierce

G

eorge Mason of Randolph doesn’t go to church, to concerts, or to public talks about subjects that interest him. He didn’t even go to the high school play that featured his favorite granddaughter. “My hearing aids are worthless there,” said Mason. “I can’t hear a word that’s being said, so I just stay home.” Like so many people with hearing loss, his life is severely limited by his hearing loss. Bishton “Depending on the severity of the hearing loss, hearing aids only work within six to 10 feet,” said board certified hearing aid specialist Robert Bishton, owner of Upstate Hearing Loops in Hamilton. In a large gathering place, you are likely to be further than that from the speaker. And the extraneous noise around you further complicates the problem; people cough, they talk, sounds may reverberate. Often even those with good hearing have difficulty hearing well. For

those who use hearing aids, it can be impossible. Now there’s an answer. It’s called “hearing loops.” Just push a button on your hearing aid and hearing loops bring the speaker’s voice directly into your hearing aids. It’s like having your own personal headphone. By sending a clear sound to the hearing aid of the user without any background noise, hearing loops make it possible for those with hearing aids to hear clearly in a group setting. “It works fantastic!” said Bishton. “You can sit anywhere in the room and hear clearly. People with normal hearing won’t notice anything different.” “It’s incredible!” agreed Juliette Sterkens, an audiologist and hearing loop advocate for the Hearing Loss Association of America. “When I started installing hearing loops and told my patients about it, it blew them away! Suddenly they could hear! The sound went straight into their hearing aids.” “Yes, of course we’re zealous!” she said. “Hearing loops can change a person’s life!” St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hamilton recently installed a hearing loop. “Our parishioners who are hearing impaired have been very grateful for this addition to our

VRS to feature senior health, wellness fair By Jessica Arsenault Rivenburg

N

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What is a hearing loop?

Nearly all modern hearing aids are equipped with a telecoil, explained Bishton. A T-Coil is a micro antenna inside the hearing aid that picks up the sound wirelessly from an induction-hearing loop installed in the facility. The loop consists of one or more physical loops of cable that is placed around a designated area, usually a room or a building. The cable generates an electromagnetic field throughout the looped space that can be picked up by a T-Coilequipped hearing aid, a cochlear implant processor, or a specialized hand-held hearing loop receiver for individuals without T-Coil-compatible hearing aids. The sound is transmitted from the speaker’s microphone and broadcast directly into the user’s hearing aids or cochlear implant, bypassing the public address system. With a hearing loop, the spoken word is broadcast directly into hearing aids via the hearing loop. For persons with hearing aids, this is an amazing experience. It’s like the person is speaking only into your ears. If your T-Coil is not activated, go back to your audiologist and ask him to turn it on, added Sterkens. If you don’t have a T-Coil, it may be able to be added to your hearing aid. “Hearing loops are gaining momentum nationwide,” said Bishton.

“I got involved because not many facilities in Upstate New York have hearing loops.” The newly renovated Rochester International Airport has hearing loop access from the check-in counter, to announcements, to boarding. Other facilities that have installed hearing loops include The Statute of Liberty, the Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. Although places of worship are not mandated to supply assistive listening systems, about half of all the hearing loop installations in the U.S. are in places of worship, added Bishton. “Everyone needs to have the same experience once they are in a public assembly, be it an auditorium, a performing arts center, movie theater, or place of worship,” he said. “The experience inside those walls is just as important to the hearing impaired individual as it is to the individual who uses a wheelchair.” “I continually strive to educate the people who own and operate venues, facilities, or churches, that everyone is entitled to the same experience once inside their walls. A hearing loop can change that experience immensely,” he added. The Americans with Disabilities Act was expanded in 2010 to include new standards for installation of assistive listening systems. It is mandatory for all new construction or renovations to include an assistive listening system in public places where people gather and communication is integral to the space, where there is amplified sound. This includes courtrooms even without amplified sound.

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church,” said Father Jason Hage. “One of our parishioners came up to me after mass and said: ‘Father, I hadn’t heard the words of the mass in 15 years!’ She now sits through the mass with a smile on her face because she can hear every word. It’s amazing!”

avigating the aging process and the unique issues that go with it can be a challenge. Valley Residential Services in Herkimer aims to give people all the information and tools they’ll need to go through the process with confidence and grace at the upcoming “Boardwalk to Better Health” senior health and wellness fair. “The idea of the fair is to provide seniors who Castellano wish to remain independent in their own home with all the services they might need for retirement and healthy living under one roof,” said Connie Castellano, director of community relations and fund development with Valley Residential Services, part of the Bassett Healthcare Network. The senior health and wellness fair, which is in its third year, will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 23 at Valley Residential Services, 323 Pinegrove Road, Herkimer. Sponsored by MVP Health Insurance, “Boardwalk to Better Health” will feature presentations and exhibits from about 30 vendors,

March 2020 •

all pertaining to issues senior citizens face — from changing and increasing health care issues, to retirement and living on a fixed income, to estate planning, Castellano said. One of the event’s two speakers will discuss the decision of whether or not to move to an assisted living facility and how to downsize and simplify home life. The other speaker will be a representative from MVP who will discuss the services that company offers, Castellano said. Attendees will also be able to stroll through dozens of tables and displays and talk to representatives from various vision and health providers, including the Central Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Herkimer County HealthNet, Herkimer County Office of the Aging, a local credit union and legal advisers, among others. Local health professionals will be on hand performing free blood pressure and other screenings, along with offering simple balance tests and tips to avoid falls. “There will be a wealth of information so they can live their healthiest life,” Castellano said. Castellano also noted that she expects many of the exhibitors will be offering free handouts. And every attendee will receive a free continental breakfast and lunch, as well as a senior savings book to local businesses, she said.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 17


Spiritual Health Milk & Honey

By Brooke Stacia Demott

Unlimited Devotion No pretenders allowed: Faith is an all-in proposition

W

hen UPS pulls into my driveway, our kids absolutely erupt. The boys wildly announce the arrival of the ‘The Present Truck’ and everyone, even my teen, rushes the front door. Everyone loves a box in the mail, right? Well, not everyone. Someone I know has a real aversion to receiving packages from family. It’s not that they send terrible gifts; on the contrary, they’re often useful, or Demott stylish, or fill a timely need. Yet, her heart falters a bit when she sees the return address. Why? The gifts are, essentially, guilt offerings. Her family has no real interest in a relationship; they recognize a responsibility, and they’re dutiful to respond with an external show of commitment; but that’s where it ends. I’ve heard her say that she’d rather have nothing at all, than these consolatory tokens of a relationship that doesn’t exist. It’s a sobering reminder to me of Jesus’ caution to his disciples during the most famous sermon in history, recorded in the book of Matthew as the Sermon on the Mount. After a historic teaching on the nature of God and his revolutionary standards for both holiness and love, Jesus ends with a warning so disturbing that many a believer cowers at the thought of it. “Not everyone who says to me,

‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me … ‘ —Isaiah 29:13 ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my father in heaven. On judgment day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” These words are alarming. Not even a miracle worker can pry open the gates of heaven? The Lord declares that he doesn’t even know such people, and casts them aside as employees of sin. What hope is there for us, if God’s standards are so impossibly high, and unpredictable? The secret lies in understanding that a relationship with God is not one of transactions, but of heartfelt interactions. First, to “know” someone in the biblical sense is to have deep communion with them. It’s a mutual indwelling of hearts, not just a surface acknowledgement. God knows all of our names — but only has deep communion with those who desire it

Health News in Brief Support group available for grief stricken Hospice & Palliative Care, Inc. will be offering an educational session for adults who are beyond the first year of grief will be offered. The session will cover what to expect as the grief journey continues, techniques to find the balance between grieving and going on, and ways to incorporate the loss into one’s identity and search for meaning. It will be held from 2:30-4 p.m. April 6 at Hospice & Palliative Care, Inc., 4277 Middle Settlement Road, New Hartford. Preregistration is required by March 31. To register, call Linda Clark at 315-735-6487 ext. 1015. There is no charge for bereavePage 18

ment groups or workshops. Donations are always appreciated.

Spousal loss grief group there for support Hospice & Palliative Care, Inc. will be offering a spousal loss grief group for Herkimer County residents who have experienced the death of a spouse or partner. The length of a marriage or committed relationship does not determine the depth of grief. This group focuses on normal responses to grief and the tasks of mourning. It will meet for six consecutive weeks from 2:30-4 p.m. starting April 15 at the YMCA of Mohawk Valley, 83 E. Main St., Mohawk. To register, call Tracey Clark at 315-735-6487 ext. 1007 by April 7.

of him. In the book of Malachi, the Lord grieves over his people; they were going through the lackluster motions of worship with cold, distant hearts, motivated by duty rather than love. He laments, “Oh that someone would shut the doors that you wouldn’t kindle the fire of my alter in vain! For I take no pleasure in you, and I will not accept an offering from your hand” (Malachi 1:10). Surprisingly, God is addressing faithful churchgoers — even priests!

Uncovering the facade

Jesus referred to people who use good deeds to cover up wayward hearts as hypocrites, which, from the Greek word hypokrisis, means actors. “Don’t pray loud, verbose prayers in the streets, or blow a trumpet when you give, or draw your faces when you fast, like the hypocrites do, to show off — they have their reward in full.” Jesus warns that religious actors may bow before the applause of men, but the Lord turns his face from them. Their motivation is only to appear, and feel, holy; not to serve God. While they impress others with eloquent speech and feigned humility, their hearts are swimming with ambition, lust and greed. Such people live exactly as they please, making excuses if they get caught, as if the God who dwells in secret could not see behind closed doors. This is why he refers to them as practitioners of lawlessness. To practice something is to commit yourself to it, immerse yourself in it, and engage it regularly. Whatever you practice, you’ll get good at — and with enough practice, it becomes second nature. These people practice looking like real Christians, simultaneously cultivating selfish hearts. It’s frightening to think that it’s possible to live a life of piety,

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2020

and yet be rejected by God. But our lives need not be subject to dubious religious roulette; if we have ears to hear, we’ll find that God has communicated clearly all we need to know. The Lord requires a person to be fully submitted to him — to love him with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength, and love their neighbors as themselves” (Luke 10:27). This is a much higher calling than a prayer at bedtime or a check in the offering plate — in fact, it’s an even higher calling than full-time ministry. “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). There is no degree of external commitment that can keep our spiritual ledger in the black with God. Good deeds — even great ones — aren’t enough. We need a deeper involvement. “If anyone confesses that Jesus is the son of God, God lives in him, and he in God” (1 John 4:15). If we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and savior, and seek forgiveness and salvation in his name, then, the Holy Spirit indwells and empowers us to love God with sincerity, and serve God effectively. We’ll no longer live with false assurance in our religious activities, or in fear that we haven’t done enough. Is this to say that our good works never matter? Of course not. Our motivation is everything; the same present can be despised, even rejected, when given in the wrong spirit — but received with joy when given in the right one. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me … see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:2324). • Brooke Stacia Demott is a columnist with In Good Health newspaper. Got a question for Demott? Feel free to email her at brooketo@aol.com.


Health News Content expert at LFH gets certification Little Falls Hospital, part of the Bassett Healthcare Network, recently announced that the National Committee for Quality Assurance has certified Paul Campbell as a patient-centered medical home-certified content expert. This certification comes after the completion of two NCQA educational seminars and passing a comprehensive exam. His twoyear certification became effective on Feb. 6. Campbell “Paul’s certification as a PCMH content expert is quite an accomplishment that brings an increased level of expertise to our organization,” said Heidi Camardello, chief nursing officer-vice president of patient care at LFH. “His in-depth knowledge will assist us in implementing innovative and improved primary care models while working within the standards established by the NCQA.” According to NCQA, the PCMH is a health care setting that facilitates partnerships between individual patients and their personal physicians, and when appropriate, the patient’s family. Care is facilitated by registries, information technology, health information exchange and other means to assure that patients get the indicated care when and where they need and want it in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner. “Certified NCQA patient-centered medical home content experts receive thorough training and demonstrate in-depth knowledge to assist organizations applying for NCQA PCMH recognition,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. Campbell lives in Little Falls and has two daughters, Caeli and Audrey.

LFH names ‘Zero Harm Hero’ award recipient Jennifer Brelinsky, analyst in the finance department, is the recipient of the first-quarter Zero Harm Hero award at Little Falls Hospital. Brelinsky has been with LFH, part of the Bassett Healthcare Network, since 2004. Lori Usyk, director of health information management, nominated her colleague for ensuring the Brelinsky safe arrival and departure of patients to the hospital. “On more than one occasion, Jennifer has gone outside to assist those having issues arriving or departing, even during a rainstorm,” Usyk said. “She leads by example on how to identify those in need and what to do in such situations.” The award was created to help promote a strong culture of quality, safety and patient satisfaction, assur-

ing high reliability care for patients, staff and visitors. Brelinsky lives in Little Falls with her husband, Daniel, and their two children, Jordan and Daniel.

Upstate Caring Partners announces promotion Melanie Sarafin has recently been promoted to director of affiliate relations for Upstate Caring Partners, Inc. She previously served as the assistant to the president and CEO of Upstate Caring Partners since the organization’s inception in 2010. A dynamic and continually growing nonprofit governance corporation, Upstate Caring Partners Sarafin has oversight of multiple human service agencies within New York state, allowing children, adults and their families to receive a breadth of services and supports to help them reach their fullest potentials. In her new role, Sarafin will represent the president and CEO both internally and externally, providing liaison services within and between all affiliate organizations and their executive directors and assisting in the process of any future affiliations or mergers. Prior to working at Upstate Caring Partners, Sarafin was the assistant to the executive director of Upstate Cerebral Palsy for 15 years, and brings a wealth of nonprofit experience to her new role.

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Catholic Daughters donate to UCP students The Catholic Daughters of the Americas Rome chapter recently visited students from the Upstate Cerebral Palsy Rome Tradewinds Education Center with donations of various gift cards. A reception was held so the women had an opportunity to distribute the gifts to the excited students. The Catholic Daughters of the Americas organization has been making donations to the children of UCP for more than a decade as a part of its guiding principles of unity and charity President of School Age Services, “Often a gift, no matter how small, is so appreciated and can make such a difference in our children’s lives,” said Patti Carey, UCP vice president of school age services. “The opportunity to eat at a restaurant or to go shopping for themselves helps our students foster a sense of confidence and builds independence, creating wonderful moments.” Those interested can contact the communications and donor engagement department at 315-927-3468 for ways to volunteer time or to give to UCP. UCP is a multi-faceted health and human services organization that provides a broad range of supports and programs for children

Continued on Page 20

SYRACUSE • ONEIDA • OSWEGO UPSTATE.EDU/OPTIONS

(315) 464-HOPE

Health News in Brief ‘Spring Spectacular’ fundraiser slated

T

he Mohawk Legion Riders and The Mohawk Homestead will be hosting a Spring Spectacular fundraiser from noon to 5 p.m. May 2 at the Crowley Barnum American Legion Post 25, Mohawk. The fundraiser will benefit the residents of The Mohawk Homestead and The Mohawk American Legion Riders’ Veterans Fund. There will be a chicken barbecue, live entertainment, Chinese auction,

March 2020 •

and the grand prize drawing for a four-wheeler with a trailer, or $5,000 cash. Tickets are on sale now for the grand prize and may be purchased from any board member of The Mohawk Homestead or at the Mohawk American Legion by calling Owen March at 315-868-2579. For more information, call Deb Marley at 315-558-9788 or Lisa Gollegly at 315-866-1841 ext. 404.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 19


Health News Continued from Page 19

tem.org/resource/community-service-plan and romehospital.org and ocgov.net/health.

and adults of all abilities and their families.

New provider joins MVHS team

Promotion at Upstate Cerebral Palsy Alyssa Spina has recently been promoted to associate vice president of development and partnerships of Upstate Cerebral Palsy. Previously, Spina served as the grant writer of UCP and affiliated nonprofit organizations. In her new role, she will head UCP’s Department of Communications and Donor Engagement, with oversight of develSpina opment, fundraising, events and marketing activities. She will work with the leadership of UCP and affiliated organizations to develop short- and long-range planning as it relates to development and partnership opportunities while continuing to serve as the lead grant writer for the agencies. Prior to working at UCP, Spina was a manager of research and evaluation for a consulting firm in Washington, DC. In this position, she worked with federal agency clients, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to conduct program and policy evaluations. Spina received her Master in Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management at American University as a merit scholar and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

CNY Diabetes receives grant from Excellus The Mohawk Valley Health System’s Central New York Diabetes Education Program has received a three-year grant of $71,000 from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield for state-of-the-art retinal screening equipment and additional resources for local diabetes prevention services. Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in the United States and the number of people estimated to have pre-diabetes is increasing. CNY Diabetes provides comprehensive diabetes education and prevention programming for children, adolescents and adults throughout the region. The new funding will allow CNY Diabetes to provide cooking class demonstrations and purchase interactive white boards, Bluetooth weight scales and a Welch Allyn RetinaVue portable eye fundus camera. Funding for CNY Diabetes comes from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Member and Community Health Improvement program. This program provides grants to initiatives that involve numerous Page 20

Darlene Stromstad, president-CEO, MVHS, joins Richard Creedon, chairman of the board of directors and CEO, Utica National, in looking over plans for the new medical center under construction in downtown Utica.

Utica National Group Foundation grants $1 million to Mohawk Valley Health System Foundation

T

he Utica National Group Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Utica National Insurance Group, recently announced that it is awarding a $1 million grant to the Mohawk Valley Health System Foundation to support the new, state-of-the-art medical center in downtown Utica, currently under construction. “Having such a top-level health care facility will bring substantial benefits to the people in the community where we live and work,” said Richard Creedon, Utica National chairman of the board and CEO. “In addition to serving the medical needs of the community, it will provide an economic boost through jobs to the downtown Utica area, which in recent years has been a hub of growth and activity.” The MVHS project is a critical piece of the downtown Utica

community partners, span multiple years and include specific objectives and measurable outcomes in improving health. For more information, contact CNY Diabetes at 315-624-5620 or visit ExcellusBCBS.com.

Oneida County, hospitals release service plan Oneida County Health Department, Rome Memorial Hospital and Mohawk Valley Health System — in accordance with Section 2803-L of the Public Health Law — have jointly submitted their annual communi-

rejuvenation and will be one of the largest draws for people and businesses in the region. As refurbished warehouses and factories attract residents back to the downtown area, Utica and the Mohawk Valley region requires a hospital network that can ensure top-of-the-line care in a modern facility. Beyond the economic stimulus the project provides, updated and improved health care services will attract the technology companies and employees Utica needs to continue its growth. Founded in Utica in 1914, Utica National is one of the largest and long-standing employers in the Mohawk Valley. For more information about the new regional medical center, visit mvhealthsystem.org/downtown-hospital.

ty health assessment-community service plan and community health improvement plan to the New York State Department of Health. It includes information on community health priorities identified by staff representing all of the organizations, in collaboration with community partners and local public health agencies. To receive a free copy of the report, send a request to: Marketing and Communications Department, Mohawk Valley Health System, Faxton Campus, 1676 Sunset Ave., Utica, NY 13502. All requests should be submitted in writing. The plan is also posted on the partners’ websites at mvhealthsys-

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2020

Elizabeth Skinner recently joined the Mohawk Valley Health System’s Whitesboro Medical Office as a family medicine physician. Most recently, Skinner was a family medicine physician for the Department of Veterans Affairs Donald J. Mitchell Clinic in Rome. Prior to this position, she was at Well Span Health Spring Family Medicine in New Freedom, Pennsylvania for 10 years. Skinner served in the United States Army as a family medicine physician in Fort Gordon, Georgia, as well as in Tuzla, Bosnia. Skinner received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology at Mary Washington College in Fredricksburg, Virginia. She received her medical degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and completed her residency at York Hospital in York, Pennsylvania.

MVHS partners with LECOM The Mohawk Valley Health System has signed an agreement with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Elmira, to become a major clinical campus for the medical school, providing clinical rotations for third- and fourth-year students. “This partnership creates a pipeline of high-quality, well-trained physicians to meet the current and future health care needs of our communities,” said Mark Warfel, program director at St. Elizabeth family medicine residency program. “Through the collaboration with the LECOM Elmira Campus, MVHS will be able to expand its medical education program, engaging many more medical students in clinical training. These students, many of whom will be from the Central New York region, will in turn have access to the new residency programs MVHS is building.” It has been shown that upon completion of training, physicians are often most likely to practice in the geographic area they trained. This relationship further cements MVHS and the new regional medical center as a significant teaching hospital system. LECOM is the nation’s largest medical college and is the only academic health center in the osteopathic profession.

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Pauline’s Pieces

By Pauline DiGiorgio

Mix it up! Are you ready for two-a-days?

I

t took me a couple of years to understand this concept. I thought to myself at first, why in the world would one want to work out twice in one day? But it’s all how you look at it, my friend. There are three key reasons to enjoy the benefits of doing your cardio and strength training separately. The first reason is your workouts will be DiGiorgio shorter because you will be doing them at separate times, meaning it will reduce your risk of overtraining in a single session. I know when it comes to myself and many others, you get pretty beat up after an intense 40 to 45 minutes, so then to top off with cardio work is a no go. I don’t give my cardio the same intensity, or worse just skip it. So if I

shorten my workout in the morning to 20 minutes and a 10-minute yoga stretch and then return later, I’m more revved, especially after that afternoon pre-workout or cup of coffee. It’s then time to meet a workout buddy or go to that boot camp weight training class. I like to do high intensity interval training, or HIIT, in the morning because I feel like it wakes me up. That leads to my second key reason for two-a-days.

Kick up metabolism

By doing HIIT training early, you can enjoy the “after burn” as your metabolism works on overdrive throughout the day. The third reason is my personal favorite. As any day goes, it’s pretty natural to have ups and downs. Daily stressors seem to always melt away after I pop in my headphones and get into a workout later in the day. I look forward to turning off the phone, the computer and having a nice end to my day. Lastly, there is no pressure to

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 21


Healthcare in a Minute By George W. Chapman

MD association endorses universal coverage

T

he American College of Physicians — with about 160,000 members — joins the ranks of physician organizations to endorse some sort of universal coverage or single payer healthcare system. Historically, most physician groups have resisted any form of increased government involvement. Several factors contribute to this gradual about-face. Millions of patients still struggle with paying their medical bills, including those with insurance. Medical debt is the No. 1 reason for personal bankruptcies. Over the past 30 years, commercial insurance carriers have gradually lowered their payments to physicians to Medicare levels. Consequently, there is less support for multiple payers and more for a single payer if fees are about the same. More and more Americans are not covered by employer sponsored

Easing MD shortage

Physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) are both considered to be advanced practitioners (APs). Both of these professionals are helping to mitigate the

insurance. The percentage of Americans covered by some sort of federal program now exceeds 50%: Medicare, Medicaid, VA and military, federal employees, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Affordable Care Act. The aging of America means Medicare is the fastest growing insurance plan. Dealing with multiple insurance plans is a cost and bureaucratic nightmare for physicians and their staff. A single payer would significantly lower practice overhead. According to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a single payer system would reduce administrative costs by $600 billion annually. Finally, increasingly, younger physicians and recent grads prefer employment with larger health systems vs. private practice. Consequently, they are less resistant to government intervention if it guarantees access and affordability. increasing shortage of physicians, especially in primary care. The likelihood of being seen by an AP in any setting (private practice, urgent care or clinic) increases every year. There are approximate-

ly 125,000 PAs and 270,000 NPs in addition to about 950,000 active/ practicing physicians. (PAs have only existed since 1967.) This year, PA schools will be required to offer a master’s degree. PAs must complete 100 hours of continuing education every two years. PAs are “certified,” but they do not have licenses. They operate under the license of a supervising physician. Nurse practitioners have their own license and many states allow them to practice independently from physicians. “Nurse practitioner” is a master’s degree. Both APs have seen rapid growth over the past decade.

The coronavirus vs. flu

With the coronavirus grabbing the headlines, we forget how pervasive and deadly influenza can be. Five to 20% of us (or 16 million to 66 million of us) will contract the flu every year. About 200,000 of us will be hospitalized every year with the flu on average, costing $10 billion a year. The corona virus, so named for its crown-like spikes, is unknown so its spread causes alarm. On top of it all, infectious disease experts (ID docs) are a dying breed. There has been a 40% decrease in medical students enrolling in ID training programs or residencies between 2009 and 2017. Infectious disease is one of just two subspecialties where not all residency slots are filled. Telemedicine can help by transmitting increasingly rare and valuable expertise to physi-

cians working in even the remotest areas. Telemedicine also allows physicians to treat patients remotely, keeping them from coming into emergency facilities and offices and infecting provider staffs and other patients.

Request for copy of your record

There is typically no charge when you approve or request the transfer of your record from one provider to another. Up until recently, when you requested a copy of your record be sent to a third party, like a law firm, the provider could charge you, but not more than an imposed cap of $6.50 regardless of the record format, like digital or paper. In January, a federal judge eliminated the cap on what you could be charged as arbitrary and capricious. Healthcare lawyers are challenging the ruling.

George W. Chapman is a healthcare business consultant who works exclusively with physicians, hospitals and healthcare organizations. He operates GW Chapman Consulting based in Syracuse. Email him at gwc@gwchapmanconsulting.com.

We did it.

Twice.

Oneida Health is ranked among America’s Top 2% of Hospitals for Patient Safety & Experience

Visit oneidahealth.org/awards to learn more

Page 22

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2020


CALENDAR of

HEALTH EVENTS

Got a health-related activity or event that you would like publicized? Call Lou Sorendo at 315-749-7070 or email lou@cnymail.com. Continued from Page 15 For more information on America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk 2020, contact the AHA at 315-580-3964 or visit www.uticaheartrunwalk.org.

March 7-8

Home & Garden Expo on agenda The Mohawk Valley Home & Garden Expo, presented by the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of the Mohawk Valley, is set for March 7-8 at the Mohawk Valley Community College Jorgensen Athletic Center. The newly branded expo allows consumers the chance to get information from qualified, professional contractors and gardening experts. The expo has been expanded this year offering more for families and includes information for gardening and landscaping enthusiasts. For more information about the expo, visit www.mvhomegardenexpo.com/ or the 2020 Home & Garden Expo Facebook Event.

March 9

Support forum for patients, cancer survivors The Mohawk Valley Health System’s Cancer Center’s monthly support forum for patients and cancer survivors will be held at 6 p.m. March 9. The cancer support forum meets at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of every month in the Cancer Center’s fireplace lounge on the main floor of Faxton Campus, 1676 Sunset Ave., Utica. The forum, led by the Cancer Center’s social worker, offers support to anyone who has received a cancer diagnosis. Light refreshments will be served. For more information or to RSVP, call 315-624-5241.

Parents of addicts have support To have a child or loved one lost to alcohol or drug addiction is to suffer a thousand deaths. The more you try to save them from their addiction, the more it burns a hole in your heart. Watching their light fall away into darkness, you enter your own world of pain. But while you may feel stranded by fear and confusion, you are not alone. The Parents of Addicted Loved Ones group meets every other Monday evening at the Good News Center, 10475 Cosby Manor Road, Utica. Upcoming PAL meetings are March 9, March 23 and April 6. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Refreshment will be available, and the pro-

gram begins promptly at 6:30 p.m. The primary goal is to provide hope through education and support for anyone dealing with an addicted loved one by offering confidential peer support.

March 11

Bereavement group begin in March Hospice and Palliative Care will be offering a young widows bereavement group beginning in March. This group is for young widows aged 20 to 70. “Often women in this age group do not have peers who are going through this kind of loss, and their grief can feel very isolating. Juggling jobs, children, parents, and social obligations is hard. It feels overwhelming when spousal grief is added,” a support group spokesperson said. This group provides the time to express and share grief, learn coping skills from one another, give and receive support, and begin the healing process. The group meets from 5:30-7 p.m. March 18 for six consecutive weeks at hospice, 4277 Middle Settlement Road, New Hartford. Pre-registration is required by March 11. To register, contact Linda Clark at 315-735-6487 ext. 1015. There is no charge for bereavement groups or workshops. Donations are always appreciated. Check out the bereavement video resources library at www.hospicecareinc.org.

RMH presents Health Night series Heartburn is that uncomfortable burning sensation in your chest, neck and throat when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. Most of us have experienced symptoms one time or another, but when symptoms become more frequent, it could be gastro-esophageal reflux disease and time to see a doctor. But, how do you know? Board-certified general surgeon Keneth Hall will discuss symptoms, detection, risks, and advances in treatment at 5:30 p.m. March 11 at Mohawk Valley Community College Rome campus, 1101 Floyd Ave. Hall will answer questions after the presentation. Health Night is a free lecture series sponsored by Rome Memorial Hospital. Advance registration is encouraged for planning purposes. For more information or to make a reservation, call 315-337-5309. Refreshments will be served.

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March 11

Free smoking cessation classes scheduled The Oneida County Health Department, in collaboration with the Mohawk Valley Health System, is offering a free, three-week series of Freshstart smoking cessation classes. Freshstart is an evidence-based program created by the American Cancer Society. The classes will be held from 1-2:30 p.m. on March 11, 18 and 25 in the administrative conference room at the St. Elizabeth Campus, 2209 Genesee St., Utica. The Freshstart approach is geared toward helping participants increase their motivation to quit, learn effective approaches for quitting and guide them in making a successful quit attempt. The class provides essential information, skills for coping with cravings and group support. The program is open to all Oneida County residents 18 years and older. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, but for someone who quits, the health benefits can begin as soon as 20 minutes after a person’s last cigarette. For more information or to register, contact the Oneida County Health Department at 315-798-6400.

March 16

Family support group confronts addiction Families who are dealing with the problems of addiction can find help and information at a support group meeting from 6-7 p.m. March 16 in the second-floor classroom at Rome Memorial Hospital. The group meets the third Monday of each month and is free and open to everyone. Offered by the hospital’s Community Recovery Center, the support Group provides an opportunity to discuss issues with others who are in the same situation; education; monthly support; development of communication skills that will work with those suffering from addiction; development and utilization of boundaries; the opportunity to address any questions or concerns; and access to community resources and referrals. Certified by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the Community Recovery Center, 264 W. Dominick St., Rome, offers quality, comprehensive alcohol and substance abuse treatment for adolescents and adults. Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Friday and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, the center participates with most major insurance programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. A sliding scale fee is available for self-pay clients. For more information about the support group or the Community Recovery Center, call 315-334-4701.

March 17

Support group lessens loss of parent Hospice and Palliative Care will be offering an adult parental loss bereavement support group beginning in March. The loss of a parent is the most

March 2020 •

common form of bereavement in the country. “Because of this, adult children often feel a sense of isolation and may sense an unspoken message that adult parental loss is less significant than other losses,” a support group spokesperson said. This group will meet from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesdays starting March 24 for six consecutive weeks. To register, call Adrian Bartholomeo at 315-735-6487 ext. 1070 by March 17. There is no charge for bereavement groups or workshops. Donations are always appreciated. Check out the bereavement video resources library at www.hospicecareinc.org.

March 21

St. Josephs Day Celebration on agenda A St. Joseph’s Day Celebration will be held from 5-9 p.m. March 21 at the Yahnundasis Golf Club, New Hartford. For the third year, Jason and Dean Nole from Café CaNole will help celebrate the saint of families and workers with an Italian feast to benefit Hospice & Palliative Care, Inc. This community event will offer a station-style buffet filled with Italian dishes, live entertainment by Frank Cannistra and Company, and desserts by Café CaNole. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Hospice & Palliative Care, Inc. Hospice & Palliative Care, Inc., established in 1977, is a charitable organization that provides a holistic approach to end-of-life care. Corporate sponsors can purchase a table of eight for $850. Sponsors will receive a prominent table, $200 in gift certificates to Café CaNole, and a digital ad. Individual tickets are $55 in advance and can be purchased at the Yahnundasis Golf Club or at https:// yahnundasis.eventbrite.com. Tickets will be $65 at the door. A cash bar will be available. This event is open to the public and sells out each year.

March 30

Lose your spouse? There is support Hospice & Palliative Care, Inc. will be offering a spousal loss grief group for Oneida County residents who have experienced the death of a spouse or partner. The length of a marriage or committed relationship does not determine the depth of grief. This group focuses on normal responses to grief and the tasks of mourning. The group will meet from 5-6:30 p.m. April 6, 20, 27 and May 4, 11, and 18 at Hospice & Palliative Care, Inc., 4277 Middle Settlement Road, New Hartford. Note there is no meeting April 13. Pre-registration is required by March 30. To register, call Tracey Clark at 315-735-6487 ext. 1007. There is no charge for bereavement groups or workshops.

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