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in good

April 2017 • Issue 134

Diet Busters!

Dining in social settings can be challenging!

Page 13


Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Cramping your style Find ways to counteract menstrual cycle symptoms

Page 5 Discover all that is awesome in the world!

Meet Your Doctor

Page 19

Women’s Health Special Edition

Shattering myths surrounding pregnancy

Page 7

Red Cap Ambassador Kelly Lupinski of Blossvale cuts the ribbon with her 2-year-old daughter Kaydence to kick off the Rome Indoor Walk/Run at Rome Free Academy recently. For story, see page 20.

Cheddar Cheese


I adore cheese, but the cheese I adore most is cheddar. The reason is because it’s a nutritional superstar, packed with protein, calcium and phosphorous.

MVHS welcomes new pediatrician Page 4

Fat Cats, Fat Dogs You’ve guessed: More than half of dogs, cats in the Land of Plenty weigh too much, says CDC.

Read more in SmartBites

Read more on Page 3 April 2017 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Food Addicts in Recovery to meet Food Addicts in Recovery holds an anonymous meeting from 6:308 p.m. Mondays at Trinity United Methodist Church, 8595 Westmoreland Road, Whitesboro. For more information, call Helen at 315-794-2314.

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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.


Overeaters Anonymous plans meetings Overeaters Anonymous meets from 5:30-6:30 p.m. every Wednesday in Room 101 (first floor) at Rome Memorial Hospital, 1500 James St., Rome. It also meets from 7-8 p.m. every Thursday at Oneida Baptist Church, 242 Main St., Oneida. Participants are asked to use the rear door. There are no dues, fees, weighins or diets. For more information, call OA at 315-468-1588 or visit

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2017

Department, in collaboration with the Mohawk Valley Health System and the Mohawk Valley Community College respiratory care program, 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 5-6:30 p.m. on April 3, 10 and 17 on the second floor conference room at the MVHS St. Luke’s Campus, 1656 Champlin Ave., Utica. The program is open to all Oneida County residents 18 years and older. For more information or to reg-

ister, contact Joanne Ambrose at 315801-8269 or

April 4

Dialysis center offering kidney disease program The Dialysis Center at the Mohawk Valley Health System offers an educational program for those who have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. The program will take place from 5:30-8 p.m. April 4 in Weaver Lounge at the Faxton Campus, 1676 Sunset Ave., Utica. Registration is required as seating is limited. Contact Cindy Christian, CKD program coordinator, at 315-624-5635 or email cchristi@ According to the National Kidney Foundation, 26 million Americans have CKD and millions of others are at risk for developing the disease. Early detection and intervention helps to prevent the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure, known as end stage renal disease. The program also covers the transition from CKD to ESRD. Patients will learn about treatment options available to ESRD patients, including dialysis treatment options.

April 5

Lace up sneakers for National Walking Day The American Heart Association is urging folks to walk more, starting with National Walking Day on April 5. Sponsor Boilermaker Road Race will join the AHA and thousands of companies and Americans across the nation who have decided to take control of their health. A National Walking Day ceremonial celebration will be held at noon April 5 at the Boilermaker finish line, Court and Varick streets, Utica. According to the AHA, walking has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity and it can effectively improve heart health. “Wear your sneakers on April 5 and get moving,” An AHA spokesperson said. “Post a photo with #LifeIsWhyCNY up to share how you celebrate National Walking Day.”

April 5

MVHS stroke support to meet The Mohawk Valley Health System will host a free stroke support group presentation from 6-7:30

Continued on Page 18

Fat Cats, Fat Dogs

What if you could choose?

FDA: More than half weigh too much


merica’s weight problem extends to its pets, with a majority of cats and dogs dangerously overweight, a federal government veterinarian warns. “Just as obesity has become a serious problem in people, it’s also a growing problem in pets, one that can seriously harm your pet’s health,” said veterinarian Carmela Stamper, of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. About 58 percent of cats and 54 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight, according to a 2015 survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. “The diseases we see in our overweight pets are strikingly similar to those seen in overweight people,” Stamper said in an FDA news release. These include life-shortening conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, heart and respiratory disease and kidney problems, she noted. So, what exactly signals obesity for Fido or Kitty? In general, 20 percent over ideal

body weight is obese. And Stamper said age, breed, body type and metabolism can help tip the scales. “In dogs, some breeds seem more inclined toward obesity than others,” Stamper said. Labs, beagles and long, low dogs such as dachshunds and basset hounds are some examples. Although America’s cats are also fattening up overall, veterinarians say no specific feline breed is prone to pudginess. Stamper outlined some ways to determine if your pet is at a healthy weight. Look at your pet from above to see if it has a definite waist. “If not, and her back is broad and flat like a footstool, she is likely overweight,” Stamper said. Run your hands along your pet’s side. Can you easily feel the ribs, or do you have to push hard to feel them? Check your pet’s abdomen/ stomach. If you can easily grab a handful of fat, that’s a sign your pet is overweight. If you’re concerned about your pet’s weight, or want to know how to keep your pet at a healthy weight, talk to your veterinarian, Stamper said.

5 Days or 45 Days

April 2017 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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RMH affiliates with St. Joe’s to expand access to care

Your Doctor

By Barbara Pierce

Teresa Martorella

Deal finalized

Teresa Martorella recently joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Medical Group at its Children’s Health Center. She is a board-certified pediatrician with privileges at both St. Elizabeth Medical Center Campus and St. Luke’s Campus.

ome Memorial Hospital and St. Joseph’s Health in Syracuse have finalized an affiliation agreement entering into a collaborative relationship. The goal is to expand patient access to needed services in the community, announced RMH President-Chief Executive Officer David Lundquist and St. Joseph’s President and CEO Leslie Paul Luke. “St. Joseph’s Health shares our commitment to providing patients with high-quality, patient-centered care that is coordinated and easily accessible,” said Lundquist. “The signing of the affiliation agreement provides the principles for RMH to work together with St. Joseph’s Health in collaboration to deliver the highest level of quality health care services to meet the needs of our patients.” “We are very excited about our relationship with Rome Memorial Hospital because it creates a seamless connection between our health care systems, improving patients’ access to the highest level of care,” said Luke, who succeeded Kathy Ruscitto as St. Joseph’s president and CEO. RMH and St. Joseph’s announced plans to affiliate less than a year ago and progress has already been made toward creating a regional integrated health care delivery network. RMH and its affiliated physician practices joined St. Joseph’s Accountable Care Organization and Clinically Integrated Network, which were formed to achieve health care’s “triple aim” to improve the patient experience of care, improve the health of populations, and reduce the per capita cost of health care. “Ranked among the top hospitals in the nation for heart surgery, St. Joseph’s is recognized for its focus on expanding community-based primary care to improve the overall health of the people it serves,” Lundquist said. “Working with St. Joseph’s will provide our own physicians and staff with much needed support and resources to ensure that our patients have access to a full continuum of services.” “Delivering high-quality care in home communities is best for the patient,” said Luke. “When open heart surgery or tertiary care is needed and a patient must come to St. Joseph’s, our partners will have a direct connection to our award-winning services, which will help them provide their patients with the best care possible in their home communities.” RMH will continue to operate as an independent, separately licensed hospital with community representatives providing local governance.

Q.: What inspired you to become a pediatrician? A.: We didn’t have any doctors in my family, but we did have lots of teachers and that influenced me. I’ve always known that I wanted to work with kids; dealing with kids was always big in my life. I volunteered as a tutor, helping grade-school kids with homework, in an after-school program at the Greater Ithaca Activities Center. I helped the staff there with cultural and recreational activities for the kids. I always wanted to do something in the medical field. Specializing in pediatrics allows me to be a doctor, and a large part of being a pediatrician is teaching. That’s the part I most enjoy. Q.: While you were a student at New York University School of Medicine, you worked with the pediatric obesity prevention program there, a program designed to help physicians deal with obesity so that children can overcome obesity and lead healthier lives. What attracted you to this sub-specialty? A.: The main thing that attracts me to working with children who are obese is that it’s such a prevalent problem in the United States. And it’s preventable. I can intervene early on to get the whole family involved. I can change things for the child. We understand that this is a huge problem as nearly one out of three children in the U.S. is obese or overweight, and the rate is even higher in some communities. This sets the child up for future health problems and being overweight as an adult. Q.: This must be a difficult subject to tackle with parents. How successful are you in helping parents and children with this problem? A.: How successful I am depends on the openness of the parents to hear what I am saying about developing healthier eating habits and increasing the activity level of their child. It depends on how open they are to hearing this and making the necessary changes. And for older kids, it depends on the kid. Some kids will bring it up with me; others brush it off. I do get the message across to parents and older kids; I plant seeds. Q.: At NYU, you taught interviewing skills to medical students. What do you consider most important in interacting with your patients? A.: I think it’s most important to start with an open-ended question. Give the patients a chance to say what’s on their minds before I start talking. If I start talking, and they have a different objective for the visit, they won’t hear me; nothing will stick


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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2017

with them. What’s different about pediatrics is that you are dealing with the child, who is the patient, and you are dealing with the parents. I do include the child in the interview, at a developmentally appropriate level. Even if they are very young, I include them. I might ask something about their favorite book so that I can connect with them. Q.: Why did you choose Utica for your practice? A.: I’ve always loved Utica. I was born and raised here. There are tons of things here to draw young people. I went to New York City for medical school, and did stay there for five years after medical school, working in a pediatric clinic in the Bronx. But I always planned to come back Upstate. I finally made my way back. This is home for me. Also, Utica is an underserved area. We need more doctors, more people who take care of others. Q.: What else can you tell readers about yourself as a physician? A.: I’m young, and I know that can be a deterrent for some people. However, a lot of what I focus on is ”evidence-based” medicine, taking into consideration what has been proven to work through research. I am also judicial in the use of medication, carefully considering any medication before I prescribe it.

Also, I’m staying on top of my education. Things change and I plan to keep up with changes. Soon, I’ll be attending a conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics, an information course to refresh and update me. It’s important to me to keep up with the field, and I intend to do this. I really care about the patients I take care of. My brain doesn’t turn off when I go home at night. I keep thinking about them, mull over them; they become a part of me. I really care about each of them and this caring doesn’t stop when I leave the office.


Name: Teresa Martorella Birth year: 1985 Birthplace: Utica Current residence: Utica Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in biological sciences, Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences, 2007; medical degree, New York University School of Medicine, 2011 Affiliations: St. Elizabeth Medical Center and Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, affiliated under the Mohawk Valley Health System Hobbies: Cooking, spending time with family, watching musicals

Women’s HEALTH It’s that time of month again Stop your period from getting you down By Barbara Pierce


aving your period sucks. Go online to read scads of complaints: “When my period comes, I feel ill and depressed. I don’t want to do anything — I can’t face it,” says Vicki. “I just want to stay in bed for the whole week. It rules my life and I can’t go anywhere.” “I’m utterly miserable this morning, have to go to work and the pain is still here and I have another three days to go minimum until this period goes away,” says Colleen. “I suffer every month with period pain. I don’t want to go see the doctor because last time I was made to feel stupid.” “It’s like Satan has possessed my uterus,” says Whisper. What’s even crummier than a week of bleeding are the cramps that come with it. About half of all women have cramps. Your uterus is a muscle, so it contracts and relaxes. When you’re having your period, it contracts more strongly than normal. Then you have cramps and feel lousy. Pain from cramps can be dull and annoying to severe and extreme. When they are severe, they can be excruciatingly painful. Bad cramps can cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, even nausea and vomiting. About 15 percent of women have really bad cramping. You’re more likely to have bad cramps if you started puberty at 11 or younger; if you are under 20; if you’ve never given birth, or if you smoke. Cramping appears to be genetic. If other females in your family are “crampers,” you probably are also. It’s been shown that women who do not exercise have more painful cramps. Stress can also cause uncomfortable cramps. What can you do? “A heating pad will help,” advised Carrie Ryan, pharmacist at Walgreens Pharmacy, Kellogg Road, New Hartford. Dry heating pads are

Oneida, Herkimer in good

Pain-killing effect

Researchers say that it does more than just make you feel good. It actually works in much the same way as pharmaceutical painkillers by subduing the contractions of your uterus. Water, at about 104 degrees, like a Jacuzzi, activates your body’s heat receptors to block pain receptors. So, when you have cramps, try a heating pad, hot bath, or hot water bottle. And take a Motrin or Ibuprofen


Health MV’s Healthcare Newspaper

safe and effective. Your grandma’s remedy of a hot water bottle or heating pad to help stomach cramps was genius.


when you begin to feel pain in your lower abdomen, added Ryan. If you know from experience you’ll probably have painful cramps, don’t wait until they get bad to take an over-the-counter pain remedy. Pain is easier to prevent when it’s mild than trying to chase it down when it gets bad. Take something every six hours so you’re not keeling over with the cramps. Massage also does amazing things for cramps. If you have a loving partner or husband, ask them



A monthly newspaper published by Local News, Inc. 20,000 copies distributed. To request home delivery ($15 per year), call 315-749-7070.

In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2017 by Local News, Inc. All rights reserved. Mailing Address: 4 Riverside Drive, Suite 251, Utica, NY 13502 • Phone: 315-749-7070 Email:

Editor & Publisher: Wagner Dotto Associate Editor: Lou Sorendo Contributing Writers: Patricia Malin, Barbara Pierce, Kristen Raab, Deb Dittner, Amylynn Pastorella, Pauline DiGiorgio Advertising: Amy Gagliano Layout & Design: Dylon Clew-Thomas Office Assistant: Kimberley Tyler No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher. The information in this publication is intended to complement — not to take the place of — the recommendations of your health provider.

to massage your abdomen or lower back. Exercise may be the last thing you want to do, but exercising and moving is one of the best ways to get relief from your cramps. When you exercise, you release endorphins, which bring you pain relief. The best exercise to try — just a simple 20-minute walk. That bloated feeling is another thing that makes us uncomfortable during our periods. The rise and fall of your hormones during your period is what causes it. Drinking water helps relieve your bloating, so be sure to drink lots of water. And don’t give into the munchies. Snacks high in salt, like potato chips or French fries, will make your bloating worse. Change your pads or tampons often. Check every few hours to prevent leakage. Choose the tampon with the lowest absorbency you need. It’s a good rule of thumb to change your tampon every three to four hours. Definitely don’t go over eight hours. Though you may worry about how you smell, experts warn against using stuff to make your vagina smell like flowers. Your vagina is sensitive. “When it comes to vaginal cleansing, leave it alone,” says gynecologist Clair Paik online. She recommends avoiding any fragrant soaps, wipes, and shower gels, especially douching. Just use water. Anything with a heavy fragrance can easily cause infections. Don’t let your mood swings get the best of you. If you feel that roller coaster of emotions every month, don’t feed into it. Instead do things that make you happy, like listening to your favorite music, or watching a really good movie. Treat yourself — use your period as an excuse to do something nice for yourself.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 5

Women’s HEALTH

The Art of Attraction

Here is checklist to find your perfect partner By Barbara Pierce


s the crowd surged toward me, one man caught my attention. He noticed me noticing him, and smiled at me as he passed. The crowds carried us off in opposite directions. We didn’t say a word. We went home, both thinking “I’ve got to find him/her.” Nine months later we were married. You’ve probably had a similar experience of instantly clicking with someone, seeing a stranger who sent out a strong attraction to you. “Chemistry,” we Pierce call it. Yes, “chemistry” is real. But here’s the thing: It’s really biology. Who attracts us is rooted deeply in our subconscious. We’re wired to be attracted to some people and not to others. We’re programmed by evolution; programmed to pass along our genes. Who we’re attracted to and who attracts us is not so much a choice

as it is a natural basic instinct. The complex communications we send by the expression on our face, our body language, and other physical signals — especially smell — is how people get together. It’s pretty basic. For example, how you smell is huge — smell is the biggest of the big guns when it comes to bringing men and women — or any animals — together. We don’t like to talk about smell. We think we’re beyond that. We spend scads of money and energy trying to mask our natural odors. There are powerful messages contained in those smells. Researchers found that people choose mates whose body odor is the most different from their own. This is evolution, as having a child with someone biologically related to you increases the chances of that child having birth defects. While you can’t change your smell, here are some things you can change to increase your attractiveness to men: • Smile: Smiling makes a woman 10 times more attractive to a man. It makes you approachable, puts him at ease and makes him more comfortable. Smiling will make him think you like him and we’re all attracted to people who like us. • Open body language: Body

MVCC Mohawk Valley Community College offers a variety of non-credit health care classes through their Corporate and Community Education Department. Certified Nursing Assistant: $1,250 Offered every spring, summer, and fall. CPR, AED, and Blocked Airways Training for Health Care Providers: $30 Students must bring $5 the day of training for certification card. Classes are every 2nd Tuesday of the month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Medical Administrative Assistant: $999 Offered on the Utica Campus during spring and fall. Pharmacy Technician: $799 Next class will start on June 5, 2017. Phlebotomy: $499 Offered every spring, summer, and fall. Barrier Precautions/Infection Control: $40, Online Course Contact a local Working Solutions to see if you qualify for funding: Utica: 207 Genesee St., Utica, NY, 315.793.2229 Rome: 300 West Dominick St., Suite 1, Rome, NY, 315.356.0662 Herkimer: 320 North Prospect St., Herkimer, NY, 315.867.1400

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2017

language speaks louder than words. To appear approachable, keep your hands and torso open. Closed body language sends the signal that you’re not interested. But having your hands open, standing in an open stance shows you’re available. It’s potent.

Seeing eye to eye

• Make eye contact. This is important. In one experiment, psychologists paired men and women and had them gaze into each other’s eyes for two minutes. They felt stronger feelings of attraction, interest, warmth, respect, even love, than control groups felt. • Mimic his body language: According to a speed dating study, women who subtly mimicked their date’s body language scored higher evaluations. But it’s important not to be obvious about it. If he leans forward, wait a minute, then lean forward. If he runs his hands through his hair, wait a few minutes and “unconsciously” do the same. He’ll subconsciously get the message that you’re into him, and it will make him think he likes you too. Body language is powerful as it helps to convince the other person that you share a lot in common. First impressions are everything. • Same level of attractiveness: Look for someone in your league as far as good looking goes — someone about the same level of attractiveness. Longer lasting couples tend to look similar. This even includes interracial couples. As creepy as it may sound, people are typically attracted to other people who physically remind them of themselves. People who smile a lot are rated

as more attractive; a happy smile compensates for a less attractive appearance. • Laugh: Men like women who laugh at their jokes. • Personality traits: Men prefer honest women, particularly for long-term relationships. Regardless of attractiveness or body size, in one study men preferred women who had positive personality traits like openness, kindness, and assertiveness. • Be a good listener: We all love when people show interest in what we are saying instead of talking about themselves. • Wear red: Researchers found that men gravitate toward women wearing red. Interestingly, women like men wearing red, too. Red makes one appear more sexually desirable. Not only for clothes, but red lipstick as well. Perhaps a plump red lip subconsciously reminds him of the obvious. However, keep it as subtle as possible. Don’t go overboard with red, but using just the perfect shade for your complexion will bring impressive results. After you’ve done all of the above and he’s still not falling for you, don’t feel bad. You just don’t have the right smell or whatever is in his subconscious as attractive. You just aren’t right for him; move on to another. You will find the right person. • 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

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drowning? I am unsure how they justified this, being that the fetus floats in water for nine months. Email: However, there is some logic to this. Soaking in water 100 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter (as in hot tubs) is not safe for pregnant women. It can raise the mother’s and the baby’s blood pressure, causing severe medical issues. Taking a bath once her water has broken can lead to infection.

Shattering myths

Speaking of water, it is important for a woman to drink a lot of water throughout her entire pregnancy. There was a time when women believed you had to drink water to prevent the baby from getting dirty. Did they realize that babies urinate in the amniotic fluid, and then they drink the water surrounding them? It’s a good thing the amniotic fluid replenishes itself regularly. We have heard horror stories of expectant mothers taking matters into their own hands when they go past their delivery date. Riding in a car over a bumpy road, for example, is supposed to induce delivery. Expectant moms of long ago were told to avoid riding in any vehicle unless they went by train. Every pregnant woman differs in the way she carries the baby in the womb. It was said that it was a boy if the mother is carrying low and a girl if she is carrying high, but that tale has long been put to rest. If the stomach hangs low, it is due to whether a mother has been pregnant previously. With each pregnancy, the muscles of the stomach become loose and elastic, causing it to sag. And then there is sex. It is not uncommon for doctors to recommend a little hanky-panky for pregnant women. Some women are fine with this, while others strictly abhor the idea. However, there was time when doctors (and wives) were strongly against indulging in sex while the woman was late into the pregnancy. Why? Well, they believed that intercourse caused physical damage to the fetus, or that sex would cause the baby to have early sex drive tendencies.

You can sweep these outlandish ideas under the rug today thanks to modern research. How about those strange food cravings that strike pregnant women out of nowhere? Once upon a time it was thought that if the mother craved sweets, she was carrying a girl. If she craved spicy, salty or sour foods, it was destined to be a boy. Even though science has yet to figure out what makes a pregnant woman crave foods she typically dislikes, the idea of these cravings determining the sex of the unborn baby is untrue. Yes, modern times have changed the way women endure nine months of pregnancy. Whether you believe eating Mexican food will bring a bouncy boy into your life or riding a train will make your child healthier, one thing is certain — when you hold that baby in your arms for the first time, none of this will have mattered. • Allen, a native of Louisiana, is a contributing writer for Mohawk Valley In Good Health. To comment or suggest a column idea, contact her at

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here is no doubt that society’s view of pregnancy has changed through the generations, and of course, so has the medical treatment. The advice given to pregnant mothers today is much different than previous generations. Some of those tips from the past might sound familiar, while some may seem horrific. Some are not only hysterical to read, but they are also a bird’s-eye view into how far medical practices have come. At one time, mothers and their babies were routinely kept in the hospital for up to a week. Today, they are delivered within 24 hours Allen unless something is medically wrong with either mother or child. Fashion has changed dramatically. Go back to the days when women wore long frilly dresses with corsets. They were worn under their clothing, even during pregnancy and while nursing. Any present-day female who could conceive of wearing a girdle (or even tight jeans) while pregnant is probably gasping for air at the idea. The ladies from the past should earn our respect if for no other reason than the suffering they endured while wearing the corset. Today it’s hard to believe that physicians once recommended that pregnant women should smoke cigarettes. The reasoning behind this alarming theory is that smoking would help the expectant mom with regular bowel movements, as well as keeping the fetus from growing too large. Taking a warm bath is a luxury for pregnant women. Did you know that previous generations believed that if a pregnant woman took a bath, there was a chance of the baby



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Page 7

The Balanced Body

By Deb Dittner

Autism Spectrum Disorder Combination of factors involved in disability


ver the years, we have seen a distinct rise in the diagnosis of autism and autism spectrum disorder, including Asperger’s syndrome. These rates continue to increase and feature developmental and speech delays and motor disorders. As with most disease, there is an imbalance either in the gut, immune system or in mitochondrial dysfunction. Searching for the root cause of any disease is an important step in finding the imbalDittner ances and speaking to the specific symptoms. Research today is looking at how environmental exposures play a role in the development of ASD. Increasing exposures to environmental toxins, bacteria, food, electromagnetic fields, and the combinations of these factors need to be studied in more detail.

You are a complex system. Evaluating the gastrointestinal system helps in determining the diagnosis and treatment along with the immune system for function and chronic infection. Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.” The GI tract is an excellent place to start in the search for good health. Whole nutrient-dense foods compared to highly processed foods play a large role in your health. Many a processed food is contaminated with glyphosate, a pesticide such as RoundUp, causing a negative reaction in the gut and mitochondria. Genetically engineered foods such as corn, soy, sugar and wheat play a large role as these are heavily sprayed with glyphosate. The overuse of antibiotics kills not only “bad” bacteria but also “good” bacteria in the gut, causing poor immune function. Antibiotic usage and poor food choices by the mother carrying the child affect the gut, and symptoms of the child occur right from the start. The early disturbance in the baby’s gut has led to the increased use of

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2017

prescription medication. A diet that is gluten- and casein-free, plus restricted in simple sugars, fruit juices and grains, has reportedly shown positive results in countering ASD. Restrictions and eliminations of these in the diet will decrease the inflammatory response, allowing the gut to slowly heal. Providing healthy fats such as avocado and coconut oil is good for brain development and may also be beneficial. Consider decreasing the exposure to environmental toxins as much as possible. The Environmental Working Group ( has done in-depth research and provides a plethora of information including the “Clean 15/Dirty Dozen,” “Cosmetics Database,” and “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides.”

Lower exposure to toxins

Some important steps to take to lower your exposure are: — Eating organic fruits and vegetables — Wash fruits and vegetables before consuming. — Drink filtered water instead of tap or bottled water. — Use non-toxic containers for water and other food storage such as glass and stainless steel. — Open windows in your home whenever possible to let in fresh air. — Start a “no shoes in the house” rule as shoes can carry in pesticides and chemicals. — Use a HEPA filter vacuum and filtration system. Replace filters as recommended by the manufacturer. — Do not use synthetic fragrances in the home such as air fresheners. Consider therapeutic grade essential oils. — Use no or low-volatile organic compounds paints. — When purchasing furniture, consider buying the floor model as these have already emitted some of the VOC’s. — Consider wood, stone tile or natural fiber flooring instead of carpeting. — Avoid personal and cleaning

products with fragrance or perfumes. — Read labels/ingredients and avoid purchasing products that contain ammonia, bleach, chlorine, dyes, diethanolamine, formaldehyde, fragrance, hydrochloric acid, imidaolidinyl urea, isopropyl alcohol, lye, mineral oil, monoethanolamine, naphtha, nitrobenzene, parabens, petroleum, perchloroetylene, sodium laurel sulfate, sodium laureth sulfates, polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, trichlorethane, triclosan, triclocarban, triethanolamine and toluene. Also avoid bispehol-A and phthalates as these disrupt hormones. — Use fluoride-free and sodium lauryl sulfate-free toothpaste. — Use do-it-yourself cleaning products including baking soda, lemons, therapeutic-grade essential oils and vinegar. — Cook in glass or ceramic containers. Avoid aluminum and nonstick pots and pans. — Prevent the build-up of mold using proper ventilation and dehumidifiers. The previous steps may seem daunting to incorporate into your daily routine, but are necessary interventions for a happy and healthy family. Start with a few items at a time and add a new one every couple weeks. Read as much literature as you can and join parent discussion groups. Preparation is important in every aspect of your life. • Deborah Dittner is a nurse practitioner and health consultant for amateur and professional athletes. If you’re an amateur or professional athlete looking to increase energy, boost performance and shorten recovery time, check out my website to learn how. If you’re an athletic department head, coach, or athletic trainer, and would like to learn how your team can gain a competitive edge through whole foods-based nutrition and wellness, contact me at 518-596-8565.

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Pauline’s Pieces

By Pauline DiGiorgio

Beating the Binge Uncontrollable eating habits will leave you in shame


t’s late at night and you’re home from a tough day at work. You open your fridge and make yourself a nice balanced meal that unexpectedly turns into seconds, thirds, and maybe even fourths! It happens so quickly that now you’re left with an uncomfortable, bulging extended stomach like you’ve ran through the DiGiorgio China buffet too many times and also start suffering from shameful food guilt. This scenario is more common than you think. I will use this platform to publicly admit that I’ve had episodes of this experience myself. I am often looked at as a health and fitness role model, and most people wouldn’t guess that I would abuse food in such a way. But it has occurred, which has led me to research more on the topic. Speaking to other colleagues and fellow fitness friends, they too could quietly admit to me that binge eating

is a struggle that happens time to time. Binge eating disorder is classified as consuming large amounts of food in a controlled time duration ( 1-2 hour blocks), eating to where you feel out of control to stop, with an ending result of distress and shame. In the United States, it affects about 3.5 percent of women ( 5.6 million) and 2 percent of men (3.1 million). BED is often looked at in a humorous way: “I just binged on pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream while watching ‘Legally Blonde,’ painting my nails and gossiping with girlfriends on a normal Friday night.” But I’m going to shine a brighter light on the real problem — BED can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Over time, your body won’t be able to use the hormone insulin correctly, which makes your blood sugar levels harder to manage. This leads to damaging your kidneys, eyes and heart. Mood disorders, depression and anxiety are all symptoms that heighten with BED behavior. Irritable bowel syndrome, gallbladder disease, stroke and heart disease could appear in your future if you continue routinely binging.

Now that I have your attention, here are four tips to break free from binges: • Become a mindful eater. When it is time to eat, clear all distractions. Put away the phone and shut off the TV. Take this time to eat slowly and appreciate your food. Your body will thank you, making it easier for your belly to digest and for your mind to process how great your meal tastes. I even put my phone on “do not disturb” and check out a magazine so I can take breaks. Put down your fork and ensure you can be completely aware of how full you’re getting. It’s the same if I’m eating out with a friend — in between bites, chat and catch up. • Ditch the cheat foods. It’s easy to feel restricted when you completely eliminate your favorite foods. You are very much bound to rebel and go nuts. Instead, go out for your “trigger” food item; don’t buy it to keep it in your home for late snacking. Listen to your body. When you truly want your “cheat day” food, go enjoy it guilt-free. You need to change you mind set and remove any foods from being “forbidden” or “off limits” which

makes them more desirable. Practice the sane and simple method: If you want a few cookies, eat the cookies and move on. Don’t over-think how many calories you just consumed; just own it. • Identify your trigger Is nighttime a high-risk BED situation? A party? When a movie pops on? Be present. Make a hot beverage or keep your hands and mind occupied by making a phone call to a friend or attending to a project. • Did you slip-up? Do not dwell on it. Take action. Some foods that can help after a BED moment are Greek yogurt, green tea, ginger, fiber (beans and apples), and water-rich fruits (raspberries, strawberries and melon). Then open up, because you’re not alone. I bet there are even loved ones near you that have similar issues. Be honest, acknowledge and address it. You will become one step closer to ending that chapter once and for all! • Pauline DiGiorgio is a fitness ambassador and Group X instructor at Retro Fitness gyms. Questions? Email her at

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Orthopedic Physicians at MVHS Margaret Albanese, MD

John Sullivan, MD

Leroy Cooley, MD

Madana Vallem, MD

James Dennison, MD

Andrew Wickline, MD

Kenneth Kim, MD

Jonathon Wigderson, DO

Kenneth Ortega, DO

Meira Yeger-McKeever, MD

David Patalino, MD Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare | St. Elizabeth Medical Center April 2017 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Lessening Loneliness Exposing isolation of seniors in the Mohawk Valley By Barbara Pierce “If you’ve never been lonely, you don’t realize what it is. You never get used to it,” said 91-year-old Margaret Nickles, a widow, in an online AARP video. Though her granddaughter drops in from time to time, Nickles feels desperately lonely. “Looking at these four walls all day, it gets to you,” Edna Little, 83, told The Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “That loneliness ... You know everyone loves you and cares for you. But sometimes you get that feeling that they are tired of you being around. You just want to crawl off somewhere into a hole and die,” she said. Little, a licensed practical nurse, volunteered with shut-in seniors after she retired. But she never really understood how the people she cared for could be lonely until she became one of them after cardiac surgery. “This area is inundated with seniors who are isolated,” said Cindy Shepherd, program coordinator of Your Neighbors, Inc. in Clinton. Your Neighbors provides in-home support to people who are frail, elderly or disabled. Whether it’s transporting someone to a doctor’s appointment, bringing meals, visiting, shopping, or telephone reassurance, Your Neighbors’ volunteers are there for people who need this assistance. “We have a large population of seniors who are isolated and lonely. We are finding more and more. There is a much greater need now than there was when we began 31 years ago,” Shepherd said. As people age, they start to outlive their spouses and friends; they become more homebound as their bodies slow down and they are no longer able to drive. Feelings of loneliness and the health consequences that come with them become more common. Too often just considered a fact of life for seniors, the issue of isolation and loneliness is a big one for Shep-

herd and Your Neighbors. An “isolation epidemic” is what AARP calls it — one in five adults in the United States is isolated. “Being isolated impairs both our physical and mental health. Social isolation is a growing health risk,” says an AARP video on the website An AARP study last year showed that the effects of prolonged social isolation equaled smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Their goal is to raise awareness about isolation and loneliness as a public-health issue that can affect physical as well as mental health. Interaction with others is crucial to positive emotional health.

Isolation can lead to death

Various studies have shown that isolation is associated with higher rates of chronic disease, depression, dementia and death. The mission of Your Neighbors targets social isolation in the Mohawk Valley. “We have two programs,” ex-

plained Shepherd. “A day program for those who are isolated. We bus people in to this program and we have several buses.” In the other program, volunteers reach out to homebound isolated people in several ways. In this primarily rural area, many have no means of transportation to doctor’s appointments. “They no longer can drive. They’re not on a bus route and can’t afford to take a taxi,” she added. “They’re stuck if our volunteers don’t take them,” she said. Volunteers also provide friendly visits, providing a valuable connection to the persons they visit. They provide meals to those waiting for Meals on Wheels, which has a sixmonth waiting list. In 2015, Your Neighbors delivered 4,200 meals to local residents. A letter from an elderly Oneida County woman is one of many Cindy Shepherd recently received. “I haven’t had a meal as good as that in a long time,” wrote one, happy to receive meals. “My life is improved by your efforts, and I treasure them. Thank you.” “You are an angel,” read another. “I’m so grateful for all you have done.” “We have a wonderful core of volunteers who provide a really valuable service,” added Shepherd. “We’re filling a real need. They won’t get their needs met if we don’t do it.” “Our biggest need is for volunteers to keep the program going,” Shepherd said. Those willing to help can contact Shepherd at 315-235-7149, or visit For more information about the AARP Foundation’s senior isolation initiative, visit www.Connect2Affect. org or call 1-800-775-6776.

Suicide rates rising faster outside cities

Hanging-type deaths rose more than gun-related suicides since 1999, CDC says


lthough the U.S. suicide rate has been rising gradually since 2000, suicides in less urban areas are outpacing those in more urban areas, according to a new federal report. “Geographic disparities in suicide rates might be associated with suicide risk factors known to be highly prevalent in less urban areas, such as limited access to mental health care, made worse by shortages in behavioral health care providers in these areas, and greater social isolation,” the researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote. It’s also possible that economic pressures may have played a role, the study authors noted. The biggest increase in the suicide gap occurred beginning in 2007-2008, when the U.S. economy was experiencing a severe recession. Another possibility the researchers pointed to is the country’s opioid epidemic. In the early years of the current study, opioid misuse was more common in less urban areas. About 600,000 U.S. residents died by suicide from 1999 to 2015, the CDC researchers said. The highest annual suicide rate occurred in 2015. Suicide by hanging went up notably during the study period. The report said the rate of non-firearm suicide, particularly from suffocation — which includes hanging — went up more than the increase in gun-related suicides. Men were four times more likely than women to kill themselves, the findings showed. By age, the highest suicide rates were among 35- to 64-year-olds, and people 75 and older. The study was published in the March 17 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Page 10

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2017

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Keys to helping our elderly drivers Dear Savvy Senior, What tips can you recommend that can help me deal with my mom’s bad driving? At age 83, her driving abilities have declined, but I know she’s bound and determined to keep driving as long as she’s alive. Nervous Nelly Dear Nelly, There’s no doubt that giving up driving can be a tough step for many elderly seniors, as well as a difficult conversation for concerned family members. While there’s no one way to handle this sometimes touchy topic, there are a number of tips and resources that can help you evaluate and adjust your mom’s driving, and ease her out from behind the wheel when she can no longer drive safely.

Assess Her Driving

To get a clear picture of your mom’s driving abilities, your first step — if you haven’t already done so — is to take a ride with her and watch for problem areas. For example: Does she drive at inappropriate speeds, tailgate or drift between lanes? Does she have difficulty seeing, backing up or changing lanes? Does she react slowly, get confused easily or make poor driving decisions? Also, has your mom had any fender benders or tickets lately or have you noticed any dents or scrapes on her vehicle? These, too, are red flags. For more assessment tips see If you need help with this, consider hiring a driver rehabilitation specialist who’s trained to evaluate older drivers. This typically runs between $100 and $200. Visit AOTA. org/older-driver or to locate a specialist in your area.

Transitioning and Talking

After your assessment, if you think it’s still safe for your mom to drive, see if she would be willing to take an older driver refresher course. These courses will show her how aging affects driving skills, and offers tips and adjustments to help

ensure her safety. Taking a class may also earn your mom a discount on her auto insurance. To locate a class, contact the local AAA ( or AARP (, 888-2277669). Most courses cost around $20 to $30 and can be taken online or in a classroom. If, however, your assessment shows that your mom really does need to stop driving, you need to have a talk with her, but don’t overdo it. If you begin with a dramatic outburst like, “Mom, you’re going to kill someone!” you’re likely to trigger resistance. Start by simply expressing your concern for her safety. For more tips on how to talk to your mom about this, the Hartford Financial Services Group and MIT AgeLab offers a variety of resources at — click on “Publications” on the menu bar, then on the “We Need To Talk” guidebook.

Refuses to Quit

If your mom refuses to quit, you have several options. One possible solution is to suggest a visit to her doctor who can give her a medical evaluation and, if warranted, “prescribe” that she stop driving. Older people will often listen to their doctor before they will listen to their own family. If she still refuses, contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles to see if they can help. Or, call in an attorney to discuss with your mom the potential financial and legal consequences of a crash or injury. If all else fails, you may just have to take away her keys.

Alternative Transportation

Once your mom stops driving, she’s going to need other ways to get around, so help her create a list of names and phone numbers of family, friends and local transportation services that she can call on. To find out what transportation services are available in her area, contact the Rides in Sight (RidesInSight. org, 855-607-4337) and the Eldercare Locator (800-677-1116), which will direct you to her area agency on aging for assistance. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.savvysenior. org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Kenneth Ortega, left, an orthopedic surgeon in Utica, receives a commendation from former U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) recently for completing 20 years of service with the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserves.

On the front lines of health care

Orthopedic surgeon in Utica has seen ravages of war By Patricia J. Malin


uring a 20-year stint in the U.S. Army Reserves, Kenneth David Ortega, an orthopedic surgeon in Utica, only got a passing glimpse of the battlefield. Yet the devastating impacts of warfare remain vivid. In November 1990, Ortega was called up for active duty during Operation Desert Storm, the first Gulf War, and served with the 300th Field Hospital in Saudi Arabia for seven months. His patients turned out to be prisoners of war. “There was an extremely high amount of casualties, and a lot of gunshot wounds,” he said. “It gave me a better appreciation for how to take care of trauma and the damage weapons can do. Nobody needs an AK-47.” Ortega received a commendation from former U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) recently for completing 20 years of service with the U.S. Army Reserve. He was honorably discharged after achieving the rank of colonel in the Army Medical Corps. Ortega, a native of Rhode Island, said his association with the military began when he accepted a military scholarship to attend medical school. He received his medical degree from Kansas University School of Medicine & Biosciences, Kansas City, Mo., in 1978. He completed his orthopedic surgery training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and was assigned to active duty at

April 2017 •

Fort Stewart in Georgia, 1983-86. During that time, he treated wounded soldiers who had returned home following the U.S. conflict in Grenada. He received additional training at A.I. DuPont Institute in Wilmington, Del; Hughston Sports Medicine Clinic in Columbus, Ga.; and Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.

Study in contrasts

He recalled that when he was called up for active duty in 1990, he was assigned to the 300th Field Hospital in snowy Pennsylvania. A few weeks later, the medical team found themselves working in a field hospital in the desert. The time he spent in the Army proved invaluable in the long run and he would recommend military service to young people today. “You’re taught to think on your feet,” Ortega said. “You learn discipline and how to be flexible. The confidence you have in our young men and women; the teamwork you learn, I want to emphasize that.” In the stress of warfare, Army doctors often develop new techniques that they later apply in peacetime. In his specialty, he saw the development of new procedures for prosthetics. In 1993, Ortega came to Utica and opened a private practice at 1903 Sunset Ave. with local pediatrician Margaret Albanese. It’s now known as MVHS Orthopedics. He is chairman of the department of orthopedic surgery at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 11


The skinny on healthy eating

Cheers for Nutrient-rich cheddar


as your relationship with dairy products soured? You’re not alone, especially when it comes to cheese. Fearing the relatively high fat, calorie and sodium content of some cheeses, many of us have curtailed our consumption of this beneficial food. I’m not one of them. For me, a life without cheese would hardly be a life worth living. Yes, I adore cheese, most kinds, but the cheese I adore most is cheddar. And the reason my heart cheers for cheddar is because it’s a nutritional superstar, packed with protein, calcium and phosphorous. A 1-ounce portion (think a pair of dice) fulfills 14 percent of our protein needs with 7 grams, 20 percent of our calcium needs, and 14 percent of phosphorous. All together, this powerful team supports our muscles, bones, teeth, tissues and immune system. I’m also a huge cheddar fan because its bold flavor helps me eat it in moderation, which is the key to eating cheese, according to the American Dietetic Association. On the fat front, cheddar serves up 9 grams of total fat per ounce, with 6 of those being saturated fat.

The American Heart Association recommends that we consume no more than 13 grams of saturated fat a day due to its propensity to raise our bad cholesterol, which may then increase our risk for heart disease and stroke. Some recent studies, however, have indicated that cheese — even in high amounts — may not raise bad cholesterol after all. While more research is clearly needed, scientists think multiple mechanisms are involved, possibly related to calcium (shown to reduce the absorption of fat during digestion), protein and a cheese’s unique nutrient matrix. Something else to cheer about: Cheddar may protect our teeth, according to a study published in General Dentistry. Research has revealed that eating cheddar at the end of a meal helps to neutralize acids that form while eating, which may then thwart cavity formation. Cheddar for dessert, anyone? Much like some other delicious foods that are good for us — nuts, avocados, peanut butter, olive oil — cheddar is no slouch when it comes to calories: a 1-ounce slice has about 115 calories. Eat a few slices at a cocktail party and you’re over 200. What


cheddar calls for then is moderation. Depending on your dietary needs, it may also call for eating some of the reduced-fat versions. A final cheer: Sodium-wise, cheddar has less salt than most cheeses per 1-ounce slice, clocking in at 174 mg. The same amount of Parmesan has 450 mg.

Helpful tips

Grilled Cheese with Mashed Avocado and Tomato Adapted from

1 ripe peeled avocado 1 tablespoon lemon juice ½ teaspoon ground cumin ¼ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper 1 teaspoon dried basil 8 slices whole-grain bread 6 ounces cheddar cheese, sliced 1 large tomato, thinly sliced and patted dry 1 tablespoon canola oil, divided   In a small bowl, mash together avocado, lemon juice, cumin, salt, and pepper until smooth. Stir in basil

Because we are a business, not a charity, we need to earn a margin, but we do not need to pay dividends to shareholders. That works in your favor. We’re a nonprofit health plan, so we deliberately budget for low margins to keep coverage more affordable. We know you have other important things that matter. We’re neighbors helping neighbors build healthier communities. A nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Choose sharper cheddars with stronger flavors to help monitor intake. Lactose intolerant? Aged cheeses like cheddar contain relatively low levels of lactose. Read cheese labels carefully: some reduced-fat versions contain fillers and additives that don’t suit everyone. Anne Palumbo is a lifestyle columnist, food guru, and seasoned cook, who has perfected the art of preparing nutritious, calorie-conscious dishes. She is hungry for your questions and comments about SmartBites, so be in touch with Anne at


From 2011 – 2015, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s annual earnings before interest and taxes averaged 2.1 percent of premium, considerably less than the 7.4 percent earnings of large national insurers.

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and set aside. Top four of the bread slices with cheese; spread with avocado mixture and top with tomato slices. Add the four remaining bread slices on top. Heat 1½ teaspoons canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 sandwiches to pan; top with another heavy skillet. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden; remove sandwiches from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and sandwiches. PS: Celebrate: April 12 is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day! According to a reader’s opinion poll, grilled cheese sandwiches are among one of the top comfort foods in the United States.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2017

Diet & Nutrition

Diet Buster

Social settings can sink a well-intended diet By Kristen Raab


icture this: You’ve recently started a new healthy diet, and you are doing great. On Friday, your best friend orders French fries at your weekly lunch, and on Saturday evening you take your niece and nephew to an ice cream parlor. Will you be able to resist food temptations? A new study says the temptation to make poor food choices, including overeating, is greater in social settings. The yearlong study Cahill focused on women trying to limit daily calories. When the women were tempted to overeat or eat a caloric food, they were asked to note their surroundings and feelings. Ecological momentary assessment is used to assess feelings and behaviors in as realistic a setting as possible. Study participants had a 60 percent risk of overeating if they were in restaurants or with others. Support from friends and family is a key factor in whether a diet is successful. “Statistics indicate that diets are usually successful for six to 12 months, and that lack of a support system is a primary contributor to lack of success in maintaining weight loss,” said Anne Cahill, a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon for the

Mohawk Valley Health System. Anyone struggling with choosing healthy foods should be aware of their temptations. The study found interventions for weight loss are most helpful when they focus on helping with diet maintenance, especially under circumstances where dieters feel tempted to overeat. Researchers found that individuals need help anticipating challenging situations so they feel empowered to maintain their healthier lifestyle. Cahill says, “The ideal diet is comprised of 50 percent non-starchy vegetables, 25 percent protein and only 25 percent carbohydrates. Most restaurant plates are not consistent with these ratios.” Most restaurants serve large portions of food that is high in fat, carbohydrates and calories, she noted. “It is also important to recognize

that side dishes such as French fries are often high in carbohydrates and not healthy,” Cahill noted.

Be wise when ordering

While it can be challenging to choose healthy foods, dining out is not impossible or off limits. Cahill suggests choosing lean protein such as chicken breast or fish rather than a cheeseburger. However, if you really want that burger, order it without the bun. “You can ask for a side of grilled vegetables instead of French fries,” she said. As we also tend to drink a lot of our daily calories, pick water or unsweetened iced tea as your beverage. Learning to decipher words on the menu can also make a big difference. If something is labeled as battered, crispy, or crunchy, it has likely been pan-fried or deep-fried.

Choose a baked, grilled or broiled option instead, and make sure it isn’t breaded. “Loaded” and creamy are two other red flags to be avoided if you are trying to maintain a healthy diet. Many restaurants will make modifications to your meal if you ask. If the food is not premade, request that an item be grilled rather than fried. Opt out of including cheese. Even salad can be a caloric bomb if you have croutons and load it with dressing. Order the dressing on the side and skip the croutons, and you have made a much healthier choice. It is not necessary to eliminate your favorite foods. “It is perfectly fine to indulge in a small treat on occasion, as long as we are sure to make mostly healthy choices the rest of the time,” she said. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking you can overeat as long as you exercise. Cahill reminds us that exercising does not permit a free-forall with eating, as it does not “undo unhealthy food choices.” “We need a proper balance of vegetables, protein and carbohydrates combined with regular exercise for long-term health,” she said. It is always a good time to choose healthier options. “The American Heart Association has proven that lifestyle changes, including healthy eating and weight loss, can save lives and minimize diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer,” Cahill explains. Perhaps instead of thinking of how one eats as a diet, it can be framed as a choice to live our best, healthiest lives.

Bad diets tied to 400,000 U.S. deaths in 2015 Adding healthy foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetables and whole grains might help prevent premature demise, researchers suggest


nhealthy diets may have contributed to as many as 400,000 premature deaths from heart disease and strokes in 2015, a new study estimates. And, it’s not just the things you should be avoiding — such as salt and trans fats — that are contributing to these deaths. The excess deaths may also be caused by what’s missing in your diet — namely, nuts and seeds, vegetables and whole grains, the researchers said. “Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, killing more people in 2015 than any other cause,” said lead researcher, physician Ashkan Afshin of the University of Washington in

Seattle. He’s an acting assistant professor of global health at the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. “Poor diet is the top risk factor for cardiovascular disease death and, therefore, deserves attention from decision-makers in the U.S. when setting health agendas,” Afshin said. The study results suggest that nearly half of heart disease and stroke (cardiovascular disease) deaths in the United States might be prevented with improved diets, he explained. Debates on dietary policies in the United States tend to focus on cutting out unhealthy foods and nutrients, such as trans fats, salt and

sugar-sweetened beverages. But this study shows that a large number of heart-related deaths may be due to a lack of healthy foods, Afshin reported. “This study highlights the urgent need for implementation of policies targeting these unhealthy food groups as well healthy foods, such as nuts, whole grains and vegetables,” he said. The study data came from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1990 to 2012. The researchers also used food availability data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and other sources. Looking at deaths in the United

April 2017 •

States from heart and blood vessel diseases for 2015, the investigators found unhealthy diet choices and lack of eating healthier foods had a part in the deaths of more than 222,000 men and over 193,000 women. The study could not, however, prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Low intake of nuts and seeds likely accounted for nearly 12 percent of deaths. Too few vegetables probably contributed to as many as 12 percent of the heart disease and stroke deaths. And, low intake of whole grains may have been responsible for more than 10 percent of those deaths. Too much salt likely accounted for 9 percent of deaths, Afshin said.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Ask The Social Security Office

KIDS Corner

From the Social Security District Office

Representative payee Study: Kids move steps up for beneficiary


here are nearly 57 million people living with disabilities in the United States, according to the Census Bureau. Thirty percent of American adults help provide care for a sick or disabled family member. Caregivers provide physical and emotional support for the people in their care. It’s a demanding job with its stresses and rewards, but it can also be a labor of love. Social Security is committed to you throughout life’s journey, helping secure today and tomorrow for every American. This is especially true for people who need help managing their benefits. We work closely with caregivers through our representative payee program. A representative payee is someone who receives and oversees the Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for anyone who cannot manage their benefits. This can be a child or an adult incapable of managing their own funds. You can learn

more about our representative payee program at payee. A representative payee is usually a trusted family member or friend of the beneficiary, but when friends or family are not able to serve as representative payees, Social Security looks for qualified individuals or organizations to represent the beneficiary. You can learn about becoming a representative payee by watching our new series of videos on the duties of a representative payee at www. It’s our hope that these videos will not only educate individuals about the roles and responsibilities of being a representative payee, but also provide further insight, broaden community awareness, and provide key resources to deal with the growing incidents of elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.

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less after age 7

Activity levels drop off equally among boys and girls, and continue dropping steadily


any parents have seen their rambunctious 5-year-old age into a teen “couch potato.” But a new study finds the slowdown in activity may begin long before adolescence. Sedentary behaviors begin to set in shortly after the ripe old age of 7, the researchers found. And contrary to what many have thought, girls are not the only ones who fall prey to less healthy living at a young age. The researchers found that “100 percent” of both boys and girls in the study experienced a drop-off in activity well before their teen years, according to a team led by John Reilly from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, in Scotland. And the decline did not happen “more rapidly in adolescent girls than boys,” the researchers added. For the study, the physical activity of about 400 children in the United Kingdom was followed over the course of eight years. The kids wore portable monitors that tracked their

activity levels for a period of seven days when they were ages 7, 9, 12 and 15 years. The devices were only removed when the children slept, bathed or swam. Their parents also logged when their children wore them to ensure accuracy. Overall, the investigators found that physical activity levels among the kids started falling at the age of 7. The declines continued during the study, but did not drop more sharply once they hit adolescence. Most of the boys (61 percent) were moderately active when the study began, but this activity level gradually declined over the course of the eight years, the findings showed. Among the girls, 62 percent had moderate activity levels that fell gradually throughout the study -- just like the boys, according to the report. The results were published online recently in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

More teens turning backs on tanning beds: CDC Half as many high school students reported indoor tanning in 2015 versus 2009


he number of U.S. teens who use indoor tanning has dropped by half in recent years, a new government study reveals. Only about 7 percent of high school students said they used indoor tanning in 2015, down from almost 16 percent of students in 2009, according to results from a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey. But that still leaves more than 1 million teens putting themselves at increased risk of skin cancer, including the most severe form, melanoma, by going to a tanning salon, said study lead author Gery Guy Jr. Worse, their use of indoor tanning appears to give them a false sense of security when they step outdoors into real sunlight, said Guy, a health economist with the CDC’s division of cancer prevention and control. “We also found that among the 1.2 million high school students who are continuing to indoor tan, 82 per-

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2017

cent of them experienced a sunburn in the past year,” Guy said. That increases the danger, he added. Just one blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence can nearly double your lifetime risk of melanoma, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Teens likely believe the myth that indoor tanning provides a “base tan” that will protect them against sunburn, Guy said. “There is no base tan. Tanned skin is damaged skin,” Guy said. “Individuals may think a base tan will protect them, when in reality it doesn’t.”

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Health News Pediatrician joins medical staffs at FSLH, SEMC Kathy-Ann Irish-Benjamin has joined the medical staff at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. Irish-Benjamin is on staff at Ellinwood Pediatrics in New Hartford and was previously affiliated with Slocum-Dickson Medical Group, also in New Hartford. Prior to that, she served as chairman of the department of pediatrics at Slidell Irish-Benjamin Memorial Hospital in Slidell, La. She was also affiliated with Buffalo General Hospital in Buffalo, and Mount Sinai Hospital and Women’s College Hospital, both in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Irish-Benjamin earned her bachelor’s degree from Barnard College and Columbia University in New York City. She earned her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, N.J., and completed pediatric and family practice residencies at the SUNY Brooklyn in Brooklyn. She completed a neonatology fellowship at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She is board certified in pediatrics.

Orthopedic trauma specialist joins MVHS Jonathan Wigderson has joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Orthopedic Group and has privileges at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. Prior to joining the MVHS Medical Group, Wigderson was affiliated with Genesee Orthopedics and Plastic Surgery Associates, PC and has Wigderson been on the SEMC medical staff since 2011. Wigderson earned his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens, Ohio, and his Bachelor of Science, cum laude, from SUNY Albany. He completed a residency in orthopedic surgery at Peninsula Hospital Center in Far Rockaway and fellowships in orthopedic trauma at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and in orthopedics at Booth Memorial Medical Center in Flushing. He also completed a rotating internship at Mount Clemens General Hospital in Mount Clemens, Mich. Wigderson is board-certified in orthopedic surgery by the American

Osteopathic Board of Orthopedic Surgery. He is a member of the American Osteopathic Association, the American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Orthopedic Trauma Association.

MVHS names behavioral health director Jodi Kapes has been named director of behavioral health for the Mohawk Valley Health System. Kapes has served as the mental health supervisor at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica since 2010. She also has a private counseling practice in New Hartford. Kapes earned Kapes her Master of Social Work with a family mental health concentration from Syracuse University and her Bachelor of Science degree in human services with a specialization in early childhood services, cum laude, from Elmira College. Prior to joining SEMC, Kapes worked as a school social worker at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Middle School in Verona and at Otsego-Northern Catskill BOCES in Stamford. She has experience as a social worker at Capital District Psychiatric Center in Albany, and as a senior social worker and crisis outreach worker for children and youth at the Chenango County Mental Health Department in Norwich. Kapes is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers and an active member of the National Association of Social Workers.

MVHS welcomes health care pros Christopher Max, a specialist in general and vascular surgery, has joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Surgical Group-Faxton Campus and has admitting privileges at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. Prior to joining the MVHS Medical Group, Max was in private practice Max for 30 years. He received his medical degree from the University of the Northeast/School of Medicine in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico. He completed an internship and residency at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, Md., fellowships at the Masonic Medical Research Laboratory in Utica, and at Joslin Clinic and Research Laboratory and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, both in

Boston, Mass. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. He is board-certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery. Max is a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the Eastern Vascular Society, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, serves as a New York state cancer liaison for FSLH, and was named one of the outstanding surgeons in the United States for eight years. Peter Dellerba has joined the MVHS Surgical Group-Faxton Campus and has admitting privileges at FSLH and SEMC. Prior to joining the MVHS Medical Group, Dellerba was employed with Max Dellerba in private practice as a nurse practitioner/first assistant. He also served as surgical services coordinator at SEMC. Dellerba earned his adult nurse practitioner and registered nurse first assist certifications at Community General Hospital in Syracuse, his Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at SUNY at Utica/Rome in Utica, and his associate degree in registered professional nursing at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica.

St. Luke’s Home names new executive director Michael S. McCoy has been named executive director of St. Luke’s Home for the Mohawk Valley Health System. St. Luke’s Home is a 202bed nursing home located on the St. Luke’s Campus and includes a 40-bed sub-acute rehabilitation unit and an adult day McCoy health care program. Prior to joining MVHS, McCoy served as administrator of record for The Edward L. Wilkinson Residential Health Care Facility on St. Mary’s Hospital Memorial Campus in Amsterdam. He has also held vice president and director positions for other health care organizations since 1989. McCoy earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from SUNY Oswego and his Master of Business Administration in financial management from Nichols College in Dudley, Mass. He is a licensed New York state nursing home administrator.

Medical office suspends operations The Mohawk Valley Health System has suspended operations at the Mohawk Medical Office, 5 Ann St.,

April 2017 •

Mohawk. The suspension of operations is due to the departure of the two physicians practicing at the office — Steven Sperling and Paula Vecchio. “The MVHS Medical Group has been working diligently to recruit primary care physicians to support the Mohawk office,” said Michael Attilio, vice president of MVHS Medical Group/Physician Practices. “However, we have been unable to recruit new providers that could start before Sperling and Vecchio left. We want to make sure we support the continuous care for our Mohawk patients; they are very important to us. To do that, we need to suspend operations at the Mohawk Medical Office and refer our patients to other primary care services. We are working with our Mohawk patients to assist them in finding new providers. Recruitment efforts are continuing as we’d like to reopen the office.” The St. Elizabeth Medical Center lab services previously offered at the Mohawk Medical Office will be relocated to the Herkimer Medical Office as part of this transition. All patients of the medical office received letters notifying them of the change and were provided with a list of alternative providers as well as instructions on how to transfer their care to another medical office. Marla Smith, a family nurse practitioner who practiced at the Mohawk Medical Office, is relocating to the South Utica Medical Office at 6 Hampden Place in Utica and is accepting patients at that location. The Mohawk Valley has a high number of designated health professional shortage areas for primary care as determined by the Health Resources and Service Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Specialists join MVHS Medical Group Sushma Kaul, a specialist in pulmonary and critical care, has joined the Mohawk Valley Health System pulmonary and critical care group and has admitting privileges at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. Kaul specializes in conditions including asthma, bronchitis, upper respiratory tract infections, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis, COPD and more. Prior to joining the MVHS Medical Group, Kaul was affiliated with Pulmonary Kaul & Critical Care Associates, LLP in New Hartford. Kaul earned her Doctor of Medicine and a premedical degree in medical sciences from Kashmir University in Srinagar, India. She completed a fellowship in critical care medicine at the Albert

Continued from Page 16

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 15

Health News Continued from Page 15 Einstein College of Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, a fellowship in pulmonary diseases from St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital at Columbia University in New York City, a residency and internship in internal medicine at Catholic Medical Center, a hospital affiliated with Cornell University in Jamaica, N.Y., and a rotating internship in medicine, surgery and obstetrics/gynecology at Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar, India. Meanwhile, Ghassan Koussa has also joined the MVHS pulmonary and critical care group and has privileges at FSLH and SEMC. Prior to joining the MVHS pulmonary and critical care group, Koussa was affiliated with Frisbie Memorial Hospital Koussa in Rochester, N.H., as a staff physician in pulmonary and critical care medicine and medical director of the lung cancer- screening program. Koussa earned his medical degree from St. George’s University-School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies. He completed an internal medicine residency, internal medicine chief residency and a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Albany Medical College in Albany. Koussa earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the American University of Beirut in Beirut, Lebanon. He is board-certified in internal medicine, pulmonary medicine and critical care medicine.

Insight House obtains certificate renewal Insight House Chemical Dependency Services, Inc. in Utica recently obtained a renewal of its operating certificate, issued by the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. The operating certificate is for a three-year term and renews authorization for Insight House to operate Part 822 chemical dependence outpatient clinic and outpatient rehabilitation services, according to president and chief executive officer Donna Vitagliano. Insight House has provided professional and confidential drug and alcohol treatment services to individuals and their families since 1971. The agency offers a comprehensive range of outpatient and residential programs.

Manager earns bachelor’s degree in nursing Little Falls Hospital’s employee Tina Silano-Willis, care manager of Dolgeville and Newport health centers, recently earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, Page 16

Ariz., in May 2016. She had previously earned an associate’s degree at St. Elizabeth College of Nursing. Continuing with her studies, Silano-Willis is working on certification as a clinical content expert in patient-centered medical homes. Silano-Willis lives in Dolgeville and has three Silano-Willis grown children: Dana Silano of Albany; a son, Ron Cuevas who lives in North Carolina with his family; and a daughter, Regina Mares, who is in the U.S. Coast Guard and stationed in Philadelphia with her husband Jesus. Silano-Willis has two grandchildren — Jennavecia, 3, and Warren, 16 months. Her hobbies include reading, gardening, snowshoeing, kayaking, and attending concerts.

CABVI celebrates award, employees of year The National Industries for the Blind, the nation’s largest employment resource for people who are blind, recently honored the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired with the 2016 Employment Growth Award. The award recognizes CABVI’s efforts to increase employment retention, growth and upward mobility for people who are blind. “Our employees are talented and dedicated professionals, and we are delighted that they are being recognized as an example of the capabilities of people who are blind,” said Dennis Webster, senior vice president Kukic of production and operations. The honor of the award comes with the announcement of CABVI’s employees of the tear. Each year, an employee is recognized for his or her talents and professionalism in their respective fields. — The 2017 recipient of the Peter Salmon award is Nedeljko Kukic. Fellow peers and staff recognized him for his outstanding service to CABVI, positive attitude and likability. — The recipient of this year’s Grippe Milton J. Samuelson Career Achievement award is Eric Grippe. He came to CABVI in February of 2012 and has shown great leadership and growth,

said Steven Niermeyer, director of production. — The New York State Preferred Source Program employee of the year is Dennis Mahoney. He is a long-time employee of CABVI and has been with the agency for over 57 years. “Dennis is an Mahoney incredible employee who goes above the call of duty every day here at CABVI,” said Rudy D’Amico, president and CEO at CABVI. CABVI is a nonprofit agency that serves people who are blind or visually impaired, from newborns to the elderly, generally free of charge.

RMH facility awarded certification The Community Recovery Center of Rome Memorial Hospital has been awarded a three-year certification by the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services for its chemical dependence outpatient services. “This three-year certification is the longest that the state issues,” said program director Ashlee Thompson said. “The term of the certification is based upon the scores received during an OASAS compliance review. Our top scores show our commitment to providing our community with the best quality care in a safe, healing environment.” The center provides treatment for adults and adolescents who are chemically dependent on alcohol, prescription medications and illegal drugs. Anyone having difficulty with alcohol or other drugs can call the Community Recovery Center directly or be referred by their physician, criminal justice system, employer, employee assistance program, school, county social service office or other treatment provider, Thompson said. The center has no waiting list and an appointment is made at the time of the call from a potential client or referral source. Located at 264 W. Dominick St., Rome, the Community Recovery Center operates 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 center, call 315-334-4701.

St. Johnsville gains accreditation St. Johnsville Rehabilitation & Nursing Center has received basic quality assurance and performance improvement accreditation in 2016. This accreditation is evaluated and presented by independent ac-

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2017

creditor Providigm, LLC. Through St. Johnsville Rehabilitation & Nursing Center’s use of the abaqis® quality management system, Providigm is able to verify that St. Johnsville is continually assessing the quality of care it provides to residents against federal regulations and standards at an ongoing rate, and correcting identified issues. “St. Johnsville Rehabilitation & Nursing Center is an excellent example of a nursing center taking initiative to proactively identify and correct quality concerns,” says Andrew Kramer, chief executive officer at Providigm. “We take quality seriously. We strive to give our residents the quality of life and level of dignity they deserve,” said David Wallace, administrator at St. Johnsville.

Masonic Care Community welcomes new physician Roberta E. Gebhard has joined the medical staff of the Masonic Care Community as associate medical director. Gebhard comes to Utica from the WCA Hospital in Jamestown, where she served as a hospitalist for the past seven years. In addition to her varied experience in the medical field, Gebhard Gebhard has been a member of the American Medical Women’s Association since 1990, currently serving on its national board of directors. She serves as co-chairwoman of AMWA’s Gender-Equity Task Force, represents AMWA at the United Nations Women, and is a New York representative to “Vision 2020,” a Drexel University initiative that seeks to abolish gender inequality in the next three years. Gebhard is a member of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, published an article in the September 2016 Women’s Health Journal on bullying, and wrote two chapters in the last edition of Fowler and Pfenniger’s “Procedures in Primary Care.” Gebhard and her husband Greg have four children, Greg, Thomas, Johnathan and Zoanne.

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Between the Lines Read: Your life will become even more awesome By Barbara Pierce


new book and a cold bottle of Merlot may not be everyone’s idea of the perfect Friday night. For those who don’t think so, Heidi McManus would like you to consider this: “You can escape for a few moments in the plot of a good story,” said McManus, assistant director of the Utica Public Library. Get swept away, caught up in a plot, moved to tears, laugh out loud, think about things you’ve never thought about. “Reading engages your mind and your imagination,” she said. “It’s an escape hatch, a cheap way to expand your horizons. A book is a door that opens into another life,” says journalist Julie Buntin online. “By the time I was 13, I’d been a student at Hogwarts, an adulterous wife stifled by my doctor husband, and the daughter of a missionary in the Congo.” Books can change your life. When you read a book, you can be different tomorrow than you are today. “I’ve been a reader since I was young,” said McManus. “One of my favorite books of all time is ‘Charlotte’s Web’ by E.B. White. If I were without a new book to read, I would go back and read ‘Charlotte’s Web’ again and again. I wanted to be like Fern: ridding the world of injustice before daylight. This might be why I have always had a soft spot for the underdog in a situation, and I count my close friendships as lifelong blessings.” Books certainly shaped my life. I cried time and time again as I read “The Little Match Girl” by Hans Christian Anderson and, like McManus, my heart bled for the underprivileged. As a teenager, my mind

and my heart cracked open as I read “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo. I became a staunch trooper in the war against injustice. Reading makes you a kinder, more empathetic person. When you read, you replace your own life with someone else’s. That’s empathy, and empathy is the cornerstone of human connection. Empathy makes you a better friend, a better lover, a better employee, a better everything. People who read a lot understand others better, found a recent study. They’re better at picking up on social cues from others and putting themselves in another’s shoes.

A guiding hand

Books can help you find your way through a difficult time in life. Words from authors who experienced a similar situation can lead you back onto the brighter road, can open your eyes to see things from a different perspective. “When my dear husband died, I was lost,” said M online. “Reading

‘The Year of Magical Thinking’ by Joan Didion helped me begin to find my way out of the dark whirlpool of grief.” About “Let Your Life Speak,” by Parker Palmer, Elizabeth Lane says online: “This book found me at a time when I was at a crossroads in my career and helped me settle into the quiet, listen to my heart, and change course.” “When I’m looking for a bit of inspiration, I read ‘The Essential Rumi,’” added McManus. Reading is a good de-stressor. Escaping into another world blows all other stress relievers out of the water. Just six minutes of reading reduces stress by 68 percent, experts say. Next time you’re stressed out, open a book instead of turning on the TV. Another reason to pick up a book instead of the remote: Reading keeps your brain healthy and staves off dementia. Reading is at the top of the list of brain boosting activities that slow cognitive decline. Reading makes you more fun to

talk to. “A friend described a book she was reading called ‘Moonwalking With Einstein,’ by Jonathan Foer, describing how he became a memory champion. Her anecdote was about 4 million times more interesting than our bitch-fest,” McManus said. Her other reasons for reading: “You can learn a craft, visit a historical period of time, explore scientific theories, or embark on self-improvement.” “I read “Slaughterhouse Five’ as a teenager and fell in love with Kurt Vonnegut and his writing,” she added. “Sara Paretsky is my favorite mystery author. I also enjoy non-fiction. Some of the more memorable books have included ‘All Over But the Shoutin’’ by Rick Bragg and ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ by Rebecca Skloot.” “To me, the library is one of the most fabulous institutions on earth. Where else can you have access to so much for free? All you need is ID and proof of address to get a library card. “If someone needs help finding a book, staff can help. Sometimes it just takes a few simple questions to help match a reader to a book,” McManus said. “We have some of the best programming in our area. Coming is our yoga class led by a professional instructor, sessions on how to make butter lambs for Easter, and our classic fiction forum featuring the book ‘Rabbit, Run’ by John Updike. Participants receive a free copy of the book. “Our youth services department also has excellent programming, including story time and video gaming.” The Utica Public Library is located at 303 Genesee St., Utica. Visit at

Healthcare in a Minute By George W. Chapman

Social media

Social media is having more of an impact on consumers and their behaviors every year. Forty percent say information gleaned from SM affects how they deal with their health. Nineteen percent of smartphone owners have at least one health related app. Forty one percent of us say SM influences our choice of providers and hospitals. Thirty percent of health care professionals use SM for networking. When it comes to sharing health info via SM, 43 percent of us are comfortable sharing with hospitals, 47 percent with physicians, 38 percent with insurers and 32 percent with pharmacies. Sixty percent of physicians report SM actually improves the quality of health in their patients.

Dementia and Sleep

Forty-six million people worldwide suffer from some sort of dementia. In the United States, 5 million people have Alzheimer’s disease. One in three seniors will die from dementia complications. Dementia costs us about $236 billion a year. Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine found that people who sleep more than nine hours on average are twice as likely to develop dementia than those who sleep less than nine hours on average.   Telehealth More insurance companies are paying for telehealth. The immediate benefits are easier access, enhanced doctor/patient communication and remote monitoring of incapacitated patients. It will take more time and experience to determine whether or not the increased utilization of physician

services via telehealth is eventually outweighed by cost reductions in other areas like inpatient care and drug utilization. A study published in Health Affairs followed three years of claims for respiratory infections. The study concluded that nine of 10 telehealth visits (for this condition) represented new or additional utilization versus visits that substituted for an in-person encounter. The authors of the study recommended insurers or even providers might want to increase patient outof-pocket costs to prevent frivolous or unnecessary telehealth utilization and that telehealth might have more of a positive impact for those patients with traditionally undertreated conditions like diabetes and mental health.

Accountable Care Organizations

ACOs were established by the ACA to cut costs and improve access

April 2017 •

and quality. More than 850 ACOs across the country care for over 28 million people. Hospitals, physicians and insurers have been collaborating the past six years. The majority of ACOs participate in shared savings programs with Medicare and commercial insurers. Industry experts are confident ACOs will survive any changes in the laws of the land.   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

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Got a health-related activity or event that you would like publicized? Call Lou Sorendo at 315-749-7070 or email Continued from Page 2 p.m. April 5 in the Soggs Room at St. Luke’s Home in the Center for Rehabilitation and Continuing Care Services, 1650 Champlin Ave., Utica. Two videos will be shown during this session. The first features Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist. She will talk about mental strength and health. The second video features Olympic cross-country skier Janine Shepherd. A truck hit her during a training bike ride. She shares a powerful story about the human potential for recovery. Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare is an affiliate of MVHS and is the area’s only designated primary stroke center. For more information or to RSVP, call 315-624-6365.

April 6

Parents bond to battle addiction A support group — Parents of Addicted Loved Ones — meets from 7-8:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of every month at the Canajoharie Fire House, 75 Erie Boulevard, Canajoharie. The next meetings are April 6 and April 20. The support group is for parents with a son or daughter who is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. PAL is a nonprofit organization run by a volunteer board of parents. For more information, visit www. or call PAL at 480-3004712.

April 8

Kelberman Center hosts Walk for Autism Autism Awareness Month is celebrated throughout April and the Kelberman Center in Utica will host its 10th annual Walk for Autism on April 8 in Oneida (Oneida High School), on April 15 at Hamilton College (Sadove Terrace) and on April 29 in Boonville (V.F.W.), Cooperstown (Glimmerglass State Park) and Mohawk Valley (SUNY Polytechnic Institute.) The Boonville and Cooperstown events will feature both a walk and a 5K run. All walks/runs start at 10:30 a.m. with registration beginning at 9 a.m. Autism affects one out of every 68 children in the United States. Visit the Kelberman Center’s website at to download pledge forms or to create an online fundraising page. For more information on the walk, including pre-registration dates and locations, contact the Kelberman Center at 315Page 18

797-6241, visit online, like on Facebook, follow on Twitter or email at The Kelberman Center provides preschool, school-aged and adult services, evaluations, training and consultation to families and professionals working with individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.

April 8

After Breast Cancer Support Group to meet The After Breast Cancer Support Group will meet at 11 a.m. April 8 in the community room at the Center for Rehabilitation and Continuing Care Services on the St. Luke’s Campus, 1650 Champlin Ave., Utica. Radiologist Nancy Shaheen will lead the meeting with a discussion about 3-D mammography, which is offered at the Mohawk Valley Health System’s Women’s Imaging Center in the Utica Business Park. ABC Support Group meetings are free and open to the public and were created by women who have had breast cancer. The group is dedicated to providing education, information and emotional support to women and men who are facing biopsy, surgery or recovery from breast cancer. For more information or to RSVP, call 315-624-5764 or email

April 10

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. April 10 in the cancer center’s fireplace lounge on the main floor of the Faxton Campus, 1676 Sunset Ave., Utica. The cancer support forum meets at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of every month. 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.

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.

April 10

Support group to meet at Rome Memorial Hospital The brain aneurysm, AVM (arteriovenous malformation) and stroke support group meets from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on the second Monday of every month at Rome Memorial Hospital’s second-floor classroom. The next session will be held April 10. RMH is located at 1500 N. James St., Rome. For more information, call Deb Dunn at 315-533-6467 or email

April 17

Family support group focuses on 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. April 17 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. Certified by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the Community Recovery Center, 264 W. Dominick St., Rome, offers 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-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

April 10

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. April 10.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2017

Recovery Center, call 334-4701.

April 27

UCP spaghetti dinner to benefit prom A spaghetti dinner fundraiser to support the Upstate Cerebral Palsy Tradewinds Education Center prom will be held from 4-7 p.m. April 27 at the UCP Armory Campus, 1601 Armory Drive Building B, Utica. Tickets are $5 each and people are welcome to eat in or take out. The event is an opportunity for children with differing abilities to attend a prom like any other high school student, complete with limousine rides, walking the red carpet, dinner and dancing. Proceeds will help fund tuxedo rentals, flowers, and other costs associated with the event. To inquire about tickets for the spaghetti dinner or if you are interested in volunteering or donating to the prom, contact Patti Carey, UCP vice president of school age services, at 315-798-4040 ext. 257.

June 19

Rome Hospital Foundation sets dates Rome Hospital Foundation will hold three fundraising events this year as part of its continued effort to support the mission of Rome Memorial Hospital. — Kicking off the 2017 event series on June 19 at Teugega Country Club is Rome Hospital Foundation’s Annual Golf Classic. Registration and lunch begin at 10:30 a.m. A day of 18 holes of golf will begin with a shotgun start at noon. — In the fall, the seventh annual Brew Ha Ha craft beer tasting will take place at Woods Valley Ski Area in Rome. The event will be held from 4-8 p.m. Sept. 23. The Brew Ha Ha features more than 50 types of craft beer and wine for attendees to sample. — The annual gala is Rome Hospital Foundation’s cornerstone fundraising event and will be held from 6-11 p.m. Nov. 11 at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona. For more information, contact Rome Hospital Foundation at 315-338-7181 or email foundation@

Summer internships available at Excellus


xcellus BlueCross BlueShield has about 50 summer internship positions available for college students at its locations in Upstate New York. Summer internship positions include jobs in finance, sales, marketing, information technology and corporate communications. Internships are available at health plan locations in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse and Utica. “Our goal is to attract an internship class of students from a wide range of cultures, backgrounds and life experiences, which will help drive the innovation needed to best serve our customers,” said Joseph Searles,

corporate director, diversity and workforce inclusion, Excellus BCBS. The 10-week paid internships will generally run from June through August. To qualify for an internship, students must be actively enrolled in a college degree program at the time of the internship. Those wishing to check out student experiences can at Students are encouraged to apply for internships as soon as possible. Positions will close as candidates are selected for the internships. To apply for the internships, go to careers.

Simply AWE-SOME! The power, inspiration of being in awe By Barbara Pierce


he Erie Canal inspires awe in Brian Howard of Sherburne. “Speaking for myself, it’s the most significant landmark of our area,” said Howard, executive director of the Oneida County Historical Society. “So much of the history that runs through this county is connected to the Erie Canal,” he said. “If you did nothing else, you could spend at least a week exploring where the canal used to be located, and exploring feeder canals to the north and south. “Indulging in the history of our area, there is nothing better than the Howard canal.” I too am awed by the Erie Canal. As I stood on the walkway that led across the water and looked up at the high walls of the Erie Canal, I was in awe — in awe of how this channel was dug so long ago using only shovels and horse power. What a feat; what a genius of engineering! So much history, so much grit. I was awestruck, looking at the walls of the canal. I was in the presence of something more far more powerful than me. I was altered by an electrifying emotion that scientists have begun to study. What is awe, anyway? It’s difficult to define. You know it when you feel it. It’s comparable to wonder. It’s mind blowing. The dictionary defines awe as “an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like.” We’re hardwired for awe. It’s a basic part of being human that we all need. You might recognize awe as that spine-tingling feeling you get gazing at the Milky Way; the dumbstruck wonder as your newborn’s hand curled around your pinkie; Niagara Falls; a particular piece of music or a painting. It’s not only something as huge as seeing the Grand Canyon or meeting President Donald Trump. Studies show it also can be much more accessible — a friend’s gener-

osity astounds you, or you see a cool pattern of shadows and leaves. Awe can be invoked by nature, beauty, man-made wonders, or good will — anything that takes us out of our usual mindset. It’s an emotion that can have a tremendous impact. An experience of awe can change the course of your life in a profound way, experts say. Researchers took veterans and adolescents who lived in challenging circumstances white-water rafting. Subjects showed measured improvements in well-being and life outlook. Veterans’ stress dropped by 30 percent. Experiences of awe have the power to heal. Of all the emotions, awe is the one most likely to reduce an inflammation that is connected with illness and depression.

Ways to find awe

Most of us could use a little more awe in our lives: — Write about it: What experiences in your life have most filled you with a sense of wonder and inspiration? Your child’s first steps or first words? Watkins Glen? Fort Stanwix, or the Oriskany Battlefield? The simple act of writing about awe can be powerful. Write in as much detail as possible to conjure up the feelings you had at the time. This might be especially useful when the daily grind is weighing you

Valley Health Services accepts syringes


alley Health Services is accepting the community’s medical waste of needles, syringes and lancets from noon until 2 p.m. on April 19. The service is available on the third Wednesday of every month. The waste must be in approved puncture-resistant containers available at local pharmacies and properly marked “biohazard.”

The containers may be brought to the outpatient receptionist on the ground floor at VHS, who will contact the personnel responsible for medical waste disposal. VHS is located at 690 W. German St., Herkimer. Questions may be directed to Tammi King, infection control nurse, at 866-3330, ext. 2308.

down. A reminder of an awe-inducing experience may lift you out of the doldrums and remind you that the world can be magical. — Take an awe walk: Travel can be a great source of awe, but awe can also be found closer to home. Stroll somewhere that has the potential to inspire awe. This could be a nat-


ural setting, like a tree-lined trail; an urban setting, like the top of a skyscraper; or an indoor setting, like a museum. Whether you feel awe on your walk depends not just on where you go, but also on your attitude. One way to create opportunities for awe is to approach your surroundings with fresh eyes, as if you’re seeing them for the first time. Otherwise ordinary features — a bird singing, the color of the sky — may be transformed into something extraordinary. Howard suggests awe can be found in historical sites like Fort Stanwix, Fort Dayton and other colonial forts and the Oriskany Battlefield. For details, call 315-735-3642 or see — Watch an awe-inducing video: Awe can be found on your computer screen — the Internet provides an endless supply of goose bump-inducing images. Explore the website Awe Video practice — majestic shots from Yosemite. National Geographic is another good source and you can find great performances on YouTube. If you’ve visited awe-inspiring locations, draw from your own photos. — Read an awe-inspiring story: Written words can evoke awe. Things like the Awe Story practice with a story about climbing up the Eiffel Tower. Life can sometimes feel lackluster and dull, and inspiration can be hard to find. On those days, even a small dose of awe can go a long way in elevating your spirits and reviving your sense of purpose. Awe is a powerful way to cut through the monotony and see things in a new light. Awe is not just another emotion. Awe has the potential to transform our lives and our world. Choose to be awed.

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Page 19

Walk the walk

Despite frigid temps, runners and walkers raise funds to combat heart disease By Patricia J. Malin


bitter cold wind blew across the streets of Utica, New York Mills and surrounding neighborhoods. Even dogs donned hoodies to keep warm. Holland Patent teen Dean Kousouros did the opposite. He dressed as an animal. He was decked out in a onepiece, pink bunny pajama outfit that he wore over multiple layers of shirts and pants. Conspicuous and funny, indeed, but no one was going to argue that it kept him toasty. Kousouros was among nearly 6,000 walkers and runners, a surprisingly large turnout for one of the coldest days in the history of the event, which raised $976,143 during the 43rd annual America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk at Utica College. Kousouros, 13, said he participated in the three-mile walk with Team Talon in honor of his grandfather, Michael Talon, who has heart problems. The youngster walked with his friend, Justin Kenz, 14, also of Holland Patent, and his mother, Brenda Kousouros. Team Talon raised an estimated $300 for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s mission of building healthier lives and researching cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The weather didn’t stop Albert Pylinski and his team from New York Central Mutual Insurance Company from taking top individual and team honors again. “I think we raised about $90,000 this year,” said Pylinski, who is executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer of NYCM, based in Edmeston, outside Utica. He is chairman of the Utica AHA chapter’s board of directors and a member of the AHA Founders Affiliate in New York City. He alone contributed $76,000. Though the AHA missed its goal of $1,110,825, the first time in many years it failed to surpass the million-dollar mark, the association was not disappointed with the level of donations and getting participants for the half-marathon, the three and five-mile walks and 18.6-mile run on a day with such frigid weather.

Catherine Pillmore, the Olivari Lifestyle Change Award winner, joins Albert Pylinski at the closing ceremonies of America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk held recently in Utica. Pylinski, chair of the Utica American Heart Association chapter’s board of directors, personally contributed $76,000 to the cause.

Drastic change in lifestyle

During closing ceremonies, the AHA/ASA announced the winner of the Lifestyle Change Award, sponsored by Olivari Olive Oil. The criteria for the award were major changes made by an individual or significant strides toward living a healthier life. Catherine Pillmore, who turned 55 the day after receiving the 2017 award, realized she had no choice but to change her lifestyle. It started a few years ago with a commitment to address her long-term health problems, which included frequent, disturbing bouts with shortness of breath. “Two years ago, I weighed 211 pounds,” she explained. “But I had shortness of breath for years. I started my weight loss in 2015. It was something I wanted to do, but I had

trouble walking. Then my daughter told me that if I didn’t lose weight, some day I wouldn’t wake up. Last year, I lost 40 or 50 pounds, but that was before my heart attack.” One night last October, she woke up at 3 am. and had difficulty breathing. Her husband, Ted Pillmore, rushed her to Mohawk Valley Health System’s cardiac unit at St. Elizabeth Medical Center, where she underwent an emergency triple bypass. “I had 90 percent blockage,” she said. Not only did she survive, she was strong enough to participate in her inaugural three-mile Heart Walk.



At our Rome off ice

Page 20

Red Cap Ambassadors

Also at the closing ceremony, Pylinski pointed out that the greater Utica chapter of AHA designated 27 “Red Cap Ambassadors” for this year’s AGHRW. The ambassadors are

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2017

those whose lives have been touched by heart disease, but more importantly saved, due to research. One of those was Jody Dudajek-Bush of New Hartford, who stood on stage with her 22-month-old son, Nixon. Team Nixon had 10 participants in the heart run/walk and raised $2,000. Nixon is a survivor of heart disease. Two years ago, he was born with a rare condition known as Tetralogy of Fallot. “When he was born, the doctor saw that he had low levels of oxygen in his blood and gave him a pulse oximetry test,” said Dudajek-Bush. He was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, where he received surgery to successfully correct four defects. The city of Rome continues to hold its Heart Run/Walk events in February. This year, it was blessed with unusually warm weather, and many participants opted to walk outdoors at Rome Free Academy. Kelly and Josh Lupinski’s 2-yearold daughter Kaydence was honored as a Red Cap Ambassador. “When I was pregnant, I didn’t have any problems,” said Kelly. “But when Kaydence was two days old, doctors discovered a heart murmur and ran an EKG. She was diagnosed with pulmonary stenosis or ventricular septal defect.” VSD is a hole in the wall separating the two lower chambers of the heart. “The goal was to wait until she was a year old before doing an operation, but she developed breathing complications when she was four months old and it made her blood pressure extremely high,” Kelly added. “She did have surgery at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse when she was six months old.” The surgery repaired the two holes. Kelly admitted she and her husband were alarmed at first, but she was able to go online and find a support group and was reassured by the diagnosis and surgery. “It’s more common than you know,” she said. As the Blossvale couple responded to media requests for interviews, Kaydence enjoyed being the center of attention. “She likes to smile and say cheese,” Kelly remarked.



Oneida 139 Fields Drive (315) 363-9380

Rome 8080 Turin Road (315) 336–4721


IGH MV April Issue 134  
IGH MV April Issue 134