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in good

Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

March 2014 • Issue 97

Meet MMRL’S Dr. Matthew Betzenhauser Page 4


Marriage & Health

It’s undeniable: Married couples healthier, live longer See Page 3 Protect your peepers Page 11

Special Food & Nutrition Edition

Teens more stressed out than adults Page 12 Check out upcoming health events and activities! See Page 2 Get ‘In Good Health’ at home. See coupon inside

Are you ready for a body cleanse?

See Page 8

Young girl battles juvenile diabetes See Page 6 Business bans sale of tobacco See Page 5



Got a health-related activity or event that you would like publicized? Call Lou Sorendo at 315-749-7070 or email Mondays

Women’s support therapy group to meet A women’s support therapy group meets from 5:30-7 p.m. Mondays at 1 Ellinwood Court, New Hartford. Topics of discussion include family issues, stress, depression, anger, relationships and grief. Cynthia Davis, who has 20 years of experience leading groups, will facilitate the meetings. Group size will be limited to protect anonymity. To register, call 7361231 or email There will be a small fee to register for these groups.

March 4

IHOP fundraiser to benefit CMN Hospital

buttermilk pancakes on National Pancake Day on March 4. IHOP, 535 French Road, New Hartford, participates in National Pancake Day each year to raise awareness and funds for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. For every short stack of buttermilk pancakes served on National Pancake Day between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., IHOP guests are invited to make a voluntary donation to FSLH’s CMN Hospital. Since the inception of its National Pancake Day in 2006, IHOP has raised nearly $13 million to provide life-saving treatment, programs and medical equipment for young patients, including the children and families treated annually at the CMN Hospital at FSLH. This year’s goal is to raise $3 million for charities nationwide. National Pancake Day proceeds support women’s and children’s services at FSLH.

For the ninth consecutive year, IHOP restaurants nationwide will offer each guest a free short stack of their

Continued on Page 14

ALL ABOUT HEALTHCARE IN CNY Grab a copy of the 2014 CNY Healthcare Guide at various doctors’ offices, hospitals, diners, dentists’ offices, libraries and many high-traffic locations.

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Or receive it at home or office at no charge when you subscribe to In Good Health 80-plus pages about local hospitals, trends and nonprofit organization. PLUS profile of 29 leaders in the healthcare industry BONUS: Resource Directory listing hundreds of support groups, nonprofit organizations, cancer services and much more

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2014

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Cover Story

A Healthy Marriage Studies show married couples live longer than single counterparts Having a partner to talk and laugh with — and lean on — eases burdens. In a study of 400 nurses, British researchers found that those in long-term relationships were far less affected by job stresses than singles. In a healthy marriage, you have a regular listening partner who knows you well enough to understand your concerns. Having somebody to check in with and talk through stressful issues is helpful.

By Barbara Pierce


ant to live a long life? Get married. Study after study has shown that married people, particularly men, live significantly longer than their single friends. Deanna Brady, family nurse practitioner in Utica and board member of the Nurse Practitioner Association of New York State, says being married not only elongates your life but also keeps you in general better health. “Many studies have proven that being married not only lowers your risk for heart disease, but it also boosts your immune system, happiness levels and helps you live longer, while lowering stress and depression levels,” Brady Brady said. Marriage comes with a priceless gift: better health. Experts agree that happily coupled people have less stress, have lower disease rates and enjoy other health perks. There are many reasons why a loving union makes for a longer, fitter life. “Couples in long-term relationships usually have healthier and more stable lifestyle habits,” says Brady. When women find mates, they spend less time at the late-night bar scene with a martini and cigarette. Compared to singles, married people are less likely to smoke, drink heavily or use illegal drugs. Plus, monogamy reduces the risk of sexually transmitted infections since you won’t be going home with a guy you just met. You’re also less likely to participate in risky activities. Married people aren’t usually out there bungee jumping, sky-diving, or zip lining. And if you’re part of a couple, you’re more likely to get into a structured routine of eating better and going to bed at the same time each day, which is better for your overall health.

Someone’s got your back

Having a spouse means there’s someone to remind you to take vitamins or get a mammogram. There’s also an extra set of eyes to notice your health changes. If you have a complicated medication regime, you have someone to help handle it. Your partner sees things you may not see. “I was having headaches every day,” said Richard Mason, a widowed 69-year-old. “I just took pain medication and slept. Turned out I had a brain tumor. If I had a partner, she would

But here’s the catch

Marriage only buffers stress if your union is fairly happy. Unhappy relationships with a lot of conflict and hostility are harmful to

your health. That’s especially true for women, because the physical effects of tension — elevated stress-related hormones, higher blood pressure, faster heart rate and depressed immune function — linger longer in females than in men. The effects aren’t minor. In a 2009 University of Manitoba (Canada) study, depression rates were nearly three times higher among unhappily married women as those who were blissfully wed. Marital discord has a physical toll too. People in stressful relationships are more likely to develop diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and other chronic diseases. But divorce isn’t the path to better health. In a study, people who lost their spouse to death or divorce had more chronic health problems on average than married or single people. So although marriage can be very healthy for most, choose your partner carefully and put a lot of effort into making it work.

have insisted I find out what was wrong with me. I need to find a partner for the sake of my health.” Wedded people also spend less time in hospitals. Your partner may even help you recover from a life-threatening illness. Your ability to recover is tied to the idea that you’ve got a meaningful connection to another human being. Indeed, one study found that a married woman’s risk of dying from any cause is half that of a single woman.

Marriage equals less stress

Brady said married people have less stress, less depression and anxiety and more of a “mental boost,” keeping them happier than singles. Results from a survey led by the University of Warwick showed that 40 percent of married people say they are happy in life, compared to only 25 percent of single people. The same study said married men have an additional seven years added onto their lives, while women get an extra three tacked on. Brady said researchers at the Mayo Clinic support a theory which explains the reason for less stress among married couples: “A problem shared is a problem halved,” meaning that the ability to share worries with someone gives a person the financial and emotional resources of two people, which lessens their stress load. Chronic stress can lead to or exacerbate just about every kind of health problem, including heart disease, stroke and cancer. Stress raises blood pressure, disrupts sleep, impairs immune function and raises the risk of obesity. Plus, stressed people often fall back on bad coping mechanisms such as smoking, drinking, overeating and using drugs, which further erode health. March 2014 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Excellus: Take meds as directed Superhero carries important message to healthcare community


xcellus BlueCross Blue Shield recently launched a community engagement campaign to help protect people against deteriorating health conditions, hospitalizations and sometimes deaths that can result when they don’t take their prescription medications as directed. Supporting the campaign are Oneida County, The Medical Societies of Oneida and Herkimer Counties and local physicians. The centerpiece of the campaign is a stylized prescription bottle called TAD, for “Take As Directed,” adorned with a superhero cape and utility belt. The TAD superhero conveys simple messages about the importance of medication adherence (See related ad, Page 20). According to the American Heart Association, poor medication adherence takes the lives of 125,000 Americans annually and costs the health care system nearly $300 billion a year in additional doctor visits, emergency department visits and hospitalizations. “When it comes to fighting chronic conditions, a prescription drug can be a superhero, but it only works if patients let it,” said Frank Dubeck, chief medical director for medical policy for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “A key message of the campaign is that, ‘If you’re not taking your prescriptions as directed, you’re taking a chance.’” “The superhero theme was selected because just about everyone likes superhero movies and generations of patients with chronic illnesses, for which medication adherence is particularly important, grew up reading comic books with superheroes,” said Dubeck. “In fact, 10 new superhero movies are scheduled for release this year.” “Doctors can do remarkable things with prescription medications to improve the health and quality of life of people suffering from a wide variety of chronic medical conditions,” said Dr. Kevin Mathews, Mohawk Valley Health System. “But too often, patients fail to have new prescriptions filled, or they take the medication less frequently than prescribed, or they stop taking the medication altogether.” There are a variety of reasons why people don’t take their medication as directed. For some, it’s too expensive or inconvenient to have the prescription filled or refilled. Others may worry about side effects or feel that they feel fine without taking it. Still others may simply forget to take the medication when they should, especially if they take multiple medications on different schedules. The public education campaign highlights a website, ExcellusBCBS. com/TakeAsDirected, that offers information and suggestions about what people can do to overcome barriers that may prevent them from taking their prescriptions.

Page 4


Your Doctor

By Patricia J. Malin

Matthew J. Betzenhauser Matthew Betzenhauser, a native Utican, returned to the Mohawk Valley two years ago to take a research position at the Masonic Medical Research Laboratory. He is now the assistant director of research and the summer fellowship program director. He specializes in the field of heart research with a particular focus on the essential role that calcium plays in cardiac function and disease. Q.: Why did you decide to practice in the Mohawk Valley? How did you hear about the Masonic Lab? A.: I have been aware of the MMRL since my college days and had seen presentations from the MMRL scientists at scientific meetings during my graduate and post-doctoral training. To be able to come home and continue my research after so many years away has been an amazing experience. Q.: What specific ailments or disorders do you research? A.: My colleagues and I examine the basis of human cardiac arrhythmias. An arrhythmia is any electrical disturbance in the heart. Some of these disturbances are relatively benign and treatable, but some can lead to sudden cardiac death. Arrhythmia syndromes can be genetic in origin such as the Brugada syndrome, long-QT and catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia. Others, such as atrial fibrillation affect us more as we age. My main research tool is fluorescent microscopy where we use special dyes and a high-powered microscope to monitor the fluxes of calcium inside heart cells in real time. My personal interest is understanding the impact of aging on the cardiovascular system. I am working to understand how alterations in calcium dynamics in atrial cells predispose aged individuals to AF. Q.: What prompted you to specialize in this type of research? A.: I was drawn into cardiac research through my interest and training in calcium signaling research. Calcium plays many roles in our bodies beyond building teeth and bones. Calcium is central to cardiac function since its levels need to increase inside each heart cell at the right time to make the heart beat. However, if calcium goes up inside heart cells during the relaxation phase of the heartbeat, it can cause arrhythmias. Mutations in genes that regulate calcium have been implicated as the source of some Brugada syndrome cases and most CPVT cases. Alterations in calcium dynamics have also been implicated in heart failure and AF. Q.: What is the goal of your research? A.: The goal of my research is to understand how calcium regulation inside heart cells changes as part of the aging process and heart failure. A long-term goal is to use this information to identify novel therapeutic strategies aimed at fixing altered calcium dynamics brought on by aging and genetic modifications in the genes that control calcium dynamics.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2014

Q.: Do you work alone or collaborate with others locally or in other locations? A.: During my experiments, I do spend a lot of time alone in a dark room monitoring glowing cells through a microscope. However, one of the great pleasures of a scientific career is collaborating with other smart, talented scientists such as scientists at the MMRL. In addition, we have active collaborations with doctors and scientists locally and throughout the world. One local example is a collaboration we have with the Mohawk Valley

Heart Institute. With patient consent, the surgical team routinely isolates heart samples that we can use for our studies. This kind of close relationship with clinicians was something that I had not experienced until I came to the MMRL. Q.: Do you have a timetable in mind as to when this research can be concluded? A.: My hope is that my research endeavors will continue to grow and develop throughout my career. That

Continued on Page 19

Lifelines Age: 39 Birthplace: Utica Residence: Rochester/Utica Education: Proctor High School, Utica, NY, 1992; Boston University, Bachelor of Arts in biology, 1996; University of Rochester, PhD in pharmacology, 2008; postdoctoral fellowship in physiology, Columbia University, 2014. Employment: Biogen, Inc., 1996-1999; University of Rochester, 1999-2009; Columbia University, 2009-2011; MMRL, 2012-present Affiliations: American Heart Association, American Physiological Society, Biophysical Society Family: Wife, Kristen; daughter, Isabella, 8 Hobbies: I am an avid baseball (Boston Red Sox) fan and I recently took up photography.

Butt out! CVS takes the lead by banning tobacco products at its stores By Amylynn Pastorella


VS Caremark pharmacy announced recently it will no longer sell cigarettes and other tobacco products in more than 7,600 stores across the United States by October. CVS is the first national pharmacy to take this step in support of the health and well being of its customers. “Ending the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products at CVS pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and company to help people in their path to better health,” said Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO, CVS Caremark. CVS Caremark’s decision to stop selling tobacco products is consistent with the positions taken by the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and American Pharmacists Association that have all publicly opposed tobacco sales in retail outlets and pharmacies. Smoking is the leading cause of premature disease and health in the U.S. with more than 480,000 deaths annually. While the prevalence of cigarette smoking has decreased from approximately 42 percent of adults in 1965 to 18 percent today, the rate of reduction in smoking prevalence has stalled in the past decade. More interventions such as reducing the availability of cigarettes are needed. According to Merlo, “we are pledging to help millions of Americans quit smoking” while removing cigarettes and tobacco products for sale. CVS pharmacy will undertake a robust national smoking cessation program that will be launched in the spring that will include information and treatment on smoking cessation. “Every day, all across the country, customers and patients place their trust in our 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners to serve their health care needs,” said Helena B. Foulkes, president, CVS pharmacy. “Removing tobacco products from our stores is an important step in helping Americans to quit smoking and get healthy.” The decision to exit the tobacco category is not expected to drastically impact the company’s financial projections. The company estimates that

it will lose approximately $2 billion in revenues on an annual basis from the tobacco shopper, equating to approximately 17 cents per share. Given the anticipated timing of this change, the impact to 2014 earnings per share is expected to be in the range of 6 to 9 cents per share.

Filling the gap

The company has identified incremental opportunities that are expected to offset the profitability impact, a spokesperson said. This decision more closely aligns the company with its patients, clients and healthcare providers to improve health outcomes while controlling costs and positions the company for continued growth, the spokesperson added. Reaction to CVS pharmacy stopping the sale of tobacco products and cigarettes is being met with mixed emotions in the Mohawk Valley. Some customers support the initiative while others feel that it is a penalization. “I understand what CVS is trying to do, but I can’t help question their decision because not only will they lose money, they still allow the sale of liquor and alcohol if state laws allow it. Alcohol causes disease too, but they will still allow that,” said Tom Dilenze of Rome. “It is the responsible thing to do, the healthy thing to do, for all their customers,” said Rudy Marchitelli of Utica. “I never did really understand that you could buy cigarettes at the same place you buy medicines to treat what diseases that smoking cigarettes have been proven to cause. I’m happy to see the change.” “It has been a conflict of interest for pharmacies, providers of health care, to also profit from the sale of harmful products such as tobacco, known to cause cancer, heart and pulmonary diseases. No doctor would prescribe tobacco, so why would a pharmacy sell it?” said Abby Jenkins Wrolsen, program coordinator of the Tobacco Free Network of Oswego County.

Protecting public health

In Oswego County, the elimination of tobacco products is a huge step forward for public health. Reducing the availability of tobacco products will help people to quit, advocates say. “CVS’s decision is a huge step in

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the right direction to working together as a community to improve residents’ health,” said Wrolsen. Along with CVS, local mom and pop stores throughout Oswego County have chosen to also put health above profit by eliminating tobacco products in their stores. “We thank the pharmacies that have made this decision to demonstrate their commitment for supporting the

health of our community,” said Wrolsen. CVS pharmacies stand firmly by their decision to stop the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to ensure the continued good health of patients and customers. The paradox of cigarette sales has become even more relevant recently, in large part because pharmacies want to become an integral part of the healthcare system.


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In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2014 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, Malissa Allen, Mary Stevenson, Deb Dittner, Amylynn Pastorella, Mary Christopher Advertising: Donna Kimbrell, Jasmine Maldonado Layout & Design: Chris Crocker Office Manager: Laura Beckwith No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher. The information in this publication is intended to complement—not to take the place of—the recommendations of your health provider.

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March 2014 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 5


Childhood diabetes Forever insulin dependent, 8-year-old Mia still flourishes

is usually genetic. Mia’s mother, former Sauquoit resident Lisa Restle Hsieh, grew concerned for her daughter’s health when she noticed excessive thirst, lack of energy and weight loss. At Mia’s yearly exam, she had grown three inches and lost five pounds. “As a mom, I knew something wasn’t right,” Lisa said. The results of a simple urine test sent mom and daughter directly to Boston Children’s Hospital, where Mia’s blood sugar number was over 600. “We were very lucky we caught it early,” she said.

By Mary Stevenson


ia Hsieh’s days revolve around school, soccer, downhill skiing, singing and dancing. The 8-year-old also likes imaginary play with her 6-year-old sister, Ella. She loves to read and spend time hiking and with nature. She does all of this and more with an insulin pack attached to her body every day. Mia is one of 26 million Americans with diabetes mellitus. She is Type 1, formerly called juvenile diabetes; she is and will always be insulin dependent. According to the Centers for Disease Control, of that staggering number, only 19 million are diagnosed. Type 2, formerly called non-insulin dependent diabetes, makes up about 90-95 percent of all diagnosed cases. Type 1 is most often diagnosed in children, adolescents or young adults; hence the juvenile diabetes name, according to the National Institutes of Health. The truth is, Type 1 can be diagnosed at any age. Most likely an autoimmune disorder, Type 1 occurs when

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Hsieh the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue in the pancreas, which makes insulin. Type 1

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Through education and tons of family support, Mia is able to participate in almost any activity she wants. She received an insulin pump at her diagnosis and her mother has a carbohydrate app on her cell phone to monitor the carbohydrates Mia eats. Lisa is able to enter the blood sugar numbers and set the insulin dose, and the pump administers insulin based on the numbers. Some models allow for remote entry of the numbers, such as the one that Lisa has for Mia. “If she has a snack, I can add the numbers while she is sitting in the back seat of the car and I am in the front seat,” Lisa said. The pump has been a godsend for Lisa and Mia. It delivers a steady dose of insulin through a catheter patch on Mia’s lower back or abdomen as well as a bolus dose based on what Mia eats and drinks. “It is the best thing out there,” Lisa said. “It saves me from having to figure out the exact amount

to give her and I don’t have to worry about giving her too much or too little.” Mia is not as self-conscious about it as she used to be. “They have cute little cases for the pumps now that she can use to cover it and all of her friends know what it is and what it’s for,” Lisa said. Type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent in the nation today. It is non-insulin dependent and is generally diagnosed in adult years. Some risk factors for Type 2 are: • Aged 45 or older • Overweight • Family history of Type 2 • A woman who has given birth to a baby that weighed over nine pounds or a woman who had gestational diabetes while pregnant Many of these cases can be controlled or sometimes eliminated with proper diet and exercise, all monitored by a physician. Research and clinical trials continue to find out more about what causes diabetes and how it can be treated and prevented. All in all, Mia is doing well with her diagnosis. She and her family participate in raising awareness of diabetes through fundraising events and educating those around them about the disease. At a silent auction recently, Mia was asked what she would do if the world was rid of diabetes. “I’d travel the world and eat whatever I wanted,” she responded.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2014

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Food & Nutrition

Subterfuge Getting ‘good-for-them’ food off the plate and into their mouths By Barbara Pierce


inter is finally winding down. We’re closer to spring and all the wonderful local fruits and vegetables that will be available. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your family’s diet is always a good thing. You can make your food much healthier when you use some easy tricks, tricks you can use any time of year. Preparing foods that your family will eat and are good for them is always a challenge. Sometimes, stealth is needed to dish out good nutrition. Subterfuge often works far better than wheedling or bribery. Think about the foods your family already enjoys, suggests LaVonne Redelinghuys on Even foods that may not seem very nutritious at first can be made to be quite healthy with a few minor alterations. You can preserve the taste of your family’s favorites while you add significant nutritional value and remove some of the fat, salt, sugar, or empty calories. For some dishes, you can cut the number of calories in half, while you add protein, vitamins and minerals, healthy oils, fiber, and other important components of a healthy and balanced diet. When you make easy healthy changes in several meals each week, you can make a big difference to your family. Often, the healthier alternatives involve adding ingredients that boost the nutritional value of the dish without significantly changing its taste or texture. For example, a meatloaf recipe usually includes: ground beef, onion, breadcrumbs, egg, ketchup, and spices. The healthy version uses lean meat or ground turkey, and oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs. Mix in shredded carrots, zucchini, green peppers, other vegetables or even a chopped apple to add fiber and increase the nutritional value.

Chili simmering all day in a crock pot is great on a cold day. Substitute ground turkey for ground beef and add lots of beans; beans are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Add lots of other vegetables, like corn and green peppers. If a beef stew only calls for onions and potatoes, try adding carrots, celery, corn, crushed canned tomatoes, peas, parsnip, spinach, cabbage, or other vegetables to bulk up the recipe. Mashed potatoes are always great to accompany most everything and most everyone loves them. Mix in a bit of steamed cauliflower, mash it in with the potatoes; no one will even notice and they’ll be eating their vegetables. Each time you serve mashed potatoes, gradually increase the amount of cauliflower. Some families enjoy mashed cauliflower, with no potatoes, especially when it is topped with Parmesan cheese. To pancake mix, add bananas, berries, mandarin oranges or pre-cooked

apples to up the fiber and nutrient content. Instead of syrup, use applesauce or another fruit topping. Pizza and pasta dishes are great foods for hiding nutrition. Make your own sauce or boost the nutritional value of bottled sauces by adding vegetables such as carrots and spinach. When making a pizza at home, use fresh vegetables as toppings. Instead of pepperoni, sausage, or ground beef, use meat substitutes. Meat substitutes also work great in tacos and Sloppy Joes. Add vegetables to your taco meat and your Sloppy Joes. Tofu has little flavor of its own and is a great way to add low-fat protein to many dishes. Silken tofu can be mixed in with scrambled eggs. Firm tofu can be mashed and mixed with ricotta for lasagna or desserts.

Eat those veggies!

Here is the most important thing you can do to get your family to eat more vegetables, according to nutrition

expert Joy Bauer on youtube. com: Before dinner, when they are hungry and eager to eat, and getting into the box of crackers, put out a huge platter of sliced vegetables: baby carrots, celery, snap peas, cauliflower, broccoli, whatever you have on hand. Tell them that is the only thing they can eat before dinner. They will balk for the first few days, but they will cave in and eat vegetables. Where is one of the best places to get delicious fruits and vegetables of the Mohawk Valley? — The Herkimer Farmers’ Market. With spring coming, the opening of the Herkimer Farmers’ Market is not far behind. “We have several organically grown produce vendors, as well as conventionally grown produce,” said owner/manager Cat Macera. “I specialize in using as much local items as possible.” The market offers in-season produce and fruit, fresh breads and pastries, a great variety of local cheese, eggs, beef, pork, chicken, duck, and more. Also featured are flowers, plants, jams and jellies, and crafts. Macera will offer beginner classes in canning as a way to preserve food. “This is another way to eat healthy, as well as saving money,” added Macera. “We accept SNAP benefits, Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, Senior FMNP checks, and Healthy Bucks,” said Macera. “This makes getting fresh produce and healthy meats possible at any income level.” The Herkimer Farmers’ Market at Herkimer ARC is located in the parking lot of HARC’s new building at 420 E. German St. The season begins June 2. The market will be open from 1-5 p.m. Mondays. For more information, visit www.


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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 7

Food & Nutrition The Balanced Body

By Deb Dittner

Detox versus eating clean Cleansing can be attained through various means


etoxification is the process, real or perceived, of removing toxins from the body. Detox is typically recommended at least once a year if not with each season. Winter is usually not a good time since the body works on rebuilding and not cleansing. Toxins are abundant in our environment from the air we breathe, household cleaning products and chemicals from airtight housing, medications (over-thecounter and prescribed), and processed Dittner foods. Popular magazines, top-selling books, and online programs can be found to help with the body’s natural cleansing process by changing consumption habits. So when do you need to detox? It is recommended for symptoms including but not limited to: • Fatigue • Skin irritation (eczema, dermatitis) • Intestinal issues (constipation,

Clean eating

bloating) • Hormonal issues • Allergies • Dark circles under the eyes, puffiness • Low-grade infections • Brain fog or mental confusion No single detox program can work for everyone. Every body is unique. Some of the detox programs are: • Juice cleanse


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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2014

• Master cleanse • Hypoallergenic detox • Smoothie cleanse • Sugar detox • Fasting These programs can last from two to three days, three to five days, one week, or longer. Some may not feel well during the detox process because of intestinal issues, increased fatigue, and headaches. Before starting any detox program, consult your health care practitioner if you have any questions or if it is right for you. Discretion should be taken regarding any detox program in those with chronic degenerative conditions, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, chronic fatigue, or tuberculosis, during pregnancy or nursing mothers, and children. Upon completing a detox program, gradually return to “normal” eating. Personally, I prefer eating clean and allowing the body to heal naturally. Again, every body is unique. Encouraging clients to nourish the body from the inside out with healthy whole foods and fluids while eliminating triggers causing stress on the kidneys, liver, lungs, intestines, lymph and skin is suggested for lifelong health and wellness. There is a need to create balance in the body which eating clean promotes.

So what do we mean by eating clean? Eating clean is a lifestyle. Eating clean depends on a few simple concepts including: • Eat plenty of fresh vegetables (6-10 servings) and fruits (2-3 servings) for fiber, vitamins, nutrients and enzymes • Eat healthy fats every day such as avocado and wild caught salmon • Eat a combination of lean protein and complete carbohydrates at each meal • Strict following of proper portion sizes • Eat breakfast daily within an hour of rising • Drink pure water, approximately 2-3 liters or half your body weight in ounces • Eat plenty of fiber • Carry a small cooler packed with clean foods each day. • Stock healthy food in the house; you can’t eat poorly if it isn’t there. • Prep your meals in advance to avoid temptations. Eating clean also means eliminating: • Processed foods particularly those with white flour and sugar • Chemically charged foods • Foods containing preservatives and artificial sugars • Soda and other sugary drinks like juices • Excessive amounts of alcohol • Saturated and trans-fats • All calorie-dense foods containing little or no nutritional value • Super-sizing your meals • Products labeled “low-fat or “reduced fat” • Coffee and caffeine Eating clean is not something that happens overnight. Be open to change. Pick one new item to try weekly. Eating clean does everything a detox does but it continues day after day allowing the body to feel balanced. Other benefits of eating clean can include weight loss, fat loss, improved sleep, clearer skin, increased energy, better focus, shinier hair and, most importantly, overall health. • Deborah Dittner is a family nurse practitioner specializing in reiki and holistic nutrition. Check out her website at www.The-Balanced-Body. com.

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Food & Nutrition SmartBites

only 190 calories per cooked cup, and even serves up some protein: 4 grams.

By Anne Palumbo

The skinny on healthy eating

Helpful tips If possible, buy hulled barley over pearl barley. Although pearl barley still boasts many health benefits, it has been polished or “pearled” of its outermost layer, has fewer nutrients than the hulled version, and is not considered a whole grain. Nonetheless, pearl barley, like its hulled sister, teems with fiber because the fiber in barley is distributed throughout the entire kernel.

Bowled over by barley


ntil I jumped on the whole-grain bandwagon a few years back, I never gave barley a second thought. Heck, I didn’t even know it was a whole grain. As far as I was concerned, it was a squishy white thing floating around in my canned soup. But knowledge is a beautiful thing, and now I can’t get enough of this tasty stuff. Barley, like other whole grains that have their nutrient-rich kernels intact, bursts with documented health benefits. Studies show that eating whole grains helps to lower the risk of many chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and those associated with high blood pressure. While benefits are most pronounced with at least three servings daily, some studies show reduced risks from as little as one. On the fiber front, barley takes top billing among grains, delivering more fiber per serving than any other whole grain (one cup provides about a fourth of our daily needs). Fiber keeps us regular, helps with weight maintenance by promoting a full feeling and stabi-

Lemon Barley Pilaf with Pesto Adapted from Bon Appetit Serves 4 lizes blood sugars. It also helps to lower blood cholesterol levels by ferrying cholesterol-containing bile out of bodies, a benefit that reigns supreme for those concerned about cholesterol. Of course, barley’s high fiber content is just the tip of the nutritious iceberg. Whole grain barley brims with antioxidants — powerful compounds that mop up free radicals linked to a host of age-related diseases. It’s also a good source of niacin, an important B vitamin that helps convert food to energy, and an excellent source of manganese, a mineral that is essential to healthy metabolism and the formation of connective tissue, cartilage and bone. A toothsome grain with a slightly nutty flavor, barley is naturally low in fat, sodium and cholesterol, clocks in at

1 tablespoon olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped ¾ cup barley 2 cups low-salt chicken broth 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped 1 red bell pepper, chopped 2 cups kale (chopped) or baby spinach 2 tablespoons pesto 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel Salt and pepper to taste Heat olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Sauté until onion is beginning

to soften, about 5 minutes. Add barley; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, stir once, and cover. Cook until barley is almost tender, about 30 minutes for pearl barley and 45 minutes for hulled. Add carrot, bell pepper, and kale; cover and cook until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Remove pilaf from heat and stir in pesto. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in lemon peel and serve.

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

Yoga can lower fatigue, inflammation in breast cancer survivors


racticing yoga for as little as three months can reduce fatigue and lower inflammation in breast cancer survivors, according to new research. The more the women in the study practiced yoga, the better their results. At the six-month point of the study — three months after the formal yoga practice had ended — results showed that on average, fatigue was 57 percent lower in women who had practiced yoga compared to the non-yoga group, and their inflammation was reduced by up to 20 percent. The participants had completed all breast cancer treatments before the start of the study and only yoga novices were recruited for the randomized, controlled clinical trial. Participants practiced yoga in small groups twice a week for 12 weeks. Women making up the control group were wait-listed to receive the same yoga sessions once the trial was over.

During the study, they were instructed to go about their normal routines and not to do yoga. “This showed that modest yoga practice over a period of several months could have substantial benefits for breast cancer survivors,” said Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at The Ohio State University and lead author of the study. “We also think the results could easily generalize to other groups of people who have issues with fatigue and inflammation,” said Kiecolt-Glaser, also an investigator in Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research. Though many studies have suggested that yoga has numerous benefits, this is the largest known randomized controlled trial that includes biological measures, Kiecolt-Glaser said. Researchers recruited 200 women for the study. The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Faxton St. Luke’s Volunteer Association supports TV service for patients The Faxton St. Luke’s Volunteer Association recently presented Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica with a $150,000 donation to purchase new TVs for inpatient rooms. The 32-inch flat screen TVs will be available in each inpatient room and the service will be free to patients. Patients will also be able to make free local calls while staying in the hospital. In above photo, Jane Gwise, left, Faxton St. Luke’s Volunteer Association president, and Craig Heuss, right, volunteer association board treasurer, present Anthony Scibelli, senior vice president of operations for FSLH, with a check for $150,000 to purchase TVs.

March 2014 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Walk the Talk Rome Indoor Walk/Run raises $20,000 to fight heart disease and stroke By Patricia J. Malin


hree-year-old Nicholas D’Amore could hardly stand still. He walked, ran and danced around the Rome Free Academy gym on a recent Saturday morning, enjoying the crowds, noise, games, colorful festivities and a little extra attention. He’s too young to realize the significance of the Rome Indoor Walk/ Run. That’s not the case, however, with his parents, Tonya and Mike D’Amore. They were part of a group of about 14 people who donned red shirts for “Team Nicholas,” and celebrated his health. They were among a total of 215 people who took part in the annual walk and raised more than $20,000 to fight heart disease and stroke. The event, sponsored by Rome Memorial Hospital, was held thankfully indoors on a frigid winter’s day. It also served as pre-registration for the keynote event of America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk, which was held in Utica recently. Nicholas came into the world at Rome Memorial Hospital on Sept. 29, 2010. A few days later, as he was about to be discharged and taken home, his mother noted that his toes were turning blue. “He wasn’t moving his legs like

a normal baby,” said Tonya, who is a nurse. The baby’s pediatrician also recognized the danger signs. Nicholas was taken immediately to Crouse Hospital in Syracuse for a comprehensive examination. Just 3 days old, a heart defect was discovered. Coarctation of the aorta was the official diagnosis. It means he had a “kink” in his aorta, according to his paternal grandmother, Paula D’Amore. She participated in the indoor walk with Nicholas’s maternal grandmother, Carol Sessions, and other family members. Coarctation is a narrowing of the aorta between its branches to the arms and those to the legs and reduces circulation. At 6 days old, Nicholas was taken by ambulance to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, where a pediatric cardiologist performed surgery on him. Mike and Tonya said the surgeons needed to remove the part of the aorta that had the obstructed blood flow, put in a stent and reattach it. Since then, Nicholas has not experienced any major problems and is as lively as any other toddler. The D’Amores started Team Nicholas out of gratitude and to contribute to further research on heart problems in newborns. Another survivor, Red Cap ambas-

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2014

Paula D’Amore plays with her grandson, Nicholas D’Amore, who is a survivor of heart surgery, at the conclusion of the Rome Heart Walk at Rome Free Academy. sador Mike Heysham, shared his story during the opening ceremony. The 41-year-old received a heart transplant last year after being treated for viral cardiomyopathy for the last 20 years. The Rome event offered a variety of indoor courses. The oval track was for the leisurely walkers, while there were challenging courses for more avid walkers and runners. There were family-friendly activities for all ages, along with entertainment at Sydney’s Circle. Laura Hunziker started Sydney’s Circle in memory of her daughter Sydney, who died from a congenital heart defect when she was only one. The vendors included experts who discussed health education. The showcase event of America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk was held recently in Utica. The total fundraising goal was $1,133,000.

Utica hosts Kids Walk

Another American Heart Association event, the 14th annual Kids Walk, was held recently at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica. Avery Davis of Yorkville won a new bicycle in the Kids Walk, compliments of Midstate CERT Team. “Families attending the Kids Walk are treated to a fun-filled afternoon of education and the importance of healthy eating and exercise through interactive booths and activities,” said

event organizer Theresa Swider. “The American Heart Association wants to partner with families to reduce risk factors that our community’s youth face due to inactivity and poor eating habits.” Swider herself is one of the most successful local fundraisers. She and her family organized Team Victoria in 1994 on behalf of her young daughter who was born with a genetic heart defect. Victoria Swider today is a healthy college student and an active participant in the Heart Walk. Team Victoria’s goal for 2014 is to raise $22,000. The Kids Walk invited students from area schools to participate in a poster contest to showcase health and wellness. Awards were presented for first- and second-place and honorable mentions and their artwork was displayed during the Kids Walk. Here is a list of winners: • Grade 5: Melissa Dizdarevic, Westmoreland Road Elementary School, Whitesboro • Grade 4: Dezyrae Feliciano, Conkling School, Utica • Grade 3: Megan Wameling, Clinton Central School, Clinton • Grade 2: Christian Hadlock, Westmoreland Road Elementary School, Whitesboro • Kindergarten: Averi Kraeger, Westmoreland Road Elementary School, Whitesboro

Pet Health

Temple Grandin An advocate for people … and animals, too By Patricia J. Malin


hether you call her an ambassador for animals or an advocate for autism, Temple Grandin has an ability to unite disparate groups in a common cause. It’s as difficult to put her in just one category as it is to get this fidgety, multi-faceted personality to sit still for an interview. A respected professor of animal science and a researcher in animal behavior at Colorado State University, Grandin addressed the New York State Beef Producer’s Association conference recently at the Holiday Inn near Syracuse. Her ability to straddle more than one world at once makes her a desired speaker. Despite battling laryngitis and a cold, the 67-year-old Grandin stuck to a rugged schedule and gave two lectures for NYBPA members on the theme of animal welfare. She gave an additional lecture for the public that evening, which drew 800 staffers and supporters from The Kelberman Center of Utica, a center dedicated to the advancement of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The Kelberman Center co-sponsored the event with NYBPA. While she overcame her shyness decades ago, at times she still gives an impression of detachment. “I think she’s a fantastic personality one-on-one,” said Kelberman Center Executive Director Rob Myers. “We talked about clients at the center and she problem-solved with us.” Grandin, a high-functioning autistic, is an author of books promoting animal welfare (“Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical Approach”); and treatises recognizing the abilities of pets (“Animals in Translation”). The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals celebrates her views, as do their supposed foes, farmers and the meat industry. She is well known for books on human social relationships and autism. Last May, she published “The Autistic Brain.” During an interview with Publisher’s Weekly, she explained how her book examined the research into the brain and the neurology of autism spectrum disorder. She is not just interested in autism research from the outside in. She has personally volunteered for a half-dozen brain scans. “I’m a scientist!” she told Publisher’s Weekly. “The technology is there to dissect what looks like aircraft cables in the brain.” She is also the author of “Different … Not Less,” which is about how people with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome can still have productive careers; “The Way I See It: A Personal Look At Autism” and “Asperger’s and Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism.” She was also expected to be the keynote speaker at the national Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome Conference

Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State and an advocate for people with autism, chats with Rob Myers, executive director of the Kelberman Center of Utica during a recent conference in Syracuse. in Indianapolis, Ind., early this month.

True inspiration

“She’s an inspiration for a countless number of people,” Myers added. “She’s a national figure for autism who represents the ability of all people to reach their unlimited potential.” Her biography revealed her insecurities while growing up with a diagnosis of autism and of being taunted by classmates. She experienced difficulty coping with social interactions, and one sees evidence of it to this day. Nevertheless, it’s this innate sensitivity that motivated her work in extending humane handling to livestock. The secret to Grandin’s philosophy is to apply the Golden Rule to man and beast alike. While at the NYBPA conference, she kept up a steady pace, whether lecturing or standing in the hallway, autographing books and DVDs and responding to questions from fans. She is a particularly appealing figure for teen girls, many of whom joined their parents at the conference. No one can argue with Grandin’s broad humanist philosophy, if such a term includes animals. According to Wikipedia, “(Humanism is a movement of philosophy and ethics that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers individual thought and evidence over established doctrine or faith.” Wearing her trademark Western-styled scarf, shirt and slacks, the tall and slender Grandin belies her youth growing up in Boston and

attending private boarding schools. According to her biography, her mother felt justified in ignoring Temple’s speech disorder and attention-deficit disorder. Instead she gave her extra attention (albeit from a nanny), took time to have her evaluated by specialists and neurologists, and encouraged her to get an above-average education. Grandin said she did not speak until she was 4 years old. She said her mother “got good advice early on. She had a good sense of how far to push me.”

Exploring animal science

Trips to her aunt’s horse ranch in

Arizona each summer had the greatest impact on her, Grandin said in an interview with Mohawk Valley In Good Health. She joined the 4H Club at home and developed a lifetime relationship with horses. After getting her bachelor’s degree in psychology at small, private Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire, she went on to study animal science at Arizona State University. She later obtained a PhD in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though she has been studying animal behavior and advocating for humane treatment for the last 40 years, she also recognizes contemporary trends. “The millennial generation is more concerned about where their food comes from,” said Grandin during her lecture on maintaining animal welfare standards. A majority of consumers care, as well, about how that animal is treated. Every animal has the right to five “freedoms,” she said in her presentation. She discussed how to read signs of fear and anxiety in animals and gave pointers on how to make barns, paddocks and cages comfortable for cows, cattle, chickens and pigs. “Calm animals are easier to handle,” she told attendees. She is not naive enough to know that humane treatment doesn’t happen overnight or without training. “Maintaining high standards requires continuous monitoring,” she emphasized. So she set about determining ways to train inspectors to audit farms and slaughterhouses to evaluate staff practices and to reduce needless deaths and suffering of animals. Instead of resisting her efforts, Grandin’s research has been welcomed by meat packers such as Tyson, JBS Swift and Smithfield, and by food producers such as Wendy’s International, Burger King, Whole Foods, Chipotle, and McDonald’s.

Heart transplant success improving


eart transplantation continues to be the “gold standard” treatment for end-stage heart failure, and a large number of patients now live 20 years or more after surgery, according to a study in the February 2014 issue of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery. Physicians Hector Rodriguez Cetina Biefer and Markus J. Wilhelm, from the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland, led a research team that examined long-term outcomes in 133 patients from their institution who underwent heart transplantation from 1985 to 1991. Among those patients, 74 (55.6 percent) survived at least 20 years post-transplantation. The average age at transplant for the 20-year survivors was 43.6 years.

March 2014 •

Major causes of death in non-survivors were graft rejection (21 percent), malignancy (21 percent), cardiac allograft vasculopathy (an accelerated form of coronary artery disease; 14.5 percent), and infections (14.5 percent). “A remarkable number of patients survived 20 years or more following heart transplantation, confirming the procedure as the ‘gold standard’ for end-stage heart failure, at least for the time being,” said Wilhelm. “With continued improvements in immunosuppressive management in the coming years, we expect to see transplant patients living longer, healthier lives. It is still uncertain if mechanical circulatory support devices will be able to compete with heart transplantation in the future.”

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Wheelchair athlete J-Rob gets air time


ason Robinson, the youngest participant ever to compete in the Boilermaker 15K Road Race wheelchair division, is being featured in an Excellus BlueCross BlueShield television commercial airing on local television stations. The ad features a photo of Robinson racing. Robinson, who has spina bifida, was 10 years old when he competed in last year’s race in a custom-fitted racing wheelchair donated by the Westmoreland School District. He completed the course in an impressive 1 hour, 13 minutes and 48 seconds. Robinson is a member of Sitrin’s STARS adaptive sports program and trained for the Boilermaker through WKTV’s “Go the Distance” program. Last spring, Robinson and his family launched the nonprofit J-Rob Foundation to raise funds to provide adaptive sporting equipment to children with physical disabilities or challenges. The website for the foundation is at Robinson’s photo was entered into Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s “Life Has A Plan” contest. As part of a brand awareness campaign, the health plan

Jason Robinson is the youngest participant to ever compete in the Boilermaker 15K Road Race in Utica. asked the community to submit photos and videos of life’s special moments to be posted on its website and featured in the ad campaign. Photos and videos had to fit into one of four categories: play, commitments, surprises or victories. The photo of Robinson was taken and submitted by Robinson’s aunt, Donna Petrie. “I was honored and humbled to take pictures of my nephew,” said

Petrie. “He is one amazing boy who’s truly an inspiration to all who meet him.” While not all of the submitted photos and videos were selected for the ad campaign, all were posted on Also, all participants are entered into monthly drawings for healthy prizes including a mountain bike, kayak, treadmill or gift card to a sporting goods store. Winners are selected ran-

domly each month. More than 1,500 photos and videos have been submitted since the contest’s launch in April 2013. The contest runs until Dec. 31, 2014. To view the television spot, see what others have shared or submit a photo or video, visit LifeHasAPlan. com. The television ad can also be viewed on YouTube at http://youtube/0Bellc5-xY0.

What’s more, the survey suggested that teens are poised to become even more stressed as they enter adulthood. Katherine Nordal, the APA’s executive director for professional practice, said during the news conference that school was the most common source of stress for teens. “Getting into a good college and deciding what to do after high school was also a significant stressor for about 69 percent of teens,” she said. Teens’ financial concerns for their families also ranked among the top stressors. “Children learn what they live, so I think that when there’s a lot of stress in the household in regard to financial concerns that certainly it bleeds down to children as well,” Nordal said. The survey also found the following:

• Teens reported sleeping just 7.4 hours on school nights and 8.1 hours on non-school nights — far less than the 8.5 to 9.25 hours recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. • One in five teens reported exercising less than once a week or not at all. • Nearly a third of teens said they eat to manage stress, while 23 percent reported skipping a meal due to stress. Anderson said parents can help teens by recognizing their stress levels and modeling good stress-management behaviors, such as eating a healthy diet and taking time to exercise. Parents also need to stay plugged in to their teenagers’ lives by taking every opportunity to communicate with them, Nordal said.

KIDS Corner Survey: Teens’ stress levels rival those of adults Top worries include post-graduation choices, financial concerns


f paying the bills and putting food on the table put adults’ nerves on edge, just imagine how today’s overscheduled, frequently tested teenagers must feel. Adolescents reported stress levels during the school year that surpassed those of adults, according to the American Psychological Association’s latest Stress in America survey. The survey, based on an August 2013 Harris Interactive poll, is thought to be the first to focus on how stress is affecting the nation’s adolescents. It included more than 1,000 teens and nearly 2,000 adults. The findings suggest that teens’ sleeping and exercise habits feed into their stress levels and the stress affects their health habits, creating a vicious circle, said Norman Anderson, CEO Page 12

and executive vice president of the American Psychological Association. “Those who experience high levels of stress tend to report that they exercise less and they don’t sleep as well, which feeds back into increasing their stress,” Anderson said during a recent news conference. “Conversely, those who say they exercise on a regular basis and get a good night’s sleep show a decrease in stress.” Another “alarming” finding: “Teens don’t appear to realize the impact stress has on their physical and mental health,” Anderson said. More than half of teens think stress has a slight or no impact, yet many reported symptoms of stress, the survey found. Forty percent said they feel irritable or angry and 36 percent said they feel tired.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2014

The Social Ask Security Office Column provided by the local Social Security Office

In Iditarod and retirement, prep is key


he Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, held each March in Alaska, is one of the harshest, most challenging races known to man (or dog). Mushers embark on a race from Anchorage to Nome that takes between nine and 15 days. Contestants bear sub-zero temperatures with gale-force winds that can cause wind chills as low as negative 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It takes endurance, preparation and careful planning to make it from start to finish. The same can be said for your race toward retirement and Social Security. No one would hit the trail without being ready for the challenges. Similarly, no worker today should be navigating toward retirement without a little bit of preparing, planning, and stick-toitiveness. Choosing your steps is as important as selecting the right sled dogs. Your first step in planning for a comfortable retirement is to look at your Social Security Statement, which you can do online easily with a my Social Security account. The online Statement is easy to use and provides estimates you should consider in planning for your retirement. It provides estimates for disability and survivors benefits, making the Statement an important financial planning tool. Your Statement allows you to review and ensure your earnings are accurately posted to your Social Security record. This feature is important because Social Security benefits are based on average earnings over your lifetime. If the information is incorrect, or you have earnings missing from your record, you may not receive all of the benefits to which you are entitled in the future. Visit www.socialsecurity.


Q: My neighbor said my kids, 8 and 15, might be eligible for survivors’ benefits since their mother died. Are they? A: Maybe. Their mother must have worked and earned the required number of Social Security credits. If she did, both you and your children may be eligible for benefits. Apply promptly for survivors benefits because benefits are generally retroactive only up to six months. You can apply by calling Social Security’s toll-free number, 1-800772-1213, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call our toll-free TTY number, 1-800-3250778. Q: I’m expecting a baby this June. What do I need to do to get a Social Security number for my baby? A: Apply for a number at the hospital when you apply for your baby’s birth certificate. The state agency that

gov/myaccount to set up a my Social Security account and get started. Before heading into the snowy terrain, you want to make sure you have prepared for a number of different possible obstacles on the trail. For retirement planning, you’ll want to test out the Retirement Estimator to see how changes in your income, retirement age and other variables may change your overall plan. Use our Retirement Estimator, where you can get a personalized, instant estimate of your future retirement benefits using different retirement ages and scenarios. Visit the Retirement Estimator at www. Out in the cold, you’ll be thankful for the provisions you’ve brought along. In retirement, you’ll understand why it was so important for you to save early on. The sooner you begin your financial planning, the better off you will be. Social Security replaces about 40 percent of the average worker’s pre-retirement earnings, but most financial advisers say that you will need 70 percent or more of pre-retirement earnings to live comfortably. You also will need other savings, investments, pensions or retirement accounts to make sure you have financial security to live comfortably when you retire. Visit the Ballpark Estimator for tips to help you save. You’ll find it at www. Use our online library of publications as your trail map or guidebook to help you when it comes to planning for retirement. Check out When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits. It and many other useful publications can be found at www.socialsecurity. gov/pubs.

issues birth certificates will share your child’s information with us, and we will mail the Social Security card to you. Q: My mother receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. She may have to enter a nursing home later this year. How does this affect her SSI benefits? A: Moving to a nursing home can affect your mother’s SSI benefits but it depends on the type of facility. In some cases, the SSI payment may be reduced or stopped. Whenever your mother enters or leaves a nursing home, assisted living facility, hospital, skilled nursing facility, or any other kind of institution, you must tell Social Security. Call Social Security’s toll-free number, 1-800772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). We can answer specific questions and provide free interpreter services from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. We also provide information by automated phone service 24 hours a day.

Between You and Me

By Barbara Pierce

Uh oh ... Here comes crazy! Get away and don’t let heart, gut tell you otherwise

If you see crazy coming, cross the street.” Good advice from relationship expert Iyanla Vanzant. What she says resonates with me. I’m searching for a partner. I find myself attracted to crazy. I need to let my head rule in my search, not my heart or my guts or whatever inside me keeps me from being as wise as I need to be. Vanzant emphasizes: When you see crazy coming, don’t just stand there saying: ‘Come on crazy; I’m going to give you some therapy.’ If you see warning signs slapped in the middle of his forehead, don’t think you are going to fix him; don’t think you are going to change this person. Cross the street. Get away from crazy. “Take your time and look for the experience, not the feeling,” Vanzant said when she appeared on “Oprah” a few years ago. Pierce Take your time and look for the experience, not the excitement. Why do we think love will fix it, she asks? Love doesn’t fix people. When you’ve got somebody you’ve got to fix, you’re in lust, Vanzant said. You are out of your mind. “When people show you who they are, believe them,” is another good piece of advice from Maya Angelou, quoted by Winfrey on the episode. When someone lets you see he is selfish, or mean, or unkind, believe it. I know this is so. I know in my last relationship, I saw crazy coming and I embraced it. Despite the fact I knew better. In my workshops on online dating, I stress: “Listen to your instincts. Listen to those red flags in your mind.” Yes, that is what I say. But it is not what I do. Instincts/red flags: that internal nudging that signals something is potentially wrong. You know what I mean; we all get them.

Ignoring red flags

But why do so many of us ignore our instincts? The good feelings we are having might be one reason we tie up our intuition and throw it in the basement. Or maybe it’s our need to have someone — anyone — who makes us sacrifice our intuition. We’re screening potential partners in, rather than out. “We start looking under a rock instead of at the top of the tree,” says Vanzant.

Or maybe we’re so confident of our ability to fix anything or anyone that we just feel we can ignore those nudges that get stronger and stronger. I’d say that is my reason. I can fix anyone. I can handle any situation. Or so I think. For a smart person, that’s pretty dumb thinking. In my defense, I do have limits. I do screen out men who may be potentially abusive, who are dependent on alcohol or drugs, and those who are dependent on me to give them a life. Guess I have to accept that it’s not that I don’t see the red flags waving, but that I want something more than the truth. “When someone shows you who they are, please understand the truth of them and of yourself,” says Winfrey. Do not waste your time with people who have shown you they mean no good for you. Do not surround yourself with people who are not good for you. If you allow yourself to be around people who show you who they are, and you know they are not good for you, you are allowing them to peck you to death like a duck. Each time these people enter into your space, they will take a little piece of your soul. “Take your time, look for the experience.” That is the thing to remember. It takes time to really get to know a person, certainly at least three to four months of regular dating. Know this person by having a variety of experiences together, by meeting stressful situations together and individually, by seeing this person in different settings, with different people, facing day-today stresses, and facing the big challenges. Patience is not my strong suit; I have much to learn. But I do know I need to give a potential relationship time. I may not cross the street when I see crazy, but I’d think I would saunter off in the other direction given enough time. • Barbara Pierce is a retired licensed clinical social worker with many years’ experience in helping people. If you would like to purchase a copy of her book “If I’m so Fantastic, Why am I Still Single?” contact her at, or contact her if you have any concerns you would like her to address.

Market your business in Mohawk Valley In Good Health! Call 749-7070 today! March 2014 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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March 4

Grief Survivors group to meet Grief Survivors will meet from 6-7:30 p.m. March 4 and March 18 at The Good News Center, 10475 Cosby Manor Road, Utica. Drop-ins are welcome. The group meets every other Tuesday. This is a faith-based support group for those suffering the loss of a loved one. For more information contact Tanya at 315-735-6210, or visit

March 4

Tri-County Quits tobacco cessation classes slated The Tri-County Quits tobacco cessation program is offering a three-part Fresh Start class to help participants stop smoking. Fresh Start is a group-based tobacco cessation support program offered by the American Cancer Society. The classes will be held at 6:30 p.m. on March 4, 11 and 18 at The Regional Cancer Center at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, 1676 Sunset Ave., Utica. The program is designed to help individuals quit smoking by providing essential information, skills for coping with cravings and group support. The Tri-County Quits tobacco cessation program works throughout Oneida, Herkimer and Madison counties to support healthcare providers and organizations with training and technical assistance that promotes quitting smoking. For more information or to register, call 315-624-5639.

March 4

FSLH Wellness Center slates aquatics class The Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare Wellness Center in Utica is offering a new session of aquatic classes for back pain beginning March 4. Classes are held in six-week sessions at 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. They combine water exercises and stretches to reduce back pain and increase flexibility and mobility. The FSLH Wellness Center is located at The Regional Rehabilitation Center at the Faxton Campus, 1676 Sunset Ave., Utica. For more information or to register, call Bethany Kleist at 315-624-5484 or email

March 5

Free course on diabetes prevention Little Falls Hospital and Herkimer County HealthNet, Inc. is teaming up Page 14

to offer the public a free course through the New York State Diabetes Prevention Program titled “Diabetes Prevention — Knowledge for a Healthy Future.” The program will begin on March 5 and will meet every Wednesday for 16 weeks from 6-7 p.m. at Little Falls Hospital on the 4th floor in Conference Room A. Annette McClenahan will be the lifestyle coach who will lead the weekly sessions to help improve one’s food choices, increase physical activity, and learn coping skills to maintain weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes. The NYS DPP is proven to prevent diabetes in people who have pre-diabetes or are at high risk for diabetes. Those interested in attending the 16-week program can contact Herkimer County HealthNet at 315-867-1552 or

March 6

‘Understanding Heart Failure’ topic of lecture If you find that living with heart failure keeps you from daily activities or doing the things you enjoy because you are tired and short of breath, learn how to manage your condition and improve your quality of life at Health Night. Rome Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department Medical Director Andrew Bushnell will present “Understanding Heart Failure” at 7 p.m. March 6 in the hospital’s classroom. Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to the rest of the body. Health Night is a monthly lecture series, sponsored by Rome Memorial Hospital. Advance registration is not required. Refreshments will be served. Rome Memorial Hospital’s classroom is located on the second floor of the hospital. Participants should use the North James Street entrance of the hospital. There will be signs to direct you to the classroom.

March 7

Coalition features safe sleep photo contest The Mohawk Valley Safe Sleep Coalition is sponsoring its “A to Zzzz” infant safe sleep photo contest to promote awareness of infant safe sleep practices. Voting will take place via Facebook beginning March 7, and a winner will be announced the week of March 17. The entry deadline has concluded. The winning family receives a free family photo package donated by Stephen Marsh Photography. The Mohawk Valley Safe Sleep Coalition is a partnership of Mohawk Valley Perinatal Network, Oneida County Health Department, Oneida County Child Fatality Review Team and other community organizations. The coalition’s mission is to decrease sleep-related infant deaths in the Mohawk Valley by developing community awareness, opportunities for

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2014

professional education, and resources for families. For more information, contact Kayleigh Riesel, Mohawk Valley Perinatal Network program associate, at 315-732-4657 ext. 228 or email her at

March 7

HealthNet to host annual recognition luncheon Herkimer County HealthNet will host its third annual Creating Healthy Places Recognition Luncheon March 7 at Francesca’s Banquets and Catering, Ilion. Herkimer County HealthNet will be recognizing child care facilities, farmers’ markets, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations for their efforts to improve parks, playgrounds and trails; developing healthier child care/ day care programs; foster healthy eating; and enhance places to exercise. The format of the event will consist of a meet and greet buffet luncheon followed by an awards ceremony. For more information about the luncheon, call Alison Swartz at Herkimer County HealthNet at 315-8671499 or e-mail Herkimer County HealthNet’s mission is to improve the health and well being of individuals who live, work, play and learn in Herkimer County.

March 7-8

Good News Center goes forward on retreat The fourth annual women’s retreat will be held on March 7-8 at The Good News Center, 10475 Cosby Manor Road, Utica. Margaret Castellini, a well-known spiritual leader, will be facilitating the retreat. Registration is at 5:30 p.m. March 7 and the event concludes at 4 p.m. March 8. The cost is $75 and includes three meals, lodging and the program. Contact Tanya at 315-735-6210 or register online at by March 5.

March 8

After Breast Cancer Support Group to meet The After Breast Cancer Support Group will meet at 11 a.m. March 8 in the community room at the Center for Rehabilitation and Continuing Care Services on the St. Luke’s Campus, 1650 Champlin Ave., Utica. ABC meetings are free and open to the public. The March meeting is titled “Looking at Clinical Trials” and Marie Smith, clinical trials coordinator for The Regional Cancer Center at FSLH, will lead the discussion. This meeting will cover clinical trials and how to find out if a clinical trial should be part of a treatment plan. Women who have had breast cancer created the ABC Support Group. For more information, call 315-6245764 or email

March 8

Friends of Arc schedule ‘Not So Silent’ auction The Friends of The Arc Foundation will be hosting their annual auction at 7 p.m. March 8 at the Yahnundasis Golf

Club in New Hartford. Last October, the foundation hosted a black tie anniversary ball to kick off the 60-year celebration scheduled for this year. Sixty years ago, a small group of parents came together following an ad in a local newspaper requesting that families of children with disabilities meet to discuss options for service and programs in the community. From this came the opening of The Arc’s first program in a small schoolhouse. This year will be spent celebrating the progress that The Arc has made in the past 60 years. The “Not So Silent Auction” will include a live auction, silent auction, basket prizes, duck hunt purse pull, ring toss wine pull, balloon pop grub grab, photo booth, jugglers and entertainment by GJ Solo. Advanced ticket sales are $35 by phone at 315-272-1529 or online at, or tickets are $40 at the door. For more information, call 315-2721529 or visit

March 9

Are you ready to consider ‘The Third Option’? The Third Option will meet at 6:30 p.m. March 9 at The Good News Center, 10475 Cosby Manor Road, Utica. The group meets every other Sunday. The Third Option support group is for married couples that are seeking resolutions to problems. For more information, contact Tanya at 315-735-6210, or visit

March 11-12

FSLH to host two blood drives in March Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare will host a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 11 in Allen-Calder Conference Rooms 3, 4 and 5 at the St. Luke’s Campus, 1656 Champlin Ave., Utica. Participants are asked to enter through Allen-Calder Entrance 7 at the back of the campus. Another blood drive will be held from 2-7 p.m. March 12 in the traveling donor center, located outside of Allen-Calder Entrance 7 at the back of the campus. For more information or to make an appointment, call 315-624-8236 or 315-624-8239. You can also register online at

March 14

Talent show to benefit Abraham House Abraham House is hosting its third annual “Singing Sensations” Talent Show for singers 5-18 years old. The talent show will be held at 6:30 p.m. March 14 at Mohawk Valley Community College Theater, Information Technology & Conference Building, Sherman Drive, Utica. Tickets for the show are $10 and $5 for children 18 and under. They will be available at the door or in advance at Abraham House, 1203 Kemble St., Utica. For further information, call Abraham House at 733-8210. Abraham House provides a secure

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Continued from Page 14 and loving home without charge to the terminally ill in the community.

March 14-16

A way to rebuild a hurting marriage Retrouvaille is a marriage seminar and marriage help program. It will be held March 14-16 at The Good News Center, 10475 Cosby Manor Road, Utica. For more information, visit www., or for confidential inquiries contact Andrea, program coordinator, at 315-735-6210 ext. 228 or

April 5

Kelberman Center hosts annual Walk for Autism Autism affects one out of every 88 children in the United States. Autism Awareness Month is celebrated throughout April and the Kelberman Center will host its annual Walk for Autism April 5 in Oneida (Oneida High School), April 26 in Boonville (VFW), Cooperstown (Glimmerglass State Park) and the Mohawk Valley (SUNYIT Campus Center) and on May 18 in Syracuse (Long Branch Park in Liverpool). All walks begin at 10:30 a.m. with registration beginning at 9 a.m. The Walk for Autism is the initiative of a group of parents heightening autism awareness in local communities and raising needed funds that remain in Central New York. Visit the Kelberman Center’s website at to download

pledge forms or to create an online fundraising page. For more information on the Walk for Autism, including pre-registration date and locations, contact the Kelberman Center at 315797-6241, visit online, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or email at


RV travel tips for beginners

April 25

Prohibition party to support SEMC upgrades St. Elizabeth Medical Center Foundation and F.X. Matt Brewery will hold the sixth annual Prohibition Party, sponsored by Theresa Flemma, vice president of M. Griffith Investment Services, Inc. The event will be held from 6-9 p.m. April 25 at the historic F.X. Matt Brewing Co. Tickets cost $45 per person if purchased by April 11 and $50 per person if purchased after April 11. Admission includes Saranac beverages, hors d’oeuvres, live entertainment, a 1930s costume contest and a silent auction. Proceeds from this year’s event will support the upgrade of patient and employee security, as well as update patient care rooms at St. Elizabeth Medical Center. A limited number of tickets are available and the foundation anticipates selling out early for the event. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit foundation, call 315-734-4287, or email Tickets may also be purchased at the St. Elizabeth Medical Center Foundation Office, 2209 Genesee St., Utica, or the F.X. Matt Brewing Co. Gift Shop/Tour Center, 830 Varick St., Utica.

Vaccines designed to aid prostate cancer fight he development of two new vaccines that are hoped to offer an alternative to castration therapy for men with recurring prostate cancer, is due for an $8 million boost in funding. The pharmaceutical company Madison Vaccines Incorporated (MVI) recently announced the success of a finance round led by Venture Investors, LLC, that has secured the funds to expand a Phase II trial of the MVI-816 vaccine that was otherwise in danger of being “too small to be convincing,” explains MVI’s scientific co-founder, Douglas McNeel. In addition, the funding will enable safety studies of another of the company’s DNA vaccines (MVI-118) to go ahead. The MVI-816 vaccine is designed to treat prostate cancer patients who have undergone initial surgery or radiotherapy but have found that their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level, a biomarker for prostate cancer, is on the rise again after treatment. Men who have rising PSA levels

By Jim Miller

despite having undergone these initial therapies are at a particularly high risk of the cancer spreading beyond the prostate to other areas of the body. Currently, their only choice is to “wait and see” whether their PSA continues to rise or to undergo a form of castration, either surgical or chemical. This castration, also known of as androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), deprives the body of testosterone, the hormone that prostate tumors rely on for their growth. The MVI-816 vaccine is hoped to provide a means of reducing prostate cancer growth that avoids the need for castration. “Our goal in developing MVI816 is to significantly delay both the onset of metastases and the initiation of [castration] for these patients,” explains president of Madison Vaccines, Richard Lesniewski. “This $8 million financing will allow [us] to advance our efforts to establish a safe and approvable immune activation therapy for men with early malignant prostate cancer.”

Dear Savvy Senior, Can you write a column on RV travel for beginners? My husband and I will be retiring in a few years and have always thought it would be fun to spend some of our time traveling around the country in an RV. What can you tell us? Ready to Retire Dear Ready, The affordability, combined with the comfort, convenience and personal freedom it offers has made recreational vehicle (RV) travel immensely popular among retirees over the past decade. According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, there are approximately 35 million RV enthusiasts in the U.S., including a growing number of baby boomers. Some of the reasons RVing has become so popular is because of the freedom and flexibility it offers to come and go as you please. If you like where you’re at, you can stay put. Or, if your feet get itchy you pack up and move on. Another popular aspect among retirees is following the seasons. Snowbirds, for example, like to travel south for the winter, while southerners migrate north during the hot summer months. RVing is also a very affordable way to go. Even considering ownership or rental costs, RV travel is cheaper than traveling by car, plane or train — especially when you factor in lodging and restaurant costs.

RV options

Most people, when they think of RVs, think of huge motorhomes, but RVs run the gamut from folding camping trailers and truck campers, to travel trailers and large motorized RVs. Cost, too, will range from as little as $4,000 for pop-up campers all the way up to $1.5 million for luxurious motorhomes. To learn more about RV options, check out, a resource created by the RV travel industry that breaks down all the March 2014 •

different types of RVs available today, along with various videos and other RV information. The best way to ease into RV travel and find out if you like it is to rent. Renting can also help you determine which type of RV best suits your needs. Rental costs will vary greatly depending on what you choose, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 up to $300 per day. To locate one of the 500 or so RV rental outlets around the country check your yellow pages under “Recreation Vehicle” or search The National RV Dealers Association website at

Camping options

With around 14,600 public and privately owned RV parks or campgrounds across the country (see and, RVers can roam coastto-coast with no shortage of places to stop, or options to choose from. Most RV parks are open to all comers and rent spaces on a nightly or weekly basis, much like a motel or hotel, with rates typically ranging from $15 to $50 per night, however some in city and country parks may be $10 or even free. RV parks can also range from rustic facilities with limited or no utility hookups, as are more often found in state and national parks, to luxury resorts with amenities that rival fine hotels. To research RV campgrounds, get a copy of the “Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory” for $10 at, or call 866-205-7451. This guide breaks down what each campsite offers, along with their policies and costs, and a rating system. Also see for dozens of books and DVDs about RVs and the RV lifestyle. There are also a number of RV clubs you can join, like the Good Sam Club (, that provide member discounts on parks and campgrounds, travel guides, fuel and propane, roadside assistance and more. Passport America (passportamerica. com) is another popular club that gives 50 percent discounts on more than 1,800 campsites across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. 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.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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H ealth News Family nurse practitioner joins FSLH team Viktor I. Petrovets has joined Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare’s Adirondack Community Physicians Washington Mills Medical Office as a family nurse practitioner. Prior to joining ACP, Petrovets worked as a nurse practitioner for the Syracuse Petrovets Community Health Center in Syracuse and the Regional Primary Care Network at the Utica Community Health Center in Utica. He also worked as a registered nurse for the telemetry care unit at FSLH. Petrovets received his associate’s degree from Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SUNYIT Utica/ Rome in Marcy.

FSLH makes medical staff announcements Lyndsey Bauer has joined Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare’s Adirondack Community Physicians Neuro Sciences Group as a neuropsychologist. Prior to joining ACP, Bauer was employed by SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse as a neuropsychologist. Bauer reBauer ceived her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and her master’s and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology from the University at Albany, State University of New York. She completed a pre-doctoral internship program in clinical neuropsychology at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and

a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at Brown University Warren Alpert School of Medicine in Providence, R.I. Bauer is a member of the International Neuropsychological Society, the National Academy of Neuropsychology and the New York State Association of Neuropsychology. Kari L. Moorhead has joined FSLH’s ACP Washington Mills Medical Office as a physician assistant. Prior to joining ACP, Moorhead worked as a physician assistant in Moorhead family practice at Slocum-Dickson Medical Group in New Hartford, New York, Independent Physicians Urgent Care in Utica, and Bassett Healthcare Urgent Care in Herkimer. Moorhead received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Niagara University in Niagara Falls and her Master of Science in physician assistant studies from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C. Moorhead is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

FSLH AHA ‘Fit-Friendly’ Worksite

James Street Java, a new coffee shop at Rome Memorial Hospital, recently opened. Registered nurse Shannon Scott, left, of Utica, stopped by James Street Java recently for a cup of Starbucks coffee before the start of her shift in the post anesthetic care unit. Hospital food and nutrition staff worker Ginny Nevills of Camden helps Scott with her coffee selection.

James Street Java open at Rome Memorial Hospital


ames Street Java, a new coffee shop located in Rome Memorial Hospital, 1500 N. James St., is now open from 6:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. weekdays. Located just off the hospital’s newly renovated main lobby, James Street Java brews Starbucks coffee for self-service. The shop will also have grab-and-go cold sandwiches and salads prepared daily in the hospital’s kitchen. Fresh pastries will also be baked Page 16

in-house. In addition to coffee, an assortment of beverages, including specialty-bottled water, juices and Saranac soda, will be available. Daily sandwich or salad specials will be offered. James Street Java occupies a completely renovated portion of the former snack bar at the hospital. Part of the new lobby includes a seating area with pub tables, chairs and a television.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2014

Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica has been recognized as a Gold-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association for helping employees move more, eat better and provide greater access to opportunities to improve lifestyle. “Employee wellness and physical activity are important at FSLH,” said Regina Rybka-Lagatutta, vice president of human resources. “We are honored and excited to be recognized by the American Heart Association as a Gold-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite. We’re committed to providing the best workplace environment possible. It benefits our employees’ health and produces positive results for our worksite overall.” Gold-level employers offer employees physical activity options in the workplace, increase healthy eating options at the worksite and promote a wellness culture in the workplace. The Fit-Friendly Worksites program is a catalyst for positive change in the American workforce by helping worksites make their employees’ health and wellness a priority. For more information, call 315797-8906 or visit

Comets Shoot for the Stars with Big Donation The Utica Comets and the Save of the Day have announced their

final donation of $35,752.87 to the Breast Care Center at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare from “Pink the Rink” night recently. “It truly was a terrific night filled with excitement and giving toward a great cause,” said Utica Comets President Robert Esche. “Our area never ceases to amaze me on its ability to donate so generously to local institutions.” The Comets collected money through a 2013-14 American Hockey League record 50/50 purse and the “Round up the Rink” promotion. Fans also had the option to round up their change to the next dollar as donations as part of the promotion. The post-game jersey auction that saw the special pink uniforms sold for as high as $4,500 also contributed to the donation. Each player’s jersey was sold to fans via a live auction following the conclusion of a recent game.

FSLH offers household sharps disposal program Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica offers the household sharps disposal program for community members to properly dispose of their medical waste. Items such as syringes and lancets can be dropped off from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays at the FSLH Energy Center, St. Luke’s Campus, 1656 Champlin Ave., New Hartford, or at the Center for Rehabilitation and Continuing Care Services also located on the St. Luke’s Campus at 1650 Champlin Ave., Utica. Items dropped off at CRCCS can be given to the receptionist. Only items from private residences in clearly marked “sharps” puncture-proof containers will be accepted. For more information, call the FSLH Energy Center at 315-624-6186.

Hoop squad raises funds for worthy cause The Clinton High School varsity girls basketball team recently held “Hoops for Families Fighting Cancer” and raised more than $1,100 to benefit local patients and their families receiving care at The Regional Cancer Center at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. The event included a half-court shooting contest during half time, as well as a Chinese auction. The winner of the half-court shooting competition received a guitar, donated by Big Apple Music. “We are extremely grateful to the Clinton girls basketball team for making this donation to the cancer center,” said Nancy Borden, executive director of The Regional Cancer Center. “Our patients and their families will benefit greatly from the generosity of these high school girls.” The FSLH Foundation raises funds throughout the year to benefit programs and services at FSLH. If you are interested in learning how you can make a difference, call the foundation

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H ealth News LFH recognizes achievement of nurse

Continued from Page 16 at 315-624-5600 or visit

Kidney & Hypertension Consultants move Kidney & Hypertension Consultants has moved to 1450 Champlin Ave., Utica, from its previous location at the Faxton Campus of Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare. Its providers are Emile Wassel, Yekaterina Kashtanova, Eric Ofori and Absar Ali. The new phone number is 315-6249000.

FSLH bariatric surgery program earns renewal Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare’s bariatric surgery program has earned renewal as an American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence. The award recognizes FSLH’s commitment and success in providing quality improvement and patient safety for bariatric surgery patients. As an accredited program, FSLH has demonstrated that its center meets the needs of bariatric surgery patients by providing multidisciplinary, high-quality, patient-centered care. Founded in 2002 by William A. Graber, the bariatric surgery program, located at the St. Luke’s Campus of FSLH, performs an average of 40 procedures a month. In addition to resulting in significant long-term weight loss, bariatric surgery has been shown to reverse common complications of obesity, including Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and cardiovascular silent killers like high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These benefits improve patients’ quality of life and overall health, and reduce their risk of diabetes, heart disease and early death. For more information, visit www.

RMH reaches milestone in infection prevention Rome Memorial Hospital’s 2 East medical/surgical unit celebrated a milestone in the battle against catheter-associated urinary tract infections. By combining best practices with surveillance, re-education and reinforcement, CAUTIs — the most common health care associated infection in United States hospitals — was eliminated on 2 East for three years, according to infection prevention director LeAnna Grace. CAUTIs account for 35 percent of all health care associated infections in U.S. hospitals, according to the American Hospital Association’s Health Research & Educational Trust. Yet, the vast majority of CAUTIs are preventable. “Being CAUTI-free for three years is consistent with the hospital’s overall promise of exceptional care,” said Sandra Mahoney, 2 East nurse manager. “The assurance that our patients

2010 Miracle Child Kathryn Crawford, second from right, and her friends and family participated in the 23rd annual Bowling for Miracles Bowl-A-Thon to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital of Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare. Celebrating the occasion are, from left, her sister Claire Crawford, Taylor Dellano, Kathryn Crawford, and her mom, JoAnn Raker.

Children’s Miracle Network Bowl-A-Thon strikes it rich


yearly monitoring at FSLH and has led to two different surgeries. After her second surgery, Fuess needed time to heal and spent five days receiving care in the pediatric department at FSLH. During her stay at FSLH, she interacted with the child life specialist who helped provide comfort, support and education to Fuess and her family. CMN donations make it possible for FSLH to offer this special position of child life specialist. “Eva’s story is a wonderful example of how funds raised through CMN make a difference in the quality of care we are able to provide,” said Andrea MacDiarmid, CMN coordinator. “Whether you participated in the event or just made a donation, every gift helps to change lives.”

he 23rd annual Bowling for Miracles Bowl-A-Thon to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital of Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica was held recently, raising more than $8,900 for women’s and children’s services at FSLH. The event was held at Pin-O-Rama Recreation Center in Utica, where 36 teams took to the lanes in support of CMN. In all, more than 150 bowlers participated in the event, which was organized by the FSLH Foundation in partnership with WKTV NewsChannel 2 and Lite 98.7. Proceeds from CMN events make it possible for children like Eva Fuess, a 2014 Miracle Child, to receive specialized care close to home. Fuess was born with vesicoureteral reflux, a condition that requires

receive evidence-based care is part of how we operate as a unit always.” The staff has been educated extensively regarding the need to avoid the use of catheters unless medically necessary, Mahoney explained. In addition, charts are flagged for the doctor to review the need for the catheter in an attempt to get catheters removed as quickly as possible. According to studies, the longer a patient has a catheter, the greater the risk of contracting a CAUTI.

Ilion woman wins HarleyDavidson in drawing Jennifer Wheet of Ilion is the winner of Sitrin Medical Rehabilitation Center’s 18th Annual Harley-Davidson raffle. Wheet rides away on a 2014 Harley-Davidson Street Glide FLHX, which has been Harley-Davidson’s top-seller

year after year. The bike is valued at $20,899. Thanks to support from the community and beyond, this year’s fundraiser sold out in record time. A total of 4,250 tickets were sold at $10 each. Proceeds benefit Sitrin, a nonprofit corporation, which provides a variety of comprehensive services for children and adults, including the STARS (Success Through Adaptive Recreation & Sports) program for people with physical disabilities. Bringing a new twist to this long-standing fundraiser, Sitrin will begin selling tickets for its next Harley-Davidson raffle in July and will draw the winning ticket on New Year’s Eve. Moving forward, Sitrin will hold the raffle from start to finish within one calendar year to better accommodate New York state racing and wagering guidelines.

March 2014 •

Little Falls Hospital is celebrating the achievement of Rebecca Kuehnle, who received her bachelor’s degree in nursing through an online program from Grand Canyon University. The curriculum covered a wide range of topics including clinical reasoning, research, evidence-based practice, colKuehnle laboration and leadership. Kuehnle completed her degree online through the 15-month nursing program. She is a full-time registered nurse on the inpatient unit at LFH. Prior to this, Kuehnle was a RN at Bassett Healthcare Center in Cooperstown. Kuehnle said what drove her was support from her family, especially from her mother and father. Kuehnle lives in Little Falls with her boyfriend, Matthew, and 7-month-old son, Brayton.

LFH employee goes the ‘extra mile’ Kathy Klock, surgical coordinator, has been recognized as Little Falls Hospital’s GEM (going the extra mile) employee. The GEM award recognizes employees who take the extra step to make a significant difference by improving the quality of health for those they serve and exceeding customer service standards. “The patients that come to the hospital are like family. I treat them as I would my own family members and go the extra step to make them feel comfortable,” said Kathy. Klock has resided in Little Falls her entire life. She has three daughters whom all live locally, and has seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.

American Heart Association celebrates area children Local families recently took part in the 14th annual Kids Walk presented by the American Heart Association and sponsored by GPO Federal Credit Union. Not only were kids treated to a one-mile walk and family fun health expo, but one lucky participant, Avery Davis of Yorkville, won a new bike. Each child participant was entered for a chance to win a bicycle, compliments of Midstate CERT Team. The American Heart Association also celebrated a poster contest, sponsored by Hannaford, in area schools to showcase health and wellness.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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H ealth News Continued from Page 17 All of the first- and second-place winners had artwork displayed at the event along with those receiving honorable mentions. “Childhood obesity is an epidemic facing our country and region today,” says event organizer Theresa Swider. “Families attending the Kids Walk are treated to a fun-filled afternoon of education and the importance of healthy eating and exercise through interactive booths and activities. The American Heart Association wants to partner with families to reduce risk factors that our community’s youth face due to inactivity and poor eating habits.” Today, about one of three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963.

VHS honors its employee of quarter Renee Cranley has been selected as employee of the fourth quarter of 2013 at Valley Health Services in Herkimer. Cranley joined the dietary staff at VHS as a diet technician on Sept. 13, 2004. Her primary responsibilities include assisting the dietitian in developing, implementing Cranley and evaluat-

ing the nutritional care plan of all residents, as well as monitoring the food services to residents for conformance with quality standards. The VHS employee of the quarter program recognizes the outstanding performance of employees at Valley Health Services. Employees submit nominations and the winner is entitled to a designated parking spot for three months, a gift certificate, recognition in local media and the facility newsletter and becomes eligible to participate in the employee of the year program.

TRAID has a new phone number The Technology for Persons with Disabilities program of Upstate Cerebral Palsy, an equipment lending library for persons with disabilities, has a new phone number—315-292-1968. TRAID serves persons in Oneida, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery counties and conducts outreach to the outlying counties periodically. The program was initiated through the Federal Tech Act Grant and provides opportunities for individuals, therapists and educators to try equipment and devices before purchasing them or to use them for short-term needs or while waiting to receive their own device. TRAID items include durable medical equipment, sensory items, educational software, computer access hardware, daily living devices and a variety of switches and communication devices. Contact TRAID, 10708 N. Gage Road, Barneveld, for more information.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2014

Mary in the Middle

By Mary Stevenson

Filling the generation gap I

love to sit and talk with my dad. I did with my mom as well, before Alzheimer’s took over and she passed. They both had wonderful stories to tell about their lives and growing up. Listening to how they talked about different subjects gave me a great deal of insight into the times in which they lived. When I was younger, I remember mom and dad always talking about getting a job with the state or the county government. They weren’t specific about what kind of job there, just to be part of the state retirement and benefits system. They talked about the great pay, amazing benefits and an outstanding retirement system. It was something we heard a lot of when Stevenson it came to what we should do when we grew up. It was about getting an education, a good job, making good money and being able to afford to take care of oneself. That’s what was important back then. Family was also important but it seemed then when talk came around to what we wanted to be when we grew up, government employment was the answer. I had children young and getting an education sat on the back burner. It simmered there for 19 years while I let life take over and therefore, my studies virtually disappeared. I finally got around to finishing my degree but it wasn’t the one I had started out to get. My parents thought that a business degree was the key to a good job, so that’s where I started out. After taking a few classes, and acing them, I decided to change my path. Such a young adult decision to quit something I was doing well in!

About face

I found I wanted to study English as my goal was to write children’s books for a living. Then I took journalism classes at Utica College with professors Kim Landon and Cecelia Friend. I was hooked. I began my writing adventures at a smaller local paper

then moved up to a larger local paper. I covered major stories such as the Woodstock ’99 music festival and Hillary Clinton’s Listening Tour before her U.S. Senate run. I also covered local stories of significance such as the proposed landfill in the town of Ava and the installation of cell towers in Herkimer County. I was hooked! I raised my family and lived my dream of sitting at a desk and writing all day for the next decade. Suddenly, I was in my 40s and looking at the last half of my life. As much fun as I was having, responsibilities to myself were staring me in the face. As much as I would like to, I wasn’t going to be able to write forever. And of course, I wasn’t smart enough to consider retirement in my 20s. I mean, at that point, 40 was old and I wasn’t even considering “being old.” Now I am a young 40-something and somehow healthcare and retirement are pretty important. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up before and I sure don’t know now. I needed more stability and security in my life. Enter the voices of my parents in my head. Get a county job. Apply for a gig with the state. They have great benefits and pretty good pay. Go for it. You need to do this for you. Yeah, yeah, I hear you. I got a job with the county now and have the health and retirement benefits they were talking about. I even work in the social services department, which, as a foster parent, is close to my helping heart. I am doing something that I want to do at a place my parents wanted me to do it. Turns out, they had the right ideas. I wish I had listened to them way back when and started at the county years sooner. But then I wouldn’t be where I am today. So all things happen for a reason when they do and my parents were right. Just don’t tell them I said so. I will never live it down. • Mary Stevenson is a contributing writer for Mohawk Valley In Good Health newspaper.

Hospital offers free colorectal cancer screening


olon cancer is one of the most common cancers in men and women. It is also one of the most preventable with proper screenings. In recognition of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March, Rome Memorial Hospital is offering free screening test kits. “Although the at-home test kit is not a substitute for a colonoscopy, this is an easy, no fuss-no muss test that we encourage people to do every year, for that added peace of mind,” said Amy Weakley, director of Mohawk Valley Radiation Medicine. Men and women 50 and older can pick up a free kit from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

weekdays in March at Mohawk Valley Radiation Medicine, 107 E. Chestnut St., Suite #103, Rome. Test kits will also be available each weekday in March at: • Boonville Family Care, 13407 state Route 12; from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. • Camden Family Care, 5 Masonic Ave.; from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments are not required. When you pick up your free kit, you will be asked to complete a short risk assessment form. You can also print the form from our website, complete it in advance and bring it with you. Follow the link for the colon cancer risk assessment form on

State-of-art research at MMRL Continued from Page 4 said, I intend to publish my results as they become available. As I increase my productivity, I expect to publish multiple scientific articles each year and present my findings to national and international research conferences. Q.: What is the most challenging aspect of your job? A.: Without question, the most challenging aspect of my job is competing for research grants. The actual process of putting together a grant is far from negative as it forces me to put all of my creative energy into the proposal. However, the funding climate is currently brutal, with only 10 to 15 percent

of grants being funded at the national level. Luckily for us at the MMRL, this funding crunch is mitigated somewhat by the generous donations from the local community. As a prime example, the local support we receive allowed me to purchase a state-of-the-art fluorescent microscope system. A portion of the purchase price was covered by a grant I received from the Community Foundation of Oneida and Herkimer County and the rest was provided through a local fundraising event, “An Affair of the Heart,” organized by our local advisory board.

Q.: What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job? A.: The most fulfilling aspect of my job is to have the chance to discover new things on a daily basis. I have always loved the learning process and I have been curious about the biological world since my childhood. To be able to tap into that curiosity more than makes up for any negative aspects of my job. I also really enjoy interacting with students. I benefited from strong scientific mentors and I try to act as a strong mentor for the students and fellows who find their way into my lab. Q.: What are the newest developments in your field? A.: The newest developments in the field of cardiac research involve the advent of next generation DNA sequencing technology. Historically,




Some of the stories you’ll read in this issue:


• Boomerang kids: Adult children returning home in droves • Sage Upstate helps members of older LGBT community • Mason Kaufman: Thirty years with Meals on Wheels of Syracuse • Single’s groups becoming more popular among 55-plus population

CNYs first magazine to The celebrate life after 55. Magazine Don’t miss out future issues. forfinances, Active Focus on health, travel, housing,Adults family, leisure.


we have been limited to looking for genetic causes of cardiac disease by sequencing one or a few likely candidate genes. As a result, we are missing the genetic cause of disease in more than half the cases we examine. We recently purchased a device through a regional economic development grant that will allow us to sequence the entire coding region of all human genes. This so-called “whole exome” approach was not even an option when I started my PhD training in 2004. The need for information has pushed for constant technological improvements and reductions in cost. The hope is that this tool will allow us to uncover the underlying genetic causes of the arrhythmias we study.


How Divorce Can Affect Your Social Security

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 19

IT’S ONLY SUPER IF YOU TAKE IT. According to the National Institutes of Health, up to 20 percent of patients fail to fill new prescriptions, and 50 percent of people with chronic health conditions discontinue their medication within six months. If you have a chronic condition like high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol, taking your prescriptions as directed is essential to healthy living. So remember: If you’re not taking your prescriptions as directed, you’re taking a chance. To learn more, visit TakeAsDirected.

#TakeAsDirected A nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

Nutrition and Cancer Proper eating, drinking regimen can negate effects of treatment By Mary Christopher


reating and living with cancer often means going against what a patient may normally do when they are in good health. This is particularly true when it comes to building strength and withstanding the effects of treatment. This may mean eating things that are not the norm when you are in good health. For instance, you may need highHuyck fat, high-calorie foods to keep up your weight, or thick, cool foods like ice cream or milk shakes because sores in your mouth and throat are making it hard to eat anything. The type of cancer, your treatment, and any side effects you have must be considered when you are trying to figure out the best ways to get the nutrition your body needs. Side effects vary drastically depending on the diagnosis, said Kirsten Huyck, a registered dietitian who specializes in oncology at Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica.

Page 20

“It’s not that they don’t want to eat; they actually feel like they can’t eat,” Huyck said. Pain can be such a prevalent side effect in many cancers, especially with esophageal and lung cancers, that an appetite is nonexistent and rapid weight loss occurs. Certain types of chemotherapy also have their own side effects that can strongly impact appetite. Patients with less severe diseases, such as prostate and breast cancer, may not experience extreme weight loss. The first thing recommended is ingesting small, frequent meals throughout the day rather than three large meals, Huyck said. Adding calories in between meals could also be beneficial in staving off weight loss. Drinking milk, milkshakes, soda and sports drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade are high-calorie drinks that help cram in more nutrients if other meals are less substantial. When it comes to eating foods, “it’s whatever you need but all about keeping things in moderation,” Huyck said.

Consider supplements

Physicians often encourage supplements as well because they help strengthen the immune system and ease side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. However, “It is important that patients discuss specific vitamins and minerals with their doctors because certain minerals can interact with different kinds of chemotherapy,” Huyck

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • March 2014

said. According to the National Institute for Cancer (, “every cancer patient could benefit from a consultation with a registered dietitian or physician to formulate a plan for nutrition and begin meal planning.” One possible and often unexpected side effect that patients should think about early on is an alteration of taste

and smell. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy frequently report changes in their sense of taste, specifically a bitter or metallic taste sensation. Huyck recommends using plastic utensils and rinsing the mouth or using sugar-free gum or mints before eating. Overall, there are many elements to consider when treating cancer and its side effects, but eating well means nourishing your body with a variety of foods that provide the nutrients to help fight cancer. The American Cancer Society ( recommends the following tips to make eating more enticing when an appetite decreases: • Avoid liquids with meals, or take only small sips of liquids to keep from feeling full early, unless you need liquids to help swallow or for dry mouth. Drink most of your liquids between meals. • Make eating more enjoyable by setting the table with pretty dishes and playing your favorite music, watching television, or eating with someone. • Be as physically active as you can. Start off slowly, and increase your activity over time as you feel stronger. Sometimes a short walk an hour or so before meals can help you feel hungry. •  Keep high-calorie, high-protein snacks on hand. Try hard-cooked eggs, peanut butter, cheese, ice cream, granola bars, liquid nutritional supplements, puddings, nuts, canned tuna or chicken, or trail mix.

Mv igh #97 march14