Study: Children Are Ditching Alcohol for Marijuana
A 20-year national US study shows a 245% increase in use of marijuana
Adolescent cannabis abuse has increased 245% since 2000 in the U.S., while alcohol abuse has steadily declined over the same period.
That’s according to a national, peer-reviewed study tracking intentional misuse and abuse reported to the National Poison Data System (NPDS) up until 2020.
Findings, published in December in the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Toxicology, find over 338,000 instances of intentional abuse or misuse among American children aged 6-18.
The majority of ingestions occurred in males (58.3%), and more than 80% of all reported exposure
cases occurred in young people aged 13 to 18.
In total, over 32% of instances resulted in “worse than minor clinical outcomes”.
The new report demonstrates a change in patterns over time. For instance, in 2000 the largest number of abuse cases involved exposure to ethanol, yet since then child alcohol abuse has steadily declined over the years.
Experts analyzing the data attribute the rise in marijuana use to the increased popularity of edible cannabis products, now widely available across the country.
“Ethanol abuse cases exceeded the number of marijuana cases every year from 2000 until 2013,” says physician Adrienne Hughes, assistant professor at Oregon Health & Science University, one of the authors of the study.
However, by 2014 this trend had reversed.
“Since 2014, marijuana exposure cases have exceeded ethanol cases every year, and by a greater amount each year than the prior,” says Hughes.
While rates of all marijuana abuse increased, edible marijuana showed the highest average monthly increase compared with all other forms, suggesting that adolescents have moved away from smoking weed onto alternative modes of consumption. Marijuana extracts, such as those used in cannabis vaping products, were also increasingly popular.
“These edible and vaping products are often marketed in ways that are attractive to young people, and they are considered more discrete and convenient,” says Hughes.
However, although they may be perceived as less harmful, studies show this is not the case.
The dramatic increase in child cannabis use since 2017 coincides with a wave of decriminalization legislation in the US. As of 2022, cannabis is legal for adult recreational use in 19 states and for medical use in 36 states.
While cannabis is only legal for adults and not children, the authors of the study argue that it has rendered the drug more accessible to children and adolescents and contributed to a perception that the drug is safe.
“Our study describes an upward trend in marijuana abuse exposures among youth, especially those involving edible products,” says Hughes.
“These findings highlight an ongoing concern about the impact of rapidly evolving cannabis legalization on this vulnerable population.”
As well as cannabis, the study reveals high levels of over-the-counter medication abuse among teenagers. Between 2001- 2016, the highest number of drug abuse cases related to dextromethorphan, an over-thecounter cold and cough medicine. Oral antihistamines were also among the most commonly misused substances in this study.
Deaths from drug abuse were rare, occurring in 450 young people (0.1% of cases). Deaths were more common in males, and in older teens aged 16-18. They were also most likely to occur after abusing opioids.
In contrast, marijuana exposure cases remained relatively stable from 2000 to 2009, then steadily rose from 2011, with an even more dramatic rise in cases from 2017 to 2020.
“Compared to smoking cannabis, which typically results in an immediate high, intoxication from edible forms of marijuana usually takes several hours, which may lead some individuals to consume greater amounts and experience unexpected and unpredictable highs,” says Hughes.
And, although there were 57,488 incidents involving children aged just 6 to 12, these cases did not usually include ‘traditional’ drugs but rather vitamins, plants, melatonin, hand sanitizers and other objects. Learn more at ExcellusBCBS.com
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Meet Your DoctorBy Chris Motola
Q: Tell us about the medical spa you recently opened in Victor, Q the Medical Spa.
A: The location is two-fold. There’s a medical spa, which is an extension of our medical spa on East Avenue in Rochester. Basically, it’s a more expanded version. I believe there are 14 treatment rooms. We offer everything from fillers, to Botox, to micro-needling, to lasers. Lasers for hair regrowth, for skin resurfacing, for skin pigmentation, for broken capillaries. It’s a totally comprehensive. The other aspect is Longevita Medical, which we’re looking at as regenerative medical practice. In the next 10 years, I think regenerative medicine is going to be a big buzzword. It’s not necessarily longevity, although that is a term that’s used, but living younger. If we’re going to live into our 90s, up until that point we want to be living more like we’re in our 50s and 60s not just extending
our age. Although there are many reports in research literature that suggest we’ll probably be able to start extending longevity as well. But for now people are interested in living better for a longer period of time.
Q: What kinds of treatments are we talking about?
A: In that arena, at Longevita, we do biologic hormone replacement. We do some regenerative medicine, which includes regeneration of cartilage and joints. That’s through PRP (platelet rich plasma) and stem cells that are derived from your bone marrow. We also do some IV therapies, vitamin complexes and NAD+, which has been shown to be one of the important factors for revitalizing mitochondria. I see the longevity side of our practice really blowing up. There have been promising age reversal studies in mice and dogs that I think will likely start being
applied to humans. I think we’ll see this really start to blow up within the next five to 10 years.
Q: There’s a lot I want to touch on there, but first your background and practice is plastic surgery. How did you become interested in all of this additional stuff?
A: Yes, plastic surgery is the core of what I do. I do facial plastic surgery. Surgery accomplishes one thing and one thing only. It helps reverse gravitational changes through lifting and tightening. It does nothing to change the texture of the skin, loss of volume. To properly address the effects of aging, you have to treat volume and texture in addition to the effects of gravity. You can’t do that with surgery alone. People I’ve had at my practice who also incorporate diet, exercise, sleep and, when they started going through menopause or andropause started biogenetic hormones, those are the people in my practice who are thriving the best. So aging isn’t just skin deep. If you take care of some of the other things you’ll look better. If you look at your friends who are aging, you’ll probably notice there’s a big difference in health and how they look. Lifestyle is a big part of that.
Q: There are a lot of promising developments on the horizon, but many aren’t FDA-approved or covered by insurance. How do you work around that?
A: You’re correct in that many of the treatments are not covered by insurance. Some are, but things like PRP for treating inflammatory conditions is not currently covered. We use FDA guidelines for everything we do. I’m aware of six supplements that help with aging, but they’re not drugs. They’re listed by the FDA as supplements. Take resveratrol. Patients will ask me about it. It’s been shown to be effective in rats and dogs. It doesn’t have a downside. But there are other things you can’t do right now, like separate your own stem cells; the FDA won’t allow that because it uses a substance called collagenates which they deem as foreign. So we have to abide by regulations. But I think within five to 10 years a lot of these substances that are shown to cause age reversal in dogs and mice will be approved for humans.
Q: When you say “age reversal” are we talking about how one feels, or actually repairing telomeres?
A: Yes, DNA methylation, lengthening telomeres. There are certain biomarkers in your blood that can be used to measure biological age versus your chronological age. This is the future of what we’ll be doing out in Victor, not what we’re currently doing. One of the people I follow is David Sinclair out of Harvard; the focus is that if we can slow or reverse aging we’ll take care of diseases like coronary heart disease, Alzheimer’s. These are diseases of aging and we’re kind of spinning our wheels trying to treat them. By the time Alzheimer’s is symptomatic, there’s already been a lot of damage. So if the focus is on aging and age-reversal — and I’m pontificating, we can’t offer this yet — it may take care of a lot of the diseases we’ve struggled to treat. The culmination of a study in [the journal] Nature by Dr. Sinclair where he took rats and aged them to the point where they couldn’t really see anymore, couldn’t run on a wheel and put them on six supplements. Within three months their sight and muscle
strength had returned, and they had improved DNA methylation and telomere length. So I think this is all within our reach, not sci-fi.
Q: How affordable will these treatments be? Will they be something the average person can tap, or will be a society of ageless wealthy people and aging poor?
A: The interesting thing is that supplements aren’t controlled, so they should be market driven. As long as you can regulate purity, they shouldn’t be that expensive. Now, if a drug company decides that one of them isn’t a supplement and should be patented as a drug, it could be an expensive option.
Q: Pulling back a bit toward what you’re able to offer now, can you talk a bit about hormone replacement?
A: We’ve had good experiences with biologic hormone replacement. When women get into menopause, for example, they develop more visceral fat, the kind that wraps around your organs. They have loss of bone density, loss of libido, loss of skin elasticity. With replacement, we see reversal in a lot of these things. Visceral fat goes away, lipid profiles normalize, there’s improvement in bone density, improvement in libido. We’ve sort of accepted that there’s a point at which we’re put out to pasture, but it doesn’t need to be that way. This goes for men as well.
Q: You’ve received a lot of recognition over the years—NY Top Doctor, RealSelf Top Doctor—you’ve been interviewed by major news networks and newspapers. Do you feel like you can use your reputation to bring some attention to these therapies that are still outside the mainstream?
A: I built a reputation soundly on just taking care of patients correctly. Developing new techniques. I’ve trained fellows. I’m the founder of HUGS [Help Give Us Smiles], which does multiple missions a year to correct facial deformities in underprivileged countries, which is one of the things I’m most proud of. I’m currently president of the International Federation of Facial Plastic Surgery Societies, which is in 40 countries and 14 different societies. I want to do this the same way I’ve done everything else: with safety in mind. So if I’m promoting something, it’s because it protects my reputation and everything I’ve done rather than leverage it. But I do have a lot of enthusiasm around this because it dovetails with what I’m doing. Usually patients who are interested in looking good are usually interested in taking care of themselves in other ways. This is just another part of that.
Name: Vito C. Quatela
Position: Medical director at the Quatela Center for Plastic Surgery, the Lindsay House Surgery Center, the HUGS Foundation, Q the Medical Spa, and Longevita Medical Education: Northwestern University Affiliations: Rochester General, Strong Memorial
Organizations: American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery; International Federation of Facial Plastic Surgery Societies; American College of Surgeons Family: Wife; two daughters, one son Hobbies: Fly fishing, listening to music, astronomy
surgeon talks about expanding services, the new spa he started in Victor and new development in the area of age reversal
started using the home equipment. I went from 81% sensory liss in my feet, which is almost permanent nerve damage to 21-24% in just 4 months. My feet were always cold. Pins and needles all over.Riddle Wellness
U.S. Gun Deaths Reach Highest Level in Decades
More Americans are dying from gun violence, in both homicides and suicides, than they have in decades, a new report shows.
The U.S. gun death rate hit its highest level in nearly 30 years, with the sheer number of people dying from guns reaching 47,000 in 2021, the highest in 40 years, according to the study.
Increases were higher for women than men, and especially for Black women. Among Black women, firearm-related homicides have tripled
since 2010, while suicides have doubled since 2015.
“Women can get lost in the discussion because so many of the fatalities are men,” study co-author, physician Eric Fleegler, an associate professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, told the Associated Press.
Researchers found a 71% increase in the number of women killed by guns, from four per 100,000 in 2010 to seven per 100,000 in 2021. Women comprise about 14% of overall gun
In Black women, suicides rose from a rate of 1.5 per 100,000 in 2015 to about three per 100,000 in 2021. Homicides in Black women were 18 per 100,000, while they were four per 100,000 in Hispanic women and just two per 100,000 in white women.
More than 1.1 million people were killed by guns during the study’s 32-year timeframe.
Researchers found a steady increase in gun deaths beginning in 2005, and then a sharp jump from 2019 to 2021, when deaths rose 20%.
Fleegler said that asking why gun deaths would rise during the pandemic was “a straightforward question with probably a complicated answer that no one really knows the answer to.”
Experts said it could be a mix of higher gun sales, stress, mental health issues and disruptions at home and work.
Men also saw an increase in gun deaths, and Black men continued to have the highest gun death rates.
The findings were published Nov. 29 in the journal JAMA Network Open.
HealthcareinaMinuteBy George W. Chapman
Healthcare Inpatient Bottleneck
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 three years ago, the average length of stay (ALOS) in a hospital has increased 19% according to the American Hospital Association.
It has increased 24% specifically for patients waiting to be transferred to a post-acute facility like a nursing home or psychiatric facility.
The increased ALOS for patients waiting to be transferred is due in large part to staffing shortages at post-acute facilities. These patients have been clinically cleared for discharge. They are literally lingering in hospital beds which in turn delays admissions from hospital emergency rooms.
Consequently, patients are being treated in ER hallways due to lack of available beds.
Hospitals are asking Medicare and commercial insurers for relief. Hospitals are not paid by the day or per diem. They are paid by DRGs (diagnostic related groups). Each DRG payment is based on acuity and procedure and an ALOS. The DRGs were established well before the pandemic. The AHA is suggesting a temporary resurrection of per diem payments, especially for those patients cleared for discharge but are waiting to be transferred to another facility.
While most nonprofit hospitals ran an operating deficit every month through October in 2022, the nation’s three largest for-profit systems reported healthy operating profits through the same period. HCA Healthcare was 11%; Tenet was 8%; and Community Health Systems was 1%.
Impact of the Pandemic
The United Health Foundation, affiliate of health insurance giant United Healthcare, just issued its annual report on the changes in our overall health from 2020 to 2021. There is very little good news. There was an 11% increase in people describing their mental health as “poor” and a 15% increase in people reporting they were in “frequent mental distress.” There was a 20% increase in drug-related deaths (28/100,000). There was an 18% increase in premature deaths (before age 75). There was a 13% increase in gun related deaths. The number of people with multiple chronic conditions increased 5%. While there was a 7% decrease in the uninsured, part of this gain may be lost if pandemic related insurance flexibilities and incentives expire in 2023. The “good news”? United’s profit was $17.3 billion in 2021.
CMS Demands Faster Authorizations
Nothing is more aggravating and
frustrating to physicians and their patients alike than having to wait for an insurance company to approve what the physician has ordered to care for their patients. Prior authorization for designated procedures and drug referrals is required by insurers. Purportedly, It is a cost containment tool to deny ineffective or unnecessary drugs and procedures. Approval or denial can often take weeks, which delays care. Typically, 95% are approved anyway, so prior authorization is more of a cost delaying tool. Consequently, CMS has jumped in to speed up and improve the process.
By 2026, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicaid Managed Care plans, and Affordable Care Act commercial plans on the insurance exchanges must implement electronic authorization, eliminating the labor- intensive paperwork seemingly designed to slow things up. There will be incentives for providers to implement this as well. The goal is to improve the patient experience, speed up the delivery of care, decrease patient anxiety and get frustrated providers out of the middle. Insurers must give specific reasons why something was
denied within seven days.
Coalition to Improve Care
The Institute for Healthcare Management and the AMA recently announced the creation of the “Rise to Health Coalition.” Along with the American Hospital Association and Race Forward, advocates for reducing racial inequities if healthcare, the coalition will recruit providers, payers and drug manufacturers to share solutions on improving outcomes and expunging racial inequities in healthcare. The group will focus on access, workforce, cost, quality, safety and social determinants of healthcare (income, race, nationality, transportation, housing, unemployment, food insecurity and education). Each organization must also develop measurable reductions in inequities within their organization. The coalition has laudatory goals. It remains to be seen how much cooperation can be engendered between not-for-profit organizations and for-profit businesses.
Senate Exploring Mental Health Bias
The negative impact of the pandemic on our mental health is undisputed. The Senate Finance Committee is in the early stages of examining the inequities in how insurance plans, both governmental and commercial, treat mental health. The committee is concerned about inaccurate and outdated provider directories, (referred to as “ghost networks”), pay rate disparities between medical/surgical versus mental health providers and disparities between patient cost sharing or out of pocket for mental health services versus all other. The committee has asked the General Accounting Office to investigate payment and consumer out of pocket disparities. Consumers that have selected a plan based upon participating mental health providers are often thwarted by wrong or out of date provider contact information and/or providers not accepting new patients. More mental and behavioral health providers would participate in various insurance plans if reimbursement was fair and reasonable. The committee expects to file a report early 2023.
Patient Portal Billing
Hospitals, physicians and ancillary providers have encouraged their patients to set up an account with their patient portal to communicate, bypassing clogged phone lines. The portals are designed for patients to verify, schedule and cancel appointments, update insurance and demographics, seek information about the practice, or what might be required before a visit.
Unfortunately, patients seeking to avoid an office or telehealth visit are abusing the portal by seeking medical advice for free. Consequently, providers like the Cleveland Clinic have begun charging patients for a provider’s time and expertise, usually about $50. Many hospital systems, physician practices and other professionals are contemplating also charging for medical advice sought via their patient portal. I do not know how insurance is viewing this recent phenomenon.
COVID-19 and Pregnancy
The CDC and the AMA are recommending(and imploring) pregnant mothers to get vaccinated. Since the beginning of the pandemic, pregnancy related deaths are up 80%. Unvaccinated pregnant women and their unborn children are at far greater risk for complications, severe illness or even death. Right now, infants younger than 6 months are being hospitalized for COVID-19 at the same rate as seniors older than 65. Unfortunately, only 45% of pregnant women are vaccinated and only 52% of women who are breast feeding.
George W. Chapman is a healthcare business consultant who works exclusively with physicians, hospitals and healthcare organizations. He operates GW Chapman Consulting based in Syracuse. Email him at email@example.com.
Lasik Surgery Should Carry Warnings
FDA drafts guidance that warns of potential complications
Lasik eye surgery is a common vision-correcting procedure that many Americans view as safe and effective, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has now drafted guidance that warns of potential complications.
Although many patients are happy with the results after surgery, the recommended new guidance says complications can include dry eyes, double vision, difficulty with night driving and, in rare cases, chronic eye pain. Even after surgery, some patients will still need eyeglasses.
The draft also notes that certain types of patients may be at higher risk of problems, including people with chronic conditions such as diabetes and those who take certain medications.
Since the recommendations were first released this summer, more than 600 people and professional organizations have weighed in on the issue.
“All we’re asking for is balance,”said Vance Thompson, incoming vice president of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, told the Times. “This document mainly emphasizes the dangers and complications of Lasik, with no mention of the advantages, and the tone is negative enough that it will scare patients.”
Thompson noted that more than 90% of patients in the FDA’s studies were satisfied because they were “achieving good vision without spectacles, which is the goal of most patients.”
Surgeons and device manufacturers have sought to have the draft recommendations withdrawn.
But a professional organization representing optometrists recommended adding even more precautions to the draft, to include pregnant women and those with irregular astigmatism.
Lasik is typically a procedure completed in just 15 minutes per eye, where the surgeon reshapes the cornea with cuts and a laser to correct poor vision. Often the procedure is not covered by insurance and can cost patients thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Still, more than 500,000 adults opt for the surgery each year and many ophthalmologists declare it safe, with complications happening very rarely.
To arrive at the draft recommendations, the FDA both collaborated on and analyzed studies on Lasik outcomes published in the past decade.
One of those studies found that three months after Lasik nearly half of patients who had previously not had visual symptoms did after the procedure. This included seeing halos around lights. About one-third of the patients had dry eyes.
“Patients undergoing Lasik surgery should be adequately counseled about the possibility of developing new visual symptoms after surgery before undergoing this elective procedure,” the study authors wrote.
The FDA has not said when the guidance will be finalized.
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Finding Your ‘True North’ in 2023
’ve discovered that a key to living alone successfully is to determine who you really are and what you want from life. My own path to contentment took some time, some growing pains — setbacks as well as successes — and some aching losses before I found my “true north.” It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been well worth the journey.
The reward has been a life on my own filled with more peace, freedom and joy than I could have imagined.
The journey began with a set of soul-searching questions (below) to identify and clarify my beliefs, values, likes and dislikes. I was careful to focus on what matters to me and to steer clear of “shoulds” and other people’s agendas.
The result? I created a list of personal principles and preferences that illuminated a way forward and shaped my future as a self-sufficient, independent woman.
Now, in the happy third chapter of my life, I am comfortable being me and expressing my true self.
In no particular order, below are just a few examples of my insights
I(some profound, others practical) that have inspired and guided me:
n Gratitude, forgiveness and loving kindness are life staples to embrace, practice and model on a daily basis.
n Gathering with friends and family around a fire, kitchen counter or dining room table enhances life. It’s warm, relaxing, and relevant — life essentials in my book.
n If I am unhappy with an aspect of my life and choose to stick with the status quo, nothing will get better.
n Hardship, failure and loss can build strength and self-awareness.
Taking time to turn inward can create space for reflection and renewal of the spirit. Remember: After a rain there are rainbows.
n An honest-to-goodness listener (not a pretend listener) melts my heart.
n An honest-to-goodness friend who shares her joys, deepest fears, regrets and dreams melts my heart even more.
n Music makes life better. I enjoy playing and listening to all genres of music, but I always return to the Great American Songbook.
n As an introvert, I find that solitude, nature and meditation recharge my batteries. But that’s me. Others may be energized by morestimulating experiences and venues.
n Letting go of old ways of thinking, a poor self-image or of destructive thoughts, behaviors and habits can free you up to embrace life’s blessings.
n Gardening is a great teacher. Fertile ground exists in each of us, and a little planning, caretaking and patience can produce beautiful results.
n Solo travel is an adventure not to be missed. It’s good for the mind, deepens the soul and fosters confidence.
n Living alone doesn’t mean being alone. We are social beings. We need each other. Relationships are the glue.
Compiling my full list of insights took time and thought. For those coming out of a long relationship or deep loss, determining or rediscovering “who you really are” can be a daunting process.
After years of focusing on the needs and desires of a spouse and family, many discover that, somewhere along the way, they have disappeared around the edges and lost their own sense of self.
Rediscovering yourself and identifying those things that bring joy and meaning in your life can turn living alone into an adventure of the spirit.
Once you establish your individual interests and means of self-expression, you may find that time alone and quieter moments no longer feel empty.
Below is an exercise to help you get back in touch with your true self. These are but a few of some probing questions to contemplate on your road to self-discovery.
SPEND SOME TIME ANSWERING THESE 10 QUESTIONS
1. Search back. What hobbies did you pursue as a child that gave you joy? What did you do particularly well or (perhaps secretly) take pride in?
2. More recently, when do you completely lose yourself in something? What activities make you feel alive and complete, as though
nothing is missing?
3. What do you hold most dear?
4. How do you want to be remembered?
5. What is your biggest regret? If you could have a “do-over,” what would you do differently? Maybe seek help sooner? Or embrace and share a truth about yourself or situation?
6. How would your life change (or get better) if you were a more curious and open person?
7. What brings tears to your eyes?
8. If you were to dedicate your life and resources to a particular cause or charity, what would it be?
9. What does your perfect day look like?
10. How do you want to describe yourself and your life a year from now?
THEN, TAKE ACTION
After answering these questions, ask yourself how you can use these insights to influence the direction of your life. What can you do today to reconnect with a past love or pursuit, to delve more deeply into an existing interest or to fulfill a new healthy lifestyle or passion?
When you identify your values and the things you love or need to do, and pursue them, you will feel more integrated and in touch with your true self. You’ll be spending your time immersed in pursuits that bring you personal satisfaction and strength — pursuits that reinforce who you are and who you want to become.
Those of us who live alone have the gift of abundant time to ourselves. Use it wisely. Use the time to get to know yourself all over again.
With each passing day, I am confident you’ll find your internal compass, unique to you, pointing north — your true north.
Why Are You Hearing So Much About RSV?
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield doctor talks about the prevalence of respiratory syncytial virus and how to stay healthy this winter
From a surge in RSV cases to COVID and the flu, the news headlines can feel overwhelming. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s physician Lisa Y. Harris has answers to common questions about RSV and staying healthy this winter.
Q: We are hearing a lot in the news about respiratory syncytial virus — or RSV — and how cases are soaring. What is RSV and who should be worried about it?
A.: RSV is a respiratory virus that usually causes mild cold-like symptoms in otherwise healthy children and adults. While this virus is commonly associated with infants or young children, the Centers for Disease Control [CDC] reports anywhere from 60,000 to 120,000 older adults in the United States are hospitalized with RSV each year. For older adults with chronic heart or lung disease
— or those with weakened immune systems — RSV can be fatal if it turns into bronchiolitis (lung inflammation) or pneumonia (lung infection).
Q: What are the symptoms of RSV and how does someone know if they need to see a doctor?
A.: Early symptoms of RSV include a runny nose, loss of appetite, a cough which may include wheezing, and sometimes a fever. RSV can make conditions like asthma, COPD, and congestive heart failure worse. You’ll want to see a doctor immediately if you begin to have problems breathing. Also, if after a couple of days your symptoms are getting worse instead of better, you should see your doctor.
Q: We are also hearing a lot about the flu, and we know COVID is still around. What is the latest on those illnesses?
5Things You Should Know About SADBy Ernst Lamothe Jr.
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of recurrent depression that occurs during the winter months where there is less sunlight throughout the day. With the season patterns varying, people who suffer from the condition often don’t feel like themselves and can have a sense of lethargic behavior and overall depression.
“We live in the north, so seasonal affective disorder and overall winter depression is something that is more prevalent here than in other areas,” said physician Mark Oldham, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “Winters can be essentially hibernation for humans and there are those who don’t take that well.”
Oldham, who has also done scholarly research in light therapy and depression, gives five facts about seasonal affective disorder — or SAD.
Signs and symptoms of SAD may include feeling listless, sad or down most of the day, nearly every day, losing interest in activities you once enjoyed, having low energy and feeling sluggish and sleeping too much. In addition, people can experience carbohydrate cravings, overeating and weight gain, difficulty concentrating, feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty and having
thoughts of suicide.
“You can feel detached even from friends and family,” said Oldham. “Depression can feed into your workplace and home environment. You can feel like you are not even there. With some other conditions, things can be better over the course of the day, but with SAD people tend to feel even worse and it can be extremely impairing. But the good thing is there are treatment options.”
Too often because the condition is not always recognizable to others, there are various stereotypes that have emerged. It can range from people simply calling it the “winter blues” or thinking that people should just snap out of it once they see some sunlight during the day.
“People think that this is just normal and that everyone gets depressed over the winter a little bit so sometimes it is not taken seriously when friends and family start discussing how they feel,” said Oldham. “There are people that are more sensitive to this issue and that has to be recognized.”
A light therapy box mimics outdoor light. It’s thought that this type of light may cause a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood and eases other symptoms of SAD, such as being tired most of the time and sleeping too much.
A.: We are in “flu season” from November until at least February. The flu can be serious especially in older adults, young children, pregnant women, and nursing home residents. The CDC recommends the flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. This will help protect you as well as anyone who is particularly vulnerable. And while COVID cases are down, you should stay up to date on vaccines to help prevent a more serious infection if exposed. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about which vaccine is best for you. The good news is getting a flu vaccine or COVID booster is as simple as stopping by your local pharmacy. Visit vaccines.gov to find a vaccination site near you.
Q: What’s your best advice for everyone on staying healthy this winter?
A.: Stay up to date on your vaccinations. Even if you do get sick, being vaccinated can help keep your symptoms mild. Make sure you wash your hands often for 20 seconds with soap and warm water. Frequently use hand sanitizer when out at the grocery store — maybe carry a sanitizer in your purse or car, too. Many people are choosing to continue to wear masks in public or in large gatherings to help protect themselves and others – this is a great idea especially if you have a weaker immune system. Fi-
Physician Lisa Y. Harris is vice president of medical affairs at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. She is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a certified physician executive through the American Association of Physician Leaders. Board-certified in internal medicine and pediatrics, Harris has been in clinical practice since 1995.
nally, avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home if you are not feeling well.
Submitted by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.
“There are a lot of people who don’t know much about light therapy and it can truly make a significant difference for something that is terribly impairing,” said Oldham. “Part of my research was doing a review on common light therapy devices that are in the open market and characterizing the nature of the light source and its potential treatment results.”
Generally, the light box should provide an exposure to 10,000 lux of light and produce as little UV light as possible.
“Light therapy has the same data effectiveness as some medication does. However, you should not just get a light box without consulting with a professional to understand the best one for you,” said Oldham. “There are directions such as not just simply staring directly into the light. Also you should use it at the same time every morning for about 30 minutes to reset your internal clock.”
While people are talking about mental health more that doesn’t mean there aren’t still hurdles. No one is immune to mental health problems. People at all levels of social, occupational or economic status can experience a mental illness.
“There is still a stigma around mental health,” said Oldham. “We want to encourage people to have open and honest dialogue because depression is not one-size-fits-all.”
5.Seek medical help
It’s normal to have some days when you feel down. But if the feelings persist and motivation becomes difficult each day, experts say you shouldn’t try to handle the situation by yourself. They suggest seeking out a health care professional, especially if your sleep and eating habits have changed dramatically
and you feel thoughts of suicide.
“There could be major depression occurring in a person, so overall as a society, we need to talk about mental health,” said Oldham. “Trying to treat yourself can be very problematic. If you are depressed and you don’t recognize the full aspects of your depression or how bad it is getting, then you could start forming unhealthy habits. You need to connect with someone who has a full range of treatment options that you can discuss.”
For more information on light therapy, log onto the study co-published by Oldham at https:// prcp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/ full/10.1176/appi.prcp.2019.20180011
Why Potatoes Don’t Deserve Their Bad Reputation
With low or no-carbohydrate diets rising in popularity in recent times, the humble potato is now regularly overlooked in favor of other vegetables.
In fact, research literature has previously indicated potatoes may have a detrimental effect on health, such as possibly increasing the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes.
However, new Edith Cowan University (ECU) research has shown while spuds may not have all the same benefits as some other vegetables — such as lowering risk of Type 2 diabetes — health issues associated with potatoes may actually be due to how people are preparing them and what they’re eating them with.
More than 54,000 people reported their dietary intake for the long-term Danish Diet, Cancer and Health study.
A recent analysis of this study led by physician Nicola Bondonno from ECU’s Nutrition and Health Innovation Research Institute, found people who consumed the most vegetables were 21% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those
who consumed the least amount of vegetables.
PhD candidate Pratik Pokharel carried out work on the analysis and said while potatoes didn’t have the same impact on Type 2 diabetes, they also didn’t have any negative effect.
“In previous studies, potatoes have been positively linked to incidence of diabetes, regardless of how they’re prepared — but we found that’s not true,” Pokharel said.
“In Denmark, people consume potatoes prepared in many different ways; in our study, we could distinguish between the different preparation methods.
“When we separated boiled potatoes from mashed potatoes, fries or crisps, boiled potatoes were no longer associated with a higher risk of diabetes: they had a null effect.
Pokharel said underlying dietary patterns were the key.
“In our study, people who ate the most potatoes also consumed more butter, red meat and soft drink — foods known to increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes,” he said.
“When you account for that, boiled potatoes are no longer associated with diabetes. It’s only
fries and mashed potatoes, the latter likely because it is usually made with butter, cream and the like.”
Eat Your Vegies
Mr Pokharel said findings from the study indicate vegetables could play a key role in reducing Type 2 diabetes, as people who ate a lot of leafy greens and cruciferous vegies such as spinach, lettuce, broccoli and
cauliflower had a significantly lower risk of developing the condition.
He said the relationship between vegetables and diabetes should be incorporated into public dietary guidelines — as should the benefits of eating potatoes.
“The finding that vegetables lower diabetes risk is crucial for public health recommendations, and we shouldn’t ignore it,” he said.
They may not have all of the benefits as other veggies, but potatoes are still a healthy option
SmartBitesBy Anne Palumbo
The skinny on healthy eating
Whether you’ve had a bad day, a painful break-up or a normal day dogged by the chills, we all have comfort foods that we turn to when we need some extra TLC.
They could be dishes that are creamy and warm, or recipes that mom used to make, or simply foods that cheer us up!
But which foods are considered comforting can be vastly different based on where you live, what your sex is, and how old you are.
According to the Harris Poll, an American research company that has been tracking the behaviors of American adults since l963, America’s favorite comfort food is…pizza!
Frankly, I thought pizza was America’s all-time favorite food, no matter the need for comfort; but apparently it’s our go-to comfort food, as well.
When we’re not reaching for pizza, Harris noted, we’re getting our culinary hugs from chocolate, ice cream, mac and cheese, chips and hamburgers.
Another research company, which broke down Americans’ favorite comfort foods by state, begged to differ. Basing their study on comfort recipes with the highest Google search volume, the lighting retailer e-conolight revealed that grilled cheese was the most popular comfort food overall and chosen as the top pick in six states: California, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Virginia. Fried chicken was the second most-searched comfort food, winning out in Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas, followed closely by chicken and waffles, chili and pot roast.
A few unconventional favorites? Iowa’s monkey bread and Tennessee’s chess pie.
Comfort food cravings differ between the sexes. In a study published in the Physiology & Behavior journal, researchers from the University of Illinois Food and Brand Lab concluded that “a person’s comfort-food preferences are formed at an early age and are triggered, in addition to hunger, by conditioned associations and gender differences.”
The study illuminated that while men find comfort in foods associated with meals prepared by their mothers (mashed potatoes, pasta, meat and soup) women find comfort from less labor-intensive foods (chocolate, ice cream and candy).
Put another way, what is comfort for men is work for women. Me? I scream for ice cream and so did my mom. My husband? Pasta and stew will only do.
Age also affects our comfort-food leanings. Research shows that younger people preferred more snack-related comfort foods compared to those older than 55. And that folks older
than 70 will take steak and potatoes over pizza any day!
In addition, the time of year affects our cravings, with winter months rousing our need for comfort foods most. Some researchers suspect fewer daylight hours may play a significant role. Since sunlight promotes the release of serotonin, a known mood-booster, and we’re getting less of it during the winter months, we’re more inclined to reach for foods that also prompt the release of serotonin: carbohydrates.
Other studies, however, suggest that nothing more than “feeling cooped up” is what’s sending us straight into the arms of serotonin-boosting comfort foods. Our family can certainly relate to that! When cabin fever strikes our house, we consume more popcorn, pasta, chips and bread than at any other time of year.
Of course, there can be consequences to easing the winter blues with food, especially if those foods involve comfort foods that run higher in calories, fats and carbs. On average, say researchers at Johns Hopkins University, we tend to gain five to seven pounds during winter months due to increased calorie intake. Weight gain aside, many comfort foods are not all that healthy to chow down on a regular basis, from salty chips to high-fat ice cream to refined-flour breads and pizza.
How to cope during the long winter months when the urge to devour the entire casserole is besting your better instincts? Experts weigh in with some helpful tips to keep you on track.
• Let in the light
Early morning light is the most potent energy booster, so open those curtains and take an early morning walk. As mentioned, sunshine increases serotonin levels, which may help calm your food cravings. Also, consider changing your light bulbs to bright, full-spectrum bulbs that mimic bright summer sunlight.
• Keep moving
When it’s chilly outside, the desire to become one with the couch is monumental. But, all agree, staying active during cooler months is key to controlling weight, whether you walk with friends, head to the gym or work out with someone online. A new study, published in the journal Health Psychology, found that physical activity helps to suppress your appetite and boost your mood.
• Fill up first
Oh, those tempting party spreads full of warm, comforting food! Don’t
you just want to eat everything in sight? One way to manage intake is to fill up before you head out. Nutritionists recommend eating high-fiber foods, such as fruits and veggies that take longer to digest, and drinking a big glass of water. Same holds true for other outings and events where temptations abound: grocery shopping, dining out, food festivals, and Sunday football.
• Get plenty of ZZZs
Ever notice how hungry you feel after a poor night’s sleep? Or how strong your cravings are for certain foods like pancakes and donuts? It’s not your imagination. Studies show that even a single night of poor sleep changes your hunger and appetite hormones, leading to increased hunger and an uptick in calories consumed. When people got more sleep, researchers found, they were not only less hungry during the day; they were less likely to reach for sweet and salty foods.
• Give comfort foods a makeover Whether warm and gooey or rich and sweet, many comfort foods are not so comforting when it comes to calories, fats, sodium, and nutrition. But here’s the good news: it’s relatively easy to turn these diet-busters into healthier dishes without sacrificing taste. A few swaps to consider: substitute evaporated skim milk for cream, lower-fat ground turkey for ground beef, baked chicken for fried chicken, whole-wheat pasta (or veggies) for refined-wheat pasta, and low-fat plain yogurt for mayonnaise.
Adapted from skinnytaste.com 6 servings (250 calories each)
1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ cup diced onion
3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
¼ cup water
2 cups 1% or 2% milk
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
1-2 teaspoons hot sauce (optional)
2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheese of choice, divided
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (or more)
½ cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly oil a 9 x 13” baking dish.
Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the bottom about 1 inch; season with salt; bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower, reduce to a simmer, and cover; cook until tender crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Drain, pat between paper towels to dry, and transfer to the baking dish.
Heat butter and oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook about 3 minutes. Stir in flour and water, then reduce heat to low and cook, stirring continually, for 1 minute more.
Raise the heat to medium, then gradually whisk in the milk, mustard and hot sauce until combined and smooth. Lower heat and continue cooking, stirring throughout, until it becomes thick, about 5-6 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in 1½ cups of the shredded cheese (¼ cup at a time), along with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well, then pour over the cauliflower and gently stir to combine.
Top with breadcrumbs and remaining ½ cup cheese; bake until bubbly and golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Switch to broil for 2-3 minutes to brown the top.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I Prevent Heart Disease?’
Doctors give men and women different advice to head off heart disease, even though guidelines for both are the same.
Men were 20% more likely to be prescribed statins to lower blood levels of bad cholesterol compared with women, a new study found.
Women, meanwhile, were 27% more likely to be advised to lose weight or reduce their salt intake, and 38% more likely to receive recommendations to exercise.
Women were also 11% more likely to be advised to cut fat and calories.
The study findings were presented in December at a meeting in Singapore organized by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), the Asian Pacific Society of Cardiology and the Asean Federation of Cardiology.
“Following our analysis, we conducted a review of the literature to find possible explanations for the
Fish Oil, Minerals, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Selenium
— What Works?
Manufacturers make all kinds of health claims, but can taking a dietary supplement actually lower your heart disease risk?
A comprehensive analysis of prior research suggests that in certain cases the answer is yes. Some types of supplements — such as omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) do provide a cardiovascular leg up.
But many supplements were found to offer no heart health benefit of any kind, and others were potentially harmful.
“We evaluated 27 different types of supplements, and found that there are several that offered cardiovascular benefits,” said study author physician Simin Liu, director of the Center for Global Cardiometabolic Health at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
These included omega-3 fatty acids, which reduced the risk of early death due to heart disease.
Other supplements that were shown to benefit the heart included folic acid, L-arginine, L-citrul-
line, Vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, alpha-lipoic acid, melatonin, catechin, curcumin, flavanol, genistein and quercetin.
But some common supplements had no long-term effect on heart disease outcomes or risk for Type 2 diabetes, Liu noted. They included vitamins C, D, E and selenium.
Beta carotene supplements, meanwhile, were associated with an increase in early death from all causes.
The findings are an outgrowth of a research review prompted by what Liu and his colleagues described as lingering confusion in the heart health community as to just how effective supplements can be at preventing heart disease.
The fact that foods rich in micronutrients can protect the heart has not been in question, said Liu, who noted that several large studies have linked a healthy diet to heart health benefits.
For example, micronutrients like antioxidants — which are present in the heart-healthy foods featured in
results. This demonstrated that a potential root of the discrepancy in advice is the misconception that women have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than men,” said study author, physician Prima Wulandari of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
“Our findings highlight the need for greater awareness among health professionals to ensure that both women and men receive the most up-to-date information on how to
maintain heart health,” Wulandari said in an ESC news release.
Previous research had shown that women with heart disease received less aggressive treatment compared with men.
For this study, researchers used data from a U.S. federal health and nutrition survey conducted from 2017 to 2020.
It included more than 8,500 men and women between 40 and 79 years of age with no history of heart disease. More than 2,900 were eligible to receive statin drugs because they had an increased risk for heart disease.
ESC guidelines recommend adults of all ages do at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity, aerobic physical activity each week.
Diet recommendations emphasize plant-based foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts, and limiting salt intake to less than 5 grams per day.
People who are overweight or obese should lose weight to lower blood pressure, lipids and the risk of diabetes, reducing their risk of heart disease, the guidelines say.
Statins are recommended based on individual characteristics, including age and heart disease risk, according to the ESC.
Findings presented at medical meetings are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
the Mediterranean diet and DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) — have long been linked to a reduction in oxidative stress. Because cell tissue damage brought on by such stress poses a threat to heart health, antioxidant-rich diets are thought to be protective, reducing the risk for a number of serious diseases, including diabetes.
What’s been less clear, however, is whether consuming vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants in the form of supplements might offer a similar advantage.
For the new study, Liu’s team poured through 884 prior studies
of supplements, some published as recently as this year. Collectively, the studies involved nearly 900,000 men and women.
In the end, the team concluded that some of the 27 micronutrient supplements under review did demonstrate some benefit.
Those included a number of omega-3 fatty acid supplements – including n-3 and n-6 fatty acids— which were found to help to reduce the risk for heart attacks and coronary heart disease, as well as the overall risk for dying as a result of heart disease.
Research shows some supplements have no effect on heart’s health and can even be harmful
Docs give different answers to men, womenBy Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
The year 2023 should prove a banner year in medicine. Area experts share a few of the big advances they expect soon.
Lecanemab, a new Alzheimer’s medication, is expected to pass FDA approval this year. As reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, lecanemab slows cognitive decline for certain patients with Alzheimer’s by targeting beta amyloid, the cause of plaques in the brain that are thought to contribute to the disease.
Patients in the early stages of the disease receiving the IV medication experienced slower decline in cognition and function. The study looked at 1,800 patients for 18 months.
Physician Anton Pjetur Porsteinsson leads URMC’s Alzheimer’s Disease Care, Research and Education Program, which has participated in more than 200 clinical studies for Alzheimer’s since 1986, including lecanemab.
“This is one of the largest clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease and was unique in that it had higher participation of historically underrepresented groups than in previous studies,” Porsteinsson said in a statement. “It also allowed volunteers with more medical comorbidities to enter the study. Usually, participant populations in studies like these are healthy, so this created a more representative sample of the Alzheimer’s population in the real world.”
Among participants not receiving the placebo, 12.5% experienced mild to moderate brain swelling, but it was rarely clinically evident and resolved when medication was halted. The group also experienced micro hemorrhages, which are common among Alzheimer’s patients, but these were monitored carefully.
“Alzheimer’s is a very complex, multi-modal disease that varies from person to person,” Porsteinsson said. “This is also a disease where the changes in the brain start maybe 20 to 25 years before you have any clinical symptoms. By the time someone presents with symptoms they are actually very late in the overall disease
He recognizes that lecanemab is only a start towards a cure, but one that may become someday part of a “cocktail” of prescriptions used to treat Alzheimer’s.
Final approval by the FDA may happen by September 2023.
The current opioid epidemic has pushed researchers to find other ways to help patients manage chronic pain. Neuromodulation is the next step, according to physician Hemant Kalia, interventional pain and cancer rehabilitation specialist and managing director of Greater Rochester Region InvisionHealth and medical director of Invision Spine & Pain in Rochester.
“It’s a specialized field of pain medicine where we deliver medications and also electric energy to central nervous system or to nerves to modulate the pain signal, which can help improve their function and quality of life,” Kalia said.
It involves implanting small devices around the nerves to block pain signals from the damage nerves. For example, people with chronic low back or leg pain. Although this modality is not new, the devices will use artificial intelligence so that they can learn and optimize their effect to meet patients’ needs.
“Currently, the devices available to us we can’t program them individually to a specific patient’s needs,” Kalia said. “Every patient’s needs are different. With these new platforms, we’ll be able to individualize the pain management.”
The closed loop stimulation in the new platforms will be able to automatically interpret changes in activity and adjust the output without manual control.
Kalia anticipates FDA approval in 2023.
“We are also exploring other non-opioid based medications, which can be delivered directly into the spine as opposed to the oral route of administration,” he added.
This would minimize systemic side effects because physicians would deliver the medication directly to the site of the pain receptors.
Better Sooner with Aquatic TherapyBy Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
For people recovering from an injury or joint surgery, aquatic therapy may be helpful in getting better sooner. Like land-based (“dry”) physical therapy, aquatic therapy does not require a physician’s prescription and most insurers cover treatment for a total of 30 days. At that point, a prescription would be required.
“Aquatic physical therapy allows people to do things sooner than they may be able to tolerate out of the water,” said Mandy Downs, physical therapy assistant at Lattimore Physical Therapy in Rochester.
She explained that the water’s buoyancy “lightens” the patient, so less weight is placed on a joint. The 94- to 95-degree F temperature of the therapy pool also helps keep patients comfortable.
Lattimore uses aquatic therapy to work with pain in the back, hip, knee, ankle, shoulder and neck.
“Water can be used to assist movement or resist movement, depending on the speed and the direction, and positioning you’re moving it through the water,” Downs said.
She sometimes uses devices in the pool like noodles and flotation boards to help with movement or to encourage patients to stretch further and challenge themselves.
Most therapy pools are relatively shallow, as they’re not meant for diving or swimming laps. Some offer windows on the sides so therapists
can see the patients’ movements without the distortion of looking through the water. Some have an optional current to help patients improve balance, strength and range of motion. Benches in the pool can allow patients to perform seated exercise.
Unlike land-based exercise, the pool challenges their posture, balance and core strength. But the water reduces risk of falls.
“It definitely creates that ambient relaxation,” Downs said. “When people are in pain, that’s often the first thing in their mind: they want that pain to go away. If you provide an environment that can do that, they’ll start to relax.”
The water can help people who are obese, experience low back pain or have arthritis to better address their physical therapy needs.
“You can do anything in the pool that you can on the land, but the offloading is beneficial to patients,” said Melanie Kehoe, doctor of physical therapy at Genesee Valley Physical Therapy in Webster.
The water also helps patients who have cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis or impairment from a stroke if land physical therapy is too challenging.
In addition to rehabilitation, Genesee Valley Physical Therapy offers “prehab” in anticipation of joint replacement surgery to help patients build strength without as much pain.
“It’s been shown to improve outcomes,” Kehoe said.
People with fibromyalgia often see improvement in their ability to move.
“Fibromyalgia patients don’t necessarily think of aquatic physical therapy as a first line thought as far as treatment,” Kehoe said.
The same goes for people who want to start exercising but feel that traditional exercise is too hard because of chronic joint pain and fear injury.
Physical therapists offering aquatic therapy take continuing education credits to learn how to apply physical therapy principles in
Few conditions contraindicate aquatic physical therapy.
“If you have an open wound, you wouldn’t want to get in the water,” said Kali Spoto, owner and physical therapist at Star Physical Therapy in Fairport. “Or someone fresh out of surgery. It’s at least six weeks because of risk of infection. Certain conditions, like neurological if you’re sensitive to heat. That can be a concern.”
Patients should ask their primary care providers about any concerns.
Face Yoga: Look 3 Years YoungerBy Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
If you want to look up to three years younger, facial yoga may be the answer.
Purported to tone the facial muscles and provide facial rejuvenation, facial yoga involves following a regimen of facial movements and poses to provide results.
Gary Sikorski, founder of the Happy Face Yoga method (happyface.com) in Cleveland, Ohio, has been training adherents in the practice since 2006.
“The Effects of Facial Exercise on the Appearance of Aging,” a small study by Northwestern University Medicine published in JAMA Dermatology in 2018, demonstrated that a 30-minute daily then alternate-day facial exercise program for 20 weeks helped middle-aged women improve their fullness of their upper and lower cheeks.
“I’m the first person to medically prove my techniques work,” Sikorski said. “I teach muscle resistance facial exercise. There are 57 muscles in the face, neck and scalp. As you strengthen those muscles, that’s what helps
Images show a woman after going through a face yoga treatment and before. Provided Gary Sikorski, founder of the Happy Face Yoga.
bring a more youthful appearance as it lifts the cheeks and strengthens the jawline. Also, it can improve blood circulation to improve the complexion. As those muscles are lifted and toned instead of sagging, it tightens the skin which helps soften those fine lines. It’s all these things that add to aging.”
He eschews gadgets advertised online as he believes these are ineffective because they don’t strengthen the muscles, although they can stimulate blood circulation.
“That helps with brightness, but it won’t tone the face, so they don’t offer lasting results,” Sikorski added. “Some just do stretching, which won’t add a youthful look to the face.”
His program uses the fingers, hands and, for resistance, the teeth.
One of the criticisms of face yoga is that repeatedly making the same facial expressions will cause wrinkles. However, Sikorski said that in 16 years, no one has complained about wrinkles forming from following his program.
He said that how quickly adherents see results depends upon the condition of their face initially and their age. Factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, lack of sun protection and poor diet can affect the skin also. Those following the program should perform the exercises daily for six-10 weeks.
“The more exercises you do, the faster and better the results,” Sikorski said. “Once you achieve the maximum success, then maybe one or two times for 20 minutes per week.”
He likened the effects to people who work out at a gym. Stopping the workouts will mean lower muscle tone.
“As we age, facial muscles weaken and begin to sag,” Sikorski said. “Weakened muscles will cause many aging problems in the face. These problems can be corrected, or for younger people, prevented, by practicing facial exercise.”
These include eyes that appear narrow, sagging cheeks, downturned corners to the mouth, jawline jowls and pouches.
Becky Hall, esthetician and owner of Derma Renew Spa, LLC in
Rochester, offers among her services spa facials, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, oxygen infusion therapy, LED red light therapy and high frequency treatments. In addition to these, she believes that jade rollers and stone can help improve the skin’s appearance.
“They can reduce puffiness used every day by relaxing the inflamed area,” Hall said.
Although she stated that calling it face “yoga” is inaccurate, since yoga involves breathing exercises and a meditative, spiritual element, she can see how “it could be beneficial, as they’re moving lymph” and tone facial muscles. But does not think many people will stick with a face yoga regimen and remains skeptical that face yoga could reverse lines on the skin from facial expressions.
Most skin damage comes from sun damage, smoking, pollution, consuming too much sugar and alcohol and skimping on water.
“The sun is the number one free radical, which damages skin,” Hall said. “Avoiding the sun will benefit you. From day one, protecting with SPF has been proven in preventing sun damage, which is cellular, DNA damage and hyperpigmentation. Start young. You can prevent a lot of things.”
IT’S ALL IN THE APPLICATION
Makeup techniques can go a long way toward fine-tuning your features to make you look younger. So give these a try.
• The eyes have it
To make your eyes look bigger, line the inside of your lower lid with a white or flesh-colored eyeliner. Then brighten up your eye area by dabbing pale pink, flesh, or oyster color shadow to the inside corners of your eyes. Also, add a couple of more dabs just under your lower lashes moving from the inner corner of your eye to the center.
For your lashes, flare them. First, brush through your lashes as usual with mascara. Then sweep through them again and pull your outer lashes outward and inner lashes inward. Repeat these steps with your lower lashes.
• Youthful lips
Full lips make you look younger. So invest in a quality, long-lasting lip liner, and line your top and bottom lip. For fuller lips, line just to the outside of your lip line.
• A flawless complexion Foundation can do wonders to give you flawless, youthful-looking skin. But your skin type and age may dictate what type works best. On younger skin, sheer coverage is best. On mature skin, foundation can make your lines
more noticeable. So look opt for a sheer, very lightweight foundation or skip it altogether.
• Avoid the dry look
Unless you have very oily skin, skip the face powder because it can make your skin look dry and any lines more noticeable. If you must use powder to control too much shine, apply it only in your oily areas. Also, look for a translucent pure silica formulation and avoid mica or talc.
• Add some color
Use soft pink or bright coral blush to add color and brighten your face. Avoid bronze tones, which only serve to age your skin. Also, use cream rather than powder blush since powder makes your skin look dryer. Apply blush along the top of your cheekbones, forehead, and center of your chin.
How to Look Years Younger –Without Injections or Plastic SurgeryBy Kimberly Blaker
Regardless of how gracefully we want to handle aging, we often find ourselves making heroic efforts to stave it off, starting in early adulthood.
The proof is that women of all ages (even in their 20s) are spending small fortunes on Botox injections, fillers and plastic surgery. Also, many who don’t go to such drastic measures still spend hundreds of dollars a year on anti-aging lotions and potions.
Fortunately, you don’t have to undergo risky and costly injections and surgery or resort to ineffective concoctions to enjoy a more youthful appearance.
CLOTHING THAT COMPLIMENTS
Your clothing can either add years or subtract them from your appearance. Consider the following tricks to make clothing work in your favor.
• Out with the black
If you’re over 35, banish black above your waist. As you age, black draws attention to your fine lines. For tops and jackets, wear colors that compliment you. Everyone looks great in particular colors. So play those up. This also goes for black-framed eyeglasses. Opt instead for metallics, bright colors, or lighter colored frames.
• Keep it stylish, but don’t overdo it.
As you age, dressing trendy from head to toe is hard to pull off without drawing attention to your age. Instead, mix a pair of classic pants and shirt, with a trendy sweater. Or add style to a pair of jeans and a classic top with a pair of fashionable boots (so long as they aren’t bulky). Another option is to choose pieces that are mostly classic but have a stylish flair.
• Shapers aren’t what they used to be That’s excellent news. At one time, many women wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the hideous shapewear that existed. But lingerie companies have finally gotten the message. You can find shapewear
now that’s both sexy and more comfortable to wear. Shapewear can shave years off your appearance by creating a sleek look.
HEALTH AND ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING
Physical and emotional wellness goes a long way toward both looking and feeling younger. A positive outlook on life is beneficial to your physical health. In contrast, anger, stress, and depression increase your risk of disease. Negative emotions also reflect in your posture and face. So, make wellness a priority.
Exercise is an essential part of physical and mental wellness and should be a part of your daily routine. A regimen of aerobic exercise for your heart and lungs and weight lifting for muscle tone and bone health will help you maintain your youth longer. As an added benefit, exercise also releases endorphins, which elevates your mood.
So remember good health and a positive attitude have the most significant impact on maintaining a youthful appearance. With these, you’ll glow and emanate radiance.
Best Ways for Busy Women to Lose WeightBy Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Dividing their time among work, childcare, and household management leaves little time for many women to take care of their own health, including maintaining a healthy weight.
According to a 2019 Gallup poll, women are more likely than their men to take care of parental duties and housekeeping including laundry, cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping and dishwashing.
Women are also more often the primary caregiver of other family members such as one who is disabled or a senior parent and usually manage the family’s social schedule and health appointments. Homemakers account for some of that division of labor. In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 57% of women aged 25-64 were employed, compared with 74.4% of men. But especially for women who work fulltime, managing their weight often becomes a low priority.
In addition to having many things vying for their time, women’s experiences such as childbirth and conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can also contribute to weight gain. Between 5% and 10% of women have PCOS.
Women also receive a barrage of mixed — and often incorrect — messages about weight gain, as they try to live up to the cultural ideal of a svelte figure. Kerri Howell, online personal trainer, nutrition coach and owner of Rochester-based fitprmom-
life.com, likes to keep weight control simple and, for those time-strapped, efficient.
“You only need 15 minutes a day of resistance training to make a difference,” Howell said. “Sometimes that works better than trying to fit in three one-hour training sessions, especially for busy working parents. That, coupled with walking as much as possible will achieve the fitness activity needed to lose weight.”
Resistance training can include performing bodyweight exercises like squats, calf raises, planks and pushups. Fitness bands, free weights and kettlebells can also help for home resistance training workouts.
To save time on home workouts, Austyn Affronti, president of Affronti Fitness in Rochester, recommends high intensity interval training (HIIT).
“You could do it as you walk the dog, running for two minutes and walking for two,” he said. “Or stop and do 15 squats or 15 jumping jacks.”
It may seem like a series of short workouts would not help as much as one long workout of 45 to 60 minutes. However, Affronti said that for some people, breaking up the exercise sessions is not only more convenient, but it can also help them workout at their highest level throughout each minute instead of putting forth less exertion as they begin to feel fatigued.
“With shorter workouts, you’re putting in maximum effort,” he said.
To get a jump on wellness for the
day, rising early to practice meditation can help, according to Affronti.
“A lot of studies say that meditation is like a nap for your central nervous system,” he said. “If you’re extremely stressed, your body wants to hold onto weight. If you’re not getting enough sleep, and stressed, it creates a hormonal imbalance. It’s harder to losing weight, even if you’re working out like a madman.”
He also thinks that a consistent rising and bedtime contribute to improved hormone balance.
Of course, the diet plays a big role in weight loss. Yo-yo dieting has been shown to contribute to weight gain. Consistently eating a reduced calorie diet of balanced foods based on the USDA’s My Plate can yield significant results. My Plate states that half the plate should hold fruits and vegetables, one-quarter should have a lean source of protein and one-quarter should have a carbohydrate source. Three servings of dairy per day, such as yogurt and milk, can ensure adequate calcium and provide more protein.
A healthful diet includes mostly whole foods such as whole fruit, raw vegetables, and whole grains instead of numerous examples processed
foods with added sugar, salt and fat. Unhealthful sources of fat are solid at room temperature, such as butter, margarine, shortening and lard. Plant-based sources of fat in moderation is more healthful, including canola oil and olive oil.
Howell and Affronti both said that increasing protein is important for healthful eating.
“Nearly everyone is deficient in protein and you’re likely overeating carbs and fat,” Affronti said. “Protein is the main micronutrient to support muscle mass. It helps elevate your metabolism. If you’re losing muscle, your metabolism is going down. Protein takes longer to digest, so you satisfy your appetite.”
Menu planning for the week and preparing at least a few of the elements in advance can make eating healthfully easier, such as cooking and portioning chicken breasts and chopping vegetables. Using a slow cooker can ensure a healthful meal is ready when arriving home exhausted.
“Have healthy, prepared snacks available at all times,” Affronti said. “Cut up fruits and vegetables and put them on the top shelf so they’re in plain sight.”
New Group — Monroe County Aging Alliance — Tackles Local Aging IssuesBy Todd Etshman
In December, the Monroe County Aging Alliance became a joint initiative between the Rochester Area Community Foundation and the United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes.
Leading the alliance are representatives from each organization: United Way consultant Leanne Rorick and Patricia Campbell, former senior director of the Rochester Area Community Foundation’s community programs department.
Rorick is principal of Leanne Rorick Consulting and a research assistant for Cornell University’s Institute for Translational Research on Aging, where she provides training to long-term care facilities. We recently chatted with her.
Q: What is the new Monroe County Aging Alliance and how is it different from the former MCAA?
A: The Monroe County Aging Alliance has been an active consortium since its formation in 2012. What is different is that it now has a formal designation as a joint initiative of Rochester Area Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes. The Community Foundation was its initial convener, but in recent years the two organizations have served as co-conveners.
The Aging Alliance’s mission to use our collective power to create a community where people age well is unchanged.
Q: What will be the role of the MCAA partners going forward?
A: The alliance is a consortium of many partners, all committed to supporting older adults.
Other community partners and organizations support our work by weighing in with expertise in their area of specialty, partnering with us on projects and working alongside our members to implement community programming that supports a more age-friendly Monroe County and city of Rochester.
Q: Can you explain some of the initiatives MCAA will work on and how they can help make a more age-friendly community?
A: The Alliance has three areas of focus:
•Age-friendly/Livable Community Initiative
The first is our commitment to make Rochester and Monroe County a more age-friendly, livable community. Eight domains of livability have been identified: outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; housing; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information and; community support and health services
• Poverty in Later Life
Recognizing the devastating impact of poverty on older adults in our community and particularly in the city of Rochester where one in five older adults live below 100% of the Official Poverty Measure, our team collaborated with Lifespan of Greater Rochester in 2021 to produce
a report that highlights the issue and provides policy recommendations to better support the economic security of older people. This issue is a priority area for the alliance and one we intend to continue to elevate, to advocate for changes that promote a level of economic security that, at a minimum, allows older adults to age well.
•Reframing Aging Ageism shapes the way we think about ourselves and others as we grow older. It negatively impacts health outcomes, contributes to health care costs and stifles the economy by limiting the participation of experienced older workers. The Reframing Aging Initiative seeks to address ageism by reframing the public’s understanding of what aging means and the many ways older people contribute to society.
We consider addressing ageism fundamental to the success of our Livable Community plan and have included it in our recommendations.
Q: How far does Monroe County have to go to be considered an age friendly community?
A: Great question! AARP provides a livability index tool that helps communities gauge their livability based on data sets that can be consistently measured across all US communities.
Our age-friendly plan was informed by older adults in Monroe County. Their perspectives in the next few years will help us understand if and how our community is becoming more age friendly.
We will be monitoring progress toward the recommendations in our plan and will post annual progress reports on our website over the next few years.
Q: Does MCAA have or need funding?
A: We are grateful to Monroe County and County Executive Adam Bello for a recent award of funding that will allow us to implement our age-friendly plan. The support of United Way and Rochester Area
Community Foundation is critical to our on-going work, as well. Some recommendations in the age-friendly plan still require funding.
Q: As co-directors, what do you want to see accomplished in the short-run and the long-run?
A: In the short-term, we’re eager to see the community’s adoption of age-friendly principles and the implementation of the age-friendly plan. We will look for evidence that our reframing efforts are gaining a foothold and we’ll advocate for prioritization of and funding for programs that promote economic security for older adults, such as bill-paying, budgeting and programs that help people connect to HEAP and SNAP; funding for home modifications; more subsidized, accessible housing and infrastructure that supports an older adult workforce.
Q: What resources will you have besides one another; will there be a staff or others involved directly?
A: The alliance is an active consortium whose members engage directly in our work. Members have created workgroups to assist with the implementation of our age-friendly plan and provide their time and expertise in-kind to the projects we tackle together.
Q: Are there age friendly model communities we can look up to?
A: There are currently 716 communities in the US and more than 1,400 across the world that are engaged in this work so comparison can be a challenge.
With its overall Livability score of 67, Alexandria, Virginia, placed first among mid-sized cities. Rochester’s and Monroe County’s overall scores are currently 56.
Achieving a high livability score is challenging. To get a perfect score of 100, an area would have to be the best in the country in each of the livability categories. This is not easy— even for the best of communities.
How to Reduce Your Medical Bills
Dear Savvy Senior,
What tips do you recommend to Medicare beneficiaries dealing with hefty medical bills? My husband recently had open heart surgery and is recovering slowly, but the medical bills are coming in fast and furious and they’re putting us in medical debt.— Struggling in Springfield
I’m sorry to hear about your billing struggles, but medical debt has unfortunately become a chronic problem in this country. According to U.S. Census data 19% of Americans households carry medical debt, including 10% of households headed by someone 65 or older. Even seniors on Medicare can easily get snagged in a web of complicated billing and coverage problems.
To help you slash your medical bills, here are some tips recommended by health care experts that you should try.
• Double check your bills: Almost half of all medical bills contain at least one error, including duplicate charges or charges for services you never received. If you’re facing a high bill and are on the hook for some portion of it, request itemized invoices from the hospital and other providers that detail everything you were charged for and go through them line by line. If you find something you don’t understand or find fishy contact the provider for an explanation or a correction.
• Wait for your EOB: Doctors’ offices and hospitals may mail initial bills to you before they even submit them to your health insurer. So, hold off on any payment until you receive an explanation of benefits (EOB) from your provider — Medicare, supplemental Medicare, Medicare Advantage or private insurer. This will show what you owe after your insurance has paid its portion.
If your EOB shows that your insurer is refusing to pay for services that you think should be covered, call them to see whether it’s a correctable mistake, such as a coding error for a certain test or treatment. If it’s truly a denial of coverage, you may need to file an appeal. For details on how to file a Medicare appeal, see Medicare. gov/claims-appeals/how-do-i-filean-appeal.
• Ask for a discount: Call the hospi tal’s accounting office or the billing staff at your doctor’s practice and ask if they can reduce your bill. You’d be surprised how often this works. Or if
you have the funds to pay the entire bill, ask the hospital or provider for a “prompt pay” discount which may save you 15% or more.
If it’s best for you to pay your bills over time, ask the billing office to set up a no-interest payment plan for you. It’s in the provider’s interest to work with you to obtain payment.
You can also call the hospital where your husband had his surgery and ask a billing specialist if the facility offers financial assistance. According to the American Hospital Association, about half of U.S. hospitals are nonprofit. This means they are required to offer free or discounted services in some instances. This is usually reserved for low to moderate income patients who have limited or no health insurance, but requirements vary from hospital to hospital.
• Get help: If you’ve gotten nowhere on your own, contact the Patient Advocate Foundation (patientadvocate.org, 800-532-5274) who can help you understand and negotiate your medical bills, free of charge. Or consider hiring a medical billing professional to negotiate for you but be aware that these services can cost upward of $100 an hour. You can find potential candidates through the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates (advoconnection.com). Be sure to choose someone who is credentialed by the Patient Advocate Certification Board.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior. org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.
Ask St. Ann’sBy Aaron Fields and Chelsi Santiago
The Social Security Office
From the Social Security District Office
Online Safety Tips For Seniors
Sometimes the world wide web can seem like the wild west. With stories regularly in the news about online scams, identity theft and dangerous emails, it’s easy to feel intimidated about going online. If you’re a senior who’s new to technology, it can be especially scary. But there are simple, sensible steps you can take to keep yourself safe while enjoying the benefits the internet has to offer.
Emotion and excitement
Internet scams often play on two factors: emotion and excitement. Don’t let these get the better of you. For example, a popular ploy is to send seniors a text or email message appearing to be from a grandchild or friend (often using the person’s real name) claiming to be in trouble and in need of money. “Don’t tell my parents, but I need $300 right away,” it might say. It will then invite you to transfer money from your bank account or credit card to this individual. Don’t fall for it. (If you’re worried about your grandchild, call them directly at a number you know is really theirs.)
The best response to scams like this is to not respond at all. Most likely, these are computer generated messages seeking to get a response from a real person. Respond in any way —including writing back to say “Stop sending me these messages” — and you’ll be subjected to future attacks. Phone scams may tell you press 1 to opt out; again, it’s safer to simply ignore the message and delete it.
Excitement is a second ploy used to obtain personal information. You may be told you’ve won a cash prize and need to enter your bank account to arrange the transfer, or that a service (such as car insurance) will end if you don’t act immediately. If you did not initiate the communication, don’t believe it. Legitimate businesses will not randomly ask you to share personal information through a text, email, or link.
Common sense is careful sense
Here are some other tips for reducing the risk of online scams:
• Limit the amount of information you share online. Social media plat-
forms like Facebook offer options for who can see things you post. It’s a good idea to limit the visibility of your posts to friends only rather than the general public. These options are usually located under Settings or Privacy on the platform. And don’t post personal details about yourself or loved ones that could be used by scammers.
• Don’t duplicate your passwords. Use different passwords for your bank account and your email account, for example. That way, if one gets hacked, the other will be safe.
• Sign up for multi-factor authentication. This simply means that in addition to your user name and password, the company you’re doing business with will ask you to enter a one-time access code sent to you via text, email or phone. That’s an added layer of protection that allows you and no one else to access your account. Contact your bank, credit card company or online vendor to sign up.
• Tell your bank if you see a charge you don’t recognize. Banks and credit card companies know the tricks of the trade and will be happy to cancel a charge that you dispute. So if there’s a purchase on your statement you don’t recognize, let them know.
• Beware of suspicious messages. If you don’t recognize the sender, mark the email or text as spam and delete it. Don’t open it, reply to it, or click any links.
The majority of the internet is legitimate and can be safely used for news, entertainment, shopping, and communication. Don’t let fear keep you from enjoying what’s available. Just be on guard and keep away from anything that doesn’t seem right. When in doubt, contact the friend, relative, or company directly to verify that the request you’re getting is really from them.
Aaron Fields is chief information officer and Chelsi Santiago is security & data analyst at St. Ann’s Community. Contact them at afields@mystanns. com, csantiago@ mystanns.com, or 585697-6000.
Learn About Social Security
Social Security programs touch the lives of more than 70 million people. We work hard to ensure critical benefits and other services are accessible to you. Consider the start of the new year as an opportunity for you to engage with Social Security online. This begins with creating your free and secure personal my Social Security account at www.ssa. gov/myaccount. Once you create an account, you can:
• Apply for retirement, spouses, or disability benefits.
• Apply for Medicare.
• Check your application status.
• Request a replacement Social Security number card.
If you do not receive Social Security benefits, you can use your personal my Social Security account to:
• Get personalized retirement benefit estimates.
• Get your Social Security statement.
• Get estimates for spouse’s benefits.
• Get instant proof that you do not receive benefits.
If you receive benefits, you can use your personal my Social Security account to:
• Change your address (Social Security benefits only).
• Set up or change your direct deposit information (Social Security benefits only).
• Instantly get proof of benefits.
• Print your SSA-1099.
Your personal my Social Security account has a secure message center. You can choose to receive the annual cost-of-living adjustments and the income-related monthly adjustment amount online. Unless you opt-out of receiving notices by mail that are available online, you will receive both mailed and online notices.
Your personal my Social Security account offers easy access to features that save you time when you do business with us online. Check out our other resources available at www.ssa.gov/onlineservices for your convenience.
Registered nurse Aimee Nesbitt works in the emergency department at Thompson Health
Registered nurse Aimee Nesbitt of the emergency department is the latest recipient of The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses from UR Medicine Thompson Health.
Nesbitt, a Branchport resident, was surprised with her award at work on Dec. 8. She was nominated by a woman following her father’s visit to the emergency department.
“The care, attention, and empathy from Aimee Nesbitt was outstanding! The teamwork and her leadership with PCTs (patient care technicians) was also excellent!” the nomination read, adding that Nesbitt was “spot on” with a great attitude and “treated my father and other patients with great respect and care.”
Nesbitt received a certificate, a pin, and a hand-carved sculpture called “A Healer’s Touch.” As a DAISY recipient, she is also eligible for scholarships, discounts on certifications, and medical mission grants from The DAISY Foundation. She is the second recipient of Thompson’s quarterly DAISY award, which is part of a nationwide nurse recognition program.
To nominate a nurse to be the next DAISY recipient, visit www.ThompsonHealth.com/DAISY.
Excellus appoints new chief administrative officer
Lisa White has been appointed as chief administrative officer and executive vice president at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. White, in her new role, has also joined the company’s executive leadership team.
White started her career at the health plan 31 years ago as a customer care representative. She’s since held a variety of positions throughout the company. White, for example, helped start the company’s first compliance department, focusing on government regulations, mandates
3, 19, 24
Hearing group announces January programs
Anyone interested in hearing loss, either their own or someone else’s, is welcome at Hearing Loss Association of America Rochester Chapter January programs. All HLAA programs are free. Some are in person while other, virtual programs, require preregistration. The in-person programs feature an
and more. She now oversees about a dozen departments whose primary responsibilities support the enterprise, including legal, audit, facilities, governance, strategy, corporate development, corporate communications, business resilience, risk management and ethics, privacy and compliance.
“Lisa brings years of experience and expertise overseeing complex administrative support functions,
Highland Hospital Foundation Awards the LeFrois Family with its Highest Honor H
ighland Hospital Foundation recently announced that the LeFrois family is the recipient of the 2022 Heritage Award.
Members of the LeFrois family, who have gone above and beyond to support Highland Hospital in multiple capacities over the years, received the award at a ceremony at the Monroe Golf Club on Wednesday, Dec. 14.
The Heritage Award is the highest honor given by the Highland Hospital Foundation for philanthropic contributions. It honors people or organizations that play a significant role at Highland Hospital and in our community through their time, talent, and philanthropic support.
The LeFrois family has a long history of supporting and choosing Highland Hospital for their care. From Rich’s father Russell who lived to be 92 and his wife who was treated for breast cancer, to the birth of all of their grandchildren, the LeFrois family has always trusted Highland’s providers and staff with the care of their loved ones.
and we’re proud to have her join our executive leadership team,” said Jim Reed, President and CEO, Excellus BCBS.
“We’ve been lucky over the years to have Lisa at the helm, especially during COVID-19,” Reed added. “Lisa played a pivotal role in our organization’s response to the pandemic, helping us focus on supporting our members through challenging
Over the years, the family has stepped up to help Highland in countless ways, including chairing the Highland Gala in 2019. Rich LeFrois, CEO of LeFrois Builders and Developers also served as Board Chairman for the hospital that same year. The family has also made generous financial contributions which have had a direct positive impact on the hospital’s new patient tower and a variety of other modernization projects.
“Highland relies on the generosity of our donors and the devotion of our volunteers and board members to ensure that our community has the best possible health care,” said Steve Goldstein, President and CEO of Highland Hospital. “The LeFrois family’s support and dedication to Highland are key reasons for our continued success.”
Past recipients of The Heritage Award include Mark Eidlin, Dr. Robert McCann, Dr. David Sischy, and the Honorable Thomas & Betty Richards.
A graduate of Syracuse University, White earned her master’s degree from the New England College of Business and Finance. She serves on the board of trustees for the MakeA-Wish Foundation of Central New York.
White and her husband reside in Syracuse. They have three children.
inductive loop hearing system and open captions. To obtain Zoom link, preregister at the chapter web site hearinglossrochester.org.
• From 10 to 11 a.m. Hearing Other People’s Experiences (HOPE). In person. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, East Avenue at Westminster Road, Rochester, across from the George Eastman Museum. Vestry Room. Retired audiologist and hearing aid user Joseph Kozelsky facilitates.
• From 11 to 11:30 a.m. Socializing. In person. St. Paul’s Parish Hall.
• Noon to 1 p.m. “Ask the Audiologists,” featuring audiologists Carolynne Pouliot, founder and owner
of Hearing Aid Works Audiology in Penfield, and Matthew MacDonald, an audiologist associated with Dalzells Hearing Centers. In person. St. Paul’s Parish Hall AND virtual on Zoom.
• From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.Assistive listening devices demo center. Technology team. In person. Lifespan, 1900 S. Clinton Ave., Rochester. View and try a selection of assistive listening devices before actually buying them.
From 8 to 9 p.m. “Hear Together.” Speech language pathologist Kristin Bergholtz conducts a virtual support group for parents and care-
givers of deaf/hard of hearing children. Learn more about your child’s hearing loss, services to benefit them, and tips to support their language development while connecting with other advocates of these youngsters.
To register, contact kristinbslp@ gmail.com
Hearing Loss Association of America is a volunteer, nonprofit organization whose mission is to open the world of communication to people with hearing loss by providing support, education, advocacy, and information. For more information, view the organization web site at hearinglossrochester.org or telephone 585 266 7890.
To hear more of Frank’s story and learn if CyberKnife is right for you, visit hoacny.com
Frank chose non-surgical CyberKnife® at HOA –offering 5 treatments instead of 35!
“The original diagnosis was to treat my prostate cancer with seven weeks of radiation, five days a week. I was kind of upset that I was never given the option of CyberKnife,” said Frank. “The precise radiation achieved by CyberKnife, far fewer treatments, and the personalized care I received from Dr. Chin and his team made my decision an easy one. Better, the treatment was a real success!”
• On the Cover — Michael Speranza:, a chef, musician, is living the dream(s)
• Resolutions — Area financial experts offer a few suggestions for the new year
• Scams — ‘Hey grandma, I need help’ and other top scams
• Love— 13 gestures that’ll make him fall in love—all over again
• Museum — How one Coca-Cola pitcher grew into a cute museum in the middle of nowhere
• Health — Dr. Michael Roizen: living healthfully into our 100s is in our grasp
• Exercise — Tai chi and this personal trainer can help you succeed inside and out
...and so much more!
Frank Guido couldn’t be happier he had a choice for treating his prostate cancer!