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November 2017

Follow us Check out the latest stories, as well as past articles and trending health-care information that you might have missed from past issues of Livingwell.

Trending now: Healthy news just for you Kids and Teens

Childhood obesity on the rise THE MESSAGE: Childhood obesity has seen a 10-fold increase since 1975, according to a study published in The Lancet. THE SCOOP: In the U.S. more than 1 in 5 children are considered obese. THE BOTTOM LINE: A focus on proper nutrition and weight reduction is needed to combat obesity in children. If you think your child is overweight, talk with your physician. SOURCE: WebMD

Family first:


Get more Zzzzs to avoid diabetes during pregnancy THE MESSAGE: Researchers have discovered an association between lack of sleep and gestational diabetes, which is an abnormal rise in blood sugar during pregnancy.


THE SCOOP: Looking at pooled data from eight studies, the researchers found that women who got less than 6.25 hours of sleep at night had three times the chance of developing gestational diabetes compared with those who slept more. THE BOTTOM LINE: While the researchers note the reason for this association is not clear, if you are pregnant and having sleep issues talk to your doctor. SOURCES: NY Times

30 to 40s:

, together

Tips to exercise and eat right at any stage of life Story By Meghann Finn Sepulveda | Photos By Rick D'Elia


family approach to developing good eating and exercise habits often starts at home with parents who take time to prepare healthy meals and incorporate physical exercise into their daily schedules. When parents model this behavior, children are taught how to make choices that will positively influence their life-long health.


Encourage healthy eating habits

THE MESSAGE: Your heart may benefit if you do both yoga and aerobics. THE SCOOP: A new study found while each type of exercise is beneficial in preventing risk factors for heart disease, people who did both saw two times the benefit. Moreover, those who did both saw improvement in heart function and capacity for exercise. THE BOTTOM LINE: While this is a preliminary finding, adding yoga, if you do aerobics, or aerobics if you do yoga to your workout routine can’t hurt! SOURCES: American College of Cardiology

Lucia Schitzer (above) makes school lunches with her kids, Yasi, 5, Benzi, 8, Aviva, 11, Gavi, 7. Lucia and her husband Ken own Luci's Healthy Marketplace at 16th St. and Bethany Home Road in Phoenix.

To help your child maintain a healthy weight, balance the calories your child consumes from foods and beverages with the calories your child uses through physical activity and normal growth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “A good way to do this is by letting the kids help prepare the meal so they will be more likely to eat it,” said Lindsey Manz, a registered dietitian at Cardon Children’s Medical Center. “Also make it a habit to eat dinner together without any distractions.” As a busy mom, Lucia Schnitzer, co-owner of Luci’s Urban Concepts, knows firsthand that good nutrition and balance is key for her family, including her husband and four children who range in age from 5 to 11 years old. „FAMILY FIRST, continued on page 2

50 PLUS:

Remember: Medicare open enrollment ends December 7 THE MESSAGE: It’s that time of year to review your Medicare coverage and make any changes before the enrollment period ends on December 7.

to a stress-free holiday

THE SCOOP: Review the materials from your current Medicare plan insurer and take the time to compare other plans. You might be able to save money on your premiums or out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions. You’ll also want to make sure that your physician is still a member of your plan if you are on an Advantage plan. THE BOTTOM LINE: Get assistance if you need it. Free resources are available from the Senior Health Insurance Information Program (, 800-333-4114), the Medicare Rights Center ( and from Medicare (, 800-633-4227). SOURCES: Washington Post

How to stay happy and healthy this season By Meghann Finn Sepulveda


he holidays. It’s when we gather with family and reconnect with friends. It’s also the time of year when we tend to overstretch ourselves with shopping, cooking, decorating, and entertaining, which can be overwhelming,

cause anxiety and bring unwanted stress. As the holidays approach, it’s important to slow down and implement good self-care practices so you can enjoy all the season has to offer. „STRESS-FREE, continued on page 4

Only one heart. Only one you. Individualized heart care, devoted to you.

No two hearts are exactly the same. That’s why the cardiovascular specialists of Abrazo Community Health Network embrace an individualized care plan for every single heart we encounter. From preventative care to treating heart conditions, every element is designed to take care of our first priority: you.

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2 | Livingwell | November 2017

Refresher course Sports drinks are calibrated to fuel tough workouts. For those other times, there’s water By Leigh Farr


here’s no doubt that sports drinks have earned their place in every athlete’s gym bag. Laden with electrolytes and carbohydrates, the colorful beverages fuel your energy so you can crush the competition and sponge up the fluids you need to stay hydrated. But do the claims surrounding these thirst quenchers hold water? It depends on the length and rigor of your workout, say experts.

Performance maintenance “If you are doing strenuous aerobic exercise for 45 minutes to an hour, the supplementation of electrolytes and carbohydrates from sports drinks becomes important for hydration and the maintenance of performance,” says Siddhartha Angadi, PhD, an assistant professor in the College of Health Solutions at ASU and Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. “Sports drinks are packed with sodium and potassium, which are vital electrolytes, and carbohydrates which fuel your muscles.” But swilling sports beverages to power up your yoga workout may not be needed. “For short bouts of exercise lasting up to 30 to 40 minutes, you don’t really need a sports drink. Water is going to be fine for you,” says Dr. Angadi. The same holds true for young athletes. “A child or teen who goes for a 30-minute P.E. class doesn’t need to chug a half liter of Gatorade,”

says Dr. Angadi. “However, if you’re talking about a teenager in football practice who’s going to be out on the field hours on end in bulky clothing, in these situations they need to be sure they’re getting fluids with electrolytes and carbohydrates at frequent intervals to make sure they don’t get dehydrated or run out of gas.”

Alternative fuel Certainly the neon hues and sweet flavorings of sports beverages are enticing to athletes of all calibers, not to mention the promise of superhero stamina. But for light exercise, drinking water supplemented by a balanced diet may be enough to replenish lost electrolytes and carbs. “Many foods carry the same things that are in sport drinks such as sodium, magnesium and potassium. By getting a balanced diet of good protein, good carbs and good fats, you should be able to get a good amount of your nutrients from your diet,” says Steve Baca, head athletic trainer with Hedley Orthopaedic Institute at Desert Vista High School. For prolonged, strenuous workouts, Baca says sports drinks are fine for kids, but in limited quantities. The big thing we run into is that when kids get into sports drinks that’s all they drink because of the flavor. So if they get a 20-ounce bottle, we recommend watering it down by half. They still get electrolytes, they just don’t get that high dose of sugar.”

Get ahead of your thirst For most of us, thirst is a delayed reaction. By the time we feel parched, chances are we’re already dehydrated. The key to staying hydrated is to fuel up before, during and after you exercise. “It’s similar to your car,” says Baca. “You’re not going to start your trip with an empty gas tank. You’ve got to fill it up first. Then you’ve got to fill it up again before the gas light comes on which is what we equate to thirst.” Drinking too much can cause overhydration, a serious condition in which the sodium in your body becomes abnormally low. To prevent overhydration, do not consume more than a quart of fluid per hour during exercise, recommends the American College of Sports Medicine.


While water is preferred, sports drinks can help provide hydration and replace lost sodium, elecrolytes and carbohydrates.

Making healthy choices is truly a family affair

Limiting sugar and fat Schnitzer, a breast cancer survivor, has cut out GMO’s, artificial trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup from her family’s diet. “We try to eat clean on a regular basis and be aware of what we’re putting in our mouths,” she said.

According to the CDC, it’s important to limit the consumption of sugar and fat and provide plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products, include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products and choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans for protein. “Aim for a well-balanced diet that includes components from all food groups,” Manz said. “While fresh is best, it’s not always possible for every family. There are a variety of frozen fruits and vegetables, along with non-perishable whole grains and lean proteins that are available and have a long shelf life.” For picky kids, Manz recommends parents enforce the one bite rule. “It takes 15 times or more for a child to taste something before deciding if he or she likes it,” Manz explained. “Let children touch and smell food so it becomes familiar and less scary.”

Regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your health, not only to control weight but reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, improve mental health and mood and increase chances of living longer, according to the CDC. Daily exercise can be done at any age, which is especially true for 73-year-old Cheri Nelson. She and her husband, who reside at The Colonnade, a Sun Health active-adult retirement community, start their day at 4 a.m. with a three-mile walk. “Walking is easy on the joints and gets the heart rate up,” she said. “It is also a good way to get your thoughts together.”


“Cooking can be quick and easy, even when using good ingredients and staying away from processed foods,” she said. “While I create homemade meals, and offer healthy snacks to my kids, I also believe it’s ok to occasionally splurge.”

Incorporate exercise

Lucia Schitzer makes school lunches with her kids, including Gavi, 7 and Yasi, 5.

To improve overall cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association suggest people aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. In addition to walking each morning, Nelson attends exercise classes such as bone building, circuit training, aerobics and yoga, five days a week. “I’m an exercise nut,” she said. “It’s fun to do it in a group setting but I also have equipment at home.” Nelson says exercise keeps her healthy. She also believes that being a good role model is important for her family, including her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “We’re all pretty active,” she said. “I’d like to think we’re setting a good example.”

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„FAMILY FIRST, continued from cover

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November 2017 | Livingwell | 3

Get the skinny: Eating for Life

Healthy holiday eating

Serves: 6

Ingredients: Nonstick cooking spray 1/2 red onion, quartered and thinly sliced 1/2 orange bell pepper, qua rtered, seeded and and thinly sliced 1/2 red bell pepper, quarter ed, seeded and and thinly sliced 1/4 jalapeno pepper, quarter ed, seeede dedd and diced ded 1 cup finely shredded rotisse rie chicken breast, skin remove d 1/4 cup corn kernels, thawe d if frozen 1 tablespoon fresh lime juic e 1 teaspoon olive oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 6 small fresh corn tortillas 2 tablespoons shredded che ddar 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream Recipe 2 tablespoons salsa Fresh cilantro sprigs Directions: 1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mist a warm cast iron skillet with cooking spr Add the onion, bell peppers ay. and jalapeno. Cook over hig h heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are lightly charred, about 3 minutes. 2. Remove pan from heat and stir in the chicken, corn, lim e juice, olive oil and salt. 3. Spray one side of each tort illa with cooking spray and sta ck, oiled sides up. Cut into quarters and nestle each tortilla triangle, oiled sid e down, into a muffin cup. Bake until edges are crisp, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle wit h the cheddar. 4. Place a spoonful of the fi lling into each tortilla. Dollop wit h sour cream and salsa. Garnish with cilantro.

Eat mindfully when at parties, dietitian advises By Debra Gelbart


oliday parties are among the most challenging settings of the season for those trying to stay healthy and not gain weight between Thanksgiving and December celebrations. But there are a number of ways to mindfully enjoy delicious treats at parties and not feel guilty about what you’re eating. “The truth is, the holiday season represents the often-unspoken dark side of dieting,” said Jaclyn Chamberlain, RDN, a registered dietician nutritionist with Pinnacle Prevention, a Chandler-based nonprofit that works to improve access to healthy food and to create opportunities for active living. “Restricting, making something ‘off-limits’ or depriving yourself of foods that bring you joy can backfire into a cycle of indulgence and regret.” So how can you enter this holiday season without the guilt, shame and overindulgence? The answer may seem strange, especially coming from a dietitian, but here it is: embrace it. “The secret is to give yourself permission to

eat what you want” – a key component of the term “intuitive eating” that is an approach to diet and nutrition coined by registered dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, Chamberlain explained.

Eating should help you feel well The key when eating is being mindful of how foods, amounts and other factors impact how we feel, Chamberlain said. "Don’t eat something if it doesn’t taste good, or make you feel good (or if medically you must avoid it). Eat when you are hungry, and don’t eat when you are full. These are the tenets when practicing mindful and intuitive eating that help create a healthy and balanced lifestyle.”

Serves: 18 (serving size: 2 balls)

Ingredients: 8 ounces goat cheese 8 ounces plain almond milk cream cheese 2 teaspoons honey 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind 1/2 cup roasted salted almonds, chopped 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme


Directions: a mixer at medium speed 1. Place first 4 ingredients in a large bowl, and beat with 2 minutes or until smooth. Freeze 15 minutes. until finely ground. 2. Place nuts and thyme in a food processor; process Place nut mixture in a shallow dish. 2 teaspoons each), rolling to form 3. Divide cheese mixture into 36 equal portions (about in nut mixture, coating well. e 36 balls. Freeze 10 minutes. Gently roll each chees ball serve. to Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready e-balls Source:

Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Claire Spollen

Source: www.fitnessmaga /mini-chicken-tostadas

Here are some tips for putting this advice to practical use: Listen to your hunger, Chamberlain said. “Eat when you are hungry, and stop when you are full. Often, we overeat when we enter a meal uncomfortably hungry. Eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day helps avoid this situation.” If you’re going to a holiday party later in the day, don’t skip meals throughout the day in preparation for the party, “as you’re more likely to overeat. Instead, eat to the point of satisfaction so you don’t enter the party ravenous.” Take care of yourself during a busy, stressful time. “Often overeating can also be linked to emotional eating,” Chamberlain said. “The stress of the holidays can send us seeking out pleasurable foods. Check in with your emotions and seek out better ways to manage stress.”

Plan ahead Put only the foods you enjoy or are interested in trying on your plate. Leave off foods that don’t meet that criteria or don’t make you feel good. Start with smaller portions, with the understanding that you can always go back for more of your favorites. Small appetizer plates are a great way to help you along. Try to avoid foods that make you feel bad, foods that don’t taste good to you, or any food that you don’t want to eat because you are full or for any other reason, she said. Keep in mind that many standard cocktails contain anywhere from 90 to 400 calories and beyond, she said. Sip and enjoy slowly and focus on water to quench thirst and slow you down. The bottom line: “mindful eating helps you avoid the feelings of regret, shame and guilt. Food is meant to be enjoyed.”

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4 | Livingwell | November 2017

„STRESS-FREE, continued ued from cover

to a stress-free holiday How to stay happy and healthy this season Kris Vijay, M.D., medical director of the Institute for Congestive Heart Failure at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital, shared tips to reduce holiday stress.

Go out and exercise

Get enough sleep

Be selfish

While it’s ok to enjoy a few decadent sweets and high-calorie snacks during the holidays, pay attention to what you are consuming to avoid unwelcome weight gain. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” Vijay said. “Fill up on protein and fruit in the morning and opt for something healthy before attending a holiday party so you don’t overindulge.” You can still have your favorite holiday comfort foods, but try to eat smaller portions or prepare a lower-calorie version. Offer to bring a healthy dish to share at a holiday gathering. Vijay says it’s important to be aware of sugar and salt intake during the holidays, especially for those who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. “Blood pressure can already be elevated from stress during the holidays,” he said. “Eating foods that contain a high amount of sugar or salt can increase those levels.”

One of the best ways to naturally reduce stress is through regular exercise. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, which reports that scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood and improve sleep and self-esteem. “Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day,” Vijay explained. “This can be as simple as walking around the neighborhood or playing at the park with your kids.” Yoga, which relaxes the body and reduces tension, can also alleviate stress.

Sleep allows our brains to recharge and our bodies to rest. When we do not sleep long or well enough, our bodies do not get the full benefits of sleep, which can affect memory, judgment and mood, according to the American Psychological Association. While it may be challenging to accomplish everything on your to-do list this holiday season, be sure to get plenty of rest. “Get a minimum of six hours of sleep each night,” Vijay said. “Drink plenty of water and limit alcohol consumption, which could have a negative impact on the sleep cycle.”

Amidst all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, try to pay attention to your own needs and make time to practice good self-care habits. “Your health is a priority,” Vijay said. “To give of yourself, you must care for yourself.” Don’t forget to take daily medications and be aware of any changes in your body. “Stress increases our heart rate and blood pressure,” Vijay explained. “Try to relax, take deep breaths, turn on some calming music and focus on the joy of the season.”


Only one heart. Only one you. Individualized heart care, devoted to you.

No two hearts are exactly the same. That’s why the cardiovascular specialists of Abrazo Community Health Network embrace an individualized care plan for every single heart we encounter. From preventative care to treating heart conditions, every element is designed to take care of our first priority: you.

Take a Heart Risk Assessment Visit Call 866-631-6572 to find a doctor near you

Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital | Abrazo Arrowhead Campus | Abrazo Central Campus | Abrazo Scottsdale Campus | Abrazo West Campus


Choose food wisely

November 2017 | Livingwell | 5




DeeDee Bassil (right) and her daughter Mikaela share memories of DeeDee's mom who had Alzheimer's Disease. She lived with them for all of Mikaela's life. The selfie photo above was one of Mikaela's last smiling images captured of her grandmother

Generations of care Some say it takes a village to care for someone with Alzheimer’s. Others say it just takes a family. Most, however, say it takes both Story By Paula Hubbs Cohen | Photo By Rick D'Elia


hile the typical family caretaker of an Alzheimer’s patient is often a similarly aged spouse, sometimes the dynamic is much more nuanced. Indeed, some families are metaphorically sandwiched with taking care of an older loved one with Alzheimer’s while also caring for a young family. And that’s exactly what happened to Phoenix resident DeeDee Bassil. In 1991, DeeDee was 25 years old and getting ready to start her own household as a young wife. However, fate had other plans. That same year, DeeDee’s 52-year-old mother, Dora Saucedo, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

From a teenager’s perspective: DESERT SOUTHWEST CHAPTER

ALZHEIMER’S – HOW TO MAKE A DONATION Join the Alzheimer’s Association and help realize a world without Alzheimer's disease. The Desert Southwest Chapter offers many ways for an individual to support our mission to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease.

Signs and symptoms DeeDee, a licensed counselor, believes that her psychology background helped her identify her mother’s early symptoms of Alzheimer’s. “I had been noticing things for two or three years,” she said. “But the symptoms were so minimal — forgetfulness, losing items, etc. — that I tried to deny what I was afraid it would ultimately be.” Dora’s advancing symptoms were typical. The complete loss of pieces of memory or as DeeDee put it: “Not just forgetting things, but flat-out not having any recollection of the memory.” Dora Saucedo had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s for nearly 25 years before she passed away in 2014 at the age of 75.

You can donate online at, by phone at 602-528-0545 or by mailing a check to:

Multi-generational caretaking issues

Alzheimer’s Association Desert Southwest Chapter 1028 E. McDowell Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85006-2662

DeeDee and her husband, Michael Bassil, were overjoyed when their daughter, Mikaela, was born in 1999. Around this time, Dora went from living with the young family primarily on the weekends to living with them pretty much full-time until she died nearly 15 years later. DeeDee said there were a number of issues involved with taking care of her mother as well as a new baby/

The Alzheimer's Association also accepts in-kind donations, securities and planned gifts. The Desert Southwest Chapter is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) nonprofit, donor-supported organization.

„GENERATIONS, continued on page 9

Q&A with Mikaela Bassil, Alzheimer’s Association Ambassador and Founder, Alzheimer’s Association Teens for Change


n 2016, Mikaela started Alzheimer’s Association Teens for Change (A2TC) for teenagers ages 14 to 18. “The organization is built on creating awareness about the impact Alzheimer’s has on youth,” Mikaela said. “I started it because I saw educational or advocacy groups for other generational groups but nothing for people my age.” Because of her experience with her grandmother and her nearly life-long role as a family caregiver, Mikaela plans to major in neuroscience and eventually attend medical school. Here are some of her thoughts and remembrances of her grandmother.

What is your first memory of your grandmother? “I was around age six. She had absolutely no recollection of a story she had just told me.”

What is your favorite memory of her? “I was about 13 and I was taking selfies. I kept calling out, ‘Grandma!’, wanting her to look at me, but she just sat there fiddling with her hands and singing. Unexpectedly, she shot me a grin and by some miracle, I got the very last picture of her smiling, a moment frozen in my mind forever.”

Did you ever feel different or uncomfortable because of her? “When I was younger, yes, but when I got older, I realized it didn’t matter what others thought because in the end she was my grandmother.”

What is a coach? A leader, instructor, mentor and more By Paula Hubbs Cohen


n a relatively young sports city like Phoenix, there are still some players’ names or certain events that automatically draw oohs and aahs and sighs of pure sports-pleasure.

John MacLeod was one of the Phoenix Suns most successful and popular coaches. He was with the team from 1973-1987.

For the Diamondbacks, there’s Luis Gonzalez in 2001. For the Mercury, there’s Diana Taurasi, while the Coyotes and Shane Doan have been synonymous for years. When it comes to hoops, the “Sunderella Suns” of the 1970s shazaamed their way to a magnificent NBA Finals run with a team that boasted such iconic players as Alvan Adams, Paul Westphal and Dick Van Arsdale. However, by all accounts, the Sunderellas wouldn’t have made it that far without the team’s top o’ the class coach: John MacLeod. For Phoenix sports aficionados, those are some great memories. But the thing about memories is that they can fade — and in some cases, memories don’t just fade, they’re effectively obliterated. And that complete obliteration is just one of the many ironies and cruelties of Alzheimer’s. „COACH, continued on page 9

Coach John MacLeod • High school coach, 1959–1967 • Head Coach University of Oklahoma, 1967–73 • Head Coach Phoenix Suns, 1973–1987 • Head Coach Dallas Mavericks, 1987–89 • Head Coach New York Knicks, part of 1990–91 season • Head coach University of Notre Dame, 1991–99 • Big East Coach of the year, 1996–97 • Associate Head Coach Denver Nuggets, 2003–04 • All-time winningest coach for the Phoenix Suns • Longest-tenured coach for the Phoenix Suns • Inducted into the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor in 2012

6 | Livingwell | November 2017

Help is available If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or a related dementia, you are not alone. The Alzheimer's Association offers a wealth of up-to-date educational information and referral and support services for the millions of individuals and families affected by the disease.

Alzheimer’s Association resources 24/7 Helpline: 800-272-3900 Website: Learn about stages of the disease, access free online workshops, find support groups, community and national resources and more. Desert Southwest Chapter: Information about local resources, support groups, clinical trials and more.


Legislation to support research and caregivers


tate Senator Kate Brophy McGee of Legislative District 28 understands all too well the pain of having a family member with Alzheimer’s. Because of this personal experience, she has become known as a legislative champion to help families impacted by the disease. “Over the past decade, members of my family and my husband’s family have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and ultimately passed away from the disease. I’ve visited numerous facilities that care for Alzheimer’s patients, both as a family member and as Vice Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee in the Arizona State Legislature,” she said. “I’ve witnessed first-hand the toll this disease takes on families and loved ones. It’s enormous, it’s heartbreaking and it’s hard to fathom until you’ve experienced it

The Alzheimer's Association Desert Southwest Chapter is working with Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, Rep. Heather Carter and the Governor's Office on Aging to promote Arizona's first

Alzheimer’s Awareness State Day. It will be held at the State Capitol on Feb. 28, 2018. first-hand. A loved one dies before your eyes and there is nothing you can do about it.” Brophy McGee said that Arizona is fortunate to be home to the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, a premier research institution on the front lines of the war against this dreadful disease. “The Institute, in collaboration with other scientific

organizations, conducts groundbreaking research to detect and treat the disease and has established national patient and caregiver treatment standards,” she said. “The Arizona legislature provides research funding to the Institute which I’ve been proud to support.” Along with supporting funding for research, Brophy McGee has also championed legislation to support caregivers. “Many of our elderly choose to age at home. Caregivers — spouses, children, neighbors — face real challenges,” she said. “I’ve been successful in renewing respite care statutes and am working to fund respite for caregivers. This past legislative session, Representative Heather Carter and I introduced legislation enacting tax credits for caregivers. We will be introducing it again this year.”

Additional resources: Area Agency on Aging, Region One:; 24-hour Senior Helpline 602-264-HELP (4357); 888-783-7500; TTY/TDD 602-241-6110 Arizona Healthcare Cost Containment System (Arizona’s Medicaid system):; 602-417-4000; 800-654-8713 (outside Maricopa County) BenefitsCheckUp, a free service of the National Council on Aging:; 800-677-1116

It’s all in the genes Banner Health effort matches volunteers to Alzheimer’s research studies By Brian Sodoma


Eldercare locator, a service of the U.S. Administration on aging:; 800-677-1116

here are more than 5 million cases of Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. today, and that number is expected to climb to nearly 14 million by 2050. Researchers are looking to genetics to better understand the memory-robbing disease. The Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI), with the help of national and international partners, is one local health enterprise that is looking for answers, too. Now, with an effort called GeneMatch in full swing, the institute is becoming a catalyst for helping research studies around the globe get off the ground.

Internal Revenue Service:; 800-829-1040

How it works

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services:;; Department of Veterans Affairs:; healthcare benefits 877-222-8387; general benefits 800-827-1000

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys: National Council on Aging:; 800-677-1116

In late 2015, BAI’s Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry launched GeneMatch. The effort seeks volunteers between the ages of 55 and 75 who are not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive impairments.

After enrolling online, volunteers also submit a cheek swab for genetic analysis, using kits sent to them by mail or found at select Banner sites locally. This analysis provides critical information that allows the program to potentially match a volunteer to a research study in his or her area. Identifying eligible participants can be a long arduous road for investigators, explains Jessica Langbaum, Ph.D, principal scientist at BAI. “Research studies have such strict inclusions and exclusions. … We can efficiently refer people to studies for which they might be a match,” she said.

Determining risk GeneMatch is becoming a primary recruitment tool for one local Banner research study called the “Generation Program,” which enrolls participants with either one or two copies of the APOE4 gene - believed to bring a greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Langbaum emphasizes that GeneMatch

is a national effort that has seen about 45,000 people sign up since it started. Arizona leads the way with 4,500 volunteers and California, Florida and Texas have also had strong numbers. “There are so many studies taking place in so many states across the U.S. We really do want to make sure people know this is available to everybody,” Langbaum added. The cheek swab tests are strictly confidential. Results are only revealed to the volunteer if he or she accepts an invitation to a study and all DNA is destroyed after it is analyzed. “We’ve had a great response,” Langbaum said. “Most people who have been touched by [Alzheimer’s disease], either they’ve had a close friend or loved one who suffered from it, they really want to do anything in their power to try to help.”

For more information about GeneMatch, visit:


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8 | Livingwell | November 2017


Research finding a cure Research Alzheimer’s research is being approached from many different avenues, including determining risk factors, offering clinical trials, compiling data from studies on healthy brains and supporting family caregivers — or ‘healthcare heroes’

Ask the Expert Marwan Noel Sabbagh MD, FAAN, is director of the Alzheimer’s and Memory Disorders Division at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. He is a board-certified neurologist and geriatric neurologist and is considered one of the leading experts in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and often says that he “hopes to work himself out of a job”. Q: How can you tell if a memory-related problem is Alzheimer’s or merely age-related forgetfulness? A: Aging may cause trouble remembering a word or name occasionally but does not cause someone to repeat themselves or misplace objects more than in the past or get lost. When their memory loss is noticeable to others, it is time to be evaluated. Q: What are the primary risk factors for Alzheimer’s? A: Alzheimer’s disease is more likely if a person has the following risk factors, among others: age, female gender, hypertension, diabetes, head trauma and a family history of the disease.

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Q: Are there ways to reduce/offset personal risk factors? A: Alzheimer’s disease is less likely based on a person’s education level, exercise level, brain fitness, blood pressure and heart health. There are indicators that an antioxidant diet, social activity and certain supplements may also be of value. Q: What are the latest emerging therapies in treating Alzheimer’s? A: That is a broad topic with multiple targets being considered. I can say that we will transform Alzheimer’s disease dementia from a terminal disease to a chronic one in the coming years. Q: Can the progress of the disease be slowed? A: Presently, the medications show a small amount of effect in slowing the progression. Emerging in the field is the notion of treating multiple targets but that remains unproven. We are investigating whether physical exercise might alter the trajectory. Q: Where can readers get information on clinical trials? A:; 800-392-2222

Research MindCrowd: Gathering information about the memory performance of individuals with normal, healthy brains

Ask the Expert A conversation with Dr. Matt Huentelman, Professor of Neurogenomics at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). He is also head of TGen’s Neurobehavioral Research Unit and is the developer of MindCrowd. Q: What is MindCrowd? A: MindCrowd is a large internet-based scientific crowdsourced study of the brain, gathering information about the memory performance of individuals with normal, healthy brains. The MindCrowd test, on average, takes fewer than 10 minutes to complete. These data will be used as baseline information for future investigations into Alzheimer's disease and other brain diseases.

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Q: What are the project’s objectives? A: MindCrowd was created about four years ago with the long-term goal of eventually gathering data about the memory abilities of 1 million volunteer participants. The more participants, the better the baseline data and the more we can understand how the healthy brain functions. Ultimately, the goal is to develop new medicines for individuals with brain disorders as we better understand the lifestyle and genetic factors that are associated with memory performance. Other partners in MindCrowd include the University of Arizona and the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative. Q: Does the data gathered so far offer any scientific findings? A: Some preliminary findings are already apparent. Most important perhaps is the clear demonstration that this type of approach to scientific research is both plausible and generally met with excitement by the public. Secondly, we can show that memory performance declines with age and is linked to other personal factors like sex and educational attainment level. Q: How many volunteers have there been to date? A: Nearly 77,000 volunteers from all 50 states and more than 150 nations have completed the first MindCrowd test. Additional tests are in the works and participants in the future may be asked to volunteer DNA samples that will be used in scientific investigations into how our individual DNA blueprint might influence how our brain performs. Q: How can someone participate? A: The test is available online at: . Click on the “Take the Test” button to participate.

Research CarePRO and EPIC offer research-based help and information to ‘healthcare heroes’: families dealing with the stresses of Alzheimer’s

Ask the Expert

“Family caregivers are healthcare heroes. It requires a lot of skill, compassion and courage to take care of a loved one across the journey of Alzheimer’s.”

Developed by Dr. David W. Coon, associate dean and professor in the College of Nursing & Health Innovation at Arizona State University, CarePRO (Care Partners Reaching Out) is part of a nationwide effort to provide evidence-based programs to family caregivers. It is a refinement of work Coon did with colleagues at Stanford University and was initially supported with funds from the U.S. Administration on Aging.

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CarePRO and EPIC

Offered in English and Spanish, CarePRO focuses on family caregivers, providing them with education and tools to help alleviate caregiving stress as well as the personal sadness, anxiety and frustration that are part of their daily lives. —Dr. David W. Coon, “There is such a loss of control because there can be a lack Arizona State University of predictability about what will happen next,” Coon said. “We give them skills, ideas and resources to help them manage what happens across the progression of dementia.” EPIC (Early Stage Partners in Care), also offered in English and Spanish, is for people in the early-stage of Alzheimer’s or another dementia and their care-partners. “This program infuses some similar skills as CarePRO — for example, stress management and how to deal with memory changes — but it focuses on hearing the patient’s voice in helping identify their care values and preferences. That information will help families guide future care as the disease progresses. Both EPIC and CarePRO are embedded into our efforts to create dementia-capable systems in Arizona communities,” Coon said. Coon said they currently are working in partnership with the Arizona Department of Economic Security, local Area Agencies on Aging and the Desert Southwest Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. For more information about CarePRO, EPIC and other resources and support groups, contact the Desert Southwest Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association at:

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November 2017 | Livingwell | 9



It takes a village to care for someone with Alzheimer's „GENERATIONS, continued from Page 5 young child, chief among them: balancing motherhood with caretaking, completing the last semester of her Master’s in Counseling degree, and being a wife. “It was a challenge to learn to trust my instincts and recognize what our limitations were,” she recalled. “Once we were able to do that, we developed resources around that and created backup plans.” DeeDee said the biggest challenge during this time was sharing the experience of having a newborn with her mother. “It was such a balancing act because I desperately wanted Mikaela to know my mother like I knew her,” she said. “And I knew we were on borrowed time.”


pre-diabetic. I fit all the stats of a caregiver whose health is poor due to the role,” she said. “I also went through a deep depression for two years after mom’s death. And poor Mikaela was right there next to me, under the same black cloud.”

It’s hard work to make it work DeeDee pointed out that she was fortunate to have trusted housekeepers and caregivers at the beginning. “I also received help from ALTCCS and respite hours,” she said. “Once the doctors told me mom only had months to live, I cut my work hours considerably and started to use the respite hours on myself.”

The bottom line Taking care of the caretaker

“I’ve come to realize that it’s not healthy to be angry at something that is out of your control,” DeeDee said. “One can live fulfilled with this diagnosis and be happy by learning how to live in the moment and cherish each second.”


Beth Farnsworth, a nutritionist at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center, shares tips to simplify food choices to support your active lifestyle:


DeeDee admits she neglected her personal health while burning both ends of the proverbial candle. “I was overweight, had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and I was

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“While dad is currently struggling with Alzheimer’s, we can still see his smile and we can still see his spirit.” —Matt MacLeod

MacLeod 'epitomized what it means to be a Phoenix Sun' „COACH, continued from Page 5

A transitional time Time stands still for no one and sometimes her ravages are hard to witness. Based on what this article is about, you might be able to guess where this story is headed. As with so many families, the MacLeod family has been touched by Alzheimer’s: the 80-year-old former coach is currently in the late stages of the disease. His son, Matt MacLeod, an attorney with Gallagher & Kennedy in Phoenix, said that although symptoms were apparent as early as 2007, his father — who is still the all-time winningest Suns Head Coach — was officially diagnosed with the disease in 2008.

Forever a member of the Suns family In his 18 seasons as an NBA head coach, Coach MacLeod posted a 707–657 record, placing him 17th on the all-time NBA coaching win list. He was Head Coach of the Suns from 1973 to 1987 and was inducted into the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor in 2012. Phoenix Suns President and CEO, Jason Rowley, said that John MacLeod was chosen to be inducted into the Ring of Honor for many reasons. “John remains the winningest head coach in Suns history, having recorded a franchise-high 579 wins and 37 playoff victories over the course of his 13-plus years on the sideline. Beyond the victories, Coach MacLeod epitomized what it means to be a Phoenix Sun, always representing our organization and community with class and generosity,” Rowley said. “It’s that unique combination of success — on and off the court — that makes us proud to call John MacLeod a member of the Suns family and Ring of Honor.” Alvan Adams, currently Vice President, Arena Management at Talking Stick Resort Arena, played under Coach MacLeod for many years. He recalls that MacLeod was the head basketball coach at the University of Oklahoma (OU) when Adams was a gangly high school basketball player in Oklahoma City. “He started recruiting me during my sophomore year at Putnam City High School,” Adams said. “One of

The Alzheimer's Association Desert Southwest Chapter proudly presents:

The 9th Annual 'A Love Not Forgotten' Gala featuring Matt MacLeod as the keynote speaker, honoring his father, John MacLeod. This marquee black-tie event helps fund Alzheimer's care, research and support in Arizona. The gala will take place Feb. 3, 2017, at the J.W. Marriott Camelback Inn. Tickets can be purchased online at:

the main reasons I chose to attend and play at OU was John MacLeod, where he coached me my freshman year.” After Adams’ first year at OU, MacLeod left the university to become Head Coach of the Phoenix Suns. “I joined the Suns two years later,” Adams said, adding that MacLeod then coached him for 12 more years. “Coach MacLeod was always prepared and always prepared us,” he said. “Coach made sure we were prepared for what we needed to do as well as prepared for what the opponent was most likely to do. You could only do that by being focused — at practices and in games.”

It takes a team While the sadness and inevitabilities of Alzheimer’s disease can’t be denied, there are avenues of help available. Indeed, the very purpose of the Alzheimer’s Association Desert Southwest Chapter is to empower and support individuals, families carepartners and communities affected by dementia in Arizona and southern Nevada. Coach MacLeod’s family is just one of many thousands of patients and family members who have been helped by the Alzheimer’s Association. Matt MacLeod’s advice for those who may be just starting this journey is simple, yet profound: “Don’t be afraid to admit what your loved one is going through and don’t be reluctant to reach out for help. You’re not alone and you can’t do it alone.”

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10 | Livingwell | November 2017

Go online for more info: SUNDAY







Take advantage of opportunities to get active and learn more about various aspects of your health — from A to Z. Every effort has been made to verify accuracy, but please call before attending to confirm details.



CHILDBIRTH PREPARATION Various dates, times, locations Dignity Health; 877-602-4111

CHAIR YOGA & TAI CHI Multiple dates, times, locations; 480-314-6660

MOMS ON THE MOVE Various dates, times, locations; 623-580-5800

LOOK GOOD FEEL BETTER Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers Multiple dates, times, locations; 800-227-2345


PADDLEBOARD YOGA Various dates, times Tempe Town Lake Marina 550 E. Tempe Town Lake, Tempe YOGA CLASSES Various dates, times, locations The City of Phoenix

15 8

BRAIN GAMES Nov. 28, 12:30–1 p.m. Humana; 480-325-4707 5943 E. McKellips Rd., Mesa


BONE HEALTH COOKING DEMO Nov. 29, 12:30–1:30 p.m. Humana; 480-325-4707 5943 E. McKellips Rd., Mesa

LOWER BACK PAIN Nov. 29, 6–7 p.m. Abrazo Arrowhead 18701 N. 67th Ave., Glendale; 833-203-7524 PROSTATE CANCER SCREENING Nov. 30, 9–11 a.m. Prostate On-Site Project Peoria City Hall 8401 W. Monroe St., Peoria 480-964-3013

FUN RUNS/RACES LAVEEN TURKEY TROT Nov. 23, Cesar Chavez High School 3921 W. Baseline Rd., Laveen


PICKLEBALL LESSONS Dec. 5, 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Paradise Valley Community Center 17402 N. 40th St., Phoenix; 602-495-3777

November | Vol. 7, No. 11

Living Well A-Z usually publishes on the first Wednesday of the month. From A to Z, we tackle a broad range of health issues and offer resources to find more specific information.



BACK PAIN How To Manage Your Back Pain Wednesday, November 29, 6 - 7 PM Abrazo Arrowhead Campus

Physician’s Plaza Building - 3rd Floor, Sierra Room Learn about conservative treatments and therapies to help you manage lower back pain. Also learn when it may be time to reach out to a physician for back surgery, the benefits, risks and expected outcomes. You may be a candidate for the Renaissance System, the latest robotic technology for minimally invasive spinal treatment.

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MEET ME DOWNTOWN WALK/RUN Nov. 27 & Dec. 4, 5:15 p.m. The Park Street Food Bar 3 S. 2nd St., Phoenix JINGLE ALL THE WAY 5K Dec. 2, Victory Lane 22603 N. 43rd Ave., Glendale

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KNEE PAIN Take A Free Online Knee Pain Assessment If you’ve tried it all to reduce knee pain, it may be time to consider a more permanent medical solution. Start with a free, online assessment to evaluate the health of your knees. We offer minimally invasive options to eliminate knee pain and get you back to a more active lifestyle.

Take an assessment today at, or call 844-860-7803 to find a doctor near you.

Abrazo Arrowhead Campus N. 59th Ave.

N. 67th Ave.

Register for this FREE event at 833-206-2723 or visit

W. Utopia Rd.

FAT TURKEY TRAIL RUN Nov. 25, North Bank Linear Park 550 E. Tempe Town Lake, Tempe

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POKEMON GO AT PAPAGO PARK Dec. 3, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Papago Park 635 N. Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix

WALKING GROUP Various dates, locations Humana; 480-325-4707


PETROGLYPH HIKE Nov. 25 Pueblo Grande Museum South Mountain Park 10919 S. Central Ave., Phoenix Registration required

W. Union Hills Dr.

Physician’s Plaza Building

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