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in good On the Road

September 2017 •  Issue 35

Srinevas Reddy, a cancer doctor from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, is now commuting to provide services to patients at Oneida Healthcare, a hospital that’s building a comprehensive cancer program

Eye Drops to Cure Cataracts? Scientists are still testing using eye drops to dissolve cataracts in humans; in the meantime, a new laser technique is making a big difference in treatment

Protecting Chronically Ill Young People

Men’s Belly

Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Call it beer belly, love handles, spare tire: doctors say men with large bellies have increased risk of death by various associated diseases. Find out what they can do to address the problem. See Men’s Health Special inside

Rheumatoid Arthritis Depending on your job, you’re more likely to suffer from it


The Harvest is In… Time to hit the various farmers markets spread throughout the region.

Hint: Season is great for tomatoes, apples, eggplants, melons and more

4 Reasons to Eat Sesame Seeds it’s time to say “open sesame” to all that makes this small seed so big on nutritional benefits.


800,000 That’s the number of Americans who receive medical care for dog bites annually

What Diabetics Need to Know About Over-the-Counter Meds Many cold, cough and headache remedies contain carbs, and as much alcohol as glass of beer or wine, pharmacist says


t can be tough for people with diabetes to choose appropriate over-the-counter medicines for a cold, cough or headache, a pharmacist explains. Many of these so-called OTC drugs contain carbohydrates (including sugar) that can affect blood sugar levels, or ingredients that can interact with diabetes medications, according to Miranda Wilhelm. She is a clinical associate professor at Southern Illinois University School of Pharmacy. But labels on OTC medicines don’t list carbohydrates, she said. Wilhelm presented a report on the topic at the annual meeting of the American Association of Diabetes Educators, held recently in Indianapolis. “It’s a dilemma because in some cases the carbs are so high it’s equivalent to a snack,” Wilhelm said in an association news release. “On the other hand, if you actually read the ingredients, you might be afraid to take something that’s safe and could help with symptoms. In other words, you may not be limited to OTC medicines that are formulated for people with diabetes, and that’s surprising for most people with the condition,” she

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said. Wilhelm offered the following advice: • Good diabetes management is important. “If your A1C levels are well-managed and your blood pressure is at or near your goal, you should be fine taking most OTC medicines whether or not they contain carbohydrates if you just need them for a few days,” she said. • Read the label. “If you’re concerned about your blood sugar levels, look for medicines labeled ‘sugar-free’ or ‘for people with diabetes,’” Wilhem suggested. • Take pills instead of liquids. Liquid forms of medicines typically contain more carbohydrates, and sometimes as much alcohol as a glass of beer or wine, she said. • If possible, choose a “topical” medicine. The reason: They don’t get into your bloodstream. For example, a nasal spray is better for treating a stuffy nose than a medicine you take by mouth. If you have muscle pain, ice the area and use a skin cream that treats pain instead of taking Motrin, Advil (ibuprofen) or Tylenol (acetaminophen). • Get OTC recommendations from health professionals. Your

doctor or pharmacist can help you avoid ingredients that would interact with your other medicines. Check labels for ingredients that can pose problems, such as caffeine and acetaminophen.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2017

“Something that says it’s safe for people with diabetes is fine, but if it doesn’t address your symptoms, it’s not going to help you, meaning it’s medicine you don’t need,” Wilhelm said.

MEN’S HEALTH Make Your Health a Priority

Stay on Top of Your Game There are many things men can do to live better and longer. Being more active and practicing preventive health care can prevent disease from happening in the first place. Managing your physical health, staying social, being productive, taking safety precautions and visiting your health care provider often can help you feel better.

Men can make their health a top priority by taking daily steps to be healthier. Here are some healthy-aging tips that are good advice at any stage of life. • Get good sleep: 7–9 hours • Move more • Eat healthier • Manage stress • Get regular checkups

Partner With Your Provider Your first step toward healthy living is to get a handle on your health status right now. Make an appointment with your primary care physician for health screenings and immunizations. • Talk to your doctor if you notice any changes in your health. • Learn about the warning signs for serious medical conditions such as heart attack and stroke.

New to Medicare? Let WellCare help you live healthier.

Always talk with your doctor(s) about the care that is right for you. This material does not replace your doctor’s advice. Sources: and WellCare (HMO) is a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in WellCare (HMO) depends on contract renewal. A sales person will be present with information and applications. For accommodation of persons with special needs at sales meetings, call 1-877-699-3552 (TTY 711). There is no obligation to enroll. Please contact WellCare for details. Y0070_NA033771_WCM_ADF_ENG CMS Accepted 05142016 CMS Accepted 05142016 September 2017 •



©WellCare 2016 NA_04_16_WC IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Maria Kahn, a mindfulness specialist, is conducting an eightweek mindfulness seminar from 5:30 to 8 p.m. every Wednesday from Sept 6 through Oct. 25. The seminars will take place at OWM Yoga Downtown, 235 S. Elmwood Ave., #120, Buffalo. Kahn describes mindfulness as a form of meditation and a means to reach wellness via self-awareness. The course teaches techniques for dealing with stress, anxiety and depression. Studies have proven mindfulness is effective to increase mental focus and improve regulation over one’s emotions, according to a press release issued by OWM Yoga Downtown. Preregistration is required along with a $399 course fee. Register online at mindfulness or call 716-440-8682 Kahn is an expert in mindfulness who studied at the University of Toronto.

Sept. 10

‘Moving Day’ event to raise funds to fight Parkinson The National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) in partnership with its Western New York chapter is holding its sixth annual Moving Day, a fundraising walk for Parkinson’s disease (PD) in Buffalo. Moving Day will be held from 8 a.m. to noon at Coca Cola Field, Sept 10. The money raised at the event will help improve the lives of thousands of local people living with PD and the families affected by the disease. The organizer’s goal is to raise $100,000. Each walk will feature a “Movement Pavilion,” with activities such as boxing, tai chi, dance and much more. Studies show that movement is highly beneficial, and it is proven to help manage the symptoms of PD, easing pain, improving flexibility and increasing mobility. The aim is to encourage people to stay active and move for better health. There will also be the Mission Tent, which has many different stations where visitors can experience simulations of what it is like for someone who has PD. Each station is hands-on for all to try. Some examples of these stations are buttoning a shirt with gloves on and using a shaking spoon to try and eat. To learn more about Moving Day visit

Sept. 15

Plant-Based Diet Don’t miss the next issue of In Good Health Page 4

Whole Foods Market Buffalo set to open Whole Foods Market Buffalo, the first Western New York location for the leading natural and organic supermarket, will open at 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 15. The 50,000

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2017

square foot store, which is the 20th location in the Empire State, is in Amherst at 3097 Sheridan Drive. Whole Foods Market Buffalo will feature the highest-quality natural and organic foods, with a wide selection of convenient meal and grocery options all free of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners, hydrogenated fats or high fructose corn syrup. The store will also feature Bar 1818, a tap room and restaurant featuring rotating microbrews from local Western New York breweries as well as a full menu of great American fare featuring local food producers. In addition, shoppers can choose from a wide variety of restaurantquality prepared foods options, including hot and seasonal salad bar offerings, sushi and convenient grab-and-go dishes and meals, which can be enjoyed in the café area that includes a bocce ball court.  Whole Foods Market Buffalo will also create approximately 165 new jobs in the Buffalo.

BCBS launches MyHealth wellness platform As the demand for digital health tools continues to rise, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York recently introduced an enhanced digital wellness platform, MyHealth, developed in partnership with Welltok, the leading consumer health enterprise company, designed to improve the health of their 800,000 members. Upon login to their member portal through, BlueCross BlueShield members complete a free, digital health assessment and receive a snapshot of their current state of health. From there, the platform creates a personalized wellness plan for each individual and provides a variety of custom programs focused on improving the member’s health. Unique to MyHealth, members can access online video coaching sessions to learn about a variety of relevant wellness topics, such as preventive health, managing financial uncertainty, or seasonal topics such as beating the summer heat and maintaining weight during the holiday season. Members can also securely participate in group discussions with other members and share health related experiences and journeys, locate and receive discounts on local fitness centers and exercise classes, and sync their wearable devices with the platform for convenient tracking. “In today’s environment, it’s important to introduce digital tools that empower our members and help them learn how to better navigate their health and wellness, “said physician Thomas Schenk, senior vice president, chief medical officer, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “By engaging and communicating to individuals through these platforms, BlueCross BlueShield is able to greater influence our community’s well-being.”




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Healthcare in a Minute By George W. Chapman

ACA Update

It’s hard to report on the fate of this bill on a monthly basis because things are so fluid in Washington lately. But as of mid-August, the ACA, with all its pros and cons, is still the law of the land. The critical feature of the ACA right now are the two subsidies available to people with incomes between 100 percent and 400 percent of federal poverty guidelines. The first subsidy is a tax credit toward the premium of a bronze, silver or platinum plan. The second subsidy, CSR or “costsharing reduction,” is for out-ofpocket expenses like deductible and copays. The CSR subsidy applies only to silver plans. Of the 7 million people who buy on the exchanges, 58 percent receive the CSR. The CSRs will cost an estimated $7 billion this year. Congress filed a lawsuit against Obama, House v Price, claiming there is no authority for the expenditure of this money as all funds must be approved and appropriated by Congress. The court ruled in favor of Congress but the ruling was stayed by the Court of Appeals, so the whole thing is in limbo. If the CSR is ultimately revoked, it is estimated insurers would be forced to raise their rates on the exchanges by 19 percent. President Trump has threatened to end the CSRs which would virtually kill the exchanges.

Price Transparency

You can get the price, or at least an idea of what something will cost, on just about anything in this world. Not so much in healthcare. Patient advocates believe price transparency makes sense as consumers are faced with rising out-of-pocket costs (deductibles and copays) and healthcare reformers believe price transparency will create competition

and lower costs. But it is not that simple. Shopping around for prices can be a fool’s errand because healthcare prices or charges have little to no relationship to either the cost of the procedure or what your insurance eventually pays the provider. Hospitals are reluctant to quote a price because they don’t really tell the consumer anything. One hospital may quote you a price/charge of $20,000 and another hospital $15,000. But the odds are both will be reimbursed virtually the same by your insurance company. The explanation of benefits (EOB) you receive after a hospitalization from your insurer tells the story. The charges total $20,000, but your insurer paid only $5,000. Your deductible and copays are based then on the $5,000 reimbursement , not the $20,000 price/charge. Also consider that the vast majority of consumers will be hospitalized where their physician works or refers them. While hospital charges are meaningless and indefensible, it makes little sense for consumers to shop around for care based on “prices.” Hospitals are reluctant to lower their prices/charges out of fear consumers will think the care isn’t as good as a hospital with higher charges.

Single Payer System

California, New York, Colorado and Vermont have all introduced legislation for a single payer or “Medicare for all” plan. Concerns over costs have killed the bills. Ironically, the per capita cost of care in every country with a single payer system is much lower than in the U.S and quality is not compromised. An argument for a single payer system by Cornell professor Robert Frank appeared in New York Times in July. He argues that costs are lower under single payer systems.

Administrative costs for single payer systems, (Medicare is around 2 percent), are far less than for private payers which are around 10-15 percent. Single payer systems don’t need to advertise which accounts for a lot of the administrative costs. As a matter of fact, in order to attract private insurers into the Medicare Advantage market, the federal government had to subsidize their high administrative costs. Single payer systems have far greater negotiating power with providers and suppliers. Medicare has already set physician and hospital payments so further efforts to save money there would be getting blood from a stone. The biggest savings would be from drug and device manufacturers which heretofore have been left unscathed thanks to intense lobbying. Single payer systems cover everyone, under one huge risk pool, young and old, healthy and unhealthy. No exceptions. Our several government risk pools — for example: Medicare, Medicaid, VA — cover disproportionate amounts of people who need medical attention. Our population is further divided into literally tens of thousands of smaller risk pools as most businesses with over 200 employees are selfinsured. In a single payer system, all must participate and, yes, all will pay taxes. But our entire system would collapse if tax payments were purely voluntary.

US Surgeon General

Physician Jerome Adams has been confirmed as our 20th surgeon general. Adams was an assistant professor of anesthesiology at Indiana University School of Medicine before becoming Indiana’s commissioner of health. One of his first priorities will be tackling the opioid epidemic. The position of surgeon general began in 1871 to

September 2017 •

head the Marine hospital service.

Opioid Epidemic

These highly effective and addictive pain killers include OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin and fentanyl. 62,000 people died last year of an opioid overdose. Nearly half of the opioid deaths involved prescriptions. The epidemic is worsening every year. In 2010, 16,000 people overdosed. The national average is 10 overdoses per 100,000. It’s 30 per 100,000 in New Hampshire and 40 per 100,000 in West Virginia. Opioids are the most prescribed drug in the US with about 289 million scripts a year. As the epidemic grew, heroin became more prevalent as it was cheaper, easier to get and didn’t require a script. In the 1980s, many medical experts thought opioids were not addictive due in part to a letter published in a popular medical journal in 1980. “Addiction Rare in Patients Treated with Narcotics” may have unwittingly been the genesis of the epidemic. It is estimated that over 1 million people have been eliminated from the job market because of their addictions. Big pharma has done well. Purdue pharma has made over $3 billion on their OxyContin. They have paid over $635 million in fines for misleading physicians and the public. Substance abuse treatment costs us about $600 billion a year. George W. Chapman is a healthcare business consultant who works exclusively with physicians, hospitals and healthcare organizations. He operates GW Chapman Consulting based in Syracuse. Email him at gwc@ gwchapmanconsulting. com.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Your Doctor

By Chris Motola

Certain Jobs Linked to Raised Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis Manufacturing jobs, those who work as bricklayers or with concrete at higher risk of developing condition


isk was doubled among men who did electrical work, and tripled among bricklayers, study finds Rheumatoid arthritis, a painful disease in which a person’s immune system attacks the joints, appears to be more common among people in certain types of jobs, researchers suggest. The findings “indicate that work-related factors, such as airborne harmful exposures, may contribute to disease development,” study author Anna Ilar said. She is a doctoral student in epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The study looked at more than 3,500 people in Sweden with rheumatoid arthritis, and nearly 5,600 people without the disease. Among men, those in manufacturing jobs had a higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis than those in the professional, administrative and technical sectors, the findings showed. The risk was twice as high for electrical and electronics workers, and three times higher for bricklayers and concrete workers. Among women, assistant nurses and attendants had a slightly higher risk, but women in manufacturing jobs did not. The researchers suspect that’s because fewer women than men work in manufacturing. More study is needed to zero in on the exposures that may be involved, Ilar noted. Potential culprits include silica, asbestos, organic solvents and engine exhaust. The report was published online Aug. 10 in the journal Arthritis Care & Research. “It is important that findings on preventable risk factors are spread to employees, employers, and decision-makers in order to prevent disease by reducing or eliminating known risk factors,” Ilar said in a journal news release. The researchers said they accounted for lifestyle factors associated with rheumatoid arthritis, such as body fat, smoking, alcohol use and education level. However, while the study found an association between certain occupations and rheumatoid arthritis risk, it didn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

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Srinevas Reddy, M.D. Cancer doctor from Roswell Park Cancer Institute now providing services to patients at Oneida Healthcare, a hospital that’s building a comprehensive cancer program Q: Since I caught you while you’re driving to Oneida, tell us about the partnership between Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Oneida Healthcare. A: The partnership is a joint initiative between Roswell Park and Oneida Healthcare to start a cancer center. The idea is to provide better access to patients living in rural New York. The state granted Oneida funds to build a comprehensive program center in partnership with Roswell Park. Q: How did you become involved personally? A: I’ve been at Roswell for about a year and a half and one of the things that I’ve done in the time I’ve been there is outreach, where I meet physicians to talk about the care that I provide for patients with complex liver, bile duct and gallbladder problems. One of the things I’ve long recognized as a barrier for patients with these problems that prevents them from getting appropriate care is access. Once I learned of this partnership, I jumped at the opportunity to help set up a clinic in Oneida so that we could provide more convenient and direct patient care. Q: Given that you’re commuting from Buffalo, are you going to be involved long term, or just for the setup? A: This is something that I envision doing long term. Right now I go every other week, but starting this month I’ll be going every week. Our teams are working to open the chemoinfusion center and launch collaborative medical-oncology services onsite. So this is definitely a longterm thing for me.

leveraging the expertise and resources of bigger institutions from bigger cities in the state? A: Absolutely. One of the things I’m committed to is the idea that, when possible, care should be delivered locally. It’s more convenient for the patient, provides a better quality of life. I’m very committed to developing relationships with physicians all over the state — in Syracuse, in Watertown, Utica, Binghamton. By doing this, we can really try to integrate highly specialized care into these local communities. I do think this is replicable in other service lines. I don’t think it’s unique for our kind of surgery. Q: What are the facilities going to be like in Oneida? A: So, it will obviously be smaller than the one in Buffalo; however, all of the key cancer center facilities will be available. There will be full-time oncologists on site, full-time care coordination, full-time nurse practitioner. There will be chemo-infusion services and all of the pharmacy components. We’re looking at ways to add additional cancer services onsite, too. Q: Do you see the bigger Upstate cities being able to collaborate in a similar way? A: Absolutely. I’ve been doing this clinic for a month and a half and I’ve seen patients from Syracuse and Albany. So, we see this clinic as not just providing highly specialized services to patients in Oneida and Rome, but to expand it for the entire region. It’s just not always practical to come to Buffalo, especially in the wintertime. So it’s kind of our outpost for the central, eastern and southern tier parts of the state.

Q: Do you see this as a model that will work for rural communities in general,

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2017

Q: Who is most at risk for developing liver cancer? A: I deal with two classes of diseases. The first is

complex benign diseases and the second is cancer. It turns out that the liver is a very complex organ. Not only can cancer start in the liver, but it can spread to it. Cancers that start in the liver often develop in patients with cirrhosis, but not always. The most common types of cancer that spread to the liver are colon and rectal cancer, but there are other types that can spread there as well. The complex benign diseases includes things like liver cysts. Those problems can affect almost anyone. Q: How effective do medical interventions tend to be on the diseases you treat? A: Good question. When possible, surgery tends to be the best option for most of the cancers I treat. But in addition to surgery, there are other treatments we offer, like chemotherapy and radiation therapy. We can target chemotherapy directly to the liver, so there’s not as much risk to the rest of the body. That’s really part of the unique challenge. It’s my responsibility to get these patients to the appropriate treatments and get them in the right order. Q: To what degree do you think rural hospitals can meet the new fee-for-outcome reimbursement standards? A: I have done a great deal of work meeting physicians in rural hospitals and have been pleasantly surprised by their capabilities. But for complex cancers and patients who can benefit from multidisciplinary case review and coordination of care by a specialist, that’s where I think we can really make a difference. That’s really my role and that’s why I’m so excited by this opportunity. Patients should only have to come to Buffalo for those complex services. Q: Do you see yourself moving somewhere between Buffalo and Oneida for an easier commute? A: Right now I plan on staying in Buffalo since I’m still seeing patients in Western New York, but more of my partners are going to be involved. We’ve integrated all of our electronic health records, so I can see anything that gets done in Oneida from Buffalo and vice versa.

Lifelines Name: Srinevas Reddy, M.D. Position: Surgical oncologist at Oneida Healthcare; co-director of Liver and Pancreas Tumor Center at Roswell Park Cancer Institute Education & Training: Medical degree from University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison; residency in general surgery, Duke University Medical Center; fellowship in the hepatobiliary field at the department of surgical oncology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Hometown: Appleton, Wisconsin. Affiliations: Oneida Healthcare; Roswell Park Cancer Institute Organization: American Society of Clinical Oncology, American College of Surgeons, American HepatoPancreato-Biliary Association; Society of Surgical Oncology Family: Married, two brothers Hobbies: Sports fan, religious activities

7 Fun Ways to Get Fit This Fall

Walk your way to wellness: Opportunities abound in the region By Kyra Mancine

3.4 million people live with the disorder, government researchers say


s we bid farewell to summer, thoughts turn to cooler, crisp days, sweater weather and the sound of leaves crunching beneath our feet. There is still plenty of time to enjoy all that nature has to offer — without worrying about bugs and sweltering temperatures. Make the most of the season by venturing outside to explore. Here are some events that allow you to admire the leaves as they change color and get your heart rate up at the same time.



ore Americans than ever are living with epilepsy, federal health officials reported in

. Working for Downtown (WFD) Buffalo Walk Canalside Buffalo

Hours: 5:30 p.m. (registration at 5:15), Wednesday, Sept. 13 Meet at the Harbor Kayak rental kiosk (1 Naval Park Cove). A representative from the Erie County Harbor Development will give a tour of the site and the history of the space and the projects in progress. Tours are free for WFD members, $10 for nonmembers. Reservations required. For more information, visit www.


. Tifft Nature Preserve 1200 Fuhrmann Blvd., Buffalo Hours:

Hours: guided Walks — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ($2 donation), Thursdays in September and October. This department of the Buffalo Museum of Science is located on 264 acres and dedicated to conservation and environmental education. They have five miles of nature trails open year-round (daylight hours). It’s a great place to observe local wildlife in natural habitats. For more information, visit tifft/


. Reflective Walks Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo

Hours: 10:45 to 11:30 a.m., Sunday, Sept. 3, Oct. 1 and Nov. 5. All walks begin and end at the Hoyt Lake, Marcy Casino, Delaware Park. These free walks are a way to appreciate the beauty of the museum park district. The mission of the Wellness Institute is to create a healthy community. For more information, visit www. home.html


. Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve 93 Honorine Drive, Depew

Hours: Woods Walk (free, no registration required), Saturday, Sept. 2 and Sept. 16 (this is also the date for their Fall Festival), Oct. 7 and Oct. 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. This Nature Preserve and Education Center is located on 292 acres and includes forests, ponds and wetlands. It also offers self-guided trail walking (a 2.8 mile loop open sunrise to sunset). The Education Center is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday 1 to 4:30 p.m.. For more information, visit

Number of Americans With Epilepsy at Record Level

Night Lights at Griffis Sculpture Park, 6902 Mill Valley Road, East Otto. This 400acre park near Ellicottville is home to over 250 sculptures — many of which you can climb up, in and on. It is one of the largest outdoor sculpture parks in the U.S.


. Twilight Tower Tour Roycroft Campus, 31 S. Grove St., East Aurora

Hours: 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13. Wear your walking shoes for this one! Climb up stairs to the top floors on the campus, including a visit to the triangular Ruskin Room of the Inn, the Chapel Round Tower and the Print Shop turret. No photos allowed. Tour is inside and outside. $30 fee. Reservations required. The Roycroft Campus provides educational programs, classes, lectures and events that promote and preserve the ideals of the arts and crafts movement. For more information, visit www. index.php


. Crepuscular Hikes & Waterfall Walk Knox Farm State Park, 437 Buffalo Road, East Aurora

Hours: • 6:30 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 6, Harvest Moon Hoopla • Search for Nocturnal Creatures, Saturday, Sept. 23, from • Woodland Waterfalls Walk, Saturday, Sept. 23, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. For the twilight hikes, a

flashlight is recommended. The waterfall hike includes a stop at the Hemlock Ravine above the falls for a picnic supper (bring a meal that can fit in a backpack). Knox Farm State Park is located on 633 acres and includes 400 acres of grasslands (pastures and hayfields), and 100 acres of woodlands, ponds and wetland areas. For information and registration call 716-549-1050 and visit parks/163/details.aspx.


. Night Lights, Griffis Sculpture Park 6902 Mill Valley Rd, East Otto

This 400-acre park near Ellicottville is home to over 250 sculptures — many of which you can climb up, in and on. It is one of the largest outdoor sculpture parks in the U.S. During Night Lights, you can take an unguided walk to music “where the trails and sculptures interact with creative lighting.” Go before the sun sets and walk the trails as well. The views are spectacular. It’s hilly, so good walking shoes are a must. Don’t forget your flashlight! Visit for dates (in Sept TBD) and admission fee details.

September 2017 •

August. According to the new report, 1.2 percent of the population — about 3 million adults and 470,000 children — were being treated for epilepsy or had experienced recent seizures in 2015, the researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The number of adults with active epilepsy rose from 2.3 million in 2010. Epilepsy among children rose by 20,000 between 2007 and 2015, according to the report’s coauthor, Rosemarie Kobau, the head of the CDC’s epilepsy program. “The increase is probably because of population growth,” Kobau said. “We don’t know if other factors are involved.” The report, published Aug. 11 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, offers epilepsy estimates for every state for the first time, which shows the condition is widespread. The number of adults with epilepsy ranged from 5,100 in Wyoming to nearly 368,000 in California, the researchers found. The number of children with the condition ranged from 800 in Wyoming to nearly 60,000 in California. Eleven states had more than 92,700 people with epilepsy, according to the report. Philip Gattone is president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. In a news release from the foundation, he said, “This report confirms what many in our community have suspected: Epilepsy has been underreported. We are very grateful that we have a public health program at the CDC for epilepsy. Their new data strengthens our resolve.” One specialist thinks that population growth is only one factor in the growing prevalence of epilepsy. “People are living longer, and the population has increased, so you are going to have more seizures,” said physician Paul Wright. He is the chairman of neurology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, and Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park. “Also, we have better diagnosis,” he said. “More people are coming to doctors when they don’t have an explanation for things like confusion and speech issues, so we are doing testing and we are discovering epilepsy,” Wright said. Kobau explained that epilepsy is a disorder of the brain that causes seizures. “More than half the cases of epilepsy don’t have a known cause — the rest have causes like stroke, brain tumor, head injury, central nervous system infections, genetic risks or brain diseases, such as dementia,” she said. Most epilepsy can be controlled with medications, surgery or devices that stimulate the brain, Kobau added.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Live Alone & Thrive

By Gwenn Voelckers

Practical tips, advice and hope for those who live alone

Living Alone Takes Courage


was inspired to write this column on courage after receiving the email below from a reader last month: Dear Gwenn, You would appreciate this. I just have to share these two recent experiences I had as a single woman. Last week, I went to a concert on the spur of the moment called “Old Hippies Reunion.” As a Baby Boomer (and former hippie), I thought it might be interesting and fun. I dined out alone at a restaurant, then left alone to enjoy the concert in a nearby music venue. I tried my best to adopt the posture of a confident single woman at a bar — you know, that casual look. I faked it for a while, then retreated to the safety of my car, and ultimately to my couch at home. Still, I felt good that I made the effort! Then this week, I went to meet a “ date” — only I went to the right place on the wrong day. I waited

an hour, established rapport with the single-mom hostess and then gave up. I went into the dining room, ordered a glass of wine and an appetizer. Clearly the waitress thought it most odd I was alone. (I did not have the courage to eat outdoors where all of the other couples had seen me waiting for an hour). Last night, I met the gentlemen at the right place on the right day. It was a pleasant first, but last encounter. Being single requires courage! Kathy (not her real name) How right this reader is. Living alone does require courage. In fact, Kathy’s email got me thinking about all the many and varied ways that living alone asks (demands!) that we demonstrate courage, almost on a daily basis. On my own, I’ve discovered it takes courage to:

Sleep alone. That “bump in the night” can test even the strongest among us. Get up alone. Where did all this anxiety come from? I just want to stay in bed! Show up alone. Walking in alone can still feel so uncomfortable. Especially if my ex is at the event. Throw a party. What was I thinking? Will anyone show up? The bathrooms still need cleaning! Ask for help. When am I going to stop letting my pride get in the way? Set a mousetrap. Or worse, dispose of one that’s “occupied.” Say “no” to an unwelcome advance. Despite how lonely I

feel, the ring on his finger is a showstopper.

Say “yes” to a welcome invitation. He’s kind and kinda cute.

But then what? At my age? Travel alone. You mean I have to carry my own luggage? Make my own flight arrangements? Enjoy blissful time alone, with my own good company? Yes! I guess this one doesn’t take much courage. Tackle a home repair. Hey, if a guy can replace the flapper in the toilet tank, I can, too. Make a major purchase. I know I should be practical, but what I really

want is that sporty red convertible. What to do? Be nice to my ex. After all, we did share some good times together.

Once and for all, start exercising. I know it’s good for me. And could

add quality and years to my life. What’s stopping me?

Survive a Saturday night alone.

Why is this so daunting? I need to get a grip. Or, a good book.

Express true feelings. If not now, when?

On that last item, writing this column takes courage. Within these columns, I share some of my deepest feelings, thoughts and fears. I make myself vulnerable. And that takes courage. But, guess what? When we demonstrate courage and take risks, we grow. We become stronger, more resilient, more independent, and more able to live the life of our dreams. We become better at living alone. And that’s a good and courageous thing to do!

Gwenn Voelckers is the founder and facilitator of “Live Alone and Thrive,” empowerment workshops for women held throughout the year in Mendon. For information or to contact Voelckers, call 585-6247887 or email: gvoelckers@rochester.

Addiction: The Language Factor Associated Press Stylebook changes language rules dealing with addicts. Health professionals say step to help destigmatize substance dependency By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


or many years, “person first” language has been the standard among media members and professionals in mental health, such as “person with disabilities” instead of “disabled person.” The Associated Press’ 2017 Stylebook, journalists’ go-to book for writing and language standardization, has extended person first language to addicts — make that “persons with addictions.” The exceptions include the names of organizations or quotations. While it may seem an inconsequential use of phrases, words are powerful and they can affect treatment. Deanna DeAngelis, licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Buffalo, said that the change reflects a desire by professionals to destigmatize substance dependency in the hopes of promoting treatment. “I’m from a holistic perspective,” she said. “I believe in putting the person’s characteristics before their diagnosis. That’s empowering for people.” By reducing patients to a diagnosis, clinicians don’t view them as whole people with other aspects to their lives, DeAngelis said. DeAngelis believes that attaching words such as “junkie,” “addict,” “druggie,” and ‘dirty/clean” to those who struggle with substance abuse disorders unnecessarily shames them. For some, that could delay lifealtering or even life-saving treatment. Others identify those terms both with addiction and with people Page 8

who are unemployed, homeless and without an intact family structure, yet some people dependent on drugs can adequately keep other areas of their lives reasonably unaffected while they continue to risk health complications that include overdose. Many group treatment programs begin with participants introducing themselves and calling themselves the very disparaging terms professionals denounce; however, DeAngelis said that acknowledging the problem is the first step toward treatment. Timothy W. Logsdon, licensed mental health counselor in private practice in Buffalo, said that first admitting there’s a problem represents the first step toward recovery; that’s why recovery groups emphasize naming the problem forthrightly. Otherwise, “you have people who don’t know they have a problem “or minimize their problem, Logsdon said. He added that on the other side of the coin are people who “don’t see it as a disease but as a choice. And that’s a huge problem. You don’t tell people with cancer, ‘Stop having cancer.’” That change represents one of the major shifts in treatment of substance abuse: moving from the behavioral model to the health model, according to Carolyn Grisko, clinical director of Beacon Center, with locations in Amherst, Lockport, Niagara Falls, Buffalo and other cities in Upstate.

She said that since professionals have only recently identified a biological element, it will take time to adjust to the new language. “We encourage people to think they’re not defined by their addiction,” Grisko said. “Family members or significant others with addiction or alcoholism is easier with person-first language as they feel more comfortable. It’s more approachable and less harsh.” She said that the change in language reflects the emergence of person-centered treatment models

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2017

that focus on why the person became dependent on a substance. Treating each patient the same is not as effective as learning their backgrounds and how they became dependent. Grisko said that about 10 percent of the population deals with some sort of addiction but far fewer seek professional help. She believes that person-first language makes it easier for them to obtain treatment. “Everyone comes in with a different story,” Grisko said.

Elmwood Village Farmer’s Market. Depending on the weather, it may be open all the way until November

Lisa Brocato, owner of Rooted Locally, at her stand at Elmwood Village Farmer's Market.

The Harvest is In… Farmers Markets come to life in fall. Best time to get tomatoes, apples, eggplants, melons and more By Catherine Miller


y summer calendar revolves around the local farmers markets. Plump red strawberries means that May has arrived and its time to start planning all those fun summer events. The yellow ears of corn abundant in August remind me that summer is in full swing and school is just around the corner and then there’s September. September is my favorite time to peak around the markets. The colors explode with the deep purple eggplants, crisp red apples, pastel melons and yellow- and orange-hued squashes. Ask any nutritionist and you will find that the kaleidoscope of colors that you can purchase at your local farmers market isn’t just a

visual masterpiece to your eyes, but beneficial to your health as well. The colorful components displayed indicate carotenoids in your orange and yellow foods, flavonoids in the blue and red fruits and veggies, and chlorophyll in your favorite greens. A good mix of colors in your produce also indicates a mingling of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can benefit your health. And, lucky for us, our area seems to have a farmers market in nearly every neighborhood, making a visit to the market that much easier to access local produce as the fall harvest rolls in. Eden-based Weiss Farms, which provides their fresh local produce

Farmers Markets. Where They Are • Buffalo Country Market –Main Street and Court Street. 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Situated on Main Street in downtown Buffalo, this market is known for people-watching during the business lunch hour. It has a great array of flowers that you can easily take back to the office or add to your home décor. • Clarence - 10717 Main St., from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturdays. • Clinton-Bailey Market – 1517 Clinton St. Open every day. From 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Opens at 6 a.m. Saturdays. A variety of the best produce in the area and winter hours as well. • Elmwood Village – Elmood Avenue at Bidwell Parkway, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays One of the longest seasonal markets in the reagion, you will see the die-hard vendors still setting up shop in November, weather

to no less than six local farmers markets, promises heirloom tomatoes in abundance this fall, along with apples, eggplant and their famous melons. While these traditional favorites can be found at the market, our local farmers markets have stretched to include unique items. Check out Rooted Locally in Buffalo to find a lavish array of microgreens. “Microgreens are small shoots of salad vegetables such as arugula, broccoli and beetroot that are packed with nutrition and are great in salads, on sandwiches and in smoothies,” said owner Lisa Brocato. “We have a variety of types each week including basil, kale and sunflower.” The microgreens come in small containers that are harvested with scissors and easily added to your meal for a nutritional punch. Along with microgreens check out the pasture raised, dry aged meats, organic mushrooms, and locally made veggie burgers, all chock full of vitamins and nutrients. Not only are the local markets a great way to support your local

Gathering Places farmers, but the neighborhood farmers markets have become a community meeting place, and a great source of social interaction. “Now in the fourth year of operation the South Buffalo Farmers Market has quickly become one of the favorite community gathering spots for the summer,” said Buffalo Common Council member Christopher Scanlon. “Set in Cazenovia Park, one of the jewels of the Olmsted Park System, the market runs though the end of September. In addition to fresh meat and produce from a variety of local famers, the SBFM offers unique local favorites like Public Espresso, Duke’s Donuts, and the Pasta Peddler. The South Buffalo Farmers Market also offers free adult yoga classes, live music and a variety of weekly special events, including a kid’s day, craft fairs and an end-of-the-year cookout for the neighborhood.” Most of the markets participate in the Double Up Food Bucks program allowing SNAP recipients to extend their benefit amount and get double the produce and food products.


• Hamburg – Municipal Parking lot. From 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday • Kenmore – The Village Green. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sundays.

Featuring local honey and syrup, baked goods and more. Artisans, yoga and music throughout the season. • North Buffalo Farmers Market – 1113 Hertel Ave. 3pm – 7pm. Thursdays. • North Tonawanda – Payne and Robinson streets. From 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. • South Buffalo – Cazenovia Park, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sundays. Along with Weiss Farms and Desiderio’s Produce, goers can find fun items like KupKates Bakery, local wines and even treats for your pup. • West Seneca – Town Hall, 1250 Union Road, 4-7:30 p.m. Thursdays. • Williamsville – Spring Street, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturdays.

September 2017 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 9


The skinny on healthy eating

4 Reasons to Eat Sesame Seeds


lthough beloved on bagels, breadsticks and hamburger buns, many folks can’t say why sesame seeds are good for health. Too tiny to make a difference? Too much of a “topping” to warrant investigation? Too common to think twice about? Whatever the reason (and I’ve been guilty of all three), it’s time to say “open sesame” to all that makes this small seed so big on nutritional benefits.


Bone-building minerals.

It’s remarkable how sesame seeds’ most abundant minerals — copper, manganese, magnesium and calcium — all contribute to bone health in some important way. With osteopenia bearing down on my rickety bones, I’m always on the lookout for calcium sources. Individually, copper helps make red blood cells and promotes healthy connective tissues; manganese is needed for digestion and nerve function; magnesium contributes to energy production; and calcium keeps our blood clotting and our hearts thumping.


Heart-healthy fiber.

Mention fiber and “regularity” often comes to mind first, which is indeed a good thing! But there’s so much more to this valuable nutrient. Current research shows that adding more fiber to your diet may lower blood pressure, improve

blood cholesterol levels and reduce the inflammation closely linked to all stages of atherosclerosis. Also, dietary fiber may help control diabetes. Just two tablespoons of sesame seeds provide about 4 grams of fiber (as much as one apple).


Cholesterol-lowering phytosterols. Sesame seeds

are loaded with phytosterols, those beneficial plant compounds that have been scientifically proven to lower cholesterol. Their benefits are so significant that foods are often fortified with phytosterols. Of course, having lower cholesterol levels leads to other benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart attacks and stroke. Antioxidant-rich phytosterols have also been found to help protect against the development of certain cancers.


Good-for-you fats. Sesame seeds are no slouch in the fat department, with just a few tablespoons serving up about 13 grams of fat. Thankfully, most are good fats — the mono and polyunsaturated fats. These fats help the body absorb nutrients and vitamins A, D, E and K that are vital to vision, strong bones and nerve development. They also help regulate hormones and body temperature and keep our skin, nails and hair in tiptop shape.

Sesame Bars with Walnuts, Coconut and Dried Cranberries Adapted from Bon Appetit

1¼ cups white sesame seeds ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut ¼ cup chopped walnuts (or nut of choice) ½ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ cup honey 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste) or creamy peanut butter ½ teaspoon vanilla extract ½ cup dried cranberries or raisins Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly oil an 8x8” baking pan; line with parchment paper or nonstick foil, leaving a generous overhang on all sides. Mix sesame seeds, coconut, nuts, and salt in a large bowl. Mix honey, tahini or peanut butter, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add to sesame seed mixture and mix well. Stir in cranberries. Scrape mixture into prepared baking pan; press firmly into an even layer. Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool until firm, 30–40 minutes. Lift out of baking pan (if it starts to crumble, let cool longer) and cut into bars or squares. Let cool completely. Store at room temperature or in fridge.

Helpful tips: If buying sesame seeds from bulk bins, take a whiff and a gander: they should smell fresh and be free of any moisture. Store hulled seeds, which are more prone to rancidity, in the fridge or freezer; unhulled seeds can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Boost your consumption of this nutritious seed by adding it to baked goods, meatloaf and stews, and by sprinkling it on vegetables, meats, noodles and more.

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

Protecting Chronically Ill Young People What it means for families when kids transition to adulthood By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


hronic illnesses in children can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. As teens become young adults, a rite of passage necessary for chronically ill young people is transitioning to adult health coverage. Parents shouldn’t delay making their plans. Physician Dennis Z. Kuo said that parents need to start as early as age 12 to develop processes for moving into the adult health system, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. While that may seem inordinately young, the system is so complex that the “extra” time is warranted. “There’s a lot of issues,” said Kuo, who is the division chief of general pediatrics at the University at Buffalo and medical director of primary care services at Women & Children‘s Hospital of Buffalo. “Eighteen is a big age where things change. The law treats you as an adult at 18 to make decisions.” Page 10

He thinks that starting at age 12, the child should be assessed by parents for the ability to administer medication. By 14 or 15, the child should be able to recite their medication and dosage. At 16, most teens can set up doctor’s visits and how they’ll pay for medication. Kuo’s daughter, 17, manages a costly chronic health condition and he has been working with her since she was a pre-teen to assess and plan for when she will go to college. The family is also mapping out how she will transition out of pediatric care, a step that can be difficult for some chronically ill children. Some pediatric specialists wait until their patients are in their mid20s. Other adhere to a strict cut-off age of 18. Kuo’s daughter uses the family’s private insurance and may continue to do so through age 26. “A lot of the systems that our young adults navigate are pretty fragmented, which is why we

encourage planning during the teenaged years,” Kuo said. “We see young people go through periods where their coverage is dropped for two to four years. They slip through the cracks. When this happens with a chronic health condition and they don’t do well, they end up in the emergency room. “These issues can’t be jammed into a single visit when they’re 18. You have to start when they’re 12.” Once cognitively disabled teens on Medicaid reach 19, they must recertify as adults. The process isn’t straightforward, according to the physician. Lisa J. Allen, an attorney operating The Law Offices of Lisa J. Allen, PLLC, in Williamsville, knows the routine as the parent of a young person with disabilities and extensive health conditions. As for a chronically ill young person who is also cognitively disabled, she advises parents to obtain a court ruling that their

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2017

18-year-old is an incapacitated adult so they can continue to help make decisions about health care, residence and education. For young people without a cognitive disability, they can sign a power of attorney and health care proxy to continue receiving parental help in making decisions. Otherwise, “once any child reaches 18, you have no ability to know their medical interests or their decision making,” Allen said. Without those legal instruments, the parents are left out, even if their now-adult child entirely depends upon their input for making medical choices about their care. That’s why it’s important to discuss the family’s needs with a caseworker to fully know their options and make an informed decision. The teen’s medical provider can offer recommendations on caseworkers that can help them navigate the often complex processes and make plans that work well for their family.


Things Parents Should Know About Back-to-School By Ernst Lamothe Jr.


ith the new school year approaching, students must get back to their normal

routine. Whether that is dealing with healthy eating habits or increased physical activity, there are numerous tips parents should follow to assure their kids are in top shape for the first day of school. Physician Dennis Kuo offers five key advice for parents — and students. Kuo is division chief of general pediatrics at the University at Buffalo and medical director of primary care services at Women & Children‘s Hospital of Buffalo.


Pay attention to sleep

When it comes to back to school routines, one of the hardest ones to overcome is getting kids back to a regular sleeping schedule. During the summer, late nights are the norm; however, that continued pattern will only cause tired and unfocused brains during school. With their sleeping schedule completely out of sync, Kuo suggests slowly bringing students back to their old routine. “If you were going to bed at 11 p.m. or midnight during the summer, they should slowly start sleeping 15 minutes earlier each few days until you reach your desired sleep,” said Kuo. “You want to do this a minimum of two weeks before school starts. It will get their bodies ready to learn to sleep earlier. If you try to do it only a few days before classes all you are going to do is have a kid who

is staying up in bed for hours. Your body doesn’t simply get back into a routine in a few days.”


Eat breakfast

Healthy eating contributes to overall healthy growth and development, including healthy bones, skin and energy levels; and a lowered risk of dental caries, eating disorders, constipation, malnutrition and iron deficiency anemia. Overweight and obesity, influenced by poor diet and inactivity, are significantly associated with an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, joint problems, and poor health status. “Eating healthy in general and following a proper diet is essential for kids,” said Kuo. “If you want to truly be able to focus and have your mind prepared and ready for school, you need to have a proper meal to start off your day.”


Immunization shots

New York state requires students to have their shots as they prepare for the new year. With students being in such proximity to each other — hundreds of people at a time — sickness can spread rapidly for those who are not vaccinated. “It is the single most important thing we can do to keep kids healthy at this time,” said Kuo. The list of required immunization shots for students include: • Diphtheria, tetanus and

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pertussis vaccine (DTaP/DTP/Tdap) • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) • Hepatitis B. • Chickenpox. • Meningococcal conjugate (Macaw) • Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate (Hib) • Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV)


Annual physical

Back-to-school season adds a lot of things to a busy parent’s to do list: purchasing school supplies, finding new clothes for the kids, and wrapping up summer programs. Don’t let a school physical fall by the wayside during this busy time. During a routine physical, your health professional will check all of your child’s body systems to ensure there are no apparent problems. This allows you to catch any problems early on and get your child the best early intervention resources available. It can be essential to check your physical and mental health. “You really want to make sure that you are getting checked for many things especially if you have asthma, allergies or any other recurring ailments,” said Kuo. “Plus, your primary care physician is also a good place to start a conversation if you have a teen that is dealing with mental health issues like anxiety or depression.”


Turn off the technology Kuo said this connection

Physician Dennis Kuo offers five key advice for parents — and students. Kuo is division chief of general pediatrics at the University at Buffalo and medical director of primary care services at Women & Children‘s Hospital of Buffalo. is the No. 1 tip about sleeping. Just simply getting into bed is not enough. It’s the sleeping part that is the most important. However, too often, students lay in bed while still using their cell phones to play games and watch videos. “People have to remember that electronics are a stimulus. Your brain is not turning off while you are watching the latest YouTube video,” added Kuo. “You need to keep the smart phone on your night stand and stay completely away from it so your body actually does get a chance to wind down.”

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Graceful Accommodations

Grace Guest House, which opens in the fall near Mercy Hospital, to help take pressure off hospital visitors By Catherine Miller


ucked at the edge of Cazenovia Park in South Buffalo is a yellow brick building that, in the past, housed the priests that filled St. John’s the Evangelist Church for decades. Vacant for the last few years, the house is being resurrected to offer a respite of peace for another group of people. The Grace Guest House will open its doors in the fall as a nonprofit health care guest house, and will offer a place of rest for visitors at nearby Mercy Hospital. As Mercy Hospital has grown to become known as a premier cardiac and stroke medical care facility, the patients at the hospital have been drawn from a larger region — and with them come their family and loved ones as visitors. With many of the patients requiring long-term care, family and friends of the patients have found it increasingly difficult to find suitably priced accommodations to stay at during their time in the area. That’s when Cynthia Battista stepped in. “It’s great that Buffalo is in the midst of a resurgence,” Battista said. “But the down side to that for people with loved ones in the hospital is that our hotel room prices in the area have increased substantially. The Grace Guest House will give people a place to stay for a nominal fee each night, and allow people to stay close and care for their loved ones.” Battista is the founder and board president of the Grace Guest House. An idea that came to be after a colleague found shelter at a similar venue in North Carolina, Battista saw the need for a health care guest house in the South Buffalo area. The Grace Guest House, 2315 Seneca St., is an easy walk through

Grace Guest House exterior. The facility, at 2315 Seneca St., is an easy walk through the park to Mercy Hospital. It will give people a place to stay for a nominal fee each night, and allow people to stay close and care for their loved ones. the park to Mercy Hospital. Acknowledging that some of the guests may be older and have mobility issues, there will also be a shuttle available to transport guests to and from the hospital. Inside the house, guests will find a multi-bedroom facility, each able to accommodate one to three visitors, making the larger rooms perfect options for a small group of family members. There is a “quiet room” that allows for peaceful meditation or a quiet moment of reflection to shake off the beeping and hospital noise. The large kitchen and dining area will allow residents to cook their own meals and dine while sharing experiences and camaraderie. The “great room” is home to a large TV and sitting area where guests can relax together. The house manager, Chanaka Goonatillake, will be onsite to assign rooms and make sure the house is running smoothly.

More elbow room “We are reviewing the layout of the house to build each room to capacity so that we can serve more people,” said Battista, who hopes to accommodate 1,000 families each year. While the Grace Guest House sounds like an idea whose time had naturally come considering the blossoming of Mercy Hospital, it wasn’t an easy concept to create and execute. The original property considered for the project was determined to be too small to accommodate the projected needs of the house. Moving to the Seneca Street location opened up the layout to two levels and more than doubled the square footage of the interior of the property. People that have come forth from the community have allowed the project to grow from one woman’s vision to a reality. “We have a great board of

directors,” Battista said. “And this project could not have happened without them. They are truly a working board and have put a lot of sweat equity into the guest house. The sledge hammers are still in the back room to prove it.” Community involvement has been substantial since the onset of the project. Local architects, plumbers, sprinkler fitters and others have come forth to assist in the physical layout of the building and make sure it’s up to code for the type of facility and the number of people it will accommodate. Local food vendors have voiced a desire to assist with supplying staple foods to be used on site. West Herr has donated a van that will be used in shuttling guests to and from the hospital. Meanwhile, Battista’s own mother is the official “house baker,” making cookies for scheduled tours of the house. More assistance will be needed after the opening of the guest house in the way of volunteers willing to assist in house maintenance and upkeep, and in driving the shuttle. With community involvement already intact, Battista and her group are confident that more people will come forth to assist at the guest house. While there will be a nominal nightly fee for each room, which will assist the guest house to sustain itself, the fee will not cover all expenses. To keep the guest house viable, its board will hold fundraisers twice a year to assist in financing the home. The next upcoming fundraiser will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 19 and will feature a “Juice and Jazz” celebration at the Lake Erie Italian Club, 3200 South Park Ave. The purpose is to keep the Grace Guest House sustainable and allow all those in need to utilize the guesthouse, regardless of their ability to pay. To tour the Grace Guest House, sign up to volunteer or purchase tickets for the upcoming fundraiser, visit its website www. There, you can also get additional information on their mission and watch for their opening date coming this fall.

Binge Drinking Rates Dropping on College Campuses But study also shows those rates are rising for young adults who are not in school


fter years of increases in binge drinking among the college crowd, new research shows those rates have now dropped. Unfortunately, the reverse held true for young adults who did not go to college. Between 1999 and 2005, binge drinking among college students jumped from 37 percent to 45 percent. But that trend reversed itself after 2005, landing back at 37 percent by 2014, according to the analysis from the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Meanwhile, binge drinking rates among those who were not enrolled in college increased from 36 percent to 40 percent between 1999 and 2014. "For many years, there was an Page 12

increase in the percentage of college students in national surveys who binged," said study first author Ralph Hingson, director of the division of epidemiology and prevention research at NIAAA. "We saw that up until 2005. "But since then, the percentages have gone down," he noted. "Same thing for driving under the influence of alcohol and our estimates of alcohol-related unintentional injuries. "But there is still a lot of work to do," Hingson cautioned, with binge drinking on the rise among 18 to 24-yearolds who are not enrolled in

college. "And this group now has a higher percentage of binge drinkers than same-age college students," he added. Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of excessive consumption that usually involves imbibing four drinks (among women) or five drinks (among men) within a two-hour period. To get a handle on binge drinking trends among young Americans, the investigators culled data collected by a wide swath of government agencies. The team found that alcoholimpaired driving among college students declined from 29 percent in 2005 to 17 percent in 2014. Similarly, alcohol-related

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2017

unintentional injury deaths and traffic deaths fell nearly 30 percent and 43 percent, respectively, among the same age group between 1998 and 2014. The findings were published in the July issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Hingson suggested that the strides made against binge drinking on college campuses reflect "increased efforts at federal, state and community level to reduce underage drinking." For example, he noted that as of 2005 all 50 states had adopted an 0.08 percent blood alcohol level limit for drivers, up from just 17 states back in 2000. As well, 38 states now have underage drinking strategic plans.

Men’sHealth Men and Their Belly Fat

Call it beer belly, love handles, spare tire: doctors say men with large bellies have increased risk of death by various associated diseases

How to Get Rid of It

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


ove handles, spare tire, beer belly: whatever it’s called, it’s not pretty and it can actually harm a man’s health. “It endangers the stability of the core and can cause compensation with your hips and pelvis,” said Justin Draper, certified personal trainer and owner of Jada Blitz Training, Inc. in Williamsville. “You lose some flexibility and daily functional activities are more difficult as well.” Belly fat can also harm health. The issue is that weight around the belly is visceral fat that surrounds the organs. Draper said that it can increase risk of Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. This deep fat has also been associated with chronic disease like cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, and sleep apnea. University of Rochester Medicine Primary Care physician Louis Papa said that the location of these fat deposits — not the overall weight — is what’s so vital.

“People with an abnormal amount of belly fat have a 51 percent increased risk of death by various associated diseases than those with a normal amount of belly fat.” Primary care physician Louis Papa

“People with a normal body mass index (BMI) but with more belly fat are at a greater risk of disease than people with a high BMI but normal amount of belly fat,” Papa said. He added that people with an abnormal amount of belly fat have a 51 percent increased risk of death by various associated diseases than those with a normal amount of belly fat. “Since belly fat is related to insulin resistance and inflammatory changes, that puts you at higher risk for these diseases,” Papa said. “These fat cells have a lot of hormonal activity. The belly/hip fat produces a lot of endocrine and hormonal activity that puts you at risk for diabetes and heart disease.” So how can you specifically get rid of belly fat? “We don’t know a good way to get rid of just belly fat,” Papa said.

Although lots of marketing hype promises to blast belly fat with a product or technique, it’s not that easy since weight loss can’t target one area. Here what two personal trainers from the area recommend. • Be honest. “The toughest thing I deal with is people don’t seek the right guidance and don’t hold themselves accountable. They’re afraid to be honest with themselves and their trainer or anyone with what’s going on. I don’t know if it’s out of fear of letting their coach down but it holds them back. They never progress.” • Don’t try to spot reduce. “There’s no such thing as spot reduction. It’s just not possible. It doesn’t matter how hard you train your abs. It’s not going to happen. You have to get your diet in check and you have to commit. The mind is the most powerful ‘muscle’. People find more excuses, don’t trust the process and spin their wheels. • Make long-term changes. “The goal is to change your lifestyle. Find some form of exercise and dietary habits you can stick with. You can exercise a lot but not eating right and you won’t see progress. You have to have all your ducks in a row. It takes time. You won’t see dramatic changes in two weeks. Some won’t see dramatic change for six months.” • Get expert help. “People might not be surrounding themselves with the right people. Find someone with whom you gel and connect and wants to help you. As the client, you should not feel embarrassed if you eat something you shouldn’t or slip up one day. The person should be understanding, but know when to put their foot down.” • Don’t delay. “Just get started. It’s never too late to start. Everyone starts somewhere. I have new weight lifters coming in who see a guy who’s lifting for years, and I tell them don’t be discouraged. He started once.” • Don’t give up. “People get so caught up with eating habits and when they do deviate just 200 calories, they lose their minds and that day goes out of control and they’re back to square one. It’s long term. If you develop good eating habits and are OK with a slice of pizza or a slice of cake and you understand that won’t ruin everything, you’ve succeeded. It makes the journey more fun and it’s not mentally exhausting to keep track of what you’re eating all the time.” — Vincent Mangione, certified personal trainer, Kenmore Barbell & Fitness, Buffalo • Improve the diet. “I get my clients on a flexible diet approach. They count their macronutrients. My Fitness Pal is a great app. It’s about taking control of their diet and making good food choices helps create a healthful lifestyle for themselves and getting out of old habits. We work on portion control.” • Learn about food. “Educate yourself on proper nutrition. Read food labels before it enters your body. Be cognitive. Understand proteins, carbohydrates and fats and how they assimilate in your body. Protein is the basic building block of muscle. Carbohydrates is the primary source of energy and fat is number two and helps with skin, hair and nails. A wellbalanced diet is one that doesn’t exclude one macronutrient over the other.” — Justin Draper, certified personal trainer and owner of Jada Blitz Training, Inc. in Williamsville

Draper September 2017 •

Mangione IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 13


Only About OneThird of Americans Use Condoms: CDC They aren’t the best method of birth control, but they do help prevent STDs, health experts say. Condoms can help prevent pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), but only about a third of Americans use them, a new federal report shows. “The use of condoms is a public health issue,” said report author Casey Copen, a statistician at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. “STDs can lead to long-term consequences, such as infertility,” she said. “Condoms, when used consistently and correctly, reduce the risk of HIV and STDs.” About 20 million new cases of STDs are diagnosed each year in the United States, the CDC said. These infections include human papillomavirus (HPV), gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis and HIV. The choice of whether to use a condom or not is influenced by a number of factors. These include: a woman’s desire to get pregnant, one’s experience using other methods of contraception, and the relationship of the partners, Copen said. “People who say they are dating casually use more condoms than people who say they are cohabitating or engaged,” she said. Most people who use condoms say they use them to prevent pregnancy and avoid getting an STD, Copen said. One expert said there are other, better choices of birth control. “We have much better methods of birth control than a condom. If people don’t want to have a baby, they should be using a more effective method,” said physician Jill Rabin. “Sex can be wonderful, but I don’t know any climax that’s worth the heartache of an unwanted pregnancy,” said Rabin. She is co-chief of the division of ambulatory care in the Women’s Health Programs-PCAP Services at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, in the New York City region. But condoms do have a role in preventing STDs, Rabin said. Often people don’t know they have an STD until it’s too late and they are infertile or sick, she said. “We know that condoms can protect against many STDs,” Rabin said. “So why would you deliberately place yourself in a position to get hepatitis B or C or HIV? “I understand human nature, but take responsibility and think ahead,” Rabin said. Page 14

$100 Sweetens the Pot for a Colonoscopy Study found those who were offered cash to get cancer screening were twice as likely to do so


t appears that $100 might go a long way toward convincing someone to get a colonoscopy. New research found that such a cash incentive doubled the chances that older adults were screened for colon cancer. “Colonoscopy is challenging for patients, requiring a day off from work, a bowel-cleansing preparation, and transportation, in addition to non-financial costs of anxiety and discomfort,” said study author, physician Shivan Mehta, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “The improvement we saw in the rate of screening colonoscopies was statistically significant, and shows for the first time that a financial incentive can at least modestly boost that rate,” Mehta added in a university news release. Colon cancer kills more than

50,000 people in the United States every year, second only to lung cancer. But most potential tumors can be detected by colonoscopy and removed, usually before they become cancerous, researchers said. The study included more than 2,000 people between the ages of 50 and 64. All were eligible for colonoscopy screening. Some received an email asking them to opt in or opt out of a screening colonoscopy (the simple active choice group). Others received an email with the same message plus an offer of $100 if they had a colonoscopy within three months. A third group (the control group) received an email with just a phone number for scheduling a colonoscopy. After three months, almost 4 percent of those in the $100 offer group had undergone a colonoscopy, compared with 1.6 percent in the

control group and 1.5 percent in the simple active choice group. The rate of colonoscopy appointment scheduling was 5 percent in the $100 offer group, 2.1 percent in the control group and 2 percent in the active choice group. The effectiveness of the financial reward may be due to the large amount of money and the fact that it was offered along with easy access for booking an appointment, Mehta suggested. “Although a $100 incentive seems relatively large, this amount is comparable to what employers already offer for completion of health risk assessments or biometric screening activities,” he said. The study was published recently in the journal Gastroenterology.

Vasectomy Remains Popular Contraceptive By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


ith all the varieties of contraceptives available, are vasectomies still popular? Area experts say yes — and for good reasons. Ali Houjaij, chief of urology and a urologist at the Buffalo VA, said that locally, more men are asking for vasectomy. “It’s easier and safer than tubal ligation,” he said, referring the equivalent female sterilization method. “Some guys ask which is easier and safe.” Vasectomy costs about one-third that of female sterilization via tubal ligation. He explained that although vasectomy is a surgical procedure, it’s performed under local anesthesia as an out patient surgery. Only 5 to 10 percent of men experience chronic scrotum pain, and only a small percentage of those find it to be lifechanging. The chances of injury to the blood supply can cause loss of testicle, but less than 1 percent of men experience this side effect. Less than 5 percent of men experience bruising and infection. Ryan Sidebottom, urologist with Upstate Urology of Auburn, said that the new “no-scalpel” technique provides a minimally invasive way of doing it, as it uses one poke in the center of the scrotum. “We can bring out the vas deferens and separate the connection. “Some guys wonder why they

were so worried, once it was done. It’s a very tolerable procedure,” Sidebottom said. Despite local popularity of vasectomy, the U.S. overall lags behind Canada and the UK, according to United Nations figures. American women experience double the tubal ligations as men

experience vasectomies; however, the large number of cesarian sections performed in the U.S. may account for some of that figure, since for couples done having babies, it’s easier to go ahead with sterilization for the partner who’s already undergoing surgery.

Vasectomy 101 Men commonly believe in a few misconceptions about vasectomy. • It’s easily reversible. “Reversal is not easy. It requires a three-hour procedure under general anesthetic. The success rate after a vasectomy reversal can range from 50 percent with a common urologist to 70 percent with a reversal specialist. Vasectomy should be done only for the man who’s absolutely sure he doesn’t want any more kids.” • Vasectomy reduces erections and sexual satisfaction. “Vasectomy does not affect sexual function, including the amount of ejaculate. The testicles contribute very little ejaculate. Most is from the prostate.” Ali Houjaij, chief of urology and a urologist at the Buffalo VA

• Few men seek vasectomy. “It’s actually quite popular. There are very few birth control methods for men.” • Tubal ligation of women is better. “Vasectomy is cheaper and safer and less risk of failure compared with tubal ligation for women. It’s easily covered by nearly all insurance.” • Recovery is difficult and sex is off-limits for a long time. “After the surgery and three days’ rest, they can have sex but with protection. Eighty percent of guys clear at two months. Others may require a few more ejaculations to get sperm count to zero. I use very specialized instruments that allow for a very delicate dissection of the vas tubes. There’s very little down time. I do a lot on Thursday or Friday so by Monday, they’re back to work.” • It likely won’t work. “The chance of failure is less than 1 percent, compared with 3 percent for tubal ligation.” J.C. Trussell, associate professor and urologist with Upstate University Hospital’s urology department. No other urologists in the Buffalo area responded to multiple requests to comment for this article.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2017


New CommunityCare Grant for Local Nonprofits Announced Grant offers up to $10,000 in funding for health and wellness initiatives. Application deadline is Sept. 29

U Do Muscle Supplements Work? Shakes and body building supplements promise to pack on pounds of muscle — but do they work? By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


ealth foods and fitness stores stock many kinds of shakes and body building supplements that promise to pack on pounds of muscle. But can these really help you get the body of your dreams? First, consider the source of the product’s claims. Supplements aren’t regulated by the Food & Drug Administration like medication. Manufacturers’ claims are not approved by the FDA and do not have to present double-blind, peerreviewed studies before they make claims. They must be safe and contain the ingredients they claim — that is all. “The idea behind the supplement industry is to supplement a good diet,” said Vincent Mangione, certified personal trainer, certified sports nutrition specialist and owner of Kenmore Barbell & Fitness in Buffalo. “But the industry is very good at convincing people that ‘X’ product will give you 20 pounds of muscle in a month. Your diet has to be on point.” He thinks that if clients eat protein from natural sources, they won’t need supplements, though quality supplements — not off brands — can help. “You don’t know what they put in those generics just to make a quick buck” Mangione said. Instead of relying solely on supplements, Mangione suggests eating whole foods such as eggs, poultry and meat. Vegan or vegetarians can choose nuts, seeds and legumes-including peanut butter and beans-along with vegan or vegetarian protein powder. He recommends .8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight for most people who are strength training or participating in sports.

The diet overall should be balanced with sufficient whole fruits, vegetables, and grains, along with protein sources and traces of plantsourced fat because “you can’t outsupplement a poor diet,” Mangione said. Justin Draper, certified personal trainer and owner of Jada Blitz Training, Inc. in Williamsville, sells a supplement line, Core Nutritionals, which he recommends to his clients. “If you’re looking to be more anabolic state, it has whey protein that will break down faster into amino acids and really supply the body with the right protein components,” Draper said. He added that supplements of branched chain amino acids — leucine, isoleucine and valine — help with recovery and that anyone strength training should supplement with them. These acids make protein within the body and provide muscles with energy. Chicken, fish, dairy products, whey and eggs are all good sources of branched chain amino acids. To support overall good health, Draper also recommends taking a good quality fish oil and multivitamin daily. Using kettle bells, tubing, free weights and weight machines represent a few ways to perform resistance training. Instead of just stressing one movement, such as raising the weight, men should lower the weight with just as much care to work both muscles-push and pull movements. Use the maximum amount of weight that can be lifted in good for about 10 to 15 repetitions. Perform another 10 to 15 repetitions and then move on to another muscle group. Exercise each muscle group twice weekly, but not two days in a row. On “off” days, engage in aerobic exercise.

BMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine recently announced the third annual CommunityCare Grant, which supports local organizations in the health and wellness sector. The grant offers the opportunity for up to $10,000 in funding for local nonprofit 501(c)(3) agencies in community health and wellness industries. “The goal of the CommunityCare Grant is to provide financial assistance to local nonprofit organizations that share our vision of compassion, innovation and collaboration in the health of Western New Yorkers,” said Amanda Clark, physician relations and marketing manager for UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is accepting applications until 5 p.m., Sept. 29, through an online application process. Interested organizations may apply for the grant by visiting about/community_care_grant/ Applications are evaluated based on economic need, the mission of the organization and the goals for utilization of funds. Grant winners will be announced in October.

If more than one organization is selected, the total grant amount will be divided among the recipients. The 2016 CommunityCare Grant was awarded to Mason’s Mission Foundation, an organization formed by Jason and Jennifer Evchich to build a fully handicappedaccessible playground in Pendleton. The foundation was started to support their sons, Mason and Matthew, who were both born with undiagnosed leukodystrophy, a rare and progressive genetic disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. Previous recipients of the CommunityCare Grant include Curvy Girls of Western New York, a support group for girls with scoliosis; Niagara Erie Youth Sports Association (NEYSA), an organization dedicated to teaching youth through positive role models while learning, playing and enjoying their sport; and Roswell Park Donor Center, a platelet collection center dedicated to meeting the needs of patients through the support of loyal donors. For more information, call 716906-5922.

Americans Taking More Prescription Drugs Than Ever: Survey


new survey finds 55 percent of Americans regularly take a prescription medicine — and they’re taking more than ever. Those who use a prescription drug take four, on average, and many also take over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and other dietary supplements, the survey done by Consumer Reports shows. But many of those pills may be unnecessary and might do more harm than good, according to a special report in the September issue of Consumer Reports magazine. Among those who take prescription drugs, 53 percent get them from more than one health care provider, which increases the risk of adverse drug effects. More than a third say no provider has reviewed their medicines to see if all are necessary. Forty-nine percent of survey respondents who regularly take prescription medicine asked their prescribers whether they could stop taking a drug, and 71 percent were able to eliminate at least one. “We can see that when consumers ask if they can stop taking

September 2017 •

at least one of their medications, in the majority of cases, their doctors agree,” Ellen Kunes, leader of Consumer Report’s Health and Food Content Development Team, said in a news release. The survey included almost 2,000 adults. The number of prescriptions filled for American adults and children rose 85 percent between 1997 and 2016, from 2.4 billion to 4.5 billion a year, according to the health research firm Quintile IMS. During that time, the U.S. population rose 21 percent. In 2014, nearly 1.3 million people sought emergency room treatment for adverse drug effects, and about 124,000 people died, according to U.S. government data cited by Consumer Reports. The article lists 12 conditions for which people can attempt lifestyle changes before taking prescription medications: ADHD; back and joint pain; dementia; mild depression; heartburn; insomnia; low testosterone; osteopenia (bone loss); overactive bladder; prediabetes; prehypertension, and obesity.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 15

WNY Heroes founder Chris Kreiger and his service dog. Photos courtesy of WNY Heroes

Lending a Helping Paw to Veterans in Need WNY Heroes’ Pawsitive for Heroes program making a difference in the lives of veterans with PTSD By Nancy Cardillo


s an infantry staff sergeant in the U.S. Army, 26-yearold Garrett Jackson’s service included two tours of duty in the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan. He returned home to Western New York with three Army Achievement medals, two Army Commendation medals, two Good Conduct medals — and, like many veterans who have experienced the shock and dangers of war, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Defined by the National Institute of Mental Health as “a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary or dangerous event,” PTSD affects roughly eight million adults during

a given year. Many, like Garrett, are veterans who have seen combat and been exposed to horrible and lifethreatening experiences and now wrestle with re-entry to civilian life. “The military changes you from civilian to soldier, but doesn’t change you back from soldier to civilian,” says Jackson, who suffers anxiety attacks in large crowds or when people get too close. “There’s no way to ‘unsee’ what you’ve seen, making returning home to civilian life a huge adjustment.” It was Garrett’s dad who suggested Garrett look in to a local organization called WNY Heroes. His friend, Chris Kreiger, started the 501c3 nonprofit organization

as a result of his own experiences during a decade of service in the U.S. military. The organization provides veterans, members of the armed services and the widows and children of deceased veterans with access to essential services, financial assistance and resources that support their lives and sustain their dignity. In 2014, WNY Heroes launched its Pawsitive for Heroes program, which pays for service dog training for veterans, thanks to donations from sponsors. The program has benefitted 32 veterans so far — each working with a particular service dog. There is no charge to participate but veterans are responsible for the proper care and feeding of the service dogs. Garrett had been given a chocolate Labrador retriever by a friend and, after hearing about the program, decided he and his now 2-year-old 85 pound dog would enroll. “The program has been a huge help to me,” says Garrett. “My dog now senses when I am anxious and will grab my attention by rubbing against me, pawing me or barking. It refocuses me immediately and calms me down. My dog grounds me — he’s been my savior, and his loyalty is unmatched.” “Service dogs are trained to sense the stress, anxiety and hypervigilance typical with PTSD and will distract their handler, forcing their attention to the dog, which immediately relaxes the vet, changes his focus and calms him down,” says Lynn Magistrale, program coordinator for WNY Heroes and an Iraq War veteran. Magistrale says a service dog differs from a therapy dog in that therapy dogs serve a wider audience — such as groups of seniors in nursing homes or children in hospitals — but a service dog is focused solely on his handler. And, in the case of WNY Heroes’ Pawsitive for Heroes program, the handlers are all veterans. “We use certified trainers for our program who share our beliefs and who are specifically trained for service dog training,” says Magistrale. WNY Heroes, which covers 15 counties throughout Western New York, works with reputable area rescue shelters to obtain dogs for the program. “The breed doesn’t matter as much as the characteristics of a

particular dog,” says Magistrale. “It must meet certain requirements. Pit bulls have been very successful in the program as they train well, serve well and are highly intelligent, so they catch on fast and are very obedient. “So our program not only helps veterans, but also provides good homes for shelter dogs,” she adds. Veterans who qualify can enter the program with their own dog, as Garrett did — assuming the dog adapts well to the program — or can be matched with a dog. Both dog and handler start with eight weeks of one- to two-hour weekly training sessions for the first level of training, advancing from there. Handlers and dogs then continuously take refresher training courses and attend special gatherings organized by WNY Heroes to help them both maneuver the day-to-day world. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), state and local governments, businesses and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facilities where the public is normally allowed to go. When someone enters a public place with a service dog, there are only two questions that can legally be asked: “Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?” and “What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?” Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, special ID card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task. “When you see a dog wearing a service dog vest, don’t ask to pet it, ask its name or try to engage the dog in any way,” advises Magistrale. “The dog is doing a job, performing a vital service for someone in need. Its focus needs to be solely on its handler, with no distractions.” “Pawsitive for Heroes offers a much better way of dealing with my PTSD than being on medication,” says Jackson. “I don’t know where I’d be if this program didn’t exist. My dog goes everywhere with me, and I’m much more comfortable in large groups and in day-to-day life now, thanks to him and WNY Heroes.” For more information on WNY Heroes or the Pawsitive for Heroes program, visit or call 716-630-5020.

Not All Fidos Are Friendly 800,000 Americans receive medical care for dog bites annually


ids love dogs — dressing them up, tugging on them, kissing them, and even riding them like a horse. But sometimes, things can end badly, a pediatricians’ group says. That’s probably why children account for more than half of the 800,000 Americans who receive medical care for dog bites annually. Children are much more likely than adults to suffer serious injuries when bitten by a dog, and children are most likely to suffer bites from familiar dogs, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The group offered the following Page 16

dog-bite prevention tips. • Never leave a small child and a dog alone together. And that advice holds true even if it’s the family dog, a dog that you know, or a dog that you have been assured is wellbehaved. Any dog can bite. • Don’t let your child play aggressive games with a dog, such as tug-of-war or wrestling. Teach children to ask a dog owner for permission before petting any dog. Let a dog sniff you or your child before petting, and stay away from the face or tail. • Pet the dog gently, and avoid eye contact, particularly at first.

• Instruct children to move calmly and slowly around dogs, and to never bother a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies. • Tell children that if a dog behaves in a threatening manner —such as growling and barking — to remain calm, avoid eye contact with the dog, and back away slowly until the dog loses interest and leaves. • Teach children that if they’re knocked over by a dog, they should curl up in a ball and protect their eyes and face with arms and fists. If your child is bitten by a dog, ask for proof of rabies vaccination from the owner, get the owner’s

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2017

name and contact information, and ask for the name and telephone number of a veterinarian who is familiar with the dog’s vaccination records and history. Immediately wash out the wound with soap and water. Call your pediatrician because the bite could require antibiotics, a tetanus shot and possibly rabies shots. The doctor can also help you report the incident to the police, the pediatricians said. If your child has severe injuries, call 911 or take the child to an emergency room.

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Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.savvysenior. org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.



Editor & Publisher: Wagner Dotto • Associate Editor: Lou Sorendo • Writers: Deborah J. Sergeant, Jim Miller, Gwenn Voelckers, Anne Palumbo, Chris Motola, George W. Chapman, Ernst Lamothe Jr., Daniel Meyer, Nancy Cardillo, Catherine Miller, Kyra Mancine Advertising: Anne Westcott (716-332-0640.) Tina LaMancusa (716-946-2970) Layout & Design: Dylon Clew-Thomas • Office Assistant: Kimberley Tyler No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher. The information in this publication is intended to complement—not to take the place of—the recommendations of your health provider. Consult your physician before making major changes in your lifestyle or health care regimen.

September 2017 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 17


I’m worried about my 72-year-old mother who has been taking the opioid medication Vicodin for her hip and back pain for more than a year. I fear she’s becoming addicted to the drug but I don’t know what to do.


Dear Savvy Senior,

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Eye Drops to Cure Cataracts?

The Social Ask Security Office

From the Social Security District Office

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Get to Know Your Social Security


ore than half of people will have cataracts by age 75, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Cataract surgery is a simple outpatient procedure and most insurers cover it. Scientists are working on drops that seem to dissolve cataracts in animal testing; however, human trials and subsequent FDA approval are needed before it’s available to treat patients. In the meantime, cataract advances in surgical technique and materials have helped improve patients’ vision. Kathleen Otto, marketing representative for Fichte Endl & Elmer Eyecare in Niagara Falls and Amherst, said that her office introduced laser cataract surgery to Western New York four years ago. She said the laser technique makes the treatment so precise “there’s very little room for error versus the surgeon’s hand.” She said that although surgeons are very skilled, they’re not as exact as the laser. “It gives us quicker recovery and usually better outcomes,” she said about laser treatments. A laser from the outside divides the cataract into very tiny pieces and makes the incision over the cornea. The newer lenses also help improve distance and near vision and astigmatism. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 23.9 percent of the American population age 40-plus — more than 34 million — are myopic (nearsighted). Almost 14.2 million of the same age group are hyperopia (farsighted). Nearly one in three Americans has astigmatism and 150 million wear corrective eyewear. Otto said that the newest lenses used in cataract surgery can improve vision and reduce dependency on glasses. “We have multi-focal lens lenses, which are for very active people who want to see near, distance and intermediate,” Otto said. “These lenses may reduce or even eliminate their need for glasses.” Her office can also offer astigmatism correction with relaxing incision, laser or with an astigmatic correcting lens implant.” The surgery is done in less than 15 minutes with only a medication to help patients relax. Patients experience no pain or discomfort

S during the procedure. Post-surgical eye drops are pretty easy for most patients to administer. Though patients may not lift heavy objects for a week after surgery, they can return to normal activity without restriction. “Drop-less” surgery offers patients surgery without adding drops at home. For patients who live alone or do not like eye drops, the option can make follow-up care easier. However, Daniel Cotter, ophthalmologist with Eye Care & Vision Associates in Buffalo, Orchard Park, Niagara Falls and Williamsville, said that administering the antibiotics and steroids during the procedure doesn’t give as lasting of an effect as the regimen of drops at home. “The drop-less method we reserve for the debilitated or sick or those incapable of putting in drops,” he said. “I think you get the optimal results with drops. If the medicine is absorbed too quickly, they may need to go on drops anyway.” Cotter said that many patients wonder if cataracts can grow back. While cells in the eye can cover the sack that holds the lens implant, they can easily be treated painlessly with the laser. “Generally speaking, it should be long-lasting,” Cotter said. “It’s hard to suggest it’s lifelong because stigmatic effects of the eye can change over a long period of time.” While insurance generally covers cataract surgery, custom lenses are out-ofpocket, about $2,500 to $3,000 per eye, he said.

Daniel Cotter Page 18

ocial Security touches the lives of nearly every American. We’ve been with you from day one, when your parents applied for your Social Security number, and we are with you from your first job through your retirement party and beyond. For more than 80 years, Social Security has stayed true to its mission of providing financial protection for the American people and has served as one of the most successful antipoverty programs in our nation’s history. We encourage everyone to take steps toward their financial security. Regardless of your age or place in life, now is the right time to start planning for a financially secure future for you and your family. Everyone can benefit from our first step: Get to know your Social Security. You can start your journey through all things Social Security by visiting and navigating through our menu. Along the way, you’ll see how your Social Security number opens many important doors throughout life, from making it easier to apply for student aid and open your first bank account to starting your first job and buying your first house. You’ll also discover how your contributions


Q: Can I get a new Social Security number if someone has stolen my identity? A: We do not routinely assign a new number to someone whose identity has been stolen. Only as a last resort should you consider requesting a new Social Security number. Changing your number may adversely affect your ability to interact with federal and state agencies, employers and others. This is because your financial, medical, employment and other records will be under your former Social Security number. We cannot guarantee that a new number will solve your problem. To learn more about your Social Security card and number, read our online publication on the subject at pubs/10002.html. Q: I’m trying to decide when to retire. Can Social Security help? A: Deciding when to retire is a personal choice, and you should consider a number of factors, but we can certainly help. First, take a few minutes and open a “my Social Security” account at www. With a “my Social Security” account,

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2017

to the Social Security system through FICA payroll taxes can make you eligible for important future benefits when you reach retirement age or if you become severely injured or ill. You’ll find how Social Security helps your family in the form of survivor benefits and how our Supplemental Security Income program assists disabled children and our most vulnerable adults. We also encourage you to visit our website and set up your own “my Social Security” account today so you can begin taking steps toward financial security. Through our website and your online account with us, you can: • Verify your lifetime earnings record to ensure you’re getting credit for all your contributions toward Social Security and Medicare; • Estimate future benefits for you and your family; • Manage your Social Security benefits and personal information; and • Learn more about how we’re securing your today and tomorrow. Now that you’ve started to get to know your Social Security, stay in touch by visiting our Social Security Matters blog at We encourage you to visit us at

you can access your Social Security statement and estimate your retirement benefits at age 62, your full retirement age, and age 70. Also, we have several online calculators that can help you decide when to retire. Our retirement estimator gives estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record. You can use the retirement estimator if: • You currently have enough Social Security credits to qualify for benefits; and • You are not: – Currently receiving monthly benefits on your own Social Security record; – Age 62 or older and receiving monthly benefits on another Social Security record; or – Eligible for a pension based on work not covered by Social Security. You can find our retirement estimator at www.socialsecurity. gov/estimator. Also available at benefitcalculators.htm are several other calculators that will show your retirement benefits as well as estimates of your disability and survivor benefit if you become disabled or die. You may want to read or listen to our publication, “When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits,” available at www.

H ealth News PAs at UBMD receive national recognition Two UBMD certified physician assistants, Samuel J. Ali and Mark Turoldo, have been nationally recognized for earning a specialty credential called a Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Both PAs were recognized for earning a CAQ in emergency medicine, a distinction earned by meeting licensure, experience and substantial medical education requirements and then passing a national exam in the specialty. Ali works in emergency medicine at Gates Vascular Institute. Turoldo works in emergency medicine at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Williamsville. “Certified PAs are prepared and proven providers who contribute real value to the healthcare of this nation,” says Dawn Morton-Rias, president and CEO of NCCPA. “They graduate from demanding masters-level programs, pass a rigorous certification exam and maintain certification at the highest level through continuing medical education programs and retesting throughout their careers. Certified PAs increase access to care for patients in every specialty and clinical setting, including those that are historically underserved.” CAQs are offered to certified PAs in seven specialties: cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, emergency medicine, hospital medicine, orthopedic surgery, nephrology, pediatrics and psychiatry.

Foundation awards $350,000 in mental health grants The Patrick P. Lee Foundation has recently offered grants totaling $350,000 to two organizations providing support to individuals with mental health challenges. In May, the foundation awarded $300,000 to the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition to launch its campaign, titled “Join the Conversation.” The campaign’s goal is to combat stigma by increasing awareness, understanding and acceptance of those living with mental health challenges. “Far too often, stigma prevents people from seeking the care they need,” said Jane Mogavero, executive director of the Lee Foundation. “It is critical that we change the dialogue surrounding mental illness. There is help available and people do not need to suffer in silence.” The foundation also awarded $50,000 to Compeer Buffalo to support the expansion of the organization’s mental health first

aid program, which is an eighthour course that educates people on how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training, which is evidence based, builds mental health literacy, helping people to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness. “These grants are very complementary and well aligned with the foundation’s goal to raise public awareness of mental illnesses,” Mogavero added. “Through education and targeted outreach, we can create a more supportive and inclusive environment for those living with mental health challenges.” The Patrick P. Lee Foundation was established in 2007 when Patrick P. Lee sold International Motion Control (IMC), one of the world’s premier manufacturers of shock absorption and vibration isolation products located in Buffalo. The Lee Foundation is a private family foundation dedicated to having immediate and measurable impact in two key investment areas — education and mental health.

Dentist Elizabeth B. Kapral

Grant to Help ECMC Dentistry Department to Treat Special Needs Patients ECMC Corporation recently announced receipt of a five-year $763,626 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to provide training for pre- and post-doctoral dental students to care for vulnerable populations specifically focused on dental care for individuals with special needs. “This important funding from HRSA will strengthen further ECMC’s department of dentistry, supporting critically needed doctoral student training that will benefit our community’s special needs population by providing enhanced dental care,” said ECMC

Practice now features non-surgical butt lift The Cosmetic Vein & Laser Center (CVLC), a regional dermatology practice specializing in safe, non-invasive cosmetic laser procedures and varicose vein treatments, has introduced the Sculptra butt lift procedure to its growing list of services. According to CVLC, the practice is the first in Western New York to use Sculptra filler for buttock augmentation. Sculptra aesthetic is an FDAcleared dermal injectable that helps stimulate collagen and fill out depleted tissue, according to a news release from CVLC. Made with polyL-lactic acid and originally designed to reduce the look of wrinkles in the face, Sculptra has been used extensively throughout the world since 1999. For buttock enhancement, non-surgical Sculptra adds volume and improves the appearance of dimpled skin from cellulite. “Several factors can affect body confidence associated with your backside, including age and lifestyle habits,” said Daniel Buscaglia, board certified dermatologist and vein specialist, medical director and president of CVLC. “Sculptra harmlessly reverses the gravity on your derriere and gives you your confidence back in a safe and lasting way.” The dermatologist added that the Sculptra butt lift is an alternative to invasive surgical procedures, where fat is removed from other areas of the body and reinserted into the buttocks. Each treatment takes about 30 minutes to complete and results

See us online

are achieved in as early as six weeks. Most patients require anywhere from two to four visits to restore the full, natural look of their curves. Results last up to two years.

Kaleida gets $17 million from NYS Kaleida Health has secured $17 million from New York state to help fund and facilitate its information technology and physical plant transformation in the Southern Tier. The announcement came last month when Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program funding, which is designed to “help ensure the financial sustainability of safety net healthcare providers.” The governor announced $44.6 million to support eight projects in Western New York. As part of the $491 million program, this funding will improve patient care through the development of high-quality medical facilities and programs serving the inpatient, primary care, mental health, substance use disorder and long-term care needs of communities throughout New York state. 


President and CEO Thomas J. Quatroche Jr. The objective of this project will include providing dentist Elizabeth B. Kapral of the department of dentistry with academic educational and leadership opportunities to ensure that she successfully trains pre-doctoral and post-doctoral dental students in the care of special needs patients. The resulting objective will be to eliminate oral health disparities among the medically underserved special needs population in Western New York. Kapral will enroll, test and obtain additional training in the care of the special needs patients over the next five years. She will be mentored by Maureen Sullivan, ECMC chief of department of dentistry, who has for over 20 years trained dental students and residents in the care of special needs populations, including cancer patients. Many of Sullivan’s trainees now practice and teach in academic settings caring for special needs populations. Using the resources available at the Erie County Medical Center and the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, Kapral will educate dental students, residents and dental assistants in the techniques necessary for improving the oral health care of the medically complex and special needs populations to expand their knowledge and comfort level in treating these patients.  “Now, more than ever, we need to protect health care in New York and ensure the system in place is meeting the needs of current and future generations of New Yorkers,” Gov. Cuomo said. “While others seek to decimate our hospitals and reduce access to quality healthcare, we are investing to help ensure a stronger, healthier New York for all.”  Kaleida Health has been working with five Southern Tier hospitals over the past year to implement their respective affiliation agreements. A new “twin tier” network is now forming to take advantage of the capabilities and market presence of Upper Allegheny Health System (Olean and Bradford, Pa), Brooks Memorial, TLC Health Network and Cuba Memorial Hospitals.  “We are thrilled that the state recognizes how important access to health care services is for Northern Chautauqua County residents,” said Chris Lanski, the president of the Brooks Hospital board of directors. “This grant award once again demonstrates the state’s commitment to the health and well-being of our community and solidifies the plan to provide high quality health care on a local level.”

September 2017 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 19


By acting today, we can heal tomorrow’s traumas. As Western New York’s only Level 1 Adult Trauma Center, one of just 34 trauma centers (out of 453) in the United States to earn an ‘A’ rating for patient safety, the future of healthcare at ECMC is clear. With a steady rise in patient volume, we know that more of our neighbors will depend on our lifesaving trauma and emergency care than ever before. And with your support, they’ll receive it in a new facility with state-of-the-art technology, more space and privacy, and designed for better experiences and outcomes for patients and their families.

To learn more on how you can give to save lives in the most critical situations,

The difference between healthcare and true care


Page 20 • IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo 1& WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2017 ECMC-RET-15172 In Good Health Ad_9.75x13.75_M2.indd

©2017 ECMC


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