in good 5,000+ SURGERIES
October 2017 • Issue 36
They are mostly women (66 percent) who are married and have a job. And they spend on average 20 hours a week providing care. Is there anyone caring for them?
Bicyclist Deaths Rise
Things You Should Know About The Flu
WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
Physician Joe Caruana started the bariatrics program at ECMC nearly 20 years ago and has done more than 5,000 surgeries. He discusses how the surgery has evolved and says excessive sugar intake is one the culprits for obesity crisis
Fatal crashes jumped 12 percent in 2015, report says; men — not kids — are commonly the victim
Moving Miracles Turns 30 One-of-a-kind dance studio for people with special needs celebrates milestone with several events. Story on page 13
We spoke with ECMC VIP Primary care director, physician Howard Sperry
BLACK Friday in September? Nope. It was the grand opening of Western New York’s first Whole Foods grocery store. See what our writer found out during the event
Turnips + Greens Some things are just better together: Batman and Robin, peanut butter and jelly, Simon and Garfunkel, wine and cheese. Another remarkable duo? Turnips and their nutritious greens. Find out why
How to Find a Better Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
America’s New Dads Are Older Than Ever Average age of new fathers has risen to 31, study finds
ew dads may sport a few more gray hairs than in years past, a U.S. study finds. The average age of new fathers has risen in recent decades, research shows, raising questions about the possible social and public health impact. The study, which analyzed federal birth records, found that fathers of newborns are now 3.5 years older, on average, than their counterparts in the early 1970s. And the percentage of births to fathers older than 40 has more than doubled — from about 4 percent in 1972, to 9 percent in 2015. The pattern is not surprising, since it parallels what’s been seen among U.S. women. But much less research has explored the changing demographics of American fathers, according to senior researcher, physician Michael Eisenberg. “I think it’s important for us to pay attention to these demographic shifts and what their implications could be for society,” said Eisenberg, an assistant professor of urology at Stanford University in California. On one hand, he said, older fathers are more likely to have kids affected by certain health conditions, such as autism and schizophrenia. Plus, couples who wait to start a family will likely have fewer kids, Eisenberg noted. And that could
mean a shrinking pool of working people supporting older, retired Americans. “I’m not trying to sound alarmist,” Eisenberg stressed. “But these are issues to think about.” The aging of U.S. parents also has potential benefits, though. Older dads, Eisenberg said, tend to have better jobs, more stability, and be more involved in their children’s lives. Does that mean the trend in fathers’ ages will translate into growing ranks of involved, caring dads? “That’s a hard question to answer,” said Richard Gallagher, an associate professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the NYU Langone Child Study Center, in New York City. It is true that men who are more-educated and in stable relationships tend to become fathers relatively later, said Gallagher, who was not involved in the study. “And from a psychological perspective,” he said, “older parents are likely to be more mature and less impulsive in their behavior.” But, Gallagher noted, age alone does not guarantee good parenting skills. “Older age does not mean everything will work out well,” he said. Surveys do show that “older” dads — those aged 35 to 44 — are more likely to be living with their
The average age of new fathers has risen in recent decades. In 1972, fathers of newborns were just over 27 years old, on average. By 2015, that average age stood at 31, according to a recent study. kids, and therefore more involved in raising them, according to Eisenberg’s team. And there’s evidence that kids benefit from fathers’ involvement, Gallagher said: On average, they tend to do better at school, and have more self-esteem and better emotional regulation. Having two involved parents “is like a double-dose of caring,” Gallagher said. The findings, published online Aug. 30 in the journal Human Reproduction, are based on records for nearly 169 million U.S. births over the past four decades. In 1972, fathers of newborns were just over 27 years old, on average. By 2015, that average age stood at 31, the researchers reported. The pattern was seen among fathers of all races and ethnicities,
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017
though the average age varied. By 2015, Asian men were the oldest (34 to 36 years), and black, Hispanic and Native American men were the youngest (29 to 30 years). Few men older than 50 are becoming new fathers; they account for 0.9 percent of all births, the study found. But that is up from 0.5 percent in the 1970s. Since men have a much longer reproductive life than women do, there is no clear definition of what an “older father” is, Eisenberg said. “The oldest father on record was 96 years old,” he noted, referring to a man in India who had children with a wife in her 50s. However, men do have their own biological clock of sorts. Their fertility declines with age, Eisenberg said, as does their sperm quality.
EAT WELL Eat Right Pack more nutrition into your day with a colorful main dish. Try to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables with every meal – the brighter the better. Consider flavor, texture and color. •
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Feel Better When you choose a variety of colorful fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean proteins you’ll feel vibrant and healthy, inside and out. It’s all connected – when your body feels good you... •
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IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
Oct. 6 & 7
Food and sustainable living at Daemen Daemen College will sponsor a two-day event titled “World On Your Plate 2017, 14th Food and Sustainable Living Conference,” which will explore many food-related issues from soil quality to the impact of food on our bodies as well as the entire earth. The event will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. Oct 6 and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 7 at the college’s Wick Campus Center 4380 Main St, Amherst. The Friday evening part of the event will feature the documentary “Cesar Chavez,” followed by Q&A with Arturo Rodriguez, current president of the Farm Workers Union and the son-in-law of Cesar Chavez. Saturday will feature two speakers: Arturo Rodriguez in the morning and Linda Black Elk, ethnobotanist and restoration ecologist, in the afternoon, as well as multiple workshops, vendors, informational tables and entertainment. Daemen’s Hallmark Executive Chef Robert Ruiz will prepare a locally grown, organic, vegetarian lunch. The event culminates with a celebration of music by Sol Y Sombra, cider and social activity. Ticket prices are $10 to $35 (students pre-registered with ID are free). Included are all meals. Financial assistance is available. For more information www. worldonyourplate.org or 716-7418815. Written correspondence and checks can be sent to WOYP, in care of Riverside-Salem UCC, PO Box 207, Grand Island, NY 14072.
‘Dining Out For Life’ to help fight against AIDS The theme for this year’s 15th annual Dining Out For Life event is “Chews To Help. Dine Out, Fight AIDS.” Western New Yorkers can help raise funds to assist individuals and families in the community who are affected by HIV by dining out for breakfast, lunch or dinner on Tuesday, Oct. 10, as part of this national fundraising event held annually in more than 60 participating cities. This year, 90 restaurants in Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties will donate 25 percent (or more) of their proceeds on Oct. 10 as part of
Western New York’s Dining Out For Life. All money raised remains in Western New York, supporting the HIV treatment and prevention services of Evergreen Health, a nonprofit organization providing HIV services since 1983. KeyBank is the event’s presenting sponsor for the second consecutive year and will match, dollar for dollar, money donated by diners the night of the event, up to $10,000. KeyBank will also provide a large contingent of employees who will volunteer at the event, greeting guests and encouraging contributions. New this year: Lyft is offering diners up to a 20 percent discount off rides ($10 per ride two rides per person maximum) that originate or end in the greater Buffalo area on Oct. 10 between 5 p.m. and midnight when they enter the DINEOUTWNY code in the Lyft app. Additional information about the event, as well as a full list of participating restaurants, is available online at www.DiningOutForLife. com/WNY. To learn more about Evergreen Health, watch the video at www.youtube.com/ watch?v=PuYvAAonoOg
Sisters Hospital to host open house Sisters of Charity Hospital will host “Great Expectations — Labor & Delivery Open House” from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10, at its Main Street campus, located at 2157 Main St., Buffalo. Come take a tour of the hospital’s women’s health facilities and meet specialists in newborn, maternity and women’s health care. The tour includes a visit to the M. Steven Piver M.D. Center for Women’s Health and Wellness at Sisters Hospital, and stops at the labor and delivery unit, neonatal intensive care unit, and family health center. Attendees will also visit Sisters’ Baby Café, a unique space where moms can get advice on breastfeeding from trained lactation consultants, along with peer support from other breastfeeding moms. After the tour, hospital personnel will present informational displays on infant/child CPR, sleep safety, car seat safety, childbirth classes and more! There will also be giveaways and an opportunity to win a new car seat or stroller.
The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served and free parking is available. For more information or to schedule a tour, call Catholic Health’s Health Connection at 716-923-9790.
Kidney Foundation to hold awards dinner The Kidney Foundation of Western New York will hold the 2017 MVP Awards Dinner from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, at The Protocol restaurant, 6766 Transit Road in Williamsville. The awards will honor a number of people for their outstanding contributions to reducing the burden of kidney disease in Western New York. Honorees include: • The Barbara Breckenridge Award for Community Service. Recipient: Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) • The Dr. Joseph R. Gerbasi Award for Clinical Excellence. Recipient: physician Liise Kayler, professor of clinical surgery at UB and program and surgical director, ECMCC transplant program. • The Jeff Stolzenburg Legacy Award. Recipient: Eastman Machine Company. • Volunteer Recognition Award: Recipient: Jacquelynn Skinner (posthumously). Keynote speaker will be Donald Jones, a former Buffalo Bill player who is currently a radio broadcaster on WGR’s 550 Sports Radio’s The John Murphy Show with Donald Jones. Tables of 10 are $1,500. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.kfwny.org/MVPDinner or call John Alduino at 716-566-3953. All monies raised will stay local to fund initiative lead by the Kidney Foundation of Western New York.
P2 Collaborative holds SOPHI awards, expo The P² Collaborative of Western New York, a regional health collaborative that serves the eightcounty area of Western New York, will hold its third annual “Spotlight on Population Health” (SOPHi) awards and expo Friday, Oct. 13, at Buffalo RiverWorks. According to the organization, SOPHi is a celebration of organizations across the eight counties of Western New York that focuses on population health. Through this award ceremony, the group hopes to educate the WNY community on all the great work being done around the region. Nominations were made by community members, with
nearly 50 nominations this year. Winners for the SOPHI’s will be announced live with the winners selected by the Population Health Improvement Program steering team. These organizations are those who best exemplify the population health values of being: data-driven, inclusive, collaborative, having community impact, and transparent. The expo will consist of a variety of local vendors and exhibitors that educate on all aspects of health, wellness, fitness, and lifestyle improvements. Interactive demonstrations and health screenings will be available. For registration and other information, contact Tara Maving firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kidney Foundation holds monthly support meeting The Kidney Foundation of Western New York will hold a monthly support group meeting at 6 p.m., Oct. 19 at 3rd Floor Conference Room C, Erie County Medical Center, 462 Grider St., Buffalo. All kidney dialysis patients, all types of organ transplant recipients, living donors, donor families, family members, and supporters are welcome. For more information, contact Dan Tomczak as 716-553-6055 or email@example.com, or Barbara Breckenridge at 716-510-6702 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The mission of the Kidney Foundation of Western New York is to increase community awareness of kidney disease and other related diseases while educating, supporting and advocating for those we serve.
Youth mental health first aid training offered The Mental Health Association of Erie County and Compeer Buffalo, in collaboration with Jewish Family Service, are offering free youth mental health first aid training from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 1, at the United Way. This is free training sponsored by the Children’s Foundation of Erie County. Youth Mental Health First Aid USA is an eight-hour public education program which introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds an understanding of the importance of early intervention, and teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge. To register or for more information, call The Mental Health Association of Erie at 716-886-1242.
Events to Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month The Breast Cancer Network of WNY (BCN) announces a series of events that are open to the public and running throughout the month of October to commemorate breast cancer awareness month. They are: • Oct. 3, 17, 26 — “Healthy Cooking Classes for Breast Cancer Page 4
Survivors.” Location: Breast Cancer Network, 3297 Walden Ave, Depew. • Oct. 5 — “Genetic Testing and Counseling Seminar” with Laura Fisher of Windsong Radiology. Location: Windsong Radiology, 55 Spindrift Drive, Williamsville. • Oct. 10 — “Nutrition & Breast Cancer Education Program”
with Carol DeNysschen. Location: Breast Cancer Network • Oct. 21— “24th Annual Breast Cancer Survivors Education Day Symposium.” This is a half day event that includes some of the most prestigious speakers from the cancer care community. This year the focus of the speakers will be “A
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017
Breast Cancer Survivor’s Guide to Wellness.” Attendees will learn about topics such as nutrition, modifying behavior habits, the benefits of tai chi and exercise, and new developments in breast cancer research. To learn more about BCN’s programming or to register for these or other events, go to bcnwny.org or call 716-706-0060.
U.S. Cancer Death Rate Continues to Fall But more cases are expected as baby boomers age, report says
ore Americans are surviving cancer than ever before, but as the population ages, even more will develop the disease. That’s the good and bad news from the 2017 Cancer Progress Report from the American Association for Cancer Research, released in September. According to the report, the cancer death rate dropped 35 percent among children and 25 percent among adults from 1991 to 2014. That translates to slightly more than 2 million fewer cancer deaths. On the flip side, new cancer diagnoses are predicted to rise from nearly 1.7 million this year to 2.3 million in 2030, said the association’s president, physician Michael Caligiuri. And this year alone, more than 600,000 Americans are predicted to die from cancer, according to the report. Caligiuri said the increase in cancer cases is simply a consequence of more people living longer. As the report noted, 53 percent of U.S. cancer diagnoses occur among those aged 65 and older, and that
population segment is expected to grow from about 49 million in 2016 to just over 74 million in 2030. “The longer people live, the higher the incidences of cancer are going to be,” Caligiuri said. “The longer you live, the more likely are the chances for serious genetic mutations that cause cancer, and the weaker your system is in repairing your DNA when you do have those genetic changes,” he explained. Dr. Anthony D’Amico is a professor of radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School in Boston. He said, “The most likely explanation for the progress in cancer survival is a combination of advances in cancer treatment coupled with early detection through screening.” The AACR report noted that death rates for many of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States — including breast, colorectal, lung and prostate cancer — have been declining for more than a decade. But deaths from other forms of cancer — brain, liver and uterine cancer — have been increasing.
Bicyclist Deaths Rise in U.S., Men Are Often Victims Fatal crashes jumped 12 percent in 2015, report says
icyclist deaths on U.S. roadways are up significantly, and men — not kids — are commonly the victims, a new report finds. Biking deaths rose 12 percent in 2015, the latest year for which figures are available, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. This jump was the largest among any group that uses roadways. Historically, most fatal bicycle crashes involved children and teens. Now, 85 percent of bicyclists killed on the road are men, the report said. And of the 818 bicyclists killed in 2015, the average age was 45. “We need to ensure that bicyclists and motorists can share roads safely,” said Chris Mullen, director of technology research at State Farm, which funded the report. “Unfortunately, bicyclists are vulnerable and much more susceptible to serious injury or death
when on the roads with vehicles,” Mullen said in an association news release. Mullen said it’s “critical that we examine the factors surrounding these crashes and leverage a variety of proven tools to improve bicyclist safety nationwide.” The report shed light on where and why fatal crashes between bicyclists and cars occur. Often, drivers don’t see bikers who expect to have the right of way and can’t stop in time to avoid a collision, the report said. Also, intersections aren’t the usual problem. Most bike-car fatalities (72 percent) occur at noncrossroad locations. And more than half take place between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., the researchers found. Alcohol — consumed by either the bicyclist or driver — was a factor in 37 percent of the fatalities, the report found.
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IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
By Chris Motola
Joseph A. Caruana, M.D. New Cholesterol Drugs Vastly Overpriced, Study Contends
re new medicines for people with out-ofcontrol cholesterol wildly overpriced? It’s a question that’s sparking debate among consumers and providers of care. Now, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) report that the price of these drugs — called PCSK9 inhibitors — would have to be slashed by a whopping 71 percent to be deemed cost-effective. PCSK9 inhibitors are a relatively new class of medicines for treating patients whose LDL (bad) cholesterol isn’t wellcontrolled on statins or who cannot tolerate statins. Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Crestor (rosuvastatin) are examples of first-line statins doctors typically prescribe to patients with high cholesterol. The UCSF team didn’t question whether these new medicines are effective in reducing heart attacks and strokes. “These are super awesome drugs, they really work,” said study co-author, physician Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo. But the price is “far in excess” of what would be considered a reasonable cost for the clinical benefit they provide, added Bibbins-Domingo, a UCSF professor of medicine, epidemiology and biostatistics. The list price of these newer PCSK9 drugs is upwards of $14,000 a year per patient. Physician Kim Allan Williams, who was not involved in the study, is past president of the American College of Cardiology. He said some doctors have a difficult time with such studies because they compare patients’ lives and “events” — such as heart attack and stroke — versus dollars spent on these medicines. The new study doesn’t change his view of the value of the PCSK9 inhibitor class. “No one’s giving those drugs unless the patient is incapable of getting to the target [level of LDL cholesterol],” said Williams, who is chief of cardiology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “You’re only going to use it for a situation where you have no choice.” He said he’s had patients with copays of $380 a month and others who had zero copays because the cost was completely covered by insurance. He worries, though, that poor patients may not be offered the same access to these medicines.
Physician started bariatrics program at ECMC nearly 20 years ago and has done more than 5,000 surgeries. He talks about how the surgery has evolved and says excessive sugar intake is one the culprits for obesity crisis Q: Tell us about the bariatrics department you oversee at Erie County Medical Center. A: We are three surgeons and three physician assistants, a clinical pharmacist, a behavior specialist and a dietitian. We’ve been working with ECMC since 2014 in a bariatric surgery practice. It’s a practice I started back in the 2000’s. Those folks came with me or joined later, but I’m the medical director of that group. We call ourselves Synergy Bariatrics at ECMC. Q: At this point, bariatric surgery has been around for quite some time. How do patients look 10, 15, 20 years later. Does the weight stay off? Are they healthy? A: When I got started back in 2000, we already had a pretty good track record of bariatric surgery in terms of safety and efficacy. We do make patients aware of the risks, and we don’t do it for cosmetic reasons, but over the years it’s been a pretty durable option. It’s done for health issues and co-morbid conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. So patients do well with weight loss and resolution of a lot of those issues, which is why the operation remains popular. They’ve gone through some evolution. The most common operation now is called the sleeve gastroectomy, in which a large portion of the stomach is actually removed. It sounds like what we’re doing is reducing the amount that people can physically eat, but we’ve found there are profound effects on people’s metabolism that favor resolution of obesity and diabetes. Q: So it’s a physical alteration with hormonal and metabolic results? How does that work? A: So the typical patient is actually someone who has, in the past, been able to successfully lose weight on one or more occasion. So they have willpower, but their body just fights them and the weight returns. There are
hormones that we’ve been learning about that come from the stomach and small intestines that are the drivers for this. The surgery gets rid of some of the ones that are coming from the stomach. There’s one called ghrelin, which is suppressed after surgery. That’s a major driver that brings back calories that people are trying to restrict. But also, because food doesn’t hang out in the stomach as long, there are hormones in the small intestines that not only help satisfy cravings, but also burn calories. We’ve learned about the hormonal effects of surgery and why obesity occurs in the first place. Q: And the hormones respond to the reduction of the stomach? A: Exactly. The physical change causes those favorable hormonal changes. Q: Can those hormones be affected less invasively? A: I think ever since these hormones were identified, we’ve been looking for ways to reproduce or mimic them. There are some drugs that are similar that can help stimulate the pancreas and even help with weight loss, but those are only indicated with patients with diabetes. But you can imagine the market for a drug that mimics the surgery, and it may well happen, but we’re not there yet. Q: Are these hormones a problem for everyone? A: Like most things in your body, they serve a purpose, but in the case of obesity, they’ve gone awry. The purpose of ghrelin is to keep your blood sugar high enough to keep your brain operating. It’s released, you’ll feel hungry, and want to eat. What we see in someone who is obese — and it’s hard to know what started the obesity — those levels rise when the body senses calorie deprivation. We only do the surgery on people who are at
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017
least 100 pounds over ideal body weight and often have those comorbidities. Q: You touched on how the surgery has evolved over time. Nowadays, what are we looking at in terms of operation time, recovery times? A: Probably the biggest change is the shift to doing the surgery laparoscopically, which means through several small incisions and using a camera and video equipment to see inside, rather than a large incision to allow the surgeon’s hand inside. The sleeve gastroectomy is done laparoscopically and usually takes under an hour. A gastric bypass, which is more involved and was, up until a few years ago, the gold standard, can take up to two hours. More extensive surgery will take longer. The sleeve gastroectomy is probably the best place to start in my opinion given its safety and simplicity. Q: You mentioned that the preference is to operate on patients who have demonstrated a certain amount of ability to lose weight. What does that look like? A: The National Institute of Health established guidelines for bariatric surgery around the time it began to be offered. The hallmarks are primarily that patients, in my mind, demonstrate an effort to lose the weight non-surgically. The surgery is not an easy way out. It’s more effective than diet or exercise for patients who need to lose 100 pounds, but it’s a tool to be implemented into a daily lifestyle. We make sure to educate them. We actually have a test before they even become a patient. Then we need to get approval from insurance providers. We try to get the best outcome for these folks that we can. Q: Weight loss is a bit of a national obsession, with a new diet fad or exercise regime coming along every few months. What do you think we get wrong about the weight loss process? A: One the one hand, there’s a huge societal push against obesity, but at the same time there are institutional factors promoting it. I don’t want to say “fast foods,” because you can get healthy fast foods. The biggest culprit in my mind is added sugar that is in almost everything that is processed. It’s addictive. You end up craving it. When you limit sugar long enough, which we try to do with our patients, and then you offer them a sugary donut, they’ll actually find it sickeningly sweet. I think people who are obese build up a tolerance to these foods. We’re not going to be able to operate on everyone who could benefit from the surgery, so it’s a question of whether we have the will to address these issues. I’m not sure that we do.
Name: Joseph A. Caruana, M.D. Position: Director of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at Erie County Medical Center Hometown: Buffalo Affiliations: Erie County Medical Center Persona: Married, six grandchildren Hobbies: Golf, time with grandkids, outdoor activities, healthcare ethics
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Things Parents Should Know About The Flu
By Ernst Lamothe Jr.
t’s that time again. Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits and missed work and school, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications. Physician Howard Sperry, director at Erie County Medical Center VIP Primary Care, gives six answers to frequently asked questions about flu and vaccine season.
Can I get the flu from the flu vaccine? It is a common myth that you get flu-like symptoms immediately after you get the flu shot. However, the direct answer is no. You can’t get the flu from the shot. “The reason is because the virus is inactivated when it gets into your system and it is not infectious,” said Sperry, who is also a clinical associate professor of medicine at the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “You might get a sore arm, tenderness or a low-grade fever from the shot as a side effect but it is not the flu.”
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Who should receive the flu vaccinations? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everybody over six months of age get vaccinated. It’s especially
important for people 65 and older, anyone who has a chronic condition such as lung or heart disease, diabetes, cancer or HIV infection, pregnant women, people on immunosuppressive drugs and healthcare workers. “We do recommend people who are 60 years old that they receive the Fluzone high dose. That one contains four times more antigen, which is intended to create a stronger immune response. Seniors tend to have a lower immune system.”
Is now too early to get the flu vaccine? Absolutely no. It is recommended to get vaccinated as soon as vaccine becomes available. The virus tends to spread from October to May, with most cases occurring in January or February. However, vaccinations can be given at any time during the flu season — even getting a vaccination later in the season December through March can still help protect you from influenza. “The flu vaccine we have focuses on people in our hemisphere and it takes up to two weeks for the vaccine to be effective and your body to build up the antibody. That means if you have contact with someone who has the flu before you got vaccinated or within the two weeks you did get vaccinated then you have the chance of catching it,” said Sperry. “It is not too early to get it now.” Sperry added that the shot is effective for six months, which gives you protection through the entire flu season.
Should I get the flu shot if I’m pregnant? Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are encouraged
to be vaccinated. Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in healthy women who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women, and women who have given birth during the past two weeks, more prone to severe illness from flu, including illness resulting in hospitalization. That is one of the many reasons why pregnant women should get the flu shot. In addition, studies have shown that vaccinating a pregnant woman also can protect a baby after birth from flu. In this way, mom passes antibodies on to her developing baby that will protect against flu for the first several months after birth, added Sperry. “We have heard so often that people are afraid to get vaccinated when they are pregnant, but it actually does help you and your baby get protected,” he said.
Can I get the flu shot if I have an egg allergy? The short answer is yes you can. CDC and its advisory committee on immunization practices have updated their guidelines on egg allergy and receipt of flu vaccines. Based on the new recommendations, people with egg allergies no longer need to be observed for an allergic reaction for 30 minutes after receiving a flu vaccine. “With rare exceptions, you can have the flu vaccine even if you have an egg allergy,” said Sperry. “There are a couple of flu vaccines There are two flu vaccines that don’t contain egg proteins, approved for use in adults age 18 and older.”
October 2017 •
Physician Howard Sperry, director at Erie County Medical Center VIP Primary Care
How serious is influenza? About 20,000 children under age 5 are hospitalized due to flu each year. On average, nearly 100 children die in the U.S. from flu and its complications each year. “A lot of people don’t necessarily take flu season serious especially if you have gone one or two years without the flu,” said Sperry. “But getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent the spread of infection. The flu can spread very quickly through a workplace, school, and home if you ignore the idea of getting vaccinated. Don’t put it off.”
New Flu Vaccine
For 2017-2018 flu season, three-component vaccines are recommended to contain: • an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus • an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
Extra, Extra: Whole Foods Market Opens in Buffalo
Local shoppers ecstatic with the opening of first Whole Foods in Western New York. “It’s like Christmas for me today,” says a shopper By Julie Halm
f one were to pull up to Whole Foods Market at 3097 Sheridan Drive around 9 a.m. on Friday morning, they could only assume that on its opening day, the store was giving away food — good food. The parking lot had a Black Friday feel to it. The long-quiet neighboring Northtown Plaza in Amherst, mostly void of business, was brimming with the countless dozens of overflow vehicles belonging to enthusiastic shoppers. Heather Danat found a spot at the back of the lot and over her car’s speaker phone, a friend could be heard exclaiming, “Have fun!” So what was all the hype about? For Danat, the store offered options for her child who has restrictions barring dietary dyes, preservatives and artificial flavors. She has visited a Whole Foods in Arizona where some family lives and really liked what she saw. “I spent $80 to ship food home from there,” she says. Upon entering the store, shoppers find themselves in the produce section and a world of fresh colors. Signs on the walls proclaim the store’s values: commitment to local sources, healthy options and looking after the environment, among other tenets. There’s variety, too. Everything from standard bananas hanging up high to jackfruit the size of many of the children who parents have in tow. And people are buying what they’re selling. “We’re out of carts, but I have this basket,” an associate says to one customer. Further in, a customer could be overheard telling an associate, “It’s like Christmas for me today! I usually go to the Whole Foods in Columbus. I took the day off of work to be here.” Lisa and Joe Breton came with their three children. As a vegan
family, they were excited about the opening of the store. “And we’re able to walk down the aisles without being bombarded by cartoon characters,” adds Joe. He’s right. Many brands will be new to the average shopper and most sport labels proclaiming, “Non-GMO” or “Gluten Free” or other health-conscious traits. Even products aimed at children are more likely to have pictures of real animals than brightly-colored illustrations. A giant neon sign on the wall reads simply, “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store.” Beyond all of this, there is an interesting variety of options when it comes to departments in the store. A shopper can grab a hot breakfast, fresh sushi, peruse the raw, fresh pasta for sale or fill a growler with Kombucha in a variety of flavors. There is, of course, a deli, a bakery,
Sept. 15’s opening day at Whole Foods had a feel of a Black Friday. a coffee shop, a salad bar and even a kebab station all churning out fresh food. Perhaps the youngest shopper who is a little too sleepy to take in all of this belonged to Susie Burns. How old? “Two weeks…tomorrow,” she says. Burns, her mother, and her
older son have come out to see what all the fuss is about. Grandma Debbie Hugar stands watch over the children so her daughter can have a look around. “Mom wanted to check it all out and she’s clearly liking what she’s seeing,” laughs Hugar. And clearly, she’s not the only one.
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IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017
Take a Stand Against Sitting Too Much Couch potatoes might help cut their risk of early death by getting up every 30 minutes, study finds
ays spent sitting for hours may increase your risk for an early death no matter how much you exercise, researchers say. In a new study, people who sat the most had twice the risk of dying over a four-year period as people who sat the least. But taking a break every 30 minutes to get up and walk around might help decrease the risk, the study authors said. “What’s most troubling is it’s like I exercise in the morning and I think I’m good, but in addition to exercise I should also be mindful of not being sedentary for long periods throughout the day,” said lead researcher Keith Diaz. He is an associate research scientist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. It’s more than exercise, Diaz said.
“You have to do more. You have to move, you have to get up often and break up your sedentary habits if you want to have the lowest risk of death,” he explained. Many people sit for up to 10 hours a day, he noted. Earlier studies that have reported a link between sitting and an early death have relied on people telling researchers how long they sat in a day. This new study, however, actually measured sitting time using a hipmounted accelerometer that tracked movement, and correlated it with the risk of dying during the study period. Diaz cautioned, however, that this study only shows an association between sitting and an increased risk of early death. It can’t prove that sitting causes the risk, due to the
study design. Exactly how prolonged sitting might be related to an increased risk of early death isn’t known, he added. “There is evidence that suggests, but does not prove, that it could be about how our body handles blood sugar,” Diaz said. “We think it’s through a kind of diabetic pathway. When our muscles are inactive, they are not using blood sugar, and we know that blood sugar can wreak terrible consequences on
our body. Poor blood sugar control is thought to be one of the ways sitting increases one’s risk for heart disease or death,” he said. Standing up from your desk and walking around for a few minutes every half hour could be an important behavioral change that might reduce the risk of premature death, Diaz suggested. The report was published online Sept. 11 in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
Healthcare in a Minute By George W. Chapman
Hospitals Fail to Meet Expectations
A report published by Kaufman, Hall and Associates revealed only 8 percent of 125 healthcare organizations surveyed met consumer expectations. The report found that while almost all organizations say improving the patient experience is a high priority, just 30 percent have the capability to do so. Only 15 percent are making a concerted effort to improve patient access with diverse locations and digital connectivity and less than 10 percent see price transparency as a high priority. The managing director of Kaufman concluded that in the age of Netflix and Amazon, consumers expect a lot more from their providers and “consumerism” should be a core capability as it will be a key to long term sustainability. (In fairness to healthcare organizations, they are highly regulated and have nowhere near the access to capital that Amazon and Netflix have.)
After several years of rapid increases, national obesity levels have leveled off in 2015 and 2016. Industry observers worry that the relatively “good” news may cause policy makers to become complacent and ease up on the accelerator. Colorado had the lowest obesity rate at 22 percent while West Virginia had the highest rate at 38 percent. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. BMI of 30 is about 30 pounds overweight. The highest concentration of obesity is in southeastern states.
Most payers and regulators have historically placed a lot of blame for our high cost of care on
unnecessary or avoidable emergency room visits. A recent study published in the International Journal for Quality in Healthcare has debunked the myth that too many people use emergency rooms needlessly. Researchers studied 115,000 records representing 424 million visits over a five-year period and concluded just 3 percent of the total ER visits were “avoidable.” A number of these visits were for things most ERs are not equipped to deal with like dental or mental health problems. About 7 percent of the avoidable visits were for alcohol or mood-related disorders and about 4 percent of the avoidable visits were for dental issues. The researchers defined an avoidable visit as one that did not require diagnostic tests, screening procedures or medications. Researchers concluded that the vast majority of us do not use ERs for primary or routine care and that we need to focus on access to dental and mental conditions after normal business hours.
Physicians Treat All the Same
Historically, government plans like Medicaid and Medicare have not paid physicians as well as most private payers. (Although in recent years private payers have tended to drop their rates closer to Medicare rates.) It would seem that people with poorer paying plans might receive less or worse care than people with better paying plans. While “you get what you pay for” is true in most industries, it is not in healthcare. The vast majority of physicians treat the patient, not their insurance plan. While your plan may not pay for a certain test or procedure, it is of no concern to the physician who is going to do what is best for you in his/her clinical judgment. A recent study proves this, even if in a roundabout way. The study was published in the Journal of the AMA Internal Medicine. It
found no difference in the rates that low-value services were provided to Medicaid-covered patients versus commercial/private-covered patients. Physicians tend to order the same low-value (almost useless) tests and services indiscriminately. Also, it does not appear that Medicaid patients are forced to see “lower quality” providers. While the bad news is providers are still ordering “low-value” tests and services, the good news is that none of us are being discriminated against because of our health plan. Just about all providers make it clear up front what insurances they accept, so once you’re in the exam room your insurance is moot.
CVS and Walgreens Sued
Consumers are claiming the two large pharmacy chains failed to inform them that it would be cheaper, less out pf pocket, to simply pay cash for certain medicines vs. going through their insurance. Insurance copayment amounts often exceeded the actual cost of the drug. This fraud is called a “clawback.” For example, the consumer has a $50 copay on prescriptions, but the drug only costs $30. According to the lawsuit, the pharmacy chains are in cahoots with the pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts.
Aetna and Apple
The health insurance and consumer technology giants are considering making the Apple watch available to Aetna’s 23 million members. Aetna already subsidizes the cost of an Apple watch for its 50,000 employees. This may be just a marketing ploy by Aetna to attract younger tech savvy members since most studies of wearable fitness devices are inconclusive when it comes to showing any improvement in the health of the device wearer.
October 2017 •
Proponents feel that anything that makes people more health conscious is a good thing while critics are concerned about the invasion of privacy and the potential nefarious use of data derived by the insurer.
The state of Washington leads the country when it comes to helping its seniors “age in place,” according to a study by AARP and The Commonwealth Fund. Everyone prefers to live at home for as long as possible and to avoid a nursing home for as long as possible. The average cost of home care is $128 a day nationwide. The average cost of a nursing home is $230 a day nationwide. Washington state has made support for home-and community-based care a priority. It provides adult day care, assisted living and even foster care as options for the infirmed elderly. This is far preferable to family caregivers as well. Washington also empowers home health aides to provide more care. Through its “No Wrong Door Program,” highly trained staff either answer your questions or direct you to the right place. Washington provides more housing alternatives to nursing homes than most states. Nationwide, about 52 of 1,000 people over 75 reside in an assisted living facility. In Washington, it’s double that. 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
Live Alone & Thrive
By Gwenn Voelckers
Practical tips, advice and hope for those who live alone
Making New Friends: It’s Never Too Late
uestion: I’ve been divorced for about a year now, and struggle with loneliness. I miss the friends we shared as a couple, but I’m just not comfortable socializing with these couples anymore. I’m 57, and it feels awkward to try to make friends at my age. Any advice for me? Answer: It’s unfortunate, but what you are experiencing often happens in the aftermath of a separation or divorce, especially if it was acrimonious. Friends’ loyalties can be split and, just as you feel uncomfortable relating to your former “couple” friends, some couples may feel uncomfortable relating to a nowsingle friend. So how do you meet new people and cultivate friendships as an adult? Here are a few tips: First, be your own best friend. Taking care of yourself matters. Loving yourself shows. The better you feel about yourself, the better friends you’ll meet. Positive people appreciate and gravitate to other healthy, positive people.
Do what you like doing. You won’t make friends sitting alone at home. Get out of the house and do those things you enjoy, whether it’s going to the gym, walking your dog, learning to dance, joining a book club or any number of activities that are fun and active. You’ll meet people who share your interests and love of life. Friendships will likely follow. Consider a support group. It’s not uncommon for new friendships to be borne out of compassion and empathy. A divorce or grief support group will put you in touch with others facing similar challenges. A friend of mine met her second husband in a divorce support group. She shared, “We got to know each other as friends first, and have remained ‘best friends’ throughout our marriage. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.” Say “yes” to invitations and opportunities to be with people. Circulating at parties, neighborhood meetings, work events, etc., is one of the easiest ways to make new friends. You’ll be out and about with people
s d i K Corner
Back-to-School Worries for Parents?
with whom you share something in common. Show up and don’t be shy about extending or accepting an invitation to get together. It could be a cup of coffee, drinks after work or a walk in the park or along the canal. Don’t overlook your family. My sister is my best friend, and she helped me re-establish a network of friends after my divorce. I had gone into the proverbial “cave” and lost contact with practically everyone. Her friends became my friends, and now, years later, I enjoy the company of her friends, as well as my own. Rekindle relationships with old friends. Sometimes old friends drift apart when you get married. That’s not unusual. New priorities take over and establishing a new married life together requires time and focus. But now, when you’re looking to find new friendships, consider reconnecting with old friends. They were an important part of your life at one point, and may still have lots to offer. Pick up the phone. Give a “singles” event a try. Many divorced or widowed women and men find fun and friendship in community activities organized just for singles. It could be a hike, bike ride, dinner club or dance. These opportunities are often included in community calendars online or in your local newspaper. Volunteer or join a cause. Supporting an organization or cause you believe in will put you in contact with people working toward a common goal. Community gardens, serious conditions despite the small risk for them.” As more children have access to the internet and social media, many parents also expressed concerns about their children’s safety online. Experts have raised concerns about how cyberbullying may impact children’s mental health, with anxiety, depression and even suicide being linked to this type of harassment. Vulnerability to online predators is also a risk. “Parents should regularly discuss internet safety with their children and teens and ways to prevent
National sample shows 1 in 3 parents are very concerned with bullying, cyberbullying
ullying and cyberbullying top parents’ list of worries when it comes to their children’s health, according to a new report from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan. Close behind are internet safety and stress, motor vehicle accidents and school violence. But worries differed among racial groups, with African-American parents saying they were most concerned about racial inequities and school violence affecting their children. The report is based on responses from 2,051 adults — including 1,505 parents of children age 0-18 — from a nationally representative household survey. “Adults across the country Page 10
recognized bullying, including cyberbullying, as the leading health problem for U.S. children,” says physician Gary Freed, a Mott professor of pediatrics and the poll’s co-director. This is the 11th year the Mott Poll has surveyed a national sample of adults on the top 10 health concerns rated as a “big problem” for children and teens. For the first time, this year parents were also asked to rate health concerns for their own children. “When it came to their own kids, parents’ biggest child health concerns depended on their children’s ages,” Freed says. “For example, for parents of children ages 0-5, cancer was rated as a top health concern even though pediatric cancer is quite rare. Parents may have concerns about very
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017
political parties, hospitals, museums, animal shelters and many other organizations often need volunteers. Strong connections can be made when you work alongside others who want to make the world a better place. Join an online community of people who share your interests. Social networking sites can be a safe and satisfying way to meet people. One popular site is www.meetup.com, which facilitates group meetings in cities and towns locally and around the world. Meetup allows members to find and join groups unified by a common interest, such as nature, music, hiking, books, movies, health, pets, careers and hobbies. Good friendships make life better. The company of someone who makes you laugh, who provides a shoulder to lean on when you need one, and who is just plain fun to hang out with is vitally important to health and happiness, whether you live alone or not. So, if you feel your social network is too small, remember you can always meet new people, make new friends and nurture existing ones. It’s never too late. 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. rr.com. problems,” Freed says. “Simple effective strategies may include not providing personal identifying information on social media, chat platforms, or in shared gaming environments.” Motor vehicle accidents — which are the leading cause of death for children aged 2-14 — were also of great concern to all groups of parents. In 2015, more than 650 children died and more than 120,000 were injured in crashes. See the full report may be viewed at http://mottnpch.org/reports-surveys
Mental Health: Many Don’t Seek Help By Sander Koyfman, M.D.
id you know that one in every 25 adults in America lives with a serious mental illness and half of those begin experiencing symptoms by age 14? Mental illness cuts across all ages, races and socioeconomic groups but many who experience symptoms or signs do not get the help they need. We frequently think of mental health and substance use issues affecting some but sparing others. Reality is often simpler and more complicated. Though access to care, diagnosis and exposure to trauma may differ across socioeconomic layers — resulting problems impact all of us in essentially same ways. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 60 percent of those with mental illness received no treatment in the previous year, and only 4.1 million of people dealing with substance use problems receive treatment every year. The statistics are startling and point to the fact that there is a real need to improve treatment rates for all Americans. It is not uncommon to experience feelings of depression, anxiety, fear or exhaustion — especially when taking care of others or dealing with immediate stress. Impact of trauma and sleep problems on our daily resilience cannot be understated. When these problems become
overwhelming — affecting your daily routine, making it impossible to function, rest and recover — talk to your loved ones and your doctor. Your physician is your partner in health. Don’t hesitate to let them know what you are dealing with. Remember, you are not alone. Schedule annual wellness visits, even when you are not sick to keep your doctor involved and aware of your health. Just as you would talk to your doctor about pain in your arm, or problems with vision, you should share any feelings you are experiencing. Here are some red flags to keep in mind for yourself or someone close to you. Don’t hesitate get help right away: • Thoughts or plans of suicide (or of hurting himself or herself) • Inability to eat or sleep • Lacks interest in usual activities for many days • Unable to find pleasure in things they’ve enjoyed in the past • Emotions that interfere with daily activities and last more than a few days • Confusion • Trouble breathing • Sweating more than usual • Restlessness • New or unusual symptoms that cause concern In addition to seeking help when
you need it from a doctor or other medical professional, it is important to remain physically active and eat well to maintain a healthy state of mind. Just like not putting the right kind of gas in a car, there is mounting evidence that even your brain can be damaged if you fuel it with too much processed foods or refined sugars. Most importantly – paying attention to how you feel is just as important as following your blood pressure or weight. Keep in touch with your doctor, friends, family and social networks –this can be an important way to maintain a social safety net to catch you if you fall. Sander Koyfman is a board-certified psychiatrist who serves as the medical director for behavioral health at Wellcare Health Plans, Inc. He graduated from New York University and the State of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine and completed his psychiatric training at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
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IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
The skinny on healthy eating
pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until turnips are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high and stir in greens. Cook for two minutes and then add garlic and Fresno pepper (if using). Cook for another two to three minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces by three-fourths. Turn off heat, blend in honey, and serve.
Turnips + Greens = Nutritional Powerhouse
ome things are just better together: Batman and Robin, peanut butter and jelly, Simon and Garfunkel, wine and cheese. Another remarkable duo? Turnips and their nutritious greens. On its own, a turnip is a decent source of several key nutrients. But when considered with its greens, it turns from a decent source into a downright amazing one. We’re talking superfood status. Of course, you don’t necessarily need to eat everything at the same time to reap all the benefits, but you do need to “heed the greens.” Why eat a turnip? The lowcalorie root — only 30 per cooked cup — is a treasure trove of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber. Standout nutrients include vitamin C (about 40 percent of our daily needs) and fiber (around 3 grams). Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, is a tissue-builder, immune-booster and workhorse scavenger of harmful free radicals— age-accelerating agents that have been linked to inflammation, certain cancers and other chronic diseases. Fiber is good for bowel health, helps
control blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol levels, and keeps us feeling fuller longer. Another reason to eat this slightly peppery bulb? As a member of the nutritious cruciferous family, turnips are loaded with unique sulfur-containing compounds that may help the body fight cancer. Why eat a turnip’s greens? The leafy greens, much like kale and beet greens, rock with vitamins A, K and C — all mighty antioxidants that burst with a variety of other health benefits. Vitamin A is essential for growth and healthy vision; vitamin K helps maintain strong bones and regulates normal blood clotting; and vitamin C’s merits are listed above. One cup of cooked greens also provides a decent amount of fiber (5 grams) and folate, an important B vitamin that helps form red blood cells and produce DNA. Another reason to eat the greens? They offer up some calcium — about 20 percent of our daily needs in one cooked cup. Calcium helps form and maintain healthy bones and teeth, and also plays a major role in the regulation of heart rate and rhythm.
Helpful tips: Braised Turnips with Wilted Greens Adapted from Cooking Light
6 small (or 3 medium) turnips, trimmed and peeled 1 bunch turnip greens (from above bulbs or purchased separately) 1 tablespoon olive oil 3/4 cup water or salt-reduced stock 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 Fresno pepper, slivered (optional) 1 teaspoon honey Cut turnips into bite-size chunks. Wash and coarsely chop or tear the greens. Remove the stems if they are tough. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add turnips and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add water or stock, vinegar, salt and
Choose small to medium size turnips that are heavy for their size: the smaller the bulb, the sweeter the flavor. Look for greens that are crisp and deep green in color. If you buy turnips with their greens attached, remove them from the root when you get home. Store roots and greens in separate plastic bags and place in the refrigerator. Greens should last about four days; roots will keep for about two weeks, sometimes longer.
Anne Palumbo is a lifestyle
columnist, food guru, and seasoned cook, who has perfected the art of preparing nutritious, calorieconscious dishes. She is hungry for your questions and comments about SmartBites, so be in touch with Anne at email@example.com.
Plant-Based Diet Supports Good Health Even if you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, eating more plants can benefit your health By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
any Americans don’t eat enough whole fruits, vegetables and grains. Actually, according to the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention’s Trends in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Adults, New Yorkers’ fruit and vegetable consumption has decreased. From 2000 to 2009 (the most recent statistics the CDC offers on the topic), the percent of adults 18 and older who eat fruit two or more times a day plunged from 38.9 to 40.7. Those who eat vegetables three or more times a day decreased from 27.7 percent to 24.7 percent. Even if you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, eating more plants may benefit your health, according to several local experts. “I see a lot of patients nutritionally and I encourage them to increase their vegetable intake,” said Tara Richards, physician assistant and nutrition consultant with UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Cheektowaga. “We’re not getting a good amount of nutrition. We have obese people who are malnourished and thin people who are malnourished.” Fruits and vegetables are packed Page 12
with vitamins and minerals and are naturally low in calories. Preparation methods such as frying add calories, as does flavoring with butter or sugar. Whole fruits and vegetables also provide fiber. While it’s easy to get stuck in a food jag and eat the same fruits and vegetables over and over, Richards advises patients to start eating more of the vegetables they like and then adding more so they consume a variety of produce to consume a wide spectrum of nutrients. “Have a big salad loaded up with greens and Burch vegetables,” Richards said. “Make a conscious effort to get a veggie in each meal. The whole base of your diet should be vegetables.” Learning how to grocery shop and cook makes it easier to incorporate more vegetables and fruits. Eating a plant-based diet carries
a few caveats. Most people ramping up their plant intake find that they’re eating a lot more fiber than normal; however, drinking enough water can help the bowels work better. Some people switching to a plant-based diet find they’re hungry sooner than when they ate more meat; however, eating nuts, beans and seeds can help them with satiety and increase their intake of protein — another challenge to focusing on produce. For people not eating vegan, cheese and eggs can help maintain sufficient protein intake. Soy-based protein powder and other sources of soy can help with protein intake. Limiting meat intake makes it harder to get B vitamins; however, dark, leafy greens such as spinach can provide these and supplementation can also help. While eating vegetarian or vegan sounds like it deserves a halo of healthfulness, it’s possible to eat a very unhealthful diet that’s technically vegetarian or vegan. For example, French fries made with vegetable oil are vegan, but not nutritious. Some people choose vegetarian or vegan foods that are highly
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017
processed. Some of these foods contain lots of sugar, such as soybased protein bars that are little better than candy bars. Erin Burch, registered dietitian nutritionist owner of Erin Burch Nutrition, with a master’s degree in exercise health promotion, said that instead of replacing meat with unhealthful foods, people reducing their meat intake should compensate for those calories with nuts, seeds and other healthful sources of protein. “Get those vegetables high in iron, like leafy greens,” she said. “Use whole grains to get the most nutrient dense foods.” She likes to fit more veggies in her diet by snacking on them or including them in other dishes such as omelets. She also serves a few different veggies at dinner. “Veggies are the most colorful thing on the plate,” Burch added. “The more you get in, the more appetizing your meal looks.” For convenience, pre-cut or frozen veggies and fruits can make serving more produce easier.
Students at Moving Miracles during a contemporary ballet class this year. The West Seneca dance studio whose student body is made up wholly of special needs children and adults is celebrating 20 years this year.
Student Mariah Helmer and her instructor Laura Pietak during a solo dance practice at Moving Miracles.
A Chance to Dance: Moving Miracles Turns 20
One-of-a-kind dance studio for people with special needs celebrates milestone with several events
love of dance, once instilled, cannot be stifled. Nobody knows this better than Sheila Dollas — founder and director of Moving Miracles, a local dance studio whose student body is wholly made up of special needs children and adults. This one-of-a-kind Western New York dance studio is home to more than 150 dancers, all of them unique in their own way. Some have physical limitations, some intellectual and others developmental, yet all of them are similar in their love of movement. And just as each one has different attributes and challenges in their daily lives, they each have their own strengths and weaknesses in their dance class — and that is what makes the classes so special “We try to pair the dancers with others that will help them,” says Dollas, who as she moves into her 20th year as director of Moving Miracles, has cultivated an eye for people that will work well together. “Where one needs help, we have another who is able to help.” This in turn not only makes a stronger dance routine, but bolsters self-esteem and camaraderie comradery within the classes. While the dancers may each be challenged with some sort of limitation, there is no limit to the types of classes they are able to attend at Moving Miracles. Classes such as tap, jazz, contemporary, creative movement and, of course, ballet are available at the studio which is located at the Southgate Plaza in West Seneca. “The students are taught proper technique from the onset,” says Dollas, “The basic foundations of ballet are taught and strengthened throughout their time here. They are required to study, learn and practice proper technique.” If Sheila Dollas sounds as if she’s passionate about dance etiquette, it’s because she grew up in the world of dance. The self-proclaimed “dance junkie” intended to continue in that world until, in her college years, an injury cut her dancing lifespan
By Catherine Miller
Sheila Dollas, founder and director of Moving Miracles, working with of the students at her studio. She started Moving Miracles with four students. More than 150 students of all ages now are enrolled. short. Left with physical disabilities of her own she worked diligently to overcome her limitations, while trying to determine how to maintain a life revolving around dance, even if she could not revolve around the dance floor as she had in the past. While owning a dance studio sounded ideal, she also wanted to help others that were struggling with their own limitations. Combining the two concepts, Dollas opened the doors to Moving Miracles in 1998 with four students. That number has now grown to 150 students with ages ranging from 3 to 70. The growth of the facility was enhanced in 2008 when it began a partnership with [Suburban Adult Services, Inc., which provided support and resources that helped Moving Miracles flourish. In 2014 Moving Miracles became an official division of SASi and shortly thereafter the dance studio added an adaptive fitness program to their curriculum that allowed for their
students to utilize basic exercise equipment to work on range of motion and strength training. “I feel changed,” says Sarah Oliveri, a student at Moving Miracles, when she first began the fitness program “My clothes fit better and I feel great after I work out.” Heading up the fitness program is Emelie Obrochta, full time fitness instructor, personal trainer and health advocate. With a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and years
of experience in the field, Obrochta brings a level of excellence to the fitness program that rivals any local gym. This level of professionalism is found throughout Moving Miracles in their instructors. The teachers and volunteers come from varying backgrounds in special education, occupational therapy, speech, and dance — to name a few. Walking into the Moving Miracles studio, you would not initially notice it was geared toward dancers with special needs save the occasional wheelchair that works into many of the routines. The large class viewing windows are filled with students working and reworking routines with the flow of the ballet class and the rhythm of the tap class. The memo boards are full of reminders of upcoming fundraisers and events. The back of the studio is complete with “dance moms” waiting out their class time sharing stories of the week. This unique studio has the same feel and function of any other studio. And to the dancers — it is a way to feel integrated in a world that doesn’t always allow for inclusion. A painter leaves behind a painting. A musician has his lyrics. A writer, his prose. Dance is the one artistic outlet that does not produce any lasting earthly result — yet dance has transcended time and has been incorporated into every culture. And now, thanks to Sheila Dollas and her entourage, it transcends physical, developmental and intellectual limitations as well, and does so with an air of elegance.
Events to Mark Studio’s Milestone Moving Miracles will continue its 20th anniversary celebration at its upcoming annual fundraiser at Michael’s Catering and Banquets, Sat., Nov. 4, with the “king” Terry Buchwald headlining the entertainment. Other upcoming events include an annual SASi
October 2017 •
celebration on Oct. 28 at Kleinhan’s Music Hall, and its end of the year performance on May 6, 2018. Contact the school at 716-6561321 or visit its website, www. movingmiracles.org for additional information.
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
Coping with CAPD Parents discuss how they found out their daughter had central auditory processing disorder — and how they cope with it By Jennifer Fecio McDougall and Alex McDougall (Editor’s note: The authors are the parents of Maeve, aged 15, who has CAPD). When Maeve was in seventh grade, she told us that she was having trouble with her hearing. We focused on the issue for a few days and realized what she was talking about. When we called her name, she didn’t always hear us, especially if there was background noise. We also noticed that she sometimes spoke very loudly, but she didn’t realize that her volume was higher than normal. We called Michael Pizzuto, her otolaryngologist, to make an appointment. Maeve had hearing tests in his office, and the results showed that her hearing was perfect. Pizzuto said he thought she might have central auditory processing disorder and he referred us to Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center for an evaluation. Pizzuto explained to us that when a child behaves as if he or she has a hearing problem, the first thing to do is check the hearing. However, if that testing comes back normal, parents should consider CAPD. “If undiagnosed, it can have a significant impact on learning, and the child may even be misdiagnosed with another condition, such as ADHD or dyslexia,” Pizzuto noted. Maeve was nervous, but everyone at Buffalo Hearing and Speech was very nice. The evaluation was painless and not invasive, and the audiologist told us that Maeve has CAPD. Since that time, we’ve learned a lot about CAPD, how it affects Maeve, and how to help her deal with it. There are a few specific things that we’d like to share to increase awareness of CAPD and
how it can affect those who have it. CAPD is not a hearing problem — it’s actually a processing problem. It interferes with the person’s ability to process auditory input, or sound. Based on Maeve’s experience, we have a few tips for speaking with someone who has CAPD. — Face the person. — Don’t cover your mouth. — If the person’s back is to you, he or she may be unaware that you are speaking. It may be helpful to tap the person on the shoulder or otherwise get his or her attention before you begin speaking. — If the person asks you to repeat yourself, you may want to try saying the same thing in a different way. It may be that he or she heard you but is taking a moment to process what you said.
Problem involves processing Remember that people with CAPD do not have issues with intelligence, hearing or listening. The problem is with processing sound. Maeve sometimes speaks very loudly, but she’s not being rude or trying to get attention. The disorder can make it more difficult for her to monitor her own volume. When people are unaware of this, they may be startled or assume she’s being rude. CAPD can affect learning in several different ways first, it interferes with reading comprehension. Maeve may read things more than once, read them aloud, highlight keywords, or incorporate other techniques to help her retain information. Second, it can affect short-term memory, so lastminute cramming isn’t the way to go. It helps her to go over material
Jennifer Fecio McDougall and her husband, Alex McDougall,, along with the couple’s daughter, Maeve. Photo courtesy of John P. Fecio III. repeatedly to commit it to her longterm memory. Third, it can affect organization. Even when others suggest organizational methods, this can still be a huge obstacle. We’ve found that it’s best for Maeve to be part of devising her own methods for staying organized; what works for someone else might not work very well for her. What works for her may not work for someone else with CAPD. Maeve has had a 504 plan for school. This document outlines the services that will help put her on an equal footing with students who do not have CAPD. In her case, the 504 plan allows her to be seated near the
teacher, ask questions to increase understanding, have directions repeated as needed, take tests in a quiet location, and have extra time on tests. Central auditory processing disorder, as the name implies, is an auditory processing problem, but its effects go beyond processing sound. Many people are unaware of it, and we’ve worked hard to increase awareness. If you’d like more information about CAPD, visit http:// theapdfoundation.org/, www. understood.org, or http:// kidshealth.org/en/parents/centralauditory.html and search for CAPD.
CAPD At a Glance • What is the cause of central auditory processing disorder (CAPD)?
“Often, the cause of a child’s APD isn’t known. Evidence suggests that head trauma, lead poisoning and chronic ear infections could play a role. Sometimes, there can be multiple causes.” My daughter Maeve had frequent fevers in sixth grade and the beginning of seventh grade. They were classified as “fevers of unknown origin,” and her ENT recommended removal of her tonsils and adenoids. The fevers got better; the CAPD was diagnosed several months later. It’s possible that one or more of the fevers was an ear infection, but we’ll never really know.
• How many people suffer from the disorder? “Auditory processing disorder Page 14
(APD), also known as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), is a hearing problem that affects about 5 percent of school-aged children.” Anecdotally, though, we’ve come across several people who have it. It makes me suspect that the number is higher.
• What are the treatment protocols?
Speech therapy can help kids with auditory processing disorder make those sounds better and more clearly. Speech therapists can also help kids learn to: • Improve perception of individual sounds (phonemes) in words, which can help with reading skills • Develop active listening skills, like asking a person to repeat directions • Use language appropriately in social situations
Kids with auditory processing disorder might get frustrated about school. Imagine not being able to understand what the teacher is saying! If your child is dealing with frustration, you might want to explore educational therapy. This can helps kids with different kinds of learning and attention issues develop strategies for working around their issues and dealing with frustration. Auditory training therapy (sometimes called auditory integration therapy) is an alternative treatment for kids with auditory processing disorder. This includes auditory training programs like the Berard Auditory Integration Training Services and Fast ForWord. A main goal of these programs is to improve listening comprehensionthrough various activities or games. Keep in mind that auditory training therapy is somewhat controversial. There isn’t a lot of research that
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017
shows it works. But there is anecdotal evidence that it’s helpful for some kids.
• Is there a cure?
“There is no known cure or remedy other than environmental support, such as facing a speaker and sitting close to a lecturer in order to catch more of what is being said (and possibly unconsciously read lips), helping to fill in gaps in perception of what is being expressed. Depending on the degree and exact nature of the problematic neural connections, some APD’ers may opt to try an amplification system as an aid, although others may be hypersensitive to sound and need to a far greater degree than the average person quiet settings to be comfortable and able to think calmly.”
Paws for Love is unlike any other program offered by the SPCA. More than 400 volunteer pet owners bring their gentle dogs and cats to roughly 100 locations in WNY to to brighten the days of the people with whom they come in contact
ome might call Carma a “lucky dog,” because she loves her job so much. She looks forward to meeting and greeting the passengers and employees at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BNIA). The babies are her favorite, but she quickly warms up to anyone who smiles her way, comes over to say hi or asks her to pose for a photo. She also appreciates the rewards of her job: a warm hug, a heartfelt thank you… or a biscuit or belly rub. You see, Carma is a certified therapy dog through the SPCA Paws for Love program. Her human, Anne Hart of Niagara Falls, has volunteered for Paws for Love for approximately 17 years, first with her dog, Samantha, and now with Carma, a 4-year-old beagle/Jack Russell terrier mix rescue pup. “I started bringing Carma to the airport in 2014,” says Hart. “We are there every week for a two-hour shift. Mostly, we focus on calming nervous passengers, but we also visit the employees, as working in an airport can be very stressful. Whenever anyone sees Carma, it immediately calms them down, refocuses their attention and helps pass the time more pleasantly.” Hart tells the story of one young traveler at the airport — a girl around the age of 10 — who had cerebral palsy, was paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. When the little girl spotted Carma, her parents heard her speak her first word ever: “Doggie!” “With her parents’ permission, the little girl gave Carma a biscuit. Carma started kissing her and as
Pets in Action
Paws for Love: lending a comforting, helping paw By Nancy Cardillo she smiled from ear to ear, we were all tearing up watching!” says Hart. “Things like this happen all the time, and that’s why I love volunteering for this program so much.” Run completely by volunteers, Paws for Love is unlike any other program offered by the SPCA. More than 400 volunteer pet owners bring their gentle dogs and cats to roughly 100 area nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, Hospice locations, children’s facilities, the Family Justice Center, area colleges and the airport to provide affection and comfort, to alleviate stress and anxiety and to brighten the days of the people with whom they come in contact. When Paws for Love began visiting BNIA in 2013, Buffalo was just one of seven cities nationwide to offer such a program. Today, it is the second-largest city (behind Los Angeles) to offer this service at an airport, with more than 50 volunteer teams that visit on a regular basis. Debbie Braun, Paws for Love volunteer program coordinator, says all dogs and cats are behavior tested by certified behavior specialists at the SPCA before they are accepted into the program and, while breed doesn’t matter, the animals must possess certain qualities. They
must be comfortable with strangers approaching them, with being touched, being in public situations and being comfortable around crutches, wheelchairs and other medical equipment. “Basically, we look for dogs and cats that are calm, friendly and good around people and in different situations,” says Braun. Once the pet passes the test, the pet owner can select the specific facility they want to visit, whether it’s a location close to their home, a facility where a loved one resides or one that has another special meaning to them. There’s no cost to the facility — Paws for Love is a community service offered by the SPCA — and there are often certain restrictions volunteers must adhere to. For example, a hospital might dictate which floors are off limits. “Once we match a pet owner to a location, it’s up to them to decide what works best, and it’s usually
Interested in Being a Volunteer? If you’re interested in learning more about Paws for Love, visit www.yourspca.org/spca-paws-forlove. If you’d like to volunteer or if you represent a facility
Pets, not siblings, are child’s best friends
hildren get more satisfaction from relationships with their pets than with their brothers or sisters, according to new research from the University of Cambridge. Children also appear to get on even better with their animal companions than with siblings. The research adds to increasing evidence that household pets may have a major influence on child development, and could have a positive impact on children’s social skills and emotional well-being. Pets are almost as common as siblings in western households, although there are relatively few studies on the importance of childpet relationships. ‘’Anyone who has loved a childhood pet knows that we turn
to them for companionship and disclosure, just like relationships between people,” says Matt Cassells, a Gates Cambridge Scholar at the department of psychiatry, who led the study. “We wanted to know how strong these relationships are with pets relative to other close family ties. Ultimately this may enable us to understand how animals contribute to healthy child development” This study, published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, surveyed 12-year-old children from 77 families with one or more pets of any type and more than one child at home. Children reported strong relationships with their pets relative to their siblings, with lower levels of conflict and greater satisfaction in
a mutuallyconvenient, flexible situation that benefits everyone. “I’m proud to say our volunteers put in well over 5,000 hours each year in our community,” says Braun. “They do room visits in hospitals, attend events, provide stress relief at area colleges, are read to by school children — they even sit in courtrooms to provide comfort to victims of domestic violence. The only place we can’t go, for insurance reasons, is into private homes.” Paws for Love is always seeking new volunteers, as the program gets regular requests from facilities seeking volunteer pet teams. To volunteer, a person must be 18 years of age or older, friendly and outgoing, have a good relationship with their well-trained pet, be comfortable taking their pet into different situations and have transportation. Anne Hart and Carma also make regular visits to a local daycare program for adults with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s. “Here are people who have severe memory issues, yet when we walk into the room, they all recognize Carma!” says Hart. “Carma, of course, loves the attention, and I love the smiles I see on the faces of the people we come in contact with!”
owners of dogs than other kinds of pets. ‘’Even though pets may not fully understand or respond verbally, the level of disclosure to pets was no less than to siblings,” says Cassels. “The fact that pets cannot understand or talk back may even be a benefit as
October 2017 •
interested in visitation, contact Program Coordinator Debbie Braun at pawsforlove@yourspca. org (preferred) or at 716-681-0744.
it means they are completely nonjudgmental. “While previous research has often found that boys report stronger relationships with their pets than girls do, we actually found the opposite. While boys and girls were equally satisfied with their pets, girls reported more disclosure, companionship, and conflict with their pet than did boys, perhaps indicating that girls may interact with their pets in more nuanced ways.’’ “Evidence continues to grow showing that pets have positive benefits on human health and community cohesion,” says physician Nancy Gee, humananimal interaction research manager at WALTHAM and a co-author of the study. “The social support that adolescents receive from pets may well support psychological well-being later in life but there is still more to learn about the long term impact of pets on children’s development.”
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
Women — mostly married and employed — make up 66 percent of all those involved with informal caregiving By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
bout 3 million caregivers provide a total of more than 2.6 billion hours of care to loved ones annually, an economic value of $32 billion, according to the New York Office for the Aging. The Family Care Alliance, a nonprofit based in San Francisco, states that an estimated 66 percent of caregivers are women. The reasons behind the trend of women caregivers is manifold. Women tend to live longer than
Caring for Caregivers Those who give of themselves selflessly need care as well By Julie Halm
ew responsibilities take the immense toll that comes with being a caregiver to a loved
one. Whether a traumatic injury or progressive illness brings about the necessity, being a caregiver can prove to be physically, emotionally and psychologically exhausting. Navigating the medical system is often frustrating and all too often, the job as a whole is a thankless task. Caregivers can sometimes lose sight of their own needs in the process of caring for someone else, but maintaining healthy habits is critical to remaining up to the challenge. There are two ways in which people tend to become caregivers, according to Ronald Pokorski, a caregiver advocate for Venture Forthe Inc. and instructor of Powerful Tools for Caregivers. Sometimes, a sudden event such as a stroke or car accident can throw an individual into a caregiving role. In other instances, the gradual progression of a chronic condition leads to the necessity for a caregiver. For the former, the sudden demand and adjustment can be a major challenge and for the latter, the decision of when to seek professional help can be overwhelming, according to Pokorski. Regardless of the circumstance, there are some important tenets for all caregivers to live by.
“I always tell caregivers that they had better take care of themselves or the whole thing will fall apart, as they hold the key to their loved one’s wellbeing,” said Pokorski. Pokorski has been a caregiver to his wife for the past 16 years following a stroke which left her without the ability to speak, read or write, blind in one eye and paralyzed on her right side. That experience has taught him a great deal as well. “As a caregiver for 16 years, the things I do differently now are that I ask for help and if and when it is offered, I always accept,” he said. “I don’t think of myself anymore as the only one that can look after my wife and realize that as long as she is safe, it’s OK if things aren’t done ‘just right’.” Erie County Senior Services offers plenty of advice on how to stay well throughout the process of offering care to a loved one. A common thread among those tips is the notion that life must go on outside of the confines of care giving. Isolation can often be a threat for those in this position, but should be avoided by taking time out to talk to friends, pursue a hobby or simply going out and seeing a movie. “Remember, you are not alone, keep social ties,” suggests the county’s website. “Try your best to entertain friends.” If possible, scheduling respite care can provide a much-needed break.
Frustration abounds No matter how much a person loves their family member, the reality is that performing this role can be frustrating. Certain medical circumstances, like Alzheimer’s or dementia, can often exacerbate these feelings. “Acknowledge your right to feel angry and then do something to get rid of this anger,” says the Senior Services website. “Punch a pillow, saw wood, smash tennis balls or scrub floors. Do not lash out at the patient since it will only make the situation worse.” Sometimes, above all else, it’s best to just slow down, according to Ronald Fernandez, a licensed mental health counselor and director of Headway of Western New York, which provides people with brain injuries, other disabilities, and seniors with resources, support systems and advocacy. Fernandez said while many things may feel urgent, very few situations are bona fide emergencies and it is always better not to make any major decisions in a rushed state of mind unless absolutely necessary. Pre-planning with a loved one who is aging or diagnosed with a progressive disorder can help reduce the likelihood of caregivers having to make serious decisions on their own or in the heat of a moment. While one can take steps to prepare, such as assigning power of attorney or discussing
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017
men. If it’s one spouse caring for another, it’s usually a wife caring for a husband. Family dynamics also trend toward women caregivers as many women shift from serving as the primary caregiver of the family’s young children to the caregiver of the older adults. The average woman caregiver is married and employed. Dubbed the “Sandwich Generation.” women in this situation often feel stressed by the demands on their time, caring
potential medical situations preemptively, fulfilling all of the roles encompassed by a caregiver will eventually become hectic and chaotic. When it does, Fernandez suggests taking time out to do things such as meditate or participate in a support group, if only just for short periods of time. “Even just 10 minutes in your car, listening to music you really like can help,” he said. Healing and care for those who have acted in this type of role doesn’t stop at the end of the patient’s life. Shauna Van Velson volunteers her time as the organizer of a peerled support group for those who have lost a sibling. While some attendees lost their brother or sister suddenly, others were caregivers over a long duration of time. Van Velson says that going to counseling or participating in a support group once a loved one is gone can help a caregiver process what they’ve been through and begin to heal. “I think that being involved in a support group and being able to rely on people who are in the same situation can be helpful,” said Van Velson. “I think that’s probably one of the biggest ways to heal, is just to talk through your experience and what has happened.” Van Velson’s support group meets from 6:30-8 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month at the Wilson Support Center, 150 Bennett Road, Cheektowaga. For more tips, information and resources regarding caregiving, visit Erie County’s Senior Services website at www2.erie.gov/ seniorservices/. For more information on Headway of Western New York, visit www.headwayofwny.org.
for their elderly relative — usually a parent or in-law — and their own children, plus work. Ironically, many dedicated caregivers who spread themselves too thin out of desire to provide optimal care end up in an emotional and physical state where they cannot provide the best care possible. Many caregivers provide about 20 hours of care weekly, equivalent to a part-time job, in addition to their actual jobs. A growing number of women care for more than one elderly relative, as people who have divorced and remarried may have numerous connections with older adults for whom they feel responsible. Lauren Ashburn, director of respite services at the Alzheimer’s Association of Western New York, said many experience guilt and stress and don’t realize how much stress they bear. “It’s a step to recognize how stressed you are,” Ashburn said. “They don’t realize it until they realize they’re sick, angry all the time and tired. Their friendships are falling apart because they don’t have time for them anymore.” She added that many have a hard time asking for help from friends and relatives and are unaware of what community-based resources are available to them. “Women caregivers tend to take on everything by themselves,” Ashburn said. “We like to think we can manage everything and the same goes for care giving. It’s hard to reach out for extra help, but it’s so beneficial. “It helps them recharge and refresh. Many times they don’t get to do things for themselves anymore. Plus, it allows the person to remain in their home longer. The better the caregiver can care for themselves, the better they can care for their loved ones.” In general, caregivers are encouraged to get help sooner than what they think they’ll need it, whether informally through friends and other family members, volunteer organizations or paid staff. Perhaps a family friend could take over driving duties to one or two appointments a month or sit with the person receiving care for a few hours. In-home respite can provide a companion who performs light housekeeping if the care recipient lives alone. In addition to giving the caregiver a break, “having another set of eyes can be helpful sometimes,” said Cindy Steltz, director of education and caregiver services for Lifespan in Rochester. “An outside caregiver or helper may notice things that are more subtle that someone won’t pick up on if they’re there 24-7.” She encourages caregivers to hold a family meeting to help decide who can do what to support the older person’s aging in place. An objective their party may help keep the conversation on track and suggest helpful solutions in a way that family members cannot since there’s no emotional motivation involved. For more care giver resources, visit https://aging.ny.gov/ Caregivers/Index.cfm or contact New York Connects at www. nyconnects.ny.gov, 1-800-342-9871 or the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24hour number, 1-800-272-3900 24-7.
Women’s HEALTH Trials, Tribulations of Motherhood ‘Bringing a child into world is adventure beyond words’ By Julie Halm
have always wanted children — four, maybe five and a mix of biological and adopted. I imagined watching our little brood run around the back yard in the summers and I dreamed of these imaginary little people growing into wonderful adults who I’d look at someday and glow with pride, many long years into the future. When my fiancée, Scott, and I found out I was pregnant last July, it was unanticipated and I found myself suddenly flung from the softedged dreamscape into the realities of parenthood that were, from the very start, simultaneously wonderful and nerve-wracking. While I’d be having my first child — a little boy as we soon found out — at the age of 27, I wondered every day of my pregnancy if I could possibly be adult enough, or in the simplest terms, ready to take on this monumental task. I started preparing the best way a type-A, self-professed word nerd could: I read. I tried to gain an academic understanding of what this journey would be, and I would encourage any first-time mom or dad to do the same. It was so comforting to understand the stages of labor, to know what pregnancy symptoms, though seemingly alarming, could be anticipated and would be totally normal. I relished researching baby bottle brands, comparing cribs and pouring over reviews of strollers and play mats so that I could be positive that I was choosing the best of each. Suddenly, I couldn’t fathom what the future held with any certainty. There are, however, so many things before and after your little one arrives that no book on earth can brace you for. The first time you feel a kick, beyond those flutters that you just can’t conclusively name, your heart fills at the same time your brain seems to empty in the struggle to grasp that you’ve just truly felt your child for the first time. On the flipside, you also can’t prepare for the ways in which your personal space will be utterly invaded, from unsolicited belly rubs, off-the-wall advice, to the fact that something about a pregnant woman seems to make the majority of mothers bust at the seams with the need to share the goriest and most terrifying details of their own child’s birth. I will simply never repeat some of the things that I heard during those months. Then, your child arrives. I was mentally set on epidural anesthesia from the very beginning despite many women repeatedly telling me that they endured without one. While I am sure I would have made it through, I had no interest in challenging the notion. On our way to the hospital, holding Scott’s hand, I can honestly say I was experiencing fear in a way I have never known before. By the
The writer, Julie Halm, holding son Tripp, the day he was brought home from the Millard Fillmore Suburban hospital March 27. time we got to the hospital, I was in immense pain and half of the plans I had made for my delivery day had long-since been thrown out the window. I had been told time and again of long labors for first-time moms, of expectant parents sent away to labor at home for hours, and my own mother’s tales of getting up and taking a shower before things got serious enough to get in the car.
From ‘nightmare’ to joy I, on the other hand, was in a delivery room with an epidural in my spine in less than four hours. I don’t imagine, so long as I live, that I will ever again know such relief as that epidural taking effect. The first few hours of labor were rough and scary. The nurses didn’t seem to take me seriously when I told them I thought my labor was moving quickly. I was, after all, just a first-time mom. Once we established it was go time, however, the experience was nowhere near the nightmare I had been warned of. Holding my little guy for the first time, and seeing him in the arms of his dad and grandparents, was something that will be forever etched in my memory. Our son — Ray Thomas Boyer III, in honor of his late grandfather, or Tripp for short — was born on a Monday evening and we were in the hospital two nights. There was some crying and I vividly recall wondering how anyone ever got the knack of swaddling a baby. On Wednesday afternoon, we were sent home with our newly expanded family. I was giddy and excited, but nervous at the same time, and it turns out, rightfully so. The first two months now live in my memory
October 2017 •
as a totally disjointed blur. To say it was a challenge would be an understatement and I will openly admit, there were many tears along the way. I cried when I struggled to get the hang of breastfeeding. I had assumed that my instincts and my son’s would kick in, creating a perfectly harmonious bond. Instead, we struggled and we had to supplement and my heart broke thinking that this was my first failure as a mother. I cried the first time I got to lay down in my bed, as we had made camp in the living room with the Pack n Play bassinette for the first couple of weeks because somehow, it just seemed easier. Life had changed so drastically since the last time I had placed my head on that pillow and it all seemed to overpower me in that moment. I cried at songs on the radio and commercials on TV, and once at the notion of apple pie, though for the life of me, I can’t remember why now. Hormones are a real killer sometimes. Slowly but surely, we started finding our groove. We discovered that our son was allergic to dairy and all of a sudden the screaming fits that lasted for hours calmed and for the first time, I felt like we had fixed something for our son. We learned to laugh at him spitting up in his daddy’s ear and found energy to see the perfect beauty in his sleeping face before we went to snag some sleep ourselves. At 4 months, he’s not quite playing in the back yard just yet, but when he reaches out and grabs a toy, or rolls on his tummy with his cute little bum in the air, I’m already overwhelmed with joy. I can’t wait for those days, once seen as so many years in the future, to unfold.
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
Have a Baby Without Losing Your Body By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
oes having a baby mean lasting weight gain? It seems so for many women. A study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that excessive pregnancy weight gain happens for women of all pre-pregnancy sizes. Once that weight goes on, it’s hard to get off with the added responsibility of a new baby. Of underweight women, 23.5 percent gained too much. For normal weight women, 37.6 percent packed on too much weight. Overweight women fare worse. 61.6 percent of overweight women and 55.8 percent of obese women gained more than what their doctors recommended. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy contributes to raising risks of many diseases — including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer — but increased clothing sizes and stretch marks are the most evident and immediate side effects. Of course, baby’s health is top priority for pregnant women, but women planning to have a baby can take a few steps to maintain their own bodies. “Pregnancy is a healthy event,” said Lori Gehl childbirth educator, doula and child birth midwife assistant with WNY Childbirth in Buffalo. “It makes sense to be healthy before your pregnancy to support a healthy pregnancy.” Ideally, women should get
healthy before conception by forming good health habits such as eating a well-balanced diet comprised of a variety of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein, and plant-derived fats. “Wellness is 70 percent nutrition,” said Dennis Scott, owner of Core Fitness in Buffalo. “I find that with a mother who takes care of herself and is eating healthful foods and natural options, there’s a tendency in the children to be the same.” Some women still believe that “eating for two” equals two adultsized portions, but according to the CDC, women can wait until the second trimester to increase their caloric intake, and then they need only an additional 340 to 450 calories daily. As with other aspects of health, women’s care providers can offer detailed advice on eating healthfully before, during and after pregnancy. Women should also establish a fitness routine before pregnancy to help control weight and increase strength. Gaining too much weight or gaining weight too quickly contributes to stretch marks. As you get ready to give birth, the better shape you’re in the easier your delivery will be and the easier you will be able to recover. The CDC recommends 150 minutes weekly exercise to maintain current weight. Women who need to
Expanded Work Leave Benefits Families Workers will be able to take up to eight weeks off as part of the new family leave program; time off will increase to 12 weeks in 2021. Benefit applies to both father and mother By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
he New York State Paid Family Leave Program, taking effect Jan. 1, will allow workers job protection for eight weeks instead of the six weeks allowed now. In 2019, workers will receive an additional two weeks of leave. In 2021, the number of weeks will top out at 12 as the new provision is completely phased in. The maximum percent of employees’ average wage will increase incrementally as well, from 50 percent in 2018 to 67 percent in 2021. Since the financial need to work often constrains mothers to go back to work soon after their children’s birth, receiving additional time off is a good step, according to Beth Carey, Page 18
birth and DONA-certified postpartum doula and part of Western New York Doulas. “I think that moms need more time to recuperate post-partum,” Carey said. “We’re one of the few cultures that doesn’t support mom post-partum. I am doula to women from India and other countries and their moms and friends come to support them.” The World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among many medical organizations, recommend exclusive breast feeding for at least six months and as long as mother and child wish to continue. Carey added that having
lose weight should increase the time. Exercise should consist of aerobic movement, which raises the heart rate, and resistance training, which strengthens muscle. Scott recommends that during pre-pregnancy women perform exercises that increase flexibility, get their heart rate up, and strengthen their muscles. Adequate sleep is also important. After birthing, most women find their abdomens sagging, even after the uterus returns to normal size. Obtaining a tight core before pregnancy can help reduce this effect. “What you do beforehand can make a big difference,” said Joe Fox, personal trainer and owner of Train Smart in Williamsville. “People need
to understand what the core is. It’s more than the belly. All movement begins in your core.” He believes that with many women, their core becomes not tuned during pregnancy, which can later contribute to both issues that many women consider cosmetic and also, Fox added, forgetting how to move properly. Injury eventually happens and further inactivity. “It’s the perfect mechanism for a lack of function, injury and death,” he said. Getting in shape before pregnancy can help most women safely continue to exercise through pregnancy and beyond.
additional time at home can also help women recoup from birthing, get organized, and establish a baby routine. Lori Gehl, childbirth educator, doula and child birth midwife assistant with Western New York Childbirth, said that extra time will benefit moms and babies, especially with breastfeeding mothers. Nationwide, 81.1 percent of women and 82 percent in New York breast feed the first three days after birth. At 6 months, only 51.8 percent nationwide are breastfed any amount, and in New York state, it is 55.8 percent. Exclusive breast feeding at 6 months is 22.3 percent nationwide and 19.7 percent in New York. Many women who work jobs that don’t allow more than the minimum six weeks of leave can’t afford a quality electric breast pump, which can cost $300 or more. In addition, it can take a few weeks to establish a good milk supply, learn how to help baby latch, develop a good sleeping and nursing routine and learn how to use a breast pump. Some babies take longer to accept bottled breast milk. Moms benefit, too, from more time off. New moms need extra weeks to cope with sleep pattern disturbances, body image issues, and post partum depression issues. “It’s healthy for both of them, no
doubt,” Gehl said. “Going through childbirth is stressful on the body. We’re able to handle it, but it’s important to have time to recover and cuddle the newborn baby. That’s what your body needs: time to hang out and get to know each other.”
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017
All About Bonding “New York’s Paid Family Leave program provides wage replacement to employees to help them bond with a child, care for a close relative with a serious health condition, or help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service.” “Employees are also guaranteed to be able to return to their job and continue their health insurance. If you contribute to the cost of your health insurance, you must continue to pay your portion of the premium cost while on Paid Family Leave.” “Paid Family Leave coverage will be included under the disability policy all employers must carry. The premium will be fully funded by employees through payroll deductions.” Source: www.ny.gov/newyork-state-paid-family-leave
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Things Moms Must Know About Braces for their Kids
Orthodontist offers info on what parents need to know about their kids getting braces
or millions of families around the country, braces and childhood tend to go handin-hand. This leaves many moms with lots of questions about what life with braces will be like for their child. Common questions range from when kids should first see the orthodontist to what types of food are off limits. The more parents know what to expect, the less they will fear the process, and be able to help their children enjoy and get the most out of their treatment experience. “Getting braces doesn’t have to be a scary process, but it can be if you haven’t had some of the more common questions answered ahead of time,” explains Karson Kupiec, a second-generation orthodontist at Kupiec Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry, located in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. “The last thing you want is to go into the treatment process without feeling comfortable. When parents feel comfortable and confident about it, so will the kids. They often mimic their feelings.” Here are some of the things that every mom must know before their child gets braces: • Age. Many people are unsure when a child should see an orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist no later than the age of 7. • Straightness. Even children who have straight teeth should still be evaluated by an orthodontist. There may be a problem with their teeth that can be detected by the doctor. Early treatment helps to guide proper jaw growth, correct harmful habits, and help guide teeth, and even shape one’s face. • Cost. With an average cost for metal braces being around $5,000- $7,500, many parents may feel they can’t afford the treatment. However, many orthodontist offices offer payment plans, making it worthwhile to check into what options are available. There are various types of braces available, so discuss them with the orthodontist to determine the best one for your child and invest in their future smile.
• Clean Teeth. If your child’s teeth aren’t sufficiently clean before getting braces, your orthodontist will have to clean them with a polishing paste so that the braces can properly be cemented to your teeth. If possible, schedule a regular professional cleaning appointment with your dentist a few days before you get your new braces so the teeth will be plaque-free prior to your braces appointment. Then, brushing with a high fluoride toothpaste — along with flossing and gargling mouthwash before your appointment — can help make you feel more confident and will speed things along with the orthodontist. • Expect discomfort. Getting braces is going to create some discomfort, especially once your child first gets them. They can cause sores in the mouth. To help, choose soft foods, such as soup, pasta and bananas for the few days following getting braces. If there is still a high level of discomfort after a few days and it doesn’t go away with ibuprofen or acetaminophen, call the orthodontist. • Regular care. Talk to your orthodontist about proper care of your braces. You’ll need to brush regularly and use a Waterpik to flush out the food particles that can get caught between braces and teeth; you should also avoid sticky foods. With proper care and by seeing your orthodontist regularly for checkups, you can keep your teeth healthy while your braces are in place. • Foods. There are some foods that should be avoided when having braces, because they tend to get caught. These include chewy foods, crunchy foods, sticky foods, and hard foods. Specific foods to avoid include sticky peanut butter, popcorn, caramel, taffy, and gum. Also, things you have to bite into, such as an apple or corn on the cob. • Choosing a doctor. Opt for an orthodontist, since they are specialists in straightening teeth and have had two to three years of additional training beyond dental school. Meet with the doctor to determine whether or not it will be a good fit for your family.
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5 Tips to Fight Fall Allergies
t may seem as though every fall your allergies get the best of you rather than you coming out on top. Sneezing, wheezing, runny noses and itchy eyes can leave you feeling run down and defeated. “If it feels as though your allergy symptoms flare up earlier and earlier every year, you’re probably not wrong,” says allergist Stephen Tilles, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “Climate change may actually be causing an earlier and longer fall allergy season. In addition, windy days can mean heightened allergy symptoms because wind can carry the pollen from ragweed, grasses and trees up to 100 miles from its source.” Ragweed pollen is the biggest allergy trigger in the fall, and needs to be avoided, along with other allergic triggers like mold and grass pollen. Here are five tips from ACAAI to help you steer clear of your worst allergy foes.
Plan your battle in advance.
Although they are labeled “fall allergies” many allergic triggers start
to appear in mid-to-late August. Start taking your allergy medications about two weeks before your symptoms normally start. Getting in front of your symptoms means controlling them a lot better. Don’t stop your medications until pollen counts have been down for about two weeks.
Fight mold. Mold allergies can be tough to outrun. Mold can grow anywhere there is water, and is a frequent foe in the fall. Mold can be found in your basement, bathroom, a leaky cabinet under your sink, or in a pile of dead leaves in your backyard. The key to reducing mold is moisture control. Be sure to use
bathroom fans and clean up any standing water immediately. Scrub any visible mold from surfaces with detergent and water, and completely dry. You can also help ward off mold by keeping home humidity below 60 percent and cleaning gutters regularly.
Keep pollen at bay.
Ragweed, or any pollen that triggers your allergy symptoms, needs to be kept out of your house. Leave your shoes at the door, and take a shower, wash your hair and change clothes after you’ve been working or playing outdoors. Close both car and home windows, and use your air conditioning so pollen doesn’t get indoors. Monitor both pollen and mold counts to help you know when you’re less likely to be under siege.
Be armed for combat.
Wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask when mowing the lawn or doing other outdoor chores. Wear gloves so you won’t transfer pollen to your eyes or skin. Take your allergy medication before heading outside. If you’re allergies are severe, consider having someone else do the gardening and fall raking.
Find an ally.
See your allergist. Allergists are trained to identify your allergies and provide a personal treatment plan. They can also provide immunotherapy – allergy shots – which target your exact triggers and can greatly reduce the severity of your symptoms. Allergy shots can also prevent the development of asthma in some children with seasonal allergies. If you think you might be one of the more than 50 million Americans that suffer from allergies and asthma, use the ACAAI website — http:// acaai.org/locate-an-allergist —to find an allergist in your area.
PAD: Often Misdiagnosed, This Illness Can Be Mild or Deadly Experts: Tell the doctor about your symptoms; it could save your leg
s we age, it is common to be concerned about heart disease or high blood pressure. But many people don’t know that those conditions are also related to another common health issue, peripheral artery disease (PAD). Unfortunately, many patients are not diagnosed until it has progressed. PAD is caused when hardening of the arteries deprives the legs and feet of oxygen-rich blood. This occurs because the arteries become clogged, much like water pipes in an old house that build up with lime. In the body, clogged arteries don’t bring enough oxygen to the toes, feet and legs. (Less commonly, the same thing can happen to arms and hands.) Older people are more likely to have some level of PAD. Those over 60 have a 5 percent chance; those over 70, 15 percent; and those over
80, 20 percent. Smokers and diabetics are far more likely to have PAD. If the disease stays mild, it can cause no symptoms at all, or just a little pain in the legs while walking. But if it progresses, it can lead to gangrene, amputation and sometimes even death. “A lot of time when patients complain of leg pain, it is misdiagnosed as something else, such as back pain,” said vascular surgeon and researcher Katherine Gallagher of the University of Michigan. “Then they may be referred to other doctors and occasionally have procedures like back surgery that fails to relieve the pain. Only then they are diagnosed with PAD.” Patients need to know that even if they have PAD, it can be managed conservatively with medications
In Good Health
most of the time, she added. “Surgery or endovascular therapy should be reserved for patients who have lifestyle-limiting pain when walking, rest pain and ulcers that don’t heal.” What can you do to avoid the severe later stages of PAD? • Don’t smoke; if you do smoke, quit. Nicotine inflames the blood vessels and increases the likelihood of PAD. Ask your doctor to help you find assistance with smoking cessation. • See your primary care doctor regularly. Checkups are designed to catch things like PAD. • If you are having pain in your legs, feet or toes, or have sores on your feet that won’t heal, be sure to mention that in your doctor visit. • Be sure to follow doctor’s advice and take prescribed blood
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pressure and cholesterol medications as directed. • Keep walking. Walking 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week can keep PAD at bay. If your legs hurt just a little, keep walking; if the pain is bad, stop for a few minutes till it goes away, then start walking again. Pushing through mild and moderate pain will increase the distance you can walk without pain over time. • If that’s hard to manage, ask if supervised exercise therapy is covered for you.
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Dear Savvy Senior, I think I’m paying too much for the medications I take. I have a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan and my out-of-pocket spending is over $4,000 thus far in 2017. When and how can I change my Medicare drug plan? Inquiring Carol Dear Carol, You can change your Part D prescription drug plan during Medicare’s open enrollment period, which runs from Oc. 15 through Dec. 7. During this time, beneficiaries can switch drug plans or join a drug plan if you didn’t have one before. They can also switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa, if they wish. Any changes to coverage will take effect Jan. 1. In September, you should have received your “annual notice of change” from your drug plan. It outlined any changes in coverage, costs or service that will take effect in January. If you take no action during open enrollment, your current coverage will continue next year. Yet even those who are happy with their coverage should review their plan for any changes to come.
Change Medicare Plans
If you have internet access and are comfortable using a computer, you can easily shop for and compare all Medicare drug plans in your area, and enroll in a new plan online. Just go to Medicare’s Plan Finder Tool at Medicare.gov/find-a-plan, and type in your ZIP code or your personal information, enter in how you currently receive your Medicare coverage, select the drugs you take and their dosages, and choose the pharmacies you use. You’ll get a cost comparison breakdown for every plan available in your area so you can compare it to your current plan. This tool also provides a five-star rating system that evaluates each plan based on past customer service records, and suggests generics or older brand name drugs that can reduce your costs. When you’re comparing drug plans, look at the “estimated annual drug costs” that shows how much you can expect to pay over a year in total out-of-pocket costs, including premiums, deductibles and co-pays. Also, be sure the plan you’re
Call 685-4871 “Adult Living at its Finest!” considering covers all of the drugs you take with no restrictions. Most drug plans today place the drugs they cover into price tiers. A drug placed in a higher tier may require you to get prior authorization or try another medication first before you can use it.
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If you find yourself struggling to pay your medication costs, check out Medicare’s “Extra Help” program. This is a federal lowincome subsidy that helps pays Part D premiums, deductibles and copayments. To be eligible, your income must be under $18,090 or $24,360 for married couples living together, and your assets must be below $13,820 or $27,600 for married couples. For more information or to apply, call Social Security at 800-7721213 or visit SSA.gov/medicare/ prescriptionhelp. Other resources that can help include RxAssist.org, which maintains a comprehensive database of patient assistance programs, set up by drug companies for those who have trouble affording their medications. And NeedyMeds.org, a national nonprofit organization that maintains a website of free information on programs that help people who can’t afford their medications or other health-care costs. 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.
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If you need some help choosing a new plan, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE and they can help you out over the phone. Or, contact New York State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), which provides free one-on-one Medicare counseling. They also conduct seminars during the open enrollment period at various locations throughout each state. To find the contact information for your local SHIP visit Shiptacenter.org, or call the eldercare locator at 800-677-1116.
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In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2017 by Local News, Inc. All rights reserved. 3380 Sheridan Dr., # 251 • P.O. Box 550, Amherst NY 14226 Phone: 716-332-0640 • Fax: 716-332-0779 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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., Nancy Cardillo, Catherine Miller, Julie Halm, Jennifer Fecio McDougall, Alex McDougall, Sander Koyfman, M.D. 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.
October 2017 •
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
The Social Ask Security Office
From the Social Security District Office
Why Your Nose May Be Key to Parkinson’s Risk How Did They Do It Study suggests fading sense of smell often occurs years before symptom onset
osing your sense of smell may be an early sign of an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, a new study suggests. Researchers say that people with a poor sense of smell may have as much as a five times greater risk of developing Parkinson’s. “Unlike vision or hearing impairment, a poor sense of smell often goes unrecognized,” said lead researcher, physician Honglei Chen. He is a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in East Lansing. “Evidence suggests olfactory [sense of smell] impairment may develop years prior to the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and dementia, the so-called neurodegenerative
diseases that we are yet to find a cure for,” Chen said. The researchers found a strong association between smell test results and developing Parkinson’s up to six years later. The association remained beyond six years, but was not as strong, he added. However, Chen stressed that Parkinson’s is fairly rare, so not everyone with a poor sense of smell will develop the disease. Research on the sense of smell may eventually help identify people at high risk for this devastating disease and help scientists understand how Parkinson’s develops before a diagnosis is possible, Chen suggested. The report was published online Sept. 6 in the journal Neurology.
Centenarians Often Healthier Than Younger Seniors: Study They have less chronic disease than those in their 80s and 90s, researcher says
mericans who are 100 years or older have lower rates of chronic illness than younger seniors, a new study finds. George Washington University researchers used U.S. Veterans Affairs Administration data to compare centenarians with people in their 80s and 90s. Most were white men who had fought in World War II. “Additionally, this generation lived through the Great Depression,” study author and physician Raya Elfadel Kheirbek said in a university news release. “It is a wonder, considering the hardships they had faced, that they have achieved such longevity.” She said this never-beforestudied group of centenarians at the VA offers an important message of resilience to anyone who is struggling. Kheirbek, an associate professor of medicine at George Washington, is also a palliative care doctor at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Due to their military backgrounds, many centenarians in the study had a strong sense of discipline and, therefore, tended to make healthy decisions such as not smoking or drinking, according to Page 22
ore than 85 percent of American homes have some sort of computer. Millions of people rely on computers daily to access, formulate and store information. People use computers for everything from sharing family pictures to shopping to banking and paying bills. But, we haven’t always been able to count on the convenience of the computer to make our lives easier. How did Social Security — one of the world’s largest “bookkeeping operations” — manage to keep records of our nation’s workers before we had computers? How did we match workers with their earnings? We used a process called the “visible index” that used tiny, bamboo strips wrapped in paper that were inserted into metal panels. The panels could be flipped back and forth to view the information on each side. Clerks had to look at each strip to find the exact Social Security number for a specific person. In 1959, when Social Security began converting information to microfilm, there were 163 million individual strips in the visible index. The workers’ names were filed alphabetically by surname using a phonetic pronunciation code to ensure consistent filing. There were hundreds of thousands of people with the same surname. How did the
Q: I applied for my child’s Social Security card in the hospital but have not received it. How long does it take? A: In most states, it takes an average of three weeks to get the card, but in some states it can take longer. If you have not received your child’s card in a timely manner, please visit your local Social Security office. Be sure to take proof of your child’s citizenship, age, and identity as well as proof of your own identity. And remember, we cannot divulge your child’s Social Security number over the phone. Learn more at www. socialsecurity.gov.
Kheirbek. The findings were published recently in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. Centenarians are among the nation’s fastest-growing age groups. Their numbers are expected to top 1 million by the end of the century, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration.
Q: A few months after I started receiving my Social Security retirement benefit, my former employer offered to take me back. It’s a great offer. Can I withdraw my retirement claim and reapply later to increase my benefit amount? A: Social Security understands that unexpected changes may occur after you begin receiving retirement benefits. If you change your mind, you may be able to withdraw your Social Security claim and re-apply
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017
staff meet the challenge? By knowing the system. Clerks familiar with the index could locate a specific record within 60 seconds. The index took about 24,000 square feet of floor space and was extremely heavy. No building in the District of Columbia had floors sturdy enough to support the everincreasing load. These weighty considerations led to Social Security getting its first large-scale computer, an IBM 705. Starting in 1956, the 705 was tasked with handling most of the accounting functions for the agency. It was still humming when it was replaced by a later generation of computers in 1961. Back in 1937, there were only about 26 million American workers; but today, Social Security processes 260 million worker’s annual wage reports. We have changed over time to meet the challenges of recording worker’s earnings correctly. Today, you don’t need a clerk or a visit to a local Social Security office to check your own information. That’s right. You can check yours now by either using your existing my Social Security account or by setting one up at www.socialsecurity.gov/ myaccount. Changing to meet challenges is just one of the ways we secure your today and tomorrow. You can read more about the history of Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/ history/index.html.
at a future date. This withdrawal must occur within 12 months of your original retirement, and you are limited to one withdrawal during your lifetime. Keep in mind, you must repay all of the benefits you received. You can learn more about the one-year period when you can postpone your benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/ withdrawal.htm Q: I am very happy that I was just approved to receive disability benefits. How long will it be before I get my first payment? A: If you’re eligible for Social Security disability benefits, there is a five-month waiting period before your benefits begin. We’ll pay your first benefit for the sixth full month after the date we find your disability began. For example, if your disability began on June 15, 2017, your first benefit would be paid for the month of December 2017, the sixth full month of disability, and you would receive your first benefit payment in January 2018. You can read more about the disability benefits approval process at www.socialsecurity.gov/ dibplan/dapproval.htm.
Health News screening days, provide one-on-one ECMC Foundation education, and follow-up by phone receives Susan G. Komen with patients. They will also work with WNYBH to facilitate patient MEDIA INFORMATION grant navigation following results and provide other required patient The ECMC Foundation has Corporate Marketing & Public support. Relations recently received a $67,683 grant
& Regional Training Center · 144 Genesee St. · Buffalo, New York 14203 from Susan G. Komen Upstate
New York, to provide culturally competent, evidence-based breast health patient navigation, screening, transportation, and Catholic Health announced that interpreter services to increase John Sperrazza has been named chief the mammography rate among elations, Sisters ofand Charity Hospital underserved unscreened women operating officer of Sisters of Charity Hospital. He previously served as in target communities in Western mail: email@example.com vice president for ancillary diagnostic New York. and treatment services for Catholic The ECMC Foundation and Health, a position he has held since its partnering organizations will 2014. implement the next phase of work He joined Catholic Health in through the Mobile Mammography 2007 as director of imaging services Services Program (MMSP). The for Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Mercy objective is to reach medically unce that John Sperrazza Hospital of underserved women has whobeen face Buffalo and disparities in seeking breast health ity Hospital. Sperrazza previously Sisters of care, with special emphasis on Charity African-American and Treatment Servicesand forLatina women Hospital and in Erie County, and women living in was later 4. He joined Catholic Health Allegany, Cattaraugus andinWyoming named vice counties. e Mercy Hospital, Mercy Hospital president of Owned by the ECMC imaging Foundation, WNY’s only Mobile s later named vice president of services. Mammography Coach (MMC) “John’s is operated by physician Vivian in-depth Lindfield, founder/director of knowledge and WNY Breast Health The MMC has Sperrazza perspective, demonstrated success through its m bothMMSP a system andwith hospital from both a system and hospital working a network level, will serve him well in this new of community partners Mark Sullivan, executive viceto reach role,” said Mark Sullivan, executive underserved women. Breast cancer vice president and chief operating be provided Health. screening “He has services provenwill to be a results driven leader within officer for Catholic Health. “He has aboard the Mobile Mammography our mission proven to be a results-driven leader Coach. and values.” within our organization and has a Western New York Breast Health deep commitment to our mission and medical professionals will provide outreach, clinical patient navigation, al operations at both Sisters’ Main Street values.” andAsSt.COO, Joseph Sperrazza will be mammography screening, and responsible for hospital operations follow-up services. They will & Engineering, ntral Sterile Processing, Facilities and at both Sisters’ Main Street and explain medical procedures and help rsight for Security Parking; Pharmacy;St.Food and Joseph campuses, overseeing meet specific and cultural, educational, perioperative services, central sterile knowledge and learning styles of ces at both campuses. processing, facilities and engineering, women to help them overcome and environmental services. He will barriers to screening; and provide also provide oversight for security linkage as patients move across the parking; food and continuum of care for screening and nding solutions and problem solving – he and goes abovepharmacy; and nutrition; transport; and respiratory follow-up diagnostic evaluation as k, president and CEO of Sisters of Charitycare Hospital. services“His at both campuses. needed. “John is strategic and driven The ECMC Foundation will perience will be awith great to Sisters Hospital.” when it comes to finding solutions collaborate theasset International and problem solving — he goes Institute of Buffalo (IIB) to provide above and beyond to get the job cultural patient navigation to serve said Marty Boryszak, immigrant and refugeefrom women e graduated (Cum Laude) Thewith State done,” University of New president and CEO of Sisters of abnormal mammogram results who e, Nuclear Medicine Technology and earned a master's Charity Hospital. “His approachable need further diagnostic testing. Their management style, energy and navigator will serve as an advocate e College. experience will be a great asset to and cultural liaison to address Sisters Hospital.” communication and trust barriers Sperrazza and his family reside and arrange interpreter services. Tonawanda. He graduated (cum Altus Management CRS Nuclear Servicesinand on the Board UB Family Medicine Patient laude) from The State University of Voices Network will collaborate on rk. New York at Buffalo with a Bachelor this project by providing linkage of Science degree in nuclear medicine and patient navigation for the technology and earned a master’s MMC at specific primary care sites. degree in business administration The project focuses on increasing ### screenings at current partnering UB/ from Medaille College. Sperrazza currently serves MD practice sites in Erie County and as the board chairman for Altus outlying counties by having patient Management CRS Nuclear Services ambassadors there to enhance the and as a member on the board of patient experience. On-site patient directors for Mercy Flight of Western ambassadors will schedule women New York. for screenings, register them on
John Sperrazza named SistersRelease of Charity’s COO For Immediate
rating Officer of Sisters of Charity Hospital
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Buffalo General Medical Center Enhances Exterior in Preparation for New Children’s Hospital Buffalo General Medical Center (BGMC), part of Kaleida Health, is currently undergoing a number of exterior and interior improvements. The improvements come at a fitting time as the Medical Campus eagerly awaits the opening of the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital (JROCH). The most noticeable project proceeding is the changing of the hospital’s building colors, from its distinguished neutral tones to a fresher, crisp off-white with cadet blue panels. The new look will match BGMC’s current surrounding including Kaleida Health’s Gates Vascular Institute and JROCH. The external enhancements are expected to be completed end of October. “The hospital upgrades have been a long time coming,” said Chris Lane, president of BGMC. “Buffalo General’s new look will not only
complement the new Children’s, but it will reflect the innovative and world renowned care we offer — patients come from all over Western New York and the world to obtain care at our hospital. The interior updates will further enhance the patient and visitor experience.” While the exterior alterations are the most notable enhancements, lobby and entrance renovations are ongoing. The Buffalo General lobby is being transformed to create a concierge feel for patients and visitors with brighter lights and colors and easily accessible registration. Also, the Ellicott and High entrance will undergo a makeover with new signage, flooring and lighting and revamped ceilings. The entranceway will still have historic tidbits regarding BGMC’s rich history. The interior transformation is expected to be completed end of 2017.
Cosmetic Vein & Laser Center celebrates 20 years in WNY Champagne, signature martinis, hors d’oeuvres and giveaways will mark Oct. 19 event The Cosmetic Vein & Laser Center (CVLC), a regional dermatology practice specializing in safe, non-invasive cosmetic laser procedures and varicose vein treatments, is celebrating its 20th year of patient care and innovation this October. Dermatologist Daniel Buscaglia opened the practice in 1997 in a modest medical office on Harlem Road in Snyder, with only three employees and three cosmetic dermatology lasers. Today, the Williamsville practice has 23 staff members, including four board certified dermatologists and vein care specialists. “CVLC was started from a passion for helping patients with skin care concerns and a keen
interest in advanced medical lasers,” said Buscaglia, board certified dermatologist and vein specialist, medical director and president of CVLC. “That passion is stronger than ever today and we’re proud to help patients find their confidence through safe, innovative treatment options.” CVLC will commemorate the milestone with a special celebration of beauty at its offices from 5 to 9 p.m., Oct. 19. Themed “Vintage Vogue,” the event will feature champagne, signature martinis, hors d’oeuvres, giveaways, and more. Attendees will have an opportunity to win $5,000 in cosmetic treatment of their choice. To attend the event or schedule a consultation, call 716-6325200 or visit www.cvlc.com.
Wanted: ECMC Memories for Centennial Booklet As part of the celebration of its 100th anniversary in 2018, the Erie County Medical Center is preparing a centennial booklet recounting important events, people and medical innovations during the history of the hospital. The medical center is asking the help of those who might have memories, photographs or historical artifacts of ECMC or its predecessors Edward J. Meyer Memorial Hospital and Buffalo City Hospital to contribute to the project. “We know that over the years, this hospital has touched the lives of countless people in our community through their experiences as
October 2017 •
patients, physicians, nurses, technicians, and other employees,” said ECMC Corp. CEO Thomas J. Quatroche Jr. “If you have had a special experience here or kept pictures or other items reminiscent of this hospital that you would like to share, we would very much appreciate your input as soon as possible.” If you have ECMC memories, photos or any memorabilia to share, please call Pam Brinkworth at 716-898-6568 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also write to the ECMC Foundation, 462 Grider St., suite G-1, Buffalo, NY 14215.
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
The choice to give is a life and death decision.
Amy Terpening Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor
A hit-and-run collision and life-threatening traumatic brain injury brought Amy to ECMC, WNY’s only Level 1 Adult Trauma Center. Each year, we treat over 70,000 patients like her in a space built for 45,000. From double the square footage to more privacy for families and patients facing difficult situations, a new Trauma Center and Emergency Department will give our patients, our care teams, and our entire community the chance for even more medical miracles—like Amy’s remarkable recovery after two months in a coma.
The difference between healthcare and true care
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017
Learn how you can donate and be a part of lifesaving care at supportECMCtrauma.org.