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in good Child Safety


May 2016 • Issue 19

With 4.5 million dog bites occuring annually in the US, parents with young kids are advised to be careful before bringing a dog in their home

Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

STROKE Things You



Teenage girls now try alcohol before boys do, says study

Need to Know Now

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Beloved Buffalo Sabres broadcaster and throat cancer survivor Rick Jeanneret helping promote Relay to Life. See inside

The Revenge of Bedbugs They’ve grown thicker skin, which helps protect against pesticides and may explain why population is growing worldwide, scientists suggest

Living Alone: Create Your Own Perfect Day! ­


A Former Ballet Dancer Making a Difference Dancer Cynthia Pegado has performed in Belgium, Switzerland and Portugal. Now she is devoted to helping patients with Parkinson’s disease in Buffalo

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Why You Should Fall for Mangoes

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NYS Hospital Mergers Driving Up Prices A study by the conservative think tank, the Manhattan Institute, concludes that the 100-plus hospital mergers in NYS have served to only increase costs and decrease competition with no perceptible increase in quality. See “Health in a Minute” on page 5

Q&A with Christopher Kerr, M.D.

Mangoes, the world’s most popular fruit (who knew?), bring a wealth of powerful nutrients.

Hospice Buffalo chief medical director talks about the end-of-life experience and why we have the thoughts we do when we’re in final hours May 2016 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Reach thousands of healthcare professionals every month. Advertise with In Good Health Call 585-317-1671 for more info or email: editor@bfohealth.com

Fighting Back, Bedbugs Grow a Thicker Skin Thicker skin helps protect against pesticides and may explain why population is growing worldwide, scientists suggest

Life-Changing Careers Start Here! People Inc. is WNY’s leading and largest health and human service provider. We are seeking motivated staff members looking for positions in behavior services, day services, group home residences, respite services, nursing and more. Apply online: people-inc.org/careers Pre-Employment Drug Test Required. EOE.

Working with Children who need you


edbugs may be developing thicker "skins" that help them resist common pesticides, a new study suggests. This might explain why bedbug populations are increasing worldwide, the researchers added. "If we understand the biological mechanisms bedbugs use to beat insecticides, we may be able to spot a chink in their armor that we can exploit with new strategies," study author David Lilly, from the University of Sydney in Australia, said in a university news release. Bedbugs are parasites that feed on the blood of people and animals as they sleep; the insects can pro-

duce painful bites in their victims. The new findings, published April 13 in the journal PLoS ONE, may lead to the development of more effective pesticides to fight bedbugs, the researchers said. "Bedbugs, like all insects, are covered by an exoskeleton called a cuticle. Using scanning electron microscopy, we were able to compare the thickness of cuticle taken from specimens of bedbugs resistant to insecticides and from those more easily killed by those same insecticides," Lilly explained. The thicker their cuticle, the more likely the bedbugs were to survive when exposed to the insecticides, the study found.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • May 2016

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Vinegar may be effective in treating colitis


inegar is the perfect ingredient for making tangy sauces and dressings. Now, researchers report in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that the popular liquid could also help fight ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease that research suggests is related to the gut microbiome. They found that vinegar suppressed in-

flammation-inducing proteins while improving the gut's bacterial makeup in mice. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition that affects millions of people around the world. Although its cause isn't completely understood, research suggests that bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract play an important part. People with the condition experience

repeated inflammation of the large intestine's lining, which can cause ulcers, abdominal pain, diarrhea and other symptoms. At least one recent study suggested that vinegar, which has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, might be effective against ulcerative colitis. The researchers wanted to further investigate this possibility.

Mom Was Right: A Good Night's Sleep Helps Keep You Healthy Too little shuteye linked to higher risk of colds and infections, study finds In news that's sure to have mothers everywhere saying, "I told you so," scientists have confirmed that a good night's sleep may keep colds and other infections at bay. The odds that someone who sleeps five or fewer hours a night had caught a cold in the past month were 28 percent higher than for folks who regularly get more shuteye, the study found. And for other infections — including flu, ear infections and pneumonia — short sleepers had more than 80 percent higher odds of having an infection in the past month compared to those sleeping seven or eight hours, the study said. "People who sleep five or fewer hours on average are at substantially increased risk for both colds whether head or chest or other infections, compared to people who sleep seven to eight hours on average," said study researcher Aric Prather. He's an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, San Francisco. The researchers also found that people who have sleep disorders or those who have ever told their physician that they have sleep troubles had about 30 percent higher odds of having had a cold in the previous month. The odds of infection in the past month for people with sleep disorders were more than doubled, the study said. Experts cannot say for sure why lack of sleep helps increase susceptibility to infections. However, Prather said, it is known that T-cells, a type of white blood cells that fight off infection, don't work as well when you are sleep-deprived. The findings were published as a letter April 11 in JAMA Internal Medicine. May 2016 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Your Doctor

By Chris Motola

Christopher W. Kerr, M.D. Dreams and visions that end-of-life patients go through in the final moments bring a degree of comfort, peace, according to Hospice Buffalo chief medical director Q: I was listening to some of your TED Talk Buffalo segments earlier, and you talk about the psychological and personal factors that are part of the experience of dying. How do you approach it from a medical perspective? A: Part of the challenge is: how do you take something that's pretty abstract and put it in a medical framework. We did that in part by putting some rigor into how we ask those questions. So we standardized our questions, quantified them and measured them. We looked at medications. If you see our patient videos, you'll see that these people are cognitively intact, so it's not confused state, a drug or aberration. The people we were interviewing were in full control of their faculties. Q: How much of what you discovered about end-of-life dreams can be generalized? Is it all extremely individualized? A: A great deal is individualized experience, but you can generalize something. We had a menu list people could choose from, what category they were seeing. So we were trying to give more definition to these experiences. So we start off asking if you're dreaming about a meaningful event, person or animal. Is it living or dead? So we catalog what people are experiencing, and we found some consistent themes. The overriding theme is that, when one is approaching death, you're seeing an increase

in frequency of dreams, and in those dreams you're seeing an increased number of deceased people you've known, or past meaningful experiences. Those are associated with the highest degree of comfort. So it looks like, when you're approaching death, there's a built-in mechanism to reflect on your life, and to bring you comfort. Q: That's really interesting. So it might really be a built-in feature? A: It seems to be. It's hard to interpret where it comes from or how it fits into the big picture. The question for us was whether or not it occurred. And it absolutely does. It's profoundly real for the people who are experiencing it, and uniquely meaningful. It seems to have value as reconciliation — sometimes these experiences are about forgiveness or affirming love, but they always have meaning. They seem to be related, individually, to what the individual needs. I had somebody this morning who is from another country and dreaming about their country of origin. It brings them peace. So it's pretty specific to the person. Q: So from a medical perspective, what can you do with that information? Can you utilize it, enhance it or should you just get out of the way of it? A: The first thing we can do is to avoid over-biologizing it. We shouldn't treat these states as some-

thing to be medicated, unless they're causing distress. It's something that may be unfamiliar to us, but that in itself doesn't justify sterilizing someone from their own process. In turns of potentiating it, I think the answer is in trying to normalize it, letting people know that it's very common. That's often enough to allow people to come to peace with what they're experiencing. I think dying itself is isolating, and not addressing these things only serves to further isolate the patient. Tragically, it's a loss of a therapeutic moment, if we don't recognize it. These aren't random events. We're kind of helping people on their journey. It's not on our terms. We, as physicians, tend to be much better on the objective end of things. What the patient is experiencing is subjective. Q: How did you become interested in this phenomenon? A: Oh, I didn't even want to be interested in it. What happened was I ended up in hospice as a fluke as a cardiology fellow, and I noticed at the nurses and social workers were able to prognosticate fairly accurately when patients were about to die, based on what the patients were experiencing. If they were dreaming about their dead mother, there'd be a pretty good chance that they were dying. I thought it was absurd and, honestly, it was a little bit uncomfortable for me. As I started paying

attention, I noticed medicine hadn't really studied this much, but philosophers and writers had talked about it throughout the ages. So I figured our side should probably take a look at this as something that could, possibly, be important. As a physician, this meant examining it with the tools our profession is familiar with. So we measured it as a way of giving it some legitimacy. Q: Hospice seems a bit unique in that it's less about “fixing” the patient. How do you flip the switch from doing everything in your power to save the patient to stepping aside somewhat? A: The whole thing's a bit of a charade. If you were to go into an [intensive unity] IU, you should look at the death rate in there. It looks like hospice many days, we just don't acknowledge it that way. Many people who go into a hospital don't leave the hospital. Nursing home census turns over every 18 months. There's a lot of death in these places, but we're death-denying. Hospice just owns the label a bit more. I think our obligation is two-fold: the first is to try to recognize and preserve the sanctity of life, but it's also about relieving suffering in all its forms. What medicine does is err on the side of the healing, curative arts. The reality is that we all die, though, so we have a responsibility to relieve suffering. It gets more difficult when those pains are psychogenic or spiritual, but it's still part of our obligation. So our role hasn't changed, it's just a matter of how we interpret that playbook. We can be a bit enamored of what medicine can do to people rather than what it can do for them. Q: I suspect it's not limited to medicine. Is it hard to make the argument to the public, insurers and government, that pain, suffering and self-actualization is important enough to fund study and treatment? A: Ya, the argument is whether you value quality of life or whether you value organs. It's all in the same bucket. Sometimes that means putting a cast on a broken leg, sometimes it means treating depression. From the standpoint of the sufferer, it doesn't much matter. Here's the funny thing: people tend to live longer when they're comfortable. So it turns out that if you have pain and can't sleep, you're less likely to comply with your cancer treatment. So there's treating the disease and how it makes you feel. And lo and behold, how you feel matters. If you ask people what they value most, length of life matters less than comfort and independence.


Physician Kerr with a hospice patient. Photo courtesy of Center for Hospice and Palliative Care. Page 4

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • May 2016

Name: Christopher W. Kerr, M.D. Position: Chief medical officer at the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care Hometown: Toronto, Ontario Education: University of Rochester; Medical College of Ohio Affiliations: Kaleida, Catholic Health Organizations: Board president, Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center, East Aurora; board member, Mental Health Association, Buffalo; medical director, St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, Buffalo; owner and operator, Providence Farm, East Aurora. Family: two children Hobbies: Lives on a working horse farm, on the board of a therapeutic riding program

Overruling Opiates CDC makes revolutionary opiate prescription recommendations By Tim Fenster


ocal substance abuse specialists are praising new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that advise physicians to avoid prescribing opiate painkillers for patients with chronic pain, saying the risk of such drugs often far outweighs the benefits. In its first-ever recommendation on dispensing addictive opiates, such as OxyContin and Percocet, the nation’s top federal health agency linked the over-prescription of narcotics to the painkiller and heroin epidemic that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of overdose deaths. The guidelines make exceptions

for those receiving cancer treatment or end-of-life care. For those with other conditions experiencing chronic pain, the CDC advises doctors to prescribe smaller doses for shorter periods of time. Torin Finver, medical director of Horizon Health Services, praised the CDC’s recommendations as a crucial step forward in curbing the over-prescription of addictive opiates, but also said it’s long overdue. “Pain needs to be controlled in better ways than by prescribing opiates that in the long run reduce function,” said Finver, noting improved function is a physician’s goal in pain treatment.

Finver also blasted a medical culture that treated pain as a fifth vital sign and controlled-release opioids like OxyContin as a cure-all for patients experiencing chronic pain. “Physicians have been brainedwashed into a pattern of prescribing, which was fueled by this idea that we need to eliminate pain,” he said. Finver recalled that in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, a patient would almost never be prescribed an opiate painkiller for say, a broken bone. Many critics blame drug manufacturers, particularly Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, for pushing an end-all-pain treatment philosophy and misleading the public on the risk of addiction to their painkillers. In 2007, Purdue pled guilty to violating the False Claims Act and agreed to pay a $600 million settlement; several top executives were also charged.

Killing the pain

The CDC guidelines noted similar findings. Roughly 20 percent of patients presenting non-cancer pain symptoms to physicians received an opiate prescription, and in 2012, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opiate painkillers. That was enough for every adult in the U.S. to have a bottle, the CDC noted. Unsurprisingly, the surge in prescribed opiates corresponded with a major increase in overdoses. Between 1999 and 2014, more than 165,000

people died from an overdose related to opiate pain medication. It also led to more patients becoming addicted to opiates, which in turn led to doctor-shopping, illicit sales of prescription painkillers and abuse of heroin, which addicts often turn to when opiates become too expensive or when the supply is cut off. At addiction treatment centers like Horizon Health Services, the effects of opiate prescriptions are a daily reality. “I would say at least 50 percent of the opiate addicts we see are people who were prescribed opiates,” Finver said. The CDC guidelines also urge primary care physicians to use alternatives to opiates, such as ibuprofen or aspirin; to avoid prescribing opiates at the same time as benzodiazepines, such as anti-anxiety drugs Valium or Xanax, due to a higher risk of overdose; and avoid prescribing opiates to children at all due to a heightened risk of future drug abuse and addiction. Though the CDC’s recommendations are nonbinding, Finver says they are a significant first step in changing a prescription culture that has led to an epidemic of deadly drug abuse. “Opiate prescriptions became too commonplace. We’ve reached a point of crisis. We need to start looking at other alternatives. There’s other means of controlling pain,” he said.

Healthcare in a Minute By George W. Chapman

VA privatization?

Recent problems within the VA healthcare system have prompted a special VA commission to consider allowing vets to receive their care at private facilities while the VA begins to close their own hospitals, beginning with the obsolete and little used. Several veteran’s groups have expressed opposition to the proposal saying their opinions have neither been considered nor solicited. The VA operates 150 medical centers and 1,400 outpatient clinics, employs 53,000 licensed professional and cares for 8.3 million vets.

NYS mergers driving up prices

A study by the conservative think tank, the Manhattan Institute, concludes that the 100-plus hospital mergers in NYS have served to only increase costs and decrease competition with no perceptible increase in quality. The institute recommends greater price transparency among hospitals and the establishment of a commission mandated to monitor healthcare consolidation and costs. Mergers that result in price increases would be subject to antitrust litigation. Accounting firm PWC agrees. According to its market analysis that included 5,600 hospitals, bigger hospitals have obvious economies of scale advantages over small hospitals; but it doesn’t carry over (so far) when these hospitals merge. Hospital mergers have not resulted in noteworthy cost savings or improved quality.


The hacking of healthcare data is becoming more frequent and sophisticated. Most of the attacks come from Russia, China and Eastern Europe. Hackers are looking for protected health information and medical technology intellectual property to sell on the black market. “Ransomware” is designed to destroy backup files and databases unless the victim pays a ransom to have their data unlocked. The FBI is encouraging victims not to pay the ransom as to do so would only encourage the hackers. The defenses against these attacks are costing the healthcare industry billions.

is probably employees have come to expect coverage through their employer.

Controlling drug prices

In an effort to control spiraling drug prices, Medicare is trialing a new payment model whereby physicians who prescribe drugs that are cheaper but equally effective as the higher priced options will be rewarded. The thought is to have both the physician and patient do the math. Physicians are still free to prescribe the most expensive drug if they truly believe it is in their patient’s best interest.

War on cancer

MD assisted suicide

California is moving toward legalizing physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. It’s already legal in Washington, Montana and Vermont. Of course, the eventuality of California entering the market has prompted the manufacturer of Seconal, developed over 80 years ago, to gouge the public. In 2009, a lethal dose of Seconal cost about $200. Valeant Pharmaceuticals has raised the price to $3,000.

Employer-sponsored insurance

Many thought the ACA would cause a decline in business-sponsored health insurance. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 57 percent of Americans, about 155 million, will still get insurance through their employer this year. The CBO predicts this will drop slightly to 152 million in three years, but then remain stable through 2026. The main reason for this stability

This is one war we are actually winning. Cancer-related deaths have decreased from 215 per 100,000 deaths in 1990 to 166 per 100,000 deaths in 2012. That is a 23 percent decrease in just 22 years. Cancer mortality has dropped across the board for all cancers. Since 1990: breast, 36 percent; prostate, 50 percent; colorectal, 39 percent; nonHodgkin’s lymphoma, 28 percent; ovarian, 22 percent; cervical, 34 percent; leukemia, 15 percent; lung, 24 percent; kidney, 12 percent; liver, 70 percent; oral, 29 percent; pancreatic, 3 percent; stomach, 47 percent; thyroid, 25 percent; brain, 10 percent.

NYS No. 21

The annual United Health survey of states ranks No. 1 Vermont as the “healthiest” and No. 50 Louisiana as the “sickest.” The study considers factors like diet, smoking, alcohol

May 2016 •

intake and obesity in its ranking.

Measuring and reporting “quality” is expensive

Your physician spends about $40,000 a year in staff time and money just to measure their progress against several quality measures imposed by Medicare and commercial payers. Many are calling into question the return on investment when it comes to value-based payment. What it costs a physician to comply and report almost negates any increased payment or rewards for meeting quality metrics. While measuring and rewarding quality is a laudable goal, the inefficiency in collecting and reporting the data clearly contributes to the negative attitude in the medical profession toward the whole concept.

Good Samaritans

A survey of North Carolina physicians revealed that 93 percent took action in a medical emergency outside of their office. The most common place for emergency services was on an airplane.

George W. Chapman is a health consultant who operates GW Chapman Consulting in Upstate New York. To reach him, email gwc@gwchapmanconsulting.com.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Live Alone & Thrive

By Gwenn Voelckers

Practical tips, advice and hope for those who live alone

On Your Own: Create a Perfect Day!


f you could do anything your heart desired, how would you spend a perfect day? I was presented with this question a while ago, and it got me thinking. I began to fantasize about what my perfect day would include, and the more I thought about it, the more excited I got about making my perfect day a reality. One of the many benefits of living alone is that you have the freedom to choose exactly how you spend your time and energy. Maybe you’re looking for some introspective time to yourself. Or maybe you’ve had enough “alone time” lately and would enjoy the company of friends. Perhaps, like me, your perfect day would include a little bit of both. And so I set out to plan — and then experience — my perfect day (which, by the way, turned out to be wonderful!). I’m sharing it with you here, in hopes it might inspire you to think about your own perfect day and make it happen. Like anything worthwhile, creating a perfect day takes a little thought and preparation, but I think you’ll find it’s well worth the effort. My Perfect Day 6:30 a.m. — Rise And Shine I woke up with the sun, its warm

glow gently coaxing me out of a sound sleep. No alarm clock for me on my perfect day! I shut my eyes for a few more minutes, then rolled out of bed and pulled on yesterday's jeans and a top. I wanted to get up and out for a leisurely walk up the street, with a cup of coffee cradled in one hand and my cell phone in the other. My sister Anne and I enjoyed our daily walk/ talk, which I cherish. 7:30 a.m. — Read the Newspaper Staying connected with the world-at-large keeps me grounded and informed. After my walk, my perfect day included some quiet time reading the newspaper, while sipping a second cup of coffee. I'm old-fashioned that way, and still get a hard copy of the paper delivered every morning. I feel less alone and more in sync with all that's going around me when I spend a few peaceful minutes each morning catching up on current events. 8:30 a.m. — Make My Bed That's right: I made my bed. It's a small, but essential part of my perfect day. When I make my bed and straighten up my bedroom, I feel better about myself. It means I'm taking good care of what matters — me! Later today, when I return to my bedroom, I will walk in and feel

comforted by the how nice and neat everything looks. 9 a.m. — Get Moving Nothing like a few miles on the Stairmaster to get my heart pumping and my perfect day off to an even better start. I loved seeing my buddies at the gym and getting a little exercise bolstered my body, as well as my spirits. Besides that, I knew I would return home later to indulge in some tasty, decadent delight, and gave myself permission to break at least one of my healthy habits!

paper, and weighed it all down with a rock. This small act put a big spring in my step! 4 p.m. — Take A Nap Need I say more?

Noon — Commune With Nature (And a Friend) As much as I love the month of May, it's still too early to plant and I miss gardening with my dear friend Terry. That’s why my perfect day included a trip to the Highland Park (Lamberton) Conservatory. Terry and I met there to stroll through the colorful spring flower display, enjoy the tranquility, and catch up on each other’s lives.

6:30 p.m. — Share a Meal With People I Love On my perfect day, you'll find me at my sister Anne’s home, enjoying one of her incredible gourmet meals and the good company of her family. No surprise, I was there today. We ate, we laughed and just hung out (until it was time to do the dishes and I made a bee-line for the door. Kidding!). It was a perfect and delicious ending to a perfect day. I was with people I love. What could be better? 10 p.m. — Hit The Sack Early to bed, with a book in hand, is the perfect nightcap for me. So that’s how I wrapped up my wonderful day. Before I nodded off to sleep, I asked myself: What made this day so perfect? Why do I feel so content? The answer came quickly: connections. My perfect day was filled with connections — with myself, with the world at large, with nature, my best friend, and with my family. What’s your perfect day? Whatever it is, make it happen. If you’re like me, you’ll feel renewed and reinvigorated from the inside out. And that’s a perfect combination.

3:30 p.m. — Commit A "Random Act Of Kindness" My perfect day wouldn't be complete without doing a little something for someone else, without expecting anything in return. It’s a goal I have every day, and this day was no different. On my way home from the conservatory, I saw the contents of my neighbor’s recycling box blown helter-skelter. So I stopped, gathered up the

Gwenn Voelckers is the founder and facilitator of Live Alone and Thrive, empowerment workshops for women held throughout the year in Mendon, New York. For information about her upcoming workshops or to invite Gwenn to speak, call her at 585624-7887, email her at gvoelckers@ rochester.rr.com.

10:30 a.m. — Pamper Myself It wouldn't be a perfect day, if I didn't spend some important "me time," getting pampered. On my last birthday, I was given a gift certificate for a Swedish massage. I booked it last week, in preparation for my perfect day, and I looked forward to it for days. It goes without saying . . . it was perfect!

U.S. Autism Rate Unchanged at 1 in 68 Kids: CDC The autism rate among schoolaged children in the United States has held steady in recent years, but it's too early to determine whether rates are stabilizing, according to a federal government report released in April. The autism rate was one in 68 children in 2012, the same as it was in 2010, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC gets its numbers from monitoring autism among 8-yearolds in 11 communities in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. One expert has a theory as to why the numbers haven't budged since 2010. "This probably reflects the fact that screening methods — which

have been implemented in pediatric primary care as well as in early childhood centers — are identifying the correct number of children," said Dr. Ron Marino, associate chair of pediatrics at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, Long Island region. He believes that, prior to 2010, there was a "learning curve" among doctors when it came to properly diagnosing autism spectrum disorders.

Teenage Girls Now Try Alcohol Before Boys Do: Study

ing that targets girls by promoting sweet, fruit-flavored drinks, such as wine coolers, which are popular among underage girls who drink. Most strategies to curb underage drinking are aimed at boys, Cheng said. But given these new findings, more policies are needed to reduce underage drinking among girls, she said. For the study, Cheng and her colleagues collected data on about 390,000 U.S. teens and young adults aged 12 to 24 who took part in government surveys on drug use and health from 2002 to 2013. The researchers found that in mid-adolescence, girls are more likely to start drinking than boys. After age 19, boys went on to drink more than girls, the researchers added. However, a 2015 report from the

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found adult women are catching up to men when it comes to using and abusing alcohol. "We found that over that period of time, differences in measures such as current drinking, number of drinking days per month, reaching criteria for an alcohol use disorder and driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year, all narrowed for females and males," report author Aaron White, senior scientific adviser to the director of the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, said at the time. "Males still consume more alcohol, but the differences between men and women are diminishing," White added.

KIDS Corner

When it comes to drinking, the gender gap is disappearing, experts say


t's probably not a milestone that will do many feminists proud, but teenage girls in the United States now start to drink alcohol sooner than boys do, a new study shows. "This is becoming a public health issue," said lead researcher, physician Hui Cheng, an adjunct assistant professor at Michigan State University. "We really don't know why girls are surpassing boys — that's the next question we want to answer," she Page 6

said. Among the possible explanations, according to Cheng: drinking has become more socially acceptable. Also, because girls typically reach puberty sooner, some start engaging in risky behaviors such as drinking earlier. It might also be that younger girls are spending time with older boys, "so there is more exposure to drinking," she added. Cheng also pointed to advertis-

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • May 2016

National Stroke Awareness Month


Things You Need To Know About Stroke

By Elad I. Levy, MD


troke can happen to anyone, at any age, at any time. In fact, stroke rates are increasing in young and middle-aged people, between 20 and 54 years of age. We are also seeing a rise in the number of strokes in young women. People often associate stroke with the elderly and as a result are unaware of the signs and symptoms. Signs of a stroke are often variable, and many don’t even realize when they’re having one. If you think you’re suffering a stroke, there is a small window of time in which treatment can minimize or even reverse brain damage, decreasing your odds of debilitation after a stroke. Many people are uninformed that the most effective stroke treatments are only accessible if the stroke is identified and diagnosed within the first three hours of onset of symptoms. So remember, you need to act F.A.S.T. F.A.S.T. is a simple way to remember the sudden signs of a stroke: n Face — Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop? n Arms — Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm not fully lift? n Speech — Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or odd? n Time — If you observe or experience any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. Other symptoms include loss of vision, sudden unexplained dizziness and severe headache or loss of

consciousness. When experiencing a stroke, the symptoms often come on suddenly and are accompanied by at least two signs. I often get asked “What can a person do to decrease their risk of a stroke?” I always tell them, if you smoke, stop and to adopt a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise. Creating healthier choices can help make a difference in preventing strokes. Other common risk factors associated with stroke are high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and a family history. There are several treatment options for stroke. However, clot removal has proven to be the best method when treating strokes occurring in major brain vessels. Clot removal is performed by using a device to eradicate a clot allowing for restoration in blood flow to the brain.


Elad I. Levy, MD, is the director of stroke research, co-director of the Kaleida Health Stroke Center and cerebrovascular surgery, director of endovascular stroke treatment and research and director of the Toshiba neuroendovascular catheterization laboratory. He is also chairman of neurological surgery and professor of neurosurgery and radiology at UB.

Strokes can affect people of all ages and backgrounds Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. In 2008 alone, more than 133,000 Americans died from stroke — or one person every four minutes — making it the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when a blockage stops the flow of blood to the brain or when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts. Although many people think of stroke as a condition that affects only older adults, strokes can and do occur in people of all ages. In fact, nearly a quarter of all strokes occur in people younger than age 65. Each year, almost 800,000 strokes occur in the United States. Strokes often lead to serious, life-changing complications that include: • Paralysis or weakness on one side of the body. • Problems with thinking, awareness, attention, learning, judgment, and memory. • Problems understanding or forming speech. • Difficulty controlling or expressing emotions. • Numbness or strange sensations. • Pain in the hands and feet. • Depression. Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Daniel J. Patterson D.O., F.A.C.O.S.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 7

Relay for Life Canalside 2016

participants. But they’ll have help making this the largest Relay in Western New York. Beloved Buffalo Sabres broadcaster and throat cancer survivor Rick Jeanneret will be the honorary survivor at the event. Attendees can also enjoy a variety of games and activities for children, live music from local rock band .22 Calibre, and a survivor’s dinner catered by the popular canalside eatery 716 Food and Sport. Organizers have also reached out to the Buffalo Medical Group, urging the group’s physicians to ask their cancer patients to attend. “I think our committee has dreams of making this the biggest relay in the world,” Ambrusko-Maida said. Participants can also rest assured that the money they donate will benefit cancer patients and research in the local community. Ambrusko-Maida explained that money

Event to raise money for the American Cancer Society will be the first in downtown Buffalo. Goal is to make this the “biggest relay event in the world” By Tim Fenster


esidents of the eight-county Western New York region put on, participated in and contributed to 18 separate Relay for Life events last year. So it may be rather surprising to learn that there has yet to be a Relay event in what is arguably the most active and bustling part of our region — downtown Buffalo. That is about to change on Friday, May 20, when the first-ever Relay for Life will be held at Canalside Buffalo. A track will be laid down at the park between Prime Street and the Buffalo River, and hundreds of participants will walk at intervals from 5 p.m. to midnight to raise money for the American Cancer Society. “We’ve been looking to do a community event like this in Buffalo for a while,” said Denise Ambrusko-Maida, community manager of the Eastern Division of the ACS. “Now that we have a Canalside it

seemed like the perfect time.” So far, dozens of teams and hundreds participants have raised tens of thousands. But organizers have loftier goals. They hope the event can bring together more than 1,000 cancer survivors and raise at least $100,000 in its first year. “We felt it was time to bring the community-based [Relay for Life] model to the city of Buffalo,” said Ambrusko-Maida. “We really do want to make it the largest survivorship event in Western New York.” “We’re definitely on our way,” she added. Canalside Relay organizers and participants will have their work cut out for them, however. Despite being more rural communities, the Lockport and Wyoming County areas have raised more than $100,000 apiece in recent years. The Grand Island Relay raised just shy of $130,000 last year. And the University at Buffalo event brought together 1,500

raised through local relay events first goes to the ASC’s headquarters in Atlanta but then “returns with friends” in the form of about $4 million in active grants for research at the University at Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. “It usually returns here because we have such great researchers here,” she said. Last year, Relay for Life events in Western New York raised more than $1 million for the ACS. Worldwide, more than 5,000 relays are held across 20 or more countries on five continents, and at least one is held in each of the 50 states. It is estimated that Relay for Life has raised some $5 billion for the ACS. “The community really rallies around these events in a meaningful way,” Ambrusko-Maida said. For more information on Relay for Life, visit relay.acsevents.org and search for Buffalo, NY.

Beloved Buffalo Sabres broadcaster and throat cancer survivor Rick Jeanneret will be the honorary survivor at the event, which will take place May 20 at Canalside in downtown Buffalo.

People Inc. Focuses on Abilities Service organization reaches out to challenged in Buffalo area

But when they do land a job, it’s often a life-changing opportunity. “I think we underestimate the empowerment we get from our jobs,” Scutt said. “It gives us the ability to make important decisions about our lives. With a job comes money and independence.” For more information on People Inc., visit www.people-inc.org.

By Tim Fenster


ack in 1970, a group of concerned parents and citizens came together with a shared goal — a better life for their loved ones with disabilities. So they established a nonprofit human services organization that would later come to be called People Inc. Today, the group services some 12,000-area residents, including seniors, families and individuals with developmental and physical disabilities, making it the largest service organization for people with disabilities in Western New York. Though People Inc. provides a range of residential, health care and recreational services, it is perhaps best known for its vocational and job training programs. Jim Scutt, director of vocational services, said People Inc. has helped 400 individuals with disabilities land jobs across a range of fields. “Just about anywhere you go in the community, there are people we support in all those places,” Scutt said. While many people who come to

Page 8

People Inc. for job training are ready to work, others may have never held a job before. For the latter category, they take “an individualized approach” that might involve one-onone meetings, questionnaires and job training through volunteering or internships. “It’s really an in-depth look at who a person is, what their skills are,” Scutt said. “You have to look at a person through a vocational lens.” People Inc. also helps many individuals prepare for the workforce through its community active people program, a community-based day habilitation program that links young adults with disabilities to volunteer opportunities and internships.

Tip of the CAPP

The CAPP also provides individual and group training on life skills, such as safety, self-advocacy, self-care, independent living skills, money skills and career exploration. Transportation is provided to those in the program. However, if the individual has access to public

transportation, he or she is mobility trained to promote independence. “When we’re looking at someone, we’re looking at the entire person — what makes them tick and how that transfers to the workforce,” Scutt said. People Inc. also encourages college-aged adults with disabilities to continue their education at area colleges with the young adult life transition program. Students involved in the program can audit courses at Erie Community College, Niagara County Community College, Canisius College, Daemen College and the University at Buffalo. The YALT program also helps students participate in internships and explore career options. “Sometimes it takes time for people to get job-ready, and when they are it really only takes months,” Scutt said. Of course, many of them face the same challenges the rest of us do when looking for employment — poor labor market, lack of transportation, etc.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • May 2016

Nick Lyons, a program participant of People Inc.'s supported employment program, works at Wegmans. People Inc. has helped 400 individuals with disabilities land jobs across a range of fields.


flavor may suggest, mangoes score fairly low in calories (only 100 per sliced cup) and super low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol (as in zero). As for carbs, one cup of sliced mangoes has about as much as one medium apple or banana: 25 grams.

The skinny on healthy eating

Why Eating Mangoes Does a Body Good


y mother adored mangoes: the tropical taste, the luscious texture, the yummy smell. And I adored her for adoring a fruit that seemed inconsistent with her crisp, tidy nature. An apple? Yes. A mango? Total surprise. On that sweet note — and because it’s May — I dedicate this month’s column to mangoes, the world’s most popular fruit, and a quite nutritious one to boot. Thanks to its bounty of a natural sugar called fructose, mangoes are an excellent source of steady energy. Unlike sucrose (refined table sugar that has been stripped of its nutrients) or the fructose-based sweeteners used in processed foods, the fructose in mangoes — and all fruits, for that matter — is digested more slowly because of the fruit’s fiber. One cup of sliced mangoes weighs about 3 grams. The American Diabetes Association supports the consumption of fruits, even fruits that have more natural sugar in them — like mangoes, pineapples and grapes. Yes, they have carbs; and yes, their intake requires monitoring; but — just like many starchy vegetables — they’re simply too delicious and too nutritious to pass up. What kinds of nutrients do man-

Helpful tips

goes bring to the table? We don’t have space here to review all 20 vitamins and minerals — yes, 20! — but we can talk about the top three: vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin B6. One cup of sliced mangoes boasts 75 percent of our daily needs for vitamin C, 25 percent of our needs for vitamin A, and 11 percent for vitamin B6. A powerful antioxidant and essential nutrient, vitamin C works hard to keep our tissues and immune system in great shape. Although no studies confirm that vitamin C prevents colds, it may shorten the length of a cold. Vitamin A is needed for proper bone growth, reproduction, eyesight and immune system health, while vitamin B6 plays a “behind the scenes” role in all kinds of key functions, from brain development during pregnancy to helping the body make hormones that affect mood. On the research front, recent studies conducted at Texas A&M University suggest that mangoes may have cancer-fighting properties. According to physician Susanne Talcott, “Our team found that a compound in mangoes prevented or stopped cancer growth in certain breast and colon cell lines.” And contrary to what their sweet

Don’t focus on color when choosing a mango. The red color that appears on some varieties is not an indicator of ripeness. Always judge by feel: a ripe mango will give slightly when squeezed. Mangoes will continue to ripen at room temperature. Once ripe, move mangoes to the refrigerator, where they may be stored for up to five days. Note: Those with a latex allergy may also have a cross-reaction to mangoes.

into bottom of lightly oiled nine-inch springform pan. Bake at 375 F. for eight minutes. Remove from oven, and turn oven down to 325 F. Peel the mangoes and slice off the flesh (discard the seed); transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a small glass measuring cup; set aside. To prepare filling, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla; beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in half of mango puree. Pour into prepared crust. Spoon remaining mango puree over filling, and swirl together using the tip of a knife. Bake at 325 F. for one hour and 20 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven, and cool to room temperature. Cover and chill at least eight hours. Garnish with fresh mango slices, berries or toasted coconut (optional).

Mango-Swirled Cheesecake Perfect for Mother’s Day! Crust: ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons butter, melted 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon water

Filling: 2 large ripe mangoes 3 (8-ounce) blocks fat-reduced cream cheese, softened 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 4 large eggs Garnishes: fresh mango slices, blueberries, toasted coconut Preheat oven to 375 F.. To prepare crust, combine first three ingredients, tossing with a fork. Add vanilla and water, tossing with a fork until moist and crumbly. Gently press mixture

Anne Palumbo is a lifestyle columnist, food guru, and seasoned cook, who has perfected the art of preparing nutritious, calorie-conscious dishes. She is hungry for your questions and comments about SmartBites, so be in touch with Anne at avpalumbo@aol.com.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 9

Dog & Child: Are Your Kids Safe?

CDC: 4.5 million dog bites occur annually in the US. Experts say families need to choose dogs carefully By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


re you considering adding a dog to your family? Consider the possibility carefully. The Centers for Disease Control states that about 4.5 million dog bites occur annually in the US and nearly one-fifth of those becomes infected. Strange dogs cause only half of all dog bite injuries, meaning that familiar dogs — those known by their victims — cause the remaining half. Beyond the damage inflicted by the dog’s teeth, dog bites can spread germs that can affect humans. Nearly 20 percent of dog bites infect people with bacteria, including rabies, capnocytophaga spp., pasteurella, MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), and tetanus (produced by clostridium tetani). While most families enjoy dog ownership for decades without a bite incident, any dog can bite. Experts say careful animal selec-

tion and training can greatly reduce the chances that your dog will bite. Kim Sauer, trainer and president of Sit ‘N Stay Pet Services, Inc. in Hamburg, encourages families to consider why they want a dog before obtaining one. “Think about your lifestyle,” she said. “Are you super active? Don’t get a Weimaraner if you’re an athome kind of family. “Look at size. If you want a smaller dog, a mastiff isn’t a good fit. Look at the size of the dog when they’re fully grown, not when they’re a small puppy. “Working” breeds, such as the German shepherd dog, need lots of activity and exercise. The Italian greyhound, however, needs less exercise. But all breeds need walking beyond their regular elimination time to remain healthy.” While dog breeds can give you a

general idea of personality traits and exercise needs, don’t assume that all members of a breed behave the same. Or that there are “family” breeds guaranteed safe for children and “unsafe” breeds that can never live around children. Sauer said that breeders, rescue organizations and shelters can help you decide the type of dog that best fits your lifestyle. Fostering a dog may offer a good means to test the feasibility of bringing a pet into the home. Shelters usually temperament test pets and can share their knowledge of the animal. Proper breeding offers a good foundation, since ill-tempered dogs should never be bred. Sauer encourages families to seek a reputable breeder should they choose to purchase a dog. The dog’s training — whether at

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home or through a trainer — and socialization between dog and children make the difference between good family life and a bad experience. “Have a conversation with the kids and know what the plans are and the rules ahead of time so when the dog or puppy does come home, everyone knows if the dog will be allowed on the couch or the rooms it should go in or if it will be crate trained,” Sauer said. Crate training means that the dog stays in its crate when unsupervised, which reduces accidents and helps dogs remain calm when home alone. The dog always has access to the crate when the family is home. The crate provides the dog with a personal space for rest and retreat; therefore, children should not invade it. She advocates “training at both ends of the leash” so that people and dogs know what to expect of each other. Children should leave dogs alone when they’re resting, eating, hurt, sick or caring for young. Calling the dog to come to them, instead of hunting down the dog for playtime, can help prevent problems. “’Invites decrease bites’ we always say,” Sauer said. “Learn the dog’s body language.” Showing teeth and growling isn’t the only sign a dog may bite. Many dogs also raise their hackles, pin back their ears, and lower or hide their tails. By careful planning and education, you can greatly reduce the risk of a dog bite incident in your home.

Kim Sauer, trainer and president of Sit 'N Stay Pet Services, Inc. in Hamburg. She says families should discuss their lifestyles before they get a dog. "Don't get a Weimaraner if you're an at-home kind of family,” she says.

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Forever Fabulous Fitness in North Tonawanda is one of the local studios that offer group fitness programs. “Group fitness incorporates an element of fun into exercise,” says Angela Vizzi, studio’s owner.

The Daunting Challenge of Starting an Exercise Program How to start a fitness program after a tough winter? Expert says group fitness is the way to go By Stephanie Brochey


hen you’re beginning a journey into fitness and exercise, it can be daunting. With summer approaching, exercise comes back on the radar for many Western New Yorkers. But after a long, sedentary winter, many people don’t know where to start. One of the most fun, effective ways to jumpstart a routine is by getting involved in group fitness. There are group fitness opportunities in WNY for all ages and levels of ability, as well as a great variety of options based on what gets you moving. From yoga and Zumba to crossfit and boxing, there are classes available any day of the week across the region. Going to the gym alone is not for everyone. For some, it’s intimidating. For others, they don’t have the fitness knowledge to go at it by themselves. For others, the thought of hitting the treadmill just isn’t appealing, and ultimately they never get motivated to get out the door. Joining a class or a fitness group can be the solution to keeping you motivated, reaching goals, and having fun while doing it.

Angela Vizzi, owner of Forever Fabulous Fitness in North Tonawanda, is a big advocate for group fitness and the motivation it can provide. “The key to lasting fitness is finding a form of exercise you genuinely enjoy and look forward to as something you want to do rather than something you have to do,” Vizzy says. “Group fitness incorporates an element of fun into exercise. You are motivated by the instructor’s energy, and the energy of the other people working out alongside you. A group of likeminded people all working towards a common goal creates the most motivating atmosphere.” In a class setting, not only do participants have the opportunity to work alongside people with the same goals, it also promotes a healthy dose of friendly competition, according to Vizzy. Fitness is about pushing beyond comfort levels and realistically, some of us just can’t do that without something (or someone) pushing us to. Not only does group fitness provide encouragement, it can also be the first step in truly understanding the best workout regimen for your body and goals.

“For a first time exerciser, walking into a gym full of foreign-looking equipment can be very intimidating, so group fitness is an amazing way to start. You have a fitness professional standing in front of you giving you guidance and motivation, as well as making sure you are working out in the most effective and safe way possible,” Vizzi explains. Safety is also a key element of any fitness regimen. It’s important to stay in tune with your body and ability levels during group fitness, as you may not be getting individual attention at all times. When beginning, it’s OK to take modifications to get yourself started on the program. An instructor should encourage all participants to perform at the level best for them. This is how you will see the best results and eliminate the possibility for injury or overexertion. The structure of group fitness schedules also helps keep participants on track. An element of accountability develops once you begin attending classes regularly, especially if you bring friends or meet people who also take the class. It makes it much harder to skip when you know

that others are expecting you to be there! Another important benefit of group fitness is the chance for variety. Doing the same routine over and over can make working out feel like a chore. Choosing a fitness center that has a number of offerings or trying a different class on different nights of the week will break up the monotony. When choosing a group fitness class, it’s best to take a few test runs. Every class will be different depending on the teacher, the vibe of the center, and your fellow participants. Many centers and programs offer trial classes for free. You could take multiple classes before spending money on a membership or package. Vizzi recommends trying more than one variety of class, “I always encourage my clients to find their ‘soulmate workout’ – something that they connect with and will make them want to work out. Everyone is different, so try different formats, facilities and instructors until you find the right one for you. It’s like finding a partner, once you find it, you will just know, so do some exploring!”

BlueCross BlueShield Employees Donate $72,000 BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York employees recently donated a total of $72,000 to 20 local charities ($3,600 each) during a presentation at the company’s corporate headquarters. The health plan’s employees fundraise throughout the year for the organization’s Red Stocking Fund. Established more than 60 years ago, the name of the fund was derived from the literal use of red stockings to collect charitable donations around the holiday season. Today, the largest contribution comes from casual Friday dona-

tions, in addition to payroll deduction, personal contributions and a number of other year-round fundraising efforts anchored by the employee-led “Blue Crew.” The annual fund has increased year over year reaching a record amount raised in 2015. The total number of charities that were awarded also increased from 15 to 20. In addition to the Red Stocking Fund, the health plan’s employees contributed a total of 1,000 volunteer hours in 2015.

The 2016 recipients:

• Alzheimer's Association, Western New York Chapter; • Black Dog Second Chance Rescue; • Breast Cancer Network of Western New York; • Buddy's Second Chance Animal Rescue; • City of Buffalo Animal Shelter; • Buffalo City Mission; • Camp Good Days and Special Times; • Cradle Beach Camp; • Down Syndrome Parents Group of Western New York;

May 2016 •

• Food Bank of WNY; • Friends of the Night People; • Hospice Foundation of WNY; • Make-A- Wish Western New York; • Mercy Flight of Western New York; • Ronald McDonald House; • Roswell Park Cancer Institute; • Skating Association for the Blind and Handicapped; • SPCA Serving Erie County; • St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy; • Wings Flight of Hope.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 11

Golden Years

Longevity of a 60 year old: A woman to reach 84; man, 81 By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


ow long should you expect to live? It's longer than it was a generation ago. Machiko R. Tomita, Ph.D. certified for gerontology and director at the Aging and Technology Projects at UB, said that people are both aging better and longer. "The notion of being in good health has become more important," she said. "We want to live not only longer, but also live healthier. We tend to think 65 and over is older, rather than 60. Many people can expect to live to 85 or 87 years." Tomita serves as clinical professor, department of rehabilitation science at University at Buffalo. Susan M. Friedman, geriatrician and associate professor of medicine at University of Rochester Medical Center, said that although it differs among the races, a 60-year-old woman should likely live another 24 years and a man, about 21. "Since the turn of the last century, overall life expectancy has increased hugely," Friedman said. "In 1900, the life expectancy at birth was about 47 years, and now it is closer to 79." Reduction of child mortality rates and maternal deaths, as well as improvements in sanitation, environment and the ability to treat infectious disease have helped increase the average lifespan.

‘Mr. Fitness’ Shares Secret to Long Life

Many are living longer and healthier; however, statistics show that the anticipated longevity once a person reaches age 60 has improved only by two or three years.

Healthful diet

Eating a healthful diet can help prevent many health issues as you age. Tomita encourages patients to eschew processed foods. "The Mediterranean diet is very good," Tomita said. "Eat lots of vegetables and fish, and less carbohydrates and red meat. Everything should be in moderation. Eat less sugary stuff." Don't use tobacco products. Any alcohol consumed should be in moderation. "Be positive psychologically," Tomita said. "Do not hesitate for ask for help if you need it. Stress is internal and external. When you get older, external stress may be hard to manage as your spouse and friends may die and your income may decrease. If you have too much stress, you can't be positive." Activities such as yoga, tai chi or meditation may help manage stress. Staying close to friends and family can also help both practically when help is needed emotionally for support.

Richard Derwald 1954 Age 19

Richard Durwall, 81, lives in East Amherst. A lifelong athlete, he's been nicknamed "Mr. Fitness" by staff and participants at senior centers throughout the Buffalo area. "To stay active, you have to be active," Durwall said. "It doesn't mean just in the gym, though you should do strengthening exercises." With a physique most men half his age would envy, Durwall works out a few times a week at his home gym, in addition to leading three or four exercise groups at senior centers. "Activity has to be something you like to do" or else it won't last," he said. For resistance exercises to build muscle, he recommends stretchy, latex exercise bands for their effectiveness and affordability. "Anyone can improve from where they are now," Durwall said. "The more you do, the more you want to do." "It doesn't have to be family but a support group so you feel you're not alone," Tomita said. "You're connected. Social isolation and limited participation is not good. Also, when

Devices Help Those with Arthritis

Wide variety of products helps the daily life of those who suffer from the disease


mall assistance devices can make a big difference in pain levels for people living with arthritis. Many items are widely available through websites, specialty catalogs, retailers and large pharmacies and others may be made at home. For people new to such devices, it may seem overwhelming to think of how to help themselves or a loved one. Potentially painful small hand movements comprise so many activities of daily living. That's why experts like Brittany Perez, occupational therapist with University at Buffalo's Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDEA Center), enjoy helping people learn about the many devices available. "Anything that increases a handle size Perez of smaller tools helps," Perez said. "Universal grips Page 12

can be put on several sizes of handles. We want to reduce the effort to do everyday tasks." Longer handles also give greater leverage to people using them. That reduces the grip needed to do the jobs. Requiring less effort for tasks helps spare strain on the hands. Simple replacements such as roller ball or gel pens instead of standard ballpoint pens make writing easier since the hand doesn't have to press on the paper so hard. Perez suggested spring-powered scissors as another handy device. She likes the OXO brand of kitchen equipment (www. oxo.com, and at many retailers), which are made with larger diameter handles and universal functionality. Peeling potatoes, opening cans, stirring soups and more chores are much easier. "We recommend the rocker knife

Richard Derwald 2016 Age 81

for people with limited hand ability, Perez said. "It can be used to cut almost everything while limiting the repetitive hand movement." Arthritic hands grip enlarged pens with foam barrels easier, too. Or, slip a foam curler over regular-sized writing instruments. Larger grips can also augment handles of various kinds, such as canes, walkers, drawer pulls and knobs. "If you have an increased handle, you don't have to do that small movement or grip so tightly," Perez said. "When you increase the lever, you decrease the effort." She suggests using rubber pads to open jars and bottles. Opening these and pop-top cans challenge many people with arthritis. Devices such as Magic Opener (www.magicopener.com) add leverage and increase the grip without requiring the user to grasp a small

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • May 2016

you get much older, you have to feel you're useful. It is not good for people to have nothing to do. They want to feel appreciated by their family and friends."

cap or pull tab. Electric openers take the pain from opening cans. Ginger Davis, vice-president of Sheridan Surgical, Inc. in Amherst, recommends that people with arthritis to try a long-handled sponge as an easier option for bathing than gripping a washcloth. The company stocks devices to aid in dressing, too. Davis said that Sock Aids can help people with weak gripping strength. "It helps to put socks on without bending over, too," she added. "With elastic shoe laces, you don't have to tie the shoes." Long-handled shoe horns, zipper pulls and button hooks can make dressing easier as well. Bracelet Buddy is available at www.braceletbuddy.com and in specialty catalogs. Zipper pulls and magnetic adapters are listed on www.wdrake.com. Using housecleaning tools with large handles instead of rags reduces stress on the hands. Cat owners can buy lightweight litter instead of the standard clay litter so they can keep their pet healthy and comfortable while going easier on their own hands as they lift the box to empty. Using these tactics and devices can make life with arthritis a little less painful.

Golden Years



Earplugs can make a big difference to protect your hearing.

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By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


f you want to hear well later in life, it pays to protect your hearing now. And if you've experienced some hearing loss, protecting what hearing you have left only makes sense. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to protect your hearing. Excessive noise can vary from an acute blast at close range such as gunfire, to long-term exposure to noisy machinery. Both can damage hearing, but the latter causes most noise-induced hearing loss. Using hearing protection even for shortterm and occasional noise matters. Most people don't carry around sound measuring devices to determine decibels of sound, but audiologist David Nelson, who owns and operates Audiology Service Associates in Williamsville, said that if you must raise your voice to converse with someone three feet away, the noise around you is too loud. You should avoid the sound or use hearing protection. "Most people have smartphones," Nelson added. "They [aren't professional] measuring devices, but multiple apps you can download and you can have a sound measuring device with you." Several types of devices can help you protect your hearing: • Small, cylindrical foam plugs or rubber plugs. Get the right size so that it fits snugly and only a small portion of the plug is outside of the ear canal. Nelson recommends testing them placing your hands over your ears and take them away. "If you get a huge reduction of noise when your hands are cupping your ears, your ear plugs aren't working right," Nelson said. "Your voice should sound like it's in a barrel to see if the insertion is adequate and the protector is providing protection."

• Muffs, another option, should completely seal to the head. Nelson said that using both a muff and plugs offers the ultimate protection. • If you need to hear some sounds while blocking out too-loud sounds, active protectors filter out loud sounds while not muffling or distorting softer sounds. Hunting supply stores sell these for around $50. Or, opt for musician earplugs, which may help people who want to reduce loud sounds without distorting them as much. They cost around $30. You may not like your teens' music, but if they use a headset at the proper volume, it's not damaging to hearing. Smartphones warn users if the volume is turned up too high by showing a red bar on the volume control slider. Nelson added that other things that endanger hearing include tobacco use, secondhand smoke, recreational drugs, poor diet and use of certain medications. "At home, people should know about different types of solvents and paint thinners," Nelson said. "They can cause damage to the auditory system just by inhalation. Be cautious when using these. Use masks. This isn't known by a lot of individuals. "Some cancer treatments can cause damage to the auditory system because the auditory system becomes more susceptible to damage." Many people cannot identify their own hearing loss, especially in its earliest stages. Nelson encourages people to receive period hearing tests just as they would eye exams. Above all, use hearing protection properly. "Follow the instructions," Nelson said. "If they're lacking, look online. There are videos on how to wear them."

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 13

New Website Highlights DIY Tools for People with Disabilities Expert: site is a source for teachers and students to get ideas on new ways to think about technology


wo Olin College professors have launched a website focused on making DIY tools accessible to help people with disabilities perform daily tasks and, along the way, offer a more expansive view of the maker movement. The site can be found at http://engineeringathome.org. Since its launch the site has touched a chord among educators and the adaptive technology community, resulting in more than 7,000 visitors — and many more thousands of page views — in just the first few weeks. Inspired by Cindy, a Massachusetts woman who lost both of her legs and varying amounts

of each of her fingers following a catastrophic heart attack, the site is a resource created by Assistant Professor of Design Sara Hendren and Professor of Anthropology Caitrin Lynch, together with help from Olin College students William Lu, Mary Martin and Toni Saylor. “We hope Engineering at Home will be a source for teachers and students to get ideas on new ways to think about technology and innovation in relation to disability, and it can also help people with disabilities to feel empowered to solve their own daily challenges,” says Lynch. In order to perform everyday tasks, Cindy “Macgyvered” workarounds to common problems she encountered every day: opening a jar, selecting medication from a pill bottle, eating a sandwich. There are dozens of adaptations on the site, gathered under action-word headings such as hold, grasp, and squeeze. The just-a-click-away solutions range from adhesive wall hooks to help opening jars, a carabiner handle to carry a purse, to a small soft grip tube that helps Cindy apply make-up. Visitors to Engineering at Home are encouraged to create and adapt their own workarounds as they see fit.

FDA Approves First Wire-Free Pacemaker


he first leadless, wire-free heart pacemaker has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Medtronic’s Micra Transcatheter Pacing System works like other pacemakers to regulate heart rate in people with heart rhythm disorders, but does not use wired leads to make the electrical connection between the device and the heart. “The leadless pacemaker is a major breakthrough in the field of heart rhythm management and will benefit patients through its ease of insertion and elimination of the lead,” said physician Nicholas Skipitaris, who directs cardiac electrophysiology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Traditional pacemakers have a

wire or “lead” connecting the device to the heart, and inserting the lead entails minor surgery, Skipitaris said. “Through a small incision near the shoulder, the lead is guided through a blood vessel and attached to the inside surface of the heart,” he said. “The other end is connected to the pacemaker, which is then placed in a pocket under the skin. The incision is closed with sutures.” Unfortunately for patients, “leads may sometimes malfunction or become less reliable over the long term,” he added. Leads in traditional pacemakers can sometimes malfunction or infections can develop in tissue surrounding the leads, the FDA said, and surgery is then required to replace the device.plained.

Man’s Health Special Issue of In Good Health

Don’t miss the June issue of In Good Health — Buffalo’s Healthcare Newspaper For advertising, call Donna at 716-332-0640 Jamie at 585-317-1671 Page 14

The Social Ask Security Office

From the Social Security District Office


What is FICA?

eceiving your first paycheck is an empowering milestone. Do you remember being a little shocked by the taxes that Uncle Sam takes out of each paycheck? Understanding how important your contribution is takes some of the sting away because your taxes are helping millions of Americans — and financially securing your today and tomorrow. By law, employers must withhold Social Security taxes from workers’ paychecks. While usually referred to as “Social Security taxes” on an employee’s pay statement, sometimes the deduction is labeled as “FICA.” This stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act, a reference to the original Social Security Act. In some cases, you will see “OASDI,” which stands for Old Age Survivors Disability Insurance, the official name for the Social Security Insurance program. The taxes you pay now mean a lifetime of protection — for retirement in old age or in the event of disability. And when you die, your family (or future family) may be able to receive survivors benefits based on your work as well. Right now you probably have family members — grandparents, for example — who already are enjoying Social Security benefits that your Social Security taxes help provide. Social Security is solvent now and will be through 2033. At that point, we’ll be able to fund retirement benefits at 75 percent unless changes are made to the law. In the past, Social Security has evolved to meet the needs of a changing population — and you can count on Social security in the future.

Because you’re a long way from retirement, you may have a tough time seeing the value of benefit payments that could be many decades in the future. But keep in mind that the Social Security taxes you’re paying can provide valuable disability or survivors benefits in the event the unexpected happens. Studies show that of today’s 20-year-olds, about one in four will become disabled, and about one in eight will die, before reaching retirement. Be warned: if an employer offers to unlawfully pay you “under the table,” you should refuse. They may try to sell it as a benefit to you since you get a few extra dollars in your net pay. But you’re really only allowing the employer to deprive you from earning your Social Security credits. This could keep you from qualifying for any benefits, or result in you receiving less than you should. Also, don’t carry your Social Security card around with you. It’s an important document you should safeguard and protect. If it’s lost or stolen, it could fall into the hands of an identity thief. Check out our webinar, "Social Security 101: What's in it for me?" The webinar explains what you need to know about Social Security. You can find it at http://go.usa.gov/ cdNeY. If you’d like to learn a little more about Social Security and exactly what you’re earning for yourself by paying Social Security taxes, take a look at our online booklet, How You Earn Credits, at www.socialsecurity. gov/pubs/10072.html. You can also learn more at www. socialsecurity.gov.

Q: I received a notice from Social Security recently. It said my name and Social Security number do not match Social Security’s records. What should I do? A: It’s critical that your name and Social Security number, as shown on your Social Security card, match your employer’s payroll records and your W-2 form. If they don’t, here is what you need to do: • Give your employer the correct information exactly as shown on your Social Security card or your corrected card; or • Contact your local Social Security office (www.socialsecurity.gov/ locator) or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) if your Social Security card does not show your correct name or Social Security number. For more information, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Q: How do I report a lost Social Security card? A: You don’t have to report a lost Social Security card. In fact, reporting a lost or stolen card to Social Security won’t prevent misuse of your Social Security number. You should let us know if someone is using your number to work (call 1-800-772-1213; TTY 1-800-325-0778). If you think someone is using your number, there are several other actions you should take: • Contact the Federal Trade Commission online at www.ftc.gov/ bcdp/edu/microsites/idtheft or call 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); • File an online complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov; • Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit by calling 1-800-908-4490, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and • Monitor your credit report.


IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • May 2016

May 12th May 26th 10 to Noon By Jim Miller

Booster Shots Recommended for Seniors Dear Savvy Senior, I just turned 65 and would like to find out what types of vaccinations are recommended to Medicare beneficiaries, and how they are covered. Health Conscious Dear Conscious, Most people think that vaccinations are just for kids, but adults, especially seniors who tend to have weaker immune systems, need their shots too. Here’s a rundown of what vaccines the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend for seniors 65 and older, and how they’re covered by Medicare. Flu (Influenza): While you probably already know that flu shots are recommended every fall to all seniors, you may not know that those over 65 also have the option of getting a high-dose flu vaccine instead of a regular flu shot. This vaccine — known as the Fluzone High-Dose — has four times the amount of antigen as a regular flu shot does, which creates a stronger immune response for better protection. All annual flu shots are covered under Medicare Part B. Td/Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis): A one-time dose of the Tdap vaccine, which covers tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) is recommended to all adults. If you’ve already had a Tdap shot, you should return to getting a tetanus-diphtheria (Td) booster shot every 10 years. All Medicare Part D prescription drug plans cover these vaccinations. Pneumococcal: This vaccine protects against pneumonia, which kills about 50,000 Americans each year. It’s now recommended that all seniors, 65 or older, get two separate vaccines — Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23 — at different times. Medicare Part B covers both shots if they are taken at least 11 months apart. Shingles (zoster): Caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox, shingles is a painful, blistering skin rash that affects more than 1 million Americans each year. All people over age 60 should get the Zostavax vaccine, even if they’ve had shingles

before. All Medicare Part D prescription drug plans cover this one-time vaccination, but coverage amounts and reimbursement rules vary depending on where the shot is given. Check your plan. Varicella (chickenpox): If you’ve never had the chicken pox, this two-dose vaccine (called Varivax) is recommended to adults, and is also covered by Medicare Part D plans. Hepatitis A: This is a two-dose series of shots recommended to adults that have chronic liver disease, a clotting-factor disorder, have samesex male partners, illicit injectable drug use, or who have close contact with a hepatitis A-infected individual or who travel to areas with a high incidence of hepatitis A. These shots are covered by Medicare Part D drug plans. Hepatitis B: This three-dose series is recommended to adults who are on dialysis, have renal disease or liver disease, are sexually active with more than one partner, have a sexually transmitted disease or HIV. These vaccinations are covered under Medicare Part B. Meningococcal: Adults 56 and older, who have had their spleen removed, have certain blood deficiencies or plan to travel to parts of the world where meningitis is common, should receive the meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine. This is covered by Medicare Part D. To help you get a handle on which vaccines are appropriate for you, take the CDC’s “What Vaccines Do You Need?” quiz at www2.cdc. gov/nip/adultimmsched. Also, talk to your doctor during your next visit about what vaccinations you should get. If you can’t remember which vaccines you’ve already had, check with your past doctors to see if they have any records, or contact your state’s health department. Some agencies have vaccination registries (see vaccineinformation.org/state-immunization-programs) that may help you. If you can’t locate your records, your doctor can give you blood tests to see if you’re immune to certain vaccine-preventable diseases. Or, they may just give you the shot. It’s safe to repeat vaccines, according to the CDC.

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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May 2016 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 15


NICU Nursing: Caring for the Tiniest Patients By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


urses in a hospital’s neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) care for premature, sick and injured newborns. Because of their patient’s needs, their role differs from nurses in other parts of the hospital in a few important ways. “NICU nurses have to interpret

symptoms that the baby’s having to see if they need attention,” said Theresa Winner, neonatal clinical nurse specialist at Sisters of Charity Hospital in Buffalo. “An adult will tell you they’re uncomfortable. The NICU nurse is a little bit more of a detective in trying to figure that out.”

MAY 6-12 Nurses look for cues and vital sign changes to know if babies are uncomfortable. NICU nurses also care for the babies’ family members as patients on many levels since they tend to spend many hours in the NICU as well. Most people possess little familiarity with the NICU environment. The clear incubators, monitor leads, feeding tubes and beeping monitors may intimidate parents. That’s why NICU nurses can help parents understand the aspect of their child’s care and ways they can begin parenting right at the NICU. “NICU nurses deal with families at their most vulnerable time,” Winner said. “A very premature baby is very sick. Visitation should be limited to the people who really need to see him. We ask parents to be judicious. We try not to have too much noise. We keep the room dim. The incubator mimics the mother’s womb, so we try to make it like the baby is still in the womb. This is time for the baby to grow and develop.” Positioning aids mimic the snug feel of the womb again to help babies feel safe and comfortable. That decreases emotional stress and conserves energy that can be used for growing. “They’re dealing with loss from beginning,” said Jean Cauley, NICU nurse manager at Sisters of Charity

Hospital. “It’s the loss of a normal pregnancy, maybe the loss of a multiple pregnancy. Everyone expects the Gerber baby. They are in a situation where they’re totally unprepared. They lose all control of the care of their child. They think they’ll go home with a baby and they don’t.” Nurses help keep parents updated about their child’s condition, which can change from day to day, and encourage bonding with the child, despite unusual circumstances. Nurses also help look out for the babies’ security. Kidnappings are rare, but still a possibility which NICU personnel work to prevent through various safety protocols. At Sisters, sensors on the baby’s umbilical cord clamp can trigger a lock down and alarm if a baby is removed from the NICU. The doors of the unit remain locked and staffed at all times. Family members have plastic identification bands that correspond to their baby’s. Only people with the bands and the few guests they admit are permitted to see the baby. Legislators enacted HIPAA regulations to protect patients’ privacy. They include the hospital’s tiniest patients as well. Though it may seem hard for some visitors to not peek at newborns, they’re permitted to see only the babies they have come to visit.

NP’s Expanded Roles By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


Ps play a more significant role in providing health care than ever before. Two main factors have increased and expanded the function of NPs: growing demand and fewer providers. “There’s definite a shortage of primary care physician in the city and in the rural areas,” said Dee Krebs, family nurse practitioner working in emergency medicine and a regional director of the Nurse Practitioner Association New York State. “NPs are an excellent option. Patients are finding it hardKrebs er and harder to get into offices.” She added that many NPs help patients learn about the health care system in light of its recent changes such as electronic records and the Affordable Care Act. “Our hospital relies on NPs to meet health care needs,” Krebs said. The Affordable Care Act has introduced many more new users into the health care system, a factor that has spread providers thin. Stephen Ferrara, executive director of the Nurse Practitioner Association New York State, views Page 16

NPS as “one of those solutions to the bottlenecking of access to care.” Aging baby boomers who require more health care, increase demand for care. A decreasing number of medical doctors also makes care harder to obtain. Many are older boomers retiring or they are closing Ferrara their practices for financial reasons. “We’re seeing MDs not going into primary care but specialties,” Ferrara said. “As a result, that front line access is very difficult to get in touch with.” Large health care systems purchasing private primary practices increases their patient load, as providers must take on the patients within the system. NPs can help provide greater access to care. NPs start out as registered nurses. They must complete a master’s level program that includes 600 hours of clinical practice to enter the field as an NP. Doctorate level programs and specialty programs can also augment an NP’s education. Jill Muntz, nurse practitioner with the Jamestown office Western New York Urology Associates, which

operates several offices throughout Western New York, said that NPs are licensed by the state to diagnose and treat health conditions. “Physicians are becoming more comfortable and understanding that NPs come with a wealth of knowledge and we can collaborate,” Muntz said. “The studies show our outcomes are great. They don’t have to worry. I had a physician tell me 20 years ago that adding a NP would be more work for him. They’re coming around and saying it’s definite a help. We all work together. The patients know we work as a team.” NPs can prescribe medication, treatment, home care and physical therapy. New York state licensed NPs are not required to obtain national certification, but specific organizations and insurers may require it. Prior to the Nurse Practitioner Modernization Act of Muntz 2015, NPs had to maintain a written collaboration agreement with a MD to practice. Now, any NP with greater than 3,600 hours of experience (about two years) doesn’t need a written collaborative agreement, but only a collaborative

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • May 2016

relationship. This connection to a MD or health system enables them to consult and refer as necessary. It makes it easier for NPs to establish their own practice. Muntz said that regarding the Nurse Practitioners Modernization Act “my practice hasn’t been impacted a lot. The collaboration was always there. The Modernization Act got rid of the requirement to have a piece of paper stating we collaborate. The collaboration didn’t change at all.” NPs provide care based upon the nursing model, which seeks to treat the patient, not only the symptoms. NPs may ask about the patient’s home life, eating and exercise habits, relationships, work environment and other areas that directly or indirectly affect health. Muntz believes that more educational opportunities for RNs who want additional training will help bring more NPs into the health system. “There’s been discussion of doctorate level becoming the entry level to nurse practitioner,” Muntz said. “I’m on board and in my DNP program. I do think that is going to enhance the opportunities that lie before us. The advance practice nurse can play a big role in the clinical arena, in policy making, and how to implement legislation.”

The spiritual care team at Catholic Health Systems, from left, Father Robert Schober, Rev. Nancy Faery, Rev. Jonathon Moran and Rev. Geoffrey Hord. Photo courtesy of Catholic Health Systems.

Mind, Body… & Spirit

Spiritual health: In-hospital pastoral care adds spirit to menu By Jana Eisenberg


ost hospitals in our region offer pastoral care. In addition to being staffed by multi-faith providers who offer spiritual care and comfort to patients and their families, they offer a wide range of services — both during regular hours and on-call 24/7. William Vaughan, director of Buffalo’s Catholic Health System’s chaplaincy services, is a proponent of the popular mind-body-spirit connection health care theory. Catholic Health offers pastoral services across its five acute-care hospitals, four long-term care facilities and its adult care and home care divisions. Providers can also go to clients’ homes, if need be. “Chaplains play a key role on patient interdisciplinary teams,” says Vaughan. “The majority of our chaplains are professionally trained and certified. They can sit at the table next to doctors and social workers as well as go on the hospital floors to meet with families and staff.” Rev. Richard Augustyn is director of Kaleida Health’s Buffalo General Hospital pastoral care office. He concurs that the mindbody-spirit philosophy is a guiding principle. In addition, training has become much more important. “The idea of healthcare-related pastoral ministry is that, in addition to body and mind, the spirit must be addressed,” says Augustyn. “After our providers complete a 22-week ‘pastoral institute’ training, they are able to visit patients in the hospital — to go from floor to floor, door to door, making people aware of the

availability.” The reality, says Vaughan, is there are frequently end-of-life situations and circumstances. “In hospital and long-term care settings, people die,” he says. “We offer and provide end-of-life and bereavement care before, during and after the patient dies.” Not all situations are about death, and not every patient needs religion-based services, says Augustyn. “Our role is also to listen to what’s important to patients,” he says. “Sometimes, the reason they’re in the hospital is the last thing on their mind. They are concerned with what’s happening at home, or perhaps their own spiritual life, or something personal that they may not have addressed. Regardless of the patient’s faith beliefs, we can listen and counsel; helping them to resolve within themselves.”

Moment of vulnerability

Being in the hospital can be stressful and upsetting for the patient and their family, Vaughan agrees. “When patients are in the hospital, they can feel vulnerable. They don’t have much control; others are dictating when they can eat, sleep, and sometimes go to the bathroom. Our encounters with patients or family members can end up in ‘other places,’” he says. “The hospital bed has a way of bringing up old hurts. In some of those situations, chaplains can mediate, to find peace.” Augustyn says remaining flexible is important. “Our role has

expanded. Patients frequently now also have advanced directives. We are trained to focus on things like that. If a patient hasn’t named a health care proxy — someone to speak on their behalf in the event they cannot speak for themselves — we make the form available to them. “Something else that our scope has broadened to include, and which fits nicely into who and what we are to the hospital, is that we provide our services to hospital staff and their families,” he says. Some of the services are about the “patient experience.” “There are other ways that we help hospital patients,” Vaughan says. “We offer a ‘restful night’ menu, from which they may select from a variety of things that might help them have a more restful night. It could be something as simple as earplugs or a CD player with quiet music. Or they may choose a rosary, prayer beads, or a finger-traceable, paper version of a walking labyrinth to attain a meditative, contemplative feeling during the night.” Both men say one of the meaningful services that pastoral offices provide is an annual memorial service. They invite families of patients who have died, and staff and their families as well, to attend the memorial service. “When patients’ families come pack to the place where their loved one died, they are able to meet other families who experienced that same loss, and to reconnect with staff who may have cared for their loved one,” says Vaughan.

May 2016 •

Rev. Richard Augustyn, director of Kaleida Health’s Buffalo General Hospital pastoral care office. It is powerful to have a place and space to remember and process, they both believe. “Our ‘memorial board’ near the hospital cafeteria, where we post information about employees and family members who have died, is one of the most looked-at,” says Augustyn. “The employees really appreciate having that as a place to focus and reflect.”

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 17

Health News BCBS WNY appoints Melissa Golen to director of corporate relations Melissa Golen has been appointed director of corporate relations at BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. In her new role, Golen will oversee the health plan’s community relations, internal communications, public relations and social media functions with the overarching goal to promote the organization Golen in the markets it serves. Previously, Golen served as corporate affairs manager for Kaleida Health with responsibilities including internal and provider communications, community relations, community health and special projects including organizing significant, high-visibility events. Golen earned a juris doctor from University at Buffalo, School of Law and a bachelor of arts from William Smith College. Golen is a Leadership Buffalo class of 2005 alumnus and a current board member. She is also a former Business First 40 under Forty honoree and serves on the Health Sciences Charter School marketing committee.

Pinder Amherst.

that is distributed in the greater Buffalo region. The ASCF is committed to raising and distributing funds to support services and activities that promote the welfare and vitality of senior citizens in the town of

BGM/Gates Vascular gets Institute gets stroke certification Buffalo General Medical Center/ Gates Vascular Institute has recently received certification from DNV Healthcare Inc. as a comprehensive stroke center for a third year in a row. The accreditation reflects the highest level of competence for the treatment of acute stroke events. During DNV’s two day survey at Buffalo General Medical Center/ Gates Vascular Institute (BGMC/ GVI), they found no deficiencies in the stroke program. Only one other hospital in the entire country has earned this elite recognition.

Through the stroke team’s continued collaborative and multidisciplinary approach, they were able to advance and correct minor previously identified areas of concern. “To say I’m proud of our team would be an understatement. Receiving this accreditation for a third year in a row is exceptional, and to receive it with zero deficiencies speaks volumes of our staff’s dedication, determination and teamwork,” said Cheryl Klass, president of BGMC. Buffalo General Medical Center/ Gates Vascular Institute treats more strokes than any other hospital in Western New York and more than double of any hospital in New York state. According to the hospital, because of the stroke team’s outcomes, skill, and world-wide reputation, physicians from medical institutions such as Harvard, Duke and Cleveland Clinic come to here to learn the latest surgical procedures and interventions for treatment of stroke.

ECMC behavioral health has new associate director Physician Michael R. Cummings has been appointed to the position of associate medical director, behavioral health services at Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation. Cummings is also the assistant

professor and vice chairman of the division of community psychiatry in the department of psychiatry at SUNY Buffalo and the program director of pediatric behavioral health for Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo. He has clinical and administrative oversight of Cummings adolescent and adult forensic care within much of Erie County, oversight of high-needs children and adults within community mental health centers and the CPEP, and responsibility for teaching and supervising clinicians within these settings. He also oversees all psychiatric and chemical dependency services at ECMC and at Women and Children's Hospital of buffalo. Cummings studied nutritional sciences at Cornell University as an undergraduate and completed medical school and residencies in psychiatry and child psychiatry at SUNY Buffalo. Cummings has received numerous awards, most recently the Mental Health Association of Erie County Outstanding Professional of the Year Award and he has authored many publications in his field.

UBMD Orthopaedics Announces Grant Recipients

Senior citizens foundation announces new board members The Amherst Senior Citizens Foundation, Inc. (ASCF) recently announced several appointees to its board of directors. The new board members are: • John S. Kropski, a certified public accountant and director of Freed Maxick’s healthcare practice. He is responsible for leading the supervision and delivery of comprehensive professional services that are delivered to healthcare Kropski services providers; • Keith McFayden, director of Edible Grocery at Tops Markets. He brings more than 30 years of experience in marketing and sales management; • Annette Pinder, president and publisher of Buffalo Healthy Living magazine, a free monthly magazine Page 18

Niagara Erie Youth Sports Association was one of three groups in Western New York to receive the 2015 CommunityCare grant, sponsored by UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. The organization provides oversight of nine member organizations’ youth football and cheerleading teams. Roswell Park Donor Center, Niagara Erie Youth Sports Association (NEYSA) and Curvy Girls of Western New York are the three recipients of the 2015 CommunityCare grant, sponsored by UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. The grant program offers a combined total of $10,000 in funding for local nonprofit agencies in the health and wellness sector. Recipients are chosen based on economic needs, the mission of the organization and goals for utilization of the funds. “With so many wonderful organizations in our community, it was difficult to select only one grant recipient, thus we selected three. Roswell Park Donor Center,

NEYSA and Curvy Girls all have such remarkable missions and are truly making a difference in Western New York they all deserve this honor,” said Amanda Clark, physician relations and marketing manager for UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. “The community is fortunate to have these organizations in our backyard, and by providing them with additional funding our hope is that even more folks can benefit from their services.” Roswell Park Donor Center received a gift of $5,000 in honor of the father of UBMD Ortho physician William Wind. The funds support the Ride for Roswell. The Niagara Erie Youth Sports Association (NEYSA), headquar-

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • May 2016

tered in Tonawanda, received a gift of $3,000. The organization was founded in 2014 and provides oversight of nine member organizations’ youth football and cheerleading teams, including Williamsville, Pendleton, Niagara Falls and Wilson. Curvy Girls of Western New York is a network of peer-led support groups that aims to reduce the emotional impact of scoliosis by empowering adolescent girls and improving their self-esteem. The volunteer-based organization plans to use the grant monies toward educating the community on its mission.



May 10

Breast Cancer Network to meet in DePew The Breast Cancer Network of WNY, a grassroots, community-based breast cancer organization whose mission is to support individuals with breast cancer, survivors, their families and friends, will hold its monthly educational meeting 6 p.m., Tuesday, May 10, at Bella Moglie building, 3297 Walden Ave., Depew. Guest speaker is Nancy Bowen from Sisterhood Wellness Center/ Retreat. All interested individuals are welcome to attend. Light refreshments are served at 6 p.m. followed by a guest speaker at 6:30 p.m. A peer led support group for cancer survivors begins at 8 p.m.. For meeting reservations, please contact Breast Cancer Network of WNY at 716-706-0060 or visit www. bcnwny.org.

May 25

Prom for seniors at Amherst Senior Center A very special Senior Prom Casino Royale will be held at the Amherst Center for Senior Services from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., on Wednesday, May 25 at The Amherst Center for Senior Services, 370 John James Audubon Pky., in Amherst, behind the Audubon Library. The event is sponsored by the Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart Senior leadership class. Student leaders who are part of the senior leadership class contacted the center with their creative idea of hosting a senior prom for seniors. They will be supplying all the decorations, entertainment, refreshments, games and prizes. Seniors can enjoy entertainment, refreshments, games and socializing with members, guests and students. The event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required by

calling 636-3055 ext. 3108 by May 4.

Amherst Center for Senior Services OPEN HOUSE Wed., June 8, 2016 10AM—1PM

University Express offers free classes for Adults Classes are already underway for the spring semester of University Express, a series of nearly 100 classes available at no cost to Western New York residents 55 years and older. Now in its 10th year, the program is a collaboration of the Erie County Department of Senior Services, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, The Erie County Retired & Senior Volunteer Program, Excelsior Orthopaedics, and Wegmans to encourage healthy activity and lifelong learning. The spring semester kicked off in mid April and continues throughout the summer at convenient locations across Western New York. These include the Amherst Senior Center, Baptist Manor, Canterbury Woods, Cheektowaga Senior Center, Clarence Senior Center, Grand Island Golden Age Center, Hamburg Senior Community Center, Orchard Park Senior Center, Springville-Concord Elder Network, and Wegmans on Sheridan Drive in Amherst. The free, one-hour classes cover more than 60 different topics including current affairs, history, science, the arts, wellness, and more Scheduled instructors include retired U.S. Congressman John LaFalce, award-winning journalists and anchors Rich Newberg and Rich Kellman, and retired state Supreme Court Appellate Justice Salvatore Martoche. New for 2016 is a series of classes taught by Wegmans pharmacists, nutritionists and chefs that will feature seminars on eating well and taking steps to be heart healthy. Individuals can register for a specific class by calling the respective location. The course catalog can be viewed online at erie.gov/senior services, or a paper copy can be requested by calling 858-7548. Copies are also available at all University Express sites, Wegmans stores, Excelsior Orthopaedics, and Buffalo and Erie County Public Library branches.

Complimentary Refreshments Piano Entertainment by Brian Ask a Social Worker Strawberry Shortcake Treat Performances by Amherst Senior Singers, Senior Center Dancers & Readers Theatre -Tours Available -Open Classes to Observe -Nutrition Lunch at 12 noon

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In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2016 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: editor@bfohealth.com Editor & Publisher: Wagner Dotto • Associate Publisher: Jamie Sandidge • Associate Editor: Lou Sorendo • Writers: Deborah J. Sergeant, Jim Miller, Gwenn Voelckers, Anne Palumbo, Chris Motola, George W. Chapman, Tim Fenster, Jana Eisenberg, Stephanie Brochey, Elad I. Levy, M.D. Advertising: Jamie Sandidge (585-317-1671), Donna Kimbrell (716-332-0640) • Layout & Design: Eric J. Stevens • Officer Manager: Alice Davis


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May 2016 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 19

Cynthia Pegado leading a dance class with Parkinson’s disease patients at Canalside. The classes, based on typical ballet classes, are optimally offered with live musical accompaniment. And whether the “dancers” use a walker or chair for balance, stay seated or are able to move around, the class works for everyone. Photos courtesy of Cynthia Pegado.

A Former Ballet Dancer Making a Difference

A moving experience: Dancer who performed in Belgium, Switzerland and Portugal now devoted to help patients with Parkinson’s disease in Buffalo By Jana Eisenberg


t takes a progressive and creative force to inspire people living with Parkinson’s disease to view their bodies and selves in a positive way. Using dance, Cynthia Pegado is such a force. Her passion is on display in her every movement, gracious manner and her unflaggingly supportive, inclusive nature. Symptoms of Parkinson’s — a progressive, degenerative neurological disease with an unusually high occurrence in Western New York — include muscle rigidity, loss of balance and depression. All of these symptoms are improved by engagement in movement in general, and specifically, dance. Pegado, a former ballet dancer who enjoyed an early career as a demi-soloist with international companies in Belgium, Switzerland and Portugal, took time off from dancing to raise her family. Meanwhile, she worked for 10 years as a program manager/community outreach specialist for the Arthritis Foundation. After that 25-year dancing hiatus, she was looking for a way to use her skills and experience. Via a colleague, Pegado learned about the Dance for Parkinson’s program, designed in the early 2000s through a collaboration by the Brooklyn Parkinson Group and the Mark Morris Dance Group. The premise of the program is that professionally trained dancers are movement experts whose knowledge is useful to persons with PD. The program, incorporating key components recommended by neurologists through rhythmic movement and improvisational activities, is now in place in 100 cities around the world. Pegado applied for and was accepted into the training program, and is now a certified instructor. For the past year or so, as artistic and Page 20

executive director of the PDance program, which is officially modeled on the Mark Morris Dance for PD, Pegado has been offering at least two “PDance” classes per week in and around Buffalo. The classes, based on typical ballet classes, are optimally offered with live musical accompaniment. And whether the “dancers” use a walker or chair for balance, stay seated or are able to move around, the class works for everyone. “Full participation doesn’t mean that everyone’s arm is a matching position—the beauty is that each person, in whatever capacity they can, moves in a way that pleases them,” says Pegado. “It’s important to note that this is a true ‘arts program.’ We do not talk about the disease; we are teaching to ‘dancers,’ not to patients,” Pegado attests. “I instruct and train, and we move together, we all are expressive with movement.” Two of her biggest fans — and regular participants in every class she offers — are friends and Parkinson’s patients Bill Marx, 72, and Jim Eagan, 64. “The classes strengthen me,” says Marx, who was an avid skier pre-diagnosis. “Dance is instrumental in helping to keep balance — which is everything. With Parkinson’s, one tends to feel wobbly. Now that I have exercises with movements that strengthen the legs, I feel more comfortable. Cynthia is the epitome of enthusiasm and caring.” Eagan, who wasn’t as active before he learned he had Parkinson’s, agrees. “[PDance] helps avoid joint stiffness,” he adds. “You work your hands and wrists. It can keep the mind sharp — you’re ‘multitasking,’ thinking about what you’re doing. It’s also social; people with Parkinson can become withdrawn. Cynthia’s

dedication is contagious. Everyone is smiling; you don’t want to miss a class.” In June, another weekly PDance session will be added: outdoors at Canalside. All the classes are free of charge to people with Parkinson’s, their families, friends and care partners. Pegado recently received a Give for Greatness award, which came with a $1,000 prize. Along with support from the National Parkinson’s Foundation Western New York chapter, this empowers her to continue and expand the popular classes. Paul Sauer, another person with Parkinson’s, attends Pegado’s classes with his wife, Theresa. “[The class] makes me feel like I can move in ways that I couldn’t before. It also has a positive effect on my mental brainwork,” he says. “Cynthia’s energy makes it fun — if you were just going through the movements on your own, it wouldn’t give the same effect. We’ve also developed new friendships, and learned about other resources.” Theresa Sauer agrees: “It’s nice to see [Paul] more relaxed and stretching. People say they will exercise or stretch at home, but you don’t always. This is a chance to exercise with people in the same condition. I enjoy it too. The live music makes a big difference.” “Everyone with Parkinson’s who comes to PDance the first time is highly skeptical,” Pegado says. “They think ‘I’m rigid,’ ‘I have tremors,’ ‘How can I be a dancer?’ They are brave enough to get here, though. It’s partially curiosity that brings them. “Then, during the session, we improvise, and validate each other by mirroring each other’s movements. It’s so full of potential, and emotion. At the end of the improvisation, we

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • May 2016

Pegado teaching some dance steps to Parkinson’s patients Bill Marx, 72. “The classes strengthen me,” says Marx, who was an avid skier pre-diagnosis. “Dance is instrumental in helping to keep balance — which is everything. With Parkinson’s, one tends to feel wobbly. Now that I have exercises with movements that strengthen the legs, I feel more comfortable. Cynthia is the epitome of enthusiasm and caring.” usually have a quiet moment because we’ve all been moved; we’ve just made a dance. People realize all of a sudden that they are dancers.”

If You Go…

In June, another weekly PDance session will be added outdoors at Canalside. For information and schedule, visit www.npfwny.org or call the National Parkinson’s Foundation Western New York at 716-4493795, or Cynthia Pegado directly, at 716-262-8122.