Health News in New York: Firemen’s Association and Mosquito Virus

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firemenThe Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) just created a new Health & Wellness Committee. This aims to put in practice one of its key priorities. This is, as Robert McConville, President of FASNY articulated, “A Healthy Firefighter Is Everyone’s Fight.”

According to newly appointed committee Chairperson, Jacqueline Moline, MD, MSc, “FASNY’s Health & Wellness Committee, made up of experts in the medical field, will advise FASNY leadership on matters of health unique to firefighting, focusing on cancer, heart issues and mental health in the fire service. We are honored to have Dr. Jacqueline Moline helm this extremely important committee and are thrilled that she will be providing her expertise and sharing her experience and wisdom in our quest for healthy firefighters.”

In other news, doctors are being told to look out for symptoms of the Zika virus in those entering New York from the Caribbean, Central and South America and Mexico as it is being transmitted in those regions. While there haven’t as yet been any recorded cases in New York, it is still a concern as there is to date, no vaccine yet. Plus, most people who contract it don’t actually get it, but links with the virus and congenital birth defects have been found so it is crucial to prevent it from happening.

Saying Goodbye to S.A.D.

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bahamasBetween four and six percent of Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder – S.A.D. A further 10 to 20 percent “may experience a mild form of winter-onset S.A.D.” According to the US National Library of Medicine, “some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up.” So for those in New York who want to escape the winter blues, what better place to do it than the Bahamas, at the Resorts World Bimini, like Randy S. from Syracuse, New York did recently?

In his Trip Advisor report, Randy S. spoke about his stay at Bimini “between Christmas and News Years,” mentioning the “perfect weather which helps.” Indeed, leaving New York’s dreary winter behind is not only good for those encountering any elements of S.A.D., but can be beneficial for anyone who likes a bit of sunshine, rest and relaxation. It’s also a good idea to go before the weather really gets bad as, according to meteorologist Jeff Smith, “some snow and a light mix of precipitation arrived in parts of the New York area ahead of much colder temperatures and gusty winds.”

The cold weather is known to have a negative impact on a lot of people. Being in the sunshine sometimes just makes things seem better, as it is actually brighter. Indeed, according to Laura Geggel, staff writer at LiveScience, “Cold temperatures can influence our thoughts and decisions without our even knowing it, experts have found…Hot and cold temperatures affect the way people judge others all of the time. For instance, compared with when a person is holding a cup of hot coffee, a person holding a cup of iced coffee tends to see others as interpersonally colder, according to a 2008 study in the journal ‘Science.’”

Of course, once one is at Resorts World Bimini, they can enjoy a whole slew of other health-enhancing activities in the near vicinity. One of these is swimming with dolphins which is actually used as a therapy in some places. Known as Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT), a 2005 study undertaken by a group of academics at the University of Leicester found that “symptoms improved more among this group [those swimming with dolphins than the others] who swam in the same area but did not interact with dolphins.”

So don’t let S.A.D take over your winter. Find a time to take a break. Enjoy your vacation in the Bahamas and soak up some sun!

When Healthcare Became Political

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healthcareExpenditure on healthcare in the US increased “at the fastest pace since President Barack Obama took office.” This was explained by Obamacare and “zooming prescription drug costs.” Prior to Obamacare, the country encountered five years of “historically low growth.” The Department of Health and Human Services undertook a study that found Obamacare just hasn’t been the solution to health expenditure. Indeed, spending on healthcare increased at a faster rate than the entire economy, getting up to 17.5 percent of GDP.

In other news, in Rhode Island, Governor Gina Raimondo requested that health care experts and stakeholders construct a plan to keep health care spending in check by putting a cap on all health care spending.

Perhaps if sodium was reduced at New York eateries, the citizens would not require quite so much healthcare. Currently NYC is encountering a fight in which it may be forced to post warnings on dishes with a high level of sodium. New York has already banned trans fats and calorie counts are posted on menus. Sugary drink volumes remain uninhibited, but in general there seems to be a direction toward healthier food options replacing unhealthy ones in the city’s eateries.

The Aging Population and Health Care Options

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Senior Health Care

Senior Health Care on the Rise

In New York, New Jersey, and the greater metropolitan area, there are many choices when it comes to senior health care programs. Among these choices are Dry Harbor; Home Instead Senior Care, founded by Paul and Lori Hogan in 1994; and BrightStar, founded by J.D. and Shelly Sun in 2002.

All these companies are focused on addressing many of the issues arising from the fact that the number of seniors as a percentage of the population is steadily growing, thus bringing the issues of health care to the forefront of society’s concerns.

In the past when a senior did not have family to care for them their only option was to live and be cared for in a nursing home if living independently was impossible. Today this is far from the reality. Franchises such as BrightStar and Home Instead are available to help seniors, who are not ill and can live on their own, but just need a bit of assistance with cooking, shopping, cleaning, taking meds or the like. And there are full-service health care programs such as the Dry Harbor Nursing Home, which offers services such as skilled rehabilitation as well as long-term care and assisted living care.

With so many options available today to the aging population, which is living longer and in better health, it pays to research well what health care suits each individual best.

Finding the Right Nursing Home

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senior-homeWhen it comes time to finding alternative accommodation for a member of our family, where do you start? Where do you look? What questions should you ask? It is not an easy decision to move a parent out of their home (or yours) to a nursing home but these days the options are many and varied and often really are catered to suit the individual. Indeed, many elderly are now looking to move out of their homes as they are lonely. In New York, places like Dry Harbor Nursing Home and Acer Heart Senior Home are great options for seniors who still want to live life to the fullest.

But as an adult child of a parent going into a nursing home, what should you be looking for? While part of the answer to this question depends on the personality of your aging relative and what they enjoy doing, much of it is the same for everyone. Quality of care, testimonials from others, nutrition and activities are all features that should be taken into consideration.

For those who are reluctant to put their mothers or fathers into care, keep visiting the home. At the Dry Harbor Nursing Home for example, one will find a very modern facility with the finest rehabilitation equipment, warm and friendly staff and more. But visit. And don’t just visit once. Keep on visiting until you get a good feeling. Also speak to your parent when they move in and make sure they are comfortable. Always keep the lines of communication open.

Remember with places like Dry Harbor and Acer Heart, it’s not like it was years ago – these nursing/senior homes are really a fun place for one to live and enjoy life to the fullest and ultimately you’ll be doing your parent a favor by making this choice.

When Fast Food Makes You Fit

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vegetablesWhat an interesting phenomenon. Fast food making you fit. But these days, since that is what New Yorkers seem to want, that is what they are getting. So instead of French fries on the menu, you will probably have a “wastED salad,” made up of waste (such as broccoli stalks, cabbage cores, carrot peels, roasted bread heels) and other such stuff that is usually put in the “waste” pile.

Who would have thought – even just a few years ago – that after the sushi craze would come the waste craze with a side dressing of spicy pesto vinaigrette. Toss out your burgers and give me some scraps. Well, people who have been concerned for the environment for many years are now actually doing something about it in their everyday lives. And eateries are responding in kind. Five Guys, Shake Shack, Sweetgreen and more are putting these items on their menus. Highly processed foods are on the out.

However, American diners still want speed and convenience. So how do they match that with fast food? That is where the above eateries have found their niche. People today want it all: great, healthy food, that is fast and convenient. They want to know what is going into their food and are willing to pay more for what they view as healthier.

Castle Connolly: Assessing Top Doctors for 2015

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doctorsCastle Connolly Medical, together with Inside Jersey, has prepared a lineup of Top Doctors for 2015 inside the state of New Jersey. Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. was founded in 1992 by John Castle (of Castle Harlan) and John J. Connolly, Ed.D.  In the past, Castle was chairman of the Board of New York Medical College for 11 years and a member of its board for a further 11 years.  He also held the role of commissioner and executive officer of the Joint Commission. Connolly, Ed.D, is a former president of New York Medical College.

Castle Connolly Medical created by John Castle of Castle Harlan and John J. Connolly’s mission is: “to help consumers find the best healthcare.” As well as the Top Doctors list, Castle Connolly Medical also publishes consumer guides to the following: “America’s Top Doctors,” “America’s Top Doctors for Cancer,” “Top Doctors: New York Metro Area,” “The Best in Senior Living & Eldercare Options” and “The ABCs of HMOs.”

One of the most trusted aspects of the list of Top Doctors prepared by Castle Connolly Medical is that doctors are not able to pay to make the list. Rather, the only way they can be a part of it is by being hand selected by Castle Connolly Medical’s physician-led research team which asks thousands of doctors and health care professionals to “identify excellent doctors in every specialty in their region and throughout the nation.” Further, Castle Connolly continues to monitor any possible changes in status of a doctor who made the list.

US HealthCare: A Weighty Matter

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healthy-foodWhile Americans spend the most on health care of any industrialized nation, they also have one of the lowest life expectancies. Last year figures for healthcare spending reached $3.8 trillion but life expectancy on average is 79, as compared to 82 in Western Europe and the UK, and 83 in Japan.

Why is America doing so poorly but spending so much? The answer seems to be obesity.   Indeed, according to a recent study undertaken by the OECD on wellbeing, out of Asia, the Americas and Europe, the US “is home to the most obese population,” as well as the most “underperforming students and second in murders and assaults.”

What America is high on the list for is its personal wealth and amount of rooms in each personal home, but vis-à-vis obesity, it is the country with the most problems. Unfortunately therefore it seems that the country’s Agriculture Department (which has been removing sugar and salt from school lunches) and Michelle Obama’s work is not having a strong enough impact.

It’s really a wasted opportunity that a country – potentially so rich – is shooting itself in the foot by not combating the obesity war.

 

Senior Wellness Fairs

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elderlyEvery year, around Fall time, Patty Richie, State Senator, presents a series of Senior Health and Wellness Fairs.   In September and October the communities of central and northern New York are privy to such fairs at which they can access tips and tools needed to enhance their wellness.

At these fairs are free lunches, entertainment and more. This year is expected to be “bigger and better than ever.” It is a fabulous opportunity for seniors to find a way to actually enjoy enhancing their quality of life in a fun way. There will be over 50 exhibitors at each event presenting ways to improve health. And the free lunches will be prepared by the “future chefs” at St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES and Oswego County CiTi.”

 

David Bershad: Fighting Breast Cancer

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breast-cancerDavid Bershad is fighting against the clock. As a supporter of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, he is on the fight to end breast cancer by 2020. Indeed, the NBCC even has a countdown clock if you visit breastcancerdeadline2020.org as that is what Bershad and many others like him are fighting for – to find a cure once and for all to stop breast cancer from taking lives.

What the Breast Cancer Deadline 2020 does is unite “visionaries and leaders, scientists and advocates, to catalyze, plan and implement work in two major areas: how to prevent the development of breast cancer and understanding the causes and prevention of metastasis to save lives.” David Bershad is a part of this.

Indeed, the NBCC has set and reached many goals since its inception back in 1991. For example, as part of the Artemis Project, the organization has been able to give “seed grants to allow scientists to accelerate progress in each of the key areas identified in the collaborative research plans.”  Further the NBCC was behind the reintroduction of the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act in the US Senate and House of Representatives. All of these actions and more are working toward the ultimate goal of 2020 – deadline to end breast cancer.

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