Affordable Care Act

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healthcareStatistics from New York’s Department of Health indicate that approximately 15 percent of the population of the state of New York is utilizing the Affordable Care Act marketplace. The health care exchange there – New York State of Health – recently detailed its level of use for 2016 indicating the coverage enrollment of 2.8 million people by the end of the admission period.  This marked an increase of around 700,000 from 2015.

New York residents are able to register for a health plan via the Affordable Care Act thanks to the state marketplace.  They can also sign up for various private health plans that are part of the marketplace or – for those eligible – Medicaid. There is also the Essential Plan on offer as well as Child Health Plus.

Other positive news about this for New Yorkers is that according to a recent news article by Margot Sanger-Katz, “A few recent studies suggest that people have become less likely to have medical debt or to postpone care because of cost. They are also more likely to have a regular doctor and to be getting preventive health services like vaccines and cancer screenings.”

New York’s Social Wellness House

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spaThere is now a social wellness house in lower Manhattan.  For those who want to chill out in a healthy non-alcoholic way, this is the place to go.  Get a manicure, listen to a lecture on wellness, meditate, have a massage or enjoy a Pilates class at one venue.

Set to open early next year Gradient Architecture and Bower is designing the space with the view to letting patrons “realign, expand their thinking and connect with like-minded others.”

Meanwhile for those who want to get into the swing of things now but would like to combine it with their work time, the Financial District is offering a new co-working office whereby members can take fitness classes at an in-house studio.  Of the company providing this – called Primary – co-founder Danny Orenstein explained that they “wanted to bring a lot of wellness amenities right in arm’s reach [adding that] People are realizing the shared office space isn’t one size fits all. We’re trying to provide something that feels really refined and fits in the wellness model.”

Candies and Health: Taking a Closer Look

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candiesA government database of surveys revealed that “thinner children eat candy.” While the authors did confess that the data they received “may not reflect usual intake” and “cause and effect associations cannot be drawn,” the findings still reflected that kids who eat candy tend to weigh less than those who do not. The paper received its funding from a trade association that represents the makers of Butterfingers, Hershey and Skittles.

The backlash from this – according to the Associated Press – is that makers of sweet-sugary food and beverages are “shaping nutrition science.”  One of the food industry’s most powerful tools is nutritional research funding.  This seems to be equipped with academic authority, resulting in it becoming a part of scientific literature.

However, the question of alternative supplements to sugar remains a pressing one without much of a conclusive answer. According to a diabetes-based study in Science Daily “results showed that those who used artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame, may have worse glucose management than those who don’t take sugar substitutes.” The study examined individuals who reported their diets over the previous 24 hours.  They were then categorized as consumers of artificial sweeteners or high/low consumers of natural sugars. Then, the diabetes risk was measured via the capacity to manage blood sugars using an oral glucose test.

According to researchers at York University’s Faculty of Health who took the data to examine it, while it was the case that artificial sweeteners were beneficial to people struggling with obesity vis-à-vis calorie reduction and weight loss, simultaneously they may cause other adverse health effects.  As obesity researcher in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science at York, Jennifer Kuk explained: “Our study shows that individuals with obesity who consume artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame, may have worse glucose management than those who don’t take sugar substitutes.”

Ultimately one will always find studies to indicate the benefits of sugar over sweeteners and vice versa.  The best idea for health maintenance – pretty much as

New York Dentistry

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dentistFor the first time in nearly half a century, a new dental school is to be opened in the state of New York.  One of its main aims is to serve low-income rural and urban communities, in which many people cannot afford dental care.  According to president of New York Medical College – where the school will be housed – Dr. Alan Kadish:  “With dental care as the foothold of good overall health care, it is important that this area of professional health care education continues to grow.”

Over 100 students will start at the school this coming fall and will be taught at the newly renovated glass-and-steel Skyline Drive office building in Mount Pleasant.  The money required for making this school came from bonds, state education grants and donations and in the next few years it is anticipated that there will be up to 440 students taking part in the classes.

The dental school’s inaugural 110 students are expected to arrive this fall. They will take classes in a glass-and-steel Skyline Drive office building in Mount Pleasant that underwent a $20 million renovation during the past six months, said Kadish. Donations, bonds and $4 million in state education grants paid for the school, which is opening in a former IBM office building near New York Medical College’s campus in Valhalla. Enrollment in the dental school is likely to grow in coming years and reach its capacity at 440 students, Kadish said.

Meanwhile, NYU’s College of Dentistry was awarded a four year $1.6M NIDCR grant.  The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (part of the National Institutes of Health) donated this money to Professors Deepak Saxena, MS, PhD, and Xin Li, PhD in order “to study the biological and physiological effects of electronic cigarette aerosol mixtures on oral health.”  E-cigs and Vapes (electronic cigarettes and vaporizers) have become increasingly popular over the last few years but “the safety of aerosol mixtures emitted by these devices remains unknown.”   According to Lin, “Smoking is a major risk factor for periodontal diseases, immuno-suppression, and impairment of soft tissue and bone cell function. The prospective study we proposed to the NIDCR entails the enrollment of 120 subjects consisting of 40 nonsmokers, 40 subjects who regularly smoke cigarettes but do not use e-cigs, and 40 subjects who exclusively use e-cigs and study the effect of e-cig aerosol on periodontal health.”

Work on this has to be done and researchers will be collecting baseline saliva and subgingival plaque samples twice and following the latter collection, a comparison to the baseline samples will be done to determine if any dysbiosis in the oral microbiome has occurred.  At both collections, participators will be subject to oral exams too.

Staying Healthy in New York

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new-york-1113916_1280Tory Burch gives her take on what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to getting and staying in shape in New York. She says that for a healthy snack she goes to Café Habana has a delicious chicken salad and Milos has the freshest Greek salad and grilled octopus. That’s not to say we always resist steak fries from Eisenberg’s; for juices Juice Press, LED facial treatments with Georgia Louise or Tracie Martyn, a ton of options in Flatiron for fitness classes including Lily Miesmer’s Soul Cycling and then of course there’s the not-to-be-missed Central Park option for New York’s joggers.

Unfortunately, wellness is often impacted by wealth. When it comes to New York, there is some of the most extreme inequality vis-à-vis financial status. However, according to Social Security research and earnings records, New Yorkers live a lot longer than those from other US cities. But, this doesn’t really help the poor in their communities as they do die before the rich in their communities. Still, overall, it seems that the research published in published Monday in The Journal of the American Medical Association found New York to be “a model city for factors that seem to predict where poor people live longer.” Much government expenditure goes toward social services for low-income residents and there are lower-than-average rates of smokers.

Maybe another reason that poverty-stricken New Yorkers live longer is because they are less likely to get into a cab. New research has found that cab drivers are not in the best of health themselves and that this can negatively impact their passengers. Think about it: they are on the worst diets (just grabbing fast food snacks), are completely inactive and, other than the initial health exam they have to undergo to get the job, they never have to prove they are in good health. Many of them have been cab drivers for two or three decades in this status, leaving them much more likely to be the victim of a heart attack, seizure, or other related ailments, right while they are driving long shifts!

Perhaps some of these drivers should take a lesson from Tory Burch and make some “me” time to put them into better shape for being responsible for so many New York passengers who are counting on them.

NYC’s Mosquito Season

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mosquitoHow is New York going to deal with the mosquito season that is about to start in April? It’s so much more than just mosquitoes. With the fear of the Zika virus they carry, NYC officials are working very hard. Mosquito experts were called in for consultation by the New York City Department of Health to devise a plan to fight the possible spread of this virus.

However, New Yorkers do not need to run and hide just yet. Thankfully, there have been no known Zika cases in NYC, according to Dr. Mary Basset, Health Commissioner. The kind of mosquito that usually spreads the virus can more often be found in Latin America and the Caribbean; it does not live in this region.

But Basset noted that its cousin – the Asian tiger mosquito – does appear in NYC. It usually breeds in very small water collections, she said. Given that fact, she is trying to encourage those who live in the city to get rid of all standing water they find on their property which could become a breeding ground for the mosquitoes.

For pregnant women of course, contracting the Zika virus can be even more problematic. Hence, as per Gov. Cuomo’s request, pregnant women in the region whose sexual partners have traveled to countries that have been affected by the virus, will be eligible for free tests for the infection.

 

 

Caring for Caregivers

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woman-158230_1280When family or friends end up bearing the brunt of caretaking for senior members in their inner circle, they can end up completely depleted themselves. They need help and support, especially if they are caring for them round the clock. Of course there are options, such as the Dry Harbor Nursing Home or the Village Adult Day Health Center in the New York area, that takes the burden away and provides tremendously top quality care for the elderly.

But for people who opt to take on the role of senior care-taking, they deserve some help. Thankfully, there are efforts being generated by lawmakers to provide this right now. For example, New York congresswoman Nita Lowey is working on promoting a law that would provide a Social Security credit to all those who have been forced to leave their job (or cut down their hours) in order to take care of a family member.

To try to encourage other legislators to support this, Lowey pointed out that America has 65 million unpaid caregivers. These people end up losing an average of $324,000 in pay and benefits over a lifetime.

These caregivers are seriously doing the work of angels. However they are human. They need to be compensated. It is also essential that they do not neglect their own health as the potential for burnout in this role is extremely high. Lowey has made a real step in the right direction.

 

New York Nirvana

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mindfulnessEstablished by Ellie Burrows at the end of 2015, MNDFL seeks to facilitate meditation for people. Together with Lodro Rinzler (Chief Spiritual Officer and Partner) the ground floor of an 1837 Greenwich Village townhouse has been “transformed into a cozy modern cocoon.” Homepolish interior design was also part of the equation.

At this center, you will find represented the four principal thoughts of Tibetan Buddhism along with Shambhala, Theravada and Zen. One can also take classes in Vedic and Kundalini.

It was created to give people the opportunity “to feel good.” Self-described as “New York City’s premier meditation studio.” Offers a slew of “expert teachers from a variety of traditions offering simple techniques in an accessible manner.” The meditation room is open when there are no classes for the public “for self-guided practice.”

So, book your cushion at 10 East 8th Street, New York, with prices as low as $10 and find a space to breathe today.

AO Research and Development with Geoff Richards Makes Great Strides

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It’s always helpful to know about medical institutions that could be of assistance should the need arise, and that are doing innovative work. One such location is the AO Foundation, started in 1958 in Biel. They are a medically guided nonprofit organization that is led by surgeons who specialize in the treatment of trauma and disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Today, they have more than 16,000 surgeons, operating room personnel and scientists who are involved from over 100 countries.

With Professor R. Geoff Richards, the Director of AO Research and Development, the AO Foundation’s mission is to foster and expand their network of health care professionals in education, in research and in the development and clinical investigation for more effective patient care around the world.

To this end, they have many innovative endeavors. They have an AO Surgery Reference which is an online reference tool designed for everyday clinical life. It was first introduced in 2006 and was launched with six anatomical modules.

Today, they have a great deal of research and development, led by Prof. R. Geoff Richards. They also have AO Clinical Divisions which include four areas: trauma, spine, craniomaxillofacial and veterinary surgery.

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.

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