Health, Medicine & Nutrition
New Trials Offer Reasons for Hope, Cancer Researchers Says PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Sunday, 09 September 2012 13:09

Doctor Shares Q&A for Cancer Patients Seeking
Experimental Treatments

The basic problem researchers seek to overcome in finding a cure for cancer is the body’s general inability to fight the disease. Immune systems can do very little to penetrate the robust molecular shield found in tumors.

But those shields may no longer be so impenetrable, thanks to a new experimental drug called BMS-936558, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Studies show it produces significant shrinkage when used in fighting specific forms of lung, skin and kidney cancers.

“Clinical trials with new drugs like BMS-936558 offer hope for patients battling advanced cancers and those that are difficult to treat,” says physician Stephen Garrett Marcus, a senior biotechnology research executive, and author of a comprehensive new reference book, Complications of Cancer (

“While experimental treatments are not the best option for everyone with cancer, they can be a very good one for people for whom current treatments offer poor outcomes. And, in the greater scheme of things, trial participants are making an important contribution to others with the disease. While they may not be cured, their involvement can significantly move research forward.”

Marcus shares tips for patients and family members interested in investigating, and perhaps enrolling in, a clinical trial.

• How can a person with cancer rapidly identify promising clinical trials? The National Institute of Health’s website ( maintains the most comprehensive registry of cancer clinical trials. The site includes information regarding significant clinical trials in progress. Each listing features the name of the clinical trial, the purpose of the study, the criteria that make a person eligible to participate, the study locations and contact information.

• How does a person enroll in an experimental program? When a good fit in a program is identified, a physician’s referral will help expedite an evaluation. If necessary, self-referral can be accomplished by calling the medical center directly and making an appointment to see the physician running clinical trials. Details for making an appointment can be found on the NIH’s website.

• What preparations can be made prior to being seen at the medical center?A complete package of information that gives a clear story of a person’s medical illness can be very useful and should be brought to the clinic at the time of the first appointment. The center at which a person is evaluated for experimental treatment may give a person a checklist of what to bring to the appointment. This may include a letter from the person’s physician; surgical, pathology and radiology reports; and other test results. Having all relevant information organized for the first visit streamlines the process for a comprehensive evaluation, and decisions regarding the best treatment option can be made more quickly.

• How does a person make a decision about whether or not to enter a clinical trial? This decision is made with a thorough understanding of standard treatments and experimental options. Information about these standard and experimental treatments can be provided by the physicians and other caregivers; details are also included in Complications of Cancer.

• Who pays for the experimental medication? The experimental treatment itself should generally be free. Almost all true experimental treatment programs will pay for the experimental medication. Legitimate research almost never asks for money from subjects. Be very wary of treatments advertising high-cost, “cash only” payments; experimental treatment for a very high price is usually not associated with legitimate research.

About Stephen Garrett Marcus, M.D.

Stephen Garrett Marcus, M.D. received his medical degree from New York Medical College and completed a medical oncology fellowship at the University of California in San Francisco. As a senior research executive in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry since 1985, he played a lead role in developing Betaseron as the first effective treatment of multiple sclerosis, as well as several new cancer treatments. Marcus is the president and CEO of a biotechnology company developing new treatments for cancer and its life-threatening complications. He is the author of "Complications of Cancer" (, a book written for everyone about serious complications of common cancers and "When Life is in Jeopardy", a book providing comprehensive information about common life-threatening illnesses, injuries and complications.

NARI advises homeowners during Mold Awareness Month PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Morgan Zenner   
Sunday, 09 September 2012 12:34

Take care of mold before it turns ugly  

Remodelers advise homeowners during Mold Awareness Month  


Des Plaines, Illinois, September 5, 2012—September is Mold Awareness Month and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) wants homeowners to know how to recognize signs of mold or water damage, and how to catch these issues early on—or prevent them all together.  


Mold is everywhere, though the amount and location of the mold is what can be harmful to your home and your health. Brian Jones, president of Jones Design Build LLC, based in   Minneapolis  , knows first-hand about mold in the home—how it impacts a house and how to have it safely removed. His company worked on a bathroom project, which won the 2011 North Central Regional CotY award-winning project in the Residential Bathroom over $60,000 category, which required mold remediation.  


Moisture brings mold  

Mold becomes a problem when moisture is present, and the mold begins to grow. The risk increases in places that are more exposed to moisture, such as bathrooms, kitchens, attics and basements.  


“Oftentimes, bathrooms that are not properly ventilated or not properly insulated are at greater risk of mold issues, regardless of the age of the home,” Jones says.

This was the case with Jones’ clients and their 10-year-old home. They began to notice stains on their first floor ceiling, directly under the location of their upstairs shower, and grew concerned. Once Jones took down the drywall during the demolition phase of the project, their concerns were realized—the fiberglass batt insulation throughout the entire shower wall area was covered in mold.

“In this instance, the ceiling of the shower was sloped, and it can be difficult to install fiberglass insulation properly when the area is sloped, increasing chance for error,” Jones says. “There needs to be a plastic barrier that protects the insulation from openings where moisture seeps in.”

Given the oddly shaped shower, the vapor barrier between the drywall and the insulation was not taped or sealed at all seams, so moisture found its way under the plastic, creating a ripe environment for mold to thrive.

Mold growth behind the wall reduced the direct health risk to the homeowners, but according to Jones, if left untouched, mold poses another risk to the structural elements of their bathroom.

“Mold that continues to grow for years can actually eat through the wood, causing structural problems,” he says.

Removing mold

After the discovery, Jones called in mold remediation experts to clear the area before work could continue. If not properly removed, mold can re-emerge.

Luckily for Jones, remediation is a fairly simple process. “A plastic barrier contains the area with the mold, so that it doesn’t spread into other parts of the home. As it is being removed, a fan drives air to the outside through a window, and HEPA vacuums remove leftover mold particles from the area,” he says. Once the area is completely cleared of mold and dried, it is sealed with a mold-inhibiting paint to help prevent future outbreaks.

Following the remediation, Jones recommended using a polyurethane spray foam insulation instead of the fiberglass batt insulation that was originally used.

“The polyurethane foam insulation is sprayed into the area, so it completely fills every crevice and hole that may be present,” Jones says. Not only does this type of insulation block all moisture, but it is also known for its energy-efficient elements.

Jones’ knowledge and expertise was very beneficial to his clients when dealing with a hidden issue like mold during their bathroom remodel. They were very happy to have detected the problem early on, before structural damage could occur.

Recognizing issues early on

Do you have moisture issues in your home? Jones provides the following tips to ensure early detection of moisture issues and preventative measures for mold growth:

Staining. By the time you notice staining, you can be sure that water either has been or is present. “Drywall and paint is easy and cheap to replace, so when I see staining, I recommend clients cut through the drywall immediately and locate the problem,” Jones says.

Odor. Many times you don’t need to physically see the mold to know that it is present because it will have an odor. If you walk into a room or basement and notice an odor, it’s time to investigate.

Blistering. Paint that is peeled or blistering is another sign of water damage. Also bulging dry wall, and screws or joints that are popping out is evidence that the wood is warping from repeated water exposure.

Ventilate. Areas of the home that have accessible water systems or could face water exposure from the outside are extremely susceptible to mold growth and must have proper ventilation. “I suggest a bathroom fan with a wired timer, that will continue to run 30 to 60 minutes following shower use to keep the moisture level down,” Jones says.

NARI is the source for homeowners seeking to hire a professional remodeling contractor because members are full-time, dedicated remodelers who follow a strict code of ethics that observes high standards of honesty, integrity and responsibility.

Visit the site to get tips on how to hire a remodeling professional and to search for NARI members in your area.

Click here to see an online version of this press release.

# # #

About NARI: The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is the only trade association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry.  The Association, which represents 7,000 member companies nationwide—comprised of 63,000 remodeling contractors— is “The Voice of the Remodeling Industry.”™ To learn more about membership, visit or contact national headquarters, based in Des Plaines,Ill., at (847) 298-9200.

Chickens Positive for West Nile Virus in Scott County PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Lenore Alonso   
Sunday, 09 September 2012 12:11
The Scott County Health Department has been notified by the Medical Entomology Laboratory at Iowa State University that chickens from Scott County’s sentinel flock have tested positive for West Nile Virus.  This was not unexpected, despite this summer’s hot, dry conditions, and low mosquito population.  Detection of virus exposure in the chickens indicates that there is West Nile Virus transmission activity in the area.  Late summer and early fall are the times when the majority of human cases of West Nile Virus typically are reported.  The risk of contracting West Nile Virus remains high until the first frost when mosquito activity declines.The Scott County Health Department is urging individuals to take steps to reduce the mosquito population and protect themselves when outside.  Some things to do to reduce the mosquito population are:Change the water in birdbaths, pet bowls, and wading pools at least twice a week.Turn over plastic wading pools and buckets.Properly dispose of old tires.  Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, and other water-holding containers.  Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and drain the water from the pool cover.Some ways to prevent mosquito bites: Wear light colored clothing with long sleeves and long pants.Repair tears in window and door screens.Limit the time spent outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most likely to bite.Do not wear perfume or fragrances when outdoors.Apply insect repellents to exposed skin.  Those containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus have been found to be effective. (Carefully read and follow all directions on the label before use).  Do not use DEET on infants under two years of age, pregnant women, or children's bedding or clothing.The Scott County Health Department, along with the State Hygienic Laboratory and Iowa State University, has participated in mosquito surveillance with the Iowa Department of Public Health for more than 30 years.For more information, visit the Health Department’s website at

Expert Shares Tips to Prepare for Surgery PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 07 September 2012 12:55
How the ‘Herbal Martha Stewart’ Got Ready
for Her Hip Replacement

While they’re the place we go for healing, all hospitals have the potential to be a hotbed  for contagious infections.

But there are precautionary measures patients can take, both to reduce the need for a hospital stay and to condition the body to ward off infection and minimize pain when surgery is necessary, says Letha Hadady, a nationally-recognized herbal expert and author of Naturally Pain Free, just published by Sourcebooks ( Letha has been documenting in real time her recent hip replacement, preparation and recovery, in a video blog on her global website.

“We are fast approaching a time when antibiotics will be outdated because infectious bacteria – Superbugs – have become resistant,” she says. “We have to protect ourselves with the gifts of nature that germs cannot adapt to – foods, minerals, herbal remedies and other natural products that build our defenses.”

There are 600,000 knee-replacement and 300,000 hip-replacement surgeries performed each year in the United States, a number that has doubled in the past 10 years and continues to grow, Hadady says. As a health expert cited by NBC News, AP Radio, Newsday, the Daily News, the San Francisco Chronicle and Barbara Walters, she says she is concerned about the risks, pain and fear as many people face both major and minor surgeries.

“These surgeries are only going to become more frequent as the baby boomer generation ages. People 50 and older with osteoarthritis are most likely to need hip- and knee-placements,” she says. “But plenty of younger people are affected, too. Runners, dancers, tennis players, soldiers – even high school students who suffer sports injuries. It could be you on the operating table!”

Hadady offers these tips to naturally condition the body before surgery:

• Herbal strength: A few weeks in advance of her operation, Hadady ramped up her intake of herbal supplements. A key herb was Yunnan Paiyao, a traditional  medicine used in Chinese hospitals and by their soldiers to prevent excessive bleeding. Other herbs can be taken to help build up resistance to bacteria.

• A calm and focused mind: Stress increases inflammation and is a burden on internal organs. A calm, centered mind -- attained through techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and mineral baths – can help the body weather the trauma of surgery, she says.

• Knowledge is power: While researching “Naturally Pain Free,” Letha tried alternative treatments for arthritis ranging from traditional Asian remedies to cutting-edge stem cell injections. Before her operation, Hadady asked questions and researched her hospital, doctors, the procedure, and insurance coverage. This allowed her to better prepare for the operation and gave her peace of mind.

• Follow hospital recommendations: In addition to alternative therapies, it’s important to heed the advice of one’s doctors, before and after a procedure, she says. With her supplements, Hadady restricted her vitamin C intake, which thins blood, and she received an antibiotic ointment to ward off MRSA -- an antibiotic-resistant superbug that can cause life-threatening infections.

• Diet and exercise: “This may seem obvious, but it’s a message we cannot emphasis enough for overall health,” she says. One reason why replacement procedures are so prominent is due to the “sitting lifestyle” so many now have. Muscle atrophy from too much sitting can be a cause for joint-replacement, she says. “Sitting is the new smoking!”

About Letha Hadady

Letha Hadady has been called the “Martha Stewart of herbs” for her expertise in traditional Asian and alternative health. The author of five books, including her latest “Naturally Pain Free,” Letha has appeared widely on TV--including CNN, Today, The View — talk radio, and the internet. Letha is an adjunct faculty member for New York Open Center, and The Renfield Center for Nursing Education, Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. She has led stress-management workshops and acted as a natural product consultant for Sony Entertainment Inc., Dreyfus, Ogilvy & Mather, and Consumer Eyes, Inc. in New York.

Department of Public Safety: a National Model for Healthcare PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by G. Keith Smith, M.D.,   
Friday, 07 September 2012 12:35

As ObamaCare becomes ever more unpopular, the single payer idea keeps coming up. So let’s consider what a single-payer system would look like. There are so many places to look it’s a little confusing. Here’s a partial list.

Canada tends to come up first, and I think about it a lot. That’s because lots of Canadians come to our facility in Oklahoma for their care. Do I really need to say anything else? These are people who have been told to wait for years before they can see a specialist because there are budget “caps.” When the money is gone, the doctor’s office is closed. Surgeons are allowed only so much time in the operating room in a month. When they have used up their time, they can do no more surgery. Rather than have the market determine the allocation of resources, a Canadian bureaucrat creates a budget and that’s that. Presto! The “right” to healthcare is defined. It might not feel too much like a right, however, to those who have to travel to the U.S. for timely surgery, or for those who die waiting in line for care.

Then there’s Britain. The Brits harbor such nationalistic pride in their healthcare system that they celebrated it in the opening ceremonies for the London Olympics. It is based on the same faulty economic premise as the Canadian system. The Brits not only euthanize their sick citizens to free up scarce hospital beds (do you wonder how this shortage of beds came about?), but they are proud of this and have even given this highway to the cemetery a fancy name: the Liverpool Care Pathway.British patients that become extremely ill have a better chance of survival at home, surrounded by family and friends, as no one stands a chance once on the LCP. Recovery from severe illness can occur without the help of modern medicine, but recovery of the very sick isn’t likely when the hospital staff is actively murdering them.

But there is no need to go outside of the U.S. to see the wonders of socialism in medicine. The VA hospitals and the Indian hospitals provide examples of efficiency brought to us in medicine from government bureaucrats.

Our local paper’s lead article recently informed us that the Department of Public Safety (DPS) was closing the office administering driver’s tests for the day to train their employees. Zeke Campfield of The Oklahoman writes that the “operator of a local Chick-fil-A restaurant will teach examiners how to be patient and courteous.”

What would happen to an employee at Chick-fil-A that was not patient with and courteous to customers? What would patrons of Chick-fil-A do if they were not treated in a timely manner and with respect? What would happen to Chick-fil-A if this treatment of customers were widespread?

Campfield’s article also talks about a mother getting in line outside the DPS testing center at 4:15 A.M., only to be turned away at the end of the day because there were simply not enough examiners to get to her son. Three mornings in a row. The spokesman for the DPS muttered something about budget cuts, so I’m guessing we’ll see government’s usual response, that of throwing even more money at failure.

Try to imagine the DPS in charge of your medical care. Rude and inefficient staff. No competitive fears. Hospitals working together to institutionalize mediocrity so no one stands out as better, eliminating troublesome comparisons. Long waiting lines. Always blaming the lack of funding or budget caps.

The efficiencies and quality of the private sector cannot be superimposed on government agencies for one simple reason: without competitors, government doesn’t have to care. Ever. Our state government wants to introduce private sector ideas into a failed government organization. Ironic, isn’t it, that health care bureaucrats are increasingly embracing the business plan of the DPS, even as the DPS is looking for private-sector answers? At least the DPS hasn’t started euthanizing applicants waiting in line to free up examination spots.


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