Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Ease Cancer Stress, Anxiety with ‘Emotional Wellness Toolbox’ PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 08:35
Pioneering Psychotherapist Shares 3 Strategies that Work

A not-so-surprising new study shows stress reduces the effectiveness on drugs on prostate cancer, and even accelerates the disease’s development.

“More than 150 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year and how they deal with it can have a dramatic effect on their physical and emotional health,” says pioneering cancer psychotherapist Dr. Niki Barr, author of “Emotional Wellness: The Other Half of Treating Cancer” (www.canceremotionalwellbeing.com).

While the mind-body connection in fighting disease is well-documented, the new study by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centers reveals just how damaging anxiety and stress can be, Barr says.

The study found that mice implanted with human prostate cancer cells responded well to treatment when they were kept calm and stress free. But when the mice were stressed, their cancer cells didn’t die and tumor growth was unchecked. In another test, mice that were repeatedly stressed actually had tumors get larger.

The researchers found that stress and anxiety set off a chemical chain reaction that affects the cancer cells.

“So finding ways to ease the stress associated with cancer is vital,” says Barr, who has dedicated her practice to cancer patients and their families since 2007 after more than 15 years in counseling. “And part of what causes that anxiety is the feeling that you’ve lost all control of your life.”

To return some of that control to patients, she created the “emotional wellness toolbox,” a checklist of activities and tangible items her patients use to help maintain a positive attitude and sense of well-being through treatment.

Here are a few of them:

• Diagnosis: Anxiety begins here and, according to the National Cancer Institute, “Anxiety may increase pain, affect sleep and cause nausea and vomiting,” among other problems. Learning to reduce anxiety from the outset can minimize physical pain and discomfort throughout the illness and treatment. Tangible tools include writing materials, a device for favorite music, CD's for guided meditation or relaxation, and a box to hold these materials. Cancer patients and their families can use them to focus for navigating psychologically through cancer.  “A simple technique for immediate relief from anxiety is ‘triangle breathing,’ ” Barr says. “Breathe in, breathe out, then pause- during which you say a word such as ‘calm,’ ‘peace,’ ‘confident;’ it’s remarkably effective!”

• Medical treatment – depression and the unknown: Approximately 25 percent of cancer patients are clinically depressed, she says. By the time of treatment, which is sometimes a gamble in itself, the diagnosis has had more time to settle in, which can throw emotions into a tailspin. Just a few of the tools for battling depression include being proactive in understanding the treatment, maintaining a healthy routine, taking a break from “cancer talk,” creating affirmations – true statements – that keep one moving forward, and keeping a journal.

• Back to “normal”? … After a diagnosis that can feel like being run over by a truck and a cavalcade of tests and treatments, suddenly the whirlwind of cancer “just sort of ends,” Barr says. Shifting gears – again – can be dizzying. Finding your center and moving forward with intention is a great way back to a regular routine. The first step is to collate all records of treatment, including upcoming visits; this puts the recent past and future into context. Next, decide on the kind of life you want to live from here; perhaps a healthier diet and more exercise was a promise made during treatment. Now is the time to make good on it!

“These tips are gathered from working with cancer patients and their families, taking what is most effective to share with other cancer patients and their families,” Barr says. “Sometimes cancer returns; and, sadly, some do not survive cancer.”

“Regardless of the severity of a diagnosis, however, there are good and bad ways to navigate this disease – that should be the primary concern, along with treatment, when you or a loved one are diagnosed.”

About Niki Barr, Ph.D. (@NikiBarrPhD)

Niki Barr, Ph.D. founded a pioneering psychotherapy practice dedicated to working with cancer patients in all stages of the disease, along with their family members, caregivers and friends. In her book, she describes an "emotional wellness toolbox" patients can put together with effective and simple strategies, ready to use at any time, for helping them move forward through cancer. Dr. Barr is a dynamic and popular speaker, sharing her insights with cancer patients and clinicians across the nation.

 
Grassley Gives Floor Speech, Writes to Firm in Health Care Stock Spike Incident PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 08 April 2013 14:39

Monday, April 8, 2013

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa gave a floor speech this afternoon on his concerns that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has loose controls and poor records of the communication of non-public information regarding policy decisions affecting Medicare and Medicaid. These policies govern the distribution of hundreds of billions of tax dollars.  Any advance, non-public information is of great interest to the financial markets and the growing political intelligence-gathering industry.   Grassley is probing how a private firm had information on a key agency decision on Medicare Advantage payments last week prior to the agency’s announcement, causing a major spike in key health care company stocks.

Also today, Grassley wrote to the firm involved in the Medicare Advantage incident, asking a series of questions about the firm’s role.  Grassley’s letter to Height Securities is available here.

The text of his floor speech is available here.  The video is available on cspan.org.

Grassley’s letter to the acting CMS administrator on the issue is available here.  The acting administrator, Marilyn Tavenner, comes before the Finance Committee on Tuesday for a hearing on her nomination to serve as permanent administrator.

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Time to Register for Camp Genesis PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Craig Cooper   
Monday, 08 April 2013 10:31

Camp Genesis Is A Special Experience For Children Coping With Cancer In Their Families

DAVENPORT, Iowa – April 8, 2013 -- A cancer journey doesn't just impact the patient. Children, grandchildren, spouses and other loved ones can also be involved.

Cancer can disrupt families and disrupt their financial situations, making vacations more difficult.

For the fifth consecutive year, Genesis Health System, Gilda's Club of the Quad Cities and the Scott County Family YMCA will provide an opportunity for children coping with cancer in their families to enjoy time together at Scott County Family Y Camp Abe Lincoln in Blue Grass.

This year's Camp Genesis experience is July 7-12. Anyone who knows a child affected by cancer in their family is encouraged to call Gilda’s Club Quad Cities at (563) 326-7504 for more information and applications.

Camp Genesis provides youth with an outstanding, local camp experience. Special cancer education programs are provided during camp week by Gilda's Club and Genesis to help kids cope with the effects of cancer in their family. The usual camp fee will be donated by Genesis. There will be no charge to campers.

"This camp will provide a much-needed opportunity for kids to just be kids,''  said Sally Werner, Director, Genesis Cancer Care Institute. "This camp will be a relief to parents who may be facing illness and financial concerns because of the illness.

"Camp Genesis will offer a unique camp experience, close-to-home, that is specifically designed for children who are dealing with cancer in their families.''

Camp Genesis campers will experience everything from swimming, to canoeing, to horseback riding to an Alpine adventure tower. Complementing the fun will be cancer support and education each day from the Gilda's Club staff. The Gilda’s Club staff will help campers cope with the new stresses on their families caused by cancer.

Camp Genesis campers bond from their shared experience with cancer in their families and are more likely to share their worries and fears with each other.

YMCA Camp Abe Lincoln hosts Camp Genesis. Camp Abe Lincoln is a 250-acre camp located just 12 miles from downtown Davenport.

"Camp Genesis has become part of our philosophy to treat the cancer patient and families at the Genesis Cancer Care Institute,'' added. "If we can relieve some of the stress and concern a cancer may have about children or grandchildren, we are creating a better environment for that patient.''

Gilda’s Club Quad Cities provides free support, education and hope to all people affected by cancer. Gilda’s Club has an office at the Genesis Cancer Care Institute and offers its special support services throughout the Quad Cities from the Gilda’s “clubhouse” at 1234 E. River Drive in Davenport.

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The United States of Depression? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 05 April 2013 14:10
Psychologist Offers 4 Tips for Maintaining Balance in Difficult Times

It’s no wonder nearly one in 10 Americans suffers from depression.

“Top risk factors include being unable to work or unemployed; having no health insurance; suffering from obesity,” notes psychologist Gregory L. Jantz, citing a Centers for Disease Control study.

“Unfortunately, those topics have dominated headlines for the past five years. What’s worse, by 2020, the World Health Organization estimates depression will be second most debilitating disease worldwide.”

The author of “Overcoming Anxiety, Worry and Fear,” (www.aplaceofhope.com) says these negative emotions along with sustained, excessive stress can lead to depression, which now overshadows other  problems for which patients seek help at his clinic.

“Depression can be rooted in a number of problems, and those need to be addressed – simply taking a pill is not usually effective treatment. Anger, fear and guilt can all be underlying causes, even when the person isn’t aware he’s experiencing those feelings.”

A holistic treatment approach, which may or may not include medication, helps people overcome a bout of the debilitating illness, and learn techniques to manage it themselves, he says.

People at risk of depression can work at maintaining their emotional equilibrium by counterbalancing negative feelings with optimism, hope, and joy. This is most effective if they do this holistically, addressing the four main categories of human need.

“By purposefully feeding the intellectual, relational, physical, and spiritual aspects of your life positive emotions, you can achieve balance,” Jantz says.

He offers these suggestions:

• Intellectual: Be aware of what you’re feeding to your mind. Try reading a positive, uplifting book, and setting aside time in your day to fill yourself up intellectually with constructive, encouraging messages. Be aware of what you are reading and listening to, and seek to counter the negative input we all get with positive influences.

• Relational: Think of a person you really enjoy talking to, someone who makes you feel good about yourself or someone who’s just fun to be around. Plan today to spend time with that person this week, even if it’s just for a moment or two. Make the effort to verbalize your appreciation for his or her positive presence in your day.

• Physical: Physical activity is a wonderful way of promoting emotional health. Engage in some mild exercise this week. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Stroll through a city park. The goals are to get your body moving and to allow you to focus on something other than yourself and your surroundings. Greet your neighbors, stop at the park and watch someone playing with his dog, or cheer at a Little League game. Intentionally open up your focus to include the broader world around you.

• Spiritual Support: Take some time to nourish your spirit. If you are a member of a religious organization, make sure to attend services this week. If you are not, listen to some religious or meditative music. Spend time in quiet reflection, meditation, or prayer. Intentionally engage in an activity that replenishes and reconnects your spirit.

If you are not depressed but feel anxious and stressed, have trouble sleeping or find your not content much of the time, Jantz says it’s time to start taking care of yourself.

“Depression is painful and as debilitating as any other disease,” he says. “Take steps to de-stress your life and to work on emotional balance before it gets worse.”

About Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D

Gregory L. Jantz has more than 25 years experience in mental health counseling and is the founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, near Seattle, Wash. The Center, “a place for hope,” provides comprehensive, coordinated care from a treatment team that addresses medical, physical, psychological, emotional, nutritional, fitness and spiritual factors involved in recovery. He is the best-selling author of more than 20 books, including “When Your Teenager Becomes…The Stranger in the House.” If you’re concerned you or a loved one may be depressed, visit www.aplaceofhope.com and click the “Are You?” tab for a self-evaluation.

 
Natural Juice Remedies are Just the Right Prescription for Some Ailments PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 05 April 2013 09:11
Veggie Cocktails Target Bad Cholesterol,
Arthritis, Headaches & More

Drinking to good health via juicing is seeing a resurgence in popularity as a new generation discovers the benefits of juiced vegetables, says nutritionist and juicing icon Cherie Calbom, MS. (“The Juice Lady”).

“For decades, people with acute medical conditions and those striving for optimum health have turned to juicing nutrient-dense ingredients,” says Calbom, author of a new book full of juicing tips, tricks and recipes, “The Juice Lady's Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies,” (www.juiceladycherie.com).

“You can supplement your diet with a glass of fresh juice, or go on a days-long cleansing ‘juice feast.’ And you can use different combinations of ingredients to improve your mood or boost your energy or even help alleviate physical ailments.”

Calbom says she witnessed the transformation of a woman who had back and arthritis pain, which caused her many nights of interrupted sleep due to pain in her hands. After six weeks of juicing in the morning and before dinner, she lost 12 pounds and felt more energetic in the mornings. More importantly, her arthritic and back pain has completely ceased.

Calbom suggests these cocktails for people burdened with specific ailments:

• Arthritis helper: One handful of flat leaf parsley; One dark green lettuce leaf; three to four carrots, scrubbed well, tops removed, ends trimmed; two stalks of celery with leaves; a two-inch-chunk of ginger root; and one lemon, peeled if not organic. This makes 1 serving. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce arthritic joint pain and help combat oxidative damage to joints.

• The asthma helper: Five carrots, scrubbed well, tops removed, ends trimmed; five to six radishes with leaves; one green apple; half a lemon, peeled if not organic. This makes one serving and can be served chilled or at room temperature. Radish is a traditional asthma remedy.

• The headache mender: Half a ripe cantaloupe with seeds and rind removed; half of a cucumber, peeled if not organic; a 1- to 2-inch chunk of ginger root, peeled. Cantaloupe and ginger root have been shown to reduce platelet stickiness, which is related to migraine headaches.

• Cholesterol buster cocktail: Four medium-sized carrots, scrubbed well, tops removed, ends trimmed; two ribs of celery, with leaves; two kale leaves; one green apple, such as a Granny Smith, or pippin apple; a 1-inch chunk of ginger root, scrubbed or peeled if old. Ginger root has been shown in numerous scientific studies to reduce inflammation. It’s inflammation that is implicated in heart disease. But if you are looking to lower your LDL, juice an apple with your ginger root. Apples contain antioxidants that help to halt oxidation of LDL. It is oxidized LDL that is most harmful.

• The adrenal booster: One handful of parsley; one dark green lettuce leaf; four carrots, scrubbed well, tops removed and ends trimmed; two tomatoes; two ribs of celery with leaves; a dash of hot sauce; a dash of Celtic sea salt. Serves two. The adrenal glands respond to stress; when they’re overworked and fatigued, you can experience mood swings and weight gain. Hot peppers and parsley are rich in vitamin C and celery is a great source of natural sodium, both of which are very beneficial for the adrenal glands.

“As with any juice cocktail, these drinks are best imbibed as soon as possible after being processed,” Calbom says. “This is ‘live food,’ which has a full complement of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, biophotons and enzymes. You can make it the night before, however, and drink in the morning or take it with you if you keep it chilled in a covered container.”

About Cherie Calbom

Cherie Calbom, MS is the author of 21 books, including the best-seller “Juicing for Life,” with 2 million copies sold in the United States and published in 23 countries. Known as “The Juice Lady” for her work with juicing and health, her juice therapy and cleansing programs have been popular for more than a decade. She holds a Master of Science degree in nutrition from Bastyr University. She has practiced as a clinical nutritionist at St. Luke Medical Center, Bellevue, Wash., and as a celebrity nutritionist for George Foreman and Richard Simmons.

 
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