Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Doctor: With Cancer, Patients Are First Line of Defense PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 08:17

Often, it’s not cancer that kills; it’s the complications of cancer, says physician Stephen Garrett Marcus, a senior biotechnology research executive.

Complications are common and become more frequent and severe if cancer progresses or spreads, he says. Spotting them early and treating them quickly can lessen their impact and save lives.

“Patients and their families are the first line of defense; they need to know what to watch for and seek treatment immediately,” says Marcus, author of a comprehensive new reference, Complications of Cancer ( “Many can be successfully treated if they’re addressed at the first signs of trouble.”

What to watch for? Marcus describes the symptoms of six common complications:

• Malignant spinal cord compression: Compression of the spinal cord is caused by a malignant tumor or by bones in the spine damaged by cancer. Symptoms may include pain in the neck or back and weakness in the arms or legs. This is a medical emergency and should be promptly treated, or patients risk paralysis. Cancers of the lung, breast, and prostate, commonly spread to the spine and are the most likely cancers to produce spinal cord compression.

• Neutropenic sepsis: This condition often occurs during chemotherapy. The most common signs of infection are fever, chills, difficulty breathing, a new persistent cough, a sore throat, or a change in mental clarity. An easy way to lower risk is to keep hands clean. If there is an intravenous access line in place, it is important to keep the area clean.

• Pulmonary embolism: Symptoms usually include sudden, severe shortness of breath associated with pain in the chest area. Treatment may include supplemental oxygen and blood pressure support, if necessary, and administration of blood thinning “anticoagulant” medications.

• Bacterial pneumonia: Cancer or treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and steroid medications can diminish a person's ability to prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria in the lungs and increase the risk of pneumonia. Symptoms can include cough, fever and chills. Antibiotics will generally cure pneumonia caused by the most common types of bacteria. If the person also is having severe difficulty breathing or low blood pressure, hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics may be required.

• Intestinal obstruction: The most common first symptom is bouts of severe pain in the middle of the abdomen. Treatment includes intravenous fluids and along with a tube passed into the stomach to decompress the intestine by withdrawing excess fluid and air. Emergency surgery may be necessary to relieve the obstruction.

• Delirium, stupor, and coma: The most common causes of these symptoms in people with cancer are problems with blood chemistry, spread of cancer to the brain, side effects of medications and infections. These complications have various treatments after the cause is identified.

“Attitude is the great wild card for surviving cancer,” Marcus say, “both in vigilance for possible complications, and the courage to keep fighting.”

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, and has led multinational research teams for other treatments. Marcus is the president and CEO of a biotechnology company developing new treatments for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

Maria Bribriesco Announces Next Health & Wellness Series Topic PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Maria Bribriesco   
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 12:17
Trinity Medical Center Dietitian To Share Free Advice on Healthy Eating

JULY 26, 2012 BETTENDORF, IA – Maria Bribriesco, candidate for Iowa House of Representatives (District 94) and Bettendorf resident, has announced the second in a five-part Health & Wellness series “Diet and Nutrition - Foundation for Good Health”. This presentation will be at the Bettendorf Public Library July 31, 2012 at 6:30 PM. Jeni Tackett, the wellness dietitian for Trinity Medical Center, will deliver a short presentation followed by a Q&A. This event is free to the public.

Due to her family's medical history and experiences, Maria understands the importance a sound diet has in maintaining excellent health. “Food is the best source of health. Food works at the cellular level so it's important to eat well to stay well. ” Bribriesco said  recently. “I encourage everyone to come to this presentation and learn about nutrition.”

Jeni Tackett, the wellness dietitian for Trinity Medical Center, majored in Nutrition and Dietetics at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. She lives in East Moline with her husband, Nathan and their two children. Jeni enjoys reading, yoga, and running and writes a nutrition blog for Mississippi Valley Health News at Helping people lead healthier lifestyles is Jeni’s passion.

About Maria Bribriesco
Maria Bribriesco, a long-time resident of Bettendorf and graduate from the University of Iowa College of Law, is candidate from the Iowa House of Representatives, District 94. After 27 years working for the U.S. Army at the Rock Island Arsenal, Maria retired as a Supervisory Attorney-Adviser in July 2011.

Maria is married to local attorney William J. Bribriesco and is the proud mother of attorneys Anthony and Andrew Bribriesco and Dr. Alejandro Bribriesco.

Expert Shares Tips to Prepare for Surgery PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 11:48
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.

Schilling: “We have serious, bipartisan solutions to ensure Medicare is available to America’s seniors for another 47 years” PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 11:38
Moline, Illinois – Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) today released the following statement in honor of the 47th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid:

“As I travel around the district meeting with constituents, they are dismayed about the misleading information they have received from those seeking to score political points regarding House Republicans’ plan to save, preserve, and protect Medicare.

“I view Medicare as a promise made to our seniors and am fighting to ensure this promise is kept.  

“Unfortunately, the same folks who actually raided $500 billion from Medicare in the President's health care reform law are now misleading vulnerable seniors, trying to demonize our plan into something it’s not.

“Enough is enough with these misleading campaigns from outside political groups.  They are based on cynical, business-as-usual political scare tactics that incorrectly claim that the House of Representatives voted to “abolish” or “eliminate” Medicare.  

“Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, the non-partisan, Pulitzer Prize-winning publication Politifact has labeled this 2011's "Lie of the Year."

“Medicare as we know it is still here, and the budget proposal the House has voted on would not change that at all for those in or near retirement.  I repeat: if you’re 55 years of age or older, your Medicare will not be changed or disrupted if this budget blueprint is implemented.  

“But Medicare is on an unsustainable fiscal path.  While we must maintain the level of financial security it provides to today’s seniors, its long-term fiscal challenges cannot and should not be ignored if we want to preserve it for our kids and grandkids.  

“The reality is that more than 10,000 baby boomers retire every day.  While four workers supported each Medicare beneficiary in 2000, that will drop to just over two workers by 2030.  Preserving Medicare in any form for those 54 and younger will require some adjustments or the program will become insolvent and disappear for everyone.

“In their 2010 report, the Medicare trustees concluded that, on its current path, the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund’s assets will be exhausted by 2029.  However, in their 2011 report, the Medicare Trustees revealed that Medicare will become insolvent even sooner than previously expected – by a full five years.  In their 2012 report, they confirmed it yet again: at best, we have until 2024 before Medicare goes broke.  

“This problem is real and the status quo is a recipe for disaster when it comes to ensuring Medicare’s future.  Lack of leadership or a plan – in other words, letting Medicare collapse and fail – is tantamount to congressional malpractice.

“My colleagues and I in the House refuse to stick our heads in the sand, and are putting forward the real solutions and honest leadership the American people deserve.

“Our proposal strengthens health and retirement security, taking power away from a board of government bureaucrats and empowering patients to control their health care.  It repeals the health care law’s unelected, unaccountable Independent Payment Advisory Board, which has the power to cut Medicare in ways that would raise costs and jeopardize seniors’ access to care.  

“Under our plan, when younger workers become eligible, Medicare will provide them with a premium-support payment and a list of guaranteed, approved coverage options.  This way, they will have the freedom to pick the plan that best suits their needs.   More assistance will be provided for those with lower incomes or greater health care needs, less for the wealthier and healthier.  

“Giving Medicare beneficiaries the power to choose the plan that’s best for them results in market competition, and serves as a real check and balance on waste, fraud, abuse, and rising health care costs.

“Enough is enough with the misleading MediScare protest campaigns.  Enough is enough with our out-of-control federal spending.  Enough is enough with the status quo; with passing on the difficult decisions to the next generation.

“The House has serious, bipartisan solutions to ensure that Medicare is available to America’s seniors for another 47 years, but we will need help from the Senate and the Administration to ensure that Medicare will be able to deliver on its promise to seniors today and for future generations.”

# # #

Governor Quinn Announces Illinois Fresh Food Fund PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Nafia Khan   
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 11:15

New Program Will Help Increase Access to Fresh Food in Underserved Areas Statewide

CHICAGO – July 29, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced the Illinois Fresh Food Fund to increase the availability of fresh food in Illinois communities and neighborhoods. Under this new public-private partnership based on best practices in other states, the Illinois Fresh Food Fund will provide financing to independent grocery store operators and developers to create full-service grocery stores in underserved areas throughout the state.

“It is unacceptable that there are still communities in Illinois where residents lack adequate access to fresh food,” Governor Quinn said. “We all need nutritious food to live healthy lives. This new program will bring more grocery stores that sell fresh produce to underserved communities across Illinois, which improves health and wellness while also stimulating local economies and creating jobs.”

Building on Governor Quinn’s efforts to combat childhood obesity, improve health and wellness, and boost the state’s economy, the Illinois Fresh Food Fund will use market analysis, capital and public policy to stimulate grocery store development and increase the availability of fresh food in documented low-access areas. To accomplish the goal, the state is partnering with IFF (formerly Illinois Facilities Fund), a nonprofit community development financial institution that is part of the Coalition of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), which will administer the fund.

“The relationship between access to fresh foods and health, academic performance and overall quality of life is well-known, and I have always believed a solid investment in good nutrition can help transform struggling neighborhoods,” said Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th), a leading advocate for the eradication of food deserts. “The Fresh Food Fund is an innovative use of capital and federal funds and a winning proposition for children and families, Illinois farmers, business owners and job-seekers.”

The state is investing $10 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding into the program to help address the need for access to fresh and healthy foods in communities statewide. Additional funding for the program comes from a $3.5 million grant that IFF secured through the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative and also from banks and foundations.

“Supporting healthy food retail projects provides a variety of economic benefits to neighborhoods,” said CDFI Fund Director Donna J. Gambrell. “I applaud Illinois and IFF for creating a program that combines well-targeted financing, technical assistance, and community partnerships in support of broader economic development efforts to revitalize distressed communities.”

The Illinois Fresh Food Fund is modeled after successful efforts in Pennsylvania and New York State that provide residents in disadvantaged communities with greater access to a nutritionally balanced diet, coupled with nutritional education. Funded programs will include community engagement plans, through which grocers and community groups will work together to educate residents about healthy eating. While the primary purpose of the program is to finance full service grocery stores, other retail models may be considered on a case-by-case basis, with particular attention to the needs of the community for which a project is proposed.

“IFF is thrilled and honored to partner with the state on this important program,” said Joe Neri, IFF CEO. “We're in the business of combining public and private funds to foster development of healthy communities in underserved areas. But healthy communities also need access to healthy, fresh foods. And too many communities nationwide have little or no access to such foods. Through these funds, IFF will be able to establish some oases where there were once just fresh-food deserts by leveraging private resources.”

IFF is a leading regional community development financial institution (see with 24 years of experience making loans in low-income communities throughout Illinois. To receive an application package or for information on upcoming workshops and webinars for applicants, please contact Amy Stewart, director of Marketing and Business Development at IFF at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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