Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Why Even Diet Soda Is Bad for You PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Dennis Thompson Jr.   
Thursday, 03 July 2014 08:19

Say No to Soda, Yes to Healthy Drinks

Learn five reasons why soda is bad for you and five healthy drinks that are better for quenching your thirst.

Sodas are sweet, sparkling and tasty — but don't confuse them with a healthy drink. Doctors have discovered a ton of health risks connected with drinking soda pop. Worse, you're robbing yourself of a healthy drink alternative brimming with needed vitamins and minerals every time you chug down a soft drink.

"If you're choosing a soda, chances are you aren't choosing a healthy beverage," says Keri M. Gans, a nutrition consultant in New York City and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. There are a number of healthy drink choices you can make instead.

Why Say No to Soda?

  • Soda is truly worthless to your body. "In my opinion, there's really one major reason to not drink soda," Gans says. "It has absolutely no nutritional value. Soda is filled with sugar and calories and nothing else." Even diet sodas — low to no calories and sugar — don’t have any redeeming virtues, nutritionally. Healthy drinks, on the other hand, have vitamins and minerals the body can use. Even plain water can rehydrate your body without adding extra calories to your diet.
  • Sugary sodas contribute to obesity and diabetes. Soda is loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetener that has been linked to obesity. Soda consumption also has been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, both due to its sugar content and its effects on the body's hormones. And diet soda? It may not be any better. At least one study has linked artificial sweeteners, such as those used in diet sodas, to increased appetite, greater difficulty losing weight, and a harder time maintaining weight loss.
  • Soda damages your teeth. The sugar in soda coats your teeth, combining with bacteria in your mouth to form acid. Both regular and diet soda also contain carbolic acid through carbonation. These acids work to weaken tooth enamel, causing cavities and tooth decay.
  • Drinking soda can weaken your bones. Most sodas contain phosphorous and caffeine, agents that are believed to contribute to osteoporosis. Experts also worry that people consume soda in place of milk or other healthy drinks, depriving the bones of calcium.
  • Soda can harm your major organs. Research has demonstrated that increased soft drink consumption may be linked to chronic kidney disease, development of metabolic syndrome (a group of symptoms that add up to increased heart risk), and fatty liver, a chronic liver disease.

Healthy Drink Alternatives

Luckily, there are limitless options when choosing a healthy drink over a soda pop. Some soda alternatives include:

  • Water. It is the ultimate healthy drink. "It's free in every sense of the word," Gans says. "It has no calories and it comes straight from your tap."
  • Fruit juice. Gans urges you not to drink straight fruit juice, which contains a lot of sugar. "Drink some seltzer with a splash of juice for a little flavoring," she says. "Rather than drinking juice, eat a piece of whole fruit. You're also getting the fiber in the fruit."
  • Milk. This is another essential healthy drink, particularly for kids. "An 8-ounce glass of nonfat milk has 80 calories and nine essential nutrients," Gans says. "You get a lot of bang for your buck."
  • Tea. Whatever teas you prefer — green, black, herbal — they all have been shown to contain high levels of antioxidants, which are believed to protect the body from damage.
  • Powdered drink mixes. They contain no tooth-rotting carbonation, and come in sugar-free varieties. They give your sweet tooth a fix without harming your overall nutrition.

And remember that you can always cut up some fresh fruit and pop a little into a tall glass of water for an extra flavor kick. Choosing healthy drinks over soda: Give it a try. Your body will thank you.

Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

Governor Quinn Statement on Hobby Lobby Decision PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Katie Hickey   
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 11:18

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.:

“Healthcare is a human right, and the Affordable Care Act is meant to give all Americans access to decent, affordable healthcare.

“That means full access to healthcare for every woman in America, regardless of who they are or where they work.

"A woman’s personal health decisions should stay strictly between her and her doctor.

"Unfortunately, today's U.S. Supreme Court’s decision takes these choices from a woman and gives them to her employer.

"I will continue to fight to preserve the right of Illinois women to make their own healthcare decisions based on their own beliefs, not the beliefs of the person signing their paycheck.”


Robots in the Operating Room PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 30 June 2014 15:40

‘A Robot Operated on My Hernia’
Tarpon Springs Surgeon Debunks This & Other Myths
About Robots in the O.R.

Robotics-assisted surgery has become enormously popular, with physicians around the world performing 1.5 million procedures – from hysterectomies to heart valve repairs – in 2011.

“But myths and misconceptions about robots in the operating room still abound,” says physician Dr. Keith Chisholm, MD, a Board Certified General Surgeon on staff at Florida Hospital North Pinellas, (

“One is that the robot performs the surgery – ‘a robot operated on my hernia,’ ” says Dr. Chisholm. “Technically, it’s not a robot because it can’t perform surgery without someone controlling it – it’s actually computer-assisted surgery. The surgeon guides all of the movements using finger-manipulated controls.”

He and other robotics surgeons use the da Vinci Surgical System, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for minimally invasive surgeries in 2000. Nine years later, the da Vinci was being used in 80 percent of surgeries to remove cancerous prostates, according to its maker, Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

“The benefits of robotics-assisted surgery are numerous”, says Dr. Chisholm, who performs several different procedures using da Vinci and became the first Pinellas-Pasco physician to use it for a single-incision cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal).

“The robotic arms hold miniaturized surgical instruments, so we can get in through very small incisions,” he says. “That means there’s less chance of infection, less pain, much less scarring and a quicker recovery time. Because the arms have ‘wrists’ that can rotate more than 360 degrees, we have far more maneuverability than we do with laparoscopic surgery, and we can get into hard-to-reach areas.”

“One of the robotic arms holds a magnified 3D high-definition camera, which gives us a much better view of the surgical site than we would have with just our own two eyes.”

In a 2013 FDA survey, surgeons experienced with da Vinci said their patients have less bleeding, fewer complications, much quicker recovery times and less time in the hospital – 24 hours on average. Interestingly, those who used da Vinci to remove advanced cancer in the tonsils region of the throat said half of their patients were able to avoid chemotherapy.

What are some other myths and misconceptions?

•  Myth: Robotics-assisted surgery costs much more than traditional surgery.
A study published in July 2013 found that half of the minimally invasive procedures reviewed, including robotics-assisted and laparoscopic surgeries, cost insurance providers less than the same surgeries performed in the traditional manner. Four of the six minimally invasive surgeries also resulted in fewer lost work days – sometimes several weeks fewer.

“The robotics technology is expensive and the whole surgical team has to be trained, which can add to the cost,” says Dr. Chisholm. “But there’s also a tremendous savings compared with traditional surgery because the patient is out of the hospital more quickly and there are fewer complications.”

(Study conducted by University of Pennsylvania health economist Andrew J. Epstein and published in JAMA Surgery.)

•  Myth: Robotics-assisted surgery is riskier than traditional surgeries.
Any surgery has certain risks, but in many ways, robotics-assisted surgeries have fewer overall, Dr. Chisholm says.

“Many times, the robotics-assisted procedures can be done much more quickly, so there’s less risk simply because the duration of the procedure is shorter,” he says. “You also have the smaller incisions, less bleeding, etc. that reduce the risks.”

In addition, the Tampa Bay area is fortunate to have the cutting-edge 2-year-old Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) operated by the University of South Florida.

“Our surgical teams have easy access to training, practice with simulators and continuing education, so we’re extremely well-prepared,” Dr. Chisholm says.

About Dr. Keith Chisholm

Dr. Keith Chisholm graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Medical School and went on to residency training at the University of Florida, becoming an assistant adjunct professor and attending surgeon at the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, Fla. He’s believed to have performed the first laparoscopic colon resection in the UF surgical department. From laparoscopy to robotics-assisted surgery was a natural advance for Chisholm, who has a private practice in Trinity, Fla., and is among the robotics-certified surgeons with privileges at Florida Hospital North Pinellas, (

Quad Cities Gilda's Club installs LIVE wall to benefit visitors PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ronna Walker-Johnson   
Monday, 30 June 2014 09:15

Gilda’s Club Quad Cities is enhancing their surroundings with a therapeutic LiveScreen® from Roof Top Sedums of the Quad Cities. This vertical growing system gives people the chance to create accessible gardens with herbs and vegetables, annuals, perennials or succulents in small spaces. This new innovation can turn any space into a vertical garden. LiveScreen® is a big innovation in the green industry and features a mobile, fully assembled unit that comes two-sided on wheels, and ready to plant.

In 2013, Gilda’s Club received a grant from Tom’s of Maine 50 States to support an initiative called G.R.O.W. which stands for Giving Resources Organically Within.  Gilda’s Club Quad Cities Outreach Manager, Erin Williams says, “Through this initiative, our goal is to provide access and information on organic fruits and vegetables. We wanted to have an on-site community garden for our members who have all been impacted by a cancer diagnosis. The LiveScreen® was the perfect solution. It allows folks to participate in the gardening process, no matter what their level of physical ability. We didn’t have the appropriate space on our property for an organic garden, so the LiveScreen® really addressed the problem. We love that it is self-watering, needs no weeding, and animals don’t seem to bother it. Our members have already benefited from it greatly, through the planting process, weekly salad luncheons and having the opportunity to try things they might not otherwise have the chance to do.”

LiveWall® products, which include LiveScreen® are being added to locations throughout the country in a variety of settings from traditional home gardens, to business court yards or as therapeutic green spaces for hospitals, assisted living centers and schools.  Co-founder of Roof Top Sedums, Teresa Nelson explains, “We are excited to have an example of this new product available here in the Quad Cities.  LiveScreen® is a big innovation in our industry and really opens up commercial and residential buildings to a whole new look and feel; we really couldn’t grow vertically effectively in the past.”

Inspired by traditional window boxes, the LiveWall® and LiveScreen® feature rows of square planters oriented upwards to mimic natural plant growth. Both products use an irrigation system at each planter level meant to resemble natural rain flow over plants.  LiveWall® and LiveScreen® planters can be pre-grown and look immediately beautiful upon install.  Even in non-growing seasons, both LiveWall® and LiveScreen® remain attractive, because the planters have a brick-like look that blends in well with surroundings.

To learn more about a LiveScreen®, LiveWall® Outdoor, LiveWall® Indoor or  LiveRoof® green roof system, visit our website at

News of cure ‘monumental’ for cystic fibrosis sufferers: Iowa CFF chapter presiden PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Mark Perlman   
Friday, 27 June 2014 14:16

Mygooi CEO Greenwood lauds local, national support

DES MOINES, Iowa (June 26, 2014) News that Phase 3 clinical studies of a combination of two medications have been successful for patients with the most common form of cystic fibrosis is wonderful, says Paul N. Greenwood, president of the Iowa chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and CEO of Des Moines-based

The results of two 24-week studies held at 200 sites in North America, Europe and Australia, were announced Tuesday ( by Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., which developed the drugs and protocol with the support of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

“This is monumental news,” said Greenwood, “the most exciting in CF history. I have to thank the people of Iowa, who contributed millions of dollars to this cause in the 10 years I’ve been volunteering with our chapter. This is a terrible disease and, while there’s still a lot of work to be done, this is a massive step forward.”

Vertex and CFF said the studies ple with two copies of the F508del mutation.

These results represent an important milestone for the CF Community. The knowledge gained from these studies provides an important building block in our efforts to target the root case of the disease in ALL People with CF!showed significant improvements for people with two copies of the F508del mutation, about half of all CF cases. Vertex is looking for possible FDA approval of the treatment in 2015. Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., national president and CEO of CFF, said the studies “validate that we are on the right road to getting new and effective treatments into the hands of people who so desperately need them.”

More than 1,100 people ages 12 and older participated in the studies. Those given the treatment showed significant and consistent improvement in lung function and other important health measures for CF, including weight gain and a reduction in the rate of pulmonary exacerbations and related hospitalizations and IV antibiotic use.

About Mygooi

Mygooi™ ( is an energetic brand platform that is digital, creative, disruptive and global. Its portfolio of emerging products sizzle with IC/DC (Innovation and Creativity/Disruption and Community). Mygooi’s utility and purpose are to bring people together with innovative digital products. Based in Des Moines, Iowa, and Chennai, India, Mygooi has as its mission to Go Where The Life Is.™

Mygooi supports the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Check them out at

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