Friday, September 30, 2016

Detection and Care for Alzheimer’s Patients- HEALTH TIPS

Connecting Alzheimer’s Patients, Caregivers with Resources for Early Detection and Care

By Chodosh, D.B. Petitti, M. Elliott, R.D. Hays, V.C. Crooks, D.B. Reuben, et al                                                                                         
Physician recognition of cognitive impairment: evaluating the need for improvement

HEALTH TIPS- Alzheimer’s disease is a serious brain disorder that impacts daily living through memory loss and cognitive changes. 

A study conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association New York City chapter revealed an estimated 250,000 people are living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia in New York City, many over the age of 65. Although not all memory loss indicates Alzheimer’s disease, the earlier you seek help, the better your chances are of getting the care you need and maximizing your quality of life. Cognitive impairment goes unrecognized in 27%–81% of affected patients in primary care.1-3 Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease usually develop slowly and gradually worsen over time, progressing from mild forgetfulness to widespread brain impairment. 

If you suspect a loved one might be displaying symptoms associated with the early stages of Alzheimer’s, pay attention to the warning signs. By working collaboratively with a primary care provider, you can begin to identify other specialists who might be most helpful in caring for your loved one. If a few of these sound a little too familiar, schedule an appointment with your family’s primary care physician:

Memory loss that disrupts daily activities
Challenges with planning or solving problems
Confusion with time and place or understanding of visual images
Withdrawal from work or other social activities
Changes in mood or personality 
Difficulty with speech and/or writing 

Montefiore, which combines the expertise and best-in-class practices of the Montefiore Einstein Center for the Aging Brain (CAB), located nearby in Yonkers, and Burke Rehabilitation's Memory Evaluation and Treatment Services (METS), has been designated as the exclusive Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s disease serving the seven county region of the Hudson Valley.

At our centers, we evaluate patients for cognitive/memory loss, diagnose and educate patients and families on what are normal age associated changes, as well as Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. We do this by establishing a baseline on memory and conducting thinking exercises to help identify what are the strengths and weaknesses in each person, so we can offer perspective and see what services are most appropriate. As a caregiver, there are also many resources available for your health and well-being. 

In addition to the Center for the Aging Brain, where we have caregiver support groups, monitor stress of caregivers, and offer counseling sessions, we are fortunate to have excellent local organizations outside of Montefiore and Burke like the Alzheimer’s Association. We often give referrals there for memory bracelets, which on more than one occasion; have helped loved ones have a safe return back to their homes.

Comprehensive approaches, like that of Montefiore’s improve identification of Alzheimer’s disease and support of caregivers in need. This can help enhance quality of life for all impacted by Alzheimer’s. 

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Explosion Highlights Pitfalls of Illegal Marijuana Grow Houses-HEALTH TIPS

3 Potential Problems for Marijuana Growers
Mold, Faulty Electrical, Gas 

HEALTH TIPS- The Bronx house explosion that killed a FDNY Chief highlights the dangers of growing pot and creating a marijuana grow house.

While fire inspectors comb through the wreckage of Tuesday’s explosion, which took the life of FDNY Battalion Chief Michael J. Fahy, investigators are trying to figure out the cause of the blast.

The illegal pot growing operation is being investigated as the possible cause of the explosion. This is in part based on the hazards associated with creating marijuana grow site.

Police sources say such grow rooms often lead to tampering with a house’s electrical system. This is because growing pot requires a lot of juice. Growing four marijuana plants alone requires enough electricity to run 29 refrigerators. 

According to news reports in Colorado, where growing is legal, growers end up making faulty electrical changes because of the cost to make such modifications legally. In many cases this leads to fires or in some cases electrical shocks to cops who raid an illegal site.

It is unknown at this time what caused the explosion but firefighters had been called for a smell of gas. Whether a propane tank was used in the operation or if there was modification made to the home’s gas line is unknown.

Another potential hazard for a grow operation is mold. Poor irrigation can cause toxic mold to form leading to respiratory problems.

The blast house, 300 W. 234th Street, was a semi-attached house in a congested neighborhood. It is unknown if the grow house before the blast could have impacted on residents’ health who were unaware of the operation.

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Injection is Your Best Shot to Not Get Flu-HEALTH TIPS

Need Flu Shot to Prevent Getting Flu

HEALTH- It’s impossible to know how bad a flu season 2016 – 2017 will be, or what specific strains of flu will be circulating this year.

What is known is that October officially begins the flu season (which will last through next spring) and that the best protection against getting the flu remains the flu vaccine.

“We strongly encourage our patients to get a flu shot this year – regardless of whether they got a flu shot last year,” said Dr. Eric Appelbaum, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at SBH Health System (St. Barnabas Hospital). “The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from getting and spreading the flu. This is particularly important among those most at risk: the elderly, young children, pregnant women, and those with certain health conditions that make them more vulnerable to serious flu complications.”

According to Dr. Appelbaum, only injectable flu vaccines will be given this year (with those dispersed in nasal sprays no longer recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).  A vaccine for older people is also available.

Flu activity begins to increase in October and November and can last until May. It typically peaks between December and March. 

“The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older,” said Dr. Appelbaum. “Some children up to the age of eight years old, who are getting vaccinated for the first time, require two doses of flu vaccine, spaced at least 28 days apart. While children under the age of six months are too young to receive the vaccine, it is important that parents and older siblings get vaccinated to prevent the spread of the flu to infants who are most vulnerable to serious complications.”

The effectiveness of the vaccine depends in part on the match between the vaccine virus used to produce the vaccine and the strains of flu that will circulate this season. While the vaccine is produced to protect against the flu viruses that research and surveillance indicate are most likely to be common this season, there is no way to predict with certainty. 

“Flu viruses not only change from season to season, but can even change within the course of a single season,” said Dr. Appelbaum. “Still, antibodies made in response to a vaccination with one flu virus can sometimes provide protection against different but related viruses.  That’s why, even if the vaccine is a  less than a perfect match, it is still far more effective in preventing the flu than getting no shot at all.”

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

DRUG CITY! Blaz, Council Looking into Letting Heroin Addicts Have Places to Shoot UP in Midst of Heroin Epidemic

NYC to Provide Sites for Heroin Addicts to Shoot Up

The Council is allocating $100,000 to study creating such places where heroin addicts can shoot up under medical supervision.

“The Council’s new supervised injection impact study will assess the feasibility and impact of New York City having a program that provides a safe, clean haven to high-risk, vulnerable New Yorkers and will help prevent drug overdoses and disease transmissions,” Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said.

Although Council members are claiming the program will curb the spread of Hepatitis B, the claims ring hollow for critics. This is the same City Council which has been decriminalizing many quality of life of crimes including urinating in the street and pan handling. There has also been a push to focus less attention on drug crimes and more towards community outreach for the NYPD.

Last week a group of elected officials held a town hall meeting on the heroin epidemic plaguing the once quiet Morris Park community. And sleepy little City Island made national headlines when news broke about its heroin epidemic.

The shooting sites are puzzling to residents. In the 90s, under Mayor Dinkins the city gave out hypodermic needles as a way to combat the spread of HIV to intravenous drug users. The new plan does not appear to be trying to curb any outbreak of illness simply a way to cope with the drug epidemic.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

600-Pound Man Wants to Drop Half His Weight

Ramon Mitchell, 25, Wants to Lose 300 Pounds
(Photo Fox News Atlanta)

HEALTH- A 600-pound man in Atlanta knew he had a weight problem when he couldn’t stand up. Now he is determined to shed half his weight over the next two years and become healthy.

Fox News reported the story of Ramon Mitchell, 25, who gained nearly 400 pounds after losing three family members. The gain had his weight flirting with 700 pounds.

Mitchell was diagnosed with congestive heart and kidney failure.

When he was being treated for a severe respiratory infection Mitchell realized just how severe his problem was. As he was preparing to leave the hospital he saw that he could not stand up. 

Then and there he knew he had to change his life.

“I didn't want to die,” Mitchell told Fox News, “so I felt like it was up to me to do what I need to do.”

Mitchell was transferred to HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital where he endured physical rehab to get him to walk again. The treatment also improved his cardio vascular health as well as strength. He has already lost 63.

But that is not enough. Mitchell has vowed to lose half his weight, 300 pounds, within the next 2 years.
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Battling Child Mental Illness, Behavioral Problems- HEALTH TIPS

Help with Children with Mental Illness

HEALTH- Health officials are trying to reach children at an early stage battling mental illness and behavioral problems. The new state program will have parents and healthcare professionals seeking early intervention to point the child on the right path to a healthy life.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced $6.8 million in available funds to implement the Healthy Steps for Young Children program in 19 sites throughout New York State. This program, offered by the New York State Office of Mental Health, will fund the integration of a child and family development professional into pediatric and family medicine doctors’ offices, to help identify, monitor and treat emerging behavioral and developmental health concerns in young children.

“Early intervention can save lives, and with this funding, we are helping more children battling mental illness get on the path towards recovery,” Governor Cuomo said. “This program will reach our youngest New Yorkers so that they have access to the services and support that they need for success later in life.”

These embedded child and family development professionals, known as Healthy Steps Specialists, will work with children from birth to age 5 to detect and monitor emerging behavioral and developmental issues, educate families about child development, help them implement healthy parenting practices, and link children and families to behavioral or developmental specialists when needed.

In tandem with pediatricians and family medicine providers, this program will engage both the child and family during routine early-life doctor visits and provide screening services for the entire family, including screenings for maternal depression, developmental delays, and childhood traumas that often lead to emotional or chronic medical problems later in life. These enhanced early-life visits will offer an opportunity for families to find support in an accessible and non-stigmatizing environment.

“This program goes further than just assessing and referring the child for needed services. This model builds on the strengths of the parent and provides evidence-based strategies that parents can use to promote their child’s social emotional development and build secure attachments,” said New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Marie T. Sullivan. “It really incorporates the entire family into the child’s health care conversation to make sure that the parents have the help they need to provide for their children’s needs. We know that happy, healthy parents make for happy, healthy children and that is precisely what this program seeks to ensure.”

A national evaluation of this program, endorsed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, has shown that children and families enrolled in the Healthy Steps program are more likely to report developmental concerns to a medical professional, maintain their engagement with their child’s primary care provider, read to their child, and be more sensitive to their child’s behavioral cues. This research has also shown that this program has highly desirable effects on parental behavior, including the practice of safer and more responsive parenting, an avoidance of harsh disciplinary tactics, and a higher engagement of parents with their own health care professionals.

$6,826,728 in three-year state grants will be divided into 19 awards for medical practices throughout New York. This funding will create a Healthy Steps Specialist position at 19 pediatric and family medicine practices and provide the training and technical assistance needed to implement the program. At full implementation, it is estimated that each of these practices will deliver Healthy Steps services to 350 families, with the entire program engaging 6,650 families over three years. A   The Office of Mental Health will be accepting applications through a Request for Proposal process from pediatric and family medicine practices which would like to implement the Healthy Steps program.

For more information on the Request for Proposal including requirements, eligibility, potential site locations, and deadlines for application, please visit

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Friday, September 23, 2016

5 Bad Beauty Habits You Need to Stop Today- HEALTH TIPS

Health and Beauty Mistakes to Avoid

By Randi Press

HEALTH- When it comes to bad beauty habits, the experts have seen it all. It may be an aspect of a beauty routine that’s fallen by the wayside or something most people don’t even realize is a mistake! Here are five of the worst and why these bad beauty habits need to stop.

Bad skin habit: Spot squeezing
There are a plethora of bad skin care habits but top of the list is picking and squeezing blemishes. While it can be tempting to pop that pimple there are so many reasons why you should resist.

Absolutely NEVER squeeze a spot. This is an inflamed lesion filled with bacteria and if you squeeze you can spread the infection, causing damage to the very delicate skin and end up having not only more spots but a scar as a result.

Instead, apply an active spot treatment directly on the blemish to decongest the blocked follicle – look for ones that contains Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic acid or Alginated Zinc Triplex.

Bad brow habit: Over plucking
Groomed eyebrows look sensational – but there is a point where you can go too far! Over tweezing can add years to your complexion, change the expression of your face leaving you with a stern or surprised expression along with stunting your brow growth, leaving your brows pencil thin for many years to come.

Avoid this mishap by only plucking 1-2 hairs at a time before putting the tweezers down. Also, if you have gone too far send your brows to rehab by allowing them to fully grow back before visiting a brow technician to re-shape them. 

Bad makeup habit: Dirty brushes and poor hygiene
Day in day out we apply our make-up using the same old brushes. However, those brushes could potentially be detrimental to our skin.

If not cleaned properly, brushes can contain harmful bacteria, which in turn will be transferred to the face causing breakouts or even more serious skin conditions.

Avoid the issue by cleaning brushes once a week in warm water with a brush cleanser or shampoo. But cleanliness doesn’t end with your make-up tools. When starting your makeup, ensure your hands are clean and your skin is properly cleansed, prepped and moisturized.

Bad hair habit: Heat styling overload
Straightening irons and curling wands are a God-send for our daily styling routines, but misuse and overuse of heat styling tools does more harm than good.

Many make the mistake of not using a heat protector and over ironing their hair. Or some will try to save time by using their straightening or curling wand at the highest possible temperature; this will burn the hair and sacrifice hair health.

The number one rule is to always use a heat protection product while styling. Also, giving hair a break from heat styling every few days and using a strengthening treatment to bolster up hair health.

Bad nail habit: Cuticle picking
It can be tempting to tug or nibble off those loose cuticles, but this is the worst thing for our nails because it has the potential to turn ugly.

Nibbled or picked cuticles can bleed and become inflamed and very sore. They get infected easily and will cause nails to be weak and break.

The solution? Leave ‘em alone! Instead, concentrate on caring for aggravated cuticles. Heal all swollen broken cuticle skin by using Vitamin E oil. This will speed up the skins circulation and hydrate so the cuticle becomes healthy and less inflamed.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Confronting Heroin Epidemic

Confronting Heroin Epidemic

BRONX- Concerned about the scourge of heroin plaguing the borough, community leaders held a town hall to discuss how to combat the drug.

In response to recent heroin-related deaths in the community, Senator Jeff Klein along with Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj (D-Bronx), Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, Bronx Community Board #11, and The Morris Park Community Association hosted a town hall on heroin addiction on Monday at Maestro’s Caterers.

Community members learned about treatment and prevention, heard about the recently enacted legislative measures addressing this epidemic, and received Naloxone training. All participants received a Naloxone kit.  

“It is devastating that lives were taken from us because of heroin addiction, and tonight’s town hall will help to ensure our community receives the tools and resources they need to help end this epidemic. I am deeply committed to working to combat this scourge. I am proud to say that this year, we created a life-saving package of legislation to get people the help that they need through prevention strategies, better treatment services and overdose reversal medication access,” said Senator Jeff Klein.

“It is so important to continue to stay informed on the dangers of drugs and prescription drugs. The battle with addiction is growing and evolving every day. I am thankful for the professionals who joined us tonight to share insight on the epidemic and how to fight it, but as residents to the neighborhood we need to bring this awareness home to our families. We need to educate our young ones to avoid triggers and temptations to avoid getting to the level of despair we are in now,” said Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj.

This year the Legislature passed sweeping laws to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic. The life-saving legislative package emphasizes increasing access to treatment, breaking down barriers put up by insurance companies, reducing the number of days initial opioid prescriptions can be written and permitting doctors to administer Naloxone.

Naloxone is a prescription opioid antagonist used in emergency situations to counteract life-threatening depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system. Once administered, an overdose victim can breathe normally.

“It’s good that the community is engaged. Often people don’t want to admit that there is drug abuse going on in their families or their neighborhoods. I implore people to come forward with any information about heroin dealing. My office is strict on the dealer but we have compassion for the addict,” said Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark.

“I want to thank Senator Klein for hosting a Naloxone training and discussion on heroin and prescription opioid addiction in The Bronx. With the Governor and Legislature’s commitment to offer this potentially life-saving training in more areas of the state, we have trained 140,000 New Yorkers resulting in nearly 5,000 administrations. Every Naloxone reversal is an opportunity for an individual to connect with addiction treatment and begin a journey toward recovery. I encourage all New Yorkers to take this training,” said NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. 

“I applaud Senator Klein for exemplifying great leadership along with co-sponsors Assemblyman Gjonaj and Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez by calling a Town Hall Heroin Epidemic Information and Naloxone Training for his district. All prior methods operating independently have proven ineffective. Law enforcement, medicine, intensive counseling, school and community-based prevention need to collaborate to bring treatment and prevention services to home communities. If we can break through territorial walls and operate for the single purposed goal of epidemic control I believe we can defeat the menace that threatens to decay our lives from the inside. Government must make a full resources commitment if we are to overcome the No. 1 Health Crisis 20 years in the making,” said Luke Nasta, M.P.A., CASAC, Executive Director of  Camelot of Staten Island, Inc.

“At the Montefiore Medical Center’s Division of Substance Abuse, we strongly advocate for the broad distribution of opioid overdose prevention kits to arm community residents with tools to prevent fatal overdoses. We also urge people to refer their friends and family members who have overdosed for treatment to assist them in entering into recovery,” said Sarah Church, Ph.D., Executive Director at the Division of Substance Abuse at Montefiore Medical Center.

9 Uses for Fruit Peel You’ve Never Thought Of- HEALTH TIPS

Using Fruit Peels to in Health Routine

By Randi Press

HEALTH- You never thought of using the peel from fruits for extra things? For shame!

Here are 9 ideas for using the peel of things you’ve already got going into your green bin, chicken scrap bucket or maybe even your bin still!

Wart Removal
It takes around 10 days but you can use banana peel to remove warts! Put a wart-sized piece of banana peel down onto the wart, flesh side down, and use a piece of strapping tape to hold it there overnight. Repeat nightly for 10 days and the wart should be dead. You can do the same thing overnight for a splinter or just rub it on to reduce a bruise!

Stop that Itch
Rub a small piece of banana peel onto a mosquito bite to stop it itching almost immediately. Great for babies and young kids who can’t control the urge to scratch.

Soil Booster
Dry banana peels in the oven on a low heat for a few hours, then crumble and use to give your roses, veggies and fruit trees a boost.

Grease Cleaner
Use a piece of fresh orange peel to scrub a greasy stove or tiles – you’ll be amazed at just how effective the oils in the skin are!

Sugar Softener
Put a piece of orange peel in with your brown sugar, to keep the sugar from absorbing too much moisture and going hard.

Stop That Fridge Smell
Fill the orange peel left over from orange quarters with rock salt, and place on a saucer in the fridge for a super-easy and effective fridge deodorizer.

Face Mask
Avocado peel is a great moisturizer! Turn the peel inside out and rub on your face. Leave it for 20 minutes and then wash off. You can do the same with avocado flesh on your hair – a great way to use up slightly browned flesh next time you make guacamole.

Heel Balm
Those avocado peels can also be used on your feet. Rub the inside of the avocado peel on dry heels and put on some socks. The moisturizing properties of the skin and flesh means your feet will be softer and smoother afterwards! Bonus points if you can put the peel on the heels, put the socks on over the top and sit back with your feet up and a glass of wine in your hand, for a DIY pedicure.

Skin Scrub

If you have keratosis pilaris (chicken skin bumps, often on the upper arms or outer thighs), use avocado skin right side out for an exfoliation treatment with added moisturizing properties.

Asthma Creates Education Gap

Making Sure Kids Don’tFall Behind in School because of Asthma

HEALTH- The South Bronx has one of the highest rates of asthma prevalence in the nation. Many children’s lives are affected by their asthma, causing numerous emergency room visits, hospitalizations and missed days of school, which can affect school performance, including literacy. 

Low literacy, in turn, hinders efforts to promote asthma self-management.  A new program at NYC Health + Hospitals / Lincoln promotes reading readiness for those children and their families, with its  dual goals to enable children and their families to take an active role in controlling asthma and to prepare children to read asthma educational materials with ease.

At the Asthma Reading Clinic event on August 31, a team of local celebrity readers will read to small groups of children at Lincoln Medical Center. Those volunteer readers included Milton Nunez, CEO of Lincoln Medical Center, Brian Hennessey, Commanding Officer and Deputy Inspector of the 40 Precinct; Victor Rodriguez, Manager, TD Bank, 149th Street Branch; Blanca Hernandez, Regional Marketing Supervisor, MetroPlus Health Plan; Lillian Diaz, Chief Nurse Executive, Lincoln; Valerie Miles, Child Life Specialist, Lincoln; Orlando Perales, MD, Chief of Pediatric Emergency Department, Lincoln; Doral Alvarez, MD, Pediatric Asthma and Allergy Specialist, and many others.

Free age-appropriate books were offered to school-age children. 

Three raffle winners received a home air purifier for their homes.  And at this first clinic, a savings account from TD Bank was provided to approximately seven children who had already read 10 books over the summer.  (Those children had previously registered for this feature.)

The next Lincoln Hospital Asthma Reading Clinic will take place in October.