Upstate nurse practitioner Christopher Norman talks about how seniors can stay healthy and happy for years. Upstate scientist Anna Stewart Ibarra, PhD, who was in Ecuador during an earthquake, explains how natural disasters affect public health. Rob Kochik, executive director of the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network, discusses the success of organ transplants and how people can elect to “pass life on.”
Food portion sizes have grown over the years, and figuring out what constitutes a healthy portion can be confusing, but Upstate registered dietitian nutritionist Maureen Franklin offers some easy visual cues. One’s palm can be used as an estimate for protein servings, for example, and one’s fist for estimating pasta or rice servings. Franklin also notes that a more realistic and less confusing nutritional labeling system is coming into use in the next few years and offers an online resource to plan and track one’s personal diet as well as a “portion distortion” quiz that shows the increases in what is considered a normal portion for various foods.
Zubin Damania, MD (at right in photo), is a medical satirist and founder/CEO of Turntable Health and ZDoggMD.com. He visited Syracuse for the opening of the Upstate MIND, an Upstate initiative led by Robert Corona, DO (at left), Upstate’s vice president for innovation and business development and chairman of pathology. Corona interviewed Damania about his online persona as ZDogg and the “primary care and wellness ecosystem” Damania is working on in Las Vegas with Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh.
Widespread news reports of “creepy clowns” tie into a real fear that could stem from various sources, says a doctor specializing in forensic psychiatry at Upstate. Fear of clowns, called coulrophobia, has been around for centuries and may tie in to a primitive fear of people with a deformed appearance, says Viral Goradia, MD. It could also relate to the “uncanny valley” hypothesis, which describes how dolls or robots that appear almost human evoke fear and revulsion. This and other phobias can also come from childhood – either through a traumatic experience or a behavior learned from one’s parents, Goradia explains.
Medical oncologist Sam Benjamin, MD, tells what to expect after a breast lump is discovered. MD/PhD student Ryan O’Dell discusses the antipsychotic medications in use today. Nurse and chiropractor Denise Karsten explains her approach to helping patients with back problems.
With a little effort, older people can remain healthy and happy for years, says Christopher Norman, a nurse practitioner with Upstate University Geriatricians. Although each person will have different adjustments to make, Norman offers some basic advice on keeping physically fit, mentally active and socially involved and stresses the need for good communication with one’s primary care provider to keep up with age-related changes.
Not every breast lump is cancerous, of course, but “unless we do imaging and, at times, even a biopsy, we won’t know that it’s not cancer,” explains Upstate’s Sam Benjamin, MD, who, as a medical oncologist, specializes in chemotherapy and cancer care. He explains what patients can expect after a breast lump is discovered, the difference between a core biopsy and fine needle biopsy, how breast cancer differs in men and the importance of family history when deciding on treatment. He also explains the benefit of the Upstate Cancer Center’s multidisciplinary approach, in which patients can be evaluated by medical, radiation and surgical oncologists collaboratively.
A new approach aims to help patients find which treatments work best for back problems, which about 80 percent of adults will have at some point in their lives. Denise Karsten of the Upstate Brain & Spine Center explains her role as a primary spine practitioner, someone who guides patients through the often bewildering treatment options available. Karsten, who is a nurse and a chiropractor, also discusses common back problems, how diagnoses are made and possible treatments.
Not enough organs are available for transplant because people are reluctant to register to become donors or to discuss the matter with loved ones, says Rob Kochik, executive director of the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network, which coordinates organ donation in Syracuse and much of Upstate New York. He encourages people to think of donation as a way to “pass life on” to others and explains Lauren’s Law, which asks New York state driver’s license applicants whether they wish to join the donor registry. More than 100,000 Americans are awaiting transplants at any given time, mostly for kidneys. Kochik explains why the demand is so great, myths about donation and how potential donors with doubts should sign up and let medical experts decide on their suitability when the time comes.
An antidiarrheal medication called loperamide is being abused for its opioid properties in high doses, which can be lethal, according to a woman who nearly died of an overdose and an Upstate toxicologist who treated her. Kate Rayland (at right in photo) of Rome, N.Y., began taking the drug, sold as Imodium, to prevent withdrawal from a prescription opioid painkiller to which she was addicted. The massive doses of loperamide needed for this caused a near-fatal heart attack. Upstate’s Jeanna Marraffa (at left), one of the medical professionals Rayland credits with saving her life and getting her off drugs, describes how loperamide works and its risks when taken in large amounts.
Drugs prescribed to treat psychoses, especially symptoms of schizophrenia, have evolved from the first generation antipsychotic drugs of the 1950s, such as Thorazine, to the third generation drugs now on the market, such as Abilify. Ryan O’Dell (pictured), a student in the MD/PhD program at Upstate, and Thomas Schwartz, MD, interim chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Upstate, have co-written a handbook to these drugs for medical professionals. The book describes antipsychotic drugs in terms of how they work, the symptoms they treat – such as hallucinations or disordered thought processes — and their side effects.