October 4, 2015:
On this week’s edition of Upstate Medical University’s “HealthLink on Air”: Ramsay Farah, MD, discusses melanoma, the diagnosis former President Jimmy Carter recently disclosed. David Keith, MD, goes over theories of family therapy. Meghan Jacobs, MD, discusses the effects of corporal punishment.
Psychologist Rich O’Neill, PhD, talks about research from the University of Massachusetts that shows parents spend less time engaged with their children when a television is turned on in the same room.
Although it’s often difficult to detect, child abuse does leave signs – odd bruises, sudden emotional changes – and concerned adults have both a state hotline and local organizations that offer help, says pediatrician Ann Botash, MD of the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.
Illness and even death can result when children go unvaccinated, says Jana Shaw, MD, MPH, an associate professor of pediatrics and an infectious disease specialist at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. Modern vaccines are extremely safe – they do not cause autism — and are designed to be given on a certain schedule, she says, explaining how unvaccinated children contributed to a measles outbreak in California. Shaw advises parents to follow reliable medical advice and to check with their doctor or school about children’s required vaccines.
Alternative or integrative therapies — from homeopathy and nutritional counseling to yoga and deep breathing — can enhance conventional Western medicine, explains Caitlin Sgarlat Deluca, DO, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Upstate who works in the recently created Division of Pediatric Rheumatology and Integrative Medicine in the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. The marriage of the two approaches to medicine aims to treat the whole child, says Sgarlat Deluca, who tells how nutritional supplements or acupuncture, for example, helps the arthritis and lupus patients she often sees as a pediatric rheumatologist.
A low-paying job often brings a host of problems along with it, according to “The Low-Wage Workers’ Health Project,” led by Upstate’s Occupational Health Clinical Centers. Now in its second year, the study hopes to suggest policies and solutions to help those earning less than $14 an hour, who often deal with physical pain, lack of access to medical care, dangerous conditions, bullying and ever-changing schedules that complicate family life and second jobs, according to Jeanette Zoeckler, MPH, project manager of the OHCC and lead researcher on the project.
Child abuse can take many, often hidden, forms, and overcoming it requires victims to learn how to trust and not to blame themselves, according to Ann Botash, MD, professor of pediatrics at Upstate, co-director of the Child Abuse Referral and Evaluation Program and medical director of the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center. She describes the signs of neglect and physical, emotional and sexual abuse and shares a five-point guideline: learn the facts, minimize opportunities, talk about it, recognize the signs and react responsibly. She recently appeared in a TLC program about child sexual abuse called “Breaking the Silence.”
Autism spectrum disorder often brings with it attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or anxiety disorders, says Kevin Antshel, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at Syracuse University and an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Upstate. He describes the concurrent conditions and ascribes at least part of the increase in autism cases in recent years to more awareness among the public and pediatricians, earlier screening and changes in educational laws to accommodate children with the disorder.
A leading researcher hopes to monitor millions of people online in a long-term study to find out who is at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Michael Weiner, MD, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, has created the website www.brainhealthregistry.org, which encourages people to take free brain function tests twice a year and hopes to find candidates for Alzheimer treatment trials. Weiner, who earned his MD degree at Upstate in 1965, explains how Alzheimer’s differs from normal memory loss and how he helped create the world’s largest Alzheimer’s research project.
Robert Kellman, MD, and Seung Shin Hahn, MD, provide an overview of head and neck cancers. Christian Knutsen, MD, tells about the return of the house call, for urgent health matters. Roberto Izquierdo, MD, discusses diabetes in children.
The deadliest skin cancer, melanoma, can affect the liver and brain in its later stages, as happened to former President Jimmy Carter, explains Ramsay Farah, MD, division chief of dermatology at Upstate. Caused by pigment-producing cells called melanocytes, melanoma is best treated when caught early, says Farah, who notes the significance of irregular moles and the need for regular skin exams. Farah also details Carter’s cutting-edge treatment, which awakens the body’s immune system to fight the melanoma.