HealthLink on Air

Sundays at 9 p.m.
  • Hosted by Linda Cohen

“HealthLink on Air” is a 60-minute program produced since 2006 by Upstate Medical University, the academic medical center in Syracuse, NY.

“HealthLink on Air” provides a weekly dose of information on health and medical issues affecting central New Yorkers. The program showcases health professionals and researchers from Upstate Medical University, Upstate University Hospital, the central New York community and those visiting the region who are involved with health care issues and events. The interviews are permanently archived online.

For more information, visit the HealthLink on Air website.

Ways To Connect

On this week's show Maria Erdman explains how a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in oncology can help cancer patients as they go through treatment. Appetite, eating habits and weight are all potentially affected by cancer treatment.

"Some people sail right through, but for many people it's very challenging," Erdman says.

Also this week: searching for ways to replace cells that are lost during retinal degeneration and the history of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

This week: a story of how the flu can be deadly

Dec 10, 2014

Joseph Marotta was a healthy kindergartner when he contracted, and died from, the H1N1 flu. Today his parents advocate for influenza vaccination through the organization, Families Fighting Flu. Hear their story, this week.

Also this week: Dr. Lorena Gonzalez talks about varicose veins and a treatment called sclerotherapy, plus how to eat healthy during the holiday season.

Orthopedic surgeons are using a new tool at Upstate University Hospital which helps them precisely install replacement parts for hips and knees.

“This robotic arm is connected to a series of computers that allows the machine to recognize where, in a three-dimensional space, the tip of that arm is located,” describes Dr. Robert Sherman.

Also this week: Ray Straub and the American Cancer Society’s Jason Warchal discuss the Men to Men prostate cancer support group, and editor Deirdre Neilen presents the 14th annual issue of the Healing Muse, Upstate’s literary journal.

Among the blessings for which Timothy Hudson and Edward St. George are thankful is the medical care they each received when they faced separate health crises earlier this year.

Timothy Hudson’s kidneys were failing when his son decided to donate one of his kidneys. He recalls the experience with transplant surgeon, Dr. Vaughn Whittaker.

Edward St. George broke his neck in a fall over the summer. He and neurosurgeon Dr. Lawrence Chin explain how careful emergency response made the difference in his recovery.

Getting a flu vaccination is an important way to protect yourself from getting influenza, says Dr. Jana Shaw, an infectious disease expert at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.

In this week’s show, she explains why almost everyone over the age of six months is recommended to be vaccinated each year. Influenza can cause a severe illness which is easily spread from person to person and can be deadly.

This week, HealthLink on Air is airing an entire episode devoted to nursing. We will hear about two types of specialized nursing care, plus we’ll hear from the author of the American Nurse Project.

Cazey Hammerle, a nurse at Upstate University Hospital, talks about the challenges of caring for patients who are overweight or obese. Many of these patients have diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, degenerative joint disease and/or high cholesterol -- which can complicate their medical care.

Dr. Brian Thompson, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and a Native American, talks about his attendance at the first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples as a representative of Upstate Medical University in September at the United Nations.

Also this week: Dr. Timothy Endy shares his personal experience with Dengue fever, a growing global health problem. Plus, Carrie Roseamelia, administrative coordinator for Upstate’s Rural Medical Education program, talks about what attracts medical students to practice in rural areas.

The symptoms of epilepsy may appear differently in senior citizens than in younger people, which makes the diagnosis tricky and can lead to incorrect treatment, says Dr. Rebecca O’Dwyer, a neurologist at Upstate Medical University.

She says the incidence of epilepsy in older adults is on the rise and about half of the cases are caused by strokes. Symptoms do not always include convulsions, though.

This week: Ebola preparedness and more

Oct 24, 2014

“We are as ready as we can be,” Christopher Dunham, Upstate University Hospital’s emergency management director, says of the Ebola crisis. Upstate is one of eight hospitals in New York State that was designated to handle any patients in the state diagnosed with Ebola.

People who arrive at the hospital’s emergency department are asked about recent travel to West Africa and contact with anyone infected with the Ebola virus. Dunham says protocols are in place to swiftly isolate patients suspected of having Ebola.

Advances in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer begins in laboratories. This week, we'll get an inside look at four different labs currently searching for answers.

First, a lab that explores how to determine which drugs will work best in each patient. Then, scientists Christopher Turner and Nicholas Deakin detail their search for ways to halt the spread of cancer. Next, how to better protect bone from radiation therapy during cancer treatments. And lastly, the best way to inhibit estrogen, which can trigger breast cancer in women after menopause.

Men diagnosed with advanced bladder cancer often face surgery to remove their diseased bladders and replace them with external bags. But some patients are candidates for a novel operation in which a replacement bladder is created from a length of their own intestine.

Allan Sustare, 63, of DeWitt has led a normal, active life since his surgery two years ago. “I count myself luckier than anybody I know,” he said.

This week: how a short workout really works

Sep 28, 2014

Don't have time to work out? Researchers have developed a workout that blends strength training with cardiovascular exercise – and it takes just 7 minutes.

Upstate exercise physiologist Carol Sames says the workout was created after asking whether the time could be decreased and the intensity increased to still yield benefit.

“That is essentially what this workout is about. It’s about interval training, which has been around for years, but just packaged slightly differently,” Sames said.

This week: the respiratory virus affecting many children

Sep 20, 2014

Children with cold symptoms don’t need emergency medical care, says Dr. Jana Shaw, an associate professor of pediatrics specializing in infectious disease at the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.

She advises parents to keep careful watch of a sick child, especially if he or she has asthma, and seek care if the child develops trouble breathing.

Enterovirus D68 is the highly contagious respiratory infection that is making children sick across the United States and was detected in New York earlier this month. “It’s likely to spread and become an epidemic,” Shaw says.

This week: the ebola outbreak and concussion awareness

Sep 11, 2014

Advances in technology and transportation have made it easier than ever to travel from continent to continent. For example, one can travel from Africa to Syracuse in about 30 hours by plane. This means that we are all vulnerable to the outbreak of the Ebola virus, says Dr. Timothy Endy, division chief of infectious disease at Upstate Medical University.

Ebola has spread in western Africa partly because of a lack of infrastructure, Endy explains.

This week: the prevalence of depression

Aug 29, 2014

“Like any other form of medical illness or disease, major depressive disorder results in a good deal of suffering, incapacity and, often, vocational disability,” says psychiatrist Ronald Pies, a professor at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse and Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.

About one in 14 adults in the United States are depressed. That is about 16 million Americans. In addition, some 2 million adolescents from age 12 to 17 deal with depression. Pies says people with depression are at increased risk for cardiovascular disorders, diabetes and suicide.

One way to help prevent the formation of kidney stones: drinking eight ounces of water (with a squeeze of lemon) every hour. Dr. Stephen Knohl, a nephrologist at Upstate Medical University, shares more tips for fending off kidney stones.

Steady fluid intake is the first step, especially for those who have a history of kidney stones. But not all fluids are equal. Alcohol, dark-colored sodas and juices with high fructose corn syrup are not good choices. Other things to limit: salt and animal protein. Hear more this Sunday at 9 p.m.

The hazards that may affect senior citizens rise with the temperature during the summer months in central New York, says Dr. James Ciaccio, emergency physician and director of the senior emergency department at Upstate University Hospital.

"The difficulty for seniors is that they don't have the physical strength or the sensory abilities that a young person has," he says.

A new style of implantable defibrillator is providing options to patients at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. The device is sewn below a patient’s skin, leaving the heart and its vessels untouched. Electrodes continually analyze the heart’s rhythm and the device uses a pulse generator to deliver a shock if necessary.

Dr. Traian Anghel explains how this device improves upon previous defibrillators which had to be implanted in the heart.

Dr. Rick Kelley and Dr. Sam Woods' first trip to Ethiopia to provide medical care to people with ear, nose and throat ailments grew into a nonprofit organization with a broader goal of providing lasting help.

“What we figured out on that very first trip is that although it may feel good to go on a medical trip and go treat a couple hundred people, it’s really just a drop in the bucket,” Kelley says.

This week: the importance of good perinatal care and more

Jun 20, 2014

While the number of babies who die in infancy has decreased, the number of mothers who die giving birth is on the rise, says Dr. Alexandra Spadola,  obstetrical director of the regional perinatal program at Upstate Medical University.

Why is this the case?

More women are having babies after the age of 35, and more pregnant women have medical conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, which increases their risk for complications.

“We try to promote the idea of thinking about pregnancy, even if you’re not actively trying to have a baby,” Spadola says.

Strokes that occur in women create symptoms that are different than those in men. Women may experience the classic sudden numbness or severe headache, but they may also develop arm pain, general weakness or hiccups.

Rochele Clark, Upstate Medical University's stroke program coordinator, explains the importance of calling 911 immediately. Quick action is essential to help lessen the damage from a stroke.

Cancer can be brought under control in this century, the leader of the American Cancer Society said during a recent trip to Syracuse. More advocacy is key, said John Seffrin, the society’s chief executive officer.

“We have to have people speak up and say, ‘we need more money for research,’ ‘we need to insure that people are protected from second-hand smoke,’ and ‘we need to make sure that if someone has cancer, they get the care they need,’” Seffrin said.

Already, medical science knows how to prevent more than half of all cancers from occurring, Seffrin said.

This week: reducing complications in diabetes

May 30, 2014

The sharp reduction in diabetic complications is encouraging news for more than 21 million Americans who have been diagnosed with the disease. Federal researchers recently showed about 2/3 fewer heart attacks, 50 percent fewer strokes and amputations, and 30 percent fewer incidents of kidney failure among people with diabetes over the past two decades.

This week on Healthlink on Air: we hear from Dr. Tamer Ahmed, medical director of pediatric trauma services and Steve Adkisson, the pediatric trauma program manager. They'll cover the resources and capabilities of Upstate University Hospital's trauma center.

This week: mastectomy -- one procedure, various approaches

May 15, 2014

We'll hear from a surgeon at Upstate Medical University, Dr. Prashant Upadhyaya, with expertise in plastic surgery and breast care. Upadhyaya explains the various surgical techniques and the options available to women, like having breast reconstruction surgery as part of a mastectomy.

"A lot of patients now actually wake up with their breast intact," says Dr. Upadhyaya.

Also on the program this week: an update on a new cystic fibrosis drug. Plus, food safety advice for mothers-to-be.

Susan Kahn

Onondaga County Undersheriff Warren Darby shares details of the stroke he suffered when a capillary burst in his brain last summer.

Neurologist Dr. Gene Latorre was part of the team that helped care for Darby when he arrived at Upstate University Hospital. Latorre explains the types of stroke and treatment options available.

Then, what to do for varicose veins, and our regular feature -- a "Check Up from the Neck Up."

This week: new research in kidney cancer

May 2, 2014

According to research published in Urologic Oncology, some kidney cancer patients have better long-term survival odds when part of the kidney is removed, compared to patients who have the entire organ removed.

We'll discuss the findings and other treatment options for people with kidney cancer. More than 65,000 Americans were diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2013.

This week: wilderness medicine and more

Apr 18, 2014

Practicing medicine in the wilderness means being able to anticipate problems and improvise solutions. Dr. Jeremy Joslin is with us this Sunday at 9 p.m. He's the director of the Wilderness and Expedition Medicine Fellowship program at Upstate Medical University.

Wilderness medicine requires "the ability to think on your feet and diagnose and treat people without various tests and studies and radiological procedures that you might have in a hospital," Joslin says.

For people with diabetes, monitoring foot health is as important as tracking sugar levels, blood pressure and kidney function.

"If they don't have good blood supply to their foot, you can give all of the antibiotics that you want, but the antibiotics go in the blood, and the blood can't get to the foot," says Dr. Palma Shaw, a vascular surgeon at Upstate.

We'll hear how diabetes can lead to amputation and why regular podiatry appointments are suggested.

Health authorities are very aware of the increasing popularity of electronic cigarettes. Some think these tobacco products lure teens and young adults to the habit of smoking not only e-cigarettes but traditional cigarettes as well.

The number of high school students using e-cigarettes has doubled from 2011 to 2012. Dr. Leslie Kohman, the medical director of the Upstate Cancer Center, explains some dangers of these devices.

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