Reporting on health issues

This week: earthquake, healthy seniors and organ transplants

Oct 20, 2016

During the earthquake in Ecuador last April, Upstate Medical University scientist Anna Stewart Ibarra and her team of researchers helped mobilize relief efforts, including setting up a basic health clinic and buying emergency supplies with money donated by central New Yorkers.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The opioid epidemic claims more victims than those who die of an overdose. Families, friends and loved ones are left living through grief singed with shame and judgment. But there’s now somewhere they can go to get help in central New York.

Quinnika Ayers of Syracuse lost her son Drequan Robinson last year to a lethal cocktail of MDMA, Zanax and fentanyl. He was a student at SUNY Morrisville, and was found unresponsive at a friend’s home after a party. Ayers says Robinson had a troubled youth, but felt he’d turned a corner—or so she thought.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Earlier this fall, the Indian River Central School District in Jefferson County identified lead contamination in five sites around the district. Last month, state law went into effect requiring all schools test their drinking water for the toxic material. Lead is extremely harmful to young children, often leading to lower IQ’s, behavioral problems and even brain damage.

Jo. / Flickr

Imagine you’re in an enclosed space that you feel you can’t escape easily, like a crowded elevator or a room with no windows. For some, this can automatically trigger their response to get out of there, or cause avoidance of these situations altogether.

Claustrophobia can cause these feelings, and is something many people can suffer from. This week on “Take Care,” Dr. Robin Zasio, a psychologist who specializes in treating OCD, anxiety disorders, and related conditions, helps define claustrophobia and the treatment that can help eliminate it. Zasio is founder, owner, and director of The Anxiety Treatment Center, The Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center, and The Compulsive Hoarding Center, all located in Sacramento, Calif. Zasio is also the author of "The Hoarder In You: How to Live a Happier, Healthier, Uncluttered Life."

Movement matters more than sitting or standing at work

Oct 15, 2016
Christoph Spiegl / Flickr

Recent research has suggested sitting all day is bad for a person’s health. According to U.S. News and World Report’s Anna Medaris Miller, standing desks have come in vogue due to companies using the research in marketing campaigns. But, she says solely standing is not the answer.

This week on Take Care, Medaris talks about the benefits and harms of standing at work she learned while reporting her story “5 Ways Your Standing Desk Is Doing More Harm Than Good.”

Loren Kerns / Flickr

Many Americans spend a good portion of the day sitting. Between a 40-hour work week and a commute, time spent sitting adds up, as do the associated health problems. Enter the standing desk. A popular option, the standing desk may be an effective way to combat risk factors associated with sitting.

But it's not just sitting that gets a bad rap. Standing for long periods of time can also take a toll on the body. Nurses, teachers and other professionals often complain of back pain and other stress associated with being on their feet day in and day out.

Not every breast lump is cancerous, but "unless we do imaging and, at times, even a biopsy, we won't know that it's not cancer," explains Upstate University Hospital's Dr. Sam Benjamin, a medical oncologist who specializes in chemotherapy and cancer care.

The skinny on skin conditions

Oct 8, 2016
Carolyn / Flickr

Atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, is a skin condition that begins shortly after birth. While it usually goes away as a child gets older, it can sometimes continue into adulthood.

This week on Take Care, Dr. Whitney High, associate professor of dermatology and pathology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, discusses several skin conditions, their causes and ways to treat them. High is the director of the school’s dermatology lab and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.

DigitalRalph / Flickr

We can all be a bit forgetful sometimes, but when it becomes a life concerning issue, like dementia, there isn’t much that can be done in terms of treatment. However, new research suggests there may be action that can be taken in terms of prevention.

This week on “Take Care,” science and medical journalist Dan Hurley tells us how brain training games may lead to a significant reduction in risk for dementia. Hurley wrote the article, “Could Brain Training Prevent Dementia?” for the New Yorker on the study, and is the author of the book, “Smarter: The New Science of Building Brain Power.”

Can you train your brain to prevent dementia?

Oct 7, 2016

The debate over whether brain training games can help prevent dementia has gone back and forth over the last few years. This week, a review of the evidence concluded that the answer was no. But a study announced at the Alzheimer's Association meeting in July showed the games hold promise. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with medical journalist Dan Hurley, who wrote about the study for the New Yorker.

This week: elder abuse and more

Oct 6, 2016

Elder abuse usually occurs at home at the hands of family members. It might be physical, emotional, sexual or financial. It often goes unreported because the victim feels isolated, afraid and ashamed.

One way to fight elder abuse is to be aware of its warning signs, explains Jenny Hicks, project coordinator for the Abuse in Later Life program at Vera House, a local domestic and social service agency.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

North Country residents struggling with heroin and opioid addiction have a new treatment option. A medication-assisted heroin treatment center in Watertown is taking its first patients.

Until last week, Credo Community Center in Watertown offered recovering heroin addicts only abstinence treatment – the cold turkey approach to overcoming their substance abuse.

Jim Scordo, Credo’s executive director, says he found it didn’t work for some.

Pamela Post

It's the last Wednesday of the month in the Downtown Eastside neighborhood of Vancouver -- the day when thousands of people living on the margins in this community get their monthly social assistance checks. The streets are full of activity, much of it drug-related.

Anna Stewart Ibarra / Upstate Medical University

One Upstate Medical University scientist continuing to study the Zika virus is taking a socio-ecological approach to a virus that has caused major outbreaks of disease in the Americas.

How a journalist debunked a decades old health tip

Oct 1, 2016
Catherine Loper / WRVO News

The recommendation to floss was removed from the federal dietary guidelines in January after 25 years, due to a lack of evidence to back up the suggestion.

Jeff Donn, the Associated Press reporter who broke the story in August, found the first thread to pull after a routine meeting with his son’s orthodontist when the doctor asked if Donn wanted a good tip.

This week on “Take Care,” Donn, a 30-year staffer for AP and a 2012 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, shares his story about how he debunked flossing as well as talking to government agencies, which led to the recommendation being removed.

Yann Gar / Flickr

One in three American adults have a condition that’s like a ticking time bomb—high blood pressure. While there's a genetic component to high blood pressure for some, many can cut their risk significantly with one simple change.

This week on “Take Care,” health expert Johannah Sakimura explains how a change in diet can lead to a big change in blood pressure. Sakimura is a registered dietician at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey, with a master’s degree in nutrition from the Columbia University Institute of Human Nutrition. She has also written several articles on foods that lower blood pressure.

The flossing fallacy

Sep 30, 2016
Jon Baik / Flickr

Earlier this year, the federal government withdrew its recommendation that Americans should floss their teeth twice a day. It turns out there's not much proof that flossing is effective at preventing cavities and gum disease. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak Associated Press reporter Jeff Donn about how he broke the story that led to reversal of the recommendations.

This week: sleep disorders, opioids and Zika research

Sep 28, 2016

Thirty to 50 percent of adults have a sleep disorder, whether they know it or not. Many suffer without seeking treatment.

These disorders -- insomnia, restless leg syndrome, jet lag -- can worsen other health issues, like blood pressure, anxiety and cardiovascular disease, says Karen Klingman, PhD, an associate professor of nursing at Upstate University Hospital. Klingman specializes in sleep disorders.

This time, her baby has a sober mom

Sep 27, 2016
KellyELambertPhotography / Flickr

The heroin epidemic has rocked New York state. A lot of attention has gone to how to stop drug trafficking and help addicts. But the increased use of opioids has created another issue -- how to care for the children of those hooked on heroin.

Filling the "Void"

It’s hard to take care of a new baby, then add trying to get sober from a heroin addiction in the mix.

Rising costs make cancer fight feel unaffordable

Sep 24, 2016
Karuna EM / Flickr

A cancer diagnosis can be a “catastrophic event,” according to Dr. Greg Knight of the Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The disease itself is terrifying to face; however, Knight says patients are avoiding the reality because they are unsure how they will be able to afford treatments, medications and the impact the disease has on day-to-day life.

This week on “Take Care,” Knight, a clinical oncologist, shares the findings of his group’s study, titled “Financial Toxicity in Adults with Cancer, Adverse Outcomes and Potential,” as well as how the costs have changed and how patients can approach paying those costs.

Take focus off body image and put it on enjoying life

Sep 24, 2016
Ashley Fisher / Flickr

As a woman, you may leave the house feeling great about how you look. Then you get somewhere and look around at other women in the room and suddenly feel not so great because you think they look better. The social anxiety of body image is something women have experienced for a long time, but may currently be at an all-time high.

This week on “Take Care,” Gina Barreca talks about the evolution of how body image became such a hot topic for women, and why it shouldn’t have to be. Barreca is a feminist theory and English professor at the University of Connecticut, a columnist for the Hartford Courant, and has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, NPR and Oprah to discuss gender, power, politics, and humor. She is also the author of “They Used to Call Me Snow White But I Drifted: Women’s Strategic Use of Humor” and "If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?"

The cost of treating cancer

Sep 23, 2016
kbrookes / Flickr

Treating cancer is only half the battle. For many patients, paying for that treatment can be just as difficult. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with Dr. Greg Knight of the Levine Cancer Institute/Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Knight’s study "Financial Toxicity in Adults with Cancer: Adverse Outcomes and Potential," was presented at the 2016 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.

Laws governing abortion in America have changed over time, from no laws in Colonial days -- when it was considered a medical issue -- to the various state restrictions seen today.

In the 1820s, states started restricting medicines that women took to induce abortions, mostly out of concern for the woman’s health. Abortion also became a legal matter, says Jonathan Parent, PhD, a political science professor at Le Moyne College who studies the history of abortion law.

What you may not know about proper refrigeration

Sep 17, 2016
Terry Chay / Flickr

Thanks to refrigeration technology, trips to the grocery store don’t have to be made on a daily basis. However, there are still some safety concerns to keep in mind when storing food.

This week on “Take Care,” food safety expert Benjamin Chapman tells us what we should pay attention to when it comes to proper refrigeration. Chapman is an associate professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University, and is the co-host of the podcast “Food Safety Talk.”

Root canal therapy lacks pain, saves teeth

Sep 17, 2016
Kordite / Flickr

The idea of undergoing a root canal makes some people hesitant to make a trip to the dentist. Yet, the procedure has likely been done for thousands of years. Egyptian soldiers have been found with evidence that they had something like root canals. The treatment has lasted because it is a way to help maintain natural teeth, which experts say is best for patients.

This week on “Take Care,” endodontist Dr. Linda Levin sheds some light on the procedure that she likes to call a therapy, what it actually does for a patient’s mouth and how it is better for him or her in the long run. Levin is the president of the American Association of Endodontists, as well as an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry.

Keeping food cold, fresh & safe

Sep 16, 2016
Celeste Lindell / Flickr

Many of take for granted that our refrigerator is going to keep our food cold and fresh. But refrigerators have become an essential tool in ensuring food safety. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with food safety specialist and North Carolina State University professor Benjamin Chapman about how to make sure your refrigerator is keeping your food as safe and healthy as possible. Chapman also is a co-host of the podcast Food Safety Talk.

Art therapist Maria Fazzini uses creativity and a willing ear to improve the well-being of patients at the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.

As an art therapist, Fazzini is a mental health professional who offers the opportunity to draw, paint or use other materials so that young patients can feel more at home, more relaxed and -- in many cases -- more willing to express their anxieties.

The goal is to provide emotional support, says Fazzini, who gets referrals from the medical staff. Participation is voluntary, and the time per session varies according to the patient.

The U.S. Army / Flickr

With acts of terror and war becoming all too common in the world today, it’s become an issue for parents about how they should address it with their children. They want their child to be aware, but they don’t want to scare them.

This week on “Take Care,” marriage and family therapist Susan Stiffelman shares how parents can break bad news to their children, while maintaining a sense of security. Stiffelman is a credentialed teacher, a licensed psychotherapist, and delivers weekly parenting advice as Huffington Post's “Parent Coach.” She is also the author of the bestselling book, "Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected," and the new book "Parenting with Presence: Practices for Raising Conscious, Confident, Caring Kids."

Acupuncture: needling the body to heal itself

Sep 10, 2016
sellyourseoul / Flickr

If acupuncture seems like something better performed on voodoo dolls, you may not be aware of the practice’s long historical tradition, and its more recent embrace by mainstream medicine.

This week on “Take Care,” Dr. Pina LoGiudice, a physician with training in naturopathic medicine and acupuncture, discusses how acupuncture works, and what it is used of. LoGiudice was also a pre-doctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health.

How to talk to kids about the news

Sep 9, 2016
Carlbb / Flickr

When scary news events like mass shootings and terror attacks happen, what should parents tell their kids? In a world where news is everywhere, how do you help them understand the situation without scaring them. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with Susan Stiffelman, a family therapist and best-selling author about how and what to tell your kids about what's going on in the world. Stiffelman also delivers weekly parenting advice as Huffington Post's “Parent Coach.”