Health

Reporting on health issues

A blood donor on his incredible commitment

21 hours ago
Red Cross

For decades, the Red Cross has been encouraging people to give blood, especially during times of hardship. When Jerry Ball was in his teens, he heard that call and he’s been giving ever since. Jerry has donated blood over 200 times -- 268 times, to be exact.

“You can donate whole blood every 56 days, so I just sign up every 56 days,” Jerry says.

When Jerry was growing up, it was the 1970s. There was a war going on. The need was there. That’s why he started his commitment to donating.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Resources for families with young children can be scarce, from diapers to milk. Often, there is no government assistance to help struggling families with these necessities. But there are grassroots organizations that step up at the local level to help new families. 

Allison Brooks of the Salvation Army in Syracuse said the need for diapers hit home for her a few years ago when she was working at a food pantry.

"HealthLink on Air" brings you a special show this week for World Cancer Day.

A century ago, people diagnosed with lung cancer had few options. Surgery meant cutting open the patient's chest and removing an entire lung.

While sometimes that type of procedure is still necessary today, surgeons are much more likely to operate through tiny incisions to remove just a lobe from the lung or a piece of a lobe.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Community health centers in central New York and across the country have been operating without long-term funding from the federal government since September. Sen. Charles Schumer said he is fighting to fully renew the program.

Credit USACE Europe District / via Flickr

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has taken steps to make it easier for New Yorkers to get the influenza vaccine as the flu epidemic continues to spread across the state.

The Democrat signed an executive order Thursday that allows pharmacists to administer flu vaccines to people ages two to 18. The order suspends a state law that limits the authority of pharmacists to administer vaccines to anyone under age 18.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A new study shows that doctors may have more time than previously thought to successfully treat someone who has had a stroke. Doctors at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse see this as a new era in stroke treatment.

During a stroke, brain cells that are cut off from blood flow will ultimately die, which is why physicians urge anyone with stroke symptoms to get treatment within six hours, to effectively remove a stroke-causing blood clot. 

This week: It's not too late to get a flu shot

Jan 25, 2018

With widespread flu activity reported across the United States, Upstate Medical University pediatric infectious disease expert, Dr. Jana Shaw reminds central New Yorkers that it's not too late to get vaccinated.

She says this year's influenza vaccine offers some protection against the H3N2 strain, which is circulating this season. Shaw offers advice about treatment for flu symptoms and when to seek care at a hospital.

Also on this week’s show: an explanation of palliative care, and more on chest surgery done with tiny incisions and robotic assistance.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

New statewide rules for distribution of Naloxone is affecting one central New York agency that trains people to use the drug, also known as Narcan.

NVinacco / Flickr

One of the new sources of revenue included in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed executive budget is an opioid epidemic surcharge. The 2 cent tax per milligram of active opioid ingredient on pills would be levied on drug manufacturers.

This week: Concussion, CTE and skin care for seniors

Jan 18, 2018

Brain rest is crucial for someone who has sustained a possible concussion, say experts from the Upstate Concussion Center.

Medical director, Dr. Claudine Ward, and program director Brian Rieger, PhD, explain that most people fully recover from concussion, if they are treated properly afterward.

One key is to take care not to sustain a second head injury during recovery. They recommend brain rest, especially for the first 24 to 48 hours after injury. This is not the same as bed rest. People can be physically active, as long as they are not asking their brain to think.

A surgical procedure can correct a birth defect called pectus excavatum, in which a person's breastbone is sunken into his or her chest. Dr. Jason Wallen, chief of thoracic surgery at Upstate, explains how a steel bar is inserted between the breastbone, or sternum, and the heart and left in place for two to three years.

The condition is suspected to be genetic, affecting how the cartilage and bone form where the ribs meet the sternum.

Also on this weeks' show: breast-feeding, plus hand pain causes and treatments.

Lance McCord / Flickr

The central New York region has the highest rate of flu cases in the state, so far this season. Officials said the virus this year, could be worse than usual.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego County is the latest New York county to file a lawsuit against drug manufacturers and distributors for the costs its incurred dealing with the opioid crisis.

In the lawsuit, Oswego County says it lost at least 67 residents to opioid-related overdoses between 2009 and 2014. And the number of emergency department admissions related to opioids in 2014 increased 113 percent from 2010.

It's financially strained Oswego County's government, including social services, the judicial system and law enforcement.

It's more a compulsion than an addiction, but many people have unhealthy attachments to their smartphones, says Upstate psychiatrist Christopher Lucas, MD.

A survey by the Pew Research Center found 46 percent of smartphone owners said they could not live without their phones. Lucas tells of another survey in which almost half of respondents said they'd rather break their arm than their cellphone.

Julia Botero / WRVO News File Photo

The town of Orleans in the Thousand Islands hopes to begin a project this year that will bring clean drinking water to its residents after many of the homeowners there have had to stop using their tap water because of high levels of salt. Many believe the source is a state road salt barn on County Route 12. 

Jeremy Costello / Flickr

Pets give you love and affection but can they be good for your health? Not only do pets bring people together but they can prolong your life and fill the need people have to take care of something, according to this week's guest.

Studies have shown that pets can be a driving force in patients doing better and living longer. Mayo Clinic Oncologist Dr. Edward Creagan joins us on "Take Care" to discuss how pets impact our lives -- potentially more than we impact theirs.

Ray García / Flickr

Music from your past has the ability to "take you back" and music therapy may be able to do the same. People who haven’t spoken in years can sing lyrics and even immobile patients are able to tap along to the rhythm of familiar music. This week, how music therapy is able to tap into the brains of those with speech and motor disorders caused by Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and traumatic brain injury.

Dr. Concetta Tomaino was one of the first music therapists in the world and remains to be a pioneer in the field. She worked with Dr. Oliver Sacks; a renowned neurologist to found the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function, where she continues to serve as executive director. She joins us on "Take Care" to discuss her work in music therapy and how it's improving people's lives.

Smoking rates have dropped in recent years, but cigarettes remain the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S., and electronic cigarettes pose a new danger, says Dr. Leslie Kohman, professor of surgery and director of outreach for the Upstate Cancer Center.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Domestic violence impacts a lot of children in the Syracuse City School District, according to Superintendent Jaime Alicea. He’s hoping that as honorary chair of the Vera House 2018 White Ribbon Campaign he can raise more awareness of the issue.

This week: Pain, cancer rates, HIV prevention

Dec 20, 2017

Pain is the human body's alarm system, but not every alarm can be traced to an injury that requires treatment.

Back pain is one example. It's the kind of problem almost everyone will face at some point. But when should you be concerned? Adam Rufa, a doctor of physical therapy at Upstate Medical University, says people should seek evaluation for pain that is accompanied by numbness or tingling, a change in bowel or bladder habits or pain that is severe and does not improve.

yimix / Flickr

One of the first decisions you have to make after finding out you are having a baby is the type of birth you are going to have. There are many options, from a traditional hospital birth to one in a birthing center. Some mothers even consider a home birth if complications don't seem to be on the horizon. Either way, choosing one right for your situation could be a daunting task. Joining us this week on "Take Care" is Dr. Jill Hechtman, she is the medical director of Tampa Obstetrics. We'll breaks down each birthing method, plus the advantages and disadvantages of each.

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

Over the past decade, there has been an uptick in children with peanut allergies. The usual recommendation is children that are high risk for the allergy to avoid all peanut products before the age of three. A recent study is challenging the idea of total peanut avoidance. The LEAP study has come out with new guidelines that might prevent high risk children from developing the allergy.

Dr. Gerald Nepom is the emeritus director of Benaroya Research Institute and has published over 350 scientific papers in the areas of immunology, genetics and autoimmunity. He joins us to explain LEAP, the study’s findings, and the new guidelines on peanut allergies.

Denise Krebs / Flickr

Over the past decade, there has been an uptick in children with peanut allergies. The usual recommendation is children that are high risk for the allergy to avoid all peanut products before the age of three. A recent study is challenging the idea of total peanut avoidance. The LEAP study has come out with new guidelines that might prevent high risk children from developing the allergy.

 

Crouse Hospital

Three small North Country hospitals have become affiliated with Crouse Hospital in Syracuse.

River Hospital, Carthage Area Hospital and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center have all signed an affiliation agreement with Crouse. But Crouse CEO Kimberley Boynton says they will maintain independence and provide local service while getting much-needed support support and expertise.

“This is the future, and some areas are far head of us and where we are," Boynton said. "In central New York, we still have a large number of independent hospitals.”

Women giving birth at Upstate University Hospital's Family Birth Center now have the option of using nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, to help control labor pain. Nurse manager Laurie Fegley explains on “HealthLink on Air” how the gas works and how it compares with epidural pain relief. She also tells about the private birthing rooms with whirlpool tubs that make up the Family Birth Center, located at Upstate's Community campus.

A safe and happy holiday is within reach

Dec 9, 2017
Isabell Hubert / flickr

The much-anticipated holiday season is full of joy, but it’s also full of dashing through the snow to the mall with a cold to get some last-minute gifts. It’s seeing relatives you wished you could spend time with more often and some you wish you could write off altogether. And while setting up your Christmas light display makes the grandkids happy, it also means getting up on your very steep roof.

Like anything, the holiday season has pros and cons. In this holiday special, we’ll try to get you off on the right foot. Whether it’s staying healthy, keeping track of your finances in this busy spending time, or focusing on the positive when you’re hosting 20 relatives for dinner -- there are ways to start off 2018 relatively unscathed. First, we’ll focus on physical health.

For most people the holidays are a happy and healthy time, but some people do end up in the emergency room. Injuries seen in emergency facilities around the holidays include falls, cuts and back pain, among others. Most occur because, around the holidays, people are doing things they don't normally -- like reaching for heavy boxes in the attic.

This week on a special hour-long edition of "Take Care," we examine some holiday-related injuries with Dr. Michael Boniface, an emergency room doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.

Mohawk Valley Health System

A public forum on the proposed new hospital in downtown Utica featured a very divided audience Thursday. The meeting that was intended to generate feedback about the hospital’s first design plans often devolved into arguments about whether the facility should even be built in that location.

Children, students, adults, families and professionals can find helpful nutritional information on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website, says Maureen Franklin, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Upstate's Joslin Diabetes Center.

Rubbertoe (Robert Batina) / Flickr

Most contact sports today require players to wear a helmet. Cyclists and skiers wear them to protect from serious injury if they fall. While helmet technology has come a long way, there is still a push to make sure that they are providing as much protection as possible.

Dr. Stefan Duma is a professor of engineering and the founding director of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest Center for Injury Biomechanics. Duma joins us to discuss his research and the STAR safety rating system given to hockey and football helmets.

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