SU News Services

A Syracuse University professor will be spending the next several months thinking about death, as part of a grant by the Immortality Project at the University of California, Riverside.

SU's Philosophy Department Chairman Ben Bradley will lead the research into a topic not many people want to talk about - death. He says the focus will be on the emotions and attitudes people have about their own death.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

It's World Refugee Day around the globe and their numbers are only rising.

There are now 50 million refugees worldwide, according to new numbers from the United Nations, the most since World War II.

dank depot / via Flickr

Updated, 3:50 p.m.:

After a lengthy debate of several hours, the medical marijuana bill was approved in the state Senate, and now goes to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has said he'll sign it. 

Sponsor Sen. Diane Savino says she’s "gratified" by the larger than expected number of yes votes, including some surprise votes from traditionally conservative senators.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) has introduced a new bill to compensate Vietnam War veterans sickened by the chemical Agent Orange he says is more comprehensive than previous efforts.

Maffei's bill is named by Larry Hackett, who died in 2006, more than three decades after his service in the army.

Hackett was exposed to Agent Orange while serving in 1968-69. He died from a cancer likely caused by the exposure, at the age of 58. 

Escape Vehicle / via Flickr

The number of people killed in workplace accidents in New York state as a result of falls has increased, according to the federal government’s workplace safety watchdog.

The number of fatalities at construction and industrial sites is decreasing overall, reports the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), but 42 workers in New York fell to their death in 2012, 10 more than the year before.

Bosc d'Anjou / Flickr

Researchers and medical professionals from around the state gathered in Albany to urge acting Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to impose a three- to five-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New York state.

Yuri Gorby, a researcher at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, says the medical community is only just beginning to understand the health impact of hydrofracking, and the moratorium would give New York a chance to make a fully informed decision.

The Environmental Protection Agency will be coming out with new proposals to cut down on carbon emissions from power plants next week. Researchers from Harvard and Syracuse University have joined forces to look at how reducing this kind of pollution impacts human health and the environment.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

ACR Health in Syracuse is hoping a successful nutrition program can be expanded to serve others in the community, but right now its nutritional education program currently only has funding to serve clients with HIV/AIDS.

Brian Cowden, 50, has been living with HIV since he was 19. On medication to control the disease, Cowden says he never felt good, complaining of gastrointestinal problems, migraines, sleep issues. But after joining ACR Health’s nutritional program, that all went away.

Dale M Moore / Flickr

Syracuse lawmakers are moving to ban smoking in city parks. And that includes some popular downtown hangout spots.

An ordinance brought up by the Common Council’s new health committee would prohibit smoking on any land managed by the Syracuse parks department. That includes around the fountains in Columbus Circle and Clinton Square and Hanover Squares.

The committee is also putting forward a measure to discourage smoking on sidewalks.

Councilor Khalid Bey says the city won’t be able to stop everyone from smoking in parks, "but the effort, I think, is warranted."

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Electronic medical records are becoming the norm at Syracuse-area hospitals. St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center and SUNY Upstate Medical University each took milestone steps this month into the digital world.

Hospital staff and patients at the Golisano Children’s Hospital have been using a computerized software system to track medical records since March. With Upstate’s Community Campus coming on board earlier this month, the teaching hospital in Syracuse now has fully implemented an electronic medical records system in all phases of care, according to hospital CEO John McCabe.

Wikipedia Commons

Ulster County residents living along the lower Esopus Creek which drains the south-central Catskills have been noticing a steady decrease in water clarity. It’s because of dirty liquid being released from the upstream Ashokan Reservoir, courtesy of a New York City authority.

The Department of Environmental Conversation held a public comment session recently on the turbidity of Ashokan water.

Answer to preventing illness may be in Vitamin D

May 18, 2014

Vitamin D is the vitamin most often associated with sunshine, but could it also be used to prevent cancer and heart disease?

This week on Take Care, Dr. Joann Manson, a professor of medicine at Harvard University and chief of preventative medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, discusses how clinical trials could prove that Vitamin D could help prevent diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer.

Click 'Read More' to hear our interview with Dr. Joann Manson.

Karen / via Flickr

Toxins that can cause blue-green algae outbreaks have been detected in 17 waterways in central New York, part of a state-wide increase that has prompted Sen. Charles Schumer to call for more monitoring.

Schumer, a Democrat, says the federal Environmental Protection Agency should better test for the runoff and toxins that cause algae outbreaks.

Blue-green algae can sicken people and pets who swim in contaminated waters and it can harm drinking water.

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.

Sheree Zielke / Flickr

You've heard about it for years and you've come to accept it as fact, but is it backed by medical science or is a story repeated so often that it's taken on a veneer of truth? We pick apart medical facts from health and wellness urban legends in our segment "Debunk or da Truth." We ask the experts and come up with an answer you can trust. Here are some of the myths we've been busting lately:

The earworm

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."

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media

They’re the people you probably come in contact with every day: the custodians, the restaurant workers, the landscape employees who make an average of fewer than ten dollars an hour. But what is it like to be  a low-income worker in Syracuse and how does it impact their health? One agency asked these questions to 275 local workers. While the answers weren’t surprising, they provide a basis for future initiatives.

Moving out of a home and into senior housing may be a difficult decision. But with a wide variety of options available today, seniors can plan ahead with these choices in mind. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with Barbara Dopyera Daley, a social gerontologist and elder life advocate in Syracuse. Daley discusses how to determine the right time to consider senior housing options.

Lorraine Rapp: When is the ideal time to be thinking about making this big move in one’s life?

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.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Onondaga County's deputy executive for human services says it was "premature" for the county's health commissioner to resign.

Dr. Cynthia Morrow resigned from her role as the county's top health expert last week over the county executive's plans to reorganize child and maternal health services within county departments.

March 31 was the busiest day for New York's new health insurance marketplace. It was also the final day of the six month open enrollment period.

Almost 470,000 people visited the site and 39,000 signed up on that last day, according to the state's exchange, to bring the total to 926,000 enrolled.

Those newly covered signed up for a combination of the expanded federal Medicaid program, Child Health Plus, or a private provider.

The exchange is crediting its early success in enrollment with a functioning website, something the federal exchange was plagued with.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Updated, 3:40 p.m.:

St. Joseph's Hospital is responding to allegations of misbehavior against a former doctor, saying it reacted quickly and thoroughly.

The hospital said it became aware of complaints involving inappropriate actions and vulgar language -- reportedly involving the slapping of sedated patients -- in its operating rooms in December.

The hospital faces sanctions and disciplinary actions over the charges, stemming from a federal investigation.

More ADHD diagnoses mean more kids on medication

Apr 6, 2014

Some kids have short attention spans, and can act hyper or impulsive. But do these kids all need to be medicated? Today, 3.5 million children in the United States are on medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

This week on Take Care, Alan Schwarz, a writer for The New York Times who has reported extensively on ADHD, discusses the rise of ADHD diagnoses in children. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 11 percent of school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD, but according to Schwarz, some of them may be misdiagnoses.

Click 'Read More' to hear our interview with Alan Schwarz.

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.

Diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have been rising for the past 20 years. Today, 3.5 million children in the United States are on medication for the disorder. This week on WRVO’s health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with Alan Schwarz, a writer for The New York Times who has reported extensively on ADHD. Schwarz discusses the rise of ADHD and how it is likely being over diagnosed.

The head of Onondaga County's health department, Dr. Cynthia Morrow, has suddenly resigned.

Morrow's resignation is effective immediately, according to Ben Dublin, a spokesman for County Executive Joanie Mahoney.

Mahoney accepted the resignation today, Dublin said.

Deputy Commissioner Michele Mignano has been appointed in her place for the interim and Dr. Morrow will stay on for a few weeks to help with the transition, Dublin said.

The county executive released this statement: 

Study shows equal marriages lack sexual spark

Mar 30, 2014
Ika Ink / Flickr

If you share the chores with your spouse, the two of you have what psychologists call a "peer marriage,” an egalitarian partnership. Maybe the husband cooks, vacuums, and loads the dishwasher, and you genuinely enjoy each other's company. But what about your sex life? The answer may reveal an unexpected outcome of modern marriage.

This week on Take Care, Lori Gottlieb, psychotherapist and author of The New York Times article “Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex?” discusses how equality in marriage can impact a couple’s sex life. Her article has triggered a national debate on why peer marriages seem to have lost that sexual spark. Gottlieb is the author of The New York Times bestseller "Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough" and three other books, as well as a contributing editor for The Atlantic.

Click 'Read More' to hear our interview with Lori Gottlieb.

It's one of the most painful syndromes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say one in three Americans will get it eventually and those over 60 should be vaccinated. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with Dr. Pritish Tosh, assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic,  about shingles and how to prevent it.

Lorraine Rapp: Let’s start at the beginning so we have a full understanding.  Exactly what is shingles?

What's the future for the nutrition facts label?

Mar 23, 2014
Dan Domme / Flickr

The Food and Drug Administration is changing the nutrition facts label for the first time since the 1990s. The changes will update the current labels, which have serving sizes that seem too small to many Americans and no prominence placed on the calories.

This week on Take Care, Tracy Fox, president of Food, Nutrition & Policy Consultants in Washington D.C., discusses the current nutrition facts label and how it may be upgraded.

Click 'Read More' to hear our interview with Tracy Fox.