HealthLink on Air

Sundays at 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Hosted by Amber Smith

“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

This week: measles, Clark Gable and literature in medicine

Nov 8, 2018

An advisory about the risk of measles was issued by the New York State Department of Health in October after an international traveler from Israel who was infected with the disease visited many places in New York City -- potentially exposing people everywhere the traveler went.

A measles vaccine offers protection against the highly contagious viral disease, explains Dr. Jana Shaw, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Upstate.

This week: Lung cancer screening, flu season and more

Oct 24, 2018

Just 2 percent of the people who qualify for lung cancer screening are enrolled in a screening program, which is designed to find cancers at an early stage, when they are most treatable, says Dr. Leslie Kohman. She is a distinguished service professor of surgery at the Upstate Cancer Center with extensive experience in the diagnosis, treatment and research of lung cancer.

Rehabilitation psychologist Michelle Woogen explains that when a person is recovering from stroke, caregivers watch out for "post-stroke depression." Symptoms may include a sad mood, crying, low motivation or changes in sleeping or eating behavior.

On this episode of “HealthLink on Air,” she talks about treatment -- which could include medication, psychotherapy or both -- and why treatment is important, since untreated depression can impede stroke recovery.

A variety of specialized neuromuscular tests are available in central New York with the addition of an autonomic neuropathy clinic and lab.

On this week’s “HealthLink on Air,” neurologist Ahmed Eldokla tells about the nerve conduction studies, muscle biopsies and electromyography, which allows him to listen to the sound waves of muscles, that he now offers to patients with a variety of disorders.

Also on the show: new drugs of abuse, plus efforts to reduce suicide.

Tune in this Sunday, October 7 at 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Sleep apnea is dangerous because it can increase a person's risk for stroke, high blood pressure and vascular dementia. When a person repeatedly stops breathing during the night, the lowered oxygen levels can have negative effects on the heart and brain.

This week: Diabetes, islet transplants and social work

Sep 13, 2018

People who develop Type 2 diabetes have a period of "pre-diabetes," which may last as long as 10 years and exist without symptoms.

Dr. Ramachandra Naik, a professor of endocrinology at Upstate, talks about screening for certain patients and what can be done to prevent or delay the development of diabetes. He also goes over the most common complications on this week’s “HealthLink on Air.”

Also on the program: how islet transplants can help people with severe pancreatic disease or diabetes, plus the role of social workers in health care.

A cardiac surgeon teams up with a cardiologist who specializes in electrophysiology to offer a new solution for people with atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm. The "convergent procedure," which is offered at Upstate University Hospital, is discussed with Drs. Randall Green and Aqeel Sandhu. The two cardiac surgeons also talk about minimally invasive techniques that are available for cardiac bypass surgery.

Also on the show this week: the role of standardized patients and how to become one, plus an overview of Medicare -- including where to get help or information.

This week: Medical records, health proxies and cobalt

Aug 29, 2018

Now there's a new way for iPhone users to store their health records from multiple health providers in one handy place on their iPhone.

Upstate Medical University has partnered with Apple to support HealthRecords. Neal Seidberg, MD, explains how this can benefit patients, and how the information is protected.

Also this week on the show: the importance of selecting a health care proxy, plus information on cobalt and its relation to health.

Tune in Sunday, September 2 at 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. for "HealthLink on Air."

This week: Back pain, birth control and SU football

Aug 23, 2018

The majority of cases of back pain are treated not with surgery, but with proper rest and anti-inflammatory medications, says orthopedic surgeon Daryll Dykes. He explains when back pain is an emergency, and the problems that eventually may require surgery in this week’s “HealthLink on Air.” He also dispels some of the myths and misconceptions about back pain. For example: Your posture contributes less to back pain than your weight.

Also this week: the most popular birth control methods, plus Syracuse University football coach Dino Babers talks about motivating student athletes.

This week: End-of-life care, cervical cancer screening, more

Aug 17, 2018

The president of the Medical Society for the State of New York talks on “HealthLink” this week about the improvement of end-of-life care, physician-assisted suicide and medical marijuana.

Dr. Thomas Madejski is a specialist in internal medicine in Medina, near Buffalo, who focuses mostly on geriatrics and palliative care, and he’s a graduate of Upstate Medical University in Syracuse.

Hyponatremia -- a dangerously low sodium level -- is a risk for ultramarathon runners who drink too much water in an effort not to become dehydrated. It's a serious condition that can lead to seizures, coma and death.

Some extreme athletes believe that drinking beer can help alleviate a low sodium level by causing the body to get rid of fluids through urination.

So, an emergency physician at Upstate who has expertise as medical director for a variety of endurance events around the world decided to conduct a study.

Dr. David Lehmann provides medical care to the homeless in Syracuse and Onondaga County. He accompanies John Tumino, the founder of In My Father's Kitchen, who delivers meals to the homeless from a van.

This week: Aneurysm repair, Lyme disease and a trip to Haiti

Jul 26, 2018

When a blood vessel weakens, a balloon-like dilation called an aneurysm sometimes develops. This happens most often in the abdominal aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body. If this aneurysm ruptures, it is often deadly, so learning whether you have an aneurysm and seeking treatment is important.

The incidence of thyroid cancer is on the rise, partly because more cases are discovered incidentally when a patient undergoes testing for something unrelated, says Dr. Roberto Izquierdo, medical director of the thyroid center and the thyroid cancer program at Upstate.

He discusses treatment and the outlook for people with thyroid cancer on this week’s “HealthLink on Air.” He also goes over symptoms of an overactive and an underactive thyroid, cautioning that symptoms vary among individuals and tend to develop gradually.

A new option for women with early-stage breast cancer allows for a concentrated dose of radiation therapy to be given during surgery to remove a breast tumor.

Breast surgeon Lisa Lai and radiation oncologist Anna Shapiro explain the benefits of Intraoperative Radiation Therapy in this interview. It's one of the newer treatment options available at Upstate.

Also on “HealthLink on Air” this week: genetic home testing kits, plus the importance of dietary fiber. Tune in Sunday, July 15 at 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. for more.

Some genetic abnormalities can be detected during gestation, some are recognized upon birth and others may go undetected because disorders caused by genetic abnormalities range in their severity and impact.

Dr. Robert Lebel, director of medical genetics at Upstate Medical University, talks about genetic abnormalities, including those that are inherited and those that occur spontaneously. Lebel holds appointments in several departments, including pediatrics, medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pathology and ethics.

Suicide rates in the United States are on the rise for the first time in decades, going up 25 percent from 1999 to 2016. The increase is seen across different regions of the country, among different age groups, genders and ethnicities -- and especially among youth and people who are middle-aged.

What is going on?

In this interview, Dr. Robert Gregory helps explain. He is a psychiatrist and director of Upstate's Psychiatry High Risk Program.

Muscular dystrophy is a group of disorders that causes progressive loss of muscle strength and a variety of complications. Most varieties, including the most prevalent, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, are diagnosed in young children.

Dr. Deborah Bradshaw, a neurologist who specializes in neuromuscular diseases, explains how patients are cared for through the multidisciplinary Muscular Dystrophy Clinic at Upstate, sponsored by the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Some people who stop taking antidepressants report withdrawal symptoms: nausea, fatigue, insomnia. In some cases, people say they felt as if they had the flu, and others report troubling zapping sensations in their heads.

New research suggests that the key to weight loss is the quality of a diet, rather than the quantity of food eaten.

"The children should not be the canaries in the coal mine," says Dr. Howard Weinberger, a professor emeritus of pediatrics who serves as medical director of the Central/Eastern Regional Lead Poisoning Prevention Resource Center.

Children currently undergo a blood test at ages 1 and 2 to see whether they've been exposed to lead. Weinberger explains on “HealthLink on Air” that he would rather be able to test the homes of children before they are exposed to see whether the homes pose a lead poisoning risk.

Registered dietitian nutritionist Maureen Franklin discusses a diet that is recommended by the US Department of Agriculture and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute as an ideal eating plan for all Americans. It's called the DASH Diet, which stands for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension."

The epidemics of opioid and heroin abuse have killed many people, but using these drugs can also cause a variety of medical problems including life-threatening infections.

Dr. Timothy Endy, professor and chair of microbiology and immunology at Upstate and an expert in infectious disease, tells about an increase in the number of cases of endocarditis, a type of heart infection. He also shares a personal story about how addiction has affected his family and a charity they helped establish.

Three things you might not know about stroke:

Some patients can safely undergo surgery to have their knee joint replaced and go home the same day, says Dr. Timothy Damron, the vice chairman for orthopedic surgery at Upstate. Patients who are relatively healthy and motivated may qualify for the one-day procedure, he explains on “HealthLink on Air.”

Also on this week’s show: the function of the interstitium, plus the evolution of the diaper bank.

Tune in this Sunday, May 6 at 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. or "HealthLink on Air."

Dr. Jennifer Makin explains how the controversy regarding talcum powder and ovarian cancer began and its similarities to the association between asbestos and mesothelioma on this week’s “HealthLink on Air.”

Some studies have shown that women who use talcum powder for feminine hygiene have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer, explains Makin, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Upstate. Other studies have not shown a significant association. She recommends that women not use talcum powder in the genital area.

Naloxone, a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, can be purchased over the counter from pharmacies in New York and several other states, says Willie Eggleston, a clinical toxicologist and doctor of pharmacy from the Upstate New York Poison Center.

He explains how to administer naloxone, which is sold under the brand name Narcan, and how the medication works. He also tells about the Good Samaritan Law designed to protect people who are trying to help.

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?

Many children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder will go on to become adults with ADHD, and some adults with the disorder are not diagnosed until adulthood.

Professor Stephen Faraone discusses how the symptoms in children differ from those seen in adults. He also addresses diagnosis and treatment options. Faraone is a distinguished professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and a professor of neuroscience and physiology at Upstate and recommends ADHD resources for health care providers and the public.

Dino Babers knew he wanted to be a coach from the time he was 6 years old, even before he found his sport.

Today as head football coach at Syracuse University, Babers motivates student athletes. He talks about what that's like, as well as the training regimen for SU football players and how non-athletes can make fitness a part of their lives, on this week’s “HealthLink on Air.”

He also shares his favorite sports movies: "The Natural," "Field of Dreams" and "Remember the Titans."

Also this week: a program that helps children overcome a variety of feeding disorders.