Health

Reporting on health issues

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.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Pediatric specialists from Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse will start taking to the air this month if there is a seriously ill or injured child more than an hour from Syracuse. 

Mercy Flight Central has provided air medical services for adults in central New York and across the state for more than two decades. The non-profit is now teaming up with Golisano to include pediatric specialists on board. Upstate University Hospital interim CEO Robert Corona said it fills a gap.

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.

Upstate Medical University

A new treatment available in Syracuse for a certain kind of breast cancer can eliminate weeks of radiation therapy. 

This new treatment, called intraoperative radiation therapy, essentially combines radiation therapy with surgery. Upstate Cancer Center breast surgeon Dr. Lisa Lai said after a tumor is removed, a balloon is installed in the spot left by the tumor. Then, a radiologist delivers a big dose of radiation therapy in that spot.

Intel Free Press/Flickr

Though obstacles still impede its application, telemedicine -- using technology to remotely connect physicians to patients -- is growing throughout the nation and the world, and a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) believes it's a crucial tool to treating patients in the modern age.

Amar Gupta teaches a popular telemedicine course at MIT, and his work has led to several major technological advancements at MIT and other universities. Gupta said telemedicine has an important practical application that is not being fully utilized due to the nature of health care in the U.S. He shared his thoughts with us on "Take Care."

tr0tt3r / Flickr

This summer, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program was approved for a value-based purchasing program -- a first-in-the-nation drug pricing experiment that hopes to incentivize drug companies to stand behind their product.

Jackie Fortier reports on health policy for StateImpact Oklahoma, a collaboration of NPR member stations in Oklahoma that focuses on how government policy affects people’s lives. Fortier spoke to us this August on "Take Care," right before the new drug-pricing model began. She said though there are plenty of skeptics, the new program might do some good for the state and provide an example for other states to follow.

Kiran Foster/Flickr

Americans who suffer from a severe mental illness, including depression and bipolar disorder, have a life expectancy 15 to 30 years shorter than those without mental illnesses, according to a New York Times article published earlier this year.

Dr. Dhruv Khullar, an attending physician at New York - Presbyterian Hospital and a researcher at the Weill Cornell Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, wrote the article after caring for patients with mental illnesses and watching the effects mental struggles have on physical health.

Council of Accountable Physician Practices / Flickr

An opinion piece published in STAT, a health-centered media group, detailed the paradoxical struggle of physicians spending too much time reporting quality data to actually deliver quality medical care to their patients.

Dr. Jerry Penso, president and chief executive officer at AMGA (formerly the American Medical Group Association), wrote that though there are well-meaning intentions behind mandatory quality reporting, the ultimate result is detrimental both to physicians and their patients. We spoke to him this month for "Take Care," WRVO's health and wellness show.

JasonParis / Flickr

The Arc New York supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with programs, services and advocacy work. Their aim is inclusion. By providing guidance to family members and focusing on indepencence and comfort, they believe people with disabilities can have quality of life within their community.

This time on "Take Care," we spoke with Tania Seaburg, chief policy and operations officer for the organization. Our conversation centers on employment efforts, one of The Arc's key approaches to providing a more normal life for a portion of the population that is often at a disadvantage otherwise.

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.

In My Father's Kitchen

Access to health care is important for individuals overall physical, social and mental health. But there are barriers for many Americans according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion -- including the high cost of care, inadequate insurance coverage (or no coverage at all), or lack of available services. As Ellen Abbott reports, there are attempts in many communities to remove these barriers.

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.

Alzheimer’s disease currently afflicts 5.7 million Americans, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. That fact has led researchers in Massachusetts to discover non-invasive treatments for it and other neurodegenerative conditions.

Dr. Diane Chan is a neurologist helping to lead research at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on brain rhythms and how they can be studied and stimulated to counteract the effects of neurological diseases.

daisy.images / Flickr

For many years, American society has presented males and females as inherently different, including in the way they think, but a professor of neuroscience said though some differences exist between males and females on a biological level, their brains are largely the same.

Dr. Lise Eliot is a neuroscience professor at the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. In her book, “Pink Brain, Blue Brain,” she explored sex differences and how those differences can grow into troublesome gaps.

Penguin Random House

Recent health trends have put a lot of emphasis on consuming healthy diets that are great for our body and overall wellness, but what's good for the body may not always be good for the brain, according to a neuroscientist, nutritionist and author.

Dr. Lisa Mosconi is associate director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College New York Presbyterian Hospital. Her book, “Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power,” discusses how one’s diet can significantly affect brain functionality.

Why you're not 'left-brained' or 'right-brained'

Jul 21, 2018
NIH Image Gallery / Flickr CC https://bit.ly/1jNlqZo

It's a well-established scientific fact that each hemisphere of the brain serves different functions in the body. That fact led to the popular belief that some people are more right-brained or left-brained in their personality. However, neuroscientific research proves that this theory is entirely false.

Dr. Jeff Anderson, assistant professor of radiology at the University of Utah’s School of Medicine, discussed his work with “Take Care,” which proves that though each side of the brain serves separate purposes, there is no connection between personality and which side of the brain is more active.

Human brain not built for modern society

Jul 21, 2018
John Medina

Though current American society often demands a monotonous daily routine for both adults and adolescents, a Seattle-based scientist and author argues workplaces and schools operate in a way counter to how the human brain functions best.

John Medina is a developmental molecular biologist and affiliate professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine. In his book, “Brain Rules,” he asserts that everybody’s brain is different, but none are perfectly suited for the life that modern American society presents.

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.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Syracuse hospitals had 10-15 overdoses coming in almost every day last week, believed to be from synthetic cannabinoids or “spike.” The number of overdoses from spike are up significantly and health officials worry about another potential threat.


A group of researchers at Cornell University has developed a new, faster test to determine whether bacteria are present in beach water.

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.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

Starting this month, geriatrics becomes its own clinical department at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. The change reflects a societal change with more and more older people needing specific attention.

Geriatrics had part of the Department of Medicine. This move puts it on the same level as other specialties, such as Surgery, Psychiatry and Neurology. Upstate Geriatrician Dr. Sharon Brangman will be the new department's inaugural chair, and said the new department will change the way older patients are cared for.

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.

upupa4me / Flickr

Today in our latest in health segment: two recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studies that reflect different trends in pediatric health.

Aaron_anderer / Flickr

Virtual reality, often pictured on the heads of avid gamers in the U.S., is finding a new purpose in an unexpected place: pediatric pain management.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Gold, director of the Pediatric Pain Management Clinic in the Department of Anesthesiology Critical Care Medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, is the lead of a new study examining the effectiveness of virtual reality for kids undergoing painful procedures. He spoke with “Take Care” about the ways VR can be used to help children through typically painful, high-stress procedures.

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