Tuesday, May 27, 2008

June 1st. is National Cancer Survivor Day

National Cancer Survivors Day is a big day on The Healing Project's calendar. Our organization was founded by Debra Lachance, a breast cancer survivor, and many in our community are continuing to deal with cancer in its many forms.

This year The Healing Project would like to highlight two leading members of the medical community contributions to changing the way in which cancer is being treated.

H. Michael Shepard, PhD

Dr. Shepard is a member of The Healing Project's Board of Directors. For more than three decades, this Alpert Prize winning scientist has been redefining the treatment of cancer and the development of therapeutics. This extremely humble man was the team leader of the Herceptin discovery team at Genentech. The team's work not only produced one of the most efficacious oncology agents in history but also changed drug discovery forever by demonstrating the potential of targeted therapies. Although this single discovery has changed the lives of millions of breast cancer patients across the world would represent crowning achievement of any researcher's career, Michael remains in the lab and at the bench. He, is a founder, president and CSO of Receptor BioLogix, a California-based biopharmaceutical company focused on developing a newly discovered class of protein therapeutics called Intron Fusion Proteins™ (IFP™) to treat cancer, autoimmune, metabolic and other diseases.

Dr. Shepard's work has been game-changing. You may not know his name, but you should. He is one of the world's great scientists whose actions and results speak louder words. As Michael would say, "Science First."

Stephanie F. Bernik, MD, FACS

Dr. Bernik is Chief of Breast Surgery for the comprehensive breast program at St. Vincent's Comprehensive Cancer Center in New York City. She is a scientific advisor for The Healing Project. A board certified surgeon specializing in breast diseases, Dr. Bernik has been at St. Vincent's Comprehensive Cancer Center since 2000. In that time, she has developed a specialty in treating young women under 40 diagnosed with the disease.

Stephanie's work with women afflicted with cancer at an early age is designed to tailor treatments for patients hoping to live long, healthy and fulfilling lives. Dr. Bernik defines the current generation of cancer clinicians that approach these diseases from the point of view that many, if not most, are chronic conditions. The key is to give science the time to cure these conditions.

We highlighted these brilliant individuals on Cancer Survivors Day to remind everyone in our community that since the War on Cancer was declared 40 years ago we have made enormous strides, but we have along way to go. All survivors, families and loved ones must continue to support the drive for cures across all cancers. This not only involves demanding funding for cancer research but also volunteering for clinical trials, offering cells and providing tissue to the scientific community. It may require another 40 years but the end of most cancers is within reach if the scientific, clinical and patient communities cooperate and coordinate their efforts.

About National Cancer Survivors Day®

National Cancer Survivors Day® is an annual, worldwide Celebration of Life that is held in hundreds of communities throughout the United States, Canada, and other participating countries. Participants unite in a symbolic event to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be a reality.

In most areas, National Cancer Survivors Day is traditionally observed on the first Sunday in June, although this is not always possible due to scheduling conflicts and time differences. Celebrating its 21st year in 2008, NCSD is the world’s largest and fastest-growing annual cancer survivor event.

The non-profit National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation supports hundreds of hospitals, support groups, and other cancer-related organizations that host National Cancer Survivors Day events in their communities by providing free guidance, education and networking. Anyone considering hosting an NCSD event can obtain a free NCSD Planning Kit.

Who is a cancer survivor? The National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation defines a "survivor" as anyone living with a history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life. National Cancer Survivors Day affords your community an opportunity to demonstrate that it has an active, productive cancer survivor population.

So be sure to attend an official National Cancer Survivors Day event in your area. To locate an event near you, e-mail info@ncsdf.org or call 615-794-3006.

National Cancer Survivors Day
National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation
P.O. Box 682285
Franklin, TN 37068
(615) 794-3006
(615) 794-0179 Fax
Materials available
Contact: None designated

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Voices of Autism is Published by The Healing Project

New Resource Available for Families Living with Autism
-- “Voices of Autism” Anthology Shares Real-Life Accounts of 40 Patients and Caregivers--

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the U.S., with an approximate 10 - 17 percent increase in the 1990s. As more is learned about the disease, more resources for patients and caregivers are being developed. One new resource is a new anthology, Voices of Autism: The Healing Companion: Stories for Courage, Comfort and Strength chronicling the stories of more than 40 families living with autism.

Each person has their own tale to tell from the frustration of an autistic teenager unable to speak, yet knowing he is being left out of conversations in “The Price of Talk” to the sadness and fear of a mother as her son becomes a man in “Postpartum Blues Plus Twenty.”

The book has attracted the writing of Lynda Geller, PhD for the Introduction where she explains the disease state, diagnostic criteria and outlines current research in the field. Additionally, one Foreword was written by Aaron Liebowitz, MSW, who speaks of the challenges of being part of the solution for families and applauds the “unified voice” that the book brings to these individual situations. The other is written by a mother of an autistic son explaining the impact of autism on her son, her relationship, her family and household, her community and society-at-large.

Voices Of Book Series
The Voices Of book series was conceptualized by Debra LaChance, a breast cancer survivor who, when diagnosed, was overwhelmed by the vast amount of information available. She found solace in the personal account of another woman diagnosed with breast cancer and wanted to provide that opportunity to all patients coping with chronic and life-threatening diseases.

LaChance Publishing is donating 100% of profits to LaChance’s other entrepreneurial venture The Healing Project (www.thehealingproject.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and support of those living with life-threatening and chronic illnesses. LaChance is also a Senior Vice-President at The Corcoran Group, a major real estate company in New York City.

Voices of Autism and all of the Voices Of books are available at bookstores everywhere and online at The Healing Project Website.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Voices of Autism, scheduled for release this month, received its first rave review from Library Journal

From the Library Journal:

The fifth entry in the “Voices” anthology project from The Healing Project, this work includes over 40 different stories and vignettes written by parents, teachers, and people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) that showcase how families and caregivers measure perseverance, understanding, and success. Many of the selections stand out, including an author’s account of her autistic son, a seventh grader’s perspective on her two siblings with autism, a memoir by an adult with autism who relied on a tire advertisement to get through tough times, and an account of the challenges of dating an adult with Asperger’s. The book’s real strengths are the adult-penned passages, which will give readers a better sense of what autism truly is. Taken individually, the stories show glimpses of the impact that autism has on individuals and those they love. Taken collectively, they paint a rich landscape that many will find familiar. Highly recommended for public libraries and academic libraries with disability collections.—Corey Seeman, Kresge Business Administration Library, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Voices of Autism can be ordered at Amazon. Profits from the "Voices of Book Series" go to support The Healing Project.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Veterans Administration Saving Pennies by Failing to Diagnos PTSD

The Veterans Administration was caught again running roughshod over our service members.

A few weeks ago we posted an item about the VA and DoD avoiding dealing with the suicide problem. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and VoteVets release email telling VA staff to “refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out.” Please take a moment and read the e-mail. James Peake, MD, the head of the VA, repudiated the employee, but she remains on the job.

Well done. If you get caught doing what the boss wants done (General Peake has been party to ignoring PTSD and Mental Health since his days as the US Army Surgeon General), we will make a public statement and you keep your job (Dr. Peake make sure she gets a bonus for all those cost savings).

I gather the next revelation will be regarding traumatic brain injury. All the phony screening, bogus research, delay in disabilities payments has been ochestarted by the DoD and US Army since the beginning of OIF/OEF. General Peake and his flunkys at AMEDD rejected a series of proposals to fully screen all troopers for TBI pre-OEF. If you don't identify the injured, don't treat them, you need not pay for them.

Look at how much money we save. DoD and the VA have had the support of the highest reaches of government in this despicable mistreatment of American citizens. The Legislative Branch's inability to deal with these matters for years is almost equally distgusting.

Somewhere between 300,000 and 700,000 troopers have suffered PTSD, Mental Health Problems, and/or TBI. But knows knows who they are or the treatment they have received. The time for special committees, centers of excellence, blue ribbon commissions, fake research conducted by politically connected charlatans is over.

Call your Senator or Representative and demand investigations and prosecutions.

CDC Recommends People 60 and Older Receive the Shingles Vaccine

The Center’s for Disease Control has created guidelines that all citizens 60 years of age or older should receive the shingles vaccine ZOSTAVAX. Insurance companies should now reimburse the cost of the vaccinations.

One million cases of shingles are reported each year with half the cases occurring in people 60 years old or older. 50% of all people reaching the age of 85 will contract shingles. Shingles is caused by chickenpox virus, and its effects range from mild to debilitating.

ZOSTAVAX reduces the likelihood of getting shingles by 50%. The cost of the Merck vaccine is approximately $150.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

DEPRESSION: Out of the Shadows PREMIERES ON PBS MAY 21, 2008

The Healing project wishes to alert the community about the presentation of DEPRESSION: Out of the Shadows premiering on PBS. Depression and related disorders touch almost every family. THere is no reason to be ashamed and there is help. Both talk-therapy and pharmaceutical interventions can help many, if not most, patients. It is OK to seek help and get treatment.

About the Program
A lot of Americans are keeping an important, possibly deadly secret.
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that approximately 18.8 million American adults have a depressive disorder. The disease is not discriminating, seeping into all age, race, gender, and socioeconomic groups. Depression stalls careers, strains relationships, and sometimes ends lives.

So if this many people are living with the disease, why the silence? DEPRESSION: Out of the Shadows is a multi-dimensional PBS project that explores the disease's complex terrain, offering a comprehensive and timely examination of this devastating disorder.

The first component of the project is a 90-minute documentary, premiering May 21, 2008, at 9:00 pm ET (check local listings). By weaving together the science and treatment of depression with intimate portrayals of families and individuals coping with its wide-ranging effects, the film raises awareness and eliminates the stigma surrounding this prevalent disease, underscoring the fact that whether we are battling it in our families, our workplaces, or in our own minds, depression touches everyone.

Through the voices and stories of people living with depression, the film provides a portrait of the disease never before seen on American television. Along with consumers, DEPRESSION: Out of the Shadows also follows acclaimed scientists as they describe the latest neurological research and groundbreaking new treatments for depression. Following the film, broadcast journalist Jane Pauley will host a 30-minute roundtable discussion titled TAKE ONE STEP: Caring for Depression, with Jane Pauley in which nationally acclaimed experts will offer advice on recognizing and treating depression.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

May 11th-17th is Women's Health Week

National Women's Health Week

The 9th annual National Women's Health Week will kick off on Mother's Day, May 11, 2008 and will be celebrated until May 17, 2008. National Women's Check-Up Day will be Monday, May 12, 2008.

National Women's Health Week empowers women across the country to get healthy by taking action. The nationwide initiative, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health (OWH), encourages women to make their health a top priority and take simple steps for a longer, healthier and happier life. During the week, families, communities, businesses, government, health organizations and other groups work together to educate women about steps they can take to improve their physical and mental health and prevent disease, like:

1. Engaging in physical activity most days of the week
2. Making healthy food choices
3. Visiting a healthcare provider to receive regular check-ups and preventive screenings
4. Avoiding risky behaviors, like smoking and not wearing a seatbelt

Office on Women's Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue SW, Room 712 E
Washington, DC 20201
(202) 690-7651
(202) 401-4005 Fax
Materials available
Contact: None designated

Friday, May 9, 2008

May is National Arthritis Month

Arthritis Fooundation
1330 West Peachtree StreetAtlanta, GA 30309
(800) 283-7800 Voice -Toll-free(404) 872-7100 x 7888
Voice(404) 872-0457 Fax
Materials available
Contact: Meera Venkatraman

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

May is Mental Health Month

Mental Health Month
Mental Health America
P.O. Box 16810Alexandria, VA 22302-0810
(800) 969-6642
(703) 684-5968 Fax
Materials available
Contact: Resource Center

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The House Veterans Affairs Committee chairman accuses VA of criminal negligence, he should have included the DoD as well.

Dr. Ira Katz got caught lying to the press about suicide rates for veterans so he is now standing before the man. Of course James Peake, Veterans Affairs Secretary, defended Katz because he is largely responsible for the scandalous lack of preparation to handle troops returning from OIF/OEF with neurological and psychiatric problems. James Peake was the US Army Surgeon General from 2000 to 2004. During his tenure, his senior staff officers rejected the implementation of programs that would have dealt not only with mental health issues but also traumatic brain injury. US Army clinicians and researchers attached to Walter Read Army Medical were prepared to implement technology and protocols to deal with these issues before the Afghanistan deployment. AMEDD, the Army Medical Department, represented that they were prepared in 2002 even though it was not; and still isn't.

It is time for the Senate and House to call to account the entire chain of command from DoD and US Army Medcom as they have been responsible for one of the largest medical disasters in US history. Between 400,000 and 750,000 troops have been injured, gone unidentified and are untreated. No one knows who they are. Our jails, homeless shelters, drug rehab clinics and morgues will fill with veterans from these conflicts. This is a crime. It is medical negligence on a grand scale. It is time to go back an investigate the actions and lack of action taken by the DoD and US Army from 2001 forward. Senior officers, the rank of colonel or higher, responsible for epidemiology, traumatic brain injury and mental health should be called before the public, made to explain themselves, and summarily fired. If they are a member of the allied medical professions, their licenses should be revoked.

US Air Force Medcom should be empowered to take over these programs without the oversight of DoD or the involvement of the Joint Services “Red Cell.” The Air Force should further be directed to use the civilian medical sector, particularly the nation’s research hospitals, to treat the massive backlog of wounded active service members and veterans. (The VA should be left to deal with the aging veterans of past wars. It will take years to cure its gross mismanagement.) A hub and spoke system should be implemented similar to the highly successful NCCN cancer program. The objective would be to treat simple cases as close to the veterans homes as possible and complex cases at our finest medical centers that have the resources to handle the most complex injuries.

The $900MM of funding that congress allocated for mental health and traumatic brain injury is being squandered. Research has been delayed and solutions gone unimplemented. The Army’s objective has been to use faulty screening instruments (ANAM), faulty research (the problems related to TBI are transient and stress related), and faulty clinical practice (12 beds for patients in a vegetative state when there is need for 400 – the poly trauma centers are not what they were cracked up to be) in order to demonstrate that they are doing everything. It is pure nonsense.

This is not to say the VA, US Army, and US Navy don’t have some extraordinary practitioners. The field medical personnel of these wars should be lionized as they have demonstrated the resolve to do the undoable. Regrettably, these gallant men and women are not in-charge. Many are separating from the service as quickly as is practical due to incompetent leadership. People like the disgraced general, Kevin Kiley, are in-charge. Follow the party line, don’t report the wounded and don’t treat them. God forbid the Army may have to pay disability for injuries that don’t involve an amputation or blindness. TBI is like a sports injury. Sure! If they understood how serious many sports concussions can be, they would shut up. These blast injuries are far more complex and more serious, but research was repeatedly disrupted or blocked. I will not bother to rant about mental health as the military posture is so outdated it defies comment.

Call your congressmen and demand action. The current buffoons that have abused our troops will exit with this administration, but our active service members and veterans need help now.

May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month

Fast Facts About Skin Cancer and Melanoma

  • More than 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year.

  • 1 in 5 Americans will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime.

  • There will be about 108,230 new cases of melanoma in 2007 — 48,290 in situ (noninvasive) and 59,940 invasive (33,910 men and 26,030 women).

  • In 2007, at current rates, a person has a one in 33 chance of developing melanoma (both in situ and invasive). The risk of developing invasive melanoma is one in 63.
    Invasive melanoma is the sixth most common cancer in men and women.

  • Melanoma is the second most common cancer in women aged 20-29.5

  • One American dies of melanoma almost every hour (every 65 minutes). In 2007, 8,110 deaths will be attributed to melanoma — 5,220 men and 2,890 women.6 Older Caucasian males have the highest mortality rates from melanoma.

  • An estimated 10,850 people will die of skin cancer this year, 8,110 from melanoma and 2,740 from other skin cancers.

  • The World Health Organization estimates that as many as 60,000 people a year worldwide die from too much sun, mostly from malignant skin cancer. Of these deaths, 48,000 are from melanoma, and 12,000 are from other skin cancers. About 90 percent of these cancers are caused by ultraviolet light from the sun.

  • The incidence of melanoma has increased 690 percent from 1950 to 2001, and the overall mortality rate increased 165 percent during this same period.

  • More than 75 percent of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma.

  • Both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma have a better than 95 percent five-year cure rate if detected and treated early.

  • The five year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads is 99 percent.

  • Between 1996 and 2002, the five year survival rate for melanomas detected at all stages increased to 92 percent from 82 percent between 1975 and 1977.

  • In 2004, the total direct cost associated with the treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer was $1.5 billion. Of that, $1.2 billion is attributed to care received in physician offices.14

    Source: American Association Dermatology

    Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month
    American Academy of Dermatology
    930 East Woodfield Road
    Schaumburg, IL 60173
    (888) 462-DERM (462-3376)
    (847) 330-0230
    (847) 330-8907 Fax
    Materials available
    Contact: Jennifer Allyn

Monday, May 5, 2008

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month

Lyme Disease Awareness Month
Lyme Disease Foundation
P.O. Box 332 Tolland, CT 06084
(800) 886-5963
(860) 870-0070
(860) 870-0080 Fax
Materials available
Contact: Thomas Forschner

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Gender Differences Affect the Development of Dementia

The Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry published an article, Risk profiles for mild cognitive impairment and progression to dementia are gender specific, that presents finding that men and women have different risk profiles for the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

French researcher’s conducted a study of approximately 7,000 subjects 65 and over in three French cities. The screening excluded patients presenting dementia but included subjects with mild-Cognitive Impairment (approximately 40% of the sample). The subjects were tested at inclusion and retested in two and four year intervals.

6.5% patients presenting with mild-Cognitive Impairment developed some for of dementia within 4 years. 50% of the sample remained stable and 33% of the sample had their cognitive function return to normal.

The French researchers found:

Subjects that had ApoE 4 marker were more likely to progress from mild-Cogntive Impairment to dementia;

Female subjects with depression and those taking anticholinergic medications were more likely to progress from mild-Cognitive Impairment to dementia;

Female subjects with mild-Cognitive Impairment was a positively associated poor general health, disability and lacking a support network with conversion to dementia;

Female subject who could not perform basic activities of daily living converted at a 3.5x the sample and those with depression converted at 2x the rate.

Male subjects mild-Cognitive Impairment was positively associated with overweight, having diabetes, and having a history of stroke;

Male subjects with mild-Cognitive Impairment was positively associated with being overweight, diabetic, and having a history of stroke converting to dementia;

Male subjects with a history of stroke converted from mild-Cognitive Impairment to dementia at three times the rate of other subjects;

The Healing Project has strongly advocated in the past and still advocates routine screening for cognitive impairment because in many cases it reflects conditions that can be treated and fully reverse the cognitive impairment. Clinical treatment protocols should take into account possible gender differences and seek to reverse where possible mild-Cognitive Impairment.

May 7th. is National Anxiety Screening Day

National Anxiety Disorders Screening Day
Freedom From Fear
308 Seaview Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10305
(718) 351-1717
(888) 442-2022
Free anxiety/depression screening
(718) 980-5022 Fax
Materials available
Contact: Jeanine Christiana

Saturday, May 3, 2008

May is Lupus Awareness Month

What is Lupus
  • Lupus is a widespread and chronic autoimmune disease that, for unknown reasons, causes the immune system to attack the body's own tissue and organs, including the joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, blood, or skin.

  • The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that approximately 1,400,000 Americans, mostly women, have a form of the disease.

  • Lupus occurs 10 to 15 times more frequently among adult females than adult males.

  • Lupus develops most often in women between ages 15 and 44, but can affect people of all ages.

  • Lupus is two to three times more common among African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans.

    Causes of Lupus

  • Lupus is NOT infectious, rare, or cancerous.

  • While scientists believe there is a genetic predisposition to the disease, it is known that environmental factors also play a role in triggering lupus.

  • Some of the factors that may trigger lupus include infections, antibiotics, ultraviolet light, extreme stress, certain drugs, and hormones.

  • Hormonal factors may explain why lupus occurs more frequently in females than in males.

  • There is no cure for lupus but there are treatments.

  • For additional information about lupus or the LFA, call toll-free 1-888-38-LUPUS, or visit the LFA web site at http://www.lupus.org/.

    Source: Lupus Foundation of America

Lupus Awareness Month
Lupus Foundation of America, Inc.

2000 L Street NW, Suite 710
Washington, DC 20036
(888) 385-8787
(202) 349-1156 Fax
Materials available
Contact: Duane Peters

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Measles Outbreaks Linked to Lack of Vaccination and International Travel

Multiple outbreaks of measles are being investigated by CDC and state health authorities. Measles is a highly contagious disease spread through coughing or sneezing. Symptoms can include rash, high fever, coughing, and runny nose. The disease can also cause more serious complications, such as ear infections, pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) — even death.

Since the turn of the year, CDC received a total of 64 reports of confirmed measles cases in nine states. Arizona, New York, Michigan, and Wisconsin all experienced more than three cases. All cases are considered related to overseas travel including Europe and Israel.

Of the 64 people infected, 63 had no documentation of compliant vaccination with 14 too young to be vaccinated.

Measles was considered eliminated from the US in 2000, but is easily imported from other parts of the world. 20 million cases of measles still occur each year, and the disease is a significant cause of vaccine-preventable death among children. In 2005, 311,000 children under age 5 died from the disease.

CDC Recommendations:
All children should receive two doses of MMR vaccine. The first dose is recommended at 12–15 months of age and the second dose at 4–6 years of age. All adults born during or after 1957 should receive at least one dose of vaccine unless they have documented evidence of measles immunity (a blood test or a physician's diagnosis of measles). Two doses are recommended for all international travelers, healthcare personnel, and students of secondary and post-secondary educational facilities. Infants 6–11 months of age should receive one dose prior to travel abroad.

May is Healthy Vision Month

"Eye Safety is Everyone's Business" has been selected by National Eye Institute (NEI) as the theme for this year’s May observance of Healthy Eyes Month. Prompted by what officials believe is a large number of preventable on-the-job eye injuries, NEI is launching a drive to increase the use of proper safety eyewear in the workplace. The institute is asking optometrists and other eye care providers to play a major role.

Vision and Hearing Chapter
For the first time, vision objectives have been included in Healthy People 2010, a national disease prevention initiative that identifies opportunities to improve the health of all Americans.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Healthy People identifies the most significant preventable threats to health, and establishes national goals to reduce these threats. The chapter on vision addresses visual impairment due to eye disease and refractive error; regular eye examinations for children and adults; vision screening for pre-school children; injury prevention; and vision rehabilitation. Most states and many localities use the Healthy People framework to guide local health policies and programs.

Healthy Vision Month
National Eye Institute
National Institutes of Health
Building 31, Room 6A3231 Center Drive MSC
2510Bethesda, MD 20892-25210
(301) 496-5248
(301) 402-1065 Fax
Materials available
Contact: Linda Huss