Saturday, June 7, 2008

June is National Aphasia Awareness Month

Some quick facts about Aphasia

What is Aphasia?
Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder that impairs a person's ability to process language, but does not affect intelligence. Aphasia impairs the ability to speak and understand others, and most people with aphasia experience difficulty reading and writing.
What Causes Aphasia?The most common cause of aphasia is stroke (about 25-40% of stroke survivors acquire aphasia). It can also result from head injury, brain tumor or other neurological causes.

How Common is Aphasia?
Aphasia affects about one million Americans -or 1 in 250 people- and is more common than Parkinson's Disease, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. More than 100,000 Americans acquire the disorder each year. However, most people have never heard of it.

Who Acquires Aphasia?
While aphasia is most common among older people, it can occur in people of all ages, races, nationalities and gender.

Can a Person Have Aphasia Without Having a Physical Disability?
Yes, but many people with aphasia also have weakness or paralysis of their right leg and right arm. When a person acquires aphasia it is usually due to damage on the left side of the brain, which controls movements on the right side of the body.

How many people have aphasia?
It has been estimated that about one million people in the United States have acquired aphasia. The majority are the result of stroke. About one third of severely head-injured persons have aphasia.

Source: National Aphasia Association

National Aphasia Awareness Month
National Aphasia Association
350 Seventh Avenue, Suite 902
New York, NY 10001
(800) 922-4622
(212) 267-2814
(212) 267-2812 Fax
Materials available
Contact: Ellayne Ganzfried

Friday, June 6, 2008

June 8th - 14th is Sun Safety Week

The Sun-Safe Child Care Project
The Sun Safety Alliance has launched their latest Early Childhood Education project with Crème de la Crème® Early Learning Centers of Excellence. This SSA Childcare Project is aimed at educating children, early childcare staff, and parents on the importance of adopting sun safe behaviors. The educational program includes a staff training module, children's learning activities, and parent education materials. Teaching sun safety at an early age instills lifelong habits that can prevent skin cancer. The SSA, through our partnership with Crème de la Crème, is in the evaluation phase of this project to demonstrate the effectiveness of the sun safety educational materials for early care and education.

To download PDFs of the Children's Learning Activities and the "Safe Fun in the Sun" booklet, click on Resources.

To purchase the staff training and parent information sheets, please contact Dr. Charlotte Hendricks, Project Director, at or visit

Sun-Safe Actions in Early Child Care and Education (ECCE) Settings
What can you do to keep children sun-safe? Follow these simple guidelines in ECCE settings and encourage parents to follow these at home:

Schedule children’s outdoor playtime to avoid sun exposure during the peak UV hours of 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM (4:00 during summer months) Remember, the UV rays are present, even on cloudy days.

Pay attention to the UV and Heat Indexes for your area. During high UV or heat days, be especially sun-safe or consider alternate indoor activity so children can stay cool while playing and exercising. You may also pay attention to pollen counts and air quality index (urban areas).

Provide plenty of shade on playgrounds. Plant trees or use large summer umbrellas, awnings, or sun tents around your play area. Play games with children in the shadow of your building.

Avoid direct sun exposure for infants.

Encourage parents to dress children in cool, lightweight clothing, Loose-fitting shirts with sleeves, and capris or long pants provide more sun protection than tank tops and shorts.

Make sure every child has a hat with a wide brim that shades the ears and neck. Let each child decorate a big floppy hat that he or she can wear each day.

Provide each child with sunglasses labeled “100% UV protection.” Polycarbonate or impact-resistant lenses are safest. Teach children to wear sunglasses when they are outdoors, and to store their sunglasses properly after playtime.

Children have tender skin and can easily become sunburned. It is recommended that you apply sunscreen labeled SPF 30 to all areas of exposed skin. Follow the directions on the sunscreen, and apply liberally and reapply every two hours. Remember, check your state and local guidelines about sunscreen use in childcare.

Encourage children to drink plenty of water.

Be a role model! These recommendations apply to both children and adults!

Remember, sun safety is important every day, even on cloudy days. And practice sun safety all year long; during the winter, the UV rays can be even more intense as they reflect off snow. Make sun safety a part of your daily activities.

We would greatly appreciate it if you can share this information through your local networks. For more information, please contact Dr. Charlotte Hendricks, Project Director, at

Sun Safety Week
Sun Safety Alliance

1760 Reston Parkway, Suite 415
Reston, VA 20190
(703) 481-1414
Materials available
Contact: Dr. Charlotte Hendricks

Thursday, June 5, 2008

June is Men's Health Week 9th -15th

Goal of Men's Health Month

The purpose of Men's Health Week is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

This week gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. The response has been overwhelming with hundreds of awareness activities in the USA and around the globe. For a partial list of activities, click here.

Public Service Anouncement
If you not sure you really wish to visit your healthcare provider, read some Healthcare Facts.

National Men's Health Week
Men’s Health Network
236 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Suite 301
P.O. Box 75972
Washington, DC 20013
(888) MEN-2-MEN (636-2636) Men's Healthline
(202) 543-MHN-1 (543-6461) x101
(202) 543-2727 Fax
Materials available
Contact: Theresa Morrow

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

June is Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month

What is myasthenia gravis?
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a chronic neuromuscular, autoimmune disorder that causes varying degrees of weakness involving the voluntary muscles of the body. Myasthenia gravis means “grave muscle weakness.” It can affect people of all races and in both sexes from infancy to senior citizen. The prevalence rate of patients with MG is estimated to be 20 per 100,000 population. MG may affect any voluntary muscle, but most commonly affects those that control eye movements, eyelids, chewing, swallowing, coughing and facial expression. Muscles that control breathing and movements of the arms and legs may also be affected. At present, the cause of myasthenia gravis is unknown, and there is no cure.

Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month
Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, Inc.
1821 University Avenue West, Suite S256
St. Paul, MN 55104-2897
(800) 541-5454
(651) 917-6256
(651) 917-1835 Fax
Materials available

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

June is National Scleroderma Awareness Month

Scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis, is a chronic connective tissue disease generally classified as one of the autoimmune rheumatic diseases.

The word “scleroderma” comes from two Greek words: “sclero” meaning hard, and “derma” meaning skin. Hardening of the skin is one of the most visible manifestations of the disease. The disease has been called “progressive systemic sclerosis,” but the use of that term has been discouraged since it has been found that scleroderma is not necessarily progressive. The disease may take several forms which will be explained later. There is also much variability among patients.

What scleroderma is not
Scleroderma is not contagious, it is not infectious, it is not cancerous or malignant.

How serious is scleroderma?
Any chronic disease can be serious. The symptoms of scleroderma vary greatly from individual to individual, and the effects of scleroderma can range from very mild to life-threatening. The seriousness will depend on what parts of the body are affected and the extent to which they are affected. A mild case can become more serious if not properly treated. Prompt and proper diagnosis and treatment by qualified physicians may minimize the symptoms of scleroderma and lessen the chance for irreversible damage.

How is scleroderma diagnosed?
The diagnostic process may require consultation with rheumatologists (arthritis specialists), and/or dermatologists (skin specialists) and require blood studies and numerous other specialized tests depending upon which organs are affected.

Who develops scleroderma, and when?
There are an estimated 300,000 people in the United States who have scleroderma, about one third of whom have the systemic form of scleroderma. Since scleroderma presents with symptoms similar to other autoimmune diseases, diagnosis is difficult and there may be many misdiagnosed or undiagnosed cases as well.

Localized scleroderma is more common in children, whereas systemic scleroderma is more common in adults. Overall female patients outnumber male patients about four to one, and the average age at diagnosis is in the forties.

Factors other than sex, such as race and ethnic background, may influence the risk of getting scleroderma, the age of onset, and the pattern or severity of internal organ involvement. The reasons for this are not clear. Although scleroderma is not directly inherited, some scientists feel there is a slight predisposition to it in families with a history of rheumatic diseases.

However, scleroderma can develop and is found in every age group from infants to the elderly, but its onset is most frequent between the ages of 25 to 55. When doctors say "usually" or "for the most part," the reader should understand that variations frequently occur. Many patients get alarmed when they read medical information that seems to contradict their own experiences, and conclude that what has happened to them is not supposed to happen. There are many exceptions to the rules in scleroderma, perhaps more so than in other diseases. Each case is different, and information should be discussed with your own doctor.

What causes scleroderma?
The exact cause or causes of scleroderma are still unknown, but scientists and medical investigators in a wide variety of fields are working hard to make those determinations. It is known that scleroderma involves overproduction of collagen.

Is scleroderma genetic?
Most patients do not have any relatives with scleroderma and their children do not get scleroderma. Research indicates that there is a susceptibility gene which raises the likelihood of getting scleroderma, but by itself does not cause the disease.

What is the treatment for scleroderma?
At the present time, there is no cure for scleroderma, but there are many treatments available. Some are directed at particular symptoms like heartburn, which can be controlled by medications called proton pump inhibitors or medicine to improve the motion of the bowel. Some treatments are directed at decreasing the activity of the immune system. Some people with mild disease may not need medication at all and occasionally people can go off treatment when their scleroderma is no longer active. Because there is so much variation from one person to another there is great variation in the treatments prescribed.

Source: Scleroderma Foundation

National Scleroderma Awareness Month
Scleroderma Foundation

300 Rosewood Drive, Suite 105
Danvers, MA 01923
(800) 722-HOPE (4673)
(978) 463-5809 Fax
Materials available
Contact: National Office or Local Chapters