Longevity Ladies of Lehigh Valley

 

 

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Ruth, Elizabeth, Angie and Theresa reside in Lehigh Valley. Lehigh Valley is in Pennsylvania.  It consists of small picturesque towns with principal cities being Bethlehem, Allentown and Easton.

It’s 60 minutes north of Philadelphia, and 90 minutes west of New York City. The valley is between two mountains to north and south. Blue Mountain and South Mountain.

These beautiful four ladies have one more thing in common. They are all centenarians. They range in age from 100 to 105.  They also share a common love of family, health and honesty.

“I always say, ‘Never lie or be mean to anyone.'”
-Theresa J. Roth, age 105

Full link:

As seen in the March 2017 issue of Lehigh Valley Style. 

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Related Stories:

 

How A Tiny Pennsylvania Town Held the Secrets to Long Life

[1 / 17  by Jim Deegan for Lehigh Valley Live]
Kathie Marinucci and brother Sam Nittle display a portrait of their uncle, Carmen ‘”Armie” Ruggiero, who was enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. When Ruggiero died Dec. 20, 2015, at age 103, he was believed to have been the oldest person alive from Roseto and one of the only remaining to have participated in a landmark study of mortality rates from 1955 to 1961 that came to be known as “the Roseto Effect.”

In spite of the dark suits and solemn hymns at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, there was a celebratory tone to the funeral for Carmen Ruggiero.

Ruggiero was born in tiny Roseto on Jan. 21, 1912, the year the Titanic sank and the year in which leaders incorporated the predominantly Italian-American borough near the tip of the Lehigh Valley.

The man nicknamed “Armie” died Dec. 20, a month shy of his 104th birthday.

At the time, he was believed to be the oldest living Rosetan and one of the last alive to have participated in a landmark 1950s study that tied good health and long life to the close-knit Italian family structure defined by the town.

Carmen ‘Armie’ Ruggiero at his 100th birthday party
Carmen “Armie” Ruggiero at his 100th birthday party in January 2012 at Stroudsmoor Country Inn in Monroe County. (Courtesy photo)

“Everybody firmly believed he had a long, good life and he went the way he wanted to go,” said his nephew Sam Nittle, of Wind Gap. “He lived life to the fullest and had no regrets about anything. He was the patriarch of the family.”

Ruggiero was one of 11 children and never married or had kids of his own.

He worked at clubs and taverns, tending bar at popular watering holes like the Buckhorn and Luigi’s Ranch-O outside Belvidere and running the bar service at Florida hotspots such as the Boca Raton Resort and Hollywood Beach Hotel.

His life and outlook came under special interest by Dr. Mahesh Krishnamurthy, an Easton Hospital specialist in internal medicine. The doctor’s fascination with the so-called “Roseto Effect” blossomed after first treating Ruggiero about two years ago.

Ruggiero, he said, was a special patient.

“He was happy with very little,” said Krishnamurthy, program director of the internal medicine residency program at Easton.

“I believe that’s key. When you feel contented with what you have as opposed to always reaching for the sky and keeping up with your neighbor, it was a lesson learned.

“To me his story was told in four words: happy with very little.”

The Roseto Effect

Movies have been made and books written about the secrets of longevity. In 1964, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association hit upon an astonishing find in the hilly town in Northampton County.

A University of Oklahoma physician, Dr. Stewart Wolf, studied the effect of social structure on health from 1955 to 1961. He concluded that Roseto’s low rate of heart attacks and mortality compared to the rest of the region and the nation was attributable to the close-knit community and generations under one roof typical of Roseto at the time.

Roseto produced such results despite health risk factors that were all around: jugs of homemade red wine, foods cooked in lard, the smoking of cigars.

Fifty-five years later, Krishnamurthy encountered living proof that there must be something to the hypothesis and believes it might be applied to centenarians in general.
An article he wrote with a colleague, Dr. Raafia Memon, after spending time with Ruggiero notes that nearly 20 percent of the 55,000 100-year-olds in the U.S. in 2014 lived below the poverty line.

“These people have very little income but they have an attitude to life that is phenomenal,” Krishnamurthy said. “Mr. Ruggiero told me that’s how you live a happy life and a long life.

“The moment you start stressing about things, he said, is when the problems come. He believed that being happy with very little was the secret to longevity.

“Once people are older, they are very contented people,” Krishnamurthy said. “I can’t prove it based on the life story of one person, but I have seen it in people like him who don’t have a gloomy attitude and aren’t ticked off about small things. I do believe that there is something to it.”

Proud of his independence

Most of Ruggiero’s siblings lived into their 80s and 90s. He moved to Florida in the late 1960s then came back in the 1990s to help tend to two of his sisters, said niece Kathie Marinucci, of Roseto.

He maintained a fierce independence and lived the past few years at the Walden III assisted-living facility in Wind Gap.

Ruggiero drove until he was 100, could recall stories from his childhood in vivid detail and passed along traditions to his many nieces and nephews that they say would be lost forever were it not for his insistence.

With decades in the service industry, for example, he prided himself on his Caesar salad.

“It had to have the 13 ingredients,” said Marinucci, who lives in the house where she grew up. “You had to use the wooden bowl, which you never washed, and you had to smash the anchovies.”

Marinucci and Nittle are brother and sister whose late mother, Rose Nittle, was the youngest of Ruggiero’s family. While they looked after their uncle Armie, he lived essentially on his own up until the end.

One day last month, he called Nittle at home and summoned him to Walden III.

“I need you to come and see me,” he said.

To me his story was told in four words: happy with very little.”
Nittle said Ruggiero was uncharacteristically serious and business-minded that day. He pointed a crooked finger at his nephew and shook it at him.

“He said ‘This is my home now,'” a surprised Nittle recalled.

“He said ‘I had a home in Florida and don’t have it anymore. I had a home in Roseto and don’t have that anymore. This is my home. I go and come as I please.

“‘Don’t you ever put me in a home and don’t you ever let people see me if I can’t take care of myself.'”

Ruggiero also related something that Nittle says he can’t explain today. The family traditionally gathers at Nittle’s home on Christmas Eve and the nephew makes Manhattans.

“He said, ‘I don’t want you to feel bad about this, but I’m not coming over this year for Christmas,'” Nittle said.

A few hours after leaving, NIttle got a call from his sister. Ruggiero had taken a fall in the dining area and was going to Lehigh Valley Hospital. Doctors said he had fractured his neck in the spill.

Ruggiero died of bronchial pneumonia about 10 days later, his family said.

“The day this all happened, which was the beginning of the end, is the day he called me and told me all this,” Nittle said.

A different time

Roseto is different today than the town that gained recognition for its endurance. About 1,500 people live there, but the concentration of Italian-Americans has been diluted.

In 1989, Dr. Wolf restudied the Roseto Effect and found the mortality rates were in line with other communities such as Bangor and Nazareth. The difference was gone.

“The Rosetan values of cohesive family structure started fading away in the late 1960s,” Dr. Krishnamurthy said.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Roseto
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Roseto has been the place of worship for generations of the borough’s Italian-Americans. (Jim Deegan | For lehighvalleylive.com)

Even today, the mayor and most of borough council have last names, like the streets, that end in vowels. But it’s not the place it was, according to longtime residents.

“Back then everybody knew everyone else,” said Michael Romano, 62, the borough council president. “If you walked down the street and you were doing something wrong, the parents didn’t have a problem disciplining someone else’s child. It’s not that way today.”

You can still get tomato pie and cannoli at Roseto Bakery, formerly LeDonne’s, and there’s Italian fare and espresso machines for sale at Ruggiero’s Market on Dante Street. But the days when Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church was packed and Catholic schools were open have faded like the Roseto Effect.

Romano said the Italian-American culture that emphasized education and college served to diminish the effect.

“There’s still a core of Italians with the church and the fire company, but the composition of Roseto has changed,” he said.

Doc looks back on colorful 57-year career
Doc looks back on colorful 57-year career

While the Roseto Effect may be long gone, its documentation remains useful, according to Easton Hospital’s Krishnamurthy.

He feels grateful to have been able to capture a fleeting phenomenon in Carmen Ruggiero and his stories of Roseto.

“All of my patients are equal because I care for their medical conditions,” he said, “but sometimes there are cases that speak to you much more.

“He had a profound effect on me,” he said of Ruggiero. “There was a different connection. He would make you so comfortable and you could talk to him for hours and not even realize it.”

With further study involving other centenarians, Krishnamurthy hopes to one day publish a medical paper that ties attitude and longevity together.

It’s something he says is worthy of emphasis.

“We’re going through tough times all across the world,” he said. “I see a lot of discontentment in the youth of today and I don’t know how to change that.”

An old man from Roseto who didn’t drive anymore still may have held the keys.

“There’s something about the centenarians who find joy in small things,” the doctor said. “They find a purpose in life. We need to find some level of happiness and contentment with what we are and who we are.

“For me, it is going to be a lifelong quest.”

                              ###

[Jim Deegan may be reached at jdeegan@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @jim_deegan. Find lehighvalleylive on Facebook]

 

 

 

Health Habits of 1o Top Entrepreneurs

The best entrepreneurs know that in order to crush business, your body needs to be bulletproof. These members of The Oracles have engineered their bodies to feel half their age and perform at the highest levels. Here are their secrets.

10 Top Entrepreneurs Reveal Their Health Regimen Secrets

Image credit: Geber86 | Getty Images

 

Grant Cardone
Image Credit: The Oracles

1. Juice up.

Get yourself a good juicing machine. There are more people drinking a sugary Big Gulp today than drinking 32 ounces of vegetable and fruits. Juicing daily is an investment in your greatest asset—your body. I want control over my vehicle (body) and that starts with my diet. Lean meats, salads and workouts help me stay energetic all day long. Grant Cardone, top sales expert who has built a $500 million real estate empire, NYT bestselling author of Be Obsessed or Be Average, and founder of 10X Growth Con 2017; follow Grant on Facebook or YouTube

Tai Lopez
Image Credit: The Oracles

2. Focus on the most important 80 percent.

My mom used to say: it’s not what you eat 20 percent of the time that kills you, it’s what you eat 80 percent of the time. Friends who aren’t entrepreneurs probably have more time than you do to go to the gym seven days a week. Focus on 80 percent of that, which is five days a week. If they never eat junk food because they’re trying to get steel abs, just try to eat 80 percent of the day’s meals correctly.

Bradley Martyn, one of the top fitness guys in the world, told me that the best diet is the one you’ll actually stick to. If a diet says only eat salmon all day, but you hate salmon, even if it gets you in great shape, you’re not going to stick to it. Tai Lopez, investor and advisor to many multimillion-dollar businesses who has built an eight-figure online empire; connect with Tai on Facebook or Snapchat

Mark Sisson
Image Credit: The Oracles

3. Compress your eating window.

I eat in a compressed eating window between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily to remain in a fasted state for 18 hours virtually every day. My Primal Big Ass salad at midday is my go-to dietary centerpiece. It has an assortment of veggies, nuts and meat, and of course Primal Kitchen salad dressing. I eat whatever I want and I never eat anything I don’t like.

I only make supplement products that I need and use myself—that’s the driving principle of my business. Hence, I take the specialized products in my product line: a comprehensive multivitamin/mineral/antioxidant formula, an omega-3 supplement, a probiotic, a high-protein, low-carb meal replacement powder, a phosphatidylserine supplement when I’m under heavy stress, and Vitamin D in the wintertime. Being “strict” is highly overrated; I allow for tremendous flexibility in my daily routine. Mark Sisson, founder of Primal Blueprint, bestselling author of The New Primal Blueprint, and publisher ofMarksDailyApple.com, the world’s most visited blog on paleo, primal, and ancestral health

Com Mirza
Image Credit: The Oracles

4. Attack your health from all angles.

I start everyday with morning cardio, then a green shake, four to six high-protein meals, and weight training four to five times a week. I also try intermittent fasting once or twice a week for around 16 hours a day. I regularly take BCAAs (branched-chain amino acid supplements), a multivitamin, and fish oil. I believe what we become is more important than what we have. An incredible mind only gets stronger when it’s synced with a healthy body full of stamina and endurance to crush life. Com Mirza, CEO of Mirza Holdings and “The $500 Million Man”; failed in eight companies back-to-back and today runs a nine-figure empire with over 600 employees

James Swanwick
Image Credit: The Oracles

5. Fuel your productivity. Prioritize sleep.

I usually skip breakfast, so I can fulfill my 16-hour fast to help me burn fat and stay energized. I’ll have the occasional black coffee—high-altitude Arabica beans are better than instant coffee. Lunch and dinner typically comprise of lean meats like chicken with vegetables or salads. I’ll snack good fats like raw almonds and avocados to balance my blood sugar and maintain concentration. In the evening, I wear Swannies blue-light blocking glasses. That way, I can work or socialize in the evening and still get a great night’s sleep. (Artificial blue light from electronics or bright light disrupts your sleep.) This rejuvenates my brain so I can wake up with focus and clarity, which enables me to work efficiently in the morning. James Swanwick, entrepreneur, author, and CEO of Swanwick Sleep and the 30-Day No Alcohol Challenge

Josh Black
Image Credit: The Oracles

6. Discipline your diet, discipline your life.

The biggest shift in my life occurred when I stopped looking at food as filler and started thinking about food as fuel. You have to put nutritional value before convenience. Stop filling your shopping trolley with stuff that is packaged or processed. Instead, reach for leafy greens packed with dense nutritional value. You can get all the vitamins and nutrients you need naturally without having to reach for a supplement. If you can find discipline in your diet, you will be amazed at the discipline you can unlock in the rest of your life. Josh Black, entrepreneur, author of Personal Best, and CEO of GroupM Content in Asia; GroupM is a media investment group with more than $100 billion in billings

Nick Zyrowski
Image Credit: The Oracles

7. Engineer energy and focus.

I have the lives of my patients in my hands every day. I need to be focused. Every morning starts with a full glass of water to hydrate myself, and then it is coffee time. In my organic coffee, I blend MCT oil, collagen peptides and an almond milk creamer. My breakfast usually includes coconut yogurt parfaits, chicken sausages and smoothies. Every morning, I take a multivitamin with minerals, fish oil, probiotic, CoQ10 Ubiquinol, and vitamin D. My supplement regiment takes into consideration that I am a competitive athlete with a challenging workout regimen.

I eat a light breakfast and lunch, then I crush dinner. Eating large meals activates the parasympathetic part of your nervous system, which makes you tired. Eating light during the day with a larger meal in the evening allows me to be energized during the day and tired at night. I stick to my diet 90 percent, because it’s impossible (or impractical) to be perfect. Dr. Nick Zyrowski, founder of NuVision Excel

Ian Clark
Image Credit: The Oracles

8. Eat light and drink phytoplankton.

Upon waking, I drink a liter of micronized water with two droppers of Oceans Alive Marine Phytoplankton to flush the body with nutrients. Then, I use 30 sprays of EASE Magnesium on my abdomen and lower back after I shower. I repeat it all again 12 hours later. No stimulants (coffee, chocolate, caffeine teas) ever. These are fake energy, and you’ll have far more short- and long-term energy without them. Ian Clark, founder and CEO of Activation Products

Jay Georgi
Image Credit: The Oracles

9. Everything in moderation.

I don’t have fatty foods often. I stay away from gluten. I make sure I have small meals throughout the day. If I decide to eat chips (my favorite), I grab a handful and put them in a bowl. I never put the whole bag in. Everything in moderation. —Jay Georgi, founder of Nadvia and operations / management / profits-retention coach

Brian Swan
Image Credit: The Oracles

10. Get outside first thing.

At first light, I surf or exercise on the beach. Exercising in nature starts my day in the most positive way. On the way back home, I pick flowers for my wife. That ritual of making yourself and your partner happy creates an unstoppable day. Brian Swan, co-founder of Unstoppable Family

Want to suggest a future topic? Get in touch here: maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

me    Maria Dorfner is the founding CEO of NewsMD Communications, which promotes the best products and services in Health to national media.  NewsMD falls under the umbrella of Healthy Within Network HWN, which creates original health content.  This is her blog.

Maria began her career as an intern at NBC in NYC in ’83, while she was an undergraduate English and Political Science Honors student at Pace University, where she also won the Miss Pace University title.

Hired full time upon graduating, Maria helped launch CNBC five years later and worked in Media for ten years producing before specializing in Health.  She created and produced original programs such as Healthy Living, Healthcare Consumers, Lifestyles and Longevity, Healthcare Practitioners and more.  The nationally syndicated award winning programs aired for three years.  She also produced 21st Century Medicine for Discovery interviewing a Who’s Who In Medicine/Health.

Maria’s “Heart Smart” series on CNBC was recognized as outstanding by the American Heart Association.

Maria received an Advanced Writing Scholarship from Columbia University and NBC News, an Outstanding Achievement Award from March of Dimes, Medical Reporting Scholarship from American Medical Association, Media Recognition Award from American Heart Association, Outstanding Leadership Abilities Award and Commitment to the Advancement of Women in Media Award from Pace University.   While in NJ, she helped a bill pass to recognize a National Lymphedema Awareness Day after her mail carrier, Nancy Piwowar rang her bell to discuss the lack of health stories about it.  Piwowar was recognized with a Lymphedema Patient Award. 

                   “My stories are from the patient’s perspective. There are too many conflicts of interest in health journalism. Who is telling you something and why is AS important as what they tell you. I want family and friends to get the whole story. I love using my skills to help.” Maria Dorfner

Working behind the scenes and on camera with over three decades of experience, Maria’s stories have aired on GMA, Today, CBS This Morning, CNN, FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNBC and other talk shows, national publications, social media, local stations and more.  Her NewsMD clients have included Weight Watchers, Phizer, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, First For Women, Heico, Volvo and more.

“You got us the gold.” Unilever

She has authored 3 books and mentors journalism students.  She’s been a health enthusiast her entire life and is an avid hiker, swimmer, certified scuba diver and certified aerobic swim instructor. She volunteers on several health related boards helping them raise awareness.

“When We Tell Stories…People Listen.”  Maria Dorfner, founder, NewsMD

She can be reached at 484.747.32oo

Startup Reduces Needles for Blood Draws

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FDA approved to improve patient and practitioner experience in healthcare settings.

Full Story:  http://fortune.com/2016/05/20/startup-blood-draws/

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Or visit:  http://velanovascular.com/in-the-news/velano-vascular-needleless-blood-draw-technology-relieves-anxiety-for-patients-practitioners-and-hospitals/

 

Humor Helps Cancer Patients Heal

LexiTimmons

When 28-year-old Oncology Nurse, Lexi Timmons works with cancer patients, which she’s done for two years, she notices what helps most is humor to brighten their spirits.

She also observes they receive a lot of greeting cards from well-meaning loved ones, but most are downright depressing instead of what they need most during this time, which is cheer.  She realizes it’s not their fault  because the majority of Greeting cards for illness in major retailers are typically glum offering sympathy, along with a Get Well Soon salutation.  She could see her patients get sad as they open and read them.

That’s how Lexi got the idea to create a line of Greeting cards that make cancer patients smile, laugh and feel good.  She calls them LUMPY CARDS.   Everyone knows stress has a negative impact on your mind and body. When people have cancer, they need their immune systems to stay strong and humor helps diffuse stress.  When someone is laughing they’re not thinking of being sick, even if it’s only for a little while.  It’s a step in the right direction.  Laughter is always positive, which is why we love Lexi’s idea and spirit. Sometimes, her patients inspire the cards.

cancercards

Lexi says, “I love to crack jokes and so do my patients. I realized that when people are going through the roughest of times, it actually brings out the best comedian in them.  It helps them cope and it also releases feel good endorphins in them, which are healing.”

Another inspiration was unexpected.  In 2012, cancer hit home when her Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.

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Lexi Timmons with a cancer patient she didn’t expect – her own Mom

“My Mom is at her best when she is laughing and not thinking about her cancer. I knew this would help her too.”

LUMPY CARDS sure did make her Mom smile.

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Now, Lexi’s Mom inspires some of the Greeting cards. Together, they share great laughs and beautiful smiles.

Laughter really is the best medicine

 Her Mom Sherry says, “I just love Lexi’s cards! She has a knack for finding just the right line to make people feel better. When I was going through cancer treatment, and I would read one of her cards, they would make me laugh or feel loved. Her cards captured what I needed to hear at each stage of my treatment, and were neither too sympathetic or mushy. So many of the cards out there make you feel like your life is over now that you have cancer or you’re dying.”

Lexi writes the humorous cards herself, but would love to partner with some professional comedians, who would like to volunteer for a good cause and get credit on them.

There are a range of cards uniquely tailored for men, women, friends, family and spouses dealing with cancer and they’re reasonably priced at $3.99 a card.

Healthy Within Network and NewsMD give these cards two healthy thumbs up. 

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And so does the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, who has this to say:

“Now THIS is interesting!  A company that makes unique and provocative greeting cards for cancer patients. Lumpy Cards certainly doesn’t tiptoe around the topic of cancer.  The animal selection is particularly cute.”

 

 Way to go, Lexi.  An absolutely beautiful person inside and out, like her Mom.

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Lexi with her biggest fan, Mom

 

 

Here’s a link to Lexi on-camera talking about her inspiration for Lumpy Cards:

 

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  You can contact Lexi for an interview (Contact Us page on link) or order cards here:  http://www.lumpycards.com

Maria Dorfner is an  award-winning health journalist, and the the founding CEO of Healthy Within Network and NewsMD Communications.  This is her blog. She has been working in Media since 1983 and began specializing in Health in 1993, creating and sharing original and trusted health content for healthcare consumers. Her award-winning health series and segments have been seen on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, DISCOVERY HEALTH and more.

“Today, the floodgates are open to anyone reporting on health. Consumers are now well aware that physicians may have ties to pharmaceutical companies, health devices or hospitals, so they question everything. They are also now aware that food and beverage companies promoting products may not have their best interests in mind. When your Mom, Dad, sister, brother or loved one has a health issue, you want to know you’re getting trusted unbiased information. We maintain the experts need to be questioned to ensure not only transparency, but that profits aren’t placed before people.  Additionally, we focus on prevention and maintaining good health.  Virgil said it best when he said, “Health is your greatest wealth. Invest wisely.” ~Maria Dorfner

Digital Strategy & Value-Based Care

TerenceMartin1

Digital Strategy and the Shift to Value-Based Care
by Guest Author, Terence Maytin

The U.S. healthcare system is rapidly transitioning from fee-for-service to value- based care as part of massive and ongoing industry-wide transformation. Digital strategy is evolving to meet new challenges, help drive disruptive innovation, and better engage a large, growing audience of connected health consumers.

Already complex and fragmented, the healthcare sector will look very different over the coming years. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has spurred rapid innovation and disruptive change across the entire ecosystem in the quest for better quality care across the entire population at lower per capita cost. Payers are accelerating rollout of value- based payment models with providers, and the shift to pay for performance arrangements with Pharma companies is increasing as well.

Moving an entire industry from volume-oriented reimbursement requires aggressive, innovative approaches to move from traditional siloed care to collaborative models, with system-wide provider coordination, patient engagement and proactive interventions. Technology will continue to act as a critical change agent, enabling large- scale improvements in process efficiency, automation, connectivity, collaboration, interoperability and advanced analytics.

With the convergence of healthcare and digital technology, industry stakeholders are reassessing their digital strategies to help tackle new business opportunities and challenges. Just a few years ago, digital health efforts largely focused either on acquisition marketing, community aggregation, or customer service portals designed to redirect volume from higher cost channels. However amid the current environment, digital offers much greater and far-reaching impact potential than ever before.

Digital investments are ramping up to support the shift from volume to value, particularly in the areas of care coordination, patient engagement, post-discharge monitoring, measurement, and behavior change. Since 2014, venture capital has provided $10B in new funding for clinical tools, analytics, consumer engagement, mHealth, telemedicine, wearables, and business services. In 2016, firms have raised a record $1.8B.

Two important trends drive home the relevance and importance of having a comprehensive, well articulated digital strategy: the rise of consumerism and nearly ubiquitous web/mobile adoption. Across all age groups, large audiences not only already consume digital services but also expect high quality, omni-channel experiences. In order to deliver on this promise, companies must design optimized, journey-based experiences that balance customer needs, preferences, and behaviors against desired business objectives and outcomes. Companies must embrace the concept of “putting the customer first” throughout the organization and across functions (e.g. strategy, product development, marketing, operations and technology). This also must be accompanied by an insights-driven, decision-making approach.

Essentially, digital strategy will be most effective if viewed as an organizational imperative. Armed with a holistic vision and comprehensive strategy, stakeholders will be better able to leverage and capitalize on digital’s full disruptive potential to help solve some of the most pressing challenges facing healthcare today.

Healthcare Industry Transformation

The transformation of healthcare is multidimensional and complicated. Disruptive innovation, technology and consumer trends are upending traditional business models. The competitive landscape is getting ever more crowded with new entrants while at the same time, insurer and provider consolidation is accelerating.

Consumers are motivated with more skin in the game and greater information access than ever before. Payment models are shifting from volume to value, and payers, providers, pharma, and medtech will need to collaborate and coordinate to a much larger degree within a more integrated care delivery system. These factors along with intense focus on quality improvement and evidence-based outcomes have big implications for the entire care delivery continuum…

Click here to read full article

TerenceMartin  Guest Author, Terence Maytin is VP/Director | Head of Digital Strategy and Delivery | Digital Health Business Analytics and Technology  and  Strategic Advisor for First Growth VC.

Stay healthy!

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Maria Dorfner is the founder of NewsMD and Healthy  Within Network. This is her blog.
She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com
Be sure to click red FOLLOW on upper right of this blog to be notified of new posts.
On Twitter:  Maria_Dorfner

 

 

 

 

Healthy Spring Reminder

 

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Add good nutrition and percentages for reducing your chances of illness skyrockets.

 

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That one thought can help you when faced with unhealthy vs. healthy food choices.  There is no need to obsess because no one wants to live like that.  It’s all about healthy habits you maintain over a lifetime. Focus your tracking, measuring, comparing and weighing on how much you’re helping others, getting fresh air, getting sunshine, listening, caring, reading books, exploring, hiking, building, creating, sharing, praising, giving, inspiring, educating, laughing, walking, motivating, thinking, imagining, dreaming, dancing, singing, humming if you can’t sing, noticing nature more and the beauty surrounding you, turning off TV and electronics, spending time with positive, uplifting people with healthy habits who make you laugh, lifting someone up just because you can and not because you’re expecting something in return.

There are also people who have a healthy, calming presence.  These are people you can be around and feel good even if you’re walking in silence.

No one has a perfect family, friendships or relationships.  What they have is what they themselves bring to the equation.  Allow your ship to be strong and calm, so that you can weather any storm without needing to yell,”Man (or woman) overboard!” or “Abandon ship!”  I tend to see the good in everyone, but I’ve learned there are dark people with bad vibes.  The best you can do is avoid them and delete them from your social media networks. If you can’t avoid them entirely, limit exposure as you would any toxin.

Being healthy allows you to navigate your ship better. It doesn’t get rid of any storms.

If you’re currently poor in a job that you hate think of yourself as an actor in a movie playing a role. Imagine you’re the owner or CEO of the establishment. How would you behave differently?  How would you carry yourself?  Would you smile more when customers entered? Would you want your place to look better and know what works and what doesn’t?  Try it.  You will not only smile more, but one day when you do run a place you’ll be an incredible leader because you took pride in doing the little things well and you know how to treat customers. Listen to them. Learn to be a good communicator by being a good listener and observer. Respond. Don’t react.

Ashton Kutcher talks about this extensively in an excellent Commencement Speech he gave. Google it if you haven’t heard it as it will change the way you think of ALL jobs from sweeping a floor to being the Chairwoman.  I was thrilled when my Dad took me to the restaurant when I was a little kid. I begged him to let me work behind the counter even though I could barely reach it. Then, I begged him to let me make ices for customers. Customers were amused and SO nice saying, “Well, hello there young lady. I’ll have one Italian ice.”  I stood on a chair and made the biggest ice in the world. I remember my Dad saying, “I’ll go out of business if you keep doing that.” I asked questions and got my first lesson in business. My Dad also told me to smile and say thank you, so I learned to treat customers well too.

Remember, everyone of every size has fears, doubts, anxieties and feelings of sadness. Notice singers of all shapes and sizes have a sad song.  It’s part of life.

The best thing you can be is kind, compassionate, sincere, smart and imperfectly real.

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Be sure to follow this blog for new posts. There is a follow button on the upper right hand corner. Thank you!   My first book, “Healthy Within: A Story of Loss of Gain” is still available on-line on Barnes & Noble. They always have a coupon code you can use at checkout to get 30% or more off.  Thanks!

Follow me on Twitter: @Maria_Dorfner

Stay healthy!  ~Maria Dorfner

p.s.  Red Robbins are singing outside my window, so Spring-like weather should be here soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Future Health: Lung Cancer Vaccine 5 to 10 Years Away

by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter

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  President Barack Obama’s visit to Cuba this month will be the first by an American president in nearly a century. The thawing relations between the two countries are expected to bring a bumper crop of famed Cuban among other imports.

Strangely enough, another eagerly anticipated product is a lung cancer vaccine some say could be a breakthrough in oncology.

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CimaVax has reportedly been in development in Cuba for 25 years, partly because lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the Caribbean nation.

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Health reporter, Maria Dorfner spoke with Dr. Kelvin Lee from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, located in Buffalo, New York.  He says Roswell Park is finalizing an application to the FDA seeking permission to conduct a U.S. clinical trial of  the cancer vaccine and that , depending on the results from that and any subsequent studies, it would likely be 5 or more years before the drug could be widely available for patients in the U.S.   CimaVax is already an approved cancer therapy in Cuba and Peru.

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HOW IT WORKS

The injection is not like the other cancer-fighting immunotherapies being developed in hundreds of American labs, said Kelvin Lee, the chair of immunology at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y.

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Lee and other doctors have visited the island nation several times to meet with its Cuban developers and hear updates on their progress –and they found that the vaccine was a promising potential breakthrough.  He wrote in a post on Roswell Park’s Cancer Talk blog:

“Unlike other immunotherapies, CimaVax does not target cancer directly and it is not personalized. Rather, the vaccine targets a growth factor (EGF) necessary for the cancer to survive,” Lee said. “By targeting and effectively depleting this growth factor, the cancer starves and its progress slows, prolonging patients’ lives.”

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The results so far show that patients’ lives were extended from six to an average of 18 months with the vaccine treatment,  but there are reports of patients treated with the vaccine living five years or more.

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Lee and the other doctors see the possibility that the vaccine’s efficacy may translate to colon, head and neck, prostrate, breast and pancreatic cancers as well, and that CimaVax may prove effective in preventing some cancers from developing or recurring.

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Some studies have shown promise in CimaVax, as it has cut back the EGF needed for the cancer to progress.

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It has done this with minimal side effects, including nausea, fever and vomiting.  Survival dramatically improved in those patients with advanced Stage 3 and Stage 4 tumors, according to a Cuban study conducted in 2007.

 

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However, the vaccine has only been administered to a few thousand people worldwide –and it is still far from FDA approval, the doctor said.

A possibility of skipping Phase I testing exists, Lee added. The FDA inspection period should end sometime this year, allowing testing to begin. Lee and the other doctors envision the vaccine’s efficacy translating over to other head and neck cancers, as well.

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Cancer Research UK urged patience in looking to CimaCax, in a statement released last year.

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“This research is promising but this is a small trial and we will need more trial results before we know exactly how well the vaccine works for people with lung cancer. A phase 3 trial is currently in progress in Cuba,” they said in a statement.

Obama announced the U.S. was “extending a hand of friendship” to Cuba – just 90 miles from Florida – in December 2014. The cooperation between Cuban and American doctors began in 2011 and gained momentum with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s trade mission to Cuba in  April 2015. Since then, the U.S. has restored up to 110 daily flights to Havana.

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Among the critics of Obama’s March 21 visit to the island nations are Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both presidential hopefuls who are of Cuban descent.

 

Scientists ‘find cancer’s Achilles heel’

  • Lung cancerImage copyright SPL

Scientists believe they have discovered a way to “steer” the immune system to kill cancers.

Researchers at University College, London have developed a way of finding unique markings within a tumour – its “Achilles heel” – allowing the body to target the disease.

But the personalised method, reported in Science journal, would be expensive and has not yet been tried in patients.

Experts said the idea made sense but could be more complicated in reality.

However, the researchers, whose work was funded by Cancer Research UK, believe their discovery could form the backbone of new treatments and hope to test it in patients within two years.

They believe by analysing the DNA, they’ll be able to develop bespoke treatment.

People have tried to steer the immune system to kill tumours before, but cancer vaccines have largely flopped.

One explanation is that they are training the body’s own defences to go after the wrong target.

The problem is cancers are not made up of identical cells – they are a heavily mutated, genetic mess and samples at different sites within a tumour can look and behave very differently.

‘Exciting’

They grow a bit like a tree with core “trunk” mutations, but then mutations that branch off in all directions. It is known as cancer heterogeneity.

The international study developed a way of discovering the “trunk” mutations that change antigens – the proteins that stick out from the surface of cancer cells.

Professor Charles Swanton, from the UCL Cancer Institute, added: “This is exciting. Now we can prioritise and target tumour antigens that are present in every cell – the Achilles heel of these highly complex cancers.

“This is really fascinating and takes personalised medicine to its absolute limit, where each patient would have a unique, bespoke treatment.”

There are two approaches being suggested for targeting the trunk mutations.

The first is to develop cancer vaccines for each patient that train the immune system to spot them.

The second is to “fish” for immune cells that already target those mutations and swell their numbers in the lab, and then put them back into the body.

‘Early days’

Dr Marco Gerlinger, from the Institute of Cancer Research, said: “This is a very important step and makes us think about heterogeneity as a problem and why this gives cancer this big advantage.

“Targeting trunk mutations makes sense from many points of view, but it is early days and whether it’s that simple, I’m not entirely sure.

“Many cancers are not standing still but they keep evolving constantly. These are moving targets which makes it difficult to get them under control.

“Cancers that can change and evolve could lose the initial antigen or maybe come up with smokescreens of other good antigens so that the immune system gets confused.”


Analysis

James Gallagher, health editor, BBC News website

Harnessing the power of the immune system – what’s known as immunotherapy – is the most exciting field in cancer and probably in all of medicine right now.

But while that excitement is justified, claims that a cure for cancer is around the corner are not.

Medical research is littered with the graves of hyped treatments that just never worked.

Two decades ago, gene therapy was “hype-central” and we’re still waiting for it to transform medicine.

This study demonstrates some spectacular science that furthers understanding of how the immune system and cancer interact.

But this new knowledge has not been used to treat a single patient. There have not even been animal studies. So there is a real risk it will not work.

Even if it does, this is an hugely expensive approach that would need to be customised to every patient in a process that takes more than a year from start to finish.


Some immunotherapy treatments work spectacularly with some patients’ cancer disappearing entirely.

They take the brakes off the immune system, freeing it up to fight cancer.

The researchers hope the combination of removing the immune system’s brakes and then taking over the steering wheel, will save lives.

Professor Peter Johnson, from Cancer Research UK, said the research had shown “impressive results in the clinic” and although “the technology is complicated and quite recent… once you start doing it the cost will come down”.

‘Elegant study’

Dr Stefan Symeonides, clinician scientist in experimental cancer medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said designing a personalised vaccine was currently impractical, especially when a patient needed treatment straight away.

But he added that the “very elegant” study did provide a ground-breaking insight into current immunotherapy drugs, which do not yet work for most people.

“It’s not just the number of antigens, it’s how many of the cancer cells have them,” he said.

“This data will be quoted in discussions for years, as we try to understand which patients benefit from immunotherapy drugs, which ones don’t, and why, so we can improve those therapies.”

Follow James on Twitter.

First Uterus Transplant in U.S. Gives Hope to Infertile

 

 

 

Uterus Transplant
Photo provided by Cleveland Clinic Center, a team of Cleveland Clinic transplant surgeons and gynecological surgeons perform the nation’s first uterus transplant during a nine-hour surgery in Cleveland.

UPDATE TO ORIGINAL STORY:

 

Statement from Cleveland Clinic

March 9, 2016 Update on 1st Uterus Transplant

We are saddened to share that our patient, Lindsey, recently experienced a sudden complication that led to the removal of her transplanted uterus.

On February 25, Cleveland Clinic announced the first uterus transplant as part of a clinical study for women who suffer from uterine factor infertility. At this time, the circumstance of the complication is under review and more information will be shared as it becomes available.

There is a known risk in solid organ transplantation that the transplanted organ may have to be removed should a complication arise. The medical team took all necessary precautions and measures to ensure the safety of our patient.

While this has been difficult for both the patient and the medical team, Lindsey is doing well and recovering.

The study, which has been planned to include 10 women, is still ongoing with a commitment to the advancement of medical research to provide an additional option for women and their families.”

Statement from Lindsey

“I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude towards all of my doctors. They acted very quickly to ensure my health and safety. Unfortunately I did lose the uterus to complications. However, I am doing okay and appreciate all of your prayers and good thoughts.”

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic have performed the first uterus transplant in the United States on a 26-year-old, using a uterus from a deceased organ donor.

The operation took 9 hours and the woman is in stable condition.

The procedure is to help women who had their uterus removed, or were born without one.

Following a transplant, the woman needs to wait a year before trying to become pregnant.

Then she will need in vitro fertilization to become pregnant.

Before the transplant, the patient had eggs removed surgically, fertilized with her husband’s sperm and frozen.

The embryos will be transferred into her uterus.

If the procedure is successful, any children will be born by cesarean section and the mother will have the transplanted uterus removed after having one or two babies.

The transplant will be temporary: The uterus will be removed after the recipient has had one or two babies, so she can stop taking anti-rejection drugs.

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Photo provided by Cleveland Clinic Center

The Cleveland hospital’s ethics panel has given it permission to perform the procedure 10 times, as an experiment.

Officials will then decide whether to continue, and whether to offer the operation as a standard procedure. The clinic is still screening women who may be candidates for the operation.

The leader of the surgical team is Dr. Andreas G. Tzakis, who has performed 4,000 to 5,000 transplants of kidneys, livers and other abdominal organs.

To prepare for uterus transplants, he traveled to Sweden and worked with doctors at the University of Gothenburg, the only ones in the world to have performed the procedure successfully so far.

About 50,000 women in the United States are thought to be candidates for transplanted uteruses.

 

THE DONOR     Surgeons remove the uterus, cervix and part of the vagina from an organ donor who has recently died, along with the small uterine vessels that carry blood to the organ. The uterus can survive outside the body for at least six to eight hours if kept cold.

THE RECIPIENT     The donor’s uterus is connected to the recipient’s vagina and the uterine vessels are redirected to large blood vessels running outside the pelvis. The recipient’s ovaries are left in place, and if she has any remnant fallopian tubes, they are not connected to the transplant. The recipient will wait a year to heal before having in vitro fertilization.

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By The New York Times

In an interview in October, Dr. Tzakis said that although women without a uterus could adopt children or hire surrogates to carry a pregnancy for them, many find those options unacceptable “for reasons that are personal, cultural or religious.”

At that time, a 26-year-old woman who was being screened as a potential candidate explained why she wanted a chance to become pregnant and give birth.

“I crave that experience,” she said. “I want the morning sickness, the backaches, the feet swelling. I want to feel the baby move. That is something I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember.”

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Link to: Cleveland Clinic:  http://www.clevandclinic.org

A version of this article appears in print on February 26, 2016, on page A13 of the New York edition with the headline: National Briefing | Midwest; Ohio: Uterus Transplant Is First in United States.

Order Reprints| Today’s Paper | Subscribe by clicking here:

LINK:  http://www.nytimes.com/pages/todayspaper/index.html

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newsmd1   Maria Dorfner is the founder of NewsMD  Communications and Healthy Within Network (HWN).  This is her blog.

She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com
logonewsmd “When We Tell Stories…People Listen.”

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YAHOOGOOGLEHEALTH

CDC Rolls Out New Workplace Wellness Program

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Productivity losses due to personal and family health problems cost U.S. employers more than $225 billion every year.

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The indirect costs of poor health—including absenteeism, disability and reduced work output—are even higher.

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That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this month is rolling out a new program to train businesses in Florida for starting their own workplace wellness programs.

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The program has already launched in Ohio and Georgia and is gaining momentum.

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jasonlang   I spoke with Jason Lang, Team Lead for CDC Workplace.  Lang says, “By learning how to promote and improve workplace wellness, employers will ultimately be able to strengthen their own bottom lines by reducing health care costs and increasing productivity.”

 

Florida Work@Health® T3s provide training and technical services to small-and-mid-sized Florida businesses (SMBs) with more than 20 employees to build a science-based workplace health and wellness program.

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By implementing Work@Health®, employers may help lower their healthcare costs while improving Florida’s overall health.

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Today’s announcement illustrates the successful expansion of the number of trainers equipped to deliver the Work@Health® employer curricula to additional employers in Florida to support their worksite wellness goals.

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Chronic diseases are costly to Florida workers, their families and employers.

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Studies have found that:

· Florida’s adult obesity rate is 26.2 percent, up from 18.2 percent in 2000 and more than double the 11.4 percent rate in 1990 (The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America (2015).

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· An estimated 65 percent of adult Floridians are at an unhealthy weight (FloridaHealth.gov).

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· Florida ranks 32nd among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in the 2015 Annual Report Health Rankings.

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Floridians’ health is also threatened by smoking, lack of health insurance, and higher levels of diabetes (United Health Foundation).

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· By 2023, gains in productivity and savings from improving the prevention and management of chronic diseases in Florida could reduce future related economic costs by an estimated 27 percent, or $91 billion, according to An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease, (Milken Institute. 2007).

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Florida-area employers who participate in the Work@Health® Program, receive the latest information and resources associated with worksite wellness.

 

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Benefits include:

· Free professional training

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· Technical assistance and consultation with experts

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· The opportunity to network with peers

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· Recognition by the CDC as a Work@Health® employer

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Work@Health® Train-the-Trainers (T3) will recruit employers in Florida until February 14, 2016.

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Selected employers will begin Work@Health®’s three-week online training by February 15, 2016.

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The program culminates in a one-day on-site training session, on or before March 16, 2016.

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Each Train-the-Trainer will schedule dates, locations, and times in coordination with participating employers.

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Employers interested in the program can apply at https://workathealth.us/community/apply-now/

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Or contact the Work@Health® Customer Service team at workathealthcustsvc@ashlininc.com or 1-800-305-WELL FREE (9355).

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The program includes access to the Work@Health® Training and Technical Assistance Portal, a web-based portal that provides employers with tools, information, and technical assistance from top experts in the field.

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In addition, those completing employer training can apply for both Basic and Advanced Technical Assistance, which allows worksites to further develop their wellness programs over several months and apply for national accreditation.

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Work@Health® is offered under the CDC’s guidance by ASHLIN Management Group, headquartered in Greenbelt, Md., with offices in Atlanta, Ga., and who is also responsible for the development of the training curricula, outreach and recruitment of employers, and delivery of the Work@Health® Program.

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Stay healthy!  ~Maria

me      MARIA DORFNER is the founder of MEDCrunch, a division of Healthy Within Network (HWN). She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

 

7 Tips to Live Agelessly by Dr. Adonis

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1- Hydrate: 1 liter a day for each 50 lbs. of body weight.

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2- Stay Active: Not necessarily the gym but active during the day: use a stand-up desk (500 calories extra a day burned), use the stairs, park far away

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3- Sleep enough and Relax often. Avoid TV before sleeping especially violent movies and negative news. Meditate daily, even for 10 min.

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4- Deep breathing. Yoga Pranayama or simply deep breaths often during the day.

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5- Eat mostly greens. “Blue Zones” longevity communities around the world eat mostly vegetables and sparingly meats. Avoid processed meats (salami, etc). Eat “super foods” like blue-green algae.

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6- Take nutraceuticals, anti-oxidants like Resveratrol and Omegas. Also take Vitamin D and Probiotics.

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7- Replace hormones using bio-identical hormones once they start to be low in laboratory tests (Testosterone, Human Growth Hormone, Pregnenolone, Estrogens, DHEA and others)

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GUEST AUTHOR, Adonis Maiquez, M.D. is Board Certified in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine*, with a special interest in the neuro-endocrine theory of aging.

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As an active member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine( http://www.worldhealth.net) he is continually incorporating all the new advances, research and evidence-based medicine available.

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He is also the author of The Function Medicine Handbook, Modern Medicine for Modern Times.

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“Multiple factors influence our health and a combination of aging- oriented diet,supplements,hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with Bio-Identical Hormones,exercise and lifestyle modifications will have an impact on how and when we age.” -Dr. Adonis

Great tips.  For More Information or to Contact Dr. Adonis call:  (305) 624-0009.

 

Stay healthy, everyone!  🙂

  md1    MARIA DORFNER is the CEO and founder of
Healthy Within Network and NewsMD Communications, LLC.  This is her blog.

Medical/Health Stories/Tips?  She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com