One Woman Starts Legislation Sweeping Nation To Inform Women Of Dense Breast Tissue

 

nancycappello1In 2004, Nancy Cappello, PhD from Connecticut, was diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer.

She was shocked as she had no prior risk factors, and normal screenings for a decade.

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“I was shocked my cancer had metastasized to 13 lymph nodes and was the size of a quarter, I asked my team of doctors, with my latest ‘normal’ mammogram report in hand, how could this happen since I just had a normal mammogram.” -Nancy

Each physician told her that her cancer was hidden by the mammogram due to her dense breast tissue.

Dense breast tissue is comprised of less fat and more connective tissue which appears white on a mammogram. Cancer also appears white thus tumors are often hidden or masked by the dense tissue.

As a woman ages, her breasts usually become more fatty. However, 2/3 of pre-menopausal and 1/4 of post menopausal women (40%) have dense breast tissue. 

Additionally, as the density of the breast increases, the risk of breast  cancer also increases.

Radiologists have been reporting a woman’s dense breast tissue to her referring doctor for twenty years.   Most often, that information is not conveyed to the patient.

Displaying heterogeneously or extremely dense breast tissue on a mammogram is considered dense (BIRADS C, D). 

Learn More

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Amy Colton, Nancy Cappello

“After an extensive search of the literature, which existed for decades before my diagnosis, I learned that 40% of women have dense breast tissue, that mammograms are limited in ‘seeing’ cancer in dense breasts and that there are other technologies, such as ultrasound or MRI that can significantly ‘see’ cancers that are invisible by mammogram.”

When Nancy asked her doctors to report dense breast tissue to women in her community, each of them refused.  

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Nancy Cappello featured in the New York Times

“My Italian heritage with our tenets of truth and justice immediately kicked in.”

 

Her doctors’ rejection led to action when in 2009, Connecticut became the first state in America to report dense breast tissue to the patient through the mammography report.

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As of today, thanks to Nancy Cappello’s unplanned advocacy, thirty-one states have a density reporting law and more are pending.

 

Nancy Cappello: One of 8 ‘chemo’ infusions 3 months before 11th NORMAL mammogram

Nancy has since been honored by UNICO at its national convention with the 2017 Americanism Award for her breast health advocacy through the work of her two non- profit organizations, Are You Dense Inc. and Are You Dense Advocacy Inc.

The Americanism award recognizes an Italian-American who has made an enduring impact on humanity which encompasses the cornerstone of UNICO’s foundation.

“When I received notice of this prestigious honor, I bowed to give thanks to my parents and my Italian ancestors, who paved the way for me to relentlessly pursue an early diagnosis for women with dense breast tissue, through the democratic process, turning an injustice to justice for women’s breast health.”

Unico National President Tom Vaughn, Nancy Cappello and her husband Joe, Francine Nido, Unico’s National Secretary

Check out the following map link to find out if your state has a law and updates:

http://www.areyoudense.org/news-events/density-reporting-bills-spread-across-country/

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For More Information on Nancy’s incredible advocacy work please visit: http://www.areyoudense.org

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So much valuable information for women on http://www.areyoudense.org

 

Thank you, Nancy!

 

UPDATE:

BREAKING HEALTH NEWS:  Senators Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Dean Heller (NV) and Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA) introduce a national bill requiring physicians to notify patients whether or not they have dense breast tissue.

On Twitter: Representative Mike Rohrkaste  and Senator Alberto Darling  introduce bill in Wisconsin to prompt patient notification if they have dense breasts, which increases cancer risk.

#NotifyMeNow

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Real Deal: No More Needles for Blood Draws

v12Velano Vascular is on a mission to bring compassion to healthcare and make painful blood draws more pleasant for patients.  So far, they’re succeeding. They’ve received their 3rd FDA-clearance to help children and adults who cringe at the sight of needles.

Needlephobia affects 24% of adults and 63% of children.

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The Boy Who Cried Wolf may come to mind when we talk about no more needles for blood draws because of ill-fated Theranos.  They’re the overly-hyped biotech start-up currently under federal investigation by the S.E.C. and U.S. Attorney’s office. Patients initially thrilled about no more needles got hoodwinked by fake news.

Meet the Real Deal.

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Velano Vascular creates a single-use, disposable device called PIVO.

 

It attaches to a peripheral IV line, in hospital inpatients, allowing for lab quality blood samples to be drawn back through the IV –without requiring venipuncture (needle sticks or drawing blood from central lines) .

 

Many of the questions Therano’s CEO never answered, avoided or even got asked by reporters is welcomed by Velano Vascular’s CEO, Eric Stone, who I interviewed.

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WHAT IS PIVO AN ACRONYM FOR?

ERIC STONE, CEO, VELANO VASCULAR:  PIVO derives from “peripheral intravenous catheter,” or PIV, which is a medical term for the standard IV most hospital patients are hooked up to in order to receive intravenous fluids..

WHAT IS PIVO?

STONE: PIVO is a single-use, disposable device that attaches temporarily to an IV line, allowing for needle-free blood draws from this existing line.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

STONE: It enables blood draws to be taken by clinicians from the same intravenous (IV) catheter most hospital patients already have inserted in their arms, instead of poking them again each time they need their blood drawn and instead of accessing larger catheters (Central Venous Catheters) which raise different challenges associated with each time they are accessed.

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WHO DOES THIS DEVICE HELP PEOPLE?

STONE:  The device works for any patient with an IV catheter. Of course, children tend to more commonly have an acute fear of needles, so it can make pediatric care less invasive and painful.

There are also an estimated 30% of our hospital inpatients that are classified as DVA (Difficult Venous Access) because of aging, obesity, disease and more.

PIVO helps practitioners capture critical labs from these growing populations of patients who otherwise may take significant time and expense.

STONE: Also, those in hospitals or other inpatient settings, where the average length of stay is almost 5 days in the U.S. require daily or more frequent blood draws. Many of these patients have problematic veins or skin, which requires a lot of poking and prodding to draw blood. PIVO tackles these issues head on.

According to the CDC, an estimated 35M inpatient stays occur in the U.S. alone each year.  So, PIVO is set to  help many millions of Americans, not to mention those inpatients around the world.

HOW IS PIVO MORE COMFORTABLE & LESS DANGEROUS FOR PATIENT?

STONE:  For patients who have their blood drawn for a check-up once a year in an outpatient setting, blood draws are not that disruptive.  For a “frequent flyer” in the hospital, or a DVA (difficult venous access) patient –noted as such upon admission or who has become DVA after 10 or 20 days in the hospital feeling like a pin cushion –removing the needle from the procedure can have a lifelong impact.

Enabling practitioners to avoid accessing central lines (large, surgically-placed catheters) for blood draws aims to reduce the risks of Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infection.

Further, removing the needle from blood draws helps avoid risk of injury and infection for our phlebotomists, nurses and physicians. Hospital leadership is recognizing that an important alternative to a prevalent practice is now available.

IF I GET BLOOD WORK FROM AN ANNUAL PHYSICAL WILL THEY USE PIVO?

STONE:  PIVO requires a Peripheral IV catheter in order to access the vein. The IV line serves as a temporary conduit to the vein, so without the IV line PIVO cannot access the vein.

The IV line serves as a temporary conduit to the vein, so without the IV line, PIVO cannot access a patient’s blood.  As such, this procedure is most appropriate for the hospital inpatient setting.

I do envision PIVO will adopted in other care settings, where patients possess an IV line and require frequent blood draws, but the annual physical unfortunately is not one of these.

WHY AREN’T IV’S GOOD FOR DRAWING BLOOD WITHOUT PIVO?

STONE:  IV’s are essentially plastic  tubes which overtime become soft, like a noodle. While a noodle is fine for injecting fluids and medications into a patient, its soft walls collapse under the negative pressure of suction when you try to take fluids out.

There are other reasons why IV’s are less-than-optimal for drawing blood back, but these are quite complex in nature and we’re only just now uncovering some of the novel reasons through our research with leading clinical collaborators.

PIVO simply inserts a small, stiffer tube inside the existing IV tube for the purpose of drawing blood.

It works by propping open and unkinking the IV tube temporarily while enabling lab quality blood be collected.

HOW WAS THE IDEA FOR PIVO ORIGINALLY DEVELOPED?

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STONE:   Velano’s co-founder and physician, Pitamber Devgon had an elderly patient with bruises up and down her arms from repeated needle sticks.  That patient asked him why he was continually sticking her with needles when she already had an IV catheter in her vein. He didn’t know, but began exploring if it was possible to draw lab quality samples out of the IV line using a separate device.

Stone, a Wharton MBA shares, “Most of my career has been in healthcare, plus I am a needle phobic following my childhood diagnosis with Crohn’s disease as a teenager. So, when I was looking for a company start and a product to bring to market and my former graduate school classmates introduced us, I was instantly engaged following years as a serial healthcare entrepreneur and patient advocate.  From that connection,  Velano was born. “

Velano first won FDA approval for PIVO in 2015, and has also obtained multiple U.S. and international patents for it, with additional applications outstanding in the U.S. & abroad.

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STONE: “Five years from now,” asserts Stone, “I believe, without a doubt that PIVO will be the standard of care for inpatient blood draws and vascular access.”

Thanks for a great interview and innovation for healthcare consumers! -Maria Dorfner

http://velanovascular.com

 

MEDIA:   Contact: Michael Azzano at 415-596-1978 to set up telephone or on-camera interviews with patients or Eric Stone, CEO, Velano Vascular.

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RELATED NEWS:

 

A year ago, Forbes contributor Robert Reiss called Eric Stone “The Steve Jobs of Drawing Blood” and tested PIVO himself.  Reprint of article below courtesy of Reiss.

The Steve Jobs Of Drawing Blood

by Robert Reiss , FORBES CONTRIBUTOR (specializing in writing about CEOs)

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

I was recently at a board meeting at Griffin Hospital and our CEO was telling us about a new product that could transform perhaps the most ubiquitous healthcare practice – drawing blood.

The concept from a company called Velano Vascular repurposes the IV most hospital patients already have in their arms so blood can be drawn without having their veins repeatedly stuck by needles.

It aims to eliminate the associated negatives of traditional blood drawing: the pain and anxiety, injuries, excessive time and cost.

It seemed like such a revolutionary solution to a broad issue – sort of like in 1892 when Keds invented sneakers – and I was curious to understand if this was truly an historic moment where the age old process of drawing blood could once and for all be revolutionized.

It reminded me of one of my first CEO interviews back in 2007 with Jay Walker, the founder of Priceline when he described the driving force behind one of his over 700 patents, “The key to successful innovation is having a better solution for something that’s used everywhere and every day.”

So I decided to experience this innovation firsthand and a few weeks later I intentionally became a patient and experienced this new needleless way to draw numerous samples of blood.

I was amazed, the nurses were able to draw blood easily, and to do so as many times as they wanted without ever having to stick a needle in me again.

I was next introduced to the founder of Velano Vascular, Eric Stone, who I now admiringly call the Steve Jobs of drawing blood, and below are a few insights from our conversation:

Robert Reiss: How much blood is currently being drawn and what are the problems with the current system?

Eric Stone: Blood draws are not fun – and they are overlooked and underappreciated…except by patients. They are likely the most common invasive medical procedure, with an estimated half a billion in U.S. hospitals alone conducted every year, and two to three times this number across all hospitals worldwide annually.

Recognizing that the U.S. represents nearly 40 million inpatient admissions annually, with an average length of stay of five days, and a conservative estimate of two blood draws per patient per day, we are easily conducting hundreds of millions of inpatient draws each year quite readily.

This does not even take into account other non-hospital settings where patients require regular blood draws, such as long-term care facilities, skilled nursing homes and more – all locations where patients may have a peripheral IV (PIV) catheter indwelling (a requirement for our innovation to be relevant).

For a procedure that informs nearly 70% of all clinical decisions, it is remarkable that the last major innovation was the abandonment of bloodletting centuries ago.

Whether you’re the parent of a sick child or the son or daughter of an elderly parent, repeat hospitalizations and frequent blood draws hit home for just about everyone. It’s scary, it hurts, and it’s critical that we begin to pay attention and stop taking the steely reserve of our patients for granted.

Herein lies the rub. People scared of needles (trypanophobia) avoid necessary tests and treatment, needles injure healthcare workers more than 2 million times a year in accidents that can lead to serious infection, and the list of dysfunction goes on.

The way we draw blood today has real emotional, clinical and financial consequences. We can, and we must, do better. We can start by paying attention.

Reiss: What specifically is different about the Velano Vascular product?

Stone: Velano’s FDA-approved PIVO™ is a disposable, needle free device that connects to a patient’s existing IV catheter, enabling blood draws during their entire hospital stay without requiring subsequent needle sticks.

It turns out that IVs are great at putting fluids into the body but unreliable at pulling them out – that’s why patients receive so many needle sticks while in the hospital.

PIVO turns the routine IV into a reliable conduit for drawing high quality blood samples. This is an elegant solution to a centuries-old problem.

Now, patients no longer need to feel like a “pin cushions” or experience abrupt awakenings between 2:00 am and 6:00 am for the nighttime needle stick – when 40% of blood draws occur.

The company was founded based on a simple idea back in 2012, and subsequently PIVO has been used in clinical pilots and trials at a number of leading U.S. hospitals since receiving regulatory clearance in early 2015.

It has won a number of awards, including the Frost & Sullivan New Product Innovation Award for Vascular Access in 2016 and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation competition at Children’s National Health in Washington, DC.

Reiss: What are the strengths and weaknesses of your methodology on quality outcomes?

Stone: Velano is most often measured by the clinical quality of blood samples drawn and its impact on both practitioner and patient experience.

In thousands of patients, the quality of our blood samples has been definitive and easy to measure, both through clinical studies and “real world,” commercial use.

Blood drawn from PIVO has similarly low hemolysis rates (blood cell shearing or tearing that can relegate a patient to a re-draw and delays in essential care) to needle draws.

Clinical study efforts and pilots with some of the country’s leading healthcare institutions such as University Hospitals Cleveland, Intermountain Healthcare, The University of Pennsylvania Hospital and Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital reflect clinically appropriate laboratory results – confirming that blood drawn with our compassionate technology can become a standard of care for clinical decision-making.

Practitioner and patient experience is harder to quantify, but our surveys and testimonials to-date are resoundingly positive. In fact, patients who receive PIVO draws are requesting PIVO when transferred to floors in the hospital that are not participating in our pilots or upon readmission to the hospital. They are actually asking for the product – it is remarkable.

The onus is on Velano to continue improving our quality measurements to undeniably prove this innovation is truly a win-win-win, as we seek to elevate the quality of care and outcomes for patients, practitioners and hospitals alike.

Reiss: What is the financial model for a user and what is the economic impact nationally?

Stone: The cost of a blood draw is not just the $1 or less spent for a needle. Instead, it is the many billions of dollars a year spent on wasted materials, rejected blood samples, patient and practitioner risks, delayed results, labor costs, central line escalations, and more resulting from this less-than-desirable and madly inefficient procedure.

Some of the financial downsides of traditional blood draw standards are somewhat obscure, however we’ve helped our hospital partners understand the current impact by simply asking sincere questions, seeking to learn, and paying a modicum of attention to the topic.

Think about the blood draw on an elderly or obese or diabetic patient that can take as long as an hour of a nurse’s time and 2-3 needles to find a vein and collect an adequate sample.

Consider that even one single case of an employee blood borne pathogen transmission from a needle stick can cost millions of dollars in exposure for a hospital.

For PIVO, we understand that in an environment of increasing health industry price transparency and pressures, when our entire healthcare system is experiencing economic upheaval, and cost neutrality is required for rolling out true innovation in hospitals.

 

Reiss: Why did you start Velano Vascular and what’s your vision?

Stone: The reason why is very simple – because I am first and foremost a patient, and I am a parent.   25 years ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, launching me on a lifelong journey as a healthcare entrepreneur, patient advocate, and National Trustee of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Since a young age, I’ve been motivated by IMPACT.

I started Velano in partnership with an intellectually curious physician inventor intrigued by a seemingly simple question posed by his patient – “why are you repeatedly sticking me with needles [when I already have an IV line in my arm]?”

This simple, yet elegant idea resonated strongly with me, for I am needle-phobic myself, and I have been that “tough stick” patient during my hospital stays. Today, this brilliant idea has become reality.

My vision for Velano is to touch every human being on the planet; for we will all spend time in a hospital at some point in life, and we will certainly need our blood drawn when we do.

 

http://velanovascular.com

 

MEDIA:   Contact: Michael Azzano at 415-596-1978 to set up telephone or on-camera interviews with patients or Eric Stone, CEO of Velano Vascular

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Maria Dorfner founder of NewsMD: What’s Hot in Health

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NewsMD Communications was founded in 1998 to educate healthcare consumers by connecting medical + media to inspire and empower millions to want to live healthy.

In 1993, Maria created Healthcare Consumers, Healthy Living, Lifestyles & Longevity and Healthcare Practitioners. The shows aired on CNBC, which she helped launch in 1989.  She is the founder of Cleveland Clinic News Service, helped launch MedPage Today (sold to CNN) and wrote & produced 21st Century Medicine for Discovery Health.  Her awards include Freddie for Excellence in Medical Reporting, Outstanding Leadership Abilities, Media Recognition, Who’s Who, Medical Reporting Scholarship. She produced for Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Report, talk shows & reality programming.

She began as an intern at NBC todaylogo SHOW in NYC in 1983.

This is her blog.

Have an innovative solution healthcare consumers|media should know about?

Contact: maria.dorfner@yahoo.com  

Response only if it’s a story of interest. Thank you.

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Health Hero: Meet 16-Year-Old Mai Griffith

IMG_1046[1]-2Mai (pronounced M-A-Y) Griffith, a 16-year-old student in California started her own 501c3 called Hearts for Hearts to bring medical supplies and volunteer in third world countries that are in need.

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Mai is a sophomore at Santa Margarita Catholic High School. She volunteers at Saddleback Memorial Hospital in her free time and has a passion for serving others.

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Mai hopes to study medicine in college and use her practice to continue to help those in need of medical assistance.

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Each weekend, we’ll feature someone beautiful like Mai, doing something cool to make the world a better place.  I spoke with Mai and and her Mom today before they depart to NYC next week.  From there, she takes off for her journey to Ghana.

Mai, what first prompted you to start the foundation?

MAI:  “I first started volunteering at a hospital near my house. I met a lot
of people who were going through a lot of difficulty and that was what made
the first impression on me. Then, hearing about all of the violence and war
in the news like the war in Syria in the past year, and all of the refugees
who direly needed help, I couldn’t think about anything but helping these
people. It is very hard not to see all of the people calling out for help
in all of these places, especially with everything going on in the world
today.”

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Where do the medical supplies come from?

MAI:  “The medical supplies come from personal donations from people,
solicited donations from hospitals, and other non-profits whose goal is to
provide supplies to foundations like ours to deliver to the countries.”

 

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How did you even know to create a 501c3? Who helped you?

MAI: “People tend to donate more when they know that it is a legitimate
non-profit. Making it a 501c3 gave credibility to the cause and gives us
the platform to get corporate sponsorship in the future. My mom helped me
set it up, from being on a non-profit board before, she knows how important
that status is.”

Where do you get funding to go to third world countries?

MAI:  “We get funding from fundraising, selling pins with our logo on them,
and sugar scrubs that we make with our logo on them as well. Spreading the
word about our foundation also helps to bring in donations in many forms.”

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What do your parents think about what you’re doing?

ANN MARIE (GRIFFITH) DRYDEN, MAI’S MOM: 

“Mai is a very independent young woman and has compassion that is
truly lacking in our society these days. She is interested in medicine and
has been volunteering at a hospital for a year now and has been frustrated
that she can’t actually HELP anyone because of HIPPA rules and her age.
The whole reason she wanted to volunteer was to “give back” to others and
she kept being told NO.

Mai has volunteered on trips outside of the US so she started looking at
ways to volunteer in underdeveloped countries that need the help the most.
From that it kind of evolved into bringing medical supplies to starting a
501c3 in order to have companies be willing to donate the supplies.

As far as her going all the way to Ghana, I am admittedly nervous about it.
I have been in contact with the US Consulate in Ghana as well as reached
out to reporters in the area to see what they have to say about safety and
everyone says the Cape Coast in Ghana is really safe.

So I am feeling about as good about it as I can. When Mai watches YouTube videos
of helping people in these underdeveloped areas she is literally brought to
tears. So….how can I possibly say no. I love Mai for who she is and the
fact that she wants to do this.”

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We do too.  It can’t hurt that you’re a marketing and finance wiz yourself. I also noticed you have a TV background.  How did your background help Mai?

ANN MARIE:  “I was the Chief Operating Officer for a company called PowerDirect, which does a lot of demographic data for Fortune 500 companies, and we deliver jumbo door hangers for people’s doors. As odd as that sounds, our clients are big companies, such as Google, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Comcast, Best Buy, Verizon, Team Mobile and others.  I managed all aspects of operations and finance. It also includes marketing, advertising, television production, manufacturing, strategic planning and operations.

I’ve been in executive leadership roles for multiple companies for more than 15 years including HBO, True Designs/True Innovations and Sentinel Offender Monitoring. Clearly, my experience has had a tremendous influence on my daughter  as I always talk to her about my work.

As a female executive, I think that’s real important.  So, the first time Mai expressed an interest in doing something to help people my reaction was that it was typical for her because she’s always had a huge heart.  

She has a tremendous amount of compassion.  At the age of 7, she had a lemonade stand and she’s always been into helping others. She volunteered at the hospital, but was frustrated about not really feeling that she was helping enough. She felt she could do more abroad.

The more we talked about it, we brainstormed on what was the best way that she could go about making it a reality.  Then, she did a fundraiser on the beach in Orange County to get people to donate.”

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Will you be going to Ghana with your daughter?

ANN MARIE:  “No, she’s joining another volunteer international group called Project Abroad, and they have chaperones, so she’ll be going with them. Originally, I thought the medical supplies would be shipped separately, but yesterday we learned it’s better to pack them in suit cases.  

We’re getting as many suit cases as we can donated. We’ve even been asking on Facebook.  It costs a lot, but we’re trying to get other kids to take a suitcase with them as each is limited to two bags.

The supplies end up going to 3 different locations:  The Cape Coast Orphanage, The Ankafu Leprosy Camp, and The Cape Coast Teaching Hospital. I reached out to Johnson & Johnson in Dubai trying to get them to give us test strips, so they can use the blood sugar testing machines that will arrive.”

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What safety precautions has she taken?

ANN MARIE (MAI’S MOM): “She’s done vaccines and anti-malaria because she’ll be dealing with kids with malaria. I contacted the U.S. Consulate in Ghana and reached out to different people who have already done things there, so we can get feedback before she goes there and everyone has said that she’s going to an area that is the original area in Africa that slave trading started, so it’s an area that is definitely not very developed.

It’s not a tourist area, but it means it’s less likely to have terrorist activity.  She has a straw that filters water. She’ll be in a place that she can get bottled water brought in from ACCRA, the capital of Ghana.

I made sure Mai really understood what she was doing because most kids her age are at the beach during the summer and here she is wanting to place bandages on sick children.”

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What will you and Mai being doing while in New York City?

ANN MARIE:  “We’ll be in NYC looking at Columbia University, where she’d like to do Pre-Med, and then she flies out on Friday, July 7.”

That’s wonderful.  Let’s talk to Mai again. Mai, we love what you’re doing. Good luck at Columbia and on your trip to Ghana. Tell me about your future aspirations.

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MAI: I’m interested in medicine and have a compassion to help, and I
aspire to be able to reach those across the globe who are in true need of
medical attention. I want to continue with my foundation and to grow it
globally so that I can reach more countries and areas that would benefit
from our help.”

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How can other people help support what you’re doing?

MAI:   “Other people can help by sending us medical supplies and products
they no longer need like band aids and other items alike. A lot of times
expiration dates on the boxes do not matter to the places accepting our
donations, so anything helps. Along with supplies, monetary donations
through the link on our site help to pay for shipping, costs and delivery
of the supplies.”

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If people want more information, where should they go?

MAI  “Our website http://www.hforhfoundation.org and our Instagram is @hforhfoundation

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Your trip is coming up soon. How do you feel about going to Ghana?

MAI:  I am extremely excited to go to Ghana, as I really want to be able to
help where I am needed and make a real difference. I am also a little
nervous as well, because it is hallway across the globe, and it is so
different from how I live at home. Overall, I really cannot wait because I
know this will be an amazing experience to contribute to the world we all
live in and to make it a better, safer place for generations to come.”

When do you get back from Ghana?

“I get back July 23. There’s a few hour layover in NYC and then back to Orange County.”

Thank you to Mai and her Mom for all they’re doing to help others, and for taking the time to speak with me. Wishing her a safe and wonderful trip and experience.

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http://www.hforhfoundation.org

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ABC News LA did a story on our Health Hero this week, which you can view here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzxYf7TwDSINNWVzWU9sWmtyMDA www.hforhfoundation.org

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Mai and her Mom can also be reached on Twitter at:  @hforhfoundation

 

If you know someone beautiful doing something cool to help others, let us know.

abc2   Contact:  Maria.Dorfner@yahoo.com. Subject: Health Hero

 

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Happy, Healthy Fourth of July, everyone!

 

Write for us

Share your health story with the Healthy Within Network community.  Email topic to: Maria.Dorfner@yahoo.com

 

GAME CHANGER: NEW SMART HEART MONITOR

 

Super excited to tell you about a new smart heart monitor you can use at home. It will help 28 million heart disease patients in the U.S. keep track of their heart.

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Keep track from the comfort of their home at any time. And it’s just been FDA approved.

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Meet Eko DUO.  The first handheld mobile, wireless, EHR-connected stethoscope, which connects to your smart phone.

It allows you to amplify, visualize and record crystal clear heart and lung sounds.

Imagine not needing to wait for your next followup appointment to transmit a concern to your physician. It works under the supervision or prescription from a physician.

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Eko Duo is set to help millions of heart disease patients who are often discharged with little more than an info packet and instructions to monitor their weight.

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Now patients can be sent home from the hospital with a direct link back to their physician, helping reduce readmissions and false alarms.

“The goal is to bring hospital-quality care to the home.”
Connor Landgraf, CEO and co-founder, Eko DUO

The device wirelessly pairs with Eko’s secure, HIPAA-compliant app, enabling remote monitoring and diagnosis by a clinician or specialist.

It works with the Eko app on any iPhone, iPad, Windows PC or Android device.

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Eko DUO can also be used by clinicians as an enhanced stethoscope for in-clinic cardiac screenings, enabling physicians to quickly diagnose and monitor patients.

Clinicians can use it bedside or remotely to quickly spot heart abnormalities including arrhythmias, heart murmurs, and valvular heart diseases.

I interviewed Ami Bhatt, M.D., a Cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Director of Outpatient Cardiology and the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and she believes Eko DUO will improve outcomes through early intervention.

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Dr. Bhatt says, “Cardiology programs are looking for ways to deliver hospital-quality healthcare at home.  The ability to capture digital heart sounds and an ECG expands our portfolio of mechanisms to remotely monitor the heart – and brings diagnosis and opportunities for early intervention even further upstream.” 

Heart disease can strike people of all ages.

I spoke with Stacy Bingham, a registered nurse from Oregon with 5 children, who knows this firsthand. She and her husband have no prior history of heart disease in their family, yet 3 of her 5 children end up needing heart transplants.

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When Stacy noticed her oldest child, Sierra acting tired with a loss of appetite for a few weeks, she never suspected the cause was an underlying heart condition.

“I noticed her face and eyes were swollen. She complained her stomach hurt.”

That’s when Stacy and her husband took her to a family practitioner.

“The doctor told us it’s probably a flu bug and sent us home. When her condition worsened she had an x-ray.”

X-ray results revealed Sierra’s heart was enlarged.  Dilated cardio myopathy. She later learned two of her other children also had heart problems.

“If they had not finally found Sierra’s heart condition, she may not have survived. We live in a really rural part of Eastern Oregon and we now have three kids with heart transplants that need to be monitored for life.”

Today, Stacy’s family takes nothing for granted, especially innovations that help.

“If this device can be used at home and we can rule out scary things and know when it’s not something we need to rush to a hospital for that would be wonderful.” –Stacy Bingham

James Young also knows how life can change in a heartbeat.

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Young was just 40-years-old when he first experienced symptoms of heart failure. Symptoms he ignored until they were severe and his sister insisted on it.

“I was coughing in mornings and throughout the day. I thought it was simply allergies. I vomited phlegm some mornings and still didn’t see a doctor.”

But the coughing became more painful. While shoveling, it stopped him in his tracks.

“I was outside shoveling snow when I turn behind me and  see a trail of blood.”

His sister noticed he didn’t look well and insisted he go see a physician.

“That’s when I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. I was shocked.”

James felt anxiety, depression and uncertainty about his future at this time. Young believes Eko DUO will not only help alleviate false alarms and unnecessary hospital readmissions, but needless worrying as well.

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“Eko DUO would have given me assurance the doctor knew where I stood daily. If there were any issues outstanding needing to be addressed immediately. It gives the doctor an opportunity to respond expeditiously to those concerns.”

Today, James is doing great and is a national spokesperson and heart failure Ambassador for the American Heart Association.

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“I went from a 25% functioning heart to being an avid runner and cycler. I’ve taken on a new lease in life. As a community advocate I can help inspire others and give them hope.”

Ami Bhatt, M.D says that hope also translates to much needed continuous care rather than outpatient care.

“Robust toolkits for caring for patients in the community will hopefully lead to more appropriate healthcare utilization through continuous rather than episodic outpatient care.”

HERE’S HOW EKO WAS DEVELOPED:

Eko’s co-founder & CEO, Connor Landgraf, is also a heart disease patient.

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Connor navigated countless cardiology visits, screenings and referrals.

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In 2013, during his senior year as at the University of California at Berkeley, Connor attended a panel discussion at UC San Francisco on technological shortcomings facing modern medical practices.

One technical gap cardiologists claimed stood out beyond the rest: the stethoscope.

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So Conner and his co-founders welcomed the stethoscope, a two-century old tool, into the 21st-century.

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Photo: Connor and his co-founders, Jason Bellet and Tyler Crouch

 

The newly FDA approved Eko DUO brings that to the next level.
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To learn more about this remarkable 21st Century technology we love visit:  http://www.ekodevices.com

 

 

Factoids:

  • According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
    The American Heart Associations says the U.S. currently spends over $26 billion annually on heart failure hospitalization. 25% of heart failure patients are readmitted within 30 days — 50% are readmitted in 6 months with hospitals now being penalized for high readmission rates.
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  • Fact: 83% of parents experience anxiety surrounding their child’s referral to a pediatric cardiologist for an innocent murmur.
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  • Fact: Average cash price for an echocardiogram is $2,275 and even with insurance, patients can expect to pay 10 to 30% of this cost.
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  • Fact: For a pediatric subspecialist such as a pediatric cardiologist, patients must wait between 5 weeks and 3 months to get an appointment.
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  • Fact: Internal medicine residents misdiagnose more than 75% of cardiac events.
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  • Fact: 70% of all pediatric cardiac referrals for murmurs are unnecessary.
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  • Fact: Average PCP needs to coordinate care with 99 other physicians working across 53 practices.
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  • Fact: Only 50% of initial referrals are accompanied by information from the PCP.
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  • Fact: Patients in rural communities must travel an average of 56 miles to see a specialist.
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  • Fact: About 46.2 million people, or 15% of the U.S. population, reside in rural counties.

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Eko DUO.  A real game changer for heart patients worldwide.

http://www.ekodevices.com

 

 

Expert Newborn Screenings A Heartbeat Away!

jimmy-kimmel-baby-billy2-1This week, Jimmy Kimmel shared the emotional story of his beautiful newborn son’s heart surgery.  He and his wife Molly welcomed their second child, William “Billy” Kimmel.

At three days old, Billy had successful open heart surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and is now home with his family.  On his show, Jimmy opened up about his son’s birth and health complications. He also underscored the need for the accurate and timely screening of congenital heart disease (CHD).

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Essential to early CHD diagnosis is the detection of a murmur using a stethoscope during a newborn’s first physical exam.

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But routine neonatal examination without specialist consults fail to detect more than half of babies with heart disease.

Approximately 160 infants pass away from undetected Congenital Heart Defects each year in the United States.

William “Billy” Kimmel, who is absolutely adorable below is one of the lucky ones; looks like he’s already laughing at Dad’s jokes too.

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Billy thankfully had the condition detected early, but many children with CHD get discharged with undetected or misdiagnosed conditions.

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After the events of this week, expecting parents have every right to question if their child is being screened appropriately or if clinicians known to misinterpret heart sounds are interpreting their child’s heart sounds accurately.

Kimmel’s story is really a wake-up call that we need more nurses like the wonderful ones who treated his baby boy.

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Now, there’s a device that will make sure congenital heart screenings more effective for infants.

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And it’s not just infants. Over 1.3 million adults live with congenital heart disease in the U.S, which now surpasses the number of children with congenital heart disease.

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Three entrepreneurs are well on their way to making sure accurate screenings are a heartbeat away. Their innovation paves the way for a new era of cardiac screenings.

They want to do what Shazam did for music, only for heartbeats.

Their new device called Eko [pronounced like Echo, as in a heart echo] offers the potential to dramatically improve the efficacy of newborn screenings, especially for newborns far from a pediatric cardiology center.

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The San Francisco based digital medical device company, launched Eko, an FDA-cleared digital stethoscope that enables ANY clinician, regardless of their training level, to secure a virtual pediatric cardiology opinion on heart sounds recorded with their FDA-cleared digital stethoscope.

It was a pleasure interviewing one of the founders, Jason Bellet.

Bellet says, “The silver lining in Jimmy Kimmel’s story is that the congenital heart failure was detected early through a murmur using a stethoscope and could be treated, but very often these murmurs go undiagnosed and undetected and infants leave the hospital with potentially life threatening situations.” [:27]

“Eko Devices would enable nurses and clinicians to get Cardiologist’s second opinion to immediately decrease the number of missed cases.” [:12]

Bellet is the co-founder and a brilliant former student from the University of Berkley.  He graduated in 2014 and founded Eko Devices with two fellow students, Connor Landgraf and Tyler Crouch out of the Start-up accelerator at Berkley.

The three founders successfully pitched their idea and raised $5M to bring it to market quickly and bring it to as many clinicians as they can.  It received FDA approval in September of 2015.

QUESTION: WHAT IS EKO?

ANSWER:  It’s basically a Smart Stethoscope that can bring the sounds to a trained ear immediately.

The vision is to bring machine learning and physician support tools to every clinicians stethoscope to make their screening process as easy as Shazaming a song.

QUESTION:  HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR EKO?

ANSWER:  The idea stemmed from the fact that we realized the stethoscope is used as the primary screening tool for cardiac health, including for newborn babies.

But, it’s extremely outdated and ultimately leading to misdiagnosis and lack of cardiac conditions because you hear the heart sounds, but don’t understand what you’re hearing.

Cardiologists are the ones who can differentiate what is normal and what is not.

So, what we wanted to do was make it easy for clinicians to modernize their own stethoscopes to bring it into the modern era and send concerning or confusing heart sounds immediately to cardiologists in real time using this platform or capture it to send it to a specialist.

QUESTION:  There are other digital stethoscopes out there. Why is this one unique?

Bellet says, “Our digital stethoscope is the first to allow clinicians to stream sounds wirelessly from the stethoscope to a smartphone and to a cardiologist anywhere in the world.”  [:15]

QUESTION: Is it HIPPA compliant?

ANSWER:  It’s the ONLY digital stethoscope on the market that has built a HIPPA compliant software platform to stream heart sounds from any clinician to any specialist anywhere in the world.

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QUESTION: THAT’S GROUNDBREAKING. WHERE IS IT CURRENTLY BEING USED?

ANSWER:  Eko is now used at over 700 institutions across the country and has been adopted by pediatric cardiology programs.

QUESTION: WHO NEEDS EKO?

The technology is applicable in many aspects of patient care, but especially in newborns.

QUESTION:  WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL WITH EKO?

ANSWER: The ultimate goal is bringing it even one step further.  Our idea is have machine learning tied directly into the stethoscope itself, so one day clinicians can be as accurate as cardiologists in their initial interpretation of what they hear.

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Next, I spoke with renown adult congenital heart disease specialist Ami Bhatt, M.D. F.A.C.C. who says identifying congenital heart disease in the community can be challenging at any age whether we are trying to identify a high risk newborn like Jimmy Kimmel’s or catching congenital heart disease in a school age student or adulthood.

Ami Bhatt, M.D. F.A.C.C.  is director of outpatient cardiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston as well as a renown adult congenital heart disease specialist.  She innovates with the Healthcare Transformation Lab, serves as a scientific advisor for Eko Devises and runs a telemedicine practice.  She can be reached at mghachd@partners.org

Bhatt says,  “Because congenital heart disease is relatively rare it’s difficult for clinicians to identify it. The use of digital stethoscopes and other telemedicine technology which can connect the patient and caregiver in the community with experts at academic centers can improve initial diagnosis AND longterm followup.”

QUESTION:  WHAT HAPPENS WHEN KIDS WITH CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE AGE?

ANSWER:   Two things. One, as kids with congenital heart disease age, we know there are complications that may arise. Technologies like digital stethoscopes and the use of algorithms can help monitor their progression and track changes in disease BEFORE they progress too far.

And two, lack of follow-up is a persistent problem with children with congenital heart disease become adults. One of the main drivers is the challenge of access to subspecialty care.

Additionally, distance from medical centers, along with the time it takes and sometimes the cost of being away from work and family drives young adults to ignore their own healthcare needs.

The advent of digital health in congenital heart disease care empowers the patient to engage in a partnership to their health without taking away from their ability to live a full and active life.

QUESTION:  DO YOU THINK TECHNOLOGY HELPS OR HINDERS DOCTOR-PATIENT RELATIONS?

ANSWER: As the delivery of healthcare changes, caregivers are desperate to return to the ideal  doctor patient relationship, which is based on a human connection. As we build digital technology, and use machine learning to support our physicians at at time when there are so many diagnosis to be made, it allows us to concentrate on a shared patient and provider centered experience.

QUESTION:  HOW DOES AN ADULT KNOW WHEN TO GET THEIR HEART CHECKED?

ANSWER: If they had heart disease or heart surgery as a child, they should check in with their cardiologist to find out if they need any longterm care.

QUESTION: HOW DO THEY FIND A SPECIALIST?

There are advocacy websites, such http://www.ACHAheart.org which report self-identified Specialists in congenital heart disease or they can call a major center like Massachusetts General who can find a local center that can partner in their care.

QUESTION: HOW CAN THEY FIND OUT WHO USES THE EKO DEVICE?

ANSWER: If they want to find a specialist using the Eko Device people can contact Massachusetts General http://www.massgeneral.org\adultcongenitalheart for more information and ask about centers near them. They can also contact any hospital and ask for their telemedicine department and inquire if they use Eko.

QUESTION: HOW DO CLINICANS FIND EKO IF THEY’RE INTERESTED IN USING IT?

ANSWER:  Clinicians are able to access the device by going to the Eko Devices website at http://www.ekodevices.com and then if they’re interested in testing it they can purchase a unit directly from the website and send it back if they don’t like it. But that’s a rarity as the success rate has been high with over 5,000 clinicians across the country using it.

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This truly is a hot technology that will save kids like Jimmy’s, as well as those who aren’t at top hospitals in the country.

Billy will have another open-heart surgery within six months to repair the hole, and Our thoughts, well wishes and prayers are with him and his family.

“As a cardiologist, we sometimes worry about technology interfering with the doctor patient relationship. However, in these cases, it is technology that brings us to meet the patient where they live. Technology is finally bringing us home.” 

-Ami Bhatt, M.D. F.A.C.C.

If you haven’t seen Jimmy Kimmel’s story see it on Emmy-award-winning @GMA:

WATCH: @jimmykimmel shares emotional news about newborn son’s emergency heart surgery; son now at home recovering. http://abcn.ws/2pSPakE

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QUICK FACTS:

According to the CDC, 40,000 babies in the U.S. are born each year with congenital heart disease.

Recent studies estimate approximately 160 infants or 1 in 25,000 live births die per year from unrecognized CHD.

The reported sensitivity for detection of a pathologic heart murmur in newborns ranges from 80.5 to 94.9 percent among pediatric cardiologists, with specificity ranging from 25 to 92 percent.

A study in the American Journal of Medicine discovered internal medicine residents misdiagnose as many as 75% of murmurs with a stethoscope.

Routine neonatal examination fails to detect more than half of babies with heart disease; examination at 6 weeks misses one third.

A normal examination does not exclude heart disease.

Babies with murmurs at neonatal or 6 week examinations should be referred for early pediatric cardiological evaluation which will result either in a definitive diagnosis of congenital heart disease or in authoritative reassurance of normal cardiac anatomy and function.

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Take care of your heart everyone!

 

For more on Eko visit: http://www.ekodevices.com

UPDATES:

Good Morning America
ABC NEWS
May 9, 2017
Jimmy Kimmel returns to TV with update on his son’s health, defends his call for children’s health care coverage

One week after Jimmy Kimmel revealed that his son, Billy, had been born with a heart defect, the comedian returned to host his late night show with an emotional update on his son’s health and a defense of his foray into the country’s heated debate on health care.

The “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” also thanked his fans for their “humbling outpouring of support” and said that he and his wire “very grateful” for the multitude of donations made to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, where his son was treated.

“First I want to tell you because so many people have asked: Our son Billy is doing very well,” Kimmel said. “He’s eating. He is getting bigger. He is sleeping well. He can read now — which they say is unusual [for a child his age].”

Kimmel, 49, revealed last Monday that his son underwent surgery on his heart three days after he was born, and will require another procedure when he’s a little bigger in three to six months.

During his monologue, Kimmel asked all politicians to come together to ensure healthcare for all Americans, especially those who have pre-existing health conditions.

Though there were many who supported Kimmel’s point of view, he noted that there were many others who called him an “out of touch Hollywood elitist.” To those critics, the late night host offered a sarcastic apology.

“I’d like to apologize for saying that children in America should have health care,” he joked. “It was insensitive – it was offensive – and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”

To further the conversation, he interviewed Bill Cassidy, a Republican senator from Louisiana who last week tweeted that there should be a “Kimmel Test” for any healthcare bill passed.

The Jimmy Kimmel Test, he noted, would be in place to ensure that any healthcare plan would adequately cover pre-existing conditions “but in a fiscally conservative way that lowers cost.”

“I happen to like [it] a lot,” Kimmel said. “He is a doctor – a gastroenterologist. He is married to a retired doctor — his wife Laura, was a surgeon. And he co-founded the Greater Baton Rouge Community Clinic, which provides free dental care and health care to the working uninsured. So obviously – this is someone who cares about people’s health.”

 

 

Humor Helps Cancer Patients Heal

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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.

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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

Must Read: 5 Hottest Tips to Prevent and Treat Cancer

If you read one article on cancer prevention and treatment prior to seeing a doctor, this is it.    -Maria Dorfner

 

About the Guest Author:  Gary Hyman, MD is Director at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, The UltraWellness Center and The Institute for Functional Medicine

A Functional Medicine Approach to Cancer by Gary Hyman, MD

                                                                     

Functional medicine empowers patients and practitioners to achieve the highest expression of health by working collaboratively to address the root causes of disease. It is an emerging, personalized model of diagnosis and treatment that better addresses the need to prevent and manage chronic disease. In a word, it is the medicine of WHY, not WHAT.

Functional Medicine doctors are like soil farmers. They create a healthy soil, so pests can’t come and weeds can’t flourish. A healthy soil means disease can’t take hold.

So with cancer, a Functional Medicine practitioner would say that yes, we still need radiation and other conventional approaches, but what else can we do? How can we properly cultivate a healthy soil?

Cancer results because of in an imbalance in the system. So many people are walking around with tumors and don’t know it. We can do something to prevent them from growing by maintaining a healthy soil.

Instead of dividing everything into diseases and labels, emerging science points to a different way of thinking about diseases. Rather than divide the body into organs, Functional Medicine approaches disease as a systemic problem, and we have to treat the system, not the symptom; the cause, not the disease. This completely redefines the whole notion of disease. The landscape of illness is changing.

How we label cancer is no longer synced up with what we know about the origins of cancer or the fact that two people who have cancer with the same name—like breast cancer—can have two completely different diseases which require different treatments. Just because you know the name of your disease doesn’t mean you know what’s wrong with you or what to do about it.

Classifying tumors by body site — lung, liver, brain, breast, colon, etc. — misses the underlying causes, mechanisms, and pathways involved in a particular cancer. What’s more, it gives us no information about how it manifested in a given patient. Two people with cancers in different parts of the body may have developed it for the same reasons.

Similarly, two people with cancers in the same part of the body may have developed it for different reasons. A patient with prostate cancer and one with colon cancer may have more in common with each other than two patients who have colon cancer.

We need to look under the hood and find out what caused the illness to begin with.

Cultivating a Healthy Soil

Numerous things can contribute to cancer. Studies show diet, exercise, thoughts, feelings, and environmental toxins all influence the initiation, growth, and progression of cancer.

If a nutrient-poor diet full of sugar, lack of exercise, chronic stress, persistent pollutants, and heavy metals can cause cancer, could it be that a nutrient-dense, plant-based diet, physical activity,changing thoughts and reactions to stress, and detoxification might treat the garden in which cancer grows?

In other words, treat the soil, not the plant. It is a foundational principle of sustainable agriculture, and of sustainable health.

We can enhance immune function and surveillance through dietary and lifestyle changes, as well as nutrient and phytonutrient therapies. We can facilitate our body’s own detoxification system to promote the elimination of carcinogenic compounds. We can improve hormone metabolism and reduce the carcinogenic effects of too much insulin (more on that in a minute) from our high sugar and refined carbohydrate diet.

We can also alter how our genes are expressed by changing the inputs that control that expression: Diet, nutrients, phytonutrients, toxins, stress, and other sources of inflammation. And we can focus on less divisive and more generative thoughts that, in turn, create more uplifting emotions — all good fertilizer for the soil in the garden of our body.

The Number One Thing You Can Do to Prevent or Control Cancer

Diabesity, the continuum of health problems ranging from mild insulin resistance and overweight to obesity and diabetes, is the single biggest global health epidemic of our time. It is one of the leading causes of heart disease, dementia, cancer, and premature death in the world and is almost entirely caused by environmental and lifestyle factors.

This means that it is almost 100 percent preventable and curable.

Diabesity affects over 1.7 billion people worldwide. Scientists conservatively estimate it will affect one in two Americans by 2020; 90 percent of whom will not be diagnosed.

Obesity (almost always related to diabesity) is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world. The link between obesity and cancer is well documented and is driven by insulin resistance. Insulin, the fat storage hormone, also drives more inflammation, oxidative stress, and a myriad of downstream effects including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low HDL, high triglycerides, poor sex drive, infertility, thickening of the blood, and increased risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and depression.

The best thing you can do to prevent or control cancer is to control insulin levels with a high-fiber diet rich in real, fresh, whole foods and minimize or eliminate sugary, processed, insulin-raising foods.

Dr. Dean Ornish showed that after just three months on an intensive lifestyle program including a whole-foods, plant-based diet, over 500 genes that regulate cancer were beneficially affected, either turning off the cancer-causing genes or turning on the cancer-protective genes. No medication can do that.

5 Strategies to Reduce Cancer Formation and Growth

Cancer results from an imbalance in our system where the immune system can’t fight off tumors. We can do many things to prevent that cancer from getting to its full stage, and if you have cancer, you can make your body inhospitable to that cancer.

1.

Eliminate food sensitivities. In a major study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, hidden gluten sensitivity was shown to increase risk of death by 35 to 75 percent, mostly by causing heart disease and cancer. By just this mechanism alone, more than 20 million Americans are at risk for heart attack, obesity, cancer, and death. Dairy and gluten are the most common triggers of food allergies that are linked to insulin resistance. Cutting them out of the diet allows the inflamed gut and an inflamed body to heal.

2.

Reduce inflammation. Inflammation is the common thread connecting most chronic disease including cancer. In fact, out-of-control inflammation causes insulin resistance, which, as we now know, is the main factor in all these diseases apart from autoimmunity and allergy. The insulin resistance then creates even more inflammation, and the whole biological house burns down. Besides removing sugar and food sensitivities like gluten and dairy, we want to eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods, including omega-3 rich foods like wild fish and flaxseeds.

3.

Improve gut health. Cancer often originates in your gut. Not just colon cancer, but with many cancers. We are currently studying about the gut microbiome and breast and prostate cancers. Beyond avoiding inflammatory foods, adding in probiotics, prebiotics, and lots of phytonutrients, like curcumin (found in turmeric) and resveratrol (found in grapes), can reduce gut-based inflammation.

4.

Reduce toxic exposure. The average newborn has 287 chemicals in her umbilical cord blood, 217 of which are neurotoxic (poisonous to nerves or nerve cells). The chemicals these infants are exposed to include pesticides, phthalates, bisphenol A, flame retardants, and heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and arsenic. These chemicals have a broad range of negative effects on human biology; they damage the nervous system and increase the risk of cancer, and now they have been shown to contribute to obesity. Going clean and green means becoming more aware about how environmental toxins affect your health. I encourage you to visit the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to learn more.

5.

Change your thoughts to change your immune system. Science is now proving what we all knew intuitively — that how we live, the quality of our relationships, the food we eat, and how we use our bodies determines much more than our genes ever will. There are numerous strategies to combat or prevent cancer, including getting sufficient sleep, controlling stress levels, and exercising regularly.

The important thing is to figure out what works for you and develop a plan to stick with it. That might involve working with a Functional Medicine doctor or a chronic disease specialist.

Conclusion

Whether you have been diagnosed with cancer or have become concerned about family and friends being diagnosed, the most important thing is mindset and not playing into fear.

While we all hope there will one day be a miracle cure for cancer, there are things that we know now will combat cancer or keep our quality of life high while our body is fighting the cancer.

The science of cancer genetics is changing. Two people who have the same cancer could be completely different in terms of how the cancer performs. That’s why I’m very excited about the work that Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is doing in California on the cancer genome and creating targeted therapies to treat the cancer in every patient individually. This and other emerging technologies, combined with the Functional Medicine approach to cancer, give me great hope about our ability to further prevent and treat this disease in the future.

I encourage you to think about cancer differently and more importantly, not lose hope.

Stay healthy, everyone! -Maria

MARIADORFNERBLACKANDWHITEHEADSHOT    Maria Dorfner (formerly Pallante Bianco) is the founder of MedCrunch, covering What’s Hot in Health.

At 24, she helped launch CNBC after working full-time at NBC for two years and part-time throughout college. She then joined Ailes Communications as director of research and producer for TV pilots successfully syndicated. She then co-anchored and senior produced several health series airing on CNBC for three years. She wrote, produced and directed medical documentaries for Discovery Health Channel and helped launch the Cleveland Clinic News Service.  She is the owner of NewsMD Communications, a full-service production company specializing in health content and distribution. She is the author of three books.  Her awards include an Outstanding Leadership Abilities and Commitment to the Advancement of Women in Media award from her alma mater and a Media Recognition Award from the American Heart Association for her “Heart Smart” series and a Medical Reporting Scholarship. Maria is in Who’s Who in American Women, 22nd edition, 2000/2001.  She is a native of Brooklyn, New York.  Her health blog is a division of Healthy Within Network, which is her existing labor of love.  It connects the dots in medicine, media and marketing.  Contact:  maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

Health Enthusiast/Actress, Mariel Hemingway Pens New Memoir

MURIEL2Mariel Hemingway is not only an iconic Academy Award nominated actor from a celebrated family, she is a prolific author, healthy lifestyle brand entrepreneur, and a tireless mental health awareness and suicide prevention program advocate, recently sharing the stage with Hillary Clinton, Patrick Kennedy, and other world-class Keynote speakers.

Mariel’s much sought after purpose-driven presentations entertain, educate, engage and enrich, focusing on topics including: mind-body-spirit optimization, purposeful living, and mental health related issues. She shares her own evocative story about growing up in a home where there were great challenges in order to inspire others to do the same, thereby cultivating compassion and understanding and breaking down the stigma so often associated with the discussion of mental illness.

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In a high-tech world, Mariel is considered an expert in high-touch solutions which facilitate finding one’s authentic voice and experiencing the greatest sense of personal power, life balance, joy, fitness, authenticity and peace of mind.

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Mariel’s on camera film and television accomplishments include starring roles in: Manhattan, Lipstick, Personal Best, Star 80, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and appearances in television shows including Roseanne, Civil Wars and Central Park West. She’s narrated several programs and films including the documentary Ernest Hemingway: Wrestling with Life.

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In 2014, Mariel and Oprah Winfrey executive produced, Running From Crazy, the Emmy nominated documentary focused on the 7 most recent suicides in the Hemingway family. It is available on Netflix.

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With her two daughters, Dree and Langley successful in their own entertainment careers, Mariel is once again considering film and television series opportunities. She’s passionate about the art of acting and storytelling, and thrives in the collective creative energy when working with gifted artists, directors, producers, and writers.

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Mariel’s best selling books include: Finding My Balance, reflecting her life’s journey through the lens of her yoga and meditation practices. Healthy Living from the Inside Out: a how-to guide to finding a greater sense of balance and meaning through self-empowering techniques and strategies. Mariel’s Kitchen is a healthy lifestyle cookbook offering creative gluten and sugar free recipes.

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Running WithNature, co written with her life partner (in above photo on left), provides insights into the import and impact of making good choices based on an awareness of and respect for nutrition, meditation, mindfulness, movement, silence, compassion and connectedness to self and earth.

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Mariel’s 2015 book releases include her memoir: Out Came The Sun: Overcoming the Legacy ofMental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family and INVISIBLE GIRL: a tender engaging book written in diary form for teen and tweens. Mariel and famed children’s book illustrator, Edward Hemingway will collaborate on a children’s book in 2016.

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Recent health, wellness, inspirational, advocacy and entertainment media profiles, features and covers include those in USA Today, LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, on The Today Show, CBS This Morning, Dr. Oz Show, Fox News, in Vanity Fair, the New York Times and Interview Magazines, The Times of London, Pret A Porter and People Magazine. Mariel was also the focus of a one hour interview with Oprah Winfrey’s, on Super Soul Sunday, her book and lifestyle focused program.

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Muriel Hemingway’s books, Out Came The Sun for adults and Invisible Girl for teens are available on-line and in stores April 7, 2015.

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READ HOW MARIEL HEMINGWAY OVERCAME HER PAST TO BECOME HEALTHY AND BALANCED!  https://www.yahoo.com/beauty/how-mariel-hemingway-overcame-her-familys-tragic-115671984803.html

headshotMaria Dorfner is the founder of MedCrunch. She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

Sitcom Sensation Vicki Lawrence Shares Health Challenge

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Vicki Lawrence, comedienne and Emmy® Award-winning actress reveals her struggle with chronic idiopathic urticarial or ICU.

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She joins me with Dr. Beth Corn, Board-certified allergist, Associate Professor and member of AAFA’s National Board of Directors.
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Vicki Lawrence is no stranger to being quick on her feet and playing off improv lines on stage.  In fact, she’s a legend.
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But when the comedienne and Emmy® Award-winning actress was diagnosed with CIU, she was caught off-guard. 
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Vicki, best known as the star of sitcom Mama’s Family…
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And as part of the ensemble cast of the The Carol Burnett Show, known for inducing uncontrollable belly laughs.
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And, more recently, appearing on Hannah Montana. 
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She was diagnosed with CIU four years ago.  It appeared out of the blue and can happen to anyone.
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Vicki wants to help motivate others to talk to their doctors about their symptoms as she did.
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CIU is characterized by hives that spontaneously occur without an identifiable cause and reoccur for six weeks or more.
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Symptoms come and go unpredictably. They include red, itchy hives on the skin which can last months and even years.
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In the U.S., it is estimated that approximately 1.5 million people suffer from CIU.
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Now, Vicki is partnering with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Genentech to share her experience with CIU to encourage people to have a robust and meaningful dialogue with their medical specialist as part of a new national campaign called CIU & You.
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CIU & You is an educational program focused on supporting the specific needs of people who have CIU.
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It aims to empower patients to talk to their doctors to discuss treatment options with an allergist or dermatologist.
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The program also provides a downloadable symptom tracker and discussion guide for patients to use when talking with doctors.
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CIU & You is developed in partnership with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), and made possible by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Genentech. For additional information, visit www.CIUandYou.com.
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For more information, speak with your doctor to better understand the disease and potential treatments.
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 More About Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence is a comedienne and Emmy® Award-winning actress. She is famous for her role on The Carroll Burnett Show and Mama’s Family, and, more recently, on Hannah Montana. In 2010, Lawrence was diagnosed with CIU. For her official bio, please visit http://www.vickilawrence.com/VickisBio2013.html.
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More About Dr. Corn

Dr. Beth Corn is a Board Certified Allergist practicing in New York City and an Assistant Professor of Medicine with over 20 years of experience in healthcare. She serves on the national board of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

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You may be surprised to learn something new about Vicki Lawrence and your health by watching the interview here: http://bcove.me/vwg0asb5

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And visiting www.CIUandYou.com for more information.

headshot  MARIA DORFNER is the founder of Healthy Within Network.  She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

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“When We Tell Stories…People Listen.”

Hip-Hop Legend Rev Run & his wife Justine on Adult Diabetes

It’s Diabetes Awareness Month.  More than 1 in 3 Americans is at risk for diabetes, and it doubles for African-Americans.

It’s one of the reasons one of the most iconic figures in music is passionate about raising awareness about risk factors for adult diabetes. Another reason is his father has it, which also places him at risk. His manager’s father also had it. Since 5,000 new people are diagnosed each day, he wants to make sure everyone gets screened. Rev Run is not only a legend in Hip-Hop, front man for RUN DMC, selling tens of millions of records worldwide, but he is widely credited for ushering rap music into the mainstream culture. He also starred in MTV’s “Run House,” co-authored several books and is a sought after DJ and speaker.

His latest venture is teaming with The Novo Nordisk Ask Screen Know Campaign to help people know if they are at risk and to share tips on making healthy changes at home. He has created a website called askscreenknow.com to raise awareness and help others take precautions just as he is doing.

[On Getting Screened] “I tell people do it for the ones you love…I look in my children’s eyes and realize I can be neglecting my health and hurt everybody in my family.” -Rev Run

Joining him is wife, Justine Simmons.  Justine is an accomplished author, jewelry designer on HSN, co-author of a best-selling book with her husband, philanthropist and loving wife and mom.  Justine also works with the Simmons family charity organization helping children with art resources.  She joins Rev Run in urging people to take a Risk Assessment Test and discusses how they keep their family healthy since they are at high risk for adult diabetes.

[On Men Being Afraid to Get Tested] “You hear about these men passing (away) and it could have been prevented.” -Justine Simmons

To learn more and find out if you are at risk please visit: http://www.AskScreenKnow.com

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CLICK HERE FOR INTERVIEW:  Hip-Hop Legend Rev Run & his wife Justine on Adult Diabetes

 

Risk Factors for Adult Diabetes include:diabetes51

1.  Age 45 or older

2.  Race/Ethnicity

3.  Diabetes in Family

4.  Lack of Physical Activity

5.  Being Overweight

6.  High Blood Pressure

       SYMPTOMS:

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FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT:   http://www.AskScreenKnow.com

As Rev Run and Justine say, “Do it for the ones you love.”

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headshot  Maria Dorfner is an award-winning health journalist and the founder/CEO of Healthy Within Network (HWN). Her stories have appeared on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, Fox, CNBC and Discovery Health.  Her new book, “Healthy Within” is available at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/maria_dorfner

You can contact her at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com. MedCrunch is her blog covering what’s hot in health.