- Created on 14 November 2012
Most African Americans know someone in their family or a friend who has diabetes.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. In addition, they are more likely to suffer complications from diabetes, such as end-stage renal disease and lower extremity amputations.
Dr. Monica Peek is the Associate Director for the University of Chicago's Medicine's Center for Diabetes Translation Research, and the Principle Investigator for the Center's Improving Diabetes Care & Outcomes on the Southside of Chicago Project. She focuses much of her practice and research efforts on diabetes because she simply wants to know why African Americans are highly effected and suffer more with the disease.
Peek points out that since African Americans experience more complications and other chronic conditions related to the disease, we have to be aware that these complications and related conditions become leading causes of death among African Americans such as kidney failure or congestive heart failure.
However, there are preventative steps individuals and families can take to overcome many of the health challenges associated with diabetes. Peek believes that it is all about Patient Empowerment and allowing patients to take ownership over their health and their healthcare decisions. There has to be optimal communication between patients and doctors. The way patients and doctors communicate with one another directly impact a patient's health. She adds, "The qualities of care that we've received in health care systems hasn't been equal a lot of the time. So, there are things that shape or happen in a clinical encounter that can act as a tool to empower African Americans to be more proactive and feel more confident when they walk into the healthcare system. They are able to better negotiate what happens at their doctor's visit and the kind of care they are receiving."
Peek seeks to take patients to the next level of empowerment through various community-outreach programs. Nov. 17 at 12 p.m., The Diabetes Care & Outcomes Project presents its 1st Annual Diabetes Cook-Off at the Washburn Culinary Institute on the campus of Kennedy King College, 740 W. 63rd St. The event is intended to increase awareness of fun low-cost healthy food preparation. People can prepare foods in a limited time, with limited resources, and have it taste good for the whole family. Celebrity judges Attorney Jeffrey Leving, The Food Network's Fat Chef Michael Digby, and WVON-AM/1690's Matt McGill will choose the winner out of 12 finalists.
In addition to the Cook-Off, The Diabetes Care & Outcomes Project coordinates other community outreach programs including a prescription coupon give-away for diabetic patients to use at local Farmers Markets and participating Walgreens locations, grocery store tours, public cooking demonstrations, and diabetes education classes. All have been successful in assisting residents in diabetes prevention, diabetes control, and all around healthy living. Patients who visit one of the following South Side clinics are eligible:
• Access Booker Family Health Center, 654 E. 47th St.
• Access Grand Boulevard Health and Specialty Center, 5401 S. Wentworth Ave. Chicago Family Health Center, 9119 S. Exchange Ave.
• Friend Family Health Center, 800 E. 55th St.
• Kovler Diabetes Center at the University of Chicago Medicine, 5841 S. Maryland Ave. The Primary Care Group at the University of Chicago Medicine, 5841 S. Maryland Ave.
Participating Walgreens Stores:
• 1213 W. 79th St.
• 5036 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
• 8636 S. Ashland Ave.
• 650 W. 63rd St.
• 2924 E. 92nd St.
• 1533 E. 67th Pl.
• 2015 E. 79th St.
Participating Farmers Market:
• 61st Street Farmers Market (between Dorchester and Blackstone)
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.; now through mid-December
- Created on 13 November 2012
At 49, Alice Day has a lot of life to live.
She's a grandmother but she also is raising teenage sons. In fact, when I caught up to her Monday afternoon, she was on her way to drop her son off at an ACT/SAT preparation class.
Because she works as a housekeeper at a nursing home, Day sees how cancer is ravaging the bodies of so many seniors. So when she heard from a church member that local hospitals would provide free mammograms, she was on it.
"I remember one man who said he would never go to the doctor. Maybe that is how it was back in his time, but he would never go, and that cancer had spread. It really frightened me. It was a real eye-opener," she said.
"I would like to see my sons as adults and if I don't take care of me, what do they have when I'm gone?" she asked.
But most women in Day's position don't have the resources to access mammograms, and that has been a contributing factor to a disparity that continues to frustrate health-care providers.
"When the data came out from Sinai Urban Health Institute that showed the disparity between blacks and whites in Chicago was growing over 20 years, and that while the death rate had come down for white women, nothing had changed for black women, it was kind of shocking," said Anne Marie Murphy, executive director of the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force.
"We have new imaging, new technology and much better treatment, but Chicago has the dubious distinction of having the lowest mammography screening rate for women on Medicare and has one of the highest racial health disparities in breast cancer in the country," Murphy noted. "We rolled up our sleeves and called everyone and their brother."
The result was phenomenal. The citywide mammogram screening initiative, dubbed "Beyond October" will provide 800 free mammograms to uninsured women in the Chicago area.
All uninsured women have to do to sign up for a free mammogram is visit www.chicagobreastcancer.org or call (312) 942-1899.
To date, the 501(c) 3 charitable group has received commitments for 800 free mammograms. Two hundred women have already signed up. There are 600 mammograms that are still available through the end of the year, but applicants must sign up by Dec. 1.
"There is quite a long list of hospitals willing to participate. We don't want there to be one woman out there who doesn't access the program and is later diagnosed with breast cancer," Murphy said.
Like many of the conditions that plague the African-American community, this disease is often treated like an unavoidable plague.
But there are positive steps that can be taken to help black women survive breast cancer.
Dr. David Ansell has been at the forefront of efforts to end the disparity. Ansell is the chief medical officer at Rush Medical Center. He helped launch the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Center Task Force in 2007 because of what he considers a "shameful disparity."
"It doesn't need to be. We know the gap in mortality doesn't exist in every city," he said.
If the doctor were standing before an audience of women in Day's position, his message would be direct: "It is really important that you get screened. The thing about breast cancer is the screening, early detection and access to high-quality care. We know for a fact that when women have access to high-quality care regardless of race, there is no difference in the initial presentation of breast cancer. I would encourage women to get a mammogram," he said.
"The reason we set up this program is because the state and others have left large gaps in access to care so women don't get these basic things done. They are afraid of the costs. The state programs should cover all women but are only able to cover a fraction of women," Ansell pointed out.
Twelve local hospitals, including Rush Oak Park and Advocate South Suburban, agreed to donate mammograms so that low-income women could access this critical screening.
As a breast cancer survivor, I know Pinktober just ended, and for many of us the messaging may have been overwhelming.
But the pink, the walks and 3K runs, and the programs at churches and community centers are designed to encourage women to take responsibility for their health.
The task force has done its job. Now it's our turn.
These free mammograms will save lives. So if you're good, then reach out to an uninsured friend with this early Christmas gift.
- Created on 09 November 2012
CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Poison Center is warning people of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, especially as the weather gets colder.
Among the most common sources of the odorless, toxic gas are malfunctioning heaters and furnaces.
The Poison Center's medical director, Dr. Michael Wahl, says carbon monoxide in a home can easily go undetected. The center recommends that people install carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of their homes and have furnaces inspected each year.
Other potential sources of carbon monoxide include charcoal grills, lanterns, gasoline-powered machines such as snow blowers, and gas stoves and dryers.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause flu-like symptoms including headache, nausea, vomiting and dizziness, and in severe cases death.
- Created on 12 November 2012
Compliments may not pay the rent, but according to new research, they help improve performance in a similar way to receiving a cash reward.
Researchers recruited 48 adults for the study who were asked to learn and perform a specific finger pattern (pushing keys on a keyboard in a particular sequence as fast as possible in 30 seconds). Once participants had learned the finger exercise, they were separated into three groups.
One group included an evaluator who would compliment participants individually; another group involved individuals who would watch another participant receive a compliment; and the third group involved individuals who evaluated their own performance on a graph.
When the participants were asked to repeat the finger exercise the next day, the group of participants who received direct compliments from an evaluator performed significantly better than participants from the other groups. The result indicates that receiving a compliment after exercising stimulated the individuals to perform better even a full day afterward.
According to Professor Norihiro Sadato, the study lead and professor at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, "To the brain, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded money. We've been able to find scientific proof that a person performs better when they receive a social reward after completing an exercise. Complimenting someone could become an easy and effective strategy to use in the classroom and during rehabilitation."
The researchers had previously discovered that the same area of the brain affected in this study, the striatum, is activated when a person is rewarded a compliment or cash.
Why might this happen? Odd as it may sound, the answer is probably closely related to the function of sleep. Researchers theorize that complimenting someone's efforts acts as a catalyst for better "skill consolidation" during sleep. To account for the sleep variable, researchers in this study kept close tabs on the duration and quality of sleep of the participants. From this and previous studies, it seems as though praise provides the right memory boost for the brain to more efficiently consolidate learning while we're snoozing. Receiving a cash incentive appears to trigger the same effect.
The practical takeaway: if you're in a position of authority (manager, teacher, etc), be sure to use compliments (and/or spot bonuses) as a means to encourage learning new skills. You may find that your underlings come back the next day with surprising improvements.
- Created on 08 November 2012
A second probable case of fungal meningitis in Chicago tied to the use of a steroid injection from a Massachusetts pharmacy is being investigated by health officials.
As in the first case in the state, the case reported Friday involves a Chicago resident who received an injection at one of three APAC Centers for Pain Management that used the recalled medication, according to officials.
Officials didn't release any details about the person sickened, but said the injections took place between May 21 and Sept. 26, the period during which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned the recalled medications may have been dangerous. The patient is still being tested and treated, according to a release from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The company at the center of the national fungal meningitis outbreak, the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts, has recalled all of its products going back to the first of the year. Federal health officials have found The company's state license was suspended last month.
"We are still encouraging anybody who has received an epidural steroid injection and is experiencing fever, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, new numbness or weakness, or slurred speech, to see a doctor immediately," state Health Director Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said in the release. "This type of fungal meningitis is not contagious."
As of Nov. 2, 409 people have become sick and 29 people have died in the outbreak of fungal meningitis, according to the CDC.