Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on March 9, 2004 · Page 3
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 3

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Tuesday, March 9, 2004
Page 3
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HEALTH TUESDAY. MARCH 9. 2004 3 ASK DR, GOTT By Peter H.Gott,MD Treating a teen for reflux and chronic cough DEAR DR. GOTT: For the last four years, my 13-year-old daughter has had periodic attacks of coughing spasms. We have been told she has asthma. Treatment with a variety of medications for this ailment has not been successful. Finally, she had upper gastrointestinal X-rays that showed acid reflux. She has been treated with amazing results: no more cough. I wish we had known about this ailment years ago. I hope this experience will help someone else. DEAR READER: Acid reflux, the backwash of irritating gastric acid into the sensitive esophagus, usually appears in adults and is associated with indigestion, gas and heartburn. In many cases, the disorder will lead to a dry, hacky cough; reflux may also trigger asthma in susceptible individuals, some of whom may not experience any other symptoms. Your daughter's doctors deserve a lot of credit for testing the child further. I am glad she is now more comfortable, and I am printing an edited version of your letter to inform other readers, as you suggested, to consider reflux as a cause of chronic cough. Thank you for writing. DEAR DR. GOTT: I'm 62 and have a cholesterol level of 244, which my doctor says puts me at "borderline high risk" for cardiovascular disease. Do I need to be on medication? DEAR READER: Most authorities believe that all adults should have serum cholesterol levels of less than 200. (Patients with a history of heart disease should have levels below 150.) Thus, your level is too high. Whether you need medication is a decision I'll leave to your physician, because I don't feel comfortable simply "treating the numbers" and not the person as a whole. For example, you might have had pizza the evening before your blood test. You may not be following a low-cholesterol diet. You may be overweight and have a family history of excess cholesterol. Perhaps you are too sedentary or have other health issues that could affect your cholesterol level. So, my advice is to encourage you to sit down with your doctor to plan a strategy. In my practice, the appropriate first steps are: 1) a low-cholesterol diet, 2) weight loss, if appropriate, and 3) increased physical activity. (Even something as simple as walking 30 minutes a day, and using stairs instead of elevators at work, may lower the cholesterol.) If these suggestions aren't sufficient, you can either do nothing more or consider drug therapy. Your family physician can monitor and advise you. To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Understanding Cholesterol." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title. If readers would like to contact Dr. Gott, they may write to him at: Dr. Gott do United Media, 200 Madison Ave., 4th fl., New York, NY 10016. HEALTH CALE ALANON: Family and friends of alcoholics; noon and 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and noon on Fridays; Center for Positive Living, 741 S. Oak St.; 462-7386. Alcoholics Anonymous: Daily; call 4627123 or toll free 1 (877) 906-1212, Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program: Free, educational workshops focus on women's health in relation to breast and cervical cancer awareness, the importance of continuing education, risk factors, and benefits of early screening; meets three times a month (a.m./p.m.) at Consolidated Tribal Health Project; Debbie Harrison, 485-5115 x 293. Breastfeeding Support Group: meets second Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon and fourth Wednesday from 2 to 3:30 p.m.; Mendocino County Public Health - WIC office, 1120 S. Dora; Tess O'Connell, 4722739. Celebrate Recovery: 12-step group; Fridays; issues include: codependency, substance abuse, depression, eating disorders; Bible based, confidential; teacher/speaker meeting, 7 to 8 p.m.; men's/women's small groups, 8 to 9 p.m.; Ukiah Bible Church, 2140 Arroyo Dr., Ukiah; Dale Higgins, 468-9255, or UBC at 462-0151. Codependence Anonymous: 12-step recovery program; noon on Wednesdays; 741 S. Oak St., in rear building; 463-0362. Council on Domestic Violence: Second Wednesday, 3:30 to 5 p.m., Project Sanctuary, 499 Leslie St., 472-2753. The power of placebo Study finds when people simply expect relief from pain, it can make a difference By LAURAN NEERGAARD AP Medical Writer WASHINGTON - Just thinking a medicine will make you feel better actually may - even if it's fake, according to new research examining the placebo effect. One region of the brain is activated by the expectation of pain relief, researchers said. This, in turn, leads to a reduction of activity in the portion of the brain that senses pain. In a second study, researchers showed that some of the brain regions involved in feeling physical pain become activated when someone empathizes with another's pain. "Very likely the same part of the brain which is affected by empathy for pain, and therefore suffering, is the area that also our mind or our expectation has to deal with if we're going to get control of that pain," said Dr. Jon Levine, a pain specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, who reviewed the research. Both studies were published in a February edition of the journal Science. In the placebo study, volunteers put inside MRI machines had either electric shocks or heat applied to the arm. The pain activated all the expected neural pathways, researchers from the University of Michigan and Princeton University reported. Then, researchers smeared on a cream they said would block the pain. In fact, it was a regular skin lotion. When the volunteers were zapped again, they reported significantly less pain - and pain circuits in the brain showed they really felt better. Those were the same brain regions that respond to painkilling medication. Then researchers spread on cream again, this time telling the volunteers it was a placebo - and they hurt all over again. Doctors long have known the placebo effect is real. It is one reason that they talk up the benefits of a drug as they write the prescription. But previously, the effect had been assumed to be psychological, Levine said. Dr. Kenneth Casey, one of the researchers for the placebo study, said the results should send a message to physicians. "If you're providing a treatment to a patient, it's important that your realistically provide them with the expectation that it would work, so you enhance the effect," said Casey, a professor at the University of Michigan. "If you gave them a drug or any kind of treatment with the attitude, either explicit or implicit, that this might not be effective, it would be much less likely to be effective." In the empathy study, British researchers recruited 16 couples. One at a time, the women were put into MRI machines; the men sat nearby. The women could see only their loved one's hand and a computer screen. The women and men got brief electric shocks to the hand. The computer screen flashed who would get the next shock and whether it would be mild or very sharp. When the women got shocked, the MRI showed how their brain's entire pain network activated, researchers reported. They registered feeling the jolt and how much it stung, from sensory brain regions, as well as how much it made them suffer - the "affective" or emotional regions. But when the men got shocked, part of the women's pain network sprang into action, too - not sensory regions but emotional ones. They knew when the men were "The same part of the brain which is affected by empathy for pain, and therefore suffering, is the area that also our mind or our expectation has to deal with if we're going to get control of that pain." - Dr. Jon Levine, pain specialist University ol'California, San I'Yancisco being shocked only by watching tin- computer screen. The lead researcher. Dr. Tania Singer of University College of London, likened il to a vivid feeling when imminent pain is imagined and the heart speeds up before (lie actual sensation arrives. Men were not studied for their reaction to how women responded to a shock. Singer did not tell the couples that she was studying empathy so as not to ri« the results. But she later asked the women to describe how they fell when their pailner was zapped. "They indicated it was as unpleasant" See P1ACIWO, l'di>e 5 TY BR EPS Shriners Hospital to hold screening clinic in Ukiah Northern California Shriners Hospital for Children will hold its annual Ukiah Screening Clinic on March 27 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ukiah Surgery Center, 271 Observatory Ave. This clinic is to pre-s<"reen children from the ages of 1 month or less to 18 years old for possible admission to the Shriners Health Care system. The clinic will have local licensed medical doctors and registered nurses on duty. Shrine Hospitals provide the highest quality services available anywhere in the world. The hospitals specialize in orthopedic, burn and spinal cord rehabilitation. Shriners support 22 hospitals in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Since 1922, 750,000 children have been made whole again without any charge to parents, local, state or federal governments. The Shrine of North America contributes over $1.4 million per day to the health and welfare of America's, Canada's and Mexico's children under 18 years of age. Transportation to and from the hospitals is available. If people know of a child who needs medical attention, take them to the clinic. It costs nothing. For more information, call John Simmons at 462-0951. Cancer Resource Center to host free survivorship series The Cancer Resource Center of Mendocino County is hosting the Second Annual Cancer Survivorship Telephone Education Workshop Series, "Cancer Survivorship: Living With, Through & Beyond Cancer." CancerCare ( is presenting these teleconferences in collaboration with the Lance Armstrong Foundation, LBBC, the National Cancer Institute, the Intercultural Cancer Council and the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. The free telephone education workshop series offers people and their loved ones practical information to deal with concerns and issues that arise after treatment ends. The information is primarily for cancer survivors who recently completed treatment but may also be helpful for those treated a long time ago and health care professionals. Part I, "Living With Uncertainty," is on Wednesday. Part II: "Talking About Cancer With Children of All Ages," is on April 14. Part III: "Turning Research into Action," is offered on May 19. All workshops will be held on Wednesdays from 10 to 11 a.m. at both the coastal and inland offices. Call the Cancer Resource Center at 1-800-449-6483, 937-3833 or 467-3828 for more information. Gang Prevention Coalition to hear from area students The next meeting of the Community Coalition for Gang Prevention is at 6 p.m. Thursday in Conference Room 1 of ihe Public Health Department (1120 So. Dora, I Ikiah the old General Hospital). Meetings usually finish by 7:30 p.m. anil begin with a reporting in from law enforcement, focus groups, and then followed by break out sessions into the focus groups. One feature of this meeting will be a presentation from community school students anil their adult contact. Sherri Steinmann is the adult liaison for Sale Schools/Healthy Students division of Mendocino County Office of Education and the community school students, which has classrooms all over the Ukiah area and one in Willits. Her title is Career Education Specialist. The Student Youth Council meets together and make decisions on how to spend money for safety assessments, how to improve classroom safety, and other issues pertinent and important to the students. They planned their first school dance for community schools, held in November, which was successful. "The council deals with student and stall issues," explained Steinmann. "A student participates in leadership activities and receives leadership credit for school, for a lot of these See BRIEFS, Paw 5 Debtor's Anonymous: A 12-step recovery program; noon on Mondays; at 741 S. Oak St., in the rear building; 463-0362. Hepatitis C Support Group: Open and informal group meets the first and third Tuesdays; 6:30 to 8 p.m.; 148 Clara St. Ukiah; 463-5877. HCV Support Group: First and third Tuesdays; call John, 462-1932. HIV Support Group: Second and fourth Tuesdays; call John, 462-1932. La Leche League: Breastfeeding group; meets second Tuesday, various times; Nursery Room at Presbyterian Church, corner of S. Dora and W. Perkins; Margaret Turano, 468-9587. Multiple Sclerosis Self-help Group: People with multiple sclerosis can take one more step toward ending effects of MS at the Ukiah group; sponsored by the National MS Society; 7 p.m.; second Tuesday. New Life Workshop: Do you need help managing your weight? Noon to 1 p.m. Thursdays; Salvation Army, 714 A S. State St., Ukiah; 468-9577. Narcotics Anonymous: Meetings throughout county; 485-9110. Overeaters Anonymous: Mondays at 5:30 p.m.; Thursdays at 5:30 p.m., Saturdays at 11 a.m.; 741 S. Oak St. in rear of building; 485-5351. Sweet Success: The California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program; support for special pregnancies in which women have diabetes; planning pregnancy or are pregnant, need extra support; 463-7527. T.O.P.S.: (Take off pounds sensibly): Meets from 9:15 to 10:30 a.m., every Tuesday, at Calvary Baptist Church, 465 Luce Ave; Carolyn Madole, 463-0261. T.O.P.S.: Low-cost, non-profit group meets every Tuesday at Autumn Leaves, 425 E. Gobbi St., in the community room. Weigh-in is from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. Meeting is from 6:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.; Linda MacDonald, 467-2391. T.O.P.S.: Every Thursday at Washington Mutual Building community room, 700 S. State St.; meeting is from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.; it is a low-cost, weight-reduction support group; call 462-4901 or 485-7801. T.O.P.S.: Every Friday at the Meadows Mobile Court clubhouse, 8686 East Road, Redwood Valley; weigh-in is from 9:30 to 11 a.m.; meeting is from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.; call 485-8260 or 485-1238. Ukiah Diabetes Education: The Diabetes Education Group; 7 p.m.; second Monday; 463-7698. Ukiah Valley Blood Center/Blood Centers of the Pacific: Mondays, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 pm.; Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; 620 Kings Ct., Suite 110; to donate, schedule blood drive at workplace; 1 (888) 393-GIVE. Weight-loss Surgery Support Group: Free, open to the public, Gastric Reduction Duodenal Switch (GRDS) support and information group; Central Valley Bariatrics; 1st Friday; 6 p.m.; Ukiah Assembly of God Church; call Ruth Lorain at 468-4347; e-mail, Women's Cancer Support Group: A supportive place for women to share their cancer experiences; first and third Thursday of each month; 6 to 7:30 p.m.; 530 S. Main St.; Mendocino Cancer Resource Center; 467-3828. // you - or an organization you represent - change a phone number, an address, or any calendar information, please call at the Ukiah Daily Journal at 468-3520, or e-mail us at The paradox of control Issues around control seem to be coining up for me a lot lately. Moving into a 25-year-old house will do that. There are fences to be mended, trees thai need pruning, walls that scream, "Paint me!" and toilets that won't flush. I leave messages with all sorts of service people that often go unreturned. Appointments get canceled; promised deadlines are missed. Sometimes, I find myself slipping into old dysfunctional patterns when I take this personally. I feel abandoned and unimportant instead of simply taking the situation for what it is: people are busy. It's not J about me. 1 need to be bolh patient and persistent. > While it may be frustrating to want something and not! get the response 1 expect, taking it personally turns a disappointing outcome into a private devastation. . During those times when 1 realize my ability to con-; trol a situation is limited, I find the serenity prayer to be' a good guide to appropriate action: "God grant rue the; serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage; to change the things 1 can, and the wisdom to know the; difference." \ The last part about having the wisdom to discern wiiat; we can and can't control is especially key to not losing: our minds, not to mention our tempers. ; Control is a paradoxical concept because il is some ; thing we need to have in order to develop into optimistic,; fully functioning adults. Yet wanting loo much control,i See WILD, I'age 5 Wild Ideas ByCalhyWild

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