By GEORGE MORRIS
Advocate staff writer
National Guard Lt. Col. Cris
When Dr. Cris Mandry of
primary job is as director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the
Going to the front lines in the global conflict with Islamic terror groups is the latest chapter in an extremely active life.
“I’ve been very, very fortunate,” Mandry said. “Basically, everything I wanted I’ve been able to achieve. So, I just feel it’s the right thing to do.”
For the next 10 months, he’ll help train an Afghan commando force in a region where attacks on American and coalition forces are increasing in size and sophistication.
Mandry also went to
“These guys have a centuries-long tradition of being fighters, but not really organized,” Mandry said. “You’re really talking basic soldiering skills … like just getting them to show up. They would kind of wander in and wander out.”
The Afghan army
has improved enough that Special Forces are training a more advanced commando
group. They will focus on the border with
Mandry will spend some time at headquarters, but also will be at remote firebases and expects to participate in operations designed to intercept and disrupt enemy forces, who no longer are relying only on hit-and-run tactics.
“They’ve built some very good bunkers,” he said. “They’re not running. They’ll have an assault force. They’ll have a quick-reaction force. They’ll have blocking positions. That has really changed in the last year. We’re anticipating we’re going to have more wounded and we’re going to lose more people. We’re going into it knowing that.”
The mission is complicated. Many civilians in that area hold more loyalty to tribal ties than to a national government that has historically had little direct impact on their lives. In addition to providing security, American military forces provide medical care, dig wells, build schools and otherwise help improve villagers’ lives.
To remind him of
why he is there, Mandry keeps a photo in his Kevlar
helmet of a man falling from the burning
“We cannot allow (terror groups) to have a safe haven that they can train, plan and exercise command and control,” he said. “It’s going to take us a long time. There are several stages. We have to defeat, basically, the outsiders, the extremists, and we have to create an infrastructure there which has never existed. I think Genghis Khan had it for a few years. But short of … going in there and making it our 51st state, we’ve got to make them capable of defending themselves and maintaining some kind of centralized government.”
Mandry said he is one of many Special Forces
soldiers with a police background. A
He maintained affiliation with NOPD and rode out Katrina with his unit in a downtown hotel. When they received word of flooding in the Lower Ninth Ward, they boarded boats and started rescuing people trapped on their roofs and in their homes and attics. His military dive training was put to use as he had to enter some houses underwater.
Mandry and his colleagues worked two days rescuing people before they realized the overwhelming scope of the storm’s damage.
“But it was tremendous to be able to train your whole life and then be able to put it to use,” he said.
That attitude is
something Mandry said he communicates to residents
in his EKL program and is something he carries to
“Not to get super religious, but Luke 12:48 says ‘To whom much is given, much is also required,’” he said. “I’ve been very, very fortunate. Anything I thought that I could do I’ve been able to do. Some of it came a little bit later, but it was a sense that it was the right thing to do.”
By MARSHA SHULER
Advocate Capitol News Bureau
PATRICK DENNIS/THE ADVOCATE
The new mental health regional crisis center on the
A new regional
mental health crisis center at LSU’s
The center would provide police and others a place to send patients whose mental health problems have become threatening. Currently, these patients are dropped off at emergency rooms that are designed to treat people with urgent medical problems.
are being made on a modular building that will house a 24-bed specialized
emergency room on the
But the state budget that went into effect Wednesday doesn’t appropriate the money needed to open it, said LSU Systems Vice President Fred Cerise, who oversees hospitals and medical education programs.
for the crisis center is one of two casualties in the state’s new budget
affecting EKL, Cerise said. The other problem area involves a radiology
services upgrade planned for EKL’s new north
To fund both would require $1.8 million, Cerise said.
“Without additional funding, they have to see if they can squeeze the budget in other places” to free up money to go to the programs, Cerise said.
“I’m sure a lot of people will be disappointed,” he said.
The crisis center is the result of efforts by the Capital Area Health and Human Services District. The district used $1.43 million in federal funds to construct a modular building on EKL’s campus.
The center would provide one-stop shop providing both the care they need in a hospital and access to continuing mental health treatment upon their release.
An estimated 8,400 people a year are going to area emergency departments because of behavioral health problems — taking beds and personnel away from medical patients.
Capital Area Director Jan Kasofsky said she had no prior warning that there were funding problems.
“Obviously, this is not to anybody’s benefit. If anyone had been aware it was no longer in the budget, there would have been a lot of interest in getting it funded,” Kasofsky said.
She and EKL administrator Kathy Viator said identifying ways to get the center operational is a top priority.
Viator said she will investigate moving some emergency room personnel to the new unit. But that could be problematic because it would leave the emergency room short.
“We hate to rob Peter to pay Paul,” she said.
Viator said she also wants to investigate “potential links” with Capital Area to see if it has access to grant funding to support operations of the crisis center.
“It’s just a shame we can’t open it at all to meet the needs of that population,” she said.
The center is a key part of a 10-step, systemwide approach to get those suffering with mental illness the coordinated treatment they need to be productive citizens and stay out of crisis. Development of the system has involved law enforcement, hospital officials, mental health experts and community groups.
“The community came up with this idea and the community has to figure out a solution,” Kasofsky said.
Cerise said the
new state budget also leaves EKL short of the funding needed to move upgraded
radiology services as planned from the hospital to its new north
Plans included adding more sophisticated radiology equipment, which is more costly to operate, Cerise said.
“They may be able to phase-in some services,” he said.
I am a native of
Let us get on with the medical complex. However, we should keep the old Charity building.
It can and should be used for administrative purposes and doctor's offices. It could have a practical use.
The building was
built in 1938 and designed by the architectural firm of Seiforth
and Dreyfous, who also did the Capitol in
This building would be too expensive to reproduce today. When will we learn to stop destroying our historic past?
preservationist, I want to save the
By Kelsey McKinney
LSU Health Sciences Center-Shreveport has paid $706,677.79 to settle allegations that it defrauded Medicare, the federal insurance program, by billing for medical services not provided by teaching physicians between 1995 and 2005.
The settlement was reached June 23 in a civil lawsuit brought by two whistleblowers. Both are former LSUHSC-Shreveport employees. One was fired before the petition was filed in October 2002, the other the following year, their attorney said.
"The federal investigation revealed that (LSUHSC-Shreveport) routinely submitted claims for payment to Medicare Part B on behalf of teaching physicians who claimed to have assisted orthopedic residents during surgery when, in fact, they were not present for the procedure as required," according to a statement released Wednesday by U.S. Attorney Donald Washington's office.
LSUHSC-Shreveport, in the settlement agreement, denies it has any liability relating to the contentions laid out in the federal lawsuit and allegations leveled in the agreement.
In addition to the payment, for three years LSUHSC-Shreveport must maintain its compliance program, report overpayments, notify the government of any ongoing investigations or legal proceedings, file annual reports, submit to audits and retain its records, according to a certification of compliance agreement between the local facility and the inspector general's office in the Health and Human Services Department.
The lawsuit filed by Dr. William Overdyke, a teaching physician in the hospital's orthopedic department, and Susan Belgert Hodnett, the orthopedic head nurse, claims Drs. J.A. Albright and Kalia Sadasivan were "routinely absent from surgical procedures to which they were scheduled to attend. Irrespective of the fact of their physical absence, (the doctors) repeatedly signed billing slips indicating their presence at hundred and possibly thousands of surgical procedures ... for the purpose of billing Medicare and Medicaid."
Obtaining the payments from Medicare requires physicians to specifically describe and certify the scope and extent of their role during surgical procedures performed by residents, the release states.
In the time freed up by not attending these surgeries, Albright and Sadasivan treated "private pay patients," alleges the lawsuit, which names both doctors as defendants.
The hospital "divided the federal reimbursements between the hospital and the teaching physicians."
The lawsuit was
filed under the federal False Claims Act, a civil fraud law that allows
someone who witnesses fraud to file a claim. It is the government's principal
tool in recouping dollars obtained through fraud and misrepresentation, the
Of the $706,677.79 paid by LSUHSC-Shreveport, $141,335.55 will go to Overdyke and Hodnett as a whistleblower fee, said their attorney, Patrick Jackson.
Overdyke and Hodnett were fired and were the targets of a "campaign of retrobution" in which the two were "blackballed" from their professions, Jackson said Wednesday.
Overdyke was "harassed in his employment and eventually terminated by defendant doctors Albright and Sadasivan," the lawsuit states.
Overdyke was fired in July 2001; Hodnett fired in September 2003.
Sadasivan brought unfounded ethics charges against Overdyke in an effort to ruin his reputation in the medical community, the lawsuit alleges. Sadasivan alleged that Overdyke received kickbacks from medical device manufacturers, used his position to increase sales of medical devices from his wife's employer, implanted defective medical products and operated on patients while under the influence of alcohol.
LSUHSC-Shreveport Chancellor/Dean Dr. John C. McDonald launched an investigation into whether Overdyke violated an ethics policy because he "had a spouse who had a company we were buying from," McDonald told The Times in February 2003.
The state Ethics
Board fined Overdyke and his wife, a representative
of M.D. Medical Inc., $10,000 each in October 2003 for violating the state
ethics code by being involved with a company that does business with the
Hodnett, who was promoted ahead of her peers at
"This institution used all its connections to smear these people to cover up the illegal conduct of the institution and its employees."
investigation spurred by Overdyke's and Hodnett's allegations lasted seven years during which
there was a gag order,
"The new administration at the hospital and at the system level are
doing their best to restore the reputation of this once-great
The Associated Press
U.S. Attorney Donald W. Washington says an investigation found that the facility routinely submitted claims for payment to Medicare Part B on behalf of doctors who said they helped orthopedic residents during surgery when in fact they were not present for the procedure as required.
announced Wednesday, was filed under the Federal False Claims Act, a civil
law that allows the government to recoup money obtained through fraud and
misrepresentation. It also allows individuals who witnessed fraud to sue on
behalf of the
The fraud was exposed by William Overdyke, a former teaching physician in the orthopedic department, and Susan Belgard Hodnett, a registered nurse.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.
Decision makers in the realms of health care and public safety perhaps have been taking the wisdom of Solomon to heart.
the financially strapped
But more importantly there is the shared mission of children's health combined with LSUHSC's role in educating new generations of physicians and allied health professionals.
The Shriners national budget woes that threaten six
hospitals, including its first, the 87-year-old
The public, both as taxpayers and paying health care customers, are often perplexed that such collaborations aren't more the norm, rather than high-stakes competition than can result in costly duplication of services.
If Shriners meeting at their national convention this month
see the wisdom of keeping the
In the realm of
emergency services, a similar outcome should come from a partnership between
the Shreveport Fire Department and Caddo Fire District 5. No, it's not
exactly city-parish government — the ultimate dream — but it does mark a bit
of common sense in providing fire and emergency medical service to southeast
A "no brainer" is how Caddo Commissioner Mike Thibodeaux framed the proposal that still needs Shreveport City Council approval. Indeed, why did it take this long to set up this automatic backup system?
The plan for each department automatically to be called to provide backup for the other will cost taxpayers no additional dollars for either agency, officials said Tuesday.
More certain fire response. No additional cost. Yes, it's a no brainer.
HIV/AIDS has been
on the rise for the past two years, and
increased 9 percent in
One factor is a decreasing concern about HIV/AIDS on the part of young people, who've heard about the disease all their lives. Another is a stigma against homosexuality, which can discourage African-American men from getting tested or being honest with partners about their sexual behavior.
organizations recently held free, anonymous rapid testing in conjunction with
National HIV Awareness Day. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation/Magic Johnson
Caravan also stopped in
Those efforts and last year's initiative by African-American clergy to urge testing by getting tested themselves are all critical ways to continue the battle against this epidemic.
Rep. Ahn "Joseph" Cao uses health fair to tout national reforms
by Amber Sandoval-Griffin, The Times-Picayune
Kicking off of his AAA Health Care Initiative at a community health fair Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Ahn "Joesph" Cao, R-New Orleans, said the country needs to expand and find a way to pay for health care reforms.
And he used
ongoing efforts in his District 2 as an example of the programs Congress
should finance to provide better health care throughout the
"As we go forward as a nation to discuss and to address health care reform, I hope that our leaders in Congress will take the opportunity to take a look at what we are trying to do down here as a community, " Cao said.
Wednesday afternoon, Cao joined forces with the LSU Health Sciences Center and other health organizations in the New Orleans area to launch his "Affordable, Accessible, Accountable" health initiative and offer free health screenings and education to the public at Grace Episcopal Church on Canal Street.
Steve Nelson, dean
"These are issues that we are concerned about -- the lack of health care in the city and the lack of accurate adequate infrastructure, " Cao said. "In respect to Charity, my main focus is to get the necessary funding, the $492 million that the state contends FEMA owes the state, to either rebuild the old Charity or to build a new state-of-the-art hospital."
More than 50
After receiving a blood pressure and diabetes screening, 47-year-old Clarence Smith who is uninsured, touted the impact of the fair on the community.
"It's very important because for many citizens that don't have insurance, this allows them a chance to get a checkup, " Smith said. "You can see that there is a need amongst the citizens from this turnout."
revealed no problems, but for others, the screenings showed a need for
immediate medical attention. Two people receiving a health screening for
diabetes were sent to the hospital, according to Leslie Capo, director of
information services at
The Rev. Peter
Gray, who opened the doors of the Grace Episcopal Church for Cao and LSU to
host the event, said he was grateful for the effort of the fair, but called
it a small step for health care reform throughout
"We know that a single health fair on a hot July afternoon is merely a drop in the bucket for what ails us, " Gray said. "We know that for health care to truly be affordable, accessible and accountable we must do more. Our local city leaders and Congressman Cao himself will need to give their best efforts and appropriate the necessary resources to fill the gaps in a way that is both effective and efficient."
By Mike Hasten
BATON ROUGE — Gov. Bobby Jindal's use of his line-item veto pen this week scratched through 53 items and provisions, slicing millions of dollars that were to go to local governments and organizations throughout the state.
Shreveport-area projects were not unscathed as the governor cut $390,000 worth of projects.
Among those vetoed was $250,000 to Louisiana State University-Shreveport for the LaPREP enrichment program for middle and early high school students.
Carlos Spaht, the creator and director of the LaPrep program, said the news was heartbreaking.
"I'm disappointed, very disappointed, but we're not going to give up," he said. "We're still going to write grants."
This year, the
program expanded with a pre-LaPrep program called
Get Set for fourth and fifth grades in Mansfield and Keithville, and a
post-program called AVEA (Animation and
Chancellor Vincent Marsala called the governor's veto "an unfortunate event for the children of our area".
has attained regional and national acclaim in its goal to encourage young
students to study math and science, remain in school and go to college,"
he said. "The failure of the state to support this excellent model for
Other items vetoed included:
n $100,000 to the Cultural Development
Program for the
n $40,000 to the
Jindal's statewide cuts totaled $3 million in
legislative pet projects plus $14 million that would have kept a
Prior to the recently concluded legislative session, the governor reminded lawmakers that he had established criteria for funding non-government organizations and that he would veto any that didn't meet those specifications.
Many of the vetoes were local projects, but some were within state government. Three just struck language that was deemed unnecessary.
"Just as families and businesses do in response to challenging financial times, we took steps to make sure that government lives within its means, passing a state budget for the upcoming fiscal year that tightens the belt of state government while also protecting critical services," Jindal said in a news release.
Many of the projects injected into House Bill 881, a supplemental appropriations bill, had been vetoed from HB1, the primary appropriations bill that funds state government.
For most of the 55 items vetoed from HB881, this was their axing in a month.
The primary purpose of HB881 was to restore funding that was being cut from higher education and health care. Lawmakers chose also to add $434 million in local projects.
Much of the funding was in HB1, but because the bill passed by the Legislature relied on funding sources contingent on legislation that the governor vowed to veto, he sliced it.
Jindal said that "working closely with the Legislature, we took steps through House Bill 881 to mitigate reductions to higher education and healthcare and to give us an opportunity to prepare for continuing budget challenges in the years ahead."
HB881 restored $118.1 million to higher education, which was facing a $219 million cut. That's a reduction of 6.78 percent from current funding, after a $50 million mid-year cut.
The Department of Health and Hospitals, including restorations made in HB881 and $212.8 million authorized by House Bill No. 879 to hospitals for uncompensated care and hurricane related losses, has a 2.94 percent decrease from the previous fiscal year, Jindal said.
The Medicaid private provider program for FY 10 totals $4.2 billion, which the governor says is a $179 million or 4 percent decrease from the previous year. That does not include the special one-time payment of $212.8 million to hospitals. When these one-time hospital payments are included, the net Medicaid private provider program expenditures will increase by 0.75 percent.
Some of the oddities vetoed were the Mayhaw Festival in Calcasieu Parish and Friends of the Fire Departments Engines.
Town Talk staff
Primary Health Care Center in
Patricia L. Lewis, the center's CEO, said the funds are being provided by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
HHS is providing a
total of $11.7 million in Recovery Act grants to 24 community health-care
The funds for Rapides Primary Health Care Center will provide nearly a third of the $1.4 million required for the Women's Pavilion project. State funds and program income will be used to complete the project.
Pavilion, which should be completed within two years, will be built behind
the existing medical center, located at
HHS is also providing funds to these Cenla facilities:
--$638,780 to the
Catahoula Parish Hospital District #2 at
--$609,660 to the
--$250,000 to the
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-New Orleans, said the Winnfield facility had previously received $100,000.
Recovery Act grants provide
"This (Winn) center will provide critical health services to a previously underserved area. Now residents will not have to travel great distances to receive the care they need," Landrieu said.
Point of View: Jindal slashes mental health
Posted by State Rep. Neil Abramson, Guest Columnist
Cotton and Latoya Johnson apparently died in vain. The death of these two
The governor championed huge cuts in many areas, including higher education and health care. NOAH was part of that axing.
Last year NOAH
provided both in-patient and out-patient services for the
The executive budget
also proposed sending the in-patient services provided by NOAH last year to
With the support
of the House and Senate, the
While the Legislature restored some funding to higher education and other areas of health care, and we wished we could have done more, legislators funded both NOAH and Southeast within the existing budget and without requiring an additional revenue source. In our budget, NOAH and Southeast would have experienced cuts like many other institutions under the governor's budget -- 20 percent and 16 percent, respectively. Both facilities, however, would have remained open and operational.
these in-patient beds would have remained on the south
Gov. Jindal and Secretary Alan Levine of DHH defended their
plan to move these critical services to Mandeville, saying they will still
serve the mentally ill in
Without these beds on the south shore, our mentally ill patients are going to end up at local private hospitals, which are required to treat them under federal law but don't have either the capacity or the financial ability to do so. Or, these patients are going to be left out on the street.
repeated pleas to the administration for a real plan that would keep these
beds on the south shore, the administration provided none. With a stroke of
the pen, the governor eliminated vital mental health care in
by Jonathan Tilove, The Times-Picayune
"All I can do
is make rational arguments and hope they catch; it's a great experiment, " Obama said in an interview with small group of
reporters at the White House. The roundtable with reporters on health care
immediately followed a town hall meeting on the subject across the Potomac
Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius issued
reports last week assessing the quality and affordability of health care in
each of the 50 states, with
"Louisianians can't afford the status quo, " read a headline on the report, which rated the state "very weak" on overall quality of care, worse even than neighboring states Mississippi, Texas and Arkansas, which were rated "weak, " and Alabama, which was rated "average."
But despite what
the Obama administration said is the dire state of health care in
With the exception of Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, R-New Orleans, who has not said where he stands on the so-called "public option, " the state's delegates oppose the idea of a government-sponsored plan competing with private insurers. That includes the delegation's two Democrats, Rep. Charlie Melancon and Sen. Mary Landrieu. Through a spokesman, Landrieu has said she supports "a predominantly private system that features a federal backup plan that serves as a safety net, " and not, as the Obama administration would like, as a truly "robust" competitor.
'Old ideological debate'
Because of her
opposition, Landrieu has come under attack in an ad campaign -- on the
Internet, then radio, and now TV -- orchestrated by the activist groups
Asked about the wisdom of that strategy, Obama said: "I can't answer for all the ads that are being run on both sides of the debate; I don't watch them. I'm focused on being in close contact with people like Mary, and I'm sure she's talking to her constituents."
But, the president said, "Let's be honest, some of the resistance here is the result of many years of panic-peddling when it comes to health care and gets caught up in old ideological debate, and you know Louisiana is a culturally conservative and politically conservative state, and I think the specter of a government takeover of health care, of socialized medicine, whenever those phrases are thrown about, maybe they have more resonance."
But, Obama said, "If we know that the status quo is not working for the people of Louisiana, then the way to persuade the Louisiana delegation to support it is coming up with a plan that is going to be good for the people of Louisiana, and then my hope is that (the Louisiana delegation) is responsive to the needs of the people."
Obama said he is "not proposing a government takeover of health care. If you've got a doctor you like or a health care plan you like in the private marketplace, we don't want to mess with it. If your employer is providing you good care, that's great."
"But, " he said, "if you're underinsured or uninsured, then we want to provide you with the opportunity to get good quality health care, and we want the system as a whole to start using the health care money that we are using already in a more intelligent way so we are getting more bang for our health care dollar and over time people are getting healthier at lower cost."
Opponents of a public option think the plan is a Trojan horse for a wholesale government takeover of the insurance market. They say the competition between public and private insurers will be rigged, with the public plan able to pay doctors and hospitals less and shift the unpaid costs onto the private insurers. They also say that the public option will, whenever it needs to, be able to tap the deep pockets of the federal treasury.
But Obama said that is not how he envisions the public plan operating.
"What I've said is a public plan should not be dependent on ongoing taxpayer support, that a public plan should be self-reliant on premiums and should be able to provide a healthy dose of competition to private insurers who say they are providing terrific coverage, " he said.
"And if the public plan operating under the same rules as private plans turns out to be keeping its administrative costs lower, is cheaper, is providing high-quality care with a great network of doctors, that should be a spur for greater innovation and efficiency in the private marketplace."
From CNN Political Producer Rebecca Sinderbrand
(CNN) – Sen. Mary Landrieu is facing new pressure from liberal groups pushing for a public health insurance option.
A coalition that
includes MoveOn.org, Democracy for
"For me, this
issue's personal," says breast cancer survivor Karen Gadbois
in the ad, which is slated to run in the
The ad flashes the
number for Landrieu's Senate office in
The groups did not reveal the size of the buy.
The new spot is the latest element of a weeks-long campaign aimed at Landrieu and other senators who have expressed skepticism about or opposition to a public option as Congress weighs a massive overhaul of the nation's health care system. The effort has already included state-level phone campaigns, Web and radio ads.
Last week, MoveOn announced a similar ad campaign targeting Sen. Kay Hagan, D-North Carolina. The group is already running spots aimed at Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California.
Landrieu is also facing pressure from the right. Conservatives for Patients Rights, which opposes President Obama's health care plan, has gone on the airwaves in a dozen states — including Louisiana — that are represented by conservative Democrats or moderate Republicans viewed as possible swing votes. The spots urge viewers to call on their senators to reject any government-run option.
by The Times-Picayune
A trial court judge must determine whether any future criminal litigation against Dr. Anna Pou "could be reasonably anticipated" before determining whether The Times-Picayune and CNN can obtain investigative documents from the case, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.
In the decision,
written by Chief Justice Catherine "Kitty" Kimball, the state's
high court found that the record currently is "insufficient" to
determine whether Pou could again face charges for
allegedly euthanizing patients at
Both the Orleans
Parish district attorney's office and Louisiana Attorney General Buddy
Caldwell have indicated they have no intention of reinstating the criminal
investigation against Pou initiated by former
Attorney General Charles Foti. But
The opinion states that a contradictory hearing must be held by the trial judge to determine whether future prosecution is reasonably anticipated.
By Richard Laliberte
To be successful at any big undertaking — starting a new career, salvaging a shaky marriage, mastering a foreign language — you have to "give it 110 percent," as the saying goes. But when it comes to what may be the most important change of all — revitalizing your health — you may be better off giving only 10 percent and not worrying too much about the other proverbial 100. "You're more likely to succeed by making small changes," says Catherine Champagne, Ph.D., professor of research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System. "If you totally overhaul your diet or start an ambitious exercise program, you're less likely to stick with it."
Micro-improvements do more than chip away at a larger objective — they accomplish plenty on their own. Some of these are cumulative; do several and you'll see an even bigger benefit. Here are (count 'em) 10 small shifts that can reward you with a big health payoff.
1. Smile at the Scale
The small change: Lose 10 percent of your body weight. If you're 5' 5" and weigh 160 pounds, shaving off just 10 percent (16 pounds) will take you from the "overweight" category to a normal body mass index (a measure of your height and weight in relation to each other). If you weigh 180, losing 18 pounds moves you below the dangerous threshold of clinical obesity. What's more, it's a manageable goal. "We find that people who lose just 1 percent of their body weight per week can lose 10 percent in two to three months without feeling they're making a sacrifice," says Maciej Buchowski, Ph.D., director of the Energy Balance Core Laboratory at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The big gains: Dropping pounds — and 10 percent is the initial target touted by the National Institutes of Health — will do more than let you go down a size or more in your jeans. It can also lower blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, making you a less likely candidate for heart attack or stroke. You'll also cut your chances of becoming diabetic. In fact, in a recent multicenter study, people who lost just a little over two pounds lowered their diabetes risk by 16 percent. And in new research at the University of California, San Francisco, heavy women with incontinence who lost somewhat less than 10 percent of their body weight reduced leakage 47 percent after six months (compared with a control group who received only educational support and saw a 28 percent drop in symptoms).
2. Take Your Dog for a Walk
The small change: Up your exercise 10 percent. Even if you're completely sedentary, your body still burns at least 1,000 calories a day (depending on your weight and age). So boosting that by 10 percent translates to a mere 100 calories — an amount you could expend by taking Fido out for a 28-minute walk. No dog? Mow the lawn with a hand-powered mower for 14 minutes, or walk up and down stairs for 15 minutes.
The big gains: A burn of 100 extra calories a day could help you drop up to 10 pounds in a year, provided you don't eat more (though you don't have to eat less, either). Even if you're already active — that is, you meet current guidelines of at least two and a half hours of moderate activity a week — heart health improves progressively (more exercise is better), so you'll still benefit.
Moving more can also cut breast cancer risk — walking 75 minutes (a little over 10 minutes a day) to two and a half hours a week drops your odds 18 percent, the Women's Health Initiative found. And exercise calms nerves even better than various nondrug treatments for anxiety, such as therapy and meditation, a review of 49 studies found.
By MARILYNN MARCHIONE
Jackson went into cardiac arrest, rescuers took him to a place known for
bringing the dead back to life. A world-renowned surgeon at the
Tested on a few dozen cardiac arrest patients, 80 percent survived. Usually, more than 80 percent perish.
people who were basically dead, not all that different than Michael Jackson,
and saved most of them," said Dr. Lance Becker, an emergency medicine
specialist at the
It's impossible to
know. Doctors at the hospital worked on him for an hour. The UCLA expert,
cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Gerald Buckberg, said he
was not personally involved in
"We have no idea when he died versus when he was found," Buckberg said in a telephone interview.
However, the results in other patients show that "the window is wide open to new thinking" about how long people can be successfully resuscitated after their hearts quit beating, Buckberg said. "We can salvage them way beyond the current time frames that are used. We've changed the concept of when the heart is dead permanently."
They call it "the Lazarus syndrome" for the man the Bible says Jesus raised from the dead.
Let's be clear: No one is saying that people long dead without medical attention can be revived. The lucky ones in Buckberg's study received quick help, and the reason they suffered cardiac arrest was known and could be fixed: blocked arteries causing a heart attack, in most cases.
Buckberg's method requires:
_Prompt CPR — rhythmic chest compressions — to maintain blood pressure until the patient gets to a hospital.
_Use of a heart-lung machine to keep blood and oxygen moving through the body while doctors remedy what caused the heart to quiver or stop in the first place, such as a drug overdose or a clogged artery.
_Special procedures and medicines to gradually restore blood and oxygen flow, so a sudden gush does not cause fresh damage.
Without all three elements, patients might suffer brain damage if they survive at all.
"You can save the heart and lose the brain," Buckberg explained.
UCLA and hospitals
Only seven died. Only two survivors were left with permanent neurological damage. Results were published in 2006 in the journal Resuscitation.
Dr. Constantine Athanasuleas (pronounced uh-than-uh-SOO'-lee-us), a surgeon at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, treated one man in the study who had been in cardiac arrest for about an hour and a half. The man's wife, a nurse, did CPR until a helicopter brought him to the hospital.
"He was flatlined," with a heart "as still as your dining room table," Athanasuleas said.
Doctors put him on a heart-lung machine, whisked him to the catheterization lab to see if he had artery blockages, then did bypass surgery to detour around them.
"The guy went home and was neurologically perfect" at least two years later, the doctor said.
Buckberg treated a woman who had been in cardiac arrest for 2 1/2 hours.
He would not send her to the operating room until her CPR and blood pressure could be maintained so further treatment could be attempted, he said.
Sadly, the woman survived all this but died several weeks later from an infection.
Buckberg has taken his work further in experiments with pigs in cardiac arrest. He deliberately deprived their brains of blood flow for half an hour, then used his resuscitation techniques to bring them back, with normal or near-normal function. Results presented at a heart association conference last fall stunned many, including Dr. Myron Weisfeldt, a cardiologist and chairman of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
"He's doing extraordinary things. You almost don't believe the results that he got," Weisfeldt said of Buckberg. "Most of us carry around in our head that if somebody's brain is deprived of blood flow for 10 to 15 minutes that we're just not going to get them back to any useful function. His data suggest it's possible."
Doctors in Japan, Taiwan and elsewhere in Asia have tried approaches similar to Buckberg's with excellent results, said Becker, who is about to try it in Philadelphia.
"It takes training. It takes rethinking" to get doctors to adopt something this new, and funding for bigger studies to prove it works, Buckberg said.
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