April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Senior CoupleAccording to the National Library of Medicine

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a type of movement disorder. It happens when nerve cells in the brain don’t produce enough of a brain chemical called dopamine. Sometimes it is genetic, but most cases do not seem to run in families. Exposure to chemicals in the environment might play a role.

Symptoms begin gradually, often on one side of the body. Later they affect both sides. They include

  • Trembling of hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
  • Stiffness of the arms, legs and trunk
  • Slowness of movement
  • Poor balance and coordination

Statistics from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation

  • As many as one million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease, which is more than the combined number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
  • Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, and this number does not reflect the thousands of cases that go undetected.
  • An estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Incidence of Parkinson’s increases with age, but an estimated four percent of people with PD are diagnosed before the age of 50.
  • Men are one and a half times more likely to have Parkinson’s than women.

If you need more information stop up at the Reference Desk on the third floor and browse the materials that were generously donated by the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation or ask for more information from the Health Reference Librarian.

posted by – Susan, Health Reference


Posted in Health Reference, MedlinePlus, Parkinson's Disease, Parkinson's Disease Foundation, Syosset Public Library | Leave a comment

Affordable Care Act – Enrollment Closing March 31, 2014

New-York-State-of-Health-logoJust a quick reminder that open enrollment ends March 31, 2014.

You can get help in numerous ways.


Visit New York State of Health – http://www.healthbenefitexchange.ny.gov/

There is a chat feature that will connect you with a representative, or you can contact them by phone – 1-855-355-5777.

There are also navigators that are trained to assist you with your application.

Nassau Suffolk Hospital Council has created a website specifically for those seeking assistance – http://www.coverage4healthcare.com/

You will find dates and times that navigators will be available to assist you.  Please note they do not make appointments – walk in only.

Before you go make sure that you have the following information available for all those that you wish to obtain coverage.

    • Social Security numbers (SSNs)
    • Email address
    • Document numbers for eligible immigrants who want health coverage:** If you are a naturalized citizen you will need to have your alien identification number (A#) and your certificate number to complete the application.**
    • Birth dates
    • Paystubs, W-2 forms, or other information about your family’s income
    • Policy/member numbers for any current health coverage
    • Information about any health coverage from a job that’s available to you or your family.

posted by – Susan, Health Reference


Posted in Affordable Care Act, Nassau Suffolk Hospital Council, New York State of Health, Open enrollment | Leave a comment

Effects of Lack of Sleep and Exercise on Teens

shutterstock_61331179 Young woman doing exerciseWe as parents are used to being warned to watch out for the warning signs that our teens might be abusing drugs and alcohol as well as the negative effects these substances might have on their mental health.  A new study reported in Medical News Today “Lack of sleep and exercise, too much TV affects teens’ mental health”warns that there are behaviors that might subtly be having  deleterious effects on the mental health of at risk teens.

“The investigators were surprised by the third group, which they labelled the “invisible-risk” group. This was made up of 29% of adolescents who had high media use, sedentary behavior and reduced sleep.”


Did you know that a study has shown that teens need 9 1/4 hours of sleep? Here is a link to a well done handout for written specifically for teens about getting enough sleep – Adolescent Sleep Deprivation.  More information from the National Sleep Foundation about Teens and Sleep.


Physical Activity Facts from the CDC.  The University of Rochester Medical Center has compiled information about establishing an exercise plan and health benefits of exercise.

Want to get your teen moving?  WebMD has put together “5 Ways to Help Unfit Teens Get Moving.”

And from Teens Health –

Rewards and Benefits

Experts recommend that teens get 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. Here are some of the reasons:

  • Exercise benefits every part of the body, including the mind.Exercising causes the body to produce endorphins, chemicals that can help a person to feel more peaceful and happy. Exercise can help some people sleep better. It can also help some people who have mild depression and low self-esteem. Plus, exercise can give people a real sense of accomplishment and pride at having achieved a certain goal — like beating an old time in the 100-meter dash.
  • Exercising can help you look better. People who exercise burn more calories and look more toned than those who don’t. In fact, exercise is one of the most important parts of keeping your body at a healthy weight.
  • Exercise helps people lose weight and lower the risk of some diseases. Exercising to maintain a healthy weight decreases a person’s risk of developing certain diseases, including type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. These diseases, which used to be found mostly in adults, are becoming more common in teens.
  • Exercise can help a person age well. This may not seem important now, but your body will thank you later. Women are especially prone to a condition called osteoporosis (a weakening of the bones) as they get older. Studies have found that weight-bearing exercise — like jumping, running, or brisk walking — can help girls (and guys!) keep their bones strong.

It’s tough to get highly stressed, over worked, teens to disconnect from social media, TV, iPads/iPods etc. but it’s vital.

If you’re a teen get up and get moving.

posted by – Susan, Health Reference


Posted in Body Image, CDC, Depression, Effects of Lack of Sleep and Exercise on Teens, excercise, Exercise, Medical News Today, Mental Health, Nemours, Teens and exercise, Teens and Sleep, WebMd | Leave a comment

Acetaminophen Dosage Concerns

MP900390530[1]According to a safety alert released by the FDA on January 14, 2014:

FDA is recommending health care professionals discontinue prescribing and dispensing prescription combination drug products that contain more than 325 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen per tablet, capsule or other dosage unit. There are no available data to show that taking more than 325 mg of acetaminophen per dosage unit provides additional benefit that outweighs the added risks for liver injury. Further, limiting the amount of acetaminophen per dosage unit will reduce the risk of severe liver injury from inadvertent acetaminophen overdose, which can lead to liver failure, liver transplant, and death.   Cases of severe liver injury with acetaminophen have occurred in patients who:

• took more than the prescribed dose of an acetaminophen-containing product in a 24-hour period

• took more than one acetaminophen-containing product at the same time

• drank alcohol while taking acetaminophen products.

The alert does not include over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol. The FDA said it will address over-the-counter products in another regulatory action.

There have been reports for a few years not warning of liver damage when large doses of Acetaminophen are ingested (see the NPR report from 2011.)

Many of us disregard the dosage information on over-the-counter medications. “If one is good two is better” mentality.  The dosage information is there to guide the use and keep them safe.

Please read the FDA information “Understanding Over-the-Counter Medicines.”

posted by – Susan, Health Reference



Posted in Acetaminophen, FDA, Over-the-Counter medications | Leave a comment

Searching for Health Information

Man Scratching HeadMany patrons come in to the library not knowing where to search for information or they’ve begun their search and have gotten confused with the amount of health websites available. Others have gotten advice from a friends or family that doesn’t match up with what their health care provider has suggested and need clarification.

There is some terrific information out there, but there are also many sites that offer inaccurate or unsubstantiated information. Don’t even get me started on celebrities that have no medical training who write books and appear on TV and radio spreading information.

I’ve spent a great deal of time culling through the information available and have compiled “Recommended Websites” to help you in your search.  You can find them on the Health Reference page of the Syosset Public Library website.

When in doubt, or if you are still overwhelmed, the best place to begin a health search is MedlinePlus.  This site is a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine
From the National Institutes of HealthNational Institutes of Health.  You will find information from the NLM/NIH as well as links to other reputable sites with appropriate information.

If you’re not sure where to look the Health Reference Librarian can research any health topic and send you a packet of information that is personalized just for you? Books, articles, databases, can be provided for you.  Send me an e-mail via the website or call the Reference Department (516)921-7161 ext. 217 for assistance.

posted by – Susan, Health Reference




Posted in Health information, Health Reference, MedlinePlus, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, NIH, Recommended Websites, Searching for Health Information | 2 Comments

Safety in the Snow

shutterstock_19071739 Winter park in snowWe’re bracing for a blizzard here on Long Island.  While the snow is pretty to look at sitting in the warmth of your living room but once you step outside all bets are off.

Winter Driving

Stay off the roads for your safety and also to stay out of the way of the plows. If you absolutely have to drive AAA has compiled information to keep you safe when you have to drive in the snow. There more terrific advice on the site.

Tips for driving in the snow:

  •  Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
  • Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.

Shoveling Safety

If you are planning to go out and shovel the National Safety Council has put together safety tips.  You can read them all here, but I here are some highlights

  • If you have a history of heart disease do not shovel unless you have consulted with your health professional
  • Take it slow! Shoveling (like lifting weights) can raise your heart rate and blood pressure dramatically; so pace yourself.  Be sure to stretch out and warm up before taking on the task.
  • Shovel only fresh snow.  Freshly fallen, powdery snow is easier to shovel than the wet, packed-down variety.
  • Push the snow as you shovel.  it’s easier on your back than lifting the show out of the way.

Keeping your children safe in the snow

With the large amount of snow and possible blizzard conditions tonight and tomorrow there is a great possibility that schools will be closed tomorrow.(Visit News12 Long Island for closings – there are already closings and delays listed.)

Nemours has advice for parents and children regarding “How to Be Safe in the Ice and Snow.”

Related links

posted by – Susan, Health Reference

Posted in AAA, Blizzard, How to be safe in the ice and snow, Long Island, National Safety Council, Nemours, School closings on Long Island, Snow Safety, Tips for driving in the snow, Winter driving | Leave a comment

FDA to Take a Closer Look at Antibacterial Soaps

OK, I apologize I’ve been absent for a bit, but please come back and I’ll try to regain your trust.

Washing Hands with SoapThere have been questions regarding the safety of antibacterial soaps and body washes for quite a while in the scientific journals and on message boards. Now the FDA has decided to take a closer look at the need for anti-bacterial soaps, and what they might be doing to our immune system.

According to a FDA (FDA Taking Closer Look at ‘Antibacterial’ Soap) consumer update Every day, consumers use antibacterial soaps and body washes at home, work, school and in other public settings. Especially because so many consumers use them, FDA believes that there should be clearly demonstrated benefits to balance any potential risks. In fact, there currently is no evidence that over-the-counter (OTC) antibacterial soap products are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water, says Colleen Rogers, Ph.D., a lead microbiologist at FDA. Moreover, antibacterial soap products contain chemical ingredients, such as triclosan and triclocarban, which may carry unnecessary risks given that their benefits are unproven.

If you want to know what is in the products that you have in under your sink (or anywhere in your house) I highly recommend you look at the Household Products Database. This is a collaboration between the NIH and National Library of Medicine, that compiles information about common household products. You can search the site to learn more about what’s in these products, about potential health effects, and about safety and handling.

Thanks for stopping by.

posted by – Susan, Health Reference

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Posted in FDA, Hand washing, National Library of Medicine, Triclosan | Leave a comment