IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  May 1, 2010

Blame it on Marco Polo!

The delightful, well-traveled pasta salad.

Though thick noodles and spaghetti are thought to be solely Italian, the Greeks and Chinese lay claim to some form of pasta or noodles dating to ancient times. Some say Marco Polo brought pasta to Italy from the Court of Kublai Khan in 1295 A.D. So pasta has a long history.

Giuseppe Garibaldi, on liberating Naples in 1860, claimed, "It will be maccheroni, I swear to you, that will unite Italy!"

With his love for good food, it is said that Thomas Jefferson, served macaroni in his home in 1789. Before that, in song, Yankee Doodle had "stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni."

Grocery shelves now abound with endless forms of macaroni, spaghetti, and other pasta. Through the years, meats, seafood, vegetables and a myriad of sauces have been used to make pasta dishes.

The recipe below is perfect for everything from a carry-in to a spring party.

Spring pasta salad.

2 cups cooked rotini
2 boiled eggs, diced
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/4cupdiced celery
1/4 cup diced onions
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon capers
1 teaspoon pimentos.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Boil rotini until soft but firm (about 20 minutes). Drain and cool. Add the onion, celery, cheese, pimentos, and capers. In a bowl, whisk eggs, mix with the sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir until well blended. Add this dressing to the ingredients of the larger bowl and toss thoroughly. Chill until served.

Makes eight servings.

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First Aid: Why CCR works better than CPR

Cardiocerebral resuscitation for sudden cardiac arrest

Sudden cardiac death is one of the leading causes of mortality in the United States and other developed countries. In most of these patients, the heart is still beating, but it is fibrillating rather than having stopped.

Traditional cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) calls for alternating chest compression with rescue breaths. Research now shows that the breaths are not necessary because the blood in the central nervous system is not oxygen deficient at this time.

Researchers at the University of Arizona have created new out-of-hospital procedures called cardiocerebral resuscitation (CCR).

  • If you witnesses an event, you should immediately begin chest compressions.
  • Do them fast. Attempt to do 100 compressions per minute during the first two to five minutes. The heart is amenable to prompt defibrillation at this time. Continue to do compressions until medical service personnel arrives, generally within five minutes.

    At that point, if only one medical service person is available, your help will be needed to apply defibrillation pads and attach an oxygen mask.

    When these are in place, the patient receives a single shock from a defibrillator, followed by 200 more chest compressions. The pulse should be checked every four minutes. The shock and chest compressions can be repeated three times if necessary.

    An injection of epinephrine (EPI) is given as soon as possible. It improves circulation and blood pressure.

    A new study comparing CCR with CPR shows patients with shockable rhythms had far better outlooks when treated with the new procedures.


    Doctor's live-longer advice

  • Exercise every day. Lift weights once a week and stretch every day.
  • Get 15 minutes of sun every day to keep up your vitamin D levels.
  • Eat uncooked whole foods to naturally rejuvenate your body.
  • Sleep more than seven hours.
  • Have purpose in your life. Love living it.

    Chuckles Corner

  • Don't wait for a TIA

    Prevent a stroke with medication, healthier lifestyle. A TIA (transient ischemic attack) is an episode of stroke-like symptoms that disappear without noticeable injury. People often think that if they have not had a TIA, they won't have a real stroke.

    Not true. A TIA precedes only one in eight strokes, according to researchers at the University of Western Ontario.

    Dr, Daniel Hackman, who led the study, says individuals should asses their risk for a future stroke by having their risk factors checked, including smoking, diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and weight management, which is done with a primary care provider.

    A TIA is a warning sign that a major stroke may occur. About 11 percent of those experiencing one have a stroke over the next three months, about 20 percent of these strokes are fatal and two-thirds are disabling.

    Symptoms of a TIA are the same as those for a major stroke: poor balance, slurred speech or a droopy face, one side of the body is weak or numb, vision is all or partially lost, and there may be a severe headache. Anyone with any of these symptoms should go to the emergency room immediately.

    The risk of a disabling stroke after a TIA can be reduced when risk factors are managed with medications to thin blood, drugs that lower cholesterol and blood pressure, exercise, and a diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, but low in salt and saturated fat. These steps are advisable for everyone.

    People who never had a warning sign were more likely to have a major stroke than those who did. They were more likely to die at the hospital, more likely to have a heart attack while in the hospital, and less likely to be able to go home instead of to a nursing home.


    Stay sharp with stronger muscles

    Here's a surprise, there's a link between muscle strength and brain health. One study published in the Archives of Neurology, shows that muscle strength is actually linked with a lower risk of cognitive impairment. In older people, lack of strength is an early indicator of Alzheimer's disease.

    That doesn't prove that weak muscles cause Alzheimer's, but it does support the idea that there is a real link between physical health and brain health. It also suggests that keeping strong is important at all ages.

    Laparoscopic surgery for rectal tumors

    For faster healing and less pain, laparoscopic surgery has been chosen for many types of operations during the last two decades.

    More recently, the minimally invasive procedure has been successfully used for treating rectal tumors and rectal cancer. Laparoscopic is done through small incisions and guided by a viewing tube, the laparoscope. It results in less post-operative pain, faster healing and less scarring, say researchers at Duke University.

    Because there isn't much space in the pelvis, the best outcomes are closely related to the surgeon's experience.

    Hepatitis vaccinations

    Doctors at the Mayo Clinic say the best way to prevent liver disease is to get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B. A combination vaccine for both strains is available for people age 18 and older.

    You have increased risk of hepatitis if you are in close contact with someone who has it.

    Your risk is increased if you have contact with people who have HIV infections, those who have multiple sex partners, or people who share needles or syringes, including glucose-monitoring equipment.

    If you have been exposed within the last two weeks, a doctor can help with a shot of immune globulin.


    May 5-12, National Nurses Week

    Thank a nurse

    During National Nurses Week, we are reminded that nurses are a pivotal component of medical care for people of all ages.

    In 2005, Margo McCarthy, wrote Thank You, Nurse, to describe the feelings of her elderly patient. It says, in part:

    I was like you, so young and healthy,
    I laughed; I played; I once was wealthy!
    And I remember ... it went so fast!

    My Dad, my home, my son, all passed.
    But as I doze here in my chair,
    I'm there again, so young and fair.

    So talk to me when you are near;
    I'll hear your voice and know less fear.
    Come! See the true me and behold.

    Not a just a patient, sick and old.
    But a real person who had a life,
    A house, a job, a child, a wife.

    Thank you, nurse, you did your part.
    You said my name; you touched my heart.

    More than ever, as years go by, patient outcomes are known to be more positive when skilled and sensitive nursing is involved.
    Because a "patient" may be an individual, a family, or a community, patient outcome is a broad term that is amenable to change. Nurses are a positive influence in these outcomes.

    In addition to May 12, International Nurses Day, National Nurses Week includes May 8, National Student Nurses Day and Wednesday of Nurses Week, National School Nurses Day.


    May 10-16: National Stuttering Awareness Week

    He overcame his problem. Last November, Vice President Joseph Biden was presented the prestigious 2009 Annie Glenn Award at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) convention.

    The award is given annually to an individual who exemplifies the invincible spirit of Annie Glenn, wife of astronaut-turned-senator, John Glenn. She worked hard to overcome her stuttering problems. The first award was given to actor James Earl Jones.

    The vice president, once a stutterer, utilized techniques such as reading aloud in front of a mirror to help him overcome his speech problem. Biden credits his fluency difficulties with shaping his character.

    Stuttering is a speech disorder in which sounds, syllables or words are repeated or prolonged. More than 3 million Americans suffer from this disorder also known as disfluent speech and stammering. The problem is found four times more frequently in men than women.

    Recently, scientists at the National Institutes of Health have uncovered evidence that a gene can predispose an individual to stuttering. The study has shown cell mutations in the part of the brain that controls speech.

    Stuttering does not have to hinder a personís progress through life. Many successful people have had the problem; among them are Mel Tillis, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Julia Roberts, Tiger Woods, NFL star Darren Sproles, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill and Prince Albert of Monaco.

    It can be treated in both children and adults. Contacting a speech-language pathologist is important. There are several successful approaches to treating the disorder but there are no instant cures. Therapy takes time but all ages can be helped.

    For information on stuttering and various modes of therapy visit the Web site of the Stuttering Foundation of America: www.stutteringhelp.org.


    President's challenge

    May is the month of the President's Challenge. It's a great opportunity to have fun and get fit, individually or with a group. Whether you are presently inactive, seldom exercise, or will be one of The President's Champions, the challenge could put you on the road to fitness and strength.

    The Active Lifestyle Program

    If you are active less than 30 minutes a day, five days a week, this program is what you need to strengthen your heart, increase your endurance and give you a more positive outlook on life. The program helps you set goals that encourage fitness for a lifetime.

    You can choose from all kinds of activities. You'll get a personal log to guide you on the way toward the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award. The program asks you to be active five days a week for six weeks.

    The Presidential Champions Program

    If are already active for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, the Champions Program will test just how high you can raise your activity level. The guidelines are simple and you can choose from a number of activities.

    The Champions also get a personal activity log to help track their progress. There is a special segment for performance athletes and others who want to train at advanced levels.

    In either case, the goal is to see how many points you can earn by being active. You could earn the Bronze award or keep going for a Silver or Gold.

    You don't need an invitation to join. Just go to www.thepresidentschallenge.org and sign up.

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    Healthy snacks

    When you want a treat to go with your movie, think about your heart as well as your taste buds.

    Skip the candy and cupcakes and forget the potato chips. Popcorn is better. It qualifies as one of the whole-grain foods that scientists at the University of Scranton say are great sources of fiber.

    In fact, popcorn was their top choice. Most microwave popcorn tastes just fine without adding butter.

    Whole-grain snacks contain antioxidants that remove free radicals (harmful chemicals) from the body.

    When selecting your snack foods, read the label and look for those that list whole grain as the first ingredient.

    Who needs a shingles vaccination?

    Shingles results when the body reactivates the virus that causes chicken pox. Some people think they never had chicken pox, so they can't get shingles.

    Doctors at the CDC say 99 percent of Americans over 40 have had chicken pox, or come into contact with it, even if didn't produce symptoms. So it's wise to be immunized against the virus.

    Shingles can be extremely painful. It travels through nerve paths, and the rash causes a burning sensation that some say feels like being shocked. A quarter of sufferers have pain that lasts for months.

    The risk of developing shingles rises after age 50. The older the victim, the more severe the effect. Pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness and encephalitis can be complications. It pays to be immunized with Zostavax, say doctors at Johns Hopkins Medical Centers.