You and Your Health and Safety
Starting the New Year Out Right
What better time to pay close attention to your well-being! These classes
and lecture are bound to make your New Year healthier.
- A 12-week course of fitness classes begins Monday, January 15; and you
can have a free preview of these classes during the week of January 8. Registration
will take place from Tuesday, January 2, through Friday, January 12, at
the Health Awareness Program offices, suite 100, 1015 Chestnut Street, or
at the Activities Office, B-100, Jefferson Alumni Hall, between 9 a.m. and
5 p.m. For more information, call 6319.
- "Colorectal Cancer: New Developments" ­p; a free lecture
by Robert D. Fry, MD, the Gerald J. Marks Professor of Surgery and director
of the division of colorectal surgery, on Thursday, January 18, from noon
to 1 p.m. in 218 Curtis. Learn the latest about the causes, signs and symptoms
of this disease, as well as methods of detection and advanced treatments
designed to avoid a colostomy. Reservations are necessary; call 6319.
- The Smoke StoppersSM smoking cessation program will hold free introductory
classes on Wednesday, January 24, from noon to 1 p.m. or from 5:30 to 6:30
p.m. in 215 Edison. The program fee for employees is $60. Those who complete
the program and remain smokefree for six months will receive a full rebate.To
reserve your seat at the introductory class or for further information,
- Video Education Series, featuring "Coming of Age," on Tuesdays,
January 23 and 30, and Wednesday, January 31, from noon to 1 p.m. in suite
100, 1015 Chestnut Street. Older individuals and those who expect to be
older some day can learn how to diminish the effects of aging on their body
and mind. Topics include: cancer prevention, heart health, skin care, strong
bones and mental fitness. If these dates and times are inconvenient, your
department or group can arrange a private showing. To reserve your seat
or schedule a showing, call 6319.
Safeguarding Patients' Rights
Advance directives are supposed to create peace of mind for patients. Living
wills, proxy appointments and durable powers of attorney ensure that a patients'
wishes are carried out in the event of serious illness. Unfortunately, that's
not always the case. Researchers at a New York hospital found that admissions
office personnel sometimes fail to document that there is a directive, or
patients and their families forget to tell hospital staff that an advance
directive has been written. At Jefferson, admitting nurses are responsible
for asking and documenting if a patient has an advance directive. If necessary,
patients' questions and concerns about advance directives are handled by
the department of social work. To further ensure that their wishes are respected,
patients should be conscientious about bringing a copy of their advance
directive with them to the hospital.
Fireplace Safety Tips
As winter makes its presence known, many people's thoughts turn to cozy
evenings basking in front of a warm fire. While a crackling fire can be
cheering, it can also be dangerous if you neglect to take proper safety
precautions before settling down in front of the flames.
Overdosing on Vitamin A Poses Health Risks
for Unborn Babies
- Before you build the first fire of the year, make sure your chimney
is clean and in tip-top condition. If you haven't had it done since last
season, have the chimney inspected by a professional. Wood-burning stoves
also need annual once-overs.
- Always open the chimney flue or damper to allow smoke to escape.
- Don't use kerosene or other lighter fluid to make the flames burn more
- Burn wood only, not trash, glossy magazines or wrapping paper.
- Use a fireplace screen made of metal or heat-tempered glass to protect
from stray sparks or embers.
- Keep the hearth clutter free. Make sure youngsters know they can look
at, but can't touch, the fire. ·
- Let the fire burn down to ashes about one hour prior to your bedtime.
More is not always better, especially in the case of vitamin A and pregnant
women. According to a recent study, expectant moms who popped too many vitamin
A pills significantly increased their unborn babies' risk of birth defects.
The women in the study ingested more than 15,000 international units of
vitamin A a day. Most brands of vitamin A pills have 10,000 international
units, while prenatal vitamins contain approximately 5,000 international
units. Natural sources of vitamin A and its precursor beta carotene don't
have the same toxic effect, says Jefferson obstetrician Joyce C. Frye, DO,
so a woman's best bet is to eat a nutritionally sound diet that includes
balanced protein sources, dairy products and produce ­p; orange and yellow
fruit and vegetables and dark-green leafy vegetables. Pregnant women should
take just one prenatal pill a day containing no more than 5,000 international
units of Vitamin A, which is the recommended dietary allowance.
More Choices for Osteoporosis Treatment
Postmenopausal women at risk for the brittle bone disease, osteoporosis,
used to have only one weapon to help fight the condition ­p; estrogen
(hormone therapy). But many women, especially those at risk for cancer,
hesitated to take estrogen because of its link to breast and uterine cancers.
Now, with the FDA's recent approval of the first nonhormonal treatment,
women have yet another method to add to their arsenal against bone loss.
"Alendronate (fosamax) shows promise for being the most effective and
efficacious osteoporosis treatment," says John L. Abruzzo, MD, director
of Jefferson's Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Center. "Clinical
studies with alendronate show it not only slows bone loss but can help restore
lost bone, thereby reducing fractures." A modest 10 percent increase
in bone density can reduce fracture risk by 50 percent.
Some women complain of mild muscle aches and stomach upset with this new
medication, which is delivered in pill form. For best results, patients
must swallow pills first thing in the morning and wait at least 30 minutes
before eating or drinking anything else.
The Many Uses of Aspirin Keeps Growing
It's been called the wonder drug because it reduces fever, eases headache
pain and cuts the risk of second heart attacks. Aspirin's latest feat is
that it may be the simplest prescription for keeping colorectal cancer at
bay. The newest study shows that taking one tablet every day for 20 years
cuts in half an individual's risk of developing colon cancer. Good news
for people at risk for the disease: those with a personal or family history
of polyps, colorectal or gynecological cancer and those over age 50, says
Jefferson colorectal surgeon Robert D. Fry, MD, director of the division
of colon and rectal surgery. However, aspirin poses serious health risks
in some individuals, so patients should discuss the chronic and frequent
use of aspirin with their doctor.