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Alzheimer's Q&A: Do individuals with Alzheimer's disease feel pain?

Do individuals with Alzheimer’s disease feel pain? Alzheimer’s disease does not cause pain itself, but a person with the disease can experience pain from other sources. It is a great challenge to assess if the affected person is having pain because of the obstacles he/she faces in communication. There are, however, signs… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A: Are there different types of breast cancer?

Are there different types of breast cancer? There are many different types of breast cancer. In general, breast cancer is either noninvasive or invasive and originates in one of two parts of the breasts — the lobules or the milk ducts. If the cancer is noninvasive, or in situ, that means the… Continue reading →

Follow these tips to stay healthy while eating out

Photo provided by ButterballSet up a Sweet Potato Bar and let guests select the toppings for their baked sweet potatoes.

Americans, on average, consume about one-third of their calories away from home, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and we spend about $50 billion a year in restaurants. Those who eat out more often are more likely to gain weight, studies say. But eating out doesn’t have to be unhealthy, and it doesn’t have to disrupt… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge Autism Speaker seminars to give tips for law officers, caregivers

When Dennis Debbaudt trains law enforcement officers about working with people who have autism, he never says exactly what a person with the disorder “will” do. “Each person is unique and may act or react differently,” Debbaudt said. “It’s difficult for me to use the word ‘will.’ If I say people with autism ‘will do this,’… Continue reading →

Genetics make up just small portion of cancer causes

Associated Press/U.S. National Cancer Institute photo -- Humans have 46 chromosomes, as seen in the image from the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Each chromosome contains genes, but genes comprise only 2 percent of DNA. But many worry that those genes could lead to a cancer diagnosis.

From pollution to processed foods, we worry that much of modern life causes cancer. For many, the scariest cause of cancer is the one we cannot change — the genes that make up who we are. But cancers caused by a gene inherited from your family make up only 5 to 10 percent of… Continue reading →

Christopher Kennedy Lawford to speak about his addiction, sobriety at O’Brien House fundraiser

Photo provided by KAREN KENDIG --- Christopher Kennedy Lawford

Christopher Kennedy Lawford describes himself as the product of an “addictive perfect storm.” The eldest child and only son of Patricia Kennedy (sister of slain President John F. Kennedy) and actor Peter Lawford, the 60-year-old says addiction runs in both sides of his family. He’ll talk about his battles and his sobriety at the O’Brien House breakfast… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A: What do I need to know about ovarian cancer?

What is ovarian cancer? A malignant tumor that begins in the ovaries is called ovarian cancer. There are several types of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer that begins on the surface of the ovary (epithelial carcinoma) is the most common type. Ovarian cancer that begins in the egg-producing cells (germ cell tumors) and cancer that begins in… Continue reading →

Health briefs for Sept. 28, 2015: Breast cancer session, Mini Health Fair

Chicago Tribune/TNS photo by KAREN ANN CULLOTTA -- Students at Windsor Elementary School in Arlington Heights, Ill., including Adam Boesen, 10, are learning this year with the help of so-called classroom fit stations, including standing desks, exercise bikes and elliptical machines.

WHAT: Think Pink: An Overview of Breast Cancer WHEN: Noon, Friday, Oct. 2. Registration starts at 11 a.m. WHERE: Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch Library, Meeting Room, 11300 Greenwell Springs Road, Baton Rouge RESERVATIONS: Deadline to register is Oct. 1. Call (800) 561-4127 or DETAILS: Dr. R. Kim Meiners will speak.… Continue reading →

Q&A: What do women need to know about cervical cancer?

What are some facts about cervical cancer? According to the National Cancer Institute, cervical cancer is the third most common type of cancer found in women, and it usually starts in the cells on the surface of the cervix, the organ connecting the uterus and the vagina. It is a slow-growing cancer that may not… Continue reading →

Q&A: How are amyloid plaques related to Alzheimer’s disease?

What are amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles as related to Alzheimer’s disease? The accumulation of amyloid plaques found between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain is one of the characteristic traits of Alzheimer’s disease. The other hallmarks of the disease are the insoluble twisted fibers found inside the brain cells, which are called neurofibrillary tangles. The… Continue reading →

Health briefs for Sept. 21, 2015: Immunization sessions, cancer screenings and more in south Louisiana

WHAT: Immunization overview WHEN: Noon Tuesday, Sept. 22. Registration starts at 11 a.m. WHERE: Baton Rouge General Physicians-Family Health Center, Gehringer Conference Room, second floor, 3801 North Boulevard, Baton Rouge REGISTRATION: 1 (800) 561-4127 or visit DETAILS: Dr. Robert M. Chasuk will speak. Free and open to the public.… Continue reading →

'It helps you win that fight': Cancer Center's artwork chosen to help patients heal emotionally

Photo provided by Mary Bird Perkins - Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center -- 'Reflecting Above' by Elise Morris hangs in the Mary Bird Perkins - Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center. Most of the art chosen for the cancer center represents a view of nature.

To fight cancer, doctors commonly use radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. One Baton Rouge treatment center is also prescribing art. At Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, carefully chosen artwork helps soothe patients and their families. And creative programs teaching artistic endeavors — from flower arranging to painting… Continue reading →

Q&A: How can I help my child return to school after cancer treatments?

My child is returning to school for the first time after completing cancer treatments. What are some things I should be aware of? It’s important to communicate concerns you have with the school staff (principal, teachers, nurses, counselors) and to stay in touch with members of your child’s treatment team. You should make sure they understand… Continue reading →

Understand the risks, reasons for deep brain stimulation therapy

What is deep brain stimulation? Deep brain stimulation, or DBS, is a concept that dates back 70 years, but has only been in clinical use since the 1990s. The DBS device, or implant, is much like a pacemaker. The neurostimulator is a battery-operated device that generates mild electrical impulses, and it is… Continue reading →

Health briefs for Sept. 14, 2015

WHAT: Learn how to perform CPR and AED emergency procedures WHEN: 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14, and 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22 WHERE: EBR Bluebonnet Regional Branch Library, 9200 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge DETAILS: Classes will cover instruction on how to administer CPR and how to operate an Automated External Defibrillator. Certification… Continue reading →

As anxiety morphs into ‘modern plague’ here are some tips to help combat it

MetroSource photoThe high-pace lifestyle of modern life breeds anxiety, doctors say.

Anxiety has become a “modern plague,” some psychologists say, with our apprehension and stress growing as our world moves ever faster. These feelings of uncertainty, fear or nervousness are “intertwined through our lives,” says social worker Stephen Aguillard. “The way we live our lives today, people live with anxiety,” says Aguillard. Smartphones have permanently… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge health calendar for Sept. 10-14

WHAT: Prostate, breast and colorectal cancer screenings offered by Mary Bird Perkins — Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center WHEN: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11 WHERE: Gardere Initiative, 8435 Ned Ave., Baton Rouge REGISTRATION: Required for breast screenings. Call (225) 215-1234.… Continue reading →

Heath briefs for Aug. 17, 2015

WHAT: Capital Area Human Services is offering Lunch N’ Learn sessions on anxiety WHEN: Noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18 WHERE: CAHS main clinic sites — Center for Adult Behavioral Health, Building 2, 4615 Government St., Baton Rouge; Margaret Dumas Mental Health Center, Conference Room, 3843 Harding Blvd., Baton Rouge; Gonzales Mental Health… Continue reading →

Health question: How to evaluate your risk of cancer?

How do I evaluate my risk of getting cancer? According to the National Cancer Institute, a risk factor is something that may increase the chance of developing a disease. There are four types of risk factors for cancer — behavioral, biological, environmental and genetic. Behavioral risk factors are those that can be changed… Continue reading →

Understand the difference between schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s

What is the difference between schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s? Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and usually manifests around the age of 65 or after. The disease’s destruction of brain cells causes progressive problems with memory and other cognitive functions, such as spatial orientation, reasoning, language and abstract thinking. Individuals with Alzheimer’s experience many… Continue reading →

Not just headaches: migraine headaches remain misunderstood

Photo provided by MetroSource -- Migraine headaches affect many Americans, but they are not well understood. Some new treatments are being developed, but they do not help all migraine sufferers.

About half the time, Kelsey Ballard feels awful — intense head and neck pain, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting. The vibrant 23-year-old elementary schoolteacher doesn’t always show it, but three to four days a week, she suffers the effects of chronic migraine headaches. “I try to hide it and push through… Continue reading →

Deadly heatstroke can be avoided by watching out for these signs

Photo provided by MetroSource -- The dog days of summer are here, and with them come an increased chance of heatstroke.

In the heart of this south Louisiana summer, the heat can be deadly. Heatstroke affects the elderly and young athletes across the country, but in the high heat and humidity of the Gulf Coast, nearly everyone is susceptible. More than 600 people die in the United States each year from heat-related illnesses, according to the… Continue reading →

Health Calendar for July 13, 2015

WHAT: Building Healthy Communities, a health expo WHEN: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. WHERE: Gloryland Baptist Church, 6745 Greenwell Springs Road, Baton Rouge ADMISSION: Free DETAILS: A day of fun, a free jambalaya lunch and health information, including a “Ask the Doc” sessions, health screenings and door prizes. Mobile units expected to be… Continue reading →

Food Fighters: From apples to flaxseeds, certain foods work to fight cancer

Advocate file photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Apples

. An apple a day — plus some spinach, a handful of nuts and a helping of flaxseed — may help keep cancer away.

Many foods already associated with a healthy diet could help prevent some types of cancer, says Brooke Schoonenberg, a Woman’s Hospital dietitian who teaches a class called “Cancer Fighting Foods.”

“These foods, of course they… Continue reading →

Pole dancing a fitness fad for people of all ‘walks of life, shapes, sizes and fitness levels’

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Dakota Fox, right, of Aradia Pole Dance & Fitness Studio in Cary, North Carolina, teaches a power tricks pole class to Casey Leigh Jordan, of Foxy Fitness in New York City, during the International Pole Convention in New Orleans.

It might be hard to wrap your mind around — not to mention your arms, legs and spine. But pole dancing has become a fitness fad right up there with Zumba and CrossFit, providing a high-intensity, low-impact all-around workout. At the recent International Pole Convention in New Orleans, attendees said pole fitness combines… Continue reading →

Ever heard of pickleball? Tennis-like game draws a crowd in Baton Rouge

Advocate Staff Photo by CHARLES CHAMPAGNE    Robert Nixon, left, and Tim Losavio, right, play a game of pickleball at the BREC Cedar Ridge Park.

Pickleball — fast, competitive and social — isn’t a hard game to sell to new players. But Tim Losavio, an avid 26-year-old pickleballer, wishes it had been called something else. “I don’t tell my friends the name,” Losavio said during a break in the game at Baton Rouge’s Cedar Ridge Park. “I tell them… Continue reading →


WHAT: How to Love Your Heart (Cholesterol and Triglycerides) WHEN: Noon Wednesday. Registration starts at 11 a.m. WHERE: Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch Library meeting room, 11300 Greenwell Springs Road, Baton Rouge RESERVATIONS: (866) 220-0418 or visit Reservation deadline is Tuesday. DETAILS: Dr. Cordel Y. Parris will speak. This event is… Continue reading →

Walking 10,000 steps a day is great, but how you reach that healthy goal varies greatly

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Pam Shaffer walks more than 10,000 steps a day, tracking it on her Fitbit and smart phone. She often walks and runs 15,000 to 20,000 steps by walking a mile on a walking track at work during her breaks.

Walking 10,000 steps in a day has become a standard mark of a healthy lifestyle, endorsed by activity trackers like the Fitbit or Jawbone, as well as weight-loss websites and the American Heart Association. But that number — 10,000 steps — wasn’t established by any scientific study, says Catrine Tudor-Locke, director of the Walking Behavior Research… Continue reading →

Trackers for walking are great, but they all keep tabs on activity differently

Activity trackers, like Fitbit, make it easy to keep track of steps during a day. And while it suggests taking 10,000 steps a day, that isn't a magic bullet.

There are dozens of ways to count your steps, from mechanical pedometers to computerized fitness trackers. Nearly all of them work well enough to monitor your daily activity, says Catrine Tudor-Locke, director of the Walking Behavior Research Laboratory at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. “They measure differently,” Tudor-Locke says. “You yourself can go out and get… Continue reading →

Alzheimer's Q&A, June 15, 2015

My mother has had several spells of low energy and listlessness. My physician tells me is due to dehydration. How can I make sure she is properly hydrated? It is very important for your mom to stay hydrated as dehydration can cause organ failure and death if ignored. Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, no urine… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, June 15, 2015

WHAT: Louisiana Walk for Children with Apraxia WHEN: 8 a.m. Saturday WHERE: BREC Highland Road Community Park, 14024 Highland Road, Baton Rouge INFO/REGISTRATION: Suzanne Bailey at (225) 572-8936 or email or visit louisianawalk. DETAILS: Childhood apraxia of speech is a neurologically based motor speech disorder that affects a… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, June 15, 2015

How often should I see my gynecologist for a Pap smear? A Pap smear test can detect the cells that line the cervix and may be abnormal. An abnormal Pap smear can be the sign of many different conditions, many benign, or a sign of cervical cancer. It is important for women to have Pap… Continue reading →

No kidding: Blood pressure can be a serious issue for children; experts recommend regular checks at younger age

Advocate staff photo by KYLE PEVETO --Taylor McCready, 6, of Burnside, gets his blood pressure checked at the 5th Annual Cabela's Blood Pressure 4 Kids Fishing Derby. Five in 100 youngsters have higher-than-normal blood pressure.

High blood pressure isn’t just a problem for grown-ups. Five in 100 children have higher-than-normal blood pressure, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Usually, there is some underlying cause, such as an illness or other medical condition. But for children 7 and older, half of all hypertension is caused by obesity,… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, June 8, 2015

How can I handle my father-in-law who urinates in inappropriate places? When a loved one has Alzheimer’s, impaired judgment makes it increasingly difficult to redirect one’s urge to urinate in appropriate places. Since the disease prevents your father-in-law from understanding he is doing something improper, or from learning not to continue doing it, it is important… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, June 8, 2015

What does the term “late effects” mean? Late effects is the term used to refer to side effects from cancer treatments that might not show up right away. According to the National Cancer Institute, a late effect is a health problem that occurs months or years after a disease is diagnosed or after treatment has ended.… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, June 8, 2015

WHAT: Diabetes Education & Awareness Group meeting WHEN: 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 9 WHERE: Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, first-floor auditorium in the main hospital, 5000 Hennessy Blvd., Baton Rouge INFORMATION: (225) 765-8020. No registration required. DETAILS: Nurse Debra Pete will speak on “Organizing Your Diabetes.” Session is free. Hosted by… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, June 1, 2015

My dad is somewhat resistant to hiring a caregiver. How can I choose good in-home care for him? It is difficult to explain to an individual he can no longer live independently and needs assistance from an outside caregiver. Moreover, having a new person — a stranger — in his home makes him feel uneasy… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, June 1, 2015

When is National Cancer Survivors Day? “National Cancer Survivors Day, an annual celebration of life that is held in hundreds of communities throughout the world, is traditionally held on the first Sunday in June. According to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation website, “participants unite in a symbolic event to show the world that… Continue reading →