HEALTH NOTES

Programs take aim at child abuse, neglect

Three statewide organizations have joined to launch a new initiative designed to stop child abuse.

The new effort, “Geaux Blue for Kids,” will be launched Monday by the three groups, Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana, Child Advocacy Centers of Louisiana and Court Appointed Special Advocates Louisiana.

The program has been developed to inspire and encourage people to “stand up and speak out for children who have been abused and to prevent more children from ever experiencing abuse or neglect,” according to a news release on the effort.

For resources, information and a calendar of April events taking place throughout the state, visit the website, http://www.louisianachildren.org.

Local parents set up research for children

A new foundation will fund local research into the side effects of a type of radiation therapy for children with cancer.

The Bella Bowman Foundation was named for 7-year-old Bella Bowman, of Baton Rouge, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2011, according to a news release from Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.

Bella later died from a rare side effect of proton radiation treatment, called brain stem necrosis, the death of cells or tissues in the brain stem, the release said.

Proton radiation delivers higher doses of radiation than standard X-rays, while reducing damage of healthy tissues, according to the website http://www.proton-therapy.org.

Bella’s parents, Trey and Kim Bowman, have established the foundation to help other families dealing with the struggles of having a child diagnosed with brain cancer and to further research.

The Bella Bowman Foundation has established a seed grant of $22,000 to the medical physics department of Mary Bird Perkins to support research on the physics of how radiation causes necrosis.

The research will be headed by Dr. Wayne Newhauser, chief of physics at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.

The foundation will also provide a stipend to a medical physics graduate student, who will perform the research under the supervision of medical physics faculty, according to the center.

Preliminary results from the study are expected by late 2014.

Music offered as aid to patient recovery

Music therapist Mary Malloy has joined the Arts in Medicine program at Baton Rouge General Medical Center, bringing music to patients to complement and help in their healing, according to the hospital.

The hospital’s Arts in Medicine Program has also partnered with LSU to bring LSU student volunteers to share their musical, artistic and dramatic talents with patients.

Students will be part of the Janice H. Pellar Creative Entrepreneurship Project in LSU’s College of Music and Dramatic Arts.

Launched last year, the Baton Rouge General’s Arts in Medicine program brings the “healing power of the arts” to patients in the hospital, through the visual and musical arts, according to the hospital.

Group aims to head off potential violence

A new group, called the Louisiana Coalition for Violence Prevention, has been formed to strengthen early identification of people at risk of committing a violent act.

The group includes professionals in psychology, counseling and social work.

It plans to offer training for those in the mental health field and related professions in “better detection skills and accurate knowledge about the antecedents of violent behavior, with the goal of addressing problems before they escalate into tragedy,” according to a news release from the coalition.

For more information, visit http://www.Louisianacoalitionforviolenceprevention.com.

For information about the training programs, call steering group member Dr. John Simoneaux, of Alexandria, at (318) 443-0845.

Book review:

MIDLIFE EATING DISORDERS

by Cynthia M. Bulik, Ph.D.

Walker & Co.

$17 paperback

Young women often struggle with eating disorders, but as Cynthia Bulik, director of the University of North Carolina’s Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders, reveals, so do those of middle age.

The book begins with a look at the “culture of discontent,” fostered by what Bulik calls the “Bigs: Big Diet, Big Cosmetics and Big Fashion.”

It ends with ideas, guideposts and sources for the journey to recovery.

The book draws on the personal stories of patients and health care providers, with real names not used.

Bulik, who is also Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, writes in a compassionate and intelligent way about these difficult disorders.

Compiled by Ellyn Couvillion

Advocate staff writer