Mixing it up for Good Health

By Dee Woods

He seems like a normal 15-year old high school freshman, but the fact is, he’s a genius.
  Several weeks ago, I heard about Jack Andraka, who developed a 3-cent sensor test to detect the earliest possible stages of pancreatic, lung and ovarian cancers. Jack is the first to tell his audience he didn’t even know he had a pancreas when he began his research for an early cancer detection system.
  Andraka expounded on his research at a TEDX event. He outlined the methodology he used to develop his system, explaining his step-by-step research.
  The youth explained the impetus for his research was watching a family friend go from healthy and vibrant to a skeleton within a three-month period. That piqued his desire to learn more about the insidious disease as well as the methods used to detect it before it was too late.
  He was now on a mission and his grand adventure began as he researched on “Google” and “Wikipedia.” Jack was able to glean enough information to help him gather data on 8,000 proteins. His goal was to find an easier way to isolate and detect one particular protein, mesothelin, a biomarker in detecting these cancers.
  Mesothelin can be found in both blood and urine. Andraka says his detection system is 100 percent accurate and only involves a dip-stick sensor that can provide an answer within five minutes. Even better, it costs about three cents. The current detection system is more than 60 years old, not very reliable at detecting early stage cancers, and costs over $800.
  Andraka knew he was onto something but needed a laboratory and some guidance. He applied to 200 laboratories, and 199 rejected him while the 200th gave him a “maybe.”
  He found a mentor, however, at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where he finalized the system. Anirban Maitra, a top researcher in pancreatic cancer at Johns Hopkins believes the youth will someday come up with even greater medical advances.
  “He is really full of ideas,” Maitra said. “I think this kid is going to come up with something quite extraordinary in the years to come.”
  Last December, Andraka’s invention won him Intel’s prestigious $75,000 Gordon E. Moore Award at their Science and Engineering Fair, considered the world’s largest research and science competition for high school students.
  Andraka modestly notes one need not have a degree or fancy education to seek such answers, and points to perseverance as the key. Smithsonian Magazine explains he has a homemade particle accelerator in his basement — which, we must confess, is not the average teen’s pastime.
  Andraka believes his invention can be modified to become helpful in detecting many other diseases in their earliest stages. This boy is a hero. He intends to mass market the test and have it sold at Walgreens and other big box stores.
  There are numerous lessons here. The first is one that this altruist genius will learn quickly that genuine science can move at a snail’s pace. I don’t mean to sound jaded, but his over-the-counter test will probably be held up by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the gigantic and politically influential pharmaceutical companies. It may eventually hit stores, but most likely with a huge increase in price. Government and market-share can stand in the way of such advances.
  The second lesson to each of us is that we can change the world even without advanced degrees. If you have an idea or have the drive and perseverance, go ahead, do it! You can change the world!

Dee Woods is available to give presentations about alternative health treatments and healthy living. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Health fair at SXU

  Free health screenings, assessments, and information will be available at Saint Xavier University’s 10th annual Health Fair on Friday, March 22.
  The fair, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Shannon Center at the University’s Chicago campus, 3700 W. 103rd St. The fair drew more than 500 attendees last year, and will feature free screenings and assessments for blood pressure, blood glucose, bone density, hearing and vision, feet, spinal cord, injuries, cholesterol, stress and body mass index. Other activities will include free chair massages, healthy cooking demonstrations at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., and 12:30 p.m.; 15-minute exercise classes featuring chair yoga from 9 to 10 a.m.), beginner strength training at 11 a.m., and zumba at noon and 1 p.m.
  There will also be a blood drive hosted by Heartland Blood Centers. To register call (773) 298-3592. Donors will receive a $5 Dunkin Donuts gift card.
  Area vendors at the fair will include Accelerated Rehab Physical Therapy, Advanced Eyecare Professionals, Advocate Christ Center for Breast Care, Chicago Foot and Ankle, Chiro One Wellness Center, Core Fitness and Physical Therapy/Beverly Spinning, CrossFit Beverly, Curves, Great Lakes Health and Wellness, Greenwood Chiropractic Clinic, MetroSouth Medical Center, Oak Ridge Family Dental, Overeaters Anonymous, Palos Health & Fitness Center, and Running for Kicks.

The Wine Guy - Don

Don’t hand your health to dead foods

  God, in his infinite wisdom, neglected nothing when creating the Earth. If we would eat our food without trying to improve, modify or refine it — thereby destroying its life-giving elements — it would meet all the body’s requirements.
  Most Americans today eat enough to fill their bellies and satisfy their hunger, but you can eat an adequate amount of food — even be fat — and still die of malnutrition. Health is dependant on the quality of food consumed, not the quantity, and many people are slowly dying because their diets do not provide them the nutrition they need. Look around and observe the older people among us: balding, bent over with osteoporosis, losing teeth and arthritis.
  We have for many years simply chalked these symptoms up to aging, but what causes aging is the body breaking down because it can no longer properly repair and maintain itself. While it is true the body’s ability to repair itself slows down with age, eating right and exercising go a long way toward helping the body perform at its optimum level. There are senior citizens who are still living healthy, productive lives, and it is more than genes that makes this possible.
  The scourge of malnutrition is affecting young people, too. Heart problems, stomach problems, cancer, diabetes and obesity are rampant in our society — and these diseases and illnesses don’t “just happen,” they are caused the majority of the time by the person’s lifestyle and diet. We are a nation of people who eat fast food, don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, are constantly stressed and live sedentary lives; no wonder we have so many health problems, no wonder so many people are on psychotropic medications for depression and anxiety — whether real or imagined — no wonder 30-year-olds are dropping dead from heart attacks, no wonder 5-year-olds are being diagnosed with insulin-dependant diabetes.
  People today are not getting enough of the cell-building foods they need to survive! They are eating tons of “dead” food void of vitamins and minerals because humans have decided to tamper with nature and process foods in factories. Cereals are a prime example of this: good, whole grain is cooked beyond recognition and sprinkled with sugar. This food is useless to your body. So are milk and juices that have been pasteurized, fried foods, bacon, eggs, and breads made with bleached or enriched flour. Even our water, which contains chlorine and fluoride, can harm you.
  Come on, now. How long are we going to fall for this nonsense and continue to eat this garbage? So you think you don’t have the time to make dinner and sit down to a home-cooked meal? You have to work too much or take the kids to ballet and gymnastics and baseball and soccer? What is more important, being healthy and strong or doing all of that stuff that causes you to be stressed and hurried? One day, when you are in pain and suffering you will realize you had paid more attention to living right.
  But it is not too late. Start eating fresh fruit for breakfast. Throw bananas, apples, berries of all types and walnuts into a blender with some pineapple or apple juice and liquefy. Or chop some carrots, celery and spinach and cook it in beef or chicken broth with some rice, cubed potatoes and small chunks of cooked chicken or ground meat, then simmer this about 20 minutes. You can then eat soup every day for several days. Use your imagination and create a soup to your liking by using dandelions, Romaine lettuce, chard, even cayenne peppers if you like it spicy. Get crazy and be healthy!
  Drink a glass of wine with this and start feeling the wonderful benefits of eating fresh, whole foods. Your blood will flow more freely, your heart will function better and your mind will be more relaxed because you are putting everything back in balance.

Anthony Scarano is not a doctor. He is an 88-year-old Evergreen Park resident, winemaker and certified naturopath. Suggestions in this space are solely the opinions of Mr. Scarano based on years of independent study and personal experience, and may not be beneficial to health. Wine should be consumed in moderation, as overindulgence may be harmful to health.

Dee Woods -The benefits of eating by the clock

The benefits of eating by the clock

  Two words I rarely pay attention to are “diet” and “fasting.” When you hear people speak of fasting it elicits visions of living without food for days, stomach growling and discomfort as well as that ever-hungry feeling.
  I don’t even like the sound of it, but recently I found an encouraging article by Dr. Joseph Mercola, who explained the nature of fasting and that there are benefits in intermittent fasting that can work in a 12-hour period of time as well as in a few days. Yes, avoiding eating for 12 hour increments can be healthy and cleansing. It can put the body into a fat-burning mode.
  Mercola references a new book by author Dr. Michael Mosley, “The Fast Diet: Lose Weight, stay Healthy and Live longer with the Simple Secret of intermittent Fasting.” Mosely initially writes of those serious fasts that most of us wouldn’t consider, and that many diabetics couldn’t abide by. Mosely suggests we eat normally for five days and fast for two days. After about two weeks of that type of intermittent fasting, the body begins to burn fat in a serious manner.
  “On fasting days, he recommends cutting your food down to one-quarter of your normal daily calories, or about 600 calories for men and about 500 for women, along with plenty of water and tea,” Mercola wrote.
  I do that all the time when I’m too busy to eat. But since most of us don’t consider a serious fast, it’s good to know that even when we eat in a particular window of time, anywhere from six to 12 hours, we can benefit from those mini fasts.
  The idea is to set a time in the morning or afternoon to begin your eating pattern, and do all of your eating within the window you’ve set — seven or eight hours. I am presently attempting to do all of my eating within an eight-hour period which leaves me to fast the other 16. The one thing I’ve learned from this schedule is that drinking more water and herbal or white tea seems to help overcome any hunger I might feel. This schedule forces me to drink more liquids.
  Frankly, eating at night is not a good practice for anyone. The digestive system needs a break. I can have discomfort or even reflux if I eat after 7 p.m. so this routine is working well with my system. It’s not just about losing weight, it’s about giving the system a break and allowing yourself some recuperation time. After all, breakfast derived its name because you are breaking your overnight fast.
  Additionally, Dr. Mercola speaks of the dangers of lack of movement and sedentary lifestyles. He explains that it’s important to remain in motion and to move about in order to get the most benefits from your new, limited eating schedule. Face it, sitting around without activity can be dangerous for anyone, to say nothing of the atrophy we suffer when we avoid movement. Mercola explains that something as simple as sitting less may be the key for maximum longevity.
  If you want to be a bit more healthy without getting into a rigorous schedule and ridiculous diet, just eat within a certain timeframe and keep moving. It’s not all that difficult and it’s worth the benefits. Just this simple change can make a difference.

Dee Woods is available to give presentations about alternative health treatments and healthy living. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Health Scan

Substance abuse
workshop for families

  Orland Township Youth and Family Counseling Service has rescheduled the “What Can I Say to Get Them to Quit” presentation sponsored by Rosecrance and David Lee.
  This workshop is for family members and others concerned about a loved one’s substance use. Attendees will learn new ways of interacting with a loved one regarding their use of substances. Also, a personal story of addiction and recovery will be told; as well as learning what to avoid when talking with a loved one who abuses drugs or alcohol; and connect with helpful resources for intervention and treatment.
  Lee has more than 10 years of experience in interventions, addiction counseling, family systems and recovery. The event will now be held on Tuesday, March 12, at 7 p.m. at Orland Township, 14807 Ravinia Ave., Orland Park. (403-4001 or