Health Scan

Smith CCRCs caregivers sessions

If you are a caregiver or family member of a senior living with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, two free support groups are being held in the Southland at which people can share their concerns at free gatherings either Thursday, Feb. 7, at Smith Crossing in Orland Park or Tuesday, Feb. 12, at Smith Village in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood.

The hour-long meetings, both of which begin at 6:30 p.m. at the continuing care retirement communities are open to the public and, before the meetings end, light refreshments will be served.

On Feb. 7, Smith Crossing at 10501 Emilie Lane in Orland Park (enter at 104th Avenue and 183rd Street) will screen a short film, "Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter," which chronicles a child's journey toward accepting her mom's illness. After the film activity director Dana Mahler will lead a discussion about it. Advance reservations are required and can be made be calling 326-2300.

On Feb. 12, Smith Village at 2320 W. 113th Place in Chicago will hold a Q&A session for its regular monthly meeting. Topics likely to come up, according to memory support coordinator Diane Morgan, are: How do you communicate with your loved one? How do you know what to do if they start "sundowning?" How can I have a successful visit with my mom? What do I look for or how do I know if they are in pain? To reserve a seat, call (773)474-7300 or respond online at

Oral health at Palos Twp.

Palos Township will present a preventative oral health program for people age 60 and older called "The Joy of a Healthy Mouth" on Tuesday, Feb. 12, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the township building, 10802 S. Roberts Road.

Call 598-2441 to reserve a seat for the program.

The Wine Guy: The most important meal of the day

Best of The Wine Guy

The Wine Guy
with Anthony Scarano

Getting out of bed can be painful. At some point in each person's life, no matter how well one takes care of himself, crawling out of bed in the morning gets to be a chore that reminds you how old you are.

The pain starts at the base of the head and extends down the neck and spine to between the shoulders, then down each arm all the way to the fingers. The older you get, the stiffer you will be in the morning and the more aches and pains you will have. Some of these pains will abate as you get up and move about, but some will not.

These aches, pains and stiffness occur because as you sleep or lay for a long period of time, circulation slows. When circulation is poor, pain sets in.

Fortunately, a remedy exists to jump-start your day. You will feel better and enjoy life more. A glass of wine immediately upon waking in the morning will help get the blood flowing properly. Compliment this with some light exercises such as stretching and calisthenics, and take notice how your body awakens. You will feel a warmth spreading through the body as the blood flows to areas it didn't reach well while you slept.

Next, before sitting down to breakfast, eat six prunes soaked overnight in wine and drink a nice, big glass of water. This will help the intestines remove the sludge that may have accumulated from the last day's meals. Then have a breakfast of delicious vegetable soup. You must make time for this without rushing; as they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

We are focusing on starting the day right, and the magic of wine will do this. Aren't sold? So be it, it is your loss. Drinking wine will help you feel better and live longer.

The rest of the day, all of your meals should begin with a bowl of soup, followed by steamed vegetables - carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, cabbage, to name a few. And don't forget the wine.

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: A massage at the cellular level

By Dee Woods

One of the most innovative physicians in the alternative movement is Dr. Robert Rowen, who in his January newsletter writes of an exciting healing device akin to Doc McCoy's healing machine on Star Trek.

Rowen was the first to write about the tissue-healing power of FSM (frequency specific microcurrent), but microcurrent healing has greatly improved since then.

The latest innovation is known as PEMF (pulsating electromagnetic fields). These are nothing even similar to the EMFs of cell phones or wi-fi. They are nontoxic electromagnetic pulses that appear to make human cells function more efficiently.

Rowen writes, "PEMF is the subject of intense research. There are literally thousands of university reports on its values. Even when I was in training way back in 1965 we knew that PEMF could greatly aid fracture healing even in difficult-to-fix-complex fractures. The fields simply stimulate bone cells to grow and do their healing thing at the fracture site."

PEMF seems to have come a long way and in more recent studies, it was used against both placebo and steroid injections. According to Rowen, PEMF recipients obtained far greater reduction of pain. He explained the study indicated the PEMF stimulated cultured fibroblasts to make more collagen. It would be great for ligaments and tendons, according to Rowen. The system was even useful against diabetic neuropathy because it helps repair nerves in just a few weeks. Rowen calls the system a massage for your cell membranes.

Rowen writes, "Studies have shown that PEMF helps improve the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome in 93 percent of users, and in 83 percent of those with rotator cuff tendonitis (shoulder). Migraine sufferers can expect total improvement in 73 percent, with 45 percent of users getting substantial improvement in just three weeks of use.

"A recent study found that PEMF induces remyelinization of nerve fibers in experimental rats by recruiting stem cell friends in the brain to do the repair! This bodes well for neurological problems. And another one showed that PEMF can accelerate cell differentiation and repair."

Just imagine how wonderful that would be for those with neurological diseases such as Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis.

Another of Rowen's comments about PEMF was very noteworthy: "Cells degenerating toward cancer have a considerable rise in their voltage. PEMF improves the flux of electrons across and through your cell membrane, improving the critical negative charge. Cell health is directly related to this negative membrane electric potential. That's why we see great literature confirming PEMF use in reducing pain and inflammation, increasing range of motion, less muscle loss after surgery, more tensile strength in ligaments, faster healing of skin wounds, enhanced capillary formation, accelerated nerve regeneration and bone healing, less tissue death, etc. The improved membrane charge enhances DNA function!"

The machine is not as costly as most hospital equipment. Some doctors already have the equipment in their offices. It would be great to have physicians all over the country using this equipment. There is even a smaller model for home use at about $1,000. These are the types of non-invasive healing we all need to explore. The machine is known as the Soma-Pulse, and you may want to encourage your own physician to seek information on the system and its function. Soma-Pulse manufacturer can be reached at (888) 926-5006.

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. .

The Wine Guy: The comforts of love, God and home

Best of The Wine Guy

The Wine Guy
with Anthony Scarano

The stress that most affects people is by and large emotional and work-related.

The first organ to be affected by stress is the small intestine, which is in charge of digesting food but is also very much influenced by emotional traumas. This can create a tight, painful, bloated stomach and lead to poor digestion, constipation, PMS and other problems. These problems, in turn, can contribute to liver and gall bladder problems.

Emotional stress can come from being in a bad relationship, separating from your spouse, divorce or the death of a loved one. This stress can affect the heart and the lungs as well as the small intestine. The lungs are affected because of the grief and sadness caused by loss or the lack of companionship and/or affection.

Work-related stress also causes many troubles. The fast-paced lifestyles many of us lead to survive financially in this country upsets the body's natural biorhythms. This results in fatigue from the constant draining of life-force energy from the kidneys and adrenal glands, which severely hurts the liver. The anger and frustration that many people feel because of their jobs; the fear of losing one's job, money or business; having to deal with shady business practices; or working in an unpleasant or unhealthy work environment damages the kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, stomach, pancreas and spleen.

Being angry and frustrated can also have a negative impact outside of one's health and well-being. When anger is feeding a person he expresses impatience with and cruelty to others instead of love, joy and respect. A stressed individual becomes accident prone and is quick to fight with co-workers, customers or others in the workplace.

Rare is the person who is free of some sort of negative emotion that affects his life in some way. This is one of life's cruelties.

The mind is a marvelous wonder worker. In a moment a person can turn from saint to sinner or vice versa. By practicing controlling one's thoughts and mental pictures a person can learn mental control. This is more difficult for some than others because deep rooted mental habits and psychological problems may be buried, unresolved, under years of repression and are hard to dig up and conquer quickly and easily.

Some people can turn to religion for help, using prayer as a sort of meditation that can help bring relaxation and balance to the body and mind (simply asking God for favors is not true prayer, a person must take a proactive role in gaining inner peace, balance and understanding). Even religious articles can help soothe if read with an open mind and willing heart.

Jesus Christ preached of treating people with respect and love, promising that doing so will work wonders and produce peace. And it is true that if one treats other with respect and understanding he will, for the most part, get such treatment in return. The person who treats others with disdain and disrespect breeds contempt and resentment and is essentially sowing the seeds of his own destruction.

Home should be a place where one can find peace, serenity, love and a healing atmosphere. Home should bring comfort, whether it be from being with the people who love you and accept you for all that you are - despite your flaws - or from the things that are familiar such as flowers or decorations. Dinner time should be a quiet and loving time when the whole family joins the table. There should be no television or distracting noises, the children should be quiet and well-behaved, and the conversation should be light, pleasant and joyful. The table should have prepared foods such as fruit and vegetable dishes - not just pizza - food that is easily digestible. For the adults a small glass or two of wine is a must.

You can't go wrong living this way.

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.

Mayo Clinic

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: What's the difference between standard radiation therapy and proton beam therapy? How do doctors decide which one to use?

ANSWER: Both standard radiation therapy and proton beam therapy can be used to treat tumors. A key difference is that standard radiation passes through a person's body. In contrast, proton beam therapy delivers radiation to the tumor, where it stops. Because the proton beams stop, less healthy tissue is exposed to radiation, and the risk of side effects is lower.

Protons are a component of all matter. Atoms have protons and neutrons together in the central nucleus with electrons surrounding them. Radiation is the energy released from atoms as either a wave, such as an X-ray, or a tiny particle of matter, such as a proton. Radiation therapy can be used to kill cancerous and noncancerous tumors.

Standard radiation therapy uses X-rays. Because X-rays have no mass, they cannot be stopped from traveling all the way through the body. Proton beam therapy directs protons into a tumor. Because protons have mass, how far they travel and where they are placed can be controlled.

For example, a person who has a tumor near the back of one lung and is treated with standard radiation therapy may receive a dose through the back. As the X-ray leaves the body, the rest of the lung, the heart and other tissues in front of the tumor also receive radiation. With proton beam therapy, protons are directed inward from the back and stop in the tumor, delivering radiation to the tumor but none to organs or tissue in front of it.

Because much of the healthy tissue around the tumor does not receive radiation with proton beam therapy, side effects are less likely than with standard radiation therapy. In addition, because radiation can be more precisely controlled using proton beam therapy, the amount of radiation delivered to the tumor can often be safely raised, potentially increasing the treatment's effectiveness and possibly decreasing the number of treatments needed.

Proton beam therapy can be used for many kinds of tumors. It is particularly useful in sites near critical organs or for tumors located deep within the body, when concern about damage to healthy organs and tissue may require that the standard radiation treatment dose be decreased. In particular, proton beam therapy is often a reasonable option for brain, esophageal and lung cancers.

Proton beam therapy can also be a good choice for children. With radiation therapy, there is an increased risk that children will develop another tumor sometime during their lifetime due to the radiation. Proton beam therapy lowers that risk because the child's body is exposed to less radiation than that from standard radiation therapy. Proton beam therapy also lowers the risk of damage to children's brain cells, decreasing the potential for long-term memory and thinking problems.

Proton beam therapy, although applicable in a variety of situations, is unlikely to completely replace standard radiation therapy. Standard radiation is typically a better choice for skin cancers or other surface-level tumors. In addition, proton beam therapy is not a treatment option for cancer that has spread, or metastasized, to other parts of the body through the bloodstream. Standard radiation is useful and effective at decreasing symptoms related to metastatic cancer.

The expense of the large equipment required for proton beam therapy also makes it unlikely that this therapy will be widely available in the near future. Finally, although this therapy appears to hold promise for treating a wide array of tumors, additional research is ongoing to determine the most effective way to use proton beam therapy. - Steven Schild, M.D., Radiation Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Ariz.

( Medical Edge from Mayo Clinic is an educational resource and doesn't replace regular medical care. E-mail a question to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or write: Medical Edge from Mayo Clinic, c/o TMS, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, N.Y., 14207. For more information, visit