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  • Des Plaines substance abuse program wins national award Dec 1, 2014 5:04 PM
    Presence Holy Family Medical Center in Des Plaines has garnered a national honor for its substance abuse support program. The hospital’s Keys to Reocovery program was awarded a Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award for patient experience.

  • Indiana selects Hoosier Care Connect contractors Dec 1, 2014 5:44 AM
    Indiana has chosen Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, MDwise, Inc. and Managed Health Services of Indiana to provide health care services for about 84,000 blind, disabled and older Hoosiers. Those health services will serve Medicaid enrollees under the new Hoosier Care Connect program. The state’s Family and Social Services Administration hopes to begin that program in April. Individuals who are enrolled in Medicare and who live in an institutional setting or are enrolled in a home- and community-based services waiver won’t be enrolled but will continue to receive benefits as they now do. The state says Hoosier Care Connect’s goals include improving quality of care and clinical outcomes and ensuring enrollee choice.

  • Exercise in a bottle is next food frontier for Nestle Nov 30, 2014 7:00 AM
    The world’s biggest food company, known for KitKat candy bars and Nespresso capsules, says it has identified how an enzyme in charge of regulating metabolism can be stimulated by a compound called C13, a potential first step in developing a way to mimic the fat-burning effect of exercise. The findings were published in the science journal Chemistry & Biology in July.

  • 10 million child deaths attributed to global lack of toilets Nov 30, 2014 7:44 AM
    In a world in which 14 percent of the population in the 21st century still defecate outdoors, children remain among the most vulnerable to a lack of toilets, contamination from human waste and dirty water. The young are suffering the brunt of a health and development crisis that has claimed the lives of at least 10 million children under the age of five since 2000 because they have no access to a basic toilet, according to a new report from the international development organization WaterAid. The United Nations, which designated today as World Toilet Day to highlight sanitation as a developmental priority, says about 35 percent — 2.5 billion of the planet’s 7 billion people — live without basic sanitation facilities such as toilets and latrines. That’s at a time when more people have mobile phones on Earth than a toilet. Globally, an estimated 1.8 billion drink fouled water that’s faecally contaminated, according to World Health Organization/UNICEF figures. Yet the water and sanitation picture isn’t all grim, said Jack Sim, the Singapore-based founder of the World Toilet Organization that spurred today’s UN events. From 1990 to 2012, 2.3 billion people around the world gained access to an improved drinking-water source, according to UN-Water data. In that time frame, child fatalities from diarrheal diseases — strongly associated with poor water, sanitation and hygiene — fell from about 1.5 million to about 578,000 children four and younger who died last year from diarrheal causes, a Lancet study published last month showed. ‘Preventable Deaths’ The WHO estimates that 88 percent of diarrheal mortality among the young can be attributed to a lack of access to sanitation, clean water and hygiene. Which WaterAid calculated as about 508,000 children who died last year because those services weren’t available — “preventable deaths” as Sim said in a Nov. 17 phone interview from New York. In many poorer countries, no access to soap and water to wash hands and inadequate sanitation practices fuel the spread of disease, not only in households and communities but in schools and health centers. Poor water, sanitation and hygiene conditions in communities and institutional settings, especially health facilities, exacerbated the spread of Ebola in West Africa, according to medical authorities. ‘Ground zero’ In India, perhaps ground zero in the sanitation and faecal contamination battle, the government has set Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birthday in 2019 as its target for achieving “total sanitation,” including access to toilets for all 1.2 billion residents. India accounts for about 60 percent of Earth’s residents without toilets, highest in the world. Human and animal excrement that goes into its fields pollute groundwater, crops and waterways, causing diarrhea and cholera. Central to the problem is that for behavioral and other reasons, many in India with latrines don’t use them, said Payal Hathi, associate director of the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics. A “squat survey” in five Indian states of 22,000 people found that in 56 percent of the households surveyed, every member of the family was defecating in the open. Only 26 percent of the households used latrines. In 40 percent of the homes with an open latrine, at least one person didn’t use it. People with government-funded toilets, part of a plan to build 111 million within five years, are twice as likely to go out to defecate, Hathi said in New Delhi. The institute predicts that more than half the households will continue to defecate in the open even with the toilet-building program. ‘Deep-Seated Beliefs’ “Our survey shows deep-seated beliefs in the ideas about pollution and impurity,” Hathi said. Many think “having a toilet at home pollutes their home. Also, cleaning toilets and the pit dug for feces has been connected to certain castes.” And “many believe that walking out in the open in early mornings to defecate in the fields or open spaces is good for their health.” That’s one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s challenges in combating the sanitation problem, one that costs India 600,000 lives annually from diarrhea. An estimated 1.1 million liters (290,000 gallons) of excrement enters the Ganges River every minute, the revered 2,525-kilometer (1,570-mile) waterway Modi has promised to clean. India’s situation also exposes a third of its females to the risk of rape or sexual assault, a danger that gained worldwide attention in May when two girls from an Uttar Pradesh village were raped and hanged from a mango tree after they went outdoors to defecate. India’s 50 percent open defecation rate in contrast trails a 3 percent rate in Bangladesh and 1 percent in China, according to a May report by WHO and Unicef. Modi last year said if elected he’d construct “toilets first, temples later.” “Let’s be optimistic,” Sim said. Modi represents the future and those reluctant to accept building toilets across India should “think of the toilet as something normal, a lifestyle, sell it as a fashion, a status symbol.”

  • Brief infectious disease scare at Arlington Hts. clinic Nov 28, 2014 7:20 PM
    A medical clinic in Arlington Heights went into a brief lockdown Friday after a patient who had recently been in Africa walked in complaining of flu-like symptoms. The scare ended when it was determined the patient had not been in western Africa.

  • St. Charles woman provides hope in face of heroin scourge Dec 8, 2014 1:08 PM
    Lea Minalga formed the Geneva-based Hearts of Hope in 1998 to educate and prevent people from using heroin, to counsel addicts and provide support to their families. "It comes from the bowels of hell it's so addicting," said the St. Charles woman, whose son started using at 16 but is now 34 and heroin free.

  • Wheaton doctors work to spread positive message about house calls Nov 23, 2014 7:33 AM
    Bernard and Margaret Sloan don't schedule their doctor's appointments at a clinic anymore. Instead, the couple -- married 67 years -- has check-ups and procedures done in the comfort of their Wheaton home by a physician who does house calls for a living. Some say “a perfect storm” is occurring that will push more people back into the direction of home health care in the near future. That includes a mix of health care changes due to the Affordable Care Act, the Medicare and Medicaid fiscal crisis, increasingly advanced and portable medical technology that can be brought into the home and a quickly aging population.

  • Many seniors become seasoned travelers Nov 23, 2014 12:01 AM
    Helping people, particularly retirees, see the world and enjoy it to the fullest has been the mission of Linda Kerr for the past 35 years.

  • Boomers contribute to new housing boom Nov 23, 2014 12:01 AM
    Real estate agents across the country are taking specialized training to become Certified Senior Housing Professionals so that they become better able to serve the burgeoning senior real estate market, which is growing as a record number of seniors sell their longtime homes.

  • Don’t ignore emotional health as you age Nov 23, 2014 12:01 AM
    Very few psychological problems found in the elderly are actually caused by the aging brain. Most are caused by other physical and emotional issues.

  • For seniors, maintenance needs grow over time Nov 23, 2014 12:01 AM
    Keith Braude, owner of a Mr. Handyman franchise based in Deerfield, wants to ensure that no senior citizen has to move away from home because he or she can’t handle routine household maintenance, or they lack accommodations needed to make their lives safe from falls.

  • Websites assist senior drivers Nov 23, 2014 12:01 AM
    For most senior citizens, giving up driving is akin to being put in a cage. Having a vehicle and being able to drive it where they need or want to go means that they continue to retain their freedom and independence.

  • Nov 23, 2014 12:01 AM
    Many senior citizens live with the misconception that “only rich people need estate planning.” But Nancie Golnick Dorjath, an attorney who specializes in elder law, advises clients that doing estate planning should be thought of similar to buying insurance.

  • Constable: Bears make teen’s wish come true Nov 23, 2014 10:55 AM
    Bears fans might moan that today's showdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is a meaningless matchup of disappointing teams. But for Daniel Isufi, 14, of Arlington Heights, the game is his Make-A-Wish dream come true.

  • Wolves GM leads charge against epilepsy Nov 21, 2014 12:14 PM
    For Chicago Wolves general manager Wendell Young, the team's efforts this weekend for epilepsy awareness are personal. Young's son, Matthew, was diagnosed in 2013 with epilepsy, and he has not let it hinder his life or his budding career as a cinematographer.

  • House GOP sues administration over health care law Nov 21, 2014 2:03 PM
    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi criticized Republicans for spending taxpayer money to use a private attorney to bring a “meritless” case. “This lawsuit is a bald-faced attempt to achieve what Republicans have been unable to achieve through the political process. The legislative branch cannot sue simply because they disagree with the way a law passed by a different Congress has been implemented,” said Pelosi, D-Calif.

  • Early statin use may give long-term heart benefits Nov 20, 2014 8:57 AM
    Taking a cholesterol-lowering drug for five years in middle age can lower heart and death risks for decades afterward, and the benefits seem to grow over time, a landmark study finds. Doctors say it’s the first evidence that early use of a statin can have a legacy effect, perhaps changing someone’s odds of disease for good.

  • Northwest Community gets new surgical robot technology Nov 20, 2014 5:56 PM
    Northwest Community Healthcare surgeons recently performed the first surgeries in the Chicago area using the new da Vinci XI technology — a four-armed robot that offers greater range of motion and reach, officials said. “NCH is excited to be the first in the Chicago area with the next generation surgical system as part of our continued effort to offer significant surgical advancements to the community,” said Michelle Luthringshausen, director of robotics at NCH.

  • Soaring generic drug prices draw Senate scrutiny Nov 20, 2014 4:41 PM
    Some low-cost generic drugs that have helped restrain health care costs for decades are seeing unexpected price spikes of up to 8,000 percent, prompting a backlash from patients, pharmacists and now Washington lawmakers.

  • Doctor hesitates, then returns to Ebola front line Nov 18, 2014 11:01 AM
    Returning last month to Sierra Leone to treat Ebola victims after a break, volunteer doctor Juli Switala was shocked to see the obituaries and photographs of colleagues who had died of the disease in her absence, pinned to a board in the treatment center. Switala believes the local staffers are the unsung heroes who have carried out desperately needed but dangerous work while risking rejection in their homes and communities.

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