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Dr. Helen Pass of Bronxville Rings NASDAQ Opening Bell in Honor of National Breast Cancer Week PDF Print Email

Oct. 9, 2013:  On Thursday, October 3, Dr. Helen Pass of Bronxville and Dr. David Gruen, co-directors of Stamford Hospital's Women's Breast Center, joined Anne Morris, CEO of Susan G. Komen Connecticut, to ring the NASDAQ Stock Market opening bell in Times Square.

Pictured here (L to R): Dr. Helen Pass and Dr. David Gruen, co-directors of Stamford Hospital's Women's Breast Center, and Anne Morris, CEO of Susan G. Komen Connecticut.

Photo courtesy Krysten D'Amato, Catalyst Marketing Communications, Inc.

New Website Provides Tool for Westchester Citizens to Prepare for and Live With Serious Illnesses PDF Print Email


Oct. 9, 2013:  The unexpected happens--unexpectedly . . . 

It is important to be prepared and to know where to find support and resources. This is why the new website called was launched last week. serves Westchester County residents and their families, helping them prepare for and live with serious illness. The website is unique in that it is designed from the perspective of the health care consumer. A virtual navigation guide and advocate for families, it helps us cope, connect to the services we need, and live with care. 

The heart of is the GUIDE, a user-friendly, easy-to follow tool. It advises the healthy on the documents and conversations that all adults should have to prepare for the unexpected.

It counsels the seriously ill through the process of diagnosis and living in different care settings. It explains what happens at the end of life and how to get support for the dying individual and the family.

The GUIDE addresses important questions, such as:

-       What are the just-in-case preparations that everyone should make, regardless of age and health status?

-       How do I talk to my family about my wishes for end-of-life care?

-       What questions and information should I bring to the doctor's office?

-       How do I stay informed about the progress of my illness in the hospital and how do I get my symptoms managed?

-       What is the difference between custodial care and skilled nursing care in the home and who pays for it?

-       What questions should I ask when I choose a nursing home or a hospice?

-       What is palliative care and how can I access it in Westchester?

-       What are the signs of approaching death and what happens if someone dies at home?

-       What are the important things to focus on after a death?

The GUIDE is enhanced and supplemented by actual stories about Westchester individuals and families who are coping with serious illness and have found ways to address their situations. The stories offer specific helpful hints to users, such as why someone might choose a person other than a family member to be the health care agent. New stories and answers to questions will be added continually as users share their experiences with the editors of the website. welcomes questions. The website is connected with a network of knowledgeable professionals who can offer further guidance in a range of areas related to planning and living with serious illness.   

Throughout the website are links to resources and support services. These are also compiled in one easily searchable section and include, in addition to home care services and nursing homes, services that are rarely compiled in one place, such as palliative care services, transportation services, and illness-specific associations. Many Westchester residents are not aware of the many excellent resources available to them within the county and nearby. is a project of the Westchester End-of-Life Coalition (, an organization known in the area for its educational programs, its campaign Everybody Needs a Proxy (promoting health care proxies), and the advance care planning tool, The Be Prepared Kit. 

The content of has been created by health care advocates, nurses, doctors, social workers, and other professionals, in consultation with palliative medicine specialists. has been made possible by a generous grant from The Community Fund of Bronxville, Eastchester and Tuckahoe.

For more information about, please contact CLOAKING .

Pictured here:  The logo.

Logo courtesy Christina Staudt, President, Westchester End-of-Life Coalition

Gregory Joseph: What Does 'Being Healthy' Really Mean and How Do We Achieve It? PDF Print Email

Oct. 2, 2013:  For most practitioners of the Western medical profession, health is defined as "the absence of sickness, pain, and disease." When your doctor asks you, "How are you feeling?" you know that he/she isn’t asking if you're over-the-moon because you've just won the lottery! The doctor just wants to know if you have any ailments. There will be some concern if you’re sad, since it might indicate that you are depressed, but generally the doctor’s there to diagnose bodily problems and recommend a solution.

In this column we are going to look at some of the shortcomings in this definition of the word.

Through the field of psychiatry, there has been an attempt to broaden the term "sickness" from including not only that of the body, but that of the mind, as well. But it's still a limited approach to medicine and one that gives low priority to factors such as stress, mood, and energy levels with which we are all preoccupied. When you throw in the lack of success the medical profession has had with afflictions such as depression, anorexia, and bulimia, its shortcomings are even more readily apparent.

Such factors as weight, stress, mood, and energy levels all play an important role in our overall happiness. It's hard to be happy if we are deficient in some or all of these areas. So while most of the medical profession is not concerned with your happiness, in this wellness column, at least, we are greatly concerned with it!

A healthy balanced body cannot have chronic mood and weight problems! There is a reason that such problems exist and, importantly, ways of dealing with them without debilitating diets and agonizing workouts.

At this point, I should add that I am indebted to Julia Ross and her book The Diet Cure, without which much of the following would not have been possible. She writes, "Depression, tension, irritability, anxiety, and cravings are all symptoms of a brain that is deficient in the mood-enhancing and pleasure-promoting chemicals called neurotransmitters."

So what are these brain chemicals that regulate our appetites and moods? There are five of them:

1. Glucose: adequate levels keep blood supplies stable

2. Endorphins: these are our natural comfort chemicals

3. Serotonin: it's our natural antidepressant and sleep promoter

4. GABA: it's our natural tranquilizer

5. Catecholamines: there are four of them, including dopamine and adrenaline. They are our natural energizers and mental focusers.

The good news is that we don’t have to take drugs, legal or otherwise, to fill up on these chemicals. Ms. Ross says:

Restoring depleted brain chemistry sounds like a big job--but it isn't. Three of the four key neurotransmitters are made from just a single amino acid each! Because biochemists isolate these key amino acids and extract them from special yeasts, you can easily add the specific ones that may be deficient. These 'free form' amino acids are instantly bioavailable (in other words, they are predigested), unlike protein powders from soy or milk, which are harder to absorb. Hundreds of research studies at Harvard, MIT, and elsewhere have confirmed the effectiveness of using just a few of these targeted amino acid precursors to increase the key neurotransmitters, thereby eliminating depression, anxiety, and cravings for food, and even alcohol, and drugs.

At this time, I’d like you to imagine--"understand" would be a better word--what happens when your brain realizes that some part of the body is deficient in certain essential nutrients. In fact, let's take the brain itself as a good example, and assume that the fuel required for the brain to function effectively is in short supply.

The brain isn't going to tolerate this shortage for long, and it sends out powerful biochemical messages ordering you to get it this fuel; and this fuel is glucose! You can get glucose in one of two ways; slowly, from complex carbohydrates found in vegetables and fruits, or instantly, from processed "foods" that contain refined sugars. Guess which one we go for?

It is not only candy and ice cream that have large amounts of sugar in them. As our society became concerned about the linkage between eating too much saturated fat and the incidence of heart disease, the food manufacturers began to take out the fat content in the "foods" they made and--yes, you’ve guessed it--substitute sugar in its place. And here's the best lesson of all: if they don’t add sugar, as indicated in the zero-fat yogurt container that I’ve just looked at, your body will crave it (i.e., the sugars) and/or the fat and not be content until it has received them.

So make sure that you have adequate fat in your diet, not too much and not too little. Olive oil, avocados, and coconuts are good non-animal sources of fat. Fish and meat, of course, also provide fats. Just don’t overdo it with the amount. Two ounces of fish or meat is sufficient to provide adequate amounts; you don’t need the six, eight, or more ounces that are so common in our diet.

Editor’s Note:  Gregory Joseph can be contacted at CLOAKING .

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are not intended as medical advice, nor are they intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. 

Lawrence Hospital Fashion Show and Dinner Benefit for Cancer Survivors and Supporters on Thursday, October 10 PDF Print Email


Oct. 2, 2013:  In observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, cancer survivors and Lawrence Hospital Center's Cancer Care Team will be modeling the latest fall fashions at An Enchanted Evening on October 10. The event is open to the public and will be held at the Lake Isle Country Club, which is located at 660 White Plains Road in Eastchester.

The dinner and fashion show fundraiser is being co-sponsored by Lawrence Hospital Center’s Spirit of Women Network, which encourages women to make positive changes in their lives by focusing on their total well-being, mind, body, and spirit.

Lord & Taylor of Ridge Hill in Yonkers is a co-sponsor of the event. Models will be wearing the latest fashions from the high-end department store when they strut their stuff on the catwalk.

Lawrence's Cancer Care Team will also be there to meet guests and talk about the hospital’s comprehensive oncology program.

Tickets are available for a suggested donation of $30 for the general public and $20 for Spirit of Women members. Cancer survivors can attend the event for free.

Proceeds from An Enchanted Evening will benefit Lawrence Hospital Center's Cancer Survivorship Program. A reception featuring the Cancer Care Team begins at 6:30 pm, followed by dinner and the fashion show starting at 7:30 pm.

To register for the event, go to For additional information, call 855-769-6636.

Pictured here:  Lawrence Hospital.

Photo by A. Warner

Collection of Unwanted Prescription Drugs at Lawrence Hospital Saturday, September 29; No Questions Asked PDF Print Email


Sept. 26, 2012: On Saturday, September 29, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Lawrence Hospital Center will be collecting unused and unwanted prescription drugs. No questions will be asked.

The drugs are being collected for disposal as a way to help reduce prescription drug abuse and to protect the environment.

The program is being administered by the federal DEA in conjunction with the Bronxville Police and Eastchester Communities That Care.

Bring all items to Lawrence Hospital Center at 55 Palmer Avenue at a smaller brick building located near the larger hospital building.

Pictured here: The façade of Lawrence Hospital Center.

Photo by A. Warner

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