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Health briefs for April 13th-19th

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Alcohol, drug abuse program is accredited

CARF International announced that the Beaufort County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Department has been accredited for a period of three years for its Outpatient Treatment: Alcohol and Other Drugs/Addictions (Adults); Outpatient Treatment: Alcohol and Other Drugs/Additions (Children and Adolescents); Prevention: Alcohol and Other Drugs/Addictions (Adults; Prevention: Alcohol and Other Drugs/Addictions (Children and Adolescents) programs.

The latest accreditation is the seventh consecutive Three-Year Accreditation that the international accrediting body, CARF, has given to the Beaufort County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Department.

“Meeting the benchmarks and standards for this accreditation is a comprehensive process,” said Bud Boyne, Beaufort County Alcohol and Drug Abuse director. “This accomplishment is a true reflection of our team’s dedication and commitment to offering quality services to our residents.”

This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be given to an organization and shows the organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. An organization receiving a Three-Year Accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process. It has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality. 

BCADAD is a component of Beaufort County Government with offices in Beaufort and Bluffton. It has been providing services to help individuals and families troubled by alcohol, tobacco or other drug related problems in Beaufort County since 1974.

CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process and continuous improvement services that center on enhancing the lives of the persons served. 

Visit www.carf.org.

Dataw members battle it out for cancer fundraisers

Through a series of recent events, Dataw Island Club members are battling it out on the golf course, tennis courts, croquet lawn and even through a battle of the bands in an effort to fight an even bigger battle, the “Battle for Life.” 

The 15th annual Battle for Life cancer fundraiser is a volunteer-driven event that has become an institution on the island. Since 2002, about 300 Dataw members each year have been dedicated to supporting the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation to benefit the Keyserling Cancer Center, a cancer treatment facility Beaufort. 

The center reports that without donations like the ones from Dataw, the  Cancer Center would not have been possible. 

“Nearly 10 percent of all contribution received by the BMH Foundation over the past 30 years have come from the Dataw community” reads the 2014-2015 BMH Keyserling Foundation report “Giving Well; Recognizing Our Supporters.” 

The events comprise a golf tournament with a raffle; a tennis tournament; and even a croquet tournament. 

“Dataw is a giving, active community that is always ready to help,” said Bruce Stevenson, Croquet Club of Dataw Island president.  “Beaufort Memorial Hospital and Keyserling are favorite benefits that we have fun supporting. Helping enterprises that help others is what it is all about.”

This year, a new addition to the series is a Battle of the Bands, in which four local bands performed and members “voted” for their favorite band by stuffing their donation jars. The band with the most money at the end of the evening won big – not only earning bragging rights and half of their “take,” but they also won knowing that they were able to raise the most money for the Battle for Life, as the other half of the funds will be donated to the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation along with the rest of the event donations. Battle of the Bands competitors included The Debbie McDaniel Band, the Sometimes Later Band, The Rose Family Band and 503, a group of high school seniors who walked away the winners.

Donations to Beaufort Memorial can also be made online by visiting  bmhsc.org/bmh-foundation/give-online.

Visit www.dataw.com.

New assisted living facility to open in May

A new independent and assisted living facility will open in Ridgeland in May.

Canterfield of Bluffton, owned and developed by Atlanta-based Medical Development Corp., will be located at 567 N. Okatie Highway. Construction of the luxury assisted living project, situated on 7.25 acres, has been underway since the middle of 2016.  

The three-story assisted living building will include 91 assisted living apartments along with 22 secure memory care units.  

Canterfield of Bluffton belongs to the Canterfield Senior Living Communities signature brand that is establishing its footprint throughout the southeast region of the United States. In addition to the assisted living building, the Canterfield of Bluffton campus will feature nine independent living villas, to be built as three triplex units.  

All Canterfield Senior Living Communities offer social model assisted living, which utilizes the “neighborhood” concept to accommodate various stages of acuity. Neighborhoods are designed to allow residents as much independence as possible, with numerous onsite amenities and programs to promote social interaction. For those who need more care, there is a higher acuity neighborhood that contains a larger ratio of nursing aides to residents.  The specialized memory care neighborhood features a secure environment with its own private garden and dedicated activities.     

Visit www.canterfieldofbluffton.com or call 843-783-3599.

Balance mind, body, spirit for balanced life

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By Dr. Kristie Wallace

Much like a Romanian gymnast, perfect balance is what we strive for.  

The body by design, craves balance. Balance is harmony. Just as the right leg balances the left, the stomach muscles balance the back muscles.  

So how does a well-balanced body pertain to life?  

Simply put, when your physical and mental health are compromised, your vitality becomes diminished. Ailments such as depression, anxiety and chronic pain feed off of our mind and spirit.  

The worse our balance is, the worse we feel.  

Our bodies are finely tuned indicators provided we stop long enough to listen. When the oil light comes on in our car, we know to change the oil or bad things will happen. Just like that oil light, our body is the indicator that something needs to be changed with our mind and spirit.  

Let’s say you wake up one morning with a pain in your back, which gets worse over the course of the week. By the weekend, you are weaker than you were on Monday and unable to enjoy your much-anticipated relaxation. 

Each day you ignore your body’s indicators your mind and spirit worsen. That’s fine and dandy, but during this time you are struggling financially as well. Therefore, the mind is consumed with worry and stress, which is increasing the pain in your back. 

Adding onto that, the spirit gets run down, tired, derailed, depressed.  

Now, you have chronic pain, financial dismay and you are going into overall “fecal matter hitting the fan” mode. 

Something may be out of balance physically, mentally or spiritually. 

All of these symptoms are a sign that something is “out of whack” or inflamed.  

Life is stressful, yes! But it’s how we overcome that stress or our mindset that can counteract the “crazy” that life brings. 

What can you do?  

There are many people out there who are willing to help. It’s perfectly normal not to do it all by yourself; we all need help. However, here are a few steps you can take on your own to get you started on the path to BMS wellness: 

• Balance the body.  If you are in pain, try chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, physical therapy, nutrition, visit your primary doctor to find out what the cause is.  Whatever the step is, start by taking one. It may take many steps, but eventually you will climb that mountain. Don’t stop when you are about to reach the peak.  

Exercise at least three times a week. Get the heart pumping. Luckily, we have many personal trainers, running groups, yoga studios gyms, and lots of beautiful scenery to enjoy.  

Eat better. Cut down on sugar, alcohol and that nightly heavy pasta dish or fast food. Watch your portion size. Increase your greens. Stay hydrated.  

I’m not saying don’t live. I’m saying just the opposite. Live longer and please eat, have fun, enjoy life, but do all things in moderation. 

• Balance the mind.  Stay sharp. Do crossword puzzles, find creative outlets, get a hobby that challenges your brain.  

Stop thinking negative thoughts. You are good enough. You are beautiful in every way. You are here to spread that beauty.  

What our mind thinks or perceives can be detrimental to our health.  

For example, “I’m not good enough for this job” or “I’m too fat” or “I can’t do this or that” may lead to a poor self-image and depression or anxiety. Somehow, somewhere a little seed was planted to create a negative thought process. Change it. Life is too short to think you aren’t worth it.  

Why create excess stress to impress others and not love yourself? Love yourself!  Start saying, “I love me” every day. It’s that easy. 

It may even make you giggle at yourself doing it, but it is literally the thought that counts.  

If your mind becomes overwhelmed with negative thinking, seek an outside source of help, such as a therapist or counselor. 

• Balance the spirit. Pray, meditate, spend time with positive people, volunteer, do yoga, do good deeds and/or simply be kind.  

Reconnect by walking on the beach or through the woods.  Take in and appreciate nature. Look around, we have beauty everywhere. 

Take a deep breath. Heck, take 10 breaths. Stop thinking, clear your mind for an hour every day; unless you are too busy then do it for two hours. Just 5-10 minutes is enough to increase “happy hormones” such as dopamine and decrease stress levels.

Ending note:  We have this one body, let’s take care of it. I hope this helps, and I pray that you continue to be blessed. 

Dr. Kristie Wallace owns Beaufort Chiropractic and Wellness Center. She offers myriad chiropractic techniques and wellness advise. She is a United States Air Force veteran, who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and the Iraqi War. Beaufort Chiropractic is at 703 Bladen St. Call 843-522-1115.

Avoid unlicensed clinics offering unapproved stem cell therapy

in Contributors/Dr. Mark Siegel, MD FAAO/Health by

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel

Stem cell therapies are getting headlines for their potential to cure diseases, including those that affect vision. But an important message is missing: the therapies are not yet proven to be safe and effective for your eyes.

Stem cell treatments appear to offer hope to people with few options to recover vision. This includes people with forms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and Stargardt disease. 

Some clinics across the United States offer “stem cell therapy” to people outside of clinical trials. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the treatments they offer. These treatments often use unproven products that may be ineffective or dangerous. These products may carry serious risks, including tumor growth.

Questions to ask

It is important that you know that there are no stem cell products approved by the FDA for eye disease right now. 

If you want stem cell therapy, look for a clinical trial and discuss the matter with your ophthalmologist. A clinic should not expect you to pay thousands of dollars for an unproven, unapproved therapy. Your health insurance will not cover the cost of an unapproved treatment.

Before agreeing to a stem cell treatment, ask:

• Is the stem cell treatment approved by the FDA?

• Is the stem cell treatment part of an FDA-approved clinical trial?

• Is the stem cell treatment covered by your health insurance?

It is frustrating and frightening to face the loss of vision while waiting for potential treatments. However, choosing to pursue an unproven treatment in an unlicensed clinic is an unacceptable risk to your vision and your overall health.

Dr. Mark S. Siegel is the medical director at Sea Island Ophthalmology on Ribaut Road. Visit www.seaislandophthalmology.com.

Health briefs for March 30th-April 5th

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Symphony to benefit Beaufort Memorial

Duke Symphony Orchestra Conductor Harry Davidson will once again be leading some 60 students through the works of well-known and emerging classical composers at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at the USCB Performing Arts Center. 

The concert will include Rossini’s Overture “La Gazza Ladra,” Walton’s “Passacaglia – Death of Falstaff” and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 “Italian.”

The students volunteer their time and talents for this event, which is one of the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation’s major fundraisers.

The annual event has raised nearly $285,000 to support BMH’s Healing Arts Program in the Keyserling Cancer Center and other facilities.

Bill and Josie Paddock will serve as the honorary chairs for this 14th annual event.  

General admission tickets are $35. 

Patron tickets start at $75 and include premium seating plus an invitation to the special post-concert Conductor’s Reception.

To purchase tickets, visit bmhfoundationsc.org or call 843-522-5774. 

Ticket prices are $5 higher at the door.

Therapeutic mindfulness class coming April 1

A therapeutic mindfulness class will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at 703 Bladen St. in Beaufort.

Participants will learn how to prevent stress or ease physical discomfort caused by chronic pain, cancer treatments or headaches. 

The cost is $15.

According to a press release, “You will come away from class knowing more about the stress, impact of constant or traumatic stress, and how various types of mediations can help with this as integrative approaches to your health journey. 

“You will experience more than five types of meditation that may help physically renew the brain. Resources to learn more about integrative and holistic health will be provided.”

Register by calling 843-770-9947 or by email to reneesutton@healthierhealing.com.

This program is hosted by Ministries for Synergetic Wellness, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Its goal is to provide integrative therapies and education at an affordable cost to those in healthcare crisis. 

Applications for scholarships are available upon request. 

Visit www.MinistriesforSynergeticWellness.org.

Blood donors needed during April drive

The American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to give blood during National Volunteer Month this April. Donating blood is a simple way to make a profound difference in the lives of patients.

Nearly 2.8 million people donated blood through the Red Cross last year. 

Volunteer donors are the only source of blood products for those in need of transfusions. 

Donors of all blood types are needed this spring.

Make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 

Those wishing to donate can also attend a blood drive from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 6, at Carteret Street United Methodist Church at 408 Carteret St.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. 

Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. 

High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

There is a time-tested Rx for peace

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By Katherine Tandy Brown

Back in the 1960s, Volkswagen vans sported bumper stickers promoting peace. Graffiti scrawled on subway cars and construction project barriers always included a peace symbol. People greeted strangers with a smile, their index and middle fingers raised in a “V” – the peace sign – and at least a mumbled yet heartfelt, “Peace, brother” or “Peace, sister.” 

During that era of undeclared war, peace was a popular concept.

As our nation’s edgy political atmosphere goes viral, worry and fear creep into conversations in many languages in many countries. Dueling pundits declare the radical shift in universal perspective to be either a new American order or the beginning of the end. 

Social media has provided a gathering ground for the like-minded, be they liberal, conservative, religious, atheistic and/or disenfranchised. 

As in the aforementioned era of free love, people are taking to the streets to protest in record numbers, contacting congressmen, scribbling heated diatribes and banding together in newly-formed interest groups.

The times, they are unsettling, to say the least.   

For those folks outside the immediate political arena, the big question arises, “What can I as an individual do to make a difference?” And I believe there’s a simple answer to that seemingly complex question: “Do what you’re on the earth to do.” 

While I admire activists who fight for their causes, I’m not inclined to pick up my ‘60s protest sign. As a writer, I realize that my time is better spent penning my own stories, teaching memoir writing so folks can leave behind a legacy, and coaching students to reach their goals. 

Your focus may be saving lives as a medical professional, calculating others’ income taxes, cooking meals in a busy restaurant, fixing flats in an auto repair shop or serving customers in a retail clothing store. 

Maybe your income-producing job isn’t your heart, but does provide three squares so you can spend time handcrafting beautiful furniture, volunteering for missions in developing countries, casting a shrimp net for a hand-caught Lowcountry supper, visiting nursing homes with your golden retriever, ogling marsh birds while walking the Spanish Moss Trail, or even smacking a golf ball into a tiny hole. 

Any activity that makes your heart sing adds beauty and positive energy to the world, thus raising the vibration of the earth. And best of all, it makes you feel good.

However, what if you’re not clear about what you’re on the earth to do? What if you favor more than one direction? What if you’re so freaked by the world scene that you can’t concentrate on your own life? What if your calendar is so full you can’t grasp the concept of “free time” to pursue a passion or watch the sun set over the springtime marsh?

Aah, grasshopper. Might I recommend meditation to clarify your direction? Indian scriptures, or “tantras,” mentioned this ancient practice some 5,000 years ago. Newfangled, it ain’t. And as Yoda might say, “Work, it does.” 

Just so you know I’m walking my talk, I’ve been practicing near-daily meditation since a friend sent me a link to one of Deepak Chopra’s free 21-Day Meditation Challenges three years ago. And, back to the parlance of my pointy-eared pal, change my life, it has.

Among the proven benefits of the practice of meditation are: aiding physical, emotional and mental balance; easing anxiety, stress and depression; creating clearer thinking for better choices; increasing levels of self-esteem; lowering heart rate and blood pressure; increasing alertness, creativity, intelligence, learning ability and memory; boosting the immune system; controlling chronic pain …need I go on?

Meditation has been touted as a “reset button” for the body. A personal plus I’ve found is that, whenever I encounter a stressful situation – and no matter how meditative you are, you’re human and those will appear – I’ve noticed that I more often tend to get present quickly, rise above the circumstance and gain perspective on what’s really going on. 

I then tend to respond to the stressor, instead of simply reacting to it. Truly a gift.

With the approach of one of those milestone birthdays, I can testify that it’s never too late to start a meditation practice. Learn how at a local yoga studio, online via all-knowing Google, or even from an inexpensive Amazon, or free library, book. You’ll be glad you did.

Katherine Tandy Brown has traveled the world as a freelance writer for 25 years. She teaches memoir, travel writing and writing practice in USCB’s OLLI Continuing Ed program and in her downtown cottage. A certified writing coach, she is penning her first novel, “One to Go: An Equine Thriller.”

Health briefs for March 23rd-29th

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The Technical College of the Lowcountry recently honored five Patient Care Technician program graduates at a February pinning ceremony. The graduates are: Alvin Arcayan, Natoria Bloodsaw, Jean Miller, Delanda Smoaks and Lakezia Taylor, all of Beaufort. For more information about this or other continuing education programs, visit www.tcl.edu/ce or call 843-525-8205.
The Technical College of the Lowcountry recently honored five Patient Care Technician program graduates at a February pinning ceremony. The graduates are: Alvin Arcayan, Natoria Bloodsaw, Jean Miller, Delanda Smoaks and Lakezia Taylor, all of Beaufort. For more information about this or other continuing education programs, visit www.tcl.edu/ce or call 843-525-8205.

Dad honors son’s memory with Masters ‘White Out’

William Thompson IV, a vivacious, bright, golf-loving, 12-year-old, was suddenly taken from this world on Jan. 30. An illness struck him hard and turned out to be a lethal case of bacterial meningitis. 

Now, six weeks later, his father, Bill Thompson, seeks to raise awareness of the illness, honor the memory of his son and celebrate the lives that were able to be continued through the gift of organ donation.

Two days after William passed, the students at his middle school rallied together to participate in a “White Out” to show their solidarity and pay respect to their classmate. 

The movement was known as #WearWhiteforWilliam. Bill Thompson hopes to continue that movement at the Masters PGA golf tournament in Augusta, as William was an avid lover of golf. He shared a birthday with Tiger Woods and never hesitated to join his father and grandfather as they spent their time on the green.

“He was my only child. His mother is heartbroken. And so am I,” Thompson said. 

But on April 5, a day that is also known as “family day” at the Masters, the Thompson family is asking Augusta, and more specifically the patrons of the tournament and golf professionals, to #WearWhiteforWilliam.

For more information, contact Bill Thompson at wearwhiteforwilliam@gmail.com. Information can also be found at www.wearwhiteforwilliam.com.

Advanced practice RN joins OB-GYN specialists  

Maureen Chapman, an advanced practice registered nurse with more than 25 years experience, has joined the medical staff at Beaufort Memorial Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialists. 

She will be working with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Pat Thompson and nurse practitioner Suzanne Wolf in the practice’s Port Royal and Bluffton offices. 

For the last three years, Chapman has served as a clinical instructor in women’s health at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. She has also volunteered at Good Neighbor Clinic in Beaufort and Volunteers in Medicine on Hilton Head Island, providing gynecological and early prenatal care to women with limited access to medical services.   

A certified nurse-midwife, Chapman worked for eight years in a busy Pennsylvania OB-GYN practice, offering prenatal, labor and birth, and routine gynecological care. She also served for one year as a faculty member in the master’s level midwifery program at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. 

In 2002, she established and operated a private midwifery practice in Meadowbrook, Pa. Earlier in her career, she was a clinical nurse specialist and childbirth educator at Holy Redeemer Hospital in Meadowbrook. Chapman also spent 15 years as a flight nurse with the U.S. Air Force Reserve at McGuire Air Force Base in Trenton, N.J.  

A maxima cum laude graduate of Philadelphia’s La Salle University with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, Chapman went on to complete her Master of Science degree in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, earning a certification as a nurse midwife.

“I personally selected Maureen to be an extension of my care,” said  Thompson. “She has dedicated more than 25 years to women’s health and will now use her years of experience to provide our patients with routine gynecological care and in-office procedures, thus avoiding unnecessary delays in patient care and making me readily available when an issue develops that requires my attention. 

“While many people think of a certified nurse midwife in terms of obstetrics, in fact her advanced training encompasses a full range of primary health care services for women – from adolescence through and beyond menopause.”

Chapman, Wolf and Thompson see only gynecology patients in their Port Royal and Bluffton offices and do not deliver babies. However, Beaufort Memorial OB-GYN Specialists has several other board-certified providers, including Drs. Christopher Benson, Marlena Mattingly and Gregory Miller, nurse-midwives Janna Jones Kersh and Catherine Tambroni-Parker and nurse practitioner Maggie Bisceglia, who provide both obstetrics and gynecology care in Beaufort and Bluffton. 

To make an appointment with any of the providers, call 843-524-8151.

Healing arts program set for March 25

A program on integrated health coaching, cranial sacral, reflexology, chiropractic, healing touch, acupressure self-care, counseling consultations and more will be presented from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 25.

The program will be presented by licensed volunteer practitioners and Christian healing prayer team at 703 Bladen St. in Beaufort (Beaufort Chiropractic office).These events will be held on the fourth Saturday of each month. There is a $10 minimum donation for each 20-minute session. Appointment times are limited, but there is free entry to public for visitation and information on integrative health options. Call or text 843-770-9947 for an appointment time.

This program is sponsored by Ministries for Synergetic Wellness a 501(c)3 nonprofit giving affordable access to holistic mental health and integrative services. Free pastoral care/counseling, healing prayer, and scholarship applications are available on site. 

Meditation takes practice, mindfulness

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By Brittney Hiller 

I was having a wonderful conversation with my husband about meditation. 

We had just finished a game of Funglish and the conversation turned to thought control. He was having an issue in controlling his thoughts and felt as if they were taking control of him, instead. I suggested creating a meditation practice to assist with this.  

He explained his woes about meditation, which is one that I often hear others give: “I can’t clear my mind.” 

Allow me to expose a little secret: In meditation we don’t have to clear our mind.

I gently began to explain to my husband that if we clear our mind, what lessons would we learn in our practice of meditation? Instead, when we bring intention to our thoughts we begin to understand how to respond to them, instead of react.

Think about it like this, you begin your meditation with a picturesque scene, such as a beach, and you picture the waves of the ocean. Joyfully, you see a bird, and then your mind suddenly flips to this very bird attacking a family on the beach who are choosing to feed it chips.

Witness now as your mind moves to chips and the large list of grocery items you suddenly need to purchase. Next thing you know you see your extensive to-do list and *BING*! Your 5-minute alarm rings and your meditation is now over.

You may feel defeated and react. You judge yourself on how terrible at meditating you are and what a waste of time it was.  

Now, does this seem like a successful or even delightful meditation?

Does it seem like something you may want to ever attempt again? 

My guess is, probably not.

As we attempt this meditation again we utilize a different mindset, a more intentional process of meditation. 

First, the understanding of meditation – we are not attempting to clear our mind, but instead respond to our thoughts. We are learning how to practice intentional thought.

Here’s our outcome utilizing this mindset: We sit and picture the same ocean waves, the same bird comes in to play, the same thought of the bird attacking a family feeding it chips, and here is where it changes, we notice.

We notice as our thought begins to wander off to somewhere outside of our intention. What do we do to shift it? We begin again. We hone in on our breath, our steady and constant, breath. We think to ourselves, “I inhale, I exhale.” Once we feel our breath come in and out of our body we can concentrate on our awareness, which leads us back to our intention, and we may begin our meditation again.  

We reconnect and picture the ocean again…

This exercise may take days, weeks, or months before we move past the ocean, but we understand we are learning a great deal of intentional thinking and how to respond to our thoughts instead of react to them.  

With constant practice this intentional form of thinking may begin to seep into our daily life. Our decisions may begin to become more thought provoked and less reactive with every practice of the art of intentional thinking, meditations.

Brittney Hiller of Port Royal is the founder and CEO of Brittney Hiller Yoga. Her mission is to inspire people of all ages, to boost physical well-being, create inner awareness and exude self-love through a mind-body practice. With over 6 years’ experience, she joyfully teaches yoga in a fun, approachable, and therapeutic way. Get a free Beginner’s Guide to Meditation ebook at brittneyhilleryoga.com/love.

Dental program in Beaufort County in need of public’s help

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Staff reports

Tooth decay has been cited as one of the most chronic childhood diseases today in the United States and there’s a dental service rolling on wheels through Beaufort County to combat it.

Thanks to an annual contribution from Beaufort County Council for the past 15 years, nearly 20,000 Beaufort County children have had the opportunity to receive quality dental care, often for the first time in their life, by hopping aboard the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. 

“If not treated early, dental decay becomes painful, irreversible and can lead to extensive and costly long-term effects,” said Dr. Barbara Washington, supervising dentist for the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile Program and director of dental services for Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health Services.  

“Untreated dental disease adversely affects a child’s ability to eat well, sleep well and function well at school and at home. Our main goal with this program is to ensure that children in our community are healthy. Helping them feel good about their smile is an added bonus.”

Additionally, “all of the partners are proud of the program and are committed to continued collaboration to positively impact the lives of local children who would not otherwise receive the oral care they need,” said Monica Spells, an assistant county administrator at Beaufort County and its liaison for the dental program. “The county’s partnership with RMHC and BJHCHS is a perfect example of the county’s commitment to community services. Now, we really need help from the local community to support a mobile unit replacement fund to keep this critical service available for children in our area.”

Residents of Beaufort County who are needed to serve on a volunteer advisory committee for the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile Program to help with fundraising efforts. The committee would work in tandem with the local RMHC board.

The program receives about 40 percent of its $200,000 operating budget from Beaufort County Council as a community service grant allocation.  

Approximately 45 percent of the budget comes from the RMHC operating budget and grants or donations and the remaining 15 percent is provided through Medicaid reimbursement.  

Proceeds from pop tabs off aluminum cans also help with program funding. Depending on the volume collected and the price of aluminum, pop tabs turned into BJHCHS and RMHC can yield as much as $5,000 annually.  Some funding also comes via the United Way of the Lowcountry in Beaufort.

Pop tabs from aluminum cans can be dropped off at the BJHCHS Administrative Office located at 721 N. Okatie Highway (S.C. 170) in Okatie

The group is also seeking donations including toothbrushes for children and travel-size toothpaste, which are included in home kits provided to the children who receive services. Stickers and pencils are also needed to help add some excitement to the kits.

Anyone seeking information about volunteering on the Care Mobile Advisory Committee or making a donation to the replacement fund should contact Bill Sorochak at bill@RMHCcoastalempire.org or 912-350-7641 ext. 304.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Coastal Empire Inc. donated the mobile unit in December of 2001 for operation in Beaufort County, making it the first in this area and the ninth in the nation.  

Today, there are 49 units operating in the United States and abroad focusing on providing access to healthcare where children need it most. Services range from treatment of pediatric cancer to immunizations.

dental

Study: Alzheimer’s patients benefit from eye surgery

in Contributors/Dr. Mark Siegel, MD FAAO/Health by

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel

Researchers at Tenon Hospital in Paris have found that patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease whose vision improved after cataract surgery also showed improvement in cognitive ability, mood, sleep patterns and other behaviors.

This is the first study to specifically assess whether cataract surgery could benefit Alzheimer’s patients, although earlier research had shown that poor vision is related to impaired mood and thinking skills in older people and that cataract surgery could improve their quality of life. 

Thirty-eight patients, average age 85 and all exhibiting mild dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease, completed the study. 

All participants had debilitating cataract in at least one eye and were appropriately treated with standard cataract surgery and implantation of intraocular lenses, which replace the eyes’ natural lenses in order to provide vision correction. 

After surgery, distance and near vision improved dramatically in all but one of the Alzheimer’s patients.

A neuropsychologist assessed the Alzheimer’s patients for mood and depression, behavior, ability to function independently and cognitive abilities at one month before and three months after cataract surgery. 

Cognitive status, the ability to perceive, understand and respond appropriately to one’s surroundings, improved in 25 percent of patients. Depression was relieved in many of them, and the level of improvement was similar to what commonly occurs after cataract surgery in elderly people who do not have dementia. 

No changes were found in patients’ level of autonomy, that is, their ability to function independently.

Sleep patterns improved and nighttime behavior problems decreased in most study patients. 

Other studies have shown that when cataracts are removed, levels of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin become normalized. Dr. Girard notes that this may have been a key factor in the Alzheimer’s patients’ improved sleep patterns.

Since removing cataracts can improve the ability of patients with Alzheimer’s disease to function, improve their mood, cognition and sleep patterns, then this is another means to help those we love with this debilitating disease.

Dr. Mark S. Siegel is the medical director at Sea Island Ophthalmology on Ribaut Road in Beaufort. 

Visit www.seaislandophthalmology.com for more information.

Health briefs for March 2nd-8th

in Health by

Beaufort Memorial offers Freedom from Smoking 

If you’ve already broken your New Year’s resolution to quit smoking, now is the time to get back on track with the Freedom from Smoking program being offered by Beaufort Memorial LifeFit Wellness Services.

Developed by the American Lung Association and considered the “gold standard” in smoking cessation programs, Freedom from Smoking”offers participants the best chance at kicking the habit for good. 

Classes will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. Mondays beginning March 13 in the Beaufort Medical and Administrative Center at 990 Ribaut Road, Beaufort (directly across the street from the main hospital campus). 

“Freedom from Smoking takes place in a group setting and the individuals who participate in the program get to work together on their journey to being smoke-free,” said LifeFit Community Health Educator Alexa DeFeo. “We as facilitators are there for support and guidance so that everyone can set a quit date together and stick to it.” 

During the course of the program, taught by a certified Freedom from Smoking instructor from the Beaufort County Department of Alcohol and Drug Abuse and LifeFit staff, participants will examine their own patterns of smoking, learn how to handle triggers and urges and receive training on stress management techniques that can help them get through the quitting process and life after cigarettes. 

An extra support session will be offered shortly after “quit day” to help ensure class members don’t break down and light up.

In addition, participants will receive a “Freedom from Smoking” workbook, a relaxation CD and various helpful handouts. 

The cost for the course is $30. Class size is limited, so reservations are required. To register, call 843-522-5570 or email adefeo@bmhsc.org.

Fire department to offer stroke awareness program 

The Burton Fire District is offering CPR training and stroke education classes to individuals, families and businesses. 

General training classes cost $10 per student, and official CPR certification classes cost $25 per student.  All classes cover infant, child and adult CPR, to include the use of Automated External Defibrillators. 

“When someone suffers a heart attack or a stroke, there is a chain of survival for them,” said Burton Fire Lt. John Ireland who oversees the medical training for the district. “The chain ends in the hospital but it starts in the community with friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers as that first link.”  

Ireland said early recognition and intervention by the public are the keys.

Call the Burton Fire District at 843-255-8011 or email safetyed@burtonfd.org. 

DNA paternity office opens in Beaufort 

A new Beaufort medical office, Coastal Paternity, at 30 Robert Smalls Parkway, was recently opened. The DNA specialists of Coastal Paternity offer court-admissible paternity DNA testing in a private office setting. 

Office hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday though Thursday. Call 855-521-1DNA (1362) or visit CoastalPaternity.com.

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