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The Power Within Us
Combining the disciplines of science and spirituality to help individuals achieve health and overall well being is the goal of a series of free workshops being held across the United States this winter and next spring.

Speaker Cindy Neely will conduct two participatory "Spirituality and Healing" workshops in the city this month, based on the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. The first workshop starts at noon Oct. 8 at the Afro-American Bookstop (1400 Poydras St., Suite 160, 588-1474), and the second is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Afro-American Bookstop-East (5700 Read Blvd., Suite 275, 243-2436).

The fall and spring 2003 workshops were set up in response to a series of similar events held in 46 U.S. cities earlier this year.


Eat, Drink and Spread Hope

Share a good meal and atmosphere with friends while helping to combat painful and devastating diseases during the Crohn's & Colitis Legacy of Hope Luncheon Oct. 18 at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans.

The luncheon will honor Humanitarian of the Year Ron Forman, president and CEO of the Audubon Nature Center and chairman-elect of the Board of Directors of the New Orleans Regional Chamber of Commerce; Woman of Distinction Christie Mintz, a Crohn's patient who also is an avid community volunteer and fundraiser; and Volunteer of the Year Mrs. Lowrey Smith, a fundraiser and volunteer. These three individuals will be recognized for their work to improve the quality of life of people in their community.

Proceeds from the event will be used for research into the inflammatory bowel diseases, education and support services for people suffering from Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis. Tickets are $50 for the luncheon only or $75-$100 for the luncheon plus a patron party to be held at the home of Buzz Harper at 7 p.m. Oct. 17. Tables of 10 are available for $500 for the luncheon or $750 and $1,000 for the luncheon and patron party. The patron party will include food catered by Audubon Institute Catering, drinks and live music. Call 888-1135 for reservations.


Skin-Deep Beauty
Everyone can use a little help optimizing their beauty potential, and a new clinic in the French Quarter offers convenience and a full range of skin-care and therapeutic hair services.

The Skin and Hair Clinic of New Orleans (324 Chartres St., 566-1706; www.drpelias.com) opened Aug. 1 with a menu of services ranging from facials to neck lifts. Dr. Marilyn Pelias, a board-certified cosmetic surgeon, is the medical director and performs many of the procedures at the clinic.

"The clinic is physician-owned and run," she says. "We do comprehensive skin care ... from the mildest facials to surgical treatments." An esthetician takes care of facials and more spa-like treatments, while Pelias concentrates on more medical procedures such as Botox injections for wrinkles, laser hair removal, eye lifts, collagen injections, hair transplantation, liposuction, microdermabrasion, spider vein and varicose vein treatments and tattoo removal. Other services include permanent makeup, Obagi skin care, neck lift, chemical peels and more.

The clinic serves patients of all ages and provides free consultations. It also offers validated parking for non-French Quarter residents at the garage at 530 Chartres St.


Healthy Minds

In conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Week this week, the Mental Health Association in Metropolitan New Orleans (MHAMNO) has scheduled a couple of events to raise support and knowledge about the plight of the mentally ill.

Golfers can tee-off at a benefit tournament at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at Eastover Country Club, followed by a raffle, cocktail party and buffet. The $125 entry fee includes a golf cart, greens fees, box lunch and after-rounds cocktail party where lifestyle management expert Mackie Shilstone will announce raffle winners.

The MHAMNO, a nonprofit advocacy agency, also is sponsoring a free public forum, "Integrating Treatment for Mental Illness and Substance Abuse" from noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 10 in the first-floor conference room at United Way (2515 Canal St.) The session is free, but an optional lunch catered by Odyssey House is available for $12.

Registration is required for both events. Call Sara Woodard at 897-1140.

For families struggling with mental health issues, the MHAMNO offers a free directory of resources and information dealing with alcohol and substance abuse, vocational rehabilitation, legal assistance, housing and transportation, senior care programs and more. It also lists mental health organizations in the area. The publication Help at Hand, A Guide to Community Resources is free to individuals and available for $1 per copy to agencies and organizations. Call 897-1140 to order.


Aware and Alive
Methodist Hospital's Wellspring program is sponsoring a special mother-daughter luncheon aimed at increasing awareness about breast cancer.

Obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Alicia Taylor and other members of the staff at Methodist Hospital will discuss the importance of breast self-exams and mammograms during the "Mom and Me Pink Ribbon Luncheon" from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at the hospital's auditorium (5620 Read Blvd.). Breast cancer survivors also will discuss how cancer affected them.

Cost if $7 per person, reservations are required, and daughters must be 13 or older. Call 244-5728.


Improving Outcomes
Ochsner Clinic Foundation is among only 29 sites nationwide to be selected to take part in a National Cancer Institute (NCI) study to determine the best way to screen smokers for lung cancer. It is the only site in the region to be selected, and Ochsner plans to enroll about 1,500 participants for the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST).

The eight-year NLST seeks to determine whether the conventional chest X-ray now used to find lung cancer or spiral computer tomography (CT) scans can detect the cancer in the earliest stages. Nationwide, 50,000 current and former smokers will be recruited to participate in the study.

The NCI's goal is to reduce lung cancer deaths overall, which medical information suggests is best accomplished by detecting and treating the cancer in early stages. Presently, statistics show that by the time chest X-rays indicate cancer, the tumors have moved outside the lung 15 percent to 30 percent of the time. Prognosis for cure at that point is not good.

As many as 155,000 people die of lung cancer each year in the United States and more than 169,000 are diagnosed with the disease, according to NCI figures. In addition, some 20 million smokers and former smokers are at high risk for lung cancer, considered the leading cause of cancer death in America.

While chest X-rays can detect tumors 1 to 2 centimeters in size, CT scans can pick up tumors under 1 centimeter and also provide physicians with a three-dimensional computer image of the lung. In cases in which CT scans have been used to screen smokers' lungs, as many as 25 percent to 60 percent show abnormalities, although not all of those have turned out to be lung cancer. Many of the abnormal readings prompt physicians to order additional tests, biopsies and even surgery.

The NLST will seek to determine whether chest X-rays or spiral CT scans of present and former smokers 55 to 74 years old is more effective for saving lives from cancer deaths. Participants must have smoked heavily for several years and be free from lung cancer for at least the last five years. All participants will receive annual screenings through 2009 and their health will be monitored.

There is no cost to participate in the trial and the lung screens are free; however, treatment for lung cancer, if detected, and other medical conditions will be the responsibility of participants and their insurance carriers. For more information, call Ochsner at 842-LUNG (5864) or log on to www.ochsner.org/nlst.


Overcoming DRED

Two local urologists have embarked on a campaign to help men of all ages with erectile dysfunction (ED) that doesn't respond to Viagra and other drugs overcome their problem through mentoring and "straight talk" sessions.

Dr. Neil Baum, who is in private practice, and Dr. Wayne Hellstrom of Tulane University School of Medicine are setting up informational sessions and screenings for men who suffer the condition. In the sessions, men who have had erectile dysfunction and have overcome it by using alternatives to Viagra will discuss their experiences with those who fear their drug-resistant ED cannot be treated. The sessions are part of a regional education campaign resulting from National Institutes of Health statistics that indicate that some 10 million of the 30 million men who suffer from ED are not helped by drug therapy. In addition, the NIH says some 52 percent of men between 40 and 70 suffer some degree of the condition. The numbers are expected to increase as the population ages.

"We need to let men know there is a cure for ED, including drug-resistant ED, that works every time in nearly 100 percent of the men treated," Hellstrom says.

The straight talk sessions will feature men who have been successfully treated with penile implants, vacuum devices, injection therapy and other non-drug regimens. Baum also says ED can indicate other health problems such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.

For more information about ED and the straight talk sessions, call the Health Information Network (800) 600-7111, ext. 233 or visit its Web site at www.healthinform.net.

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