Health Beat

• According to a recent study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, seven out of 10 women facing breast cancer aren’t made aware of all of their reconstructive options. Furthermore, according to a study released at the 2010 American Society of Breast Surgeons annual meeting, four out of five women don’t get breast reconstruction, despite 10-year-old legislation requiring insurance companies to cover the cost. Drs. Frank DellaCroce and Scott Sullivan, FACS of the St. Charles Surgical Hospital – which specializes in breast reconstruction for cancer patients – are the first plastic surgeons in the world to report a 100 percent success rate with immediate reconstruction. They have also pioneered several new procedures, including nipple-sparing mastectomy.

• Rates of asthma in New Orleans is staggeringly more than three times higher than the rest of the country, and 80 percent of New Orleans children suffering from asthma became more susceptible to mold-triggering asthma after Hurricane Katrina. The Head-Off Environmental Asthma Louisiana (HEAL) program has partnered with the Merck Childhood Asthma Network (MCAN), the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences and the National Center on Minority Health Disparities to investigate how changes in the environment are adversely effecting children’s health. Based on the significant study results, MCAN recently pledged $2 million to sustain the program in partnership with Xavier University.

• According to a study recently released by the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “approximately one in five men who have sex with men in 21 major U.S. cities is infected with HIV,” and nearly half of the men with HIV are unaware that they are infected. Studies show that once people learn they are HIV-infected, most take the necessary steps to protect their health and the health of their partners. To find the nearest HIV testing site, call (800) CDC-INFO (232-4636) or visit The CDC encourages practicing safe sex to help stop the spread of this epidemic.

• Dr. Craig Walker, interventional cardiologist and medical director at the Cardiovascular Institute of the South in Houma, recently became the first to successfully treat a peripheral arterial disease patient using a Phoenix Atherectomy catheter. The catheter is currently part of a clinical trial and is awaiting FDA approval. The treatment could, if approved, provide a safer alternative to treat PAD in the legs and potentially eliminate the need for amputations. Those at risk for PAD include anyone older than 50, smokers or those with diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

• A recent study by the Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette revealed that more than half of Louisiana students are considered unhealthy, with nearly one in three classified as obese. These findings are a result of a 2009 Louisiana legislative mandate for school districts to participate in statewide student physical fitness assessments; more than 25,000 children in 15 districts participated last year.


Categories: Healthbeat, Medical