A Fruitful Resolution
Last month, the New Orleans City Council unanimously adopted a resolution to address the limited availability of fresh produce in various neighborhoods throughout the city, a problem that has become more pronounced since Hurricane Katrina. With the goal of improving access to fresh, healthy food in New Orleans, the resolution was presented by Partnership to Pursue a Food Policy Advisory Committee, which includes members from the Prevention Research Center at Tulane University, Second Harvest of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana, the City of New Orleans Health Department, Steps to a Healthier LA/New Orleans, Louisiana Public Health Institute, Renaissance Project and New Orleans Food and Farm Network. The committee emphasizes that simply sending people a message about the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables will have no effect if these foods are not readily available in their neighborhoods. The advisory committee plans to formulate recommendations in time for the 2008 state legislative session.
As many patients with serious kidney disease and chronic kidney failure know, undergoing dialysis treatments can be taxing on your body and your time. On average, these patients need to be dialyzed every other day for about four to six hours per session. Fresenius Medical Care (4425 Utica St., Metairie, 455-5535) now provides overnight dialysis, which gives patients the flexibility to schedule around work, school and other daily activities. In addition to getting back 12-20 daylight hours each week, Fresenius says its patients have experienced improved lab results, a decrease in medication usage and an overall increase in feelings of well-being. Fresenius currently offers its nocturnal dialysis services Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Health Coverage for Louisiana Kids
More Louisiana children will be eligible for the Louisiana Children's Health Insurance Program (LaCHIP) because of an annual increase in the federal poverty level. Under the new guideline, working families can earn more income and still qualify for LaCHIP, which provides no-cost health coverage for uninsured children under age 19. Many families lost LaCHIP/Medicaid health-care coverage post-Katrina, and others are unaware they are eligible for such services. An August 2006 survey by the state Department of Health and Hospitals found that more than 91,000 children in Louisiana did not have health insurance, and more than 67,500 of those were eligible to receive coverage by programs like LaCHIP. For more information, visit www.lachip.org or call (877) 2LaCHIP (252-2447).
Medical Mission Possible
New Orleans Medical Mission Services Foundation Inc. (NOMMS) will host its annual fundraising gala, Mission Possible, June 23 at Generations Hall. Made up of volunteers, including doctors and nurses along with other medical and nonmedical professionals, NOMMS is a not-for-profit organization that provides medical services, equipment, supplies and instruments and educational programs to qualified organizations in foreign countries. A Mission Possible patron party begins at 7 p.m., and the gala will be held from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. The fundraiser includes cocktails, dining, live entertainment provided by Thrill, a silent auction and a live auction. Gala tickets are $50 per person, and the patron package is $250 (including two tickets to the patron party and gala). Other sponsorship levels are also available. For more information, call 392-1934 or visit www.medicalmissionservices.com.
Like Toothpaste for Chocolate
In his research at Tulane University, doctoral candidate Arman Sadeghpour has found that an extract of cocoa powder that occurs naturally in chocolates, teas and other products could be an effective natural alternative to fluoride in toothpaste and it might even be more effective in fighting cavities. In the form of a white crystalline powder, the extract helps harden tooth enamel, making teeth less susceptible to tooth decay. More studies will have to be conducted before the product is approved for human use, but in a few years, the cocoa extract could offer the first major innovation to commercial toothpaste since manufacturers began adding fluoride to toothpaste in 1914.