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Health and wellness events in New Orleans


Gleason screening and ALS fundraiser
Watch the movie Gleason and give amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) pat-ients a voice at the University of Queenland ALS Voice Banking Project and Ochsner Medical Student Association's fundraiser Thursday, Aug. 24. Proceeds will be used to record and synthesize ALS patients' voices before they lose the ability to speak. When patients no longer can talk, they can use the recorded word bank with voice-generating devices to communicate in their own voices.

  "We record 1,600 preselected phrases — excerpts from novels," says Elizabeth Verter, a medical student at Ochsner and coordinator of the voice banking program. "After that, (a software program called) ModelTalker deconstructs the words into the pure syllables and uses this data to synthesize a voice bank."

  Ochsner medical stu-dents are making the recordings, which include patients' favorite phrases, and ModelTalker optimizes the recordings and sends each patient a synthetic voice file that can be downloaded to various electronic devices and used with a variety of interfaces. "Patients can use an adapter to make the synthetic voice say whatever they would like to share," Verter says. "They see it as a way for themselves and their family to retain a very personal and important part of themselves — their voice — after they lose so much to ALS."

  Gleason, which details former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason's life with ALS and includes his video journals for his son, will be shown at 7 p.m. Aug. 24 at Monroe Hall (Ochsner Medical Center, 1514 Jefferson Highway). Tickets are $15, and people who purchase tickets in advance at www.gleasonscreening.eventbrite.com will be entered in a raffle for Saints game tickets, movie tickets and other prizes. The film will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Dr. Dan Larriviere, a neurologist and director of the ALS Clinic at Ochsner; Dr. Stephen Kantrow, a pulmonologist at LSU Health Sciences Center who appeared in Gleason; and a representative of Team Gleason, Gleason's nonprofit.

  "This project allows us to literally give a voice to those who cannot speak," Verter says, "and I cannot think of anything more rewarding than that."

Now hear this
Hearing instrument specialist Tony Goyette of Zounds Hearing of Metairie discusses hearing health and hearing loss at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24 at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library (4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, 504-889-8143; www.jplibrary.net). The presentation is free and open to the public.

  Goyette will cover how the auditory system works; causes, prevalence and symptoms of hearing loss; auditory testing and hearing aids; and emotional and medical aspects of untreated hearing loss.

Poolside workout
Hyatt Regency New Orleans (601 Loyola Ave., 504-561-1234; www.neworleans.regency.hyatt.com) is offering a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) class at 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26 at its outdoor pool. The class is led by Equip Fitness instructor Jerren Pierce. HIIT workouts boost the heart rate by using a variety of movements at different intensities. It also burns calories in a short period of time.

  The classes are free and open to the public, but reservations are requested through www.eventbrite.com. Participants should bring a mat, towel, water and a swimsuit for swimming after the workout. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

  • Photo courtesy EJGH

Capping hair loss for cancer patients
East Jefferson General Hospital (EJGH) now offers women undergoing chemotherapy a way to minimize hair loss during treatment. Dignicap Intelligent Scalp Cooling System, also called cold cap, is a device worn during chemotherapy infusion. The silicone cap, which is connected to a cooling and control unit, lowers the temperature of the scalp, reducing blood flow to the area. That means less of the chemotherapy drugs reach hair cells, reducing permanent hair loss.

  EJGH installed the cold cap system in its infusion center in mid-July after breast cancer patient Gail Wall and her husband donated it. Wall had rented a cap and used dry ice for the cooling system during her chemotherapy treatments at EJGH and found it to be effective but cumbersome. The system she donated is streamlined and does not require ice.

  In a release from EJGH, Wall said a woman's hair is part of her identity and a factor in her confidence. "It's something that is so important for women," she said. "This disease changes everything about your life, and if this one small thing can make a positive impact in their lives during this struggle, then I want to do that."

Art and brain injury
Artist and brain injury survivor Earl Bridges' abstract paintings will be on display and for sale at A Therapeutic Journey: Unmasking Brain Injury art show from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26 at the St. Tammany Art Association (320 N. Columbia St., Covington, 985-892-8650; www.sttammanyartassociation.org). The opening also focuses on art as therapy for brain injury, including an exhibit of masks painted by brain injury survivors from across Louisiana depicting their emotions as they recover. That exhibit is sponsored by the Brain Injury Association of Louisiana (BIALA). Kimberly Hill, director of outreach and resources at BIALA will give a short overview of her group and the mask exhibit. Art therapist Kathleen Doyle will discuss art therapy.

  The event is free and open to the public.

Jumping for fitness
Looking for a new way to burn energy? Surge Trampoline Park (6930 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 504-267-3898; www.surgeneworleans.com) opened in Jefferson Parish earlier this month with 33,000 square feet of exercise space for adults and children ages 2 and older. The sports and fitness park features a large area of interconnected trampolines, foam pits, a padded log roll, rock walls, a jousting beam and a flying trapeze.

  The park is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday, 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $12.95 for an hour and increases in half-hour increments to $27.95 for three hours. There's also Toddler Time from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays for $7.99. College Night on Thursday offers dis-counts to students with an ID from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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