Health News



Self-Defense Workshop
Kuk Sool Won Martial Art Center (601 Terry Parkway, Terrytown, 365-0111) is offering a two-part, six-hour self-protection course to teach people 20 techniques for defending themselves against aggressors.

The first three-hour half of the course begins at 1 p.m. April 6, with the second half scheduled at 1 p.m. April 13. Cost is $99.

Chief instructor Randall Heller says 50 percent of women will experience some type of attack during their lifetime. The course will teach mental, physical and spiritual techniques to overcome and survive such attacks. The course will be led by certified black belt instructors and men trained to act as "muggers" to simulate real-life confrontations. To register, contact Heller at 365-0111 or email him at

Walk for Health
The American Cancer Society (ACS) has scheduled several overnight Relay For Life events in the New Orleans area to raise money for the fight against cancer as well as raise awareness about efforts to fight the deadly disease through research education, advocacy and patient support programs.

Teams of eight to 15 people are invited to take turns walking on a track and to camp out overnight to support the ACS's mission of eliminating cancer.

The first event is scheduled from 5 p.m. April 5 to 5 a.m. April 6 at the Jefferson Playground (4100 South Drive, Jefferson). Other Relay For Life events are scheduled for April 5 at Chalmette High School, April 11 at Belle Chasse High School, April 12 at Oakdale on the West Bank, May 9 at Zephyrs Stadium and May 17 at Muss Bertolino Stadium in Kenner.

For more information or to register a team, contact Anne Wheat at 469-0021.

New Help for Addictions

Primary care physicians now have a new in-office option for helping treat patients addicted to heroin or prescription drugs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is making more than a dozen stops across the country as part of its New Paths to Recovery education initiative to let physicians and the public know about a new medical treatment for such addictions.

In October 2002, the Food & Drug Administration approved the use of buprenorphine -- marketed under the brand names of Suboxone and Subutex -- as treatments for addictions to opioid pain medications and heroin. The Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 allows qualified physicians to prescribe or dispense the medications outside the traditional setting of an addiction treatment clinic.

As part of its 14-stop tour to make physicians and the public aware of the expanded treatment option, SAMHSA scheduled a stop at Ochsner Clinic Foundation from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. March 31. That event will be followed in the coming months with training for physicians who are interested in incorporating buprenorphine into their patients' treatments.

SAMSHA officials say they placed New Orleans on their list of cities to visit after its Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported a 112 percent increase in the mention of narcotic painkillers in hospital emergency departments between 1994 and 2001. DAWN also reported there were 212 drug abuse-related deaths in the city during 2001, and narcotic pain medications were mentioned in relation to 200 of them, although statistics show that in this city 85 percent of drug-related deaths involve more than one drug.

For more information, log onto

Public Health Conference
The Louisiana Public Health Association hosts an educational conference April 8-11 to focus on the role public health professionals play in keeping Americans healthy.

The conference, titled "Touchdown! Healthy People 2010: Calling the Right Plays for Public Health" will feature exhibits and speakers on a variety of subjects, including smoking cessation, life changes, ticks and the diseases they cause, bioterrorism, cardiovascular health, weight loss, violence, injury prevention and more.

For more information or registration, call (318) 676-7483 or log onto the Web at

Obesity Seminar

Surgeon Dr. Joseph Uddo will present a free discussion about LAP-BAND surgery to help weight loss programs for the obese at 6 p.m. April 3 at East Jefferson General Hospital's Conference Center.

LAP-BAND surgery is used as an option for those who are severely overweight and has been shown to help control hunger and is used as an aid to personal weight-loss programs.

Patients interested in the procedure will receive a free assessment at the seminar. The discussion is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Call Health Finder at 456-5000 for information and registration.

Fighting Brain Tumors
Tulane Cancer Center is now enrolling patients to evaluate the use of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) in treating tumors that have spread to the brain from other sites in the body.

IMRT delivers higher, more targeted doses of radiation to tumors in the brain, and the clinical trial seeks to determine whether IMRT is an effective alternative to whole-brain radiation and whether the technique can shrink large brain tumors enough to safely permit radiosurgery to eliminate them.

Principal investigator of the Tulane Study, Lucien Nedzi, says IMRT allows greater daily radiation doses with an eye toward more rapid responses in shrinking the tumors as well as reducing irradiation of healthy brain tissue around such tumors.

For more information on the clinical trial, contact Tulane Cancer Center at 988-6300.

Affordable Medicine
The Prescription Assistance Clearinghouse is offering two publications that can help people obtain free or discounted prescription medications.

How To Get Free Prescription Drugs When You Can't Afford To Pay gives consumers information about the more than 70 programs major drug manufacturers offer that provide free or low-cost pharmaceuticals. How To Get a Free Prescription Discount Card to Save Money on Prescription Drugs is a special report that tells consumers how to get a free prescription drug discount card that can be used at local pharmacies.

To receive the publications, send $5 to Central Fulfillment Center, Free Prescription Drug Booklet Offer #FPDO218E, P.O. Box 408342, Chicago, IL 60640-8342, or log onto the clearinghouse's Web site at

Free Power Wheelchair
People older than 65 or those who are permanently disabled and cannot operate a manual wheelchair on their own may qualify for a free electric wheelchair from the Senior Wheels USA Program. For more information or to determine whether you qualify for the program, call (800) 246-6010.

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