Pennington Holds Fundraiser

Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation is holding a fundraiser during its 2006 Pennington Hot Air Balloon Championships in Baton Rouge Aug. 5.

The Soaring to New Heights fundraising event will be held in air-conditioned tents at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center (6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, 225-763-2511) near the Balloon Glow area of the hot-air balloon festival. Participants can enjoy a gourmet buffet, beverages, access to all the festivities and live music.

The events start at 6 p.m., the Balloon Glow, in which balloonists tether their balloons at sunset, begins at 8:30 p.m., and a fireworks show begins at 9 p.m. Tickets are $80 for adults, $30 for children, $750 for a table of 10 or $200 for a family packet that includes tickets for two adults and two children. Children 6 and younger are admitted free. Proceeds benefit the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, which conducts nutrition-based research aimed at preventing premature death from chronic diseases.

Belladonna Adds Acupuncture

Belladonna Day Spa and Retail Therapy (2900 Magazine St., 891-4393; has added acupuncture to its spa menu in association with Dr. Henri Roca, founder of Wholistic Wellness Network and chief of LSU's section of integrated medicine.

Acupuncture, a Chinese medical practice that uses fine needles for a range of treatments, can be used to relieve pain and treat stress, insomnia, depression, stroke, addictions, headache, irritable bowel syndrome, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, infertility, problems in pregnancy, dental pain and the adverse effects of cancer treatment.

Sessions, which last 30 to 40 minutes each, cost $100 and include consultations on nutrition.

Feeding Those in Need

Lakeview Regional Medical Center (95 E. Fairway Drive, Covington, 985-867-3800; is preparing 50 meals a week for homebound residents in the area. Lakeview will provide the meals on weekdays in conjunction with the Volunteer Association to Assist the Needy (VAAN), a nonprofit organization founded by Hank Stram's wife, Phyllis, almost 25 years ago and funded solely by donations.

Lakeview will prepare five different types of meals to meet the needs of individuals, including regular, cardiac, low-sodium, low fat and bland. Referrals for those who receive the meals come from the Council on Aging, churches, hospital social workers, doctor's offices and charitable organizations.

More Emergency Responders

Delgado Community College has received three grants totaling more than $251,000 that could help overcome the city's shortage of health-care providers outside the hospital environment, particularly in emergency medical services. The Louisiana Department of Labor gave Delgado's Department of EMS Education $72,000 to fund training for employees of AMED Ambulance Inc. in EMT basic, intermediate, paramedic and non-credit courses including weapons of mass destruction and core disaster life decontamination for health-care providers. The Emergency Response Institute is providing the non-credit courses.

A National Emergency grant of $154,838 to Delgado's Department of EMS Education will provide funding for the training of 318 emergency response personnel in advanced cardiac life support, pediatric advanced life support, trauma life support, disaster life support and weapons of mass destruction.

A third grant for $24,771 will allow the department to supply EMT basic training for 15 students living in the Katrina-affected area. That class will run from Aug. 7 to Oct. 6, and job placement is available after completion of the course.

Fairway Accredited

Fairway Medical Center (67252 Industry Lane, Covington, 985-809-9888;, a physician-owed, 21-bed surgical hospital, has received a Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) for its high performance standards. Those include good outcomes for patients in the areas of medication, pain treatment and infection control as well as staff training. JCAHO accreditation is based in part on the level of satisfaction patients express on discharge surveys. JCAHO evaluates more than 15,000 health-care organizations and programs in the United States with a goal of performance improvements in health-care organizations.

Today's SurgiCenter magazine recently named Fairway Medical, which expanded in 2005 into an acute-care hospital, one of the top 10 ambulatory surgical centers in the country. The center has about 120 physicians on staff.

LSU Receives Pharmacology Grants

The Southeast chapter of the American Heart Association has awarded grants totaling $377,000 to the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) Department of Pharmacology. Pharmacology professor Kurt Varner received a grant-in-aid to conduct research into heart problems associated with abuse of methamphetamines. Graduate student Silvia Shenouda, who works with Varner, received funding to study cardiac problems associated with the use of the recreational drug ecstasy.

Pharmacology instructor Cooper Woods, who holds a joint appointment in the department of cardiology at Ochsner Clinic Foundation, received funding to research the response of arteries to angioplasty and the recurrence of artery narrowing after the procedure, particularly in diabetic patients. Postdoctoral fellow Chunmin Dong was awarded a fellowship to study factors controlling cell biology and drug receptors during the development of cardiac disease.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Dr. Gaungyu Wu, a professor of pharmacology, a $997,000 grant for his research into drugs used to treat a variety of conditions ranging from nerve problems to heart disease to cancer to allow more effective drug therapy and hormone responsiveness.

Dr. Peter Winsauer recently was awarded a $1.2 million grant by the NIH to study the long-term effects of chronic marijuana use during adolescence.

Save Money on Medicines

UnitedHealth Pharmaceutical Solutions has expanded a "pill-splitting" program that could save consumers up to $300 each year on more than a dozen medications. The company already has distributed 28,000 free pill splitters to members.

Under the Half Tablet Program, members who choose to participate pay a reduced co-payment for medications that are priced similarly for larger and smaller doses of the same drug. Members buy the larger dosage, then split the pills in half. For example, a 40-milligram tablet of Lipitor, a drug that lowers cholesterol, costs the same as a 20-milligram tablet. Consumers would buy the larger dosage and split the pill in half for the correct daily dosage.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundations estimates that patients who pay for their own medications can reduce their drug bills by up to 50 percent with pill splitting. The program does not include all medications, just those in which splitting has no effect on their potency or effectiveness.

For more information about the program and a list of medications included, log on to

Hot-air balloons, fireworks, live music and refreshments - are part of a fundraiser for Pennington Biomedical Research - Center.
  • Hot-air balloons, fireworks, live music and refreshments are part of a fundraiser for Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

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