Helth News



Minding Health

The Mental Health Association in Metropolitan New Orleans will hold its annual meeting at noon Jan. 23 at the Eastbank Regional Library's Meeting Room B (4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie), with an address by Orleans Parish Juvenile Court Chief Judge Ernestine S. Gray.

At the meeting, the association also will elect officers and board members. It also will bestow awards for state government leader of the year, volunteer of the year and media representative of the year.

Call 897-1140 for meeting information.


Coping With Cancer

How to help cancer patients and those who surround them handle the psychological aspects of the disease and its treatments will be the focus of the Gene Usdin, MD Distinguished Visiting Lectureship in Psychiatry at Ochsner Clinic Foundation this month.

The eighth annual lecture, which is free and open to the public, begins at 10 a.m. Jan. 25 at Monroe Hall at Ochsner (1514 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson). Space is limited; call 842-1234 for reservations.

Keynote speaker Dr. Jimmie Holland, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Wayne E. Chapman Chair of Psychiatric Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, was author of a study that outlined ways to reduce stress on cancer patients and their families. She also is an expert in bereavement counseling for families who have lost loved ones to cancer and has published the patient handbook, The Human Side of Cancer (Harper Collins, 2000). At the Usdin lecture she will discuss how to help both families and patients cope with the psychological aspects of cancer.


Live to the Max

Anyone who has ever heard local fitness expert Mackie Shilstone on the radio or, even better, seen him in action can attest to one thing: the guy exudes energy and vigor for life. He's given us a simplified step-by-step plan for how he's helped himself and countless other athletes and common folks achieve optimum health in his new book Maximum Energy for Life: A 21-Day Strategic Plan to Feel Great, Reverse the Aging Process, and Optimize Your Health (John Wiley & Sons Inc., January 2003, $24.95).

It's not an exercise book, although it does address fitness routines and stresses the importance of exercise in balancing the functions and improving the efficacy of the body, mental processes and happiness in general. In the book, Shilstone recommends the "Pro Circuit Exercise Program," which he devised to combine strength and core training with cardiovascular conditioning. "The beauty of this program," he writes, "is that you can start it at any age and at any level of fitness and make it as challenging as you want. The Pro Circuit is designed to give you maximum benefits for a minimum time investment -- thirty to forty-five minutes, three times a week -- in as few as eight to twelve weeks. Where you go from there is up to you."

Rather than a fitness book, however, Maximum Energy for Life is a roadmap for living happily in a fast-paced, demanding, fast-food kind of world. It explains how to combat fatigue and lethargy through proper diet, exercise and positive thinking and even gives the reader easy exercises for dealing with and controlling stress, negative emotions, fear and even workplace hassles. Shilstone shows you how to reignite passion for your job, reassess what you want and how to get it and discusses the role of family and friends in living a joy-filled life.

Shilstone, who has helped numerous star athletes get back in the game and in many cases extend their professional sports careers beyond expectations, doesn't just throw out his insights and leave the reader hanging. Everything in the book is a step-by-step, mapped-out plan complete with evaluation forms, questionnaires and even meal plans that leave nothing in question and allow you to eat things like spaghetti and meat balls and even pound cake. The book also discusses at length, heart disease, preventable diseases and even stress and how it affects your health, work relationships, family and personal happiness.

Perhaps best of all, we have Shilstone himself as a vibrant example of how well the plan can work. It started when he -- as a 5-foot-8-inch, 140-pound college student -- wanted to be on the football team at Tulane University. He strengthened himself and achieved that goal, earning a varsity letter and having the distinction of being the smallest player in the country. He later turned his methods to other players, helping Michael Spinks become the first light-heavyweight boxer to win the world heavyweight boxing title and working with baseball and football players all over the country play better for longer. Later, he brought his methods to non-sports types at the Mackie Shilstone Center for Performance Enhancement and Lifestyle Management at Elmwood Fitness Center, where the general public can benefit from his quarter-century of experience.

Maximum Energy for Life is an easy read that motivates the reader through common-sense approaches and goals that can be reached fairly easily by anyone. And it comes with a big promise: "This book ... embraces both the science and the passion that I bring to my work with my clients," Shilstone writes in the introduction. "I know that it will help you improve the quality of your life, health and performance as well as increase your joy of living more than you ever dreamed possible." -- Kandace Power Graves


Lowering Risks

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has given Tulane University Hypertension and Renal Center of Excellence $10.8 million to establish a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) to explore links between high blood pressure and kidney disease.

The NIH grant is intended to expand and speed along research examining the interconnections of the two diseases; the money will be used to pay researchers, buy laboratory equipment and fund infrastructure needs. Grant projects include a clinical trial to examine how exercise affects hypertension in African-American women as well as studies about salt-induced high blood pressure and the role malformed kidneys play in chronic kidney disease and more. It marks the first COBRE in the country to be established with a primary focus on hypertension.

Tulane center Director Dr. Lee Ham says the need for the center is illustrated by statistics that show the Southeast region, which includes Louisiana, has the highest prevalence of hypertension and related complications such as stroke, coronary artery disease and end-stage kidney disease in the country. Additionally, the American Heart Association estimates that 2.2 million Americans are disabled by high blood pressure and 200,000 die each year from hypertension-related causes. Hypertension also has been found in 70 percent of new patients suffering from end-stage kidney failure, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

Mackie Shilstone's new book provides a roadmap to better health.
  • Mackie Shilstone's new book provides a roadmap to better health.

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