As the holidays approach us, many people look forward to spending time with family and friends and to the joys of the season. However, the holidays can bring some unwanted guests- stress and depression, for adults and children. Changes occur from year to year and these changes can affect is especially around the holidays- even positive changes. For others, the holidays are associated with negative feelings. Even after the holidays, many people experience the “Post Holiday Blues.” A recent poll showed that 8 /10 Americans experience stress around the holidays.
External triggers for holiday stress and sadness may include: loss of a loved one through divorce, death or a move, loss of a job or home or toxic relationships. Internal triggers can may be unresolved grief, underlying medical conditions, fear, isolation and loneliness and the contrast between expectations and reality. Sometimes, these feelings may be more than the “blues” and mental health professional involvement may be warranted if problems such as changes in appetite, sleep and weight persist for more than a few weeks or there is a lack of energy, social withdrawal and continued sorrow.
For most of us, however, planning ahead and using some key strategies can get us through this season. Seeking serenity, practicing forgiveness, letting go of unrealistic expectations, avoiding substance abuse, staying away from toxic people, practicing self care, reaching out to others, planning things we enjoy ourselves can help.
Tune in to this segment for more information about holiday stress triggers and causes and some strategies to make your holiday experience be filled with more hope and gratitude. Dr. Theodore Morgan, a local Atlanta psychiatrist will lend his expertise on this timely topic and also discuss when more than our own strategies may be warranted and professional help enlisted. Listeners can also obtain more information on www.gabehavioralhealth.com.
Dr. Theodore Morgan
- Medical training at Meharry College of Medicine
- Completed psychiatry fellowship at University of Alabama
- Board certified in child and adolescent psychiatry
- Member of the America Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- In private practice at GA Behavioral Health
Clinical research is a systematic approach to finding out what clinical approaches do and do not work and then using this gained knowledge in to advance and improve clinical decision making. There are many kinds of research, but in the US, about 59% of research focuses on drug research. At any one point in time the FDA has approximately 9-11 thousand clinical trials registered and these trials are seeking 2.8- 3 million subjects. Clinical trial investigative work is conducted in every disease state. Currently, a great deal of research is ongoing in cancer, cardiovascular, Neurology, and anti-infectives.
Bringing a drug to market in the US is a long (10-15 years) and expensive endeavor as about 90% of drug trials do not make it past the first phase of clinical trials. High quality results, timeliness and actionable evidence remain key indicators for a clinical trial. There are four phases of drug trials. Phase I involves safety testing in small numbers of patients. Phase II tests the drug in larger patient populations who have conditions or diseases the drug is meant to treat. Phase III is a pre-approval round where large populations of subjects with affiliated health issues test the new drug as compared to standard treatment. Roughly, 2/3 of Phase III clinical trials are approved by the FDA. Phase IV trials are post- FDA approval trials to explore additional adverse events, performance vs. competitive drugs and additional possible uses.
Patients often enroll in clinical trials with the belief that their experience may be of benefit to future patients. Clinical trial management is highly regulated with involvement and monitoring from many agencies. Informed consent is required. Most consumers and clinicians think of clinical trial research as being performed in large academic medical centers. However, there are many community level models that are available to extend participation and the quality of the research across populations as we are finding that drug response may vary more than previously expected due to each person’s unique pharmacogenomics.
Tune in to this segment to learn about clinical trial research in general and for more information about unique and highly successful community based models of research occurring in GA and the Southeast. Dr. Jeff Kingsley, a clinical research veteran at the national level and his associates will lend their expertise in the field of drug clinical trial research. Listeners can also obtain more information on www.serrg.com and the FDA’s research site at www.clinicaltrials.gov.
Dr. Jeff Kingsley
- Medical training at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
- Completed residency in Family Practice at Columbus Regional Medical Ctr
- MBA from Emory University
- CEO/Founder of Southeastern Regional Research Group
The CDC reports that over 50 million Americans suffer annually from allergies and that globally, the number of people that suffer from allergies is on the rise. They estimate that in the US, over $18 billion is spent annually on allergy related health care. Although, it may not seem that allergies are a serious problem at first blush, allergy problems can greatly affect quality of life in terms of sleep, work and school productivity and even the quality of our relationships. The same allergens that trigger a response in the spring’s high allergy season – pet dander, mold and mildew, can be intensified with increased exposure as we move indoors during the winter months. Colds are also common during winter months , but many people do not know how to distinguish between a cold flare and allergies. Climate changes can also affect allergic responses.
The most common signs and symptoms of allergies during this time of year include sniffling, sneezing, watery eyes and nasal congestion. Treatments include avoidance of allergens, lifestyle changes and both over the counter and prescribed medications. Desensitization treatments are also now an option that saves time over the long run. In this segment, Dr. David Redding, a board certified allergist, who has been featured on The Weather Channel and TLC will join us to discuss the triggers and treatments of winter allergies. Listeners can also obtain more information on www.reddingallergyatl.com and www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/asthma.
Dr. David Redding
- MD training at Medical College of GA in Augusta
- Double Board-Certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatric and Adult Allergy
- Residency at University of South Carolina
- Fellowship completed at University of Texas Medical Branch
- Featured on The Weather Channel and TLC
Medicine is not “one size fits all” and medicine involves making decisions- many of them. Traditionally, patients have relied on their health care providers thinking that “the doctor knows best” in the areas of medicine, treatments, procedures, surgery and hospitalizations. However, some of the most important and potentially life altering healthcare decisions are not the clinicians’ alone to make. Many believe that with shared medical decision making- when the provider brings evidenced based medical expertise and the patient brings their preferences and values, benefits soar such as: a focus on prevention, an increased ability to manage chronic conditions, increased patient satisfaction and decreased costs. Examples of common healthcare decisions include: elder care, end of life decisions, management of chronic back pain, charting a cancer treatment course, elective surgery and maternity care.
Health literacy also is a component of making better healthcare decisions as many providers overestimate the health literacy of their patients. Patient may lack the fundamental tools to understand what is happening in their bodies and what to do about it. They may not have been brought into the decision making by their provider, know how to work within the medical system, understand the right questions to ask or believe they have power to help heal themselves.
In this segment, Dr. Joseph Pinzone, a double board-certified physician who specializes in endocrinology and the provision of care through the concierge model, has written a new book titled, “Fireballs in My Eucharist” (which was a patient’s description of fibroids in her uterus!). He will discuss the book and how patients can get educated, obtain tools to help in their decision making and help better heal themselves and be an active participant in their healthcare. Listeners can visit www.medamai.com and www.informedmedicaldecisions.org for more information.
Dr. Joseph Pinzone
- MD training at NYU in New York
- Double Board-Certified in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology
- Private practice in Santa Monica, CA
- Author of the new book, “Fireballs in My Eucharist”