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December 3, 1999     Cape Gazette
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December 3, 1999
 

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CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, December 3 - December 9, 1999 - 39 HEALTH & FITNESS Public offers input on tobacco settlement funds By Rosanne Pack Cindy Collier, director of corn- advisory committee, and the 12 fields, mendations to the G6neral Again in the position of making munications for the Department members were appointed by Gov. Collier said the health fund Assembly. decisions of how to spend a wind- of Health and Social Services, Tom Carper and leaders of the advisory committee will continue Written comment can be mailed fall, Delaware officials are taking said the 46 states included in the House and Senate. to accept written comment until to the Delaware Health Fund comments from the public on just settlement are to receive their por- Four elected officials serve as Friday, Dec. 10. Advisory Committee, Delaware how and where the multi-million tions of the estimated $206 billion well as a cross-section of citizens, The committee has scheduled Health and Social Services, 1901 dollar tobacco settlement funds in payments over the next 25 including doctors, educators and meetings in December and N. DuPont Hwy., New Castle, DE could be spent, years. Delaware's total will be other representatives of health January before making recom- 19720, or faxed to 302-577-4510. In a series of public hearings, $775 million. members of the state Health Fund "Each year, the state advisory Advisory Committee sought input committee will start from scratch, in each county this week, includ- deciding what to recommend for ing a gathering at Delaware Tech using the money," Collier said. College Owens Campus Nov. 29. "So if something is not funded Approximately 40 people attend- one year, it will still have a chance ed the Monday night session, in another year. more than 25 were pre-registered "For 2000, $4 million is ear- to comment, marked for helping senior citizens Representatives of health-relat- who need supplemental help pay- ed organizations such as the ins for prescription drugs. IIIIIB mlbL American Heart Association, the According to the guidelines in the  American Cancer Society, health Pill Bill that.passed in spring of educators and youth anti-smoking '99, 6,700 Delawareans will be groups made comments. Joining eligible for assistance with this them were individuals who shared funding." personal experiences with tobac- Dr. Gregg Sylvestor, secretary co-related illness and those who of health and social services, said would like to see money ear- he agrees with marked for such health issues as several sugges- diabetes prevention and research tions that a and brain and spinal cord injury "rainy day" victims, fund also be The General Assembly mandat- created with ed that money coming to the state some of the from the tobacco suit settlement tobacco settle- SuUmined photo must be spent on health-related ment money. Former FBI detective keynotes rape conference programs. The advisory commit- He said, by set- tee was formed to collect propos- ting aside a SYLVESTER Ray Hazelwood, retired Fill detective and part of the motivation for the film, Silence of his for using the money and to portion of the settlement each the Lambs, was one of the featured speakers at Beebe's Rape Conference, held recently at make recommendations to law- year, the Delaware Health Fund the BayCenter in Dewey Beach. makers, could sustain itself, regardless of Hazelwood shared the psychology of rapists and murderers and offered insight that may be helpful to those who help prosecute these perpetrators or work with victims. The con- In FY2000, Delaware will the amount coming from the set- ference bi'ought together law enforcement officers, victims' advocates, Sexual Assault receive more than $34 million tlement. Nurse Examiners (SANE) and others. from the settlement. The first $9.4 The annual settlement amount Shown are Marylee Verdi, community health educator at Beebe; Edie Reynolds, SANE; million comes as early as is determined by a total tobacco Dr. Thomas Shreeve, medical director of Beebe's SANE program; Cheri Wooters, SANE December with the remaining $25 sales, which could decrease, coordinator;, Roy Hazelwood; Kristi Glenn-Howard, SANE; and Mary Spicer, Beebe's vice million due in the spring of 2000. Sylvester is chairman of the president of patient care services. Cardiac test poses little threat to patients One of the most frequently uti- lized diagnostic procedures in car- diovascular medicine today is based on the use if radioactive substances called radioisotopes. Among those, the best known ones are thallium and technetium, which are elements of a high molecular weight able to interact with physiologic processes within the body without interfering with the normal functioning of that particular organ. In this specific case, the organ is the heart. Among the heart functions we are able to study with these sub- stances are the coronary circula- tion - blood supply to the heart muscle - size of the heart cham- bers and their contractility or abil- ity to pump the blood to the rest of the body. Also, the presence of abnormal communications within the heart chambers or great vessels around the heart. It can also tell how much heart muscle was damaged after a heart attack and whether an individual patient will benefit from a bypass surgery or coronary angioplasty before it is done. A common indication is assess- ment of heart function before chemotherapy for certain types of cancer. Technetium and thallium are chemical elements capable of emitting energy - photons. Think of this as invisible light. The human eye cannot see it, so spe- cially designed devices - nuclear cameras - capture that energy and transform it into visible light in the form of pictures and images. Scientists and doctors have made tremendous advances in the last three decades developing techniques and the level of expert- ise required to make nuclear car- diology part of the mainstream of daily diagnostic tools. The way it works is simple but at the same time, it is sophisticat- ed. Why this contraction? It is simple for the patient. The proce- dure basically requires injecting a particular isotope into a vein, usu- ally before and after an exercise or pharmacologic-type stress test, which is the usual scenario in everyday clinical practice. The patient is then placed under a nuclear camera - a device that captures the energy emitted by the radioisotope and allows techni- cians and doctors to generate pic- tures and images, using sophisti- cated computers. It is through carefully analyzing those images that allows doctors to make conclusions and recom- mendations for treating the specif- ic disorder under study. One of the most commonly asked questions is, "Is this a prob- lem with my dye allergy?" Even though the isotopes are injected into a vein to make the pictures, there is really no such dye in the usual sense, so allergies are not a problem. Some patients complain of a metallic taste in their mouths, but that is transitory. Of course, the biggest concern is radioactivity and exposure to it. The procedures are not to be per- formed in pregnant women. The dose of radioactivity received by the patient is minimal. As a matter of fact, there is much more radiation exposure from flying to Europe than from having several of these tests per- formed in one year than from being in high altitude - for exam- ple, Denver - for several days. Nuclear cardiology is a key part of testing in today's cardiovascu- lar medicine. It is a safe, nonin- vasive and cost-effective diagnos- tic tool. HEALTH TOPICS Dr. Alberto Rosa Dr. Alberto Rosa of Delaware Cardiovascular, is a cardiologist who special- izes in noninvasive heart pro- cedures. For more informa- tion, call 644-7676.