Health
Thursday, February 28, 2008
 
When you're driving, please pay attention!

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

There was a 1950's song titled "Seven Little Girls." The idea of the song was that there were 7 girls in the back seat with Fred. No one was up with the driver. The chorus went: "Keep your mind on the driving, keep your hands on the wheel, keep your snoopy eyes up on the road ahead." This advice is still true today 50 years later. I recently made a trip to South Carolina. I saw several drivers who violated these rules. One driver was riding down the middle turn lane of the road for several hundred feet and then jerked his vehicle back into the main lane. Another driver entered the highway and cut me off in doing so. A third driver passed a car and then pulled in front of him slowing down to force the car he passed to slam on the brakes. All three drivers had one thing in common. They were all on cell phones. They probably had their eyes on the road. However, they probably were not seeing it. They probably had their hands on the wheel. However, they were not driving correctly. What is perfectly clear is that none of them had their mind on the driving. All three of them could easily have been in an accident. It was up to the drivers around them to make sure that did not happen. The studies on cell phone use while driving have clearly shown that it is not the talking on the phone that is the problem. It is the inability to keep one's mind on the driving at hand. As a matter of fact, the studies have shown that it is not just during the phone call that this is an issue. The effects seem to last for a full five minutes after the call has ended. It appears that people have a tendency to let their minds wander to the conversation even after they have hung up. What we know about cell phone usage in cars is that the accident rate is similar to what we see in drunk drivers. Using a cell phone causes that much interference with the driving. It was clearly evident in the three drivers that I saw on my last trip. It is evident almost every time you see an erratic driver on the road. "Keep your mind on the driving" has an entirely different meaning than it did 50 years ago. However, it remains just as important in terms of accident prevention.

Nanticoke Hospital to hold dinner and auction
Nanticoke Health Services Dinner/Auction "The Nanticoke Derby" will be held on Saturday, April 19, at the Heritage Shores Clubhouse in Bridgeville. The committee has been busy securing donations that are sure to make this year's auction a winning night for the hospital and the community. The event benefits the Charity Endowment Prescription Fund and the certified Stroke Center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. Some of the early donations already received include "A Young Horse Lovers Delight" package donated by Singletree Stables; a framed print from PNC Bank entitled "Serenity on Silver Lake;" a painting by local artist Marian Hertzog; and four tires and an alignment from Nanticoke Automotive. Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase an antique bridal bowl, a silver CZ ring, own one of two timeshares in Williamsburg, a marble vase or take a swing at golf lessons from Seaford Golf and Country Club Pro Matt Keller or play a round on the course. Other items include a Delaware 5-digit license plate, a Grotto Pizza Party, themed baskets, a Smith Island cake and a weekend on "Frank's Private Island Getaway" donated by Frank Parks of Home Team Realty. Tickets are available for $75 per person. Sponsorship packages are also available. The presenting sponsor is Delaware National Bank and community partner is Nemours Health and Prevention Services. For more information, contact the Corporate Development office at 629-6611, extension 2404.

100 kids to receive dental services
On Saturday, March 8, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., an estimated 100 children from local low-income families will receive free dental services ranging from screenings to restoration as part of the national Give Kids A Smile Program. The all day event will be held at the offices of Drs. Lynch & Rodriguez, Shipley Street, Seaford. Pre-registration and signed parental permission is required. Local children are selected through agencies only, including the Head Start Program. Last year, more than 29,000 dentists and other volunteers nationwide (including 159 in Delaware) participated in Give Kids A Smile, a program by the American Dental Association (ADA) to provide care and raise awareness of the importance of access to dental care for poor children. According to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of children ages 2 to 9 in the United States suffer from untreated tooth decay. While poor diet and oral hygiene certainly play a role, cavities are actually caused by a disease called caries, which is five times more common than asthma. The National Institute of Health report that 80 percent of tooth decay is now found in just 25 percent of children, primarily from low-income facilities. Public health programs such as Medicaid are supposed to help underserved children, but utilization rates are low. "Dentists can't do this alone," said Dr. David Isaacs, president of the Delaware State Dental Society. "Children's oral health is everyone's business - not just dentists. We need to participate as a community and as a nation."

ACS plans benefit for March 16
The Lighthouse Restaurant, located at Fisherman's Wharf, 7 Anglers Road, Lewes, is donating the restaurant's pavilion area as the site for an American Cancer Society (ACS) benefit on Sunday, March 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. "Spruce Up for Spring and Summer: Caring for the Mind, Body and Soul," is the theme of the ACS Relay for Life 2008 fundraising event as vendors from across Sussex and Kent counties bring their products, information and expertise in hopes of raising contributions and awareness for cancer patients and caregivers. Paul and Mary Buchness, owners and operators of the Lighthouse Restaurant, are longtime supporters of ACS Relay for Life. The ACS Relay for Life 2008 benefit is open to the public. Along with ACS information booths, vendors offer an array of specialty products from skin care to chocolates, handbags to spring and summer houseware gifts and much more. For more information about the American Cancer Society Relay for Life 2008 benefit, contact the Ribbon Cap Club team at 302- 422-7878 or e-mail cac@ribboncapclub.com.

Depression support group in Laurel
The Mental health Association in Delaware will be sponsoring a Depression Support Group in Laurel on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. The meetings begin at 7 p.m. The MHA encourages anyone dealing with a depressive disorder to attend. Register in advance by calling 1-800-287-6423. Peer support groups sponsored by Mental Health Association of Delaware are not intended to replace professional mental health treatment. MHA does not publish support group locations; locations are provided with registration.

Stroke support group
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer free monthly Stroke Support Group meetings designed for individuals who have survived a stroke and their families and caregivers. Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month at Nanticoke Cancer Care Center, from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. The meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions, in which caregivers and survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support and networking. Refreshments will be provided. Sheila Brant and Joan Burditt, occupational therapists at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, will facilitate the support group meetings. Pre-registration is not required. For more information, call 629-6611, ext. 5121.