Thursday, September 11, 2008
Children inherit more than just looks from their parents

By Anthony Policastro, M.D

People often try to decide whether a newborn baby looks like the mother or the father. They base this upon facial characteristics. What people do not often realize is that there are many other characteristics that are inherited. I frequently see these when I do a newborn exam. They are normal inherited findings. The best example of this is Morton's foot. In those individuals, the large toe appears to be smaller than the second toe. It is actually bone in the foot that is shorter. It gives the large toe a short appearance. Most people with Morton's foot have inherited it from their parents. Another common inherited toe finding is when two of the toes (usually the second and third toes) are fused together. Infants who get this will have one parent with the same finding. This fusion is called syndactyly. Syndactyly can also affect the fingers. It does that rarely. However, when it does, it can be associated with the baby having a sixth small finger attached to the hand. Usually what we see is just the sixth small finger attached to the hand. This too is hereditary. A third toe finding is called clinodactyly. In this situation one of the toes is bent inward instead of being straight. I recently had two babies in the nursery in the same week. One of them had a third toe bent inward. The other had the 5th toe bent inward. In both cases, I went to the mother's room and found that the mother had exactly the same finding. Clinodactyly can also affect the fingers. Sizes of the jaw are hereditary. A small jaw or a large jaw usually comes from one of the parents. There are some individuals who have eyes that are farther apart than others. This too is a hereditary condition. Some babies have large heads. The head size is most often just the result of a parent with a large head. The parent often does not think of himself or herself as having a large head until you ask them what their hat size is. Then he/she will tell you that they wear a very large hat. Some babies will have a little opening in the front of their ear. It is called an ear pit. Those are also frequently hereditary in nature. There are many similar minor findings that babies have when they are born. Sometimes people do not notice them. However, there is a lot more to a baby taking after his/her parents than just facial characteristics.

Nanticoke Cancer Care Center providing prostate screenings September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Once again this year the Cancer Care Center staff at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will provide a valuable service to our community by providing prostate screenings on Friday, September 19 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. on the second floor of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Cancer Care Center (located next to the hospital). There is a $5 screening fee and pre-registration is not required. Melinda Huffman, MSN, RN, CGRN, Cancer Screening Nurse, wants to let community members know that, "A simple blood test is all it takes. It just might save your life." Nanticoke Memorial Hospital encourages men over the age of 50 to take advantage of this service. If you are 40 years old and at high risk of developing this cancer you are also encouraged to participate. African-American men are at high risk for developing prostate cancer, as are men who have a family history of the disease. For further information, call Nanticoke Cancer Care Center at 629-6611 ext 3765.

Cancer Support Group The Wellness Community-Delaware is offering a support group for people affected by cancer and their loved ones at the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford. The group meets at the Cancer Care Center on the second Monday of the month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. For more information call Kaye or Lori at 645-9150.

Cohen joins Nanticoke Health Nanticoke Health Services welcomes Warren Cohen, D.O., F.A.C.E.P., to the position of medical director of radiology. Dr. Cohen, who started his role on Aug. 11, brings over 30 years of experience in emergency services, family practice and radiology. He is board certified by the American College of Osteopathic Family Practitioners, American Board of Emergency Medicine and the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology. He is a university trained diagnostic radiologist at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and fellowship university trained neuroradiologist at Hahnemann University/Drexel College of Medicine. He comes to Nanticoke from Hahnemann University/Drexel College of Medicine where he was assistant professor of medicine and emergency medicine and associate professor in the Department of Radiologic Sciences at Hahnemann University Hospital/Drexel College of Medicine.

Depression support The Mental Health Association in Delaware is 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 as well as 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. Sheila Brant and Joan Burditt, occupational therapists at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, will facilitate the support group meetings. Pre-registration not required. For details call 629-6611, ext. 5121.

Law targets online pharmacies Officials hope a new law targeting online pharmacies where clients can get drugs without seeing a doctor will give them a tool to crack down on the growing practice. Bill Waggaman of the state's office of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs said many of the Internet-based operations are overseas, however, he hopes the law will deter people who might be considering setting up shop in the First State. Rep. Bethany Hall-Long, D-Middletown, said the bill won't affect people who have legitimate prescriptions from their doctor and use online or mail-order pharmacy services to save money on drug costs. "This is aimed at addressing what they call 'rogue pharmacies.' Young people have died from getting illegal drugs delivered to their homes without their parents knowing," said Hall-Long. People who use illicit Internet pharmacies could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.