Thursday, November 10, 2011
Be logical regarding your health

By Dr. Anthony Policastro When I was a commanding officer in the Air Force, I frequently had individuals quote regulations to me. One thing I learned was that if something was quoted that did not make sense, it probably was not in the regulations. In those circumstances, I would ask the individual to show me where the regulation said that. One of two things usually happened. The first was that they could not find the regulation they were quoting because it did not exist. The second was that they had interpreted something in the regulation incorrectly. Everything is subject to interpretation. However, in most cases, the real meaning is clear. The result was that most of the time, I found that illogical things were indeed false. Unfortunately, this is one of our human defense mechanisms. When we take an action, we want to justify it. There are a lot of these defense mechanisms. The one that we see most often is called rationalization. First we take a stand and then we come up with things to support that stand. Sometimes those things are not true. However, we believe that they are because they support our position. For example, I recently received an e-mail saying that the current administration wanted to put a 1% tax on all bank transactions. It was sent by someone who is not fond of the current administration. As in the Air Force, my reaction was to see it for myself. I did a web search and found it on It is true that such a bill was introduced in Congress. However, it was in the last Congressional session. The only sponsor was the Pennsylvania Congressman that submitted it. It never got passed. I see things like this all the time in medicine. It is especially true of individuals who do not want to take medication. They will have all kinds of reasons for it. Most of the time, they will quote rare side effects. I had a call a few months ago from a mother who claimed that the medication I prescribed could cause sudden death. I asked her to show me. When she did, she had not read the entire message. What it said was that you should not use the medication in someone who had an allergy to it because it could cause sudden death. The patient was clearly not allergic to the medication. There are many people who are in denial about their medical condition and they use a variety of reasons to justify why they do not need to be treated. While doing things like this in the Air Force or in politics can be an inconvenience (sometimes a major one), they are not usually something serious. However, when it comes to your health, you could take an illogical approach and the result could be fatal.

How a dislodged tooth can be saved Whether you are enjoying sports or get caught in the crossfire of a neighborhood pumpkin chucking, you could lose a tooth. To avoid looking like a jack-o-lantern, the Division of Public Healths Oral Health program advises taking prompt, proper action to save your smile. Having atooth knocked out of the mouth is not uncommon, said Dr. Greg McClure, DPH dental director. Preventing this from happening is best, of course, which can be done easily by wearing a mouth guard when participating in sports.However, accidents do happen, and knowing what to do and how much time you have to act can help to save a tooth. Our teeth are connected to our gums by ligaments. When a permanent front tooth is lost due to an accident or other trauma, these ligaments are broken and will eventually die if not connected to nourishment from our blood supply. If we act quickly, it is often possible to save the ligaments and replant the tooth so that it can continue to be functional. Follow these steps: Find the dislodged tooth immediately. Be careful to grasp the tooth by the crown, avoiding the root. Timing is essential for a successful outcome. Immediate replantation is best, but this can be very difficult for a non-dentist, especially if there are associated injuries. If attempted and the patient is cooperative, the tooth should be clean. If it is dirty, rinse lightly with milk or salty water such as contact lens solution. If it cant be found on the ground, make sure to check the persons clothing. Gently place the tooth in a container of milk or salty water. Be careful not to agitate the tooth against the walls of the container. A commercial kit called Save-A-Tooth is available. Athletic programs may have this product, which is the preferred transport medium. Seek immediate dental treatment. The faster the tooth can be replanted, the better the prognosis for long-term success retaining the tooth.The tooth will require endodontic treatment following replacement in the socket.

Work with your sports team or event to obtain a tooth preservation kit such as Save-A-Tooth for these emergencies. Knowing these tips means having some control over the situation. Fast action can reduce damage, be easier and less expensive to correct, and can make a lifetime of difference. A natural smile is worth saving. For more information about dental health in Delaware, go to

Changes for medical society The Medical Society of Delaware has launched a new brand identity Leading the Way to a Healthy Delaware designed to represent all the Society does for Delaware physicians and patients. As part of this new branding initiative, the group also has a redesigned new website, At the societys recent annual meeting, the organizations House of Delegates voted to adopt a more streamlined and responsive governance structure. The three county medical societies which were drawn on for geographic leadership roles within the State Society have been eliminated, leaving the society to be governed as a single statewide organization. A leadership summit, planned for February 2012, will finalize the details for the new structure. Election of the slate of officers who will serve for the coming year also took place at the meeting. They include: Randeep S. Kahlon, M.D., president; Stephen J. Kushner, D.O., president-elect; Kevin P. Sheahan, M.D., vice president; Harry A. Lehman, M.D., secretary; Joseph F. Hacker III, M.D., treasurer; Robert L. Meckelnburg, M.D., speaker of the House; and Garth A. Koniver, M.D., vice speaker of the House. The Medical Society of Delaware, the third oldest society of its kind in the United States, was founded on Feb. 3, 1789.The society exists to further the ideals of the medical profession, thereby enhancing the health and well being of the citizens of Delaware.

New depression support groups If you have been diagnosed with depression, are currently receiving treatment and need extra support, join the Mental Health Association in Delawares newest depression support groups. The support groups provide a safe and comfortable environment for adults who may be struggling with depressionto find others who may be going through similar experiences, learn coping skills and take back control of their life by being proactive. A support group meets in Seaford every Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The location of the meeting is provided only to registered members. To register, contact the Mental Health Association in Delaware at 302-654-6833 or 800-287-6423. These new groups are made possible due to a grant received from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delawares BluePrints for the Community program.

Relay for Life fundraiser Dr. Marie Wolfgang is again sponsoring a 12 night Winter Getaway Cruise to the Southern Caribbean as a fundraiser for Relay for Life, sailing from Cape Liberty, N.J. on Feb. 10. The itinerary includes St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Johns (Antigua), St. Lucia and St. Maarten (Philipsburg). Transportation to and from the dock is available. For a brochure, call or visit Dr. Wolfgangs office at One Cedar Ave. in Seaford, 629-4471. Space is limited.

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospices New Beginnings bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences. Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program. The location rotates each week of the month throughout Sussex County. New Beginnings luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required. There is no fee except the cost of your lunch. For more information, call Midge Dinatale or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. To learn more, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.