Thursday, February 26, 2015
Doctor's Perspective
Cheating is a common problem today in sports

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Little League International took away the championship title from the 2015 World Series champions. Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs. The University of North Carolina allowed its athletes to get college credit for doing no work. Cheating in sports is common. Cheating might involve the use of drugs to help performance. Or, it might involve skirting the rules intentionally or even more sophisticated approaches. A lot has been said about the Little League players on the team that lost the championship they worked so hard for. It did not seem fair for them to suffer because of the cheating adults in the organization. That may be true, however, we can learn several lessons from them. The most important lesson is that there are consequences to cheating. Some people never learn this lesson. The adults who caused the problems certainly did not learn that lesson. Another lesson to be learned is that the losing team did accomplish something - they learned to play together as a team during the games they won on their way to the championship. A third lesson is that not all adults involved in sports do what is right. When I was a teenager, I belonged to an organization with locations throughout the Long Island area that organized sports teams to play each other. Our counselors did the same thing that the Little League directors did. They went to high school varsity teams and recruited star athletes. Our location beat the other teams easily, however, none of us ever got to play. Only the all-stars played in the games. Our counselors were pretty bad. Even as a teenager, I realized how wrong they were. I wanted no part of the adult portion of that organization when I turned 18. Young athletes are supposed to be learning about teamwork. They are supposed to be learning about fair play and the rules of the game. It makes you wonder how well kids learn those lessons when the adults in charge teach them all the wrong things. There are lessons to be learned from winning and losing. I once coached a women's softball team and I took the players and divided them into two groups - those who were good and those who were beginners. Those who were good won 15 games and lost one. They won the base championship. I coached the team of beginners. They lost their first five games. They learned enough to finish the last eight games with three wins and five losses. They learned how to win some games and how to lose some games. At the end, they all became better softball players. There are many opportunities for people to cheat in sports. Those who cheat have a tainted win. They may be the only ones who know it but it does not make them a better person.

Safe homes for dementia patients Not every person struggling with dementia lives in a nursing home or assisted-living facility. In fact, more than 15 million Americans - usually family members or friends - provide unpaid caregiving to people with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, according to a 2014 report by the Alzheimer's Association. Although it's wonderful so many are willing to assume that responsibility, it's also important they take steps to make sure the home is a safe place, says Kerry Mills, co-author with Jennifer Brush of the book "I Care: A Handbook for Care Partners of People With Dementia." ( Part of that is to focus on potential hazards. The concept is not unlike new parents making a house "childproof." Many of the concerns are similar, such as stairs, electrical sockets, sharp objects and swimming pools. At the same time, it's easy to go too far, Mills said. Ideally, the environment for the person with dementia should be as unrestricted as possible. "For example, if your loved one enjoys cooking for a hobby and can safely cut and peel vegetables, then by all means, encourage it," Mills says. Mills suggests several ways to make a home safer for someone with dementia.

  • Front and back doors - Use bells on the doors, motion sensors that turn on lights or alerts, or other notifications that make the care partner aware when someone has gone out. Add lamps or motion-activated lighting so people can see where they are going when they are entering or leaving the house. "Another way to discourage someone from wanting to leave the house is to make sure that he or she gets plenty of outside exercise whenever possible," Mills says.
  • For stairways and hallways - Add reflective tape strips to stair edges to make stairs more visible. Remove obstacles, such as mats and flowerpots, to minimize risks of falls on or by the stairs. Also, install handrails in hallways and stairways to provide stability, and install a gate on the stairway to prevent falls. Improve the lighting around hallways and stairs by installing more ceiling fixtures or wall sconces.
  • For the bathroom - Install grab bars and a raised toilet seat to help both the individual with dementia and the care partners so they don't have to lift the person on and off the toilet.

Add grab bars inside and outside the tub, and a non-skid surface in the tub to reduce risks of falls. You can also add colored tape on the edge of the tub or shower curb to increase contrast and make the tub edge more visible. Lower the water temperature or install an anti-scald valve to prevent burns, and remove drain plugs from sinks or tubs to avoid flooding.
  • For the possibility the person becomes lost - Provide your loved one with an identification or GPS bracelet in case he or she wanders. Label clothes with the person's name, and place an identification card in his or her wallet with a description of the person's condition. Notify police and neighbors of the person's dementia and tendency to wander.

  • Caring for someone with Alzheimer's A free workshop will be held at the Easter Seals Tunnell Center in Georgetown from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, March 25, that will provide caregivers with important information about preparing and caring for an individual with Alzheimer's Disease during an emergency or disaster. Presentations will be conducted by representatives of the Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter and Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative at the University of Delaware's Center for Disabilities Studies. The workshops will address:
    • Communicating with people with Alzheimer's Disease
    • Wandering – triggers and prevention
    • Safety issues and interventions at home and while traveling
    • Assistive technology for caregivers and individuals with Alzheimer's Disease
    Register online at For more information, contact Phyllis Guinivan at

    'Binge Eating' Lunch Bunch Lecture "Binge Eating Disorder" will be the topic of Delaware Hospice's Lunch Bunch Lecture with Dr. Judy Pierson on Friday, March 6 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m at the Delaware Hospice Center in Milford. Lunch Bunch Lectures are organized by Delaware Hospice's Family Support Center to help members of the community re-invest in life and are open to the public. Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in America. The notion that people can "just stop" only fuels the problem by triggering self-destructive shame. Fortunately treatments, medications, and support are available. Registration is required as seating capacity is limited. Lunch (noon to 12:30 p.m.) is $5 per person and the presentation is free. Register by Thursday, March 5, by contacting Michele August at 302-746-4503 or email

    29th Annual Nanticoke Dinner Auction set for April 4 The Nanticoke Health Services Dinner and Auction "Medieval Knights a Renaissance Evening" will take place on Saturday, April 4, at Heritage Shores in Bridgeville.Tickets are $100 per person. Don't miss the opportunity to come out and enjoy a great Medieval Knight and help support Nanticoke Health Services. Sponsorship packages and additional information is available by contacting the Nanticoke Health Services Foundation at 536-5393 or

    Breast screening, health fair The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC), with support from Discover Bank, the Laffey-McHugh Foundation, and the Mexican Consulate of Philadelphia, announces the next Multicultural Breast Screening and Health Fair will take place at the Seaford Boys and Girls Club in Seaford on Saturday, March 7 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. Stop by any time to learn about healthy living, community programs, and get to know staff members from the breast cancer coalition and other partner organizations. is a multicultural event focused on breast cancer screening, treatment, and survivorship. It began in 2011 as a bilingual (Spanish/English) educational event that has grown to include all backgrounds and ethnicities, and offers programs to women, men, and children. The spring forum will feature clinical breast exams, mammogram appointments and additional health screenings and insurance information from many vendors. For an appointment for a screening mammogram on the Women's Mobile Health Screening Van (with a prescription for a doctor), call 1-888-672-9647. Light refreshments will be provided and families are welcome. Additional forums will be held at no cost on March 21 in Milford, April 25 in Georgetown and Oct. 3 in Dover.