Thursday, March 05, 2015
Doctor's Perspective
Young people are being lured into fighting for ISIS

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Winning sports teams often collect what are called fair weather fans. These are fans who do not normally root for the team. However, when things are going well, these individuals hop on the bandwagon. The word "fan" is short for fanatic. We sometimes see fans do very bad things such as causing riots and hurting fans from other teams. What we sometimes fail to realize is that the psychology behind cheering for sports teams extends into other areas. A good example is related to what we are seeing among the youth of the world in their response to ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). As these impressionable individuals watch the news of the day, they see ISIS as a team. They see it as a team that is winning. They want to become fair weather fans of that team. As fanatics for that team, they want to support the team in any way possible. That might involve fighting for that team physically and injuring opponents of the team. It is not a huge surprise when this kind of thing happens. What is more of a surprise is how we allow it to go unchecked. When a fan runs onto the field during a professional sports game, the television will not show it. They do not want to give publicity to the stunt. They do not want others imitating it. However, with ISIS we take the exact opposite approach. We broadcast their every win. We broadcast their every harsh action. We think it makes them look like infidels. However, there are young, impressionable people who will want to be part of the up and coming team. It is hard to turn on the TV news without hearing about the exploits of ISIS. We can thank the media for the current upswing in young participants. Along the same line, the war that ISIS is fighting is a propaganda war. They want their exploits shown around the world. They want to be idolized and have young people join them. They have a well oiled propaganda machine. They televise their exploits. They utilize the Internet to promote their cause. They realize that young people are seeing all of this. They revel in it. Those in power who are fighting ISIS focus on the military strategy. They focus on military targets. They focus on "boots on the ground." That might not be the proper target in a propaganda war. ISIS would be far less of an attraction if they lost their broadcasting ability. Taking out their television stations would deprive them of that tool. Knocking out their power grid would take their computers offline. These kind of actions would be a more appropriate way to address the fight for the minds of the youth of the world. Young people who never heard of ISIS would have no desire to join them. Recruiting efforts would be hurt severely. The youth of the world want to be "fans" of something. Perhaps we should channel that desire in a more favorable direction.

Three new flu fatalities in state According to the Division of Public Health (DPH), the number of Delaware flu fatalities this season has risen to 26. With a total of 2,196 lab-confirmed flu cases to date, Delaware's rate of new lab-confirmed cases continue to drop but the number of fatalities is not slowing down. DPH is urging people to still protect themselves from the flu and check in on friends and loved ones who are elderly or have underlying medical conditions. Added Cabinet Secretary Rita Landgraf, Department of Health and Social Services, "The flu strain that happens to be circulating this year is particularly deadly for seniors and people with underlying conditions. This year is almost four times as deadly as 2009-2010, the year that the Swine Flu was circulating." In addition to Influenza Strain A causing the high rate of illnesses among seniors and those with underlying conditions, the vaccine may be offering unusually low protection this year for seniors. Initial evidence from the CDC shows the 2014-15 flu vaccine's effectiveness is particularly low in protecting the elderly who contract a mutated influenza strain. DPH advises that persons with emerging flu symptoms should call - not visit - their medical providers, who may be able to prescribe anti-viral medication. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. DPH recommends these actions to protect seniors and vulnerable populations, including the very young, pregnant women, and those who recently gave birth, and people with underlying medical conditions, such as lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, and individuals with weak immune systems.

All but three of those who died were over age 65 (the other fatalities were in their 50s) and all 26 had underlying medical conditions. Twenty-one of the deaths were in New Castle County, two in Kent and three in Sussex. For further information on the flu, visit or call 800-282-8672.

Diabetes support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford, will hold a free diabetes support group on Monday, March 16 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the hospital. As a person with diabetes, are you struggling to make positive behavior changes in your life or would just like to share with others coping with diabetes? Come join our free support group for individuals with diabetes. The support group will feature the topic of "Cardiovascular Prevention and Control." There will also be a question and answer period. Registration is required. For more information and to register, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.

Diabetes education program Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford, will hold a four-session diabetes educational program on March 4, 11, 18, and 25, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the hospital. Registration is required. The cost of the four-session program may be reimbursable by insurance. This four-session program includes weekly education sessions and individualized meal planning for diabetes self-management. The goal is to give you the self-management skills to control your diabetes. Family members/significant others are welcome to attend. Pre-registration is required. To register and to obtain more information regarding the course, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.

'A Matter of Balance' classes Do you have concerns about falling? Volunteer Delaware 50+ (formerly Sussex County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) will offer free Matter of Balance classes weekly at Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services, Mears Health Campus, 300 Rawlins Drive, Seaford. Classes start Thursday, April 9 and run through Thursday, May 28. All eight classes will be from 10 a.m. to noon. "A Matter of Balance" is an award-winning program designed to manage concerns about falling and increase activity levels of older adults. Volunteer trainers will give practical tips to avoid falls and helpful exercises will be taught. For more information and to register, call 856-5815.

Book Fair at Nanticoke Memorial The Look-In Glass Shoppe at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital is hosting a "Books Are Fun" fair featuring quality books and unique gifts at great savings. Shop for that bookworm in your life, or get a little something to read for yourself in the medical staff conference room at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 629-6611, ext. 2475.

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