Thursday, March 26, 2015
Doctor's Perspective Determining the value of Greek life in college

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Only one of my three daughters joined a sorority in college. My oldest daughter didn't join a sorority until her senior year because she could not afford the expense until then. I gave her a monthly allowance and I told her that she could join a sorority if she could afford it on her monthly allowance. For three years, she could not afford it. Even when she joined, there was no formal sorority house. For that reason expenses were somewhat less. College fraternities have been in the news recently. An Oklahoma University fraternity had a racially biased video online. A Texas University fraternity had a costume party where individuals dressed up in racial stereotypes. A Penn State fraternity was posting nude pictures on Facebook. A University of Houston fraternity was disciplined because of hazing. Fraternity hazing and binge drinking parties are so common that movies are made about them. Some of this is not surprising. As high school students transition into life away from home, errors will be made. The question for parents is what should they expect when their child heads off to college. As is the case with many things, fraternity and sorority life have both advantages and disadvantages. In addition, individual fraternities and sororities at the same school will differ significantly. Sometimes, the typical cost for belonging to a fraternity or sorority is not considered. It varies as to whether food or housing is included. For those in which there is no food or housing, the annual costs are usually $300 to $600 per semester. When food and housing is added, the costs go up to about $3,500 to $5,000 per year. That is offset by not having to pay the school for room and board. The main advantage to joining a fraternity or sorority is an instant social life. There is an immediate connection with other members. There is an opportunity to participate in the social activities that are conducted by the group. For some college students this may be very important to their adjustment to college life. The downside is that some of these societies have the wrong kind of social activities. You may not know this until you are actually a member. Another advantage is being part of a close knit community. It is more than just a casual social acquaintance kind of situation. There is a downside to this as well. You might be part of a close knit community, however, that community is limited which leads to less diverse experiences. Fraternities and sororities often emphasize volunteerism. As I have written in the past, this kind of activity is an important part of our role in the community. It is a good habit to get into. However, fraternities and sororities can be relatively exclusive in who they let in. The "rush" process helps create that idea. Some pledges do not get in. This is not always a good lesson to learn. We need to remember that there are many fraternities and sororities and they are all very different. Some will make headlines and fortunately, that is the minority. We also need to remember that every new college student is different. For some, fraternity and sorority life will be a blessing. For others, it will likely lead to them not completing college. This certainly creates a dilemma for parents. In my case the dilemma was more of my daughter's. My children had an opportunity to learn how to manage their funds and see where sororities fit into that priority.

Nanticoke uses new procedure Peripheral Artery Disease, or PAD, is a condition where fatty material known as plaque builds up in peripheral arteries of the leg causing a hardening or narrowing of the arteries. This narrowing limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood. People with PAD often experience symptoms such as leg pain, restless legs, throbbing of the legs, itching or burning of the legs, skin ulcers, or even gangrene. Risk factors for PAD include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, being overweight or inactive, or having a family history of heart or vascular disease. For patients with PAD, angioplasty is often used to help clear the blockage and restore blood flow. Angioplasty uses a tiny balloon inserted into the artery using a catheter. The balloon is then inflated to open the blocked artery and restore blood flow. Recently, Nanticoke Health Services began using the Lutonix¨ O35 Drug Coated Balloon, a newly launched drug-eluting peripheral artery angioplasty balloon.

This balloon is coated with a drug called paclitaxel and is designed to help reduce the chances of restenosis, or the chances the arteries will become blocked again. The use of the new drug coated balloon for PAD is just one of several new cardiology procedures being performed at Nanticoke. In the past year, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital was the first hospital on the Eastern Shore to perform coronary artery atherectomies, was the first in the area to begin using the wireless LINQª Heart Monitor instead of the traditional loop recorder, and was the first in the Mid-Atlantic region to implement a program for reducing amputations, known as SAVE (Stopping Amputation of Vital Extremities).

Dr. Petrera joins Nanticoke Nanticoke Health Services announces the addition of Pasquale Petrera, MD to its active medical staff. Dr. Petrera specializes in orthopaedic surgery and is accepting new patients at Peninsula Orthopaedic Associates in Seaford and Millsboro. Dr. Petrera received his medical degree from Albany Medical College in New York. He completed his internship in general surgery and his residency in orthopaedic surgery at Albany Medical Center Hospital, and his fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Adult Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Petrera is fellowship-trained in hip and knee reconstruction, and is a board certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in joint replacement, anterior hip replacement and osteoarthritis.

Aquacare offers new program Tanya Dickson PT, DPT, clinical director of Aquacare Physical Therapy of Seaford, is now trained to offer physical therapy for patients experiencing difficulties with stress and urge incontinence (the involuntary loss of urine). Physical therapy treatment techniques include surface EMG biofeedback, electrical stimulation, manual therapy and exercise training in Kegel exercises. Innovations in therapy have made urinary incontinence easier to treat than in the past. Still, millions of people continue to suffer the discomfort, inconvenience and embarrassment of incontinence. Physical therapy provides options to help gain control over incontinence. For more information, call Aquacare Rehabilitation Services Inc. at 536-1774.

Hospice Lunch Bunch Lecture "Building Self-Confidence" will be the topic of Delaware Hospice's Lunch Bunch Lecture with Dr. Judy Pierson on Friday, April 3 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Delaware Hospice Center in Milford. Lunch is from noon to 12:30 p.m. and is $5 per person. The lecture is free. 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. Challenges to our confidence are a normal part of life. Few of us have unshakeable or inexhaustible confidence. Come learn what is at the root of problems with self-assurance and how it affects your life and health. Leave with strategies for strengthening your self-esteem and confidence. Registration is required as seating capacity is limited. Register by Thursday, April 2, by contacting Michele August at 302-746-4503 or

Annual Breast Cancer Update The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) will hold the 18th Annual Breast Cancer Update on Wednesday, April 22, at Dover Downs Hotel from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The program will feature leading medical experts and speakers discussing the most up-to-date information on breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. This annual one day educational forum is free and open to the public. Continuing education units (CEU's) will be available to attending nurses and other healthcare professionals. Registration for CEU's is $30. The forum is open to the public and has become one of Delaware's most trusted sources of up-to date breast cancer information. For more information and to register, visit