Thursday, January 11, 2018
Doctors Perspective
Our fascination with fails videos

By Dr. Anthony Policastro One of the things that people watch on You Tube are what are known as fails videos. These are videos of people doing things that get them hurt. People that watch them tend to think that these videos are funny. There is a psychological mechanism involved in this. It is called schadenfreude, which is defined as getting pleasure over the misfortune of others. The classic example of schadenfreude is the laughter that occurs when someone slips on a banana peel. Another example is the applause that follows a dropped and broken plate in a restaurant. One might ask why this occurs. The answer is as basic as human nature. Watching someone else do something that results in failure means that we have not failed. It means that we are better than that person. It means that we could never do a thing like that. This same principle is often at work in sporting events. When a team that we do not like does not do well, it gives us pleasure. This has actually been measured by scientists. For example, when an opposing teams player strikes out at a baseball game, the pleasure center of the brain is activated. Americas Funniest Home Videos often promotes these types of events. Sometimes the person with the worst injury takes home the grand prize. Recently, I was at a gathering where they were actually watching a collection of fails on You Tube. Most of the onlookers thought the video was funny. I thought about what kinds of injuries I would be seeing in the emergency room after such a video. Schadenfreude is indeed human nature. However, when someone fails, there might be significant injuries involved. Those are injuries that we would not wish on that person in the first place. It leaves us to wonder why we are laughing when we do not know the consequences of what we actually saw. We need to ask ourselves how we would feel if we were in the situation. If someone took a video of us getting seriously injured, would wey want other people laughing at us? Does it mean they are better than us? Every time you experience schadenfreude, you need to ask yourself why you feel that way. It clearly does not make you better than the other person. It only makes you think so. Others misfortunes should be met with concern. They should not be a source of laughter.

Heart failure support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will hold a heart failure support group on Thursday, Jan. 25 from noon to 2 p.m., in the Nursing Conference Room. This free support group is designed for individuals with heart failure, as well as their families and caregivers, to share stories and tips with others with this disease. This months meeting will feature a presentation on Over the Counter Medications and Herbal Supplements by George Schwobel, pharmacist at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. Attendees are encouraged to bring their medications to receive a free pharmacy consultation. For more information or to register, call 629-6611, ext. 2428.

Free weight loss seminars Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery will host free weight loss seminars on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 10:30 a.m. and Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 5:30 p.m. at the Nanticoke Training Center located within the Miller Building at 121 S. Front St., Seaford. These seminars are designed to provide education to individuals considering weight loss surgery to help them make informed decisions on whether or not surgery is an appropriate option. Obesity is a disorder that can lead to several health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. For those who suffer with morbid obesity, having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above, it can also affect many organs within the body. Many patients are able to bring their BMI down through lifestyles changes under the care of their physician. For others who have not been able to achieve weight loss through these methods, bariatric surgery can be an effective method to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. The weight loss seminars will consist of presentations by Dr. Tarek Waked to inform individuals about the many benefits of weight loss surgery. Patients and their spouses, family members or friends are welcome to attend. Registration is required. To register for one of these free seminars, call 536-5395. To learn more about services provided by Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery, visit

Nanticoke to host Parkinsons education, support group Nanticoke Health Services, in conjunction with CHEER and Care DE and the Manor House, will hold a Parkinsons education and support group on Thursday, Jan. 18 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Manor House located at 1001 Middleford Road in Seaford. This support group is FREE and open to the public. Parkinsons disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disease that affects the part of the brain that controls muscle movement.Each individual may experience different symptoms, such as tremors, rigidity, poor balance, and a list of others. A PD diagnosis can bring out many difficult emotionsÑfear, anger, resentment, hopelessness, and more. It is a challenge to learn how to cope with these feelings along with the stress of diagnosis and treatment. Participating in support groups is essential for coping with an illness such as PD or other disorders that impair bodily movement. This support group is not only helpful for the individual diagnosed with PD, but also for caregivers, friends and family. Group members welcome guest speakers on a variety of subjects related to PD and provide support to each other through other small group discussions. Studies show that the information, training, and counseling that participants receive at support groups enhances the quality of life, help to alleviate stress, and may even boost the immune system. Tara Trout, LPN at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, co-facilitates the group with Kathy Landis, Caregiver Resource Coordinator at CHEER in Sussex County. For more information, contact Tara at 302-629-6611, extension 3838.

Nanticoke Weight Loss hosts bariatric support groups Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery hosts bariatric support groups three times a month at the Nanticoke Training Center located within the Miller Building at 121 S. Front Street in Seaford. These support groups provide education and support to patients before and after their bariatric weight loss surgery and are open to the public. Support group meetings will consist of guest speakers and presentations to provide useful information about nutrition, supplements, exercise and behavior modifications. Patients and their spouses, family members or friends are welcome to attend. Registration is not required. The general bariatric support group is open to all bariatric patients before and after their surgery and is held the first Tuesday of each month from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The post-op bariatric support group is designed for post-op bariatric patients and is held on the second Tuesday of each month from 6 to 7 p.m. The nutrition-focused bariatric support group is designed to provide nutritional support to bariatric patients and is held the fourth Monday of each month from 6 to 7 p.m.

Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services to hold Lymphedema support group Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services hosts lymphedema support groups on the third Thursday of each month from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Seaford Library and Cultural Center located at 600 N. Market Street Extended in Seaford. This months meeting will be held on Thursday, Jan. 18. This free support group is open to anyone affected by lymphedema including patients, caregivers, and relatives. Meetings will consist of a lecture by health care professionals and medical equipment providers followed by refreshments and an open question and answer session or discussion amongparticipants. Registration is required. Lymphedema is an abnormal collection of high-protein fluid just beneath the skin that occurs most commonly in the limbs. The condition can be caused by a variety of factors including family history, damaged lymph vessels, lymph node removal, infection, or radiation therapy. Lymphedema causes swelling which may create movement limitation, and leaves patients at higher risks for wounds and infections. Lymphedema is a chronic condition with specific manual treatments, skin care, compression pumps, wraps, and exercises. For more information or to register, contact Robert Donati, PT, CLT at 302-629-6224. To learn more about services provided by Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services, visit