Building a Healthy You starts Jan. 23 – Health Briefs | CraigDailyPress.com

Building a Healthy You starts Jan. 23 – Health Briefs

A free educational series for middle- and high-school students offers youth a comfortable setting to learn and talk about making responsible decisions for their health and futures. The high-school series begins at the school with a parent information session Jan. 23.

The schedule is as follow.

• Parent's Night: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 23
• Reproductive health and skills to wait: 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. Jan. 30
• Healthy relationships: 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. Feb. 1
• Drug and alcohol education: 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. Feb. 6
• Depression and suicide: 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. Feb. 8

There will be a $15 prize drawing at each session. Attend all four sessions to be entered into a drawing for $150.

For more information call 970-314-8539 or email craigyouthforchange@gmail.com.

Take a walk with the Senior Social Center of Craig

Don’t let winter slow you down, stay active “Walk The Mall With Tammy.” To get started, call 970-326-3188.

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Tips offered for safe infant sleeping

There have been dramatic improvements in reducing infant deaths during sleep since the 1990s, when recommendations were introduced to place babies on their back for sleep. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control Vital Signs, in the United States each year:

• there are about 3,500 sleep-related deaths among U.S. infants,
• 22 percent of mothers reported not placing their baby on his or her back to sleep, as recommended, and
• 39 percent of mothers reported using soft bedding (not recommended) when placing babies to sleep.

Recommended safe sleep practices include eliminating hazards, such as keeping blankets, pillows, bumper pads and soft toys out of the sleep area. Recommendations also include room sharing but not bed sharing.

These practices can help lower the risk of sleep-related infant deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome, accidental suffocation and deaths from unknown causes.

Cancer  treatments becoming more personal

Last year, more than 1.7 million people were diagnosed with cancer in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Cancer can be difficult to treat, because each tumor is unique. Scientists are researching how best to target them for personalized treatments.

"Cancer treatment is changing at a very fast pace," said Dr. Patricia M. LoRusso, an NIH-funded cancer treatment expert at Yale Cancer Center. "What somebody got a year ago may not necessarily be the same treatment recommended for another person today."

For decades, doctors have treated cancers based on where a tumor originated, such as in the lung or colon. But often, a treatment that works well for one person doesn't work as well for another.

According to the NIH, research has revealed that each tumor has a unique combination of genetic changes, most often from exposure to sunlight, tobacco and other things environmental factors that can damage genes. But some cancer-causing genes can also be passed from parents to children.

These insights have led scientists to look for the unique genetic features of each person's tumor, then attack those specifically.

"Many times, we're trying to turn off certain pathways in the tumor that are activated and that cause it to continue to grow," LoRusso said. This type of treatment is called ‘targeted therapy,’ because the drugs target the specific changes in cancer cells that help them to survive and spread.

Doctors can now send a sample of the tumor to a lab to identify important genetic changes. The doctor can then match the unique changes with the treatment that is most likely to help.

"There are several drugs that are now on the market that have made a huge impact in the treatment of several types of cancer," LoRusso said.

Genetic testing is not yet available for many types of cancer. NIH-funded studies are looking for ways to develop targeted therapies for more cancer types.

Another approach researchers are taking is to use a patient's own disease-fighting cells, called immune cells, to find and kill cancer cells. Scientists have successfully inserted cancer-fighting genes into a patient's immune cells. Two such therapies were recently approved by FDA. They are the first two gene therapies ever approved by FDA.

"It's your right and responsibility to make sure you're getting the right treatment, and that may involve wanting to get a second opinion," LoRusso advised. 

Avoid being 'bitten' by cold this winter

Now that cold weather has settled in, it's important not to get "bitten" by the cold this winter. Frostbite and hypothermia are serious conditions caused by exposure to extremely cold temperatures.


"Frostbite is a bodily injury caused by freezing that results in loss of feeling and color in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and severe cases can lead to amputation," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Because the skin goes numb, the person affected might be the last to know they've developed frostbite. Signs to watch for, according to the CDC, include the following.

• a white or grayish-yellow skin area
• skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
• numbness

Those who suspect frostbite are advised to seek medical care. First, determine whether the victim also shows signs of hypothermia. Hypothermia is a more serious medical condition and requires emergency medical assistance.

For more information, visit cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/frostbite.html.