Bill establishes statewide drug-court program

CONCORD — Continuing her efforts to implement a comprehensive approach to combat the heroin and opioid crisis and help save lives, Gov. Maggie Hassan this week signed a bipartisan bill establishing a statewide drug court program, a measure that she included in the comprehensive legislation that she proposed last fall.
By establishing a statewide drug court program, Senate Bill 464 provides more than $2 million in matching state grants for counties to establish new drug courts and expand existing ones, as well as creates a statewide coordinator to work with the courts to ensure that best practices are being implemented.
Drug courts are defined as "problem-solving courts that operate under a specialized model in which the judiciary, prosecution, defense bar, probation, law enforcement, mental health, social service, and treatment communities work together to help non-violent offenders find restoration in recovery and become productive citizens."
  • Category: Health

Dr. Brian Irwin: Many screening options for colon cancer

By Brian Irwin
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 95,000 new cases of colon cancer alone in 2016. This figure is literally astounding; however, one must recognize that many of those cases were diagnosed during routine screening studies. It's a well-known fact that screening for colon cancer saves many lives every year. However it's a daunting labyrinth of options for screening. So what are yours?
Colonoscopy. This is the gold standard in colon cancer screening, one by which all others are compared. It's the most accurate way that, assuming the unpleasant preparation medicine is effective, one can visualize the wall of the bowel. If a concerning finding is identified, biopsy can be performed right there and then. This is the study of choice in most cases.
  • Category: Health

Remedies from the Earth: OMG the black flies are killing me! Introducing lemon eucalyptus

By Deborah Jasien
Living here in the great northern parts of New Hampshire, we generally experience the plague of black flies in the spring and summer, and now the threat of mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus. This year seems to be unremittingly brutal.
Let me introduce you to the essential oil that is at the heart of our very own Insect Deterrent at Fields of Ambrosia: lemon eucalyptus oil, the common name of one of the natural oils obtained from the lemon-scented gum eucalyptus plant that has gained popularity as an insect deterrent in the last decade. This use is important when you consider the dangers of DEET and other toxic solutions, and want to steer clear of them. This natural plant oil contains p-menthane-diol, which has proven to be more effective than its foremost chemical alternative DEET, which has been documented to cause serious adverse effects, especially in children.
According to The New England Journal of Medicine, "Insect-transmitted disease remains a major source of illness and death worldwide. Mosquitoes alone transmit disease to more than 700 million persons annually. Protection from arthropod bites is best achieved by avoiding infested habitats, wearing protective clothing, and using insect repellent. Applying repellent to the skin may be the only feasible way to protect against insect bites. Commercially available insect repellents can be divided into two categories — synthetic chemicals and plant-derived essential oils."
  • Category: Health

Workshop series promotes better choices and better health

CONWAY — The next six-week workshop series "Better Choices, Better Health" starts July 6 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the offices of the Visiting Nurse Service in North Conway.

The series is sponsored by Memorial Hospital and Visiting Nurse Home Care and Hospice.

"Better Choices, Better Health program is a peer supported workshop designed to help you and your family better understand how a chronic health condition (such as but not limited to diabetes, COPD, arthritis, Parkinson's osteoporosis, high blood pressure, anxiety and heart disease) impacts everyone in the family," said a press release. "Life is an exciting journey, and having a chronic condition should not get in the way of doing the things you want to do. Take charge and regain control of your life."

Those who have completed the program have discovered new ways to control their symptoms, their anxiety about their disease process, their fears about the future, and ways to improve their communication skills so that their families better understand what is going on and office visits and treatment plans are more productive.

"Mutual support from participants and personal experiences in dealing with a chronic condition can provide invaluable insight and support to others in the group," said the press release. "Family members are encouraged to attend as well, and they too will discover the value of the program. Program results show that people who understand and take control of their chronic conditions are happier and healthier along with an improved sense of self-confidence."

Preregistration is requested for the upcoming series. Contact Joan Lanoie at Memorial Hospital at (603) 356-5461 Ext. 2291 to register or for more information.

  • Category: Health

Dr. Brian Irwin: Aspirin isn't for everyone

By Brian Irwin
Aspirin is a staple in my first aid kit. I use it almost as often as I use ibuprofen, leaning on its chalky goodness to stave off headaches and tendonitis, my aching shoulder or my bum ankle. Aspirin is one of the most commonly utilized drugs in the world, with an estimated 40,000 tons being used each year. Quite often it's not taken for its excellent pain relieving or fever reducing properties, rather its blood thinning mechanisms.
Aspirin has been proven effective for the prevention of heart attack and stroke in people with known cardiovascular disease, such as a history of a previous angina, etc. Aspirin thins the blood by demonstrating an antiplatelet effect, blocking the molecule that allows platelets to stick together. Platelets are the tiny molecules in our bloodstream that allow us to clot when we get cut, poked by a sharp stick or need surgery. Models have shown that the accumulation of platelets inside arteries is the primary mechanism behind heart attacks, strokes and other vascular problems. While the exact chain of events is not known, a combination of cholesterol deposition in the arteries, inflammation and blood clotting is responsible for most strokes.
  • Category: Health