Anti-bacterials don’t prevent colds
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Products like anti-bacterial
soaps are selling faster than ever despite the fact a Food and Drug
Administration panel has found these products are no better than soap
and water at killing germs.
And anti-bacterials do nothing to kill viruses, which cause colds and
Americans spend upwards of $540 million a year on anti-bacterial soaps,
hand cleaners and detergents that contain chemicals such as triclosan
and triclocarban to kill germs.
Though triclosan is not especially harmful to humans, evidence is
mounting that it is “remarkably persistent and possibly bioaccumulating
not only through products (applied to the skin) but environmentally
through drinking water and potentially contaminated crops,” FDA panelist
Dr. Rolf Halden told a Chicago Tribune reporter, recently.
In fact, researchers are finding these chemicals are turning up in fish,
breast milk and wastewater, after having been released into the
environment through municipal sludge spread on agricultural fields.
Triclosan imitates the thyroid hormone and is commonly added to soaps,
toothpaste, deodorant, dog shampoo, cutting boards, clothing, toys and
other anti-bacterial products.
Triclosan was found to be present in minute amounts in 60 percent of
U.S. waterways investigated by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Researchers at the Center for Water and Health at Johns Hopkins
Bloomberg School of Public Health found the tiny amounts were enough to
disrupt thyroid function in frogs. Data on humans is still being
The American Medical Association has firmly opposed the routine use of
anti-bacterial soaps since 2002.
The Canadian Pediatric Society has asked parents to stop buying
anti-bacterial products and to use soap and water to wash toys, hands
and household items.
Anti-bacterial products do have a place, however - its called a
Library helps handicapped
Special to The Monitor
MABANK–The Talking Book Program (TBP), a division of the Texas State
Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC), is a joint state and federal
program that provides unabridged books in alternative formats for Texans
of all ages who are unable to read standard print material due to
visual, physical or reading disabilities.
The service, which began in 1918 when the Texas Legislature appropriated
$1,000 for raised-lettering books, is free of charge and available to
those who qualify.
TBP has provided library services to more than 25,000 individuals and
institutions across Texas and circulated more than 867,000 volumes.
TBP provides books on cassette tape, in braille, on flexible disc
(similar to records) and in large print.
Cassettes are recorded at a slower speed to protect copyrights. TBP will
loan special playback equipment for use with books in cassette and disc
A playback device is also available at the Tri-County Library in Mabank.
More than 60,000 titles comprise the TBP collection, which includes
best-sellers (fiction and nonfiction), classics, mysteries, westerns,
science fiction, children’s books, biographies and other genres. Spanish
language books are also provided.
Textbooks are not provided.
Many national magazines are provided.
You may call or write TBP with questions and requests for applications
to Talking Book Program, Texas State Library and Archives Commission,
P.O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711-2927.
Telephone (toll-free in Texas) is 1-800-252-9605 or Austin area (512)
Fax is (512) 936-0685.
New heart valve procedure reduces
complications, speeds recovery
First time procedure performed In Tyler
Special to The Monitor
TYLER–On Dec.16, the first, minimally-invasive mitral heart valve
surgery in Tyler was performed at the TMF Heart Institute.
Neelan Doolabh, MD, a cardiac surgeon with Turner Cardiovascular
Associates of Tyler, performed the mitral valve replacement at Trinity
Mother Frances Hospital.
The procedure was performed without stopping the heart.
The patient, 43-year-old Mark Wright of Longview, is recovering at home
and is expected to return to normal activities within a few days.
“I have had this since I was in high school,” Wright said.
“Over the years, I’ve kept up with it once a year or so. Last year, my
cardiologist recommended I get it replaced or repaired and he
recommended Dr. Doolabh,” Wright said.
“I talked to him (Doolabh), and he explained the new procedure. I was
willing to try it. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Trinity
Mother Frances,” he said.
“I spent a lot of time researching the procedure and I’m not aware of
anywhere in the region that offers this, so I came to Tyler. I did not
want to have the traditional open heart surgery at my age, and we both
agreed this was a good option for me,” Wright concluded.
The procedure is performed through a 1.75 inch incision between two
ribs, instead of performing a sternotomy (separating and opening the rib
cage through an incision in the sternum).
The minimally-invasive technique can reduce pain, postsurgical
complications and significantly advance patient recovery time.
“Most patients, who need valve repair, delay treatment until they
absolutely have to do it because the open procedure (sternotomy) is a
major operation,” said Dr. Doolabh.
“Now with a minimally-invasive technique, I can repair or replace the
mitral valve without breaking the breastbone.”
Heart valves are designed to control the direction of blood flow through
The opening and closing of the heart valves produce the sound of the
Mitral valve repair or replacement surgery is performed because of a
diseased mitral heart valve.
The surgery is done while the patient is under general anesthesia.
Tubes are used to reroute the blood away from the heart to a heart-lung
bypass machine to keep the blood oxygenated and circulating during
In February 2004, the Trinity Mother Frances Heart Institute was the
first in the region to offer less-invasive heart bypass procedures using
advanced operating room technology.
The Institute is part of the Center For Advanced Surgery And Technology
(CASAT) at Mother Frances Hospital.
“The Center is dedicated to offering the new technology and expertise
normally found in major metropolitan areas,” said Michael J. Vintges,
vice president, cardiac services.
“Dr. Doolabh has dedicated himself to utilizing this facility as a site
for offering his patients the type of care they want and deserve,”
CASAT also offers three revolutionary da Vinci robotic surgery systems
(a laparoscopic surgical robot that integrates the classic skills of the
surgeon with the futuristic precision of a robot) and a regional robotic
training center for surgeons wishing to learn robotic surgical
Trinity Mother Frances Hospital is the only facility in East Texas to
offer robotic surgery. Vintges said patient benefits from robotic
surgery could include less pain, fewer side effects, faster recovery,
less blood loss, shorter hospital stay, less risk of infection, faster
return to daily activities and reduction in the size of the surgical
CASAT encompasses a wide range of technologically advanced tools,
including 3-D echocardiography, an Avanto MRI which provides image
clarity 100 times better than previous MRI technology, and two
Stereotaxis magnetic assisted catheterization labs.
Visit www.casattexas.org for more information or www.tmfhs.org regarding
all services available through Trinity Mother Frances Health System,
visit or call TeleCare Plus at 800-535-9799.
In case of emergency
Joan B. Guertin
Special to the Monitor
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Dec. 29, 2006 will forever be an evening I will
Plans were to drive with a friend to a Corgi club meeting in Arlington.
The gathering storm heralded by the newscasts shortly before we were to
leave, changed those plans dramatically.
Particularly frightening was the announcement the track of the storm was
going right through where we were to meet.
Then I heard the words “tornado” and “Gun Barrel City” in the same
That was followed by sirens going off.
Fear, like I have never felt, clutched at my heart.
The dogs and I hunkered down in the kennel building – blinds drawn over
the two windows to protect us from flying glass in the event of a break.
The winds, thunder and lightning were scary enough, then the lights went
out when lightning struck the transformer next door.
I had a camp lantern, however it didn’t work properly. Thank goodness I
had bought several new flashlights and had a supply of batteries, so we
weren’t totally in the dark.
My boom-box worked on batteries, so I had a working radio. However, my
new list of emergency supplies includes a weather radio.
Sitting on the floor with the dogs crated around me, I mentally began
writing this column.
What should I have on hand in the event of a real emergency?
A quick mental check reminded me I had a case of bottled water in the
Each of the dogs had a crate, either wire or of heavy plastic. However,
I did not have name tags on all of them. Check, get name tags when I go
to next dog show!
Then I realized in the event of a catastrophe requiring evacuation, I
needed to have copies of all the dogs’ registration papers and shot
records attached to each crate and taped down solidly with duct tape.
Feeding the dogs in the event of evacuation could be a major issue.
I had plenty of food, but in large bags. Check, divide dry dog food into
meal portions and place in plastic bags. Pack enough for a week. Include
some cans of wet food, a spoon, can opener and the dogs’ metal dishes
with names taped on side. Include water dishes.
I will, from here forward, keep this stored in a cooler, marked
emergency rations. I will change the dog food every six weeks, so I
always use the stored and replace with fresh.
We may never have the opportunity to use it, but I’ll have it ready.
In addition to my case of bottled water in the van, I will purchase a
large water container from a sporting goods store and keep it on the
porch for easy filling in event of emergency.
Each dog will also need a secure collar and a leash, which will be ready
to attach to each crate if an emergency arises.
And, of course, I can’t forget the cat. Daisy has her own labeled crate,
In the event that it is necessary to board or house a pet at a vet’s
office or kennel during times of emergency, it is wise to make sure all
pets have been trained to go into and accept the confinement of a crate.
Training for crating
Even animals that have never been crated can be taught to accept one.
Since a crate is merely a den for an animal: resting in a closed-in
space is generally comfortable for most dogs. Puppies are easy to train,
as most of them will follow a treat or a toy that has been tossed into a
crate. Once inside, reward with a second treat. Never let the pup out of
a closed crate when it is throwing a temper tantrum (not to be confused
with the signals that it wants out so it doesn’t soil its crate). Wait
until a pup is quiet before opening and releasing the pet.
I suggest snapping a leash on prior to the pup exiting so that the owner
has immediate control
Older dogs who have not been introduced to crating are often more
difficult. It takes patience and lots of treats to get them to enter in
the first place.
One good method is to begin feeding the dog in the crate.
Begin by putting the food inside the door. As the dog gets used to
eating in the crate, begin moving the bowl back further into the crate
When the dog goes all the way in to eat and is comfortable with the
situation, begin closing the door while the dog eats.
I always use a verbal cue when crating, such as: “kennel up” or “go to
bed” or “crate time.”
Soon the dog accepts the situation without a second thought.
This is a process that should be practiced gently and quietly, so as not
to panic the dog.
Going back to my check list in the event of emergency and a need to
evacuate, develop a plan.
I can remember when we had some really serious storms two years ago and
there was a fear of flooding.
A friend, who lived on much higher ground than I did, invited me to
bring the dogs and camp at her house for a few days.
That made me aware I did know people in the area where I could go with
the dogs, and feel safe during terrible weather.
It is a good idea to make some pre-emergency plans as to where you will
go, if evacuation becomes necessary.
A tornado, hurricane, flash flooding, can strike any area at any time.
When it happens, it is too late to develop a plan. I believe in having
several. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry.
And who knows, maybe we will get all these things together and never
need to use them.
Then again, maybe we will need to be prepared some day!
Have a happy and prosperous New Year!