UA News: UA’s CCHS Hosts Brussels Sprout Challenge at Heart Walk

The University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences will once again be hosting the Brussels Sprout Challenge during the American Heart Association West Alabama Heart Walk on Saturday, March 25.

The College is partnering with Manna Grocery and Deli to roast and serve Brussels sprouts at the walk, which will start at 8 a.m. March 25 at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. Last year, more than 900 Brussels sprouts were distributed at the challenge.

Crimson White: UA professor lectures on key issues with over-the-counter drugs

To help society become smarter consumers in pharmacies, Dean and professor of Family Medicine in College of Community Health Sciences Dr. Rick Streiffer presented a lecture entitled, “Over-the-Counter Drugs: A Prescription for Confusion” on Thursday.

Streiffer initially spoke about how common the confusion in buying over-the-counter drugs is for most ages, and how people in the United States make trips to drug store regularly for various concerns, spending a lot of money on items they do not need. According to him, many products can cause adverse effects for people as well.

WBRC: Immunizations for the Elderly

Dr. Jane Weida discusses the importance of immunization shots for elderly individuals.


Bama Theatre’s ‘Evening of African Film’ showcases the continent’s culture

The fifth annual Tuscaloosa Evening of African Film, co-sponsored by the University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences, will be held this Saturday. This year’s 
marquee film is a 2014 Nigerian production called “Dazzling Mirage,” which tells the story of a young woman with 
sickle-cell disease.

Dean talks to Alabama Public Radio about potential impact of Affordable Care Act repeal

The Affordable Care Act is seen as one of the defining pieces of President Obama’s legacy – and the new Republican majority has targeted it for repeal. Leading lawmakers in both houses of Congress have begun work dismantling Obamacare – despite not having any plan in place for a replacement, and despite polling that suggests an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose its repeal without a replacement ready.

Sleep problems, adapted athletics topics at Mini Med School

More than 50 percent of adults in the US experience intermittent sleep disturbances, and only 30 percent of adults report regularly getting enough sleep.

Chronically tired individuals face increased risk of illnesses and an overall lower quality of life, says Dr. Katie Gates, assistant professor of Family Medicine at The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences.

Gates gave her talk, “Sleep Problems,” on Jan. 26 as part of the Mini Medical School lecture series put on by CCHS in collaboration with UA’s OLLI program. On Jan. 19, Dr. Jimmy Robinson, endowed chair of Sports Medicine at CCHS, gave his talk, “Adapted Athletics.”

Mini Medical School lets adults and community learners explore trends in medicine and health, and the lectures by CCHS faculty and resident physicians provide information about issues and advances in medicine and research. OLLI, short for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, is a member-led program catering to those aged 50 years and older and offers education courses as well as field trips, socials, special events and travel.

Gates broke down sleep disorders into four categories: Those who can’t sleep includes sufferers of insomnia and restless leg syndrome. Those who won’t sleep likely have delayed sleep phase syndrome. Those with excessive daytime sleepiness may suffer from narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea. And those with increased movements during sleep include REM sleep behavior disorder sufferers, or those with periodic limb movement.

Three criteria must be met for a diagnosis of insomnia: First, the patient must complain of difficulty sleeping, difficulty staying asleep or waking up too early. Second, the sleep difficulty must occur despite adequate opportunity and circumstances to sleep. And third, the lack of sleep must negatively affect daytime function.

“Insomnia is a very common complaint, and it does increase with age, unfortunately,” Gates said. Women report insomnia 50 percent more often than men. It can be treated with cognitive behavior therapy or with medications.

Delayed sleep phase is a circadian rhythm disorder, meaning “the brain has gotten off its track,” said Gates. It’s characterized by the person going to bed very late and waking up late.

“This can be genetic or socially reinforced,” she said.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common sleep breathing disorder, and it affects 20 to 30 percent of males and 10 to 15 percent of females.

“With my patient population, it seems higher than this,” Gates said.

Risk factors for sleep apnea include age, obesity, craniofacial abnormalities and smoking. Continuous positive airway pressure, or a CPAP machine, is recommended treatment.

In some instances of diagnosing a sleep disorder, a physician may order a polysomnography, or a sleep study.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can be a treatment for some sleep disorders, said Gates, and a therapist may focus on changing false beliefs and attitudes about sleep. One of these might be that everyone needs at least eight hours of sleep, she said.

Music therapy can be another way to treat a lack of sleep.

“Choose music you are familiar with,” Gates said.

She said the music should have a slow and stable rhythm with low-frequency tones and relaxing melodies.

“Try out different genres, like classical or acoustic, to find what works for you.”

View a WVUA report on Gates’ lecture here:

Robinson, in his talk about adapted athletics, said the number of adapted athletes is rising. In the 1960 Summer Paralympic Games in Rome, 400 athletes came from 23 countries. In 2016, 4,316 athletes came to Rio from 159 countries.

The International Paralympic Committee assigns points to athletes based on their impairments. The classification systems differ by sport and are developed to govern the sport. Players are allocated points based on an evaluation by the International Paralympic Committee.

A lower score indicates a more severe activity limitation than a higher score. A team is not allowed to have more than a certain maximum sum of points on the field of play at the same time in order to ensure equal competition with the opposing team.

As time progresses, a disability may get worse, so a player can be reviewed again.

“Disabilities are evolving,” said Robinson. “It’s important to have this avenue to challenge their disability, especially if it’s progressive.”

Robinson, also spoke about the Alabama Adapted Athletics Program, which was started in 2003 by husband and wife Brent Hardin and Margaret Stran. Though the program received an initial funding of only $5,000 from the Christopher Reeve Foundation, it now operates off an annual budget of $450,000, offers six full scholarships and supports five sports: women’s and men’s basketball, tennis, rowing and golf.

Repealing without replacing Affordable Care Act will hurt rural hospitals, dean says in news report

As the Senate takes steps to fast track getting rid of the Affordable Care Act, Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of The Univeristy of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences, says repealing the ACA without replacing it will hurt many rural hospitals struggling to stay open, according to a Fox 6 WBRC report.

Even a small change in coverage could even force some of these rural hospitals to close, Streiffer said in the report.

“I don’t believe that anyone, Republican or Democrat, is opposed to trying to improve it, but the rhetoric of ‘let’s get rid of it’ without knowing where we’re going to go and how we’re going to improve it is concerning,” Streiffer said in the report.

Streiffer says the United States should learn from the rest of the world and focus on regular check-ups and the prevention of illnesses in a WVUA report.

Streiffer says that when people have a primary care physician that they see yearly, chronic illnesses are less expensive to control and potential illnesses are caught and dealt with early, which means patients stay healthier, according to WVUA.

View both reports here:

Dean speaks to WVUA, CBS 42 on spike in flu cases

Alabama has seen a spike in the number of flu cases reported, and Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences, says it isn’t too late to get a flu shot, according to reports from CBS 42 WIAT and WVUA.

Alabama joins Arizona and Georgia as the three states in the U.S. with the highest number of flu cases, according to WVUA.

Streiffer encourages anyone who hasn’t had a flu shot to go get one, according to CBS 42.

“Most insurances will pay for it, but if you don’t have insurance … whatever it costs is a pretty good investment as opposed to the risk of an expensive complication and hospitalization and loss of time from work,” Streiffer said to CBS 42.

Streiffer told WVUA that he is unsure why there is an increase in flu cases in Alabama.

“But it doesn’t appear that the flu that is in the community is anymore severe this year than in prior years,” Streiffer said in the report. “The flu vaccine should be protective to the majority of the population.”

Streiffer says it is not too late to get a flu shot, according to the report.

View both reports:

Southeast Sun: New medical school program brings Birmingham native to Enterprise

Lissa Handley Tyson is a Birmingham native, but she says she has come to love the smaller city of Enterprise.

Tyson came to Enterprise to work with Dr. Beverly Jordan and others with Professional Medical Associates. She is a third-year medical student at the University of Alabama Birmingham’s Tuscaloosa campus and is one of nine medical students taking part in the Tuscaloosa Longitudinal Community Curriculum offered through the University of Alabama School of Medicine. This is the third “pilot” year of the program.

Through the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Partnership, UA students deliver academic and medical services to preschoolers and their families

The initiative offers broad health services through partnerships with UA’s School of Medicine, Family Medicine Residency, Speech and Hearing Center and Capstone College of Nursing.