Thursday, July 31, 2008
Research before taking kids to the movies

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

The new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight," was given a PG-13 rating. After the opening some parents were complaining. They felt that the movie should have been rated R. The feeling was that it was too violent for young children. One of the people quoted in the paper had taken her 11 year old and 14 year old to see it. That same weekend my daughter called me about recommendations for a movie for her three children. One of the considerations was "Journey to the Center of the Earth." I told her that from what I had read, it seemed like it would be too scary for the younger two children. I recommended that they go see Wall-E. Both of these situations involve movies with ratings that have the word "parental guidance" in them. That term means exactly what it says. It does not mean that movies rated PG-13 are suitable for all children over age 13. It does not mean that movies rated PG are suitable for all children. What it means is that the MPAA is expecting parents to decide whether to take their children or not. Every child is different. Every parent has different things that they want to teach their children or expose their children to. That means that every movie categorized as PG or PG-13 requires the parents to do some research before taking their children to see it. That research might involve asking others who have seen the movie for their opinion. It would mean not going to see the movie on the weekend it opens, but that makes sense if you have any doubt. That research might involve reading the movie reviews. Many reviewers do a good job of explaining how they think young children will react to a movie. That research might mean going online to see what the general feeling of multiple reviewers is about a movie. There is a web site titled That site gives detailed information about a movie. It gives a rating for se. It gives a rating for violence. It gives a rating for behavior. It gives a rating for language. It gives a suggested age for children to view it. For example, Journey to the Center of the Earth received green ratings in all four areas. However, they advised that only children over 7 view it. The Dark Knight received a green rating only in the sex area. The other three areas were rated red. They advised that only children over age 16 view it. The MPAA is there to help parents. It is not there to replace parents' judgment. Whenever there is a movie rated PG or PG-13, parents need to do their homework. That is true if they take their child to see it. That is true if they allow their child to go see it with someone else. We need to teach our children values. We need to make sure the entertainment that we choose for them helps us do that. Expecting a rating on the film to do that for us is not the way to make that happen.

Blades hosts health screening Residents living in and around the Blades community can be screened to reduce their risk of having a stroke or heart attack. Life Line Screening will be at the Blades Town Hall-Hardin Hall on Tuesday, July 29. The site is located at 20 W. Fourth St. in Blades. Appointments will begin at 10 a.m. Recommended baseline screenings include Stroke/Carotid Artery, Atrial Fibrillation, Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm and Peripheral Arterial Disease. Additional screenings can be added for a more comprehensive risk assessment and include C-Reactive Protein; complete Lipid Panel including HDL/LDL and total cholesterol; Glucose; and an ultrasound screening for Osteoporosis. Pick any four screenings for $140. All eight screenings are $199. Life Line Screening was established in 1993, and has since become the nation's leading provider of preventive screenings. For more information regarding the screenings or to schedule an appointment, call 1-800-643-6188. Pre-registration is required.

Nanticoke plans golf tournament The 22nd annual Nanticoke Health Services Golf Tournament is Friday, Sept. 5 at the Seaford Golf and Country Club. The day will consist of practice, lunch, 18-holes of golf, dinner and door prizes. A full field of participants is expected with a noon shotgun start and scramble format. The tournament's goal is to raise over $35,000 for Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. Proceeds will be used for the hospital's charity endowment prescription fund, a special indigent fund for patients in need of assistance with their prescriptions. Teams of four players will compete for various donated prizes. During the course of the day, golfers will have chances to test their skills by competing in contests for Longest Drive, Closest-To-The-Pin, Hit-The-Green and a Hole-In-One. All participants will have the opportunity to putt through a three-step qualifying round. Following dinner, three people will putt for $2,500 each. Entry fees are $150 per player and $600 for a foursome. Sponsorships packages are available. Anyone interested in individual reservations or sponsorship opportunities should contact the Nanticoke Health Services Development office at 302-629-6611, extension 2404 or email

Stroke support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer free monthly Stroke Support Group meetings designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families and caregivers. Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month at Nanticoke Cancer Care Center from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. The meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions in which caregivers and survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support and networking. Refreshments will be provided. Sheila Brant and Joan Burditt, occupational therapists at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, will facilitate the support group meetings. Pre-registration not required. For more information, call 629-6611, ext. 5121.

Depression support The Mental health Association in Delaware will be sponsoring a Depression Support Group in Laurel on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. The meetings begin at 7 p.m. The MHA encourages anyone dealing with a depressive disorder to attend. Register in advance by calling 1-800-287-6423. Peer support groups sponsored by Mental Health Association of Delaware are not intended to replace professional mental health treatment. MHA does not publish support group locations; locations are provided with registration.

Caregiver support group Join our monthly support group at the Cheer Community Center, the second Monday of each month at 11 a.m., 854-9500. This support group is for you, whether you are a new caregiver or have been taking care of a loved one for years. We are turning the "Fearless caregiver" book into a guide for our support group. Each month a chapter will be discussed, concerns shared and support given.

Oncology symposium The Sixth Annual Seaside Oncology Symposium will take place Saturday, Oct. 11, at the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel in Rehoboth Beach. The Tunnell Cancer Center and the Medical Society of Delaware sponsor this annual, half-day symposium to update participants on the diagnosis and management of cancer. It is designed for physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals. The conference, which begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends with lunch at 1 p.m., is planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint-sponsorship of the Medical Society of Delaware and Beebe Medical Center. The Seaside Oncology Symposium is supported by unrestricted educational grants from various pharmaceutical companies and programs. Details regarding this year's topics and speakers will be available soon. Hotel reservations may be made directly with the Boardwalk Plaza at 800-332-3224.

Medicine Take-Back planned In response to new evidence that flushed medications are ending up in our water supply, a group of Delaware nurses is sponsoring the second Medicine Take-Back Event on Tuesday, Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cape Henlopen Senior Center in Rehoboth Beach. Nurses Healing Our Planet, an environmental task force of the Delaware Nurses Association, invites everyone in the community to bring in all unwanted prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, as well as vitamins, inhalers, drops, veterinary pills and liquid medications in their original containers. All pharmaceuticals will be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner. New evidence shows that flushing is the wrong way to dispose of unwanted drugs. According to the Associated Press, some drugs "resist modern drinking water and wastewater treatment processes." The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that no sewage treatment systems are specifically engineered to remove pharmaceuticals. Leftover medicines cause thousands of accidental poisonings and deaths each year. When old drugs are flushed down the toilet, they can poison fish, animals, plants, and people. For more information, call 302-428-2117.