Thursday, September 26, 2013
Gluten free movement a fad?

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Recent surveys have shown that approximately 30% of people have decided to try a gluten free diet. Numbers that high mean that we have a new fad. We have long known about a condition called celiac disease. It is caused by a sensitivity to gluten. It causes severe gastrointestinal symptoms if those individuals have gluten in their diet. It occurs in just under 1% (1 out of 133) of the population. In the past we thought that these individuals were the only ones who needed to have gluten removed from their diet. Recently, we have become aware of a different group of individuals. These individuals have some sensitivity to gluten. However, they do not have true celiac disease. The problem is that we still have not figured out how many people are affected by this sensitivity. Most estimates are that it affects just about 10% of the population. However, those are just estimates. We will find out more about this in the future. In any case, it is likely that there are many people currently using a gluten free diet who do not need to do so. One might ask if there are any benefits to such a diet for the average individual. The short answer is that there are certainly benefits in substituting fruits and vegetables for breads. Overall that is a healthier way to eat. However, one of the things that we know about diets is that they need to be balanced. Removing an entire group of foods from the diet can have long term negative effects. We do not know if removal of gluten will have such effects. However, with the number of people now trying that as a dietary measure, it is likely that we will soon know. A second thing to remember is that a gluten free diet tends to be more expensive than most other diets. Buying gluten free foods can be costly. In addition, some gluten free foods can have more calories than their gluten containing equivalent. For example, gluten free Oreo cookies have about four times as many calories as their non-gluten equivalent. Another issue that arises is the creation of gluten free snobs. These are the individuals that look down on people who still eat gluten. These are the individuals that make a fuss in a restaurant due to the lack of gluten free offerings. This group of individuals has been created by the gluten free movement. They are really not much different than other types of snobs. They represent a down side to the gluten free movement that we all have to tolerate. With 30% of the population thinking that gluten is bad, it has clearly risen to the level of the current diet fad. It is likely that once we find out just how real the gluten sensitivity problem is in our population, we will be able to move on to the next fad.

BIAD plans annual fundraiser To help promote greater public awareness of the Brain Injury Association of Delaware's (BIAD) advocacy, support, and prevention programs, the organization has set Nov. 2, as the date for its annual "Embellish Your Melon" fundraiser. The event will be capped by a fun-filled, hat-contest-themed dinner-dance, grand prize awards, sponsor acknowledgements and silent auction. The event will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Harry's Savoy Ballroom, 2020 Naamans Rd., Wilmington. Advance registration at is $49 per person ($59 at the door) and includes the dinner-dance, contest entry and silent auction admission. Businesses and individuals who wish to participate in the event are encouraged to contact BIAD (by leaving a return-call phone message at 800-411-0505) to reserve sponsorship package rates and arrangements.

Diabetes self-management workshops Learn to control your diabetes and take charge of your health with workshops offered by the Delaware Division of Public Health. Workshops are for Delawareans with type 2 diabetes. Workshops, which are 2 1/2 hours, one day a week for 6 weeks, provide the skills to become an active self-manager through learning techniques that address proper exercise, healthy eating, appropriate use of medication, effective communication, understanding and managing common symptoms, and much more. There is no charge to attend. The following workshops will be held in the area: ACE Community Resource Center, Seaford - Wednesdays, Oct. 2 - Nov. 6, 1 - 3:30 p.m. LaRed Health Center, Georgetown - Thursdays, Oct. 3 - Nov. 7, 1 - 3:30 p.m. Greenwood CHEER - Wednesdays, Nov. 6 - Dec. 11, 1 - 3:30 p.m. To pre-register, call the Diabetes and Heart Disease Prevention and Control Program at 302-744-1020.

Horse with West Nile recovers A second Delaware horse has tested positive for West Nile Virus, but has recovered. The two-year-old filly from Sussex County is the state's second confirmed case of West Nile Virus since 2003, said Delaware State Veterinarian Dr. Heather Hirst, who heads the Department of Agriculture's Poultry and Animal Health Section. Delaware's first equine case of West Nile Virus this year was diagnosed in Kent County in August; that horse has also recovered. Another horse from Sussex County tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a mosquito-borne disease. The yearling filly was showing signs of severe neurologic disease and was under the care of a veterinarian. Despite receiving supportive care, the horse showed no improvement, and was humanely euthanized. Equine owners are urged to vaccinate their horses against West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. EEE was also recently detected in a sentinel chicken flock in Sussex County. The viruses normally exist in a cycle between mosquitoes and birds, but occasionally EEE can be transmitted from mosquitoes to mammals. Prior to this year, Delaware's last confirmed equine case of WNV was in 2003, and the last case of equine EEE was in 2005. Owners should consult with their veterinarians about best WNV and EEE vaccination programs.

Health care technology funding The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) to expand funding for advanced health care technology in rural America. "Digital technology holds tremendous promise for the future of health care, and we must ensure that rural Americans have access to the latest in health technology," Vilsack said. USDA is partnering with HHS and the Department of Veterans Affairs to leverage funds to support advanced health care technology in rural hospitals. This partnership is an extension of a successful pilot launched in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi and Texas to identify rural critical access hospitals in persistent poverty areas in need of advanced health care technology.

Seasonal flu shots offered at Mears Health Campus Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer seasonal flu shots to individuals 18 and older at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Mears Health Campus (300 Rawlins Dr., Seaford, Rehabilitation Services Building) on the following dates: Thursday, Oct. 10 - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 - 8 a.m. to noon Thursday, Oct. 24 - 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31 - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is no charge for this year's flu shots.

A donation of $10 per vaccination is appreciated. Pre-registration is not required.

Habitat will be collecting donations at Nanticoke The Sussex County Habitat for Humanity Restore Truck will come to the back parking lot (by the river) at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital to collect donations for housing projects on Monday, Sept. 30 from 8 a.m. to noon. Nanticoke Health Services, Bayhealth and Beebe Medical Center have joined together through the Healthier Sussex County initiative to participate with Sussex County Habitat for Humanity to help build two houses in Georgetown. Many items are acceptable for donations, including:
  • Guaranteed working appliances that are 10 years old or younger (all stoves, wall ovens and refrigerators must have their final cleaning)
  • Guaranteed working HVAC units, compressors, dishwashers, hot water heaters, coffee makers and blenders that are five years old or younger (hot water tanks must be completely drained for pick-up service)
  • Cabinets in very good condition with hardware and their doors
  • All interior and exterior door slabs or pre-hung that are in excellent condition
  • Double-hung and casement windows (wood frame windows must be in excellent condition to be accepted. Window sashes cannot be accepted)
  • All leftover new flooring that is boxed and in perfect condition
  • Used flooring that has not been damaged
  • Rolls of linoleum
  • Gently used carpet and area rugs (must be stain-free, rolled and sized)
  • Gently used upholstered furniture (with no tears, stains or animal hair)
  • Wood furniture
  • Metal bed frames
  • Two-piece china cabinets
For more information, contact Nanticoke Marketing Coordinator, Rachel Ostroski at 536-5386. For more about the Sussex County Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Georgetown, visit

MS Society plans MSquerade The Delaware Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society will host its third annual MSquerade - A Mardi Gras inspired event - at World Cafe Live at The Queen in Wilmington from 8 a.m. to noon on Friday, Nov. 8. The event will feature live music from the band Corduroy and an extensive silent auction. Dress is black tie optional and masks are encouraged. Tickets can be purchased for $100 per person or $175 per couple. For more information, visit

HIV Consortium plans meetings The Delaware HIV Consortium and the Delaware Department of Public Health are holding a series of town hall meetings to get community feedback on HIV/AIDS programs and services. Experts in the field of HIV treatment and prevention will be there to answer questions from the public. A meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at Camp Rehoboth, 37 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth. For more information, visit

2013 Aids Walk Delaware Registration is open for the 2013 AIDS Walk Delaware which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28, in Rehoboth and Wilmington. To register a group or an individual, visit Sign up today and begin collecting pledges for people infected and affected by HIV disease throughout the state. For detail, contact the Delaware HIV Consortium at 302-654-5471 or

Annual symposia in Rehoboth Beach The Delaware Chapter of the Internal Medicine Doctors for Adults invites physicians from across the nation to the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel in Rehoboth Beach for the American College of Physicians 15th Annual Lower Shore Symposia to be held Saturday, Oct. 26. Two members of the Beebe Medical staff are coordinating the event. They are: Dr. Bhaskar Palekar, FACP, and Dr. Mansour Saberi, MACP, Governor Emeritus of the ACP Delaware Chapter. The all-day symposia will allow physicians to learn about recent medical advances and to discuss local and national issues that affect the practice and teaching of internal medicine. Speakers are coming from The Baylor College of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Einstein Healthcare Network and Tufts University. For more information and to register, call Dr. Saberi at 302-645-2244.

Depression Screening Day Do you know the symptoms of depression and anxiety? On Thursday, Oct. 10, the Mental Health Association in Delaware will be collaborating statewide to bring National Depression Screening Day to sites throughout the state. National Depression Screening Day is designed to increase mental health literacy by calling to attention the illness of depression on a national level. It is also designed to educate the public about symptoms and effective treatment, to offer individuals the opportunity to be screened for depression; and to connect those in need to the mental health care system in Delaware. More than 80% of people with clinical depression can be successfully treated. For more information about National Depression Screening Day, including times and locations, or MHA in Delaware visit or call 800-287-6423 in Sussex County.

Honoring Breast Cancer Survivors October is Breast Cancer Survivors Month and the Cancer Support Community-DE, Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, American Cancer Society, and the Nanticoke Cancer Care Center will honor breast cancer survivors at special Pink Ribbon Tea. Join other survivors and prepare to enjoy an afternoon of inspiration and time of celebration. Light refreshments will be served. This event is free of charge, but seating is limited. The registration deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 2. For the breast cancer survivors in western Sussex, the Pink Ribbon Tea will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 1:30 pm at Seaford Library, Allen Room, 600 N. Market St., Seaford. To register, please call Terri Clifton at 629-6611, Ext.2577.

Delaware Hospice Golf Outing The Delaware Hospice Sussex County Golf Outing will be held on Monday, Oct. 7, at Cripple Creek Golf and Country Club in Dagsboro. The fee is $125 per person, which includes green fees, cart, lunch, refreshment cart, and an awards reception with heavy hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer. For more about the event or Delaware Hospice, visit or contact Peggy Dolby, associate director of development at 302-746-4666 or