Health news and notes

Shear Designs hosts annual Locks of Love

BRATTLEBORO >> On June 25, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Shear Designs Hair Studio will host the 16th Annual Locks of Love Cut-a-Thon.

Shear Designs will be offering $10 haircuts when you donate at least 10 inches of hair and will also be accepting financial donations. Don't have enough to donate? Be brave and shave for $10.

Enjoy a great cut from one of Shear Designs talented stylists and help them give back. The studio will be offering a day full of fun, prizes, refreshments and raffle baskets. All proceeds will go directly to Locks of Love and your donation will help disadvantaged children in need, ages 21 and under, by supplying them with a high quality, vacuum fitted hair prosthetic.

Locks of Love helps to restore self esteem, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

Shear Designs Hair Studio has been known as the "Best Little Hair House In Town" for more than 20 years. Support a great cause and go see Joy Boyd and her staff at Shear Designs Hair Studio. To make an appointment, stop by 735 Putney Rd. or call 802-257-5030; walkins are always welcome.

For more information, or to sign up for Shear Designs' newsletter, find Shear Designs Hair Studio on Facebook or visit

June blood drive nets 72 pints

BRATTLEBORO >> The Brattleboro June Blood Donor Day hosted by the American Red Cross, Green Mountain Chapter, was held at the Carl M. Dessaint VFW Post 1034 on Black Mountain Road on June 7. A total of 72 pints were donated.

Multiple and one-gallon donors included: Richard S. Hood, 18 gallons; Donald M. Smead, 15 gallons; Gary Katz, 13 gallons; Sarah Waldo, 10 gallons; Margaret Cassidy, seven gallons; and Michael Ebbighausen and Nicole G. Godin, at two gallons each.

The July Blood Donor Day is scheduled for July 5, also at the VFW, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

VSECU hosts blood drives

BRATTLEBORO >> The local branch of VSECU 499 Canal St. will host a blood drive to benefit the American Red Cross on July 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

VSECU, a member-owned cooperative and not for profit credit union for everybody in Vermont, recently announced the launch of its semi-annual blood drive series. The credit union will host six blood drives at branch locations around the state throughout June and into early July.

The semi-annual blood drive series launched last year and has generated strong community support and participation. During two drives across VSECU branches in 2015, 144 units of blood were collected. Every unit has the potential to save three lives, meaning the 2015 drives collected enough blood to save as many as 432 lives. VSECU aims to exceed that total in 2016, as part of its commitment to positively impact the communities it serves.

The blood drive program was initiated by Abbi Kiley, VSECU's call center manager, while she was a member of the American Red Cross NH-VT Board of Directors. As an employee-inspired event, VSECU has seen significant participation from its employees, including many first-time donors and blood donation veterans.

"I gave blood for the first time at a VSECU blood drive early last year, and have been trying to donate every two months since then. I had always wanted to give blood but never took the opportunity to do so. Now I've reached one gallon donated through eight donations," said Nashoba Hidaka, a technical support specialist for VSECU. "I am happy to donate to give back to people in need. It's nice to know I am helping someone."

"I have given blood 104 times, which is 13 gallons," added Cheryl Pickreign, Williston Branch Manager for VSECU. "It only takes about an hour from start to finish, which is such a short amount of time to help people who may need blood. We've all lost loved ones and I always think that my little donation may have saved a life for another family."

The blood drives will be held in American Red Cross blood mobiles at VSECU branch locations across Vermont. The blood mobiles are equipped with all of the necessary equipment and supplies for sterile blood collection. Those interested in donating blood can make reservations with the American Red Cross or stop in at the times and locations listed below.

VSECU blood drives will also be held on June 6 at the Bennington branch at 194 North St.

Preventing elder abuse

BRATTLEBORO >> Wednesday, June 15, is designated World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder Abuse is on the rise and is a little-known but very serious social problem.

Elders and people with disabilities are at high risk for violence, abuse and exploitation. National studies document that about one in 20 elders becomes a victim of violence and abuse. In Vermont, where the elder population is about 90,000, this would translate into 4,500 probable new cases each year. It is believed that only about one out of five of these cases ever get reported.

Another little-known fact: Family members carry out more than half of all reported abuse of elders. Shame, dependence on the abuser, fear of retribution, and isolation from the community are significant obstacles that discourage elders from reporting these crimes. When the abuse is reported, police, prosecutors and others in the justice system want to do the right thing, but many do not fully understand the unique risks faced by these victims, best practices for the investigation and prosecution of these crimes, or how to accommodate the special needs of victims once their cases have entered the justice system.

The following are some signs and symptoms of specific types of abuse.

Healthcare fraud and abuse: Duplicate billings for the same medical service or device; evidence of overmedication or under medication; evidence of inadequate care when bills are paid in full; and problems with a care facility such as poorly trained, poorly paid, or insufficient staff, crowding and inadequate responses to questions about care.

Financial exploitation: Significant withdrawals from the elder's accounts; sudden changes in the elder's financial condition; items or cash missing from the senior's household; suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney, titles, and policies; addition of names to the senior's signature card; unpaid bills or lack of medical care, although the elder has enough money to pay for them; financial activity the senior couldn't have done, such as an ATM withdrawal when the account holder is bedridden; and unnecessary services, goods, or subscriptions.

Physical abuse: Unexplained signs of injury such as bruises, welts, or scars, especially if they appear symmetrically on two side of the body; broken bones, sprains, or dislocations; report of drug overdose or apparent failure to take medication regularly (a prescription has more remaining than it should); broken eyeglasses or frames; and signs of being restrained, such as rope marks on wrists; caregiver's refusal to allow you to see the elder alone.

Neglect by caregivers or self-neglect: Unusual weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration; untreated physical problems, such as bed sores; unsuitable clothing or covering for the weather; unsafe living conditions (no heat or running water; faulty electrical wiring, other fire hazards); and desertion of the elder at a public place.

In addition to the general signs above, indications of emotional elder abuse include threatening, belittling, or controlling caregiver behavior that you witness and behavior from the elder that mimics, dementia, such as rocking, sucking, or mumbling to oneself.

Sexual abuse includes bruises around breasts or genitals, unexplained venereal disease or genital infections, unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding and torn, stained, or bloody underclothing

If you suspect that an older person or a person with a disability is being abused, neglected or exploited, or you feel that you have been, you should report your concerns to the Vermont Adult Protective Services Program. This program investigates allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults. Call 1-800-564-1612.

NHDHHS releases prediabetes report

CONCORD, N.H. >> The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has released a data report on the prevalence of prediabetes among New Hampshire adults. DHHS analyzed results from an annual telephone survey (the New Hampshire Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System) and found that nearly 60,000 adults (6 percent of New Hampshire adults) had been told that they had prediabetes.

Prediabetes is defined as having a blood glucose (sugar) level that is higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Having prediabetes is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Other risk factors for diabetes include being overweight, having a family member with diabetes, being African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or Hispanic American/Latino heritage, being physically inactive, and having high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Diabetes can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease and stroke.

"Many people with prediabetes are not aware they have it," said Marcella Bobinsky, Acting Director of Public Health at DHHS, "and in the United States, more than one in three adults do. There is a great deal that people can do to lower their risk of developing diabetes. Learn the steps to protect your health."

According to the survey results, prediabetes was twice as common in overweight adults and more common among older adults in the New Hampshire. Prevalence of prediabetes was 50 percent higher in non-whites than in whites, higher among persons with the lowest household incomes, and higher among adults who reported more days of poor mental health each month.

DHHS encourages New Hampshire residents to talk with their healthcare providers about their risk for diabetes. Research shows two things can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes: losing 5 to 7 percent of your body weight, and getting at least 150 minutes each week of physical activity.

To read the DHHS prediabetes data report, visit For more information on prediabetes, to locate a National Diabetes Prevention Program in New Hampshire, or to see if you have prediabetes, please visit or

The incurable pain: Islamic perspectives on addiction

PUTNEY >> What if the pain that leads a person to addiction is seen as the defining quality of being human?

Join Amer Latif at Putney Public Library on Wednesday, June 29, at 7 p.m. to explore ways in which Muslim sages, like Rumi, embody a vision of the human being as the bearer of an incurable pain in beautiful poetry and how this poetry is sung in gatherings that have become vibrant social institutions in Islamic cultures.

Amer Latif has been professor of religious studies at Marlboro College since 2003. His research focuses primarily on Islamic mystical texts and practices. He is also interested in the issues surrounding cultural translation and has published translations of the poetry of Jalaluddin Rumi, the 13th century Muslim scholar and mystic. A current resident of Putney, he grew up in Pakistan and came to the United States for college. After getting a BA in physics from Bard College, he received his Ph.D. in comparative literature from Stony Brook University.

Putney Public Library is located at 55 Main St. This event is free and open to the public.


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