Preventing and Treating Drug Abuse

Drug abuse can be a painful experience—for the person who has the problem, and for family and friends who may feel helpless in the face of the disease. But there are things you can do if you know or suspect that someone close to you has a drug problem.

Certain drugs can change the structure and inner workings of the brain. With repeated use, they affect a person’s self-control and interfere with the ability to resist the urge to take the drug. Not being able to stop taking a drug even though you know it’s harmful is the hallmark of addiction.

A drug doesn’t have to be illegal to cause this effect. People can become addicted to alcohol, nicotine, or even prescription drugs when they use them in ways other than prescribed or use someone else’s prescription.
People are particularly vulnerable to using drugs when going through major life transitions. For adults, this might mean during a divorce or after losing a job. For children and teens, this can mean changing schools or other major upheavals in their lives.

But kids may experiment with drug use for many different reasons. “It could be a greater availability of drugs in a school with older students, or it could be that social activities are changing, or that they are trying to deal with stress,” says Dr. Bethany Deeds, an NIH expert on drug abuse prevention. Parents may need to pay more attention to their children during these periods.

The teenage years are a critical time to prevent drug use. Trying drugs as a teenager increases your chance of developing substance use disorders. The earlier the age of first use, the higher the risk of later addiction. But addiction also happens to adults. Adults are at increased risk of addiction when they encounter prescription pain-relieving drugs after a surgery or because of a chronic pain problem. People with a history of addiction should be particularly careful with opioid pain relievers and make sure to tell their doctors about past drug use.

There are many signs that may indicate a loved one is having a problem with drugs. They might lose interest in things that they used to enjoy or start to isolate themselves. Teens’ grades may drop. They may start skipping classes.

“They may violate curfew or appear irritable, sedated, or disheveled,” says child psychiatrist Dr. Geetha Subramaniam, an NIH expert on substance use. Parents may also come across drug paraphernalia, such as water pipes or needles, or notice a strange smell.

“Once drug use progresses, it becomes less of a social thing and more of a compulsive thing—which means the person spends a lot of time using drugs,” Subramaniam says.

If a loved one is using drugs, encourage them to talk to their primary care doctor. It can be easier to have this conversation with a doctor than a family member. Not all drug treatment requires long stays in residential treatment centers. For someone in the early stages of a substance use problem, a conversation with a doctor or another professional may be enough to get them the help they need. Doctors can help the person think about their drug use, understand the risk for addiction, and come up with a plan for change.

Substance use disorder can often be treated on an outpatient basis. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to treat. Substance use disorder is a complicated disease. Drugs can cause changes in the brain that make it extremely difficult to quit without medical help.

For certain substances, it can be dangerous to stop the drug without medical intervention. Some people may need to be in a hospital for a short time for detoxification, when the drug leaves their body. This can help keep them as safe and comfortable as possible. Patients should talk with their doctors about medications that treat addiction to alcohol or opioids, such as heroin and prescription pain relievers.

Recovering from a substance use disorder requires retraining the brain. A person who’s been addicted to drugs will have to relearn all sorts of things, from what to do when they’re bored to who to hang out with. NIH has developed a customizable wallet card to help people identify and learn to avoid their triggers, the things that make them feel like using drugs. You can order the card for free at drugpubs.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brain-wallet-card.

“You have to learn ways to deal with triggers, learn about negative peers, learn about relapse, [and] learn coping skills,” Subramaniam says.

NIH-funded scientists are studying ways to stop addiction long before it starts—in childhood. Dr. Daniel Shaw at the University of Pittsburgh is looking at whether teaching healthy caregiving strategies to parents can help promote self-regulation skills in children and prevent substance abuse later on.

Starting when children are two years old, Shaw’s study enrolls families at risk of substance use problems in a program called the Family Check-Up. It’s one of several parenting programs that have been studied by NIH-funded researchers.

During the program, a parenting consultant visits the home to observe the parents’ relationship with their child. Parents complete several questionnaires about their own and their family’s well-being. This includes any behavior problems they are experiencing with their child. Parents learn which of their children’s problem behaviors might lead to more serious issues, such as substance abuse, down the road. The consultant also talks with the parents about possible ways to change how they interact with their child. Many parents then meet with the consultants for follow-up sessions about how to improve their parenting skills.

Children whose parents are in the program have fewer behavioral problems and do better when they get to school. Shaw and his colleagues are now following these children through their teenage years to see how the program affects their chances of developing a substance abuse problem. You can find video clips explaining different ways parents can respond to their teens on the NIH Family Checkup website at www.drugabuse.gov/family-checkup.

Even if their teen has already started using drugs, parents can still step in. They can keep closer tabs on who their children’s friends are and what they’re doing. Parents can also help by finding new activities that will introduce their children to new friends and fill up the after-school hours—prime time for getting into trouble. “They don’t like it at first,” Shaw says. But finding other teens with similar interests can help teens form new habits and put them on a healthier path.

A substance use problem is a chronic disease that requires lifestyle adjustments and long-term treatment, like diabetes or high blood pressure. Even relapse can be a normal part of the process—not a sign of failure, but a sign that the treatment needs to be adjusted. With good care, people who have substance use disorders can live healthy, productive lives. 

Written by: NIH Office of Communications and Public Liaison
Editor: Harrison Wein, Ph.D.
Managing Editor: Tianna Hicklin, Ph.D.

Holiday Mailbox Decorating Class

Landscape Matters will present a holiday mailbox decorating class on Wednesday, November 15, 10 am until 11:30 a.m. at the Yulee County Building (86026 Pages Dairy Road).
(Take US 17 North, pass over the railroad tracks, turn left on Pages Dairy Road. The building is attached to the fire station.)
 
Nassau Master Gardener Carol Ann Atwood and avid holiday decorator Sylvie Baxter will conduct a Landscape Matters class on how to make your mailbox “holiday ready” using cuttings from your own yard, e.g., magnolia, spruce, pine, palmetto, pittosporum, palms, holly with berries, etc. and ornamental décor.

Admittance is free. To “make and take” your own mailbox cover with materials provided by the instructor, the fee is $20. Checks should be made out to University of Florida. Registration deadline is Friday, November 10 by 5 pm. (It is a holiday for Extension but checks may be dropped in the mail slot at the offices either in Callahan or Yulee.) Late registration fee is $30. Only ONE mailbox cover per person.

To download registration form:
http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/nassauco/2017/07/25/holiday-mailbox-decorating/

For more information contact the Extension office at 530-6351. Master Gardeners are on phone duty Fridays, from 10 am until 2 pm at 530-6351, press “1” for the Yulee Extension office.
 

American Indians, Trees for Troops, and Petanque Only Some of the Agenda

The regular meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commission will be held on NOVEMBER 8, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall Chambers on Ash Street. Here is the agenda:

1. CALL TO ORDER    
2. ROLL CALL    
3. Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation by Reverend James Tippins, Baptist Medical Center Nassau Senior Chaplain.     

4. PROCLAMATIONS      
4.1 PROCLAMATION ­ NATIONAL AMERICAN INDIAN HERITAGE MONTH ­ 
Proclaims the month of November, 2017, as “National American Indian Heritage Month”. Ms. Nadine D’Ardenne,  American Indian Representative, will be present to accept the Proclamation.      
 
4.2 PROCLAMATION ­TREES FOR AMERICA’S TROOPS, INC.  ­ 
Recognizes Trees for America’s Troops, Inc. for providing United States military servicemen and servicewomen on  deployment with decorated Christmas trees and essential items to help them overcome the drudgery  and hardships of faraway duty. Trees for America’s Troops, Inc. President Ms. Judi Mixon­Brown will  be present to accept the Proclamation.      
 
4.3 PROCLAMATION PÉTANQUE AMELIA ISLAND OPEN  ­ 
Recognizes the 8th Annual Petanque Amelia Open and names the tournament’s founder, Mr. Philippe Boets, the Official Ambassador of the Pétanque Amelia Island Open.      

5. PUBLIC COMMENT REGARDING ITEMS NOT ON THE AGENDA OR ITEMS ON THE  CONSENT AGENDA    

6. CONSENT AGENDA    
 
6.1 Synopsis: Declares certain property as surplus, and authorizes the disposal of such.
6.2 Synopsis: Approves three additional applications for exemption of payment for  City Sewer, Refuse, and Stormwater costs for the months of October 1, 2017, through September 30,  2018.
6.3 Synopsis: Awards  RFP #17­03 for the City’s disaster public assistance services to Witt O’Brien’s, LLC.       
6.4 Synopsis: Approves the Utility Work by Highway Contractor Agreement between the City of Fernandina Beach and the  Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Also authorizes the City Manager to bind the City for deeds,  easements, agreements, licenses, permits and other agreements related to any services,  facilities or usage of properties and rights­of­way owned by the FDOT costing no more than $20,000.      
 
6.5 FINAL PLAT APPROVAL ­ DUNES OF AMELIA, PHASE TWO ­ RESOLUTION 2017­171  APPROVING FINAL PLAT, PAB CASE 2017­10 TITLED “DUNES OF AMELIA, PHASE TWO”;  AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Synopsis: Accepts and approves the plat titled  “Dunes of Amelia, Phase Two” as a final plat.       
 
6.6 Synopsis: Accepts and approves the plat titled  “Lakeside Reserve” as a preliminary plat.       
 
6.7 Synopsis: Approves transfers within respective Departments/Funds for  FY 2016/2017.
       
7. RESOLUTIONS    
7.1 Synopsis: Approves  the  Comcast  Enterprise  Services  Master  Services  Agreement,  The  First  Amendment to the agreement, and the Renewal Service Order.      
 
7.2 Synopsis:  Approves the purchase of two servers and a storage device from Dell, Inc. and the purchasing  agreement.       
 
7.3 Synopsis: Approves a transfer of $35,600 to the Golf Repairs/Maintenance Grounds account from the Golf Reserve account and a transfer of $202,850 to the Airport Repairs/Maintenance Building and Grounds account from the Airport Reserve account.      
 
7.4 Synopsis: Authorizes the City to enter into Agreement No. LP45011 with FDEP  in the amount of $500,000 for the North Fletcher Drainage Basin Project.      
 
7.5 Synopsis:  Authorizes the City to enter into a cost­share agreement with SJRWMD to accept an award of  $251,283 for the construction improvements to the Area 1 drainage system.      
 
7.6 Synopsis: Authorizes the City to request a maintenance easement along the  existing ditch from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).      
 
7.7 Synopsis:  Approves reimbursement to the City from a future debt issue for costs related to the General Aviation  Terminal project incurred before the debt is issued.      
 
7.8 Synopsis: Approves Task Order #2017­02 with Olsen  Associates, Inc. for Coastal Engineering Services for Beach Management.      
 
7.9 Synopsis: Approves Task Order  #2017­03 with Olsen Associates, Inc. for coastal engineering services for the Alternate Renourishment Project.      
 
7.10 Synopsis: Awards RFQ #17­03 to Brockington and Associates, Inc. for the Historic Resources Survey Update.      
 
7.11 Synopsis: Approves the Construction and Financial Agreement  between Eight Flags Aviation, LLC and the City of Fernandina Beach. Authorizes the City Manager to negotiate and execute a public ramp apron management agreement with Eight Flags Aviation, LLC and authorizes the City Manager to execute Change Order 1 with F&G Construction, not to exceed the original award amount, for the addition of a nose and tail section to the Airport Terminal.           

8. ORDINANCES ­ FIRST READING    
8.1 Synopsis: Amends the Land Development Code specific to variances.       
 
8.2 Synopsis: Approves a Planned Unit Development (PUD) overlay to approximately 5.10 acres located on S. 13th Street between  Hickory Street and Fir Street.      
9. CITY MANAGER REPORTS    
10. CITY ATTORNEY REPORTS    
11. CITY CLERK REPORTS    
12. MAYOR/COMMISSIONER COMMENTS    
13. ADJOURNMENT

Cummer Amelia: Cocktails and Cavases

Cocktails & Canvases Saturday Night White Canvas Chef’s Dinner
The Cocktails & Canvases White Canvas Chef’s Dinner will be hosted at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort. It will be an immersive culinary event. The evening’s White Canvas menu, led by Executive Chef Daven Wardynski will tease the senses with his culinary exploration in a vibrant visual art setting featuring Amelia Island artist Casey Matthews. This one-of-a-kind experience can’t be missed!
Satuday, November 11, 2017, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Price is $150 plus vendor fee per person

Cocktails & Canvases Main Event Package
Guests will enjoy an unmatched experience with artists, mixologists, and chefs. Stay with the Cocktails & Canvases Main Event package and enjoy an immersive culinary and visual arts dinner. Sunday morning, enjoy the “Art of Breakfast” buffet in Sunrise Café, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, followed by a Local Art Festival in the Shops of Omni Amelia Island Plantation. Includes one-night hotel accommodation.
November 11th and 12th, Only $619 per package based on double occupancy

For further information or to register, visit cocktailscanvases.com. Cummer Museum Members, enter “Museum” in the discount code box when registering.

Pasta Sale at the Farmers Market

The Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers market will be open Saturday, November 4, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., rain or shine. This open air market is located on North Seventh Street in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach and features nearly 40 tents of seasonal produce, fresh baked breads and pastries, and a wide variety of specialty foods and natural bath products.

Amelia Pasta, a long standing staple at the farmers market is holding a Pasta Blowout Sale – all in-stock flavors of penne, linguini, fettuccini, and orzo are on sale for only $5.00 per bag, no rainchecks.

Boatright Farm’s crops have rotated to fall harvests and they still have plenty of squash in addition to their turnip and mustard greens, as well as some nice heads of cabbage.

Camp Craft Cocktails is turning out to be one of our most popular booths. They sell jars of quality ingredients that are perfect for sharing with friends or sipping alone. Simply add 12 ounces of your favorite spirit, chill for three days and enjoy eight servings. Flavors include Aromatic Citrus, Bloody Mary, or Hibiscus Ginger Lemon.

Our Booth with a Cause this week is the Salvation Army’s Hope House. They are dedicated to restoring those in need to a place of productivity and self-sufficiency, values that are necessary for a community to grow and prosper. Stop by their booth to learn more about what they are doing in our community.

We hope you will come downtown with your family and friends and sample a taste of what the Market Place offers. Live entertainment will be provided by Melrose, and well-behaved, leashed pets are welcome to join you.

Knowing the Symptoms of Brain Tumors

A tumor in the brain isn’t like tumors in other parts of your body. It has limited room for growth because of the skull. This means that a growing tumor can squeeze vital parts of the brain and lead to serious health problems. Learning about the possible symptoms of brain tumors can help you know when to tell a doctor about them.

A tumor is an abnormal mass of cells. When most normal cells grow old or get damaged, they die, and new cells take their place. Sometimes, this process goes wrong. New cells form when the body doesn’t need them, and old or damaged cells don’t die as they should. The extra cells can form a tumor.

A tumor that starts in the brain is called a primary brain tumor. People of all ages can develop this type of tumor, even children. And there are many different ways they can form.

“There are over 130 different types of primary brain tumors,” says Dr. Mark R. Gilbert, an NIH brain tumor expert. About 80,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with a primary brain tumor each year.

Cancer that has spread to the brain from another part of the body is called a metastatic brain tumor. Metastatic brain tumors are far more common than primary tumors.

Both primary and metastatic brain tumors can cause similar symptoms. Symptoms depend mainly on where the tumor is in the brain.

“The symptoms of brain tumors can be either dramatic or subtle,” Gilbert says. A seizure is an example of a dramatic symptom. About 3 of every 10 patients with a brain tumor are diagnosed after having a seizure, he explains.
Other symptoms are less obvious. For example, you might notice memory problems or weakness on one side of your body. Until symptoms develop, you may not know you have a brain tumor.

If you have symptoms that suggest a brain tumor, tell your doctor. Your doctor will give you a physical exam and ask about your personal and family health history. You may need to have additional tests. Tumors can be detected by imaging methods such as MRI or CT scans.

“Brain imaging technology has really changed the way we are able to visualize abnormalities,” Gilbert explains. It allows brain surgeons to learn as much as possible about the tumor and remove it more safely. NIH researchers are continuing to look for ways to better detect and treat brain tumors. Treatments differ depending on the type and location of the tumor. Treatment can involve surgery, radiation (beams of high energy rays aimed at the tumor), or drugs that kill or block the growth of cancer cells.

Usually, brain tumor treatment requires a team of health care professionals. This may include surgeons, cancer specialists, nutritionists, nurses, and mental health providers. The team does more than treat the tumor. They also try to minimize its impact on a patient’s quality of life.

“There is a definite advantage to being cared for by people who do this on a routine basis,” Gilbert says. A person who has been diagnosed with a brain tumor may want to seek treatment at a nearby cancer center, if possible. To look for a cancer center near you, visit www.cancer.gov/research/nci-role/cancer-centers.
Related Stories

Possible Symptoms of a Brain Tumor
The symptoms of a brain tumor depend on its size, type, and location. The most common ones are listed below. These do not mean you have a brain tumor. But talk with your doctor if you experience any of the following:
-Severe headaches 
-Muscle jerking or twitching (seizures or convulsions)
-Nausea and vomiting
-Changes in speech, vision, or hearing
-Problems balancing or walking
-Changes in your mood, personality, or ability to concentrate
-Problems with memory
-Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms or legs

Written by NIH Office of Communications and Public Liaison

Friends of the Library Present: Medicare 101

Press Release: Friends of the Library’s Adult Education Program is sponsoring an informative presentation exploring the many questions that arise in navigating the “ins” and “outs” of Medicare. The program, entitled Medicare 101, will be held on Tuesday afternoon, November 7th at 4:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Fernandina Beach Library, 25 N. 4th Street, Fernandina Beach.

Learn the basics with an experienced Medicare agent. Some of the many topics that will be addressed include Original Medicare and other options; the meanings of Medicare Parts A, B, C and D; enrollment deadlines; the extent of coverage Medicare provides and other medical insurance options.

This program is free to the public. Participation is limited, so register in advance by calling the library at 904-530-6500, Ext. 1. If you are not able to attend, please call the library to cancel so someone on the waiting list may participate.

For further information regarding this event, on joining Friends of the Library, or to donate, please visit the Friends of the Library website at www.fernandinaFOL.org.

Todd McGrain: The Lost Bird Project at Cummer Museum

Press Release Jacksonville, Fla.— The newest exhibition at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Todd McGrain: The Lost Bird Project, opens in the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Community Sculpture Garden & Plaza on Saturday, November 4, 2017. The exhibition will feature five large-scale sculptures and will be supplemented by the presentation of preparatory drawings in the Bank of America Concourse inside the Museum.

As a chronicle of humankind’s impact on our changing world — excessive hunting and fishing, commerce, deforestation — and a record of dwindling biodiversity, The Lost Bird Project memorializes North American birds that have been driven to extinction. The Great Auk, Labrador Duck, Passenger Pigeon, Carolina Parakeet, and Heath Hen were birds that once filled unique niches in the North American landscape from the shores of Labrador and New York to the Midwestern plains. Moved by their stories, American artist Todd McGrain (b. 1961) set out to bring their vanished forms back into the world.

“Todd McGrain’s sculptures not only look majestic and beautiful,” states Cummer Museum Associate Curator Nelda Damiano, “they also prompt us to think about the role we play in protecting and preserving the world we live in.”

A bronze sculpture of each of the five birds has been permanently placed at a specific location related to their decline, from Newfoundland to Florida, Ohio to Martha’s Vineyard. The series on exhibit at the Museum is a set that is touring the country, in the hope of spreading awareness and evoking action. McGrain’s modern, elegant style captures the essence of each species, making it universal and approachable. More importantly, these sculptures ask us not to forget, and remind us of our duty to save fragile habitats and prevent further extinction.

For more than 50 years, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens has been committed to engaging and inspiring through the arts, gardens, and education. A permanent collection of more than 5,000 objects and historic gardens on a riverfront campus offers more than 165,000 annual visitors a truly unique experience on the First Coast. Nationally recognized education programs serve adults and children of all abilities. For further information, including hours, visit www.cummermuseum.org.

Farmers Market, Arts Market, and Fall Festival, Too

Saturday, October 28th, brings tons of family fun to historic Fernandina Beach including the Arts Market at the corner of Eighth and Centre Streets, the Market Place farmers market on North Seventh Street, and the Fall Festival on North Sixth Street.

The Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers market returns every Saturday with over 40 tents of edible delights, farm fresh fruits and vegetables, and homemade lotions, soaps, balms, and candles. In addition to our weekly vendors of jams, honey, dips, sauces, seafood, and beef, returning this week is Rose’s An Unbelievable Eggrolls; Me, Myself, and Pies; new vendor Oizeo and their Asian tapas, and Denise and her mom are back with Jay’s Marketplace’s chopped olive salad and olive juice. Golden Olive Press is also back in the farmers market with hand selected olive oils from Paul’s family’s native Spain, the largest producer of olive trees in the world.

The Fernandina Beach Arts Market is home to over 25 booths of artists and crafters who bring their hand-crafted jewelry, pottery, apparel, quilts, woodworking and much more. Joel Vendetti is a local musician and artist and he makes tie dye T-shirts, wall hangings, and onesies for the youngest (and cutest) of mankind. Unique and comfortable for all ages, these are home crafted with Joel’s own secret process. Bowls w ith Holes is another vendor who sells unique pottery. Cindy shapes these handmade bowls – with holes – and they are perfect for baking breads or giving as gifts. Individually painted in a variety of colors and themes, the bowls are displayed at unbelievable low prices. CC Jordan Jewelry is custom jewelry made by Candy Jordan. Candy sets up shop with the style of a designer showroom all in a 10 X 10 tent. Big chunky pieces are delicately designed for fashion. You don’t want to miss her display at the Arts Market.

This is also Georgia/Florida Weekend and farmers market booths will be decorated to win your votes for the Best Decorated Booth. Look for Bulldog, Gator, or Halloween themes and then vote for your favorite at the Market Place Management Tent, where you can also pick up a complimentary edition of Edible magazine.

Music will be provided by Spanish Guitarist Dennis Fermin from St. Augustine, Florida, and Community Hospice will be our Booth with a Cause.

Please keep in mind North Sixth Street will be closed to traffic because of the Fall Festival, but it will be filled with giant slides, bounce houses, an entertainment stage, and tables and chairs for dining on free hot dogs. Kids will enjoy game booths, cookie decorating, face painting, and a petting zoo!

Downtown Fernandina Beach is the place to be on the morning of October 28, 2017. Both markets are open from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., rain or shine.

Join TEDxFSCJWomen for a Simulcast Event: TEDWomen2017

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Join TEDxFSCJWomen for a simulcast event direct from the TEDWomen2017 conference in New Orleans. The evening will include a panel of local speakers who will discuss how gender intersects with poverty and what Jacksonville nonprofits are doing to help.

Our local speakers will include:
· Dawn Gilman: CEO, Changing Homelessness
· Teresa Miles: Executive Director, Women’s Center of Jacksonville
· Dr. Gail Patin: CEO, Hubbard House
· Hosted by Courtney Weatherby-Hunter: Women’s Giving Alliance

The evening will also feature “Seven Bridges Out of Poverty,” a portrait gallery and information session from local nonprofits that are helping to lift women out of poverty, including BEAM, Changing Homelessness, Hubbard House, LSF Health Systems, Sulzbacher Center, the Women’s Center of Jacksonville and the Women’s Giving Alliance.

Cost: Free

When: Thursday, November 2, 2017, 6:30-8:30 p.m. *Doors open at 5 p.m. to allow for portrait viewing and networking with representatives from the featured nonprofits.

Where: FSCJ Kent Campus, Room F128; 3939 Roosevelt Blvd., Jacksonville, Florida 32205

For more information, email TEDxFSCJ@gmail.com
Register at https://tedxfscjwomen2017.eventbrite.com/

Keeping Your Gut in Check

Your digestive system is busy. When you eat something, your food takes a twisty trip that starts with being chewed up and ends with you going to the bathroom. A lot happens in between. The health of your gut plays a key role in your overall health and well-being. You can make choices to help your body stay on tract.

Your digestive, or gastrointestinal (GI), tract is a long, muscular tube that runs from your mouth to your anus. It’s about 30 feet long and works with other parts of your digestive system to break food and drink down into smaller molecules of nutrients. The blood absorbs these and carries them throughout the body for cells to use for energy, growth, and repair.

With such a long GI highway, it’s common to run into bumps in the road. About 60 to 70 million Americans are affected by digestive diseases, like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). GERD happens when your stomach acid and/or contents come back up into your esophagus (swallowing tube) or throat. This causes uncomfortable symptoms like heartburn and indigestion. IBS is a group of symptoms that includes pain in the abdomen and changes in bowel habits. People with IBS may have constipation, diarrhea, or both. Many more people have other digestive problems, like bloating and stomach pain.

“There are many factors that can impact gut health,” says Dr. Lin Chang, a GI expert at the University of California, Los Angeles. How your body’s built, your family and genetic history, how you manage stress, and what you eat can all affect your gut.

“I see a lot of lifestyle-related GI issues, and there are often no quick fixes for that,” she says. “In general, people do well when they create a more routine schedule, eat a healthy diet and smaller more frequent meals, add in some exercise, and get a good amount of sleep.”

Chang studies the connection between stress and IBS. Her research group has found that people who have early life stress are more likely to develop IBS. “However, this increased risk for IBS went down when people confided in someone they trust about the stress they experienced,” she explains. “Finding healthy ways to manage stress is important for GI health, and your health overall.”

What you eat can help or hurt your digestive system, and influence how you feel. “Increasing fiber is really important for constipation,” says Chang. “Most Americans do not eat a lot of fiber so you have to gradually increase the fiber in your diet. Otherwise you might get gas and more bloating, and won’t stick with [the changes].”
Chang says you should eat at least 20–30 grams of fiber a day for constipation. You can spread out your fiber in small amounts throughout the day. Start with small servings and gradually increase them to avoid gas, bloating, and discomfort.

Try to eat fruits and vegetables at every meal. A variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts can provide a healthy mix of different fibers and nutrients to your diet. An added benefit is that the more fiber and whole foods you eat, the less room you’ll have for less healthy options.

But some fiber-rich foods, called high FODMAP foods, can be hard to digest. Examples include certain fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and wheat and rye products. If you have IBS, your doctor may recommend a diet low in FODMAPS.

Researchers are coming to understand the complex community of bacteria and other microbes that live in the human GI tract. Called gut flora or microbiota, these microbes help with our digestion. But evidence has been growing that gut microbes may influence our health in other ways too. Studies suggest that they may play roles in obesity, type 2 diabetes, IBS, and colon cancer. They might also affect how the immune system functions. This can affect how your body fights illness and disease. Recent studies have found that microbes’ effects on the immune system may impact the development of conditions such as allergy, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.

You might have heard that probiotics—live microbes that are similar to those found in the human gut—can improve your gut health. These are also called “friendly bacteria” or “good bacteria.” Probiotics are available in dietary supplements and in certain foods, such as yogurt.

There is some evidence that probiotics may be helpful in preventing diarrhea associated with antibiotics and improving symptoms of IBS, but more needs to be learned. Researchers still don’t know which probiotics are helpful and which aren’t. They also don’t know how much of the probiotics people would have to take or who would most likely benefit from them.

Certain food additives called emulsifiers are something else that may affect your gut health. Emulsifiers are added to many processed foods to improve texture and extend shelf life. But studies show they can affect our gut flora.
“Our work and other research indicate that emulsifiers and other food additives can negatively impact the microbiota and promote inflammatory diseases,” says Georgia State University’s Dr. Andrew Gewirtz. His group has been studying the relationships between food additives, gut bacteria, and disease in mice. The team also plans to examine how different food additives may affect people.

Based on what his team and others have found, Gewirtz advises, “The take home message: Eat a balanced diet and less processed foods.”

“The GI system is complicated and such an important part of our health,” Chang says. “It takes a real partnership between patient and doctor to get to the root of issues. Everyone has to find a healthy routine that works for them.”

She encourages you to take an active role in finding a doctor who makes you feel comfortable. The right doctor will listen carefully to your health history and symptoms. You can help keep your gut in check by talking with your doctor and—together—making the right choices for you.

Wise Choices for Better Gut Health
-Eat slower. Chew your food well before swallowing. It may help you swallow less air and better sense when you’re full.
-Enjoy smaller meals. Eat in moderation to avoid overfilling your stomach and encourage digestion. A packed stomach may also cause reflux, or your food to come back up.
-Set a bedtime for your gut. Try to limit how much you eat after dark. Your GI tract is most active in the morning and daytime.
-Manage stress. Learn healthy ways to reduce stress like relaxation breathing, mindfulness, and exercise. Stress makes it harder to digest your food well.
-Create a routine. Try to eat around the same times each day. Your GI system may do best on a schedule.
-Consider probiotics. Talk with your doctor about taking probiotics (supplemental healthful bacteria). They may ease constipation and IBS symptoms.

Written by NIH Office of Communications and Public Liaison
Editor: Harrison Wein, Ph.D.
Managing Editor: Tianna Hicklin, Ph.D.

Creative Fusion – Ways of Weaving Poetry and Art

Writers by the Sea Presents: CREATIVE FUSION: WAYS OF WEAVING POETRY AND ART TOGETHER

DATE: October 26, 2017 (DIFFERENT DATE FOR OCTOBER ONLY)
LOCATION: Amelia Island Museum of History, 233 S. 3rd St., Fernandina Beach, FL 3203
TIME: 6:00 Announcements followed by Presentation
PRESENTERS: Nola Perez, an Award winning poet and Linda Hart Green, Seasoned Artist and Shady Ladies Gallery owner

A creative soul opens life to a multitude of possibilities. She may chose to combine forms or mix genres in new ways. This month join two exceptionally creative souls and discover ways you might create even more beauty in your life. The meeting will open with Writers by the Sea Director, Nadine Vaughan D’Ardenne, recently returned from her adventures on a remote Native American Reservation in NM. The presentation will be facilitated by our new Executive Board Member, Jimmy Weinsier.

NOLA PEREZ’s entire persona gives voice to her poetry. This prizewinning poet grew up in historic Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, and lived away from the island for forty years, seven of those years abroad in Brussels, Belgium, and Paris, France. She returned to the U. S. in 1999 where she has been a participant author/panelist, in the Amelia Island Book Festival since 2001. She is widely published in literary journals and magazines.

LINDA HART GREEN retired to Fernandina Beach with her husband Harry Green in 2012 after decades serving in various positions in Christian ministry (New Jersey and Massachusetts). Linda is an exceptional artist who uses color the way a magician uses illusion. In 2016, with 3 artist/partners she opened Shady Ladies Art Studios and Gallery Look for them on South 8th St., under the ancient Oak. Writers by the Sea – Amelia Island, is a Chapter of Florida Writers Association. Visit us on Facebook and soon, at our web page (still under construction)!

Story and Song, Indie Bookstore, Opening in Fernandina

You’ll find the new bookstore located in the heart of the island at 1430 Park Avenue in Amelia Park’s commercial district (former home of Artistic Florist, and before that, KP’s Restaurant.)

A general interest indie bookstore, “Story & Song” will offer nearly 10,000 new books for all ages with a variety of interests, the best selection of unique greeting cards in Nassau County, fun toys, and gifts for the reading lifestyle.

You’ll discover books, music, art, wine, coffee, and fresh food in a lively, friendly space – making Story & Song a favorite destination for friends and neighbors, especially those who understand the importance of supporting locally-owned businesses.

The peaceful neighborhood setting offers a relaxing, refreshing escape from ‘screen fatigue’ and the busyness of our lives.

Upstairs, “The Second Story for Arts & Creativity” will showcase art books and art by local creators and will be a place to come for programs and performances, story time and discussions. Area book groups and non-profit community groups will now have a mid-island gathering space.

Find them on facebook for the latest details.

FSCJ Offers Free Oral Cancer Screening

Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) welcomes the public for a free event on the importance of oral cancer screenings as part of its Quarterly Health Series.

Eva Grayzel, a nationally-recognized Master Storyteller and performance artist, was diagnosed with stage IV oral cancer at age 33 and was only given a 15 percent chance of survival. Drawing on her own experience and success story, Ms. Grayzel now applies her stage skills to communicating the importance of regular screenings in a unique and powerful way.

For over a decade, she has captivated dental professionals worldwide using her story as a catalyst for change. The riveting details of her delayed diagnosis stimulate thinking about enhanced patient care and education. A champion for early detection, Eva founded the Six-Step Screening(tm) oral cancer awareness campaign.

Immediately following the presentation, attendees are invited to the FSCJ Dental Hygiene Clinic for complimentary oral cancer screenings with our students under the supervision of clinic dentists.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017, at 5-6 p.m.
Zeke Bryant Auditorium – FSCJ North Campus, 4501 Capper Road, Jacksonville, FL 32218

1 2 3 4 5 632