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Mega Adventist Health News Roundup | Blue (Hair) Zone edition

A recent book, published by National Geographic, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, is getting a fair amount of media attention as it continues the meme that Loma Linda has lots of “long-lived” and very healthy folks. Reuters writes:

Dan Buettner hasn’t discovered the fountain of youth, but he has some pretty good clues on living a longer, healthier life after years of studying what he calls “blue zones” — areas of the world where longevity and health go hand in hand.

Buettner’s blue zones are located in four very different parts of the world: Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica ; and among the Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California. (A fifth blue zone may be announced in the fall, he told Reuters in an interview.) These four areas are marked not only by a long life expectancy, with a high concentration of centenarians, but also by a long healthy life expectancy. Simply put, people living in the blue zones are living longer without the years of decline marked by illness like heart disease and cancer that many older North Americans face.

Unfortunately, these areas are not part of a new trend. They are the remaining zones where people are living long, healthy lives in a world where globalization has rapidly spread the western diet and lifestyle, along with its associated health problems. “I think these pockets of longevity are disappearing,” Buettner said.

Loma Linda has the highest concentration of Seventh Day Adventists in the world, Buettner said, making it truly a cultural blue zone. Adventists eat a plant-based diet taken from the Bible, have strong faith and family networks, and strictly observe the Sabbath, taking a day to distress and recharge once a week. The Adventist Health Study completed by the National Institutes of Health showed that this lifestyle earns Adventist women in Loma Linda an extra nine years of life than their American peers, while men average 11. “Once again,” he said, “you have a heterogeneous population vastly outliving their cohorts for one and one reason alone: their lifestyle.”

National Public Radio did a 5 min. piece on The Blue Zones book.

…their plant-based diet is inspired directly from the Bible — the book of Genesis tells of God providing his people with grains and seeds — and that every week, they take a Sabbath Saturday they call the “sanctuary in time.”

“No matter how busy, no matter how stressed out they are, they’ll take that 24 hours and focus on their God,” Buettner says. He also points out that most of the Adventists he interviewed said 90 percent of their immediate friends are also Adventists, so their social circle is very much supportive of their cultural habits.

As if to confirm that point about a like-minded community. . .

The AP reports:

Smokers soon will have far fewer places where they can light up in Loma Linda.

Council members on Tuesday passed an anti-smoking law that prohibits tobacco use in most of the city’s public places.

The ordinance bans smoking on Loma Linda’s public streets and sidewalks, in parks, restaurants, theaters and hospitals, as well as most of the city’s motel and apartment units.

The fine for a first offense will be $100 or less.

The city of nearly 21,000 residents in San Bernardino County was founded in 1905 by Seventh-day Adventists. They typically abstain from alcohol, caffeine and meat.

On that anti-tobacco note, a pastor makes the main Jamaican paper with his statement that “adults are our children’s greatest enemy.”

The Jamaica Gleaner adds:

The call came from Pastor Milton Gregory, health ministries director of the West Indies Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, while speaking at the Mount Salem Adventist Church in Montego Bay, St James recently. The service, organised by the Health Ministries Department of the West Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, was in recognition of World No Tobacco Day under the theme “Tobacco-Free Youth”.

“We need to help create a smoke-free environment to protect our children,” said Gregory. “Children don’t manufacture cigarettes, but they are victims of the actions of adults who act as role models, create attractive advertisements, movies and other devices that encourage children to light up. Adults in many respects are our children’s worse enemy.”

And continuing that tradition of prevention and compassion. . .

The Press-Enterprise notes that

Inland AIDS Project will station a mobile unit that offers free, anonymous HIV testing from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kansas Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church, Riverside, CA, said Tonie Kennedy, event coordinator for the organization.

Adventist Health’s Simi Valley Hospital lays off dozens of employees.

Simi Valley Hospital officials delivered termination notices this week to 26 employees as part of plans to eliminate programs for outpatient therapy, workplace injuries and long-term care involving life support, officials said Tuesday.

Half of the employees are being offered different jobs in the hospital. The other 13 will lose their jobs in 60 to 120 days but could be offered work by other hospitals operated by Simi hospital’s parent company, Adventist Health.

“We worry about our employees, but sometimes for the good of the whole, you have to do what you have to do,” said Darwin Remboldt, the hospital’s president and CEO. “We feel badly about that.”

As it prepares to open a $75 million patient care tower that awaits final state approval, the hospital will eliminate its 16-bed subacute care program for seniors and other patients who need constant, long-term care. Many of them are on life support systems and are unlikely to recover, though others eventually return home.

While Glendale Adventist Medical Center keeps on raising money for expansion:

Officials at Glendale Adventist Medical Center, having capped their $10-million capital fundraising campaign this week, are already starting on a new $2.5-million drive in what has been a perpetual state of fundraising to support a complete campus reconstruction.

The new seven-floor, $120-million West Tower opened in September, and was supported in part by a $10-million fundraising drive through the hospital’s Healthcare Foundation.

Dr. Jerome Hines, a cardiologist who treats patients at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital, recently was named governor elect of the Illinois chapter of the American College of Cardiology. He will serve as governor elect for one year and as governor through 2012.

Parkview Adventist Medical Center (Brunswick, Maine) settles a lawsuit over physician-generated claims of decreasing quality of care due to understaffing:

According to documents obtained from Cumberland County Superior Court, Gimbel wrote in a letter dated March 19, 2006, that “multiple high-quality physicians have stopped admitting to Parkview and dropped their privileges because of similar concerns. They have felt they were at substantial risk of being charged with medical malpractice by providing patient care in such a substandard environment and also questioned their own ethics of continuing to do so.”

“The current physician head of the ICU has said in a recent meeting with management regarding staffing that he would not allow a family member to come to this hospital because of these problems,” he wrote.

Parkview disputed the claims, with Moon saying Monday that “the hospital was always staffed according to … national standards for obstetrics and gynecology, on every single shift in 2006. … We’ve gone back and looked at all that. Obviously, there’s a dispute, but from the perspective of Parkview, it’s always been a safe hospital.”

Moon cited more than 1,000 deliveries with “not one unhappy ending,” and referred to a nationwide nursing shortage and the skyrocketing cost of health care, noting, “All hospitals are struggling with costs. There’s always a constant effort to make sure you’re doing all you need to do to take care of patients. You’re constantly trying to make sure to give the quality care patients deserve but not driving up the costs unnecessarily.”

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