Local News

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced the results of the county’s first-ever multiyear Tick Surveillance Study that collected and analyzed infection rates of ticks for known pathogens in Suffolk County. The results of the study show that tick-borne pathogen infection rates in all of Suffolk’s 10 towns are within the normal range set forth by New York state. The release of the new data, which were collected by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services over a three-year period, began in 2016 in collaboration with the New York State Department of Health and looked at ticks and associated pathogens that cause human disease such as Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis.

Earlier this year, Bellone launched the SuffolkShare Public Health Partnership under the Suffolk County Shared Services Initiative to provide a platform for local governments to work together to combat ticks and tick-borne illnesses. Currently there are eight villages and two towns working in conjunction with the Suffolk County Department of Health Services and the Suffolk County Department of Public Works Vector Control to share resources, data and vector control analyses.

An infection rate is the percentage of ticks testing positive for a particular pathogen out of the total number of ticks tested from a collection site. For example, an infection rate of 10% for a pathogen known as Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria indicates 10% of the ticks tested were positive for that pathogen and 90% tested negative. Pathogens are typically bacteria, viruses or protozoans, which are capable of causing disease.


Eighty percent of parents think vaping is addictive, and 63% think it is unsafe. Asked whether or not they support vape shops in their community, 56% of parents said they oppose them, and 32% support allowing them to open, according to the latest South Nassau Truth in Medicine Poll, sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union. Twelve percent answered they are not sure.

The New York State Department of Health has said e-cigarette use is “a major public health concern” and notes that e-cigarette use among young people is at a record high. According to the CDC, in 2018, 20.8% of high school students reported they had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. This is up from 1.5% in 2011.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, while e-cigarettes can be an effective tool to help adult smokers quit and are a safer alternative for smokers than traditional cigarettes, which contain tar and most of the carcinogens associated with smoking, teens who use e-cigarettes are four times more likely to try regular cigarettes. Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are an electronic device that produces an aerosol by heating a liquid. Usually these liquids contain nicotine, and many are flavored. E-cigarettes can also be used for vapor forms of marijuana.


Peconic Bay Medical Center, 1300 Roanoke Ave., Riverhead, offers free events:

Nutrition Teaching Kitchen

Come watch chefs prepare a healthy, delicious meal, and sample it in Conference Room A & B on the second floor from noon to 1 p.m. A registered dietitian will be available to answer any questions.

  • Sept. 18 — fresh guacamole with cucumber “chips” and veggies
  • Oct. 16 — sugar-free, oatmeal-stuffed apples
  • Nov. 20 — sweet potato “stuffing”
  • Dec. 18 — mashed cauliflower and potato

Caregivers Workshops offered in the Caregivers Multipurpose Room

  • Aug. 27, 11 a.m.–noon — understanding heart failure
  • Sept. 12, 1–2 p.m. — creative problem-solving when caring for a loved one with dementia and Alzheimer’s
  • Nov. 12, 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. — caregiver retreat

For information or to register, call 631-548-6259.


Nutrition Kitchen series at Peconic Bay Medical Center

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services will be conducting a Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) series starting Friday, Sept. 13, at 3 p.m. The free, year-long DPP provides:

  • A trained lifestyle coach
  • CDC-approved curriculum
  • Group support during the course of a year

To register (required) or for information, call Debora at 631-853-2928.


The State University of New York at Old Westbury Public Health Department has earned accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) for its Bachelor of Science in Health and Society. The SUNY Old Westbury degree program becomes the 14th stand-alone baccalaureate program in the country to hold this accreditation.

CEPH accreditation recognizes efforts to provide quality education and prepare students for impactful careers in public health after graduation. CEPH is an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools of public health and public health programs offered in settings other than schools of public health.


NYU Winthrop Hospital and Progenity Inc. announced a collaborative research and development initiative for women’s health with a focus on preterm births. As part of the initiative, NYU Winthrop granted Progenity an exclusive license to key intellectual property for which NYU Winthrop holds patents in the U.S. and Europe (see US Patent No. 9,797,903 and European Patent No. EP2912458). The granted patents are directed to a biomarker for predicting preterm births, and the two organizations are collaborating on discovery studies to identify additional preterm birth markers, as well as the clinical validation of other reproductive health tests for Progenity. NYU Winthrop is the Long Island affiliate of NYU Langone Health. Progenity is a privately held biotechnology company developing precision medical solutions across genomic/epigenomic, proteomic, and microbiomic diagnostic and therapeutic platforms.

Preterm births occur in approximately half a million pregnancies in the U.S. each year — 15 million worldwide — and are a leading cause of newborn deaths. Developing a biomarker test that can identify the risk of preterm birth could improve the health management of these pregnancies. Such an advancement may also lead to further discoveries that help physicians better understand and prevent preterm births.


Louis Ragolia, PhD, and Martin Chavez, MD, (left to right) in NYU Winthrop Hospital’s Research Institute Laboratory

Stony Brook Southampton Hospital has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, and Stony Brook University Hospital received the Get With The Guidelines Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. These awards recognize Stony Brook Medicine’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines using the latest scientific evidence.

Stony Brook Southampton Hospital additionally received the association’s Target: Stroke Elite Plus award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, the only drug approved by the FDA to treat ischemic stroke.


The 18th biennial meeting of the World Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery (WSSFN) was attended by nearly 1,000 neurosurgeons and other practitioners from 58 countries, making it the largest meeting in the society’s history.

The WSSFN is the principal international organization that unites neurosurgeons, physicians in other fields and some engineers to advance the science and practice of stereotactic and functional neurosurgery. Practitioners in this subspecialty care for patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, medically untreatable pain and brain tumors.

The event was co-hosted in collaboration with Kenes International and chaired by Michael Schulder, MD, who just completed his term as the society’s President. Dr. Schulder is also Northwell Health’s Vice Chair of Neurosurgery at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset and Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park. This year’s meeting had a strong focus on the ethics of surgery and research, with sessions that included a special film presentation on psychiatric surgery.

WSSFN membership has grown steadily from 200 members a decade ago to nearly 1,200 today.


Michael Schulder, MD, speaking at the 18th biennial WSSFN meeting
Robert Levy Photography

Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines Target: Stroke Honor Roll Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Good Samaritan additionally received the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, the only drug approved by the FDA to treat ischemic stroke.