House Calls

House Calls Started This Year

House calls are meant for patients who are temporarily or permanently home bound, or for other good reasons can't make it into the office.

To schedule a house call: Tel (203) 853-1919; email

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Medicare and Anthem are Back

To My Patients, 

Summer is coming to an end soon; hope you had a chance to take some time off. The gardening season had a late start this year, but things are in full bloom now. Earlier this summer, we had our youngest grandchildren and our daughter in law (the Colorado gang) with us for 5 weeks - it's too quiet around our house now... 

 To Our Medicare and Anthem (Blue Cross/Blue Shield) Patients

We are now participating in both Medicare and Anthem insurance! We also continue to participate in ConnectiCare. 

I will continue to concentrate on disease prevention, early detection, and the identification of health risk factors. The idea is, as it has been, to reduce or eliminate those risk factors in order to reduce the chance of developing major disease. 

 Vaping 2019, Is It Safe?

Not a day goes by without someone asking me about vaping or e-cigarettes. 

When e-cigarettes first became popular, more than 10 years ago, I thought it was a good idea. People who smoke would switch to e-cigarettes in an attempt to quit smoking, or at least in an attempt to reduce the carcinogens they were inhaling from regular cigarettes. 

But the idea was hijacked. Now it's not just e-cigarettes, it's a vaping epidemic, and much of it is dangerous, and it's a big business. 

Vaping is no longer "just an attempt to stop smoking." The amount of nicotine inhaled can be much higher than regular cigarettes, carcinogenic formaldehyde could be inhaled if the device is malfunctioning, toxic flavorings (containing diacetyl) have been linked to a serious lung disease (bronchiolitis obliterans). 

But most importantly, vaping has been taken up by non-smoking young children, down to the primary school level. Their lungs and brains are still developing, and they are much more vulnerable to vaping effects than adults. Major adverse behavioral changes in teenagers have already been documented, and it appears that these changes carry into adulthood, and could be permanent. Vaping is a gateway to nicotine addiction and to the introduction of other harmful substances (particularly high potency marijuana-THC), especially at a young age. 

So, what's the verdict? 

I still think that, if you are an adult smoker who wishes to use e-cigarettes to wean off regular cigarettes, it's a useful tool if used as directed. 

If your kids are using it, educate them. Do all you can to help them stop and make sure you don't enable them (sometimes without recognizing it). Remember that e-cigarettes come in small packages and can easily be hidden from sight. 

He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything - Arabian proverb. 

Stay well, 

Igal Staw, Ph.D., M.D.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

To My Patients,

(emailed 12/11/2018) 

Hope all is well. It seems that winter is inching in, and with it the usual December parties and family times. Take advantage of what you can, For Sandy and me, there will also be some fun and relaxation time. 

We'll be out of the office from Tuesday, December 18, until Monday Morning, December 31 (yes, we'll be there New Year's Eve from 8:30-2:00). In our absence, Janine will be in the office during the usual hours and Dr. Sarfraz will cover me. If you need anything before we leave, please me know as soon as you can (call right away!). 

For the curious ones, we'll be visiting with our daughter, Laurie, and her children in Chamonix, France. 

I have some suggestions and caveats: 


Do you find yourself at a gathering, eating just because it's there and just because that's the thing to do? It does take a lot of will power, but all you have to do is "slow down." You can easily decrease calorie intake by 50%, and you'll have so much less to worry about. You can also "bank calories." If you think that you'll be caught in an overeating situation, cut down on your usual portion sizes for a day or two before the event. You'll thank yourself later for doing so. 

 Physical Activity

There's no need to stop exercising just because it's cold outside. You don't even have to go to the gym! Jogging in place, light or moderate weight lifting and stretching can all be done at home with minimal or no equipment. Need more detail/information? Just contact me, and I'll tell you everything you want to know! 

Want to see an oldie but goodie home exercise program? It's the program that got exercise going in the US, started by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police more than 50 years ago. Spend 12 minutes on the link, you'll be amazed. 

 Flu Shot

Have you gotten yours yet (no excuses please)? Your chances of getting the flu and its serious side effects will be reduced, same for those who are close to you. For those worried about flu vaccine safety because of the preservative thimerosal, it will please you to know the single-vial vaccine, does not contain thimerosal. That's what we use. Regardless, always check the label. There's still time to get your vaccine, don't wait until it's gone! 

 Winter Asthma?

Inhaling very cold air may increase asthma symptoms and actually cause an asthma attack in susceptible persons. To play it safe in cold weather, cover your mouth with a scarf (or ski-mask). This will warm the air you inhale and lessen the chance of exacerbation. If you're on asthma medication, continue to take it unless instructed otherwise. 

Sandy, Janine and I wish you a very happy holiday. 

Stay well, 

Igal Staw, Ph.D., M.D.
Dr. Staw on Facebook 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

To My Patients

We've Got Flu Shots, and a Little Bit on Turmeric

(Emailed 10/29/2018)

Hope all is well. I haven't written to you in a while, so I decided it's time for a communications reboot! 

With summer over and the cooler weather setting in, don't forget that it's "allowed" to exercise indoors; don't let the cooler weather become an excuse for sedentary life - walk and move - no matter where, it's good for you! 

I am not the only one to have had cataract surgery at our house recently. Sandy had her second eye done earlier this week, and we can now see each other (no comments, please...). 

Now, what's medically important these days? 

 Have you gotten your flu shot yet?

Now is the right time. All person's over the age of 6 months (with very few exceptions, such as certain immune issues or life-threatening egg allergy) should be vaccinated yearly. If you are older than 65 years, the CDC recommends that you get the "enhanced" vaccine. There are several types of flu vaccine but any one of them is acceptable. I prefer the quadrivalent over the trivalent. 

Most pharmacies now administer the flu vaccine, but you can get it in our office too!Give us a call and we'll be happy to set up your flu shot. 

 What should you do if you get the flu, or even think that you're getting the flu?

Several medications are available to treat the flu, the most familiar of which is Tamiflu. But remember, this is not a substitute for the flu vaccine and, to be effective, it has to be taken within the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. 

If you have, or think you have, flu symptoms, call immediately! 

 A little about organic food

A recent article in the respectable JAMA Internal Medicine suggests (but does not yet definitely prove) that eating organic foods such as fruits, vegetables and dairy products, decreases the risk of certain cancers (mainly postmenopausal breast cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other lymphomas). The higher proportion of organic food in your diet, the greater the benefit. 

 What about turmeric/curcumin?

I get questions about the use of turmeric supplements, the dried powdered root of the Curcuma plant, almost daily. It is used in Ayurveda, the East Indian Medicine, to treat arthritis and abdominal issues such as indigestion, ulcerative colitis and some potentially precancerous colonic ulcers. Some research even suggests a cognitive benefit. Its most important component is curcumin, which acts as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It's not a cure-all but may help especially when combined with conventional medical therapy. Turmeric/curcumin can interfere with other supplements or prescribed medication (most importantly blood thinners) and is best absorbed when taken together with fatty food (not the "bad fat," of course) and, believe it or not, black pepper. If the preparation is made with a "bioavailability enhancer" then it can be taken alone. 

Any questions, please feel free to call or email. More about food and supplements in the next letter. 

Stay well, 

Igal Staw, Ph.D., M.D.

Friday, December 22, 2017

To My Patients

Sent December 21, 2017

Back from Israel, back from France, back from Continuing Medical Education in Manhattan... Back in the office in full force! 

Are you ready for the new year? I've got a few tips and pointers that will help you make the best of your health in 2018. 

 Physical Exam
You still have a few days to get your comprehensive physical exam before the end of the year, a money saver for some people. For that reason, I extended the usual office hours to accommodate those who need to come in on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday of next week (between the holidays). 

Call us today at (203) 653-1919 for an appointment, we'll do our best to accommodate you! 

 Rethinking High Blood Pressure - 130=120?
It's the talk of the town, the blood pressure guidelines changed (by the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and other health organizations). Any blood pressure above 120 mm Hg systolic (the higher of the two BP numbers) is considered elevated. The old cutoff mark was 130 systolic. This is a change that took too long to come, we've known the facts for years, but it does encourage more people to make the necessary changes to keep their pressure under control and prevent the complications of hypertension, especially stroke and heart attacks. 

Is this lower blood pressure right for everyone? No. There are some instances were a higher blood pressure is acceptable, or even necessary, but these have to be discussed with a physician after a thorough evaluation. 

 Taking NSAIDs Regularly? Think Again
NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil, Aleve and Celebrex) are usually taken for short duration skeletomuscular pain or headache. Some are available over the counter. Taking these medications for short periods (a day or two at a time) is generally considered safe. Recent studies proved what was suspected for a long time, that taking NSAIDs chronically causes a small, but definite, increase of the risk of a heart attack. This is in addition to the known risk of heart burn, ulcers and GI bleeding. 

Of the familiar NSAIDs, Celebrex (a prescription drug), appears to be the safest. So, if you are using an NSAID on a regular basis, let's see if we can find an alternative. 

 Flu shot
The flu season in Connecticut appears to have started, but is still at a minimal level. 

Have you gotten your flu shot yet? If not, get the quadrivalent vaccine if you can; otherwise, the trivalent vaccine will do - just get it! 

If you have a severe (not mild) egg allergy, get the vaccination in a medical facility equipped to handle allergic reactions. 

 To Our ConnectiCare Patients
I continue to participate in the ConnectiCare network as I always have. You may have gotten a notice from ConnectiCare that I will no longer be a provider in their network, but the issue was resolved. FYI, ConnectiCare has been receiving the highest grades from my patients, join them if you can. 

 Uninsured And Under-Insured Patients
Judging from the changes just passed by both Houses, and the significant hikes in insurance rates, I expect that more people will be uninsured, or will be under-insured (e.g., very high deductibles, high copays, hospital-coverage only), and will have to pay out of pocket for ordinary medical services. 

As many of you know, we try our best to make our practice services as affordable as possible, and take into account financial need and difficulty. We use lab facilities (blood work, x-rays, etc.) that can better accommodate self-pay patients. 

So, if you are uninsured or under-insured, don't deny yourself medical care, contact our office. 

Remember that making New Year's resolutions is the easy part... 

Have a happy, healthy New Year! 

Igal Staw, Ph.D., M.D.
Dr. Staw on Facebook 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

To My Patients

Sent 10-3-2017

Hope all is well; still taking advantage of the outdoors? It's sure a nice time of the year in our part of the country, go outside and take a walk while you still can!

Office Hours for the Next Two Weeks

Sandy and I are going to take a "real vacation" this time (it's been a long time in coming...). We'll be in Israel and France for a little over two weeks, visiting friends and family, and sightseeing.

We will be out of the office starting Friday, October 27, through Monday, November 13.

We will be back in the office on Tuesday, November 14.

During our vacation time, Janine will be in the office during our usual office hours, and Dr. Sarfraz will be covering me. If necessary, Janine will be able to reach me.

Please plan ahead and let us know if you need anything before we leave on the 27th of this month. We're in the office this week, and if you need an appointment or a prescription, please call asap!

Flu Shots

I would like to remind everyone that it's now time to get your flu vaccine. It doesn't matter if you get it in the doctor's office or the pharmacy, just make sure you get it.

Enjoy your Halloween!

Igal Staw, Ph.D., M.D.
Dr. Staw on Facebook

Twitter / Dr. Staw