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

Monday, November 28, 2016

To My Patients, October 2016

Autumn is upon us, but you may still find some days warm enough to walk outdoors; take advantage of the time you've got!

Please be aware that Sandy and I will be away for a few days, from Thursday afternoon next week, 10/27, through the following Tuesday. We'll be back in the office on Wednesday, 11/2. We'll be visiting our son and his family in Denver, Colorado. We miss them since they moved from our area over two months ago.

Janine will be in the office during our regular hours, and Dr. Sarfraz will cover if necessary. Please plan ahead, if you need an appointment before we're back, call us immediately!

→ Difficulty Falling Asleep or Staying Asleep?

If this is your problem, you don't necessarily have to resort to prescription medication. Many patients have found the Relaxation Response, practiced at bed time, to be very helpful. It's a progressive muscle tension-relaxation routine that takes 2-5 minutes to complete. It's a proven stress management tool which works even better if practiced more than once a day.

Others have used one or more over-the-counter preparations. The most effective ones, according to some authorities, are Melatonin, valerian and L-tryptophan. They work better when combined with a relaxation technique, but are not very effective for severe insomnia.

Feel free to discuss sleep problems when you're in the office, even if it's not the main reason for your appointment.

If you want a copy of my preferred version of the Relaxation Response, please let me know by phone or email.

→ Banking Calories Before The Holidays

The holiday season is around the corner, with parties, parties and parties. And with the parties comes eating and overeating, and then comes the weight gain. The average American gains 1-3 pounds during the holiday season. It doesn't sound like a lot of weight, but many people don't shed the extra weight, or take months to lose it.

"Banking calories" is not a great lifestyle, but if you find it hard to control your food intake during holiday time, the method may work well for you.

With calorie banking you cut down on what you eat, but not starve, for several days before the big feast. Many Americans consume 4,500 calories (or more) during the Thanksgiving meal, which is about 3000-3500 calories more than they should. This is enough for a gain of one pound at the Thanksgiving dinner alone!

It not too hard to cut 500 calories of food (that's about one and one half bagels) for a few days before an eating event, and it doesn't even have to be on consecutive days. A little increase in exercise will help too, and pushing away from the table is a good way to start.

The old Chinese saying still holds "He who takes medicine and neglects diet wastes the skill of his doctor." So help me not waste my skills.

Until next time, stay well,

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

To My Patients, September 2016

It's been a wonderful summer; fall is around the corner. It's a great opportunity to take advantage of the outdoors, walking hiking, apple picking, you name it...

It's also a good time to take care of yourself, make sure you are at optimal health.

→ My Take On Optimal Health

I have been looking at US health and longevity data for many years and was very active in a niche organization dealing with health risk reduction.

By health standards, we are not doing very well in the US. But you, as an individual, can do a whole lot better.

In a 2015 survey, the US ranked approximately #43 in longevity, with a life expectancy of 79 years, at least 5 years below the top ranking countries such as Monaco, Japan and Singapore. Yet the per capita cost of medicine in the US is the highest in the world. Still, early detection of disease, and the treatment of disease is the most aggressive and advanced in the world (despite all of its deficiencies), and that's a good thing.

But the key to longer, healthier life is lifestyle. That's where you can do something for yourself beyond what the health system does not do for you.

There's no need to re-emphasize the danger of smoking. It's still the number one primary cause of premature death in the US.

Overweight and lack of physical activity, combined, is the number two cause of premature death in the US.

You can increase your physical activity and lead an interesting life even if you don't go to the gym. The fall season is a great time to take a walk by the beach, hike on a nature trail, visit the outdoors flea market (at least 10 of them in Fairfield County), or walk the long corridors of the museums. Apple picking is a great weekend activity in the fall. Are you into the Pokémon game? Good. People active in the game, "chasing" the Pokémon, have reported impressive weight losses of 30-40 pounds, and they are having fun doing it.

Healthier foods have now become common place in supermarkets and many restaurants. Organic and less processed food is much more available. There are an increased choice of low sugar, whole grain, and low saturated foods. But you still have to read the label carefully. Farmer's markets are offering fresher, tastier fruit and vegetables.

Even the fast food places now offer much healthier foods, including chicken that is not fried, and fresh salads (but please avoid those French fries and the heavy duty salad dressings-a little oil and vinegar will do).

With all of that, still don't forget early detection, which is the most important part of your routine physical examination, plus prevention, which includes immunizations and treatment of known health risks.

So there's a lot you can do for yourself to increase longevity. As a whole we don't have to be part of the "43rd ranking" of longevity. Individually we can do a whole lot better than that.

→ Keeping It Healthy

If you need any help staying on track, or if you think there's something you can do better, please feel free to reach out by email or phone.

If you need any help, I'm here.

Stay well,

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

Twitter / Dr. Staw