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

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.

Twitter / Dr. Staw