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, 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