|DR BEN ANSELL - a real BARNBURNER today at WVRC (May 29th, that is)
Yes, this talk today was about as good as they get, as far as imparting
really useful health information. But before we get to that, let us
begin as always with the Pledge. LEE DUNAYER was scheduled to deliver,
but didn't show, so DENNIS CORNWELL quickly stepped forward and did the
job. LEE, this will COST you, so be prepared!
KEN KILPO provided the Invocation, stressing the new opportunities that
come our way with each new day, and reminding us all that Rotary
provides opportunities for service that each of us can fulfill. KEN, we
NEED these memory joggers - keep it up, please. LENNY FRIEDMAN was back,
so of course led the song - first thanking everyone for their calls and
cards during his stay at home. LENNY was accompanied by PP JIM DOWNIE on
his mellifluous keyboard. My Country Tis Of Thee was seldom done better,
even though LENNY couldn't raise his arms as high as usual - but he done
good, again, as usual
DICK ROBINSON introduced a Visiting Rotarian, Bruce Field. Bruce is a
member of the Lake Arrowhead Club, in Forensic Accounting (which sounded
ominous, to say the least). But upon questioning by Prexy TED, turns out
that means investigative accounting - which he chose since the CPA
category in his club was already taken!
RALPH SMITH had a Special Guest, Alan Brende, who is in sales with AMEX.
PP STEVE SCHERER again introduced his Special Guest, Chris Bradford, his
partner in their law firm - and Chris was circularized last week, so
should be coming up soon for membership. In a minor departure of
protocol, SALLY BRANT introduced Roz Nelson, who was the guest of, and
standing in for, Executive Treasurer DON.
We had two guests from the Air Force ROTC at UCLA. Captain Reynolds
introduced Cadet Joshua Torgeson, the recipient of the WVRC Sword
awarded to the top cadet each year. Cadet Torgeson will be graduating in
June, and will be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air
Force. He will then proceed to graduate study in Aeronautical
Engineering at MIT, which indicates the quality student he is. He is the
Wing Commander of the Air Force ROTC - their top student officer - and
we presented him with his sword in recognition of these significant
achievements. Soon-to-be Lieutenant Torgeson thanked us for our support,
and pointed out that such support continues to reinforce his decision to
serve his country as an Air Force officer.
PDG BILL GOODWYN reported on his recent trip to Guatemala. As a
continuing benefit of our success in having R.I. President Bichai as our
guest and speaker, avenues of service open up - and Prexy TED and PDG
BILL both recognized the opportunity to solidify the relationship
between WVRC, the Rotary Club of Guatemala Sur, and the Rotary Club of
Harrisburg, PA. This became possible due to the surgery to separate the
conjoined twins from Guatemala, which was performed at UCLA under Chief
Surgeon Jorge Lazarus. The twins, who are national heroes in their
native Guatemala, are referred to there as "the Little Maria's". Bill
serves on the Board of Cure International, an organization devoted to
establishing children's hospitals in third world countries. As their
representative, he flew down to Guatemala City on Sunday, returning just
last evening, and was given almost Royal treatment while there. As you
may know, in many foreign countries, the members of the local Rotary
Club are very special - always the wealthiest citizens, and the most
prominent members of their community. They were pleased to welcome BILL
as a representative of Cure International plus WVRC, the home club for
UCLA, and couldn't do enough for him during his brief visit. As one
result, plans are now underway to build a children's hospital in
Guatemala. This relationship can only grow, and opportunities for joint
visits and further cooperation are certainly likely to occur.
Congratulations to both PDG BILL and Prexy TED for seizing this
Kevin, the Parking Lot supervisor, asked if someone present had a car
that needed to be moved - preceding this request with the following joke
(I point this out so you will know it was a joke, OK?) "A couple of
Irishmen are walking out of a pub - Hey, it could happen!" This led to a
break, before our Speaker came on, and I now propose to include a couple
of announcements in this open space, OK? In order of dates - we have
been given a pair of tickets to the Ahmanson on June 10th - Lily Tomlin
in a one-woman show. Bids are open - call me at (310)277-3910, please.
Next, the Rotary District 5280 Annual Rotary Day at the Races will be
held at Hollywood Park on Friday evening, June 20th. Dinner starts at 6
p.m., and the first race is at 7 - cost is $50, and I have the
reservation information. And last, Prexy TED'S Demotion will be Saturday
evening, June 28th. Please let me know how many guests you will be
bringing, since we need an accurate head count, as you know.
SEAN McMILLAN introduced our Speaker,
Benjamin J. Ansell, M.D.Benjamin J. Ansell, Director of
the UCLA Comprehensive Health Program. Dr Ansell graduated from Cornell,
and the UCLA School of Medicine. He is Board-Certified in Internal
Medicine, teaches at UCLA, and tends to specialize in Cardiovascular
Disease Prevention. He is married, with two small children - and they
enjoy picnics. Most Internal Medicine specialists today are really
quarterbacks - that is, they direct the care given to their patients,
since they have an overall view of their history and individual
characteristics. Dr. Ansell admitted to having been at UCLA for the last
sixteen years - and if appearance is taken into account, it seems to YOE
that he must have started at UCLA when he was 10 or 12 years old!
Dr. Ansell first asked, "How many of you enjoy going to the doctor?" Two
hands were raised…and he pointed out that this wasn't a surprise. His
intent, really, is to make the whole health care process an enjoyable
one. For this reason, the UCLA Comprehensive Health Care Program has
been formed, and he is its founding Director. Their mission, unlikely as
it may seem at first, is to disprove that their patients are healthy.
Their technique may take a half day, a full day, or even a day and a
half, much of which is devoted to extensive one-on-one interviewing.
Once a diagnosis has been found, their next mission is to put the
patient in touch with the right doctor.
Coronary disease is the # One killer in the U.S., followed by Cancer. In
that category, lung cancer claims the most patients, with colon cancer a
close second. He notes that colon cancer is the result of a failure in
our health care system, since it is very easy to detect early - which
insures a complete cure. We were reminded that any cancer patient's
family should be carefully checked, since tendencies are inherited. He
further noted that chest x-rays are really of very little value, since
by the time a lung tumor shows, it is way too late to save the patient.
I missed who asked the first question - Is your program covered by
health insurance? No, and this is a problem, since it is expensive and
thus available mostly to the wealthy.
PP CHRIS GAYNOR - How effective
is a CT scan? The problem with this type of scan is that there are many
'gray' areas in everyone's body, and thus the scan is not definitive. In
other words, a regular scan just creates questions. A PET scan, on the
other hand, will show lighted areas that are the problem - definite and
very specific. Usual costs are between $2200 and $2400 - and as noted
above, not presently covered by insurance.
PP STEVE SCHERER - How soon will the Human Genome technique be a
useful diagnostic tool? It will show some gene differences, perhaps in
five to ten years.
PP HOWIE HENKES - Doesn't a full body scan cause unacceptable levels
of radiation in the body? Certainly, unnecessary radiation should be
avoided, but the PET scan, for instance, is ultra-fast, with very little
CLAWSON BLEAK - Do I understand that the PSA test is not particularly
useful for older patients? Most prostate cancer is now picked up by PSA,
rather than the previously-used rectal exam - but it is also true that
almost every man who dies at age 65 or older shows some sign of prostate
cancer. This is a very slow-growing cancer, taking 10 to 15 years to
develop, so at older ages, the benefits of surgery are often outweighed
by the discomfort it usually causes.
BOB FLICK - What is the best 'defense' against cancer? # One, take a
baby aspirin every day. # Two, eat fish (or if you don't like fish, take
fish oil tablets, for the same protective results). # Three, consistent
exercise, which is much preferred to an occasional exercise 'binge' such
as a marathon or 10-K. # Four, maintain appropriate body weight.
And note, vitamins have NOT been shown to be effective in cancer
protection. PP JIM COLLINS - Did you see the latest standards for blood
pressure, as printed in the WSJ? The new guidelines specify 120 over 80
as the standard - but the Journal just got their material into print
before our Medical Journal came out.
PDG BILL GOODWYN - What about diabetes - is it curable? The bad news
is that there are probably two unaware patients who have diabetes for
each single patient who is aware they have it. Those with diabetes -
detected or undetected - are SEVEN times more likely to have heart
attacks than those who do not have diabetes. Weight loss is critical in
reducing the risk and symptoms. But note, if you bring your weight down,
watch your diet and think you are cured, you aren't. It will come back
as soon as your 'good' habits are forgotten.
Dr. Benjamin Ansell, I need to editorialize here. Your scientific stats
on coronary deaths vs. cancer deaths, your caution on the value of
x-rays, comparison of regular vs. PET scans, the philosophy on prostate
cancer, and your diabetes detail were MOST informative. Your FOUR ways
to reduce the risk of cancer were especially helpful.
When I summarized your talk at the beginning of our meeting report, I
felt then - and still do - that you have given us much advice and
counsel that can be life-changing. All of us at WVRC are in your debt.
Thank you very much.
YOE, Ernie Wolfe