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 opportunity.

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 harmful radiation.

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