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MEDICAL HEALTH BUILDING Doctors offer many free screenings



Published: Thu, August 30, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Free ultrasound foot bone density tests for osteoporosis will be available in the Youngstown State University tent.

By WILLIAM K. ALCORN

VINDICATOR STAFF REPORTER

CANFIELD -- You can literally get tested from head to toe at the Canfield Fair's Medical Health Building, all free of charge during the 155th fair.

This year marks the 51st consecutive year for the combined Mahoning County Medical Society's medical-health exhibit.

In 1951, MCMS organized an exhibit at the fair that included volunteer health agencies and professional health practitioners. It was first set up in a tent, but since 1971 has been housed in a permanent building, one of the few of its kind in the United States, said Dr. Jay Osborne, chairman of MCMS's fair committee.

Vision screenings for amblyopia and glaucoma are among the free medical examinations available in the 32 booths in the medical building this year, Dr. Osborne said, with sponsors ranging from the Alzheimer's Association to Youngstown Litter Control.

Volunteer dentists and their staff from the Corydon Palmer Dental Society will custom fit children with sports mouth guards, a process that takes about 15 minutes. In the past, about 1,000 children a year have received the mouth guards. Educational materials will be available, and there will be a display of antique dental equipment in the dental society booth.

Also available: Here are other examples of what visitors to the medical-health building will find:

UAmerican Cancer Society: Cancer survivors will be in the booth each day to talk to visitors.

UForum Health: The focus will be on services available at Beeghly, Elm Road and Austintown medical parks.

UEpilepsy Foundation: People with epilepsy will be available to discuss their illness.

UHumility of Mary Health Partners: Staff members will do fingerprinting for children; height, weight and blood pressure screening for children; and foot sensation screening.

UMarch of Dimes: Volunteers will focus on B vitamin folic acid and prematurity. Folic acid is needed by women in sufficient amounts before becoming pregnant and during the first few weeks of pregnancy to help their baby's brain and spinal cord develop properly and prevent birth defects such as spina bifida.

UMahoning County Medical Society: Its popular "ask the doctor questions" sessions will be staffed by volunteer physicians. Educational materials and medical information cards will be available, and specimens of healthy and unhealthy organs will be on display for comparison.

In YSU tent: Also at the fair, but in the Youngstown State University tent, Dr. Joan L. Boyd, a public health professor at YSU, and Dr. Ralph J. Rothenberg, on staff at Forum Health, will team up to supervise bone density screenings to detect osteoporosis.

The test, which usually costs $40, involves sending ultrasound waves through the heel to estimate bone density and determine if osteoporosis is a problem. It is painless and takes about five minutes, Dr. Rothenberg said.

He said between 200 and 300 people are tested each day at the fair, and their family doctors are notified if bone density is low and the patient is at risk for osteoporosis and needs further testing and treatment.

Dr. Boyd said more than 1,500 patients have been screened at the fair and more than 400 found to be afflicted who otherwise might not have been diagnosed and gone untreated.

Dr. Rothenberg said there is a problem with follow-up treatment nationally and at the local level. He said only about 20 percent of people identified with low bone density get treatment.

"If the doctor calls the patient, something usually happens. But, if the doctor does not call, most of the time nothing happens," he said.

"We can make a difference now, and patients and their physicians are not tuned in as much as they should be," Dr. Rothenberg said. There are medicines available now that can reduce the risk of new fractures.




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