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Vampire Facial®

Noninvasive cosmetic procedure rejuvenates skin.

A strong desire to help people look their best runs in Anne Harrell’s family. Her brother is a Chicago-based dermatologist, and she spent several years working as a cosmetologist before earning certification as a medical electrologist.

Anne Harrell had a Vampire Facelift® done, and she loves the results.

Anne was amazingly pleased with the results of her Vampire Facial

Now the owner of Laser Institute of Vero Beach, which specializes in laser hair removal, Anne shares that desire to look her best. It was, in fact, that very desire that triggered the slight turn she made in her career path.

“I had some facial hair going on that I wanted to get rid of, a little chin hair to be more specific,” Anne says. “I found out that laser hair removal works really well for that, and I got into it after that. It was my own curiosity that led to the change.”

Anne’s curiosity recently had her looking into yet another beautification therapy. This one is a skin treatment called the Vampire Facial. The procedure uses the customer’s own blood to naturally rejuvenate their skin and promote healthy growth and activity.

“I’d heard a lot of good things about it, that it was really good for overall skin texture, reducing pore size and building collagen,” Anne relates. “Those are some things I was looking for in a skin treatment, so I started looking into it.”

Anne didn’t have to look far to find someone who could perform the unique treatment. As part of her practice, she performs laser hair removal services at Dean Wellness Institute, where its proprietor, Melissa Dean, MD, offers the Vampire Facial.

Dr. Dean was trained in the application of the Vampire Facial by its inventor, Charles Runels, MD, who also trademarked the procedure that uses a blood derivative called platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, to restore, shape and improve the tone and texture of the skin.

“It’s called Vampire Facial because we use your own blood products,” Dr. Dean says of the nonsurgical
treatment. “That blood product is the PRP, which is being used a lot in orthopedics now and even in some other areas of medicine.”

PRP therapy has been used to treat a variety of problems, including joint, tendon, ligament and muscle injuries and even hair loss. It is considered effective because the PRP contains growth factors that naturally increase the body’s ability to heal itself.

When used as part of a skin treatment, PRP directs the body to produce new collagen that smoothes out the skin and gives it better tone and texture, including around the corners of the eyes and mouth, where it erases fine lines and wrinkles.

Three-Step Process

During the Vampire Facial, PRP therapy is performed as part of the second step of a three-step process that begins with the application of a numbing cream to the customer’s face. While the numbing cream takes effect, the PRP is collected.

“While the person is numbing, we draw a little bit of blood from their arm, about two teaspoons worth,”
Dr. Dean explains. “We then put that blood into a special machine called a centrifuge that separates the PRP from the red blood cells.”

During the third step of the procedure, the PRP is placed in a syringe that is used to apply the PRP directly to the face while the technician uses a handheld, pen-shaped microneedling device to inject small microtraumas to the skin.

The feeling one gets from the injections made by the sterilized microneedling device has often been likened to that of someone pressing sandpaper onto the skin, but some customers with more sensitive skin may experience a more intense feeling.

“It sounds kind of gruesome when you’re talking about needles to the face, but these are very tiny microneedles, a dozen of them on a cartridge about a half-inch in diameter, and the numbing cream makes it easy to tolerate the microtraumas they create,” Dr. Dean adds.

The administration of the PRP and its growth factors to the trauma areas activates the stem cells that are already in the skin. This sparks a healthy rejuvenation of the skin that makes it softer and leaves it looking clearer and younger.

“The other thing we do during this step is divide the face up into areas,” Dr. Dean reveals. “The technician will do the microneedling in one area of the face and then move on to another area, apply the PRP and do the microneedling to that area.

“She’ll do that until she’s done with the whole face, but we can also do the neck or upper chest area. When we’re done, we just let the patient sit comfortably for a few minutes before we apply some aftercare products.”

Lunchtime Procedure

A Vampire Facial takes about 45 minutes to an hour to complete, and little to no downtime is required for recovery. Dr. Dean says that most patients can immediately return to their normal, daily activities.

“That’s why we refer to the Vampire Facial as a lunchtime procedure,” Dr. Dean notes. “You can get it done during your lunchtime, put on a little makeup and go right back to work, and no one will even know you
had anything done.”

Anne’s description of the procedure matches Dr. Dean’s. She says her Vampire Facial was “painless,” took about an hour to complete and with the exception of “some redness,” left her face looking relatively normal
immediately afterward.

“And that redness goes away pretty fast,” Anne reports. “By the next day for sure, you really can’t tell you had anything done at all. And it really is painless. The numbing cream works really well, so it’s not a big deal at all in terms of discomfort.

“The best thing, of course, is that the results are really amazing. I could definitely tell a difference in the overall texture of my skin, the tightness and how it evened out the color of it. I was really pleased, and I had just one treatment.

“The recommendation is that you get three done over the course of a few months, but one will make a big difference, which is why I definitely recommend it. I know a lot of people are doing it now because they’re getting great results.

“And, of course, I recommend that they get it done by Dr. Dean. She’s a great person, an amazing wellness doctor, and she always tries to do things naturally first. I think that’s why patients love her so much and why they always come back to her.”

Eye-Opening Experience

Expert analysis reveals deep-seated condition.

Even in “retirement,” Virginia Paddock continues to work, especially during tax season. Once the office manager of a major carpet-cleaning franchise in Fairfield County, Connecticut, Virginia now helps prepare tax returns for AARP® members.

It wasn’t until she went to see Dr. Blandford at the Center for Advanced Eye Care that Virginia Paddock learned her eyelash problem was the result of skin cancer.

Virginia Paddock

The latter is something the 81-year-old picked up more or less as a hobby after she and her husband gave up their jobs in the Northeast and moved to Florida nearly 30 years ago in an effort to get the most out their retirement years.

“We wanted to retire while we were still young enough to enjoy ourselves, and we certainly have!” Virginia exclaims. “I still do the tax work because it keeps me busy and because I’ve always been something of a numbers person.”

Virginia’s ability to not only prepare taxes but to enjoy her retirement years the way she hoped she would became greatly compromised a few years ago when a painful issue developed with the eyelashes on her left lower eyelid.

“All of a sudden, the eyelashes on my left lower eyelid started turning backwards and into my eye,” Virginia confirms. “They were growing in such a way that they were literally scratching my eyeball. It was very painful.”

Virginia initially tried correcting the problem by simply plucking the troublesome eyelashes. When they continued to grow back the same way, she began visiting area ophthalmologists and optometrists who did the plucking for her.

“It got so bad this past summer that there was one month where I had to go four times to get these things pulled out,” Virginia reveals. “It was really annoying. Finally, a couple months ago, I told my optometrist, I’d really like to take care of this for good.

“It was during that visit that he said, You know, I met somebody last night who is an ophthalmologist and a plastic surgeon. And then he said that this ophthalmologist previously worked at the Cleveland Clinic and that he was working here now.

“Well, as soon as he said that he had previously worked at the Cleveland Clinic, I thought, Oh, whoopee! So, I got his name, looked him up and made an appointment to see if he could identify the cause of my eyelid problem.”

The physician Virginia’s optometrist met and later recommended is Alexander D. Blandford, MD. He is a board-certified ophthalmologist who completed an additional two-year accredited fellowship in oculofacial plastic surgery at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute and specializes in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery around the eyes and face.

In addition to performing upper eyelid (eyelid lift) and lower eyelid (lower bag removal) surgery, brow lifts, and nonsurgical skin treatments such as BOTOX® Cosmetic and dermal fillers, Dr. Blandford also specializes in skin cancer removal/reconstruction, orbital surgery, and tear drainage system surgery.

Critical Discovery

“Mrs. Paddock came to me for a second opinion regarding her lower eyelid and irritating eyelashes,” Dr. Blandford reports. “She was tired of having her eyelashes plucked over the last several years and was curious why she was suffering from this problem. Upon examination, I noticed a subtle lesion that looked suspicious for a skin cancer in the area of the misdirected lashes.

“Misdirected eyelashes can be something that you are born with or develop later in life. When they develop later in life it can be related to the eyelid itself turning in, an inflammatory process causing the lashes to point toward the eye, or less commonly the result of skin cancer.

“When there is a notch in the eyelid margin, loss of lashes in a certain area, or a growth in the area it is important to consider skin cancer as a possible cause. Mrs. Paddock’s exam revealed these subtle findings that were concerning for a skin cancer, so after a thorough discussion we elected to biopsy the eyelid in clinic. As suspected, the biopsy came back positive for a skin cancer, specifically a basal cell carcinoma.”

In the aftermath of Dr. Blandford’s discovery, Virginia made an appointment to have the cancer surgically removed. That surgery, which was performed by Dr. Blandford two weeks after Virginia’s initial visit, revealed that the skin cancer was quite extensive.

“When he got in there, he eventually found that the cancer involved almost the entire lower eyelid,” Virginia reveals. “The way he found that out was by taking a small piece at a time and having a pathologist review each piece very carefully.”

It wasn’t until she went to see Dr. Blandford at the Center for Advanced Eye Care that Virginia Paddock learned her eyelash problem was the result of skin cancer.

Virginia has finally found relief from her irritating eyelid disorder

In order to conservatively remove all of the skin cancer, three specimens were required and revealed that the skin cancer involved approximately 70% of her lower eyelid. Virginia says she had no pain during the procedure and Dr. Blandford and his staff kept her very comfortable the entire time.

“I was so happy that he had found the cancer and that he was working so hard to make sure he got all of it out,” Virginia states. “Doctors had been looking at that eye for four years, but none of them ever suspected cancer was the problem.”

“Dr. Blandford was the first one to say, Hey, what is this? And he found it the very first time he looked at it. And then he was so persistent about making sure he got it all, and the procedure wasn’t painful at all. I was awake the whole time and never felt a thing.”

“Marvelous” Work

Dr. Blandford completed his work by rebuilding Virginia’s lower eyelid. He performed a rotational flap in which tissue was recruited from nearby to reconstruct the lower eyelid and ensure the eyelid maintained its function of protecting Virginia’s eye. “He was able to put it back together without doing anything drastic, and you can’t even tell that anything was ever done,” Virginia exudes. “I had a friend of mine ask me just the other day, What eye was it that you had the problem with?

“Dr. Blandford really did a marvelous job. I don’t have a problem with those eyelashes anymore because those eyelashes are all gone. But you can’t even tell, really. That’s how good a job he did. And most importantly the cancer is all gone.

“I’m so glad that I was told to go see Dr. Blandford. He’s a great doctor, and he’s very kind and caring in the way he treats his patients. If anyone has a problem like mine, I recommend they go see Dr. Blandford. He’s the best there is!”

Doctor Approved

Expertise proves pivotal during difficult dental restoration.

Elective procedures and surgeries are among the many things women are advised to avoid when pregnant. That’s why Magaly Villafradez-Diaz decided a few years ago to wait until after she gave birth to replace a fractured second upper molar.

Magaly Villafradez-Diaz finally had her missing tooth replaced by Dr. Leong, and she was thrilled with the work he did.

Magaly Villafradez-Diaz

“I still don’t know how it happened, but there were fractures in the root of that molar, so they had to take the tooth out,” Magaly explains. “The next step was to get a dental implant to replace the tooth, but I was pregnant at the time, so I decided to wait.”

And wait she did. A rheumatologist then working in Dothan, Alabama, Magaly waited nearly three years before she again inquired about the possibility of replacing that missing molar, in part because the gap was not in her smile line.

“It’s one of the last teeth, and because you can’t see it, you think it’s not a problem,” Magaly explains. “But being in the medical field, I know you have a specific number of teeth for a reason, so I knew I needed to have it checked out eventually.

“So, after we relocated to Florida, I started looking for a dentist. I needed some general maintenance done. My husband found a dentist in our area whom he was really impressed with.

“My husband found this dentist to be very professional, thoughtful and thorough, and he really liked that he took a lot of time to listen to him. I decided to go see for myself how good this dentist is and see what his plan and recommendations for me would be.”

The dentist Magaly went to see is Richard Leong, Jr., DDS, a general and implant dentist who practices comprehensive, full-treatment dentistry, including full mouth reconstructions. Upon first examining Magaly, Dr. Leong found several issues that needed to be addressed.

A Complicated Case

“When Magaly first came to me, she had some periodontal problems and she needed a crown, but the main reason she came to me was to have that missing molar replaced using a dental implant,” Dr. Leong informs.

Dental implants are screw-like bodies that are surgically placed into the jawbone. The implant supports an abutment, which screws onto the implant, and a crown that is cemented on top of the abutment.

Implant surgery is considered routine, but Magaly’s case was a complicated one, the complications stemming largely from the fact that she waited so long to have the tooth replaced.

“When a tooth is missing for a long period of time, there is no reason for the jawbone to stay there anymore, so that part of the jawbone just shrinks away, naturally,” Dr. Leong educates. “That was part of the problem. The other problem was the location of the missing tooth.

“This tooth happened to be in the back upper left, where there was very little bone left between the roof of the mouth and the sinus, which meant I would need to lift up the floor of the sinus and add, or graft in, more bone in order to place the implant.

“She had even more complications than that because she also had a vertical shelf of bone that was right in the sinus where I needed to place the implant. That made it almost impossible for me to place an implant there.

“The good news is that I specialize in difficult cases. That’s why people come to me. I also do a lot of teaching, including teaching the placement of dental implants, and my residents refer a lot of difficult cases to me, so this was typical of what I see.”

After learning of the difficulties Dr. Leong faced in treating her, Magaly agreed to go ahead with the implant surgery. That surgery began with Dr. Leong removing the vertical shelf of bone that was blocking the area where the implant needed to be placed.

Once Dr. Leong completed that task, his next step was to create a support system for the implant. He accomplished that by mixing a blood derivative called platelet-rich fibrin with synthetic bone grafting material that grows over time into supportive bone structure.

“To obtain the platelet-rich fibrin, blood is taken from the patient’s arm and put in a centrifuge that forms a product that contains concentrated growth factors,” Dr. Leong educates. “It is then mixed with the bone graft material to expedite new bone growth.”

It typically takes about six months for new bone to grow strong enough to support an implant. The addition of the platelet-rich fibrin speeds up that process and allows for the implant to be seated at the same time the bone graft is done.

Magaly Villafradez-Diaz finally had her missing tooth replaced by Dr. Leong, and she was thrilled with the work he did.

As a doctor, Magaly lauds the professional work of Dr. Leong.

“By adding the platelet-rich fibrin, we actually save about six months of time because we can place the implant at the same time,” Dr. Leong explains. “Then, over the course of the next six months, the new bone grows and matures faster around the implant.”

Half the Time

Dr. Leong completed the first phase of the implant procedure, which included capping the implant with a healing abutment, during a single visit one day last March. He finished the project in September after first testing the strength of the newly developed bone.

“We have instruments now that can measure the maturity of the bone that’s surrounding the implant,” Dr. Leong says. “The instruments work on the principles of magnetism and actually measure the density of the bone and the solidity of the bone around the implant.

With this and other newer techniques, I can sometimes accelerate the procedure and put the new tooth in about two months after placing the implant. I couldn’t do that in this case because she had absolutely no bone left, but I have done it before.”

Considering all the work that had to be done and the complicated nature of her case, Magaly says she was elated to have completed the process in just six months. And she lauds Dr. Leong for what she describes as exceptional work.

“Certainly, there were a lot of complications. But in the end, everything went very well,” she says. “And the new tooth is working great. It feels fantastic, like a real tooth, very functional and secure, the way it should be.

“Overall, I am very, very happy with the surgery and with Dr. Leong. He was extremely receptive and professional. I definitely recommend him because the treatment I received was excellent, just what you want when you’re a patient.”

A Simple Step Forward

Day program eases transition into assisted living.

A few years ago when her father-in-law began struggling with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, Rhonda Whitaker took on the task of finding just the right assisted living community for him. After considerable research, she found Hibiscus Court of Melbourne Assisted Living and Memory Care Community.

Rhonda Whitaker chose Hibiscus Court for her father-in-law ååand her mother.

Rhonda (left) says her mom, Brenda, is in the “best place she can be” at Hibiscus Court.

Little did Rhonda know at the time, but she had also found just the right community for her mother, Brenda Daugherty, as well.

“My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease about ten years ago, but for many years, she functioned very well,” Rhonda says. “A little over two years ago, we started to notice some behavior that was rather odd for her.”

As any daughter would, Rhonda paid close attention to her mom and saw that she was having a hard time getting through the day without support. When she noticed additional changes, she acted on the advice of Brenda’s doctor and began looking for a community that offered senior day care services. She didn’t have to look far.

Having already moved her father-in-law into Hibiscus Court of Melbourne, Rhonda began inquiring about Hibiscus Court’s senior day care services.

“Hibiscus Court was the only place I felt would be a good fit for my father-in-law, and it turned out to be a good fit for my mom, too,” Rhonda says. “She was and still is very active, and she really enjoyed going there. She was always excited about going and made friends very quickly.”

Brenda visited Hibiscus Court three days a week for nearly two years until she wanted to be a full-time
resident at Hibiscus.

“The thing that changed is that my mom, who is diabetic, wouldn’t eat for me,” Rhonda says. “She would always tell me, I’m not hungry. But she needed to eat in order to take her medications, so that was becoming a problem.

“Having her on a more regular schedule was going to be the best thing for her, so we made the move there permanently, and the transition went very smoothly because she was moving to a place she already knew where she had friends.”

Smooth Transition

Making the transition even smoother for Brenda was the fact that she took up residence in an apartment just a few doors down from Rhonda’s father-in-law. That move brought those two closer than they had been before.

“I don’t know if it was planned that way or not, but with those two being so close together now, they’ve became best buddies,” Rhonda relates. “That made the transition even easier for her, and she’s really doing well there.

“One of the best things is that because she’s so active, if she gets tired, she can go to her room and lie down. And she’s eating like clockwork again.

“If I show up to visit at the wrong time, I’ll catch her looking at her watch if it’s getting close to dinnertime because she doesn’t want to be rude and tell me to go away, but she knows her schedule, and that routine is very important to her.”

Rhonda says Brenda especially enjoys the array of activities and outings the residents are able to participate in and adds that she has found a greater purpose since becoming a full-time resident of Hibiscus Court.

“She really feels at home there, and I can understand why,” Rhonda exudes. “The atmosphere and the people are really great. I’ve never been in a place where so many people genuinely care as much as they do about their residents.

“Everybody is always going above and beyond, and they treat my mom the way I would treat her. There’s hugging and interaction, and nobody is just going through the motions. They’re very attentive, which is why I’m confident my mom is in the best place she can be.”

Music to My Ears

New hearing aids hit right note with singer, songwriter.

Now that he’s retired, former behavioral health and chemotherapy nurse Patrick Deane has a lot more time to devote to his creative endeavors, which include writing and recording original songs for the band he and some buddies formed a few years back.

Patrick Deane got some new hearing aids at EarCare, and he can’t believe the difference the new technology makes.

Patrick Deane

“It’s called the GoFoot Band, and we do some covers, too, but we mostly record our own stuff and send the songs out to friends and family members,” Patrick, 65, explains. “Some of it’s even available on iTunes® and Spotify® and some of the other digital formats.

“We still play live once in a while, too, but not as much as we used to because we’re all retired and getting older and it’s a bit of a hassle. But we really enjoy getting together and learning each other’s songs and playing.”

Patrick’s willingness to set up and tear down a live gig isn’t the only thing that has waned a bit over the years. His hearing has faded as well. Oddly, it wasn’t while playing his music that he noticed the deterioration the most.

“I first started wearing a hearing aid in my left ear several years ago, mostly for work, because I was having trouble hearing people clearly,” Patrick says. “I stopped wearing it after I retired, but a while back, I noticed my hearing was getting worse.

“I was constantly asking people, What? What? What? all the time during our conversations, and that’s what convinced me that I needed to get my ears checked again and possibly get some new hearing aids.”

Patrick leaned on his insurance company to help him find a new hearing aid center. Their recommendation was EarCare, which has locations in Melbourne, Indian Harbour Beach and Merritt Island, which is where he met Beatrice McCabe, HAS.

“The first thing we did with Patrick was give him a full diagnostic hearing exam by our board certified audiologist and business owner, Dr. Karen Cowan-Oberbeck. What we found was that he did have hearing loss in both ears,” Beatrice reports. “But we also found something else that was interesting.

“Even with his hearing aid, Patrick’s speech understanding was better on one side. That’s important because we’re not only concerned with hearing levels or volume. Good speech understanding is critical for comprehension and clarity. The hearing test is a critical part of the puzzle that guides us to adjust the specific frequencies to improve his word understanding to one-hundred percent.”

Acting on the discoveries made as a result of the testing phase, Beatrice recommended a new set of hearing aids for Patrick featuring several major technological upgrades that were not available when he purchased his single hearing aid a decade earlier.

Based on his desire for hearing aids that do not require batteries, Patrick chose a rechargeable ReSound model called the LiNX Quattro™. Its rechargeable feature is one of the many advances that makes it one of the top hearing instruments available.

ReSounding Difference

In addition to eliminating the need for batteries, the ReSound LiNX Quattro creates an environment in which the wearer can better identify speech and other sounds in noisy surroundings while maintaining a better dimension of control over all sounds, no matter
the setting.

“We’re not just talking about adjusting the volume,” explains Glenn A. Oberbeck, BC-HIS and owner, at EarCare. “With these hearing aids, the wearer has individual controls over the microphone patterns, noise cancellation and the manipulation of the frequency response throughout the different hearing levels.

“You have the ability to actually modify the bass, the treble and the mid frequencies, and you have the ability to save that program after you’ve manipulated it so that when you get back into that environment again or into one with similar acoustics, you can retrieve that program.

“You can create up to twelve different custom programs, which is amazing. When you get into a favorite restaurant or an auditorium, you need to be able to hear the person that’s talking. This hearing aid saves your settings so next time you go there, you can get to that optimum setting with just a click of a button.

“With previous technologies, it could be very difficult to communicate in some of those scenarios. The ReSound technology also has a free app that you can download onto your smartphone which allows you to manipulate the hearing aids in real time.”

The new ReSound hearing aids are also made with Bluetooth® technology and can be connected to a smartphone, thereby allowing the wearer to hear phone conversations via the phone directly into the hearing aids themselves.

“The technology available in these new hearing aids is literally leaps and bounds ahead of where it was in the old hearing aid I had,” Patrick confirms. “And one of the best things about it is how easy it is to use.

“For example, I was in a restaurant with some friends the other day, so on the app on my smartphone, I just tapped the restaurant program, and it automatically reduced all the background noise and enhanced the voices of the people I was with at the table.

“And what a difference it has made with my music. I produce my own music, and it’s amazing how much I was missing before, things like the crisp sound of cymbals or even my own guitar playing. All of a sudden, it’s so much brighter and clearer.

“I’m hearing conversations better, and that’s allowing me to be a lot more engaged with friends and family. For a while, I was just sitting there and trying to make out what everyone was saying, but now, I’m a lot more outgoing.

“That’s why I feel fortunate that I was advised to go to EarCare. What they’ve done for me and my hearing has truly been life-changing. I’ve got my hearing back, and in a lot of instances, I feel like I’m hearing things for the very first time.”

Ototoxicity: An often overlooked cause of hearing loss

While in the midst of a year-long bout with pneumonia that eventually left her with an incurable lung disease called bronchiectasis, Sherry Howard worried more about retaining her ability to breathe than retaining her ability to hear.

Under Dr. Duran’s care, Sherry Howard, who suffered hearing loss due to antibiotic treatment, continues to work and live a normal life.

A bout with pneumonia cost Sherry her perfect hearing. Hearing aids restored it

“You can live without your hearing, but you can’t live without your lungs,” Sherry reasoned at the time.

While that may be true, Sherry soon learned that as a result of the strong cocktail of antibiotics she was required to take to rid her of the pneumonia, her hearing would become greatly compromised as well. And for Sherry, that meant trouble.

“Hearing is rather critical for me because I work as a receptionist, answering the phone for a group of about one hundred doctors,” Sherry explains. “That’s why, when my doctor told me I was at a high risk for losing my hearing, I did everything he told me.”

One of the first things Sherry’s doctor told her to do was visit a hearing specialist and get a baseline hearing test. The hearing specialist Sherry’s doctor recommended was Drianis Duran, AuD, at Gulf Coast Audiology in Fort Myers.

“Our role was to monitor the stability of Sherry’s hearing while she was being treated, because some medications are ototoxic, meaning they’re toxic to the ear, specifically the cochlea, the auditory nerve and sometimes the balance nerve,” Dr. Duran reveals.

“This ototoxicity can result in hearing loss, ringing in the ears, even vertigo. In some cases, these side effects are reversible, but many are not. In those cases, we work with the person on their hearing loss through the use of hearing devices.”

Sudden Change

When Sherry first visited with Dr. Duran, her baseline hearing test showed she had near perfect hearing. A little more than a month later, however, Sherry didn’t need a test to know things had changed dramatically.

“I was in about the fifth or sixth week of this six-week IV antibiotic treatment that I was getting when all of a sudden, I just couldn’t hear,” Sherry says. “I wasn’t totally deaf. I still had some hearing, but everything was very muffled.”

The sudden loss of hearing prompted Sherry to reach out to Dr. Duran, who discovered during yet another examination that Sherry’s hearing loss was permanent. But Dr. Duran had some good news for Sherry, too.

“Sherry was very lucky in that she didn’t lose all of her hearing,” Dr. Duran says. “She still had a lot of residual hearing, and we were able to treat that with hearing aids once her antibiotic treatments were done.”

Sherry chose a pair of Phonak devices that rest behind the ear but contain a small receiver that fits inside the ear canal.

“I’ve had my hearing aids for about three years now, and they have been a godsend,” Sherry exudes. “If I didn’t have these hearing aids, I probably wouldn’t be able to work, but with them, I can carry on a very normal life.

“I feel very fortunate that I was sent to Dr. Duran. She’s fabulous and did a great job of helping me at a time when I was very, very sick. She came highly recommended, and I highly recommend her as well for anyone who has a hearing problem.”

Sea Change

All-natural salt facial treatment repairs, replenishes damaged skin.

Life as a teenager can be pretty awkward. It’s even more awkward for those whose physical appearance falls short of what their teenage brethren consider ideal. Lauren Carter is one who suffered from the unfortunate consequences of imperfection.

Lauren Carter had a salt facial treatment done to rid her of her acne scarring and was pleased with the results.

The SaltFacial L’avantage provided by Kristen (left)has given Lauren’s skin a softer, smoother appearance.

“I had a real bad acne problem, and as you might suspect, I got picked on a lot because of it,” says Lauren, now a 28-year-old mother of one. “I got called a lot of names, things like pimple face and pepperoni face. It was pretty crazy.

“I did my best to just hang out with friends who didn’t make fun of me, but my appearance was something I was always very self-conscious about and worried about. Thankfully, my skin has improved tremendously as I’ve gotten older.”

Those vast improvements aside, Lauren’s teenage battle with acne has nevertheless left her with some very noticeable scars. In addition to the emotional scars it created, she also has some rather obvious physical scars.

“As I got older and the acne eventually cleared up, I was left with a lot of bad acne scarring,” Lauren reveals. “It’s another thing that I’ve been self-conscious of. I’ve always wanted to get rid of it if I could find a treatment that works.”

Caught up in her responsibilities at work and at home as a mother, Lauren put off acting on her desire to do something about her acne scarring for years. This past summer, a friend suggested she try getting a salt facial treatment at ZMD Center for Face and Body Rejuvenation – A MediSpa in North Tampa.

One for All

In its natural form, salt has healing and restoration properties. Those properties were recently incorporated into a new treatment called The SaltFacial L’avantage™ that exfoliates the skin in a way that avoids scratching, bruising and hyperpigmentation.

This all-natural treatment uses no chemicals or synthetic ingredients. Its anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties work on all skin types and conditions, and it is beneficial for all age groups.

“It is a treatment that smoothes and tightens the skin and makes it look much healthier,” explains Kristen Gonzalez, a licensed medical aesthetician at ZMD Center. “It’s great for reducing fine lines and wrinkles as well as evening stretch marks and reducing large pores.

“It’s also a good treatment for anyone with a pigmentation problem such as hyperpigmentation or melasma, where you have patches of pigment on your skin. And it’s good for darker skin types that need to be treated more sensitively.”

In addition, SaltFacial L’avantage treatments encourage cellular turnover and healing and collagen reformation. They can be used for skin lightening and to heal eczema, psoriasis, UV damage and age spots.

Prior to receiving her initial SaltFacial L’avantage treatment, Lauren was given a thorough skin-type evaluation by Kristen, whose examination revealed the true cause of her teenage acne problems as well as another ongoing skin issue.

“What I found is that Lauren has an oily skin type that is quite acne-prone,” Kristen reports. “In addition, she is now experiencing adult hormonal acne and had a lot of congestion in her skin where she had a lot of blackheads and excess oil.

“She also had the scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which are red marks that are left from previous acne. The good news is that all these issues can be treated with the SaltFacial L’avantage therapy.”

A single SaltFacial L’avantage treatment can be completed in less than an hour, and one is enough for anyone simply wanting to freshen their appearance. The best results, however, come from receiving a series of three or four treatments over a period of a month or two.

Each SaltFacial L’avantage treatment is delivered via a three-step process that incorporates fine, organic sea salt; ultrasound therapy and LED light therapy, all of which work together to naturally restore the texture, tone and health of the skin from within.

During the first step in the process, the organic sea salt is applied in a thin layer across the skin. The salt dries out any impurities while also balancing the levels of alkalinity in the skin. A handpiece is then used to exfoliate the skin in a way that causes no trauma to the skin.

After a couple of passes are made during the exfoliation phase, the technician moves on to the second step of the rejuvenation process that replaces many of the skin’s most vital nutrients through deep-penetrating ultrasound technology.

“During this phase, we use hydrating, skin-smoothing,topical formulations that stimulate the skin. By using the ultrasound technology, we are able to deliver these topical formulations deeper into the skin,” Kristen informs.

“The use of the ultrasound also helps to promote blood circulation and speeds up the healing process by stimulating oxygen in the skin. During the third and final step in the process, we use high-intensity LED light therapy.

“The LED light assists in killing bacteria on the skin’s surface and further speeds up the healing process. That takes out any irritation or redness in the skin, so by the time you’re ready to leave, your skin looks perfect.”

“Amazing” Results

Lauren began receiving SaltFacial L’avantage treatments at ZMD Center in early October. To further optimize the effects of the salt facial, Lauren also received a Sciton Forever Clear BBL™ treatment that helps clear acne through broadband light, or BBL.

The results, she says, have been “absolutely amazing.”

“My skin is a lot softer, and it just looks better,” Lauren exudes. “One thing I really like is that when you’re done, you don’t have any of that redness, so you can walk out after the treatment ready to go. I really couldn’t be more pleased with the treatment.”

Kristen confirms that the treatments have had a positive impact on Lauren’s appearance. In addition to reducing the scarring, they have reduced her propensity for hormonal acne breakouts.

“As a result of the SaltFacial L’avantage alone, Lauren has probably had a thirty to forty percent reduction in acne breakouts!” Kristen exclaims. “And her skin looks a lot healthier now. It has a glow to it. It’s softer and smoother.

“That’s typical of the results we get with this treatment. Women sometimes make skincare more complicated than it needs to be. This treatment is very simple, and it is super effective. Lauren is proof of that.”

Successful Search

Deeper dive discovers key to chronic illness, autoimmune disorders.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin native Mari Velar didn’t have the most pleasant childhood. One of five children, she says she grew up often feeling as if she had a flu bug she just couldn’t shake.

Mari Velar had been miserable most of her life. She finally started feeling better after she went to see Dr. Axe at The Root Cause Medical Clinic.

Dr. Axe’s recommendations have Mari feeling better than ever.

“I often threw up and had headaches, and my muscles and joints were always hurting,” says Mari, now 57. “But when you’re one of five kids, you just kind of have to go with the flow and move on, which is what I did.

“I wasn’t in the hospital all the time, but I did miss a lot of school. Not an inordinate amount, just a day or two here and there. But seldom, if ever, did I really feel good. I always just felt bad.”

Those ill feelings stuck with Mari even through her family’s move to Florida during her senior year in high school. The move to a warmer climate was one Mari hoped would bring her some relief from her discomfort, but that did not prove to be the case.

“Things actually got worse after we moved to Florida,” Mari explains. “But I just kept plugging along until, eventually, I had some tests done to figure out what was going on with me. That’s when I found out I had Lupus, Lyme disease and Fibromyalgia.”

Lupus and Lyme disease are autoimmune disorders that decrease the body’s ability to fight off infections. Fibromyalgia does not qualify as an autoimmune disorder, but many of its symptoms are similar to those associated with Lupus.

Mari was diagnosed in 2006 and began a series of medical treatments designed to alleviate the symptoms associated with her disorders, which include fatigue, joint and muscle pain and skin rashes.

The treatments, which included the medication Plaquenil®, had no positive effect. In fact, Mari says her symptoms only got worse as a result of the medications. So much so that in 2009, she was forced to give up her job as a bookkeeper.

“I was working from home, but I couldn’t concentrate,” Mari states. “My comprehension abilities were completely shot. I tried for two years to fight through it and keep on working, but eventually, my boss said, I’m sorry, but you just can’t do this.

“It was right around that time that I started falling a lot because sometimes I lost feeling in my feet. I was also having bad chemical reactions to the medications I was taking, and that caused me a lot of stomach problems.”

Frustrated, but determined to find a solution, Mari began searching for an alternative to all the medical remedies that weren’t working for her. Fate stepped in and led her to Jordan Axe, DC, at The Root Cause Medical Clinic.

“I was looking around on the internet when I found an article about Dr. Axe and The Root Cause Medical Clinic and thought, This sounds interesting,” Mari remembers. “And I made an appointment to see him.”

A Unique Approach

At The Root Cause Medical Clinic, the goal is not to mask a patient’s symptoms with a one-size-fits-all approach to healing. Instead, the staff digs deep into each patient’s issues to find the root cause of their pain and discomfort, knowing that true healing often requires time and customized care.

“When Mari first came to us, she had lost all hope and wondered if she would ever feel good,” Dr. Axe reports. “I told her that everything she was dealing with was autoimmune related, so even though she had a lot of symptoms, she had only one root cause. We just had to find it and most of her symptoms would go away.”

Dr. Axe began his search for the cause of Mari’s symptoms by completing a detailed medical history on Mari. He then conducted a series of tests designed to determine the source of her autoimmune and gastrointestinal issues. Those tests proved quite revealing.

A nutrient test showed Mari was suffering from six different vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, including a severe lack of Vitamin B12. Meanwhile, a gastrointestinal test revealed she was suffering from dysbiosis, which is a microbial imbalance, in her stomach.

“Your gut is only as healthy as the bacteria that make it up, so you need to have the right environment in there,” Dr. Axe educates. “And believe it or not, too much good bacteria can be just as bad as too much bad bacteria.

“For example, if someone takes probiotics but they have too much of that good bacteria in their gut, they’ll actually feel worse. The key is finding the right balance, and you need to perform the right tests to discover what that balance should be.”

To establish that balance, Dr. Axe put Mari on the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet. Also known as the GAPS Diet, it is a six-phase, 60-day-long nutrition program designed in part to reboot and rebuild the gut and the immune system.

Next, a strong regimen of supplements aimed at normalizing the levels of vitamins and nutrients throughout Mari’s body was prescribed. In particular, Dr. Axe was hoping to boost Mari’s Vitamin B12 levels, which happened.

Getting Better All the Time

“Before I went to see Dr. Axe, my B12 levels were nonexistent,” Mari says. “And that was despite taking B12 shots and using a B12 spray under my tongue. For some reason, I just wasn’t absorbing B12 no matter how I took it. But Dr. Axe figured out why.

Mari Velar had been miserable most of her life. She finally started feeling better after she went to see Dr. Axe at The Root Cause Medical Clinic.

Dr. Axe (bottom left) with Mari (bottom center) and the staff of Root Cause Medical Clinic.

“It turns out that there are other compounds, other chemicals, that have to be right in order for me to absorb the B12. Dr. Axe was the first one to get that right. The same concept was necessary to balance my female hormones, and he got that right, too.

“He also ran a blood test which discovered that I don’t have an enzyme that allows me to digest chicken properly, and I eat a lot of chicken. Believe me, I’ve had every blood test under the sun, but Dr. Axe was the first one to discover that as well.

“It’s really remarkable what he’s done for me. First of all, I can’t believe that just changing my diet would make such a difference, but it did! And now that I’m absorbing the B12 and my hormones are right, I feel so much better.

“I’m much happier now, and I want to add that I have a fifteen-month-old grandson that I’m really enjoying spending a lot of time with. Before seeing
Dr. Axe, there was no way I would have been able to keep up with him.

“I still can’t work every day. But each day is better, and I know waking up each morning that I’m going to feel as good as I possibly can because the program Dr. Axe put me on is working. It’s amazing how well it’s working.”

Premium Package

Precision critical for “perfect” outcome from cataract surgery.

If you’re among the thousands of pedestrians, joggers or bicyclists who regularly walk, run or ride any of the outdoor, multi-use trails that dot the Tampa Bay area, you owe a small debt of gratitude to Charner Reese.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Charner Reese

Charner, who is now retired, spent the last few years of her working career planning and organizing the funding for multi-use trails such as The Upper Tampa Bay Trail for the Hillsborough County Greenways program.
“I was just one member of a large team of people who were involved, but we did a whole master plan for a series of interconnected trails,” Charner explains. “That was the vision, and there was a lot that went into it from start to finish. It was quite a process.”
A cyclist herself, Charner has ridden many of the area’s multi-use trails, including some of those she had a hand in developing. In recent years, however, her treks anywhere have become a little less enjoyable due to an issue with her eyesight.
“It was about five or six years ago that I was told cataracts were beginning to develop, particularly in my right eye,” Charner says. “It was something that I kept track of for a while and then, just recently, I began having difficulty reading.
“After that, my vision got progressively worse, mostly in that right eye, and I started having trouble doing even some of the everyday things that I needed or wanted to do. That’s when I decided it was time to get these cataracts taken care of.”

Nature’s Course

Cataracts develop naturally in about 90 percent of all people 65 or older, usually from a breakdown of the eye’s lens fibers, a clumping of the eye’s proteins, or both. They typically cause blurred vision, an increase in sensitivity to light and a reduction in color vibrancy.
Though cataracts usually develop slowly, they can be corrected quickly and easily through an outpatient procedure in which the natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL.
A glasses wearer most of her life, Charner has long been and remains a regular patient at Pasadena Eye Center. When the time came for her to have her cataract surgery, she opted to have her surgery done by Nathan R. Emery, MD.
“One of the interesting things about Charner’s case is that in addition to having some of the typical cataract symptoms, she is what we call a high myope, meaning she has some pretty severe nearsightedness as well,” Dr. Emery explains.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Difficulty reading triggered Charner’s decision to have her cataracts removed.

“Without glasses or contact lenses, Charner could see something right in front of her eyes, but beyond that, everything got very blurry. Doing cataract surgery on someone like that is not more complicated, but the patient is at a higher risk for complications afterward.
“The reason is that people who are high myopes have really long eyeballs. Patients like that tend to have a higher incidence of retinal tears and retinal detachments post-operatively because their eyeballs are so long.”
Prior to surgery, cataract patients at Pasadena Eye Center are given an array of tests to evaluate the health of their eyes and their suitability for surgery. A test is also conducted to determine the most appropriate IOL for each patient.
Standard IOLs correct vision primarily for distance. Patients can also have one eye fixed for distance vision and the other corrected for reading, an option called monovision.
Charner chose to receive multifocal lenses. Considered the premium among IOLs, multifocals eliminate the need for glasses altogether by correcting distance vision and extending the focus point for reading so that items can be seen clearly at arm’s length.

Three for One

Prior to performing the surgery on Charner, Dr. Emery took a few extra steps to further guarantee her outcome would be the best it could possibly be by using three different methods to measure her eyes and calculate the power of her lens implants.
“With someone like Charner, it’s really important that you get rid of all that nearsightedness, so the lens calculations are critical to a good outcome, especially when the patient is moving into a multifocal lens,” Dr. Emery explains.
“You want to be absolutely spot-on with those calculations, so we use three different calculation methods. We combine them and make certain they’re all consistent with each other.
“It’s a twist on that old saying that carpenters use. They say, measure twice and cut once, but for us, it’s measure three times and laser once. It’s really the best way to ensure the best outcome for our patients.”

“It’s about a forty-five-minute drive for me to go to see Dr. Emery, but it’s definitely worth it . . . He’s everything you want in a doctor.” – Charner

One of the calculation methods Dr. Emery uses to ensure his patients receive the best IOL for their needs is called the VERION Image Guided System. Dr. Emery says this technology is critical to optimizing a patient’s outcome from cataract surgery.
“We obtain the VERION measurement pre-operatively.
It takes pictures of your eyes and documents the readings,” Dr. Emery educates. “Then, during surgery, that information is fed into a machine that allows us to line everything up properly.
“It’s a nice technology that helps us get everything right. We also use an instrument called the IOLMaster that scans the length of the eye and the curvature of the lens, and a third that calculates the length and measurements on the cornea.”

Brighter, Crisper

The extra steps Dr. Emery took to ensure Charner’s outcome was as good as it could be paid off. Once reliant on glasses or contact lenses to see anything beyond a few inches, Charner now has no less than 20/20 vision in both eyes, Dr. Emery reveals.
“She’s between 20/20 and 20/25, depending on the day you measure her,” the doctor confirms. “And her reading level is what we call a J1, which means she can read something pretty close to newspaper print without glasses.”
Charner, who completed her cataract surgery about a year ago, describes her vision since having the surgery as “near perfect,” adding that she has chosen to continue wearing glasses, though largely as a matter of convenience.
“I still wear glasses for reading and I do a lot of that, so I went ahead and got progressive lenses so that I wouldn’t have to take them on and off all the time when I’m doing things around the house,” Charner explains.
“But if I’m driving somewhere or I’m out and about and don’t want to wear my glasses, I don’t need to. Especially when I’m driving, I still reach up as if to take my glasses off once in a while. That’s just an old habit that’s hard to break.
“But I definitely don’t need to wear my glasses anymore if I don’t want to. To me, my vision really is perfect, because colors are so much brighter, and everything is so much crisper. I didn’t know how bad my vision was until I got it corrected.”
When Charner moved to Tampa a few years ago, she tried an eye doctor closer to her home. She soon returned to Dr. Emery at Pasadena Eye Center because she trusts him and appreciates the way he cares for her. Now, she’s happier than ever that she did.
“It’s about a forty-five-minute drive for me to go to see Dr. Emery, but it’s definitely worth it,” she exudes. “Everybody there is just so great, and Dr. Emery is very friendly and knowledgeable. He’s everything you want in a doctor.”

Reverse Osteoporosis

Once-a-week, 15-minute workouts increase bone density.

Since discovering her life’s purpose and moving to the United States some 35 years ago, Noa Spector-Flock has not only become a licensed massage therapist but written three books on body movement, wellness and injury prevention.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Noa found the OsteoStrong workouts easy and effective.

Her books and the videos that go with them explain how a specific set of exercises and the use of a large elastic band such as those used for resistance training allow certain muscles in the body to lengthen while they contract.
Known clinically as eccentric contraction, the goal of Noa’s exercise regimen is to improve overall strength and decrease the chances of injury. Unfortunately, Noa’s workout regimen doesn’t work for every part of the body.
Noa learned a couple years ago that while her workouts do indeed have the ability to improve the strength of certain muscle groups and therefore decrease a person’s chances of injury, they do nothing to ward off the onset of osteoporosis.
Found most often in post-menopausal women, osteoporosis is a potentially severe condition in which new bone growth does not keep pace with degeneration, and the bone mineral density becomes so low that the risk of fracture is markedly increased.
About 54 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass, which places them at increased risk for osteoporosis. Breaking a bone is a serious complication of osteoporosis, especially as people age.
Osteoporotic bone breaks are most likely to occur in the hip, spine or wrist, but other bones can break too. Osteoporosis can also cause some to lose height as it can also affect the vertebrae, which are the bones in the spine, and often leads to a stooped posture.
Considered a silent disease by many physicians, osteoporosis often goes undetected until a person suffers a bone fracture or change in posture, but statistics show one in two women and one in four men will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture at some point in their lifetime.

“On average, our studies have found that OsteoStrong improves people’s bone density from three to seven percent a year.” – Mark

After first being diagnosed with osteoporosis, Noa began taking an oyster-shell-based calcium supplement to improve her bone density. She learned six months later that wasn’t working for her. She then chose to get more aggressive in her fight against osteoporosis.
“The first thing I did was start taking a different and hopefully more effective supplement that is made with algae,” Noa explains. “But I wanted to speed up the healing process, so I also decided to start doing the OsteoStrong workouts as well.”

Revolutionary Program

A revolutionary program that has helped more than 25,000 people reverse the negative effects of osteopenia and osteoporosis, OsteoStrong helps rebuild bone through once-a-week, 15-minute sessions using specialized strengthening equipment.
This specialized equipment includes four bio-mechanical machines that allows the user to perform resistance-based pushing and pulling exercises with their arms and/or legs. During these exercises, the user can safely exert pressure four to 12 times their body weight.
“The difference between our exercise equipment and that used at a traditional gym is that our equipment is isometric, which means tension is developed without contraction of the muscle,” states Mark Brady, president of OsteoStrong in South Pasadena.
“There is no force pushing against you, which means you create the force. On the leg press, for example, I’ve had ladies in their eighties weighing one hundred pounds who can press a thousand pounds. That’s because it’s isometric.
“For a person who weighs one hundred pounds to develop new bone working out on traditional equipment, they would have to create a resistance of well over four hundred pounds,” Mark continues.
“That simply can’t be done for ninety-nine percent of all people in a gym environment because it involves weights that they couldn’t physically move or, if they could, they’d be at high risk of injury.”
To understand the difference, Mark invites people to come in and try the equipment for themselves, noting that his facility in South Pasadena offers two free sessions that allow newcomers to experience the OsteoStrong workout.

The workouts are definitely making a difference, and one of the things I really like about them is they’re very easy.”-Noa

“This is an amazing concept that is the culmination of twelve years of research that looked into the body’s own adaptive response to growing new bone and muscle structure and improving the density of the bones we have,” Mark says.
“As a result of that research, it is now a known medical fact that when you put certain forces on the bones, the body responds by growing new bone tissue. And the results of these short workouts is absolutely amazing.
“On average, our studies have found that OsteoStrong improves people’s bone density from three to seven percent a year. Also, people will increase their strength by an average of seventy-three percent over their first year at OsteoStrong.”
Mark also points out that similar studies show that doing an OsteoStrong session more than once a week does not promote any additional benefit. As a result, the workouts are not only impactful, but time efficient.
Mark encourages men and women of all ages to accept his invitation to try out the OsteoStrong equipment, because he says it’s important to know that osteoporosis is not a disorder that is exclusive to a specific age group or gender.
“Osteoporosis is not something that only happens to old people,” he notes. “We have clients from young to old and everything in between. And men are not immune. When they start losing their testosterone, their bone loss becomes more rapid.
“In addition to helping them recover from it, OsteoStrong wants to help educate people about bone loss. The skeletal framework is the most important part of the body and you need to take care of it and be aware of changes to it.”
Noa is among those who have experienced a significant increase in bone density levels since beginning the OsteoStrong program. She says a very recent density scan showed that she made the right call by beginning OsteoStrong workouts.
“The workouts are definitely making a difference, and one of the things I really like about them is they’re very easy,” Noa says. “I also like that if you are ambitious, you can track your improvement in terms of how much weight you push.
“And there’s always someone there to guide you and watch you and make sure that you’re doing the exercises right and getting the maximum benefit. Everyone there is very personable and helpful. I’m a big fan, and I highly recommend it.”

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