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August / September 2013

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All About Autoimmunity
Ask the Expert: Dr. Noel Rose

As a concept, autoimmunity can provoke unease – there’s something disconcerting about the thought of the body attacking...

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Irish Herbal Medicine

The oldest form of healing, long practiced in Ireland, proved just the thing for writer Jonathan Self. A leafy lane, not...

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Hospital Nuns: From the Civil War to Today

From the Civil War to Chicago’s Mercy Hospital, the extraordinary history of Irish nuns in health care. The Sisters of...

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A Way of Healing

In memory of her brother David, a victim of MS, Honora Harty joined a group of MS Ireland walkers on the Camino de Santiago...

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Knowing When to Help

If you suspect something, do something. April Drew writes from personal experience. It was a little after 8 p.m. on a cold...

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In This Issue

When It Comes to Health, Kathleen Cares

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius (née Gilligan) on the future of American health care, her father’s influence, her Irish heritage, and other topics. “I’m a...

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The First Word: Sláinte! Good Health

Irish American nurses, from the 1905 graduating class of Chicago's Mercy Hospital

“What’s exciting is that millions of families . . .will have access, some for the first time, to quality, affordable options in just a few months.”       – Secretary of Health Kathleen...

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Irish Woman With MS Loses Assisted Suicide Case

Marie Fleming

Marie Fleming, a 59-year-old woman from Co. Wicklow in the late stages of Multiple Sclerosis, lost her case against the Irish Supreme Court to overturn Ireland’s laws on assisted suicide. The court...

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Cigarette Packs in Ireland May Get a New Look

The proposal for Ireland's new standard cigarette packaging

Ireland is leading the way in the fight against smoking. This past May, the Irish Ministry of Health proposed legislation that would ban the use of cigarette pack branding. No more Marlboros or...

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Funding Approved for First Cross-Border Bridge

The plans for the Narrow Water Bridge

The newest bridge in Ireland is as important for its symbolism as for its ability to carry cars, and both have Irish on each side of the border excited. When completed, the Narrow Water Bridge will...

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Irish Methodist Church Elects Its First Female Leader

Reverend Dr. Heather Morris

Reverend Dr. Heather Morris was installed as the new president of the Methodist Church in Ireland this June, becoming the first female to hold not only that post, but the first female head of any of...

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“Rory’s Regulations” Will Fight Sepsis in New York Hospitals

Orlaith, Rory, Kathleen and Ciaran Staunton. Photo: Sean McPhail

New York has become the first state in the U.S. to mandate a series of protocols to diagnose and treat sepsis before it turns fatal. The protocols have been named “Rory’s Regulations” for...

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Study Shows Immigrants Give More to Medicare Than They Take Out

President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Medicare bill, July 30, 1965.

As the United States Congress debates an immigration reform bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants (which includes about 50,000 illegal Irish...

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Quinnipiac Opens State-of-the-Art Medical School

The interior plans for Quinnipiac University's Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine.

The new Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut is attracting students in primary care medicine. Dr. Bruce Koeppen didn’t just do a double take in 2009 when he...

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Irish Eye on Hollywood

Ginnifer Goodwin as Jackie O and Robert Lowe as JFK in the upcoming National Geographic adaptation of Bill O'Reilly's Killing Kennedy.

The latest news and releases from your favorite Irish and Irish-American stars. 1. The news that The Sopranos star James Gandolfini died of a heart attack at the age of 51 shocked Hollywood and the...

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Maureen O’Hara to Hold 93rd Birthday Party in Idaho

John Nicoletti, nephew Charlie FitzSimons, grandson Conor FitzSimons, great grandchildren Everest and Baylee, and Elga FitSimons, Conor's wife. Photo: Barton MacLeod.

For her 93rd birthday, Maureen O’Hara will celebrate with a cause. The Irish queen of the silver screen returned to the U.S. in late 2012 to live near her grandson Conor FitzSimmons and his family...

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Concern Honors Carla Harris

Aine Fay, Anita Sands, Joe Cahalan, honoree Carla Harris, Carolyn Perla, Tom Moran

Concern Worldwide, U.S., the non-profit founded over 45 years ago by the late Fr. Aengus Finucane, held its annual Women of Concern luncheon on June 27 at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan. The...

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Dublin Researchers Lead Promising Alzheimer’s Study

A healthy brain (left) and a brain in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, with visible cell loss.

An 18-month-long international study of a potential Alzheimer’s drug has begun, and Ireland is playing a big role. The project, coordinated by Brian Lawlor, Connolly Norman Professor of Old Age...

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Cork Study Suggests Link Between Gut Bacteria and Autism

Dr. John Cryan and Dr. Ted Dinan

A new study conducted by scientists at University College Cork (UCC) shows that mice lacking bacteria in their gut displayed autistic behaviors such as repetitive grooming and disinterest in social...

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Volunteers Patrol the River Shannon to Prevent Suicide

The CSR Limerick Team

In Limerick, a group of sixteen local volunteers have joined together to prevent suicide. Over the last ten months, the CSR Suicide Prevention Team has been patrolling the River Shannon and four...

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Free Screenings for Tay Sachs Disease at Gaelic Games

Tay Sachs screenings at the Gaelic Games in Malvern, PA. Photo: Einstein Medical Center Facebook

At the Gaelic Games in Malvern, PA on July 28, there was one attraction with no clear connection to Irish sports. The Einstein Medical Center of Philadelphia was there, offering free screenings for...

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Patrick Kennedy Addresses Brain Research in Dublin

Patrick Kennedy, Co-Fonder One Mind Research; Commissioner Máire Geoghegan Quinn; Dr James Reilly, Irish Minister for Health

Patrick Kennedy, former Rhode Island congressman and son of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, delivered the keynote address at “Healthy Brain: Healthy Europe,” a conference devoted to brain health...

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All About Autoimmunity
Ask the Expert: Dr. Noel Rose

Dr. Noel Rose

As a concept, autoimmunity can provoke unease – there’s something disconcerting about the thought of the body attacking itself; the processes that are meant to protect us running haywire and...

More

Did President Kennedy Have Celiac Disease?

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Dr. Peter Green, Professor of Clinical Medicine, Director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, suspects that JFK was the victim of an undiagnosed...

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Fact Sheet: Celiac Disease

Those with celiac disease can often feel surrounded by wheat, but there are many tasty and nutritious alternatives.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that is characterized by an intolerance for gluten (a protein most commonly found in wheat, barley, and rye). Consuming gluten triggers an immune response...

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The Great Hunger and the Celtic Gene

Eviction scene: The descendants of the family in this photograph, taken in Glenbeigh, Co. Cork in 1888, may have survived the Great Famine, but one wonders what became of them following their eviction and demolition of their home. From the Sean Sexton Collection.

Thomas P. Duffy MD of the Yale School of Medicine explores why certain people survived the Great Hunger and reasons that the answer may lie in their gene pool. Shortly after the great Irish famine of...

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Fact Sheet : Hemochromatosis

The C282Y gene mutation.

Hemochromatosis (he-moe-krome-uh-TOE-sis) Hereditary hemochromatosis is a disease caused by a recessive genetic mutation that makes the body absorb too much iron, resulting in excess amounts being...

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Sisters Sharing Musical Talent and Health Issues

Sephira: Joyce and Ruth O’Leary

Joyce and Ruth O’Leary are your average pair of young Irish sisters in their early twenties. They share outfits, finish each other’s sentences, and cheer each other up when one is having a hard...

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Irish Herbal Medicine

Medicinal Herbalist Rosari Kingston

The oldest form of healing, long practiced in Ireland, proved just the thing for writer Jonathan Self. A leafy lane, not much more than a boreen really, dissects the middle of the Kingstons’...

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Comfortable in My Own Skin

Emma Graves Fitzsimmons with her husband, Gerry, a few weeks before her Mohs surgery last summer.

After a diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma at age twenty-eight, Emma Graves Fitzsimmons got smart about being in the sun. I wish I could say that I’ve always appreciated my porcelain skin. But for...

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Fact Sheet:
Skin Cancer

Naval Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Mannino examines a Sailor using a dermatascope and magnifying loops. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Skin cancer, like all cancers, is caused by cell mutations that grow uncontrollably to form a mass of cancer cells. Because the skin is comprised of three main types of cells, there are three primary...

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Finding the Other:
The Metamorphosis and Compassion

Above: The McCloskey family on the beach at Ocean City, 1968. In 1983: Jack, Steve, Molly, Tim, John and Mike. Courtesy of Molly McCloskey

Molly McCloskey, the author of Circles Around the Sun, shares how one profound reading experience led her to better understand her older brother who suffers from schizophrenia. I can still recall, in...

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Hunger and its Children

The Irish Famine, painted by George Frederic Watts c. 1848-1850, depicts a young family evicted from their home. The Watts Gallery.

Schizophrenia and other diseases associated with starvation. The outward physical consequences of famine and severe malnutrition have been long known. They are the same everywhere. In his recent...

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Sober: By Malachy McCourt

Mickey Kelly and Malachy McCourt in A Couple of Blackguards

Malachy McCourt writes about being an alcoholic and what it was that finally made him stop drinking. Was I born alcoholic? That’s not clear but I know that the disease does not discriminate against...

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The Laughter and the Drink

Temple Bar, Dublin at night. One of the locations Des Bishop visits in his new series Under the Influence.

The Irish are known for ‘the craic and the drink.’ Many well-known comedians have given up on one. People of Irish descent face a host of notions and expectations of how they should be – some...

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When They Want to End It

Suicide in Ireland, particularly among male teens, is on the rise. Sharon Ní Chonchúir reports. Few teenagers make a mark on Irish society in the way 16-year-old Tralee native Donal Walsh did....

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Knowing When to Help

Stay connected. Sometimes a phone call can save a life.

If you suspect something, do something. April Drew writes from personal experience. It was a little after 8 p.m. on a cold and dark Sunday evening. It was the first Sunday of 2009. Christmas was just...

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The Doctors

Doctors Patricia K. Coyle, Garret FitzGerald, and Jo Hannafin. Dr. Hannafin photo courtesy of Matthew Carasella / socialshutterbug.com

A selection of doctors, many of whom have been honored as Top 100 Irish Americans by this magazine, who are working to understand the pressing topics of our time.   Neuroimmunology “This is...

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Pharma Leaders

From left to right: Deirdre Connelly, John Crowley, and MacDara Lynch.

A selection of leaders in the pharmaceutical industry who have been featured on Irish America’s Business 100 list and who continue to shape the future of medicine.   Melanoma “We hope to...

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An Irish Tradition: Nursing

Anne Kelly and Maryellen O’Sullivan who work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. Photo: Kit DeFever

Compassion mixed with equal doses of technical competence and good humor has enabled Irish nurses to help generations of American patients. Nurses were Ireland’s biggest export in the late 1980s...

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Hospital Nuns: From the Civil War to Today

Sisters of Mercy with Union soldiers during the Civil War.

From the Civil War to Chicago’s Mercy Hospital, the extraordinary history of Irish nuns in health care. The Sisters of Mercy were the first women to go with Florence Nightingale during the Crimean...

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A Way of Healing

El Camino De Santiago. Photo: Honora Harty.

In memory of her brother David, a victim of MS, Honora Harty joined a group of MS Ireland walkers on the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James), the ancient pilgrimage route. The walkers picked up...

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What Are You Like?
Mary Roach

Mary Roach. Photo: David Paul Morris.

An acclaimed, adventurous and hilarious science writer known for her fearless, approachable style and delightful footnotes, Mary Roach is the author of such best-selling and award-winning books as...

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A World to Care For

Left: Mother Angeline Theresa McCrory, who founded the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm. Right: Mary Manning Walsh residents enjoying a musical evening.

Mary Manning Walsh, a nursing home for the elderly, proves that the twilight years can be joyful if the people in charge really care. The massive stroke that left my mother speechless and paralyzed...

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Promoting Health and Philanthropy

Mary McFadden and her husband, Larry Stifler (center, standing) with Grab the Torch students.

Mary McFadden and her husband Larry Stifler were well ahead of the curve in recognizing the need to combat obesity, which is at an epidemic level in the U.S. In 1983, Stifler founded the Boston-based...

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Spotlight On Community Health Care: Providing for Those in Need

Theresa Maloney Butler, CEO of Middletown Community Health Center.

Theresa Maloney Butler, CEO of Middletown Community Health Center, uses the values she learned growing up in St. Brendan’s Parish in the Bronx to bring affordable health care solutions to hundreds...

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The Irish of Medical History

Left to right: Dr. James Barry, Dr. Thomas B. Fitzpatrick, and Oliver St. John Gogarty

The history of medicine spans millennia – from before the invention in 5th century Greece of the Hippocratic oath, which doctors still take to this day, to the life-changing breakthroughs of the...

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Reel Life Miracle

Members of the Parkinson's Foundation of Ireland gathered to practice their set dancing.

Irish Set Dancing Found Therapeutic for Parkinson’s Patients Italian neurologist Dr. Daniele Volpe has long been a fan of Irish traditional music, making yearly trips to Ireland and playing in a...

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From the Ground Up

Jeanne Nolan. Photograph by Jill Paider

Chicagoan Jeanne Nolan talks to Kara Rota about her new book and her commitment to growing organic food. “I am all about people growing their own food,” Jeanne Nolan says to me when we get on...

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Review of Books

Stand-out books by Irish-American authors that cover a range of health-related issues.   A Drinking Life Pete Hamill’s autobiographical A Drinking Life is an important portrayal of the...

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Let the Healing Begin

The "Hands Across the Divide" sculpture in Derry signifies the letting go of past grievances to make room for peace in thehearts of those afflicted by the Troubles. The Sculpture, by hometown artist Maurice Harton, also serves a reminder that thereare many divides, on a national and personal level, often within our own families, that need to be crossed in order to let thehealing begin.

While it has not been labeled an actual illness, the longing to return home can cause psychological and social problems that get passed down to future generations.  Fionnula Flanagan writes that...

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Breathe…
The Breath Is Key

"The greatest education is the science of self. The science of self and self-awareness is the highest knowledge a man can possess." -Yogi Bhajan

An introduction to Yoga. My introduction to Kundalini Yoga in 1982 was a game changer. My type A personality  changed to a more patient and certainly chilled out A-. When asked how I stay so calm...

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Family Photo Albums: Doctors and Nurses

Catherine Norah Egan, pictured far right, with friends, circa early 1940s.

Catherine Norah “Norrie” Egan My mother, Norrie Egan, born in Dublin, graduated from St. Vincent’s Hospital/UCD with a Diploma in Radiography in 1940 and worked at St. Mary’s Hospital,...

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Hibernia

Study Shows Immigrants Give More to Medicare Than They Take Out

As the United States Congress debates an immigration reform bill that would provide a pathway to...

Volunteers Patrol the River Shannon to Prevent Suicide

In Limerick, a group of sixteen local volunteers have joined together to prevent suicide. Over the...

Dublin Researchers Lead Promising Alzheimer’s Study

An 18-month-long international study of a potential Alzheimer’s drug has begun, and Ireland is...

Irish Methodist Church Elects Its First Female Leader

Reverend Dr. Heather Morris was installed as the new president of the Methodist Church in Ireland...

Patrick Kennedy Addresses Brain Research in Dublin

Patrick Kennedy, former Rhode Island congressman and son of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, delivered...

“Rory’s Regulations” Will Fight Sepsis in New York Hospitals

New York has become the first state in the U.S. to mandate a series of protocols to diagnose and...

Irish Woman With MS Loses Assisted Suicide Case

Marie Fleming, a 59-year-old woman from Co. Wicklow in the late stages of Multiple Sclerosis, lost...

Cork Study Suggests Link Between Gut Bacteria and Autism

A new study conducted by scientists at University College Cork (UCC) shows that mice lacking...

Free Screenings for Tay Sachs Disease at Gaelic Games

At the Gaelic Games in Malvern, PA on July 28, there was one attraction with no clear connection to...

Concern Honors Carla Harris

Concern Worldwide, U.S., the non-profit founded over 45 years ago by the late Fr. Aengus Finucane,...

Maureen O’Hara to Hold 93rd Birthday Party in Idaho

For her 93rd birthday, Maureen O’Hara will celebrate with a cause. The Irish queen of the silver...

Cigarette Packs in Ireland May Get a New Look

Ireland is leading the way in the fight against smoking. This past May, the Irish Ministry of...

Quinnipiac Opens State-of-the-Art Medical School

The new Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut is attracting...

Funding Approved for First Cross-Border Bridge

The newest bridge in Ireland is as important for its symbolism as for its ability to carry cars,...