Pushing for a Strong Start for Babies

More than 10,000 babies are born each day in the United States. Where they are born and where they live during the first years of their lives can make a difference in their chances for strong starts.

Science shows that human brains grow faster between the ages of 0-3 than at any later point in people’s lives, forming more than one million neural connections every second. Nurturing relationships, early learning experiences and good health and nutrition influence all areas of a child’s development, setting a strong foundation for the rest of his or her life.

According to the “State of Babies Yearbook: 2019,” published by Zero To Three, an early childhood development nonprofit organization, babies in many states face persistent hardships that undermine their ability to grow and thrive, such as staggering child care costs and lack of comprehensive paid family and medical leave.

“Families are struggling every day, in every state, and we are urging our leaders to act,” said Myra Jones-Taylor, chief policy officer of Zero To Three. “Most of our investments in early childhood start too late, at age 4 or older. By that time, some of the most important years of brain development have passed. Today’s babies become tomorrow’s workers, parents and leaders. Now is the time for policymakers on both sides of the aisle to make every baby a priority through policies built on the science of brain development and budgets that put babies and families first.”

To help ensure a brighter future for all babies, the organization is working with Congress through events like “Strolling Thunder” to help drive support for policies and programs that prioritize the needs of babies, toddlers and their families. Its policy agenda includes establishing a comprehensive national paid leave program that provides adequate time off to care for newborns or newly adopted children, and allows families to take leave if their child or another family member is experiencing a serious illness; expanding access to quality, affordable child care by increasing investments in the child care system while also working toward a comprehensive, long-term solution for working families; and increasing investments in programs that support babies’ healthy development, such as Early Head Start, and infant and early childhood mental health.

“As a director of an early childhood education program, I can speak firsthand to the struggle associated with providing high-quality care and education programs for young children while balancing that against what parents can reasonably afford to pay for child care,” said Jessica Carter, a “Strolling Thunder” parent from North Carolina. “As a mother of two, I can also speak firsthand to the fact that if I did not receive discounted tuition at my center, I would not be able to afford child care costs and would be forced to stay at home with my children. As a result, our family would not have affordable access to health care. Further, our children would not benefit from the social and educational benefits they receive in a group care setting.”

In order to help make babies a national priority, consider letting your policymakers know you care about the policies and programs babies need for strong starts to their lives, and join the team that’s fighting for their futures at thinkbabies.org/strollingthunder. (Family Features)

Zero To Three

Testicular Cancer Awareness Month: Signs, Symptoms, and Recovery

Written by Jack Burke, Contributing Writer for InFluential Magazine

April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month which provides a great time to learn about the warning signs, risk factors and treatment of the cancer that affects 9,000 new men in the US every year. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men ages 15-44 so it’s crucial to know the key facts about the disease.

Here are some tips to help you recognize, address and recover from the cancer:

Basic facts

Testicular cancer occurs when cells grow uncontrollably and form a mass in the testicles, the small sperm-producing organs located in the scrotum. While the exact causes of this particular cancer are largely unknown, there are several risk factors that increase a man’s likelihood of developing it. Young, white men are most at risk, but a family history of testicular cancer, an undescended testicle, or abnormal testicular development can all significantly increase your risk of developing the cancer as well.

Most cases of testicular cancer are presented as a lump, but that isn’t the only warning sign. While it’s important to perform regular self-checks for testicular lumps, it’s also crucial to be on the lookout for symptoms like a swollen scrotum, an ache in the abdomen, or tenderness in the pectoral muscles. These can all be warning signs of testicular cancer.


If you or your partner exhibit these symptoms, it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor to be tested as soon as possible. This particular form of cancer has an incredible survival rate– 97 percent– when treated quickly.

Treatments range from simple surveillance, to radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or surgery. Surgeries might include removing the lymph nodes at the back of the abdomen, or possibly removing the testicle all together.


Some side effects of testicular cancer treatments can have little to no effect on your life, while others can have a significant impact. Here are some of the most common issues men face while recovering from treatment and how to address them:

-       Erectile dysfunction: During radiation treatment or chemotherapy, testosterone-producing cells can often become damaged, resulting in several intimacy issues. These include low libido and difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection. If you notice some of these issues yourself, consider taking an erectile dysfunction medication that contains sildenafil to improve blood flow to the penis.

-       Low fertility: Some cancer drugs can reduce sperm count, lessening your chances of conceiving. Often, sperm count can be recovered, but in rare circumstances the low numbers can be permanent. If you plan to have children after your treatment, ask your doctor about sperm banking before you begin.

-       Hearing damage: Many testicular cancer survivors experience hearing loss after certain types of chemotherapy. Many will also experience tinnitus, the constant sound of ringing in the ears which can reduce hearing ability. If this happens to you, it’s often permanent, but can be managed. Try to stay hydrated, keep your blood pressure low, and use headphones to minimize the effect of loud noises at concerts or sporting events. This should protect hearing problems from getting worse.

This April, make sure you’re taking the time to look after your health and educating yourself on the different health risks that could affect you. For more information on testicular cancer, visit www.testicularcancersociety.org.

Improving Your Children’s Health

3 ways to take a proactive approach

As a sign of the times, Millennial moms continue to lean toward proactive and preventative care when it comes to the health of their babies.

A survey of more than 300 moms in the United States from Evivo baby probiotic revealed more than half approach their children’s health with a proactive mindset. They are more likely to conduct their own research before visiting their pediatrician (more than 80 percent), and also inquire about particular ways they can improve the overall health of their children, even if they are not sick.

These tips can help you advocate for and improve the overall health of your baby:

Schedule regular well-visits

Although paying close attention to your baby’s appetite, activity level and general condition can provide ample information about his or her health, it can’t rule out every possible concern. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents schedule regular wellness visits during the first six months of a child’s life and beyond. During these visits, physicians can monitor for problems that may not be readily visible and they are also an opportunity for parents to ask questions. In addition to age-appropriate visits to the pediatrician, it’s also a good idea to begin preventive eye and dental care at an early age.

Be proactive about gut health

The first six months of life are a critical time to focus on gut health. Remember to pay attention to the bacteria living in the gut as it pertains to the development of the immune system. Research from the University of California, Davis shows the critical strain B. infantis, which is known to naturally protect baby’s gut from bad bacteria, is missing in nine of 10 U.S. babies today. When the strain is not present in the infant gut, it allows potentially harmful bacteria to thrive, which are linked to higher risk of colic, eczema, allergies, asthma, diabetes and obesity.

“The connection between rising autoimmune conditions and early immune health is becoming stronger with research about B. infantis and its impact on the infant gut microbiome, which makes the first six months of life a critical window to be proactive about gut health and restore B. infantis,” said Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician and best-selling nutrition author.

Thirty-seven percent of moms said they give their child a probiotic to encourage good health. Parents can promote immune health with an option like Evivo, which is the only baby probiotic clinically proven to restore B. infantis to natural levels. To learn more, visit evivo.com.

Incorporate plant-based foods for optimal nutrition

Breastfeeding is a significant first step in making sure your baby is getting all the nutrients he or she needs. Once you start feeding your child solids, it’s also important to introduce a wide variety of foods with high fiber, including fruits, veggies, beans and whole grains. According to the survey, parents today are focusing on whole foods to provide nutrients, as 47 percent of moms said they’re incorporating more plant-based foods into their family’s diets and 31 percent are eating more organic. If you have a picky eater, it can get tricky to get him or her to eat more fruits, veggies and whole grains on a regular basis, but an option like smoothies can be a simple way to pack in the nutrients.

There are many actions parents can take to promote healthy lifestyles for their children, but focusing on gut health and nutrition in the early months of their lives can be a good place to start. (Family Features)



Sustainable Eating Made Easy

The needs of grocery shoppers are seemingly always evolving, and now more than ever, they want to know where and how their food is produced and what impact it has on the environment. This is commonly referred to as “sustainable eating,” and its popularity is growing among shoppers.

Plant-based diets are a tenet of sustainable eating and mushrooms are often included as part of the movement. Known for their inherent umami flavor and nutrition properties, mushrooms are recognized for their unique growing process and need for minimal natural resources used during production, which makes mushrooms both healthy on the plate and gentle on the planet.

In addition, mushrooms are a versatile ingredient, and with so many fresh varieties to choose from, it’s simple to incorporate them into most meals. Three Mushroom and Garlic Grilled Pizza can satisfy the entire family, while favorites like Sauteed Mushroom and Sun-Dried Tomato Avocado Toast may hit the spot morning, noon and night, and quick sides such as Roasted Mushroom and Wheat Berry Salad can be an easy addition to dinner plates.

For more information on mushroom sustainability as well as additional recipes, visit mushroomcouncil.com .

Roasted Mushroom and Wheat Berry Salad

Recipe courtesy of the Mushroom Council

Servings: 4

  • 8          ounces white button mushrooms, halved
  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2       teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2          cups cooked wheat berries, warm
  • 2          green onions, sliced
  • 2          tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped


  • 2          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2          tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1          teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Place mushrooms on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Bake 10 minutes.
  3. Carefully stir mushrooms and bake 5 minutes until tender. Transfer mushrooms to medium bowl. Add wheat berries, green onions and cranberries.
  4. To make dressing: In small bowl, whisk olive oil, orange juice, curry powder and salt; pour over salad. Toss to mix. Serve warm.

Sauteed Mushroom and Sun-Dried Tomato Avocado Toast

Recipe courtesy of the Mushroom Council

Servings: 4

  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional, for drizzling
  • 1/4       cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 8          ounces sliced button mushrooms
  • 1/4       cup water
  • 1/2       teaspoon fresh thyme leaves kosher salt, to taste
  • 2          ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 4          slices toasted bread
  • shaved Parmesan cheese
  1. In skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add tomatoes and cook 1 minute. Add mushrooms and gently incorporate with tomatoes. Add water and stir well until water evaporates and mushrooms darken and become tender, about 4 minutes. Add thyme and salt, to taste. Set aside to cool.
  2. To assemble, gently smash half of each avocado over one slice of toast. Top each slice of toast with mushroom mixture. Top each with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with olive oil before serving.

Three Mushroom and Garlic Grilled Pizza

Recipe courtesy of the Mushroom Council

Servings: 4


  • 1          tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4          garlic cloves, minced
  • 5          basil leaves, minced
  • 2          tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4       cup half-and-half
  • 2          tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2       teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3          ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3          ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 3          ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1          ounce dry white wine or chicken stock
  • 1/4       teaspoon fine sea salt
  • pizza dough (14 inches)
  • olive oil
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 4          ounces whole milk mozzarella cheese, chopped
  • shaved Parmesan, for garnish
  • basil leaves, for garnish
  1. Heat grill to medium-high heat, about 425° F.
  2. To make sauce: In medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Whisk in garlic and basil; cook 1 minute. Sprinkle in flour while quickly whisking to form paste.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Slowly pour in half-and-half while continuing to whisk until there are no clumps. Increase heat slightly to bring to simmer. Stir as mixture thickens into sauce, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper; set aside.
  4. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add mushrooms and cook until they begin to turn tender, about 2 minutes. Carefully pour in wine or stock and continue cooking until liquid evaporates, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with salt.
  5. Stretch dough to make 14-inch pizza. Brush grill grates generously with olive oil. Place dough on grill and let cook about 3 minutes, until underside is browned and dough removes easily from grill. While removing dough from grill, flip it onto baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray so cooked side is up.
  6. Spread sauce over pizza and evenly cover in mushrooms. Add mozzarella cheese.
  7. Return pizza to grill, topping-side up. Close lid and let cook 3-5 minutes. Once top crust browns and cheese melts and bubbles, remove from grill. Let rest 2-3 minutes.
  8. Garnish with Parmesan and basil leaves; slice to serve.

The Mushroom Sustainability Story: Water, Energy and Climate Environmental Metrics (Infographic caption) (Family Features)

Mushroom Council

5 Blood Clot Risk Factors

Blood clots can affect anyone and may lead to significant health problems, but some people are at higher risk for life-threatening blood clots.

One in four people worldwide die of conditions caused by blood clots, also known by the medical term “thrombosis.” In fact, thrombosis is the third leading vascular diagnosis after heart attack and stroke, according to the American Heart Association.

There are two types of life-threatening blood clots, also called venous thromboembolism (VTE). Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a clot in a deep vein in the leg, arm or other large veins. A pulmonary embolism, or PE, occurs when a clot breaks free and travels to the lungs, blocking some or all of the blood supply.

Although VTE can be fatal, many, if not most, cases are preventable. Talk with a health care provider to understand your risk and use this information from the American Heart Association to understand the circumstances that may lead to higher risk:

Extended travel: Traveling longer than 8 hours, whether by plane, car, bus or train, can increase risks for life-threatening blood clots. Being seated for long periods can slow blood flow, and high altitudes can activate the body’s blood-clotting system. Consider wearing compression socks or finding time to stretch or walk around when traveling to aid in proper blood flow.

Estrogen-based birth control: Estrogen-based contraceptives can increase the risks for a life-threatening blood clot. Risks are present whether the estrogen is delivered into the blood stream with pills, a patch, an injection or a vaginal ring contraceptive. The risk is highest when first starting these prescriptions as the hormonal changes can cause blood cells to bind together more readily. Taking estrogen contraceptives can increase risks if you have factors such as inherited blood-clotting disorders, a family history of blood clots, surgery, obesity or plans for prolonged travel.

Recent hospital stays: Roughly 50 percent of life-threatening blood clots happen within three months of a hospitalization, surgery or traumatic injury, though only one in four adults knows that hospitalization is a risk factor for VTE. Hospital patients at the greatest risk are those with limited ability to move, people with previous history of blood clots, patients age 60 and older, people who have abnormal blood-clotting conditions and patients who have spent time in an intensive care or coronary care unit.

Pregnancy and childbirth: Pregnant women are at four times greater risk of a life-threatening blood clot than non-pregnant women. The risk increases after delivery. Blood clots cause approximately 10 percent of all maternal deaths in the United States, with pulmonary embolism being the leading cause. The blood-clotting system is activated during pregnancy to protect the woman from fatal bleeding during labor and delivery. In addition, the growing baby presses on the veins of the pelvis, slowing blood flow. Other risk factors for a blood clot during pregnancy and childbirth include inherited blood-clotting disorders, a history of blood clots, older age at the time of pregnancy, obesity, cesarean delivery and major bleeding after delivery.

Cancer diagnosis: Cancer patients typically spend significant time in the hospital which often means they are lying still for long periods and are more likely to have surgery or receive chemotherapy, which also increases risks. Cancers in bones, ovaries, the brain or pancreas and lymph nodes are associated with the highest incidence of a life-threatening blood clot.

If you have concerns about your risk for blood clots, especially if you have multiple risk factors, consult with your health care provider about how to lower the risk. Learn more at heart.org/bloodclotrisk. (Family Features)


American Heart Association

Resources for Addressing Mental Health Challenges at Work

Every year, about 1 in 5 adults in the United States experiences a mental illness and 1 in 25 lives with a serious mental illness that substantially interferes with or limits at least one major life activity. Mental illness is a top cause of worker disability in the U.S. and 62 percent of missed work days can be attributed to mental health conditions.

A leader in employee benefits, Unum recently published the report, “Strong Minds at Work,” on the prevalence of mental health issues in today’s workplaces. The research revealed just 25 percent of managers in the U.S. have received training on how to refer employees to mental health resources and more than half of people are unsure how to help a colleague with a mental health issue.

“The development, implementation and promotion of mental health strategies has become a top priority for many of today’s employers,” said Michelle Jackson, assistant vice president of market development at Unum. “Creating a workplace culture that promotes mental health resources and encourages employees to take advantage of them helps to destigmatize mental health issues and can lead to a happier, more productive workforce.”

Some of the report’s findings include:

  • Fifty-five percent of employees said their employer did not have, or they were unsure if their employer had, a specific program, initiative or policy in place to address mental health.
  • Sixty-one percent of employees felt there’s a social stigma in the workplace toward colleagues with mental health issues; half of them felt the stigma has stayed the same or worsened in the past five years.
  • Among employees with a mental health issue, 42 percent went to work with suicidal feelings.

“The fact that such a high percentage of employees have come to work feeling suicidal is troubling,” Jackson said. “While this is certainly a worst-case scenario and employers would hope issues would not progress to this level, it also emphasizes the need to ensure support and resources are understood and readily available in the workplace.”

The bulk of mental health resources are usually offered via an employer’s health care provider and can include medical care, an employee assistance program (EAP), counseling referrals and financial and legal counseling. However, employees often don’t fully understand the resources available to them.

According to the Unum study, HR professionals said 93 percent of their employers offer an EAP, yet only 38 percent of employees were aware of this resource. More than half of HR professionals said they offer financial counseling, legal services and telemedicine services, but a fraction of employees said they were aware these services exist.

“Employees should ask their HR department what mental health resources are available and be supportive of colleagues who may be struggling,” Jackson said. “Offering support to others and knowing where to direct them can not only save lives but also help create a more inclusive workplace environment.”

To download a copy of the mental health report, visit unum.com/mentalhealth. (Family Features)



New Children’s Book Offers Highly Effective Anxiety Coping Strategies

Reena B. Patel, a licensed educational psychologist and author, has a new book that will help parents, educators, and children with combating anxiety 

April 2nd is International Children’s Book Day, making it a great day to consider the impact that some books can have on today’s youth. One author, Reena B. Patel, is on a mission to help children learn how to identify and address stress and anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the country, affecting 18 percent of the adult population and 25 percent of children between the ages of 13 and 18. Many children under the age of 13 also experience anxiety disorders, making it an issue that impacts the population as a whole. 

“Starting at a young age, children are plagued with worry and anxiety, yet we are not always good at providing them with the coping skills that will help them overcome it,” explains Reena B. Patel, a parenting expert, licensed educational psychologist, and author. “This is often because parents and educators are not sure what coping skills work, so they can pass that information on to the children in their lives.”

That’s where Patel aims to change things. Her new book, “Winnie & Her Worries,” explores the area of worry and anxiety. While the book was written for kids ages 3-10, the information and coping strategies offered are effective for all ages dealing with anxiety. The book provides examples of common stressful situations, which are often brought on by living in a competitive world that has high demands and unrealistic expectations. The book also provides coping strategies that can be used to help address the fear and anxiety.

Coping strategies are thoughts and behaviors that people can use to help them get through emotionally difficult times, such as when they have anxiety, which is the fear of the unknown. Patel’s book aims to help parents, educators, coaches, and caretakers be able to help them identify anxiety in a concrete way and learn the coping strategies they can use to become more confident and less fearful. 

“Too many people experience anxiety on a regular basis,” added Patel. “The good news is that there are numerous things that people can do to address the situation. It’s just a matter of someone showing them what works, which is exactly what my new book does.”

In the January 2017 issue of the journal Annals of Psychiatry and Mental Health, researchers reported that chronic stress leads to anxiety and depression. Their report noted that stress is often neglected in day to day life when it could play a detrimental role in one’s mental health. They advise that social support, explanatory styles, locus of control, personality types, and coping skills can be significant when dealing with stress.

Winnie & Her Worries” offers healthy habits for the whole family. The book was written to target young kids, because it is harder to change maladaptive habits as teens and young adults if they do not have coping skills. Those who read the book will find that they will be able to better identify anxiety triggers, as well as gain valuable information regarding preventative tools and coping strategies for anxiety and stress. The tools are aimed at helping those who use them to feel more confident, comfortable, and able to engage in their everyday routine with ease and no worries or stress. This book has been created using professional techniques that are easy to implement, even amidst busy lives, making it an important book to have in every classroom and home. 

Patel is the founder of AutiZm& More, and as a licensed educational psychologist and guidance counselor, she helps children and their families with the use of positive behavior support strategies across home, school, and community settings. She does workshops around California, where she provides this information to health professionals, families, and educators. She is also the author of two children’s books that teach compassion and kindness, called “My Friend Max: A Story About a Friend with Autism,” and “Winnie & Her Worries,” both available on Amazon. To learn more or order the books, visit the website at www.reenabpatel.com.

About Reena B. Patel
Based in the San Diego area, Reena B. Patel (LEP, BCBA) is a renowned parenting expert, guidance counselor, licensed educational psychologist, and board-certified behavior analyst. For more than 20 years, Patel has had the privilege of working with families and children, supporting all aspects of education and positive wellness. She works extensively with developing children as well as children with exceptional needs, supporting their academic, behavioral and social development.  She was recently nominated for San Diego Magazine’s “Woman of the Year.” To learn more about her books and services, visit the website at www.reenabpatel.com, and to get more parenting tips, follow her on Instagram@reenabpatel.


Annals of Psychiatry and Mental Health. Chronic stress leads to anxiety and depressionhttps://www.jscimedcentral.com/Psychiatry/psychiatry-5-1091.pdf.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America.Facts & Statistics. https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics.

Bettoja Hotels Collection to Eliminate Plastic Bottles on Earth Day

Removal of plastic bottles in all mini-bars in hotels’ 495 rooms and restaurants

A day to promote environmental awareness and bring attention to the protection of the planet, Earth Day is celebrated in more than 193 countries each year. From poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones to littering beaches and lands to congesting waste streams and landfills, plastic pollution continues to pose a great threat to the survival of the planet.

One of Italy’s most renowned family-owned hospitality groups, Bettoja Hotels Collection announces the removal of all plastic bottles beginning on Earth Day 2019. As part of the company’s ongoing commitment to progress its three iconic hotels in Rome to a new chapter in the family’s hospitality tradition which began 140 years ago, Bettoja Hotels Collection continues to make instrumental strides in enhancing the hotel group’s mission as it evolves into the future.

Spanning five generations, there are 495 rooms among the three hotels, and the Bettoja family has renewed their commitment to their guests and the hospitality industry by beginning a 20 million-Euro renovation across all hotels. The renovation began in the summer of 2018 and will continue over the next several years. This sustainability initiative marks the first achievement in the brand’s commitment to environment. In celebration of Earth Day, Bettoja Hotels Collection will eliminate all plastic bottles in the mini-bars and the restaurants located in their 3 hotels in Rome: Hotel MediterraneoHotel Massimo D’Azeglio and Hotel Atlantico.

“The elimination of plastic bottles in our nearly 500 rooms has been a great desire of ours,” said Maurizio Bettoja, President of Bettoja Hotels Collection. “We are taking action on Earth Day this year and we hope to achieve a new sustainability goal every year.”

Earth Day is an important reminder of the need for a sustainable future and encourages people to show appreciation to the planet by making an effort to protect the environment and the ecosystems within it. This year, Bettoja Hotels Collection invites its guests to honor this commitment to the environment and will turn off the lights for one minute in the halls of all three hotels at 18:00PM on April 22nd. In addition, Ristorante Massimo D’Azeglio will dine by candlelight and soft lights on Earth Day.

About Bettoja Hotels Collection

Founded in 1875, the Bettoja Hotels Collection is a family-owned hospitality company spanning five generations with a long-standing tradition of hospitality. The hotel collection consists of three hotels located in the heart of Rome on Via Cavour – all within walking distance of each other.  Its flagship property, Hotel Mediterraneo was built in 1936 and blends museum-worthy Art Deco design and stylish furnishings with historical touchstones such as maps, prints and marble busts of Roman emperors. Set on Esquiline Hill, the highest of Rome’s seven hills, the ten-story hotel is among the highest buildings in Rome’s center and affords sweeping views of the city from its rooftop bar and terrace suites. The hotel’s spacious 245 rooms vary in décor and all feature graciously high ceilings and modern, new marble bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi and a fitness center are also available to all guests. The hotel’s new meeting rooms can host up to 120 people in theater style. The nearby Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio has 185 rooms with a special focus on history and houses original paintings from the 1860s Risorgimento (unification) period. The artwork focuses on the historical figures who were part of this movement, such as Massimo D’Azeglio, the hotel’s namesake, who was a statesman, painter and writer.  With three modern meeting rooms, Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio can host 180 people in theater style. The more intimate Hotel Atlantico is connected to the Hotel Mediterraneo and offers 65 rooms, three meeting rooms with natural light with the capacity to host up to 45 people in theater style.Ristorante Massimo D’Azeglio is located in Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio and is recognized for its ancient wine cellar with more than 1800 bottles including precious labels. The wine cellar’s intimate setting is perfect for wine tastings and private events with the capacity for up to 70 people seated or standing. Hotel Mediterraneo’s Roof Garden Restaurant and Bar is located on the 10th floor and provides an unforgettable city view.  All hotels offer 24-hour concierge service, room service, complimentary Wi-Fi and rates include buffet breakfast, hotel tax and service.  www.bettojahotels.it 

Dreaming of Spring with the March – April 2019 Edition of InFluential Magazine

We’re thrilled to welcome you to our multi-award winning March – April 2019 edition where we are Dreaming of Spring.

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The March – April 2019 Edition of InFluential Magazine

Understanding Pediatric Chronic Illnesses

How families can manage inflammatory bowel diseases

For a parent of a child diagnosed with a chronic illness, the future can be scary and overwhelming. Assembling a medical team and beginning to formulate a treatment plan, even becoming familiar with a glossary of new terminology, can be taxing.

Resources are available to help families make sense of many diseases and ailments, and some of these organizations even offer tools specifically designed to help support the care of a child patient. For example, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is a leading resource for families navigating inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

What is IBD?

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two most common types of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). These chronic conditions produce similar symptoms, use similar therapies, and are both treatable. However, they are not the same.

Crohn’s disease may occur in any part of the large intestine (also called the colon). In fact, it can happen anywhere in the entire digestive system. However, it most commonly develops right where the small and large intestine meet. In ulcerative colitis, only the colon and rectum are affected.

No one knows for sure what causes Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, but experts believe several factors may lead to the development of the diseases, including genes, environmental elements like viruses and bacteria, and inappropriate immune reactions.

What are the symptoms?

Despite the differences between Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, both can produce similar symptoms when active, all brought on by chronic inflammation. Symptoms may include diarrhea, rectal bleeding, urgent need to move bowels, abdominal cramps and pain, sensation of incomplete evacuation, and constipation.

“It is critical that if you suspect your child has inflammatory bowel disease, you seek care with a qualified pediatric gastroenterologist who can carefully and efficiently help determine the diagnosis and begin a treatment plan to help your child feel better, thrive, and maximize quality of life,” said Andrew Grossman, MD, pediatric gastroenterologist and chair of the pediatric affairs committee of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.

How does it affect children?

When IBD is diagnosed in childhood, it may be more extensive and follow a more severe course than when it is diagnosed in adulthood. While symptoms are similar in adults and children, some children with IBD experience delayed puberty and some fail to grow at a normal rate. Dealing with disease relapses, frequent doctor visits, hospitalizations, treatments, and even surgery, many children with IBD miss significant school time and social activities.

They are often overwhelmed by the emotional and psychological side effects of the disease.

Learning how to manage the disease is not always easy for children. Parents play an important role in educating their children about IBD, including teaching them they need to take their health seriously and take responsibility for caring for themselves.

How can IBD be managed?

It is possible to live a full, rewarding, happy, and productive life with IBD. Treatment begins with finding a pediatric gastroenterologist you trust. Your child’s IBD treatment may ultimately involve a wide range of therapies including medication, nutritional adjustments, and surgery.

Maintaining your child’s health may also involve lifestyle accommodations, like organizing your schedule for ample bathroom breaks when away from home. You may also need to work closely with your child’s school to manage absences and academic performance along with any medical care that needs to take place during school hours.

Many families also find value in building a network of supportive friends and loved ones. One example, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation offers Camp Oasis – a co-ed residential camp program that allows children to meet others like them in a safe and enriching environment.

Another resource is justlikemeibd.org , a website featuring stories and videos from teens with IBD as well as information on school, dating, managing stress and diet, research updates, and resources for parents.

Is your child ready to manage his or her own care?

For young adults, managing IBD may be particularly challenging, and this stage may be further complicated by the transfer of care from a pediatric health care team to an adult health care team. If you have a child taking the next steps into adult care, consider sharing these tips from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and visit crohnscolitisfoundation.org/campus-connection to help your young adult become independent in his or her IBD management:

  • Understand your disease and how it affects you personally, including your typical symptoms and signs of a flare. Also, be sure you understand when and how to contact your health care team.
  • Know your medications and how much you take. This is especially important when you see other doctors so they can help you avoid medicines that don’t work well with your IBD medications.
  • While a parent is still involved, practice becoming your own advocate with your doctor and others, such as school administrators. Ask questions and take an active role in your treatment.
  • When your doctor orders tests or procedures, be sure you understand any preparations that are required, and be sure to follow up so you understand the results and any changes necessary to your treatment.
  • If you move, enroll in a new insurance plan, or travel, know what medical services will be accessible and covered so you can make the best decisions about your health. (Family Features)

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation