Love Your Brain!


Yesterday was the Annual Alzheimer’s Association Professional Education Conference: Dementia: Current Trends, Future Directions. If you missed it, please save the date for next year, the knowledge presented from the leaders in the country working in dementia research and disease management is invaluable.

One of the presenters, Keith Fargo, PhD talked about 10 Ways to Love Your Brain: Tips that may reduce the risk of cognitive decline. These are some of the lifestyle changes and preventative actions that La Mer promotes with it’s patients.





Break a sweat.
Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body. Several studies have found an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline.


Hit the books.
Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, take a class at a local college, community center or online.


Butt out.
Evidence shows that smoking increases risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce that risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked.


Follow your heart.
Evidence shows that risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke — obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes — negatively impact your cognitive health. Take care of your heart, and your brain just might follow.


Heads up!
Brain injury can raise your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Wear a seat belt, use a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike, and take steps to prevent falls.


Fuel up right.
Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Although research on diet and cognitive function is limited, certain diets, including Mediterranean and Mediterranean-DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), may contribute to risk reduction.


Catch some Zzz's.
Not getting enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems with memory and thinking.


Take care of your mental health.
Some studies link a history of depression with increased risk of cognitive decline, so seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns. Also, try to manage stress.


Buddy up.
Staying socially engaged may support brain health. Pursue social activities that are meaningful to you. Find ways to be part of your local community — if you love animals, consider volunteering at a local shelter. If you enjoy singing, join a local choir or help at an afterschool program. Or, just share activities with friends and family.


Stump yourself.

Challenge and activate your mind. Build a piece of furniture. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic. Play games, such as bridge, that make you think strategically. Challenging your mind may have short and long-term benefits for your brain.

Here is a link to the Alzheimer’s website to the full guide:

Dry Skin 101 with Michael Huff, MD!


Dry Skin 101 with Michael Huff, MD

When one realizes that we live in a semi-arid desert it is easy to understand why dry skin is one of the commonest things seen in a primary care doctor’s office. This complaint is more common in the winter when the air is even drier.

When a patient suffers from dry skin the most common complaint is “I itch!”, but there is no rash. It is also usual that the itch is worse at night. Commonly there is no visible sign that there is anything wrong with the skin. Occasionally there will be some scales or other signs of dry skin, but these findings are less common than normal appearing skin. If the patient is scratching the itch there are frequently some small scabs on the problem area. These areas are commonly the lower legs.

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In addition to our dry climate, other causes of dry skin are the things that we do to our skin in the name of cleanliness. Many people shower or bathe daily. When they do this they usually lather up the entire body. This use of soap depletes the natural oils in the skin and makes it dry. When it is dry it tends to itch.

The treatment for this uncomfortable itch is to correct the things that cause the dry skin. We can’t do much about the climate. It is what it is. What we can do however is ameliorate some of the other causes of dry skin.

One thing that will help is to decrease the frequency of the showers. Many people will cringe at the thought of not showering every day, but for severe cases of dry skin that is exactly what is needed.

The next thing to do is use the correct soap. The correct soap is one that is not very drying. There are 2 soaps that have been tested and found to be mild. Those 2 are Dove (original) and Lux. They are mild and will not dry out the skin when used correctly.

The correct use of soap is to use it in only the areas that get sweaty. These areas are the face, armpits, and crotch. Some women may also want to include under the breasts. The rest of the body does not need any soap. Simple rinsing in the shower is all that is needed, unless you are covered in mud!

Finally, you need to lubricate the skin and replace the oils that the water and the dry air have washed out. The product that I recommend is Aquaphor . Your first thought when you see this product is “Its too greasy!”. It may seem greasy in the jar but when you put it on your skin and RUB IT IN it doesn’t leave the skin greasy at all.

It may take a few days of this treatment (minimal use of soap followed by Aquaphor rubbed in over the whole body immediately after a shower) to make the itch go away but it will. Thereafter one should use this routine after every shower. If one follows this routine daily, it will prevent the itch caused by dry skin.


Article Written By Dr. Michael Huff

Dr. Huff is a third generation family practitioner.  He practices family medicine in Oxnard where he was born and raised. He has been in practice for over 25 years.  His special interests are pediatrics, gynecology and sports medicine.

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Thought for your Friday

“Empathy and Compassion

Give life meaning and purpose.

Our healing connection to life

Our personal self.

People in our lives.

Our avocations, jobs.”

- Anonymous


Health Benefits of Soluble Fibers

Soluble fibers are fibers that dissolve in water and form gels and become syrupy. Some examples of soluble fibers are oats, barley, legumes, okra and citrus fruits. The enzymes that the human body produces cannot digest soluble fibers but the bacteria on our colons can ferment them.

Foods rich in soluble fibers can lower blood cholesterol because they bind to cholesterol and carry it out of the body in the stool.

Soluble fibers can also regulate the blood glucose because they delay the transit of nutrients in the digestive tract and this slows the glucose absorption and prevents the glucose spike in your body.

Soluble fibers also help maintain normal colonic bacteria needed for intestinal health.

In the long run, these things aid in the prevention of heart disease and diabetes. Oatmeal is cholesterol lowering food and is easy to incorporate into your diet.

Here is a recipe that I make daily:

Keri’s Colon Brekkie:

½ cup Oatmeal

1 tsp. Cinnamon

2 tblsp. Flaxseed

2 tblsp. Raisins

¼ cup Blueberries

1 packet Stevia sweetener

1 Egg

A few tablespoons water to help with mixing.


I blend all of them together and microwave between 4-6 minutes until solid. When it is done it is the texture of a bread or a muffin. You can try this with your own fruit add-ins, ½ a banana is really delicious or sliced apple.



Blog written by: Keri Pimentel

Keri is the Coordinator of Patient Services for La Mer. 

2018 Alzheimer's Advocacy Day Registration Open for 1 More Week!

2018 State Advocacy Day Registration Open 1 More Week!

There’s still time to register for State Advocacy Day, Wednesday, February 28, at the capitol!  Join fellow advocates from throughout the state in educating state legislators on the importance of:

  1. increased research spending;
  2. expanded home and community-based services, and
  3. new tools and training for early detection and diagnosis.

Bring your story – and your voice – to Sacramento!  To sign up before the February 21st  registration deadline, click here.

See our Community Events page for more information:


Resources by Ventura County Residents Affected by the Thomas Fire

The Health Task Force of the Ventura County Thomas Fire Recovery Team is trying to get information out to Ventura County residents to ensure they have access to the resources available to them if they have been affected by the fire. 

Read Advisories below, many people may not be aware of the toxic chemicals left over after a fire and how it may impact them.

More recovery information is available at


A fire in a home can cause serious damage. The building and many of the things in your home may have been badly damaged by flames, heat, smoke and water.

You may find things that the fire did not burn up but are now ruined by smoke and soggy with water used to put out the flames. Anything that you want to save or reuse will need to be carefully cleaned.

The firefighters may have cut holes in the walls of the building to look for hidden flames. They may have cut holes in the roof to let out the heat and smoke. Cleanup will take time and patience.

Food facilities need to seek Environmental Health Services prior to reopening your facility. Contact Environmental Health at 805 654-2813.


  Wear sturdy shoes (steel toes and shanks are recommended) and clothing

 Hazardous chemicals and conditions may be present

 Inspect propane tanks for visible damage before turning on

 Wear protective gear when sorting through possessions. Anything in contact with ash should be sanitized and cleaned. Sorting through/cleaning burn debris is not recommended.

 Be aware of slip, trip, fall and puncture hazards.

It is important to understand the risk to your safety and health even after the fire is out. The soot and dirty water left behind may contain things that could make you sick.

Be very careful if you touch any fire-damaged items. Ask the advice of the fire department, local building officials, your insurance agent, and restoration specialists before starting to clean or make repairs.

Do not eat, drink, or breathe in anything that has been near the flames, smoke soot, or water used to put the fire out.


Fire ash may be irritating to the skin, nose and throat may cause coughing and/or nose bleeds. Fine particles can be inhaled deeply into lungs and may aggravate asthma and may make it difficult to breathe.

Refrain from cleaning ash and fire debris until professional hazardous material cleanup services are secured.

 When exposure to dust or ash cannot be avoided, use a well-fitted NIOSH-certified air-purifying respirator N-95 mask.

 Children should not be in the vicinity while cleanup is in progress. Even if care is exercised, it is easy to stir up ash that may contain hazardous substances. In addition, the exploratory behavior of children may result in direct contact with contaminated materials.

 Clean ash off house pets and other domesticated animals if they have been in contaminated areas. It is best to not allow pets in these areas due to the potential risk to their health and their ability to spread outside of contaminated areas.

 Wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants to avoid skin contact. Goggles are recommended. Contact with wet ash may cause chemical burns or irritation on skin. Change your shoes and clothing prior to leaving the decontamination site, to avoid tracking ash into your car, home, etc.


Do not use your water if you suspect or have been told it is contaminated to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, wash your hands, make ice, or make baby formula. Safe water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene includes bottled, boiled, or treated water.

If you have a drinking water well, listen to your local health authorities for advice on using your well water.


Keeping hands clean during an emergency helps prevent the spread of germs. If your tap water is not safe to use, wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected. Follow these steps to make sure you wash your hands properly:

 Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap.

 Rub your hands together (20 seconds) to make a lather and scrub them well.

 Rinse your hands well under running water.

 Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

* A temporary hand washing station can be created by using a large water jug that contains clean water.  Food in cans or jars may appear to be okay, but if they've been close to the HEAT of a fire, they may no longer be safe. Heat from a fire can activate food spoilage bacteria. If the heat is extreme, the cans or jars themselves can split or rupture, rendering the food unsafe.

 One of the most dangerous elements of a fire is sometimes not the fire itself, but TOXIC FUMES released from burning materials. Toxic fumes can permeate the packaging and contaminate the food. Any type of food stored in permeable packaging (cardboard, plastic wrap, etc.) should be thrown away. Discard any raw foods stored outside the refrigerator such as potatoes or fruit that could be contaminated by the fumes.

 Chemicals used to fight fires contain toxic materials and can contaminate food and cookware.

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol- based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers DO NOT eliminate all types of germs.


Please use caution and follow guidance provided about in addition to the following:

 Food Safety

Foods exposed to fire can be compromised!

Food stored in refrigerators or freezers can also become contaminated by fumes. The refrigerator seal isn't airtight and fumes can get inside.

Foods that are exposed to chemicals should be thrown away. This includes food stored at room temperature, such as fruits and vegetables, as well as foods stored in permeable containers like cardboard and screw-topped jars and bottles.

Reheating food that has become contaminated will not make it safe!

When in doubt, throw it out!

Cleaning and Sanitizing

Cleaning and sanitizing your household after an emergency is important to help prevent the spread of illness and disease.

Clean and sanitize surfaces in a four-step process

1. Wash with soap and hot, clean water.

2. Rinse with clean water.

3. Sanitize by immersing for 1 minute in a solution of 1 cup (8 oz/240 mL) of unscented household chlorine bleach in 5 gallons of clean water.

4. Allow to air dry.

Please remember the following safety tips when cleaning.

 Never mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleaner.

 Wear rubber or other non-porous boots, gloves, and eye protection.

 Try not to breathe in product fumes. If using products indoors, open windows and doors to allow fresh air to enter.

Smoke, Water, Ash and Debris Management

Seek professional damage and debris removal/restoration services.

Fire Resources and Public Health Updates! Please Share!

This is important information given to us by the Ventura County Medical Association regarding N95 masks and a Public Health Warning!

Click on the links below for more information!

1.    Ventura County Public Health Department Press Release: Free Particulate Mask (Distribution Locations)

2.    N95 Mask Guidance (provides general information regarding the advised, mask-type)

3.    California Department of Public Health Press Release: State Public Health Officer Urges Avoiding Breathing Wildfire Smoke


For updated information regarding the Thomas Fire incident please check

For recovery information please visit

Resources for Ventura County Fire Victims

So many people have been uprooted and displace by the fire in our community, here are some resources that you, your family and friends may need.


Check for information regarding the fire situation and current evacuation maps, school closings, etc.

This is the current update from the website:


12/7/17 @ 0728

EOC Hotline 805-465-6650

The fire continues to burn actively with extreme rates of spread and long range spotting when pushed by winds. The fire is established on the north and east side of Hwy 150 and is also burning on the west side of Hwy 33. The fire has pushed northwest of Ventura and has reached the Hwy 101. Firefighters continue to work aggressively to protect life and property while working on control efforts around the fire perimeter. 

Casitas Municipal Water District has issued a boil water order for the Upper Ojai Valley, Casitas Springs Foster Park and entire City of Ventura due to loss of pressure and water supply from the fire related power outages. All tap water used for drinking and cooking should be boiled to a rolling boil for approximately 1 minute. This is the preferred method to ensure water is safe to drink.

In response to the needs of individuals and families displaced and traumatized by the fires in Ventura County, the Ventura County Behavioral Health department is deploying disaster response teams to the various shelters throughout the county. Mental health professionals will be on site at designated times to provide crisis intervention, counseling and community resource referrals in collaboration with other emergency response services. Please notify shelter staff if such services are desired.

 For additional information or other inqires related to Behavioral Health services, please contact them at their toll-free 24/7 hotline at (866) 998-2243

The city of Ventura Police Department has declared a curfew in response to the fire. Effective December 5, 2017 a curfew is in effect starting at 10pm and ending at 5am daily. The County of Ventura, City of Santa Paula, City of Ojai and City of Ventura have all proclaimed a local emergency.



To get current alerts to evacuations and fire updates in your area,

 text your zip code to 888-777



Here's a list of evacuation shelters: 


City of Ventura - Ventura County Fairgrounds at Miners Building (Red Cross - Includes an Animal Shelter for all types of animals)  – 10 W Harbor Blvd, Ventura, CA 93001

City of Ojai - Nordhoff High School (Red Cross) -1401 Maricopa Hwy, Ojai, CA 93023

City of Oxnard - Oxnard College Gymnasium (Red Cross)- Open 12/5/17, 0700

City of Santa Paula - Santa Paula Community Center (City of SP run shelter) - Open 0800

 City of Fillmore - Veteran's Memorial Bldg (City of Fillmore run shelter), 511 2nd Street - Open 0800

UC Santa Barbara - Santa Barbara Multi Activity Center, 516 Ocean Road, Santa Barbara, CA


The Alzheimer’s Association has put out a Disaster Tip Sheet that you can use. CLICK HERE


Please be safe out there.


“Good exercise for the heart:

Reach out and help your neighbor.”

  • Mark Twain


Treatment of "Dry Mouth" Caused by Radiation Therapy

In this day of innovative medical management, successful treatment of cancer patients has saved lives. However, with some cases there can be serious side effects.  For example, in treating head and neck cancer patients with radiation and chemotherapy, xerostomia or dry mouth can result.


On each side of the mouth salivary duct from the parotid gland empties near to second upper molar. It secretes serous fluid. There are also sublingual and sub- maxillary glands that secrete mucous fluid.

The parotid gland is easily affected by radiation and this results in thick sticky fluid with scarce saliva. The patient has difficulty chewing food and the tongue seems to stick to the roof of the mouth. This results in the patient nor enjoying his food and may end up losing weight.

One of the best ways of dealing with this problem is acupuncture. It may take 2 to 6 treatments. The treatment is usually repeated within 24 hours of the first treatment for best results. A special protocol and how to use these needles in certain sequence that results in flow of saliva.


Article written by Dr. Indarigt Singh, MD

Dr. Singh's focus is healthy living and acupuncture helps with managing chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia and depression.  He has been board certified in Family Medicine and received extensive training in acupuncture at UCLA and at the Academy of Pain Management for Acupuncture. He incorporates auricular acupuncture, body acupuncture and scalp acupuncture and the results are complementary to western medical practice.  A well and balanced person is in a dynamic state of physical, emotional, and spiritual harmony.

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