Monday, September 8, 2014

Come see TEDMEDLive2014 at Central Library!

Through a partnership between TEDMED and St. Louis Public Library, the Library is pleased to offer a free opportunity to view a live-stream of the TEDMED 2014 conference this week, September 10-12, at Central Library, 1301 Olive St., 63103.

For those who are not familiar with TEDMED, the three-day conference is a meeting of more than 2,200 creative leaders from medical and non-medical fields, coming together to shape a better future for health and medicine. The conference will take place simultaneously at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco; the event at Central Library will feature a live feed of speakers as they present on stage at those locations.

Live-streaming will take place throughout the day on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, but feel free to come and go as you please. A brief description of the sessions is below; each session features several speakers discussing similar topics. For more information on speakers and sessions, visit For information about the live-streaming sessions at Central, call 539.0390. Hope to see you this week!

Wednesday, September 10
We Just Don't Know     11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.   
This session explores the liberation that can happen when we recognize the limits of our knowledge – those transformational moments when we realize that the more we know, the more we realize how little we know.

Flat Out Amazing     3:45-5:30 p.m.
This session focuses on imagination at the far edge of possibility, featuring stories of the seemingly impossible acts, facts or events that should inspire and dazzle even the most cynical or sophisticated listener.

Turn It Upside Down     6:45-8:30 p.m.
This session introduces surprising insights that flip beliefs, question standard operating procedures, discard some closely held assumptions and lead to fresh insights about health and medicine.

Thursday, September 11
Don't You Dare Talk About This     11:45 a.m.-1:45 p.m.
This session will raise controversial issues in health and medicine that many people are reluctant to discuss publicly.

Play is Not a Waste of Time     3:30-5:20 p.m.
This session reveals the many ways that imagination rewards us, specifically how health and medicine are enhanced through the extraordinary power of play.

Stealing Smart     6:30-8:30 p.m.
The session demonstrates how some of the best solutions to problems in health and medicine come from other worlds than the domain where the problem originated or is usually addressed.

Friday, September 12
Weird and Wonderful     10 a.m.-noon
This session offers a joyful survey of surprising combinations and remarkable results. It’s about science and health trends that came out of left field, defied expectations or simply seem completely off the wall, in a good way.

I Was Just Thinking Too Small     1:30-3:20 p.m.
This session encourages us to step back and see the full picture, realizing that a narrow focus can be as limiting as it is productive.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Health Insurance Enrollment Opportunities at Central Library

Although open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace doesn't start until November 15, the Library is offering opportunities to discuss health insurance enrollment on the first Saturday of each month at Central Library. Starting this Saturday, September 6, certified application counselors from Grace Hill Health Centers will be at Central Library, 1301 Olive St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

These application counselors can answer questions about the health insurance marketplace, as well as offer information about Gateway to Better Health, a program that temporarily helps uninsured adults in the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County access affordable healthcare options.

The application counselors can also help you enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace, if you qualify for a special enrollment period outside of open enrollment. Qualifying circumstances include losing a job that supplied health insurance, divorce, or death of a family member. To find out if you qualify, take this quick survey at

In the coming months, keep an eye on our Affordable Care Act page, as we update it to reflect the 2014/2015 open enrollment period! If you have questions, please call 314.539.0390.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Talking About Depression

There has been a lot of talk about depression in the media since the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams last week. Several reports note that Williams suffered from depression before he took his own life. But what exactly is depression, and who gets it?

The National Library of Medicine notes that "depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods. Clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for a longer period of time." Go here for a easy-to-read printable pamphlet from the National Library of Medicine that explains the basics of depression.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 10 percent of American adults report experiencing depression; major depression especially affects those between the ages of 45 and 64, women, people with less than a high school education, blacks, Hispanics, those of mixed race, the unemployed, people who used to be married but no longer are, and those without access to health insurance coverage.

There is a lot of good information online about depression, including this page from the American Psychiatric Association, which features videos of people describing their personal experiences with depression. If you think that you may be experiencing depression, check out this page from the Centers for Disease Control, which offers ways to discuss depression with your doctor.

While there are several possible causes of depression (everything from stress to hormones to life changes and a multitude of other things), it's important to note that depression often accompanies other illnesses. For information on depression and its relationship to other specific conditions, visit this link list from the National Library of Medicine. In this list, you'll find everything from dementia to HIV/AIDS to chronic pain.

For more depression information, check out the links below:
As always, the St. Louis Public Library has several books that focus on depression. Check the Dewey Decimal call number 616.8527 in the non-fiction section of your branch, or take a peek at the titles listed below:
  • Depression Sourcebook, edited by Amy L. Sutton
  • Breaking Free From Depression: Pathways to Wellness by Jesse H. Wright and Laura W. McCray
  • Depression and Bipolar Disorder: Your Guide to Recovery by William R. Marchand
  • Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions: Self-Management of Heart Disease, Arthritis, Diabetes, Depression, Asthma, Bronchitis, Emphysema and Other Physical and Mental Health Conditions by Kate Lorig
  • The Feel Good Factor by Patrick Holford
  • First Steps Out of Depression by Sue Atkinson
  • Dealing with Depression: Understanding and Overcoming the Symptoms of Depression by Caroline Shreeve
  • The 10 Best-Ever Depression Management Techniques: Understanding How Your Brain Makes You Depressed & What You Can Do to Change It by Margaret Wehrenberg
  • Climbing out of Depression: A Practical Guide to Real and Immediate Help by Sue Atkinson
  • The Depression Answer Book: Professional Answers to More Than 275 Critical Questions About Medication, Therapy, Support & More by Wes Burgess

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Prostate Cancer Walk This Weekend!

Check out this event featuring one of our community partners!

This Saturday, August 9, 100 Black Men of Metropolitan St. Louis will host its annual Community Health Day at Harris-Stowe State University. The event will feature the 12th annual Prostate Cancer Survivor and Awareness Run/Walk, as well as a Zumba session, family workshops, and prostate cancer screening from the Prostate Cancer Community Partnership through our partners at the Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities.

Pre-registration for the event is $20, while registration the day of the event is $25 and starts at 7 a.m. on Saturday. For information, call 314-367-7778 or visit

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Free Health Screenings for Kids on August 2

Join the St. Louis Public Library for a free Back-to-School Health Fair next Saturday, August 2. The fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Locust Street on the north side of Central Library, 1301 Olive St. downtown.

We'll have demonstrations on water safety and plenty of health screenings available, including vision, hearing, lead, and asthma screening, as well as dental, nutrition, ADHD, health insurance, and general health information from a wide variety of partners.

We'll have lots of fun at the fair too, with popcorn, a visit from the St. Louis Fire Department, face painting, and a visit from Snowbaby the Clown. Best of all, everything is free and no registration is necessary!

For more information, call Kara at 314-539-0390. We look forward to seeing you next Saturday!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Join the Library for a Chat About Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 29 million Americans have diabetes. What’s even more startling is that, of those, more than 8 million don’t know they have it.

To help raise awareness about the disease, the St. Louis Public Library and its partners will present “Diabetes: What’s New, What Works, and How Can I Prevent It?” The program will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 22 in the Carnegie Room at Central Library, 1301 Olive Street. It will feature Certified Diabetes Educator Jennifer Markee and pharmacist Amy Drew, who will discuss this increasingly prevalent disease and the ways in which it can be treated and managed.

A consultant for the St. Louis Diabetes Coalition and the OASIS Institute, Markee is a medical social worker and a certified diabetes educator through the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Drew is an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy and a practicing pharmacist at the Ambulatory Clinic at Mercy Clinic Family Medicine.

“In the last 10 to 15 years, there has been such an increase in the diagnosis of diabetes. It’s becoming more pervasive,” Markee said. “One out of five Americans has diabetes so this is important for people to look at and not sweep under the rug.”

Markee said that a diabetes diagnosis often comes with a dose of guilt, as people often automatically assume that they did something wrong to deserve the diagnosis. However, diabetes is part lifestyle and part hereditary. “It becomes this elephant in the room, and people think it’s not valid enough to talk about in conversation,” she said.

At the July 22 event, Markee said she hopes to remove some of that stigma, and to help people learn about the symptoms and warning signs of diabetes, as well as how it is diagnosed, and help them get started on developing a support system to learn more about this chronic disease. She and Drew will also discuss some of the ways that diabetes can be controlled, including exercise habits and reading nutrition labels.

“Diabetes: What’s New, What Works, and How Can I Prevent It?” is the third presentation in “Can I Catch That?,” the St. Louis Public Library’s 2014 Consumer Health Information Speaker Series. The fourth presentation, “See No Evil, Speak No Evil: The Story Your Eyes and Mouth Tell About Your Health,” will take place on Tuesday, October 28 at Central Library. For more information on this series and other health events at the Library, call 314.539.0390.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Are You At Risk for Diabetes?

All month on the blog, we're talking about diabetes. And we know that some of you are thinking, "Well, I don't have diabetes. Why should I care about this?" Well, considering how many people across the country do have Type 2 diabetes, chances are you know someone who does have diabetes, whether it's a friend, co-worker, or family member.

And then there's the fact of prediabetes, a condition in which someone's blood sugar levels are elevated, though not enough to JUSTIFY a diagnosis of diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 79 million Americans, and half of those over the age of 65, have prediabetes. The truly scary part though is that just 7% of those with diabetes know that they have it, and many of those with prediabetes show no symptoms. If only for that reason, it's worth taking a look at prediabetes and the risk factors associated with diabetes.

For good, easy-to-print information on prediabetes, check out this handout from the American Diabetes Association. The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse also has some great information on prediabetes, including a list of factors to consider when deciding whether or not to be tested for prediabetes. Among those factors are being over the age of 45 and being overweight in combination with any of the following:
  • being physically inactive
  • having a parent or sibling with diabetes
  • having high blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • having a history of gestational diabetes
  • being African American, Latino, Pacific Islander, Native American, or Asian American (these populations typically have higher concentrations of those with diabetes)
There are also several interactive tools online that can help you determine your risk for diabetes. While these should not be considered definitive, they can help you figure out what to talk to your doctor about in regard to diabetes. Here are a couple tools to try:
  • The Siteman Cancer Center and Washington University School of Medicine's Your Disease Risk covers diabetes, as well as several other diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
  • The American Diabetes Association has a page devoted to tools to help determine Type 2 diabetes risk, including a short questionnaire.
If you think you might be at risk of diabetes, check out the American Diabetes Association's website, which has a whole section devoted to ways in which you can lower your risk through exercise, eating right, and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Stay tuned this month for more information about diabetes!