Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Get Ready to Grow that Mo!

Movember is nearly upon us, so now is as good a time as any to start prepping that face for a month ofmoustache-growing! Check out our Movember page for participation rules.

So you may be wondering... what does growing a moustache have to do with health? This is a health blog, after all. Led by the international Movember Foundation, Movember is a month-long event to raise awareness for men's health issues, particularly prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health. It's a simple premise: grow a moustache for a month, and when people comment on your changing face, use it as an opportunity to open up a conversation about men's health. (Women can participate too, without the moustache. Just help raise awareness!)

So here are a few talking points (courtesy of the Movember Foundation) to bring up when people start pointing at your furry upper lip:
  • The average life expectancy of men (76.2 years) is almost five years shorter than that of women (81 years).
  • Half of men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
  • Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men in the United States; more than 233,000 men will be diagnosed with it in 2014.
  • Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men between the ages of 15 and 35, and about 8,820 new cases are diagnosed each year.
  • One in four adults will experience a mental health problem in a given year.
  • More than four times as many men as women die by suicide in the United States.
So remember to Shave the Date on November 1! Start off with a clean-shaven face and let that moustache grow throughout the month. And don't forget to send in your pics to We'll post them on this blog, and if your peers are suitably impressed by your facial masterpiece by the end of the month, you may win a prize!

Psst! There's more to Movember than just the moustache photos. Visit Central Library in November to compare moustaches while enjoying some great moustache-themed movies. The series kicks off November 6 with Smokey and the Bandit at 6:30 p.m., preceded by a visit from three health organizations focusing on mental health, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

See No Evil, Speak No Evil: Learn About Your Eyes and Mouth at the Library

Join the St. Louis Public Library for our final installment in the 2014 Consumer Health Speaker Series, "Can I Catch That?," as we discuss eye and mouth health, and what they can indicate about your overall health.

"See No Evil, Speak No Evil: The Story Your Eyes and Mouth Tell About Your Health" will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 28 in the Carnegie Room at Central Library, 1301 Olive Street, 63103. The discussion will feature an intimate conversation with ophthalmologist Dr. Michael Donahoe, dentist Dr. Candace Wakefield, and pharmacist Dr. Jamie Shelly.

This event is free and open to the public, and no reservations are required. Free parking is available at the Library's parking lot at the corner of 15th and Olive streets, a block west of the Library. For additional information, call 314.539.0390.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Stop by the Baden Branch this Saturday!

The Library's Baden Branch, 8448 Church Road, is once again hosting its Living Life Expo this Saturday, October 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The seventh annual expo will feature a wealth of health information, including routine screenings, referrals, a Zumba class, acupressure demonstrations, and plenty of opportunities to get your health questions answered by professionals! There will even be face painting for kids!

Participating organizations include:
  • Bernard Becker Medical Library (of Washington University School of Medicine)
  • Barnes-Jewish Care
  • CLAIM, a state health insurance assistance program through Primaris
  • Grace Hill Health Centers
  • Riverview West Florissant Development Corporations
  • St. Louis Children's Hospital's Family Resource Center
  • St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's 6th District
  • Siteman Cancer Center's Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities
While representatives from each of the above organizations will be available throughout the event, there are a couple of special presentations during the event.

First, from 11 a.m. to noon, licensed massage therapist Rachel Davis will introduce relaxation and meditation techniques (including the Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT) to help eliminate stress and improve your health. Then, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., fitness instructor RJ will lead a heart-pumping Zumba class, suitable for having a blast dancing while getting some exercise.

The entire day is free and open to the public. For additional information call Jan at 314.388.2400.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hot Topic: Ebola

We at St. Louis Public Library have received several questions about the Ebola virus over the last few months, as the hemorrhagic fever has infected and killed thousands in Africa. On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control announced that a patient in Dallas, Texas, was diagnosed with the disease, following a trip to Liberia. That patient is being treated in isolation at a hospital in Dallas, in the hopes of decreasing the chance of exposure to other people.

While this is certainly a scary disease, it is well worth taking a moment to step back and learn about what exactly Ebola is and how it is spread.

According to the National Library of Medicine, Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a virus that affects humans and other primates, and is spread through direct contact to blood and other secretions from an infected individual, thus making it not nearly as contagious as other diseases (such as the flu or measles). A couple of things make this virus a bit scarier though:
  • First, the early symptoms of Ebola are similar to other, less severe conditions and include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and lack of appetite. Symptoms can appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure to the virus. The fact that these symptoms also occur in several milder viruses makes it hard to diagnose someone in the early stages of Ebola. However, the CDC has urged those who have any reason to suspect that they may have been exposed to Ebola and is experiencing these symptoms to be treated in isolation and get blood tests done.
  • Second, there is no cure for Ebola, and approximately 50% of those infected die of the disease. There have been some experimental treatments developed, although they have not been tested in humans, nor have they been produced in significant quantities. Right now, the CDC is urging healthcare workers to treat symptoms as they appear.
It is important to remember that there has been just one diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States, and the CDC has stressed that the chances of an outbreak here are low: "Ebola is not spread through casual contact; therefore, the risk of an outbreak in the U.S. is very low. We know how to stop Ebola’s further spread: thorough case finding, isolation of ill people, contacting people exposed to the ill person, and further isolation of contacts if they develop symptoms."

For additional information on Ebola, visit the CDC's page dedicated to the virus, which includes tips on preventing exposure. Another great resource is, which has a page devoted to explaining the disease to children.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Upcoming Events From Our Community Partners

The St. Louis Public Library's community partners have some great events coming up. Make sure to check them out!

Our partners at Siteman Cancer Center's Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities will be participating in a free health fair this Saturday, September 27. The Shalom Church HealthFest will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hazelwood East High School, 11300 Dunn Road, 63138, and will feature a wide variety of health screenings and resources. PECaD's Prostate Cancer Community Partnership will be providing free prostate cancer screenings. To pre-register for the health fair call 314.653.2322.

On Tuesday, October 7, the Washington University School of Medicine will host a lecture by Dr. Goldie Byrd, who will discuss engaging the community in the recruitment of African Americans for genetic studies in Alzheimer's Disease. The lecture is the 9th annual Norman R. Seay Lecture, named in honor of the civil rights leader and advocate for Alzheimer's research. The lecture will take place from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. October 7 in the Connor Auditorium at WUSM's Farrell Learning & Teaching Center, 520 S. Euclid Ave. Reservations are required. Call 314.286.0930 to RSVP.

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.