Thursday, 23 June 2016 16:00

Guy Grooming 101

Dude, that haircut from high school and your unruly beard have got to go. Let's start with a "man"icure, because every guy should have a proud handshake, and move on from there.
Here is a rundown of what the experts say members of the male species ought to do to take care of their appearance from top to bottom.

Face Forward
Put down that soap, guys. Good grooming begins with a good skincare routine. That means you should kick off each day with a gentle face wash, hydrating moisturizer and sunblock. At night, cleanse, exfoliate up to three times a week, tone and finish with a hydrating moisturizer. In addition to developing a proper daily and weekly routine, experts recommend monthly facials to give your skin an extra boost.

Guy Grooming 101"We live in a time where being fit, healthy and staying young are in demand," says Allison Hillyer, owner of Dermani Medspa. "It's imperative to use a great skincare line at home, and to come to us as professionals—think of us as personal trainers for your skin."

Lyn Ross, a master esthetician and founder of Institut' DERMed Spa notes, "A man's skin is 20 percent thicker than a woman's skin and usually is more oily. For this reason, their skincare needs are slightly different." She also thinks that most men prefer a simple home-care regimen that might include cleanser, exfoliator and specialty creams for oil control or wrinkles.

Not sure where to begin when it comes to product selection? Patrick Pickens, co-owner and co-developer of HiQ Cosmetics, recommends going natural with products because, as our largest organ, skin absorbs whatever you put on it. "If you take care of your skin, and start at a young age, it will delay the signs of aging," says Pickens. Most importantly, wear sunblock every day and look for a product with a physical block, like zinc.

At the Root of It All
When it comes to hair, men have a lot of it; even if it's not always in the right places. Whether you need a shave, a wax, a trim or maybe to spur new growth, a solution is out there.

Let's start with manscaping. The fastest method of removing unwanted body hair is waxing, and if the thought of it makes you quiver in your man boots, Venus Simmons, licensed aesthetician and male-waxing specialist at Male Waxing Atlanta, assures us that most guys say it does not hurt as badly as they expected it to. Waxing removes hair at the root and has become popular for the back, chest and private areas—and yes, the male Brazilian wax is a thing. The best part is that you will be smooth for three to six weeks, much longer than with shaving, which removes hair at the surface. "Areas that are repeatedly waxed over long periods of time often exhibit a thinning of regrowth that is softer and lighter in color," says Simmons.

For a more permanent solution, laser hair removal uses a wide beam of light to penetrate the skin and destroy the hair follicle, which causes hair to fall out. In order to completely eliminate hair, multiple treatments are required. Laser hair removal works on darker hair only and is not recommended for blonde, gray or white hair.

After getting rid of those chest hairs that are popping out of your shirt, you'll want to catch any hair that might be peeking out of your nose or ears, too. Mary Todd Hairdressing Company recommends purchasing a quality pair of scissors with a blunt tip to help avoid accidentally cutting yourself, or even investing in nose hair clippers. "With practice, cutting those annoying nose and ear hairs with clippers is quite easy," according to Mary Todd's Steven Sloss. "Just be sure to take your time."

While you're at it, how about cleaning up those eyebrows too? "A little trimming goes a long way to make sure you're not scaring kids with your crazy brows," says Sloss. He suggests using a fine-toothed comb to lift the hair in an upward direction and then trimming excess length along the top of the brow line. Cut above the brow and not below.

Moving on up, your haircut says a lot about you. Mitchell Barnes of Carter Barnes Hair Artisan observes, "Men want to venture out, but are hesitant. An experienced stylist can choose a look to fit the client's head shape and also teach how to style it with proper tools and products." If you are seeking your perfect stylist, try asking for a recommendation from someone whose hair you like. Don't be shy!

Give Me Down to There Hair
For men who suffer from hair loss, surgical and non-surgical treatments today offer game-changing
results. Beginning with topical remedies like minoxidil or prescription oral medications, such as finasteride, hair loss can be slowed, and a small percentage of patients may even
regrow hair.

"By combining different forms of treatment into a single treatment plan, we can help all sorts of patients suffering from many different forms of hair loss to maintain or even grow new hair," says Edmond Griffin, MD, from The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research.

As for hair-transplantation surgery, the procedure has come a long way in past decades. A far cry from 20th-century "hair plugs," today, there are two approaches to hair-restoration surgery: follicular unit grafting (FUG) and follicular unit extraction (FUE). Both forms work by moving individual clusters of hair follicles—or follicular units—from full-coverage areas of the scalp to areas where hair is thinning. The difference is in how the units are removed from the donor area.

And that's not all.

"Surgical robots, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), low-level laser therapy (LLLT) and fetal growth serum treatments with micro-needling are just some of the newer advances in just the past five to six years," according to Ken Anderson, MD, with Anderson Center for Hair. However, not all treatments are created equal. "There are over 200,000 products marketed for hair loss, and there are exactly three approved by the FDA for hair loss. So most products do not aid in the treatment of hair loss at all."

SB-2To Beard or Not to Beard
From bikers to the boardroom, men have rediscovered a fondness for full-on facial hair. But don't just let your beard grow wild, make sure you keep it under control, whatever the length. "Beards are meant to enhance the face shape and jawline," according to the team at Mary Todd Hairdressing Company. They recommend keeping the edges around the earlobe and taking the underline to a point under the chin in order to avoid a "waddle" shape. You can also fade your beard into your hairline by matching the shortest length from the top of your side burn to the longer part of your earlobe. Then, take care of your beard by applying conditioner and even a beard oil. "Remember, facial hair is still hair and, because of its coarser nature, it needs even more moisture than the hair on your head."

Richie Arpino of Richie Arpino Salon often suggests his clients invest in a quality clipper and use it at the number two setting to keep a groomed beard looking clean. He also advises: "Don't let [facial hair] grow above the cheeks so it doesn't get too scruffy, but in general, beards are very back in style as seen in every major men's ad campaign."

For guys who prefer a smooth face, nothing compares to a hot-lather shave.
The man's equivalent of a spa treatment, a traditional hot-lather shave will pamper any guy, leave him feeling refreshed and looking quite dashing.

Nip and Tuck
In recent years, men have become more likely to enter the playing field when it comes to medical skincare treatments and plastic surgery in order to turn back the clock. Botox®, dermal fillers, laser hair removal, gynecomastia surgery (male breast reduction) and laser skin resurfacing are all popular procedures for males, according to Robert A. Colgrove, Jr., MD, of Vinings Surgery Center.

And men are branching out into other types of plastic surgery as well. "The most common facial procedures for men are the facelift, necklift and eyelid surgery," says Elizabeth Whitaker, MD, with Atlanta Face and Body Center. "Plastic surgery has become more accepted by men, who feel similar pressures of a culture that values youth and vitality. Maintaining a youthful, vital appearance for men can help them keep a competitive edge."

Modern men also turn to fat-reduction treatments to get rid of trouble spots that can't be beaten by a gym routine. "When we first started noticing a rise in the number of male patients, they were basically just doing Botox and laser hair removal," says Angela Sanders, spa director of operations at Gardner Dermatology & Med Spa. "However, within the last year we have seen more and more men scheduling CoolSculpting®." Other body contouring procedures include Smartlipo™ and non-invasive technologies such as SculpSure®. Thus, with today's variety of cosmetic procedures, guys can easily tighten skin, get rid of love handles or reverse sun damage without surgery.

OK, fellas, all that remains is to make sure your feet are ready
for summer. Have you booked that pedicure yet?

Dr. Ken Anderson, Anderson Center for Hair,
Richie Arpino, Richie Arpino Salon,
Mitchell Barnes, Carter Barnes Hair Artisan,
Dr. Robert A. Colgrove, Jr., Vinings Surgery Center,
Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis, The Griffin Center for Hair Restoration & Research,
Dr. Nikki D. Hill, Skin of Culture and Hair Center (SOCAH Center),
Allison Hillyer, Dermani Medspa,
Patrick Pickens, HiQ Cosmetics,
Lynn Ross, Institut' DERMed Spa,
Angela Sanders, Gardner Dermatology & Med Spa,
Venus Simmons, Male Waxing Atlanta,
Steven Sloss, Mary Todd Hairdressing Company,
Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker, Atlanta Face and Body Center,

Thursday, 23 June 2016 15:47

Brow-Raising Beauty

When it comes to drawing attention to your eyes, ways to use shadow and liner techniques abound, but a pair of perfectly shaped brows sets off any gaze—even on makeup-free days. To achieve and maintain the best brow looks, we've turned to some experts for their take on treatment options and grooming methods for every day.

Just like any hair growth, brows will thin over time, making you look older. "Brow hair texture, length and rate of growth are all determined by your genetics," says Pamela Jeschonek, founder of Eyebrow MBA™. "So learn to love and keep what you have." As for current trends, Jeschonek says brows are very full right now, with the latest beauty reports showing a more natural brow shape. "The most classic and flattering shape is a full, well-shaped brow," she says.

achieve and maintain the best brow looksIn order to define the right shape for your face and give a clean browline, some hair removal may be necessary. Don't even think about trying major brow artistry on yourself; seek out a pro for the best results. A brow technician can measure the exact angles right for your face and show you how to keep up the look between appointments. Some of the most common methods of brow shaping are:

Tweeze—By far the most gentle and precise method for sculpting brows, tweezing simply means removing an unwanted hair with tweezers.

Wax—Ideal for thick or bushy brows, a waxing tech spreads wax in a thin layer over the skin, then adheres a strip to the wax and quickly rips it against the direction of the hair growth to remove it from the root.

Sugaring—Similar in application to waxing, sugaring uses a natural paste of sugar, water and lemon juice to stick to hair, which is then pulled off in the same direction of hair growth, reducing irritation.

Threading—Works by twisting a cotton thread and pulling it along the skin's surface, removing the hair directly from the follicle.

SB-1While tweezing is the most common method, it lasts the least length of time. Other hair removal options, like waxing and threading, also exfoliate the skin, which can leave it red and raw. Jeschonek notes that certain medications that cause skin to be more sensitive or peel (like some antibiotics and Retin-A) make waxing a really bad idea, as it could "remove the skin in strips or chunks that can scab over and even leave a scar."

When your brows have issues that general maintenance just won't cover, specialty services are the way to go. If, for example, your brows don't match your hair color, tinting can work wonders. "Tinting is coloring the brow hairs, much like hairstylists color your head hair," explains esthetician Melody Kuck of the International SalonSpa Business Network. "Traditional hair color isn't safe for the face, so estheticians use a vegetable dye or 'tint' that fades away in three to four weeks."

SB-3For a longer-lasting way to alter eyebrows, microblading and permanent makeup are good options. "Microblading is a semi-permanent makeup procedure that allows you to dramatically correct or fully reconstruct lost eyebrows," Kuck says. "Eyebrow microblading is performed by manually depositing pigment in the basal layer of the epidermis by a special pen." Permanent makeup employs tattoos as a means of producing designs that resemble makeup, such as eyelining and eyebrows.
Perhaps most important of all, always visit a licensed salon or spa that employs licensed estheticians and cosmetologists. "Most states require that the licenses be kept on site, so never hesitate to ask to see them," Jeschonek says. "Every cosmetologist is licensed to remove brow hair, but you want to find someone who is well trained, if not an expert, at that particular service."

Authentic Beauty,
Aviary {beauty & wellness collective},
Brows by Milly,
Eyebrow MBA,
International SalonSpa Business Network,
WOO Skincare + Cosmetics,



Wednesday, 22 June 2016 14:54

July 2016 Digital Issue

Friday, 27 May 2016 13:06

Best Self Atlanta June 2016 Issue

Atlanta is becoming the next Hollywood and a major city for personal branding. Between selfies, digital media images and everyday social demands, your personal brand begins with your skin and hair. You have your own style, your own hairstylist/barber, but do you have direct access to a personal dermatologist to maintain the face of your brand? Clear, healthy, glowing skin emits health and translates that you are in control.

What if you could reach your personal dermatologist with the push of a button? Imagine having a personal dermatologist who is available to you 24/7 by phone, email, FaceTime, or other modality to answer your questions and treat your skin. What if your dermatologist could come to you and keep you in your everyday routine without skipping a beat?

We are SOCAH Center Concierge Dermatology Service. We put you and your brand first, providing comprehensive, personalized dermatology and hair loss care where you want it and when you need it. We allow 24/7 access to your personal dermatologist, 24-hour guaranteed appointment scheduling for virtual, home or office visits, and we keep your skin pampered with complimentary cosmetic treatments.

Whether you need to treat a condition or you value prevention and maintaining your skin, we will make sure to keep the face of your brand ready for all of life's events.


Dr. Nikki D. Hill, MD, FAAD
Concierge Dermatologist and Hair Loss Specialist

Dr. Nikki Hill is a board-certified dermatologist, hair loss specialist and founder of Atlanta's first and only concierge dermatology practice, the SOCAH Center, which brings quality care to you—conveniently.


Sponsored by: SOCAH Center | 2256 Northlake Parkway Suite 300A | Tucker, GA 30084
Phone: (404) 474-2301 | | Instagram/Twitter: @DrNikkiHill | Facebook: Socahcenter


My dear readers,

I would like to bring your attention to the importance of transvaginal ultrasounds (TV U/S). While standards of care do not include the performance of the transvaginal ultrasound, the ultrasound allows doctors to look through the pelvic structures in order to identify pathology undetectable by pelvic examination alone.

Over the past four years, our gynecology practice has diagnosed 10 asymptomatic patients with cancers of stage 1A, and over 150 patients with endometrial polyps. As requested by one of my patients, I would like to present a portion of her testimonial to you. Her full testimonial can be found on our web-site. I am deeply thankful to her and to my other patients for their kind words and desire to highlight the urgency of this issue.

"...I married late in life and never had children, so when she said something was there in my ovary, I was glib and said, "It's not a baby, is it?" She didn't laugh.

"Would you want it to be?" she asked. I said I guess not and laughed the way one does when it's still a possibility even though not a good idea.

She explained that she did not like the way something looked and she thought it should come out immediately.

She spent a good deal of time with me that morning (and I shall forever after be patient in a doctor's office, for you never know what someone else is dealing with in the next room).

Within a matter of days, I was at Northside Hospital in Atlanta for a laparoscopic surgery in which Dr. Stepanian removed the mass without disrupting it. Subsequently, I was diagnosed with Stage 1A ovarian cancer, a rare diagnosis since most ovarian cancers are not found until much later. Too much later.

Ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in approximately 22,000 women this year. Approximately 14,000 are expected to die from it. The survival rate for those whose cancer is found in Stage IA is around 94 percent. I'm one of those survivors, thanks to my doctor and the transvaginal ultrasound."


With much love,

Assia Stepanian


Dr. Assia Stepanian

Dr. Assia Stepanian grew up in Moscow, the daughter of two illustrious physicians. In fact, much of her training was supervised by her mother, Dr. Leila Adamyan, the developer of some of the most advanced techniques used today in the practice of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery.

Dr. Stepanian has authored and coauthored articles, book chapters and classifications in gynecology. She has presented nationally and internationally. Her devotion to women's health was exemplified by her 2001 creation of the first and the leading media resource with the focus of teaching minimally invasive gynecologic surgery worldwide.

Dr. Stepanian is quite candid about her devotion to her patients. "My focus is always on learning about the total woman," she says. "I spend a great deal of time talking with each patient, and I find that I am both teacher and student. It can be an emotional experience for us both. Our visits invariably end with a warm hug. I am extremely fortunate."


755 Mount Vernon Highway, NE  |  Suite 240  |  Atlanta, GA 30328  |  (404) 549-3224  |

Total Managed Care-Offering Options to Support a More Holistic Approach for Women


Tuesday, 24 May 2016 16:30

Nonsurgical Facelift



This term describes a variety of techniques from injectables to minimally invasive procedures that add volume or tighten skin to "lift" the face.



This term refers to using injectables to lift the facial tissues. Early aging can be shown through hollowing under the eyes and loss of volume in the cheek area. Injectables—most commonly hyaluronic acid (JUVÉDERM, VOLUMA®, Restylane®)—can restore some of the lost volume and highlight the cheekbones. There is an art to this type of injection to achieve a natural, pretty look not just big cheeks, which is why I perform these injections personally at Atlanta Face and Body Center.



Several technologies, typically radiofrequency (Pellevé®), heat the skin to stimulate collagen and elastin formation, inducing skin tightening. Ultherapy®, a unique ultrasound technology reaches the same deeper tissues of the face and neck otherwise only reached with a facelift. Therefore, it is the only noninvasive technology that can say it "lifts" the neck. I perform Ultherapy® treatments personally, for optimum outcome and comfort.



Sometimes labeled as "nonsurgical," but more accurately "minimally invasive," these treatments use a laser fiber (PrecisionTx™) or a radiofrequency probe (Thermi™) to deliver energy under the skin to better define the jawline, lift the neck and tighten skin.



A facelift remains the gold standard to address significant jowling and neck laxity. I focus on natural looking facelift techniques performed with relaxation and local anesthesia to minimize recovery and downtime. Technological advances have created many nonsurgical and minimally invasive options for younger men and women who don't want to just sit by and wait until they need a facelift. And best of all, having smaller treatments over time may delay needing a surgical facelift!


Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker
Atlanta Face & Body Center

Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker brings to her patients the benefits of a world-class education combined with unparalleled experience. After receiving her Doctorate of Medicine from Duke University, she was the first woman to complete her specialty residency training program at Emory University. Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker elected an additional year of advanced fellowship training focused exclusively on cosmetic surgery of the face at Tulane University. These exclusive and competitive fellowships are offered to only 38 candidates internationally each year, and only a handful of surgeons in Atlanta have this specialized training.

Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker is Double Board Certified and a Fellow of both the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Having performed thousands of facial procedures, including 4000 facelifts alone, she is one of the most experienced Facial Plastic Surgeons, not just in Atlanta, but the entire country.


Sponsored by: Atlanta Face & Body Center  |  3200 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Suite 205  |  Atlanta, GA 30339
Phone: (678) 888-FACE (3223) |

Tuesday, 24 May 2016 15:52

A Family Affair

By Amy Meadows


Moss Robertson knows he made the right choice when his seven-year-old grandson visits him at work. "He's ready to be a trainer," beams the proud grandfather, who decided against retirement in 2014 to open metro Atlanta's first location of The Exercise Coach®, a revolutionary personal fitness franchise that is changing the industry's approach to traditional exercise regimes. When Robertson was introduced to the concept a few years ago, he had recently closed his first successful family business: Moss Robertson Cadillac-Mazda in Gainesville. But something about The Exercise Coach, a burgeoning national brand, spoke to him.

"I spent 30 years in the retail business selling a physical product that solved people's transportation needs. But this business model gave us the opportunity to literally be able to change people's lives for the better, regardless of age," says Moss, who opened the first local Exercise Coach location in Buckhead with his wife, Tricia, a North Atlanta orthodontist. "That was the biggest value to me. That's what makes me so enthusiastic about it. I wake up every morning passionate about this real solution for people who want real results."

Only a few months after the Robertson's opened the first franchise, Moss's daughter and son-in-law, Katie and Jason Sanders, opened a second location in Johns Creek. Now the family has expanded the business to include two more locations in Sandy Springs and West Roswell. As the exclusive franchisees for the Atlanta area, they plan for even more growth, with at least four more locations on the horizon. "It's wonderful to be able to do this as a family," Moss notes. "This is the next big wave in the fitness industry. It's the nation's smartest workout."

fitnessCoach-019eThe Exercise Coach, founded in 2000 by personal training expert Brian Cygan, uses patented exercise machines that require clients to work out only twice a week for 20 minutes each session, and create a digital output that shows clients how to move more effectively. The concept, known as Right Intensity Training™, leads to better muscle quality. It's an ideal workout for people of all ages, but it is particularly appealing to the "unlikely exerciser" who may be too busy for long workouts, who doesn't like the gym atmosphere or who hasn't exercised in years.

"It is a safe and effective workout because of the way it can adapt to your muscles," Tricia explains. "We have a broad spectrum of clients who come in, get on the machines and can't believe how they feel after doing just one workout. With the machines, we're building quality muscles, which are the engine of your body." What's more, the equipment offers clients concentrated cardio, providing the same benefits in five minutes that can be achieved in 45 minutes of jogging. The exercises, coupled with a nutritional component based on the Whole30® diet program, comprise a whole new lifestyle for clients—one that the Robertson's and Sanders enjoy themselves.

"I'm a real life example," says Moss, a former athlete who prescribed to the "no pain, no gain" method of exercising for years. "I stopped doing everything that I had done before and started doing two workouts a week for 20 minutes. And I turned my own health situation around." Diagnosed as pre-diabetic before beginning an Exercise Coach program, Moss now shows no risk factors and feels stronger and healthier than ever before. "I'm in the best shape of my life," he continues. Tricia adds, "We partake of everything The Exercise Coach has to offer. We love the workout and we eat intentionally. It's part of our lives."

"Working out is hard, and our job is to inspire clients," Moss says. "We not only have to show them the proper form and technique, but we have to inspire them to activation. We have to inspire them to come back again, to work out again and to enjoy it."

SB-1One way to help clients get motivated is to offer great value in addition to a great workout. Moss notes that The Exercise Coach includes personal coaching during every session and nutritional advice for a fraction of the cost of most personal training programs. Additionally, the franchises, which boast a streamlined and comfortable boutique feel, require no long-term contracts and allow clients to try four sessions for free before making a decision about whether or not it's the right exercise program for them. For the Robertsons and the Sanders, though, the results speak for themselves.

"We have people tell us how much we've helped them. They may be able to do something as simple as walk to their car better or pick up their granddaughter easily for the first time. We've had people who haven't worked out in 40 years. This workout helps people of all ages and all different physiques," Tricia says. "This is the cutting edge of technology in strength training."

"When you combine our strength training program with the nutritional component, you're going to reach optimum health," Moss concludes. "Our only reason for being here is to get results for our clients. And as a family, we're here to change people's lives."

For more information, call (404) 963-8339 or visit


Tuesday, 24 May 2016 14:06


By Amy Meadows

Say hi to ..." Her voice trailed off. "Your buddy!" She chirped a moment later.

I knew what my grandmother was trying to say as we exchanged goodbyes on the phone. But she couldn't remember my husband's name. She couldn't even remember the word "husband." It was the first time I had experienced her symptoms directly, and it was frightening. It's hard not to feel helpless when someone you love is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Although it's such a prevalent affliction, there still seems to be so much mystery associated with the progressive neurological disorder, which affects an estimated 5.3 million Americans, according to the Alzheimer's Association. That's because, while memory loss is the symptom most correlated with the disease, there is so much more to it.

"There are a lot of misconceptions about the disease," explains Allan Levey, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Neurology at Emory University and director of the Emory Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. "Most of the time, the first symptoms are those of memory loss—forgetfulness, losing things and repeating stories, conversations or questions." However, the indicators go far beyond those initial, well-recognized symptoms. Other early clues can include everything from loss of appetite and trouble writing to a change in sleeping habits and lack of bladder control or even spacial disorientation and depression. And those myriad symptoms often lead to a misdiagnosis. In fact, many people assume that their symptoms can simply be chalked up to the aging process. "It's the accumulation of those events, the frequency and persistence, that distinguishes age-related changes from those that really are the onset of symptoms of Alzheimer's disease," Levey notes.

SB-1Alzheimer's or Dementia?

It's not uncommon for people to use the words "Alzheimer's" and "dementia" interchangeably, but they're actually two different things. "'Dementia' is the general term for changes in cognitive abilities that are severe enough to impair the ability to function," Levey elaborates. "Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia."

A variety of diseases and ailments can cause dementia, including Parkinson's disease, multiple strokes, frontal temporal degeneration, Huntington's disease, Lewy body dementia and other conditions. According to Lisa Kaufman, MS, CTRS, CMC, Certified Professional Aging Life Care™ Manager and owner of SeniorCare Options, getting a proper diagnosis—and an early one at that—is key. "Some of the treatments for these different diseases may be similar, but it is so important to know why someone is having memory loss so you know what you're really dealing with," she says.

Causes and Treatments

"Alzheimer's disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease," explains Kajal Patel, MD, adult psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine psychiatrist with WellStar Psychology and Psychiatry Services. "It is characterized by the development of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary or tau tangles, the loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain and the death of these nerve cells."

SB-2Why this happens is the issue at hand. Patel explains that, while there is no single gene mutation that is known to cause Alzheimer's, some evidence now shows that there may be a hereditary component involved. This is particularly true when it comes to early-onset Alzheimer's, which Patel says "is caused by a mutation in one of three genes inherited from a parent."

According to Cristiane L. Fukuda, RN, MSN, ANP-BC, clinical specialist, NICHE coordinator and Transitions of Care leader for Northside Hospital, Alzheimer's can go undetected for many years as it begins to develop. "Changes in the brain start happening much earlier than the onset of symptoms," she notes. "Some of the early signs are sometimes missed because the person is able to carry on simple activities of daily living as long as their routine is maintained."

However, once symptoms are identified and a diagnosis is given, treatment must begin. Unfortunately, there really is no treatment—or cure—for the disease itself. "Alzheimer's disease is one of the leading causes of death for which we don't have a single effective treatment to slow the disease," Levey reveals. "So, the treatments are aimed at symptoms rather than, at this point, slowing the disease process." And, medications can provide a better quality of life as patients—and their caregivers—try to manage the disease.

Shifting Gears

For Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers (who most often are family members), the focus eventually must be on managing the disease as it progresses. "Persons living with Alzheimer's gradually, but progressively, lose their ability to guide their own way through daily life. The illness causes losses in all of the ways the brain allows us to act autonomously," says Ken Hepburn, PhD, education core director for the Emory Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

Navigating the many changes can be overwhelming. Kaufman suggests that caregivers begin by consulting an aging-life-care expert, who can lead families through the twists and turns and ups and downs of daily life with Alzheimer's. "An aging-life-care expert can tell you what types of things you'll see at what stages," she explains. "The road map may be different for different people, but some of the stops along the way will be the same."

There are a number of services and options available as you and your loved one take the Alzheimer's journey together. Costs vary, but can be expensive, yet necessary. Some will be relevant right away, while others will be more useful during the later stages of the disease's progression.

In-Home Health Care

When you choose to have a loved one with Alzheimer's live with you (or if your loved one still lives alone in their own home), you need support. For many families, in-home health care can be invaluable. The level of service needed depends on how far the disease has progressed in the individual.

As the Alzheimer's Association explains, services available can include:

  • Companion services—supervision and basic activities
  • Personal-care services—assistance with bathing, dressing, eating and more
  • Homemaker services—housekeeping and shopping
  • Skilled health care—wound care, injections and other medical needs

Day Services

"Helping an individual feel included in everyday life and focusing on their abilities and not on their impairments is very important to helping manage the disease on a daily basis," says Georgia Gunter, executive director of Adult Day of Dunwoody. "We need to give them the opportunity to participate in things that give them back a sense of self-worth."

SB-3Adult day services can help individuals stay physically, mentally and spiritually alert with exercise programs, and group activities as well as offer everything from medication administration and meal assistance to physical, occupational and speech therapy. The services also give caregivers a bit of respite from the daily routine of attending to a family member with Alzheimer's.

Assisted-Living Facilities and Memory Units

While difficult to imagine, there may be a time when finding another permanent living arrangement for your loved one will be the best option for both of you. According to Fukuda, that time comes "when poor cognition is jeopardizing their safety and ability to care for themselves." Give yourself time to research your local options and find the right facility for everyone involved, so that you make a move at the right time. "It is likely that most caregivers wait too long to think about this question, and when they do, the question about placement in a facility is asked with some urgency," Hepburn states.

In cases of moderate to severe Alzheimer's, a memory-care unit may be needed. "As the symptoms of Alzheimer's dementia progress, it may become difficult to meet a patient's everyday care needs," Patel explains. "A patient's behavior may become difficult to manage and they may start to wander, 'sundown' [a term for behavioral issues intensifying in late afternoon to evening hours] or become more aggressive and pose a danger to themselves or others. In these situations, a higher level of care, such as a memory-care unit, dementia-care unit or nursing home should be considered." Some assisted-living facilities feature a memory-care unit onsite; if a person is already living in such a facility, a move to the new unit can be seamless.

Caregiver Support Services

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's can be exhausting and draining. It's easy to lose perspective and feel defeated by the ongoing strain. "Self-care is so important. The number-one thing is to keep yourself sane and healthy. You have to rest and exercise," Kaufman says. "You have to take care of yourself because, if you don't, you will not be able to take care of someone else." Personal counseling or Alzheimer's caregiver support groups can provide an outlet for sharing feelings and serve as a place to gather resources as your loved one moves through the stages of the disease.

As Hepburn advises, be aware of what is happening in your relationship with your loved one. "Recognize that you are in a new role," he says. "What is happening in front of you is not personal—it is a disease at work.
This new role—caregiving—is likely not one for which you have been trained ... recognize that you need to learn new skills. Get information from reliable sources."

What Lies Ahead

Ongoing research is providing hope for everyone who currently lives with Alzheimer's and for those who may be touched by it in the future. "The breakthroughs in Alzheimer's research over the last several years have shown us that the disease starts decades before symptom onset, so that has really changed our frame of thinking—to recognize the importance of early detection," Levey notes. "We have to identify people as early as possible and begin treatment as early as possible."

In the meantime, it's crucial to support those currently in the midst of the struggle. "We need to look at the individual who has received a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease as still living—not suffering or demented or victimized," Gunter says. "The term 'person living with dementia' acknowledges that this person is living and can still love, laugh and grow every day."

"Alzheimer's disease is frightening and powerful, but there are blessings there," Kaufman concludes. "There can be great days. Those are the moments you can treasure—those moments of providing care for another person. You just have to look for them."

Editorial Resources:
Adult Day of Dunwoody,
Alzheimer's Association,
Atlanta Home Care Partners,
Emory Alzheimer's Disease Research Center,
National Institute on Aging's Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center,
Northside Hospital,
SeniorCare Options,
WellStar Psychology and Psychiatry Services,

When found and treated early, melanoma can have a cure rate of nearly 100%. If allowed to grow, melanoma can spread rapidly to other parts of the body and sometimes turn deadly.

Dermatologists believe that the number of deaths from melanoma would be much lower if people:

  • Knew the warning signs of melanoma.
  • Learned how to examine their skin for signs of skin cancer.
  • Took the time to examine their skin.
  • Had a full body exam once yearly with their dermatologist.

Skin cancer screening: If you notice a mole that differs from others or one that changes, bleeds, or itches, see a dermatologist.

Preventing skin cancer

The following can help everyone reduce their risk of getting skin cancer:

  • If you tan, stop. Research shows indoor tanning increases a person's melanoma risk by 75%.
  • Plan to spend time outdoors when the sun is less intense, such as before 10 a.m. and after 2 p.m.
  • Be sure to wear sunscreen every day. Even on cloudy, rainy and snowy days.

What to look for in a sunscreen:

  • A Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30
  • UVA and UVB protection

Wear sunglasses that have UV protection as well. Melanoma can develop in the eyes.

How to apply sunscreen:

  • Apply at least 20 minutes before you go outside.
  • Put sunscreen on all skin that will not be covered by clothing.
  • If you spend time outside, reapply the sunscreen every 2 hours.


Weston Waxweiler, MD

A Duluth native, Dr. Waxweiler recently joined North Atlanta Dermatology after completing his training in Colorado and Southern California.


Sponsored by: North Atlanta Dermatology | Offices in Duluth, Suwannee, Buford & Cumming | 770-814-8222

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