At five and six o'clock every weekday, Jovita Moore catches viewers up on the latest in Atlanta news. Before she takes her seat behind the desk, though, her work begins at two o'clock with a daily meeting, and then she rushes on to hair, makeup, promotions and the news itself, lasting well into the night for the 11 o'clock show. Moore jokes, "I used to be in bed at nine, and now that doesn't happen ever." But this nonstop pace is the best part of the job for Moore, and after a long journey to get there, she feels right at home in her role as anchor.

jovita-moore-and-petThat journey started at home with her mother. "I grew up in a one bedroom apartment, and we only had one TV. So when my mother came home from work and turned on the news, I would sit there and watch with her," Moore recalls. "I was the kid who always knew current events. I read the paper as a child, The New York Times and the Daily News, and then I would go to school and talk about it."

Years later, a college professor suggested that Moore's writing style made her a good fit for journalism. Running with his suggestion, Moore took a summer internship at the Amsterdam News in Harlem. "It was hands-on because the staff was so small. This was before the Internet, before cell phones, so I had to go out, get information, and come back and put together stories. After that experience, I guess I was bitten." Moore would later work in the very offices of one of her favorite childhood reads, The New York Times, interning through her sophomore, junior and senior years of college.

"[My internship] was definitely a great introduction to reporting the news, but what was frustrating was that I'd be sitting in the newsroom and the same story that I was working on would already be live on TV. I started to get the difference of television news – the immediacy, the urgency." In that pivotal moment, Moore decided to enroll in Columbia University for graduate school to learn more about the world of broadcasting. After graduation, she got a job at a New York Times TV station, where she wore a lot of hats and did so with enthusiasm.

"I had to carry around my own equipment, drive the truck myself, shoot the video and do the interview because back then I was a one-man band." She parlayed that experience into her next job at a TV station in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The first time the camera was pointed at her, Moore remembers, "I was so excited. I just remember thinking, 'I've got to get this right.' I had to figure out how to get better so I could move up."

This ambition served her well during her three years in Arkansas, where she was soon promoted to anchor. Then through her friendship with Ken Jobe, a fellow National Association of Black Journalists member, she took a job at a station in Memphis in 1993. Eventually she wanted to break into a bigger market – specifically a top 10 city market like Atlanta. With the help of an agent, and after a year-long job search, Moore arrived in Atlanta to join the WSB-TV team. "I came here [in 1998], not intending to be the main anchor, but certainly hoping I would have a long career. I was totally open to whatever the future held for me."

Moore started off as a weekend anchor who was also out on the streets reporting and taking advantage of every opportunity that came her way. One of those opportunities came not from work, but from a routine health exam, during which Moore's doctor discovered benign tumors in her uterus: fibroids. The lack of research about this condition led her to search for answers herself. "There were all kinds of theories, but there was nothing concrete, so I wanted to do a story on it," she says. Moore's report, "Women and Fibroids," garnered a lot of attention, and she won an Emmy award for the piece in 2001. "It was a great feeling of satisfaction for me that I had won because it was my labor of love. It was a story that I felt was important and educational for women and viewers."

Credit-Atlanta-Journal-Consitution_John-Spink_That labor of love and the evident dedication to her career eventually earned Moore a primetime seat at the WSB-TV desk in 2012 when anchor Monica Pearson retired after 37 years. Remembering stepping in to that role, Moore says, "It was very exciting. I feel like I was very prepared for it because of Monica and the management at WSB-TV." And the viewers have been behind her every step of the way. "They have been completely supportive and excited, and they are kind of on the journey with me."

That journey continually pushes Moore and her colleagues to stay on top of their game. The immediacy she originally loved about television news has in some ways been eclipsed by social media, which is an even faster way for people to get information. Moore says, "Social media certainly keeps our newsroom on its toes. We use it to our advantage to let our viewers know we're there, too. You don't just find us on TV – we're on the web, we're on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, too. Getting information from social media is simply a fact of life now, especially for younger people."

So whether the ever-evolving face of news brings her online, behind the desk or out on the street to tell important stories on her own, Moore knows what she wants and isn't afraid to keep working hard to get it.

One-on-One with Jovita

What advice do you have for working moms?
Be flexible. You never know what the day is going to bring you.

What advice do you have for people wanting to get into journalism?
Learn the craft at an accredited journalism school, get internships, network as much as you can and find a mentor. Also, understand you have to start small and work your way up – this is not a myth. It's real, and I think it's the best way to build yourself on a solid foundation.

Who has had the most influence on your career?
I definitely have to give credit to my mother, Yvonne. Also people like Ken Jobe and editors at The New York Times who were very helpful and guided me, the people at WSB-TV, Ray Carter, my first news director who hired me and saw my potential, Marionne Pitman, who is a great manager, my makeup artist, Tymeka, who has been a great support, and my agent, Betsy, who helped me and stood by me.

What charities are you involved with?
I'm on the board at Genesis Shelter, which is focused on making sure that women and newborns are not homeless. Last year we did a Mother's Day pampering day for the moms there, giving them massages and doing their makeup and hair. It's a great place.

How do you stay fit?
Well, that is one of the challenges of this job. It's like fighting between "Do I want to sleep?" or "Do I want to work out?" I actually started training for a half marathon, and then I hurt my knee, so I ended up going to a different trainer, David Buer at David Buer Fitness. I also do Pilates with Marie at Body Vision Studio in Brookhaven.

What do you like to do to relax?
Most of the time "relaxing" means being on the couch with the kids. And whether we're just watching TV, watching a movie or reading, that's what I try to do when I can. I feel like I'm turning into a foodie in my old age. I'm always going out to eat – I just went to St. Cecilia and loved it. And when I need to get away from kids and home life, then it's the spa. I love the spas at the Mandarin, Loews and the Four Seasons.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?
People are surprised to find out that I am a big Jay-Z fan. They don't equate a woman on the news being into hip hop culture, but it's how I grew up.

Friday, 25 April 2014 13:46

Meditate Daily for Better Health

If you still think of meditation as practiced only by hippies and peace-loving Zen types, you likely are not alone. But if I may say so, you are also mistaken! Meditation is becoming more mainstream, and with the fast pace of our everyday lives, many people in the Atlanta area and all over the world are embracing its many calming and centering attributes.

Break Down Your Mental Blocks

People often get involved in meditation to quiet their thoughts, whether they are negative or just generally overwhelming. Achieving clarity on a specific subject, enhancing creativity, improving concentration and connecting better to one's inner self are often cited as reasons people embrace meditation.

Famous-and-Focused-Despite the opportunity to reap those rewards, some people are still hesitant about beginning a meditation practice. Leslie Clayton, founder and director of Body Awareness Studio, says, "I often hear people say, 'I can't meditate,' or 'Meditation is too hard for me,' or 'It's impossible for me to just sit and not think.' I find it funny when I hear that." It's funny, she says, because "not thinking" isn't exactly what meditation is about. "To me, meditation is about mind and body awareness," Clayton says, rather than just an empty mind. "You'll find it in many different forms. One of my favorite forms is movement meditation like Pilates, yoga, dance and Qigong."

Once you understand that a quiet mind doesn't have to mean a quiet body, the next obstacle to tackle is the time commitment. It can be scary to add even 20 minutes per day to our already stuffed schedules, so Kim Saunders of Lift Yoga Therapy says, "You can start with even one minute! There is a great video on YouTube called One-Moment Meditation. I recommend it to anyone starting out because it's so simple and shows that meditation doesn't have to be complicated or long." That minute of meditation may be all you need to jumpstart your practice. Saunders points out, "Once you do one minute, then you may want to sit for five minutes." Soon, your mind will be quiet longer than you ever thought possible.

Pick a Path

There is no one way to meditate, but many forms of the practice involve sitting quietly and comfortably while clearing the mind and releasing random thoughts that enter your consciousness while you are engaged. Bee Intakanok of The Georgia Meditation Circle, an affiliate of The Georgia Meditation Center, suggests that a sustained commitment to meditating helps foster the desired rewards. She meditates for over an hour daily. "Just as in anything that you want to be good at, you must practice, and it is the same with meditation. To achieve results, you must put in the time to cultivate your mind: at least 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night."

One of the most popular forms of meditation is Transcendental Meditation (TM), which is usually practiced twice a day for 15 to 20 minutes. In TM, a mantra, which can be a certain word, sound or a specific phrase, is repeated out loud or mentally while meditating. The focus on this mantra allows the state of restful alertness. In the practice of Mindfulness Meditation, the emphasis is on being fully present and placing non-judgmental focus on sensations and thoughts as they occur.

If you aren't the quiet sitting type, Clayton recommends moving meditations at events held by The Wave Atlanta, Ecstatic Dance and Natural Rhythms™, all of which help you combine meditation with movement. These practices, she says, let the body take over for the mind and naturally release tension and stress.

Kim-Saunders-from-Lift-Yoga-TherapyReap the Rewards

"Honestly there are so many benefits to meditation, but in general, meditation makes you a happier person," Intakanok says. "You are not so clouded with greed, anger and delusion. You become more compassionate to all beings, and you naturally conduct yourself in a moral way. You become your master teacher when you seek refuge within yourself."

And while compssion and morality are certainly wonderful, there are even more tangible results to be gained from beginning a meditation practice. First, it offers significant immune-boosting properties. The act of meditating multiplies left-brain activity, the side of the brain controlling the immune system. Those who meditate have increased antibodies, or cells that help the immune system fight off viruses and bacteria-related illnesses.

In addition to providing these benefits, the left side of the brain also processes positive emotions such as joy and pleasure. Boosting its activity through meditation can aid in appreciating the more simple things in life and opening our hearts and minds to new experiences. "When one starts to meditate daily, wisdom develops within. It is an automatic benefit from cultivation of the mind," says Intakanok. "As a result, you are better able to make decisions and deal with challenges in your life because you see things more clearly, instead of just having a narrow view. Meditation has a way of broadening your perspective and understanding in all facets of your life. Meditation allows you to train your mind. You become the observer and not the actor."

People struggling with depression and fatigue, such as patients with multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia, can benefit as well. In patient studies where participants added meditation, their depression symptoms lessened while their overall quality of life improved.

As for the other positives meditation brings to the physical body, you can count heart health as a major benefit. An April 2013 report published by the American Heart Association stated Transcendental Meditation (TM) lowers blood pressure. Another study found participants who meditated throughout the study had a decrease in the thickness of their arterial walls, providing a lowered risk of stroke or heart attack.

Getting Started

Group settings for meditation are thriving here in Atlanta and nationwide. "Becoming involved with a meditation group can be very beneficial," says Veletta Gebert, a member and organizer of the Insight Atlanta and Sandy Springs Insight groups. "There are many in the Atlanta area offering regular meetings that involve a time to meditate and a discussion period to ask questions and get feedback from other meditators. Groups like Insight Atlanta and Sandy Springs Insight also have someone on site to give instruction if needed." Lift Yoga Therapy also offers meditation workshops, which Saunders says are helpful for many. "The group experience makes it easier to follow and stay focused. If you are new to meditation, a qualified instructor can help you start by giving you different techniques."

Additional places to find instructors and get the group experience include Atlanta Mindfulness Institute, Body Awareness Studio, Georgia Meditation Circle, Insight Atlanta, Self Realization Fellowship of Atlanta and the Shambhala Meditation Center of Atlanta. Plus, the Southeast Vipassana Center will hold meditation workshops for kids and teens next month, and Dharma Jewel Monastery's ongoing classes and retreats offer something for everyone.

But if you're not really a group type and more of a self-starter, Gebert suggests consulting experts via the Internet for inspiration and techniques. "It is difficult to teach yourself to meditate without any help, but in today's technological age, there are many websites to support that effort," she explains. "Dharma Seed and Audio Dharma both have hundreds of helpful talks on meditation. They range from introductions and guided meditations, to those that are more involved and advanced. They are led by experienced and trained teachers."

"Introductions to Mindfulness" by Gil Fronsdal is one of Gebert's favorites. This six-part series begins with the breath and moves on through the body, emotions, thoughts, mind and daily life. There are also shorter talks introducing meditation and mindfulness that may be helpful for someone who is not committed to giving their time to the longer talks. "Since it is so much easier to learn to meditate with some outside instruction, these give the insight and instruction without having to go to a retreat or talk with a teacher."

With varying ways to bring meditation into one's daily life, finding the quiet strength it can offer is now more accessible than ever. If you've ever considered embracing this age-old practice, there is no time like the present. The many benefits of meditation are waiting to embrace you with open arms.

Editorial Resources
Leslie Clayton, Body Awareness Studio –
Veletta Gebert, Insight Atlanta –
Bee Intakanok, The Georgia Meditation Circle –
Kim Saunders, Lift Yoga Therapy –

Friday, 25 April 2014 13:28

Hearing Loss: What You Haven’t Heard

According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, about 20 percent of adults in the United States – or about 48 million – report some degree of hearing loss. But on average, it takes people seven years from the time they think they might have hearing loss to actually seek treatment. What many people don't know is that time is of the essence, and seeking professional help as soon as you notice hearing changes in yourself or a loved one can help delay or even prevent certain types of hearing loss. By recognizing the signs and acting early, you may benefit from the variety of new treatments and devices available today.

How Does It Happen?

Age and noise are two of the most common causes of hearing loss in adults. In our 50s and 60s, we often experience a gradual decrease in hearing, but there can be a genetic predisposition as well. "Age-related hearing loss is not preventable or reversible, but it can be easily treated with hearing aids," explains Dr. Kelly Shea-Miller, Director of Audiology for Kaiser Permanente of Georgia. "Noise-induced hearing loss occurs when we are exposed to loud sounds and damage is done to our hearing. This can result from recreational noise (loud music, leaf blowers, motorcycles) or occupational noise (factory work, firefighters, military). As with age-related hearing loss, noise-induced hearing loss is not reversible, but it is preventable."

Noise-Induced-Hearing-LossIn children, however, the most common cause of hearing loss is conductive hearing loss, which is often due to fluid in the ears from an ear infection. "Research has also identified over 100 genes that may influence the development of hearing loss in children," says Dr. Brian Herrmann, pediatric otolaryngologist at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. "There are many genetic syndromes associated with hearing loss. Some examples include Down syndrome, Usher syndrome, Treacher Collins syndrome, Crouzon syndrome and Alport syndrome."

Hearing loss can result from a problem with any of the three main parts to the ear: the outer ear, middle ear or inner ear. Many problems with the outer ear and middle ear, such as earwax and infections, can be treated, but inner ear problems are typically permanent. "Both age-related hearing loss and noise-induced hearing loss are a result of a problem in the inner ear," Dr. Shea-Miller says. "Inside the cochlea, there are inner ear hair cells called cilia, which convert sound to neural impulses. These cilia can be damaged and die off, resulting in a hearing loss for the sounds those inner hair cells were responsible for converting. It's similar to a piano with damaged keys. If only the keys on the right-hand side of the piano are damaged, then you will be able to hear some – but not all – sounds."

Recognizing the Signs

The most common signs of hearing loss include sounds or speech seeming muffled, difficulty understanding words (especially in background noise or in a group of people), frequently asking others to repeat things or to speak more clearly, and setting the television or radio louder than friends or family would prefer. With inner ear disorders like Meniere's disease, however, the symptoms can be more immediate. "You'll have fluctuating hearing, a blocked-up sensation or ringing in the ears," says Dr. Vivek Gupta, WellStar Bi-County ENT. "With sudden hearing loss, a person could wake up and be deaf in one ear. There are debates about the root cause of this. Sometimes it can be a tumor growing on the inner ear, but it could be any number of things."

This is why it is so important to have a hearing evaluation as soon as possible. Many health fairs and physician's offices offer hearing screenings, but if you do not pass this test or want a more detailed evaluation, be sure to see an audiologist who is licensed by the state and has either a master's or doctoral degree. If you are not sure where to find one, the following sites have lists of licensed audiologists:


Recognizing the signs of hearing loss in babies and young children, on the other hand, can be trickier than a simple test. According to Dr. Herrmann, a telltale sign is when babies fail to awaken or startle with loud noises. "The two most common methods of assessing the hearing levels of a newborn include otoacoustic emissions (OAE testing) and automated brainstem response testing (ABR testing)," he says. "Current guidelines recommend that if a baby fails a newborn screen, to repeat the assessment by one month of age, have diagnostic assessment by three months of age and intervention completed by six months of age."

Can Hearing Loss Be Prevented?

Reducing our exposure to recreational noise is one of the most important things we can do to protect our hearing later in life. "There are over-the-counter foam earplugs and earmuffs that can keep your lawn mower, leaf blower and favorite music venue from contributing to the damage in your inner ear," Dr. Shea-Miller says. "For people with more consistent noise exposure, custom hearing protection is also available."

And in the case of hearing loss with a sudden onset, she says it may be reversible. "If you have a sudden change in hearing in one or both of your ears, you should see your health care provider, otolaryngologist or an audiologist as soon as possible." Expert evaluation for sudden hearing loss is best because home treatments such as ear candling are not considered effective remedies and should be avoided. "The American Academy of Audiology is against ear candling," Dr. Gupta says. "I tell my patients that nothing smaller than your elbow should go in your ear, so no Q-tips."

Lend-an-EarCertain medications can also aggravate hearing loss, sometimes accompanied by tinnitus. This is why it's a good idea to ask your physician if hearing loss is one of the possible side effects. If it is, be sure to ask if there is a substitute medication that would work just as well. Examples of ototoxic drugs include some over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin in high doses, some antibiotics, some chemotherapy drugs, loop diuretics and some anti-inflammatory drugs.

Treatment and Breakthroughs

Even for people with aggressive ear disorders, a variety of treatments can help reduce their symptoms. "With otosclerosis, one of the bones behind the ear drum can harden up and stiffen to the point that it prevents hearing," Dr. Gupta says. "This can be treated with hearing aids or a surgical procedure." This procedure, called a stapedotomy, involves drilling a small hole in the stapes footplate with a micro-drill or a laser and inserting a piston-like prosthesis. "If someone is deaf on one side, we can use a device called the Baha implant," he says. "It's a metal screw implanted on the deaf side, which sends signals and transfers sound to the normal hearing side." This ultimately results in a sensation of hearing from a deaf ear.

In the majority of cases of hearing loss in adults, the most effective treatment is a hearing aid. But the hearing aids of today are vastly different from what you might be familiar with. The Hearing Loss Association of America recently announced a breakthrough at The Ohio State University, where computer engineers and hearing scientists are working to solve what many experts call "the cocktail party problem," or difficulty hearing one person's voice in the midst of background noise. This technology, which uses a computer algorithm to analyze speech and remove most background noise, could pave the way for the next generation of digital hearing aids. These hearing aids could be a feature inside of a smartphone, which would do the computer processing and broadcast the enhanced signal to the earpieces wirelessly.

Those advancements are already being made by companies like Beltone, which recently introduced the Beltone First hearing aid. The First hearing aid connects to your iPhone, making it simple and discreet to adjust the hearing aid's volume or other settings right from the palm of your hand. Atlanta Beltone's COO, Alexandra Sims, says the device is even more sophisticated than meets the eye. "The First is the only hearing aid to memorize locations and settings, so that every time a user goes to a particular location, it can automatically switch to the desired settings." This means that as you travel from the office to your favorite restaurant, for example, the hearing aid will learn your personal settings and transition seamlessly to the new noise level. It can even be reprogrammed to meet the user's needs over time. The price range for these new hearing aids, Sims says, is between $2,750 and $3,875, but she adds, "There are hearing aids for every budget, every lifestyle and every hearing loss."

Living with Hearing Loss

If you or a loved one is coping with hearing loss, organizations such as The Hearing Loss Association of America are full of resources, educational programs and support. Also, programs like the Georgia Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program (GATEDP) can provide resources and equipment to make to make elements of day-to-day life, like making a simple phone call, much easier. With the use of amplifiers, captioning and speech assistance, this free program helps Georgia residents with any degree of hearing loss speak and understand more easily on the phone. Kevin Steffy, a GATEDP coordinator, says users appreciate the independence they achieve through this equipment. And in addition to independence, users also enjoy the real benefits: connection. "Some of them had tears when they made their first calls to their children or grandchildren and were able to hear them speak, after a long time of not being able to," Steffy says.

Regardless of the profundity of hearing loss, options exist to make life easier, and plenty of organizations are out there to support you and your loved ones. "Living with hearing loss is hard work and requires lots of coping skills," Bonnell says. "Our clear, straightforward message has changed the lives of thousands of people: 'Hearing loss is a daily challenge you can overcome. You do not have to hide your hearing loss. You do not have to face hearing loss alone.'"

Editorial Resources
Jeff Bonnell, The Hearing Loss Association of America –
Vivek Gupta, MD, WellStar Bi-County ENT –
Brian Herrmann, MD, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta –
Kelly Shea-Miller, Ph.D., Kaiser Permanente of Georgia –
Alexandra Sims, Atlanta Beltone –
Kevin Steffy, GACHI –
Mayo Clinic –
WellStar –

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 14:17

Your Mouth Can Make You Sick

Our most important human organ is the GI (Gastrointestinal) tract. The GI tract is a tube measuring an average length of thirty feet, beginning with the mouth and ending at the anus. It's responsible for the breakdown and absorption of various foods and liquids needed to sustain life. We've all heard the saying, "My body is my temple." In our temple, the GI tract represents its main hallway. Let's consider the mouth our front door, and the anus our back door.

photo-1We are what we eat. But more importantly, we are what we absorb. Proper mechanical and chemical break down of our food and drink intake begins in our mouth. The absence of teeth decreases your ability to process the most nutrious foods in our diet; fresh uncooked fruits and vegetables. Sometimes we invite the most unruly guests into our temples. They can make a real mess of our place, and we struggle to get rid of them. What better "gate keepers" are there than a full set of healthy teeth; covered with the hardest substance in the human body, enamel! Infections and disease that threatens this front line crew of enamel covered soldiers, like gum disease and decay, threatens the entire temple. A nonfunctioning or poorly functioning GI tract can be the source of many chronic health issues, like heart disease, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Never take bleeding gums lightly. Bleeding gums are caused by infection, which leads to chronic inflammation. Remember, the blood you see while brushing and flossing is the same blood that carries inflammation from the mouth, through our blood vessels, and to all of our vital fleshy organs. This chronic inflammation leads to the clogging of arteries and other chronic diseases. This constitutes a direct assault on our health and well- being.

Your body IS your temple, and your mouth is its grand entrance. A healthy smile IS a beautiful smile. Visit your dentist on a regular basis. Preventive and comprehensive dental care is your first line of defense.


Dr. Karen Mills

Advantage Dental

(770) 499-7756 | 123 Marble Mill Road, Suite A, Marietta, Georgia 30060

Dr. Karen Mills practices general and cosmetic dentistry since 1992. She is a 1987 graduate of Howard University's College of Dentistry.

Venous disease is one of the most common conditions affecting our health. It is estimated that about 20% of adults may be suffering from venous disease. Although many people may have visible varicose veins, there are many others who have no visible signs of the disease. Individuals with venous disease range from those with small vein disease (spider and reticular veins) to patients with large bulging varicose veins. When varicose veins are present, patients may experience swelling in the legs as well as skin changes such as discoloration, thickening of the skin, and in advanced cases, skin ulcers. Occasionally, large varicose veins may develop blood clots, a condition called superficial phlebitis. Patients without visible signs of venous disease may have symptoms such as leg pain (aching or cramping), leg heaviness or fatigue, swelling, throbbing, burning, itching or tenderness. Some people also experience restless legs.

Men and women of all ages can be affected by venous disease although women are affected more than men due to hormones. Venous disease has a very strong genetic component but there are certain risk factors that can also contribute to its development. These include obesity, pregnancy, prior trauma, surgery, lifestyle and occupations that require prolonged standing.

shutterstock_181680125The treatment of venous disease has come very far in the past 10 years. Today we know much more about this medical problem and the diagnosis and treatment is far superior to that of times past. Venous disease can be easily diagnosed with the use of painless, noninvasive ultrasound performed in the office to determine if you have venous reflux. Venous reflux is the back flow of blood in the legs caused by weakened valves in the veins of the legs.

If you experience any symptoms of the disease, you need to make sure that your physician is aware. Venous disease can be a serious medical condition which left untreated, can lead to long standing complications.

Treatment for venous disease may involve a procedure called EVLA which is a laser procedure done in the office to close down some of the larger superficial veins. Most patients also require sclerotherapy injections to shut down some of the smaller, more superficial veins of the legs. Treatment can help manage the disease and improve the overall health and appearance of your legs as well as greatly improve your quality of life. Most procedures are also covered by insurance.

Dr. Lisa Perez


Be proactive about your circulation and prevent further damage to your legs by having them evaluated for venous disease.

What is superficial venous reflux disease?

Superficial venous reflux is a condition where the valves in the veins become weak or damaged, causing blood to pool in the veins in the legs. This can cause symptoms such as leg heaviness, pain, swelling, fatigue, varicose and spider veins.

What is EVLA and how does it differ from vein stripping?

A vein stripping procedure typically involves making an incision in the groin through which the vein is tied off and then pulled out through a second incision in the calf. In the EVLA procedure, there is no need to surgically remove the vein. The vein is sealed closed using a thin laser fiber that is inserted into the vein through a small i.v. placed in the calf. The vein is left in place and once closed, will dissolve and be absorbed by the body within 6 months. This procedure is done under local anesthesia and eliminates much of the pain, bruising and down time associated with surgery as well as decreasing the risk associated with general anesthesia.

How does the EVLA procedure actually work?

The laser energy damages the walls of the vein, causing them to shrink and seal the vein closed. This prevents any blood from continuing to flow through the vein.

shutterstock_183638447Will closing a vein down cause problems with circulation later on?

Elimination of backwards flow in the superficial veins of the legs actually improves circulation by preventing pooling of blood in these damaged veins. Closing down these veins will cause blood to be redirected in the proper direction through the healthy veins.

How soon after treatment will my symptoms improve?

Although it may take up to 6 months to experience the full benefits of the procedure, most patients feel a noticeable difference within the first few weeks after undergoing the procedure.

How effective is the EVLA procedure?

Endovenous laser ablation has a 98% success rate in closing down the damaged veins.

Is this procedure covered by insurance?

Most insurance companies cover the EVLA procedure based on medical necessity. Many also cover subsequent sclerotherapy for smaller veins to complete your treatment plan.

What is the recovery period like after EVLA?

Since the procedure is minimally invasive, the recovery is fairly quick and easy. There is some mild soreness and bruising that can last up to several weeks and can be managed with over the counter anti-inflammatories. After the procedure, patients are encouraged to walk and can resume their normal activities with a few mild restrictions.

What are the benefits of EVLA?

The benefits of this procedure include significant relief from discomfort, more efficient blood circulation and improving the overall health and appearance of your legs.


Dr. Lisa Perez


Be proactive about your circulation and prevent further damage to your legs by having them evaluated for venous disease.


The mini neck lift procedure was created for individuals just starting to see some mild fullness and laxity in the neck.  This procedure is ideal for patients between the ages of 30-50 with mild neck tissue prominence, mild to moderate fullness or double chin, and are looking for a result-oriented alternative to other gimmicks.  There have been several machines developed to address this mild or early change in neck tissue including ultrasound, infrared, radiofrequency, and even laser techniques to create an improvement; however, though these techniques may produce an improvement in some, it is not as consistent as a mini neck lift.shutterstock_162497138

A mini neck lift requires a small incision behind the ear along with a small incision under the chin.  The 'behind the ear' incision is to help tighten skin and muscle while the incision under the chin is for liposuction.  Liposuction is not just to remove fat, but more importantly, the neck liposuction creates an inflammatory response which by itself helps to tighten the overlying skin.

The mini neck lift procedure has a downtime of 7 days.  You are on restrictions during that time so no working out, heavy lifting, or bending over.  You will be required to wear a neck garment that will support the neck tissue for the first 2 weeks but will primarily be worn during sleep.  The stitches come out at 7 days and you are off your restrictions at that point as well.  The biggest variable to downtime is the patient's ability to bruise.  Some patients bruise yellow-green and others bruise black-blue.  If you're the former, then 7 days to be presentable should be fine.  If you're the latter, you probably want to give yourself another 3-4 days to let that subside. On the other hand, some patients will use creative scarfs to be presentable at any time.  For more information, visit our mini-neck lift page at

Northside Facial Cosmetic Surgery
770-239-6343 |

Mike Majmundar, M.D. is a double board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon. He is the principal of Northside Facial Cosmetic Surgery.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 13:37

Closed Rhinoplasty – Is it Better?

Over the years, master rhinoplasty surgeons have confessed their love for either closed or open rhinoplasty techniques.  Some consider themselves closed rhinoplasty surgeons, while others consider themselves open rhinoplasty surgeons.  In the modern world, rhinoplasty surgeons need a grasp of both techniques to offer their patients the optimum variety of procedures but also the best outcomes.

The advantage of closed rhinoplasties, also known as endonasal rhinoplasty, is reduced time for surgery, less swelling, and no incision. Closed rhinoplasties do have a smaller time for surgery but most reputable surgeons only perform closed rhinoplasties on minor nasal changes or changes that involve other structures of the nose besides the tip.  This inherently speeds up the process.  There are surgeons who prefer to do their tip work through a closed approach but the open approach may be superior as it allows better visualization of the tip structures that need more precise intervention.  Because less work is generally done in a closed rhinoplasty, there is less swelling, especially at the tip since less is done in these procedures in this area.

shutterstock_178675202There is no incision in a closed rhinoplasty; however, some surgeons argue that an incision at the base of the nose is barely noticeable once healed and provides a significant amount of direct visualization of the structures that is not left to the imagination.  Others argue that any incision can create a scar, but in skilled hands, these scars should heal so there is no concern of visibility.  We have performed several hundred open and closed rhinoplasties and have not had an issue with the incision.  We try to avoid one where possible but don't hesitate to create one if it will provide the patient with a superior result.  In the end, allow the surgeon to be an artist and do what needs to be done appropriately.

There is also the concern of less bruising and quicker recovery with a closed rhinoplasty.  However, consider this.  If you are more concerned about recovery than the best procedure for your nose, are you doing yourself a disservice?  Bruising and recovery can be less with a closed rhinoplasty but several factors such as time of surgery, amount of work performed, history of previous surgery, patient's medical history, patient's tendency to bleed, patient's fluid or electrolyte equilibrium, etc., all play roles in bruising and recovery.  The surgery is only one part.

Northside Facial Cosmetic Surgery
770-239-6343 |

Mike Majmundar, M.D. is a double board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon. He is the principal of Northside Facial Cosmetic Surgery.

Spring is here, the vernal equinox has passed and the earth has awakened. With milder temperatures and gentle breezes inviting us to partake in nature, those annoying spring sniffles and scratches may actually be hindering us from enjoying the season. In addition to reducing pollen exposure by closing windows and limiting early outdoor exposure during the day, there are several non-drug options for allergy sufferers.

The first is sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), a viable and relatively safe alternative to "allergy shots" that consists of placing drops under the tongue each day. This procedure can be performed at home, avoiding unnecessary office visits and injections, and carries a much lower risk of a reaction. SLIT has been in use in Europe for over two decades and is gaining popularity here in the U.S. The pill formulation was recently FDA approved for grass pollen allergy. We have several patients successfully treating themselves with SLIT and it has the potential to permanently change your allergic status.

shutterstock_136036196To cover up your symptoms without resorting to medications, nasal and sinus irrigation can help mildly decongest and remove retained mucous. Here are a few botanicals that I recommend as well:

  • Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) – Commonly used for headaches, two studies confirmed its efficacy in head-to-head trials versus OTC antihistamines. Make sure you purchase "PA-free" formulations to avoid liver toxicity. It is safe for children but please make sure you adjust the dose accordingly.
  • Thryallis (Galphimia glauca) – This is a small evergreen shrub found in the tropical regions of Mexico and Central America. Studies confirm its efficacy in treating allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis. It may also be effective for treating anxiety, but must be given under the guidance of a doctor and is not approved for children.

Lastly, consider the role of diet, emotions and stress in inflammation. Remember that the body is always trying to restore homeostasis, so try and lead a lifestyle that fosters this process.

In summary, there are diverse approaches to treating and overcoming your allergy symptoms, many of which do not involve a trip to the pharmacy.


Avicenna Integrative Medicine
1000 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite E200, Marietta, GA 30068
(770) 977-9300  |

Maziar Rezvani, MD, FAAAAI serves as director of Avicenna Integrative Medicine and Avicenna Allergy and Asthma. He is board certified in internal medicine and allergy and immunology and specializes in integrative medicine, having just completed a fellowship at the world-renowned Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.

It happened during Rachel Cruze's first day of college at the University of Tennessee. While sitting at freshman orientation, she met a fellow student – a girl with a BMW. It wasn't the name of the luxury car that stood out to Cruze. "She had a car payment, and her mom co-signed the loan," she says with as much surprise as she felt that day years ago. "At 18 years old, I realized, in that moment, that I had grown up in a financial bubble. I learned that if you don't have the money, you don't buy it. You save up and pay for things. You work to make money. And I thought that's how everyone handled money. But when I met this girl, my little bubble popped. I saw the lack of knowledge on the subject of money when it comes to my generation."

While it may sound like a profound perspective for such a young person, it's all Rachel Cruze has ever known. The daughter of famed financial expert, New York Times bestselling author and successful radio personality Dave Ramsey, she grew up understanding the ins and outs of money and what it really takes to be financially secure. She watched her parents work their way back from bankruptcy – which they filed for the year she was born – to true financial stability. After earning a degree in communications, she embraced what she felt was her professional calling and joined her father's Nashville-based company full time with the intention of helping the next generation take charge of their financial futures. She worked tirelessly to earn the respect of her colleagues and prove that "it's not just because I'm Dave Ramsey's daughter that I'm here." And today, 26-year-old Cruze, a well-known personality in her own right, travels the country speaking to packed audiences of young adults about their own money habits and how they can apply the fiscal principles that have been ingrained in her since childhood. On April 22, she and her father will celebrate the release of their co-authored book, "Smart Money Smart Kids," which gives parents practical steps for raising money-smart kids in a debt-filled world.

"Every parent wants their child to have a better life than they've had. And I think that some parents feel stressed about the topic of money in their own lives. They don't want their kids to experience that, and many are saying, 'I don't want my children to have to struggle or to make the mistakes that I've made. I want to be able to teach them to avoid those things,'" Cruze notes. "That's what this book really does. I think it answers a lot of questions that parents have."

dave_rachel_dockChock full of information about how to teach children of any age about money basics like working, spending, saving and giving, as well as dealing with debt, paying for college and more, "Smart Money Smart Kids" brings together the perspectives of both father and daughter and offers no-nonsense tips based on their personal experiences of living financially smart in the Ramsey household. "Mom and Dad really do live what they teach. I can recall only a handful of times that we talked about money. We learned just by watching them. More is caught than taught, and the example you set for your children is huge," Cruze explains.

"I was the dad who made big money mistakes and failed early on. But I was also the dad who decided to change my family tree and intentionally raise money-smart kids," says Dave Ramsey, who has helped millions of families learn to manage their money matters over the years. "It gives me great satisfaction to stand back and watch how confident and competent our grown kids are. So watching Rachel write about how the principles we implemented early on impacted her life, and seeing her passion for sharing those with others, has been a great experience."

What Cruze brings to the book is an understanding that children, teenagers and young adults are facing new challenges when it comes to money in today's world. "Today, you can get everything instantly. You can purchase things right now from your smartphone. Young people have to learn to step back, have patience and save," she asserts, adding that while her father is known as the "emergency surgeon" for people with financial troubles, she considers herself to be the "preventative medicine" for tomorrow's generation. If she can encourage parents to start teaching their children about money now, and to have those children listen and follow the advice, then she can help an entire generation grow up like she did and keep them from having to face major financial dilemmas throughout their lives.

"What we teach are basic principles, and they work. They've been proven over 20 years," Cruze says. "When it comes to money, 80 percent is behavior, and 20 percent is knowledge. You know you should live on a budget. But doing it is hard. Changing your behavior is difficult. What parents need to know is that no matter what your financial situation is now, you can implement these principles today. You don't have to have a Ph.D. in finance to do it. You just have to find teachable moments in your day-to-day life, and you can change your family tree."

Of course, Cruze also notes that parents don't have to change who their children are – and she uses herself as an example. "You're either a spender or a saver, and I am the spender of the Ramsey kids," she muses, noting that her older sister Denise and younger brother Daniel, as well as her husband Winston, are savers. "For parents, there are going to be cases when you bail your kids out. There is grace involved. You can let your kids make mistakes, but let them make those small mistakes while they're under your roof. Mom and Dad guided me, but they let me be who I am. I had to learn boundaries. My parents taught me those lessons, and they shaped who I am. I learned early, and it was better for me to learn at 7 years old instead of 27 or 37."

Cruze's passion for spreading a message of hope to young people everywhere is unmistakable. And the lessons she has learned from her parents, Dave and Sharon, and their experiences are going to change lives for years to come if she has anything to do with it. "The older I get, the more appreciative I am of their story," she concludes. "To come alongside my father and promote his message is wonderful. It's where my heart is. I'm a kid who was raised on these principles, and it works. Now I'm able to succeed. And it's really exciting."

Rachel will be signing "Smart Money Smart Kids" on Friday, May 2 at 6 p.m. at the Books-A-Million on Sugarloaf Parkway in Lawrenceville. For more information about Dave Ramsey, visit