Scripps Tips – July 2010

A monthly list of story ideas for journalists

Scripps Teams with Local Coaches to Raise Awareness of Concussions in Youth Sports; Free Clinic Set for July 21
Every year in the U.S., approximately 130,000 high school athletes suffer a concussion. And a recent report showed that close to 40 percent of them return to play too soon. The Scripps Encinitas Rehabilitation Center is teaming up with local coaches and athletic directors to help stem this dangerous tide. Scripps will host a free concussion awareness clinic July 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Torrey Pines High School. The free event is open to coaches, parents and young athletes, and will feature guest host, Billy Ray Smith, former Chargers linebacker and XX Sports Radio host. To schedule an interview with Dr. Michael Lobatz, a board-certified neurologist and expert in concussion management, please contact Lisa MacDonald at 760-633-6761 or

New Report Shows 90% of Americans Consume Too Much Salt; Most Adults Eat Double the Limit Without Knowing It
A new nationwide health report reveals that more than 90 percent of Americans are exceeding recommended dietary limits for salt. The report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also shows that on average, U.S. adults consume 3,466 milligrams of sodium per day – more than twice the current recommended limit for most Americans. An estimated 77 percent of dietary sodium comes from processed and restaurant foods – some of which, such as breads and cookies, may not even taste salty. Excess sodium intake can lead to potentially deadly conditions such as heart attack and stroke. Scripps registered dietician Cathy Garvey can discuss practical ways for people to reduce their salt intake while still enjoying many of the foods they love. To arrange an interview, please contact Anna-Maja Dahlgren at or 858-678-7170.

Nurse Creates Songs of Hope for Trauma Patients
Trauma nurse Rod Salaysay goes the extra mile when it comes to his severely injured patients – he sings to those he cares for in the surgical ICU. Not only does Salaysay sing, but he also plays the guitar and composes original songs for many of his patients at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. Many are in comas or sedated, but Salaysay believes they can all hear him. Salaysay began singing to his patients three years ago after caring for a young man with a severe head trauma. “I felt so sorry for him and what does this guy want to tell his mother if he could talk,” Salaysay says. “And I thought it was a poem at first and then, wow, it could be a song.” To learn more about Salaysay and his soothing serenades, contact Lisa Ohmstede at 858-626-7142 or

Fighting Obesity through SuperFoods: Giving the Gift of Health on July 17
The movement to fight obesity and make healthy foods accessible to everyone—regardless of income—is coming to San Diego. Dr. Steven Pratt, Scripps physician and co-author of the bestselling “SuperFoods Rx”, will join nearly 100 volunteers at the San Diego Food Bank on July 17 from 9-10 a.m. to give the gift of health to those who depend on food banks. Dubbed “the Food Dude” by Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Pratt has defined 14 SuperFoods shown to improve health, including beans, blueberries, broccoli, oats, oranges, pumpkin, wild salmon, soy, spinach, black and green tea, tomatoes, turkey, walnuts and yogurt. At this free event, volunteers will package hundreds of pounds of SuperFoods for those in need and Dr. Pratt will speak about the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in SuperFoods that keep our bodies and minds healthy and strong. To schedule an interview with Dr. Steven Pratt, please contact Stephanie Grant at 858-678-6381 or

12 Possible Heart Symptoms Never to Ignore
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of U.S. men and women, accounting for 40 percent of all U.S. deaths – that’s more than all forms of cancer combined. Why is heart disease so deadly? One reason is that many people are slow to seek help when symptoms arise. Scripps cardiologist Matthew Lucks, M.D., is available to discuss the dozen symptoms that may signal heart trouble. To schedule an interview with Dr. Lucks or book him as a guest on your program, contact Lisa Ohmstede at 858-626-7142 or at

Sugar Found in Processed Foods Linked to Major Public Health Threat
It’s no secret: candy, cakes and soda can expand your waistline if they aren’t consumed in moderation. Now a new study suggests fructose, a sugar made from corn and commonly found in those processed foods, may increase your risk of developing high blood pressure. The condition, also known as hypertension, is a major public health problem. It can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, and if uncontrolled, damage vital organs. Nephrologist Kimberly Harper, M.D., a hypertension expert, can weigh-in on the study findings and provide lifestyle tips to help people prevent and manage high blood pressure. To arrange an interview or book her as a guest on your program, contact Catherine Jacobs at 858-652-5520 or

Avoiding Common Summertime Injuries
Summer has arrived and we’re lucky to live in such a beautiful environment with plenty of activities to keep us busy. However, the warmer weather brings a heightened risk of injury and illness. Emergency medicine physician Roneet Lev, M.D., has important information on steps you can take to avoid food poisoning, heat-related illnesses, injuries resulting from water sports or other sporting activities. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Kristin Reinhardt at 619-686-3787 or

Culturally Specific Diabetes Care for Low-Income San Diegans
The Project Dulce program addresses the region’s third-highest health concern by increasing patients’ access to care through a network of community clinics across the county. It is a culturally competent, comprehensive diabetes management program for underserved and uninsured populations in San Diego County. Classes are tailored to fit specific cultural needs by offering cooking classes and education information in eight different languages. In Mira Mesa and National City, Project Dulce partners with Operation Samahan to address the specific issues contributing to the high rate of diabetes among the Filipino community. More than 14,000 people were served through 440 diabetes education classes held in 2009 at a cost of more than $449,000. To arrange an interview with diabetes expert Dr. Athena Philis-Tsimikas or to book her as a guest on your program, please contact Rachel Lichterman at 858-678-7348 or