Conway Medical Center showcases new robotic surgery machine

By Patrick Lloyd | 2020 WMBF.

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) – Conway Medical Center showed people its new robotic surgery machine Tuesday afternoon.

The machine is known as the da Vinci Robotic Surgery Platform. It can assist in many kinds of procedures, including weight loss surgery, but Tuesday’s presentation focused on how it helps give patients relief from hernias.

“In the United States of America, 800,000 inguinal hernias are fixed every year, and a half a million of every other kind of hernia is fixed every year,” Dr. Aaron Epstein said. “This is general surgery. This is what we do.”

Epstein gave Tuesday’s presentation. He said it’s important to note the surgeon is in control of the machine.

“I’m not walking out of the room and hitting an autopilot button and coming back when it’s done,” he said. “I’m actually putting my arms and forearms and my face into a three dimensional camera, and everything I do with my feet, my forearms, my wrists and my fingers is then transmitted to the forearms on the robot with different instruments that have pinchers, grabbers, cutters, pliers, everything I need to do to do an operation.”

Epstein said CMC just got the machines about four months ago, and they’ve since put them to good use. He noted he’s much more excited to come into work every day now that the machines are there.

There are some major benefits from using this technology.

2020 New Year’s resolution: How to eat better and master your nutrition


“Lose weight,” “eat less junk food,” and “stick to a diet” top plenty of New Year’s resolution lists, but many experts say that these goals may set unrealistic expectations and set you up for failure before February even hits. Instead, doctors and registered dietician say that a more sustainable approach to managing weight, feeling good, and changing eating habits is to focus on identifying which foods nourish your body and give you the proper fuel you need to live a great life. So to jumpstart 2020, we rounded up some of the best products to help you eat well and feel your very best.

[Photo: courtesy of EverlyWell]

Find your food sensitivities
Some foods that are generally considered nutritious may not be good for you specifically, thanks to food sensitivities that can cause headaches, joint pain, fatigue, and digestive issues. To identify which foods might be the culprits, you can start elimination diet test from scratch, which can take months or years to execute properly. You can also jumpstart that process with EverlyWell’s mail-in food sensitivity test ($159), which requires just a small sample of blood. The tests, which are reviewed and approved by independent board-certified physicians, measure IgG antibodies in your bloodstream when exposed to certain foods and ingredients. (It’s important to note that this test is merely for food sensitivities, not more serious food allergies, nor can it identify is someone is lactose intolerant.) You can then use your test results to start a guided elimination diet.

[Photo: courtesy of Peter Pauper Press]

Keep a food journal
Research shows that for people interested in learning more about healthy eating habits, keeping a journal is very effective tool. During one study of nearly 1,700 participants, those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. Additionally, a food log—like this handy, self-guided Daily Food Journal ($8)—is crucial in helping to identify eating patterns and certain foods that don’t make you feel good or cause bloating, digestive issues, headaches, and the like. If you’re going to try an elimination diet, a food journal is key. The only time we wouldn’t recommend using a food log is if you are susceptible to obsessive eating patterns or food phobias; have a history of an eating disorder; or, if for any reason, a food log makes you feel guilt, shame, or fear. If that’s the case, skip this step. Because keeping track of what you eat should make you feel mindful—not bad about yourself.

[Photo: courtesy of Seedlip]

Skip the booze
Regardless of how much (or little) you drink, anyone can all benefit from cutting back on alcohol, since consumption is linked to increased risk of cancer, heart disease, immunity issues, weight gain, muscle loss, and a slew of other not-so-fun side effects. But that doesn’t mean your dry January needs to be joyless. The botanical spirits of nonalcoholic distillery Seedlip has become a hit with high-end mixologists. Now you can try them at home with the Seedlip Distilled Non-Alcoholic Spirits Sampler ($107.50, set of 3). With only three ingredients (water, natural botanical distillates, and citric acid), these spirits are good for your health and surprisingly enjoyable for the palate. Beer lovers also have more alcohol-free options available to them, such as Wellbeing Brew Co’s non-alcoholic craft beer ($12), which only has 68 calories and contains zero grams of sugar. You can also try the award-winning nonalcoholic brews ($12) of the breakout Athletic Brewing Company.

[Photo: courtesy of Sun Basket]

But don’t skip meals
Skipping meals is a bad idea that can spike your blood sugars and lead to overeating later—and wreak havoc on your metabolism and immune system. If you find you’re simply too busy to shop for and cook your own meals and you want to avoid eating unhealthily on the run, consider a subscriptions service like the Sun Basket meal kit ($11.99 per serving for 2 people, $10.99 per serving for 4 people, regardless of frequency), which brings you a weekly box of organic and non-GMO ingredients to prepare your own meat-free or vegan meals. For people who are even more pressed for time, Sakara (starting at $239/week) delivers fresh meals, teas, and supplements that are completely organic, plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, and contain no refined sugar. No prep or cooking required.

Practice healthy holiday eating

by Natalie Allen / New Missouri State Education

A family of four enjoying a Christmas meal at home.

Announcer:                        The Missouri State Journal, a weekly program keeping you in touch with Missouri State University.

Emily Yeap:                        The holidays present us with an abundance of food, so it’s easy to overeat. To avoid eating too much and packing on extra pounds, it’s helpful to make a plan and stick with it. I’m Emily Yeap.

Here with me today to offer tips and advice about eating healthy this holiday season is Natalie Allen. She’s a registered dietician and clinical instructor of biomedical sciences at Missouri State University.

Natalie Allen:                     This is a time when probably weight loss isn’t going to happen, but make your goal to maintain your weight and to maintain some activity level just to keep your stress down, help you feel better and keep the pounds off.

Emily Yeap:                        Be selective about what you consume at a holiday meal. Eat the foods you absolutely love.

Natalie Allen:                     The key at the holidays is to think, “What food can I not live without?” Is it your grandma’s pie? Is it your mom’s mashed potatoes? Is it your famous turkey? Then certainly you want to eat some of that. No problem. But look at other foods that maybe you don’t love or that don’t mean as much to you and avoid those.

                                             Also, places where calories are hiding are things like sauces, gravies, creamy things, and then drinks. Alcoholic drinks add up calorie-wise and so do creamy drinks like eggnog. It’s not that you can’t have them, but it’s easy to drink several hundred calories in a liquid, and that doesn’t really provide you any fullness or much nutrition.

Emily Yeap:                        Try not to skip meals before a party or holiday dinner.

Natalie Allen:                     One thing to think about on the holidays is don’t save up for the big event because you’re more likely to overeat when you go. If you have a party you are going to at night, certainly still eat breakfast and lunch. Maybe eat a little bit lighter, choose more fruits and vegetables at those meals, so you can have more calories and indulge a little bit more later. But don’t not eat all day, and then go to the party because that’s going to lead to you eating way more calories than you would have. Plus it’s just not good for you.

Emily Yeap:                        If you’re going to a lot of holiday parties, Allen suggests bringing along a healthy dish.

Natalie Allen:                     It doesn’t have to be the veggie or the fruit tray. Think outside the box. There are all kinds of great things you could certainly do like a black bean salsa with

corn, red peppers and green peppers. That would look Christmassy or holiday-ish. That’s a great option as far as nutrition.

                                             Carry your own water if you need to while you’re there. Alternate it with a drink that has calories. If you bring a dessert, cut it into bite-size portions. People generally don’t need big amounts of things. Portion things out before you go. If you’re going to make salad, put it in little individualized cups already. People are more likely to choose that, and it’s already in a good half-cup portion size.

Emily Yeap:                        When faced with a buffet spread, follow this advice.

Natalie Allen:                     Your first round of the buffet, fill up with things that maybe aren’t as calorically dense. Get a little bit of food in you. Then go back and choose things that maybe you don’t take as much of, things that have a lot of calories. Then, of course, it’s very normal to have dessert.

Emily Yeap:                        When it comes to traditions, incorporate things that revolve around more than just food.

Natalie Allen:                     Think about traditions that you have in your family, things that maybe mean a lot to you that revolve around food. Keep doing those, but add in some things that might be perhaps not as food-based. For example, in my family, I make cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning. We all eat those because they’re good, and that’s part of our tradition.

                                             Another part of a tradition could be you play a game together, you take a walk together, or you watch a movie. Something that isn’t as food-based, so you have a balance of traditions and healthy, happy things for your family.

Emily Yeap:                        While you should be aware of what you’re eating, don’t get too stressed out about it. Instead, relax, celebrate and enjoy yourself.

Natalie Allen:                     I think the main thing at the holiday, as far as nutrition and health is, don’t feel bad. Don’t feel guilty. Eat the things you enjoy, and then get back on track in the new year.

Emily Yeap:                        That was Natalie Allen, registered dietitian and clinical instructor of biomedical sciences at MSU. I’m Emily Yeap for the Missouri State Journal.

Announcer:                        For more information, contact the Office of University Communications at 417-836-6397. The Missouri State Journal is available online at

Walmart Expands Healthcare Business

Walmart opened its first freestanding health center in September, and the company has hired a new executive to help the company grow its healthcare business.

The retail giant’s first standalone clinic, called Walmart Health, opened Sept. 13 in Dallas, Ga. The 10,000-square-foot clinic offers a variety of services, ranging from primary care to labs to dental, in one facility.

Walmart plans to open several more freestanding health centers, and has chosen Roshan Parikh, DDS, to help develop and implement a strategic roadmap for their dental services. As Walmart Health’s head of dentistry, Dr. Parikh said he’ll show the company it’s possible to expand quickly without sacrificing the patient experience.

“I believe in mentorship and patient-focused care and cannot wait to bring this perspective into Walmart so that together we can help so many more patients receive the dental care they need and could not afford before now,” Dr. Parikh said in a news release.

Dr. Parikh is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago – College of Dentistry, and he also has an MBA from Loyola University in Chicago. He purchased his first dental practice in 2008 and grew it into a network of more than 20 dental practices. He also founded a dental consulting firm to help mentor entrepreneurial dentists.

Ayla Ellison

Eight miss practice as Patriots deal with flu bug ESPN

The New England Patriots have been hit hard by illness this week, as nine players have been listed as questionable for Sunday night’s road game against the Houston Texans.

Seven Patriots starters — cornerback Stephon Gilmore; linebackers Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins; offensive tackles Marcus Cannon and Isaiah Wynn; and safety Patrick Chung — are among the players listed on the team’s injury report with an illness.

Offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor and cornerback Joejuan Williams are also listed as questionable for the Texans game with an illness.

Tight end Ryan Izzo did not make the trip to Houston after missing all three of New England’s practice sessions during the week with an illness.

Because a bug has hit the Patriots hard, the team flew two team planes to Houston in order to accommodate the sick players and keep the healthier players away from them, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

With an illness sweeping the locker room this week, the Patriots did something uncommon in traveling to Houston: the team flew in two planes, one to accommodate those who were sick and keep others away from them. Nine players are questionable because of the sickness.