October, 2003 Meeting Notes

by Fredson Bowers

The October 18, 2003 meeting at the United Parish Church of Auburndale was the Annual Meeting of the Association, and elections were therefore conducted.

The following candidates for the Board of Directors were elected by unanimous vote: Betty Anderson, Fred Bowers, Elaine Burns, Linda Dobkin, Anne Harpin, Jack Memishian and Mary Ronayne. The following candidates for officers were also elected unanimously: Elaine Burns - President; Anne Harpin - Vice President; Betty Anderson - Treasurer; Fred Bowers - Clerk and Secretary.

Elaine Burns presented a motion to amend the By-Laws by changing the name of the Greater Boston Post-Polio Assistance Fund to the Fred C. Pearson Memorial Fund. Fred, who died a few months ago, was on the Board of Directors, Vice President, editor of TRIUMPH and also was engaged in many other Association activities. The motion was carried unanimously.

Fred's children, Linda and Eric Pearson, were present, and Elaine presented each with a certificate outlining Fred's contributions to the Association and attesting to the name change of the financial assistance fund. They also accepted a certificate for their mother, Catherine, who could not come to the meeting.

Elaine then introduced our speaker, Nicholas S. Hill, MD who is Professor of Medicine and Chief of Pulmonary, Critical Care and the Sleep Divisions at Tufts New England Medical Center. His slide presentation was entitled Pulmonary Health and Post-Polio Syndrome - What We Need to Know.

Areas of the respiratory system which could be affected by polio include the respiratory center which monitors the level of CO2 (carbon dioxide) and the breathing pattern necessary to keep the system in balance. The bulbar muscles affect speech and swallowing. The inspiratory muscles are the most important group and include the diaphragm, chest and neck muscles.

Evaluation of patients with PPS and respiratory involvement include a medical exam as well as pulmonary function tests which measure vital capacity - both expiratory and intake volume. A complete sleep study may be conducted to detect sleep apnea problems.

Therapy for respiratory involvement may include judicious muscle strengthening exercise. Sleep apnea can be treated through positive airway pressure (either nasal mask or a full face mask) to keep the tongue in place. Noninvasive ventilation may be used also to deal with respiratory failure by improving the flow of air into and out of the lungs.

Dr. Hill's final words of advice were to take good care of yourself by moderate exercise, avoid being overweight and getting sufficient rest. He also mentioned that one should avoid smoking and second-hand smoke, avoid people with colds (if possible), get annual flu shots as well as the pneumonia vaccine every five years and, finally, to report symptoms to your doctor. After Dr. Hill finished his presentation, there were a number of knowledgeable questions from the audience.

Refreshments and opportunities to mingle were available before and after the meeting. Many thanks to Girl Scout Troop #3465 who purchased the refreshments, set up the tables and cleaned up afterwards. Also, thanks to the vendors who were available in the lobby before and after the meeting to display their products and answer questions. Finally, thanks to the volunteers who helped put away the chairs and tables at the end of the meeting.

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