Dr. Travis Stork is back for his 11th season hosting The Doctors this week. CBS Local’s Matt Weiss caught up with Dr. Travis to discuss the incredible story of baby Lorenzo and some healthy tips for you and your children as we move into Fall.
MW- Good morning Dr. Stork, hows it going?
Dr. T– Going well Matt!
MW- Congrats on the 11th season of The Doctors, big milestone for the show of course. I want to talk to you about this show you tomorrow where we meet Anthony and Heather Catanese. Anthony and Heather were 20 weeks pregnant when they went for a routine ultrasound and it was discovered that their baby had a condition in his heart causing one valve to leak and another to be completely blocked off. The only way to fix the condition was a very rare procedure involving in utero surgery. Can you discuss the procedure and what their family went through?
Dr. T- Absolutely, it’s remarkable because to think you could have done this even ten years ago when you take a baby in utero at 20 weeks like Lorenzo [Heather and Anthony’s baby] diagnosed with a condition that could be fatal or certainly not even allow baby Lorenzo to get to term. Fetal aortic valvuloplasty, what they’re able to do now in utero is so new and amazing. They basically take a tiny needle, insert it through the mom’s abdomen into the uterus and then into the unborn baby, in this case Lorenzo, threading it to Lorenzo’s heart and they were able, using a balloon technique to open up that blockage in the valve. There was a 20% chance of success and I’m happy to say that on the show tomorrow it was a success. Lorenzo comes on the show three months after birth doing wonderfully. It shows how technology combined with the craft of these wonderful pediatric surgeons who are able to make this happen for families.
It’s one of those stories where, ten years ago you do the ultrasound at 20 weeks and you just say you’re sorry. Now we can offer these in utero surgeries in certain medical centers throughout the country that can truly change a family’s projection and life into the future, really happy we can share this wonderful story.
MW- Incredible this has all come about within the last ten years and by all accounts baby Lorenzo and mom are both doing fine.
Dr. T- They are! You know what’s interesting about in utero surgery is it’s hard for people to imagine how small these spaces are that the surgeons are working in. If you think about an adult heart and you’re doing a valvuloplasty in an adult hear that’s still a very delicate surgery. When we start talking about a 24 week in utero baby that space where that valve lives is so minuscule and tiny and yet they’re able to thread this needle catheter into the exact right spot. I am in awe of the doctors here and I’m just happy to have them on the show and talk to them about what they were able to accomplish.
All those years in medical school and then in training as a resident but then these doctors also after a residency learn this new technique and this new skill with this new technology, we owe them a lot because these are true pioneers.
MW- I’m sure when a large number of these doctors were in school a procedure like this didn’t even exist so they really have to continue their education throughout their career.
Dr. T- Very true and we’re all thankful for that.
MW- It’s also childhood obesity month now that we’re into September, what tips do you have for parents who are looking to keep their kids living a fit and healthy lifestyle?
Dr. T- Well as you said we’re in childhood obesity month here in September and it’s good and bad. The good is that we’re raising awareness, the bad is that we’ve been losing the battle. One in five kids are obese and the rates have tripled over the last number of decades and I think we need to stop and pay attention, this can’t be some abstract concept.
If I have any advice for parents it’s this – as much as you can minimize the highly processed food. Those tend to be full of, basically, zero nutrients, they tend to be very full of what I call simple carbohydrates, they also have a lot of additives that we know aren’t good for kids. If you can minimize those overly processed foods, make sure your kids stick to real foods and make sure your kid’s getting enough fiber you’re going a long way towards making sure your kid does not become obese. This will also lead to a healthy, happy, productive childhood because the other thing parents don’t know is these highly processed foods can affect, it’s not just about obesity, we’re also talking about effecting a child’s ability to concentrate during school. We need to give them foods that nourish them to be productive while they’re at school during the day.
So a lot to be said about childhood obesity month but I hope next time we talk I can say those numbers are dropping.
MW- Absolutely, that would be incredible, of course. Kids, of course, aren’t the only ones who need to be careful this time of year – the NFL is back and that means lots of tailgating and football food. What healthy tips can you give the adults who might be starting to cheat on their diet around now?
Dr. T- What I love about some of the time I’ve had in 11 years hosting The Doctors is I’ve really become a “let food become your medicine, not your poison” doctor. I truly believe in my heart and soul that you can go to a tailgate and bring wonderful food that everyone loves whether it be nachos or chili and some of the tips I showed in my last book called “The Lost Your Belly Diet” are, for instance, with nachos if you start with a bean based chip or a whole grain chip, you’ve already won because you’re getting fiber. Add on top of it things like beans and salsa loaded with antioxidants, guacamole or avocado, hot sauce. Instead of sour cream try greek yogurt with probiotics and protein, jalapenos – all these things are actually packed with nutrients and taste wonderful.
Yea, you can put cheese on your food but just make sure you use real cheese, not the fake cheese that we all know we like, but is not real cheese. If you stick with those things you’re going to make something that’s wonderful to tailgate and the same thing with chili. You can make so many wonderful chili recipes, and again I’ve written about a lot of these, where everyone is having a ball but everyone leaves the tailgate feeling a little bit healthier. As crazy as that sounds – it’s possible.
MW- And then there’s more energy to head into the stadium and cheer for your team. It’s a win-win.
Dr. T- That’s exactly right [laughs].
MW- Thank you so much for the time today Doctor Travis and good luck with the new season!
Dr. T- Thank you, Matt. Take care!
Tune in for The Doctors as it returns for its 11th season this week. Check your local listings for more information.