An Introduction to Panic Disorder


Alexander Salerno pic
Alexander Salerno

Since 2001, Dr. Alexander Salerno has lead Salerno Medical Associates in East Orange, New Jersey. Dr. Alexander Salerno focuses largely on urban communities and on delivering patient education about both medical and behavioral health issues, including anxiety and panic disorders.

In the United States, approximately 6 million individuals have panic disorder. These individuals experience regular intense panic attacks, a fear response that usually arises out of proportion to the presenting situation. The attack incorporates a broad range of emotional and physical symptoms, including dizziness and the feeling that one’s life is at risk. Many people with panic attacks also report shortness of breath, dizziness, and trembling as well as chest pain and heart palpitations, the combination of which can make patients feel as though they are experiencing medical emergencies.

Repeated experiences of such attacks can severely interfere with an individual’s quality of life. Individuals with panic disorder often begin to avoid situations and places where attacks have occurred, and this avoidance frequently escalates to the level at which the person becomes agoraphobic. Timely diagnosis can help the patient to avoid the condition’s escalation to this level, though the universality of many panic disorder symptoms can make panic disorder a difficult diagnosis to reach. Once identified, however, the condition often responds to a combination of medication and psychotherapy.


Lack of Sleep Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's Disease pic
Alzheimer’s Disease

As the second-generation head of Salerno Medical Associates in New Jersey, Dr. Alexander Salerno works to improve health outcomes for patients of all ages. Dr. Alexander Salerno stands out as founder of the Community Health Outreach Program (CHOP), formerly known as the Senior Health Outreach Program (SHOP), which brings integrated medical and behavioral care to patients in urban neighborhoods.

According to researchers at Oregon Health and Science University, insufficient sleep may significantly contribute to the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The link between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease has been evident for some time, as many individuals with the illness struggle with sleep disorders as well. Past speculation suggested that the disease caused damage in the areas of the brain that regulate sleep, but researchers have found that the actual cause may instead lie in the ability of sleep to optimize brain functions.

In 2009, a study at Washington University in St. Louis revealed that beta-amyloid plaques, which build up in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, grow more rapidly in mice who are deprived of sleep. Researchers went on expand on these findings and analyze why sleep deprivation correlates with plaque buildup. They found that in deep sleep, the cerebrospinal fluid circulates through the brain and clears out toxins, including those that form plaques. The hope is to test this hypothesis in human trials and determine whether there is a causal link between a lack of deep sleep and the premature buildup of Alzheimer’s disease-inducing amyloid plaques.

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer in Younger Patients

Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer

As a second-generation lead physician at Salerno Medical Associates, Dr. Alexander Salerno strives to improve health outcomes in at-risk communities. Dr. Alexander Salerno also pursues this goal in his role as head of the Urban Healthcare Initiative Program (UHIP), which distributes educational materials on topics such as breast cancer risk.

For women under the age of 50, breast cancer is becoming an increasingly serious risk. Diagnosis rates are increasing among women between the ages of 25 and 39, while diagnoses of women under 50 have reached record levels. Genetic predisposition plays a contributing role for many women, particularly those whose close family members developed breast cancer at a young age. Personal history, including radiation therapy to the chest or a history of breast health issues, may also contribute to a young woman’s increased risk.

Some experts also attribute this shift in age of diagnosis to historic differences in hormonal levels. Studies have shown that birth control use may potentially increase one’s risk of developing breast cancer, and observations suggest that other hormone use could have a similar effect. Toxins in the environment and nutritional deficiencies could be similarly risky, particularly if a young woman has experienced exposure to high levels of parabens or cigarette smoke.