Readers Enjoy Mental and Physical Benefits from Books


A graduate of St. John’s University, Melville, NY, resident Ellen Scharaga earned her BS in pharmacology before embarking on a career as an executive for multiple pharmaceutical development companies. Currently an operational consultant with Alegria Specialty Pharmacy, Ellen Scharaga spends her free time participating in activities such as reading. While enjoying books can be a relaxing pastime, it also can provide readers with a number of benefits.

Brain Power
Engaging in reading can activate not only the pleasure centers of the brain, but also the brain areas that engage when participants focus on executive function. These areas are associated with multiple complex cognitive functions. When a person reads, the activity can increase the brain’s capacity for memory by exercising areas that cause it to concentrate.

Stress Relief
In addition to stimulating mental function, reading can alleviate the stress hormone cortisol, the body’s natural hormonal response to stress. While cortisol usually acts as a defense against stress hormones, a chronic amount of the hormone can lead to long-term problems.

Expanded Knowledge
Reading serves as an individual’s gateway to cultures and concepts outside of what he or she typically experiences. By reading novels and nonfiction pieces on subjects outside of one’s own immediate sphere of knowledge, a reader is exposed to new concepts and ideas.


Unexpected Benefits of Participating in Volunteer Work

Volunteering pic

Based in Melville, NY, Ellen Scharaga is a pharmacy professional with 25 years of experience. A supporter of the American Cancer Society as well as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Ellen Scharaga values charitable work and spends time outside of her professional life engaging in volunteer services. Volunteerism not only provides charitable organizations and nonprofits with the extra help needed to reach disadvantaged groups, but also can provide volunteers with several personal benefits.

Beginning with the physical benefits, volunteering can remove you from an old routine, getting you out of your home and moving around. Many volunteer opportunities involve cleaning outdoor spaces or packaging items such as food or medical supplies. The physical exercise coupled with the social connections that you can make working with people who share your values are excellent ways to fight mild stress and depression.

Volunteering also presents participants with an opportunity to learn new skills. Nonprofits often look for individuals who are open to learning new tasks. In unpaid volunteer positions, individuals can earn experience in areas such as office administration, childcare, and crisis counseling. They can then take these skills into their professional lives.

Perhaps the most important benefit is that volunteering brings a sense of accomplishment and charity to the lives of volunteers. Engaging with a nonprofit can help volunteers find a way to participate in an activity or cause that is personally relevant, especially if they work in an industry in which they do not receive personal validation.

Beneficial Activities for Individuals with Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America pic
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

Ellen Scharaga of Melville, NY, is an operational consultant for Alegria Specialty Pharmacy, a company that develops and administers medications that help manage the effects of chronic medical conditions, such as HIV, arthritis, and infertility. Outside of her professional life, Ellen Scharaga donates her time to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. Though patients with Alzheimer’s can experience emotionally taxing mental degeneration, participation in certain activities may help improve both their mood and mental function.

Professionals suggest that devising simple activities based on patients’ past interests can lead to a successful and happy experience. For example, a patient who once enjoyed completing complex jigsaw puzzles may enjoy attempting a smaller puzzle with larger pieces.

Another suggestion that professionals make is to suggest activities that engage creativity. Working with bright colors in the form of paints, crayons, or clay may allow individuals with Alzheimer’s to express their creative side, generating a positive internal response to the activity.

Additionally, no matter a person’s age or condition, participating in physical exercise tends to yield positive results. Encourage Alzheimer’s patients to take short walks, offering them the opportunity to explore the outdoors in a setting such as a park or garden, where they can appreciate nature and use benches to rest.

Events Held at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life

American Cancer Society pic
American Cancer Society

Ellen Scharaga, operational consultant for Alegria Specialty Pharmacy, is a health-industry. Outside of work, Ellen Scharaga volunteers with nonprofits that focus on medical research, such as the American Cancer Society. Each year, the American Cancer Society sponsors Relay for Life, a nationwide fundraising event. The overnight track walk that brings together cancer survivors and their supporters to raise money toward finding a cure.

Though all local Relay for Life walks have elements that make them unique, three events take place at every walk held throughout the country. The Survivor’s Lap, in which those who have battled cancer take the first turn around the track, always begins the walk. The supporters on the sidelines line up along the track to cheer on the survivors as they walk.

When night falls on the event, a luminaria ceremony is held to honor friends and loved ones who have succumbed to cancer. Participants light candles and place them inside bags around the track with personalized inscriptions written on them to memorialize those who have passed. Additionally, a Fight Back Ceremony, in which all participants are encouraged and inspired to fight back against cancer year-round and commit to helping the American Cancer Society save lives, is held at every event.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America pic
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

A pharmaceutical professional, Ellen Scharaga of Melville, NY, brings more than three decades of experience to her role of operational consultant for Alegria Specialty Pharmacy. Dedicated to public service, Ellen Scharaga supports organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA).

The AFA aids individuals and families impacted by dementia. The organization focuses on educating the community about Alzheimer’s disease, the leading cause of dementia, to remove fear of the illness, promote early detection and proper treatment, and improve quality of life for those diagnosed.

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disorder that attacks brain neurons in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex. Destroyed nerve cells can result in loss of memory loss or thinking and language skills, or a combination of both. A person developing the disease may show signs of apraxia or aphasia. Symptoms of apraxia include the inability to carry out daily activities, such as brushing one’s teeth, using pre-programmed motor tasks. Aphasia causes a person to forget words and struggle with communication through speech. In more severe cases, a person may lose the ability to write or understand what is being communicated to him or her. Other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include amnesia (loss of memory) and agnosia (an inability to recognize objects).

Tips for Effective Hiring Practices

As an operational consultant at Alegria Specialty Pharmacy, Ellen Scharaga assists in the development of medications used to treat chronic illnesses like HIV and hepatitis C. In past positions, Ellen Scharaga, a resident of Melville, NY, was tasked with executive duties such as recruiting and training new personnel.

Effective hiring strategies help to avoid unsatisfactory job performances and conflict between employees and management. Using an automated resume screening system is a great way to eliminate unqualified candidates before the interview process even begins. When interviewed, potential employees should be able to give multiple examples of their skills and how they can be used in the workplace.

Similarly, those who have reached the final stages of a company’s employee screening process should be placed into simulated scenarios that test their qualifications in a real-time setting to see how they react to pressure and how well they interact with others. Finally, and arguably most importantly, the employee screening process should include questions and activities that allow interviewers to assess how well an individual will fit into the current office culture. Many individuals will have the skills to perform a job; however, it is the employer’s responsibility to determine whether or not a worker is capable of doing so without disturbing the chemistry of the current staff.

Tumor-Initiating Cells Sustain Cancer By Ellen Scharaga

Although cancer is known for its ability to spread rapidly, most cancer cells actually possess limited capabilities to multiply. Recent studies indicate, however, that a minority of cells can repair themselves and reproduce via cell division. Scientists theorize that these cells initiate tumors and, in some cases, revive them after the initial tumor is thought to have been completely eradicated.

Tumor-initiating cells appear to share some of the traits of normal stem cells. Stem cells serve as the master cells of the body and are able to reproduce throughout their lives and adapt to assume new functions. In addition to having phenotypes similar to those of stem cells, tumor-initiating cells contain surface markers that are like those of human stem cells. With these comparable characteristics, researchers continue to test pharmaceutical products and other potential therapies that target tumor-initiating cells as a means of eradicating cancer.

About Ellen Scharaga: The Senior Vice President of Oncology Pharmacy Services at OncoMed Pharmaceutical Services, Ellen Scharaga oversees a busy working pharmacy. In this capacity, she hires and trains new recruits, manages inventory, and directs compliance and best practices activities.