Tag Archives: American Diabetes Association

Daughter still hopeful as search for missing Astoria man enters second week

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Poster via Findphil Facebook page

Heather Arabadjis hasn’t given up hope as the search for her missing 63-year-old father, who suffers from various mental disorders, reaches its second week without any leads.

Philip Arabadjis, who is about 5 feet 11 inches tall, 290 pounds, and has brown and grey hair, was last seen leaving his apartment complex on 20th Avenue and 20th Street in Astoria on Feb. 12 at around 10 p.m., according to his daughter. He was wearing a flannel shirt with black sweatpants and was without shoes or a jacket.

Arabadjis has a medical history of schizophrenia, diabetes, related symptoms of dementia, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), making it hard for him to breathe.

Since he went missing, Heather has set up Facebook page called “Findphil” where she posts updates on the search for her dad.

Feeling like the response from police is slow, she has conducted two organized searches and visited hospitals in Queens and other boroughs, as well as homeless shelters. She plans to continue searching subway and train stations such as Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station.

Philip Arabadjis (Photo courtesy of NYPD)

Philip Arabadjis (Photo courtesy of NYPD)

She is currently waiting to hear back from the NYPD’s Missing Persons Unit on video feeds in the area that could have caught her father walking away from his home. The Alzheimer’s Association also has their own detective on the case as well.

“We don’t really know where he is. We’re not sure if he stayed in Astoria or Long Island City,” Heather said. “I’m just trying to do everything on my end to see what we can do to find him. Whatever anyone says I’m doing, I’m searching on any tips, still putting up flyers and contacting hospitals. Volunteers are contacting hospitals daily and recording notes.”

Heather describes her father as a homebody who likes to keep to himself and did not have friends. He has no identification on him, is not aware of where he lives or his name and may be unresponsive to questions and look lost.

“He was kind of scared of people. I believe he didn’t feel accepted. He didn’t like to take trains and buses because of other people,” she said. “Growing up, people were scared of him – that’s how it is in society when you don’t know what something is, you are afraid of it.”

Heather added that her mother is staring to lose hope after these two weeks have brought no leads. She added that she hopes to bring her father home soon so she can help provide a better future for her parents.

Heather said she has felt a large amount of support and love from people volunteering to help in the search during what has become a dark time of not knowing what has come of her dad.

“I’m so thankful knowing that there are so many kind-hearted people out there,” she said. “To all the people that are helping me, I always say God bless them. It makes me warm inside during such dark moments. That’s what keeps me not depressed. It keeps me going, because there is so much positive energy and you need that in a time of sadness.”

A $10,000 reward is being offered for any information that leads to finding Arabadjis.


First drug approved to treat eye disease affecting diabetics

| rfrank@queenscourier.com

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first ever drug to treat a sight-threatening condition called diabetic macular edema, or DME. Everyone who has diabetes is at risk of developing the disease, which causes blurred vision, severe vision loss and sometimes blindness.

The drug, Lucentis, is administered once a month via injection.

“Lucentis represents a major development in treating people whose vision is impaired by diabetic macular edema,” said Dr. Mark Fleckner, a Fresh Meadows ophthalmologist specializing in treating disease of the retina. “Until now, the only treatment for this condition was laser surgery.”

Almost 26 million people in the United States have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Diabetic macular edema affects an estimated 560,000 Americans with diabetes, and about 75,000 new cases of DME are diagnosed each year. The condition causes fluid to leak into the macula, the center part of the retina responsible for sharp, straight-forward vision. The fluid makes the macula swell, causing vision to blur.

The safety and effectiveness of Lucentis to treat diabetic macular edema were established in two studies involving 759 patients. Patients were randomly assigned to receive monthly injections of Lucentis or of a placebo during a two-year period.

Significant gains in average vision were observed just seven days after the first treatment with Lucentis. The studies showed that 34 to 45 percent of those treated with monthly Lucentis gained at least three lines of vision on an eye chart, compared with 12 percent to 18 percent of those who did not receive Lucentis.

The Food and Drug Administration previously had approved the drug to treat age-related macular degeneration, a condition in which abnormal blood vessels grow and leak fluid into the macula.

Although the new treatment is considered an advance in preventing vision loss from DME, Dr. Fleckner emphasizes that the best thing people with diabetes can do to preserve their sight is to control their blood sugar, lead a healthy lifestyle and have regular eye exams.