Wednesday, September 14, 2022



9/2/2022‐ In the spirit of a joint partnership for improved public wellness, a unique and special advocacy team was formed in Montreal, Canada between three unlikely yet profound champions in their own respective arenas.  This trio is comprised of a functional clinician (Professor Joseph Toy), an imaging specialist from NYC (Dr. Robert Bard) and a world class boxing champ (WBC Bridgerweight Oscar Rivas).  Their immediate synergy inspired a collective message for what will soon be part of the next episode of MEDICAL VISIONARIES, a wellness news series produced by IPHA (Integrative Pain Healers Alliance) and the AngioFoundation (501c3). This issue offers informative concepts about the growing trend in non-invasive alternatives including regenerative medicine in the athletic community.   

This alliance was formed at the Neuro Life Health Clinics (Cliniques Neuro-Vie Santé) and Healthy Recovery Institute (Institut du Rétablissement en Santé) in Montreal- when Mr. Rivas underwent electromagnetic treatments to support faster treatment recovery from his latest fight.  The appointment was scheduled on a Saturday (away from fans or disruptive public engagement). Under the professional management of Stephane Lepine, Oscar Rivas was introduced to Prof. Toy's neuromagnetic stimulation treatments which he expressed has "changed his entire perspective on wellness and physical maintenance".  For the better part of one year, the vast majority of his visits were about supporting PREVENTION protocols‐where PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field stimulation) was applied for its properties of cellular regeneration and overall wellness. 

In a private interview, the boxing champ expressed great appreciation and support of the benefits he has experienced with PEMF. "For over five years, I have been working with a specialized physiotherapist who started me on neuro-stimulation, and ever since, most of my treatments followed this same approach. Out of everything I tried, this is where I see the biggest results so far!  I looked to neuro-stimulation to get me back on track as quick as possible after harsh training and my (many) injuries from recent fights—and past injuries from years of boxing.  I always look forward to doing kind of a reset of the muscles and tissues."

Prof. Joseph Toy, often known as “Dr. SIFU” by many of his patients, friends and supporters is a 9th degree black belt Kung Fu Master- with a history of opening 16 martial arts schools worldwide. Prof. Toy applied this extensive mastery to his academic studies in Biochemical Engineering that created a unique international healing career in energy therapy.  Today, he continues to tap into the potential of Pulsed Electromagnetics to further his research to over 2000 different pathologies.  "Cell regeneration is a very real science that is part of many existing modalities.  It's what helps our bodies recover from injury and prevent us from deteriorating. As an example, energy healing is widely used for things like PTSD or depression and also anxiety. Using PEMF can help the brain recover faster.  There's also quite a bit of research out there about stroke injuries and concussion- complex disorders that offers so much promise and clear evidence to offer positive benefits to so many."

From a history of collaborative research and tag-team work on clinical care,  Prof. Toy has been a staunch supporter of DR. ROBERT BARD's work as a "visual validator".  For this complex case, Dr. Bard was called to the Montreal office to scan and confirm the effects of PEMF treatments.   "I am honored to work with some of the most open minded change-makers like "Dr. Toy"… and also Oscar, whose insight on personal wellness makes for a profound voice for the professional athletic community", states Dr. Bard.   "He clearly recognizes the value and effect of non-invasive innovations that can do so much for prevention and the care of sports related injuries. I am equally proud of how ultrasound technology has evolved so far in my lifetime that something like the portable model I took with me on the plane (the Terason T-3200) performed deep scanning of Oscar's injuries much the same way my full-sized hospital grade ultrasound back in the office.  To visually assess a treatment process in real time is such a game changer in the treatment process!"


PROF. JOSEPH JOCELYN TOY is world recognized as a PEMF Medical Protocol Specialist- credentialed for his research in treating military veterans with PTSD.  He received a 2022 fellowship from the AngioFoundation and is an active member of the American Academy of Antiaging Medicine (Dubai). ÓSCAR ANDRES RIVAS TORRES is a Colombian professional boxer who has held the WBC Bridgerweight title since 2021. He also challenged for the vacant WBC interim heavyweight title in 2019, and previously held the IBF International, WBC-NABF and WBO-NABO heavyweight titles. DR. ROBERT L. BARD specializes in advanced 3-D sonography to detect cancers of the breast, prostate, skin, thyroid and melanoma. He runs an active practice in NYC where he continues to develop new diagnostic protocols for other chronic disorders while partnering with therapeutic specialists to validate and confirm treatment efficacy.  

For more info on this press release, contact: Graciella Davi, IPHA-News Editor: 631-920-5757

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Part 2: IPHA NEWS continues a review about Oscar Rivas' philosophies on wellness, life extension and regenerative therapy with an expanded report on Professor Toy's PEMF review and Dr. Bard's Imaging alliance.  An upcoming interview will present former NYS Boxing Commissioner John Signorile about his longstanding career and professional his views on sports injuries and concussion cases.   

Thursday, June 23, 2022

COMMEMORATION: Ret. FF. Dan Noonan and the 1975 NY Tel Exchange Fire (Speaker: Dr. Robert L. Bard)

I am honored to be part of this historical event, thanks to my friends at our cherished New York City fire service community and the Fire Bell Club of New York.  I am also here as a representative of a national fire rescue association called FIREFIGHTERS AGAINST CANCER & EXPOSURES (or FACES).   I was elected by FACES as the chief medical advisor to support education and awareness of health resources for first responders.  This allowed me to, in some way, be a part of every call and touch many lives of our rescuers.  This appointment got me to meet and collaborate with many ranks of the fire service, to brainstorm and share information on safety and prevention, and most importantly, drive the power of AWARENESS throughout this professional community.  

After my military service, I opened my radiology practice in the early 70's in NYC- just a few short years before the Telephone Fire.  I remember this day very well.  Events like this inspired me to do more --- and to offer the kind of care to all exposed service members whose sacrifice deserves the same ‘above and beyond’ attention that they have always provided us.

Looking back, my life’s work has been dedicated to caring for countless patients, some with the most complex issues and challenges.  As a grateful New Yorker I have always kept my doors wide open for all first responders- knowing about the risks they endure in practically every call.

I consider myself blessed to have a career that allows access to supporting all personnel from military, law enforcement and our own fire service.  For their many exposures, I help our responders by offering diagnostic care for a wide variety of occupational disorders.  My patients needs drove me to seek out the latest innovations in medical imaging as well as biogenetics and all this helped me provide everyone including our responders the very best that the medical community has to offer.

Working with some of our finest advocates like Dan Noonan and Sal Banchitta and the many other voices of fire safety was also most inspiring to my own evolution.  They all made me realize that if our heart is in the right place, there is so much more that we can do.  Support of our rescue community also comes in the form of PUBLIC AWARENESS AND ADVOCACY – where the sharing of resources and health solutions is another important asset for saving and preserving lives.  I joined the first responders advocacy team to promote prevention and early detection because it is clear that the answer to safety is education and awareness of what resources are available- and how to acquire them.  

We honor the 699 firefighters that fought the NY Telephone Exchange Fire of 1975.  We commemorate their sacrifice, where these brave rescuers engaged one of the most uniquely dangerous fires in history with the same unyielding commitment to their city and their community.  I am blessed to meet and work directly with one of those heroes… one of MY HEROES like Mr. Dan Noonan for many reasons.  Dan and I worked as public speakers under our ‘GET CHECKED NOW!’ Program, encouraging proactive health and checkups to all responders.  

Since I first met Dan, I witnessed his passion and hard work – hoping for the day when he and the 699 responders in the 1975 NY Telephone Fire would finally receive recognition for their work in this fateful event.  I’ve watched Dan re-define LEADERSHIP by taking his own experiences from one disaster and his loss of so many fellow rescuers and turn it into a means of educating the next generation in the fire service about wellness, new safety protocols and keeping the voice of proactive health loud and clear.  I am proud to say that Dan is the original torch bearer and an inspiration to us all!  He is nothing short of a national treasure- where his message resonates through every first responder across the country.

If you listen to any of Dan’s presentations, the disaster of 1975 taught us all so much about the risks behind modern fires, but it remains a landmark for our research and education.  When I look at Dan Noonan’s towering figure, I see him as a beacon for us all- unwavering in his resolve and a guardian of a powerful vision, fulfilling a 43 year old promise to be the voice of so many who sacrificed without hesitation to protect our great city.   Dan continues to stand proudly and stand tall with the greatest unifying message of them all- to NEVER FORGET!

In the spirit of doing our part and making a difference, I proudly stand side by side with all members of the fire service, active and retired- including all advocates and foundations.  You are all my inspiration to responding to a call of need and doing all that we can for our community.


"Dan Noonan, who was first due on 3 Truck to the deadly NY Telephone Exchange fire, has, in the decades since, been a tireless advocate for awareness of occupational cancer and toxic exposure in the fire service, in particular the cancers and deaths sustained by many of the 699 FDNY members who fought that fire. Carrying forward the message and lessons learned, FDNY Deputy Chief Frank Leeb and the Fire Department of New York are leading the way to shift the culture and strategies and improve contamination reduction on the job. We owe it to our brother and sister firefighters, ourselves, and our families to do everything possible to reduce toxic exposure on the job and ensure everyone gets checked regularly for all types of cancer."    - David Dachinger / Responder Resilience 

"Dr Bard's dedication to the provision of advanced diagnostics to the community of first responders that continually put their lives at risk for the sake of the public is more than commendable. I have seen his selfless dedication working weekends and nights doing as much as he can to provide lifesaving care. His speech is a touching honor to all firefighters for their willingness to put their own lives at risk to protect all and is a powerful tribute to their sacrifice...".     - Russ Allen / NFL Alumni

"I have worked with Dr Bard for more than 30 years.  In my opinion, his skill and insightful approach to diagnosis and prognosis has help guide treatment and treatment protocols for decades. Indeed his cancer diagnostic research has helped save and orient treatment for countless patients. His philosophy of "more information can't hurt" is where medicine and the science of medicine meet for the benefit of those whom we serve. The idea that "that patient is me" is the calling that propels Dr. Robert Bard to be as generous and genuine as those who protect and serve. We may wonder who protects those that protect us.  Dr. Robert Bard is an outstanding and selfless one of those. "   - Dr. Richard Kushner

"If there was ever a group of selfless individuals, our firefighters fit that description to a "T". The first ones to run INTO a fire, regardless of the potential toxic conditions to save lives, takes a special soul. Dr. Bard's dedication to help Mr. Dan Noonan and their rescue community gain public awareness and advocacy is a calling all health care professionals can share. 699 firefighters dedicated their lives to help the helpless, and it only makes sense that we should help them - and all first responders - in whatever way we can."
- Jerry Dreessen, DC / Chiropractor

Sunday, November 21, 2021

"Toxic Fires from Burning Plastics" Remain a National Health Threat - 45+ Years After Landmark NYC Fire

Written by: Dr. Robert L. Bard | Edited by: L. Gettz, Ed.D & Graciella Davi (NYCRA NEWS Editorial Staff)

Play 1975 NY Tel Fire/Dan Noonan Tribute video

November 9, 2021- The NY Fire Bell Club held its second annual meeting at the NYC Fire Museum on Spring Street- an historical landmark for "the city's bravest". In the name of public cancer awareness and a valuable history lesson in NYC fires, FDNY Honorary Battalion Chief Sergio Nieto, president of the FBC presented nationally recognized guest speaker- FDNY's own Ret. FF Dan Noonan, responder/survivor and crusader for the 1975 NY Tel Exchange Fire.

Mr. Noonan's powerful presentation captivated the large audience of active and retired firefighters and their families.  He delivered a powerful and real-time tour of his experiences while covering the most vital topics from that event-- including 1975 news coverage, interviews from lawmakers and FD leaderships, medical evaluations of the toxic contaminations and the after-effects of the event on the city both then and now.  Mr. Noonan also delivered compelling spotlights on some of the 699 firefighters who responded to the rescue event and their many health effects from the deadly smoke.

Since 1975, Dan Noonan has tirelessly promoted and echoed "the many lessons learned" from the department's most challenging disasters. He and many voices from the fire service considered  the NY Tel Exchange Fire "our First 9/11" - clearly voicing an overwhelmingly different type of disaster as far as its after-effects and the many layers of damage both to the city and to the responders, communication workers and the residents in the immediate area.

Dan Noonan's 11/9 presentation earmarked his continuing outcry for recognition of all 699 responders as well as the historical landmark of how killer smoke from burning plastics - re. the ONE BILLION feet of smoldering PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) copper wire insulation) was then and remains today as a health threat to our responders.  His seminar on the fire led to an Environmental Biology course in DIOXIN poisoning emitted by burning PVC.

During the seminar, Mr. Noonan played a CBS news clip by Arnold Diaz interviewing city officials about the AT&T Fire, then redirecting the focus on the NYC Subway System that also showed billions of miles of PVC piping and cable insulation and the high level of citywide carcinogenic risk involved should track fires happen.  Additional news clips included an interview with Dr. Deborah Wallace, nationally acclaimed Environmental Biologist and the author of the highly recognized 1990 textbook "IN THE MOUTH OF THE DRAGON- TOXIC FIRES IN THE AGE OF PLASTICS". Dr. Wallace’s book details the dangers of plastic-fueled toxic fires. Dr. Wallace notes: “No one thought to test early synthetic polymers for their combustion toxicity. These products were virtually untested when they were put on the market. Instead, the public became the test animals.”   She further states "we live in an age of plastics- exquisite wood-like furniture [plastic], designer textured wallcoverings [plastic], thick plush carpets, [plastic], fade-proof draperies [plastic]... and the list goes on.  The fact is, when living and working in any modern environment, we are surrounded by plastics. What most of us don't know is just how dangerous these plastics can be when heated, smoldering and burning.  

Mr. Noonan directed his audience to an entire chapter in Dr. Wallace’s book, referencing the 1975 NY Tel Fire; "PVC in the stage of decomposition and combustion can deliver an acute dose of toxicants which results in permanent serious injury and even delayed fatalities. Although the concentrated cloud of acid poses the most immediate life and health threat, other chemicals especially chlorinated hydrocarbons, can cause or contribute to serious chronic health is hoped that the consequences of this fire will lead to changes in the construction and layout of other buildings of this type. But even with improvements in construction and layout, the danger will not be completely eliminated. Synthetics are too pervasive in our world; we can never be too comfortable or confident about our safety. The Dragon lurks in the most unexpected places." [1]



Walt Whitman in 'Song of Myself ' Praised Firefighters:
“Lads ahold of fire-engines and hook-and-ladder ropes no less to me than the gods of the antique wars”.

By. Deborah Wallace, Ph.D.

But firefighters are mortals with lungs, hearts, brains, skin, and other organs vulnerable to physico-chemical insult. With the wide use of synthetic materials such as PVC, polyurethane, ABS, and nylon, fires and high-heat situations generate smoke and fumes containing both extremely irritating, tissue-destroying caustics and carcinogenic, mutagenic, neurotoxic, and hormonally-mimetic organic chemicals, such as dioxins and dibenzofurans. The scientific community has known most of the facts since the 1970’s. In 1969, New York City’s Fire Commissioner Lowry issued an alert about PVC fumes and smoke and urged use of airpacks.  

Firefighters belong among the Environmental Justice communities. From Louisiana’s cancer-alley Black towns poisoned by plastics factories to New Jersey’s blue-collar freeholds poisoned by emissions from plastics-molding processes to the working-class homeowners and renters affected by the Love Canal toxic dump to the towering infernos of cities where visually impenetrable walls of PVC soot envelop firefighters, the petrochemical industry has created many, many Environmental Justice communities.

The Telephone Exchange firefighters are icons of regulatory failure, a failure that turns our homes and workplaces into potential deathtraps and sources of permanent health impairment. The illnesses, injuries, and deaths of this cohort should not be forgotten. The cause of these illnesses, injuries, and deaths must be addressed with building codes and toxicity regulations. Negligence and corruption in code and regulation development made the New York Telephone Exchange Fire almost as much an act of terrorism as the attack on the World Trade Center. 

The petrochemical industry will lose massive revenue because of climate change imperatives that limit fossil fuels. It plans to compensate by making more plastics and finding more ways of replacing traditional materials with them. If the industry succeeds in this change, the firefighting environment will present even more hazards to health and life. We must honor the New York Telephone Exchange firefighters by preventing this cynical gambit and by demanding protective building codes and toxics regulations.


When the NY Cancer Resource Alliance and F.A.C.E.S Foundation (Firefighters Against Cancer & Exposures) learned about Dan Noonan's presentation, national ambassadors like "Cousin Sal" Banchitta (Ret. FDNY FF from Ladder 316), Dave Dachinger (Ret. Lt. from the Ridgefield CT Fire Department) and F.A.C.E.S. President Lt. Chris Conner (Bedford TX) flocked at the opportunity to partner with the NY Fire Bell Club to present Dan's long awaited Lifetime Achievement Honor.  "It's about time Dan received the recognition he long deserved all DECADES of public speaking and outreach! As a direct historian for the 1975 Fire, all firefighters throughout the US continues to learn from this and other disasters and thanks to the power of his writing and his videos in YouTube, his voice IS ALSO OUR VOICE to support all first responders. Dan is the original torch bearer and an inspiration to us all!"  In a separate interview after the 11/9 event, Chief Nieto stated, “Dan has unending passion to bring a lot of knowledge about prevention and early detection … especially for the 'probies' and the younger members. They hear these talks in the fire academy, but Dan continues to keep stressing it- really bringing it home.  The importance of self-responsibility and self-awareness about safety- especially after its job.”

Thanks in part to the NY Fire Bell Club and the cooperation from Verizon, sources say the 699 responders of the 1975 Fire are about to is receive the proper and due recognition for their sacrifice and service in the form of a memorial plaque to be installed at the former NY Tel Exchange building (204 Second Avenue and Thirteenth Street in the East Village, NYC) plus a street naming related to the fire.   The unveiling is said to occur in early February, 2022.


1) "In the Mouth of the Dragon- Toxic Fires in the Age of Plastics"- by Deborah Wallace, Ph.D. - 1990, Avery Publishing Group.

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Saturday, October 16, 2021

EMDR: NextGen Innovations in Mental Health Support for the Rescue Service Community

By. Dr. Robert L. Bard

High risk professions like law enforcement, military service, healthcare and emergency response are known to have exposure to some of the most extreme levels of trauma - both physically and psychologically.  They range in effects from manageable symptoms to crippling disorders.  Over time, most people overcome disturbing or traumatic experiences and continue to work and live their lives. But others who get affected by traumatic experiences may trigger a reaction that can last for months or even years. This is called Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Proportionately, studies have shown a lower percentage of retirees from such challenging careers acquire PTSD (from 15-20%) while an estimated 30-40% who suffer from PTSD associated symptoms go undetected or do not register as full cases. A larger percentage ‘on the job’ might be able to maintain the expected work standards throughout their career and even make it to retirement without visible signs. But “POST traumatic recall” leading to fully blown PTSD occurs when repeated exposure to trauma compounds on the tolerance capacity that eventually, one’s coping ability collapses.  The individual may feel stages of grief, depression, anxiety, guilt or anger from uncontrollable issues like recurring flashbacks and nightmares.

National programs are now being explored to provide continued improvements in resources and access to mental health solutions. Additional projects are in place to offer advocacy and outreach to the rescue community to reduce and eliminate stigma, facilitating optimal ease and support to ASK FOR HELP.

By: Jessica Connell-Glynn, LCSW, CPC, CEC

Until recently, I find that the vast majority of government-backed mental health programs were looked down upon in service communities like rescue workers and law enforcement.  Upon interviews and sessions with retired firefighters for our EMDR review, I have identified the resistance from common concerns about being chastized socially or financially- from questions like "how does my mental health report affect my LIFE INSURANCE?... or PENSION?.. or my CURRENT JOB?"  

Strategically, resolving this concern is crucial.  As part of our focus to de-stigmatize GETTING HELP-  we must first provide assurance and the feeling of safety in ASKING FOR HELP.  This has become the central basis for the program we are shaping here. 

The engagement of the patient is everything.  The wrong start can lead to disaster.  The F.A.C.E.S. Network and I established an exploratory effort to assess and re-engineer a plan for a more effective support system and a public awareness program - making it more comfortable for any responder to ask for help.  This next generation concept is with the full support of first responders health advocates and recognized supporters from the medical and mental health communities.

One key element in this plan that we are already seeing take place is the privacy and anonymity component. Upon exploring the ideal blueprint of an effective mental health program for active and retired rescue workers, my research had led me to what was once an experimental grant-funded national project with the Federal Park Ranger Service.  A public resource was offered to this community to attend ANONYMOUSLY- outside the unit or official location(s).  A designated therapist is available to the patient to privately undergo counseling, coaching and other modalities of therapy where each service personnel feels that form of safety from stigma.  The project works and is continued today in a similar model and is adapted on a state by state level, and the model is also picked up by other service agencies. 

Day One: volunteers warmed up to me and we explored that WARMING UP process. We discussed the community objective (for the firefighter), the current lack of initiatives to explore mental health issues and the heavy exposure on "the job" of  the varying forms of trauma.  This was the ideal common ground that helped to flesh out the camaraderie or teamwork that we needed and that which therapy is based on. For this healing process to happen, we need to work together.

The therapist-patient connection is as unique as it is crucial. There's many different kinds therapists out there- and to try to find the right one for you, that's a good fit. DAY ONE is that getting to know each other, where being on the same page as well as exploring that syneregy is key. It's a real relationship where you can really go back and forth where the patient needs to find that safe space with the therapist so they can talk about anything that they want. 

EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing)
By introducing something innovative like EMDR puts the patient at the drivers seat as a segue to learning about the inroads of therapy because EMDR is so structured and less of the fear of "talk therapy" and opening up. 

EMDR works on RECALL in a more structured way by targeting a specific event. It places the subject/patient in a somewhat dreamlike state (of calm) where we guide them through a specific event and try to untangle the trauma from the body- that trauma that is "trapped" in the nervous system.  A good way to describe the experience is to create a form of fantasy version of this event and make it more safe for the person to review.  Another good way to present the experience is much like a Virtual Reality simulation- but that YOU are doing the programming.  EMDR unlocks the bottled trauma and the objective of the therapist (or guide) is to bring down the stigma incited by the patient about that event or issue, so we can safely and comfortable work on it. 

In an array of interviews with active and retired first responders, the first step is to get them all comfortable with opening up.  Some were more closed and guarded than others, but as first responders go, we are working with volunteers who are also health advocates and public caregivers, so the resistance is a lot less.  Together we are partners to explore how to formulate an outreach and support program.  These same volunteer patients will experience the benefits of mental health support to form the means of bringing it to those who need.


Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of psychotherapy in which the person being treated is asked to recall distressing images; the therapist then directs the patient in one type of bilateral stimulation, such as side-to-side eye rapid movement or hand tapping. EMDR was developed in 1988. According to the 2013 World Health Organization (WHO): "This therapy [EMDR] is based on the idea that negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours are the result of unprocessed memories. The treatment involves standardized procedures that include focusing simultaneously on (a) spontaneous associations of traumatic images, thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations and (b) bilateral stimulation that is most commonly in the form of repeated eye movements."  EMDR is included in several evidence-based guidelines for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with varying levels of recommendation and evidence (very low to moderate per WHO stress guidelines). As of 2020, the American Psychological Association lists EMDR as an evidence-based treatment for PTSD but stresses that "the available evidence can be interpreted in several ways" and notes there is debate about the precise mechanism by which EMDR appears to relieve PTSD symptoms with some evidence EMDR may simply be a variety of exposure therapy. Even though EMDR is effective, critics call it a pseudoscience because only the desensitization component has scientific support. (Source: Wikipedia)

By: Lt. Chris Conner/ Bedford Fire Dept (TX) 

"In early October, I spent two weeks in a hurricane rescue tour in Jean Lafitte, Louisiana, south of New Orleans. I was part of an entire crew of national responders called to support any survivors. Like most disaster areas, we landed amidst communities that were completely decimated.  The stark, eerie memories remained in us all- of g
raves lifted above ground with hundreds of caskets floating downstream.  They were in people's yards, they were all over the place (and a lot of them), some of them were opened, some are half open... definitely a very eerie, creepy experience.   Another scenario was the prevalence of ALLIGATOR ATTACKS which no one was prepared for. 

As a rescuer, the devastation you see truly affects you.  You really want to help people because you're a human being in an area where everyone around you is in dire need- and because that's our job! But the sight of everything around you truly drains every ounce of your spirit.  Thinking back at the many faces of the many residents that we pulled out  (people who rebuilt from prior disasters just like this one)- I thought then that if this happened to me once, I'd never coming back.   To this day, I still have dreams of the heaviest parts of the whole event - including alligator attacks. I guess I should do EMDR on myself but I can only imagine for all the responders, things like haunting memories really needs to be addressed. Bottling these memories and sweeping them under the rug can be truly damaging-- and trauma like this has a tendency of spilling over in a bad way at some point." 

From "The Journals of a First Responder" by: Chris Conner.

TMS FOR DEPRESSION: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
October 4, 2021- TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation, is the use of magnets external to the body to activate tissue inside the body (so you're not having to open the patient up).  Based on Faraday’s Law, a magnetic field produced outside of a patient’s head can permeate non-invasively through a patient’s head and induce an electric field that has the capacity to activate neurons in the brain. We induce current at a distance inside the brain and cause the neurons to fire where we induce that current.  This means that where we depolarize, we cause the brains neurons to fire.  TMS artificially stimulates the brain and causes the neurons to fire.  Navigation technology allows us to see precisely where in the brain where we are stimulating. (see complete article)

September 25, 2021 - In 1979, The Food and Drug Administration 1979 approved PEMF Therapy for the healing of nonunion fractures. Electrical stimulation of the spine (as part of spinal fusion procedures) for failed fusions and congenital pseudarthroses. In October 2008 the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of PEMF therapy for treatment of major depressive disorder in PD patients who failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from very high dosages of antidepressant medications.  Clinical research has also been highly dedicated towards mental health. In 2006, the FDA approved PEMF Therapy for treatment of depression and anxiety. Further reports have presented an est. 30% of depression cases have a resistance to antidepressant drugs, where Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) and the application of Transcranially applied Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (T-PEMF) has shown positive results in combination with antidepressants in patients with treatment-resistant depression. (see complete article)


ROBERT L. BARD, MD, PC, DABR, FASLMS - Advanced Imaging & Diagnostic Specialist
Having paved the way for the study of various cancers both clinically and academically, Dr. Robert Bard co-founded the 9/11 CancerScan program to bring additional diagnostic support to all first responders from Ground Zero. His main practice in midtown, NYC (Bard Diagnostic Imaging- uses the latest in digital Imaging technology has been also used to help guide biopsies and in many cases, even replicate much of the same reports of a clinical invasive biopsy. His most recent program is dedicated to the reporting of mental health diagnostic and innovative solutions including the use of modern neuromagnetic technologies and protocols in his MEDTECH REVIEWS program.

JESSICA A. GLYNN, LMSW, CPC, CEC - Responders' Mental Health Program
 As a therapist and coach, a lot of my work with clients is helping to manage symptoms of anxiety and panic- that which manifests in physical, often frightening and alarming ways. We can experience things like racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, numbness in arms and legs which can all make us feel like we are out control of our bodies and our surrounding world. When we have experienced a traumatic event in our lives, these feelings can be even more severe and heightened. The trauma and residually related fear is one that is very close to my heart and a reason I can provide empathy and understanding to clients that have been affected by the horrific day. When we work to process physical emotions that arise from trauma, the hope is that one day we can be less affected by it and live more presently to enjoy life’s fulfilling moments. I work with clients to slowly pull apart the physical emotions we experience from the thoughts that we are having and process them in a more self-aware and grounded way., visit her website-

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Colorectal Cancer - 2021 Major Health Alert in the Fire Service Community

Hitting Cancer Below the Belt Inside the Fire House - By: Mindy Conklin

An internal fire has ignited and we are sounding the alarm. According to the National Cancer Institute, the rate of colorectal cancer has doubled in the under 50 year old population.[1] A 2021 study predicts this trend may continue into the foreseeable future with colorectal cancer becoming the leading cancer-related death in people between 20-49 years of age by the year 2040. [2]

Pouring gasoline on this cancerous fire is the risk of toxic exposure for firefighters. In 2010, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) assessed nearly 30,000 fire fighters across the country to explore the possible connection between their work and the development of cancer. The study was a collaborative effort, which also included researchers at the National Cancer Institute and the University of California at Davis Department of Public Health Sciences. Their findings revealed firefighters were likely to experience more cancer, and die more frequently from those cancers, than the general U.S. population. The most prominent cancers were digestive (e.g. colorectal), respiratory, and urinary cancers. [3]

Smaller studies have also revealed firefighters to be at higher than average risk of developing cancer. So what can be done? Hitting Cancer Below the Belt (HCB2) believes it all starts with awareness and offering education to enhance that understanding while delivering services to increase proactive health behaviors. HCB2 has an array of educational assets to attract the attention of community members that includes podcasts, short videos, presentations, appearances with the inflatable colon, and social media messages. We direct our services towards supporting community members susceptible to or at a higher risk of a cancer diagnosis - firefighters included. The news that colorectal cancer is on the rise is one that we can do something about! 

by: William J. Boger / President, Local 1568

Cancer is a very real and pervasive enemy to firefighters. The fires we used to fight were made of natural products like wood, leather and natural cloth fibers. Now, the fires we fight are filled with carcinogenic mixtures of plastics, synthetics and other chemicals. While we do a good job of protecting ourselves with gear, breathing apparatus and decontamination procedures, the toxins are unfortunately still absorbed into our bodies. In fact, cancer is now the leading cause of firefighter deaths and 66% of firefighter deaths between 2002 and 2019 were from cancer. According to research by the CDC/National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH), firefighters have a 9 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer and a 14 percent higher risk of dying from cancer than the general population.


HCB2 is nonprofit organization based in Richmond, Virginia. We are motivated to create environments where cancer is challenged to survive. It’s our purpose to see, listen, and serve in the effort to defeat colorectal cancer. Firefighters, we are coming with our hoses! Please feel free to reach out to us at or for further discussion and collaboration.


An internal fire has ignited and we are sounding the alarm. The National Cancer Institute notes the rate of colorectal cancer has doubled in the under 50 year old population. [4] A 2021 study predicts this trend may continue into the foreseeable future with colorectal cancer becoming the leading cancer-related death in people between 20-49 years of age by the year 2040. [5] Pouring gasoline on this cancerous fire is the risk of toxic exposure for firefighters. In 2010, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) assessed nearly 30,000 fire fighters across the country to explore the possible connection between their work and the development of cancer. The study was a collaborative effort, which also included researchers at the National Cancer Institute and the University of California at Davis Department of Public Health Sciences. Their findings revealed firefighters were likely to experience more cancer, and die more frequently from those cancers, than the general U.S. population. The most prominent cancers were digestive (e.g. colorectal), respiratory, and urinary cancers. [6]

Major illnesses from inhaling smoke include:  loss of immunity to respiratory tract infection, airway sensitization (chronic cough), lung damage, sinus trouble, problems with peripheral circulation, heart and neurological/psychological disorders. From the New York Telephone fire in 1975 the most common cancers were in the larynx, liver, skin, throat and brain that were detected through the years 1980 to the present.  The remaining survivors are still developing cancers to this day.  Many 9/11 first responders still suffer with chronic coughing episodes.

Anyone who received a letter from the Department of Health alerting them to the high mercury, arsenic or lead level in a recent blood or urine test knows that this is a wakeup call to further evaluate the problem. However, most of the State Health standards were based on toxicity to the unborn fetus in pregnant mothers.   For some reason, the early blood test abnormalities do not always match the results of the 24 hour urine collection which is supposedly more accurate. Many physicians today accept a high blood mercury level as a sign of health from greater consumption of fish.

 Another unknown is the combination of toxins with trauma and particulate matter at high rise disasters. Many cancers and chronic diseases do not manifest fully until months, years and even decades after the initial body insult as demonstrated by the 1975 NY Telephone Company conflagration and the Cancer Registry for the 911 attack aftermaths still revealing a significant incidence of skin, lung and prostate cancers 15+ years later.  In fact, the most common tumors recorded after 911 are;  Basal Cell Skin Cancer, Squamous Cell Skin Cancer and Malignant Melanoma.  Lung Cancer and Prostate Cancers are 4th and 5th respectively. Other statistical centers have collectively noted the incidence as: Prostate 13.7%  Skin 8.4% Colon 7.1% Bladder 6.9% and testicular 5.5% (lung and stomach have lower incidence to date).  Our body filters toxins by the skin, lungs, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract and liver. This trapped reservoir of irritants may be released over many years increasing the carcinogenic on the colon and rectal tissues.

Since colorectal cancer is mostly silent, how do we find it?  Colonoscopy is recommended for those over 50 but this is an invasive test.  CT colonoscopy is useful to find a tumor however the tissue sampling cannot be performed. Modern diagnostic imaging allows non biopsy analysis of all skin cancers,  most prostate tumors and some colo-rectal  malignancies. Blood flow Doppler measurements predict which tumors are aggressive and which may be watched.  Many cancers are tracked by CT, MRI and PET/CT isotope imaging.  Endorectal 4D sonograms are mostly used in Europe for staging and biopsy even though the resolution of the probe in contact with the bowel wall provides superior imaging. Ultrasound, photo-optical and laser MRI guided focal treatments permit patients to handle the problem with new minimally invasive procedures. 

A 15 minute endoscopy ultrasound probe scan reveals the tumor size and location. The 3D Doppler blood flow offers insight into the aggressive nature and likelihood of metastases.[7]  4D Volumetric imaging shows penetration through the bowel wall and some metastatic lymph nodes which is critical for surgical and radiation treatment planning.  Metastatic spread to distant organs such as the liver, bones and lymph nodes is detected by radiologic imaging. Often a cancer survivor feels a lump in the neck, groin or under the arm and may have their concern addressed by portable sonograms at their home if not available at their physician’s office.  A cancer node and a benign fatty tumor are readily distinguished by general ultrasound units in experienced hands. [8]  If the abnormal lymph node is suspicious, ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration (FNA) will accomplish what was previously a surgical excision, removal and pathologic sectioning. The ultrahigh resolution of lymph node sonography finds areas that the pathologists may miss since they are investigating a large mass of postoperative tissue specimen and may miss the true malignant focus if the sectioning of the nodes is too wide.

COLORECTAL SCREENING:  The low rate of first responders over 50 getting checked for bowel tumors may be increased by a 5 minute skin scan looking for toxic “stars” in the dermal tissues.  The “colon screening genetic markers” have a significant failure rate to date. A future study comparing dermatologic findings with colon and rectal tumors will shed more light on this non invasive clinical option.

Advanced Imaging & Diagnostic Specialist & recipient of the 2020 nationally acclaimed Ellis Island Award for his lifetime achievement in advanced cancer diagnostic imaging. Dr. Bard co-founded the 9/11 CancerScan program to bring additional diagnostic support to all first responders from Ground Zero. His main practice in midtown, NYC (Bard Diagnostic Imaging -


1. NCI. (2020). Why Is Colorectal Cancer Rising Rapidly among Young Adults? Retrieved from

2. Rahib, L., Wehner, M.R., Matrisian, L.M. et al. (2021). Estimated Projection of US Cancer Incidence and Death to 2040. JAMA Network Open, 4(4). Retrieved from

3. CDC. (2016). Findings from a Study of Cancer Among U.S. Fire Fighters. Retrieved from

4. NCI. (2020). Why Is Colorectal Cancer Rising Rapidly among Young Adults?Retrieved from

5. Rahib, L., Wehner, M.R., Matrisian, L.M. et al. (2021). Estimated Projection of US Cancer Incidence and Death to 2040. JAMA Network Open, 4(4). Retrieved from

4. CDC. (2016). Findings from a Study of Cancer Among U.S. Fire Fighters. Retrieved from

5. US Consumer Product Safety Commission  Fact Sheet No 41:Plastics   GPO889-731 1975

5. Wallace D: Toxic Fires in the Age of Plastics  TH9446.P55W35 1990

6. Bard, Futterer (Eds.) Image Guided Prostate Cancer Treatment   Springer 2014

7. Bard (Ed.)  Image Guided Dermatologic Treatment   Springer 2019

8. Bard (Ed.) Image Guided Covid-19 Lung Treatment   Springer 2021

Tuesday, July 20, 2021


In the earliest days of Ground Zero (9/11/2001), we have all watched countless rescue workers on the pile, passionately and pointedly searching for any life in the rubble while trying to stay focused from the devastating images and emotional effects of the disaster around them.  Twenty years later, many of these same responders are sharing the after effects of their experiences both physically and psychologically- some finding great cathartic benefit in sharing, while others still struggle with their memories.

Throughout a firefighter's career, rescue calls mean racing to accidents or disasters- often including traumatic images and sensations. They are usually first on the scene of any life-threatening incident, witnessing and interacting with event-related injuries, deaths or some of the most graphic and violent accidents. According to fire training experts and SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), public safety personnel are expected to witness horrific scenes in the line of duty. These professionals respond to tragic events that permeate all senses including sight, sound and smell.[1]   Repeated exposures, coupled with the immense stress of roles in emergency services, can lead to an increased risk for adverse behavioral health outcomes such as distress, worry, disturbed sleep or concentration, alterations in work function, difficulties with interpersonal relationships, increases in substance use, somatization, and depression.  [2]

Active and retired responders comment on the "limited training offered to adequately prepare public safety professionals to process trauma." What training and experience does not provide is the individual's ability to sustain the part of the human condition to reinforce one's internal defenses and ability to heal.  Each traumatic experience (where rescue calls do not end well) contains its own unique elements that can shock or surprise the system.  These traumatic elements have a tendency to carry latent or cumulative effects, which adds to the challenge of treating them as disorders (ie. PTSD, substance abuse, depression etc)

Bar none, rescue responders are a unique breed of caregiver, selflessly dedicated to acting on a call to save lives.  Their professional heightened focus to the rescue response can often occur at the cost of THEIR OWN personal safety.  The "toughness" that comes with the job is one that is fostered in part from within, but is also largely enforced by the strong camaraderie and collective support of their  fellow team members. 

But what happens when the rescue worker goes home?

"In the fire service, and also with EMS, we experience a lot of stories, but we don't usually talk about that stuff- it's all just part of the job. And that's where the problem starts", says Lt. Chris Conner of the Bedford (TX) Fire Dept. "It's a lot like being a soldier at war... we (literally) see everything and we just need to get battle-hardened. I can talk about witnessing someone trapped alive inside a burning car, or a baby getting thrown 100 feet out of a drunk drivers' vehicle or amputations in a building collapse- we as humans cannot be expected to just hold all these images in without some kind of backlash or even some permanent damage to the psyche like PTSD - it's just not possible.  Many firefighters got it together while on the job... then others (in their retirement) is when a lot of it collapses and the nightmares begin!"


- Coping Mechanisms & Endurance Training

- Collapse and Breakdown of Professional Composure

- Aftermath: The Many FLAVORS of Depression

- Diagnostic Protocols for Suicide Prevention

- Does Therapy REALLY Work?

- Medical Innovations in Mental Health Care

- It Takes a Village: Forming a Collaborative A-Team



Sunday, July 11, 2021


By: Dr. Robert Bard

According to the researchers and government health agencies, smoke from fires and SOOT (or particulate matter) can contain many different types of toxic compounds including: 

- Aldehydes
- Acid gases
- Sulfur dioxide
- Nitrogen oxides
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
- Benzene, toluene, styrene, metals and dioxins

Exposure to these compounds have a high probability of causing cancer. There continue to exist many HIDDEN DANGERS to inhaling or digesting fire smoke, and physical contact with toxic particulates. Fire departments these days are implementing a wide range of safety protocols including required cleaning of their gear and all surfaces that they come into contact with because extended exposures to these chemicals throughout a firefighter’s career can lead to cancer down the road.


The more we follow and the more we learn, the more we recognize that there are both short and long term exposures and risks that lead to diseases like cancer- some of which won't manifest for many years.  An example of this is the airline industry where smoke used to always be present and second-hand smoke led to the realization that that was a carcinogen for airline attendants. Similarly speaking for firefighters, the initial exposure to smoke and all the other potential carcinogens can lead to damage in the lungs and the whole upper aero-digestive track as we call it. But in the long run things like cancer and perhaps even other lung diseases may arise as part of accumulative effects of those exposures that may seen again decades later.

As things burn, chemical modifications happen. Things that don't normally exist together now are made to synthesize using fire or heat.  When this happens, there's further opportunities that any one of these new combinations that are synthesized from the heat and all these other chemicals mixing together could in fact be even more potent carcinogens. The fact that this can often take years before it manifests as diseases like cancer is actually very consistent with what we know on how cancers form.  Cancers don't happen overnight and the DNA damage that leads to cancer actually has to happen very slowly over years because cancer isn't just one DNA mistake in a cell-- it's actually multiple DNA mistakes in the same cell. It takes several years- often leading to a decade or more before it manifests into something that we clinically can detect as a tumor.

Through surgery or non-invasive procedures, we have the ability to remove all the cancer. On the other hand, cases have proven that microscopic cells may be left behind and those are ultimately the cells that could grow back and become metastatic recurrence. Oncologists make decisions based upon past clinical data about which patients would carry those microscopic cells after surgery or radiation. Meanwhile, options are available called systemic therapies, which includes hormone therapies and chemotherapies, but should recurrence occur, they may return in a variety of forms or locations in the body with varying levels of aggressiveness.  One could probably assess that if you have an aggressive form of prostate cancer, then the chances or likelihood of having microscopic cells left behind is greater. And that those are ultimately the cancers that will recur faster.

It's not unusual that you could actually see toxins  get absorbed systemically through the lungs and may wind up becoming a carcinogen to another organ - regardless of its first contact. Once it hits the bloodstream, anything is fair game in terms of susceptibility.  Various possibilities for this include  micro-environmental factors; as an example, when one thinks about the breast cancer susceptibility genes [BRCA 2], those who have inherited the mutation would have that mutation in every single cell in their body. But predominantly the cancers that occur, at least in women are going to be breast and ovarian cancers. It's because of the interplay between the local environment or micro-environment, and the actual carcinogenic insult to the DNA.

Diagnostic technologies continue to improve, and arming our first responders with these portable field scanners is innovation that are now being pursued.  In addition, implementing more regular screening and early detection scans for firefighters is ideal because of increased risk and exposure.  Historical comparison shows progress is certainly evident when it comes to frequent testing for active and retired firefighters. The best way protect firefighters with prevention is to catch it earliest – where there is the highest probability of a cure.  

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