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Health: United States

Archives: 2001

Profile of Older Americans 2001
This US Administration on Aging report shows that the older population in America numbered 35 million in 2000. The 65 years or older represented one in every eight Americans. The older population is getting older: the 85 + group was 34 times larger than in 1900. The 65-74 age group was only 8 times larger. 

Health disparities among older women (December 2001)
Reducing disparities in health and health care associated with race, ethnicity, socioeconomic position and gender has emerged as a major challenge for the United States health care system. These health disparities among older women persist into old age and are coupled with the high burden of chronic illness, comorbidity and disability.

Physical and mental health status of American grandparents providing extensive child care to their grandchildren (December 2001)
According to a study , providing extensive care for a grandchild was associated with elevated levels of depression. Physicians should be alert to family role changes and symptoms of depression in their older patients.

American women and health disparities (December 2001)
American women are in poorer health, use fewer health services, and continue to suffer disproportionately from premature death, disease, and disabilities. Many also face tremendous social, economic, cultural, and other barriers to optimal health. By the year 2050, nearly 1 in 4 adult women will be 65 years old or older. It is a growing national and international challenge.

U.S. Retirement Magnets (November 2001)
Florida has the highest proportion of people ages 65 and older (18 percent), but new retirement magnets are emerging outside Florida.

Restless Legs: Treatable, if Recognized (November 27, 2001)
At least 12 million people in the U.S. have the restless legs syndrome. It is characterized by a variety of discomforting sensations that occur at rest and compel sufferers to get up and move around. In this article, you will find some advice to see the symptoms and to treat this syndrome.

Connecticut Woman, 94, Is Fifth to Die From Inhalation Anthrax (November 22, 2001)
Ottilie Lundgren, a 94- year-old woman from Oxford, Conn., died on November 21, 2001 because she mysteriously contracted inhalation anthrax. Investigators are looking for clues to know how she got the lethal bacteria.  This is the fifth anthrax victim and the first older one.

U.S. Politics May Curb WTO Talks (November 15, 2001)
U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick is not authorized by the American legislation to negotiate trade deals that can not be rewritten by lawmakers. At the WTO Conference in Doha, he launched a new global trade negotiations but will he get the congressional approval about his trade deals ?

The Cipro Rip-Off and the Public Health (November 14, 2001)
Whereas the U.S. government has authority, under existing law, to license generic companies to make on-patent drugs like Cipro for sale to the government, the Bush administration decided, that even urgent U.S. public health needs do not merit any limitation on patent monopolies. It is time for citizens to demand the government to prioritize public health over corporate profit.

New Drug That Helps Veins Stay Unclogged After a Bypass Proves Effective, Study Finds (November 13, 2001)
Heart surgery patients usually face some problems such as the tendency of veins used in bypass surgery to clog up in the years after surgery. According to a study, an experimental drug named E2F decoy interferes with the genetic workings of blood-vessel walls and suppresses the genetic trigger.

Growing Old, With the Bones in One Piece (November 13, 2001)
Ten million Americans have osteoporosis, a form of arthritis defined by bones seriously weakened by mineral loss and another 18 million are at high-risk for developing it. How can you prevent it ? In this article from the New York Times, you will find some explanations about the causes of this disease. Because you are living longer, you have to be aware of what your skeleton needs to be strong.

More Than Death, Many Elderly Fear Dementia (November 11, 2001)
Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging, but it is a disease almost exclusively of the aged. Here are personal stories about different elderly people who fears it and don’t know how to prevent it. They share their “memory” pills moments and their little family tips with us.

Health Care as Main Engine: Is That So Bad? (November 11, 2001)
According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, health care is expected to account for 16 percent of the nation’s economic output by 2010. In the recent years, many studies tried to quantify the health industry benefits with different methods. This industry is not made for stimulating a weak economy.

Doctors Say Call to Get Flu Shots Could Backfire (November 1, 2001)
There are not enough flu shots for everyone. So the priorities for flu vaccine are the elderly, people with chronic diseases, people with weakened immune systems, pregnant women in their second or third trimesters and health care workers. For those people, it’s very important to prevent influenza and its consequences.

Moderate Exercise Program Benefits Health of Older Women Caregivers (November 1, 2001)
Increasing numbers of aging women caregivers is one of the crucial facts facing every graying society. This study reported that moderate exercise and nutrition counseling a couple of times a week had good effects on old women caregivers. They got better sleep and lowered their blood pressure. 

A Career Spent in Study of Training and Exercise (October 30, 2001)
Elderly people’s goal is “to maintain their independence and stay out of nursing homes”, Dr David Costill, professor of exercise at Ball State University, said. He is now 65 and he is looking at aging. Why do older people gain mostly slow twitch muscles while the younger subjects gain mostly fast twitch ones ? Dr Costill’s research examines these questions.

EKG may not indicate accurate status of patient (October 29, 2001)
Just because a patient's electrocardiogram appears normal after a heart attack does not mean the patient is out of danger, according to a new study.

Flu Shots Are Encouraged to Reduce Anthrax Fear (October 25, 2001)
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani urged all New Yorkers to get a flu shot and be able not to confuse flu symptoms with inhalation of anthrax. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly recommends that the flu shot must be given first to people over 65 and over 6 months with compromised immune systems.

Administration Announces Deal to Purchase Cipro at Discounted Price (October 24, 2001)
As reported in the New York Times, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has reached an agreement with Bayer to buy Cipro at the prices charged by manufacturers of generic alternatives. The U.S. government is amassing stockpile of other drugs too, to be able to treat up to 12 million Americans for anthrax. This new step begins a “public health price” for U.S. drugs which may lower drug prices for older persons in the future.

An easy means of prevention : A flu shot (October 23, 2001)
Anthrax is not the only threat towards elderly people. Influenza is another jeopardy. Everyone over 65 must get his flu shot to reduce the severity of the illness and lower the risk of serious complications. In this article from the New York Times, you will find some advice about how to get your flu shot…

Trying to Roll Back the Biological Clock, for a Price (October 21, 2001)
Nowadays, people want to pay more attention to their health and they are more and more interested in anti-aging clinics. They offer controversial treatments like chelation therapy to improve blood circulation or fight hardening of the arteries, human growth hormones therapy … But there is no evidence of successful results with these therapies.

Bodyworks (October 17, 2001)
With medical testing, older adults can know whether they are at risk for injuries affecting their mobility as well as their independence.

Dietary Supplements Pose Risk to Older Americans (October 17, 2001)
The General Accounting Office warns physical and financial health risks which dietary supplements such as “anti-aging” cause to numbers of the older Americans. Even though prosecutors have already identified some dangerous products in the supplement industry, sales to elderly consumers have not decreased. The Food and Drug Administration needs more strict restrictions in order to prevent companies selling harmful supplements to the elderly.

A Rush for Cipro, and the Global Ripples (October 17, 2001)
Why buy for a drug $350 a month in the United States if you can buy the same medicineat $10 a month in India ? It is the question raised by the American government about Cipro, an antibiotic for treating anthrax made by Bayer, a German company. Cheaper generic drugs could be available for poor countries for the epidemics of AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases.

Ask the Experts: Questions and Answers on Assisted Living
(October 16, 2001)

As we age, we wonder about our future living… Some people choose to live in assisted living facilities. But it is so difficult to find the best place to live. This article from the Washington Post gives us some good advice about choosing, visiting and getting a good idea of the everyday life in assisted living facilities.

More Americans are dying from diseases of old age (October 16, 2001)
As life expectancy has increased, more Americans are dying of disease associated with old age. A government report finds increases in deaths from Alzheimer’s disease, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and septicemia or blood infection…

Flu shots urged now for high-risk groups; others should wait 
(October 15, 2001)

Senior citizens are encouraged to get their flu shot first. They have to get it to prevent the infection and to reduce the risk of serious complications. In this article from the Louisville Courier-Journal, you will find some information about the location for public shots…

Supplements Work to Treat Vision Loss in Elderly (October 12, 2001)
Macular degeneration destroys the central portion of the retina. But there is no effective treatment to cure this disease. According to a study published in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology, dietary supplements like vitamins, beta-carotene and zinc, reduce the risk of vision loss among the elderly.

Study Backs Drugs and Surgery for Elderly With Colon Cancer 
(October 11, 2001)

Why can’t elderly people with cancer benefit from chemotherapy after surgery ? They have the same right to live as younger people. They can tolerate chemotherapy if they have the will to survive and if they have access to the treatment. A person who is suffering from a cancer is not condemned…

She's taken an alternative path to freedom from pain (October 11, 2001)
Jean Masciarelli was diagnosed with arthristis when she was 20. Thirty-one years later, she is the director of the Greater Milford Visiting Nurse Association. She practices every day t’ai chi movements to gain strength and flexibility. The benefits of alternatives like meditation, aromatherapy, herbs and standard treatments are being recognized by doctors.

For pain reliever, questions of risk remain (October 9, 2001)
Some studies examine the unexpected side effects of pain relievers like Vioxx made by Merckx or Celebrex made by Pharmacia. These drugs are more and more demanded by patients. But they might increase the risk of heart attacks. So what can we do about these new drugs which are probably dangerous for our health ?

Healthbeat : Congress to consider increased monitoring of food supply, uniform food safety standards ( October 9, 2001)
As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, the nation’s food supply is vulnerable to bioterrorism. The Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department Agriculture must take care of food safety and prevent food poisonings especially for the elderly, vulnerable to food-borne germs as listeria and salmonella.

Drug giant to introduce discount plan for the Elderly (October 3, 2001)
As reported in the New York Times, GlaxoSmithKline, the second-largest drug maker, plans to announce that it is creating a national discount program for low-income elderly people who lack prescription drug coverage, reducing the price of its drugs by 25 percent or more. Will this program be efficient ?

State takes steps to control Medicaid drug spending (October 2, 2001)
Why do doctors prescribe the most costly drugs to their patients when cheaper and generics drugs are available? State Medicaid officials want to save money by reinstating controls on prescription drugs.

Self-esteem Levels Peak in Childhood, Mid-life (October 1, 2001)
An Internet survey based on 326, 000 people finds that adolescence and old age are two moments when self-esteem drops. Men and women in their 70s reported similar self-esteem levels, and women in their 80s reported having slightly higher self-esteem than did men.

HHS releases money to help in nursing shortage (September 28, 2001)
Why don’t you study to be a nurse ? The Health and Human Services develops programs to encourage nurse training and help nurses-in-training from disadvantaged backgrounds to get their degrees. They repay student loans for nurses in public facilities or they support adequate salaries and staff levels for nurses…

Flu disparity (September 25, 2001)
As reported as the San Francisco Chronicle, flu shot is recommended for anyone 65 or older. But  some studies have found racial differences in health care. There is an evidence that African-Americans do not have the same access as the whites to get their flu shot.

Performance: Workouts May Help Turn Back Clock (September 25, 2001)

Doctors urged to become more active in fixing health care 
(September 22, 2001)

In this article, published in The Olympian, doctors are encouraged to have some “reduced activity days” or RAD’s to talk with patients, legislators and every health care actors. Everybody has to participate in the debate about the health care crisis to find solutions.

Study: Elderly Americans enjoying better health (August 13, 2001)
Americans are not only living longer but also more vigorously than ever. Fewer people over 65 require nursing home care and more are living on their own, with little or no outside help, a study shows.

Better treatment sought for elderly with broken hips (August 13, 2001)
For thousands of elderly Americans every year, a broken hip is not just a painful inconvenience but the start of a downward spiral toward death. Medical experts now are searching for ways to improve the survival rate.

House passage of Patient's Rights Bill likely (August 2, 2001)
This article in the New York Times discusses the compromise on Patient’s Rights Legislation between President Bush and Representative Charlie Norwood, the leader of a six-year campaign to enact a patients' bill of rights, clearing the way for House passage of the measure this week.

Stems Cells Are Used to Produce Insulin (August 1, 2001)
As reported by Reuters, researchers in Israel have succeeded in coaxing human embryonic stem cells into producing insulin. The scientists were able to make the cells imitate pancreatic cells that secrete insulin. This finding could lead to new treatments for Type I diabetes.

The stalling game (July 2001)
This Consumer Reports shows that sweetheart deals and patent extensions keep lower-cost generic drugs from consumers.  Investigators from the Federal Trade Commission on Bush administration’s request will focus on the business relationships between brand name and generic-drug manufacturers.

Widespread Abuse Found in Nation's Nursing Homes (July 30, 2001)
As reported in WebMD Medical News, a Congressional report found that about one-third of nursing homes have recently violated abuse standards.  The report says that much of the problem comes from the homes failing to investigate allegations of abuse and failing to do background checks on their employees to ensure they do.  

Drug Industry Exaggerates R&D Costs To Justify Prices, Consumer Group Says (July 24, 2001)
The drug industry exaggerates the cost of research and development for prescription drugs to justify high prices, a consumer group said in a new report.

Seniors Need More of Brain Than Young People (July 17, 2001)
A new survey from the University of Michigan show that seniors use different regions of the brain and more of the brain than younger adults to perform the same tasks. Surprisingly, they discover that in older adults unexpected regions of the brain are activated for verbal and spatial memory tasks.

Diet And Exercise Help Elderly Diabetics, Too (June 27, 2001)
This New York Times article shows that a great number of elderly diabetics are changing their lifestyles in order to improve their health.  Most type 2 diabetic patients feel that improving their diet and increasing their exercise allow them to successfully control and live with their diabetes.

CDC Sees Racial Gap in Flu Shots (June 28, 2001)
According to the New York Times, the Center of Disease and Control finds that elderly blacks and Hispanics  are less likely to get flu shots than elderly whites.  This discovery is very troubling since the flu kills 18,000 elderly people each year.

Study looks at health of caregivers following death of spouse (June 27, 2001)
A recent study suggests that people who experience the pressures of caring for an elderly partner deal with the death of their mate better than people who lose their mate unexpectedly.

A Devastating Lack of Awareness (June 24, 2001)
More women must learn about the risks of heart disease.  As portrayed in the New York Times, cardiovascular disease is the principal cause of death among women as opposed to breast cancer.  Even though heart disease shows up most of the time in women over 65 years old, exercise and appropriate drugs to reduce cholesterol can  reduce the chance of heart attack by 50 percent.

Prices of most-prescribed drugs for seniors rose more than twice the rate of inflation last year (June 12, 2001)
The 50 most heavily prescribed drugs for seniors rose in price, on average, at more than twice the rate of inflation, according to a new report issued by the consumer health organization Families USA. Over one-third (18 out of 50) of the most-prescribed drugs for seniors rose in price at least three times the rate of inflation from January 2000 to January 2001.  

New hope in the fight against Alzheimer’s.  This article, printed in the June 11th Business Week magazine, takes an interesting look at the theory that treating patients with mild cognitive impairment or MCI might slow Alzheimer’s disease.  This new discovery may stop the natural course of Alzheimer’s and prevent millions of people from suffering this illness.

Study Finds Heart Regenerates Cells (June 7, 2001)
This article, published in the New York Times, informs readers about a new discovery in heart related medicine.  Cell regeneration after heart attacks may provide researchers with the ability to tap into heart growth reserves to repair damage.   Yet, unanswered questions linger and more research is needed to fully understand how the heart responds to heart attacks, ailments, and aging.

AIDS Fungus Drug Offered to Poor Nations (June 7, 2001)
Pfizer provided a small helping hand in the fight against AIDS.  As portrayed in this article, taken from the New York Times, Pfizer has offered a drug to fight fungal infections associated with AIDS to 50 of the poorest countries in the world.  Even though this is an important step, more work needs to be done to make drugs more accessible and cheap or free to people with this contagious illness.

Cancer Cluster Mysteries Need Focused Research (June 6, 2001)
This article takes a look into cancer cluster research.  Cancer in certain communities or areas could be due to air, water, or soil pollution but in order for this suspicion to become an indisputable fact better data collection needs to be implemented. Only then can epidemiologists provide a reason for cancer clusters.

FDA Plans to Review Policy Allowing Direct-to-Consumer Drug Ads for TV (March 28, 2001)
As the number of prescription-drug commercials on television continues to skyrocket, federal regulators are beginning to examine whether the ads are causing more harm than good.  Often patients seek the highly advertised, highly profitable drugs and doctors are unwilling to explain why they are not needed.  Will drug companies respond with increased campaign contributions to candidates who promise to silence the FDA and its research?

Medicaid's role in long-term care (March, 2001)
This article reveals the financial, social and policy issues  of  Medicaid’s role in long term care. Medicaid is the major  source of financing for long term care for elderly and for non-elderly persons with disabilities

Americans Living Longer, Not Necessarily Healthier, Lives (March 2001)
Are older people today healthier than they were a generation ago ? The answer depends on which indicator of health is used to measure change.

The View From Sixety (January 23, 2001)
For his 60th birthday, Brendan Donegan planned an elaborate party, but he was caught unprepared when the party was over.

The View From Ninety (January 23, 2001)
A former correspondent for The Washington Post gives a glimpse of what living to be 90 is like.

Older Adults and Mental Health (January 2001)
This report from the Administration on Aging shows that it's possible to alleviate the suffering of older people with mental disorders. Twenty percent of people 55+ have specific mental disorders that are not parts of the "normal" aging.