Americans Waver on New Medicare Law (December 27, 2003) The new Medicare law makes US citizens uneasy and undecided about
the legislation and its value to older persons. An Annenberg survey done
from December 8 to 23, 2003, shows this uncertainty. As both political
parties engage in vigorous debate over 2004, opinions will become firmer.
Global Action on Aging will keep you abreast of these developments during
A Room Comes Alive With Color and Sounds
(December 23, 2003) A long term care center in Salisbury, Connecticut, uses a machine
calls Snoezelen, to treat seniors with dementia or children with
disabilities. This invention is said to stimulate the senses, thanks to
music, light and fragrances. Then the anxieties are pushed away and people
relax. They feel better and can act as everyone else. They no longer have
aggression or stress. Created in the seventies and coming from the
Netherlands, the Snoezelen was refused by the U.S. for years. In fact the
studies on the effects weren’t as accurate as they should have been.
It’s now used in the U.S. at the Beth Israel Medical Center in
Manhattan. Dr. Jason Staal, a behavioral psychologist, has conducted small
studies on cardiac and dementia patients. He uses the Snoezelen and
Nursing Homes Cautious During Flu Season (December
23, 2003) In Nebraska, many nursing
homes have taken precautions in order to fight the flu. Most residents
received flu shots; even the staff got it. At the Maple Crest Care
Center, people that have flu-like symptoms are prevented from entering.
Observinghygienic rules are
the best way to prevent getting the flu. Washing hands and being careful
in everyday action, such as keeping away from ill people, are the first
rules the nursing homes directors’ require.
Tax-Free Health Care
Accounts Begin Jan. (December 23, 2003) The Bush Administration announced the creation of health saving
accounts following on the Medicare legislation.These tax free accounts will be available in January 2004. The
system seems simple: every year, the unspent money stays in the account
and gives a benefit to the owner. Every account will be earned by one
person, with benefits transferable to a spouse in case of death.However, critics point to the fact that the accounts will benefit
the wealthy the most.The
accounts will cost the US Treasury some $6.4 billion dollars over the
decade and will skim the healthiest, most affluent into such policies.The poor will have to pay more. . . .assuming that they
can even purchase health care.The
income disparity in the US between rich and poor has now reached the level
of 1929—totally wiping out the progress made over the last 75 years.
Seniors Find New Medicare Law Confusing (December 22, 2003) There is a general
feeling about the new Medicare law: it’s too confusing. Many seniors
don’t get it. The reform is a big mess, and they don’t really know
what will happen with their health insurance coverage. Even the people who
support the law agree with the opponents saying it’s a very complicated
measure. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 2.7 million people
will lose the drug benefits they receive from former employers.
Tooth study won't
prompt smiles in Appalachia (December 19, 2003) With data at 42 percent and 41.9 percent, Kentucky and West
Virginia are the two U.S. states with the highest percentage of elderly
missing their natural teeth. The government surveyed the inequalities
among U.S. states. It seems that economic, cultural and medical factors
are responsible for this situation. However, the global situation has
improved over the past 50 years. Advancements in dental care and oral
hygiene measures contributed to progress.
Illinois to Seek Exemption to Buy Drugs From Canada (December 22, 2003) The Illinois Governor, Mr. Blagojevich, wants his State to be allowed
to import drugs from Canada.Such
imports will yield savings of$90.7
million a year for the medical drugs that the State buys for its current
and retired workers. He asked the Secretary of Health to make it a test
state. The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) is opposed to the
importation, because, mimicking US Drug Giants’claims, such as Canadian
drugs may not be reliable.Let’s
hope Illinois wins out . . .and maybe the Governor will ask why sick
elderly – and others – must support the million dollar salaries of
pharmaceutical bosses and the high profits of their big stockholders.Let there be a “fair” profit instead of the immoral price
gouging that goes on at present.
Endorses Drug Importation (December 19,
2003) Edward Kennedy, Senior Senator of Massachusetts, supports the
importation of drugs from Canada. In fact, he says the new Medicare law
allows state regulators to choose the way to get drugs.For years, he agreed with the Food and Drug Administration and
opposed drug imports because he thought they might not be safe.However, he now sees FDA opposition to the importation linked to
the financial and drugs companies’ greed for high profits rather than
health considerations. He will propose a bill to allow importing drugs
from licensed Canadian pharmacies.
States to Help Residents Import Drugs From Canada (December 18, 2003) Some U.S. states, such as Illinois , Minnesota , New Hampshire and
West Carolina , have decided to import cheap drugs from Canada , even if
the Food and Drug Administration considers it illegal. Providing cheaper
medicine for people who need them is a popular issue. The Minnesota and
New Hampshire State Governments have created web sites for the
importation, linking the state official web sites with Canadian
pharmacies. The trade is well-controlled, in order to provide safe
medication to U.S citizens. The Food and Drug Administration, on its part,
wants state officials to help develop more generic drugs in order to
shrink the costs.
Come From the Flu This Season, Experts Say
(December 17, 2003) The worst news with influenza is lack of information. We don’t know
where it will hit, nor are we aware of its strength.US Health and Human Services Secretary, Mr. Tommy G. Thompson,
said, “We are hoping that we have got the worst behind us because it
started early.” Mr. Thompson asked Congress for an additional 100
million dollars for next year to improve and to create better approaches
to vaccine production.In fact
this year vaccines are not effective in all the cases: the
A virus strain that is hitting most people cannot be stopped by the
vaccine currently available.
December 16, 2003
) The new Medicare law has to deal with the fight between community
hospitals and specialty hospitals. Specialty hospitals, partly owned by
doctors, specialize in one service: hand surgery, eye repair, etc.. The
community hospitals officials worried about the emerging specialty
hospitals that skim the healthiest and richest patients and leave the
others to the community hospitals. The fight is beginning and it’s
difficult to know which direction it will go.We can safely say that the entrepreneur/specialist doctor will make
more money -- surely the “capitalist way.”Whether the health of the population is served is another issue.
New Medicare Law Boosts Chronic Care (December 15,
2003) With the new Medicare law, and all the cost cuts it wants to make, the
disease management programs should increase in costs. In these programs,
patients with chronic diseases can send information about their health
status to a nurse that may be thousands of miles away. The development of
these programs will change the Medicare traditional aim, which was
treating illnesses, not preventing them. These programs will be developed
states. They seem interesting since the costs are low, but people may need
a human presence.Also, the
private companies must be paid from saved monies from hospitalization.Will this assure good care?A
dead patient costs nothing. The Big Bad Flu, or Just the Usual? (December 14,
2003) This year, the flu can be seen as a mystery. Health officials
do not know if the early cases are the announcement of an epidemic or
nothing. The lack of information for the citizens had increased the
anxiety. Not enough shots were created, and even the shots available may
not be efficient against the
flu. In fact, making a flu shot is a long and expensive process that takes
months and takes time the researchers did not have. This is a real
problem, since in case of epidemic lack of vaccines must be dramatic.
According to Dr. Barry R. Bloom, dean of the Harvard School of Public
Health, “That is unlikely to change without government intervention.”
U.S. Considers Importing Influenza Vaccine (December 10, 2003) The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plan to ask
European companies for flu vaccines. In fact, there won’t be enough
shots for all the demand.185 million
citizens are eligible to receive the shot, but the number of vaccines
available is only 83 million. The private drug companies decide on their
own how many vaccines they will produce. Due to over production in 2002,
the drug companies chose this year to reduce the numbers of vaccine doses
available: down from 95 million created in 2002, they just made 83 million
this year. Producing new vaccines now will take too long. Asking
is probably the last option, but the number of shots available from
won’t be enough. In order to prevent the situation from happening again,
the government will likely have to finance the shot production in the
. A good example of why supply and demand does not work well in the health
sector. Hopefully, the government can negotiate a good price from the drug
Anxiety, Depression Linked to Alzheimer's
(December 9, 2003) Anxiety and depression increase the risk of Alzheimer’s
disease, according to a study by the Rush University Medical Center in
Chicago. The lead author of the study, Robert Wilson, explains that
chronic stress is associated with changes in the hippocampal area of the
brain, where problems with learning and memory also develop. However,
researchers are unclear whether emotional distress is simply an early
sign, rather than a risk factor, of the disease.
Few Options Available to
Treat Influenza (December 8, 2003) The flu is back, and this year’s epidemic came earlier and is
hitting harder than in previous years. On average, 36,000 Americans die
every year due to the virus, and experts expect a higher toll this year.
High demand for the flu vaccine has resulted in some shortages, but the
more expensive inhaled version of the vaccine is still widely available.
Doctors strongly recommend the vaccine, since few options exist to treat
the virus once infected.
Bush Signs Medicare
Bill; Democrats Vow to Fight (December 8, 2003) President Bush signed into law the $400 billion plan to overhaul
Medicare, but Democrats still vow to fight it. The plan provides new drug
benefits, but gives private insurers a much larger role in Medicare, which
some Democrats say amounts to privatization of the system.Republicans hope the new plan will add up to more votes from
seniors in the elections.
Officials Say Flu Shots Should Go to Most Vulnerable (December 7, 2003) The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the supply of
flu vaccine shots may not meet demand, which soared due to an early flu
season, warnings of a severe outbreak, and SARS-related fears. Experts say
people with health risks, such as older people, children or pregnant
women, have first priority to receive the shot. Manufacturers use an
estimate of how many people will want the shot to decide how much to
produce each year. But according to Michael Decker, vice president of
scientific and medical affairs for Aventis Pasteur U.S, “Erratic rather
than consistent demand makes it impossible.”
The new Medicare bill will turn into law as soon as President Bush
signs it, but both Republicans and Democrats already have their eyes on
the polls. Republicans claim a major political victory, wresting away an
issue Democrats have long used to their advantage. House Democratic leader
Nancy Pelosi, who successfully rallied House Democrats to vote against the
bill, sees a different angle. “This bill is wrong,” says Pelosi,
“And when the public sees what's in this bill, I think it's going to be
a negative to have voted for it.”
More Medicine Is Not Better Medicine
(December 1, 2003) Few people are satisfied with the newly passed Medicare bill, but most
agree it hurts the plan’s long-term financial stability, writes
Professor Elliott S. Fisher of Dartmouth in this op-ed. Prof.
Fisher argues that increased Medicare costs often stem from the false
assumption that more care is better care. His study finds that regions
with higher health care spending often provide lower quality care, due to
unnecessary procedures, misleading information from drug companies, and
lack of communication among multiple doctors. Patients need better access
to information to choose the most efficient,safe, and low-cost health care.
Congressional Democrats are ratcheting up their criticism of the newly
passed Medicare bill. Democratic Rep. John Tanner of
says the plan “fails to deliver a meaningful guaranteed drug benefit in
Medicare and starts toward privatizing the program." Democrats have
already proposed new legislation to repeal the most controversial parts of
the bill and to lift the ban on importing cheaper Canadian and European
Bill Adds Drug Benefit; Vote Is Victory for President Bush (November 25,
2003) Unfortunately, the Senate passed the Bush-backed Medicare Bill. The
Democrats’ attempts to filibuster and maintain the budget-restriction
requirements weren’t sufficient to stop it. Now, President Bush just has
to sign the Bill in order it to make it law. The Republicans consider this
“reform” as a great victory and a help in upcoming elections.As the Democrat Minority Leader said, the law is not good: “I
predict that we will be back within the next 12 months. Seniors will
demand that we respond to the many deficiencies of this bill, and they
will not rest until we address them.”
On Closing the Debate (November 24, 2003) As the Senate of this great democracy was voting to close off debate,
the question arose: Why the rush? The same question arose when Congress
let Bush hurl the bombs on
. Why the rush? The main reason, I think, is that they're lying, and every
day, the truth dawns on more people. Medicare Debate Turns to Pricing of
Drug Benefits (November 24, 2003) The House voted the Medicare Bill on November 23 and the Senate
vote will likely come before Thanksgiving. For the senators, there is
still a controversial point in the Bill: the bill prevents the government
from negotiating lower drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries. According
to supporters of the Bill, the provision will protect innovation in the
pharmaceutical industry. Many Democrats, such as Mr. Kerry, are opposed
since it will protect “moneyed interests.”But Democrats lack sufficient numbers for a filibuster.
Medicare Overhaul "Eyelash Away"
(November 24, 2003)
After the House agreement on Medicare Bill, Democrat senators wonder how
to prevent the Senate from adopting it. The Democratic leader Tom Daschle
hopes it could happen with a filibuster, but it will be difficult to
obtain the 60 votes needed, since 9 democrats among 48 support the bill.
Frist Confident About Medicare Bill (November
The House voted on November 22 in favor of the Medicare Bill. And the
Republican senate leader Bill Frist expects the Senate to agree on
November 24. Hopefully, the Democrat leaders Sens. John Kerry and Edward
Kennedy will fight against a privatization “reform” that destroys the
spirit of Medicare. In fact, Medicare, created in 1965, aims at
guaranteeing an equal health program for every senior citizen.
Double Whammy (November 24, 2003) Some people amalgamate “crazyism” and ageism and don’t
understand that it’s not normal to feel depressed if one is old. Elderly
depressed people must receive appropriate care. The federal Center for
Mental Health Services tries to reach older people and help them
understanding the message. But the more important change has to come from
Medicare: creating parity treatment between mental and physical illness.
Food for Holiday Thought: Eat Less,
Live to 140? (November 23, 2003) “Fewer calories for a longer life.” According to the Calories
Restriction Society, eating less helps improve length of life. Their
assertion is based on a studies led in the 30’s by a Cornell University
nutrition professor who discovered that dieting rats tend to live 30 percent longer. Some humans are trying this
approach. Time will tell!
Lawmakers Fear Another
Senior Citizens' Revolt Against Medicare Bill (November 23, 2003) Asthey weigh their votes on a massive
Medicare prescription drug bill, a lot of nervous lawmakers keep seeing
the ghosts of a senior citizens' revolt 14 years ago. Then as now,
Congress was on the verge of expanding Medicare coverage. Critics were
warning seniors they were getting a raw deal. And lawmakers back in 1989
were equally eager to convince Americans that their new Medicare benefits
were a wonderful idea. "The backlash will be bigger," this time,
Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a consumer health advocacy group, predicted
last week. For one thing, the current Medicare changes are bigger than
1989's. They're also hard to explain, passed by a partisan vote, and will
adversely affect some seniors.
Can a Pill Keep You Young? (November
Even if you're not on a quest to turn back time, you've probably noticed
Internet ads for dietary supplements that claim to fight
aging. Among the
most popular are pills, patches and sprays that supposedly boost levels of
human growth hormone, or HGH. While research shows that
prescription-strength injections of HGH may decrease body fat and increase
lean mass, bone density and skin thickness, most doctors don't recommend
the hormone as an anti-aging remedy. And even proponents of HGH agree that
supplements aren't an effective way to raise levels.
In a new study, scientists have found tumor growth is highly
dependent on time of day, and that the timing of the gene activity in
tumor cells is at least partly off kilter. In another study, researchers
found mice missing a key gene that regulates circadian rhythm --
biological cycles that follow the solar day -- become highly prone to
cancer. Results of each study were presented Nov. 18 at a meeting of the
International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in
. Scientists have identified at least eight genes that regulate circadian
timing at the cellular level. These genes govern everything from when
cells multiply to when they decide it's time to self-destruct, framed by a
roughly 24-hour day.
AARP's Conflit of Interest in the
Medicare Drug (November 19, 2003)
Why did AARP decide to support the Medicare Bill? The answer is evident:
financial gain. Its insurance business is really important to the
organization’s income. If the Bill becomes law, it would lead people
into using new coverage. And then AARP may have access to 10% of the drug
coverage market. AARP’s could win $1.56 billion in profits. This
“advocacy” organization decided to make money instead of protecting
The Rush to Kill Medicare
(November 19, 2003) The White House presents its Medicare reform as a step forward with
drug coverage and choice of insurance. In reality, the Medicare bill will
destroy universal coverage of Medicare in favor private insurance. Elderly
people will pay more for less coverage. There
is strong opposition to this bill from most Democrats and some moderate
Republicans who may constitute enough for a filibuster to prevent its
6 Democratic Candidates Attack Medicare
Measure (November 19, 2003) Six Democrats attacked the Medicare Bill during a forum organized by
the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). They say that the bill
privatizes Medicare, with dangerous consequences for elderly.And they say that it serves only the interests of the insurance and
this debate will continue in the 2004 Presidential campaign.
Medicare Bill Supporters Confident of
Passage (November 19, 2003) The Bush administration is trying to pass his Medicare Bill; and
expects that35% ofseniors will go into private health plans by 2007, if the Bill
becomes law. Despite the support of the AARP, and even if Republican
leaders are confident in the Bill, they have to please both Conservative
and Moderate Republicans.
Medicare Monstrosity (November 18, 2003) The Medicare Bill is an error, and first, in its form. In fact, it’s
only a combination of diverse political opinions, in order to prevent
opposition from various quarters.The
lobbying money that has poured in to legislators means that votes are for
sale.Moreover, it’s a mean
of privatizing the health insurance system. If passed, many old people
will have too little income to buy adequate health coverage. There must be
a national debate on the issue since this “reform” will touch many
Medicare Plan Covering Drugs Backed by AARP
(November 18, 2003)
AARP, the largest and most powerful older persons association in the
United States, announced its support for the Republican Medicare bill. The
endorsement gives Republicans a powerful boost, but Democrats expressed
concern that AARP had made a decision to “cozy up” to the Republican
administration. Senator Tom Daschle of
, the Senate Democratic leader, said, "When seniors see the details
of the Republican plan, the AARP leadership will regret this ill-advised
Democrats Reject GOP Medicare Drug Plan
(November 17, 2003) Republican leaders, with the strong support of President Bush, are
trying to sell their new Medicare prescription drug plan, but Democrats
aren’t buying. Senator Tom Daschle of
argues the plan “keeps drug prices high, causes
million retirees to lose drug coverage and coerces seniors into HMOs.”
Other Democrats consider the bill effectively a gift to the pharmaceutical
Republican Medicare Plan Faces
Challenges (November 17, 2003) New prescription drugbenefits represent only a small fraction of the
Republican Medicare bill. The bill would also encourage seniors to sign up
for private health insurance programs as an alternative to Medicare, and
it would charge higher-income seniors higher premiums for the first time.Some people fear that the sweeping reforms will leave seniors with
inadequate health coverage. Ron Pollack, executive director of the health
care lobby Families USA, says the proposal "does too much to destroy
Medicare and too little to help the seniors who can least afford their
Drug Shows Some Promise Against Vision Loss
(November 16, 2003) Initial trialson a new drug called Macugen offered some hope to the
hundreds of thousands of older people diagnosed with the wet form of
age-related macular degeneration each year. However, while the drug did
slow the pace of degeneration in large-scale tests, it failed to improve
vision for most patients.
Medicare Fraud Cost
$11.6B Last Year (November 14, 2003) Fraud and billing errors in the Medicare program cost the government
an estimated $11.6 billion last year, a slight improvement over previous
years, the agency that runs the program said Friday, November 14. The
error rate -claims that were medically unnecessary, inadequately
documented or improperly coded -was 5.8 percent, down from 6.3 percent the
year before, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said. The
error rate was as high as 13.8 percent in 1996.
The Trojan Horse (November 14,
The US Congress is working on a final version of the Medicare “reform”
legislation. Columbia University Professor Paul Krugman says that the
roughshod dealings on Capitol Hill now involve a “bait and switch”
strategy, with older persons standing to lose a lot. If you agree with his
analysis, contact your US Senator and Representative immediately to tell
them to drop this legislation. Better yet, jump on a bus for Washington on
Wednesday, Nov. 19, to protest this legislation that puts profits before
Urgent! Stand up for Medicare! (November 14, 2003)
New Yorkers urge members of Congress not to Privatize Medicare! Tell them
not to settle for inadequate and risky drug plans! Join the Bus trip from
New York City to Washington DC. Find all the information with this link.
Prescription Drugs for Elderly Closer (November 12, 2003)
The US Senate is close to reaching a compromise on a bill to provide new
prescription drug benefits for Medicare recipients, but one stumbling
block remains. A Republican-controlled House bill would allow private
insurance companies to compete directly with Medicare, with the idea that
competition would drive down costs. Senate Democrats strongly oppose the
bill, arguing that seniors on Medicare would be left with higher premiums.
Vitamin C May Ward Off Stroke (November 11, 2003)
People who eat a diet rich in vitamin C may be at lower risk of suffering
strokes, and smokers who do so may benefit the most. A new Dutch study
finds people with the lowest amount of vitamin C in their diets were 30
percent more likely to have a stroke than people with the highest amount
Stakes high to help those with chronic diseases
(November 11, 2003)
A few seniors today get the coordinated care required to control chronic
diseases, which primarily afflict the elderly — and consume 75 percent
of the national health-care budget. "We have a health-care system
that's pretty good if you have an acute problem, like a broken arm or
pneumonia," Wagner said. "But it's not set up to deal with these
lifelong illnesses." More than half of the people who suffer from
chronic diseases are not getting the tests and treatments that are
considered state-of-the-art medical care, he said. A 70-year-old with
multiple health problems may bounce between four or five specialists, who
never confer with each other. The patient is left with a bewildering array
of drugs, conflicting advice and little real guidance.
Diet May Improve Cognition, Slow Aging, And Help
Protect Against Cosmic Radiation (November 11, 2003)
Eating certain foods can help protect you from heart disease, some types
of cancers and other illnesses. But can your diet also help protect your
brain if you should suffer a stroke or accidental head injury? Or keep
your thinking and memory skills strong as you age? Some scientists believe
it might. They even think eating the "right" foods
--specifically, those high in antioxidants -- may help defend astronauts
from brain-damaging cosmic rays on future manned missions to Mars.
Arkansas: Nursing Homes in State short of Federal
Mark (November 11, 2003)
According to a federal review of recent nursing home inspections, 90% of
Arkansas nursing homes violate federal health guidelines. State inspectors
found inadequate care for senior residents’ well-being and a lack of
qualified caregivers. Arkansas nursing home representatives dismissed the
review, arguing that they are doing their best despite heavy financial
costs. The Arkansas study reflects nation-wide problems with poor quality
of care for seniors in nursing homes.
Mind, body and soul (November 11, 2003)
Tai Chi, the ancient Chinese exercise, consists of a series of slow
movements, called forms, that promote relaxation and a stronger connection
of energy between the body, mind and soul, says Pizzuco. The exercise is
particularly good for seniors, because it promotes better balance, agility
and strength, improves breathing and blood circulation, and even boosts
the immune system, according to recent studies, including one supported by
the U.S. National Institutes of Health at the University of California in
Los Angeles. "One doesn't need to be in great shape or even in
perfect health to begin tai chi. People can advance at their own pace with
little risk of injury and start right away to reap the benefits,"
says Jianye Jiang, of the Capital District Tai Chi and Kung Fu Association
who has many students older than 60.
Maintaining ties to roots lengthens lives of
Japanese Americans (November 10, 2003)
Two-thirds of Seattle-area Japanese-American seniors took part in an
eleven-year study on aging called the “Seattle Kame Project,” derived
from the Japanese word for “turtle,” a symbol of longevity. A group of
University of Washington scientists studied the lives of 2000 older
Japanese-Americans and found that strong ties to ethnic heritage, combined
with the “move it or lose it” dictum, increased longevity and quality
of life in old age. The study adds to a growing body of research on ethnic
studies and health.
Heart-Failure Patients Need Better Prompts From
Doctors (November 9, 2003)
Doctors and nurses need checklists and other tools to jog their memories
so they will remember to give heart-failure patients potentially
life-saving drugs and information when discharged from the hospital,
according to a new study. When heart failure patients leave the U.S.'s
hospitals, they should be armed with diet information, blood pressure
lowering drugs and anti-smoking counseling. However, a new study found
that only two-thirds of heart failure sufferers are getting those key
items when they are discharged.
A New Way to Unclog the Arteries (November 9, 2003)
This New York Times editorial spotlights how the motivation for profits
can delay medical advances for years-in this case-a decade. An accidental
discovery in the 1990’s showed that raising HDL levels could control
formation of plaque in the arteries. However, the widely available
substance had no “unique” qualities that could be patented. So drug
company scientists focused on finding a mutant version that they could
patent. How many lives were lost because drug companies pursued profits
instead of health? Why should citizens allow this to happen?
Aging baby boomers confront cost, effects of
Alzheimer's (November 9, 2003)
4.5 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S., a number
that will rise to 6 million by 2020. Alzheimer’s disease takes a toll on
the national economy, as absenteeism, insurance, and lack of productivity
related to the disease cost employers $61 million a year. But
Alzheimer’s and other degenerative neurological diseases also shatter
families. John Durand, a 58-year-old victim of frontal lobe dementia,
struggles with depression and failing capacity, while his wife figures out
how to pay the bills on one income.
Among Elderly, Depression More Prevalent in
Hispanics and Blacks (November 5, 2003)
Elderly Hispanics and African Americans have higher rates of depression
than their white counterparts, due largely to greater health burdens and
lack of health insurance, a Northwestern University study has found. The
study, published in the November online issue of the American Journal of
Public Health, showed that major depression was most prevalent among
Hispanics -- 10.8 percent -- followed by almost 9 percent in African
Americans and approximately 8 percent in whites in this age group.
Seniors seek vitality in growth hormone but
questions remain about safety, efficacy (November 4, 2003) Thousands of seniors have begun to take growth hormones, recently
approved by the FDA for limited use, in the hope it will help them live
longer, healthier, and more energetically. However, after a decade of
trials, scientists still don't know whether the potential benefits of
growth hormones for older people outweigh the reported side effects and
potential long-term risks like cancer. Christine Cassel, president of the
American Board of Internal Medicine, says, "People are looking for a
magic bullet," but "the key to vigorous old age is activity -
physical, mental, and social."
White House Backs Limits on Spending for
Medicare (November 4, 2003) The Bush administration has joined ranks with House Republicans to
impose a cost-control mechanism on Medicare that would force Congress to
vote on cutbacks if costs grow faster than expected. Democrats and
advocates for the elderly oppose the measure, arguing that it undermines
Medicare's protection of older people. The Leadership Council of Aging
Organizations says, “Requiring Congressional action if and when Medicare
spending exceeds an estimated target would bring fear and uncertainty to
millions of Americans at a time in their lives when they need security.”
According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, only half of all elderly people receive
the medical care they need. The percentage of older people receiving
adequate care for age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia
drops down to only 31 percent. The American Medical Association cautions
that the study looked at too small a sample to draw definite conclusions
about the country's health care system.
Health agencies' ratings go
public (November 4, 2003)
The six largestMedicare home health agencies in Amarilloperformed worse than
the national average and about equal to the Texasaverage, according to
a new federal quality-of-care database. The information on
Medicare-certified agencies that provide help with essential daily
activities to older and disabled Americans became available Monday,
November 3, on the government's Medicare Web site - www.medicare.gov - or
through the Medicare telephone help line, (800) Medicare.
as more men use hormone therapy (November 3, 2003) Many men, as they move into middle age, yearn
for the same muscular strength, sexual energy and sense of well-being they
had in their youth. That's why millions of American males are asking their
doctors for testosterone replacement therapy, or TRT, to treat a
collection of symptoms that some doctors and drug companies have dubbed
andropause, or male menopause. The popularity of TRT is creating concern
among scientists, who can't agree on whether andropause is a real
phenomenon or not. Some believe that the complaints of older men, such as
decreased libido, depression and fatigue, are more likely explained by
poor habits in diet, sleep and exercise.
It's difficult to ignore the persistent messages
about the importance of getting fit, but one demographic seems to be left
out of the loop - men and women older than 50. They often suffer
from stereotypes (including their own) about exercise; they aren't
targeted in fitness-related marketing campaigns; and many are afraid to
start an exercise program because of the perceived risk of injury or
death, according to reports on older people and physical activity
published in this month's American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The
issue contains essays and original research on promoting exercise and the
benefits of movement.
Health plan payments
to increase (November 2, 2003) Michigan’s St. Clair County decided to switch
non-union country retirees’ health plans to a company with higher
co-pays for services and prescription drugs, leaving many retirees
outraged. CountyAdministratorTroyFeltman argues, “For the long-term
health of the county as an organization, a new strategy for providing
affordable, quality health care must be developed and implemented."
a study that raises potentially troubling questions about the burden of
child care on grandparents, HarvardUniversityresearchers
found a 55% greater risk of heart disease among grandmothers who care for
their grandchildren. Although the study didn't pin down a reason,
researchers believe it may be as simple as the added wear and tear that
child care puts on an elderly body. The
study found heightened risks from as little as nine hours each week spent
looking after a child. Earlier studies have shown a higher incidence of
depression in grandparents caring for grandchildren, and also a tendency
to rate their own health status lower. But this is the first time anyone
has demonstrated a risk of heart disease, the most common cause of death
Medicare Bill Won't Include a Co-Payment for
Home Care (October 30, 2003) Congress decided not to impose a co-payment on home care service for
the elderly, after opponents argued successfully that it would hurt the
frailest and poorest older people. Instead, Congress will tax home care
providers by reducing the annual update on their Medicare payments. In
addition, Congress is considering legislation that would make it more
difficult for brand-name pharmaceutical companies to delay federal
approval of competing generic products.
Council On Bioethics: Against life-extension technology.
The chapter “Ageless Bodies” from the President’s Council on
Bioethics report “Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of
Happiness” explores new scientific possibilities for extending human
longevity. More importantly, the chapter calls into question the potential
human and ethical implications of defying the aging process, and analyzes
the underlying human desire for “ageless bodies.”
Pregnancy after age 50 poses fetal risks
(October 31, 2003) Childbearing beyond maternal age 50 is associated with significantly
increased risks for the fetus, suggest results of a study published Friday
in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. Women in the 50+ age range who
are thinking of becoming pregnant should receive "special counseling
both before and after conception so that they become informed of the
increased risks involved," Dr. Hamisu M. Salihu and colleagues from
the University of Alabama at Birmingham write.
gel may replace aging or ailing lens in eye. Treatment could cure
cataracts, presbyopia (October 30, 2003)
Gel-like material may one day replace diseased or aging lenses in the
human eyes for people who have cataracts or presbyopia, a problem that
requires bifocals. Researchers are developing this new material, which
could be injected into the human eye and function like a healthy lens. The
normal functioning human lenses, through their flattening or thickening,
help people see both distant and close objects. The new material would be
flexed by the ciliary muscles of the eye to provide adjustments needed to
see objects near and far.
pays for a lot of preventive health-care measures that people aren't
using. About 30% of Medicare patients didn't get a flu shot in 2000. And
37% had never been vaccinated against pneumonia, even though both shots
are among the most basic preventive measures for older people -- and both
are covered by Medicare . Those were among the findings released this
month by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress.
The numbers are significant, considering that about 36,000 people die in
year from flu and 114,000 are hospitalized -- with an estimated 90% of
both categories age 65 or older, according to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Graduated Premiums Are Being
Considered For Medicare Program (October 28, 2003) The
Congress is working on a plan for Medicare that would use a graduated
premium structure to charge seniors differently according to their income
levels. The reform concerns the Part B of Medicare insurance for physician
services and outpatient procedures. However, Congress isn’t expected to
make changes in Part B until after the administration’s popular
prescription drug benefits go into effect in 2006.
California: Nearly one-third of
elderly in state, Bay Area in poor or fair shape (October 28, 2003)
The first wide-ranging survey of the health of
's 3.6 million seniors finds serious maladies marring the golden years of
many in the state, most notably Latinos and people who speak little
English. Nearly 30 percent of seniors in the Bay Area and around the state
report being in poor or only fair health, compared with 26 percent of
seniors nationwide, according to the study conducted by researchers at the
University of California-Los Angeles. About 46 percent of seniors who
speak little English and 45 percent of Latinos reported similarly
diminished health -- in part because they report lower rates of preventive
care such as flu shots, dental work and colon cancer screenings.
For Aging Runners, a Formula Makes Time Stand
Still (October 28, 2003) For hundreds of runners, the New York Marathon on Sunday will bring
the same dispiriting experience. Setting out to beat a personal best
established when their legs were years younger, they will fall short and
become convinced that they simply did not run a good enough race. Dr. Ray
C. Fair knows the agony, and he has a soothing explanation.
Women who take an aspirin a day, which millions do to prevent
heart attack and stroke as well as to treat headaches, may raise their
risk of pancreatic cancer,
researchers said on Monday, October 27. The surprising finding worried
doctors, who say women will now have to talk seriously with their
physicians about the risk of taking a daily aspirin. Pancreatic cancer
affects only 31,000 Americans a year, and kills virtually all its victims
within three years.
Strong heart key to good health in old
age (October 27, 2003) Want to enjoy good health in your golden years? Take good care of your
heart, according to the findings of a new study. Researchers report that
healthy elderly people who had low risk factors for cardiovascular disease
continued to enjoy good health longer than people with more risk factors.
"Our study is a picture of what the future of older people could be
like--the ideal golden years--if they keep heart disease risk factors in
check," the study¹s lead author Dr. Anne B. Newman of the
said in a press release.
Generous Medicare Payments Spur Specialty
Hospital Boom (October 26, 2003) The hospitals here — hospitals across the
, for that matter — covet patients like Robert E. Wilson. Mr. Wilson,
79, has had two open-heart operations, five angioplasties, three cardiac
catheterizations and an implanted defibrillator. Just last month, he
checked into the Heart Center of Indiana to get his first stent, a tiny
bit of wire scaffolding that helps keep arteries open. Mr. Wilson's
primary health insurance is Medicare, and Medicare pays generously for
cardiac care — so generously that hospitals and doctors scramble after
Adding to evidence that depression, anxiety and hostility can be
hard on the heart, new research links negative emotions to a higher risk
of coronary heart disease in men. Among nearly 500 older men followed for
three years, higher scores on a standard measure of negative emotions were
tied to a higher risk of developing heart disease. The test gauged
psychological factors like depressed mood, anxiousness, pessimism and
distorted thought processes such as concentration problems. For each
one-point increase in these scores, heart disease risk climbed 6 percent,
according to findings published in the American Journal of Cardiology.
often are seen as symbols of death and decay, rather than longevity. But
not in a biochemistry lab by this city's bay shore, where scientists are
altering an important gene to make mutant worms that far outlive their
normal cousins. Friday, Cynthia Kenyon and colleagues at the Universityof
Franciscowill report that they extended the
lifespan of the worm, C. elegans, to six times its normal length,
or 120 days. It's the longest life extension ever achieved in any animal,
she says, and it has implications for human health. "In human terms,
these animals would correspond to healthy, active 500-year-olds," Dr.
Kenyon and her co-authors Nuno Arantes-Oliveira and Jennifer Berman write
in Friday's issue of Science.
Aging and Cancer
(October 21, 2003) According to Daniel Gottschling, researcher at the FredHutchinsonCancerResearchCenter, and his colleague Michael McMurray, the
cause of cancer may simply be growing old. The two researchers studied how
yeast cells divided over time, in an accelerated simulation of the aging
process. They discovered that the older the yeast cells get, the more
chromosomal instability they have, which mirrors the development of cancer
in old age. The discovery could lead to new cancer treatments.
Valley woman becomes the nation's oldest person (October 9, 2003)
Charlotte Benkner is now the nation's oldest person and the world's
third-oldest, according to a research group. Charlotte Benkner is now the
nation's oldest person and the world's third-oldest, according to a
research group. The German-born woman will turn 114 on Nov. 16. The local
resident has hinted the secret to her longevity is in her genes.
Degenerative Eye Gene (October 22, 2003)
Scientists in Oregon have isolated a gene that may be responsible for a
degenerative eye disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
AMD affects the sensitive area of the retina in older people, sometimes
causing blindness. This discovery is the first solid evidence of a genetic
cause for the age-related form of macular degeneration, researchers said.
However, many diverse factors may act to cause AMD, including smoking.
Medicare cuts may limit chemotherapy (October 21, 2003)
Potentially significant cuts to federal reimbursements for chemotherapy
drugs have some cancer doctors threatening to stop administering the
life-saving medicines in their offices. Proposals in House and Senate
versions of pending Medicare drug legislation are targeting the
reimbursements Medicare pays doctors for close to 100 chemotherapy drugs.
The legislation could cut up to $16 billion of Medicare funding for cancer
care over the next 10 years, according to Congressional Budget Office
Well: Weight loss aside, eating less may yield hefty benefits (October 21,
2003) At research
centers in Louisiana, Massachusetts and Missouri, pilot experiments have
started this year in which human guinea pigs are cutting back on how much
they eat by as much as 30%. The participants in the studies are all normal
weight to slightly overweight, not obese. The researchers recruiting them
stress that weight loss is not the overall goal. Any weight loss is simply
a side effect as scientists study whether so-called calorie-restriction
programs can help people stave off chronic diseases that increase with
aging -- such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease -- or even help them
Real Drug Problem: Forgetting to Take Them (October 21, 2003)
It has become one of the most perplexing problems in medicine: Only about
half of the people on prescription drugs
actually take them. Much of the national debate focuses on how to help
more people afford costly medicines, but that in many ways has masked the
increasingly urgent problem of getting patients to take medicine once they
get it. The consequences of non-adherence, as many doctors refer to it,
are significant. Failure to take prescribed drugs
contributes to everything from avoidable emergency-room admissions to AIDS
deaths; it can also undermine efforts to manage chronic conditions, such
as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression. The Case for Hormone Therapy (October 21, 2003)
Last summer, millions of middle-aged and older women woke up to some
shocking news: The daily menopause hormones they had come to depend on to
even their mood and body temperature, to help them sleep, improve their
sex lives, protect their bones and possibly prevent heart disease and
Alzheimer's, seemed to have turned against them. Doctors conducting a
major study of the popular estrogen-progestin combination known as Prempro
had suddenly halted the research, citing higher rates of breast cancer and
heart problems among Prempro users. In the months that followed, millions
of women threw away their hormone pills as an unrelenting barrage of
"new" studies warned about the dangers of hormone therapy in
general. But lost amid the headlines and the hysteria was something
crucial: the facts.
Depression in the elderly doesn't have to be a
given (October 20, 2003)
Going gray doesn't have to mean getting the blues. But in too many cases,
depression in seniors goes ignored or untreated. According to the National
Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in 10 Americans suffers from
depression in any given year. Among the 35 million Americans over the age
of 65, an estimated 2 million suffer from a clinical form of depression
and another 5 million report depressive symptoms. Depression can have a
significant impact on health. Though seniors make up 13 percent of the
U.S. population, they represent 18 percent of suicides. Studies also have
found that depressed seniors recover more slowly from major illnesses such
as pneumonia and have health care costs that are 50 percent higher.
takes a toll in the ICU (October 20, 2003)
The confusion and paranoia that arise during a hospital stay can have
long-term effects. And scientists are just discovering how pervasive it
is. For many years, when patients were admitted to hospital intensive-care
units, doctors struggled just to keep them alive. Lines and tubes pumped
them full of oxygen and medication, and machines monitored their vital
signs — but no one paid much attention to their brains. Then, as more
people survived their intensive-care stays, doctors began recognizing
patterns in these terribly weakened patients. Many became
uncharacteristically quiet and withdrawn. Others developed hyperactivity
and confusion. Even after their bodies recovered enough to leave the ICU,
some didn't bounce back mentally, or their physical recuperation lagged.
Elderly in line to get bone drug subsidy (October 20,
2003) Thousands more elderly people could
qualify for subsidised drugs to treat the bone-thinning disorder
osteoporosis under a new push. Advocacy group Osteoporosis Australia wants
drugs subsidised for preventing fractures. At present, drugs such as
Fosamax and Evista are subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
(PBS) only to people who have had a fracture attributed to osteoporosis.
The group's chief executive, Judy Stenmark, said the drugs would be most
beneficial before a person sustained such an injury, which could have
long-term effects on their mobility and health. Ms Stenmark said all men
and women aged over 65 should be able to have a Medicare-funded test to
establish their bone mineral density if their doctor recommended them for
such a test.
Utah: Another View: Creativity needed to recruit
nursing students (October 20, 2003)
As Weber State University's nursing program prepares to celebrate its 50th
anniversary Friday, the program faces -- and continues to address --
challenges similar to those that prompted its creation a half-century ago.
The occasion is an opportunity to consider how WSU and the entire nursing
education system will produce enough nurses to care for a growing number
Altruistic Actions May Result In Better
Mental Health (October 20, 2003) People who offer love, listening and help to others may be rewarded
with better mental health themselves, according to a new study of
churchgoers in the September/October issue of Psychosomatic Medicine. The
study is one of the first to track the positive health benefits of
altruistic behavior, say Carolyn Schwartz, Sc.D., of the University of
Massachusetts Medical School and colleagues.
Bigger could be better: Study
reveals ripe, old age linked to larger cholesterol particles (October 19,
According to a study from the Institute for Aging Research, large
cholesterol particles in the blood may lead to long life by preventing
heart attacks. Researchers aren’t sure what causes the larger particles,
but Dr. Anna McCormick of the National Institute on Aging says
"exceptional longevity may depend, at least in part, on inheriting
good genes." Evidence also indicates that exercise may increase the
size of cholesterol particles, and researchers are working on a
cholesterol-lowering drug that also makes the particles bigger.
Wealthy May Have to Pay
More for Medicare (October 16, 2003)
Congress is working on a bill that would require higher income seniors to
pay more for Medicare benefits than seniors with low incomes, representing
a major shift in a program that has always provided benefits to all
seniors at a standard price. Some members of Congress say they are
reaching a consensus for “means testing” to increase payments for
wealthier people, but prominent Democrats maintain that the move would
begin to dismantle the precept of subsidized health care is an equal and
fundamental right for all seniors.
Unusual form of memory loss
often confused for Alzheimer's disease (October 16, 2003)
Alzheimer's disease is the single most common cause of dementia, a
chronically progressive brain condition that impairs intellect and
behavior to the point where customary activities of daily living become
compromised. Over 4 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease. Its high
prevalence may lead people to believe that dementia is always due to
Alzheimer's disease and that memory loss is a feature of all dementias.
However, an article by Alzheimer's disease expert M.-Marsel Mesulam, M.D.,
in the Oct. 16 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine reports that
nearly a quarter of all dementias, especially those of presenile onset,
may be caused by diseases other than Alzheimer's disease and that some of
these so-called atypical dementias involve cognitive abnormalities in
areas other than memory.
Flu shot rates seen too low
in U.S. (October 16, 2003) Despite recent US guidelines recommending influenza vaccination
for adults age 50 to 64, in addition to those 65 and older, only about a
third of individuals in this age group were vaccinated in 2002. Even among
older adults, coverage was inadequate, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) report. Respondents were asked, "During the past 12
months, have you had a flu shot?" Among those age 65 and older, 66
percent had been vaccinated against influenza. In contrast, only 36
percent of those ages 50 to 64 received flu shots.
Living Longer and
Larger: It's in the Size of Cholesterol-Carrying Molecules (October 15, 2003) Scientists
trying to figure out why just 1 person in 10,000 lives to be 100 have
found an important clue in the blood. Centenarians, a new study shows,
tend to have larger than average cholesterol-carrying molecules.
"Large particle size seems to give people an extra 20 years of life,
with very little disability to go along with it," said Dr. Nir
Barzilai, who directed the study at the Albert Einstein College of
Medicine in the Bronx. Dr.
Barzilai also traced large lipoproteins to a specific gene that influences
Through Gaps (October 14, 2003
More Americans are keeping their teeth into old age, but that can mean a
mouthful of problems that doctors say contribute to heart disease,
pneumonia and diabetes complications. Mouth infections can delay
transplants and other surgical procedures. Many seniors lose or drop
costly dental insurance at retirement and go without routine care,
according to dentists with geriatrics experience. With Medicare and
Medicaid in the spotlight for other reasons, Congress is just beginning to
chew on the dental problem.
Might Dancing Delay
Dementia? Experts Can't Say, but Enthusiasts Like the Beat (October 14,
a recent study of nearly 500 people by the Albert Einstein Center in the
Bronx, N.Y., dancing was the only regular physical activity associated
with a significant decrease in the incidence of dementia, including
Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's, which slowly degrades brain and memory
function, affects 4 million Americans over the age of 60. Dementia, a
broader category of diminished mental ability, affects between 6 million
and 7 million. "Dance is not purely physical in many ways, it also
requires a lot of mental effort," said Joseph Verghese, the lead
researcher of the study, published in June in the New England Journal of
Medicine. Though many studies have explored the relationship between
activity and dementia, he said, "if you review them, the [activities]
that are purely physical do not seem to have any effect reducing
Promoting Flu Shots for
All (October 14, 2003) Health
officials across the country, concerned that the public has become
complacent about the potentially serious complications of influenza, have
mounted an aggressive campaign to persuade as many people as possible to
be vaccinated this fall. "We've had three relatively mild flu
seasons, and I think people have short memories and may forget how ill
they can get from influenza," said Dr. Carolyn Bridges, a medical
epidemiologist and flu specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. The agency recommends vaccination most strongly for
demographic groups with the highest risk for developing serious illness,
among them people at least 6 months old who suffers from asthma, diabetes,
heart disease and some other chronic disorders; women more than three
months pregnant; and everyone 50 and older.
Aging Addict: When Golden Years are tarnished (October 14, 2003) In the last twenty years, the number of seniors addicted to alcohol
or medicine has almost tripled, but awareness and acknowledgement of the
problem is still lacking. The state of Floridahas the oldest average population in the country, but only a
few programs in the state specifically target older adults with substance
are the Geriatricians? (October 13, 2003)
Today, only about 9,000 geriatricians – doctors who specialize in the
special needs of older people – practice in the United
representing only one percent of all doctors. Given that the number of
seniors will grow from 35 million today to 70 million in 2030, the need
for geriatric specialists will become more and more important. However,
few medical schools require geriatric coursework, and many hospitals and
HMOs are reluctant to spend money to provide specialized care for older
Association Cautious About New Alzheimer Treatment Research with
Antibiotics (October 9, 2003) A
study presented at the Annual Meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society
of America (IDSA) indicates that antibiotic use may slow the deterioration
associated with Alzheimer’s disease. However, the Alzheimer's
Association urges caution, arguing that the initial study was too small to
produce definitive answers.William Thies, Ph.D., vice president of the
Medical and Scientific Affairs for the Alzheimer's Association, commented,
"The Alzheimer's Association is looking for large, well-controlled
clinical trials before we can make any recommendation one way or the other
about the potential of these two antibiotics as treatments for Alzheimer's
For years, many women have used Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to
mitigate the symptoms of menopause. However, the massive “Million Women
Study” of women taking the therapy discovered that HRT nearly doubles
the risk of breast cancer. While women may wish to continue to use HRT for
its benefits, including decreased risk of osteoporosis, they should be
informed and aware of its risks as well.
Senior Center programs
dispel myths of aging (October 7, 2003)
The Senior Citizens Center of Saratoga Springs (SCCSS), founded in 1959
with the enactment of the Aging Americans Act, is a non-profit
organization devoted to dispelling the myth that the lives of senior
citizens are necessarily boring or lonely. Participants at the center work
on activities, keep up on current issues, and build community, promoting
the idea that “getting older is getting better.”
Study: Vibrating Insoles May
Help Elderly (
October 3, 2003
New technology may help seniors keep their balance.Scientists from
have discovered that small vibrations in the insoles may prevent people
from falling when the nerve signals between the brain and the feet do not
function properly, due to illness or age. The discovery could become
useful for older people, but more studies will test if vibrations work
when people are moving.
Medicare Agrees to Pay for
Heart Device (
October 2, 2003
) In an important decision for thousands of heart disease patients,
federal regulators ruled that Medicare and Medicaid insurance will cover
part of the cost of HeartMate, a battery powered pump for patients with
chronic heart failure. However, many problems remain: federal financial
support does not cover the full expense of the device, and patients will
receive reimbursement only when the procedure is done in one of sixty
Drugs Offer Hope in Breast Cancer Fight (October 10, 2003)
A new class of drugs will change the way breast cancer is treated,
significantly reducing the disease's recurrence in post-menopausal women
who have completed the normal regimen of surgery and chemotherapy, an
international team reported Thursday.The new drugs, called aromatase
inhibitors, could improve the survival chances of as many as half of the
213,000 American women who contract breast cancer each year.
elders: It's never too late (October 8, 2003) Older Americans need more motivation to exercise regularly, say a
series of studies published in the American Journal of Preventive
Medicine. Already, 98 percent of Americans over 50 say that "getting
exercise is important to staying healthy," according to an AARP
survey. But just knowing what's good for them isn't enough. "Messages
must move beyond conveying basic health benefits to focus on encouraging
and inspiring audience members to get moving, while being careful not to
alienate or turn them off," say Marcia Ory, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the
Texas A&M University System School of Rural Public Health and
Georgia: When drugs collide (October 7, 2003) Older Atlantans may think their only drug problem is how to pay for
their prescriptions, but a growing number of seniors are finding that just
what the doctor ordered may be unnecessary or even harmful. At a series of
recent screenings in
, 54 of 420 seniors were found to have some kind of medication problem,
ranging from unnecessary medicines to expired drugs. The
screenings -- where seniors over 60 can spill their pills and discuss
their ills with pharmacists and other counselors -- are part of the Vial
of Life program, which is sponsored by the Atlanta Regional Commission,
Senior Connections and CVS Pharmacy.
Keeping Balance, With a
Jiggle (October 7, 2003) A
little jiggle in the shoes may help keep older people upright, a new study
involving vibrating insoles suggests. The study, published on Saturday in
The Lancet, took advantage of a paradoxical phenomenon that Dr. James C.
Collins of BostonUniversity, the
lead researcher, said is widely found throughout nature. While too much
noise — random information — can make it hard for signals to be
detected, a little noise can sometimes make it easier for weak signals to
be picked up.
Recommends Not Using Hormone Therapy for Bone Loss (October 1, 2003) Hormone replacement therapy should no longer be prescribed
solely to prevent or treat the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis,
researchers said in a study being published today, disputing the policy of
the Food and Drug Administration. Even though hormones do prevent broken
bones in postmenopausal women, the researchers say the benefit is not
worth the risks: increased rates of heart disease, breast cancer, strokes
and blood clots in the lungs.
: State is less generous with health care for childless adults (
October 1, 2003
The state of Minnesotais becoming far stingier with the health
insurance it provides to low-income adults who don't have children. The
poorest will face new co-payments, many will pay more for less coverage
and thousands will lose state-sponsored insurance entirely. According to
the state's projections, changes that take effect Wednesday will mean
5,585 people will lose coverage in this fiscal year and nearly as many
will lose coverage in the next. They count among some 38,000 people
expected to go without state-sponsored health insurance by 2007 as a
result of various policy changes enacted this year.
Clean Living and Spirituality
Contribute to Long Life (
September 30, 2003
Better medicine, an emphasis on clean living and spirituality are all
contributing to making older Americans the healthiest humans at their age
in the history of the world, argue two Universityof California, Davis, human-development scholars in a new book.
"What jumps out at you, after reviewing all the studies, is that
people who watch their nutrition, avoid toxins like cigarettes or alcohol
in excess, and who exercise are living long, healthy lives," says
Carolyn Aldwin, co-author of "Health, Illness and Optimal Aging:
Biological and Psychosocial Perspectives," which was published in
Could new surgery
be balm for aging eyes? Cornea-shaping operation appears safe (September
Cheryl McConnell finally got so fed up with reading glasses last January
that she had a brand-new procedure to correct her aging eyes. Now the
brags that she can read just about anything. Many more Americans probably
will follow suit if studies on the procedure, conductive keratoplasty, or
CK, continue to go well. CK already is approved for a condition called
hyperopia, or farsightedness, in people over 40. Refractec Inc., which
developed the procedure, announced today that it has asked the Food and
Drug Administration to approve the procedure for people with presbyopia,
or aging eyes.
HHS Secretary Urges Congress to
Approve Uninsured Package (September 30, 2003)
HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said the release of today's uninsured
numbers show that while the number of Americans with health insurance
continued to rise, the nation must do more to increase access to health
care. Secretary Thompson also urged Congress to approve President Bush's
comprehensive plan to reduce the number of uninsured in America. A Census Bureau report released today showed
that the number of Americans with health insurance increased by 1.5
million between 2001 and 2002. The overall percentage of uninsured in the United Statesrose to 15.2 percent in 2002, although the
percentage of children with health insurance held steady at 88.4 percent
-- indicating that innovative policies to provide health coverage helped
blunt the impact of the economic slowdown.
iron a key to healthful aging (September 30, 2003)
One of the revelations inspired by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation research — which led to the classic book "Successful
Aging" — is that lifting weights is as important as cardiovascular
training for the health of older people. A MacArthur researcher examined a
group of frail people, as old as 98, who lived in a nursing home. Three
times a week for eight weeks, each of them did 10 weight machines, working
all the major muscle groups. "The results were astounding,"
according to "Successful Aging" authors Dr. John Rowe and Dr.
Robert Kahn. "Muscle strength increased 174 percent on average, and
the walking speed of individuals increased by 50 percent."
Researchers found that decreasing muscle size triggered brain activity
associated with the aging process. Enlarging atrophied muscles delayed the
effect and, in some cases, reversed it.
New findings in
yeast may reveal why growing older is the greatest carcinogen in humans (September 24, 2003) Scientists at
have made a landmark discovery in yeast that may hold the key to revealing
why growing older is the greatest cancer-risk factor in humans. Their
findings appear in the Sept. 26 issue of Science. Senior author
Daniel Gottschling, Ph.D., a member of Fred Hutchinson's Basic Sciences
Division, and first author Michael McMurray, a graduate student in
Gottschling's laboratory, have found striking similarities between humans
and simple baker's yeast with regard to the changes their genes undergo as
they age. "While yeast don't get cancer,
they do have one of the major hallmarks of malignancy, which is genetic
instability," Gottschling said. "We found a similar thing in
yeast that has been seen in humans: genetic instability shoots up
dramatically in the middle to late stage of life."
attacks common among older women (September 23, 2002) Nearly 18% of women who've passed menopause experience panic
attacks and their occurrence seems to be tied to stressful life events and
coexisting medical problems, new research suggests. Although panic attacks
are known to affect women more often than men, the rate and predictors of
this psychiatric problem after menopause are unclear. To investigate, Dr.
Jordan W. Smoller, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and
colleagues analyzed data from 3369 older women. Specifically, the subjects
were surveyed regarding the occurrence of panic attacks in the previous 6
good news in perhaps the most extensive survey ever of Allegheny County's
older adults is that they reported plenty of good health care. Among the
findings in "The State of Aging and Health in Pittsburgh and
Allegheny County" were that 88 percent of the local elderly
population had health insurance that supplements Medicare; 95 percent
reported no difficulty getting medical care; and 70 percent received flu
shots in the prior year. Health researchers and practitioners said those
and other findings from interviews with 5,094 individuals 65 and over in
2001 and 2002 suggested that local seniors both had relatively good access
to health care and took advantage of it.
Mental Abilities: Of Menopause
and Memory (September 23, 2003) Several years ago, Dr. Peter M. Meyer and his colleagues asked
a large group of menopausal women how many of them were bothered by
forgetfulness. "Every hand in the room went up," he recalled.
But tests conducted over several years turned up no evidence to support
the idea that menopause actually interfered with memory, according to an
article released yesterday (September 22). The study, which was published
in the journal Neurology, involved 803 women who had not yet reached
menopause or were in early stages when the research began. Once a year,
the women were tested on their ability to repeat long strings of numbers
backward and to identify pairs of symbols and digits quickly.
The elderly receive inadequate oral health care, leaving them
susceptible to more serious diseases, a health advocacy group said in a
report released Monday. The report from Oral Health America graded states
on the extent older Americans are covered by both private insurers and
Medicaid, giving the nation an overall "D" for the lack of
benefits available while failing fourteen states and the District of
Combining two useful drugs doesn't make a
more potent mix, one study shows, while another casts an eye on effects of
medications can clearly help people with osteoporosis. And because they
work in different ways, scientists had hoped to combine them using a
double-barreled approach to fighting the debilitating bone condition. A
study reported last week at the annual meeting of the American Society for
Bone and Mineral Research found that using two popular drugs together,
alendronate and parathyroid hormone, are no better than either drug alone.
"The thought was that both would work better," says Dr. Bess
Dawson-Hughes, a professor of medicine at Tufts University and president
of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. "It's disappointing that
they don't. It's going to change the way doctors prescribe these
Who's Afraid of This Little Fellow?
(September 22, 2003) Remember those fears that once loomed so large but now seem
like overblown relics? Killer bees . . . flesh-eating bacteria . . . that
Y2K thing . . . West Nile virus. All right, fear of West Nile is no misty
memory to the people reeling from it in the Plains states. They see more
new cases each week than New York has had in four years. Still, in our
metropolitan area, where the West Nile form of mosquito-borne encephalitis
first made the leap from Old World to New in the summer of 1999, it has
come to feel ho-hum — quite a change from the great attention and
anxiety it drew back when. So were we overwrought then? Too complacent
now? Maybe a little of both? Even the public health officials disagree, or
are not sure.
chi chih boosts shingles immunity in older adults (September 22, 2003)
Fifteen weeks of tai chi chih practice may have helped a small group of
older adults increase the levels of immune cells that help protect their
body against the shingles virus, according to a new study. The report in
the September issue of Psychosomatic Medicine is the first study to show
that a behavioral intervention can influence the virus-specific immune
response, say Michael R. Irwin, M.D., of the Cousins Center for
Psychoneuroimmunology at the University of Los Angeles, California and
Maintenance: A 'Mature' Guide (September 22, 2003) To understand your middle-aged body and its capacity for abuse,
picture a rubber band that has been sitting around in a drawer. It is not
as supple as a new one, may even be brittle in places, and it is certainly
more prone to snap. But before you curl up in a drawer yourself, utterly
deflated, remember, there are ways you can stay strong and limber. Just as
steady, gentle use can prolong the life of a rubber band, regular exercise
and taking time to warm up can help you avoid injury and stay active. It
is folly to go on a ski trip or sign up for the club tennis tournament
without some preparation, experts advise. Be realistic and pace yourself,
shots: safer, but less effective for older people (September 22, 2003)
Researchers are working on vaccines to better protect patients most
vulnerable to disease.Flu
season is just around the corner and, once again, doctors and health
officials are urging people older than 50 to get a flu shot. That advice
makes sense — influenza can take more of a toll as people age. But
because the vaccine is less effective in older people, it can fail to
protect those who need it most. "The flu vaccine is better than
nothing, but its efficacy isn't that good," says Laura Haynes, an
immunologist at the Trudeau Institute, explaining that the vaccine can be
up to 60% less effective in older people.
Elderly in crisis turn to alcohol, drugs
to cope (September 19, 2003) Where do you turn when your partner in life is gone, your
children are busy with their own families, and there is no job to get you
up and out the door each morning? For an increasing number of America's
senior citizens, the answer is drugs and alcohol. Experts estimate about
10 percent of the 30 million senior citizens in the country abuse alcohol,
while up to 20 percent abuse illegal or prescription drugs. The substance
abuse often begins at an age when many are most vulnerable.
Significance and Management of Atrial
Fibrillation in Elderly Patients (September 19, 2003)
Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common sustained arrhythmia clinically
encountered, and its associated morbidity and mortality, increases with
each decade of life, according to experts in a recently published
overview. Patients with AF may be asymptomatic, or exhibit symptoms
ranging from palpitations, angina, heart failure, or stroke. Approximately
50% of AF-associated strokes occur in patients above 75 years of age.
Furthermore, AF is the most frequent cause of disabling stroke in elderly
women. Learn more!
provides $100M to help map brain genes Treating Alzheimer's disease a
primary goal (September 16, 2003) Billionaire Paul Allen, who along with boyhood friend Bill
Gates created Microsoft, launches a $100 million scientific effort today
to map the genes that drive the brain. The donation is seed money for
brain research and the creation of the Allen Institute for Brain Science
in Seattle. The goal: To identify every gene's role in the human brain so
medical researchers can find new drugs and treatments for disorders such
as Alzheimer's and schizophrenia. The venture comes at a time when brain
disorders are looming larger on the horizon.
Health Plans Begin Drive for Generic Drugs (September 15, 2003)
Four insurers serving 15 million Californians seek to convert their
members from costlier brand-name medicines. Seeking to rein in
soaring prescription drug costs, four of California's biggest health plans
will use financial incentives in a campaign to convert members from
expensive brand-name medicines to generic equivalents. The program, to be
launched this week for 15 million members of Blue Cross ofCalifornia,
Blue Shield of California, Health
Net of California andPacifiCare Health Systems,
will essentially waive the first co-payment for patients willing to
try generic versions of certain heavily prescribed drugs.
Older Women Now Surpass
Young Men in Admissions (September 15, 2003) Reversing a decades-old pattern, older women have replaced young men
as the group most likely to wind up in a hospital bed after accidental
injury, according to a recent study. The shift reflects the growth in the
number of frail elderly people and changes in emergency room treatment
that have sharply reduced the need to hospitalize younger patients, said
the researchers from the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, who
published their findings last week in the journal Injury Prevention.
Buying Drugs in Canada (September 15, 2003) Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois is considering whether his state
should begin buying prescription drugs from Canada for its employees, a
decision that he says could save tens of millions of dollars, but could
also put him at odds with the Food and Drug Administration over the issue.
"It doesn't matter where you go in our state, you meet people who are
struggling with the cost of prescription drugs," Mr. Blagojevich, a
Democrat, said in an interview this afternoon. "If you can buy the
same drug made by the same company, and it is safe and it costs less, then
that makes sense."
at greater risk of developing prostate cancer when a brother has the
disease (September 12, 2003) It has been well-established that the risk of prostate cancer
is increased among men who have a first-degree relative (father, son,
brother) with the disease, but new research shows the risk is greatly
increased for men who have a brother with prostate cancer. The
meta-analysis research led by Deborah Watkins Bruner, Ph.D., at Fox Chase
Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pa., was published online Friday, Sept. 12,
2003, in the International Journal of Cancer. "This study is the
first to report a statistically higher risk associated with having a
brother with prostate cancer than having an affected father," said
year of widowhood most harmful to mental health, according to study
involving 70,000 women (September 12, 2003)
Resilience of older women and capacity to reestablish connections can
diminish the effects of the loss over time. From one of the largest
prospective and cross-sectional studies conducted on the health of
middle-age women, researchers find that first year widows have a
substantial drop in their mental health but do bounce back after a period
of time, according to a new study appearing in the September issue of
Health Psychology, a journal published by the American Psychological
Moves to Halt Import of Drugs From Canada (September 10, 2003) The Justice Department moved yesterday to close a chain of
Canadian drugstores, signaling that federal regulators are cracking down
on the import of cheaper drugs from abroad. Carl Moore, president of the
drug chain, Rx Depot, remained defiant. Rx Depot allows patients to order
prescription drugs from Canada at prices often half those in the United
States. "We're not going to stop, and we're going to fight for the
right of senior citizens to buy affordable medicines," Mr. Moore
better vision for ageing eyes (September 10, 2003)
Bioengineers have devised a soft, supple substance that could turn back
the clock for ageing eyes that are no longer able to see up-close clearly
without aid, reports UPI. They predict that the pliant, jellylike material
- injected through a minuscule cut - could replace timeworn lenses that,
scientists speculate, harden over the years until, in mid-life, they lose
their ability to accommodate, or change focus, at arm's length. Beginning
at about age 40, the condition, termed presbyopia - which means
"aging eye" in Greek -- becomes more pronounced, robbing the
lens of its youthful flexibility and visual acuity. To many members of the
40-something set -- and nearly everyone older than 70 - near objects
appear as a blur. The team at Washington University in St. Louis thinks
its patented gel can clear up the problem, and tap into a $250-million
Cranberry extract may help
reduce stroke damage (September 9, 2003) Natural compounds found in cranberries may protect nerve cells
against damage resulting from stroke, according to a lab study described
here on Monday at the meeting of the American Chemical Society. Dr.
Catherine C. Neto of the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and others
simulated conditions of stroke in cultured rat brain neurons in a lab
dish, and then treated some of the cells with a concentrated cranberry
launches hormone therapy campaign (September 9, 2003) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration launched an education
campaign about hormone replacement therapy on Tuesday, saying women are
confused about recent warnings showing it should only be used in the
lowest possible doses for the shortest possible time. The therapy, once
prescribed to millions of women to ease the immediate symptoms of
menopause and to prevent osteoporosis and heart disease, has been found to
increase the risk of heart disease, cancer and blood clots.
UCSD Researchers ID Peptides That Bind to
Alzheimer’s Plaques (September 8, 2003)
Two short protein segments, called peptides, have been identified by
researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of
Medicine, for their ability to recognize and bind to beta-amyloid-containing
plaques that accumulate abnormally in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease
patients, providing a possible “Trojan horse” mechanism to diagnose
and treat the disorder. “These peptide sequences are potential new tools
for the delivery of medication to the amyloid plaques that are found in
Alzheimer’s disease, or for new diagnostic tests that would allow early
identification and treatment of the disease,” said the study’s senior
author, Paul T. Martin, Ph.D., UCSD assistant professor of neurosciences.
Male menopause is a 'myth'
(September 8, 2003) Men who complain of the male menopause are more likely to be the
victims of an unhealthy lifestyle, a scientist says. Professor John
McKinlay, a leading authority on men's health, argues that the male
menopause is a myth. He claims drug companies were cashing in on the false
notions of men who think they need hormone replacement to boost their
flagging sex drives. The scientist, from the New England Research
Institutes in Watertown, Massachusetts, analysed data from the
Massachusetts Male Ageing Study (MMAS), which included 1 700
As U.S. Population Ages, Eye
Disease More Prevalent (September 8, 2003)
A nine-year study of the U.S. elderly showed nearly half develop at least
one of three chronic eye diseases as they age, researchers said on Monday.
The prevalence of eye diseases was higher than in previous studies, and
will rise as the U.S. population age 65 and older increases from 34
million in 2000 to 70 million in 2030, said Frank Sloan of Duke University
in Durham, North Carolina. "As more elderly individuals live longer,
we may see a rise in the prevalence of chronic eye diseases that will
significantly challenge our ability to provide care," Sloan wrote in
the Archives of Ophthalmology, a journal published by the American Medical
cohosh may reduce hot flashes by targeting brain's thermostat (September
Black cohosh, a medicinal herb increasingly used by women as an
alternative to estrogen replacement therapy, may reduce hot flashes by
targeting serotonin receptors — some of the same receptors used by the
brain to help regulate body temperature — according to a team of
researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago. The finding, the
first to demonstrate a possible mechanism of action for the herb other
than estrogen, increases the likelihood that the herb is safe to use, they
keep their distinctive patterns of cognitive ability as they age (September
Longitudinal study allowed researchers to disconfirm the controversial
hypothesis of "dedifferentiation;" cognitive skill levels do not
appear to merge late in life Never good with numbers? The bad news: As you
age, you may still not be good with them. The good news: You'll still be
good at what you're good at today. New research reveals that, contrary to
prior thinking, even the very old retain their distinctive patterns of
cognitive strengths and weakness. The findings are published in the
September issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, which
is published by the American Psychological Association.
May Slow Rate of Lung Function Decline (September 05, 2003)
Physical activity appears to reduce the age-related decline in lung
function and cut death rates in men, according to a new report by Finnish
and US researchers. Dr. Margit Pelkonen of the University of Kuopio and
colleagues note that although physical activity is recognized as being
important for health, little is known about its effect on lung function.
Laugh Lines Do Smooth Out (September 5, 2003)
Their aging brains may not always get the joke, but when seniors
understand that something is funny, they enjoy a good laugh as much as
younger people do, says a new Canadian study. "Humor is possibly
something that is relatively well preserved as we grow older," says
study co-author Praphiba Shammi, a psychologist at the University of
Toronto's Baycrest Center for Geriatric Care. In their new study, Shammi
and Stuss wanted to understand how appreciation of humor changes as people
grow older. They gave humor tests to 17 young people (average age 28) and
20 senior citizens (average age 73), then compared the two groups.
stays with senior drug plan (September 5, 2003)
The Romney administration has abandoned plans to create a less costly
discount prescription drug program for seniors and instead will support
the existing Prescription Advantage program until Congress establishes a
federal Medicare drug benefit, Ronald Preston, Secretary of Health and
Human Services, said yesterday. "We'll stick with a version of the
Prescription Advantage program," said Preston, explaining that an
infusion of federal Medicaid money to the state made the $96 million
program more affordable. Senior advocates and lawmakers, however,
suggested that the administration had finally bowed to political pressure
and said it was good news for 80,000 seniors and disabled people enrolled
in the plan and for 11,000 more who applied last month to join.
prisoners age, should they go free? (September 5, 2003)
Charlie Perkins has spent roughly half his life - 38 years - cooped up
here at the Men's Prison near Milledgeville, Ga. Yet he's tried to carve
out as orderly and productive a life as possible in this world of convicts
and confined spaces. Now Mr. Perkins, convicted of murder in 1965, is hoping to
experience one other thing in his twilight years: freedom. As part of an
effort to reduce overcrowding and save money, Georgia and several other
states are considering releasing elderly inmates who are no longer deemed
a threat to society. Yet officials here and nationwide are start-ing to
debate the idea of releasing some of the elderly and infirm, largely
because of one fact: Seniors represent the fastest-growing segment of the
US prison population.
League senior programs lose funding (September 5, 2003) The Pittsburgh Urban League is losing funding for two of its
long-standing programs for senior citizens. At the end of June, the league
shut down its Seniors in Community Service program, which operates on
federal funds. In November, because of state budget woes, it will close
its Minority Elderly Outreach Program. "Our city has one of the
highest populations of seniors in the country," Pittsburgh Urban
League head Esther Bush said. "We have high numbers of black elderly
who are poor. We are concerned these cuts can furthur erode their quality
Urge Bush on Disabled Benefits Rule (September 5, 2003)
Four hundred and one retired generals and admirals have written President
asking him to change a century-old rule depriving disabled veterans of
part or all of their retirement benefits. There are signs their argument
is being heard. On Friday key House Republicans met with veterans groups
to discuss plans to address changes in a system that has threatened to
sour relations between the president and veterans, normally some of his
most loyal constituents. Participants said both full and partial
restitution plans are being considered as the administration walks the
fine line between alienating veterans and further driving up the budget
Are Targeted in Investment Scams (September 4, 2003)
Often living on fixed incomes and sometimes desperate about money, older
investors are being targeted with complex investment scams promising huge
returns as the stock market churns and health care costs climb, state
securities regulators said Thursday. The North American Securities
Administrators Association is alerting seniors to the dangers of
investment fraud and urging them to take control of their finances. The
group, which represents state and provincial securities regulators in the
United States, Canada and Mexico, announced new investor education
programs and a senior investor resource center on its Web site.
Fourth Leg (September 3, 2003)
You may have heard that your future retirement will rest on a three-legged
stool: Social Security, a traditional pension plan (a.k.a. a
defined-benefit plan), and personal savings (often in the form of 401(k)s
and IRAs). But those who want a really sturdy plan on which to perch their
golden years should start working on a fourth leg: health care. So how can
you tell if the fourth leg of your retirement will be strong enough to
last the rest of your life? Let's look at the major ways retirees cover
their medical bills, and what those sources might look like in the future.
Treatment Options for Pain in Elderly Cancer Patients (September 3, 2003) A number of options are available for treatment of pain in elderly
patients with cancer, depending upon the severity of pain and location of
pain. Pain is one of the most common and most feared symptoms of cancer,
particularly in advanced disease. Elderly cancer patients have a greater
propensity of developing cancer-related pain, yet they are the least
likely to receive proper treatment. Jane A. Driver, MD, and Robert I.
Cohen, MD, at the Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, reviewed
the available treatment options for the management of pain in elderly
cancer patients.The authors
believe analgesic agents should be chosen based on the severity of the
cuts drug bill for seniors (September 2, 2003)
A little brainstorming and charitable spirit helped a health sciences
professor and his students do something that presidential and
congressional task forces couldn’t: help the elderly afford prescription
drugs. Marshel Davis of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock says a
hot line his class established tracked existing discounts that saved 700
Arkansas seniors a total of $100,000. It started last fall, when Davis
suggested a few of his students use their Internet skills to help elderly
family members and friends find discount drug programs — and complete
their class projects at the same time.
Age Bias Undermines
Treatment of Breast Cancer (September 1, 2003) Older women with breast cancer are being denied lifesaving treatment
for breast cancer solely because of their age, results of a study of some
480 women suggest. In the study, women over age 50 with early stage breast
cancer were significantly less likely to be given "adjuvant"
chemotherapy -- that is, in addition to surgery and other treatments --
researchers from Ohio State University in Columbus report in the journal
Cancer. The finding fuels the belief that age bias contributes to
undertreatment of older women with breast cancer.
Elderly Flu Sufferers Worth the Cost (September 1, 2003) Treating people in their 60s and 70s who have the flu with
anti-flu drugs is worth the cost, but preventing flu with an annual flu
shot is a better strategy, according to a report released Monday.
Researchers know that treating younger adults with anti-flu drugs is
worthwhile from an economic angle because it cuts time off the job, but
until now it was not known whether treating elderly flu sufferers would be
system is invaluable to elderly in emergency situations (August 30, 2003) For decades, Dick Carbee saw second-hand the benefit of a Lifeline
system. He and his wife Peg even championed the emergency communication
system among their peers. Lifeline consists of a lightweight, waterproof
personal help button, which Peg now wears around her neck at all times.
And a small, in-home communicator, which uses an ordinary telephone line,
stays by their bedside. In an emergency, Peg may press the button and,
within one minute, a Lifeline operator will respond through the two-way
Elderly patient boom faces specialist shortage
(August 28, 2003) Most senior citizens can see a family physician for the
majority of their medical problems, but as they get older and sicker,
their complex medical conditions often require the specialty of a
geriatrician. That is, if they are able to find one. Currently, there are
about 9,000 geriatricians in the United States, but the number is
declining. The geriatrics society estimates 36,000 will be needed by 2030.
Geriatricians specialize in medical problems associated with aging. They
have several years of additional training in areas such as neurology,
psychiatry and urology so they can recognize problems other doctors may
consider normal aging.
digital technique improves mammography results (August 26, 2003)Radiologists
are experimenting with contrast digital mammography to better diagnose
cancer in dense breasts, according to a study appearing in the September
issue of the journal Radiology. The researchers used intravenous iodine
contrast in conjunction with digital mammography to evaluate 22 women with
suspicious abnormalities disclosed by conventional (film) mammography and
compared the findings.
care shares the same goals as hospice care: providing patient with relief
from pain and other unpleasant symptoms and offering them and their
families a wide range of support services. But unlike hospice programs,
which are targeted to dying patients, palliative medicine may be used to
help those who are pursuing curative treatment and who may go on to live
for many years. Studies of the effectiveness of palliative care programs
show that they significantly reduce patients' pain levels and control
symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety and nausea. Palliative care also reduces
hospital stays and pharmaceutical costs and increases patient satisfaction
and quality of life, according to the New York-based Center to Advance
Palliative Care (CAPC). Palliative care services are covered by Medicare
and most insurance companies.
New facility in Stone Oak
features latest in Alzheimer's care (August 26, 2003)Stone Oak is one of the fastest growing centers of wealth in San
Antonio, so it is no wonder that Resources for Senior Living decided to
locate one of its Alzheimer's disease care centers there. The Charlotte,
N.C.-based company opened the $7 million Haven last month as the city's
latest assisted living center for people with Alzheimer's, a disease
that's becoming more common.
Study Spurs Hope of Finding Way to
Increase Human Life (August 25, 2003)
Biologists have found a class of chemicals that they hope will make people
live longer by activating an ancient survival reflex. One chemical, a
natural substance known as resveratrol, is found in red wines,
particularly those made in cooler climates like that of New York State.
The finding could help explain the so-called French paradox — the fact
that the French consume fatty foods considered threatening to the heart
but live as long as anyone else.
Found to Delay Aging Process (August 25, 2003)Scientists have found for the first time a way to rev up a
potent "anti-aging" enzyme in living cells, an advance they said
could speed the development of drugs to extend human life span and prevent
a wide range of geriatric diseases. It is too soon to say whether the
latest findings will ever make the leap from the lab bench to the
geriatrics clinic -- though some may choose not to wait: Of all the
compounds the researchers tested, the one that boosted the anti-aging
enzyme the most was resveratrol, an ingredient in red wine that has been
credited with that beverage's ability to lower the risk of heart disease.
Wine Molecule Shown to Extend Life
(August 24, 2003)Researchers have
known for years that cutting calories can prolong life in everything from
yeast cells to mammals. But an easier way to live longer may be as simple
as turning a corkscrew. Molecules found in red wine, peanuts and other
products of the plant world have for the first time been shown to mimic
the life-extending effects of calorie restriction, a finding that could
help researchers develop drugs that lengthen life and prevent or treat
Weighs Heaviest on the Elderly (August 24, 2002)As crippling as depression can be for young and middle-age
adults, it's truly severe in the elderly, and more often fatal. And while
depression and related illnesses afflict 20 percent of America's elderly,
only a fraction are getting the treatment they need. "Depression
kills not just through suicide," says Barry Lebowitz, director of
treatment research at the National Institute of Mental Health.
"[Elderly] people can be so debilitated by depression that they are
not managing their hypertension or diabetes or they are not eating right.
People die from the sort of excess disability that is created by
depression in the context of other diseases."
prefer GPs to the Internet when trying to find out about HRT (August 22,
2003)Recent media reports are littered with headlines such as 'HRT
"doubles breast cancer risk"'. What impact are such headlines
likely to have on women considering, or currently taking, hormone
replacement therapy (HRT) and where will they turn for further information
and advice? A study jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research
Council (ESRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) suggests that,
without significant policy rethinking, GPs are likely to remain the most
important source of information and advice to women, despite increasing
access to sources of health information like the Internet.
Hope for Stem Cells in Parkinson's Disease (August 22, 2003)Even though stem cell transplants have yet to clearly benefit
Parkinson's disease patients, there is promise that further refinement of
the technique could lead to long-term relief of symptoms. It was thought
that replacing the cells that produce dopamine would reverse the disease.
Initial experiments where stem cells from fetuses were surgically
implanted into the brains of laboratory animals were
"spectacular," Dr. C. Warren Olanow, from Mount Sinai School of
Medicine in New York, told Reuters Health.
the best way to manage a patient who's dying of heart failure? And just
how do physicians make decisions about this ever-growing population of
patients, particularly those in the end stages of the disease? These are
two questions that a cardiologist at Saint Louis University is seeking to
answer as part of research sponsored by the National Institutes of Aging.
The project, funded by a $721,000 grant from the NIA, begins this summer
and will continue for four years.
Medicare to Pay for Major Lung Operation
(August 21, 2003)
Medicare will begin paying for a major lung operation for certain people
65 and over who have severe emphysema with specific traits that make them
likely to benefit from the surgery, the government announced yesterday.
The operation, lung volume reduction surgery, involves cutting away
diseased parts of the lungs to help the remaining healthy tissue work
better. As much as 30 percent of the lungs may be removed. The operation
costs about $60,000.
No More Cursing the Dark (August 21,
2003) The 36-unit Art Deco building at 895 Park Avenue has everything you
would expect in a luxury co-op. In a few months it can boast another
amenity: a backup power generator. Many residents, worried about elderly
and disabled neighbors, initially considered a generator after the Sept.
11 terrorist attacks. Walter Mankoff, a 73-year-old retired union research
director, was waiting in his doctor's office for a routine appointment
when the lights went out. Heading to his two-bedroom apartment at Penn
South, a middle-income complex, he announced to his fellow patients, in a
stage whisper, "I'm going home to cool off."
Estrogen found as link between obesity and
breast cancer in postmenopausal women (August 20, 2003)
Researchers have known that obesity is associated with an increased risk
of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, but a new study now explains
why. According to research published in the August 20, 2003, issue of the
Journal of the National Cancer Institute obesity increases the risk of
breast cancer in postmenopausal women by increasing the amount of
estrogens in the blood. High levels of estrogen definitively have been
linked as a causative factor for breast cancer.
Yesterday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Mr. Klein, 55, an
independent television producer from Port Washington, N.Y., became the
first person to undergo gene therapy for Parkinson's. Despite the
checkered history of gene therapy experiments, the Food and Drug
Administration approved this procedure for 12 people with severe
Parkinson's. The experiment is a Phase 1 trial, meaning that its main goal
is to determine safety, not efficacy.
marijuana compound reduces agitation, improves appetite in Alzheimer's
patients (August 20, 2003)
Study results suggest dronabinol, a synthetic version of THC, the active
ingredient in Cannabis sativa L (marijuana), may reduce agitation and lead
to weight gain in patients with Alzheimer's disease, according to data
presented today at the annual meeting of the International Psychogeriatric
Association. "Our research suggests dronabinol may reduce agitation
and improve appetite in patients with Alzheimer's disease, when
traditional therapies are not successful," said Joshua Shua-Haim,
M.D., lead investigator in the study
Omega Principle Some Fish Fats Protect the
Heart. What If They Could Also Treat Your Brain?
(August 19, 2003) They occur naturally in fish, flaxseed, canola oil, nuts and
avocados. They're also extracted, packaged and sold in dozens of dietary
supplements. Increasingly, they even show up on grocery shelves as the
latest fortification in such popular fare as bread, eggs, dairy products,
margarine, baby food and cereal. Omega-3 fatty acids are already prized by
cardiologists for protecting the heart against the inflammation that can
lead to blocked arteries and for thwarting an irregular, often fatal,
heartbeat. There's growing evidence that these polyunsaturated fats may
also be helpful in preventing complications of diabetes and in soothing
the inflamed joints of arthritis.
rise in Alzheimer's 'may ruin health care' (August 19, 2003) A cataclysmic warning that the US health system could be
overwhelmed by the growth in the number of elderly Americans suffering
from Alzheimer's disease was made by researchers yesterday. New estimates
suggest that the numbers affected by the degenerative disease, which
requires round-the-clock care, will rise to 13.2 million by about 2050 -
three times the 4.5 million people affected today. Stay tuned!
Anti-inflammatories ward off
Parkinson's disease (August 18, 2003) Regular use of anti-inflammatory drugs appears to lower the risk
of developing Parkinson's disease, perhaps by protecting brain cells that
would otherwise die, researchers reported on Monday. The risk of
Parkinson's disease was reduced by about 45 percent among adults who
regularly took nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) compared to
non-users, the Harvard School of Public Health study found.
Chicago - Doctors accustomed to diagnosing physical ailments too often
miss symptoms of mental decline that may be early signs of dementia in the
elderly, researchers said on Monday. "As a result, these patients do
not have the benefits of early medical treatment or the opportunity to
make legal and financial decisions while they are still able,"
psychiatrist Sanford Finkel of the University of Chicago Medical School
told the Congress of the International Psychogeriatric Association.
Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics for problems like
pneumonia, but new research suggests that these drugs, especially
penicillin, may also protect against strokes. How could a drug that kills
bacteria prevent a problem that involves the blockage of blood vessels
supplying the brain? To study the link between antibiotics and stroke, Dr.
Paul Brassard, from Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, and colleagues
compared antibiotic use between 1888 stroke patients and 9440 similar
people who didn't experience a stroke.
Tai Chi helps
prevent falls in elderly (August 8, 2003)
Tai Chi, a martial art form that enhances balance and body awareness
through slow, graceful and precise body movements, can significantly
reduce the risk of falls among older people, says visiting American
specialist Dr Steven Wolf. Research from American trials has demonstrated
the value and cost-effectiveness of targeted fall-prevention programmes
and indicated the benefits of integrated balance, coordination, and
strength training for the elderly.
Conventional wisdom tells us that the
elderly are more likely to die from West Nile virus because their immune
systems are weak and they can't fight off the infection. "The
reason age seems to be a risk factor for severe illness with West Nile
infections is unknown," Campbell said. "There's nothing that you
can generalize about increasing age that explains why this happens."
Last year, 284 Americans were killed by West Nile. The average age of the
victims was 77.5. They ranged in age from 19 to 99, and 64 percent of them
The study, published in the August issue of the American Journal of
Ophthalmology and the largest study of its kind, indicates that dry eye in
women is an important health issue that may often remain undiagnosed.
Known to be more common in women than men (scientists estimate that over a
million men age 50 and older have the disease), dry eye syndrome is
characterized by a decline in the quality or quantity of tears that
normally bathe the eye to keep it moist and functioning well. Stay tuned!
A recent study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found
about 2,100 adult day-care centers nationwide provide elderly and disabled
people with some level of medical assistance. About 80 percent of centers
that participated in the survey reported being licensed or certified by
states. More than 70 percent are run by nonprofit organizations, and the
average age of users is 72. The day-care component of the Medicare
legislation has no known opposition and even the support of an industry
group representing in-home nurses.
Lawmakers playing catchup on cheaper
foreign drug sales, retirees say (July 30, 2003) Just before 3 a.m. Friday, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House
of Representatives bucked a torrent of lobbying by drugmakers, the Food
and Drug Administration and the Bush administration to pass a bill that
gives Americans the go-ahead to import lower-cost prescription drugs from
Canada and Europe. "I think they're a little late," said the
83-year-old retiree, who has been buying her drugs from Canada for about a
year, saving hundreds of dollars. "As long as the Canadian company
does a good job and their prices are better, I'm going to do business with
It seems hard to believe, but a widely used screening test for
prostate cancer in men is probably missing a vast majority of tumors. An
analysis published in The New England Journal of Medicine estimates that
the test — known as the P.S.A. test — probably misses more than 80
percent of the cancers in men younger than 60 and almost two-thirds of the
cancers in older men
Hospice Promoter Josefina B. Magno Dies (July 30,
2003) This article is about Josefina Bautista Magno, 83, an
oncologist who helped introduce hospice treatment to the United States and
was a founder of the Hospice of Northern Virginia. She has passed away of
congestive heart failure on July 27 at a hospital in Manila, where she
Elevates Risk of Physical Decline in Older People (July 28, 2003) Anaemia doubles the risk that an older person will develop serious
physical declines that can erode the ability to live independently,
according to a new epidemiological study supported by the National
Institute on Aging (NIA) and others*. It is the first longitudinal
research to find an association between physical decline in later life and
anaemia, a blood condition that affects about 13% of older Americans.
elderly, a little slip can be last (July 28, 2003) More than a third of older Americans fall every year, and more
than 10,000 die from fall-related injuries. In 2000, more than 350,000
seniors were hospitalized after falls, mostly for broken hips. "There
are a lot of people dying from this, and a lot of those that don't die
never recover," says Lockhart, an industrial engineer who took up the
subject in 1995, when his father, a tough-as-nails Korean War combat
veteran, began having balance problems.
System Struggles With Dementia Patients(July 28,
2003) When police arrived at the Tiffany House living complex for
seniors in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., they found 90-year-old Bess Kleinman on
the floor, slumped against her bed with a plastic trash bag over her face.
She had been suffocated. Detectives did not have to look far for
Kleinman's killer. Her next-door neighbor, Felix Freed, 72, had told the
night security guard that he had "killed Bess," according to
Improves Depression in Alzheimer's Patients (July 25, 2003) Depression is a common problem among Alzheimer's patients that
makes their lives even tougher. Doctors treating Alzheimer's patients may
have been reluctant to look for depression because they didn't feel they
had any treatments that worked. A new study shows that antidepressant
Zoloft is helpful for treating the depression that often accompanies
seniors satisfied (July 21, 2003)
So, let's start with the most basic question: "What is old?"
According to the respondents of recent survey conducted by American
National Council on the Aging,
middle age starts around 50 and we become old around 70 and very old
around 80. Men are generally viewed as aging two to three years sooner
than women. The perception of being old is more tied to physical and/or
mental decline than having reached a particular birthday. Memory loss, a
concern of almost 60 percent of seniors, is the most feared aspect of
aging, loosely followed by fears of uncontrollable pain.
Patients Whose Final Wishes Go Unsaid
Put Doctors in a Bind (July 21, 2003) As the country ages and the ranks of the demented expand, the
problem looms ever larger. Elderly patients show up virtually every day in
emergency rooms and with increasing frequency at hospitals throughout the
country, sometimes in a very dire condition, unable to speak or move.
Doctors find themselves wrestling with what to do with such damaged
good cholesterol predicts death in elderly(July
21, 2003) Low levels of 'good' cholesterol, rather than high levels of 'bad'
cholesterol, are associated with an increased risk of death from heart
disease and stroke in people who have reached 85 years of age, according
to a report published in the July 14th issue of the Archives of Internal
Medicine. Although high total cholesterol levels are usually tied to
adverse outcomes, there is evidence that high levels are actually
associated with decreased all-cause mortality in the elderly.
care for the elderly (July 21, 2003)
Iowa nursing homes have launched a program to improve care for their
residents. The program is supported by specialized technical assistance
and training sessions provided by Iowa Foundation for Medical Care. Each
nursing home will choose one critical area to improve upon - either
reducing infection, reducing the loss of daily activity or chronic pain
reduction. Iowa Foundation nurses will be on site to help staff improve on
those areas and assist them with initiating the changes.
From the outside, it's just another house in a garden-variety
residential neighborhood in the northwest Las Vegas Valley. Called Adult
Assisted Living II, it is licensed to care for up to 10 people with
Alzheimer's disease or other dementia. The home illustrates one of the
many housing options for senior Southern Nevadans who no longer can live
at home because of physical frailty or diminishing faculties.
to meet to discuss long term care (July 20, 2002)
State, federal and tribal government officials met in Bismarck to discuss
and plan for the future of long-term care for American Indian elders in
this region and the nation. The meeting is sponsored by the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research
and Quality, User Liaison Program.
Cancer doctors fault
Medicare bills (July 18, 2003)
A move in Congress to slash Medicare payments for cancer treatments
administered outside of hospitals could severely limit patient access to
care, some oncologists warn. The measure could force some doctors to turn
away seniors with cancer, causing them to seek treatment at hospitals
instead, charged Dr. Lon Smith, president of South Texas Oncology and
Hematology, a local physician group.
Substandard care remains
rampant at nursing homes throughout the country, according to the General
Accounting Office, an investigative arm of Congress. Twenty percent of
homes evaluated during an 18-month study ending January 2002, had
"serious deficiencies that caused residents actual harm or placed
them in immediate jeopardy," the report states. Can appropriate
funding improve the care for the elderly?
people live longer, more are beset by dementia and other cognitive
ailments that can make them irritable, unreasonable and hard to care for.
More and more caregivers are stressed. A growing number of caregivers find
themselves struggling to manage emotions they wish they didn't have. The
article suggests several ways to deal with stresses of caregivers.
recent survey revealed that uninsured persons and many seniors pay 72
percent more on average for prescription drugs than the federal government
pays. Many private insurers and large employers also insist on discounts
from pharmaceutical companies in return for getting drugs on preferred
lists. No such deals are available to the uninsured and many Medicare
seniors who have no supplemental insurance offering drug benefits.
health costs have been soaring for years, many industries have passed
along more and more of the costs to workers and retirees. But in the auto
industry, union leaders were able to have negotiate some of the most
substantial medical benefits in the country for their members. In the
contract talks between the three largest automakers and the United Auto
Workers union, companies are trying hard to reduce medical costs than they
have in years. But the union has staked out health insurance as
million Americans are diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration
(AMD), a leading cause of low vision among older adults in this country.
“Being visually impaired is a frustrating experience that can transform
your life,” as the author wrote. An AMD patient, the author tells you
her experience with the disease and how she copes with the disease.
theory of aging suggests that nurturing offspring is just as important as
fertility and reproduction for the evolution of a species' longevity and
long-term survival. The new theory, proposed by Ronald D. Lee, Ph.D., of
University of California, Berkeley, suggests that natural selection favors
animals capable of devoting energy and resources to insuring survival of
the next generation. In certain primates, the gender that provides the
primary care to offspring tends to have a higher life expectancy. This
suggests that nurturing behavior and longevity evolved together over time.
report presented to Congress reveals that veterans have to wait up to half
a year for an appointment. As a severely overburdened Veterans Affairs
health system can’t keep up with growing demand, an estimated 110,000
veterans are waiting for initial appointments for nonservice-related
medical problems at hundreds of VA centers around the country for six
months or more.
A new Jonhson & Jonhson’s experimental leukemia drug Zarnestra eliminated all
signs of cancer in 30 percent of elderly patients treated with the
medicine, said the industry on July 15, 2003. Jonhson & Jonhson also
said the drug prolonged lives considerably. The average elderly patient
taking Zarnestra survived 227 days, versus only 77 days in patients taking
a standard chemotherapy drug, it told analysts at a meeting in New York
where it reviewed its pipeline of experimental medicines.
a common problem among the hospitalized elderly, causes patients to be
confused, unclear in their thinking and incoherent. Their behavior may be
disturbed - agitated, lethargic or a combination of the two. In this
approach, no physical restraints are used;medication to quiet patients is the last-choice treatment. The
geriatricians found that elderly patients with delirium do better if they
are placed together and cared for in the Delirium Room, essentially a
four-bed intensive care unit.
use of either Gemzar® (gemcitabine) or Navelbine® (vinorelbine) alone
may be just as effective with fewer side effects than the combination of
these two agents for some patients over 70 years of age with advanced
non-small cell lung cancer, according to a recent article published in the
Journal of the National Cancer Institute.Despite this new information, it is important for patients to
discuss all treatment options with their physician, as existing medical
conditions and overall patient health may affect treatment decisions.
new study shows that overweight elderly people are more likely to be
stricken by Alzheimer's disease. It is the first strong evidence linking
the burgeoning weight crisis with the increasingly common brain
affliction. Previous studies discovered the possibility that excess flab
might increase the risk of dementia.
decade, America has danced around the idea of health care rationing based
on age. Many experts are worried about the soaring health care costs.
However, others believe that “age itself is simply not a good indicator
for allocating health care resources”.
A new study
suggests prices for the 50 drugs most prescribed for the elderly has risen
at more than three times the rate of inflation in the past year. The study
said “prices for the 50 drugs increased an average of 6 percent,
compared with a rise of 1.8 percent in the Consumer Price Index, excluding
energy prices”. Over years, drug prices have consistently outpaced
inflation and these increases are particularly hard on the elderly, who
are often on fixed incomes.
number of AIDS cases in adults age 50 and older has more than quintupled
From 1990 to 2001. Experts are becoming increasingly concerned that
traditional attitudes about older women are keeping public health
officials, doctors and women themselves from understanding that the virus
does not discriminate by age. Experts say that older women are much more
vulnerable to infections than younger women due to physical changes.
study that surveyed 700 physicians finds that 23 percent doctors withhold
information from patients about useful medical services that aren't
covered by their health insurance companies. The study offers the first
empirical evidence for what many have long suspected: that coverage
limitations imposed by managed care are impacting doctor-patient
study finds that psychological factors like anger and anxiety could
increase the risk for heart disease among healthy postmenopausal women.
Psychological traits could affect blood vessel function through impaired
artery function. Previous studies have linked anger, hostility and
depression to unhealthy behaviors like eating a high-fat diet, smoking,
and lack of exercise and alcohol abuse. Stress can also affect the part of
the body's nervous system that controls blood vessel function.
to a federal legal settlement, Louisiana is required to create a program
to provide “personal care attendants” to the elderly. However, the
creation of the program ran into problems with Louisiana lawmakers and
powerful nursing home lobbyists. Lawyers who accused Louisiana of
violating the rights of elderly residents by not offering enough
alternatives to nursing home care will go back to court to force the state
to honor the settlement.
Pharmacy Discount Program took effect yesterday to help low-income seniors
with drug costs by providing a special discount. The program, announced by
Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and state health officials yesterday,
will help as many as 50,000 low-income senior citizens with the rising
cost of prescription drugs, filling a gaping hole in traditional Medicare
coverage. Under the program, elderly Marylanders who make too much to
qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private health insurance
will be eligible for pharmacy discounts of up to 50 percent on many
to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science this
week, shows that long-term stress associated with looking after elderly
spouses and relatives, harmfully raises the levels of a protein which
could possibly raises the risk of heart disease, certain cancers,
arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis and other age-related illnesses.
State policies play a critical role in shaping women’s access to
health care. With authority over several important policy issues and the
power to legislate, regulate, and enact programs that address women's
needs, state policymakers have tackled several issues of importance to
women. Women's Access to Care: A State-Level Review of Key Health
Policies, prepared by the National Women's Law Center and Kaiser Family
Foundation, details state activity on a range of policies that influence
women's access to care, with an emphasis on private insurance, Medicaid,
and reproductive health. Specific policies covered include contraceptive
coverage and emergency contraception, Medicaid eligibility expansions,
managed care protections, and assistance with the costs of prescription
drugs. The accompanying fact sheets summarize highlights from the report's
three major topics.
is facing a major budget crisis, with a deficit estimated at $1 billion.
However, costs for the elderly care are expected to rise rapidly as babe
boomers are aging. Over the last 15 years the average age of a Connecticut
nursing home resident has risen from the low 70s to 83. Moreover, the
costs for medicine and nursing homes are rising as well. Today’s
patients, on average, are on nine different medications ranging from
something as inexpensive as aspirin to Oxycontin, a powerful narcotic used
to ease debilitating pain, that can cost up to $1,100 per month.
by Penn State shows that less than half of alcoholics over 65 are
diagnosed, because often the signs of alcohol dependence are masked by
patient denial and seeming good health. The researchers found that
"health care providers and policy makers may be better able to target
screenings and policy interventions toward the highest-risk groups who may
be systematically under-diagnosed and under-treated."
in 10 people older than 65 in America, about 4 million Americans, has
Alzheimer’s disease. The number is expected to grow dramatically in
coming decades as the population ages. Doctors believe that keeping an
active mind may indeed help people withstand the ravages of Alzheimer's
and other forms of dementia that set in late in life. Moreover, keeping
mind active imposes no side effects and costs nothing.
of doctors and researchers affiliated with the American Geriatrics Society
and California HealthCare Foundation recently wrote a guideline for
doctors treating older patients with diabetes. Among the conclusions is
the fact that most of older people with diabetes actually die from heart
attacks and strokes therefore blood pressure and cholesterol levels are
just as important as blood sugar, and the way to help all three is to be
more physically active and to lose some weight. According to some sources
between 13% and 15% of people age 65 or older currently have diabetes, and
the numbers are rising as obesity spreads.
65-and-older crowd in America is expected to double in the next 30 years,
a growing number of nurses are quitting their jobs. Common complaints
among nurses include the shortage of staffing, difficult working
conditions, tending to more and sicker patients, and a lack of respect
from patients and doctors. Without changes, nursing shortage can be a
major problem in the future.
on June 19 approved a long-stalled measure to make it easier to get
cheaper generic prescription drugs to market, adding an important
cost-control provision to legislation that would expand Medicare to cover
pharmaceuticals. The generic-drug measure, a compromise offered as an
amendment to the Medicare bill, would close patent-law loopholes that
allow brand-name drug manufacturers to protect themselves from competition
by delaying the sale of generic equivalents.
a 4-month-old company in American Fork, Utah, continues to operate two
weeks after a state licensing enforcement agent tried to
shut down this fledgling company that promises to help Utah senior
citizens save money by importing prescription medications from Canada. The
company helps primarily elderly Utah residents on fixed incomes get the
medicines they need by exploiting Food and Drug Administration policies
that allow individuals to import for personal use small amounts of
prescription drugs from Canada and other countries. The state now contends
it is not investigating the company.
poll found that less than 10 percent of seniors and disabled Americans who
are eligible to buy prescription medications for a low, flat fee through
Pfizer Inc.'s Share Card program have actually enrolled. It also showed
that 41 percent of the low income Medicare beneficiaries eligible for the
program might not currently have a need for the benefit. Others said that
they could not afford it.
To cut the
fast-rising cost of Medicaid, 19 states have adopted the use of lists of
preferred drugs for patients. Preferred drug lists steer doctors away from
some of the most expensive drugs and toward different, less expensive ones
that the state deems equally effective. It is believed that such limits
can persuade pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost to states of some
medicines. New York State is moving toward the preferred drug practice as
American population is aging rapidly. However, the number of
gerontologists is not growing as fast. The
result is that gerontologists — people who specialize in working with
the elderly — will be in great demand.
desperate family members of Alzheimer patients choose to import unapproved
drug, memantine from Europe. They feel it offers hope, however small, in
improving symptoms of patients in the later stages of the disease. Some
experts are uncomfortable with the imports, expressing their worries over
the unapproved drug.
June 12, 2003, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new
regulations and review procedures to streamline the process for making
safe, effective generic drugs available to consumers. The new rule will
limit a drug company to only one 30-month "stay" of a generic
drug's entry into the market for resolution of a patent challenge. The FDA
is also implementing changes in its review procedures intended to help
improve the speed and reduce the cost of determining that a new generic
drug is safe and effective, and therefore can be made available to
legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Frank A. Lobiondo, would change a rule
that blocks some senior citizens' access to care at inpatient
rehabilitation facilities. The bill would expand the 75 percent rule to
include more illness conditions under the inpatient rehabilitational
facilities payment system.
York Network for Action on Medicare and Social Security organized a silent
protest against big pharmaceutical companies in Manhattan on June 9. The
campaign accuses members of BIG Pharma, especially Pfizer, of
“protecting their profiteering and outrageous prices by fighting
states’ efforts to lower drug costs and guarantee fair drug prices”.
travelers should use some sound cautions prior to their trips. Doctors now
advise older people to consult a travel medicine specialist to discuss the
risks especially if they have health problems and are going to foreign
destinations.The article contains some common-sense recommendations.
found that raising the speed limit to 70 mph or more increases the risk of
driving-related deaths for women and the elderly. Since Congress abolished
the national 55-mph limit in 1995, 29 states have raised their speed
limits to over 70 mph. Researchers found that increase in speed limit is
associated with 10% more traffic-related deaths for women and 13% for the
elderly per 100,000 people.
simple offices and equipments, discount stores help American customers
arrange to purchase legal drugs at steep discounts from Canadian
pharmacies. Drug companies say the discount stores threaten their ability
to invest in medical research. Health regulators say the stores are a
danger to public health since they often operate without regulatory
oversight or even licensed pharmacists.
new Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured study released at a
briefing today indicates that if the country provided universal coverage
under the current health system, the cost of additional medical care
provided to the newly insured would increase health spending's share of
gross domestic product by less than one percentage point-or about 3 to 6
percent of total health care spending. The authors conclude that this
range-$34 billion to $69 billion per year, depending on the approach
taken-would mean the “cost of expanding insurance coverage may be a
relatively small or at least a very worthwhile investment when considered
against the benefits of improved health, increased longevity, and
potentially greater national income.”
doctors advise men older than 65 to monitor prostate cancer, a
slow-growing disease that occurs late in life. Now, researchers at UC
Davis Medical Center have found that a component of soy, called genistein,
appears to inhibit the growth of this illness. It would make men feel as
if they were actively managing the disease.
The national focus on suicide prevention ignores a basic
fact: Seniors have the highest suicide rate of all age groups. All
attention has been directed at teenagers. While people aged 65 and older
comprise only 13 percent of the US population, they account for 19 percent
of all suicides. The suicide rate in 1999 among the aged is 50 percent
higher than that of 15- to 24-year-olds. Why has the elder suicide
received so little publicity?
study shows that compared with younger adults, older adults recalled fewer
negative than positive images. Psychologists also discover the
tendency of older people to regulate their emotions more effectively than
younger people, by maintaining positive feelings and lowering negative
show that patients over 65 are less likely to be treated although they are
likelier to get cancer. According to the FDA, 67 percent of people with
lung cancer are the elderly, but only 35 percent of them are in clinical
studies.Sounds like age
people often talk about so-called
“grumpy old men (and women)”, a study shows that actually young adults
are most likely to recall and fixate on unpleasant events. The
study suggests that this age-linked, selective memory could help explain a
growing pool of evidence that older adults are often more content than
their kids or grandkids, who are at higher risk for serious depression.
in 2000, the Center for Consumer Health Choices published an annual
Nursing Home Watch List, which identifies approximately 10 percent of
nursing homes in each state whose inspection reports Consumers Union
judged to raise concerns about the quality of resident care. The list was
published again in 2001 and 2002, providing the opportunity to examine
trends in the quality of nursing home care. In the latest Nursing Home
Watch List published in 2002, almost 17 percent of 1,709 nursing homes
remain on the watch list. Nearly seven percent of those facilities were
cited for an "immediate jeopardy" deficiency that places
residents at immediate risk for being seriously harmed. Two hundred ninety
(290) facilities have been on all three watch lists, raising concerns that
state and federal oversight is failing to improve the quality of care that
residents receive throughout the country."
This paper explores the effect of negative health shocks, such as heart
attacks or new diagnoses of chronic illnesses, on the labor supply of both
the affected spouse and his or her partner. In so doing, the paper links
two important strands of the retirement literature, the large literature
on health and retirement and the small but growing literature modeling
retirement in a family context. This paper may also be viewed as an
extension of the literature on spousal labor supply as insurance against
negative events, which measures whether there is an “added worker
effect” when one spouse becomes sick and whether it is crowded out by
public insurance programs. This work uses the first five waves of the
Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a recent, nationally representative
survey of the young elderly with extensive information on health, labor
force status, and demographics.For executive summary, click www.globalaging.org/health/us/laborsum.pdf
years, elderly Americans
head north and south to find drugs they can afford. Field
trips of senior citizens who live near the borders have been organized to
roll north to Canada and south to Mexico. People in the middle of the
country sometimes found, if their prescription drug costs were especially
high, that they could save money on medications even if they flew to
Europe. The Internet has made it even easier for people to fill their
prescriptions from mail-order pharmacies.
According to a new study, the number of older adults in the U.S. with
arthritis or chronic joint symptoms is expected to nearly double to 41.1
million by 2030. Such joint problems are already the leading cause of
disability in the U.S. Currently, 60 percent of American people over 65
more than 40 years, the 89-year-old Mission native has worn a police
whistle while riding a bicycle around Brownsville, lifted weights and
boxed a dusty punching bag in the corner of his garage. His breakfast
consists of a papaya, a piece of cantaloupe, a soft-boiled egg, a banana,
baby carrots and a cup of coffee with a handful of vanilla wafer cookies.
After a workout and a hearty breakfast, he opens a prayer book and reads
the morning paragraph.
Orleans Elder Action Coalition recently held a workshop to train social
workers, nurses and others to help their senior citizen clients get all
the medications they need at prices they can afford. Senior citizens often
find themselves struggling for medication payments, since many new
medications are expensive and they are often on two or three different
study by the Women’s Health Initiative finds that healthy older women
who take estrogen and progestin combined, the most common form of hormone
replacement therapy, have an overall 31 percent higher risk of stroke. The
risks associated with combined hormone therapy outweigh its potential
benefits, according to the study.
new study finds that the most popular hormone combination, Wyeth's
Prempro, doubled the risk of dementia in women over 65, eliminating nearly
all remaining reasons for older women to use the therapy. Early researches
showed that the drug increases the risk of breast cancer, heart attacks
and other cardiovascular problems, making Prempro prescriptions plunging
as a result.
While a person bitten by a mosquito carrying the West Nile virus may not
necessarily get the virus, most of the deaths related with West Nile virus
are concentrated in the elderly. Scientists are working to understand why
that’s the case.
at Cornell University begin to analyze data from a study that may help
prevent suicide in the elderly. Early indications show older adults with
major depression benefit more from a change in care delivery than
medications. The study also shows that older people are not inclined to
see themselves as depressed or to accept the diagnosis.
May 25-31 is Older Americans’ Mental Health Week to
educate the public about the needs of older adults with mental illness.
While 20 percent of older Americans have a mental illness, only about 25
percent of them seek treatment. The current Medicare system is one of the
barriers to adequate mental health care. It only pays 50 percent of the
fee for mental health care, much less than 80% of coverage for treatment
of a physical illness.
study by North Carolina State University shows that age-related declines
in memory and cognitive functioning may not be as pronounced as once
believed. It suggests that traditional notions of changes in mental
abilities associated with growing older may partly be attributed to how
early studies on cognition and aging were conducted.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and
Department of Labor issued a report on shortage of long-term care workers.
The report highlights the need for innovation to meet demand as the baby
boom generation ages.
Senate panel on Monday began to wrestle with mounting evidence that the
American medical establishment is biased against the elderly. Seniors
often don't receive health screenings, preventive care, or proper
diagnoses because most doctors lack geriatric training that could defeat
the common assumption that medical problems are a natural part of aging,
experts and senators said at a hearing.
women with osteoporosis can significantly and safely improve their bone
mass with a combination therapy of hormone replacement and the
bisphosphonate alendronate (Foxamax). The findings are published in the
May 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association by
University of Pittsburgh researchers. The study was conducted with 373
women aged 65 to 90 years. At baseline, participants as a group had bone
mass thin enough to be classified as osteopenia, a precursor of
osteoporosis. Thirty-four percent of the women had osteoporosis.
Race not a factor in cardiac care of elderly
(May 21, 2003) The latest study by doctors from Denver
Health and Yale University reports that race does not affect care or
outcome among elderly with heart failure. "It's
good news in that there didn't appear to be any racial differences in
quality care," said Masoudi, the cardiologist from Denver Health.
bone density in older women (May 21, 2003) A new
study has been developed and published in the Journal of the American
Medical Association. The study examined combination of hormone
therapy with theFosamax
replacement provides a benefit when combined with Fosamax," says
study author Dr Susan Greenspan. "For women who start out with very
low bone density or many fractures or many women who have failed on a
single therapy, this would be a good option if the primary problem was
Benzodiazepines Linked to Declines in Elderly (May 20, 2003) It was reported at the Annual Meeting of the American Geriatrics
Society that elderly women who use benzodiazepines on a long-terma basis
risk to weaken their physical abilities. The study conducted by the
University of Washington, in Seattle, provides detailed examination of the
issue and recommended dose of the drug for elderly.
Black women die of breast
cancer at higher rates than white women with comparable tumors, but the
gap disappears among women old enough to qualify for Medicare, according
to a study released yesterday. The study's authors suggested that the
findings indicated that access to treatment rather than differences in
biology probably played a bigger role in the higher death rate for black
women than previous research had found.
Four men with Parkinson’s
disease within the 55-to-70 age range are guinea pigs for a theory under
development by neurologists, neurochemists, physical therapists and others
at the University of Pittsburgh. The theory is that exercise can either
slow or reverse the effects of Parkinson's, long considered an
irreversible disease, with loss of movement one of the primary symptoms.
Studies on rats at Pitt and the University of Texas have given the idea
Maine's innovative effort to
reduce prescription drug costs for uninsured state residents by pressuring
manufacturers to grant price rebates received the Supreme Court's
qualified approval on May 19th. The 6-to-3 decision lifted an injunction
that has kept the Maine Rx Program from taking effect since the state's
Legislature enacted it in 2000. The court's action is likely to shift the
drug pricing debate away from the courts and back to the executive branch
and the states.
Basic health care for the state's elderly should
be a right, participants of the Arizona Town Hall said Monday. But they
had a tougher time with some other questions: Who should pay? How to
prepare for the coming boom? And how to include the growing number of
minority and border residents while focusing on prevention?
People who sustain substantial
head injuries may face an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease
years later, new study findings suggest. Overall, those who had
experienced head trauma were about four times more likely to develop the
neurological disease than those who never had such injuries.
beyond the X-rays (May 19, 2003) In 1992, Congress passed the first-ever act aimed at
bringing the nation's 10,000-plus mammography practices up to a single
technical standard. Now, the Mammography Quality Standards Act has
expired. But as Congress moves to renew a statute that has helped make
early breast cancer detection far more widespread, lawmakers have taken on
a tougher task than the first time around.
report by the nonprofit Alliance for Aging Research suggests rampant age
discrimination in the U.S. health care system. People over 65 suffer the
highest suicide rate in the nation, but are rarely diagnosed as being
depressed. They are routinely discouraged from participating in clinical
trials even for treatments that might help them. And they rarely receive
preventive medical screenings to which they are entitled.
Rev. Joseph T. Durkin is a busy man: Once a week, he ministers to a group
of Alzheimer's patients. He also works with inmates at the Arlington
County jail. Already the author of more than two dozen books, he is
writing two more -- one on rhetoric, the other on the connection between
poetry and science. What makes this so remarkable is that Durkin, a
revered professor emeritus of history at Georgetown University, just
turned 100 on Saturday.
In Tulare County, California,
nursing homes most commonly violate medicine and food-related regulations,
an analysis of Medicare records reveals. Of the 15 nursing homes in Tulare
County, 14 were cited for medicine-related deficiencies when they were
inspected last year by local and state regulatory agencies. Seven were
cited for food preparation deficiencies. Operators say strict rules make
it easy to be cited.
Elderly people may develop insulin resistance -- one of the
major risk factors for diabetes -- because "power plants" in
their muscle cells decline or fail with age, according to Howard Hughes
Medical Institute researchers at Yale University School of Medicine. In
studies of young and elderly people, the researchers found that older
people had lower levels of metabolic activity in their mitochondria, the
"factories" that provide power to cells. The findings suggest
that reduced mitochondrial activity underlies insulin resistance, which is
a major contributor to type 2 diabetes in the elderly.
Why do serious diseases such as
cancer, Alzheimer's and Huntington's mainly hit us in middle age or later?
The links between aging and age-related diseases have proved elusive. In
studies of the powerfully informative roundworm, C. elegans, UCSF
scientists have discovered that a class of molecules found in the worms
and in people can both prolong life in the worm and prevent the harmful
accumulation of abnormal proteins that cause a debilitating
Women with low bone mass in
their later years appear to have a higher risk of eventually developing
the memory-robbing disease Alzheimer's,
researchers said Thursday. The same relationship between bone mass and
memory decline was not present in men, however.
Governor Gray Davis had originally proposed a 15 percent reduction in Medi-Cal
reimbursements. On Wednesday, he added a 3.8 percent rate increase for
Medi-Cal reimbursement on top of the 15 percent reduction in his revised
budget proposal. The proposed budget cuts in the state Medi-Cal program
may mean folding a few nursing home facilities. Then what about people who
don't have anywhere to go?
Researchers from the National
Cancer Institute (NCI) have developed a mouse model of the premature aging
syndrome known as Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS), according
to a report appearing in the journal Nature. Researchers hope the mouse
model will facilitate a better understanding of the fatal syndrome, as
well as provide clues to the normal aging process.
new study shows consistent patterns for four different types of dying.
These findings suggest that more flexibility is needed in healthcare and
hospice services to meet the needs of critically ill patients whose time
until death is unpredictable.
Stroke recovery rates slower for African Americans (May 13, 2003) African
Americans are more likely to suffer strokes and recover from them at a
slower rate than whites, and these differences are not simply the result
of greater stroke severity. According to Ronnie D. Horner, Ph.D., program
director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS),
and leader of a recently published study, research has found that African
Americans who delay their post-stroke rehabilitation recover at a
significantly slower rate than whites who experience the same
rehabilitation delay. Recovery rates are even lower among low-income
Sue Miller, an accomplished
novelist, spent 10 years to write a memoir about her father's struggle
with Alzheimer, a disease that afflicts 4 million people in the USA. The
Story of My Father is the result, a story of one man's battle with a
degenerative brain disease. This family's story will resonate with anyone
who has watched Alzheimer's decimate a human mind, says Kathleen O'Brien,
a vice president at the Alzheimer's Association in Chicago.
Effectively Reduces Blood Pressure in Elderly Hypertensives (May 12, 2003)
Treatment with the angiotensin II receptor blocker candesartan reduces
blood pressure in elderly hypertensive patients slightly more effectively
than placebo. Although the reduction is not statistically significant, the
candesartan-based treatment was associated with a modest reduction in
major cardiovascular events and a marked decrease in non-fatal stroke in
the Study on Cognition and Prognosis in the Elderly (SCOPE).
receive aid in buying medicine: Erie County group eases drug costs (May
12, 2003) The nonprofit
"Serving Our Seniors" organization in Erie County, has set aside
about $56,000 to subsidize the free drug program and has a waiting list of
114 residents, after officials of Serving Our Seniors learned of a Bowling
Green State University study that showed 450 elderly residents of Erie
County were choosing between eating and buying medication in 1998. Though
the need for free medication is greater, the program is better than
Scientists at UCSB link brain
plaques in Alzheimer’s disease to eye disease (May 8, 2003)
Scientists at the Center for the Study of Macular Degeneration at the
Neuroscience Research Institute of the University of California, Santa
Barbara have found a link between the brain plaques that form in
Alzheimer’s disease and the deposits in the retina that are associated
with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a disease that leads
to loss of central vision and affects 5 to 10 percent of the population
over age 60.
granted fresh fruit (May 06, 2003)
Northern Nevada’s low- income elderly residents can count on a regular
supply of fresh produce in their diets this summer. Through a $200,000
United States Department of Agriculture grant, 6,700 elderly people in
Reno, Sparks, Carson City and rural areas will be eligible for $30 in
coupons they can redeem at the weekly farmers’ markets throughout the
Controlled Diabetes Could Lead to Dementia in the Elderly (May 06, 2003)
Poorly controlled diabetes seems to cause cognitive problems in the
elderly, a new study reports. The researchers determined that the main
reason why diabetic people age 60 and older scored low on a cognitive
function test was because of improper management of their disease. “We
knew that there was an association between diabetes and dementia in older
people,” said Yousef Mohammad, a study co-author and an assistant
professor of neurology at Ohio State University. “But we found out that
there is a difference in cognitive capability between diabetics whose
disease is under control and those whose disease isn’t adequately
The Affordable medication
Program, an unusual program in Erie County, Ohio, provides medication assistance to
the elderly, who cannot afford to buy medicine along with food and other
necessities. Erie County's Serving Our Seniors, a nonprofit group in
Sandusky, buys prescription drugs at retail prices and provides them to 70
Erie County seniors, for a nominal monthly fee. However, Sue Daugherty,
Serving Our Seniors' executive director, acknowledges that the program
can't help every senior who needs it. Currently, there are 112 people on
the program's waiting list.
Each person involved in the Barron
County Office on Aging's Daybreak program is armed with two things: a name
tag and a smile. Some are staff members, some are volunteers, and some are
actual participants. After walking into one of the Daybreak sessions,
though, the trick is determining which people belong in each of those
Elderly women who take antidepressants and other drugs that affect the
nervous system may be prone to broken bones, a new study has found. The
study by U.S. researchers found that women taking mood medication were 70
percent more likely than those not on the drugs to suffer a broken hip. A
smaller but significant increase in the risk of fracture accompanied
taking other psychoactive drugs, like those to control seizures, and
Men who undergo surgery for prostate cancer may ward off
problems with erections by taking Viagra every night for nine months after
surgery, researchers said Monday. These findings suggest that along with
treating erectile dysfunction, Viagra can also prevent the condition in
the first place, study author Dr. Harin Padma-Nathan of the University of
Southern California in Los Angeles told Reuters Health.
Radical prostatectomy is used to treat the early stages of
prostate cancer by surgically removing the prostate gland and surrounding
tissue. The procedure has a success rate of 70 to 85 percent. A high
percentage of patients experience Erectile Disfunction after the procedure
due to injury to the peripheral nerves. Researchers from the University of
Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) have found that gene therapy may not only
be a feasible, but also may be an ideal treatment for neuropathic erectile
Anyone who handles the daily stress of New York must have been
surprised to hear the latest news. The city's Department of Health and
Mental Hygiene reported last week that since 1991, the life expectancy of
residents has increased by more than five years, to a historically high
average of 77.6 years. That level surpasses the national average by six
months. (Women in New York live an average of 80.2 years, men 74.5.)
The drug Actimmune would not appear to have great sales potential.
It is approved to treat only two rare diseases that together afflict just
800 Americans. Yet sales nearly tripled last year, to $106 million, and
its manufacturer expects them to exceed $160 million this year. Virtually
all those sales are for an unapproved use: to treat idiopathic pulmonary
fibrosis, a scarring of the lungs that afflicts 50,000 to 75,000 Americans
and is often fatal. It appears that the drug company has encouraged this
off-label use that circumvents appropriate testing processes.
A new study shows that elderly and disabled patients who
smoke are in poorer physical and mental health than those who have never
smoked. Quitting smoking did restore health to a certain extent. Long-term
quitters had mental health levels similar to those who'd never smoked,
though their physical health was poorer.
The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), a
leading Manhattan-based nonprofit organization supporting biomedical
research on the aging process and age-related diseases, today opened an
affiliate office based independently at the University of Rochester
Medical Center. New Office Will Support Grants for Upstate Researchers
Studying the Aging Process and Diseases Like Alzheimer's, Diabetes and
Bug May Up Risk of Age-Related Vision Loss (April 22, 2003)
New findings suggest that a frequent cause of age-related vision
impairment may be linked to a common bacterial infection. U.S. researchers
discovered that people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) tended
to carry higher levels of antibodies targeted against the bacterium
Chlamydia pneumoniae than those without AMD. Such targeted antibodies are
a sign of past infection.
the Back Nine, Eyeing a New Target (April 22, 2003) From a physical health standpoint, golf is hardly a silver bullet.
Most older players use carts and so don't reap the benefits of walking the
course. Unlike, say, swimming or weight training, the golf swing doesn't
build muscle. On the other hand, the game can help sustain or sharpen
hand-eye coordination, flexibility and balance. Golf's primary physical
health benefit for older folks is the motivation it provides them to stay
for Protecting Bones After Menopause (April 22, 2003) "There are now 10 million women in this country with
osteoporosis and 33 million who have low bone mass, and most have neither
been diagnosed nor treated," Dr. Siris told a seminar held by the
Society for Women's Health Research, a group that inspired the Women's
Health Initiative studies. Women achieve peak bone mass by 30, then lose
bone slowly until 50, or whenever they start menopause. From 50 to 60,
bone loss is rapid, and then slows somewhat to age 90.
For nearly nine months, doctors and researchers have been
struggling with an intractable problem: how could two large high-quality
studies come to diametrically different conclusions about menopause,
hormone therapy and heart disease? Dr. Francine Grodstein, an
epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, says it is quite
possible that both are correct. The different results may hinge on the
differences between the aging women who joined the studies.
A group of experts called on the U.S.
government Monday to revive a bygone national research study that they say
could help improve the care of dying persons. IOM, an independent but
government-funded research body, has issued several reports over the last
five years calling for widespread reforms to health care for dying
persons, including improvements in doctor training, an overhaul of health
care financing and wider use of hospice programs.
drugs shown to decrease predictor of Alzheimer's disease (April
Cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins also play an important
role in reducing levels of a strong predictor of Alzheimer's disease,
according to a new study from UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
researchers. In today's issue of the Archives of Neurology, UT
Southwestern researchers report that participants who took statins lowered
their brain cholesterol levels by 21.4 percent.
Hearing loss in the elderly is easily treated but often
underdiagnosed by doctors who in some cases wrongly consider it an
inevitable part of aging, a study found. The most common cause of deafness
in older adults is nerve damage, which isn't reversible but can be
substantially improved with hearing aids and surgery for some severe
population looms over health care costs (April 16, 2003) Baby boomers entering their senior years will
increase costs at an alarming rate because the elderly traditionally use a
larger share of the health-care dollar. And if we can't control rising
health-care costs now, how are we going to do it in the future?
Elderly Hearing Loss Often Overlooked (April 15, 2003)
Many older people have trouble hearing, and many people - including
doctors - wrongly consider hearing loss an inevitable part of aging.
Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic condition in older
Americans, after hypertension and arthritis. Up to 40 percent of people
over age 65 are hearing impaired, and more than 80 percent of people over
age 85 have hearing loss.
Growth of hormone levels
rise during adolescence, but begin to drop in middle age; by age 60, a man
produces about half as much growth hormone each day as he did at age 20.
An influential study by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin in
1990 showed that injections of growth hormone can help older men and women
restore some muscle and shed fat. Vance and her colleagues at the
University of Virginia are currently testing a secretagogue developed by
the pharmaceutical giant Merck in a group of about 70 elderly men and
the results are not clear!
do you define a healthy 80-something? (April 9, 2003)
Today, an estimated 5,574 Americans will celebrate their 65th birthday.
That's 362,310 candles, if you're counting. What does it take to live a
long life? Are aging and decline inextricably linked? What does healthy
mean when you're 80 years old? Stay tuned!
untreated in elderly (April 7, 2003)
New research on depression says that older men are less likely than older
women to seek treatment for depression, and older blacks and Latinos seek
help less often than their white counterparts.
Alzheimer's drug gives good results (April 7, 2003) All
known Alzheimer’s drugs are effective only in early stages of the
disease. But the research, published in the New England Journal of
Medicine, shows that Memantine can slow down the progress of disease at
severe stages as well.
gaps' reported in elder care (April 2nd, 2003) Retirees
who are flocking to rural California in their 60s may not find the
services they need to stay in that home when they're 85, according to a
new study. What home health, residential care or other services are
available to older people may depend on where they live - instead of what
Over Iraq Conflict Is More Likely Among Elderly (April 1, 2003) Americans of all ages are extremely anxious about the war in Iraq
and terrorism but older adults appear also at the highest risk for
developing emotional and physical problems such as depression. Among other
causes, this vulnerability stems from older adults spending a long time
watching TV.Beyond that,
individuals age 70 and older, often have painful memories of the 1930s and
This updated 2-page fact sheet, prepared by the Kaiser
provides trend data for prescription drug coverage, expenditures, and the
key factors that contribute to rising prescription spending: increases in
utilization and prices, and changes in drug use from older drugs to newer
Flock to Border Towns To Horde Cheap Prescriptions (March 20, 2003) 90.000 elderly resident go to Yuma, Mexico, each winter to buy
drugs for them and their families. Most of them couldn’t afford the
prescriptions they need at US prices. For example, according to an old
lady who spent $400 this month buying drugs, saving more than $1,200, a
diabetes medicine, Glucophage, available here for less than $3 for each
bottle of 100 capsules, costs more than $ 54 in the US.
rage common among Alzheimer's patients (March 14, 2003) Some
people with dementia tend to become frustrated and angry, because they
can't function as well as they used to. Jacqueline Marcell says in her
book that dementia symptoms often can be slowed through proper treatment
and medication and offers some practical advice.
Receives 'Anti-Aging' Award (March 14, 2003)
Clonaid, the group that claims to have cloned the first human babies, says
on its Web site that in the eventual cloning of an adult, memories and
personality will be transferred into "a brand new body,"
allowing people to "wake up after death."
Research Is Focusing on the Elderly Some
135 pharmaceutical companies are now developing 294 medicines aimed at
diseases that disproportionately affect older people, like cancer, heart
disease and stroke. They may be losing the patent protection on their
established drugs in the United States, but “sales from new medications
that cater to an aging population could more than make up for any lost
revenue.” Drugs include 30 for diabetes, which affects 1 in 5 Americans
65 and older.
Uninsured and their Access to Medicare in 2001 These Kaiser Family Foundation key facts will
help you understand who is uninsured (low-income Americans) and why there
are so many Americans who are uninsured (cost of private coverage
unavailable to low-wage workers)...
under fresh attack in US (March 6, 2003) Drugs
group GlaxoSmithKline stopped the practice of cross-border-shopping for US
consumers in Canada. Moreover, the company is trying to have their famous
(and very profitable too!) drugs with patents protected against other
cheaper generic drugs sold by other companies.
abuse isn't all black and blue
The National Elder Abuse Incidence estimates 500,000 older people in
domestic settings were newly abused, neglected, exploited or experienced
self-neglect in 2000 and says for every case reported, five probably go
unreported. Elder abuse can be defined as physical abuse, sexual abuse,
neglect, abandonment or financial exploitation.
Study Raises Estimate of the Nation's Uninsured
(March 5, 2003) “An estimated 75 million Americans were without
health insurance at some point during the last two years, amounting to
nearly a third of all Americans younger than 65 “ found a study from
Families USA. The uninsured tended to be working people and young because
Americans older than 65 are covered by Medicare.
For Elderly, Fear of Falling Is a Risk
in Itself (March 5, 2003) Studies suggest that a third of people 65 or
older fall each year. Elderly are scared of falling, so they stop doing
things. As they do less, their physical condition deteriorates, making
them more susceptible to falling… Between the risk of immobility and the
risk of mobility, here are personal stories from elderly coming to
seminars at the Riverdale Senior Center in New York.
Bush Medicare Proposal Urges Switch to
Private Insurers (March 5, 2003) The Bush administration has crafted a new
Medicare prescription-drug proposal that would offer limited coverage to
seniors enrolled in traditional Medicare. Under the plan, seniors enrolled
in the traditional fee-for-service Medicare program would get a discount
drug card that would offer some savings when buying prescriptions. Seniors
who enrolled in private health plans or HMOs would get more extensive drug
coverage under the new proposal.
President Bush’s “New”
Medicare Privatization Plan (March 4, 2003) Here is Senator Tom Daschle’s response to the
Bush administration’s “new” Medicare proposal. As you know already, the plan is designed to gradually replace
guaranteed Medicare coverage with private insurance - an incredibly risky
proposal for seniors and people with disabilities.
vow battle over cuts in health care (March 4, 2003) 80,000
elderly and disabled people would be removed from home-care services.400,000 elderly would lose prescription drug coverage.$4 billion in Medicaid reimbursement to doctors, hospitals and
other health-care providers would be cut. Scary? That is what Governor
Rick Perry's Health from Texas and Human Services Commissioner, Albert
Hawkins, presented in his agency's effort to save money.
4,600 retirees of Weirton Steel Corp learned that West Virginia steel
maker could be forced into bankruptcy. These people would have to pay
double the co-payment for most prescription drugs. But 75 percent of the
employees have to agree about this before the bankruptcy can go forward.When will US workers succeed in getting a portable pension system
free from the companies’ fate?
The new legislation in preparation in the US Congress would make a
number of regulatory changes to speed new medical treatments to patients
covered by Medicare. This will help thousands of elderly to access new
technology treatments with better efficiency.
the Myths of Hospice This fact sheet from Partnership for Caring will help end the
misinformation about hospices. Hospice care takes place wherever the need
exists (about 80 % in the patient’s home) and includes pain management
and symptom relief.
Hundreds of elderly Americans protested in Philadelphia, New York
City and Schenectady, N.Y., against GlaxoSmithKline PLC's ban on supplying
products to Internet pharmacies in Canada that deal with American
customers. This evident example of “brazen abuse of monopolistic
power” led the Congress to introduce two bills about imposing fines on
the company or denying it some tax breaks.
The Pharmacia Corporation said net profit soared 549 percent, to $554
million from $86 million. Pfizer Inc, is expected to buy this drug company
by the end of the first quarter for $53 billion. So much money....
A new study finds surprisingly that elderly patients living in
areas where Medicare spending was among the highest, neither lived longer
nor experienced a better quality of life than where spending was lowest.
Patients in the highest-spending group got “more tests and more
physician visits and stayed in the hospital longer and more often.” In
the lowest-spending group, patients are more likely to see family
practitioners. And they were likely to be treated more intensively if and
when they became gravely ill.
A new study from the American Stroke Association shows that it is
essential that people look for the major symptoms of stroke to save life.
This rapid diagnosis is the three steps: “asking the patients to smile
broadly; to close their eyes, raise their arms in front of them and hold
them out for a count of 10; and to repeat a simple phrase.”
Questions Outnumber Answers on
P.S.A. Test (February 18, 2003) Men middle-aged and older are now hesitating to avail themselves of
the P.S.A. blood test for prostate cancer. If the P.S.A. test is positive,
it typically leads to a $1,500 biopsy, with ultrasound guidance and
samples taken from various parts of the prostate, to find out if cancer is
present. Experts generally agree that the P.S.A. is not an ideal marker
for prostate cancer so they are thinking about recalculating the P.S.A
“How much can the Bush Administration push the elderly to enroll
in private plans?”The idea
of requiring elderly to leave Medicare and enroll in a private health plan
is even more in the dark than ever. The domestic agenda is full because of
the national political situation. Most of all, this is a very unpopular
“Medicare and modern medicine are badly unprepared to meet the nation's
greatest contemporary health challenge: chronic illness. Diseases such as
arthritis, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and asthma now afflict more
Americans, cause more disability and death, and cost more money than any
other health problem.” Here is the Policy Report new issue about the
tragedy of poor chronic care.
Aging: Scuba Forever. Almost.
(February 11, 2003) A new study will make older scuba divers happy.
They’ve got no reason to give up this leisure activity. Older divers
don’t retain too much carbon dioxide under the water as scientists
thought they would.
Bush Rethinking Medicare Plan
(February 11, 2003) Is the Bush administration coercing “senior
citizens to sign up with managed care groups”? A new Bush administration
plan requires Medicare beneficiaries to join health maintenance
organizations as a condition for federally supported prescription drug
Well (February 11, 2003) As
recently as five years ago, there were no research trials funded to study
Alzheimer's prevention and no means to identify people at high risk. Now
Alzheimer's research is starting to consider the causes of the disease and
possible preventive remedies. Increasingly, scientists are discovering
that high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lack of exercise and other
contributors to heart disease are also present in Alzheimer's patients.
Possible Alzheimer's blockers include vitamin E, anti-inflammatory,
estrogen and ginkgo bilboa. Also an occasional glass of wine may lower the
risk of developing Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
Getting the Gray Out
(February 11, 2003) American elderly
people, pressured by high drug prices, often buy their drugs market just
across the Canadian border.Hungry
for profits, GlaxoSmithKline announced it would halt sales of its products
to Canadian pharmacies. If drug companies and regulators cut off the
Canadian supply, Americans will simply go online to the e-pharmacies to
get their cheaper prescription drugs,the Manitoba's industry minister predicted.
shines spotlight on health care in 2004 bid (February 10, 2003) Health care, a signature issue of the 1992
presidential race, is expected to reemerge as an issue in the 2004
campaign. Former governor Howard Dean of Vermont, a medical doctor, hopes
that health care can catapult a little-known governor into the White
House. His plan would offer to pay prescription drug and hospital costs
for older Americans who are enrolled “in both the state-federal Medicaid
and the solely federal Medicare programs, saving states more than $6
billion a year.”
Governor Proposes Cuts in Senior Nutrition Program (February 9, 2003) California Governor Davis proposes $8.25 million
of cuts to senior programs for the 2003-04 budget year, almost half of it
from nutrition projects such as the Brown Bag Program (surplus fresh
fruits and vegetables), which serves 1,900 seniors in Orange County. As
said the executive director for the Orange County Office of Aging, Mr
Mokler, “It targets the seniors with the most need.”
boomers age, Gen X considers care options (February 9, 2003) Some
Generation X'ers, born between 1969 and 1978, will take care of their
parents, but a predictable growing number will let their parents make
their own decisions. If they choose not to leave home, they will be helped
by assisted living facilities such as digital video cameras, floors able
to detect when a fall occurs on the floor and more.
Senior Groups Begin Boycott of Drug
Maker (February 9, 2003) Large number of senior citizens groups across the
USA have started to boycott drug giant GlaxoSmithKline, after the company
cut supplies to Canadian pharmacies that sell its drugs to Americans on
the Internet at bargain prices. Neither Pfizer Inc nor Merck and Co. has
yet decided to follow in Glaxo’s steps. If they do, will this be grounds
for price fixing? Doctor
No: The president's privatization plan would spell health-care disaster
for seniors This American Prospect article provides an
interesting critical perspective on the Bush administration views of the
health system, to make the HMO an inseparable part of Medicare's future.
As he noted: “The worst part of privatization is that it could sever the
important bonds between senior citizens and their doctors.” How about a
single payer system like Canada?
Court Battle Over Paxil (February 5,
2003) Many investors are pessimistic about
GlaxoSmithKline’s ability to win in a suit against Apotex, maker of
generic drugs. The two manufacturers are fighting over exclusive rights to
Paxil, a popular treatment for depression, which provides the American
manufacturer with $3 billion income. Presumably the generic manufacturer
would sell Paxil at a lower price helping sick consumers.
Employees to Exercise (February 3, 2003) A new report from the University of Michigan's
Health Management Research Center found overweight and obese people have
medical bills up to $1,500 greater a year than those of people of healthy
weight. For example, GM and the United Auto Workers union jointly are
trying to change the lifestyles of employees, retirees and family members
through their LifeSteps education program.
Releases $2.2 Trillion Budget (February 3, 2003) In
the 2004 Bush’ 2.2 trillion dollar budget, Medicare and Social Security
both made it into the first paragraph of his statement. The budget
dedicates “$400 billion over 10 years for Medicare modernization
including protection against catastrophic costs, better private options
for all beneficiaries, and prescription drug coverage.” How will it be
really used for the elderly?
Social Security and Medicare: Myths,
Lies and Realities
This Institute for America's Future report shows us that even under
pessimistic projections the Social Security will be able to meet 100
percent of its obligation for the next 34 years. Privatization can't
provide the benefits and the security that the Social Security provides
Intuition might suggest that people are more likely to die the
older they become, but in fact the death rate stabilizes above a certain
age leading to a "mortality plateau". Now, Jonathan Coe and Yong
Mao at the University of Cambridge and Mike Cates at the University of
Edinburgh have developed a computer model that reveals this leveling-off
in the rate of death with increasing age.
Among Elderly Is On the Rise (January 28, 2003) Recent survey shows that
more than 40 percent of men and 50 percent of women aged 60 and above
reported using at least one vitamin or mineral supplement, and experts say
that supplement use by the elderly is increasing rapidly. But scientists
have no agreement on the value of some supplements, and some are also
concerned about possible adverse interactions between supplements and
90 years young
(January 27, 2003) The
story of Betty O'Neal Giboney, who has moved from New York City to New
Castle in her 90th year, and, what one can say, started a new
pharmacies boom (January 27, 2003) Canadian government
regulation of drug prices as part of its national health care system
versus the market dictation of pricing in the United States allows
Internet businesses to supply U.S. customers with lower-priced Canadian
Drug Sales Bring Huge Profits,
and Scrutiny, to Cancer Doctors (January 26, 2003)
Cancer specialists can make a lot of money from the difference between
what they pay for the drugs and what they charge insurers and government
programs. Drug companies have also been accused of using discounts to
influence doctors who buy themselves the drugs before they administer it
to their patients. But things are going to change a little bit: for
example, Southeast and Southwest insurers are looking to buy the drugs
HealthSouth Review Panel Said to Have
Been Chosen (January 25, 2003) HealthSouth, the American largest chain of
rehabilitation centers and hospitals, is expected to announce appointments
to a committee formed to look at how the company is governed. Mr. Scrushy
who started the company in the early 80’s sold stock actions lately.
These moves are being investigating by the Securities and Exchange
High Court Reviews Drug
Discounts for Uninsured (January 23, 2003) Four
years ago, Maine enacted a first-in-the-nation law to force drug makers to
offer lower prices to uninsured persons. The Supreme
Court will soon decide on a case on discount drugs with most people
expecting the court to send it to the Medicaid administration. As the
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle said: "Every state should have the
flexibility and the power to be able to do what Maine would like to
May Link Drug Benefit in Medicare to Private Plans (January 23, 2003) After considering a lot of different options, the Bush
administration is considering to increasing the role of private health
plans in Medicare. This proposal would require that Medicare beneficiaries
join a kind of government-subsidized private health insurance plan to
obtain coverage of prescription drugs.
Prescription Offered to Stop Cuts in
Medicare Fees (January 23, 2003) Last year, hundreds of doctors across the country
dropped their Medicare patients or refused to accept new ones, saying they
could no longer afford to treat them. Now, Bush administration announces a
new commitment for these professionals: further reductions in the fees
they receive from the government for treating Medicare patients. Where
can old people find a doctor to heal them?
Attack on Older Worker (January 20, 2003) Here is US Congressman Bernie Sanders
critical stance on the Bush’s administration pensions plans. After
efforts to privatize Social security, Bush now proposes new IRS
regulations that would allow corporations to “undertake a major raid on
the pension benefits that older workers have accumulated.”
Scientists Study Why the Elderly Fall
(January 20, 2003) One in three people aged 65 and older falls each
year. About 10,000 seniors a year actually die from them. Special
exercises exist to improve balance and strength. People with thin bones
should wear a hip protector, a padded cushion.
Commission to Urge Freezing Some
Medicare Payments (January 19, 2003) Ignoring health care providers’ alarm, a
federal advisory panel will soon recommend that Congress freeze payments
to nursing homes and home care agencies to save money. For example, the
panel claims, payments to nursing homes and home health agencies appear
"more than adequate" to cover the costs of treating Medicare
patients according to this panel. Shouldn't they look at the profits rate
of owners who keep wages low and conditions in many " homes"
Can Limit Emergency Access in Medicaid Cases (January 17, 2003) States recognized their obligation to cover
emergency care. But there is often a dispute over who should pay and what
services are needed. Now the Bush administration has decided that states
can place certain limits on coverage of emergency services “to
facilitate more appropriate use of preventive care and primary care”.
Should we expect higher death rates among those in the emergency room
Argues for Broadening of Managed Care (January 15, 2003) The 1994 Kentucky state law usurped the power of
the federal government to regulate employee benefit plans according to
Health Associations. The main question before the Supreme Court was
whether the Kentucky law regulates insurance, as the state contends. The
Bush administration supports the Kentucky position.
Ideas Energize Alzheimer's Battle (January 14, 2003) For
years, the prevailing notion was that Alzheimer's was a disease of
brain-cell death. But now, many researchers cite accumulating evidence
that memory starts to fail long before brain cells die. Experts at the Gladstone
Institute are studying a protein that may help protect the brain from
Organizing a Nonprofit Group to Cut Drug Costs (January 14, 2003) Health
care spending is a major part of the financial problem the states face,
and drugs are the fastest growing component. By managing their drug
benefit programs themselves, the states intend to keep any drug company
payments for themselves. They plan to use medical experts to help them
determine the most cost effective.
Most States Are Cutting Medicaid
Benefits, Study Says (January 13, 2003)
Based on a Kaiser Family Foundation 50-state survey, researchers found
that all states except Alabama have cut spending or plan to cut spending
this year on Medicaid, 45 states plan tighter controls on payments for
prescription drugs, 37 states plan to reduce or freeze payments to doctors
and hospitals…. Cutting Medicaid spending is particularly painful for
states because they have to forgo federal money with every Medicaid dollar
they cut from state budgets. Can we expect even poorer health care for the
poor in the US?
Poverty Cited in Ark. Elderly Health
Woes (January 8, 2003) Communities
with limited healthcare access in Arkansas suffer from a lack of adequate
access to health care. Regardless of a patient's age, this can lead to
important problems for the elderly. So, the Arkansas Aging Initiative will
soon developing satellite centers throughout the state in order to better
serve aged Arkansans.
Surpasses AIDS As Killer in U.S. (January 8, 2003) Government research shows
that Influenza has surpassed AIDS as a lethal killer in the U.S. The U.S.
flu-related death toll surged fourfold from 16,263 in 1976-77 to 64,684 in
1998-99. Older people realized too late the importance of flu vaccines.
Moreover they are less effective among this most vulnerable part of
Records Show Merck Unit Favored Its
Parents' Drugs (January 8, 2003) From 1995 to 1999, Medco Health Solutions, a
Merck unit, gave favorable treatment to some of the Merck and Company’s
most important drugs. Merck agreed already last month to pay $42.5 million
to settle the suits. Medco is accused of violating fiduciary duties to
customers by failing to disclose the extent of Medco's ties to Merck. The
aim was to obtain discounts and rebates on behalf of employers and health
plans. That’s what the records unsealed by a Judge of the Federal
District Court tend to show.
Spending on Health Care Increased
Sharply in 2001 (January 8, 2003) In 2001, health spending rose 8.7 percent, to
$1.4 trillion, and accounted for 14.1 percent of the total economy, the
largest share on record. The major reason for the increase in health
spending was an increase in the amount of medical goods and services
purchased to care for an aging population. Medicare increased payments
also to providers such as hospitals, home health agencies and nursing
homes. Will it intensify pressure on Congress to put health care to the
top of its agenda? Or regulate profits on this vital part of the economy ?
Bristol-Myers Squibb to Pay $670
Million to Settle Lawsuits (January 8, 2003) Bristol-Myers Squibb had agreed to pay $670
million to settle numerous lawsuits because patients have been forced for
months to buy the most expensive version of an anti-anxiety medicine, the
BuSpar. As the New York attorney general, Eliot Spitzer said the high cost
of the settlement should send a message to the entire pharmaceutical
industry that such actions would not be tolerated.
Being Fatter at 40 Can Shorten Life
by 3 Years (January 7, 2003) A new study conducted by Dutch researchers
published in The Annals of Internal Medicine proves, what scientists have
known for a long time but were unable to calculate, that nonsmokers who
were classified as overweight, but not obese, lost an average of three
years off their lives. Obese people died even sooner. Obese female
nonsmokers lost an average of 7.1 years.
Has Its Brain on Drug Benefits (January 7, 2003) A
drug benefit would cost at least $300 billion over ten years. Democrats
want a program with strict price controls. Republicans want insurance
companies to run things without price caps and only light guidance from
bureaucrats…but the GOP is controlling the Congress.
Bristol Said to Be Close to Deal
on Suits Over Generic BuSpar (January 7, 2003) Lot of suits these days for Bristol-Mayers: Mylan
and two other generic drug makers, dozens of state attorneys general and
consumer groups…. filed against the drug maker. One of them is about the
unavailability of a lower-price version for one of their drugs forcing
patients to buy the expensive version. The amount has been evaluated to
millions of dollars…
$10 Billion Pill (January 6, 2003) In
its six years on the market, Lipitor has become the largest-selling
pharmaceutical in history. Within the next few years it could very well
become the world's first $10-billion-a-year drug.
Lonely seniors at greater risk of
heart conditions (January 6, 2003) A new Californian research assert
that two specific aspects of elderly isolation - lack of emotional support
and the absence of company - can provoke cardiovascular problems in the
old person. The seniors who enjoy companionship and have many friends are
less susceptible to suffer from cardiac problems.