“Gene indicates whose prostate cancer will spread” – Futurity.org

“Scientists have discovered a gene in cancerous prostate tumors that indicates when someone is at high risk of their cancer spreading.”

prostate male patient

“‘Currently, when a patient is diagnosed with prostate cancer, physicians can determine how advanced a tumor is but not whether the patients’ cancer will spread,’ says Antonina Mitrofanova, an assistant professor at Rutgers School of Health Professions and a research member of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

“‘If we can determine whether a patient’s cancer is likely to spread at the time of diagnosis, we can start them on a targeted treatment plan as soon as possible to decrease the likelihood of their cancer spreading.’

“The researchers identified the NSD2 gene using a computer algorithm developed to determine which cancer genes that spread in a mouse model are most relevant to humans. When they turned the gene off in mice tumor cells, it significantly reduced the cancer’s spread.”

Continue reading this article at Futurity.orgclick here.

“Hospitals Stopped Readmitting So Many Medicare Patients. Did That Cost Lives?” – The New York Times

“A new government program was supposed to prevent certain Medicare recipients from cycling in and out of hospitals. Now experts worry some older patients are being denied necessary care.”

readmitsCredit: Craig Frazier

by Paula Spahn

“It was a well-intended policy. Almost all parties agree on that much.

“A decade ago, when Medicare beneficiaries were discharged from hospitals, one in five returned within a month.

“Older people faced the risks of hospitalization all over again: infections, deconditioning, delirium, subsequent nursing home stays. And preventable readmissions were costing Medicare a bundle.

“So the Affordable Care Act incorporated something called the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, which focused on three serious ailments with high readmission rates: heart failure, heart attacks and pneumonia.

“The A.C.A. penalized hospitals — withholding up to three percent of Medicare payments — when readmissions within 30 days exceeded national averages.”

Read this New York Times article in its entirety, click here.

VA to implement appeals modernization in February | Act will simplify process for how Veterans make appeals


WASHINGTON — On Thursday, January 17, the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) announced that the Federal Register will publish on Jan. 18 regulations accompanying the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (AMA), which will help Veterans experience a more transparent claims decision-review process.

After publication of the regulations, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie will certify the department’s readiness to implement appeals modernization, which will transform a complex appeals process into one that is simple, timely and provides greater choice to Veterans who disagree with a VA decision.

Implementation will occur 30 days after the Secretary certifies, as required by law.  Accordingly, the AMA will become effective Feb 19.

“VA has been preparing for full implementation of the Appeals Modernization Act over the past 18 months,” Wilkie said. “Our staff has worked diligently, particularly in the last few weeks, to ensure the new, streamlined process is available to Veterans in February.

The AMA was signed into law Aug. 23, 2017. Under the act, Veterans will now have three options for claims and appeals: (1) supplemental claim; (2) higher-level review; or (3) direct appeals to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. All decision reviews submitted after February 2019 will fall under the new system.

Once the Appeals Modernization Act is fully implemented, VA’s goal is to complete supplemental claims and higher-level reviews averaging 125 days. Decisions appealed to the Board under its direct docket will average 365 days. Under the legacy process, appeal resolutions averaged three to seven years.

For more information about VA appeals modernization, visit https://benefits.va.gov/benefits/appeals.asp and https://www.bva.va.gov/.

SOURCE: news release

“How Exercise May Help Keep Our Memory Sharp” – The New York Times

“Irisin, a hormone that is released during exercise, may improve brain health and lessen the damage that occurs during Alzheimer’s disease.”


by Gretchen Reynolds

“A hormone that is released during exercise may improve brain health and lessen the damage and memory loss that occur during dementia, a new study finds. The study, which was published this month in Nature Medicine, involved mice, but its findings could help to explain how, at a molecular level, exercise protects our brains and possibly preserves memory and thinking skills, even in people whose pasts are fading.

“Considerable scientific evidence already demonstrates that exercise remodels brains and affects thinking. Researchers have shown in rats and mice that running ramps up the creation of new brain cells in the hippocampus, a portion of the brain devoted to memory formation and storage. Exercise also can improve the health and function of the synapses between neurons there, allowing brain cells to better communicate.”

Click here to read this New York Times article in its entirety.

Get Moving With All of AARP’s Roadmaps | a six-part series features workbooks about housing, transportation, health services, community engagement and more.

aarp roadmaps to livabiity

“What it’s like living on a Greek island where people live longer than just about anywhere else” – The Washington Post

aging strongest man“Christos is 82 years old and is known locally as the strongest man in the village. He surveys his magnificent garden, which he built by himself. (Lily Bungay)”

Here’s a spectacular photographic “story” about the lives of people who live on the small island of Ikaria in the Mediterranean.

“Many of us hope to live long, fruitful and healthy lives. And some of us, in the end, are more successful at that pursuit than others. But there are several regions around the world that have been found to foster those kinds of lives more than others. At least, that’s what New York Times best-selling author and National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner determined after studying the work of two researchers. In a study published by the Journal of Experimental Gerontology, Gianni Pes and Michael Poulain identified Sardinia as the region with the highest concentration of male centenarians. Buettner, along with a team of researchers and demographers, found other regions where they determined that people lived longer, including Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Loma Linda, Calif.; and a small, out-of-the-way Greek island called Ikaria.”

Click here to view the photos and read the narratives in this Washington Post piece.


Friday Wrap-Up, January 18, 2019 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth.

This week, the new Secretary, Robert Torres, relates a bit from the Bgovernor’s Inauguration earlier this week. His message:

“Of the many accomplishments noted – accomplishments that he stressed are ours as a state, not his alone – he (the Governor) highlighted how state efforts have resulted in thousands of Pennsylvania  seniors receiving in-home care as opposed to being placed in a care facility.

“This has been a priority for the Department of Aging, as we know that a majority of seniors prefer the option to age in place. To know that the aging network’s efforts in providing alternatives for seniors has had such a large impact is exciting and makes me hopeful that we can continue to provide thousands more seniors with services and choices that will benefit them.”

Here’s one of the videos about care giving that Pennsylvanians will begin seeing:

And there’s quite a bit about Pennsylvania’s caregiver support program; for more details on Pennsylvania’s Caregiver Support Program, visit aging.pa.gov/caregiver.

Click here to download the newsletter as a .pdf file.


PADDC is accepting applications for POP-UP Talk presenters | complete and send your application today.

pop-up talks

Click here to download the application  

Watch your email in March when we open registration for the PA Community Alliance Summit.  More details to follow.

Pennsylvania Announces Plans to Maintain Food Security Programs Through February Despite Federal Government Shutdown

dhs logo

Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller today announced that February benefits for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients will be dispersed on January 18, 2019, and will be available for use by January 19, 2019. The early payment follows an announcement from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) notifying states that benefits will be fully funded for the month of February, but benefits must be paid early.

“SNAP is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program. Without it, 1.8 million Pennsylvanians would have greater trouble affording food for themselves and their families,” said Secretary Miller. “This early payment allows us to get SNAP recipients their benefits for February, but they will have to make this payment last for an undefined period as the shutdown continues.”

On January 8, 2019, DHS received notice from the USDA that February SNAP benefits will be fully funded, but that these benefits needed to be issued by January 20. DHS worked closely with its vendors and will be able to issue the February benefits to electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards on January 18. This early payment is SNAP recipients’ February benefit and will be the only benefit payment SNAP recipients will receive for the month of February. Recipients will not receive a payment on their regularly scheduled February payment date. DHS is sending a letter and/or email to SNAP recipients to notify them of this change.

Payments beyond February will be determined based on the availability of USDA funds. DHS is awaiting information from the USDA on plans for March benefits should the partial federal government shutdown continue.

“The partial federal government shutdown has real implications for millions of people in Pennsylvania and around the country who use SNAP to keep food on the table,” said Secretary Miller. “Changes in the way people get their benefits and uncertainty regarding future benefits creates confusion and concern that should be avoidable. The federal government must come to a solution so people who already face food insecurity do not continue to be caught in the middle of a situation that they did not create.”

DHS will continue to process applications for all benefits during the shutdown. Recipients should continue to report changes and submit any semi-annual reviews or renewals they receive during this period to not risk an interruption of their benefits in the future.

Clients with questions about their benefits can contact their local County Assistance Office or can call the statewide customer service center at 1-877-395-8930. Clients who reside in Philadelphia should call 1-215-560-7226.

SOURCE: news release

FREE Training for Family Peer Support Specialist

Here is a free training for a family member to become a Family Peer Support Specialist. The training is a total of five 8-hour days split between 2 weeks.

Check it out if you want to become a Family Peer Support Specialist.
Seats are limited.

You will need this training to become certified when the certification is finished.

In the future, this training will have a fee attached to it so if this is something you want to do, try to attend now when it is free.

If you have any questions, contact me or Jill Santiago, the trainer.
Her contact information is on the flyer below.

Karan A Steele Phone: 724-744-6537 | karan.steele@beaconhealthoptions.com
Prevention, Education & Outreach Coordinator
Beacon Health Options
P.O. Box 1840
Cranberry Twp., PA 16066-1840