Monthly Archives: July, 2018

“WATCH: How the brain transforms vision into action” – STAT

visionJaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky/STAT

by Jaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky

What we see often determines how we act: We hit the brakes if a car is stopped ahead of us. We duck to avoid a low-hanging tree branch. We bend down to tie our shoe when the laces come undone.

“We rarely give these actions a second thought. But Mriganka Sur, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, is obsessed with them.

“’How is vision, which we do effortlessly, transformed into action, which requires volition, which requires attention and engagement?’ Sur asked. ‘How this transformation takes place is a fundamental question that is at the heart of brain function and behavior.’”

Click here to continue reading this article at STATNews

All public housing will become smoke-free this week

non smoking

Public housing nationwide is set to go smoke-free this week. Under a 2017 rule issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, all public housing in the U.S. must have a smoke-free policy in place by July 31.

That ban includes all combustible tobacco products and applies to all residences, offices, and outdoor areas within 25 feet of housing and office buildings. Public health groups have cheered the rule and HUD’s work over the past year with local housing agencies to help public housing units make the transition. But some experts have also raised concerns about whether people who live in public housing have adequate access to smoking cessation treatment.


Lebanon Family Health Services is one area agency that offers FREE tobacco cessation programs.

Other FREE tobacco cessation programs are:

Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council has lots of information for everyone

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council is an independent state agency responsible for addressing the problem of escalating health costs, ensuring the quality of health care, and increasing access for all citizens regardless of ability to pay.

“The Council shares this data with the public through free public reports. Since its creation, PHC4 has published hundreds public reports about health care in Pennsylvania. These reports are widely distributed, and can be found on the Council’s website,, and in most public libraries throughout the state. The Council has also produced hundreds of customized reports and data sets through its Special Requests division for a wide variety of users including hospitals, policy-makers, researchers, physicians, insurers, and other group purchasers.”

Here are some of these reports:


Common Outpatient Procedures for Berks County Residents in FY 2015

Common Outpatient Procedures for Lancaster County Residents in FY 2015

Common Outpatient Procedures for Lebanon County Residents in FY 2015


Friday Wrap-Up, July 27, 2018 | 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.

Click here download the newsletter as a .pdf file.


Confused about when to call 2-1-1 and 9-1-1?

Berks County Commissioner Kevin S. Barnhardt recently “unveiled a magnet that will be made available to county residents in an effort to make them aware of when it’s appropriate to call 911 and when they should dial 211.”

2-1-1Click on the graphic above to watch a five minute video that will explain what 2-1-1 is and how it differs from 9-1-1.

Read these articles, too, for more information.

“Rebalancing the pendulum: A person-centered approach to treating pain” – Aging Today

pile of pills

by Raca Banerjee

“Mary is a 55-year old patient with terminal breast cancer. She suffers from severe pain and her doctor suggests that she consider using a fentanyl transdermal patch to help allevi­ate her symptoms. In response, she exclaims: ‘Fentanyl? The stuff that killed Prince? No thank you!’

“Current Prescribing Perilous

“This anecdote reflects society’s changing attitude toward opioids, but brings up another impor­tant point. How, while our nation battles an opioid epidemic, do we ensure that patients are open to taking narcotics when needed, or have ac­­cess to pain medication? It is difficult to manage opi­oid prescribing in a way that prevents abuse while meeting patients’ needs. This becomes twice as hard when prescribing for the aging population, including older adults who have ad­­vanced-stage illness or who are at the end of life.

“Barriers that limit access to appropriate opioid treatment include patient fear, physician reluctance to prescribe and strict pharmacy controls or insurer preauthorization restrictions. While these last three issues are important to curbing the opioid epidemic, they may inadvertently lead to under-treatment of pain.”

Today we celebrate the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990. Throughout the year and on the ADA Anniversary, the ADA National Network participates in celebrating this landmark event as a way of bringing attention to the important work that has been done to promote equal opportunity for people with disabilities and to highlight the work that is yet to be done.

The Village: A growing option for aging in place – AARP Public Policy Institute

AARP village

Click here to download the two page file as a .pdf.

“Climate Change May Cause 26,000 More U.S. Suicides by 2050” – The Atlantic

“Unusually hot days have profound effects on mental health and human physiology.”

A surfer pulls off a wave as the sun sets in Cardiff during what local media reported to be a record breaking heat wave in Southern Californiasurfer cools off during a heat wave in southern California in October 2017MIKE BLAKE / REUTERS”

by Robinson Meyer

“For almost two centuries now, scientists have noticed a place’s suicide rate bears troubling links to the changing of the seasons and the friendliness of its climate.

“In 1881the Italian physician Enrico Morselli noted that suicide rates peak in the summer, deeming the effect “too great for it to be attributed to chance of the human will.” Two decades later, the French sociologist Emile Durkheim noticed the same effect—though he also found the suicide rate was higher in Scandinavian countries.

“Even today, CDC data confirms that suicides peak in the United States in the early summer.”

Read this article in its entirety, click here.

“Letting Go: What should medicine do when it can’t save your life?” – The New Yorker

“People have concerns besides simply prolonging their lives. Surveys of patients with terminal illness find that their top priorities include, in addition to avoiding suffering, being with family, having the touch of others, being mentally aware, and not becoming a burden to others.”

gawande article“Modern medicine is good at staving off death with aggressive interventions—and bad at knowing when to focus, instead, on improving the days that terminal patients have left.”- Photograph by Phillip Toledano, “Birthday Balloon,” from “Days with My Father” (2008)

by Atul Gawande

“Sara Thomas Monopoli was pregnant with her first child when her doctors learned that she was going to die. It started with a cough and a pain in her back. Then a chest X-ray showed that her left lung had collapsed, and her chest was filled with fluid. A sample of the fluid was drawn off with a long needle and sent for testing. Instead of an infection, as everyone had expected, it was lung cancer, and it had already spread to the lining of her chest. Her pregnancy was thirty-nine weeks along, and the obstetrician who had ordered the test broke the news to her as she sat with her husband and her parents. The obstetrician didn’t get into the prognosis—she would bring in an oncologist for that—but Sara was stunned. Her mother, who had lost her best friend to lung cancer, began crying.”

Read this article in its entirety at The New Yorkerclick here.