Category Archives: Health

“Adding a Dental Benefit to Medicare: Addressing Racial Disparities”

“This brief describes the racial disparities in access to oral health and oral health outcomes. Coverage is a key factor in reducing the existing disparities. This brief proposes adding oral health as a Medicare benefit as a potential solution. It also proposes additional policy options aimed at reducing disparities beyond expanding oral health coverage,”

dental care

Click on the graphic to read the report as a .pdf file.

“Elusive Zzzzzzzs: Setting back clock won’t erase sleep deficit nagging older adults” – The Boston Globe

ADULT SLEEPDr. Sanford Auerbach, director of sleep disorders at Boston Medical Center, checked on the fit of a CPAP mask.” JOHN TLUMACKI / GLOBE STAFF/GLOBE STAFF

by Robert Weisman

“Will you enjoy an extra hour of sleep when daylight saving time ends Sunday?

“Many sleep-deprived seniors, after dutifully setting back their clocks Saturday night, will mark the occasion doing what they’re often doing in the wee hours: tossing and turning, nudging snoring spouses, and fretting about being awake.

“It’s a cruel irony for older adults. At a time of life when they should be able to relax, after decades of raising children and trudging to work, falling and staying asleep are more challenging than ever. Chalk it up to rising anxiety, changing circadian rhythms, and unhealthy habits, ranging from late-day caffeine and alcohol intake to nonstop digital interruptions.”

Continue reading this article in its entirety at The Boston Globe, click here.

“Steps to Prevent Dementia May Mean Taking Actual Steps” – The New York Times

walking

“Brain-training apps can’t match the several ways that exercise benefits the mind, research shows.”

by Austin Frakt

“To ward off age-related cognitive decline, you may be tempted to turn to brain training apps. Last year, consumers spent nearly $2 billion on them, some of which claim to improve cognitive skills.

“Evidence suggests you’d be better off spending more time exercising and less time staring at your phone.

“This year the World Health Organization released evidence-based guidelines on reducing risks of cognitive decline and dementia. Although it pointed to some systematic reviews that reported positive cognitive effects of brain training, the W.H.O. judged the studies to be of low quality. Among the studies’ limitations is that they measure only short-term effects and in areas targeted by the training.”

Continue reading this article at The New York Times, click here.

“Sleeping – or Not – While Old” – Time Goes By: What it’s really like to get old

insomnia

by Ronnie Bennett

“Until about 18 months ago, most nights I slept for about four hours; five hours when I was lucky. There was a time, more than a decade ago, that an evening dose of melatonin kept me asleep for the more traditional seven or eight hours and I felt so much better then.

“But after a couple of years it stopped working.”

Click here to read this column in its entirety.

“Brief Examines Five Potential Ways to Improve Dental Coverage for People on Medicare” – Kaiser Family Foundation

“Medicare does not cover routine dental care, and two-thirds of the Medicare population have no dental coverage at all. With limited or no dental coverage, some incur high out-of-pocket costs, while others forgo need dental care because they can’t afford it. Policymakers in Washington and others are exploring ways to make dental care more affordable for the 60 million people on Medicare.

“This new KFF brief examines five potential ways to make oral health care more available and affordable for the Medicare population, including two approaches that would add a new dental benefit under Medicare and others that would offer more limited help to people on Medicare, and have less of an impact on the federal budget. The five options include:

  • Adding a dental benefit to Medicare Part B
  • Creating a voluntary dental benefit under a new part of Medicare
  • Permitting greater access to medically necessary dental services under Medicare
  • Testing models for dental coverage
  • Offering dental discount cards

“The brief reviews the limits of dental coverage permitted under current Medicare law, then describes each of the policy options, with an analysis of likely implications for key stakeholders, including Medicare beneficiaries, taxpayers, insurers, and dental professionals. It also examines trade-offs for the options, including increases in federal spending. The brief, Policy Options for Improving Dental Coverage for People on Medicare, is intended to inform policy discussions focused on improving oral health care and coverage for the Medicare population.”

“What Makes a Community Livable?” – AARP

English-In a Livable Community Poster

“The formula for what makes a community livable isn’t particularly complex. For the most part, the features and needs are fairly simple.

“But living in a place that, say, requires having a car for every errand or outing can be a difficult place to live if you don’t have a car or can’t drive.

“Living in a place without access to outdoor spaces, good schools and healthy food isn’t very livable, especially for young families.

“Living in a community that isn’t safe, or offers few activities, can be isolating for people regardless of age.

“On the other hand, a community that includes all of the features pictured in our “In a Livable Community” handout can be great — for people of all ages!”

AND people with a disability!

“Opioid crackdown forces pain patients to taper off drugs they say they need” – The Washington Post

pain“Hank Skinner and his wife, Carol, are no strangers to pain, having collectively experienced multiple illnesses and surgeries. Hank relies on a fentanyl patch but is now being forced to lower his dosage.” (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

by Joel Achenbach and Lenny Bernstein

Carol and Hank Skinner of Alexandria, Va., can talk about pain all day long.

“Carol, 77, once had so much pain in her right hip and so little satisfaction with medical treatment she vowed to stay in bed until she died.

“Hank, 79, has had seven shoulder surgeries, lung cancer, open-heart surgery, a blown-out knee and lifelong complications from a clubfoot. He has a fentanyl patch on his belly to treat his chronic shoulder pain. He replaces the patch every three days, supplementing the slow-release fentanyl with pills containing hydrocodone.

“But to the Skinners’ dismay, Hank is now going through what is known as a forced taper.”

“1 in 10 older adults binge drink” – Fururity

older-woman-drinking-red-wine_1600

“More than one-tenth of adults 65 and older currently binge drink, putting them at risk for a range of health problems, a new study shows.”

posted by Rachel Harrison

“The study also finds certain factors—including using cannabis and being male—are associated with an increase in binge drinking.

“Binge drinking is risky, particularly for older adults due to aging-related physical changes—an increased risk of falling, for example—and the likelihood of having chronic health issues. Despite the potential for harm, little research has focused on binge drinking among older adults.

“‘Binge drinking, even episodically or infrequently, may negatively affect other health conditions by exacerbating disease, interacting with prescribed medications, and complicating disease management,’ says lead author Benjamin Han, an assistant professor in the division of geriatric medicine and palliative care and in the population health department at New York University.”

Read this article at Futurity in its entirety here.

 

“10 Medical Myths We Should Stop Believing. Doctors, Too.” – The New York Times

“Researchers identified nearly 400 common medical practices and theories that were contradicted by rigorous studies. Here are some of the most notable findings.”

medical myths

Ingo Fast

by Gina Kolata

“You might assume that standard medical advice was supported by mounds of scientific research. But researchers recently discovered that nearly 400 routine practices were flatly contradicted by studies published in leading journals.

“Of more than 3,000 studies published from 2003 through 2017 in JAMA and the Lancet, and from 2011 through 2017 in the New England Journal of Medicine, more than one of 10 amounted to a “medical reversal”: a conclusion opposite of what had been conventional wisdom among doctors.

“‘You come away with a sense of humility,’ said Dr. Vinay Prasad of Oregon Health and Science University, who conceived of the study. ‘Very smart and well-intentioned people came to practice these things for many, many years. But they were wrong.’”

Continue reading this article in its entirety at The New York Times.

“This score indicates risk of death, suicide, memory loss” – futurity

POSTED BY multimorbidity_score_1600

“A new tool ‘scores’ patients with multiple chronic conditions. Those with higher multimorbidity scores have faster memory loss, a higher suicide risk, and a higher overall risk of death, researchers report.”

“Assessing the effect of chronic disease on a person’s health is important because 45 percent of all adults have more than one condition—and that figure jumps to 80 percent after age 65, says researcher Melissa Wei, a primary care physician at Michigan Medicine, who led development of the new scoring system, called the multimorbidity-weighted index, or MWI.

PROGNOSIS TOOL

“‘Multimorbidity scores’ can help doctors understand a patient’s overall prognosis—and can help identify special risks that people with multiple chronic illnesses face, researchers say.

“As reported in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, people with higher scores had a much faster decline in thinking and memory abilities than those with lower scores, even though most of the chronic conditions included in the index had no direct relationship with brain health.”

Click here to continue reading this article at futurity.org.