Category Archives: Health

“Why is sleep important? We ask neuroscientists, doctors, and NASA” – TopTenReviews

Sleep is important(Image credit: Getty)

by Claire Davies

“Sleep. We all do it, and some of us do it better and for longer than others. But why do we sleep and why is sleep important? These may seem like obvious or basic questions, but the answers are neither obvious nor basic, as a lot of human sleep remains uncharted territory. Science now knows more about it compared to even ten years ago, but most sleep experts agree there are still many riches to discover.

“Type the word ‘sleep’ into Google, as many people are during Sleep Week, and you’ll be met by a sea of articles discussing why sleep is important – and why it can sometimes be so difficult to fall asleep. Regular questions include, ‘How many hours of sleep do you need?’ and ‘How can I sleep instantly?’ As a species, we seem obsessed with slumber numbers: how much, how fast, and also what does our age have to do with it? And it isn’t just Google being asked why sleep is important – doctors are regularly quizzed, usually by folk who are at their wits’ end over poor sleep.

“For some, good sleep is an elusive beast, and cruelly it seems like the more a person struggles to sleep, and the more effort they put into trying, the more they struggle. And on it goes. But understanding the importance of sleep and how to let it happen (because we can’t make it happen), the sooner you’ll return to what feels like healthy, happy snoozing for you. It’s also worth remembering – as neuroscientists and sleep doctors are now reminding us – one size does not fit all when it comes to getting some decent shut-eye.”

Read this article at TopTenReviews in its entirety, click here.

“Fully Vaccinated and Time to Party: If You Are 70” – The New York Times

“Older Americans still make up a majority of those who have been inoculated, and many are taking advantage and venturing out.”

older people are back“Marcia Bosseler, 85, is back to playing Ping-Pong — and beating all the men, she says — at her apartment complex in Coral Gables, Fla.” Credit. … Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

by Jennifer Steinhauer

“Bobby Stuckey flipped through receipts this month, surprised to see a huge increase in cocktail sales, the highest in the 17-year history of his restaurant, even though the bar section has been closed. The septuagenarians are back.

“’Every night we are seeing another couple or a pair of couples in the dining room, and they feel so much relief,’ said Mr. Stuckey, the owner of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colo. ‘Covid was hard on everybody, but you can’t even think of the emotional toll in this group. They haven’t gone out. They want to have the complete experience. It is just joyful to see them again.’

“Older people, who represent the vast majority of Americans who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, are emerging this spring with the daffodils, tilting their faces to the sunlight outdoors. They are filling restaurants, hugging grandchildren and booking flights.

“Marcia Bosseler is back to playing Ping-Pong — and beating all the men, she says — at her apartment complex in Coral Gables, Fla.”

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

“Sharp, ‘Off The Charts’ Rise In Alcoholic Liver Disease Among Young Women.” – NPR

alcohol

by Yuki Naguchi

“For many years, Jessica Duenas led what she calls a double life. She was the first in her immigrant family to go to college. In 2019, she won Kentucky’s Teacher of the Year award. That same year, Duenas typically downed nearly a liter of liquor every night.

“By the time she was 34, she was diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis, a serious inflammation of her liver that doctors warned could could soon lead to irreversible scarring and even death if she didn’t didn’t stop drinking, and quickly.

“‘I couldn’t keep down any food,” Duenas says. ‘My belly was supersensitive, like if I pressed on certain parts of it, it would hurt a lot. My eyes were starting to get yellowish.’

“Cases of alcoholic liver disease — which includes milder fatty liver and the permanent scarring of cirrhosis, as well as alcoholic hepatitis — are up 30% over the last year at the University of Michigan’s health system, says Dr. Jessica Mellinger, a liver specialist there.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet compiled data on any overall increase in severe cases of alcoholic liver disease since the pandemic began. But, Mellinger says, ‘in my conversations with my colleagues at other institutions, everybody is saying the same thing: “Yep, it’s astronomical. It’s just gone off the charts.”‘”

Read this article at NPR in its entirety, click here.

“Even 1 Concussion May Raise Your Odds for Dementia Later” – HealthDay

concussion risk

by Denise Mann

“Sustaining just one head injury may up your chances of developing dementia decades later by 25%, and this risk increases with each subsequent head injury, new research suggests.

“‘Head injury is not the only risk factor for dementia as high blood pressure and diabetes, among others, also contribute significantly to dementia risk, but head injury is one risk factor for dementia that is modifiable by behavioral changes such as wearing helmets and seat belts,’ said study author Dr. Andrea Schneider. She’s an assistant professor in the neurology department at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

“Dementia is an umbrella term for a group of diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, that affect thinking ability, memory and/or other cognitive functions.

“Exactly how head injury may lead to dementia is not fully understood yet, Schneider said.”

Click here to continue reading this article at HealthDay.

“Learning to Listen to Patients’ Stories” – The New York Times

“Narrative medicine programs teach doctors and other caregivers ‘sensitive interviewing skills’ and the art of ‘radical listening’ to improve patient care.”

listen to patients stories“Waclawa ‘Joanne’ Zak, who now lives in Oxford, Wis., fought in the Polish resistance during World War II. As a teenager, she served as a scout, assessing German troop strength and positions. Later in the war she trained as a nurse and was liberated from a German P.O.W. camp. She told her story as part of the ‘My Life, My Story’ program at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, Wis.” Credit…Andy Manis for The New York Times

by Richard Schiffman

“The pandemic has been a time of painful social isolation for many. Few places can be as isolating as hospitals, where patients are surrounded by strangers, subject to invasive tests and attached to an assortment of beeping and gurgling machines.

“How can the experience of receiving medical care be made more welcoming? Some say that a sympathetic ear can go a long way in helping patients undergoing the stress of a hospital stay to heal.

“’It is even more important now, when we can’t always see patients’ faces or touch them, to really hear their stories,’ said Dr. Antoinette Rose, an urgent care physician in Mountain View, Calif., who is now working with many patients ill with Covid.

“’This pandemic has forced many caregivers to embrace the human stories that are playing out. They have no choice. They become the “family” at the bedside,’ said Dr. Andre Lijoi, a medical director at York Hospital in Pennsylvania. Doctors, nurses and others assisting in the care of patients ‘need time to slow down, to take a breath, to listen.’

“Both doctors find their inspiration in narrative medicine, a discipline that guides medical practitioners in the art of deeply listening to those who come to them for help.”

Click here to continue reading this article at The New York Times.


“My Life, My Story: Advancing the Veteran Experience” – Veterans Affairs

“Fall Prevention: Balance and Strength Exercises for Older Adults” – Johns Hopkins Medicine

falls prevention

reviewed by Lora Stutzman

“Falls can have very serious consequences as we age. Each year, more than 25 percent of adults 65 or older have a fall, and 3 million are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The risk of falling in older adults is usually related to combination of factors, including:

  • Balance and/or walking problems. Balance can be affected by vision changes, vestibular problems and altered sensation in the feet.
  • The use of multiple medications. Studies indicate that when individuals take five or more medicines, the risk of falls increases.
  • Home hazards (including dim lighting and trip hazards)
  • Positional low blood pressure (such as orthostatic hypotension, when blood pressure drops upon standing.
  • Feet and footwear issues

“Falls often occur in the bathroom when … Continue reading this article at this Johns Hopkins Medicine Website

“9 Ways to Extend the Time You Spend Living Independently” – next avenue

“Take these steps to stay in your home or community as long as possible.”

Extend-Living-Independently.inside.1280x720Credit: Getty

by Brett Sember

“One of the biggest decisions as you age is where you will age. Three-quarters of adults in a 2018 AARP survey said they wanted to remain in their homes, but only 59% thought they would be able to do so. If remaining at home is your preference, here are nine steps you can take:

To see the nine steps and read more, click here to read the next avenue article in its entirety.

“The Second COVID-19 Shot Is a Rude Reawakening for Immune Cells” – The Atlantic

“Side effects are just a sign that protection is kicking in as it should.”

second shotGETTY / THE ATLANTIC

by Katherine J. Wu

“At about 2 a.m. on Thursday morning, I woke to find my husband shivering beside me. For hours, he had been tossing in bed, exhausted but unable to sleep, nursing chills, a fever, and an agonizingly sore left arm. His teeth chattered. His forehead was freckled with sweat. And as I lay next to him, cinching blanket after blanket around his arms, I felt an immense sense of relief. All this misery was a sign that the immune cells in his body had been riled up by the second shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, and were well on their way to guarding him from future disease.

“Side effects are a natural part of the vaccination process, as my colleague Sarah Zhang has written. Not everyone will experience them. But the two COVID-19 vaccines cleared for emergency use in the United States, made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, already have reputations for raising the hackles of the immune system: In both companies’ clinical trials, at least a third of the volunteers ended up with symptoms such as headaches and fatigue; fevers like my husband’s were less common.

“Dose No. 2 is more likely to pack a punch—in large part because the effects of the second shot build iteratively on the first.”

Click here to read this article at The Atlantic in its entirety. 

“Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Walk” – Harvard Business Review

walk

by Deborah Grayson Riegel

“Walking is one of the simplest and most strategic things you can do for yourself. It takes little preparation, minimal effort, no special equipment, and it can contract or expand to fit the exact amount of time you have available. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a single bout of moderate-to vigorous activity (including walking) can improve our sleep, thinking, and learning, while reducing symptoms of anxiety. When we go for a walk, we perform better on tests of memory and attention; our brain cells build new connections, staving off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age; we can actively change the pace of our thoughts by deliberately walking more briskly or by slowing down; and our attention is left to meander and observe, helping us generate new ideas and to have strokes of insight.”

“Several years ago, I was watching a Today Show segment about helping your children and teens create healthy habits. The subject of the piece was a notable nutritionist, whose kids were reluctant to eat their greens and work up a sweat. The most memorable quote came from one of her pre-teens who said, “Walking makes me sad.”

“I must admit that, if I think about choosing between catching up on watching The Crown or walking, walking would make me sad, too. In fact, if I had to choose between walking and any of my not-so-guilty pleasures — like baking triple-chocolate brownies or shopping for Japanese pancake molds online (they’ll arrive in two days) — I would choose the latter.

“But, when I think about the simplest and most strategic thing I am able to do for myself that’s Covid-safe, it’s walking.”

Continue reading this article at Harvard Business Review, click here.

Penn State Health fields Community Health Needs Assessment; seeks community member input

pennstate needs assessment

Penn State Health is undertaking a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and would appreciate your assistance.

In addition to perspectives from the community partners, they want to learn about the health needs and experiences of community members. They are especially interested in hearing from underserved, low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, veterans, seniors, homeless, those struggling with chronic disease, mental health, substance use issues, or other vulnerable populations.

English: https://tinyurl.com/2021chna (or https://redcap.link/hj22fsbz)

Spanish: https://tinyurl.com/2021chna-es (or https://redcap.link/68dqzblt)

The survey is for adults age 18 years or older and will take about 10 minutes to complete. All responses are anonymous and confidential. The deadline for survey completion is April 1, 2021.

If you have any questions, or if you would like paper copies of the survey to share with your clients and program participants, please contact: Rachel Weber at CHNA@pennstatehealth.psu.edu or 717.531.3962.