Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Alcohol And Rheumatoid Arthritis: How Alcohol Can Help

There is a new and welcome report for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis:

Dr. James Maxwell, lead author of a study and a consultant rheumatologist at The Roterham NHS Foundation Trust in England compared 1,004 healthy participants to 873 patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

They "found that arthritis was progressively less severe as alcohol frequency increased, with a definite difference compared to nondrinkers even in the least frequent alcohol consumption group."

There was less damage to joints and less inflammation the more often one drank.

It is thought that perhaps alcohol may reduce immune response (which leads to inflammation) and it might also contribute to reducing pain.

Still, the evidence needs to determine the amount of alcohol for the desired effect and the study needs to be replicated for scientific purposes.

For more on rheumatoid arthritis, visit 50somethinginfo.com

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Lasting Effects of Combat: Injuries May Cause Epilepsy

It may be as late as 30 years...that a soldier can still develop epilepsy from a head injury, according to a new study of Vietnam veterans.

Brain injuries sustained in combat can cause seizures or post-traumatic epilepsy. "With severe injury, almost half develop epilepsy" (Dr. L. James Willmore) Of Vietnam vets who had injuries involving penetration of the skull (like from shrapnel), 44% suffered from post-traumatic epilepsy.

For more on head injury, visit 50somethinginfo.com

Friday, August 27, 2010

Relationship Problems Spur Chronic Disease

"Insecure attachment(s) may be a risk factor for a wide range of health problems, particularly cardiovascular diseases. "

A new Canadian study surveyed 5,645 adults ages 18-60 and found out that those who were insecure in their relationships or those who avoided getting close to others were at greater risk for developing several chronic diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic pain and stroke.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fatty Fish Helps With Age-Related Macular Degeneration

There may be help for older people with a risk of serious age-related vision loss. Recent studies have suggested that those who eat fatty fish at least once a week may lower their risk--as much as 60%--from getting advanced AMD (age -related macular degeneration) than those who ate less than one serving of fish per week.

Ingesting omega-3 fatty acids commonly found in oily fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel may prevent or delay the progression of AMD (age-related macular degeneration).

Of course, other factors such as sex, race and smoking habits increase the probability of getting AMD.

Speak to your ophthalmologist about your "dietary options."

For more on macular degeneration, visit 50somethinginfo.com

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Being Eco-Friendly Can Be Innovative, Attractive And Hip

As I was sifting through my daughter's bookshelves I found "An Eco-Friendly Online Shopping Guide" by Hillary Mendelsohn and Ian Anderson. I've only gone as far as "E" but these are the sites that particularly grabbed my attention:

EarthTechProducts.com 's mission to to present alternative energy ideas to people who don't "live" alternative energy. Not only do their "products match the aesthetic & hip style of the world today but also the world's ever-changing needs."

Did you know that there was such a thing as a solar backpack or a solar-powered iPod or a solar-powered cell phone charger? Yup, they have them. And solar lighting, crank flashlights and radios, fingerprint safes and door locks and other gadgets.

The company is commended over and over about the products and the service.

Then I checked out CardboardDesign.com. Recycled cardboard is used to create ecologically friendly modern furniture and accessories. Check out the new American-made "WishFrame," the "HemisphereChair" and liquid cardboard "things."

Finally, BranchHome.com has some very cool unusual items, including a chair made entirely of recycled plastic waste, a 100% cork chaise lounge, and felt napkin hugs.

Being eco-friendly can be very useful and attractive, indeed!

For more on going green, check out 50somethinginfo.com.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sleep Apnea Raises Risk of Heart Disease

This may be no news to some of you but severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) raises "the risk of heart failure for middle-aged and older men--and significantly raises the risk of coronary heart disease in men up to age 70," as reported in the Journal of the American Heart Association referring to a recent Sleep Heart Health Study.

Compared to men who did not have obstructive sleep apnea, men with the most severe OSA were 58% more likely to develop heart failure and men 40-70 years of age with the most severe OSA had a 68% higher risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Obstructive sleep apnea causes the airway to collapse during sleep causing the person to struggle to breathe. When this occurs the person reacts with a burst of adrenaline that increases blood pressure which may in turn contribute to vascular problems.

OSA requires medical attention. Many patients often forget to mention this ailment when speaking to their physicians.

It remains to be seen (through clinical studies) if treating the apnea will improve heart functioning.

For more on sleep apnea, visit 50somethinginfo.com

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New Hope for Alzheimer's Disease: Insulin Sniffing

Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, is a fatal and incurable deterioration of the brain. Globally it affects 26 million people.

Dr. Suzanne Craft of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System of the University of Washington, Seattle, presented the results of a study of patients who had different doses of insulin loaded into a nebulizer and squirted up their nose daily over 4 months. These non-diabetic patients who have mild cognitive impairment showed improvement in memory tests that lasted for 2 months.

Insulin is important for communication between brain cells. Several studies have shown that Alzheimer's patients have reduced levels of insulin in the brain, even in the earliest stages.

Hopefully, larger clinical trials will be conducted to determine if insulin can be used even more effectively to reduce or delay the effects of Alzheimer's.

For more on Alzheimer's disease, visit 50somethinginfo.com

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Personal Electronic Health Records Help Lower Cost of Health Care


Patient Name Date Email

Mailing Address

Current Complaints

Insurance Information

Billing Address

Don't you get tired of filling out the same forms for every new doctor you visit? Me, too.

For years, health policy leaders of both parties have urged adoption of electronic health records throughout our health care system in order to improve quality of care and lower costs.

Eligible health care professionals and hospitals can qualify for Medicare and Mediaid incentive payments when they adopt electronic health records and use them to achieve specified objectives.

In order to qualify for the payments, professionals and hospitals must meet the 25 or so requirements and comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 that strengthen and expands privacy, security and enforcement protections.

Monday, August 9, 2010

House-Sharing, A Housing Option For Boomers and Seniors

Journalist Sarah Mahoney related how some single women (often newly-divorced or widowed) have decided to house-share to lessen some of their financial burdens. Much to their delight, many of them have found that living with a friend or even a stranger has also increased their quality of life.

The home or condo owner needs to run a credit report and ask for a security deposit. With the help of an attorney, the owner needs to clarify all the rules and conditions so each party is protected by law.

The renter should interview former lodgers and check on zoning or association rules. In addition, there should also be an agreed-upon trial period.

Rental income is taxable but depreciation is a tax-benefit for improvement and repairs.

If you want to know more about housing options, visit 50somethinginfo.com

Friday, August 6, 2010

Patient Misdiagnosis: More Common Than We'd Like to Think

According to HealthDay News, July 13, 2010, a large survey of American doctors found that more than a third of them would hesitate to turn in a colleague they thought was incompetent or compromised by substance abuse or mental health problems even though the American Medical Association says that physicians have an ethical obligation to report impaired colleagues.

Many of those physicians said that they thought the problems was being taken care of by someone else. Physicians, particularly in smaller practices or small-town medical situations, were afraid of retribution.

Don't despair, though. There are other checks in place. Doctors have to take tests to demonstrate competency every 10 years. Some feel that there should be built-in redundancies to our current medical systems to ensure better quality monitoring.

Dr. Jerome Groopman reported that about 15% of all patients are misdiagnosed. And because of this, about half of them face serious harm.

Your physician needs to know all your symptoms (even the ones that embarrass you). He or she may make snap judgments based on their perception of you as a complainer or hypochondriac.

In order for you as the patient to prevent misdiagnosis, pose these questions to your doctor:

1. What else could it be?

2. Could 2 things be going on to explain my symptoms?

3. Is there anything in my history, physical examinations, lab findings or other tests that seems not to fit in with your diagnosis?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An Alarming Trend Involving Medicare

David Olmos of Bloomberg Press reported that as of January of this year, the Mayo Clinic in Arizona has stopped accepting Medicare patients at one of its primary-care clinics unless they are paid in cash for their services.

"It's simply a matter of dollars and sense," some say.

Often physicians cannot afford to treat Medicare patients when increasing medical costs are not covered by Medicare payments. Statistics show that fewer American family doctors are accepting new Medicare patients.

For more on Medicare, visit 50somethinginfo.com