Petitions are now in vogue and far be it for us to miss the bandwagon, especially when the White House website is hosting petitions on everything from letting Texas secede to deporting CNN's Piers Morgan. And now, a particularly meaningful petition to those of us at the Alliance for Aging Research has recently cropped up. This Alzheimer's petition holds the White House’s and Congress’ feet to the fire on the goals of the first national Alzheimer’s plan—and I am asking you to sign it.
Full report can be found here:The_Medicare_Advantage_Experience (PDF Format)
Groups like the Alliance for Aging Research and the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) have long been calling attention to the looming crisis that we face with extreme current and projected shortages in our geriatric workforce. According to recent data from AGS there are currently only 7,029 certified geriatricians in the U.S. —half of what we currently need—and those numbers are in steep decline. Just imagine what these numbers will look like when our 65 and older population grows from 40.3 million now to 72.1 million in 2030.
This week in the Wall-Street Journal Dr. Els Torreele, director of the Access to Essential Medicines Initiative of the Open Society Foundation's Public Health Program based in New York, and Dr. Josh Bloom, director of chemical and pharmaceutical sciences at the American Council on Science and Health also based in New York, were asked an interesting question; should patents on pharmaceuticals be extended to encourage innovation?
The Washington Post has an interesting graphic in the newspaper today on the effects of aging on the brain. Highlighting recent research that shows the synapses are what deteriorate as we age – and not the brain’s cells, as previously thought – the Post explains how memories are formed, where decisions are made, and why the prefrontal cortex is so susceptible to the effects of aging. The Post also suggests some new therapies to aid in the regeneration of brain function, including estrogen replacement therapies for women, increased interaction with others, and making sure older people sleep better. For more tips to keep your brain healthy, check out the Alliance for Aging Research’s Brain Health Corner.
Is Alzheimer’s disease contagious? Dozens of headlines ran earlier this month suggesting Alzheimer’s patients potential to infect others, but before quarantining forgetful friends and family, I advise further reading.
It seems Dr. Carl Elliott has let his instincts as a provocateur get the better of his perspective as a physician and healer. Promoting his book "White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine,” Dr. Elliott, a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly, finds it deplorable that physicians who use drugs to relieve human misery have any actual contact with companies that research, develop and sell those medicines.
This post was written by Valerie Hagan, former Health Programs Coordinator at the Alliance.
Seniors age 85 and older are five times more likely to die in a fire than those younger mostly because of physical impairments. In addition, falls in the home can cause fractures, which can lead to loss of independence and health complications. During home safety month seniors and their caregivers should take steps to create a safer home environment.