Many Get Knee Replacement Too Late or Too Soon

It’s a question many aging Americans face: Is it time to replace my aching knee, or should I wait?

New research suggests that for far too many patients, the procedure is done either too late or too soon.

Much of the success of knee replacement surgery for knee osteoarthritis depends on timing, but a team at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago found that 90% of patients who could benefit from the procedure waited too long to have it, while about 25% of patients who didn’t need it underwent the procedure too soon.

In most cases, “people are waiting and waiting to have the procedure and losing the most benefit,” said lead investigator Hassan Ghomrawi, associate professor of surgery.

Full article at WebMD

New Data to Inform Assisted Living Providers About State Survey Performance

The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) today announced a new partnership with CarePrepare™ to offer assisted living members access to state survey inspection data. NCAL is incorporating the data into the Association’s data tracking software, Long Term Care (LTC) Trend Tracker. 

“An assisted living community’s state survey is an important indicator of its overall performance, but it is even more meaningful when providers can see how their survey compares to the rest of the state,” said Scott Tittle, NCAL Executive Director. “When providers are aware of how their peers are doing, it further incentivizes quality improvement and survey compliance. We are proud to partner with CarePrepare™ to offer assisted living providers more information that will enhance the lives of residents and help providers stay competitive.” 

Survey inspection data varies among states, as each regulates assisted living and residential care communities. CarePrepare™ compiles the data from available state regulatory websites and through requests to state agencies. CarePrepare™ then classifies the raw survey findings into main categories and sub-categories to allow for a meaningful understanding of performance within the state. LTC Trend Tracker will offer aggregate results for up to eight main categories: administration, dietary, environment, life safety, quality of care, resident satisfaction, staff training, and other.

Full article at National Center for Assisted Living

Focus on opioids and cannabis in chronic pain media coverage

New Zealand media reports on chronic pain are focusing on treatments involving opioids and cannabis at the expense of best practice non-drug treatments, researchers have found.

Chronic pain, defined as persistent or recurring pain present for more than three months, is the leading cause of disability worldwide and affects one in five New Zealanders.

The researchers analysed 240 news articles on chronic pain published in the New Zealand news media between January 2015 and June 2019. Their report is published in the latest issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal.

Lead author Dr Hemakumar Devan, a Postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research at the University of Otago, Wellington’s School of Physiotherapy, says few of the news stories included information about non-pharmaceutical treatments for chronic pain, despite these being the preferred option for most chronic pain conditions.

Full article at Science Daily

State to close assisted living center at veterans home

State military officials announced Wednesday that they’ll close an assisted living facility for veterans in southeastern Wisconsin this spring.

The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs said it plans to close Fairchild Hall on the Wisconsin Southern Center’s Union Grove campus. The center is made up of a collection of WDVA and state Department of Health Services facilities.

WDVA officials said only 11 people are currently living in Fairchild Hall. They will be allowed to move to a WDVA nursing home on the campus. Fairchild staff will be given the opportunity to transfer to the nursing home.

Full article at AP News

Scientists Sent Mighty Mice To Space To Improve Treatments Back On Earth

In early December at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, two anxious scientists were about to send 20 years of research into orbit.

“I feel like our heart and soul is going up in that thing,” Dr. Emily Germain-Lee told her husband, Dr. Se-Jin Lee, as they waited arm-in-arm for a SpaceX rocket to launch.

A few seconds later the spacecraft took off, transporting some very unusual mice to the International Space Station, where they would spend more than a month in near zero gravity.

Ordinarily, that would cause the animals’ bones to weaken and their muscles to atrophy. But Lee and Germain-Lee, a power couple in the research world, were hoping that wouldn’t happen with these mice.

Read full article at NPR

Sticky situation inside blood vessels can worsen stroke damage

A stroke appears to create a sticky situation inside the blood vessels of the brain that can worsen damage days, even months later, scientists report.

They have found that after stroke, exosomes — nanosized biological suitcases packed with an assortment of cargo that cells swap, like proteins and fats — traveling in the blood get activated and sticky and start accumulating on the lining of blood vessels, according to a collaborative study by the Medical College of Georgia and the University of Oxford.

Like a catastrophic freeway pileup, platelets, also tiny cells that enable our blood to clot after an injury, start adhering to the now- sticky exosomes, causing a buildup that can effectively form another clot, further obstruct blood flow to the brain and cause additional destruction, they report in the journal Scientific Reports.

Read full article at Science Daily

A Better MRI Test to Study Aging in the Brain

THE EXTERNAL PHENOMENA of aging are known to all of us. We can expect graying hair, bone loss, fatigue or memory difficulties.

But what actually happens to our brain as we get older, and what goes wrong when aging develops into a neurological disease like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s? This is a primary focus of neurological specialists around the world working to map the brain and unlock its many mysteries.

Previous animal studies have shown that molecular changes in the composition of lipids and proteins in brain cells affect brain function and may cause cognitive impairment. Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scans allow us to look into the human brain in a non-invasive manner and learn about the changes that occur in it with age.

Read full article at US News

Senior Housing Occupancy Rises Nationwide in Fourth Quarter, 2019

Senior housing occupancy increased 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 88.0 percent, according to new data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). San Jose (95.7%) and New York (91.3%) experienced the highest occupancy rates of the 31 metropolitan markets that comprise NIC’s Primary Markets. Atlanta (82.7%) and Houston (82.5%) recorded the lowest. Las Vegas experienced the largest occupancy increase from a year ago, rising from 80.3 percent to 84.1 percent. Cincinnati saw the largest year-over-year decrease, falling from 89.7 percent to 86.4 percent.

In a breakout of senior housing types, assisted living occupancy increased to 85.7 percent in the fourth quarter, from a recent record low of 85.1 percent earlier in the year as demand outpaced new inventory growth. The occupancy rate for independent living decreased to 90.0 percent in the fourth quarter, below its recent peak of 90.4 percent in the first quarter of 2019 and down from 90.3 percent one year earlier.

“It appears that 2019 was an inflection year for assisted living with the occupancy rate at its highest level in two years after having reached its trough and new construction continuing to slow,” said Chuck Harry, head of research and analytics at NIC.

Full article at National Investment Center

A Lifetime of Fitness Helps Women’s Muscles in Old Age

Women who exercise throughout life may keep their muscle power as they age, a new study suggests.

For the study, researchers from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., examined muscle strength, power and the size and type of muscle fibers in the thighs of three groups of women.

Seven women in one group were over 70 and had exercised regularly for nearly 50 years. The second group had 10 women who averaged 25 years of age and also worked out regularly. The third group comprised 10 women over 70 who did not exercise regularly.

Full article at US News

Tea drinkers live longer

Drinking tea at least three times a week is linked with a longer and healthier life, according to a study published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

“Habitual tea consumption is associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease and all-cause death,” said first author Dr. Xinyan Wang, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China. “The favourable health effects are the most robust for green tea and for long-term habitual tea drinkers.”

The analysis included 100,902 participants of the China-PAR project2 with no history of heart attack, stroke, or cancer. Participants were classified into two groups: habitual tea drinkers (three or more times a week) and never or non-habitual tea drinkers (less than three times a week) and followed-up for a median of 7.3 years.

Full article at Science Daily