Migraine headaches? Consider aspirin for treatment and prevention

Migraine headache is the third most common disease in the world affecting about 1 in 7 people. More prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined, migraine headaches are among the most common and potentially debilitating disorders encountered by primary health care providers. Migraines also are associated with an increased risk of stroke.

There are effective prescription medications available to treat acute migraine headaches as well as to prevent recurrent attacks. Nonetheless, in the United States many patients are not adequately treated for reasons that include limited access to health care providers and lack of health insurance or high co-pays, which make expensive medications of proven benefit unaffordable. The rates of uninsured or underinsured individuals have been estimated to be 8.5 percent nationwide and 13 percent in Florida. Furthermore, for all patients, the prescription drugs may be poorly tolerated or contraindicated.

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine have proposed aspirin as a possible option for consideration by primary care providers who treat the majority of patients with migraine. Their review includes evidence from 13 randomized trials of the treatment of migraine in 4,222 patients and tens of thousands of patients in prevention of recurrent attacks.

Full story at Science Daily

Cards, Board Games Could Be a Win for Aging Brains

Playing cards and board games like chess, bingo and Scrabble might be the mental workout you need to keep your wits as you age, Scottish researchers suggest.

People in their 70s who regularly play board games score higher on tests of memory and thinking skills than those who don’t. And 70-somethings who step up their game-playing are more likely to maintain thinking skills as they age, researchers say.

“Playing board, card and word games may protect people from cognitive decline, but this study wasn’t an intervention, so we can’t say that for sure,” said lead researcher Drew Altschul, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Edinburgh. “But it, at very least, is fun, inexpensive, and it certainly won’t hurt you.”

Full story at US News

Many patients with iNPH develop Alzheimer’s disease, too

Up to one in five patients treated for idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus, iNPH, also develop Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital. The researchers were able to predict the development of Alzheimer’s disease by using the Disease State Index, DSI, that combines patient-specific data from various sources. The results were published in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

In iNPH, the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is disturbed for an unknown reason, leading to a slightly elevated brain pressure and dilation of the brain ventricles. Symptoms of NPH include gait deviations, impaired short-term memory and urinary incontinence. Patients with iNPH often have changes in brain that are related to Alzheimer’s disease.

The study followed patients with iNPH after they had received treatment for their disease. They were treated with shunt surgery, in which excessive CSF is led from the brain ventricles to the abdominal cavity by using a CSF shunt. Shunted NPH patients who had undergone brain tissue biopsy in connection with their surgery were selected for the study. The objective of the biopsy was to detect changes that are indicative of Alzheimer’s disease.

Full story at Science Daily

Improving trauma pain outcomes

Improving acute pain management after traumatic injury remains a priority for policymakers and clinicians as rates of injury and subsequent pain-related disability rise nationally. Yet, innovations in trauma pain management remain understudied.

A 7-year prospective cohort study from the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center (CMCVAMC), University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing), and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania examined the relationship between regional anesthesia (RA) administration and patient-reported pain-related outcomes among Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom service members sustaining a combat-related extremity injury. The study, done in collaboration with the Department of Defense — Defense and Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Management (DVCIPM), found that when integrated into combat casualty care, early use of RA is associated with sustained pain benefits throughout rehabilitation and recovery.

Full story at Science Daily

For Older Adults, More Exercise Lowers Heart Disease Risk

Regular exercise lowers older adults’ risk of heart disease and stroke, even if they have health problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes, researchers say.

For the new study, researchers analyzed data from more than 1 million people aged 60 and older in South Korea. The study participants’ health was checked in 2009 to 2010, again in 2011 to 2012, and they were followed until the end of 2016.

People who were inactive at the start and then became moderately to vigorously active three to four times a week by the 2011-2012 health check had an 11% reduced risk of heart disease, the findings showed.

Full story at US News

Number of Americans With Dementia Will Double by 2040: Report

Nearly 13 million Americans will have dementia by 2040 — nearly twice as many as today, a new report says.

The number of women with dementia is expected to rise from 4.7 million next year to 8.5 million in 2040. The number of men with dementia is projected to increase from 2.6 million to 4.5 million.

Over the next 20 years, the economic impact of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia will be more than $2 trillion. Women will shoulder more than 80% of those costs, according to a report released Tuesday at the 2019 Milken Institute Future of Health Summit, in Washington, D.C.

“Longer life spans are perhaps one of the greatest success stories of our modern public health system,” said lead author Nora Super, senior director of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging.

Full story at US News

For Seniors, Financial Woes Can Be Forerunner to Alzheimer’s

Unpaid bills, overdrawn accounts, dwindling investments: When seniors begin experiencing fiscal troubles, early dementia or Alzheimer’s disease could be an underlying cause, researchers say.

In the early stages of the disease, people with undiagnosed Alzheimer’s are at high risk of making foolish and dangerous decisions about their finances, mostly because families may not know they need help, researchers say.

“Individuals often aren’t diagnosed early enough, and it’s a perfect storm,” said study author Carole Gresenz, a professor of health systems administration at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Full story at US News

5 Trends That Reveal the Hospice Opportunity in Senior Housing

Joanne Ford knows all too well the challenges hospice faces in senior living.

“One of the barriers for people making referrals to hospice from assisted living facilities is (AL operators say), ‘We don’t want people to see hospice in our building — please don’t wear your name tag here,’” says Ford, vice president of the AL division of Tidewell Hospice out of Sarasota, Florida. Tidewell delivers hospice services to residents in 174 AL facilities, with an overall average daily census of more than 1,100.

“We actually have corporate entities that tell their folks, ‘Don’t refer to hospice. We don’t want that image in this building,’” Ford says. She spoke with Senior Housing News for a recent deep-dive report exploring the pressing need for senior living providers to formulate hospice strategies, and the significant benefits they could see from doing so.

Full story at Senior House News

Phone Scammers And ‘Teledoctors’ Charged With Preying On Seniors In Fraud Case

Dean Ernest had been living in a nursing home about a year when his son, John, got a call last winter asking if his father was experiencing back pain and would like a free orthotic brace.

The caller said he was with Medicare. John Ernest didn’t believe him, said “no” to the brace and hung up. He didn’t give out his father’s Medicare number.

And yet, not just one, but 13 braces addressed to Dean arrived soon afterward at the younger Ernest’s house in central Pennsylvania — none of which Dean Ernest wanted or needed.

Full story at NPR

5 Signs It’s Time for Memory Care

YOUR AGING MOM WHO’S living with dementia has always been conscientious about opening her mail and paying her bills. You and other family members check on her regularly to see she’s OK. Yet over time, relatives notice she’s letting her mail accumulate unopened and forgetting to pay her bills.

These are potential signs that someone who’s living with dementia may need memory care, says Dr. Elaine Healy, a geriatrician and vice president of medical affairs and medical director of United Hebrew of New Rochelle in New York.

About 5.8 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Family members care for some people with dementia, and others live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

Full story at US News