Can You Find Love in Long-Term Care? Just Ask Gloria and Al

Romance was absolutely the last thing Gloria Duncan and Al Cappiello had on their minds when they became nursing home residents.

“When I got here, I felt almost like my life was over. I was a very active, social person. I was almost devastated,” Gloria said.

But then she met Al, who asked Gloria to be his date at the “Seniors’ Senior Prom.”

Al said he had noticed Gloria in an exercise class, but was a bit too nervous to ask her out then. He said his nerves don’t usually get the best of him. “It only happens when someone is very nice and very pretty,” he said.

Full story at US News

How LTC Properties Worked Through Tenant Bankruptcies to See Skilled Nursing Opportunity Ahead

For the past few public earnings calls, analysts have peppered executives at LTC Properties (NYSE: LTC) with questions about the ongoing bankruptcies of skilled nursing tenants Senior Care Centers and Preferred Care, which have proven to be long-running issues for the real estate investment trust (REIT).

But with a plan in place to sell off its former Preferred Care buildings, and with Senior Care Centers set to emerge from bankruptcy with a smaller footprint, LTC Properties sees mostly promising signs ahead for their skilled nursing assets and the industry at large — with particular optimism around the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) approach to rolling out major industry changes, such as the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM).

The company has also been willing to bet on new skilled nursing developments, a relative rarity in the current marketplace; LTC this past summer invested $38 million to purchase a recently-constructed SNF and a second site under construction, both operated by Ignite Medical Resorts.

Full story at Skilled Nursing News

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

Older Americans Face Greatest Economic Insecurity in Northeast

SENIORS LIVING IN Northeastern states are among the most likely to lack sufficient financial resources to cover their day-to-day needs, according to a new report. Half of America’s senior population that lives alone – and nearly a quarter of those living in two-person households – struggle to make ends meet.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Massachusetts—Boston’s Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging, suggests Vermont, New York and Massachusetts have the largest percentages of seniors at least 65 years of age who don’t have enough income to cover their basic needs – defined by their ability to cover necessary expenses such as housing, food, transportation and health care without government support programs, loans or gifts.

Full story at US News

Deep learning to analyze neurological problems

Getting to the doctor’s office for a check-up can be challenging for someone with a neurological disorder that impairs their movement, such as a stroke. But what if the patient could just take a video clip of their movements with a smart phone and forward the results to their doctor? Work by Dr Hardeep Ryait and colleagues at CCBN-University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, publishing November 21 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology, shows how this might one day be possible.

Using rats that had incurred a stroke that affected the movement of their fore-limbs, the scientists first asked experts to score the rats’ degree of impairment based on how they reached for food. Then they input this information into a state-of-the-art deep neural network so that it could learn to score the rats’ reaching movements with human-expert accuracy. When the network was subsequently given video footage from a new set of rats reaching for food, it was then also able to score their impairments with similar human-like accuracy. The same program proved able to score other tests given to rats and mice, including tests of their ability to walk across a narrow beam and to pull a string to obtain a food reward.

Full story at Science Daily

AHA News: Obesity, Other Factors May Speed Up Brain Aging

The brains of middle-age adults may be aging prematurely if they have obesity or other factors linked to cardiovascular disease, new research has found.

Almost one-quarter of adults have metabolic syndrome, a set of factors that in combination amplify a person’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other illnesses. In the new research, participants were considered metabolically unhealthy if they had two or more such factors: high blood pressure; high blood sugar; high blood triglyceride levels; or low levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol – or if they took medicine for diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol.

Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging and tests of thinking skills to evaluate more than 2,100 women and men ages 37 to 55. Compared with the healthiest participants, those who were metabolically unhealthy, obese or both showed evidence of brain decline.

Full story at US News

Researchers uncover new molecular drivers of Parkinson’s disease

Scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have uncovered new molecular drivers of Parkinson’s disease using a sophisticated statistical technique called multiscale gene network analysis (MGNA). The team was also able to determine how these molecular drivers impact the functions of genes involved in the disease. The results, which may point to potential new treatments, were published today in Nature Communications.

Some cases of Parkinson’s are directly caused by genetic mutations, but these cases are rare. Approximately 80 percent of cases have no known cause, and though there are some genes that may slightly increase an individual’s risk of developing the disease, the biological impacts of these genes remain unclear.

“This study offers a novel approach to understanding the majority of cases of Parkinson’s,” said Bin Zhang, PhD, Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences at the Icahn Institute for Data Science and Genomic Technology and Director of the Mount Sinai Center for Transformative Disease Modeling at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “The strategy not only reveals new drivers, but it also elucidates the functional context of the known Parkinson’s disease risk factor genes.”

Full story at Science Daily

A new link between migraines, opioid overuse may be key to treating pain

About 10% of the world population suffers from migraine headaches, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. To alleviate migraine pain, people are commonly treated with opioids. But, while opioid treatment can provide temporary pain relief for episodic migraines, prolonged use can increase the frequency and severity of painful migraines.

Researchers have tried to understand how opioids cause this paradoxical increase in pain for a decade, but the mechanism remained elusive — until now.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and colleagues discovered that a peptide — small chains of amino acids that can regulate many behaviors and brain signaling pathways — links together migraine pain and pain induced by opioid overuse.

Full story at Science Daily

Muscle in Middle Age Might Help Men’s Hearts Later

Middle-aged men who maintain their muscle mass may lower their risk of heart disease as they get older, a new study suggests.

Beginning in the mid-30s, muscle begins to decline by about 3% each decade. Previous studies found that muscle mass is associated with heart attack/stroke risk, but those studies focused on people with heart disease.

In this new study, the researchers wanted to examine if muscle mass in middle age might be associated with long-term heart health in people without heart disease.

The study included more than 1,000 men and women, aged 45 and older, who were followed for 10 years. During that time, 272 participants developed heart disease, including stroke and minor stroke.

Full story at US News