Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Bringing Concussions Out of the Darkness

I never wanted to be a concussion expert. I know some of the world’s leading authorities on head injuries and I’m certainly not one of them, but “expert” is a relative term. My expertise comes from personal experience.

During my two decades behind the wheel as a full-time Nascar driver, I suffered more than a dozen concussions. For a long time, I managed to keep most of them a secret, but then my symptoms got too severe to keep up the charade and I was forced to get help. My battle with head injuries has given me a wealth of firsthand knowledge of the causes, symptoms, and types of concussions, and their treatments.

Racers get every injury you can think of, from broken legs to cracked collarbones. But it was concussions, not fractures, that forced me to retire as a full-time Nascar driver in 2017. Twice I was pushed out of the driver’s seat because of concussion-related symptoms, missing two major races in 2012 and an entire half-season in 2016.

Full story at the New York Times

A compound found in apples can slow down aging

New research has identified a natural compound found in many types of fruit, such as apples and strawberries, and vegetables that can slow down the aging process.’

One key factor in the aging process is known as “cellular senescence,” or the aging of the cell.

When a cell enters this stage, it is no longer able to divide.

When that eventually happens, the cell releases inflammatory signals that prompt the immune system to “clear out” that damaged cell.

Full story at Medical News Today

Aging and Disability Institute Webinar: Sustainability for All: A Multi-Partner Approach to Growing Evidence-Based Program

Decreased resources and changing priorities among funders are challenging community-based organizations to become more creative in how they sustain their evidence-based healthy aging programs. While significant attention has focused on integration with healthcare systems to provide this source of sustainability, what is needed is a more global and diverse approach—one that includes advocacy at multiple levels and involves program developers, community organizations, and newly empowered participants who have benefited from programs. In this webinar, the Evidence-Based Leadership Council, a national collaborative of program developers and community implementers, shares its experiences and successes with scaling and sustaining programs through partnerships, community outreach and strategic steps towards policy change.

Participants will:

  • Be able to identify three benefits to partnering with program developers in long-term sustainability efforts;
  • List three ways to engage newly empowered participants in future program efforts; and,
  • Identify three solutions to the challenges of partnering with community organizations.

Full story at acl.gov

Older Oklahoman’s vulnerable to scams, abuse

As much as 10 percent of Oklahoma’s adults age 60 and older are victims of physical, psychological, sexual or verbal abuse.

Also, senior citizens are seriously neglected or victims of financial exploitation, according to a new report co-authored by Lance Robertson, assistant secretary for aging in the Trump administration. Robertson served as Oklahoma’s director of aging services from 2007 to 2017.

Now, elder-abuse costs in the United States are estimated to be $8.2 billion a year, according to Robertson and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams.

“Elder abuse is a critical social, health and economic problem,” the report notes.

Full story at newsok.com

Breakdown of brain’s visual networks linked to mental illness

Individual regions of the brain have to team up to get things done. And like in any team, the key to working together is communication.

Duke researchers used brain imaging to identify how patterns of brain connectivity — the ability of different brain regions to talk to each other — can affect a person’s likelihood of developing common forms of mental illness.

Surprisingly, they found that brain regions that help process what we see may play a key role in mental health. The results show that a person’s risk of mental illness broadly increases when the visual cortex has trouble communicating with brain networks responsible for focus and introspection.

Full story at Science Daily

Fall prevention gets harder when elderly leave hospital

More efforts are needed to prevent falls among the elderly, especially those just discharged from the hospital, Australian researchers say.

Older adults have a greater risk of falling to begin with. But this risk heightens considerably within the first six months of a hospital release, authors note in Age and Ageing.

More than half of those who do fall during this period suffer serious injury, such as hip fractures, they say.

Exercise interventions, vitamin supplementation and patient education about high-risk scenarios are known to reduce the risk of falling for elderly people in general. But in a new review of previous research, the Australian team found that these strategies were not as effective in older people following hospital discharge.

Full story at Reuters

Tips to Help You Age in Place

Joanne Theunissen was talking on the phone in the front yard of her remodeling company’s latest project. “I hope the hammering in the background isn’t too loud,” Theunissen said. “We have a full crew here: framers, electricians, and the plumber is just pulling in.”

Theunissen is the remodelers chair of the National Association of Home Builders and also the co-owner of Howling Hammer Builders in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. She and her team have been busy transforming the two-story home of a couple who want to age in place. “They’re tired of the stairs, so we’re adding on a first-floor master bedroom, closet and bathroom,” Theunissen explains.

These kinds of jobs are big business for remodelers. Since last year, the NAHB has seen a 30 percent increase in the amount of its members seeking special training to help older clients who want to stay in their homes for as long as possible. Remodeling a house is just one way to make that happen.

Full story at US News

Trial for gout drug meets primary endpoint, raises safety

Febuxostat, a gout drug that has been in use for nearly a decade, was found to significantly increase the risk of death, even though it did not raise the risk of the trial’s primary endpoint, a combined rate of fatal and nonfatal adverse cardiovascular events, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session.

It is unusual for a clinical trial to reveal an increased risk of death without also showing a heightened risk of other cardiovascular outcomes such as nonfatal heart attack and stroke. The findings, which showed an uptick in deaths after patients had been taking febuxostat for two years or longer, call into question the safety of long-term febuxostat use in patients with cardiovascular disease, researchers said.

“This finding was entirely unexpected, and we’re at a loss at this time to explain why this finding was seen,” said William B. White, MD, professor of medicine at the Calhoun Cardiology Center of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and the study’s lead author. “The results were consistent across many subgroups; there was no evidence of a relationship with age, sex, race or ethnicity, history of cardiovascular disease, or duration or severity of the gout.”

Full story at Science Daily

He has autism. He’s willing and able to work. Can he find the right fit?

In the past decade, Tom Whalen, a 27-year-old Baltimore County man, has had jobs at an animal shelter, a mailroom, multiple grocery stores, a doggy day-care center and a landscaping company.

He is chatty, outgoing and engaging, quick to win over strangers and ask for opportunities. Then, in short order, he loses them.

“He could get jobs,” says his mother, Sue.

“The problem is maintaining them,” adds his father, Ed.

Full story at The Washington Post

New Technologies Help Seniors Age In Place — And Not Feel Alone

Nancy Delano, 80, of Denver has no plans to slow down anytime soon. She still drives to movies, plays and dinners out with friends. A retired elder care nurse who lives alone, she also knows that “when you reach a certain age, emergencies can happen fast.” So, when her son, Tom Rogers, talked to her about installing a remote monitoring system, she didn’t hesitate.

With motion sensors placed throughout the house, Rogers can see if his mom is moving around, if she’s sleeping (or not), if she forgot to lock the door and, based on a sophisticated algorithm that detects behavioral patterns, whether her activity level or eating habits have changed significantly, for instance.

“It gives both of us peace of mind, particularly as she ages and wants to live at home,” said Rogers, who lives near Washington, D.C., hundreds of miles away from her.

Full story at Kaiser Health News