Tag Archive : elderly health

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A leukemia drug may have cleared another hurdle as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

But critics say it’s still not clear whether the drug, nilotinib (brand name Tasigna), is truly safe or effective for this use.

In a study of 75 people with Parkinson’s, nilotinib appeared to improve quality of life and boost the chemical dopamine, a team from Georgetown University Medical Center reported Monday in JAMA Neurology.

“We are seeing signals that this may be a potential treatment for our Parkinson’s disease patients,” says Dr. Fernando Pagan, director of the medical center’s movement disorders program.

Full story at NPR

Research shows that white blood cells in the human brain are regulated by a protein called CD33 — a finding with important implications in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study by University of Alberta chemists.

“Immune cells in the brain, called microglia, play a critical role in Alzheimer’s disease,” explained Matthew Macauley, assistant professor in theDepartment of Chemistry and co-author on the paper. “They can be harmful or protective. Swaying microglia from a harmful to protective state could be the key to treating the disease.”

Scientists have identified the CD33 protein as a factor that may decrease a person’s likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease. Less than 10 percent of the population have a version of CD33 that makes them less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. “The fact that CD33 is found on microglia suggests that immune cells can protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease under the right circumstances,” said Abhishek Bhattacherjee, first author and postdoctoral fellow in the Macauley lab.

Full story at Science Daily

Do you feel like you know why you’re here?

The answer to that question could determine how you feel day-to-day.

If you’ve found meaning in your life, you’re more likely to be both physically and mentally healthy, a new study reports.

On the other hand, people restlessly searching for meaning in their life are more likely to have worse mental well-being, with their struggle to find purpose negatively affecting their mood, social relationships, psychological health, and ability to think and reason.

“We found presence of meaning was associated with better physical functioning and better mental functioning,” said senior study author Dr. Dilip Jeste. He is senior associate dean for the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine.

Full story at US News

A ketone-supplemented diet may protect neurons from death during the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research in mice recently published in JNeurosci.

Early in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, the brain becomes over excited, potentially through the loss of inhibitory, or GABAergic, interneurons that keep other neurons from signaling too much. Because interneurons require more energy compared to other neurons, they may be more susceptible to dying when they encounter the Alzheimer’s disease protein amyloid beta. Amyloid beta has been shown to damage mitochondria — the metabolic engine for cells — by interfering with SIRT3, a protein that preserves mitochondrial functions and protects neurons.

Full story at Science Daily

Despite media stories about a “loneliness epidemic” plaguing the elderly, two new studies find that they feel no more lonely than their peers from past generations.

The studies — one in the United States, one in the Netherlands — reached the same basic conclusion: Yes, people tend to feel more lonely after age 75 or so. But today’s older adults are no more likely to feel isolated or lacking in companionship than previous generations.

In fact, the Dutch study found, older people may now be somewhat less lonely because they tend to have more self-confidence and feelings of control over their lives.

Full story at US News

Taking a baby aspirin every day to prevent a heart attack or stroke should no longer be recommended to patients who haven’t already experienced one of these events.

That’s according to a new study published in Family Practice.

Nearly one-quarter of Americans over the age of 40 have reported taking aspirin daily even if they don’t have a history of heart disease or stroke.

That’s a problem, says study author University of Georgia researcher Mark Ebell.

As a physician and epidemiologist at UGA’s College of Public Health, Ebell’s work evaluates the evidence underpinning clinical practice and health behaviors. The current recommendation for taking aspirin as the primary form of heart attack or stroke prevention is limited to adults aged 50 to 69 who have an increased cardiovascular risk.

Full story at Science Daily

Anne Firmender, 74, was working with her psychologist to come up with a list of her positive attributes.

“I cook for others,” said Ms. Firmender.

“It’s giving,” encouraged the psychologist, Dimitris Kiosses.

“Good kids,” continued Ms. Firmender, who has four grown children and four grandchildren.

“And great mother,” added Dr. Kiosses. Ms. Firmender smiled.

Dr. Kiosses typed up the list and handed a printout to Ms. Firmender to take home. “When you’re feeling down and hard on yourself, you can remind yourself of your strengths,” he told her.

Full story at New York Times

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

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 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