Exercising at home has a positive effect on Parkinson’s patients

Even though exercise is known to be healthy, many people find it difficult to maintain an exercise program for a longer time. This applies even more to people with a chronic illness such as Parkinson’s disease, where physical and mental limitations are additional obstacles. The Park-in-Shape study, funded by ZonMW (Netherlands Organization for Health Research & Development), tested an innovative solution for this challenge. The participants were divided into two groups. Both groups had a motivational app at their disposal, which offered the participants rewards for exercising. The control group only performed stretching exercises, while the active intervention group was instructed to exercise for 30-45 minutes on a stationary bicycle at home, at least three times a week.

The active group’s exercise bikes were also equipped with motivating games, making the program more entertaining and challenging for the participants. For example, the participants could race against their own previous performance — a “ghost rider” — or against a group of other cyclists. The system adjusted the difficulty of the game to the patient’s heartbeat, making the challenge just right. The challenges also became more difficult as the participants got fitter.

Full story at Science Daily

U.S. News and Caring.com Launch Assisted Living Directory

CHOOSING AN APPROPRIATE assisted living community is a challenging decision for residents and family members alike. To help, U.S. News is now publishing an extensive directory and data resource on nearly 9,000 assisted living communities, in collaboration with Caring.com.

The new Assisted Living directory offers comparison information on key factors including size, location and health services offered for the millions of Americans making this decision each year. Families can use the directory to match the right community to their loved one’s unique needs.

The directory provides comprehensive information about health services, activities and amenities offered at each residence. Reviews from residents and families add perspective for almost all licensed assisted living communities in the U.S. The tool is designed to let individuals easily conduct a customized search for a highly rated facility by location, resident rating, Alzheimer’s and memory care and size.

Full story at US News

Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities Virtual Learning Series

The ACL-funded Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities National Training Center is launching a Fall 2019 ECHO virtual learning network. The MHDD ECHO gives participants the opportunity to take an active role in dialogue with subject matter experts and with their fellow participants.

Fall 2019 sessions will be held every other Thursday from September 12 to December 19. Each session includes a brief lecture, deidentified case presentation, and open discussion. Experts include a psychologist, a clinician, an applied behavior analyst, a parent, and self-advocate guests with personal experience. CMEs and NASW CEUs are available at no cost to participants.

Full story at Administration for Community Living

For patients with diabetes, ticagrelor reduced heart attacks, strokes

In late-breaking clinical trial results presented in a Hot Line Session today at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2019, investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Greater Paris University Hospitals — AP-HP/Université de Paris presented the results from The Effect of Ticagrelor on Health Outcomes in Diabetes Mellitus Patients Intervention Study (THEMIS), a clinical trial sponsored by AstraZeneca that evaluated whether adding ticagrelor to aspirin improves outcomes for patients with stable coronary artery disease and diabetes mellitus but without a history of heart attack or stroke. Taking ticagrelor in addition to aspirin reduced the risk of a composite of cardiovascular death, heart attack, or stroke. Patients on this dual-antiplatelet therapy also experienced greater risk of major bleeding. In THEMIS-PCI, a study that specifically looked at THEMIS patients with a history of previous percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) that includes stenting, versus the overall THEMIS population, investigators found even more favorable results for patients taking ticagrelor plus aspirin. Results of THEMIS are published simultaneously in The New England Journal of Medicine and results from THEMIS-PCI are published simultaneously in The Lancet.

“With prolonged dual-antiplatelet therapy, we need to be thoughtful in considering which patients are most suited to taking the regimen — that is, those at high ischemic risk and low bleeding risk,” said THEMIS co-chair Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, executive director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at the Brigham and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Our findings show that the greatest benefit occurred in those patients with diabetes and stable coronary artery disease with a history of prior stenting for whom ticagrelor, when added to aspirin, reduced important cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks, strokes and amputations.”

Full story at Science Daily

How chikungunya virus may cause chronic joint pain

A new method for permanently marking cells infected with chikungunya virus could reveal how the virus continues to cause joint pain for months to years after the initial infection, according to a study published August 29 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Deborah Lenschow of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues. According to the authors, uncovering the mechanisms for long-term disease could aid in the development of treatments and preventative measures for this incapacitating, virally induced chronic arthritis.

Chikungunya virus is spread by mosquitoes and causes severe joint and muscle pain. Approximately 30 to 60 percent of people infected with the virus continue to experience joint pain for months to years after the initial infection. However, the cause of this persistent joint pain is unclear, as replicating virus cannot be detected during the chronic phase. To address this question, Lenschow and colleagues developed a reporter system to permanently mark cells infected by chikungunya virus.

Using this system, they show in mice that marked cells surviving chikungunya virus infection are a mixture of muscle and skin cells that are present for at least 112 days after initial virus inoculation. Treatment of mice with an antibody that blocks chikungunya virus infection reduces the number of marked cells in the muscle and skin. Moreover, surviving marked cells contain most of the persistent chikungunya virus RNA. Taken together, the findings provide further evidence for musculoskeletal cells as targets of chikungunya virus infection in the acute and chronic stages of disease. According to the authors, this reporter system represents a useful tool for identifying and isolating cells that harbor chronic viral RNA in order to study the mechanisms underlying chronic disease.

Full story at Science Daily

Dementia Care in Assisted Living Homes

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND dementia are becoming an increasingly big part of the health care conversation in America as the population ages and more people develop these cognitive ailments. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 5 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease today, a figure that’s anticipated to nearly triple to 14 million by 2060.

For many people, once dementia has progressed to a certain level, they may need more care than family members can provide and may need to be placed in a long-term care facility– either an assisted living community or a nursing home.

Some of these facilities provide amazing care and support of older adults dealing with cognitive decline or dementia. Others may not. And if you’re considering placing a loved one into an assisted living facility that offers dementia care, there are a few factors you should consider when evaluating whether a specific community is the right one.

Full story at US News

LTC Properties Inks $38M Deal for Two Ignite Transitional Skilled Nursing Facilities

LTC Properties (NYSE: LTC) on Friday announced a $38 million pair of transactions that will see the real estate investment trust (REIT) strike up a new relationship with transitional-care operator Ignite Medical Resorts.

The two separate agreements consist of a $19.5 million deal to purchase a recently constructed 90-bed skilled nursing facility in the Kansas City market, and an $18.4 million land-and-development deal for a second 90-bed SNF set to open in the fall of 2020, LTC chief investment officer Clint Malin said during the company’s second-quarter earnings call.

The Niles, Ill.-based Ignite Medical Resorts, a chain with a focus on high-end transitional care properties, will serve as the operator for the two Missouri buildings, with Avenue Development handling the design and construction process for the new property.

Full story at Skilled Nursing News

Veteran Benefits for Assisted Living

IF YOU SERVED THE United States of America as a member of the armed services, you may be entitled to certain benefits that could make some aspects of getting older a little easier. Namely, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers some funding programs that can help offset the cost of certain kinds of care later in life. For some people, this sort of benefit can be a real help when weighing how to pay for assisted living or other long-term care options.

“Veterans and their spouses have multiple financial benefits that can help cover the cost of assisted living,” says Rick Wigginton, senior vice president of sales at Brookdale Senior Living, a Tennessee-based company that has more an 1,000 senior living and retirement communities across the United States.

Wigginton says that Brookdale, like many other senior living companies, seeks to “help many veterans maximize these benefits, which in some cases can really reduce the cost of senior living.” Senior living options can get expensive. Every little bit that can help offset these sometimes-large costs is often a welcome relief for families.

Full story at US News

Normal Brain vs. Brain With Dementia

YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A brain specialist to notice certain differences in images of a healthy older person’s brain compared to that of someone with dementia. Narrowed, depleted folds on the brain’s surface, the presence of blotchy plaques, twisted fibers and significant shrinkage are clearly visible. What you can’t see is how brain changes like these affect how people’s minds work.

In a program from the National Press Foundation and funded by AARP, “Understanding the Latest on Dementia Issues,” journalists heard from a spectrum of dementia experts, including researchers, gerontologists, family caregivers and a brilliant engineer who described her personal journey with early-onset Alzheimer’s. In addition, a leading neuroscientist detailed how normal brain aging is very different than changes arising from dementia and not something to be feared.

Full story at US News

Your Mom Plays a Role in Age at Menopause, Longevity

For women, predicting when they’ll reach menopause is anyone’s guess. But if you want to get some foresight, you should ask your mother.

For most women, menopause begins at around 52. But for thousands of women it starts much later, and for some, a lot earlier. Those whose menopause starts later may also be looking at a longer life expectancy, researchers have found.

Smoking, chemotherapy and weight can affect the age when a woman’s monthly periods stop.

But family history appears to be the most important factor, according to researchers led by Harold Bae, of Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences. If your mother started menopause early, odds are you will, too, the investigators found.

Full story at US News