Health and Fitness

Potential For A Muscle-Preserving Therapy

Hey guys, remember the muscle shirts we wore in our teens and 20s? After the age of 40 that meager part of our wardrobes usually is obsolete. Yes, at the big 4-0 we begin to lose muscle, and by age 80 up to a third of it may be gone. It's an inevitable process of aging called sarcopenia. Why does sarcopenia happen and can it be stopped? A study conducted in mice with accelerated muscle loss at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio provides this insight: Less protection from antioxidants and more damage from oxidative stress results in impairment to cells' energy centers, which slowly leads to death of muscle cells. A team directed by Holly Van Remmen, Ph.D., associate professor with the university's Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies and the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, found that without a certain antioxidant enzyme to balance the formation of harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS), cellular energy centers called mitochondria fail to work properly.

Older Female Cancer Survivors Have Added Health Issues Compared To Their Counterparts

As cancer survivors live longer, questions arise about what kind of care long-term survivors require. A recently published study from Case Western Reserve University's Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences found 245 older married women who survived cancer had more health problems as compared to a sample of 245 married women without cancer. The article, "Health and Well-Being in Older Married Female Cancer Survivors, " was published as part of a special supplement of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, along with other articles that resulted from a conference at CWRU on geriatric oncology, said Aloen Townsend, the lead researcher and associate professor of social work. "There is a pressing need to study older cancer survivors, " Townsend said. "It is critical to disentangle the experiences that are unique to older cancer survivors from experiences that are common to aging individuals." Health care for cancer survivors is a growing concern, according to the researchers.

New Report Finds Low Adult Vaccination Rates For Pneumonia In U.S.

A new report, Adult Immunization: Shots to Save Lives, released by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH), the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) found that more than 30 percent of adults ages 65 and older had not been immunized against pneumonia in 36 states as of 2008. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other experts recommend that all seniors should be vaccinated against pneumonia, which is a one-time shot for most individuals, since seniors who get the seasonal flu are at risk for developing pneumonia as a complication. Nationally, 33.1 percent of seniors had not been immunized against pneumonia, and even in the state with the highest immunization rate - Oregon - more than one quarter (26.8 percent) of seniors were not immunized. Washington, D.C. had the lowest number of seniors immunized, with nearly half (45.6 percent) of seniors not immunized. Overall, the Adult Immunization report found millions of American adults go without routine and recommended vaccinations each year, which leads to an estimated 40, 000 to 50, 000 preventable deaths, thousands of preventable illnesses, and $10 billion in preventable health care costs each year.

National Positive Ageing Strategy: Minister Aine Brady TD Invites Older People To Have Their Say, Ireland

The Minister for Older People and Health Promotion, Aine Brady TD said that she is beginning a series of meetings around the country to hear at first hand the views of older people on issues that affect them. The meetings are a further part of the Minister's work to develop a new Positive Ageing Strategy. The Minister said that the new Strategy will set the direction for future policies, programmes and services for older people in Ireland. "The Government wants to make sure that the position of older people in Irish society is recognised and appreciated, " the Minister said. The Minister noted that she was particularly keen to hear the views of older people themselves about the barriers they experience in their day to day lives and how these affect them as well as their ability to participate in their communities. Some of this, she suggested, arose from ageist attitudes and practices and quite often people were not even conscious of these. The Minister added that her call for submissions to the National Positive Ageing Strategy had been very successful.

Resistance Training Programs Appear To Improve Some Cognitive Skills In Older Women

One year of once- or twice-weekly resistance training appears to improve attention and conflict resolution skills among older women. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, Ph.D., P.T., of Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues studied 155 women age 65 to 75. Participants were randomly assigned to participate in resistance training once (54 women) or twice (52 women) weekly, whereas 49 women in a control group participated in twice-weekly balance and tone training. After one year, women in both resistance training groups significantly improved their scores on tests of selective attention (maintaining mental focus) and conflict resolution. The program simultaneously improved muscular function in the women. "This has important clinical implications because cognitive impairment is a major health problem that currently lacks a clearly effective pharmaceutical therapy and because resistance training is not widely adopted by seniors, " the authors write.

Today's Opinions And Editorials

Pfizer's Bad Political Bet The Wall Street Journal The sight of ObamaCare on life support has many Democrats disappointed. It could be worse. They could be Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler (Kimberley Strassel, 2/4). The Verizon Wireless Cure The Christian Science Monitor Are health insurance company employees just meaner and more greedy than those who provide cellphone service ...? Certainly not. The difference is that the cellphone, auto, and home insurance industries are highly competitive while the health insurance industry is not (Steven Horwitz, 2/4). The Damage Of The Anti-Vaccination Movement Los Angeles Times Dr. Andrew Wakefield is still a hero to his many acolytes. And others, with curious credentials, fight on to terrify parents into not getting their children inoculated (Michael Fumento, 2/5). Republicans Got What They Wanted From Health Care Overhaul McClatchy Republicans got much of what the party wanted in the Senate bill and still refused to endorse reform and now is demanding an end to the debate or a shift to a modest proposal that won't deal with the heart of the problems (Isaac Bailey, 2/5).

Iowa Senate To Consider Extending No-Cost Family Planning To Older Women

An Iowa Senate committee will soon debate a proposal to provide no-cost family planning services to low-income women ages 45 through 54 whose private insurance does not cover the care, the Des Moines Register reports. The proposal would include coverage of comprehensive annual exams, pap tests, cervical cancer screening, birth control and other services. Current law defines child-bearing age as ages 13 through 44. At least one Iowa physician is speaking out against extending the age limit to 54. Donald Young, a medical director at Mid-Iowa Fertility, said, "The odds of a woman taking home a baby at age 45 is one in 50, 000." He added, "The idea that we need to provide birth control/family planning services for women up to age 55 is against basic reproductive physiology and a waste of taxpayer dollars." Nancy Robertson, a staff attorney and lobbyist for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, noted that birth control is just one of the services that would be covered. An age 45 cutoff is arbitrary because the average woman begins menopause at age 54 and is capable of becoming pregnant before that point, Robertson said (Jacobs, Des Moines Register, 1/30).

High-Intensity End-Of-Life Approaches Confer Survival Benefit

Patients admitted to hospitals with higher-intensity end-of-life care live longer than those admitted to hospitals with low-intensity approaches, according to a University of Pittsburgh study available online and published in the February issue of the journal Medical Care. Higher-intensity care refers to greater use of life-sustaining measures such as ICU admission, intubation or mechanical ventilation, kidney dialysis and feeding tubes. The study, led by Amber E. Barnato, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine, clinical and translational science and health policy, University of Pittsburgh, examined admission records of more than one million patients 65 and older in Pennsylvania hospitals between 2001 and 2005. The researchers found a survival benefit in hospitals with more intensive treatment styles, but this benefit lessened with time. After 30 days, patients treated at high-intensity hospitals had a 7 percent risk of dying compared to 9 percent at low-intensity hospitals.

Heavy Rains Hit Tent Camps In Haiti

Heavy rains hit earthquake survivors in tent camps in Port-au-Prince on Thursday, "bringing a warning of fresh misery to come for the 1 million people living on the streets, " Reuters reports. "While the rain could wash away some of the dust from the hundreds of collapsed structures in the stricken city, it could also worsen a fierce blight of mosquitoes, " according to Reuters, which reports that Haiti is struggling to get all the earthquake survivors out of make-shift tents and into more substantial shelters (Loney, 2/11). The Los Angeles Times also looks at the possible impact of the upcoming rainy season. "Next month or in April, a punishing rainy season is certain to arrive, bringing with it the daily downpours that swamp this downtrodden capital city. Then will come the hurricane season, which last year delivered a series of deadly storms, " the newspaper writes. "These tent villages could easily become disaster zones, said Alberto Wilde, country director for CHF International, an aid group specializing in shelter issues.

Medicaid And Budget Issues: California, Nevada Officials Outline Dire Scenarios For Health Services

Central Valley Business Times : "California is going to have to pay a $51.8 billion bill for health and dental benefits for state retirees, says state Controller John Chiang in a report to the Legislature Tuesday. 'Even as we try to claw our way out of the recession and provide needed cash to the state's coffers, we cannot ignore the promise that we made to pay health and dental benefits for current state employees and retirees, ' says Mr. Chiang" (2/9). The Associated Press/The San Jose Mercury News : "Chiang, a Democrat, suggested the state can reduce its obligation by switching from a pay-as-you-go formula to a full-funding approach, which involves setting aside more money now so the state can use investment income to pay for future benefits. The report comes as the state is struggling to pay for core services such as public schools and universities" (Lin, 2/9). Las Vegas Review-Journal : "Poor people eligible for free Medicaid health care no longer would receive eyeglasses, dentures, hearing aids or as many adult diapers under the $109 million in social service spending reductions proposed by Gov.

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