Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Young people winding up in nursing homes becomes a growing trend

About one in seven people now living in a nursing home in the United States is under 65. This number has risen about 22 percent in the past eight years to about 203,000, according to an analysis of statistics from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. These numbers have continued to climb as mental health facilities close and medical advances keep people alive after suffering traumatic injuries. [Source]

Quadriplegic Adam Martin

Quadriplegic Adam Martin, in a photo taken December 13, 2010, receives physical therapy from physical therapist Wes Bower at the Sarasota Health and Rehabilitation Center, the nursing home he currently resides in. Photo by Chris O'Meara; courtesy Associated Press

In a recent article published by the Associated Press, journalist Matt Sedensky interviews two quadriplegics just 26-years old who currently reside in nursing home facilities. The full article can be read here.

Advocates who help young patients find alternatives to bursing homes — advocacy organizations such as Paraquad — say that people are often surprised to learn that there are so many young people living in the facilities; estimates show about 15 percent of nursing home residents are under 65.

Federal law requires states to provide alternatives to institutional care when possible, though it implementation is determined by the state and varies from place to place. Navigating this system can be labrynthian and oftentimes requires a knowledgable advocate, and, sometimes, litigation.

Not all young nursing home patients are there for the long haul, as recovery in a nursing home is cheaper for insurance companies than in a hospital.

Still, the psychological impact for the newly disabled and their social needs can be even more demanding than their physical needs. Living in a nursing facility can pose problems at best and damaging effects at worst for these individuals. Many of the young residents sink into depression because of their physical limitations and loneliness as their nursing home conditions have them living with elderly patients with dimentia, alzheimers, and/or living in the end stages of their lives.

And the same generational issues that exist in the world outside are exacerbated by the close confines of the nursing home walls. Older residents complain about loud music and visitors. Young residents find it difficult to live so near individuals living in the end stages of their lives, eating the food on a menu designed for the elderly, and even more difficult is living in an environment that is sad most all of the time.

To read a more personal account of what its like to be young and living in a nursing home, you can read the complete article, from which this post is written, here.

If you or someone you know is under the age of 65 and living in a nursing home or similar facility and wishes to live independently, organizations like Paraquad may be able to assist you. Visit Paraquad at www.paraquad.org or call at (314) 289-4200. For TTY call (314) 289-4252.

Other organizations, such as the federal-state program Vocational Rehabilition (VR), may be able to help with home modifications. Contact your local state agency.

Related:
Sedensky, Matt. “More Young People Are Winding up in Nursing Homes.” Yahoo!News. Associated Press, 7 Jan. 2011. Web. 10 Jan. 2011. .

Pictures of You Wants You!

Annie Levy

Annie Levy, annielevy.com, for Neurology Now.

For the past two years, Neurology Now has been featuring photographs, along with brief interviews, of its readers in a spread called “Pictures of You.”

Wildly popular, Neurology Now is encouraging its readers to submit photos along with a short personal statement that will serve as a caption. Annie Levy, the photographer who creates the captivating portraits for “Pictures of You,” will review what you send in to curate a “gallery” of photos. Neurology Now editors and art director will then transform the photos and captions into beautifully designed pages that show the world who you are.

To be a part of this, email Neurology Now at nuerologynow@lwwny.com and let them know if you are interested in being a part of the new “Pictures of You.” You may submit your photo via the email along with a few words telling them about yourself. If you don’t have access to email, you can snail-mail your photo and caption to: Wolters Kluwer Health, 333 Seventh Ave., 19th floor, New York, NY 10001, attn: Neurology Now.

Can pesticides increase children’s risk for ADHD?

A study published in the June 6, 2010 Pediatrics journal adds to a growing body of scientific literature that points to possible developmental problems in children associated with exposure to organophosphate pesticides. These insecticides kill insects by attacking their brains and nervous systems. The Pediatrics study found that there was a strong correlation between evidence of pesticide exposure (as measured by pesticide byproducts called metabolites) found in the urine of children and the occurrence of ADHD. In fact, researchers found that a tenfold increase in metabolites was associated with a 55 percent to 72 percent increase in the likelihood of ADHD.

Neurology Now:
September/October 2010 – Volume 6 – Issue 5 – p 38
doi: 10.1097/01.NNN.0000389997.48835.0c
DEPARTMENTS: Your Questions Answered: ADHD

Dr. Mitchell L. Goldstein, M.D., specialist in child neurology and practices with Western Neurological Associates in Salt Lake City, UT, suggests that the simplest way to reduce pesticide exposure is to thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables, or if possible opt to purchase fruits and vegetables that are grown without exposure to organophosphate pesticides. However, he warns, children will still invariably have some exposure to pesticides in drinking water and the environment through breakdown of chemicals used in both residential and industrial settings.

Traveling the Caregiver’s Road

BCAA 2010 Caregiver's Conference flyerThis Friday, November 5th, Gulf Coast Community College will be hosting the 2010 Caregiver’s Conference given by the Bay County Alzheimer’s Alliance. This year’s theme “Traveling the Caregiver’s Road” will focus on mapping strategies for care. Topics will include:

  • Financial/Legal Planning
  • Stress Managament
  • Diet & Nutrition
  • Bladder Health
  • Quality of Life
  • Grief Issues
  • Medications
  • Safety

The event is FREE! to the community, and respite care is available (at no charge!) Event will be held at Gulf Coast Community College in the Student Union East building, Firday, November 5th from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m..

Please call to RSVP (850) 832-8282.

Click here to see a PDF flyer for the event.

Visit Bay County Alzheimer’s Alliance at www.baycountycaregivers.com or call (850) 784-0809.

Panama City Beach participates in cutting edge animal stem cell therapy

Animal Stem Cell procedure

Image via Google search.

A Panama City Beach animal clinic participated in first ever in-clinic animal stem cell procedure in Florida.

Labrador, Hummer, and Doberman-Collie mix, Rascal, one suffering from hip dysplasia and the other from osteoarthritis, went in last Friday (Oct. 22nd) for an in-clinic adult stem cell therapy procedure that’s only been performed in five states, Florida included, since June.

Once mastered, the procedure only takes three hours to complete and is an outpatient procedure.

Dr. Mike Hutchison, the leading stem cell practitioner in the country explains in this article, the technology uses the body’s repair system by harvesting a little bit of fat from the animal, processing it, activating those stem/repair cells, and then giving them back to the animal. This therapy has been tested on cats, dogs, and horses, all with positive results across the board.

The in-clinic animal stem cell procedure costs between $1700-$1800, and is about half the cost of other procedures.

Dr. hutchison has expressed belief that in two to three years time, stem cell therapy will be standard of care procedure in every veterinary practice in North America.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Hummer’s and Rascal’s procedures went according to plan and both dogs were recovering at home by Friday evening.

Related:
Hill, Alexandra. “Panama City Beach Participates In Cutting Edge Pet Procedure.” WJHG News Channel 7 10 O’clock News. ABC. WJHG, Panama City, Florida, 22 Oct. 2010. Television.

ADHD Misdiagnosis

Yahoo! News recently published an article on misdiagnosis of ADHD in children. The article, written by Jillita Horton, examined other conditions that mimic ADHD. Misdiagnosis of psychological and neuropsycholigical conditions often occurs because of their borderline or overlapping symptoms. Also, psychological and neuropsychological testing by a psychologist who specializes in the testing is often the only way to accurately diagnose these conditions, however, many conditions only require a general physicians diagnosis to begin treatment.

What was most interesting about the Yahoo! article were the listing of many other disorders which could be the culprit, rather than ADHD. These conditions include:

Continue reading

Oral Drugs for Multiple Sclerosis

Oral Drugs

Image via disaboom. Found in Google search.

A half million American’s may soon be able to put aside the needles and injections necessary for maintenance of symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), and possibly even for the controlling of the disease’s progression all together.

The Food and Drug administration has approved its first ever oral MS drug, called dalfampridine. In clinical and drug trial tests, Dalfampridine has shown to have considerable effect on MS symptons. As many as 70 percent of people with MS have been shown in studies to have difficulties with mobility. Dalfampridine enchances nerve function, which can have great effect on the gait of MS sufferers.

Dalfampridine is considered a systomatic therapy, not a disease-modifying drug. It does not effect the immune system, as do the other federally approved MS drugs, and may not alter the course of the disease. These immune system altering drugs have only been able to be administered through injections, as oral forms have caused gastrointestinal problems. Scientists have been working diligently to find an oral medicine that did not come with these problems, and until recently have been unsuccessful.

Hot on the heals of the FDA’s approval of dalfampridine for treatment of MS symptoms are five potential oral drugs currently being considered by the FDA for treatment of MS at the altering immune system level. Two of the more promising drugs are fingolimod and cladribine.

Even with approval from the FDA, there are still some concerns about dalfampridine’s adverse effects — particularly seizures. The FDA has recommended that the drug not be used in patients with a history of seizures or with moderate to severe kidney disease.

For more information on the drugs discussed here, their research findings, and the potential risks and gains of the drugs, read “Oral Drugs for MS” by Jamie Talan in Neurology Now May/June 2010 (Vol. 6 Iss. 3), also available here. A PDF version of the article may also be printed from this page.

Also, an article written by Allen Bowling, MD, PhD. on these drugs and others in the race for an oral treatment for MS can be read here at disaboom.

Related:
Talan, Jamie. “Oral Drugs for MS.” Neurology Now 6.3 (2010): 35-36. Print.

Cindy McCain Takes Migraines to the Disability Forefront

Cindy McCain

Cindy McCain relaxes in her home in Phoenix, AZ. Image via Neurology Now May/June 2010 (Vol. 6, Iss. 3, p. 17)

Over the course of the past year, Cindy McCain, wife of Sen. John McCain, has spoken out, raised awareness, and even championed for a cure (a cure she promised would happen in her lifetime at the 14 Congress of the International Headache Society last August) for migraines. Through the course of speaking publicly about her migraines, Mrs. McCain has candidly referred to the condition as a “disability.”

What some media sources have called her “coming out”, Mrs. McCain’s public speaking on her migraine condition signified a monumental step for the poised Senator’s wife, who hadn’t even told her husband about her condition until 10 years ago.

Mrs. McCain’s secretive tendencies over her condition were spurned in large part to a borrage of doctors failing to take her severe headaches seriously, often labeling her a neurotic, over-stressed, and worthy of a simple aspirin remedy. As Mrs. McCain weighs in in an interview with Neurology Now (May/June 2010, Vol. 6, Iss. 3), “If I — as a prominent person — was being brushed off by doctors, what about the mother of four in a small rural community whose migraines are never taken seriously?”

During her public speaking, Mrs. McCain has spoken openly about remembering her grandmother suffering from “headaches,” a fact she and her doctor believe is an indicator of the genetic component of her migraines. McCain’s grandmother died before McCain was officially diagnosed with migraines. In fact, Mrs. McCain wasn’t diagnosed until she was 40, a decade after her migraines had actually developed, following her hysterectomy. Studies have shown that hormonal changes can bring about on migraines. McCain own migraines are accompanied by excruciating pain, auras, ringing in her ears, nausea, and even temporary loss of eye sight. All these symptons have been known to be linked to stroke in women, who are three times more likely to have them than men.

The financial implications of the costs of treatment for migraines cannot be ignored as its staggering expenses equally competes with the financial costs to that of some widely recognized disabilities. Mrs. McCain campaigned with these statistics at Capital hill last year, citing that migraine sufferers spent $20 billion dollars a year in lost work time and medical expenses; this compared to the $13 million dollars spent by Congress to research the “disease.” The World Health Organization also estimates that migraines cause more lost years of healthly life in the United States annually than multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, ovarian cancer, and tuberculosis combines. These kinds of staggering estimates means that research dollars spent on the aforementioned disorders is more than 117 times greater than that spent on migraine research (Childers, p 18)

McCain stresses that while treatment for migraines has advanced significantly over the past ten years, the bigger battle to receving appropriate treament is proper diagnosis.

You can read more on migraines and McCain’s efforts for public awareness on the condition in her interview with Neurology Now, either via this article page (a printable version of the article is also available via this page), or in its printed format in Neurology Now, May/June 2010 Vol. 6 Iss. 3 (pg. 16-19).

For more information on migraines, what they are, how this affects disabilty rights, and where to turn to for help, visit M.A.G.N.U.M. or simply type migraines.org in your web browser.

Editors Note:
According to Dr. David, Dodick, M.D., professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, A.Z., in an interview in Neurology Now (May/June 2010), a migraine is a headache usually described as “throbbing” or “pulsing”. It most commonly occurs on one side of the head and is felt to be coming from behind the eye., temple, or ear. Migraines can last anywhere from four to 72 hours. Some of the most common symptoms associates with migraines include sensitivity to light (photophobia) and/or sound (phonophobia), nausea, and vomiting.

For more information on the condition, or to find a neurologist or specialist skilled in diagnosis and management of headache disorders, contact the “American Headache Society (americanheadachesociety.org or 856-423-0043) or the American Council on Headache Education (achenet.org). You can also search online with the American Academy of Neurology’s “Find a Neurologist” tool at patients.aan.com/findaneurologist.

Color Confusion…A “Did You Know” Service Announcement

Known as the Stroop Effect, after its inventor John Ridley Stroop (1935), the “trick” below is a bit of a colorful brain twister. The color names below are written in a variety of colors. Try reading the list out loud, as fast as you can. It’s harder than it looks. Your brain subsequently becomes confused because of the difference between reading the word and naming the color. Psychologists call the phenomenon interference.

Now try naming the colors of the words out loud, as fast as you can. Ignoring what the words say and paying attention only to the actual colors is a task most people find more difficult. It is harder to supress out well trained impulses to read what the word says–psychologists call this response inhibition. With practice the task gets easier, demonstrating our brain’s incredible ability to rewire itself.

Color Confusion

Want to take this brain twister a step further?

  1. Find the six words that correctly name the actual color the word is written in.
  2. Find the 12 words that correctly name the color of the following word or preceding word. Note: Consider that the word at the end of one line is followed by the word at the beginning of the next line.

Does your brain hurt yet? A color match game based on the Stroop Effect can be played on the game site lumosity.com. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the site’s other brain games and read interesting articles on how the brain works and tips for brain training.

Related:
Kim, Scott. “Color Confusion.” Neurology Now 6.3 (2010): 10. Print.

Medical Breakthrough Restores Sight to the Blind

Doctors have successfully restored sight to individuals blinded by burns by implanting the individual’s own stem cells directly into the eyes. More from this Dateline with Diane Sawyer news broadcast:

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