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08 Sep

Lonliness Among Seniors During the Pandemic

There's no one way to tackle the problem, expert says

Health News Results - 257

4 in 10 Adults Over 50 Consult Online Reviews When Picking a Doctor

Finding a new doctor can be a daunting task. For help, many older adults turn to online reviews, a new study finds.

In fact, many people rate online reviews as highly as they would a recommendation from friends and family when picking a doctor, the new research found.

"Doctors and policymakers should know that many older adults are viewing and valuing online ratings and reviews when...

COVID Vaccines Trigger Protective Immune Response in Nursing Home Residents: Study

Older adults in long-term care develop detectible antibodies after COVID-19 vaccination, which may mean it's safe to reopen these facilities, according to a new study.

But because it's unclear how long the antibodies last, researchers from University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) say there's still a need to monitor symptoms and controls on reopening.

"COVID-19 hit long-term ca...

Assisted Living Centers Can Do More for Dementia Patients, Experts Say

U.S. assisted living facilities often have activities to keep seniors socially engaged -- but a new study says they need to ensure that residents with dementia are not left out.

Researchers observed residents and staff at four assisted living communities over the course of a year.

They found that a few factors stood out as key to keeping residents with dementia socially and mentally...

Despite Pandemic's Toll, Many Older Adults Don't Have Living Wills

As the coronavirus pandemic continues in the United States, less than half of older Americans have legally stated their wishes should they become seriously ill, a new survey finds.

People 50 and older are at increased risk for severe COVID-19, and the pandemic may be an opportunity for them to discuss health care issues with their family and document their preferences if they suffer sever...

Diminished Hearing, Vision Together Could Be Risk Factor for Dementia

A combination of hearing and vision loss is tied to an increased risk of mental decline and dementia, but having just one of those impairments isn't connected with a higher risk, a new South Korean study finds.

It's not clear why a diminishing of both senses, but not just one, would raise dementia risks, but the study's leader had a theory that's tied to the importance of socializing in ...

Why So Many New Cancer Diagnoses When Americans Turn 65?

A few years ago, Dr. Joseph Shrager, a professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine, noticed that lung cancer diagnoses were noticeably higher at age 65 than at slightly older or younger ages.

"There was no reason rates should differ much between the ages of 63 and 65," Shrager said.

He discussed this with his colleagues, who said they were seeing so...

Furry Friends: 1 in 10 Older U.S. Adults Has Adopted a 'Pandemic Pet'

It was bound to happen: As the pandemic wore on, many older Americans couldn't resist the urge to bring home a furry friend.

According to a new poll from the University of Michigan, about 10% of all U.S. adults between the ages of 50 and 80 adopted a new pet between March 2020 and January 2021. That number was 16% for people aged 50 to 80 who have a child under 18 at home and 9% for those...

Nearly All Seniors Take Meds That Raise Their Odds of Falling

Among older Americans, deaths from falls are up sharply, dovetailing with a surge in use of medications that increase the risk of falling, researchers say.

Two decades ago, about 57% of U.S. seniors took medications that increased their risk of falls. By 2017, that number had risen to 94%, and deaths caused by falls had more than doubled, a new study found.

The medications are meant...

1 in 3 Older Thyroid Patients Takes a Med That Can Interfere With Tests

Nearly one-third of seniors who take thyroid hormone also take drugs known to interfere with tests of thyroid function, a new study finds.

It's common for older adults to take a thyroid hormone (levothyroxine) to treat low levels of natural thyroid hormone. But tests used to determine the dose and effectiveness of treatment can be affected by other medications, including prednisone, predn...

Vision Problems Are On the Decline for American Seniors

Serious vision problems among older Americans have declined sharply, and the improvement has been greatest among women, folks over 85 and seniors who are Black or Hispanic, a nationwide study shows.

"The implications of a reduction in vision impairment are significant," said study first author ZhiDi Deng, a pharmacy student at the University of Toronto in Canada. "Vision problems are a ma...

Could a New Drug Help Ease Alzheimer's?

About 7 out of 10 Alzheimer's patients wound up free of the brain plaques that are a hallmark of the disease after treatment with a potentially breakthrough experimental drug, clinical trial results show.

The drug, donanemab, also significantly slowed the patients' brain decline, according to findings published March 13 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Donanemab diss...

Depression Often Follows Stroke, and Women Are at Higher Risk

The trauma and loss of stroke can often leave survivors with long-term depression, and women appear to be at special risk, new research shows.

"We did not expect that the cumulative risk of depression would remain so persistently elevated," said study author Dr. Laura Stein, an assistant professor of neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, in New York City.

She said ...

Many More Older Americans Willing to Get COVID Vaccine: Poll

Older Americans are far more willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine than they were last fall, a new survey shows.

The survey was conducted in late January. It found that 71% of adults aged 50 to 80 said they're ready to get vaccinated when a dose is available to them, or that they'd already been vaccinated.

That's a significant increase from 58% last October found by the National Poll on...

Alzheimer's Patients Are Being Given Too Many Meds

Many older adults with dementia are prescribed dangerous combinations of drugs that raise their risk of overdose, falls and further mental deterioration, a new study finds.

About 1 in 7 people with dementia living outside of nursing homes are taking three or more drugs that act on their brain and nervous system, researchers reported.

The most troubling combinations involved opi...

Even 1 Dose of Pfizer, AstraZeneca COVID Vaccines Offer Good Protection for People Over 80

Just one dose of the Pfizer or Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines significantly reduces the risk of hospitalization for COVID patients in their 80s with preexisting health conditions, a preliminary study shows.

The findings are from AvonCAP, an ongoing surveillance project funded by Pfizer Inc. It gathers detailed information from two National Health Service (NHS) hospitals in Bristol, U.K., on ...

Most Older Americans Need Hearing Checks, But Many Aren't Getting Them

Even though research has shown that at least 50% of older adults suffer some degree of hearing loss, a new study finds that most aren't getting their hearing checked.

A national survey of more than 2,000 adults, aged 50 to 80, found that 80% said their primary care doctor hadn't asked about their hearing in the past two years. Nearly as many said they haven't had their hearing checked by ...

Choice of Brand-Name Drug Over Generics Costs Medicare Nearly $2 Billion Annually

Wider use of prescription generic drugs could save Medicare nearly $2 billion a year, researchers say.

The new analysis of Medicare Part D prescription drug claims for 2017 used a random 20% of beneficiaries, 224 drugs with one or more generic substitutes and at least 1,000 claims.

Medicare Part D accounts for roughly one-third of all prescription drug spending in the United States....

If Protections Expire, COVID Patients Could Soon Face Big Medical Bills

Older Americans on a Medicare Advantage plan could face hospital bills of $1,000 or more if private insurers start charging out-of-pocket costs for lifesaving COVID-19 care, a new study warns.

Cost data show that Medicare Advantage patients pay an average $987 out-of-pocket when they are hospitalized with the seasonal flu, and about 3% pay more than $2,500, according to the report.

...

Vaccinating Oldest First for COVID Saves the Most Lives: Study

Putting the oldest people near the front of the line for COVID-19 shots will save more lives and may extend their lifespan, too, researchers say.

The new study findings challenge the view that older people should be lower on the list for shots because they have a shorter life expectancy, according to the team from the University of California, Berkeley.

"Since older age is accompani...

U.S. Flu Vaccinations Hit New Record High This Season

While many Americans await their turn for the COVID vaccine, a potentially record-setting number have already had their flu shot.

That's the key finding in a nationwide poll of more conducted in December by the University of Georgia, involving more than 1,000 adults . In all, 43.5% of respondents said they had already had a flu shot, 13.5% said they would "definitely" get one; and 9.3% s...

Mediterranean Diet Could Keep Aging Brains Sharp

Helping your brain stay sharp with age may be as simple as changing up the food on your plate at dinnertime, a new study suggests.

The study focused on the healthy "Mediterranean" diet, a regimen reliant on olive oil, beans, nuts, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, with chicken and fish largely replacing red meat. Dairy products and eggs are only used in "low to moderate amounts," accor...

Why Some 'Super Ager' Folks Keep Their Minds Dementia-Free

Researchers may have uncovered a key reason some people remain sharp as a tack into their 80s and 90s: Their brains resist the buildup of certain proteins that mark Alzheimer's disease.

The study focused on what scientists have dubbed "super agers" -- a select group of older folks who have the memory performance of people decades younger.

Compared with older people who had average b...

Many Older Adults Confused About Proper Use of Antibiotics: Poll

Many older Americans lack knowledge about antibiotics, with some admitting to using leftover medication, a new survey reveals.

More than 2,200 adults, aged 50 to 80, were questioned. Nine out of 10 said they're cautious about using antibiotics, and nearly that number knew that overuse of the drugs can lead to them becoming ineffective, according to the University of Michigan National Poll...

Even Low Levels of Air Pollution Harm Heart, Lungs

Breathing in air that has even low levels of pollution poses a threat to older adults' heart and lungs, a new study warns.

Researchers analyzed medical records of more than 63 million Medicare patients from 2000 to 2016. They found that long-term exposure to low levels of air pollution could increase the risk of pneumonia, heart attack, stroke and the irregular heart rhythm known as atria...

New Hope for Better Treatments Against Macular Degeneration

A number of new treatments for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a progressive eye disease, are under development. AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in older people.

About 11 million Americans have AMD, which affects part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. There are two types: wet and dry. Wet AMD is treated with eye injections every month or two, and dry AMD with an...

Too Little Sleep Could Raise Your Dementia Risk

Older adults who get little sleep each night may be at heightened risk of dementia or earlier death, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that among 2,600 older Americans, those who were deemed "short sleepers" -- catching no more than five hours of sleep at night -- were more likely to develop dementia or die over the next five years.

Their risks were double that of older people...

Blacks, Hispanics at Higher Risk of COVID Death in U.S. Nursing Homes

U.S. nursing homes have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the toll on Black and Hispanic residents has been especially harsh, a new study confirms.

Researchers found that COVID-19 death rates were more than three times higher at U.S. nursing homes with the highest proportions of Black and Hispanic residents, compared to those with mostly white residents.

The study, of more...

Not the Flu: COVID Death Risk Is 3.5 Times That of Influenza

The risk of death from COVID-19 is more than triple that from seasonal flu, researchers in Canada say.

Their findings are similar to recent studies from the United States and France. The study was published Feb. 10 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

"We can now say definitively that COVID-19 is much more severe than seasonal influenza," said study author Dr. Amol ...

Does 'Prediabetes' Lead to Full-Blown Diabetes? Age May Be Key

Few older adults with prediabetes will actually go on to develop type 2 diabetes, new research concludes.

The surprising finding suggests that while prediabetes is a useful predictor of diabetes risk in young and middle-aged adults, that's not the case in older folks.

"Our results suggest that for older adults with blood sugar levels in the prediabetes range, few will actually devel...

Specialist Care for Alzheimer's Is Tough to Find for Poorer, Rural Americans

Although Alzheimer's disease is a devastating diagnosis that is better delivered earlier rather than later, new research suggests poor patients living in rural areas may not have access to the specialists who could spot the first signs of memory declines.

The team from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., led by Sayeh Nikpay, now an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota...

Being Frail Greatly Raises COVID-19 Death Risk: Study

Severe frailty significantly increases the risk of death in COVID-19 patients, British researchers say.

In their new study, the investigators analyzed data from more than 5,700 COVID-19 patients at 55 hospitals in 12 countries. They found that those who were severely frail were three times more likely to die than those who weren't frail.

That increased risk was independent of age, a...

1 in 5 Older Americans Lack Space to 'Isolate at Home' If COVID Strikes

If there is one thing the coronavirus pandemic has taught people, it is that how much living space you have matters when you or someone you love falls ill with COVID-19.

But a new survey shows that the very group most vulnerable to infection may have precious little room in which to safely weather the illness: 1 in 5 older Americans can't isolate in their home when infected with the coron...

No Gym Required: How Seniors Can Exercise During Lockdown

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it's crucial for homebound older adults to find safe and effective ways to exercise, an expert says.

At-home workouts can help strengthen muscles, improve balance, increase blood flow to the heart, boost the immune system and reduce stress, according to Summer Cook, an associate professor of kinesiology and an expert on senior fitness at the University of New...

Frustrations Mount for U.S. Seniors Seeking Access to COVID Vaccines

Irene Greenhalgh, 83, considers herself a pretty computer-savvy senior, but even she got lost in a maze of websites and e-mails trying to get an appointment for her COVID-19 vaccine.

One health provider's e-mail provided links to sites that were giving vaccinations, but the dates listed were a week old. A board of health's website proved glitchy and unusable.

After weeks of searchin...

If a Nursing Home Resident Gets a COVID Shot, Can Their Families Visit Them Now?

People in nursing homes have been suffering in isolation during the coronavirus pandemic, with their institutions in constant lockdown to prevent potentially fatal outbreaks.

Now that they're some of the first in line to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, it would be natural for nursing home residents to expect that visits from friends and family will soon resume.

That might not happen,...

Weight Training Benefits Older Women, Men Equally, Study Shows

When it comes to pumping iron, women have as much to gain as men.

A new study compared the results of women and men aged 50 to 90 who started resistance training exercise programs, finding that though men were more likely to gain absolute muscle size, their gains were on par with women's relative to body size.

"Historically, people tended to believe that men adapted to a greater deg...

COVID Survivors' Plasma Might Prevent Worsening Illness in Older Patients: Study

Blood plasma from people recovering from COVID-19 could help prevent severe illness in older patients newly infected with the virus, a small new Argentinian study finds.

The findings give new hope to the notion that so-called "convalescent plasma" might have a role to play in treating COVID-19. Earlier studies had been disappointing, showing the treatment had little effect on people with...

Some Americans Can't Access Telemedicine, Study Shows

Telemedicine rapidly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic as people turned to their phones and computers rather than leave their homes for health care.

But some groups of people were left behind in the telemedicine boom, a new study reports.

Middle-aged and older folks are much less likely to complete their scheduled telemedicine visits, as well as Medicaid recipients and those who...

Dislocation Risk After Hip Replacement Higher Than Thought: Study

Hip dislocations are much more common in people who've had total hip replacements than previously reported, Danish researchers say.

The investigators analyzed data from Denmark and found that the rate of hip dislocations within two years after total hip replacement was 3.5%. That's roughly 50% higher than some previous estimates.

More than 40% of patients with dislocations had at le...

Caring for Elderly Loved Ones During a Holiday Lockdown

While everyone is dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, older adults may feel the loss of holiday traditions the most.

It is possible to make this season feel joyful, even with all the changes. It's also a good time to check on their health and boost their mood, even from afar.

"As much as you love the older adults in your life, now is not the time to gather with them, e...

Hurricanes Leave Rise in Hospitalizations in Their Wake

Hospitals are swamped with older patients after hurricanes, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data on hospitalizations for adults 65 and older in the month following eight of the United States' largest hurricanes in recent years.

In this age group, post-hurricane increases in hospitalizations for any reason ranged from 10% (Hurricane Irene, 2011) to 23% (Hurricane Sandy, 2012)...

Older and Getting Surgery? Get Fit Beforehand

Getting fit before surgery can limit the amount of muscle older adults will lose during their recovery, researchers say.

Strength training before a scheduled operation ("prehabilitation") helps counteract muscle wasting during bed rest after a procedure. But it needs to be a long-term, targeted exercise program to be effective, according to the new report.

For the study, Br...

How Are 'Super Agers' Protected From Alzheimer's and Mental Decline?

Some older folks are still sharp as tacks and dementia-free well into their 80s and beyond. Now German researchers have uncovered a possible reason why: Their genes may help them fend off protein build-up in the brain.

The finding is based on a study of brain images of 94 participants, all aged 80 or older. They were characterized by the amount of tau protein tangles and beta-amyloid prot...

High-Dose Vitamin D Won't Prevent Seniors' Falls: Study

High doses of vitamin D may increase seniors' risk of falls, rather than reduce it, according to a new study.

Preliminary studies suggested vitamin D may increase muscle strength and improve balance, so Johns Hopkins researchers investigated whether high doses of vitamin D might reduce the risk of falls in people aged 70 and older.

But the investigators found that large doses of vit...

Don't Schedule Your Operation on Your Surgeon's Birthday

If you have a choice, you might want to avoid having an operation on your surgeon's birthday.

A new study finds that seniors who have emergency surgery on their surgeon's birthday have a much higher risk of dying in the following weeks.

Researchers analyzed data on nearly 981,000 emergency surgeries performed on Medicare beneficiaries by about 48,000 surgeons between 2011 and 2014. ...

Years Before Diagnosis, People With Alzheimer's Lose Financial Acumen

Even before signs of Alzheimer's disease or dementia appear, people are prone to make poor financial decisions, a new study finds.

Older people diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's were more likely to miss credit card payments as early as six years before their diagnosis, compared with similar people without dementia (about 8% versus 7%), the researchers found.

Patients with demen...

Delirium May Be Only Sign of Severe COVID in Elderly: Study

Delirium is often the first symptom of COVID-19 to appear in older people, a new study finds.

They may have confusion with an altered level of consciousness, disorientation, inattention and other mental disturbances, but none of the other typical signs of the coronavirus infection, such as fever and cough, researchers say.

"COVID can operate through multiple ways to affect the ...

Most Americans Over 50 Would Get COVID Vaccine: Poll

The majority of older Americans say they're likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but many would want to wait a bit before getting the shot, a new survey reveals.

Older adults are among the groups with the highest priority for COVID-19 vaccination. This poll of more than 2,000 adults, ages 50-80, was conducted in October by the University of Michigan's Institute for Healthcare Policy and Inno...

Strong Sleeping Pills Tied to Falls, Fractures in Dementia Patients

Strong sleeping pills known as "Z-drugs" may increase the risk of falls, fractures and stroke among people with dementia, British researchers report.

People with dementia can have trouble sleeping and are often prescribed drugs such as zaleplon (Sonata), zolpidem (Ambien) and zopiclone to help them nod off, but higher doses of these drugs can have negative effects.

"As many as 90% o...

Anxiety Might Speed Alzheimer's: Study

Older adults with memory problems may progress to Alzheimer's more quickly if they are also suffering from anxiety symptoms, a preliminary study suggests.

It's common for people with Alzheimer's disease to have mood symptoms, including anxiety and depression. And some research has suggested those symptoms can, in older people, act as early indicators of the dementia process.

The new...

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