May 28th, 2013

Table of Contents:

Staying Mentally Healthy (How-to tips)
 
Help for Parkinson’s Disease (New book)
 
Away with Muscle Cramps (Helpful hints)
 
Dementia and Acting Out Dreams (Mayo Clinic study)
 
Anti-Smoking Campaign (Hard-hitting ads)
 
Diabetes, Health Literacy & Antidepressants (Medical research)
 
Positive Attitudes (Inspiration)
 

Staying Mentally Healthy

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association

To promote your mental health put these recommendations from Womenshealth.gov into action:

  • Perform physical exercise on a daily basis.
  • Follow a well balanced, nutrient-dense diet.
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep on a regular nightly schedule.
  • Make a concerted effort to manage stress, both physical and emotional.
  • Take time every day to enjoy something that pleases and delights you.
Share

Help for Parkinson’s Disease

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association

UF&Shands, the University of Florida Academic Health Center, is the most comprehensive of its kind in the southeastern United States. The UF&Shands news release below describes a practical new resource for patients and caregivers affected by Parkinson’s disease:

University of Florida neurologist Michael Okun, M.D., has answered more than 20,000 questions from patients with Parkinson’s disease, typically not about cures or the latest treatments, but about something much simpler – how to live well with the disease. Now Okun has written a book that he hopes will help patients everywhere.

The more I talk to Parkinson’ patients, the more I realized a couple of things,” said Okun, co-director of UF Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration. “Almost nothing is available to patients about basic lifestyle things in any language but English. Even in the most educated patients, who have access to everything, there are still lots of very simple things they aren’t doing. There are lots of things you can do to improve your quality of life.”

To address this need, Okun has authored a book titled “Parkinson’s Treatment: 10 Secrets to a Happier Life.” Published recently, the book is now available on Amazon and Smashwords in more than 20 languages. The e-book retails for $3.99. His goal is to reach every patient and family dealing with the disease.

Globally, about 4 to 6 million people have Parkinson’s disease, and 50,000 to 60,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States each year, according to the National Parkinson Foundation. As people continue to live longer, the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease in the population also will increase, Okun said.

“It is really important for people to recognize this is a problem,” he said. “If you plan on living a long life, pushing up into the eighth or ninth decade, your chances of facing a disease like this are very high. You cannot escape it.”

But unlike having a disease such as Alzheimer’s, patients can live for decades with Parkinson’s — so understanding how to live well with the disease is crucial.

Some of the topics Okun covers in the book are how to prepare for hospital stays and when to take medications, as well as everyday issues such as sleeping and exercise. Chapters are also devoted to secondary problems such as depression and addiction-like symptoms in Parkinson’s patients.

“Really, these should not be secrets,” Okun said. “If you know these things, you can live a much better life with your disease.”br>
To Okun, what is perhaps most important is making the information available in languages besides English. The book was made available on both Amazon and Smashwords specifically to increase the number of possible translations. Currently, copies can be found in 20 languages, including English, Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic among others.

“There isn’t any joking with Dr. Okun about the ’10 Secrets to a Happier Life’ in Parkinson’s disease,” said Muhammad Ali, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1984, in a written statement. “This book is a critical resource for Parkinson’s disease patients and families from around the world who speak different languages but suffer from very similar and often disabling symptoms.”

Share

Away with Muscle Cramps

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association

Bothered by muscle cramps? Try these tips from the American Academy of Orthopoeaedic Surgeons to lessen the discomfort:

  • Cease — at least for the time being — the activity that triggered your cramp.
  • Massage the cramped area gently.
  • Stretch the cramping muscle slowly and gently; hold the stretch till the cramp eases.
  • Apply ice when muscles feel tender and sore.
  • Apply heat when muscles feel tense and tight.
Share

Dementia and Acting Out Dreams

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association

A recent Mayo Clinic study found a link between acting out dreams and the development of dementia. For details, see the following Mayo Clinic news release:

The strongest predictor of whether a man is developing dementia with Lewy bodies — the second most common form of dementia in the elderly — is whether he acts out his dreams while sleeping, Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered. Patients are five times more likely to have dementia with Lewy bodies if they experience a condition known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder than if they have one of the risk factors now used to make a diagnosis, such as fluctuating cognition or hallucinations, the study found.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in San Diego. REM sleep behavior disorder is caused by loss of the normal muscle paralysis that occurs during REM sleep. It can appear three decades or more before a diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies is made in males, the researchers say. The link between dementia with Lewy bodies and the sleep disorder is not as strong in women, they add.

“While it is, of course, true that not everyone who has this sleep disorder develops dementia with Lewy bodies, as many as 75 to 80 percent of men with dementia with Lewy bodies in our Mayo database did experience REM sleep behavior disorder. So it is a very powerful marker for the disease," says lead investigator Melissa Murray, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

The study’s findings could improve diagnosis of this dementia, which can lead to beneficial treatment, Dr. Murray says.

“Screening for the sleep disorder in a patient with dementia could help clinicians diagnose either dementia with Lewy bodies or Alzheimer’s disease," she says. "It can sometimes be very difficult to tell the difference between these two dementias, especially in the early stages, but we have found that only 2 to 3 percent of patients with Alzheimer’s disease have a history of this sleep disorder.”

Once the diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies is made, patients can use drugs that can treat cognitive issues, Dr. Murray says. No cure is currently available.

Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and Florida, led by Dr. Murray, examined magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scans of the brains of 75 patients diagnosed with probable dementia with Lewy bodies. A low-to-high likelihood of dementia was made upon an autopsy examination of the brain.

The researchers checked the patients’ histories to see if the sleep disorder had been diagnosed while under Mayo care. Using this data and the brain scans, they matched a definitive diagnosis of the sleep disorder with a definite diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies five times more often than they could match risk factors, such as loss of brain volume, now used to aid in the diagnosis. The researchers also showed that low-probability dementia with Lewy bodies patients who did not have the sleep disorder had findings characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.

“When there is greater certainty in the diagnosis, we can treat patients accordingly. Dementia with Lewy bodies patients who lack Alzheimer’s-like atrophy on an MRI scan are more likely to respond to therapy — certain classes of drugs — than those who have some Alzheimer’s pathology," Dr. Murray says.

The study’s other key researchers at Mayo include neuroradiologist Kejal Kantarci, M.D., neuropsychologist Tanis J. Ferman, Ph.D., neurologist Bradley F. Boeve, M.D., and neuropathologist Dennis W. Dickson, M.D.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging, the Harry T. Mangurian, Jr., Foundation, and the Robert H. and Clarice Smith and Abigail Van Buren Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program of the Mayo Foundation.

Share

Anti-Smoking Campaign

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association

Talk about an effective ad campaign! To learn about the current campaign to expose tragic health impacts of smoking, see the following news release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Continuing with the success of last year’s national education ad campaign, “Tips from Former Smokers,” a second series of ads was launched recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The ads, funded by the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, feature compelling stories of former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities. The ads appear on
television, radio, and billboards, online, and in theaters, magazines, and newspapers nationwide.

“This campaign is saving lives and saving dollars by giving people the facts about smoking in an easy-to-understand way that encourages quitting,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. This campaign is effective. The increase in calls to quitlines after last year’s campaign shows that more people are trying to quit smoking as a result of these ads.

The messages in these new ads are emotional, telling the story of how real people’s lives were changed forever due to their smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. The ads feature smoking-related health conditions — including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, more severe adult asthma, and complications from diabetes, such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and amputation — and candidly describe the losses from smoking and the gains from quitting. The ads encourage smokers to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a toll-free number to access quit support across the country, or visit www.cdc.gov/tips to view the personal stories from the campaign and for free help quitting.

“Smoking and secondhand smoke kill — and they also harm smokers and non-smokers. The Tips from Former Smokers campaign shows the painful effects of smoking through former smokers, in a way that numbers alone cannot” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “These are the kinds of ads that smokers tell us help motivate them to quit, saving lives and money."

The new ads feature Tiffany, who lost her mother when she was 16 to lung cancer, and recently quit smoking herself as her own daughter turned 16 because she did not want her daughter to suffer the way she did; Bill, a 40-year-old with diabetes whose smoking led to heart surgery, blindness in one eye, amputation, and kidney failure; Michael, who suffers from COPD, and is agonizing about how to tell his grandson he may not be around to share his life much longer; as well as Nathan, who suffered severe lung damage from secondhand smoke exposure at work. And, a new ad featuring Terrie, who appeared in last year’s ads showing what a head and neck cancer survivor has to do to “get ready for the day,” and who
wishes she had recorded her voice before she had to have her voicebox removed, since her grandson has never heard any voice but her current one.

Despite the known dangers of tobacco use, nearly one in five adults in the United States still smoke. Almost 90 percent of smokers started before they were 18, and many of them experience life-changing health effects at a relatively early age. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body. A “tip” from Bill, the ad participant with diabetes: “Make a list. Put the people you love at the top. Put down your eyes, your legs, your kidneys, and your heart. Now cross off all the things you’re OK with losing because you’d rather smoke.”

The ads that ran last year had immediate and strong impact. Compared with the same 12-week period in 2011, overall call volume to 1-800-QUIT-NOW more than doubled during the Tips campaign, and visits to the campaign website for quit help increased by more than five times.

More than 440,000 Americans each year lose their lives to smoking-related diseases, and for every one death 20 more continue living with one or more serious illnesses from smoking. Nearly 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit. This education campaign provides motivation, information, and quit help to those who want it.

Share

Diabetes, Health Literacy & Antidepressants

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association

Adult patients with diabetes who don’t understand basic health information are significantly less likely to take newly prescribed antidepressant medication, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

In this study conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research and the University of Washington School of Medicine, 72 percent of the 1,366 study participants had limited health literacy, and had significantly poorer adherence to newly prescribed antidepressants, compared to patients with no limitations.

“Research shows that those with health literacy limitations are more likely to have poor control of their chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, congestive heart failure and HIV,” said Andrew Karter, PhD, research scientist at Kaiser Permanente and senior author on the study. “However, this is the first study to examine the association between health literacy and antidepressant adherence among patients with diabetes. This type of research gives our health care systems important feedback because, as providers, we often remain unsure whether the critical health information we convey to our patients is fully understood.”

The Institute of Medicine defines health literacy as the capacity for patients to “obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” Because nearly 90 percent of Americans have some difficulty using routine health information, the U.S. surgeon general has identified the improvement of health literacy as a national priority.

Adequate adherence for antidepressants is particularly important for patients with diabetes and other chronic medical conditions. Depression occurs twice as frequently among adults with diabetes compared to adults without diabetes, and has been associated with an increased risk of the serious diabetic complications, dementia and mortality.

In the study, health literacy was based on a self-reported scale in which participants with type 2 diabetes responded to three questions:

1. How often do you have problems learning about your medical condition because of difficulty understanding written information?
2. How confident are you filling out medical forms by yourself?
3. How often do you have someone like a family member, friend, hospital or clinic worker or caregiver, help you read health plan materials?

The study examined medication nonadherence during the 12 months after the initial antidepressant prescription, and researchers found that many patients failed to adhere to their treatment. Although most patients filled the prescription at least once, 43 percent failed to fill the prescription a second time, and nearly two-thirds had discontinued the antidepressant by the end of the 12-month period.

Poor adherence to antidepressant medications has been described previously, but what was not known is that those with health-literacy limitations were significantly less likely to take their antidepressant medications. In fact, diabetes patients with limited health literacy were much less likely to refill their antidepressant medications in a timely fashion than patients with no limitations. These patterns were not explained by other factors known to be associated with medication nonadherence, including age, race/ethnicity, English proficiency and income, which were accounted for in the study.

Depression in adults with diabetes is frequently chronic, suggesting the need for long-term antidepressant therapy. “The high rates of early discontinuation that were observed among adults with diabetes who had any health literacy limitation suggest that few of these individuals received an adequate course of antidepressant therapy. Getting that sufficient treatment is critical in preventing relapse and recurrence of depression,” said lead author Amy Bauer, MD, of the University of Washington School of Medicine. “Physicians should be aware of this. For antidepressant treatment to succeed, patients with limited health literacy may require more intensive counseling and clearer explanations about use of antidepressant medications and closer follow-up.”

The researchers said the study findings underscore the importance of national efforts to address healthy literacy, simplify health communications regarding treatment options, improve public understanding of the importance of depression treatment, and monitor antidepressant adherence.

This research was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Share

Positive Attitudes

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association


“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
– Winston Churchill

“If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”
– Mary Engelbreit

“Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.”
– Francesca Reigler

“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.”
– Author Unknown

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.”
– Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching?”
– Dennis and Wendy Mannering

Share