weekly blog--one for the ages
Head to the hills or the beach...Labor Day is upon us. A few summery photos to remember the hottest, most humid summer since I moved to Boston in 1978. Bonus...name the insect below.
Lifespan is the length of life for an organism; Health span are the years you live in relatively good health. The same can be said for democracies like the United States, which under the present administration seems to be succumbing to the chronic diseases of aging.
So how do democracies perish? Some thoughts based on an essay of the same name by Stephen Holmes, a New York University law professor.
The lingering question now is what you do with a patient that has reached the end of its health span. In human terms, consider selectively destroying senescent cells in old tissues to eliminate a range of age-related diseases, or a next-generation form of CRISPR genome-editing to repair a diseased organ. In spiritual terms, consider reincarnation--starting a new life in a new form.
In practical terms, simply understand what we are up against and appreciate democracy’s ability to replenish society’s sense of future possibility.
With Labor Day fast approaching, a topical business news item...Troubled consumer electronics retailer Best Buy paid $800 million earlier this week to acquire a company that provides emergency response devices for the aging. It's the latest move by a retailer to deepen its presence in health care. Best Buy already sells health-and-wellness products, and offers an activity-monitoring service for aging adults in 21 markets.
Also trending...dedicated spaces for family caregivers in Acute-Care Hospitals. Fewer than 20 have them, according to experts in the field. However, caregiver advocates believe several factors are coming together to convince hospitals such investments make economic sense. The Affordable Care Act put in place penalties for avoidable re-admissions, which caregivers can help prevent, and some encouraging programs are cropping up to pay caregivers for their work.
Four noteworthy news items from the week that was:
More than 2 billion people around the world regularly consume insects, which are a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. According to a recent research study, eating crickets can help support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, and may also reduce inflammation in the body. SciBlog
Currently, there are no known ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease or to stop its progression once it has begun. But research at the University of Virginia offers new understanding of how the disease develops at the molecular level, long before extensive neuronal damage occurs and symptoms show up. Additionally, the researchers have found that an FDA-approved drug, memantine, currently used only for alleviating the symptoms of moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s disease, might be used to prevent or slow the progression of the disease if used before symptoms appear. SciBlog
In general, long-term-care insurers can use genetic test results when they decide whether to offer you coverage. The federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act prohibits health insurers from asking for or using your genetic information to make decisions about whether to sell you health insurance or how much to charge. But those rules don’t apply to long-term-care, life or disability insurance. Some states provide extra consumer protections related to genetic testing and long-term-care insurance, but most follow federal law. And if you get genetic testing after you have a policy, the results can’t affect your coverage. Kaiser
When a study isn’t a study. Montmorency tart cherries might boost gut health, according to a new study sponsored by the Cherry Marketing Institute. A grand total of nine healthy adults downed 8 ounces of tart cherry juice — from concentrate — every day. Researchers report they found more good bacteria in people’s guts after five days, but the actual bacteria involved varied from one person to the next. STAT