People with Parkinson’s and related forms of dementia improved dramatically when they took a leukemia drug called nilotinib. Researchers say the drug seems to help brain cells eliminate toxins.
By Michelle Andrews
Unpaid caregivers and family members spend more than 100 hours a month, on average, assisting elderly people with dementia who live in the community and not in residential care or nursing homes, according to a new study.
As people live longer, the number with dementia will increase, further straining caregiving resources.
Overall, people with dementia make up 10 percent of noninstitutionalized adults age 65 or older, but they account for more than 40 percent of unpaid caregivers’ time. Continue reading
SHERRILL, N.Y. — Alexander Brown swings back and forth on a makeshift hammock bolted to a wooden beam in his living room. The swaying seems to soothe the otherwise uneasy 14-year-old. His mother gazes at him from the couch and their eyes briefly connect.
“I would love to be in Alexander’s head just for a few hours,” said Diane Brown, her head slumped against her hand. “He’s having a hard time going through puberty right now.”
Alexander is confused, moody and frustrated – all very typical for a teen during adolescence. But Alexander’s transition is especially difficult for the Browns, a family of six in Sherrill, N.Y., because he is severely autistic.
Puberty is causing chaos in Alexander’s once-predictable world. He can’t talk and struggles to express himself. “He’s angry and he’s sad . . . and he doesn’t understand why,” Brown said. “I truly feel for him.”
Alexander, the third of four children, rarely sleeps through the night. He gets up at all hours to wander the kitchen, take a shower or throw a tantrum. He’s begun lashing out physically.
Brown, 45, is exhausted. She averages four hours of sleep a night and powers through most days with the help of Red Bull. Continue reading
On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed into law a requirement that nearly all children be vaccinated in order to attend school.
With the stroke of a pen, California went from being a state with relatively lax vaccination rules to one of the most strict in the country — joining Mississippi and West Virginia as states where even exemptions for religious beliefs are not allowed.
As the bill worked its way through the legislative process, it faced strong, consistent, vocal opposition from some parents, including a small group of protesters who stood vigil outside the Capitol in Sacramento for days before it was clear Brown would sign the bill.
The protesters are passionate, inflamed mainly by discredited beliefs that vaccines are linked to autism. But opposition to vaccines is far from new. Continue reading
By Rachel Dornhelm, KQED
Diane Schoenfeld comes every Friday to the Chaparral House nursing home in Berkeley, Calif. to spend time with her aunt, Lillie Manger.
“Hi Aunt Lill!” she says, squatting down next to her aunt’s wheelchair, meeting her at eye level.
Manger is 97. She has straight white hair pulled back in a neat bun today. It’s tied with a green scarf, a stylish reminder of the dancer she used to be.
They go together to the dining room to look over family pictures. Manger needs to be reminded who is in them. Including one of herself. “That’s me?” she asks. “That’s you,” her niece confirms.
“Am I supposed to remember?” says Manger.
Schoenfeld smiles at her encouragingly: “I don’t know if you’re supposed to. It’s OK either way.”
Manger has dementia. Schoenfeld is her “surrogate decision maker” meaning that legally, she is the person who makes decisions about Manger’s health care. Continue reading
U.S. spending on prescription medicines jumped 13 percent to $374 billion in 2014, the biggest percentage increase since 2001, as demand surged for expensive new breakthrough hepatitis C treatments, a report released on Tuesday showed.
Demand for newer cancer and multiple sclerosis treatments, price increases on branded medicines, particularly insulin products for diabetes, and the entry of few new generic versions of big-selling drugs also contributed to the double-digit spending rise in 2014, the report by IMS Health Holdings Inc found.
Commonly found in pain relievers, acetaminophen gets rid of more than just physical agony – it also diminishes emotions.
“Rather than just being a pain reliever, acetaminophen can be seen as an all-purpose emotion reliever,” lead researcher said in a news release.
By Jenny Gold
By law, many U.S. insurance providers that offer mental health care are required to cover it just as they would cancer or diabetes treatment.
But advocates say achieving this mental health parity can be a challenge.
Jenny Gold of Kaiser Health News spoke with NPR’s Arun Rath over the weekend about the issue.
Rath noted that many patients have trouble getting their mental health care covered, and she outlined some of the issues confronting both patients and the insurance industry. Here is an edited transcript of her comments.
Where does parity stand?
It’s been a mixed bag so far. Insurance companies often used to have a separate deductible or a higher copay for mental health and substance abuse visits. Right now, that usually isn’t the case. In that way, insurers really have complied. Continue reading
The vast majority of clinical trials involving fish oil have found no evidence that it lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke.