ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 45

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 45 October 30, 2014   SCIENTISTS may have developed a nonintrusive method of scanning the brain with an MRI to check for early signs of dementia.  (The WEEK, October 24, 2014.) THE WEEK reports: 1)   A breakthrough new technique uses stem cells to grow billions of insulin secreting cells for treatment of Type I diabetes; 2)   A prosthetic arm that can “feel” and is entirely controlled by the user’s mind has been developed and is being tested in Sweden; 3)   Placing ice on fatty areas may convert white fat, which causes chubbiness, to beige fat, which burns off to generate heat and keep the body warm, suggesting people can “shiver themselves slim” in the wintertime; and 4)   Jet lag may cause changes in intestinal microbes, which, in turn, may be linked to weight gain.  (The WEEK, October 31, 2014.) NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY, FLORIDA AND ILLINOIS are now requiring health care volunteers returning from Western Africa to treat Ebola to undergo 21 days of quarantine.  (New York Times, October 26, 2014 and other sources.) “The best way to protect us is to stop the epidemic in Africa, and we need those health care workers, so we do not want to put them in a position where it makes it very, very uncomfortable for them to even volunteer to go,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  (AP, October 26, 2014.) NEW MEDICAL PROCEDURE, INVOcell, may substantially reduce the costs of in vitro fertilization by enabling a woman to use her own body for the development of the embryos she hopes...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 44

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 44 October 23, 2014   SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS to increase 1.7% next year. (NBC News, October 22, 2014.)  According to The Economist, consumer inflation is increasing at a rate of 1.8% in 2014.  (The Economist, October 18, 2014.) 10,000 NEW EBOLA cases a week could occur by the end of the year without strong international effort.  (The Economist, October 18, 2014.) Meanwhile, obesity, smoking and alcoholism kills over 800,000 per year. AUTISM SPEAKS has selected two major research projects – one focused on intestinal bacteria, the other on chronic constipation – to advance understanding of autism’s gut-brain connection. Funding for the studies, each spanning three years, will total more than $2.3 million. (Autism Speaks, October 22, 2014.) COCHLEAR IMPLANTconsisting of an external processor and 22 electrodes implanted under the skin enables deaf person to hear.  (The WEEK, October 24, 2014.) Just last week, scientists implanted a device in the eye which allows a blind person to see light. DOGSstopped an intruder on to the White House grounds.  (AOL, October 22, 2014.) The Secret Service has apparently decided to get tougher. L.A. UNIFIED SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT Deasy resigned, slamming teacher’s unions for fighting against change and accountability, while others claimed he was “autocratic”.  He will be replaced by former Superintendent Ramon Cortines, who retired amid allegations of sexual misconduct and is now suing LAUSD for $10 million.  Prior to that, the LAISD Superintendent was an Admiral; the LAUSD paid $500,000 to terminate his contract.  (Various sources, including L.A. Times and L.A. Daily News.) CALPERS, the California Pension Board, has endorsed “99 ways to boost pensions at public cost”, for actions...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 43

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 43 October 15, 2014   $38 BILLION PENALTY to be paid by nursing home company after findings of negligence and inadequate care.  (New York Times, October 11, 2014.) EBOLA VICTIM Thomas Duncan alleged presented at a Dallas hospital with a 103 degree fever and other complaints, and told staff he had recently been in Liberia.  He was sent home with antibiotics.  (Los Angeles Times, October 9, 2014.) Mr. Duncan died shortly after being readmitted after an ambulance brought him to the hospital.  At the time of this writing, a medical worker who treated Mr. Duncan has also been diagnosed with Ebola. BOTH CNN AND BLOOMBERG had stories showing how a blind man, outfitted with a camera and an implant inside his head, could be enabled to see light.  The camera transmits information to a relay device which sends it to the sensors in the eye and brain.  (CNN, Bloomberg, various dates.) AUTISM SPEAKS reports the risk of autism is lowest when pregnancies are spaced 2 to 5 years apart.  Autism Speaks also reports the greatest gains from autism therapy occur when intervention starts before age 2.  (Autism Speaks, October 9, 2014, at AutismSpeaks.org.) SHAREHOLDERS OF AIG, which received $80 billion from the federal government in the 2008 credit crisis, are now suing because the company did not terms as favorable as those extended to other companies. (Los Angeles Times, October 9, 2014.) One commentator has likened this to being saved from drowning at sea, then complaining there is a charge. THE SUPREME COURT has denied review of cases from five states whose laws opposing same-sex marriage have...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 42

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 41 October 8, 2014 MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT runs from October 15 to December 7th.  (Kiplinger Retirement Report, October, 2014.) RISK OF ALZHEIMER’S to women may increase 2.5 times if the women are highly stressed in their 30s and 40s.  5 million people over 65 have Alzheimer’s.  Almost 2/3 of these are women.  The study was done by researchers in Sweden and the U.S.  (Cited on AOL, October 4, 2014.) A few considerations are in order.  Since women still tend to outlive men it is more likely that a greater percentage of Alzheimer’s victims will be women.  Also, many women in their 30s and 40s are highly stressed between job, spouse, children, and parents, to name a few sources. IN “HOW DOCTORS DIE” by Dr. Ken Murray, 99% of all doctors do NOT want CPR. Viki Kind, Bioethicist, in a presentation to the Southern California Council of Elder Law attorneys, stated that CPR is only effective 17% of the time, even though it usually works on television.  She also presented a chart from Dr. Murray showing most doctors do not want ventilators, chemotherapy, or dialysis.  (Presentation of Viki  Kiind on October 8, 2014.) MULTIPLE SOURCES REPORT former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke cannot refinance his own home!  Likely lenders, not realizing he gives lectures at $250,000 a pop, think he is an unreliable borrower because he is no longer employed and has an untested income history in his new position, when until just recently he was one of the most powerful financial figures in the world. STOCKTON bankruptcy may have national impact as federal bankruptcy judge rules that employee...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 41

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 41 October 1, 2014   UBER AND SIDECAR, two “ride-sharing” firms, do criminal background checks on their applicants, but only for the last 7 years.  There have been some, albeit rare, attacks by drivers.  (Los Angeles Time, September 27, 2014.) SOMEWHAT RELATEDLY, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), report that almost 20% of women will be raped in their life.  The CDC’s numbers are higher than other reports because CDC used a broader definition of the term “rape”, including encounters where the women felt “unsafe” or were high or drunk and thus unable to consent.  (The WEEK, October 3, 2014.) AN AVERAGE OF 8% OF L..A. PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEES (Police, Firefighters and school guards),take disability leave each year, with each leave averaging 9 weeks, an increase of 30% from 2009.  Most claims are for “cumulative trauma” (back pain, knee strain, high blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome), that many other Americans also experience in substantial numbers as they age.  One employee took a series of disability leaves, retired, and 6 months later won the LAFD’s annual golf tournament.  (Los Angeles Times, September 28, 2014.).  Mayor Garcetti has vowed to investigate this issue.  (Los Angeles Times, September 30, 2014.) GOVERNOR BROWN signed the California Fair Sentencing Act which eliminates disparities in sentencing for the sale of cocaine and crack cocaine.  Crack cocaine is cocaine processed with an alkali such as baking soda, then smoked.  Gram for gram, there is less active cocaine in crack cocaine and the effects of the two drugs are nearly identical.  But prison sentences for crack cocaine, more common in minority communities, have been longer. ...