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Month: August 2010

Your number one resource for Medicare information and healthy lifestyle tips.

Study Argues Nurse Anesthetists Don’t Need Supervision by Anesthesiologists

A study conducted earlier this month by two researchers at the non-profit Research Triangle Institute and funded by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists confirmed that “certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) who receive high-level training are able to provide the same level of services as anesthesiologists at potentially lower cost.” The study found no evidence that patients were at an increased surgical risk when they were administered anesthesia by a CRNA unsupervised by an anesthesiologist.

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You’re NOT too legit to quit—Smoking, that is

Chances are that you are one out of the 21 percent of American adults over the age of eighteen who regularly smokes cigarettes. And chances are, if you’re one of those people, you should quit smoking. Yes, you’ve heard it all before. Smoking is bad for you (fact). Still, no matter how much you enjoy smoking, you should (and can) quit.

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How Healthy is Coffee?

Researchers have found that coffee may actually have many health benefits. Analysis by scientists found that people who drank four or more cups of coffee every day actually decreased their likelihood of oral cancer. The caffeinated beverage has other health benefits too.

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Lookin’ Good In Those Genes!

People all over the world are living longer. Worldwide, few people reach the age of 100, and those who do are often celebrated for their longevity. Only one out of every six thousand people will blow out the candles on their 100th birthday cake. Even fewer people (one out of every seven million) have lived beyond age 100 into their 110s or 120s. Currently, the United States and Japan are home to the largest numbers of people aged 100 or older world wide.

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Healthcare Reform Extends Medicare’s Solvency by 12 Years

As discussed my previous blog post in July, both Social Security and Medicare are facing serious financial troubles in the near future as a result of Baby Boomers aging into the programs and rising healthcare costs. Medicare has specifically had a bleak outlook for the next few decades as reports in recent years indicated the program will face insolvency if its obligation to provide benefits to a growing pool of enrollees is not balanced by an increase in tax revenues. Trustees of Medicare reported Thursday that cost-cutting measure in The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 have pushed Medicare’s impending insolvency off another 12 years. Because of these provisions in the law, Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund should remain solvent until 2029. Both the 75 year shortfall for the hospital fund and the projected costs of the Medicare Supplementary Insurance program were further brought down. The trustees warned that though these projections are an improvement over last year’s estimates, additional reforms will be necessary for the programs to be financially sustainable.

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Sleep Apnea: The Symptoms and Your Options

The health benefits of sleep are well documented, yet many Americans suffer from conditions that damage sleep quality. One such condition, sleep apnea, affects more than 12 million Americans as they attempt to sleep every night. Recent research has drawn a link between heart disease and sleep apnea. People who have been diagnosed with heart trouble than people whose sleep is uninterrupted. A study of around 4,500 people over the age of 40 showed that men with sleep apnea were almost 60 percent more likely to have congestive heart failure than people without the disorder.

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Spinal-Fluid Test Predicts Alzheimer’s with 100 Percent Accuracy

UPenn researchers have just concluded an extensive study which shows that a spinal fluid test can be 100% accurate in identifying patients with memory loss who will eventually develop Alzheimer’s disease. The study which will publish today in the Archives of Neurology shows not just that a test can determine that a patient in on track to develop Alzheimer’s but also how accurate that test can be. The new study was comprised of over 300 individuals in their seventies: 114 with normal memories, 200 with memory problems, and 102 with Alzheimer’s disease. The spinal fluid of each participant was analyzed for a protein fragment called amyloid beta, which is known to form plaque in the brain, and a protein called tau, which builds up in dying brain nerve cells. The researchers analyzed each sample blind to the clinical status of each subject and patients were not informed of the results of their spinal tap test. The results? Almost three quarters of patients with mild cognitive impairment (a precursor to Alzheimer’s) had the proteins in their spinal fluid and all of those patients developed Alzheimer’s within five years. 1/3 of those patients with normal memories had the proteins in their spinal fluid, leading researchers to suspect those individuals will develop memory problems.

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Medicaid Funding Passes Senate, House the Next Hurdle

After weeks of negotiations, last Thursday the Senate granted $26 billion in aid money to states and school districts to halt layoffs of thousands of government employees, teachers, and emergency and law enforcement workers. A large chunk of these much-needed funds will go toward Medicaid programs in states whose administrators have been struggling to make ends meet (our friends at Aging and Disability in America posted on it last Friday). Another $600 million was allocated in the same bill to strengthening border security in vulnerable southern states. Of these funds $10 billion will go to help teachers who might otherwise be laid off because of cutbacks keep their jobs and $16 million will help states close budget gaps left by rising healthcare costs.

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Nurses Able to Circumvent System, Keep Working Despite Allegations of Misconduct

Recently a twenty-four state compact meant to help nurses work in the neediest areas has actually opened the door for nurses being investigated for professional irresponsibility and negligence to elude the consequences of their misconduct and keep working. This ten year old interstate compact allows a nurse with a license obtained in their home state to work in any of the other twenty-three states.

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