Fading Out: Aging and Beyond RSS feed

The flu: what you need to know

February 17, 2018

Tags: flu, pandemic

A Guide to the Seasonal Flu for Seniors (National Council for the Aging)
Flu Shots (elsewhere on this website)
In the Flu Battle, Hydration and Elevation May Be Your Best Weapons (Kate Murphy, NY Times, 1-12-18). A good explanation of how the flu works and how to deal with it. Drink a cup or so of water or other liquid every hour, and avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. Over-the-counter medications that suppress your cough and dry your sinuses may not be the best idea; you want to get rid of the infection. 'Although you want to rest, lying flat all the time can be problematic because it collapses your lungs so you can’t cough as efficiently, trapping bacteria in your respiratory tract. If the virus destroys enough cells in your bronchial tubes it creates openings for bacteria to get into your lungs, which can lead to pneumonia, a potentially life-threatening complication of the flu. When your lungs are vertical rather than horizontal, “you’re able to breathe deeply and freely (more…)

Medical links for patients, families, and caregivers

November 14, 2017

Tags: health reference, FAQs about health problems

After links to dictionary-style online sites come links to helpful sites with a more specific focus. Alphabetical order.
Cochran Library Evidence-based medicine. Review. Database. Trials. More resources.
Drugs.com (a free drug information service)
First Aid (Mayo Clinic's alphabetical links to how to (more…)

Helen Jean
Medakovich Sarchielli
(1939-2000)

September 8, 2017

Tags: Tuscany

Some deaths come too soon and Helen Jean Medakovich’s was one of them. When she succumbed to lung cancer on October 11, 2000, she was not yet 61—and she was a young 60. It was not only that she was too young to die—it was that she was so unlikely a person to stop being alive. Being alive was what Helen Jean did best. (more…)

Books about wrongful conviction and related issues

August 30, 2017

Tags: The Innocence Project

The following is a list of books about wrongful convictions and related issues, recommended by the highly valued Innocence Project, which works nationwide to free the innocent and reform our criminal justice system. "DNA testing has exonerated more than 345 innocent people in the United States – and others are still waiting for justice." Donations to The Innocence Project are 100% tax-deductible.*

Actual Innocence: When Justice Goes Wrong and How to Make it Right by Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld, and Jim Dwyer (2000)
Adams vs. Texas: The True Story Made Famous by the Highly Acclaimed Film The Thin Blue Line by Randall Adams, with William Hoffer and . (more…)

Why U.S. medical costs are so high and where the system needs fixing

June 6, 2017

Tags: price transparency, drug costs, rate-setting, care fragmentation, who's in charge?, health care spending, medical errors, malpractice, medical economics, elder care, fee-for-service medicine

by Pat McNees (updated 2-14-18, orig. published 11-11-15)
Why are our medical bills so high? Why aren't drug prices regulated, as they are in other countries? Where is most of our health care budget spent? Where can we improve the system? Why do we overtreat the rich and undertreat the poor? Who is in charge, when a patient needs complex chronic care? Has our market-driven medical care system served us well or do we suffer from its perverse incentives? Ours is the most expensive health care system in the world but it is not delivering the most effective health care. What can we do? Here are links to key articles explaining the high cost of medical care in the United States -- and whether we're getting what we're paying for. (more…)

Conversations About Dying

January 8, 2017

Tags: Good death, bad death, dying well, Conversation Project, Five Wishes, Stanford Letter Project, Death Cafe, end-of-life care

(assembled by Pat McNees to facilitate conversations about death, dying, and final wishes)

We should all have the end-of-life conversation (Ellen Goodman on The Conversation Project). "Too many people are dying in the way they would not choose. Surveys tell us that 70 percent of Americans, for example, want to die at home but 70 percent end up dying in hospitals and institutions....Too many survivors, for that matter, are left not just mourning but feeling guilty, depressed, uncertain of whether they have done the right thing.... And we cannot wait for "the right time" (more…)

What's wrong with the 21st Century Cures Act

December 20, 2016

Tags: randomized controlled trials (RCTS)

Norman Bauman provided helpful links and comments about the 21st Century Cures Act in the Association of Health Care Journalists' discussion group. I share them (and quote from the sources) here:
• The 21st Century Cures Act is a deal that will give a lot of money to the NIH, FDA, Cancer Moonshot,etc., but will also weaken the FDA's standards of evidence used to approve drugs, particularly randomized, controlled trials (RCTs). (more…)

How storytelling can help dementia patients

December 18, 2016

Tags: Dementia, Alzheimer's

Updated 8-24-17. This former journalist helps caregivers get to know who their patients once were, before dementia took hold (Tara Bahrampour, The Age, 12-16-16) Jay Newton-Small, a District resident, started a business writing anecdote-filled profiles of dementia patients after her father got Alzheimer’s. 'Until seeing her profile, caregivers for (more…)

Lessons from "Obit," the documentary

November 15, 2016

Tags: obituary, New York Times

Vanessa Gould’s fascinating documentary Obit, shown at the summer Docs festival in Silver Spring, is a fascinating overview of how The New York Times obituary section is run. We learn how they decide which people to honor with an obit, at what length, with how many photos. The obit writers “document the lives (more…)

Doctors rebel against a re-certification test that costs $23,600 per doctor

June 27, 2016

Tags: MOC, maintenance of certification, medical specialty boards, revolt


written and posted by Pat McNees
"Over the last few months, we have seen a great increase in the number of doctors ... speaking up against the current MOC (maintenance of certification) that is now in place," wrote Dr. Linda Girgis in Are Medical Specialty Boards Extorting Physicians? Dr. Girgis explained why doctors do not want to comply with current MOC requirements:
1. The majority of doctors (more…)