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67 percent of seniors want to access healthcare at home

67 percent of seniors want to access healthcare at home | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Sixty seven percent of seniors want to access healthcare service from home, although 66 percent of seniors do not think current available technology is sufficient for them to do so, according to an Accenture survey of 354 US seniors, aged 65 and over who are receiving Medicare benefits. The survey was fielded between May and June 2014.

Accenture pointed out that according to data from the US Census Bureau, 3.9 million Americans are turning 65 this year.

“Just as seniors are turning to digital tools for banking, shopping, entertainment and communications, they also expect to handle certain aspects of their healthcare services online,” Kaveh Safavi, global managing director of Accenture’s health business said in a statement. “What this means for healthcare systems is that they need to consider the role that digital technology can play in making healthcare more convenient for patients of all ages at every touch point.”

The survey found that more than 66 percent of seniors prefer to use self-care technology to manage their health rather than managing health independently. The survey also found that more than 60 percent of seniors are willing to wear a health tracking device to monitor certain vital signs, like heart rate and blood pressure. Another 60 percent of seniors are somewhat or very likely to use online health communities, including PatientsLikeMe, to research a doctor’s recommendation before they act on it.

Twenty five percent of seniors use electronic health records portals regularly to manage their health. According to projections from Accenture, the percentage of seniors that use EHR portals will grow to 42 percent in five years, as consumer-facing tools increase. Of those that currently use these portals regularly, 57 percent use them to access lab results.

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Flu Activity Up, Some Schools Closing

Flu Activity Up, Some Schools Closing | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Fluseason is ramping up, according to the CDC, which is reporting widespread flu activity in 14 states, including much of the U.S. mid-Atlantic region and several Southern states.

In many states, flu is having a big impact on schoolchildren. In at least two counties in the South, entire school systems are beginning the holiday break early because of an increase in kids sick with flu-like symptoms.

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, we will operate on an early release schedule Wednesday, December 17th,” says the notice posted on the Polk County, GA, school district’s web site. The notice says school will remain closed until after the winter break because more and more students are out sick.

“I had a lot of people tell me on Monday that they just were not going to be able to send their kids to school later in the week, because they didn’t want their kids sick all the way through the Christmas vacation,” Polk County Superintendent William Hunter, PhD, told Atlanta NBC affiliate WXIA.

Out of the district’s 7,800 students, 1,300 of them were out sick Monday, along with 78 of the district’s 500 teachers, he said.  “The decision was pretty easy to make.”

Similarly, the Cherokee County school district in western North Carolina has announced it will shut down all schools by Thursday -- 2 days earlier than planned -- for winter break.

There are various reports from Chicago to Ohio to Georgia of individual schools shutting down as well, and warnings going out to parents about keeping kids home if they show symptoms of illness.

One school district in suburban Atlanta even sent a letter to parents asking them to simply keep sick children home from school, and not to try and cover up their kids' fever symptoms by giving them fever-reducing drugs.


Less-Effective Flu Vaccine

It’s not clear whether the flu is solely to blame for the uptick in illnesses.

“I’m seeing a lot of strep, I’m seeing RSV, conjunctivitis, ear infections, and croup,” says Atlanta-area pediatrician Jennifer Shu. “There are a lot of kids missing a lot of school these days.”


Less-Effective Flu Vaccine continued...

Earlier this month, the CDC said some of this year’s main flu strains had “drifted” from the strains included in the flu vaccine, meaning the vaccine may not be as effective as they'd hoped.

“The flu virus can be unpredictable, and what we’ve seen so far this year is concerning,” says CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH.

Frieden says this year’s dominant flu strain is H3N2, a subtype of the flu virus that tends to be more serious. “We know that in seasons where H3 viruses dominate, we tend to have worse flu years, including more hospitalizations and deaths from influenza.”

Because we’re seeing a season with less-effective vaccine, Frieden says it's key to rely on the basics, including:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Cover your cough.
  • Stay home from work or school whenever you think you might be sick.

“Fever is the big sign usually for flu, and the sudden onset,” Shu says. “For the flu patients, parents have to drag them out of bed to come to the office, and they’re lying down on the exam table.”

With colds, she says, patients are more talkative, and up and walking around.

But strep often doesn’t come with cold symptoms.

Sore throat, headaches, stomachache, vomiting, sometimes fever, but runny noses and cough are not common with strep,” Shu says.

Bottom line, she says: If your child is sick, have them stay home.

“Keep them home until they’ve been fever-free for 24 hours, or until they’re alert enough to be able to sit through a full day of school without needing to rest or cough a ton,” she says. “They’re not going to be able to concentrate if they’re feeling crummy and coughing all the time anyway.”



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How Exercise Changes Our DNA

How Exercise Changes Our DNA | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

We all know that exercise can make us fitter and reduce our risk for illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. But just how, from start to finish, a run or a bike ride might translate into a healthier life has remained baffling.

Now new research reports that the answer may lie, in part, in our DNA. Exercise, a new study finds, changes the shape and functioning of our genes, an important stop on the way to improved health and fitness.

The human genome is astonishingly complex and dynamic, with genes constantly turning on or off, depending on what biochemical signals they receive from the body. When genes are turned on, they express proteins that prompt physiological responses elsewhere in the body.

Scientists know that certain genes become active or quieter as a result of exercise. But they hadn’t understood how those genes know how to respond to exercise.

Enter epigenetics, a process by which the operation of genes is changed, but not the DNA itself. Epigenetic changes occur on the outside of the gene, mainly through a process called methylation. In methylation, clusters of atoms, called methyl groups, attach to the outside of a gene like microscopic mollusks and make the gene more or less able to receive and respond to biochemical signals from the body.

Scientists know that methylation patterns change in response to lifestyle. Eating certain diets or being exposed to pollutants, for instance, can change methylation patterns on some of the genes in our DNA and affect what proteins those genes express. Depending on which genes are involved, it may also affect our health and risk for disease.

Far less has been known about exercise and methylation. A few small studies have found that a single bout of exercise leads to immediate changes in the methylation patterns of certain genes in muscle cells. But whether longer-term, regular physical training affects methylation, or how it does, has been unclear.

So for a study published this month in Epigenetics, scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm recruited 23 young and healthy men and women, brought them to the lab for a series of physical performance and medical tests, including a muscle biopsy, and then asked them to exercise half of their lower bodies for three months.

One of the obstacles in the past to precisely studying epigenetic changes has been that so many aspects of our lives affect our methylation patterns, making it difficult to isolate the effects of exercise from those of diet or other behaviors.

The Karolinska scientists overturned that obstacle by the simple expedient of having their volunteers bicycle using only one leg, leaving the other unexercised. In effect, each person became his or her own control group. Both legs would undergo methylation patterns influenced by his or her entire life; but only the pedaling leg would show changes related to exercise.

The volunteers pedaled one-legged at a moderate pace for 45 minutes, four times per week for three months. Then the scientists repeated the muscle biopsies and other tests with each volunteer.

Not surprisingly, the volunteers’ exercised leg was more powerful now than the other, showing that the exercise had resulted in physical improvements.

But the changes within the muscle cells’ DNA were more intriguing. Using sophisticated genomic analysis, the researchers determined that more than 5,000 sites on the genome of muscle cells from the exercised leg now featured new methylation patterns. Some showed more methyl groups; some fewer. But the changes were significant and not found in the unexercised leg.

Interestingly, many of the methylation changes were on portions of the genome known as enhancers that can amplify the expression of proteins by genes. And gene expression was noticeably increased or changed in thousands of the muscle-cell genes that the researchers studied.

Most of the genes in question are known to play a role in energy metabolism, insulin response and inflammation within muscles. In other words, they affect how healthy and fit our muscles — and bodies — become.

They were not changed in the unexercised leg.

The upshot is that scientists now better understand one more step in the complicated, multifaceted processes that make exercise so good for us.

Many mysteries still remain, though, said Malene Lindholm, a graduate student at the Karolinska Institute, who led the study. It’s unknown, for example, whether the genetic changes she and her colleagues observed would linger if someone quits exercising and how different amounts or different types of exercise might affect methylation patterns and gene expression. She and her colleagues hope to examine those questions in future studies.

But the message of this study is unambiguous. “Through endurance training — a lifestyle change that is easily available for most people and doesn’t cost much money,” Ms. Lindholm said, “we can induce changes that affect how we use our genes and, through that, get healthier and more functional muscles that ultimately improve our quality of life.”



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Eating the Mediterranean diet may lead to a longer life

Eating the Mediterranean diet may lead to a longer life | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Eating a Mediterranean diet may be your key to living longer. That's according to a new study led by Immaculata De Vivo, associate professor at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School.

The diet involves eating items off a menu that is rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and peas, unrefined grains, olive oil and fish. It keeps dairy, meat and saturated fats to a minimum. And you can have a glass of red wine with dinner without cheating.

Can meditation really slow aging?

The diet has been consistently linked with health benefits that includes helping you manage your weight, and it can lower your risk for chronic issues such as cardiovascular disease.

This new research looks at data from 4,676 healthy middle-aged women involved in the Nurses' Health Study, an ongoing study tracking the health of more than 120,000 U.S. nurses since 1976.

It found women who ate a Mediterranean diet had longer telomeres.

A Mediterranean diet prevents strokes

Telomeres are part of your chromosomes, the thread-like structures that house your DNA. At the end of these chromosomes are telomeres, a kind of protective "cap" that keeps the structure from unraveling. It thereby protects your genetic information.


Even in healthy people, telomeres shorten with age. Shorter telomeres are associated with aging, lower life expectancy and age-related diseases such as artherosclerosis, certain cancers and liver disease.

Scientists have noticed some lifestyle choices such as smoking, being overweight or obese and drinking a lot of sugar sweetened drinks can prematurely shorten a person's telomeres.

Scientists believe oxidative stress and inflammation can also shorten them.

How to get super fit at any age

Fruits, vegetables, olive oils and nuts -- the key components of a Mediterranean diet -- have well-known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The team of U.S. researchers led by De Vivo therefore wanted to see whether the women who stuck with this diet had longer telomeres.

"This is the largest population-based study addressing the association between Mediterranean diet adherence and telomere length in healthy, middle aged women," they write. The study included completed detailed food questionnaires and blood tests to measure telomere length.


Each participant had a calculated diet score ranging from 0 to 9 points; a higher score signifies a closer resemblance to the Mediterranean diet. Each one point change in diet score corresponded an average of 1.5 years of telomere aging.

Telomere shortening is irreversible but healthy "lifestyle choices can help prevent accelerated shortening," says De Vivo.

Healthy aging, four keys

This study's results provide "some insight into the underlying physiologic mechanism behind this association," indicating that greater adherence to this diet is significantly associated with longer telomeres, she says. Because of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the Mediterranean diet, following this diet "could balance out the 'bad effects' of smoking and obesity," De Vivo says.

These findings further support "the health benefits of greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet for reduction of overall mortality, increased longevity and reduced incidence of chronic diseases, especially major cardiovascular diseases."

None of the individual dietary components was associated with telomere length. Researchers suggest that means the whole diet is an important element, rather than one item being a kind of superfood.

That sweet drink may age you

Dr. Peter Nilsson, a professor of Clinical Cardiovascular Research at Lund University in Sweden, who wrote an accompanying editorial, suggests that the variation in telomere length and dietary patterns may also be because of genetic background factors.

While promising, Nilsson believes that future studies "should take into account the possibility of interactions between genes, diet and sex."

With these results, De Vivo and her research team hope in the future to figure out which components of the Mediterranean diet may be having a bigger impact on telomere length.

Next they also hope to study the same thing in men.



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shelly-4's curator insight, December 4, 2014 11:43 AM

the main idea of this video: study shows mediterranean diet can extend life.

eating nuts, Vegetables, red wine and etc. are preety good.

Randy Bauer's curator insight, September 16, 2015 6:29 PM

The Med Diet is not only Healthy but a satisfying approach to  culinary delight if you are a Foodie.

The Mediterranean Diet provides and supports

> Decreased incidence of stroke/cardiovascular disease

> Healthy brain function (maintains telomere length)

> Anti-Inflammatory

> Anti-oxidant rich

 

Research supports the Med Diet as Pro-Anti-Aging

 

Include healthy protein from Fish and Grass Fed Beef to compliment the diet. You do not need to eat an 8-ounce steak. Just cut a few ounces to pump up that Med Salad.

 

Also, don't cook those oils(olive, avocado) when prepping your food. Instead blanch your veggies until bright green and add your oils when on the plate or bowl.

 

Bon Appetite

 

Randy Bauer