Family inHome Caregiving Blog
A minimally invasive procedure to repair diseased heart valves delivered about the same health outcomes for patients as open heart surgery, fantastic results from a study which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. A presentation was made last week at the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting which compared the procedures in patients with aortic stenosis, a common disorder where blood flow from the heart is restricted due to the narrowing of the aortic valve opening. Medtronic has come up with an artificial valve that is fed to the patient’s hearts through a tube inserted in the large artery in the groin. The procedure is known as transcatheter aortic valve replacement or TAVR which appears to work quite well.
39 Million Americans work for an employer without a payroll-deduction retirement savings account. In the absence of any federal action to help these people, several states (including California) have moved forward with plans to fix this problem. However, don’t get your hopes up. The New York Times reports that President Donald Trump and the Republican dominated Congress is likely to enact legislation which would make the state regulations null and void in their effort to remove as many regulations that they can as quickly as possible.
It's never too late to quit smoking, according to recent research which showed significant health benefits for those quitting, even if you wait until your senior years to do so. In addition to potentially getting lung cancer, smoking can affect your heart and make your blood more likely to clot. This can block blood flow to the heart and the brain, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. It can also damage cells that line the blood vessels, increasing the buildup of plaque and cause thickening and narrowing of the blood vessels. Cardiologists note that although E-cigarettes can be an alternative for those quitting smoking, they too have risks. They contain a large amount of nicotine which is a strong vasoactive drug that can affect cardiovascular function and health.
The medical industry is trying to transform itself from a “Doctor knows best” atmosphere to an environment where patients have more knowledge about their medical conditions and can get more involved in decision making. Some physicians have even gone so far as to have made patient medical records—including the doctor’s notes—available to patients. “There are many health conditions where there are multiple good options for treatment, and not a clear best option,” Angie Fagerlin, chair of the department of population health sciences at the University of Utah, told The Wall Street Journal. “Share decision making allows patients to engage in a deliberative, communicative process with their clinicians, and be active participants in their care,” she said. Studies have shown that this process can lead to better outcomes, fewer invasive procedures and lower costs. In addition, patients who engage in this process are less likely to regret the decisions they have made and more likely to stick with treatment regimens.
CHOMP is having a number of great events in March, including an Advance Healthcare Planning Workshop which will be held on March 23 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the hospital’s Cancer Center. Help your loved ones know your wishes for treatment and care. Complete documents, receive expert coaching and submit your wishes in your Community Hospital medical record. Register at www.chomp..org/planning
Researchers are now studying more than 1,100 immunotherapy drugs, more than double the number just two years ago, according to the Cancer Research Institute. There is growing excitement over this line of drugs after Merck & Company debuted Keytruda and Bristol-Myers Squibb brought Opdivo to market, which boosted survival rates in lung and skin cancer patients by using the person’s own immune system to fight the disease. The current immunotherapies don’t benefit all patients which has caused drug companies to race to find new products. “We are at the beginning of an entire field where we can see applications in every type of cancer,” Herve Hoppenot, a former head of Novartis AG’s oncology unit who is now CEO of Incyte, a company developing a new cancer drug.
Meals on Wheels will take a major hit if President Trump’s new budget plan becomes a reality. He is asking for a cut of $6.2 billion from the Department of Housing and Urban Development budget, $3 billion of which goes to the Community Development Block Grant program (which would be shut down under the proposed Trump budget). It provides money for a variety of community development and anti-poverty programs, including Meals on Wheels. Time Magazine reports that if Trump’s budget goes through, Meals on Wheels would no longer get any government funding starting in October of 2018. Meals on Wheels would become completely supported by private donations and would likely have to shrink its programs significantly.
A study which was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that physicians working in hospitals (known as “hospitalists”) spending a lot of money on expensive tests should rein these in. It found that U.S. Medicare patients whose doctors spent more on tests, scans and consultations were as likely to die within a month of leaving the hospitals as patients which had fewer tests. Patients of high-spending doctors were also as likely to return to the hospital within a month, researchers found. The study showed a wide variance in spending amongst hospitalists who worked in the same hospital.
If you have tried a number of diets that don’t work, researchers have found that eating beans and skipping meat is one effective way to lose weight. Researchers published a study in Food & Nutrition which said that they fed people three different breakfasts, one got pork and veal patties while the other got patties made from high-fiber beans and peas. Participants who ate the latter were more satisfied than those who ate meat. And the participants who got the bean patties for breakfast ate 12% less of the Bolognese pasta that they were served for lunch.
Those with Type 2 Diabetes need to be careful about their weight for a lot of reasons. A study which was published in the Journal Diabetes Care studied more than 1,000 people and found that belly fat was the main culprit amongst those who developed diabetic kidney disease. Another study which followed 279 participants for six years reached the same conclusion.