Falls are the leading cause of injury and death in older adults. Those with cognitive impairment are two to three times more likely to fall than those who are cognitively intact. We also know that certain medications can increase the risk of falls in older adults. According to researchers at Texas A&M University, those with dementia who regularly took pain medication and those with probable dementia who took pain medication two or more days a week in the prior month were more likely to fall compared to those without dementia, according to the researchers. Continue reading
Part two of two parts; the first ran Thursday, June 10.
There’s still a great deal we don’t yet understand about aducanumab (brand name Aduhelm) or its longer-term effects. If early-stage Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed in time for someone to begin taking the drug, are the potential adverse effects cumulative? Could long-term toxicity build up over time? How long might the drug stave off development of the plaque, and how long might it slow down the process of cognitive decline, if at all, and how will clinicians assess its benefit in patients? Continue reading
Part one of two parts; the second runs tomorrow, Friday, June 11.
You might think that the first new drug to treat Alzheimer’s in 18 years — and the first to treat underlying disease and not just symptoms — would be heralded by patients, families, and medical professionals alike. After all, the FDA’s approval on Monday of aducanumab (brand name Aduhelm) sounds like a tremendous breakthrough for the estimated 6 million Americans, and 50 million people globally, who suffer from the disease.
However, because of the supporting clinical data on its effectiveness, the drug has been controversial from the start. Drug maker Biogen actually halted its parallel Phase 3 studies, ENGAGE and EMERGE, because they failed to meet their primary endpoints. Those original endpoints were a change in the Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of Boxes (CDR-SB), which is similar to a composite endpoint because it assesses improvement in multiple different domains. Continue reading
One in seven Americans is now 65 or older, comprising an increasing share of the U.S. population, according to the latest Profile of Older Americans. The annual summary of vital statistics from the Administration on Community Living (ACL) illustrates the shifting demographics of community-dwelling elders, including income, living arrangements, education, health, and caregiving. The summary also includes special sections on COVID-19 and mental health. Continue reading
The latest annual report on America’s seniors finds older adults showed improvement on clinical measures like access to quality health care and preventive services, especially flu vaccination rates. But these improvements are tempered with some serious challenges: those over 65 also had several worsening behavioral health outcomes, including increases in drug deaths, suicides and frequent mental distress.
And, despite successes in certain clinical measures, health improvements for older adults were not felt equally across the country. For example, populations in rural states and certain racial and ethnic groups faced more significant hurdles than their urban, white counterparts, according to America’s Health Rankings, who published the analysis in May. (Don’t miss our AHCJ panel on rural aging on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, at 12:10 pm ET. Continue reading