Category Archives: Aging

Webinar to explore cancer reporting without hype
and with the right measure of hope

Elaine Schattner, M.D., left, and Mehra Golshan, M.D., right, will speak at an upcoming AHCJ Webinar.

The breast cancer draft screening recommendations released by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in May have generated controversy and confusion, making it crucial for health journalists to provide balanced information without inadvertently creating false hope or unnecessary fear.

Cancer screening has always involved risks alongside benefits — unnecessary procedures generated from false positives remain a potential harm. But greater public awareness about screening guidelines and cancer symptoms, paired with greater willingness to talk more openly about cancer than in the past, have meant more disease is caught today at earlier stages than it once was. This makes it more treatable and increases odds of survival. 

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Q&A: What to know about new Alzheimer’s drug Leqembi

senior adult

Photo by Tim Doerfler via Unsplash

The FDA granted full clinical approval to Leqembi (lecanemab) on Thursday, July 6, making it only the second new drug approved to fight Alzheimer’s disease and the first to receive full authorization from the agency. 

The approval follows unanimous endorsement of the drug’s safety, efficacy and clinical benefit by an independent advisory committee in June. The anti-amyloid drug had already received accelerated approval in January 2023. Full FDA authorization is a big step for potentially thousands of people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s, who may be eligible for treatment.

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Resilience factors in older women
could hold key to better quality of life

two women laughing

Photo by William Oliveira via Pexels

Why do some older people seem to weather storms and bounce back from setbacks better than others? A recent study finds that several important factors seem to play a strong role in self-rated resilience among nearly 30,000 women 80 and older.

Researchers from The Ohio State University found that higher education and lower stress, along with strong social support, higher self-rated health and lower risk of depression can help older women rebound from even major life events, including death of a partner. Conversely, most older women at greater risk of depression were also more likely to report lower resilience.

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Poll shows most older adults
use assistive tech to age in place

older woman on phone

Image by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

More than half of adults age 55 and older use assistive technology — including mobile health apps and fitness trackers — to stay healthier so they can age in place, according to a May 2023 U.S. News & World Report survey. Aging in place, as defined by the CDC, is “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level.”

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Medicare announces coverage of costly Alzheimer’s medication. That could mean high premiums for beneficiaries

In the Alzheimer’s affected brain, abnormal levels of the beta-amyloid protein clump together to form plaques (seen in brown) that collect between neurons and disrupt cell function. Abnormal collections of the tau protein accumulate and form tangles (seen in blue) within neurons, harming synaptic communication between nerve cells. Image by National Institute on Aging, NIH via Flickr. Public domain photo

On June 1, Medicare officials announced plans to cover new FDA-approved drugs that may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would also require patients using the drugs to register for the purpose of gathering information on treatment results.

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