Older Patients at Increased Risk for Post-Thyroidectomy Complications
Older patients who undergo thyroid surgery are at a much higher risk than their younger counterparts for serious cardiac, pulmonary, and infectious complications, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
In the current study, one of the largest ever performed looking specifically at thyroid surgery and older patients, researchers wanted to know whether age had an effect on postoperative risks in thyroidectomy patients.
Researchers examined 7,915 thyroidectomy patients from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database and noted outcome measures such as urinary tract infection, cardiac complications, total hospital length of stay, and 30-day mortality. They found that, when compared with younger patients, middle-old (ages 65 to 79) are twice as likely and old-old (age 80 and older) patients are five times as likely to have a postoperative complication.
Source.“Elderly Thyroid Surgery Patients at Increased Risk for Postoperative Complications.” (2012, March 27). Retrieved April 26, 2012, from http://www.newswise.com/articles/elderly-thyroid-surgery-patients-at-increased-risk-for-postoperative-complications.
Humor & Shock Value Used in Sex Ed Initiative for Seniors
Advertising and marketing agency DDB New York has launched “Safe Sex for Seniors,” created in collaboration with SaferSex4Seniors.org, an independent collective of professional sexuality educators, researchers, authors, trainers, counselors, and therapists whose mission is to provide better education and information to ensure sexual intimacy between older adults is as safe as possible. The campaign reminds mature adults that safer sex practices are essential, following unexpected research results declaring that the 55+ demographic in the United States has the highest growth rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
DDB recognized an unfulfilled need to support this important issue in light of changing social norms. The campaign features an educational video, as well as print media applications with the tagline, “There are many ways to do it. There is only one way to do it safely.” DDB New York’s campaign features an array of older couples demonstrating a variety of Kama Sutra positions.
While the ad maintains a playful tone, the truth remains that the rate of STDs—including syphilis and gonorrhoea—among older Americans has doubled in the past decade, and the rate of HIV infection is also increasing among older adults at a more rapid rate than the general population.
Source.“DDB New York Targets Grandma & Grandpa in ‘Safe Sex For Seniors’ Initiative.” (2012, April 11). Retrieved April 26, 2012, from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ddb-new-york-targets-grandma--grandpa-in-safe-sex-for-seniors-initiative-147055525.html.
Alzheimer’s Association Awards Its Largest Research Grant
The Alzheimer’s Association has announced the awarding of its largest-ever research grant—nearly $4.2 million dollars over 4 years—to the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network–Therapeutic Trials Unit (DIAN-TTU), based at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, to enable the program to move forward more quickly with innovative drug and biomarker trials in people with genetically based, young-onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
DIAN is an international network of 11 leading research centers established in 2008 by funding from the National Institute on Aging to investigate AD caused by rare, dominantly inherited genetic mutations. DIAN now has the largest and most extensive worldwide research network investigating dominantly inherited AD and includes facilities in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.
At the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2011, the DIAN team reported interim data from 150 participants showing that, in this population, measurable brain chemistry changes appear as much as 20 years before the first detectable memory and thinking impairments. In this group, family history predicts what age the onset of symptoms will begin, which allows for a treatment window during which to test potential therapies. According to DIAN researchers, the results demonstrate the feasibility and promise of performing AD prevention studies in this special population.
The Alzheimer’s Association grant will be used to create the infrastructure for the first-ever clinical testing of experimental drug therapies within a global network of individuals who have a rare genetic form of AD but have not yet experienced the onset of symptoms. The DIAN team says that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency have expressed support for prevention trials in this population. Eleven compounds have been nominated by the pharmaceutical industry for use in these trials.
The Alzheimer’s Association grant will enable an accelerated July 2012 launch of DIAN-TTU and:
- Expand the global registry of DIAN enrollees ( http://www.alz.org/Trialmatch or http://www.DIANexpandedregistry.org).
- Direct preclinical studies to increase the chance of success of treatment trials.
- Evaluate treatment compounds for the first studies.
- Design and launch international biomarker and prevention trials.
- Function as the infrastructure to manage and run DIAN trials.
According to the DIAN scientists, a 6-month reduction in the treatment discovery timeline may translate into a reduction of up to 2.5 million cases of AD. The first biomarker studies may be completed within 12 to 18 months from the start of the trials.
Source.“Alzheimer’s Association Awards Largest Ever Research Grant to the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network (DIAN) For Innovative Therapy Trials.” (2012, March 20). Retrieved April 26, 2012, from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/alzheimers-association-awards-largest-ever-research-grant-to-the-dominantly-inherited-alzheimers-network-dian-for-innovative-therapy-trials-143453566.html
Older Adults’ Wisdom Educates Medical Students
She’s 94 years old, climbs 12 flights of stairs daily—sometimes twice—and has a wall of plaques she earned for her volunteer service. Thelma Swindell is also teaching first- and second-year medical students at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine how to work with geriatric patients as part of an innovative program called SAGE (Seniors Assisting in Geriatric Education). Through SAGE, students regularly meet with their older mentor/patients, monitor their health, and learn to understand what is critical to their lives. In the process, the older patients improve the students’ education and understanding of their own health concerns.
The SAGE program, funded by a $2-million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, links medical students with University of North Texas Health geriatric patients and older adults in the Meals on Wheels program. Students meet with the older patients periodically, then address home safety, medical history, the physiology of aging, and medications. These soon-to-be physicians help patients understand the benefits of a life review and a physical examination. In addition to benefiting the patients, the program helps future physicians to be sensitive to older adults needs and relate to these patients as whole beings, not just medical charts.
Source.“Older Patients Educate Medical Students as Only Years of Life Can at UNT Health Science Center.” (2012, March 28). Retrieved April 26, 2012, from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/older-patients-educate-medical-students-as-only-years-of-life-can-at-unt-health-science-center-144710335.html.
Pet Program Connects Residents with Furry Friends
Research has shown that aging adults benefit from relationships with pets, yet many retirement communities and eldercare facilities do not allow or accommodate residents’ pet ownership.
TigerPlace, an independent living community in mid-Missouri, is leading the way for related communities by offering a successful model—the TigerPlace Pet Initiative—other facilities can emulate. Their philosophy is to help individuals, as well as their pets, age in place. Residents live in one-level apartments with screened-in porches that lead to an outdoor walking path, which facilitates pet ownership. Students from the University of Missouri’s veterinary medicine and nursing programs visit TigerPlace three times per week to walk pets and clean litter boxes while a retired veterinary medicine faculty member makes preventive care visits to pets each month. This service enables early detection of problems that the pets’ own veterinarians can treat. An on-site examination room provides a specialized facility for veterinary care.
Source.“Pets Benefit Aging Adults’ Health, Researcher Says.” (2012, April 5). Retrieved April 26, 2012, from http://munews.missouri.edu/expert-comment/2012/0403-for-expert-comment-pets-benefit-aging-adults%E2%80%99-health-mu-researcher-says/.