Even in Older Adults, Smoking Cessation Postpones Death
An analysis of available medical literature suggests that smoking is linked to increased mortality in older patients and that smoking cessation at an older age is associated with reduced mortality, according to a report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The thorough review and meta-analysis of studies assessed the impact of smoking on all-cause mortality in people 60 and older, paying particular attention to the strength of the association by age, the impact of smoking cessation at older age, and factors that might specifically affect results of epidemiological studies on the impact of smoking in an older population. The review and meta-analysis also demonstrate that the relative risk for death notably decreases over time, even when smoking cessation is initiated at an older age.
The authors identified 17 studies from seven countries—the United States, China, Australia, Japan, England, Spain, and France—that were published between 1987 and 2011. The follow-up time of the studies ranged from 3 to 50 years, and the size of the study populations ranged from 863 to 877,243 participants.
In summarizing the results from the 17 studies, the authors noted an 83% increased relative mortality for current smokers and a 34% increased relative mortality for former smokers compared with those who never smoke.
Source.“Study Links Smoking to Increased All-Cause Mortality in Older Patients.” (2012, June 7). Retrieved June 26, 2012, from http://www.newswise.com/articles/study-links-smoking-to-increased-all-cause-mortality-in-older-patients.
New Symbol Indicates Easy-to-Use Products
The Arthritis Foundation released a new symbol for products that are tested and proven to make daily tasks easier. Consumers who are looking for easy-to-use products will soon find a new Ease-of-Use logo on accepted products in retail stores and pharmacies nationwide. They can also find Ease-of-Use-commended products on a new section of the Foundation’s website: http://www.arthritis.org/easeofuse.
Consumers are encouraged to look for the Ease-of-Use logo, an encircled version of the “active person” icon of the Arthritis Foundation, on products. That icon, along with the term Ease-of-Use, identifies products that have been tested and proven to make everyday tasks easier for people with physical limitations.
Currently, more than 100 products feature the Arthritis Foundation’s Ease-of-Use Commendation, including grocery and office supplies, gardening tools, cooking utensils, exercise equipment, medication, and other health aides.
Source.“A New Symbol Identifies Easy to Use Products.” (2012, May 22). Retrieved June 26, 2012, from the PR Newswire website: http://s.tt/1cvep.
Vitamin D Prevents Mobility Difficulties
Older adults who don’t get enough vitamin D—either from diet, supplements, or sun exposure—may be at increased risk of developing mobility limitations and disability, according to new research from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
The study, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, analyzed the association between vitamin D and onset of mobility limitation and disability over 6 years of follow up using data from the National Institute on Aging’s Health, Aging, and Body Composition study. Mobility limitation and disability are defined as any difficulty or inability to walk several blocks or climb a flight of stairs, respectively.
Of the 3,075 community-dwelling Black and White men and women, ages 70 to 79, who were enrolled, data from 2,099 participants were used for this study. Eligible participants reported no difficulty walking 0.25 miles, climbing 10 steps, or performing basic, daily living activities, and were free of life-threatening illness. Vitamin D levels were measured in the blood at the beginning of the study. Occurrence of mobility limitation and disability during follow-up was assessed during annual clinic visits alternating with telephone interviews every 6 months over 6 years.
Vitamin D plays an important role in muscle function, and an approximately 30% increased risk of mobility limitations—and almost a two-fold higher risk of mobility disability—was identified for those older adults participating in the study who had low levels of vitamin D.
Source.“Older Adults May Need More Vitamin D to Prevent Mobility Difficulties.” (2012, May 29). Retrieved June 26, 2012, from http://www.newswise.com/articles/older-adults-may-need-more-vitamin-d-to-prevent-mobility-difficulties.
Men 50 and Older Lack Sun Protection
Dermatologists warn that men 50 and older have an increased risk of developing melanoma. Unfortunately, a new survey conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) found that most men are lax when it comes to proper sun protection and are unsure how to examine their skin for skin cancer.
To address the increased risk of skin cancer in men 50 and older and raise awareness of this health issue, the AAD has produced television and radio public service advertisements (PSAs) targeting this group. “Golf” uses the humor of hazards on the golf course to point out that the missed hazard of a spot on a person’s skin could actually be a killer. The PSAs can be viewed on YouTube or at http://www.aad.org/psa.
Additionally, the AAD launched the new SPOT Skin Cancer™ public awareness initiative. The campaign’s simple tagline—“Prevent. Detect. Live.”—focuses on the positive actions people can take to protect themselves from skin cancer, including seeing a dermatologist when appropriate. The program’s website ( http://www.SpotSkinCancer.org) allows visitors to learn how to perform a skin self-examination, download a body mole map for tracking changes on skin, find free skin cancer screenings nearby, and share stories.
Source.“Men Over 50 Need to Get in the Swing of Preventing and Detecting Skin Cancer.” (2012, May 14). Retrieved June 26, 2012, from http://www.newswise.com/articles/men-over-50-need-to-get-in-the-swing-of-preventing-and-detecting-skin-cancer.
INTERACT to Reduce Hospitalizations of Nursing Home Residents
Although hospitalization of nursing home residents is often required for medical reasons, experts suggest that 28% to 40% of these admissions could be avoided with enhanced care in the skilled nursing facility (SNF). According to an article published in Health Affairs, 23.5% of Medicare beneficiaries discharged from the hospital to an SNF were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days at a cost to Medicare of $4.34 billion in 2006.
To help address the national imperative for innovative strategies to improve care for Medicare beneficiaries and reduce health care costs, researchers from Florida Atlantic University recently received $457,804 of a 4-year grant with a cumulative total of $1.8 million from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute for Nursing Research for an innovative program they have developed titled “Implementing Interventions to Reduce Hospitalizations of Nursing Home Residents” (INTERACT).
INTERACT is a quality improvement program designed to facilitate the early identification, assessment, documentation of, and communication about changes in the status of residents in SNFs, and provide the necessary tools to manage conditions before they become serious enough to necessitate a hospital transfer. The tools target three key strategies to reduce potentially avoidable hospitalizations: preventing conditions from becoming severe enough to require acute hospital care; managing selected acute conditions in the nursing home; and improving advance care planning for residents among whom a palliative or comfort care plan, rather than acute hospitalization, may be appropriate.
The program was initially implemented at 25 community-based nursing homes in Florida, Massachusetts, and New York over a 6-month period and resulted in a 17% reduction in hospital admissions among the residents. The reduction was even greater in homes that were most engaged in implementing the INTERACT intervention. The NIH-funded project will involve an interdisciplinary team of experienced nursing home researchers conducting a randomized controlled trial to test the implementation of the INTERACT program. Using INTERACT’s standardized protocol and working with an on-call nurse practitioner who visits the nursing home daily, the patient can be treated in the nursing home without any complications and only costing Medicare approximately $200 instead of $10,000 or more.
Source.“Program to Reduce Hospitalizations of Nursing Home Residents Receives NIH Grant.” (2012, June 12). Retrieved June 26, 2012, from http://www.newswise.com/articles/program-to-reduce-hospitalizations-of-nursing-home-residents-receives-nih-grant.