Mary Pickett, M.D.

Mary Pickett, M.D., is is a Lecturer for Harvard Medical School and a Senior Medical Editor for Harvard Health Publications. She is also an associate professor at Oregon Health & Science University where she is a primary care doctor for adults. She supervises and educates residents in the field of Internal Medicine, for outpatient and hospital care.

Posts by Mary Pickett, M.D.

Mary Pickett, M.D.

Few plan for long-term care though most will need it

Two of every three Americans who reach age 65 will at some point need long-term care for up to three years. Yet the majority of those age 40 and older have done “little or no planning” for how they might pay for long-term care when they get older. That’s a key finding from a new survey of 1,019 Americans over age 40 on the topic of long-term care. The survey was done by the Associated Press and NORC at the University of Chicago. Most people underestimate the cost of nursing home care (it averages $6,700 a month) and overestimate what Medicare will cover. And few people are setting aside money for long-term care even as most worry about key issues of aging such as memory loss or being a burden to family members. Without a crystal ball, it’s tricky to plan for the future. It’s easy to convince yourself that you or a partner won’t need long-term care. But the statistics suggest you should start planning now, even if your plan isn’t perfect.

Mary Pickett, M.D.

Limiting antibiotic use in farm animals will help reduce antibiotic resistance

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has ruled that farmers must limit the use of antibiotics called cephalosporins to prevent infections in seemingly healthy cows, pigs, chicken, and turkeys. According to the FDA, 24.6 million pounds of antibiotics are used each year in cattle, pigs, chickens, and turkeys purely for the sake of prevention. This practice has contributed to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which are a growing threat to human health. Doctors often prescribe cephalosporins to stop common infections such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections. They are also used before surgery. Unfortunately, more and more infections are resistant to cephalosporins. Doctors are being asked to prescribe antibiotics only when they are most needed. Farmers should do the same thing. Otherwise, antibiotics lose their power. Bacteria strains become drug-resistant. And people suffer.