What new opioid laws mean for pain relief

 Image: © Darwin Brandis/Getty Images Overdoses of powerful painkillers called opioids kill more than 115 people per day in the United States. More than 42,000 people died from opioids in 2016, five times more than in 1999. The reason? Since several of these powerful painkillers became available in pill form several decades ago, doctors have been prescribing more than patients need. "It is estimated that a large part of leftover opioids are diverted to the street, either deliberately or through theft," says Dr. Edgar Ross, senior clinician at the Pain Management Center at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. The misuse of opioids is a risk many states are no longer willing to take. The rules limit the amounts that medical professionals can prescribe for temporary (acute) pain from surgery, injury, or illness. (Locked) More »

Does a virus cause Alzheimer’s?

Research suggests that some cases of Alzheimer’s disease and some other types of dementia might be triggered by the infection of brain cells with viruses, primarily the herpesviruses. (Locked) More »

Take that, muscle cramps!

When muscle cramps strike suddenly, gently stretching the muscle can relieve pain. A shortcut for nighttime leg cramp stretches is sitting up in bed, looping the blanket around the foot, and gently pulling the toes up while keeping the knee straight. A “child’s pose” yoga posture can help ease back cramps. A “forward bend” yoga pose may relieve hamstring cramps. After stretching the muscle, it helps to put a heating pad on the area to promote blood flow, and then to gently massage the muscle. (Locked) More »

Should you try the keto diet?

The ketogenic diet deprives the body of carbohydrates for fuel. Instead, the body uses ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat. Keto diet followers must eat fat at each meal. In a daily 2,000-calorie diet, that might look like 165 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs, and 75 grams of protein. Ditching carbs means limiting fruits and vegetables, which raises the risk for nutrient deficiencies. The keto diet also increases the risk for kidney, liver, mood, and thinking problems. More »

Tips for success when your kids are on your health care team

Having adult children help with their parents’ health care can be tricky. There’s a tendency for roles to reverse, with the child acting as a parent. Or the parent doesn’t want to burden the child, and lets health issues go until they’re too far gone. To make the arrangement a successful one, it helps to talk openly about necessary time commitments; decide in advance how much health information the adult child can access; and determine how much input the adult child will have in the treatment plan. (Locked) More »

Why wound healing gets harder as we age

Wounds in older adults can take a long time to heal. Treatment involves a combination of approaches such as debridement, special dressings, keeping pressure off the wound, exercising, taking a multivitamin, and eating a healthy diet with the recommended amounts of protein. Because wounds are tricky, it’s important to try to prevent them by switching positions often; keeping an eye out for nicks, cuts, and early signs of pressure wounds; and controlling conditions that can lead to wounds, such as diabetes and venous insufficiency. (Locked) More »