5 tools to help you stand up on your own

Some tools can help people stand up from a seated position. For example, a “couch cane” provides additional support to get up off of a couch. A car grab bar slips into a door latch and acts as an extra support to lean on when exiting or entering a car. Rotating seat cushions help a person swing the legs into standing position. And furniture risers raise the height of a seat, which may also assist someone when standing. The ultimate assistance in getting up from a chair is an automatic electric recliner. More »

Are there any new vaccines?

Thanks to an apprentice surgeon in the mid-18th century who found a way to prevent smallpox, we have vaccines to help protect us against disease. And scientists continue to look for new vaccines and new ways to deliver them. For example, some researchers are developing skin patches and inhaled aerosols to deliver vaccines, and genetically engineering plants to make vaccines. Work is also under way on vaccines that reduce the damage done by infections people already have, and vaccines against some non-infectious illnesses, such as certain cancers and high blood pressure. (Locked) More »

Quick-start guide to nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are tiny packages of dense nutrition. They include protein, fiber, healthy fats, and many vitamins and minerals. For example, peanuts and pecans contain lots of B vitamins; almonds are rich in calcium and vitamin E; walnuts have lots of folate, vitamin E, and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid). And all nuts have magnesium. To add more nuts to meals, sprinkle a few into salads, sauces, vegetables, or whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa. Limit nut and seed intake to an ounce or two per day. (Locked) More »

A broken back without the fall

Compression fractures of the spine might not have symptoms. However, they could signal trouble on the way. When one vertebra fractures, there’s a high risk that another will. Each fracture brings a slight loss of height and a reduced ability to bend. A number of fractures contribute to a rounding of the back known as dowager’s hump (dorsal kyphosis). The condition significantly increases the risk for disability, as well as difficulty digesting food or breathing. When a compression fracture is discovered, doctors recommend starting treatment for osteoporosis. (Locked) More »

New thinking on peripheral neuropathy

Doctors are learning that neuropathy can cause many more problems than just numbness and tingling in the feet and hands. Neuropathy of the autonomic nerves to the heart or blood vessels can cause low blood pressure, perceived as chronic fatigue and faintness or dizziness. Damage to nerve fibers serving the gastrointestinal tract may cause bloating, nausea, digestion problems, constipation, or diarrhea. These are often labeled irritable bowel syndrome. Autonomic neuropathy less often affects the bladder and sexual function. (Locked) More »

Should you get vaccinated against these germs?

When getting a flu shot, it’s a good time to ask one’s doctor about the potential need for other vaccinations. Most older adults are candidates for the shingles, pneumococcal, and hepatitis A vaccines. People born in or after 1957 may need a measles vaccine booster if they received only one shot of measles vaccine when they were younger. These people could still be susceptible to measles, particularly if they’re living in a region in which there is a measles outbreak. (Locked) More »

Can these three steps save 100 million lives?

A worldwide push to lower blood pressure, reduce sodium intake, and stop eating trans fat could delay more than 94 million deaths from cardiovascular disease in the next 25 years, finds a study published online June 10, 2019, by Circulation. More »