Beyond fractures: The fall injuries you don’t always hear about

Falls cause many serious and sometimes fatal injuries. For example: fractures can cause people to become temporarily or permanently disabled; long periods recuperating in bed can lead to pneumonia; and head injuries can trigger bleeding in the space between the skull and the brain. People who fall and are unable to move for hours may develop a potentially life-threatening breakdown of muscle tissue that can cause kidney failure. With so much at stake, it’s crucial to do everything possible to avoid falls, such as addressing underlying conditions that cause imbalance. (Locked) More »

What are mRNA vaccines?

An mRNA vaccine is a new approach to vaccination. It induces human immune cells to make the same protein that’s on the surface of a virus, which then educates the immune system to attack the virus. In the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, the mRNA gets cells to produce the spike protein that’s on the virus. An mRNA vaccine may also have the potential to treat other conditions, such as cancer. There has already been some success in treating melanoma with an mRNA vaccine. (Locked) More »

Over-the-counter hearing aids: Are they ready yet?

While over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t yet approved by the FDA, the devices are already in existence and are currently called "personal sound amplification products," or PSAPs. They’re intended for people with perceived mild or moderate hearing loss. But not all PSAPs are the same. Experts recommend finding a PSAP that has easy-to-use controls and apps, customer service with advice about operating the devices, and a money-back guarantee with a 60-day return window. The devices should have several microphones, noise cancellation, and the ability to be customized to an individual’s needs. (Locked) More »

Caregiving during the pandemic

Overseeing care for a loved one who is in a nursing home or an assisted living facility is challenging when phone calls are the primary means of communication. Asking certain questions during a phone call with a loved one—such as whether the person has seen anyone that day or been outside of his or her room—may offer clues. When speaking with staff, it helps to inquire about the loved one’s social contacts, mood, muscle strength, eating and sleeping habits, medication changes, continence, hygiene, and thinking skills. (Locked) More »

Coping with relationship fatigue

Stress, isolation, and close quarters can make for tense times at home with loved ones or a roommate. A number of approaches can ease tensions, such as realizing everyone is under a lot of stress and cutting each other some slack; setting up boundaries and agreeing when it’s okay to be together and when it’s okay to be apart; and finding a place to be alone, whether it’s a corner, another room, or a safe location outside the home. More »

Bounce back from injury

Physical therapists use a variety of recreational and exercise balls to help people cope with injury and pain. Playground balls, about the size of a soccer ball, are often used in knee rehabilitation exercises; they can be squeezed between the knees to build muscle strength. Large exercise balls are used to help strengthen the back and core muscles and to improve balance; one can sit on the ball or lie on top of it while doing an exercise. Small sports balls, such as a golf ball or a lacrosse ball, are used for deep tissue massage. (Locked) More »

Can a tracker or smartphone app help you move more?

A review of randomized controlled trials published online Dec. 21, 2020, by the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that people who use fitness trackers are a little more active each day than people who don’t use fitness trackers. More »