Friday, October 17, 2014

Watch the Arizona Election for This Proposal

With the mid-term elections in a few weeks away, there are some interesting proposals to watch, according to a series in Governing. A story that was published on October 16, 2014 focused on Arizona.  Arizona Tests Popularity of the Dying's Right to Try Unapproved Drugs focuses on the ability of terminally ill individuals to try experimental drugs. Proposition 303 would allow the patients to not wait for FDA ok if the drug maker is willing to get the drug to the patient.  Arizona is not the first state to consider this. Similar provisions have been approved in Colorado, Missouri, Michigan and Louisiana.

Even though FDA approval wouldn't be required, it still isn't the wild west of experimental drug use.  "The drug must have passed initial toxicity and dosage testing under the FDA’s clinical trial process. Doctors also can’t prescribe an unapproved drug unless the patient has exhausted other options. Manufacturers are under no obligation to provide the drugs and insurers aren’t required to pay for them."

The article discusses the opposition to such laws, giving reasons such as providing false hopes and the likely decrease in clinical trials. Supporters refute the agrument, noting that the terminally ill folks are not typically eligible for clinical trials. These laws are different than the FDA's "compassionate use" provisions which  "allows for experimental drugs for even seriously ill patients, and the program rarely denies an application, but “right-to-try” supporters again argue that the process is too complex and slow, as evidenced by application figures averaging about 1,000 a year."

One thing different about Arizona's proposal-the residents are voting on the provision.

October 17, 2014 in Health Care/Long Term Care, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cognitive Decline in Aging Brains-New Research

Kurzweil Accelerating Intelliegence (Kurzweil AI) ran a story that got my attention. The signature of aging in the brain reports on the results of a study that looks at a "signature" in the brain "that may be the “missing link” between cognitive decline and aging and that may in the future lead to treatments that can slow or reverse cognitive decline in older people..."

This is a technical article and perhaps not the type we typically cover in our blog, but I thought it important enough to mention. Since I don't have a scientific background, I decided to excerpt some of the findings

they identified a unique “signature of aging” that exists solely in the choroid plexus. They discovered that one of the main elements of this signature was interferon beta, a protein that the body normally produces to fight viral infection.

Turns out this protein also appears to have a negative effect on the brain. When the researchers injected an antibody that blocks interferon beta activity into the cerebrospinal fluid of the older mice, their cognitive abilities were restored, as was their ability to form new brain cells.

Why this is important? It may lead to different treatments to help with cognitive decline-the researchers "hope that this finding may, in the future, help prevent or reverse cognitive decline in old age by finding ways to rejuvenate the immunological age of the brain."

October 9, 2014 in Cognitive Impairment, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Health Care/Long Term Care, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

On the Escalator of An Aging Society?

A few days ago I blogged about an article in The Atlantic explaining one person's thinking of 75 being his optimal "old age". In that same issue of The Atlantic is another article--about longevity and 100 year olds--what it will mean for society as more of us reach that age.  What Happens When We All Live to 100? was published on September 17, 2014.

The article starts with a history of sorts of life expectancies from human origins and notes that

Viewed globally, the lengthening of life spans seems independent of any single, specific event. It didn’t accelerate much as antibiotics and vaccines became common. Nor did it retreat much during wars or disease outbreaks. A graph of global life expectancy over time looks like an escalator rising smoothly. The trend holds, in most years, in individual nations rich and poor; the whole world is riding the escalator.

Projections of ever-longer life spans assume no incredible medical discoveries—rather, that the escalator ride simply continues. If anti-aging drugs or genetic therapies are found, the climb could accelerate. Centenarians may become the norm, rather than rarities who generate a headline in the local newspaper.

The article then moves to a discussion of those institutions intentionally working on increasing life spans, the Buck Institute, the U of Michigan, the U of Texas, UC-San Francisco, and the Mayo Clinic for example. Long-term readers of this blog may also remember a post about CALICO (Google's "spin-off called the California Life Company (known as Calico) to specialize in longevity research."). The article has a fascinating section about the research being done, including some interesting consideration of other life forms that excel in longevity (worm genes, anyone?).

I particular enjoyed reading the quote of one of the leaders in the field in describing the nascent nature of the research. "'[M]edically, we do not know what ‘age’ is. The sole means to determine age is by asking for date of birth. That’s what a basic level this research still is at.'”  There seems to be some debate amongst the experts about whether life expectancy will continue to rise at the steady escalator-smooth rate as in years past.  The article also mentions some of the theories advanced over time on increasingly longevity: vitamins, low calorie diets, education, exercise, etc.

One section of the article bears significant possibilities for class discussion, the political implications of an older society.

Society is dominated by the old—old political leaders, old judges. With each passing year, as longevity increases, the intergenerational imbalance worsens. The old demand benefits for which the young must pay, while people in their 20s become disenchanted, feeling that the deck is stacked against them. National debt increases at an alarming rate. Innovation and fresh thinking disappear as energies are devoted to defending current pie-slicing arrangements.

The author reveals this is a description of what is actually occurring in Japan. Consider as the author does, what increased longevity may also do to the judicial branch--especially the Supreme Court with lifetime appointments.

This article may be viewed as a bit of a wake-up alarm, although I suspect many of the folks in the US will just hit the snooze button

People’s retirement savings simply must increase, though this means financial self-discipline, which Americans are not known for. Beyond that, most individuals will likely need to take a new view of what retirement should be: not a toggle switch—no work at all, after years of full-time labor—but a continuum on which a person gradually downshifts to half-time, then to working now and then. Let’s call it the “retirement track” rather than retirement: a phase of continuing to earn and save as full-time work winds down.

Widespread adoption of a retirement track would necessitate changes in public policy and in employers’ attitudes. Banks don’t think in terms of smallish loans to help a person in the second half of life start a home-based business, but such lending might be vital to a graying population. Many employers are required to continue offering health insurance to those who stay on the job past 65, even though they are eligible for Medicare. Employers’ premiums for these workers are much higher than for young workers, which means employers may have a logical reason to want anyone past 65 off the payroll. Ending this requirement would make seniors more attractive to employers.

Back to the reasons for increasing longevity. One in the list above, education, seems to have a solid correlation and maybe not as obvious as other reasons that come to mind (vaccines, antibiotics, improved health care, public services, etc.).  The author considers the role of education in longevity and examining budget cuts by states, suggests

Many of the social developments that improve longevity—better sanitation, less pollution, improved emergency rooms—are provided to all on an egalitarian basis. But today’s public high schools are dreadful in many inner-city areas, and broadly across states ... Legislatures are cutting support for public universities, while the cost of higher education rises faster than inflation. These issues are discussed in terms of fairness; perhaps health should be added as a concern in the debate. If education is the trump card of longevity, the top quintile may pull away from the rest

The last section of the article hypothesizes on the impact of an aging society if the escalator continues its ascent, achieving perhaps a "grey utopia" of sorts. The article is well worth reading, but it makes me think about how society values, or devalues, aging. Is getting old a challenge or disease to be conquered?  For example, the author writes, "[i]f the passage of time itself turns out to be the challenge, interdisciplinary study of aging might overtake the disease-by-disease approach. As recently as a generation ago, it would have seemed totally crazy to suppose that aging could be “cured.” Now curing aging seems, well, only somewhat crazy."  Read this article and have your students read it, too.

October 1, 2014 in Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other, Science, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Psychiatrist Shares Her Personal Journey with Grief

In Psychiatric Times, Dr. Anandhi Narasimhan, California-based and board certified in psychiatry and neurology, compares her professional and personal experiences with grieving following the death of her father.  She writes well, and in additional to offering suggestions for coping, she shares this poignant detail from her father's life, which also served to introduce me to a new and intriguing idea, "dialysis at sea."   She writes:

"My father was a distinguished scientist who placed value on education. Although he did not believe in lavishness, he always liked to present himself in a well-groomed fashion. I miss his sense of humor, and I have discovered how important such a quality can be when faced with tough times. Remembering his witty repertoire reminds me to celebrate his life.

 

The picture I have included [with her essay in Psychiatric Times] is from an Alaskan cruise my family took. We had talked about taking a cruise as a family in the past; this had been a dream of my father’s. When he was placed on regular dialysis treatments, he said, 'I guess now I won’t ever be able to go on a cruise.'

 

It wasn’t until I saw a poster advertising 'Dialysis at Sea' that I realized we could make his dream come true. With some logistical planning, transferring of medical records and such, we were able to take my father on an Alaskan cruise, an experience he both treasured and loved.When I was growing up, my father had a sort of utilitarian view of vacations—we often had to be doing and seeing things; they had to be productive. This vacation was different—it was nice to see him relax and enjoy the awesome beauty of Alaskan glaciers. His smile in the picture is how I would like to remember him: intelligent, positive, humorous, and charming."

Read more of "My Father's Influence" here

September 9, 2014 in Health Care/Long Term Care, Science, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

"Why Do More Women Get Alzheimer's?" It's Not Just Because We Live Longer...

George Washington Law Professor Naomi Cahn alerted us to the Washington Post coverage on new research analyzing causation factors to explain why 2/3 of all persons with Alzheimer's Disease are women. Lots of opportunities here for important classroom discussions:

"It has long been known that more women than men get the deadly neurodegenerative disease, and an emerging body of research is challenging the common wisdom as to why. Although the question is by no means settled, recent findings suggest that biological, genetic and even cultural influences may play heavy roles.....

 

Because advancing age is considered the biggest risk factor for the disease, researchers largely have attributed that disparity to women’s longer life spans. The average life expectancy for women is 81 years, compared with 76 for men. Yet 'even after taking age into account, women are more at risk,' said Richard Lipton, a physician who heads the Einstein Aging Study at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

 

The area of inquiry has been growing in part because of a push by female Alzheimer’s researchers, who have formed a group to advocate for a larger leadership role in the field and more gender-specific research. 'Scientific workforce diversity is very important because it’s much more likely to shape the research agenda,' said Hannah Valantine, the chief officer for scientific workforce diversity at the National Institutes of Health and a professor at Stanford University’s medical school.

 

Running counter to the longevity argument, Lipton’s research suggests that women who are 70 to 79 years old are twice as likely as men the same age to develop Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. After 80, the risk is identical and remains similar throughout the rest of life, Lipton said."

For more on emerging issues and indictors, see "Why Do More Women Get Alzheimer's?" by Frederick Kunkle.  Thanks, Naomi! 

September 4, 2014 in Cognitive Impairment, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Science, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

MOOC on Understanding Dementia to Begin March 31

Last fall, our Elder Law Prof Blog reported on the available of a MOOC (Massive Open On-Line Course) offered by John Hopkins School of Nursing on "Care of Elders with Alzheimer's Disease and other Major Neurogonitive Disorders."  Did any of our readers participate?  We welcome reports on your reactions to the experience.

Now there's a another MOOC opportunity, this time from the University of Tazmania on "Understanding Dementia."  The 9-week course is described as "building on the latest in international research on dementia." And, true to the spirit of MOOCs, it is free and open to anyone to register, here.  The course begins Monday, March 31 -- so hurry to register.

March 30, 2014 in Cognitive Impairment, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Science, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Good News or Bad News? A Blood Test with Potential to Predict Future Cognitive Impairment

Occasionally on this Blog we post to studies suggesting cutting edge scientific developments connected to Alzheimer's.  For example, last October, our colleague Professor Dayton, provided a link to a study in England described as a possible "breakthrough" in Alzheimer's research related to misfolded proteins in the brain.   John O'Connor, the executive director for McKnight's Long-Term Care News, recently offered his own reaction to such news, following release of a different study:

"Here we go again: This week saw the release of yet another breathless study claiming the cure for Alzheimer's disease is getting closer — maybe.

 

The latest incantation is a report in Nature Genetics. This entry touts an international study of the disease that may help us unlock a cure. Unless, of course, it doesn't.

 

It seems like we get treated to at least one or two of these “important breakthrough” studies every month, sometimes more. And the plot seldom varies: Earnest investigators working countless hours have issued a report that may bring us closer to a cure. Then, tucked somewhere in the back is a mention that, ahem, more research is needed."

As with Mr. O'Connor, I suspect many of us have experienced "breakthrough fatigue" in the area of Alzheimer's research.  Nonetheless, I am going to point to another study, this time suggesting a blood test targeting biomarkers that "may be sensitive to early neurodegeneration of preclinical Alzheimer's disease," and thus predictive of "either amnestic mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease within a 2-3 year time frame."  The report on "Plasma Phospholipids Identify Antecedent Memory Impairment in Older Adults" is in the March 2014 issue of the journal Nature Medicine and despite the somewhat intimidating title, it makes for interesting reading. 

But my real question is not about the value of the study, or as John O'Connor's essay suggests, concerns about the potential for hype to generate false hope, but whether many would actually be horrified by a predictor of future cognitive impairment within 2 to 3 years, even (especially?) one with "over 90% accuracy."  I can think of several people I've known who worried about their "failing memory," sometimes for years, but who expressly rejected seeing a specialist for testing.  Without a solution, such tests might be the ultimate example of the unfunny joke: Do you want to hear the good news or the bad news first?  We know what's going to happen to you -- but you aren't going to like it. 

 

March 27, 2014 in Cognitive Impairment, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hot Book: 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer's

I spent most of our recent spring break in Arizona with my parents and sister (and trying to thaw my frozen bones).  I had time to visit friends, some I haven't seen in decades, and often I was  tempted to give a rueful chuckle.  We're all in the same age range -- and several of us are searching for ways to help aging parents.  With friends who have a parent with dementia, as soon as they find out that much of my work now focuses on "elder law," I would get what I've come to think of as "the question."

What's the question?  "Is it inevitable that I too will develop dementia?"  Of course, I'm a  law professor, not a doctor.  My friends are asking the wrong person.

But, then I noticed that several of my friends were reading the same book.  The book is "100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer's and Age-Related Memory Loss," by  Jean Carper, a well-respected medical journalist.  One friend loaned me a copy.  It was first published in 2010.  I asked friends what they liked about the book, and more than one mentioned the "single idea" format for chapters, short enough to keep the reader on task, while sufficiently detailed to convince the reader why that "tip" just might make sense.

Some of the 100 "things" are, I hope, mostly an affirmation of common sense, such as Chapter 17's "Count Calories" and Chapter 20's "Control Bad Cholesterol."  Occasionally a chapter strikes me as a bit trendy, such as the admonition in Chapter 22 to "Go Crazy For Cinnamon."  But quite a few topics and explanations were either surprising, intriguing, or both, including Chapter 3's recommendation to "Check Out Your Ankle."  The author explains how low blood flow in your foot, measurable by an ankle-brachial index (ABI) test, can point to looming troubles for the brain.  

Happy reading and good luck adapting the tips to your life.  Remember, with 100 recommendations to read, evaluate, and, as appropriate,  embrace, it doesn't hurt to start "young." 

March 19, 2014 in Books, Cognitive Impairment, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Penn State offers post-doc in applied gerontology

The Study of Healthy Aging & Applied Research Programs (SHAARP) lab within the Center for Healthy Aging at Penn State is pleased to offer a postdoctoral position for an emerging scholar.  The SHAARP lab is led by Dr. Lesley Ross and is primarily focused on (1) cognitive, sensory, and physical functioning predictors of everyday functioning in older adults and (2) interventions to maintain everyday functioning in older adults. This lab is involved in several ongoing and recently completed longitudinal and intervention-based studies including the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE), the Cognitive and Physical Exercise Study (CAPES), the Senior and Adolescent Driving Study (SANDS), and the Maryland Driving Study.  Studies conducted within the SHAARP lab are multidisciplinary and include imaging data (MRI/fMRI), genetic biomarkers, neuropsychological and cognitive data, sensory and physical functioning data, mental health and lifestyle data, and detailed everyday functioning data (such as driving and mobility).  Primary responsibilities will include data management and analysis; preparation of manuscripts, grant proposals, and conference presentations; and participation in interdisciplinary research groups that design new studies. The fellow will have opportunities to publish, and access to exceptional resources to facilitate his or her independent research.  Additional opportunities to work with other Center for Healthy Aging faculty may also be available.

Qualified individuals will have a Ph.D. in the social, behavioral or health sciences; relevant research experience; strong statistical and writing skills; and the capacity to work closely with others. Additional skills that are highly desirable, but not required, are a background in cognitive aging, genetic biomarkers, and imaging. The appointment will be for one year, with likely funding for at least one additional year depending on productivity. The position provides salary and benefits consistent with those for NIH postdoctoral fellows.  To apply, please send (1) a letter of application indicating research interests, career goals, and experience; (2) a curriculum vita; and (3) three letters of professional reference to Ann Shuey via email (aws2@psu.edu) or post at The Center for Healthy Aging, 422 Biobehavioral Health Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.
 
 
For more information, please contact Dr. Ross at lross@psu.edu.  
 

March 6, 2014 in Grant Deadlines/Awards, Other, Science | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Not Elder Law: Bird watchers around the world needed to gather crucial data

                                                                
DuckFrom Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, bird watchers from more than 100 countries are expected to participate in the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), February 14–17, 2014. Anyone anywhere in the world can count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count and enter their sightings at www.BirdCount.org. The information gathered by tens of thousands of volunteers helps track the health of bird populations at a scale that would not otherwise be possible. The GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada.

Read the full press release

 

January 29, 2014 in Other, Science, Travel | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Possible breakthrough in Alzheimer's research?

Via the BBC:

The discovery of the first chemical to prevent the death of brain tissue in a neurodegenerative disease has been hailed as an exciting and historic moment in medical research.  More work is needed to develop a drug that could be taken by patients.  But scientists say a resulting medicine could treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's and other diseases.  The University of Leicester discovery showed all brain cell death from prion disease in mice could be prevented.

The research team at the university's Medical Research Council Toxicology Unit focused on the natural defence mechanisms built into brain cells.  When a virus hijacks a brain cell it leads to a build-up of viral proteins. Cells respond by shutting down nearly all protein production in order to halt the virus's spread.  However, many neurodegenerative diseases

Human brain

involve the production of faulty or "misfolded" proteins. These activate the same defences, but with more severe consequences.

The misfolded proteins linger and the brain cells shut down protein production for so long that they eventually starve themselves to death.

Read the full story here.

October 9, 2013 in Cognitive Impairment, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Health Care/Long Term Care, Science | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Forensic Neuroscience & Risk for Vulnerability to Undue Influence

The Center for Law, Brain and Behavior (CLBB) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has a fascinating sounding project underway: using neuroscience to develop tools to evaluate human susceptibility to undue influence.  Here's a brief description from a recent MGH newsletter:

"A second CLBB project focuses on older adults with cognitive impairment who are at heightened vulnerability to coercion by opportunists hoping to control their decisions, particularly concerning financial matters. The goal of the study is to devise and test a psychometric instrument to measure susceptibility to undue influence that can be used in proceedings about guardianship, testamentary capacity and informed consent.'The development of this tool will make an immediate contribution to the protection of adults with mild to severe intellectual impairments,' says Dr. Price."

Hat tip to Ross Schmucki, Esq. of Media, Pennsylvania for sharing this news. 

October 8, 2013 in Cognitive Impairment, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Estate Planning and Dyslexia

Recently a colleague described an estate planning dispute.  After the death of the first spouse, it came out that the surviving spouse had never read the couple's estate plan, but had signed the documents in the attorney's office when they were presented.  The individual failed to realize the documents were not entirely consistent with what the survivor believed to be the couple's plan.  The problem may be hard to solve now that the first spouse has passed.  Why would someone sign estate planning documents without reading them? 

In this instance, the individual in question, a successful entrepreneur, was dyslexic; reportedly it would have taken the individual hours to read the will or trust carefully, and although the individual planned to read the documents upon returning home, that did not happen. 

I suspect this happens far more often than lawyers would like to believe. 

As explained by the  International Dyslexia Association (IDA), dyslexia is a "language-based learning disability." According to the IDA, an estimated 15 to 20% of the population has a language-based learning disability, with some estimates suggesting one in nine individuals can be classified as having a severe disability.   Dyslexia can involve a cluster of  symptoms, but is most commonly associated with difficulty in reading. 

According to some researchers, dyslexia may also by associated with problems in oral communication.  For example, IDA advises:

"People with dyslexia can also have problems with spoken language, even after they have been exposed to good language models in their homes and good language instruction in school. They may find it difficult to express themselves clearly, or to fully comprehend what others mean when they speak. Such language problems are often difficult to recognize, but they can lead to major problems in school, in the workplace, and in relating to other people. The effects of dyslexia reach well beyond the classroom."

It is possible that by the time people get to the estate planning phase of life, they have developed or learned individual strategies for coping with dyslexia.  Or, they may have become experts in hiding the fact of their dyslexia.

As lawyers, perhaps it is incumbent upon us to inquire tactfully about each client's comfort level in reading, especially in reading often-complex estate planning documents.  Lawyers can offer alternatives to a formal "signing" session that puts pressure on even the strongest readers to sign without informed understanding of the documents. 

Strategies may include remembering to provide all clients with quiet time to read the documents, before any signing session is planned.  The lawyer can also "chart" the estate plan, to provide a  pictorial image of the plan for clients.  Lawyers and their staff can be patient in reviewing each aspect of the plan carefully, also involving the clients with conversation and dialogue (rather than monologues).   I'm sure experienced practitioners and academics have developed a whole host of key strategies that can assist not only those with dyslexia, but those with other common barriers to understanding. Is dyslexia an understudied phenomenon in attorney-client relations?  "Comments" open below.

And before anyone brushes off the topic as not relevant to "their" clients, let's remember that dyslexia can be present with highly successful people, and thus there is the potential for impact on families with significant estates. 

September 9, 2013 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Estates and Trusts, Legal Practice/Practice Management, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Your Kids Were Right: Video Games Are Good For Your (Aging) Brain

University of California San Francisco (UCSF) researchers published a paper, made available this week in Nature, titled Video Game Training Enhances Cognitive Control in Older AdultsWe can expect our students, children and grandchildren (not to mention game manufacturers) to remind us they were "right."  From the abstract for the UCSF researchers' article:

Here we show that multitasking performance, as assessed with a custom-designed three-dimensional video game (NeuroRacer), exhibits a linear age-related decline from 20 to 79 years of age. By playing an adaptive version of NeuroRacer in multitasking training mode, older adults (60 to 85 years old) reduced multitasking costs compared to both an active control group and a no-contact control group, attaining levels beyond those achieved by untrained 20-year-old participants, with gains persisting for 6 months.

I suspect we will see a lot more on this area of research in the near future.  Funding should be robust.  Of course, I also suspect that not every game is equally helpful to cognitive enhancement and thus caution and consumer protections may be appropriate.  

September 5, 2013 in Cognitive Impairment, Current Affairs, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Int'l Research Study: Dementia Care Guidelines Should Address Ethical Concerns

German researchers assessing clinical practice guidelines for dementia care in 12 countries, including the United States, conclude that key ethical concerns are often not addressed.  The reseachers looked for 31 specific ethical issues identified as core in a  previous study.  USA guidelines, developed by the American Psychiatric Association, had a comparatively high score (77%) for consideration of the ethical topics.  Overall the study suggested that four issues, "adequate consideration of advanced directives in decision making, usage of GPS and other monitoring techniques, covert medication, and dealing with suicidal thinking," were not addressed in at least 11 of the 12 national guidelines.

For the full study, Inclusion of Ethical Issues in Dementia Guidelines: A Thematic Text Analysis, published August 13, 2013 in a peer-reviewed, open-source publication, see here.

- Katherine C. Pearson, Penn State Law

August 15, 2013 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Health Care/Long Term Care, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Gerontological Society of America: Annual Meeting, Nov. 20-24

The 66th Annual Meeting for the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) takes place in New Orleans on November 20-24, 2013.  As lawyers and law professors are aware,  "Elder Law" is an inherently multi-disciplinary field.  The GSA meeting is an opportunity to discover and share the latest in interdisciplinary research on medicine, clinical care, basic science, social science, behavioral science, and public policy for issues connected to aging.  The meeting attracts an international audience, with more than 4,000 attendees, and some 400 substantive sessions.

The theme for this year's meeting is "Optimal Aging through Research," and there is a special workshop on the topic of family caregiving for persons with dementia, which should be particularly interesting for those seeking the latest in evidentiary bases for state or federal  legislation to support caregivers.  Further, the deadline for "late-breaking" abstracts for poster submissions is September 15.  

Full details on the annual meeting are available at GSA's website.  

- Katherine C. Pearson, Penn State Law 

August 13, 2013 in Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, Medicaid, Medicare, Science | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Check out this webinar series sponsored by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Series Title:  Public Policy & Aging Report on Healthy Aging and the Environment

The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) presents a distinguished panel of guest speakers to bring you a groundbreaking series of webinars on aging, environmental health, and disability. This series, which begins October 12, is sponsored by the John Merck Fund.

The series mirrors the contents of a thematic issue on healthy aging and the environment of the Public Policy & Aging Report of the Gerontological Society of America's http://www.geron.org/  policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society http://www.agingsociety.org/agingsociety/ . An electronic version of this publication will be made available for free to all webinar attendees.

To access additional information and register for any of the webinars below, please go to http://aaidd.org/ehi/content_3919.cfm?navID=306   of the AAIDD web site.

  Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging with Ted Schettler, Maria Valenti
  Tues Oct 12th from 2-3pm Eastern Time

  Built Environment with Kathy Sykes, Rodney Harrell, Regina Gray
  Tues Oct 19th from 2-3pm Eastern Time

  Psychosocial Environment with Danny George, Peter Whitehouse
  Tues Oct 26th from 2-3pm Eastern Time

  Chemical Environment with Maye Thompson, Marybeth Palmigiano
  Tues Nov 2nd from 2-3pm Eastern Time

  Food Environment with Michelle Gottlieb, Emma Sirois
  Tues Nov 9th from 2-3pm Eastern Time

October 9, 2010 in Current Affairs, Housing, Science | Permalink | TrackBack (0)