Thursday, July 31, 2014

Come on, get going on making better use of your lives

Statements like that--get going!--make me want to take a nap. Linda P. Fried, a prof at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, says we have added 30 years to our lives in the past 100 years--and retirement is wasting them.

This was reported in the WSJ, July 8, 2014. Well, Linda, you look certain-agey but not "old." Perhaps your systems have not started to wobble.

You say forget "retirement communities," weave old people into all aspects of the community. We can walk everyplace to get groceries and other needs. Parks, back fence chats. Public transit will be accessible to those with a hitch in their giddyup.

To have a reason to get up, older people will just keep working. Institutions will ask older people to solve their most complex problems. The ones that require mature minds.

People will see they are leaving this world a better place. Of course, their "proper investments" will insure they stay out of the catfood aisle.

All this sounds good, doesn't it? Well, what about taking care of parents or even sick adult children? What about children who move back in? What about children who can't move back in because the housing is age-restricted? What if those nifty investments are creeping along, while Steve Forbes is cleaning up?

What if you can't afford "care" like your parents could?

And let me tell you, getting older does mean getting tireder, less nimble, more shaky, more likely to fall. Mature minds, aside.

About that walking to the store--what if you can't do that anymore?

I am such a Debbie Downer today.

But designing the last 30 years of life as a win-win, as Fried says? You may get a win or two or a laugh or two, but the trajectory is pretty clear.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Baby Boomers: Maybe a Hepatitis C test?

My regular readers know I am not enthused with exhaustive testing--who would have time for anything else?

Baby Boomers are more likely than other age groups to have the viral infection called Hepatitis C.

This attacks the liver, can be fatal, and is easily acquired--even by sharing a razor at the gym.

Kristin Gourlay, writing on the USC Annenberg website,, says people born before 1945 and 1965 are more likely to have this for various reasons.  More drugs were  injected in the 1970s and 1980s. The blood supply was not screened for this until 1992. Unsafe tattooing and piercing could also spread it.

Go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to see if you are at risk.

Why get tested now? Because the disease can hide out in the body and do damage before you get symptoms.

There is a cure--but it's scary expensive--$84,000 for 12 weeks.

Will this lead to rationing? Probably. Won't everything? Better to get in line early.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New go-to site on cancer

The American Association for Cancer Research ( has started a new website called CANCER RESEARCH Catalyst.

Go to

Samples from an early issue:

The challenge of pancreatic cancer

New info on Tamoxifen

Click through to new issue of Cancer Today

Be sun sensible

You get the idea. If you have this disease or know someone who does, this might be a valuable touchpoint.

You never know what you will pick up.

You know my favorite saying: "So much has been written about everything, it's hard to find anything out about it."

This true of cancer--but the AACR is a good place to check.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Crowdfunding for cures

I always get incensed when I hear about people who hold bake sales to get money for a transplant. There has to be a better system!

Now, according to Ed Silverman, WSJ, July 15, 2014, the new approach of crowdfunding is being applied to early stage research on drugs or tests.

Early stage because you need to know yes or no on the promise of something without spending a ton--crowdfunding doesn't raise tons.

They did a study of 97 campaigns for cancer and other disease research and concluded that the approach could lead to more visibility, preliminary findings, and maybe more money from other sources.

These campaigns raised in the range of $45K on average (Drug Discovery Today).

It's a start, is how researchers, parents, and patients look at it.

Friday, July 25, 2014

How does seven hrs of sleep sound?

Get your eight hours! Or maybe nine! Now, sleep researchers say people are sleeping less and this may be OK.

Seven hours is becoming a popular amount.

In fact, too much sleep is associated with the usual roster of horrors--diabetes, obesity, heart disease, you know the list.

All this is included in Sumath Reddy's story in the WSJ, July 22, 2014. You can find the studies in there.

How much do you--personally--need? While on vacation, turn off the alarm clock, don't drink alcohol or caffeine close to bedtime, and see how long you stay asleep.

That can't be right--it isn't even technical!

I can tell you when you get older and maybe take diuretics, sleep is naps--two hrs at a time.