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Affiliated with the Rhode Island AFL-CIO “Fighting for the future of our members.” “NOW, more than ever!!!” Publication 2018 Issue 38 Published in house by the RI ARA

September 23, 2018 E-Newsletter

All Rights Reserved RI ARA 2018©

New Congressional Caucus Created to Expand Social Security The Alliance joined coalition partner organizations on Thursday at an event introducing the Expand Social Security Congressional Caucus, a new congressional group aimed at expanding, protecting and strengthening Social Security for all Americans. The event was hosted by Senators Bernie Sanders (VT) and Elizabeth Warren (MA), and Representatives John Larson (CT) and Debbie Dingell (MI). The Expand Social Security Caucus is now the largest congressional caucus, and includes over 150 members in both the House and Senate. So far, no Republicans have joined the caucus. The event featured many speakers who addressed the importance of Social Security across the country. "After a lifetime of hard work, people are entitled to retire with dignity," said Senator Warren. The average monthly Social Security benefit for retirees

nationwide is a to Social Security modest $1,413, this past year by putting many seniors eliminating dual just above the benefits for federal poverty line. unemployment and The House GOP disability insurance. Rich Fiesta budget proposed "Data shows that approximately $4 billion in cuts older Americans are still filing to Social Security this past year for bankruptcy at an alarmingly by eliminating dual benefits for high rate. That is not an America unemployment and disability that we want to see," Alliance insurance. Executive Director Richard "Data shows that older Fiesta said at the event. " Our Americans are still filing for members are organized, bankruptcy at an alarmingly high energized, and mobilized to help rate. That is not an America that expand Social Security," he we want to see," Alliance added. Executive Director Richard Senator Sanders shared his Fiesta said at the event. " Our frustration with the notion that members are organized, cutting Social Security will help energized, and mobilized to help cover the deficit from the expand Social Security," he Republican Tax Scam passed last added. year. The average monthly Social "Paul Ryan gave well over a Security benefit for retirees trillion dollars in tax breaks to nationwide is a modest $1,413, the top 1%, and then complained putting many seniors just above about the deficit going up and the federal poverty line. The wants to cut Social Security, House GOP budget proposed Medicare and Medicaid," approximately $4 billion in cuts Sanders explained. "We must

recognize that in the wealthiest country in the world, we are going to protect vulnerable people, including senior citizens and people with disabilities." To see if your Representative is a member of the “Expand” caucus, click here. If your House member is listed, please click here to thank him or her. If your Representative is not listed, please click here to urge them to join the caucus. At the event Rep. Larson highlighted a new Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) study that says the revenue loss from the GOP Tax Scam will come at a time when the baby boom generation will retire in large numbers and move into “old-old age,” causing Medicare and Social Security expenditures to rise considerably. 2026 is the first year in which every member of the baby boom generation — including the youngest — will be eligible to draw Social Security retirement benefits.

“Tax Scam 2.0” Includes Retirement Tax Shelters for the Extremely Wealthy Republican lawmakers released their “Tax Bill 2.0” this week, aiming to expand upon tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans and lar ge corporations that passed in 2017. Included in the new bill are provisions related to making permanent the individual tax breaks that currently have an expiration date and creating new retirement plans that would benefit the well-heeled disproportionately. The retirement aspect of the plan would create Universal

Savings Accounts (USAs), similar to Roth Individual Savings Accounts (Roth IRAs) for families. A USA would keep all earnings, interest, and capital tax free forever, while eliminating any income limit or distribution requirement. The Republican plan suggests that these accounts would help the middle class save for retirement; however, studies suggest the opposite. Research from CBPP has found that USA accounts would lead to huge deficits for the

federal government and add to ever growing federal budget problems. Additionally, the accounts would mostly help the extremely wealthy who have significantly more resources to transfer into a USA and can easily replenish early disbursements in time for a secure retirement. CBPP’s research also highlighted the potential for USA accounts to actually decrease savings for some middle-income households.

“The Tax Scam 2.0 is an insulting attempt to make the already harmful tax scam even worse for the middle Joseph class,” said Peters, Jr. Alliance SecretaryTreasurer Joseph Peters Jr. “We must find real solutions for growing retirement savings, not incentivize income inequality.”

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Tell Congress to Preserve Beneficial Changes to the Part D Donut Hole Efforts are underway right now to roll back critical reforms to the Medicare Part D donut hole, or coverage gap, that help reduce out-of-pocket costs for people with Medicare, especially those who face the highest prescription drug costs. We need your help! Ask your Members of Congress to maintain the Part D donut hole changes that will improve the health and economic security of people with Medicare and their families. Next year, the recently

enacted Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA) will help ease the burden of high drug costs facing many people with Medicare by closing the Part D donut hole one year early and providing people in the coverage gap with a higher discount on their prescription drugs. This higher discount will allow beneficiaries to move through the donut hole more quickly, lowering their out-ofpocket costs and ensuring they

can better access needed care. Medicare Rights knows that prescription drug affordability is an ongoing challenge. Every day on our National Consumer Helpline, we hear from older adults and people with disabilities who are struggling to cover the costs of their medications. Tell Congress to stand up for people with Medicare and preserve these beneficial Part D changes.

Last week, a coalition of advocates, including Medicare Rights, AARP, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Justice in Aging, Alliance for Retired Americans, and Patients for Affordable Drugs Now, asked Congress to maintain the Medicare Part D donut hole reforms that were included in the BBA. We made it clear that these changes will provide tangible relief to millions of Americans. Join us by amplifying our message and weighing in with your lawmakers today!

Medicare Rights Comments on Proposed Changes to Medicare’s DME Program .This week, the Medicare Rights Center submitted comments in response to a proposal from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that would, in part, make major changes to the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program. Through the DMEPOS bidding program, medical equipment suppliers compete for Medicare’s business based on quality and price, by submitting bids to serve beneficiaries in a specified geographical region. In the proposed rule, CMS is seeking to effectively suspend this program when current contracts expire at the end of 2018. The program would be suspended until new contracts are awarded under the outlined new payment methodology, however, CMS does not provide a time frame for when new contracts would begin.

We are deeply concerned about this strategy. Abruptly cancelling the existing program would create a void that must be filled by interim payment policies. This stopgap approach is likely to cause significant beneficiary and supplier confusion, and create lapses in important beneficiary protections. Under the “temporary” payment methodology—which would begin January 1, 2019 and last for an undetermined period of time—beneficiaries who have come to rely on the availability of their equipment, orthotics, and supplies for a fair, market-set price would again be forced to extensively comparison shop. That puts them again at risk of overpaying and of facing extreme out-ofpocket costs—problems the DMEPOS program alleviated. All parties would need to be

educated about this impermanent “new normal.” This level of disruption may be warranted if the program were failing dramatically. That is not, however, the case. While in the draft rule CMS seeks to justify its plan by citing undue barriers to access within the current program, available evidence reflects the contrary. Recent reports from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) indicate the bidding program has not negatively affected beneficiary access or satisfaction, and trends heard on our national helpline support those findings. This is not to say that changes or alterations to the program are not warranted. However, the proposed rule is too extreme; its disruption outweighs the program’s modest problems and

considerable benefits. Accordingly, we urge CMS to revisit its approach and immediately open bidding for service provision under the current program for the 2019 plan year. If CMS wishes to establish a new methodology for later plan years, we ask that it do so in a way that preserves beneficiary protections and the status quo, and allows time for a smooth transition. Medicare Rights continues to strongly support the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program, and its role in advancing how Medicare pays for medical equipment and services. We look forward to working with stakeholders and policymakers to ensure the program remains well-positioned to best meet the needs of people with Medicare and their families. Read our comments on the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program. Read our National Helpline Trends report.

Trump’s False Claims Over Hurricane Maria’s Death Toll Anger, Shock Both Allies And Critics: ‘I’m Flabbergasted’ President Donald Trump sparked a firestorm on Thursday when he tweeted that the death toll estimate of nearly 3,000 in

Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria was inflated by Democrats to make him look bad. The

numbers have been widely accepted as accurate by Puerto Rico, Republicans and

researchers, among other experts.

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The latest roadblock to Trump’s plan to put drug prices in ads: House Republicans President Trump’s splashiest idea for lowering the cost of prescription drug prices was to force pharmaceutical companies to include the prices of their products in TV and other advertisements. But when Capitol Hill had a chance Thursday to help him achieve that goal, lawmakers failed. And counterintuitively, it was House members in the president’s own party who ultimately nixed the provision. In fact, it was a Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, pushing the measure hardest. The provision in question is an amendment from Durbin and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that would give the Food and Drug Administration $1 million

to help get the ball rolling on Trump’s advertising idea, which he first floated in May. The pair of lawmakers was hoping to include it in a major government funding bill expected to get a vote in the coming weeks. Rumors began surfacing in Washington Thursday morning, ahead of a bicameral, bipartisan meeting about the spending bill, that the measure had been stripped out of the final package, despite clearing the Senate unanimously late last month. In a tweet Thursday morning, Grassley called the move an “EMBARRASSING bow to BIG PHARMA at the expense

of consumers.” “Transparency in advertising is the very least Congress can do. Let’s put patients before pharma,” Durbin said. Current and former congressional aides following the negotiations pointed fingers at House Republicans, as did Durbin and several other lawmakers at the meeting. None would name specific members who opposed the language, but aides allege the lawmakers stripped the provision when reconciling the separate funding bills passed by both the House and Senate. Even Rep. Tom Cole (ROkla.), who declined to say

whether he had a hand in stripping the provision, acknowledged that some of his GOP colleagues opposed the measure. But he also suggested the FDA might not need the extra funding to carry out the regulatory work. “There’s some debate if they need the language at all. So, let’s see what happens,” Cole added. He may be right. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar previously told lawmakers that he has the power to mandate these disclosures without congressional action, though it isn’t clear if the additional funding is necessary for that work….Read More

Sen. Sherrod Brown: Workers, Retirees At Risk If Kavanaugh Confirmed The Alliance hosted a teletown hall event with thousands of members on Wednesday to discuss the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supr eme Court. Speaking about the impact Kavanaugh’s confirmation would have on retirees and workers were Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH); Robert Roach, Jr., Pr esident of the Alliance; Ed Jayne, Associate Director, Federal Government Affairs Department of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); and Becky Levin, Legislative Affairs Specialist with AFSCME. “As a judge, Brett Kavanaugh

has strongly argued against keeping protections contained in the Affordable Care Act for people with pre-existing health conditions,” President Roach told listeners. “This is particularly important to older Americans, since we know 84% of people 55 - 64 have at least one pre-existing health condition.” Sen. Brown shared a personal story about how pre-existing conditions have affected his family and explained why confirming Judge Kavanaugh would be harmful for seniors, discussing Kavanaugh’s rulings favoring wealthy corporate interests over working Americans.

“I met with Judge Kavanaugh previously, and I was not impressed with his record on health care, labor unions, and workers’ rights. We already have a Supreme Court that doesn’t interpret the law, they make law,” Brown said. Participants on the call learned that 25 million Americans between 50 and 64 would be affected by rolling back protections for patients with preexisting conditions. The issue is central to a case challenging the Affordable Care Act, in which Kavanaugh could be the deciding vote. Additionally, only 7% of requested documents were provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee ahead of

Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings last week. “We must stop the confirmation of Robert Brett Kavanaugh to Roach, Jr become the next justice on the United States Supreme Court, and we need your help to do it before the Senate votes on September 20,” said President Roach. The Alliance is urging you to call your Senators and explain why Judge Kavanaugh is dangerous for retirees. Call (855) 712-8430 to be patched through to your Senator’s office.

‘I support higher taxes’: The billionaire behind the National Debt Clock has had it with Trump When U.S. government debt topped a trillion dollars for the first time in the early 1980s, New York real estate magnate Seymour Durst sent every member of Congress a holiday card that said: “Happy New Year! Your share of the federal

debt is $5,000.” When lawmakers refused to act, Durst went further, putting up the National Debt Clock in 1989 on a building he owned just off New York City’s bustling Times

Square. Three decades later, the clock is still running, yet U.S. debt has skyrocketed and most in Congress

President Donald Trump, campaigned on balancing the budget, yet they have added more than $1.5 trillion to the debt in the past year….Read More

ignore it. Republicans, including

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New Medicare Advantage Tool To Lower Drug Prices Puts Crimp In Patients’ Starting next year, Medicare Advantage plans will be able to add restrictions on expensive, injectable drugs administered by doctors to treat cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, macular degeneration and other serious diseases. Under the new rules, these private Medicare insurance plans could require patients to try cheaper drugs first. If those are not effective, then the patients could receive the more expensive medication prescribed by their doctors. Insurers use such “step therapy” to control drug costs in the employer-based insurance market as well as in Medicare’s stand-alone Part D prescription drug benefit, which generally

covers medicine purchased at retail pharmacies or through the mail. The new option allows Advantage plans — an alternative to traditional, government-run Medicare — to extend that cost-control strategy to these physician-administered drugs. In traditional Medicare, which covers 40 million older or disabled adults, those medications given by doctors are covered under Medicare Part B, which includes outpatient services, and step therapy is not allowed. About 20 million people have private Medicare Advantage policies, which include coverage

for Part D and Part B medications. Some physicians and patient advocates are concerned that the pursuit of lower Part B drug prices could endanger very sick Medicare Advantage patients if they can’t be treated promptly with the medicine that was their doctor’s first choice. Critics of the new policy, part of the administration’s efforts to fulfill President Donald Trump’s promise to cut drug prices, say it lacks some crucial details, including how to determine when a less expensive drug isn’t effective. “Do you have to lose vision before you are allowed to use” medication approved by the Food

and Drug Administration, asked Richard O’Neal, vice president for market access for Regeneron, which makes Eylea, a medicine that is injected into the eye to treat macular degeneration. In 2016, Medicare paid $2.2 billion for Eylea prescriptions for patients in traditional Medicare, more than any other Part B drug, according to government data. Medicare Advantage insurers spend about $12 billion on Part B drugs, compar ed to the $25.7 billion traditional Medicare spent in 2016 on such drugs. Insurers that adopt the step therapy policy can apply it only to new prescriptions — medicine a patient hasn’t received in the past 108 days….Read More

The IRS is warning retirees of this impending tax surprise When the IRS repeatedly warns you of an impending tax bill, you should listen. The tax agency has been on an awareness campaign all summer, telling filers that they may need to review and update their withholding at work to ensure they're paying the right amount of federal income tax. Uncle Sam is now sending retirees a heads-up, too: Be sure you're withholding enough tax from your pension

or annuity or else face a nasty tax bill next spring. This can be easier said than done. Once older Americans have left the workplace, they begin drawing down income from a range of sources. This could include Social Security, pensions and retirement withdrawals. The income tax picture also becomes more complex: While they were working, today's

retirees were able to automatically pay their withholding with each paycheck. Now, they'll need to write checks for estimated amounts to the IRS four times a year. “With estimated tax payments, there’s the issue of making sure they actually paid the tax,” said Harjit Virk, a CPA and senior associate at Getzel Schiff & Pesce in Woodbury, New York

“Sometimes you have to send reminders when the payments are due,” he said. Here’s how to simplify your tax payments so that you can get back to enjoying your retirement. Withhold enough You may be familiar with the new withholding tables from the IRS. These, along with Form W-4, guide employers as to how much tax ought to be pulled from your paycheck….Read More

Trump adviser eyes entitlement cuts to plug budget gaps A top economic adviser to President Donald Trump said Monday he expects U.S. budget deficits of about 4 percent to 5 percent of the country's economic output for the next one to two years, adding that there would likely be an effort in 2019 to cut spending on entitlement programs. "We have to be tougher on spending," White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in remarks to the Economic Club of New York, adding that government spending was the

reason for the wider budget deficits, not the Republican-led tax cuts activated this year. Kudlow did not specify where future cuts would be made. "We're going to run deficits of about 4 to 5 percent of GDP for the next year or two, OK. I'd rather they were lower but it's not a catastrophe," Kudlow said. "Going down the road, of course we'd like to slim that down as much as possible and we'll work at it."

He stated that the biggest factor for revenue was economic growth rate. A quicker pace of growth will bring in more revenue, Kudlow said, and that President Donald Trump's economic policies were aimed at boosting the U.S. growth rate. Kudlow also said he did not expect the Congress would be able to make the Trump administration's recent individual tax cuts permanent before the Nov. 6 midterm congressional

elections. "I don't think it will get through the whole Congress" before the election, he said, but added that making the personal tax cuts permanent "is a good message" and disagreed with forecasts that they would further increase budget deficits. It was the TAX SCAM not SS!! Get ready for a wild ride. Keep voting for these people that want to cut, cut, cut your EARNED BENEFITS to give more tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporate executives.

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RI ARA HealthLink Wellness News


FDA Approves Clinical Trial to Test Treating Fibromyalgia With TB Vaccine Researchers are set to study how BCG may treat fibromyalgia. With the recent approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a human clinical trial is set to begin on BCG, a vaccine typically used to prevent tuberculosis, to treat fibromyalgia. BCG, or Bacillus CalmetteGuerin, has been used since 1921 as a TB vaccine in countries with a high prevalence of TB. One particular type, or “species,” of BCG is also used to treat bladder cancer. Some studies have shown promise in BCG’s ability to potentially treat type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis by enhancing the immune system’s ability to fight its own diseased cells — a process known as immunotherapy. The trial is funded by EpicGenetics, a biomedical company that also manufactures a blood test for fibromyalgia called the FM/a Test. Research

by physician and EpicGenetics CEO Bruce Gillis suggests that fibromyalgia is an immune system disorder that causes patients to have abnormal white blood cells that produce irregular quantities of proteins called chemokines and cytokines, leading to inflammation. The test measures the levels of these proteins. EpicGenetics released its FM/a test in 2013 and has faced criticism from skeptics, who say the research the test is based on is not consistent with other studies, and that the test doesn’t reliably distinguish fibromyalgia from other disorders with similar symptoms. EpicGenetics conducted a follow-up studycomparing patients who took the FM/a test to patients with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and a control group and found “statistically significant differences” between the patients, which Gillis said supports the test. He also said further research will be done to

see if the test can be normally, they should have used to diagnose people healthy protein systems and with myalgic hopefully if all goes well their symptoms should disappear.” encephalomyelitis/chronic If BCG treatment is fatigue syndrome. successful, it would be different The BCG trial builds on than the drugs currently EpicGenetics’ previous research. available for fibromyalgia, Gillis told The Mighty he which include antidepressants believes BCG will “retrain” stem like Cymbalta and the anticells so they stop producing seizure medication Lyrica. These abnormal white blood cells and drugs may help treat start producing normal white fibromyalgia symptoms, but do blood cells, thus producing not address the biology of normal proteins and potentially fibromyalgia itself. eliminating fibromyalgia Trial participants will go to symptoms. The trial will use a Massachusetts General Hospital species of BCG called the Tokyo to receive the BCG injections. species, different than the Gillis said he does not expect species used to treat bladder there to be any side effects, and cancer, which Gillis believes has he believes two doses, spread 12 the biologic activity needed to months apart, may provide a reverse immune system “lifelong benefit.” The FDA will abnormalities. not need to approve BCG as a “It’s like being in a sword drug since it is already in use for fight with no shield — that’s other conditions, but before it what patients with fibromyalgia can be used to treat are afflicted with,” Gillis said. fibromyalgia, the FDA will need “So now what we’re hoping is, to see indicators that the BCG is we’re giving them the shield, working….Read More they should now function

1 in 4 Seniors Who Take Xanax, Valium Use Them Long Term

When older people use drugs like Valium or Xanax to calm anxiety or help them sleep, they run a high risk of becoming drug -dependent, new research suggests. In the study of almost 600 adults averaging 78 years of age, about one in four who were prescribed these types of benzodiazepine sedatives ended up using them for at least a year. That's despite warnings against long-term use of the drugs, especially among older people. Benzodiazepines -- a class that also includes Ativan, Halcion, and Klonopin -- can raise the risk of car crashes, falls, broken hips and other harmful side effects, experts warn.

So the new study "shows that we need to help providers start with the end in mind when prescribing a benzodiazepine, by beginning with a short-duration prescription and engage patients in discussions of when to reevaluate their symptoms and begin tapering the patient off," said lead author Dr. Lauren Gerlach. She's a geriatric psychiatrist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. "We also need to educate providers about effective nonpharmaceutical treatment alternatives, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, for these patients," Gerlach said in a university news release.

One psychiatrist called the study a much-needed reminder for doctors. "Clinicians, including psychiatrists, continue to prescribe benzodiazepines to this [older] population at an alarming rate," said Dr. Brian Keefe, medical director at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y. However, "multiple studies over many years now have consistently demonstrated an elevated risk of falls, and falls with a fracture in seniors who take these medications, a risk that increases with daily dose," said Keefe, who wasn't involved in the new research. In the study, Gerlach's team

tracked benzodiazepine use among 576 older adults who were given their first prescription between 2008 and 2016. Only a few had had any psychiatric, psychological or psychosocial care in the past two years, the report noted. Overall, 152 of the patients maintained a current or recent prescription one year after being initially prescribed a benzodiazepine, the study found. The study mostly included people who got their prescription from a primary care doctor or other non-psychiatrist physician, because that's how most older patients get benzodiazepines, the authors explained….Read More

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Fasting-induced anti-aging molecule keeps blood vessels young New research has found that fasting triggers a molecule that can delay the aging of our arteries. The findings could help prevent age-related chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer's. The search for eternal youth has preoccupied the human imagination since the times of Ancient Greece. In fact, a quick look at Greek mythology shows that youth was more prized than immortality, as some myths tell the story of how futile the latter

is if it's not accompanied by the former. In this regard, modern medicine has recently been catching up with ancient mythology. Emerging scientific breakthroughs encourage us to hope that the myth of eternal youth will soon become a reality. In a recent study, researchers were able to reverse signs of aging such as hair loss and wrinkles in mice; and, perhaps

more impressively, another team of researchers managed to rejuvenate aging human cells. Now, a new study adds to the evidence that aging can indeed be reversed. Scientists led by Dr. Ming-Hui Zou — the director of the Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine at Georgia State University in Atlanta — showed that fasting, or restricting calorie intake, can produce a molecule that delays vascular aging.

How a ketone molecule keeps cells young Dr. Zou explains the motivation for this study, saying, "The most important part of aging is vascular aging. When people become older, the vessels that supply different organs are the most sensitive and more subject to aging damage, so studying vascular aging is very important." So, the scientists set out to focus on vascular aging, on the changes that occur with senescence, and on ways to prevent them….Read More

Is Daily Low-Dose Aspirin Really Worth It for Seniors? There's disappointing news for seniors: A new trial shows that taking daily low-dose aspirin doesn't prolong healthy, independent living in otherwise healthy people aged 70 and older. Aspirin has long been recommended for middle-aged folks with a history of heart disease, to prevent future heart attacks or strokes. Researchers had hoped that aspirin's specific effects might help folks ease gracefully into their old age. "The thinking was the double action of blood thinning and anti-inflammation might decrease the risk of dementia and disability," explained senior

researcher Dr. Anne Murray, director of the Berman Center for Outcomes and Clinical Research at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis. But a major new clinical trial has concluded that daily aspirin does not prolong disability-free survival in the elderly. In fact, aspirin could put their health at risk by increasing the risk of bleeding in the brain and the gastrointestinal tract, researchers found. "We were so hoping that such an inexpensive and accessible medication might be effective in

prolonging healthy independent life," Murray said. Daily aspirin is recommended for people between 50 and 69 if they are at increased risk of heart disease, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a guideline-setting expert panel. However, there's not been enough medical evidence to say whether aspirin would help elderly folks, the USPSTF says. "It's the first of its kind to address this question," said Dr. Basil Eldadah, chief of the Geriatrics Branch of the U.S. National Institute on Aging. "It's

an important issue because so many older people in the United States take aspirin, and there's not clear evidence up until now whether that's indicated." To answer the question, researchers recruited just over 19,000 people in Australia and the United States with an average age of 74, and assigned half to take daily aspirin and the other half to receive a placebo. People were recruited between 2010 and 2014, and had to be free of dementia, physical disability or any medical condition that would require aspirin use. They were followed for an average of close to five years….Read More

Key molecule explains why bones weaken with age A first-of-its-kind study reveals that, as we age, levels of a certain molecule increase, which silences another molecule that creates healthy bone. It also suggests that correcting this imbalance may improve bone health, possibly offering new avenues for treating osteoporosis. Osteoporosis affects around 200 million women worldwide. One in 3 women and 1 in 5 men aged 50 and above are

thought to experience a bone fracture in their lifetime as a result of osteoporosis. In the United States, estimates indicate that 44 million people over 50 live with the condition, making it a major public health issue. New research brings us closer to understanding the process that leads to bone degradation in osteoporosis and to potential new ways in which the condition

could be tackled. The findings explain a key molecular dynamic that accounts for the progressive frailty of our bones as we age. Dr. Sadanand Fulzele, a bone biologist who works in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Augusta University in Georgia, is a cocorresponding researcher and the last author of the new paper, which was published in

the Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences. Zooming in on a small molecular culprit Dr. Fulzele and colleagues explain the process of bone formation — which starts with mesenchymal stem cells. These are stem cells that can be found in our bone marrow and that can go on to form as cartilage, bone, or the fat in bone marrow….Read More

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One-fifth of American adults experience chronic pain, CDC estimates Pain can be debilitating and also challenging to treat, especially as opioids have come under scrutiny for their role in fueling a nationwide epidemic.  One-fifth of adults in the U.S. have chronic pain, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Researchers found in both categories, prevalence was higher for women, older adults, previously but not currently employed adults, adults living in poverty, adults with public health

insurance and rural residents.  Pain can be debilitating and also challenging to treat, especially as opioid use has come under scrutiny for their role in fueling a nationwide epidemic. Living in poverty or rural areas increases the odds of suffering from chronic pain with one-fifth of adults in the U.S. living with the condition, according to a new study from the . In 2016, 50 million adults, or

20.4 percent, had chronic pain, defined as pain on most days or every day in the past six months, the based self-reported data from the National Health Interview Survey. That same year, 19.6 million, or 8 percent, of adults had high-impact chronic pain, which frequently limits life or work activities. Researchers found in both categories, prevalence was higher for women, older adults, unemployed employed adults, adults living in poverty, adults

with public health insurance and rural residents. They also found the rates of both types of pain were lower among adults with at least a bachelor's degree. Pain can be debilitating and also challenging to treat, especially as opioids have come under scrutiny for their role in fueling a nationwide epidemic. It can also be costly, with chronic pain costing an estimated $560 billion annually between direct medical costs, lost productivity and disability, according to a 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

Eating fiber can delay brain aging Fiber is a key element of a healthful diet. New research breaks down the mechanism by which it can delay age-related brain inflammation. If all the studies that urge people to consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for a healthy life haven't convinced you yet to add more broccoli to your plate, perhaps this latest research will. Eating fiber-rich foods — such as broccoli, nuts, oats, beans, and whole-grain bread — might help delay brain aging by triggering the production of a short-chain fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties.

This the main takeaway of a new study that was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology. Rodney Johnson, a professor and the head of the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign, is the corresponding author of the study, and Stephanie M. Matt is the first author of the paper. How fiber lowers inflammation As Matt and colleagues explain in their study paper, microglia — a major type

of immune cell in the brain — tend to become hyperactive and chronically inflamed with age. This inflammation of the microglia is one of the main causes of memory and cognitive decline in old age. Previous research has shown that a drug form of butyrate, which is a short-chain fatty acid that is produced in the colon when bacteria ferment fiber in the gut, can improve memory and reduce inflammation in mice. However, the precise mechanisms behind this weren't

entirely understood. Also, previous research had not shown whether simply increasing the dietary content of fiber would achieve the same results as the drug. So, Matt and colleagues fed young and aging mice diets high and low in fiber. Then, the scientists measured the mice's blood levels of butyrate and their levels of pro-inflammatory substances in their intestines. Prof. Johnson sums up these findings, saying, "The high-fiber diet elevated butyrate and other [short-chain fatty acids] in the blood both for young and old mice."...Read More

An Ancient Art May Work Best to Prevent Falls in Old Age The ancient practice of tai chi may beat strength training and aerobics for preventing falls among seniors, a new trial shows. A modified senior-centered tai chi program reduced falls nearly a third better in a head-to-head comparison with an exercise regimen that combined aerobics, strength training and balance drills, the researchers reported. "This tai chi program better addressed the deficits that were

contributing to fall risk," said senior researcher Kerri Winters-Stone, a professor with the Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing. Tai chi is a centuries-old Chinese tradition that involves a graceful series of movements. People performing tai chi flow between different postures in a slow and focused manner, keeping their body in constant motion and frequently

challenging their balance. Researchers have long suspected that tai chi can help reduce risk of falling, said co-researcher Peter Harmer, a professor of exercise and health science with Willamette University in Salem, Ore. Annually, about 28 percent of U.S. seniors report falling, and 2 out of 5 falls result in injuries leading to an ER visit, hospitalization or death,

researchers said in background notes. "Falling in adults age 65 and older is significantly associated with loss of independence, premature mortality and big health care costs," Harmer said. The movements of tai chi require people to move in all directions, while traditional exercise programs focus more on forward and backward motion, Winters-Stone and Harmer said. ..Read More

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RI ARA September 23, 2018 E-Newsletter  

RI ARA September 23, 2018 E-Newsletter  

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