Archives

Plasma Could Be the Best Way to Fight Covid-19

Plasma Could Be the Best Way to Fight Covid-19

As Covid cases rise, we are all desperate to find a cure for it. There have been a few highlighted ideas, but the information has been confusing. A new avenue that’s being explored is plasma from those who have had Covid-19 and were cured. This is thought to be the best way to fight Covid-19.

Plasma Could Be the Best Way to Fight Covid-19

Plasma Could Be the Best Way to Fight Covid-19

 

Maybe the most well-known treatment possibility is the drug hydroxychloroquine. As far as when this article is written, it seems there is little benefit and too great a risk of toxicity. Another drug, remdesivir, has had high hopes but nothing to sustain it.

The latest treatment avenue is plasma from people who had Covid-19 and beat it. The reasoning is that within their plasma, there are protective antibodies that can help sick people. Best of all, it relies more on volunteers than the production of drugs, which makes it less expensive.

It’s not time to get too excited, though. Results are promising but lack control tests and numbers to determine that it’s the solution.

What exactly is plasma? It comes from blood, and their half cells, like reds, whites, and platelets, and half fluid. The fluid is what makes plasma, and it has various proteins and other molecules in it. The antibody is what researchers are looking at. You may hear this as immunoglobulin, gamma-globulin, IVIG.

To get the antibodies out of a donor’s blood, doctors separate blood into parts. Red blood cells go back to the donor to avoid anemia. Doctors then collect the antibodies and go through the standard process for administering this kind of treatment. It’s then given to the sick patient.

This kind of treatment has been helpful with diseases like hepatitis B or rabies prevention.

Learn more here.

Teens Create Free Delivery Service for Seniors During Covid-19

Teens Create Free Delivery Service for Seniors During Covid-19

There’s been a lot of scary news surrounding Covid-19, and we all need a spot of positivity. Enter Dhruv Pai and Matt Casertano, 16 and 15 respectfully, who have created Teens Helping Seniors. A special delivery service for seniors during Covid-19.

Teens Create Free Delivery Service for Seniors During Covid-19

Teens Create Free Delivery Service for Seniors During Covid-19

 

What started in Maryland is rapidly growing across the country. Pai and Casertano have been using their time out of school to help others.

“We were both helping out our families, delivering groceries to our grandparents, and we thought ‘what about the people who do not have family in the area?'”- Matt Casertano

The two teens designed a no-contact delivery service. Seniors email their grocery list and then are connected to a volunteer nearby. Each teen has proper sanitation equipment and wipes down all surfaces, following CDC guidelines.

The volunteer teen will then leave the groceries at the front door and pick up the cash or check to cover the cost of groceries. If cash or check doesn’t work, payments can be made online through services like Venmo.

As an extra precaution, teens will call their customers to make sure they got everything they needed.

What started as the two teens, has now evolved to 65 volunteers and more joining each day.

Not only do these teens deliver groceries, but they are helping with loneliness too. Sometimes a five-minute conversation is all these seniors get during this tough time.

Teens in other states are starting their own programs with the guidance of Pai and Casertano.

Read more here.

Romance is the New Way to Scam Seniors

Why You Should Never Retire According to a Neuroscientist

Fake online romances aren’t just for younger people. They’re now happening to older people too. Scam artists are not only using online dating sites but social media platforms as well. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to these scams because they are more likely to be seeking companionship, and people are using that to scam seniors.

Romance is the New Way to Scam Seniors

Romance is the New Way to Scam Seniors

 

There is a pretty standard formula when it comes to romance scams. They contact you on whichever website you meet them on, they chat with you for a little bit, and then they ask to move away from the site. They do this by asking to talk through text, phone calls, or other messaging apps.

They do this for more intimacy and less security monitoring that public sites offer. It creates an atmosphere of trust with the victim.

Then the formula continues with a tragic personal story, saying they’re in love early on in the relationship and the scammer living far away.

Then come the photos. You exchange pictures and start to feel like you really know the person. Except, the photo is fake. Usually, it’s some stock photo or stolen from social media. You may not even be talking to a single person, but instead a group of people that take shifts speaking to you.

Another part of the formula is that they always make excuses not to meet you in person. They may agree to a date and then at the last minute cancel because of some kind of emergency. They could say it’s work, family, or some other type of emergency.

Scam artists don’t start the actual scam until a few weeks or months into the relationship. Once they’re ready, they begin by asking for a small amount of money. Then the amount will slowly increase over time. They will use gift cards instead of cash or checks because they are untraceable and easy to get.

Reports show that romance scams are costly and increasing. In 2019, there were 25,000 complaints, and it’s thought that this type of scam is under-reported. People lost $201 million in 2019. That’s more than victims that lost to fake lotteries, sweepstakes, imposter frauds, or tech support scams.

If you or anyone else have had this happen to you, report them to the F.T.C or the F.B.I. Also, treat victims with care. A lot of emotional trauma happens when someone is involved in this kind of scam.

Read more here.

How to Build Healthy Habits

How to Build Healthy Habits

It seems so easy to develop bad habits, so why is it so hard to keep healthy ones? Behavioral scientists say that we try to make healthy habits the wrong way. We make our goals too big without knowing the steps to get there. Here’s how to build healthy habits.

How to Build Healthy Habits

How to Build Healthy Habits

 

These tips are backed by research, so you know they are good.

Stack Your Habits

Try adding a new habit to one you already have. For example, morning habits tend to be our strongest. Along with your morning cup of coffee, try to do a minute of mediation while it cools. You could practice balancing while brushing your teeth by standing on one foot.

Do some stretches or exercises while watching TV. You can do it during commercials.

Start Small and Easy

People’s biggest mistake is to start too high and discourage themself. Big goals need a high level of motivation that can be hard to keep up.

Start with small habits that will be easy to keep up with. Like, eating an apple instead of a bowl of chips or going for a walk to start a new exercise regimen.

Do exercises that don’t require leaving the house like sit-ups or jumping jacks. If you want to do something a little more extreme, try sleeping in your exercise clothes, that way you can just roll out of bed and get going.

Do It Every Day

British researchers looked at how people form habits in the real world. They asked people to choose a simple habit they wanted to build. The researchers found that the amount of time it took for the task to become automatic, aka a habit, was anywhere between 18 to 254 days. The average was 66 days.

Needless to say, habits take a long time to make. That’s why it’s crucial to start small. You’re more likely to keep doing little things than work out for an hour every day.

Reward Yourself

Every time you keep a good habit is a cause of celebration. While some of the big goals make take a while to get to, you should reward every small benchmark you reach. Listen to audiobooks while running or watch your favorite show. Eat a special meal when you reach for a certain small goal.

Read more here.

How to Care for Seniors During Covid-19

How to Care for Seniors During Covid-19

It can be a confusing time right now for people with older loved ones. You want to make sure they are safe, but to do that, you have to stay away. How can you care for seniors during Covid-19? Charlotte Yeh, chief medical officer at AARP, has a few suggestions.

How to Care for Seniors During Covid-19

How to Care for Seniors During Covid-19

 

Let’s start with the basics. Make sure that you and your beloved senior are following the general guidelines of washing hands, avoiding crowds, and practicing social distancing. As hard as it is, limit visitations to the absolute minimum. Instead, focus on making phone calls or even video calls if they’re available.

Creating backup plans for if you or your loved ones get sick will reduce panic and anxiety in everyone. Make sure there’s enough food, medication, and basic necessities that will last a week or two. You or your loved ones can take advantage of delivery services for these supplies.

What if a Senior has an Annual Checkup, Should They Go?

If your loved one has an appointment coming up, call their physician and ask about it. Depending on the severity of Covid-19 in your area, you can probably reschedule it if your senior is feeling okay overall. The physician will let you know if an appointment is urgently needed or not.

Should People Consider Taking Their Loved Ones Out of Long-Term Care Communities?

It’s a difficult question to answer. The answer can change day by day as we learn more about the virus. If you are concerned, contact your loved one’s community and learn about how they plan on handling the virus. There are infection control procedures that every nursing community have to follow. You can ask to learn what they are doing.

You should think about the balance of care you can give your senior at home versus what they could get in their community. Can you get home care, like SHS 360, to come and help? Would your loved one accept this kind of help? Think about how disruptive it could be to remove your senior for a few months and then bring them back.

How Can Seniors Stay Active Inside?

Don’t underestimate the act of walking around your home. It’s crucial to not just sit and lie down all day.

Read more here.

Seniors Struggle to Return to Nursing Communities After Hospital Visit During Coronavirus

Seniors Struggle to Return to Nursing Communities After Hospital Visit During Coronavirus

You may know that nursing communities are limiting visitors during the Covid-19 crisis, but did you know that some residents aren’t able to return too? Seniors returning from hospital visits, rehabilitation centers, and other outside activities are struggling to come back to their home during the Coronavirus. Nursing staff says that residents need to provide a negative test before they come in.

Seniors Struggle to Return to Nursing Communities After Hospital Visit During Coronavirus

Seniors Struggle to Return to Nursing Communities After Hospital Visit During Coronavirus

 

While that seems fair, there aren’t enough tests to go around. So what are seniors supposed to do? What are these communities supposed to do?

“This is the most strained and anxious that I’ve seen the system and staff and families and patients.”– Alice Bonner, registered nurse and adjust faculty at John Hopkins

U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released a guide that outlines the process for accepting patients who could have been exposed to the Coronavirus.

It says that nursing communities can and should readmit people who have tested positive or been exposed to the virus only if they are equipped to prevent the spread, according to the CDC.

If a community can’t follow those rules, they must wait until a returning resident has been without fever and respiratory symptoms and taken two negative tests 24 hours apart. If tests aren’t available, the CDC says a resident can go home after three days without a fever and improved respiratory symptoms, and at least seven days after the person first got sick.

Kind of confusing, right?

The CDC guidelines also say residents don’t need to meet the criteria before being discharged from the hospital.

So, where do the seniors go? Not everyone has family nearby that could take them in. Many have family in other states. What about residents who leave or are hospitalized for reasons other than the Coronavirus?

Even a person that shows no symptoms can be a carrier, nursing communities are looking at everyone as a threat.

The shortage of tests and how long they take to get a result is putting people in danger. The testing criteria is changing all the time and can even change state to state.

Individual communities are doing the best they can during this fluid situation.

Read more about this situation here.

You Need to Laugh More, for Your Health

You Need to Laugh More, for Your Health

Studies show that laughter can actually improve your health and push off disease. It can even help those who are ill cope better with their illness. So, you need to laugh more.

You Need to Laugh More, for Your Health

You Need to Laugh More, for Your Health

 

“A friendly sense of humor will bless you with better social relations as well as coping skills, and the reduced risk of dying early.” –Sven Svebak, professor emeritus at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Svebak has been studying the impact that laughter has on health for more than 50 years.

There’s the apparent psychological effects of laughter, but there’s a social aspect as well. Having a sense of humor can create a stronger community around you. It can stimulate memories in those with dementia.

More physically, laughter wakes up your organs by increasing the oxygen intake to the heart, lungs, muscles, and makes your brain release more endorphins.

It eases tension, relaxes muscles, and lowers blood pressure. It’s been shown that it can strengthen the immune system.

A 15-year Norwegian study found that humor can delay or prevent life-threatening diseases. They looked at over 53,000 people and measured their sense of humor with a health survey. It included asking them how to guess their ability to find something funny.

Women with high cognitive scores had a reduced risk of premature death from cardiovascular and infectious diseases. Men had a reduced risk of early death from infections.

The study didn’t find any effects on cancer and other causes of death. The benefits also slowly faded and left after 85.

Read more here.

Another Reason the Mediterranean Diet is Good For You

Another Reason the Mediterranean Diet is Good For You

We’ve talked about the Mediterranean diet before and how it’s a healthy way to eat. Well, this diet is back in the news because a new study has shown another reason the Mediterranean diet is good for you.

Another Reason the Mediterranean Diet is Good For You

Another Reason the Mediterranean Diet is Good For You

 

The study revealed that eating this diet for just one year changed the microbiome of older adults. Not only did it change these microbiomes, but changed them in ways that improved brain function and helped them live longer.

The diet stopped or slowed down the inflammatory chemicals that lead to loss of cognitive function. It also prevents the development of chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer, and atherosclerosis.

Why are Microbiomes a Big Deal?

 

How much food do you think passes through a human body’s lifetime?

60 tons.

That’s a lot of food, and that food exposes us to different bacteria. Bacteria, both good and bad, plays a huge role in our health. It decides how well we absorb nutrients, the functionality of our immune response, and our energy and metabolism levels.

As we age, the amount of microbes in our stomach reduces. A poor diet is normal among older adults in long-term residential care, and those who live alone. There are many reasons why this happens. Things like lack of appetite, dental issues, transportation issues are just a few.

When the diversity of bacteria lessens, “inflamm-aging” happens. It’s when age-related inflammatory processes start that can lead to a variety of diseases.

Closer Look at the Study

 

Researchers looked at the stomach microbiomes of 612 older people from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

They put 323 on a special diet based on Mediterranean principles, which means lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, olive oil, fish, and little red meat, sugar, and saturated fats.

The remaining participants were asked to eat how they usually do.

After a year, those who followed the Mediterranean diet saw positive changes to the microbiome in their digestive systems. The loss of bacterial diversity slowed, and the production of potentially harmful inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein and interleukin-17 were reduced.

There was growth of beneficial bacteria linked to improved memory and brain function. The diet also appeared to boost “keystone” species, which is critical for a stable “gut ecosystem.” It slowed signs of frailty like walking speed and handgrip strength.

Nationality didn’t matter. The findings were similar, no matter where people lived, their age, or weight.

You can learn more about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet from our first article on it.

Read more about the new study here.

Creating a Coronavirus Vaccine that Works for Everyone

Creating a Coronavirus Vaccine that Works for Everyone

A Coronavirus vaccine is critical to stop the spread of this new virus. Ofer Levy, a physician-scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital, is worried whatever vaccine is created won’t work on seniors. Seniors are one of the most vulnerable to this disease. Levy is trying to develop a vaccine that will work for everyone.

Creating a Coronavirus Vaccine that Works for Everyone

Creating a Coronavirus Vaccine that Works for Everyone

 

“Whatever we develop, we’ve got to make sure it works in the elderly. Otherwise, we don’t have our eye on the ball. And right now, the way vaccines are developed, the eye isn’t on the ball.”– Ofer Levy

They have hundreds of samples of cells donated by older patients treated at the nearby Brigham and Women’s Hospital before the outbreak.

They want to add an adjuvant, which is a substance that boosts the vaccine’s effectiveness at the lowest dosage.

Having these samples let the team test vaccine-adjuvant combinations directly on cells from older people. Using cells makes the whole process faster and allows them to try many different combinations.

Most vaccine research starts with cells from young mice. Though once Levy and his team find the correct combinations, they will move onto mice, which is a needed step to get federal approval.

It could take more than a year to get a vaccine ready and approved.

There at least 40 other companies around the world working on their own Coronavirus vaccines.

Read more here.

How Ageism Hurts Seniors’ Health

How Ageism Hurts Seniors' Health

It’s proven over and over again that ageism hurts seniors. A new Yale study shows that ageism hurts seniors’ health. As much as you liked to think that doctors don’t have unconscious age-based discrimination, they are humans too.

How Ageism Hurts Seniors' Health

How Ageism Hurts Seniors’ Health

 

The Yale study was lead by epidemiology and psychology professor Becca Levy. Researchers looked at a wide range of past studies looking for a connection between ageism and health outcomes. The studies were done in 45 countries over 25 years.

The focus of the study was to look at structural ageism instead of individual instances. Structural ageism is a bias against older adults that’s reinforced by institutions like the government, schools, and hospitals. An example would be that aches and pains are always thought of as part of the aging.

Researchers went through 13,000 papers with analyses of ageism’s effects on a wide range of problems. They found that in 95.5 percent of the studies, ageism hurt seniors’ health significantly across different countries throughout the years.

Despite how well-known ageism is and how hurtful it is, it’s not widely recognized as discrimination. Studies on this topic are a small amount as well. It’s not considered a priority of public health research.

Read more here.