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NEW YORK, May 23, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the Trump Administration released its proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2018, which makes deep cuts in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including a reduction of $294 million at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the primary government agency that coordinates federal research funding for Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the budget calls for massive reductions in spending for Medicaid along with structural reforms which will allow states to impose more restrictive eligibility requirements. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one quarter of adult Medicaid beneficiaries living in the community have dementia as well as half of all residents in nursing homes. The proposed restrictions could significantly limit their access to care.  “The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is a national organization dedicated to providing optimal care and services for individuals living with dementia and their families. On behalf of all people living with Alzheimer’s and related illnesses, AFA is profoundly concerned about the deep cuts proposed in President Trump’s federal budget for fiscal year 2018. This budget marks a significant step backward in our quest to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and will sharply curtail access to quality long term care services and supports,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s president & CEO. “In recent years, AFA has worked closely with other stakeholders and our allies in Congress to increase funding for dementia research and in making the defeat of Alzheimer’s disease a national priority. Earlier this year, AFA wrote to President Trump calling for $2 billion in annual funding for Alzheimer's disease research and the amount leading researchers say is needed to get us to a cure by 2025. The main goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease is to find a cure or modifying treatment by 2025. Only by making smart investments now in promising research can we expect to reach that goal.  By sharply curtailing research funding, however, the President’s budget puts efforts to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease at risk. “AFA will redouble efforts with our Congressional champions to ensure the necessary funding to put this country on a viable pathway to a cure by 2025 as articulated in the national Alzheimer’s plan. In addition, AFA will work to make sure that until there is a cure, there will be access to the high quality care, services and supports that make a vital difference for people living with dementia and their family caregivers.” Currently, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, yet it is the only disease in the top 10 causes of death for which there is neither a cure nor impactful treatment. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a non-profit organization that unites more than 2,600 member organizations nationwide in the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals living with dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a national, toll-free helpline (866-232-8484) staffed by licensed social workers, educational conferences and materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers, the National Memory Screening Program, and “AFA Partners in Care” dementia care training for healthcare professionals. For more information about AFA, call 866-232-8484, visit www.alzfdn.org, follow us on Twitter, or connect with us on Facebook or LinkedIn.


NEW YORK, May 23, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the Trump Administration released its proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2018, which makes deep cuts in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including a reduction of $294 million at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the primary government agency that coordinates federal research funding for Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the budget calls for massive reductions in spending for Medicaid along with structural reforms which will allow states to impose more restrictive eligibility requirements. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one quarter of adult Medicaid beneficiaries living in the community have dementia as well as half of all residents in nursing homes. The proposed restrictions could significantly limit their access to care.  “The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is a national organization dedicated to providing optimal care and services for individuals living with dementia and their families. On behalf of all people living with Alzheimer’s and related illnesses, AFA is profoundly concerned about the deep cuts proposed in President Trump’s federal budget for fiscal year 2018. This budget marks a significant step backward in our quest to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and will sharply curtail access to quality long term care services and supports,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s president & CEO. “In recent years, AFA has worked closely with other stakeholders and our allies in Congress to increase funding for dementia research and in making the defeat of Alzheimer’s disease a national priority. Earlier this year, AFA wrote to President Trump calling for $2 billion in annual funding for Alzheimer's disease research and the amount leading researchers say is needed to get us to a cure by 2025. The main goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease is to find a cure or modifying treatment by 2025. Only by making smart investments now in promising research can we expect to reach that goal.  By sharply curtailing research funding, however, the President’s budget puts efforts to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease at risk. “AFA will redouble efforts with our Congressional champions to ensure the necessary funding to put this country on a viable pathway to a cure by 2025 as articulated in the national Alzheimer’s plan. In addition, AFA will work to make sure that until there is a cure, there will be access to the high quality care, services and supports that make a vital difference for people living with dementia and their family caregivers.” Currently, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, yet it is the only disease in the top 10 causes of death for which there is neither a cure nor impactful treatment. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a non-profit organization that unites more than 2,600 member organizations nationwide in the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals living with dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a national, toll-free helpline (866-232-8484) staffed by licensed social workers, educational conferences and materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers, the National Memory Screening Program, and “AFA Partners in Care” dementia care training for healthcare professionals. For more information about AFA, call 866-232-8484, visit www.alzfdn.org, follow us on Twitter, or connect with us on Facebook or LinkedIn.


"The site is targeted to inform youth, provide them with tools to become engaged in policy reform efforts and provide resources to help them overcome the collateral consequences of having an arrest record," said Era Laudermilk, Deputy Director of the Illinois Justice Project." Some visitors will be surprised to learn that black youth make up only 42 percent of Chicago's youth population but account for 79 percent of arrests and 87 percent of imprisonments. "The website is intended to encourage a public discussion of inequity: for example, while black and white youth have the same rate of marijuana use, blacks are arrested far more often," Laudermilk said. "The website also is a resource to spur discussion of how to develop and implement policies and practices to reduce disproportionate minority contact, as well as information to help kids in trouble stay out of trouble." Because the data includes neighborhood breakdowns of youth arrests by race, a visitor can find demographic arrest data for every police district and compare districts on a map of the city. DataMade built the website in partnership with the Adler University, Project NIA and the Illinois Justice Project. Funding was provided by the Polk Bros. Foundation, which partners with local nonprofit organizations that work to reduce the impact of poverty and provide area residents with better access to quality education, preventive health care and basic human services. "Disproportionate Minority Contact in the juvenile justice system is not unique to Chicago, but it must not be viewed as a problem that is so ingrained that it cannot be eliminated," said Dan Cooper, Executive Director of Adler University's Center for Equitable Cities. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-website-explains-overrepresentation-of-minority-youth-in-chicagos-juvenile-justice-system-300464302.html


NEW YORK, May 23, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the Trump Administration released its proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2018, which makes deep cuts in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including a reduction of $294 million at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the primary government agency that coordinates federal research funding for Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the budget calls for massive reductions in spending for Medicaid along with structural reforms which will allow states to impose more restrictive eligibility requirements. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one quarter of adult Medicaid beneficiaries living in the community have dementia as well as half of all residents in nursing homes. The proposed restrictions could significantly limit their access to care.  “The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is a national organization dedicated to providing optimal care and services for individuals living with dementia and their families. On behalf of all people living with Alzheimer’s and related illnesses, AFA is profoundly concerned about the deep cuts proposed in President Trump’s federal budget for fiscal year 2018. This budget marks a significant step backward in our quest to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and will sharply curtail access to quality long term care services and supports,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s president & CEO. “In recent years, AFA has worked closely with other stakeholders and our allies in Congress to increase funding for dementia research and in making the defeat of Alzheimer’s disease a national priority. Earlier this year, AFA wrote to President Trump calling for $2 billion in annual funding for Alzheimer's disease research and the amount leading researchers say is needed to get us to a cure by 2025. The main goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease is to find a cure or modifying treatment by 2025. Only by making smart investments now in promising research can we expect to reach that goal.  By sharply curtailing research funding, however, the President’s budget puts efforts to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease at risk. “AFA will redouble efforts with our Congressional champions to ensure the necessary funding to put this country on a viable pathway to a cure by 2025 as articulated in the national Alzheimer’s plan. In addition, AFA will work to make sure that until there is a cure, there will be access to the high quality care, services and supports that make a vital difference for people living with dementia and their family caregivers.” Currently, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, yet it is the only disease in the top 10 causes of death for which there is neither a cure nor impactful treatment. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a non-profit organization that unites more than 2,600 member organizations nationwide in the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals living with dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a national, toll-free helpline (866-232-8484) staffed by licensed social workers, educational conferences and materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers, the National Memory Screening Program, and “AFA Partners in Care” dementia care training for healthcare professionals. For more information about AFA, call 866-232-8484, visit www.alzfdn.org, follow us on Twitter, or connect with us on Facebook or LinkedIn.


NEW YORK, May 23, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the Trump Administration released its proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2018, which makes deep cuts in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including a reduction of $294 million at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the primary government agency that coordinates federal research funding for Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the budget calls for massive reductions in spending for Medicaid along with structural reforms which will allow states to impose more restrictive eligibility requirements. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one quarter of adult Medicaid beneficiaries living in the community have dementia as well as half of all residents in nursing homes. The proposed restrictions could significantly limit their access to care.  “The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is a national organization dedicated to providing optimal care and services for individuals living with dementia and their families. On behalf of all people living with Alzheimer’s and related illnesses, AFA is profoundly concerned about the deep cuts proposed in President Trump’s federal budget for fiscal year 2018. This budget marks a significant step backward in our quest to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and will sharply curtail access to quality long term care services and supports,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s president & CEO. “In recent years, AFA has worked closely with other stakeholders and our allies in Congress to increase funding for dementia research and in making the defeat of Alzheimer’s disease a national priority. Earlier this year, AFA wrote to President Trump calling for $2 billion in annual funding for Alzheimer's disease research and the amount leading researchers say is needed to get us to a cure by 2025. The main goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease is to find a cure or modifying treatment by 2025. Only by making smart investments now in promising research can we expect to reach that goal.  By sharply curtailing research funding, however, the President’s budget puts efforts to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease at risk. “AFA will redouble efforts with our Congressional champions to ensure the necessary funding to put this country on a viable pathway to a cure by 2025 as articulated in the national Alzheimer’s plan. In addition, AFA will work to make sure that until there is a cure, there will be access to the high quality care, services and supports that make a vital difference for people living with dementia and their family caregivers.” Currently, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, yet it is the only disease in the top 10 causes of death for which there is neither a cure nor impactful treatment. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a non-profit organization that unites more than 2,600 member organizations nationwide in the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals living with dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a national, toll-free helpline (866-232-8484) staffed by licensed social workers, educational conferences and materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers, the National Memory Screening Program, and “AFA Partners in Care” dementia care training for healthcare professionals. For more information about AFA, call 866-232-8484, visit www.alzfdn.org, follow us on Twitter, or connect with us on Facebook or LinkedIn.


As part of their shared commitment to bringing the knowledge and expertise of geriatrics to fellow healthcare professionals and the public, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and the AGS Health in Aging Foundation this week congratulated two distinguished scholars who are the first recipients of the Thomas and Catherine Yoshikawa Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement in Clinical Investigation and the Jeffrey H. Silverstein Memorial Award for Emerging Investigators in the Surgical and Related Medical Specialties. The awards will be presented to Sei Lee, MD, MAS, a geriatrician, and Anne M. Suskind, MD, MS, a urologist, respectively, at the AGS 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting (#AGS17) in San Antonio, Texas, May 18-20. "We established these awards to recognize the many contributions that Thomas and Catherine Yoshikawa and the late Jeffrey Silverstein made to advancing research in health and aging," said Nancy Lundebjerg, Chief Executive Officer of the AGS and the Health in Aging Foundation. "Tom has worked tirelessly on behalf of the field of geriatrics for his entire career, and he and his wife, Catherine, were a formidable duo in insuring that the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society continued to serve as the premier forum for researchers on aging. Jeff, a geriatric anesthesiologist, was an early champion for increasing the geriatrics expertise of surgical and related medical specialists. He was a champion and mentor for the Jahnigen Career Development Awards and its successor program at the National Institute on Aging (NIA): GEMSSTAR. I am delighted at the outpouring of contributions for both these awards and pleased to see Dr. Lee and Dr. Suskind recognized as the inaugural recipients." Sei Lee, MD, MAS: Thomas and Catherine Yoshikawa Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement in Clinical Investigation Associate Professor in the Division of Geriatrics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Dr. Lee--the inaugural recipient of the Yoshikawa Award--is a Senior Scholar with the San Francisco VA Quality Scholars fellowship and rising research leader in targeting health care for older adults. Dr. Lee's presentation at #AGS17 focuses on individualizing preventive care for older men and women, and represents more than 10 years of work examining how the status of our personal health can be used to maximize benefits and minimize harms. Among other highlights, Dr. Lee's groundbreaking contributions started with a 2006 publication in JAMA describing a mortality prediction index, now widely known as the "Lee Index," for measuring function among older adults. Announced at the 2016 AGS Annual Scientific Meeting, the Thomas and Catherine Yoshikawa Award honors will support an annual awardee through 2033, specifically recognizing the research accomplishments of mid-career clinician-investigators directly involved in the care of older adults. "We believe it's so important to nurture geriatrics investigators and are delighted that the Yoshikawa Award does just that by recognizing exceptional accomplishments from colleagues like Dr. Lee, who is working to shape the future of geriatrics," noted Dr. Yoshikawa speaking on behalf of himself and his wife. "Dr. Lee is a skilled clinician and recognized scholar--a model for the type of leadership we hope to inspire at the AGS." Anne M. Suskind, MD, MS: Jeffrey H. Silverstein Memorial Award for Emerging Investigators in the Surgical and Related Medical Specialties An Assistant Professor of Urology at UCSF, Dr. Suskind will present findings at #AGS17 from a study of more than 37,600 individuals residing in nursing homes who underwent minor urologic surgery. Dr. Suskind and her team found that the majority of these older surgical candidates experienced functional declines and high rates of mortality in the year following surgery. Their work highlights the often overlooked importance of weighing risks and benefits of any type of surgery, no matter how small, in vulnerable populations like older adults. Dr. Suskind's clinical interests include urinary incontinence, vaginal mesh complications, urinary fistulas, interstitial cystitis, overactive bladder, neurourology, bladder dysfunction due to neurologic disease, and other forms of lower urinary tract dysfunction. Her clinical approach integrates surgical and nonsurgical management of these conditions, particularly when caring for older adults--a hallmark of the AGS's long-standing Geriatrics-for-Specialists Initiative (AGS GSI) and the Silverstein Award. Open to junior and mid-career investigators from a variety of surgical and related medical specialties, the Silverstein Award recognizes emerging investigators whose research is focused on the role of geriatrics expertise in their specialties, and who are committed to careers in aging research. "Ensuring that health professionals across all specialties embrace geriatrics was critical to how Jeff approached his work with the AGS GSI and how he mentored young scholars," said George W. Drach, MD, Emeritus Professor of Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "Dr. Suskind's work is a perfect example of fusing specialist expertise in a field like urology with the high-quality, person-centered principles of geriatrics to promote health, independence, and quality of life." Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has--for 75 years--worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org. The Health in Aging Foundation is a national non-profit established in 1999 by the American Geriatrics Society to bring the knowledge and expertise of geriatrics healthcare professionals to the public. We are committed to ensuring that people are empowered to advocate for high-quality care by providing them with trustworthy information and reliable resources. Last year, we reached nearly 1 million people with our resources through HealthinAging.org. We also help nurture current and future geriatrics leaders by supporting opportunities to attend educational events and increase exposure to principles of excellence on caring for older adults. For more information or to support the Foundation's work, visit HealthinAgingFoundation.org. The AGS Annual Scientific Meeting is the premier educational event in geriatrics, providing the latest information on clinical care, research on aging, and innovative models of care delivery. More than 2,500 nurses, pharmacists, physicians, physician assistants, social workers, long-term care and managed care providers, healthcare administrators, and others will convene May 18-20, 2017 (pre-conference program on May 17), at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, to advance geriatrics knowledge and skills through state-of-the-art educational sessions and research presentations. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

PHILADELPHIA -- It is commonly known that testosterone levels decrease as men age, but until last year, little was known about the effects of testosterone treatment in older men with low testosterone. Today, in a group of papers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that testosterone treatment improved bone density and anemia for men over 65 with unequivocally low testosterone. However, testosterone treatment did not improve cognitive function, and it increased the amount of plaque buildup in participants' coronary arteries. A team of researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and twelve other medical centers in the United States, in partnership with the National Institute on Aging, conducted The Testosterone Trials (TTrials), a coordinated group of seven trials, which studied the effects of testosterone treatment for one year as compared to placebo for men 65 and older with low testosterone. The first paper, which reported that testosterone treatment improved sexual function and mood, was published in February 2016. Today's publications of the Bone, Anemia, Cognition and Cardiovascular Trials conclude the primary results of the study. Researchers found that testosterone treatment improved bone density and estimated bone strength, as determined by quantitative computed tomography (CT). The treatment also increased hemoglobin concentrations, corrected the anemia of men who had no other identifiable cause of anemia and corrected the anemia of men who had an identifiable cause, such as iron deficiency. While these conclusions proved testosterone to be beneficial to the participants, testosterone treatment did not improve memory or any other measure of cognitive function. "The paper reporting the results of the first three trials published last year was the first to show there were advantages to giving testosterone treatment to older men with low testosterone levels, and the bone and anemia trial results further support a benefit," said the principal investigator Peter J. Snyder, MD, a professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. "However, the increase of plaque buildup in the coronary artery shows that this treatment may also have some risk" In the cardiovascular trial, researchers assessed coronary artery plaque buildup by CT angiography. That assessment showed more plaque buildup in men treated with testosterone than in men treated with placebo. Nonetheless, in all 788 men in the TTrials, the number of major adverse cardiovascular events was similar in the men treated with testosterone as in the men treated with placebo. However, Snyder added, "treating 788 men for one year is far too few to draw conclusions about the clinical significance of the increase in coronary artery plaque volume and the cardiovascular risk of testosterone treatment." The TTrials are now the largest trials to examine the efficacy of testosterone treatment in men 65 and older whose testosterone levels are low due seemingly to age alone. TTrials researchers screened 51,085 men to find 790 who qualified with a sufficiently low testosterone level and who met other criteria. The men enrolled were randomized into two groups: one to take a daily testosterone gel and the other a daily placebo gel, for one year. Efficacy was then evaluated at months three, six, nine and 12. "Final decisions about testosterone treatment for older men will depend on balancing the results from these seven TTrials with the results from a much larger and longer term trial designed to assess cardiovascular and prostate risk in the future," said Snyder. The TTrials were conducted at 12 additional medical centers across the country including Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Puget Sound Health Care System, University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, University of Florida School of Medicine, University of Minnesota School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health, and Yale School of Medicine. The Testosterone Trials were supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institutes of Health (U01 AG030644). The TTrials were also supplemented by funds from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. AbbVie (formerly Solvay and Abbott Laboratories) also provided funding, AndroGel, and placebo gel. Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise. The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year. The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine. Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

ANN ARBOR, MI - The number of older Americans who take three or more medicines that affect their brains has more than doubled in just a decade, a new study finds. The sharpest rise occurred in seniors living in rural areas, where the rate of doctor visits by seniors taking combinations of such drugs - opioids, antidepressants, tranquilizers and antipsychotics - more than tripled. This "polypharmacy" of drugs that act on the central nervous system is concerning, the researchers say, because of the special risks to older adults that come with combining multiple such medications. Falls - and the injuries that can result from them - are the chief concern, along with problems with driving, memory and thinking. Combining opioid painkillers with certain other brain-affecting drugs such as benzodiazepine tranquilizers is of particular concern, recently receiving the strongest possible warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration due to an increased risk of death from combined use. Publishing in JAMA Internal Medicine, the team from the University of Michigan and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System reports findings from their analysis of data collected from a representative sample of doctors' offices between 2004 and 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While only 0.6 percent of doctor visits by people over the age of 65 involved three or more CNS-affecting drugs in 2004, the number had risen to 1.4 percent in 2013. If that percentage is applied to the entire U.S. senior population, that means 3.68 million doctor visits a year involve seniors taking three or more CNS drugs. "The rise we saw in these data may reflect the increased willingness of seniors to seek help and accept medication for mental health conditions - but it's also concerning because of the risks of combining these medications," says Donovan Maust, M.D., M.S., the study's lead author and a geriatric psychiatrist at Michigan Medicine, the U-M academic medical center. Also concerning: nearly half of seniors taking these drug combinations did not appear to have a formal diagnosis of a mental health condition, insomnia or pain condition - the three chief types of issues they're usually prescribed for. "We hope that the newer prescribing guidelines for older adults encourage providers and patients to reconsider the potential risks and benefits from these combinations," he says. In 2015, the American Geriatrics Society updated its guideline for the use of prescription drugs in older people, called the 2015 Beers Criteria. Some of the CNS medication groups have been on the Beers Criteria since it was first published in 1997, but this update is the first to raise concern about CNS polypharmacy as potentially inappropriate. Other work on CNS drugs alone or in combination Maust, who is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the U-M Medical School, also recently published two other papers on the use of CNS drugs in older people with colleagues from U-M and VAAHS. In the December issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, they reported that 5.6 percent of doctor visits by people aged 65 or older included a prescription for a benzodiazepine tranquilizer in 2010. More than a quarter of those visits also included a prescription for an antidepressant, and 10 percent included a prescription for an opioid drug. Only 16 percent of those who were continuing to receive a benzodiazepine prescription had a diagnosis of a mental health condition. Almost none were referred to psychotherapy. The data for this study came from the same source as the JAMA Internal Medicine study, the CDC's National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, though it focused on the years 2007 through 2010. "Prescribing of benzodiazepines to older adults continues despite decades of evidence showing safety concerns, effective alternative treatments, and effective methods for tapering even chronic users," says Maust. Meanwhile, in a paper published online-first in Psychiatric Services in January, they report that more than half of 231 older patients who had been prescribed an antidepressant for depression by their primary care doctor for depression (as opposed to off-label use for sleep, for example) did not actually meet the criteria for Major Depressive Disorder. The patients were participating in a randomized controlled trial aimed at improving depression outcomes and are not considered a representative sample of older Americans, but Maust and his colleagues note that their findings could indicate an over-prescribing trend. Maust and his colleague Helen Kales, M.D. also wrote an invited commentary in JAMA Internal Medicine in January, about the use of CNS drugs to "medicate distress" in older people. In addition to Maust and Kales, the authors of the JAMA Internal Medicine research letter are Lauren B. Gerlach, D.O., Anastasia Gibson, and Frederic Blow, Ph.D. of U-M, and Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H. of Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Ilse Wiechers, M.D., M.P.P., M.H.S., of Yale University co-authored the benzodiazepine study. Maust, Kales and Blow are members of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and the VA Center for Clinical Management Research. Blow is the director of the U-M Addiction Center and Kales directs the Program for Positive Aging. The study was supported by a National Institute on Aging Beeson Career Development Award (NIA K08AG048321, AFAR, The John A. Hartford Foundation, and The Atlantic Philanthropies)


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

LOS ANGELES -- Research published today found testosterone treatment improved bone density and anemia for men over 65 with low testosterone. But the treatment didn't improve patients' cognitive function, and it increased the amount of plaque buildup in participants' coronary arteries, according to four studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and JAMA Internal Medicine. A team of researchers from LA BioMed and 12 other medical centers in the U.S., in partnership with the National Institute on Aging, conducted The Testosterone Trials (TTrials), a coordinated group of seven trials, which studied the effects of testosterone treatment for one year as compared to placebo for men 65 and older with low testosterone. Four of those studies were published today. "While we have long known that testosterone levels decrease as men age, very little was known about the effects of testosterone treatment in older men with low testosterone until last year," said Ronald S. Swerdloff, MD, an LA BioMed researcher and co-author of the four studies. "Our first published research last year found benefits to testosterone treatment, and this latest series of studies finds further benefits in terms of improving bone density and anemia. However, the cardiovascular study showed that the testosterone treatment group had increased plaque buildup in coronary arteries, suggesting a possible risk factor." In the cardiovascular trial, researchers assessed coronary artery plaque buildup by CT angiography. That assessment showed more plaque buildup in men treated with testosterone than in men treated with placebo. Nonetheless, in all 788 men in the TTrials, the number of major adverse cardiovascular events was similar in the men treated with testosterone as in the men treated with placebo. "We want to emphasize that this study was exploratory and emphasizes the need for a large-scale, well-controlled, long-term safety trial to determine if there is an increased risk of heart damage or death," Dr. Swerdloff said. "As with all medications the physician and patient need to balance the benefits and risks of treatment." Dr. Christina Wang, an LA BioMed researcher and co-author of the four studies, noted that the researchers also found that testosterone treatment improved bone density and estimated bone strength, as determined by CT. "After one year of treatment, older men with low testosterone significantly increased bone density and estimated bone strength compared to those on placebo," said Dr. Wang. "A larger and longer trial would be needed to determine if testosterone treatment reduces fracture risk." Testosterone treatment also increased hemoglobin concentrations, corrected the anemia of men who had no other identifiable cause of anemia and corrected the anemia of men who had an identifiable cause, such as iron deficiency. While these conclusions proved testosterone to be beneficial to the participants, testosterone treatment did not improve memory or any other measure of cognitive function. "As a result of these findings, physicians may wish to consider measuring testosterone in men age 65 and older who have unexplained anemia and symptoms suggestive of low testosterone levels," said Dr. Swerdloff. The TTrials are now the largest trials to examine the efficacy of testosterone treatment in men 65 and older whose testosterone levels are low due seemingly to age alone. TTrials researchers screened 51,085 men to find 790 who qualified with a sufficiently low testosterone level and who met other criteria. The men enrolled were randomized into two groups: one to take a daily testosterone gel and the other a daily placebo gel, for one year. Efficacy was then evaluated at months three, six, nine and 12. "Final decisions about testosterone treatment for older men will depend on balancing the results from these seven TTrials with the results from a much larger and longer term trial designed to assess cardiovascular and prostate risk in the future," said principal investigator Peter J. Snyder, MD, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. In addition to LA BioMed and University of Pennsylvania, the TTrials were conducted at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Puget Sound Health Care System, University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, University of Florida School of Medicine, University of Minnesota School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health and Yale School of Medicine. The Testosterone Trials were supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institutes of Health (U01 AG030644). The TTrials were also supplemented by funds from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. AbbVie (formerly Solvay and Abbott Laboratories) also provided funding, AndroGel, and placebo gel. Founded in 1952, LA BioMed is one of the country's leading nonprofit independent biomedical research institutes. It has approximately 100 principal researchers conducting studies into improved treatments and therapies for cancer, inherited diseases, infectious diseases, illnesses caused by environmental factors and more. It also educates young scientists and provides community services, including prenatal counseling and childhood nutrition programs. LA BioMed is academically affiliated with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and located on the campus of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. For more information, please visit http://www.


"Eat modestly and live longer" seems to be the message from a new study that tracked the food habits and linkages of rhesus monkeys with regard to their healthy life and longevity. In the collaborative study, teams from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and National Institute on Aging worked together to resolve the controversial aspect of aging research. The joint effort came after the two groups had a varied conclusion on the same topic in the past. In the new study, the competing groups showed that the less the monkeys ate, the more they lived. The main takeaway from the study was the importance of caloric restriction in bringing about positive consequences on aging and health. At the same time, it noted that in primates like monkeys, other factors like age, diet and sex also matter in optimizing the benefits of lower caloric intake. Commenting on the findings of the study, one of the authors clarified that cutting food is not a life style recommendation. "It's a research tool, not a lifestyle recommendation. We are not studying it so people can go out and do it, but to delve into the underlying causes of age-related disease susceptibility," said Rozalyn Anderson, an assistant professor who was part of the study. The underlying cause is only looking at how a restricted diet alters the metabolism and energy in the body. The UW-Madison has been engaged in the study for more than two decades to trace the links between food calories and aging-related disease susceptibilities. The university had been keeping a group of rhesus monkeys under observation in which half of them were allowed to eat whatever they want. In the other group, restrictions were clamped and the animals were fed nutritious food but calories were slashed by almost 30 percent compared with the other group. The new report has come out 25 years after the study started and found that monkeys on unrestricted diets posed three times greater risk of age-related death and diseases than those on regulated calories. Over the years, many monkeys died and the scientists documented how each one of them died and their food patterns. Out of the 38 monkeys that died, 28 were from the unrestricted diet on age-related causes compared with just 10 from the restricted group. The diseases ranged from cardiovascular, diabetes, cancer, brain atrophy, sarcopenia and bone loss. The UW-Madison study in 2009 reported tangible benefits in survival and reductions in cancer and other disorders for monkeys that ate frugally, compared with their gluttonous peers. However, the NIA study in 2012 took a different stand and noted there was no significant improvement in survival from restricted intake though a trend toward improved health could be noticed. Commenting on the erstwhile polarized views, one of the corresponding authors said the variation was the result of not touching other variables that impinged on aging and calorie-related discourse on primates. In the new study, those areas have been touched. "These conflicting outcomes had cast a shadow of doubt on the translatability of the caloric restriction paradigm as a means to understand aging and what creates age-related disease vulnerability," said Anderson, one of the corresponding authors. While working together, the teams analyzed data from many years including those of 200 monkeys from both studies. The broad analysis convinced the scientists the reason why the studies had different results. The role of caloric restriction in aging and disease was unmistakable. Yet, the effects of the same on primates also depended on factors like diet, age and sex. The findings of the study on rhesus monkeys also have a bearing on the long debate on caloric restriction and its spillover on humans. In the 1930s, tests on lab rats showed that longer lives and a decrease in disease are rooted in a few calories. Those findings were further buttressed by studies on worms, yeast, flies and mice showing the potential for longer life expectancy with regulated food practices. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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