Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
Medicare officials tentatively plan to restrict the use of a controversial Alzheimer’s drug to only those patients participating in clinical trials, while the Department of Health and Human Services looks into lowering the monthly Medicare Part B premium. Meanwhile, covid confusion still reigns, as the Biden administration moves, belatedly, to make more masks and tests available. Joanne Kenen of Politico and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.
The federal government is putting up $7.2 million for a study into the correlation between war trauma and dementia in Vietnamese immigrants. Oahn Meyer, an associate professor at the University of California-Davis who is leading the study, wonders whether her mother’s dementia is linked to trauma she suffered during the Vietnam War.
High-tech tools ease caregivers’ stress but can raise sticky privacy questions and concerns about cost.
The condition can be an early signal of Alzheimer’s disease, but not always. Other health concerns could be causing thinking or memory problems, and the new drug, Aduhelm, would not be appropriate for those patients.
The makers of Aduhelm, a drug approved last month despite concerns raised by experts about its effectiveness, have launched a website and ads designed to urge people who are worried about their memory to ask doctors about testing. But some health advocates say it is misleading because some memory loss with aging is normal.
Mientras médicos y expertos en políticas de salud debaten los méritos de Aduhelm, el primer fármaco para el Alzheimer aprobado en 18 años, los pacientes simplemente quieren saber: “¿me ayudará?”.
The potential benefits of Aduhelm are small, its effectiveness is not certain, and even the FDA Thursday shifted its guidance on who should get the drug. But physicians are dealing with an onslaught of interest from patients and their families, and figuring out which patients are best positioned to be helped by the drug will be difficult.
Criminal charges filed against two officers who injured a Colorado woman with dementia don’t address the fact that police often lack the skills to effectively deal with suspects with mental disabilities.
The federal approval of a controversial drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease has reignited the debate over drug prices and the way the Food and Drug Administration makes decisions. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden seeks to gain goodwill overseas as he announces the U.S. will provide 500 million doses of covid vaccine to international health efforts. Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Joanne Kenen of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the new administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. And to mark the podcast’s 200th episode, the panelists discuss what has surprised them most and least over the past four years.
When the covid pandemic hit, Dr. Rebecca Elon was thrust into a new role, primary caregiver for her severely ill husband and her elderly mother. “Reading about caregiving of this kind was one thing. Experiencing it was entirely different,” she says.
Long before they receive a dementia diagnosis, many people begin to mismanage their finances as their memory, organizational skills and self-control falter.
Arthur and Maggie Kelley of St. Louis died 30 days apart. Maggie died of complications of dementia in November. Arthur, who had moved into her nursing home to be with her, died a month later of covid. Their family held a double funeral.
Older patients with cancer, dementia or other serious illnesses should check with their doctors, but medical experts recommend the vaccine for most people.
COVID-19 has upended the lives of people with dementia, limiting their interactions with others and complicating matters for their caregivers.
Because seniors are at higher risk of cognitive impairment, proponents say screening asymptomatic older adults is an important strategy to identify people who may be developing dementia and to improve their care. But the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force cited insufficient evidence the tests are helpful.
For those worried they have an elevated risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, testing is an option. But words to the wise: It’s hardly foolproof and could even backfire by heightening your fear of memory loss.
For Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers, social and emotional isolation is a threat. But hundreds of “Memory Cafes” around the country offer them a chance to be with others who understand, and to receive social and cognitive stimulation in the process.
Across the U.S., people with early dementia are signing new advance directives to confirm their end-of-life wishes while they still have the ability to do so. But doctors say the documents may offer a false sense of security.
New thinking about aging spins on how to stay free of chronic illnesses and cognitive decline later in life.
Harvard psychiatrist Arthur Kleinman shed his “veil of ignorance” during 11 years serving as the primary family caregiver for his wife, who had a rare form of early Alzheimer’s disease. In a new book, “The Soul of Care,” he offers suggestions for transforming health care ― just as caregiving transformed him.