In light of my most recent post (April 23, 2013) about the effect of music during my parents’ Bible study sessions, I am reposting this blog post describing an article about music, eurhythmics, and elders.
How interesting to read about the research Effect of Music-Based Multitask Training on Gait, Balance, and Fall Risk in Elderly People (abstract), an article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The article is not freely available from the medical journal, so to read it you will need to speak with a librarian or go to a hospital library.
The article points out that most seniors’ falls occur when people are performing concurrent tasks and that “each year more than a third of the population 65 years and older experiences at least one fall.” The Swiss medical researchers wondered whether participation in a music-based program involving concurrent tasks of movement and music might have a positive effect on the factors that can cause a fall — gait and balance — thereby reducing the frequency of falls.
The music activity they chose for their research is eurhythmics, a program of music education that combines music and movement, developed by composer Emile Jaques-Dalcroze in Geneva in the early 20th century. Not surprisingly, at least not from my perspective as a college music major and life-long very amateur musician, people who participated in six months of Dalcroze eurhythmics reduced both the rate and the risk of falling by the end of the program compared to a control group that did not take the class but carried on with life as usual. When the control group subsequently took the class for six months, the researchers found the same results.
Over and over the media refer to boomers as a health conscious generation, and boomers often assume that their generation is healthier than their parents’ generation.
Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Health Examination Survey (NHANES – Check out this informational video), researchers compared data from 1988-1994 for our parents’ generation and data from 2007-2010 for the boomers. This means that they were examining health data from similar age groups. The results are dramatic.
Some of the Findings
- In the older generation, 32% the those surveyed reported excellent health, while only 13.2% of boomers reported excellent health.
- Obesity was more common in the boomer generation.
- Regular exercise was less frequent in boomers’ lives.
- Hypertension was more common in boomers with 43% reporting the condition, but only 36% of their parents reported hypertension at the same age. Read more »
With some frequency adult children search for reliable medical information after hearing research reported on the news. Or perhaps an aging parent or spouse is ill, a physician recommends a new therapy or treatment, and a family wants to learn more as they consider the recommendation.
When any of us seek to learn more, it’s second nature to try to increase our understanding by consulting electronic articles and other resources — either summary articles in newspapers or original reports in medical journals — and asking the question, “How might this medical research help me?”
The problem is, sorting through research articles and reports often yields mixed results. One piece of research may report positive results and beneficial patient outcomes while another might report just the opposite with less desirable results — on the same topic. How does one decide what research to consider seriously?
When your parents go to the hospital and need to stay over night or longer, be sure the medical staff admits them as official patients and not for observation (which means that technically they are not admitted at all).
People hospitalized for observation do not qualify for Medicare’s skilled nursing care benefit after leaving the hospital, and they will have much higher out-of-pocket costs because many Medicare benefits require formal admission as an inpatient to a hospital, not a stay for observation, which is more like outpatient status.
Much has been written recently about this situation. Brown University gerontologists published their findings in the June 2012 Health Affairs (abstract), explaining that the number of observations rose 34% when compared to standard hospital admissions in 2007-2009. The study analyzed a huge amount of data — the Medicare claims of 29 million individuals between 2007 and 2009.
A report on the study in the June 4, 2012 Kaiser Health News, Study: Hospital Observations Stays Increase 25 Percent in Three Years, points out how researchers also found that patients under observation stayed in the hospital longer than admitted patients — some “observed” for longer than three days.
Interesting Quote from the Kaiser Article Read more »
It’s a good day for brain research.
(Paul) Allen has charged the Institute with tackling some of the most fundamental and complex questions in brain science today. The answers to these questions are essential for achieving a complete understanding of how the brain works, what goes wrong in brain-related diseases and disorders, and how best to treat them. Read more »
Adult children should all know the location of the closest stroke certified hospital, and no one should hesitate to get to the hospital if any potential stroke symptom causes concern.
Oddly enough, research recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), finds that the rate of people who experience symptoms and call 911 to go to the hospital has remained constant since the 1990s. The researchers at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center looked 1,605 diagnosed stroke cases at their hospital, focusing on how they arrived at the hospital after experiencing symptoms.
In a press release from the medical center neurologist Hooman Kamel,M.D., states, “People do not always recognize the seriousness of stroke symptoms, or instead of calling 911, they may call their primary care physician for an appointment and lose valuable time as the damage becomes irreversible.”
Read the press release from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center
Read the Medline Plus Health Day summary of the research.
Dr. [Peter] Piot, who served as executive director of the United Nation’s UNAIDS organization and now serves at Imperial College in London, delivered an impassioned call to action before some 1500 scientists, patients, caregivers, advocate, and health officials who gathered from every corner of the globe. According to Piot, we need:
- a global political movement to fund cures and preventions as the global aging phenomenon will give rise to unprecedented rates of Alzheimer’s
- to rally against Alzheimer’s exactly as we did with HIV/AIDS in order to make a difference.In the last six years, nine countries have created national Alzheimer’s plans. In France, England, Australia, Wales, Scotland, The Netherlands, South Korea, Norway, and most recently the U.S., there are already government-based national plans.
More research with nurses will give us more insight into how people age.
from Health Day, March 1, 2012
Researchers are looking for 100,000 female nurses and nursing students to join the long-running Nurses’ Health Study, which has yielded insight into a wide range of health issues, such as the benefits of physical activity and whole grains and the dangers of tobacco and trans fats.
The study is open to registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nursing students between the ages of 20 and 46 who live in the United States or Canada. More than 25,000 have signed up and recruitment will remain open until the study reaches the target of 100,000 new participants. It’s the first time nursing students have been eligible.